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In his proclamation, Diego Rivera denounces that the stance of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) is classist. According to the muralist, UNAM closes ranks against any attack from the proletariat organizations that provide subsidies in the millions for its operational budget. He states that to the working segments of the population, the institution must be classified among the instruments of the bourgeois class. In fact, the university had informed the press that it was aware how the workers would interpret the expulsion of Rivera as director of the Escuela Central de Artes Plásticas [Central School of the Visual Arts of Mexico]. At the university, it was known that Diego’s presence there represented and gave voice to the ideology of the working classes and peasants. Rivera gave a response in four points to refute the institution’s contention that he had presented the conflict falsely to the workers. In a rousing conclusion, Rivera emphasizes the need to create a Universidad Obrera y Campesina [University of the Workers and Peasants].
After the Universidad Nacional achieved autonomy in August 1929, the painter Diego Rivera (1886–1957) was appointed director of the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes. In December of that year, he presented to the university authorities a new curriculum with a profound social scope and cutting-edge art proposals. One of Rivera’s proposals was a change in the name of the institution—from Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes [National School of Fine Arts] to Escuela Central de Artes Plásticas de México. Moreover, the new curriculum added key transformations that upset both faculty and students at the Facultad de Arquitectura [School of Architecture]. There were several confrontations between artists and architects. The architects’ guild argued that Rivera was continually preaching communism in his classes, and they did not agree with the inclusion of politics in the college curriculum. Rivera was well aware that the underlying root of the problem was the strong conservative tilt of the architecture students and faculty; these academics felt far removed from social hardship. Almost all the architects were members of the petit bourgeoisie who did not accept political/social revolutionary trends, much less the admission of workers into university classrooms.This dispute ended with Diego Rivera’s resignation in midyear 1930. For more information, this document is related to the text “Lo que dice Diego Rivera” [What Diego Rivera Says] (see doc. no. 820682).