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    Vasconcelos : nuevo mesías
    El Machete : periódico quincenal (México, D. F., México). -- Mar. 19, 1929.
    p. 2
    Newspaper article – Essays
    "Vasconcelos: nuevo mesías." El Machete: Periódico quincenal (Mexico City), March 19, 1929.
    critiques; Mexican; political campaigns
    Gómez Arias, Alejandro; Vasconcelos, José
Editorial Categories [?]

This article attacks the José Vasconcelos candidacy within the context of the 1929 presidential campaign. The author mocks the campaign tours on which he implies that Vasconcelos spoke only to ladies, students, the “bourgeois” and “reactionary” elements. He paraphrases the words of Alejandro Gómez Arias—the student he calls a “lapdog of the Mexican bourgeoisie”—and applies them to the reception Vasconcelos received on his return to Mexico City when he was received like Jesus Christ entering Jerusalem, which led his followers to see him as a new messiah. The author is critical of the financial support the candidate receives from the middle class, whose flirtation with the “clerical reaction” he deplores. He claims that the philosopher of the (Escobarian) military rebellion was only imprisoned for the sake of appearances, because Vasconcelos was essentially an instrument of the “reaction.” The article states that the working class abandoned Vasconcelos because it has already created its own political group: the Bloque Obrero y Campesino (BOyC) [Workers’ and Peasants’ Block]. The text ends by predicting the defeat of the philosopher-candidate.  


From the moment José Vasconcelos (1882-1959) announced his intention of running for the presidency in 1927, he became a prime target for the communists. Contrary to what one might expect, the philosopher’s hecklers were not seeking strictly ideological answers. For example, there is a distinctly misogynistic tone to the article, which repeatedly discounts Vasconcelos on the grounds of being "the ladies’ candidate," and for receiving support from luminaries such as the "Millionaire Philanthropist" Antonieta Rivas Mercado (1900-1931). The communists frequently resorted to macho tactics to smear their "reactionary" enemies, whether for homosexuality or, as in this case, for being supported by women. Another factor that contributed to widespread disapproval of the Vasconcelos movement was the deep-seated anticlericalism among members of the Mexican Communist Party. In those circles, the philosopher was scorned not just because he was attractive for women but also because of the encouragement received from the Caballeros de Colón [Knights of Columbus] and the "cristeros." 

On the other hand, if Vasconcelos were indeed seen by his followers as a national messiah, the communists would be justified in feeling threatened by the competition, in the sense that they each considered themselves to be the only ones capable of redeeming Mexican society. 

Diego Rivera (1886-1957), in his capacity as president of the BOyC, was one of the philosopher-candidate’s main detractors. However, Vasconcelos was not beaten by the BOyC; he was crushed by the steamroller of the new party, the Partido Nacional Revolucionario [National Revolutionary Party].  

Adela Cedillo
CURARE, Espacio crítico para las artes, Mexico City, Mexico
Biblioteca José María Lafragua de la Benemérita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla