Speeches, Boos and Pistols. Understanding ‘Student Politics’ in Revolutionary Mexico (1910s–1920s)

Intellectual Mobilisations in Latin America
By Romain Robinet

This article discusses the concept of ‘student politics’ (la política estudiantil) during the first period of the Mexican Revolution. The country’s political arena was by then in deep transformation: the first political parties were created during these years, marked by social reformism. La política estudiantil corresponded at the same time to the struggles led by students inside their organisations and to student participation in national or local politics. To some extent heteronomous, a genuine student ‘political field’ emerged at the end of the 1910s, when the representative student movement became stronger and more organised. Simultaneously, many student representatives entered the political arena. Far from being totally separated, the country’s political arena and the student political field regularly overlapped each other. These interactions could sometimes lead to ‘politico-student crises’, such as the 1923-1924 conflicts. Consequently, Revolutionary Mexico’s political life could not be fully understood without taking into account student participation: these ‘politicians from below’ were at the same time resources easy to mobilise and a sign of political revival.

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