Week Eight

This week we listened to another lecture by Professor Alexander Dawson regarding the Mexican Revolution and the Plan de Ayala. He claims that when revolution is discussed, it is “an attempt to shape a view of the past, that organizes power in the present” (Dawson). In the Mexican Revolution there were three major groups that were trying to “win” control of the political system:

The Old Guard: These were the people who were benefitting during the Diaz regime and who want to continue to maintain such privilege.

The Villa and Serrano Revolutionaries: These were the people who wanted to be free outside authority, whose lives were turned upside down because of modernity.

The Zapata and Agrarian Revolutionaries: The majority lived in central and southern Mexico and were primarily indigenous or mestizo. Most of their land had been illegally taken from them and so a priority for them was to get their land back.

In the end, there was no ‘official’ winner in Mexico’s Revolution however the product of this revolution was new political order.

Something that interested me in the lecture was this idea of “revolutions legacy.” Dawson specifically discussed Poncho Villa and Emiliano Zapata who were both assassinated and became ‘good’ symbols because “they didn’t live long enough to disappoint” people (Dawson). Even though both of them were closing doors on politics (Poncho Villa retired and agreed to not reenter politics and Emiliano Zapata was negotiating a peace with the government of Mexico) their influence was powerful enough to prompt people to kill them. This led me to start thinking about whether other martyrs in the world are viewed in a similar manner which does, in fact, seem to be the case.

I also found it intriguing that the contemporary Zapatistas were the first guerrilla movement to effectively use the internet. The impact technology has had on the world is revolutionary and is continuously growing. The world is becoming more and more connected and information is constantly in our reach. Professor Dawson admits that because of the Zapatistas’ effectual use of the internet, they have been more taxing for the Mexican State to deal with. This is compelling because it leads me to wonder if people can actually keep up with a world that has been overthrown by modernity. Everything (communication, wars, politics, the overall spread of information) has taken on a new level of complexity might be too great for our own good…



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