Urban Protest and the Discourse of Popular Nationalism in Postrevolutionary Mexico: The Case of the Veracruz Rent Strike
After the revolution of 1910-17 many Mexicans forged new identities, notions of citizenship and conceptions of social justice. As an example of the way in which this process took shape in urban areas, this essay examines how rent protesters during a housing strike in the port of Veracruz used anti-foreign rhetoric as an effective means to mobilise nearly 75 per cent of the local population. Comparing the discourse of the tenants with the available property records, the author argues that charges of foreign 'monopoly' were overly generalised. Nevertheless, in detailing specific aspects of the housing situation the author is able to identify certain elements in the port-namely those responsible for the administration of tenements-against which tenant claims were well substantiated. From this it can be seen how militants constructed a powerful set of charges that not only identified a common enemy against which strikers could rally, but also helped to articulate their own brand of locally based popular nationalism.
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