Battles in the Desert & Other Stories by José Emilio Pacheco

By José Emilio Pacheco

Seven tales depict harsh realities of existence in city Mexico and the tragedies of youth innocence betrayed.

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Every industry that ever got any where at all has been a little monarchy, the leadership belonging to the leader simply because he can lead. That happens even in a democracy. Indeed, real democracy gives leadership its greatest opportunity. 8 Under the new five-dollar-day, workers’ wages were not actually increased. 50 per day but this entitlement depended upon their passing a series of tests set by the new Sociological Department. The Department was responsible for sending investigators into the workers’ homes to ensure that the worker was supporting and living with his family, and that unmarried workers 8 For an excellent analysis of the emergence of Ford’s industrial system during the Highland Park years, see Meyer (1981).

Gender, Production and Revolutionary Nationalism 37 2005, 117). By 1937, in response to the increasing militancy of women’s organising, Cárdenas agreed to introduce legislation to modify Article 34 of the Constitution which would redefine citizens as those men and women, over 18 if married and over 21 if not, having the quality of being Mexican and living an honest life (Olcott 2005, 11). In exchange, the FUPDM integrated itself with the ruling party and the corporatist state structures. Between 1937 and 1938, the legislation was passed in all federal and state legislatures but in the end was not promulgated, nor published in the Diario Oficial.

It is important to note however, even according to CROM’s figures, as many as 40 per cent of these members were peasants (Carr 1976, 132). In the office of the presidency, Obregón continued to reassure employers, as well as the US government that he would not favour the interests of labour over those of capital, but would work to establish a balance of social forces. As a result, the alliance between Obregón and the CROM was a troubled one (Carr 1976, 132–3). 9 During the Plutarco Elías Calles presidency (1924–1928), the CROM became embroiled in a series of conflicts with the government, as well as the CGT, that fractured its base of support and left it considerably weakened.

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