Albert Moreau

The Civil War in Mexico

Source: The Communist, Vol. VIII, No. 6, June 1929
Transcription/Markup: Paul Saba
Copyleft: Internet Archive ( 2018. Permission is granted to copy and/or distribute this document under the terms of the Creative Commons License.

The significance of the recent civil war in Mexico, brought about as a result of the uprising of such militarists as Generals Escobar, Munzo, Aguirre and others, can only be grasped through an understanding of the role of American imperialism in that country as well as in the whole of Latin-America, of the Anglo-American antagonism and of the class forces definitely coming into clash in this period of complete domination of the Mexican Federal Government by Wall Street bankers.


The imperialists of the United States and Great Britain, through grasping a monopoly of the natural resources, and through the influx of finance capital, have found in Mexico a fertile soil for their rapacious designs.

In the period of 1521 to 1921 Mexico was robbed of 150,000 tons of sterling silver constituting 2/3 of the world production of that precious metal. Today, Mexicans contribute 1/3 of the world output in which the United States investment amounts to $500,000,000.

In gold, Mexico supplies the world with 5% of the world output. Other metals in which the American magnates have the monopoly are: iron, copper, zinc, arsenic.

American interests in the coal mines are vast. Coal in that country is extracted in abundance. In 1926, in the state of Coahuila alone more than 800,000 tons were produced.

The revolutions, counter-revolutions and uprisings were always fomented by the English and American interests for the specific purpose of furthering the control of the rich oil fields, principally the important centers such as Tampico and Vera Cruz. For the American oil interests, Mexico has always been a world asset. Until recently it was the second country in the world production of oil. At present, due to the opening of new wells in Venezuela and the ever increasing production in the Soviet Union, Mexico has become the fourth on the list. In 1928 it produced 47 million barrels. It is interesting to note here, that while American oil interests hold over $480,000,000, the British magnates come next with their $250,000,000 investments. The present oil crisis as evidenced in Mexico with the closing down of die oil fields has an international significance. Concerned with the “stabilization” of the world production of oil and in its endeavor to dictate its prices in the international oil market, the imperialists of both England and the United States are confronted with the “enigma” of the oil production in the Soviet Union. Let us quote an American authority on the matter. Jodson C. Welliver says:

Russia is indeed the hopeless enigma of the world’s oil game. Controlling enormous resources in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea regions, the Soviets have steadfastly refused to return or settle for confiscated properties. Greatly needing money and having in oil their most promising cash crop, they have CUT PRICES AND DEMORALIZED MARKETS. If Russia were once TAMED, the outlook for stabilizing world conditions would be vastly better.” (Emphasis mine).

This quotation smells of gun powder and this is one of the reasons why when we discuss Mexico we must not overlook the fact that in the world turmoil of monopoly and imperialist antagonisms, attacks are aimed and planned against the Soviet Union.

United States bankers in Mexico control the railroads as well as the production of cotton, tobacco, sugar, coffee, beans, wheat, etc. During and after the revolution of 1910, the masses of Mexico were promised, by the present government leaders, the assurance of resistance to further penetration and domination of finance capital by the U.S. bankers as well as by British bankers. But the promises were not and could not be carried out. In 1912 American investments in Mexico amounted to $500,000,000 and in 1928 to $1,190,000,000, almost 1/3 of American investments in Latin-America.


By its geographical position, Mexico is the leader of the twenty-one Latin-American countries to oppose Yankee penetration and aggression. If the present leaders of the Federal Government: Calles, Saenz, Portes Gil and others came into power, it was greatly due to their opposition to American imperialism. Mexico was until recently the center for anti-imperialist movements. These movements were led by bourgeois liberals whose historical role is first to resist the advance of the colossus and finally yield to it by sharing in a meagre quantity the huge profits derived through the expropriation and exploitation of the masses.


The Obregons, Calles, Saenz, Perez Trevinos, who promised land to the Mexican peasants and without whom they could not get into power, are at present found among the rich landowners and industrialists. Over 90% of the leaders of the “revolutionary movement” have enriched themselves. They could only do it by betraying the workers and peasants, by a complete surrender to Yankee imperialism, by bringing the country into a state of deep-going crisis such as the one we are witnessing now.


More dastardly has been the betrayal of the leaders of the CROM who are serving American imperialism and helping the Mexican government smash the militant worker and peasant organizations. The resistance of the proletariat in class war against the native bourgeoisie and their imperialist masters, is being crushed thanks to the constant betrayal of Morones and his gang. The strike-breaking role of the CROM in the railroad strike of 1927 and in the miners’ strike of Jalisco are vivid examples of their treachery and complete surrender to American imperialism. Their policy of class collaboration, their endeavor to tie up the interests of the Mexican proletariat with the aristocracy of Labor of the A. F. of L., their alliance with the capitalists to get rid of the revolutionary workers and peasants, are the main causes of the present disintegration of the CROM.


The deep-going economic depression that Mexico is now undergoing is bringing forth class forces in a very sharp form. The suspension of work in all the mines and the reduction of salaries, the partial suspension and closing of textile factories, the wholesale cutting of workers in the oil fields, are increasing the misery of the already starved masses. Unemployment is steadfastly rising and has reached 500,000.

In the general attack upon the living conditions of the workers, the agents of the government, obeying the dictates of American imperialism, are openly terrorizing the peasants. Assassinations, cold blooded murder of agricultural workers by white guards are taking place every day. These murders are also the result of the attempt of the government officials to disarm the peasants who have kept the weapons with which Calles and Portes Gil and their kind won their “revolution.” Nullification of the rights obtained through bitter struggles by the railroad workers is the order of the day. The passive attitude of the labor fakers and the direct help given by Morones, former Minister of Labor in the Calles Government, is giving way to the active and open hostile attitude of the rising revolutionary movements of the proletariat and peasantry.


The agents of the present government who for years vacillated before the pressure exercised upon them by the imperialists, summed up their treachery with a conscious sabotage of the demands of the exploited. Since 1926, with the entrance of the sinister Ambassador Morrow on Mexican territory, the present Federal Government has been taking orders directly from the White House in Washington. Portes Gil, the provisional president who succeeded Calles after the assassination of Obregon, is out to crush the workers and peasant organizations. The “New Labor Code” is the attempt of the American capitalists to establish fascist trade unions and any resistance to this attempt is met with ruthless persecution, jailing and murder in the most militant centers of the country.


After the assassination of Obregon, the Calles-Obregon block split, apparently on the Catholic issue. The division between the feudal landowners and the Catholic Church and the industrialist class which is identified with American imperialism was the real cause of the split. Manrique Soto y Gama, Valenzuela and the generals who headed the uprising came from the group that, under the cloak of “religious freedom,” have sought to establish an open dictatorship solely directed against the proletariat and peasantry. Generals Escobar, Urbalejo, Munzo and the others, backed by the reactionary landowners and the Catholic Church, came forward to grant further concessions to American imperialism.

The policy of the Washington government in sending Morrow, the partner of J.P. Morgan, and the “flying fool” Lindbergh bringing the message of “good will” to the lackeys of Wall Street in Mexico, is the policy of “stabilization” of the present government. The reasons are obvious. Having all the assurance it needs for further exploitation of the Mexican masses, the capitalist class of the United States resented the uprising. It looked upon the civil war as a hindrance to its program of “stabilization.” Hence Washington’s military aid to Portes Gil.

The final break between the leaders who represent distinct class interests took place at Queretaro, where the “Mexican Revolutionary Party” held its first and probably its last convention. Calles’ manoeuvers at that convention brought Aaron Saenz’ withdrawal as nominee for the Presidential candidate in favor of Ortiz Rubio who is an open enemy of the working class. Rubio has a record as a strike-breaker. Opposing the candidate of Queretaro stands Vasconcelos, the candidate of the “distinguished ladies.” The latter is known to have negotiated, together with Valenzuela, now in the camp of the militarists, with the reactionary Catholic Church and the big landowners. The uprising, by eliminating Valenzuela, seems to have favored Vasconcelos who is the outstanding leader of the anti-Callist, anti-reelectionist forces in Mexico.


British diplomacy is notorious for its underground, secret work. Whether British imperialism was openly behind the reactionary militarist forces is not the question. We know that its powerful competitor–American imperialism–was openly fighting for the complete domination of Mexico. Rumors were circulated to the effect that English war ships were a short distance from Mexico. The silence and absence of comment of the British capitalist press at the outbreak of the rebellion was conspicuous. One thing, however, is certain. A victory of American policy in Mexico means a defeat for Great Britain and an attack upon its interests in South America.


The sharpening of the class struggle, the open hostility of the government and the treachery of the leaders of the CROM, the deep economic and industrial crisis the consequences of which only the workers and peasants suffer, are moving the masses leftward. For the first time in the history of the working class in Mexico, the revolutionary proletariat and peasantry are coming forth on the industrial and political arena, as a class; the class of the exploited. The two historical events which took place in Mexico City during the last week of January of this year, mark a new epoch, the epoch of independent revolutionary action by the workers and peasants of Mexico against American imperialism and its lackeys, the native bourgeoisie and the leaders of the CROM.

1. The UNITARIAN FEDERATION OF LABOR was organized at a convention with over 392 delegates representing over 100,000 industrial workers and 300,000 agricultural workers. Wholesale transference of workers from the CROM to the new militant, evolutionary Federation of Labor followed. The presence of Albert Weisbord, representing the Trade Union Educational League of the U. S. A. and the subsequent signing of a pact between the two revolutionary trade union centers, is highly significant not only for the Mexican masses but also for the oppressed masses of Latin America and the revolutionary workers of this country. This pact of working class solidarity is a sign of the determination with which American and Mexican workers are to fight American imperialism and its imperialist wars.

2. The formation of the WORKERS AND PEASANTS BLOCK is the political weapon of the oppressed and exploited in Mexico who definitely broke away from the Calles and all other enemies. This political organization, a united front organization in which the Communist Party of Mexico is a leading element, stands for an independent political action of the workers and peasants of Mexico against all other parties that stand for capitalism, bourgeois and social reformism.


The reactionary militarists and the big landowners with the Catholic Church in spite of their defeat remain open enemies of the workers and peasants in Mexico. They strove to establish a fascist dictatorship and unconditionally given in to all demands of American imperialism. As such, the workers and peasants, up in arms, fought these deadly class foes. In Vera Cruz, the defeat of General Aguirre’s army was only possible through the independent guerilla warfare of the agrarian toilers. Contrary to the false reports of the capitalist press, the Mexican Federal army did not participate in bringing about this defeat. In fact, no federal battalions were seen before the annihilation of Aguirre’s forces. The Vera Cruz section of the Communist Party of Mexico took active part in the organization of the independent forces of workers and peasants. The attitude of the Communist forces in Mexico, was open, armed struggle against the reactionary forces–no hesitation whatsoever for their complete annihilation.

The Communist Party of Mexico pointed out, however, that the present agents of American imperialism, Portes Gil and his state machinery were and are open enemies of the workers and peasants. The growing reaction of the present government is becoming an actual menace to the existence of working class organizations. The revoking of the parliamentary rights of Comrade Hernan Laborde, the Communist deputy, the threat of persecution, the expulsion of the Communist municipal deputy from the state of Jalisco, Comrade Roberto Reyes Perez, together with other militant leaders of the Unitarian Federation of Labor, and their subsequent jailing, are indications of the class war between American imperialism and its lackeys, and the workers and peasants. In Mexico City and in the state of Jalisco, the CROM traitors appealed to the Government to “stop the agitation” of the “autonomous groups” (meaning the Unitary Trade Union Confederation) and the “Communist groups.”

The white terror carried on by the Government initiated in the midst of the civil strife, is becoming more accentuated.

The workers must resist the attacks of the Government in a vigorous manner. Considering that the bourgeoisie at the services of foreign capital, will never defend their interests but on the contrary will fight them in an open fascist way, the workers and peasants carried on the struggle against the militarists and the feudal landowner-Catholic Church with their independent forces. With equal determination, they raised and defended the slogans for definite action against American imperialism, land to the peasants, the establishment of their own militia, the confiscation and workers control of the mines, mills and factories, for a WORKERS AND PEASANTS GOVERNMENT.

The class forces are bringing forth the hegemony of the Mexican proletariat, which, in alliance with the peasantry and under the leadership of the Communist Party of Mexico which will in future struggles deal a death blow to American imperialism and its home bourgeois government. In these struggles, the revolutionary workers of this country, led by the Communist Party of the United States and the Communist International, will fight shoulder to shoulder with the oppressed masses of Mexico and wipe out our common enemy.