The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Diego Rivera, author of this essay, conducts a political analysis of the role that workers and peasants played as allies of the government in the struggle against the “reaction;” that is, a coup d’état carried out against the government that both considered their common enemy. The defense of Álvaro Obregón‘s (1920–24) administration is upheld because, even though it was unpopular, its continuation guaranteed the preservation of the few victories of the revolution. Nonetheless, Rivera denounces the fact that the peasants returned their arms after the conflict and then when they returned to their villages, were murdered by the landowners who were authorized to bear arms. He reproaches the government for being complicit with the bourgeoisie, as well as their appointment to public offices that should have been occupied by socialist fighters. Rivera calls upon the government to punish crimes against peasants and workers so that they may remain allies; for him, the contrary would amount to suicide. Rivera discerns the possibility that this might cause an electoral-military plot, which would usher in an era of “disorder and horror.” He warns that only the people will be capable of bringing peace, development, and justice within the new social order. Finally, the painter calls on both workers and peasants to demand that the government form volunteer and professional forces with weapons that could be called upon to support it.
Diego Rivera (1886–1957) reveals himself to be an attentive observer of the national context; nonetheless his radical and reductionist rhetoric makes an abstraction out of the political actors, grouping them into “reactionaries and bourgeoisie” or “proletariat and peasants.” The author spares the transcription of names and situations, as if the actors could be deduced based on the terms used to describe them. Although the text tangentially mentions the states of Puebla and Veracruz, it does not specifically mention the rebellion of Adolfo de la Huerta (provisional president for a few months in 1920), which broke out in December 1923 and was occurring at the time this article was written. The Communists assumed an ambiguous position with respect to the Obregon government; on the one hand, they wanted a revolution like the one in Russia, on the other hand, they closed ranks around the governing administration each time there was an uprising among displeased members of military; all this without obtaining anything in return. The government of General Álvaro Obregón did not fall into the category of “bourgeois-reactionary,” much less “socialist-proletarian”; nonetheless, it had emerged from a revolution and this was enough for the editors of the bimonthly newspaper El Machete to call for its unconditional defense. Of course Rivera and his unionized painter colleagues fantasized about a proletarian insurrection, but given the situation, everyone justified the continuation of that administration because, from their perspective, it was a necessary evil for the transition to the new order.The text is accompanied by an unsigned xylograph with the caption “mis dueños, mis amos” [my owners, my masters] that for reasons of style can be attributed to Xavier Guerrero (1894–1974).