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    Si los trabajadores no ponen el remedio, seguirán despilfarrando los diputados seis millones de pesos al año, en automóviles, en gasolina, en coñac, en prostitutas y en tiros disparados al aire / Por DAVID ALFARO SIQUEIROS
    El Machete : periódico quincenal (México, D. F., México). -- Jun. 1924
    p. 1
    Newspaper article – Essays
    Siqueiros, David Alfaro. "Si los trabajadores no ponen el remedio, seguirán despilfarrando los diputados seis millones de pesos al año, en automóviles, en gasolina, en coñac, en prostitutas y en tiros disparados al aire." El Machete: Periódico quincenal (Mexico City), June 1924.
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The author appeals to workers and peasants so that they may learn to carefully elect their representatives to the Lower House, and eliminate the thieves and lawmakers bon vivants who squander for their own benefit six and a half million pesos of public funds allotted to the legislative branch. As a strategic tactic, Siqueiros proposes that workers enter the political arena and take advantage of the democracy that the bourgeoisie pretends to offer them. As a concrete tactic, he suggests that the workers and peasants regionally organize in order to elect the most experienced men from among their fellow laborers and those who have lived a minimum of five years in the region they would represent; this residency requirement would run counter to the law that only stipulated a minimum of six months. He advocated that the workers should also impose their own candidates, by force if necessary, and oppose any social climbers, independent of any party. In this way, they could become an overwhelming numerical majority and gain the advantage (within the realm of possibility), just as had already occurred in some European countries.


With the force of a preacher, David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896-1974) launches an invective against all those men who had occupied political office during the 103 years of national independence (1821-1924), whom he accuses of perpetuating vices and corruption. According to imaginary statistics, ninety percent of these had been recruited from the dregs of society (gamblers, drunks, bon vivants, criminals, etc.), another five percent from the “semi-intellectuals,” and the remainder from among good intentioned men who were however corruptible. Nevertheless, the author not only does not oppose the “bourgeois” elections, rather he considers the teachings of the European social democrats exemplary, even though in one sense they were diametrically opposed to Leninist doctrine and to the directives of the Third International (also called the Communist International), which described that movement as “reformist” or “Menchevik-esque.” One may speculate along two lines with regard to this document: either the author was unfamiliar with the Soviet political stance of that time or his pragmatism exceeded all other considerations.

Within a national context, Siqueiros’s conclusion seems to be naïve in light of the deficiencies within the mechanism for popular representation established by the 1917 Constitution; the weakness of the party system (none truly existed as such) and of the institutions entrusted with the electoral process; the vices of the political classes; and, above all, the predominance of the military sector which existed in detriment to the possibility of mobilizing other social actors. Yet, the painter’s passion for politics would lead him to take up his own instructions regarding political organization, and consequently insert himself into a feverishly activist environment as a union leader in Jalisco, between 1926 and 1930.

Adela Cedillo : CURARE A. C.
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
© 2011 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / SOMAAP, Mexico City, Mexico
Biblioteca Guillermo Bonfil Batalla de la Escuela Nacional de Antropología e Historia, Fondo José Toribio Medina del Instituto Panamericano de Geografía e Historia