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The Architecture of ‘Passive Revolution’: Society, State and Space in Modern Mexico

Abstract
Abstract

This article analyses the political economy of Henri Lefebvre's concept of ‘state space’ with specific attention directed towards the Monument to the Revolution in Mexico City, completed in 1938. The conditions of modernity can be generally related to the spatial ordering of urban landscapes within capital cities conjoining the specifics of national identity with imitative processes. Antonio Gramsci captured such sentiments through his understanding of the condition of ‘passive revolution’. The key contribution of this article is to draw attention to forms of everyday passive revolution, recognising both cosmopolitan and vernacular aspects of modern architecture in relation to the Monument to the Revolution. A focus on the Monument to the Revolution thus reveals specific spatial practices of everyday passive revolution relevant to the codification of architecture and the political economy of modern state formation in Mexico. These issues are revealed, literally, as vital expressions in the architecture of everyday passive revolution in modern Mexico.

Spanish abstract

Este artículo analiza la economía política del concepto de Henri Lefebvre del ‘espacio estatal’ con atención específica en el Monumento a la Revolución en la Ciudad de México, terminado en 1938. Las condiciones de la modernidad pueden relacionarse en general con el ordenamiento espacial de los paisajes urbanos al interior de las capitales definiendo lo que es específico de la identidad nacional con procesos imitativos. Antonio Gramsci capturó tales sentimientos por medio de su entendimiento de la condición de la ‘revolución pasiva’. La contribución clave de este artículo es el llamar la atención a las formas de revolución pasiva cotidiana, reconociendo tanto los aspectos cosmopolitas como los vernáculos de la arquitectura moderna en relación al Monumento a la Revolución. Un enfoque en el Monumento a la Revolución, entonces, revela las prácticas relevantes espaciales específicas de la revolución pasiva cotidiana con la codificación de la arquitectura y la economía política de la formación estatal moderna en México. Estos temas se revelan, literalmente, como expresiones vitales en la arquitectura de la pasiva revolución cotidiana en el México moderno.

Portugese abstract

Este artigo analisa a economia política do conceito de Henri Lefebvre do ‘espaço estatal’, dando atenção especial ao Monumento à Revolução na Cidade do México, finalizado em 1938. As condições da modernidade podem, em geral, ser relacionadas à organização das paisagens urbanas nas capitais, combinando as especificidades da identidade nacional com processos imitativos. Antonio Gramsci conseguiu capturar essa essência através de seu entendimento da condição de ‘revolução passiva’. A contribuição principal deste artigo é chamar a atenção à formas de revoluções passivas cotidianas, reconhecendo ambos os aspectos cosmopolitas e vernaculares da arquitetura moderna em relação ao Monumento à Revolução. Assim sendo, o foco no Munumento à Revolução revela práticas espaciais específicas de revoluções passivas cotidianas relevantes à codificação da arquitetura e da economia política de formação do estado moderno no México. Tais elementos são revelados, literalmente, como expressões vitais na arquitetura das revoluções passivas cotidianas no México moderno.

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1 Marx Karl, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1852/1984), p. 10 .

2 Benjamin Thomas, La Revolución: Mexico's Great Revolution as Memory, Myth and History (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2000), pp. 135–6.

3 ‘Reinaugura Marcelo Ebrard la Plaza de la República con llamado a nueva revolución’, La Jornada, 21 Nov. 2010, p. 8.

4 Massey Doreen, For Space (London: Sage, 2005), p. 12 and Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire, p. 86.

5 Agostoni Claudia, Monuments of Progress: Modernisation and Public Health in Mexico City, 1876–1910 (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2003), p. 91 and Tenorio-Trillo Mauricio, I Speak of the City: Mexico City at the Turn of the Twentieth Century (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2012), p. xv .

6 Lefebvre Henri, ‘Space: Social Product and Use Value’, in Freiburg J. W. (ed.), Critical Sociology: European Perspectives (New York: Irvington Publishers, Inc., 1979), pp. 286–7.

7 See, respectively, Vaughan Mary Kay, ‘Cultural Approaches to Peasant Politics in the Mexican Revolution’, Hispanic American Historical Review, 79: 2 (1999), pp. 269305 and Benjamin, La Revolución, p. 118.

8 Smith Neil, ‘The Geography of Uneven Development’, in Dunn Bill and Radice Hugo (eds.), 100 Years of Permanent Revolution (London: Pluto Press, 2004), p. 184 .

9 Gramsci Antonio, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, ed. Hoare Quintin and Nowell-Smith Geoffrey (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1971) (hereafter SPN), pp. 114–18, Q10II§61. The convention used for citing the Prison Notebooks throughout this article is that compiled by Marcus Green, available at the website of the International Gramsci Society: http://www.internationalgramscisociety.org/ (date of last access 5 Aug. 2017). All citations comprise reference to the selected anthologies, notebook (Q) and section (§) numbers, to enable the reader to trace their specific collocation.

Two pieces might help a reader unfamiliar with the notion of passive revolution: 1) Morton Adam David, ‘The Continuum of Passive Revolution’, Capital & Class, 34: 1 (2010), pp. 315–42; and 2) the short blog post, Adam David Morton, ‘What is this Thing Called Passive Revolution?’, Progress in Political Economy (24 Feb. 2016): http://ppesydney.net/what-is-this-thing-called-passive-revolution/; accessed 1 Aug. 2017.

10 See also Joseph Gilbert and Nugent Daniel (eds.), Everyday Forms of State Formation: Revolution and the Negotiation of Rule in Modern Mexico (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1994); Fernandes Sujatha, Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez's Venezuela (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2010); Morton Adam David, Revolution and State in Modern Mexico: The Political Economy of Uneven Development (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2013); Modonesi Massimo, ‘Revoluciones pasivas en América Latina: Una aproximación gramsciana a la caracterización de los gobiernos progresistas de inicio de siglo’, in Modonesi Massimo (ed.), Horizontes gramscianos: Estudios en torno al pensamiento de Antonio Gramsci (Mexico City: UNAM, 2013); Hesketh Chris and Morton Adam David, ‘Spaces of Uneven Development and Class Struggle in Bolivia: Transformation or trasformismo?’, Antipode, 46: 1 (2014), pp. 149–69; Hesketh Chris, ‘Producing State Space in Chiapas: Passive Revolution and Everyday Life’, Critical Sociology, 42: 2 (2016), pp. 211–28; and Hesketh Chris, Spaces of Capital / Spaces of Resistance: Mexico and the Global Political Economy (Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press, 2017).

11 Bozdoğan Sibel and Akcan Esra, Turkey: Modern Architectures in History (London: Reaktion Books, 2012), p. 9 .

12 Lu Duanfang, ‘Architecture, Development and Identity’, in Lu Duanfang (ed.), Third World Modernism: Architecture, Development and Identity (London: Routledge, 2011), p. 3 .

13 Massey, For Space, p. 59.

14 Gramsci Antonio, Prison Notebooks, Vol. 2, ed. Buttigieg Joseph A. (New York: Columbia University Press, 1996) (hereafter PNII), pp. 351–2, Q5§100.

15 Ibid ., p. 243, Q4§72.

16 Ibid ., p. 52, Q3§49.

17 Ibid ., p. 53, Q3§49.

18 Ibid ., p. 125, Q3§155.

19 Gramsci, SPN, p. 287, Q22§2.

20 Gramsci Antonio, Prison Notebooks, Vol. 3, ed. Buttigieg Joseph A. (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007) (hereafter PNIII), p. 252, Q8§25.

21 Ibid , p. 252, Q8§25.

22 Gramsci, SPN, p. 219, Q13§27.

23 Ibid , pp. 105–6, Q15§59.

24 On ‘statisation’, see Portelli Hugues, Gramsci y el bloque histórico (Mexico City: Siglo XXI, 1973), p. 33 and Gramsci, SPN, p. 90, Q19§28; Gramsci, PNIII, p. 378, Q8§236.

25 Blaut James M., The Colonizer's Model of the World: Geographical Diffusionism and Eurocentric History (New York: Guilford, 1993).

26 Gramsci, SPN, p. 116, Q10II§61.

27 Ibid , p. 114, Q15§62.

28 Lefebvre Henri, The Production of Space (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1974/1991), pp. 15 , 143.

29 Lefebvre, ‘Space: Social Product and Use Value’, p. 287.

30 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p. 309.

31 Ibid ., p. 314.

32 Lefebvre Henri, The Urban Revolution (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1970/2003), p. 35 and Lefebvre Henri, ‘Space and the State’, in Lefebvre Henri, State, Space, World: Selected Essays, ed. Brenner Neil and Elden Stuart (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1978/2009), p. 247 .

33 Lefebvre, The Urban Revolution, p. 24.

34 Lefebvre, ‘Space: Social Product and Use Value’, p. 288.

35 Lefebvre, ‘Space and the State’, p. 228.

36 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, pp. 10–11.

37 Lefebvre, ‘Space and the State’, p. 225.

38 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p. 23.

39 Lefebvre, ‘Space: Social Product and Use Value’, p. 288.

40 Lefebvre, The Urban Revolution, pp. 128–32, 131, 37–40.

41 Ibid ., p. 21.

42 Lefebvre Henri, The Survival of Capitalism: Reproduction of the Relations of Production (London: Allison & Busby, 1976), p. 88 .

43 Ibid ., p. 34.

44 Gramsci, PNIII, p. 209, Q7§77.

45 Hobsbawm Eric, ‘Mass-Producing Traditions: Europe, 1870–1914’, in Hobsbawm Eric and Ranger Terence (eds.), The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983), pp. 270 , 272, 275–6.

46 Ibid ., p. 272.

47 ‘El arte y la historia: manía de estatuas’, El Universal, 6 Aug. 1892, as cited by Agostoni, Monuments of Progress, p. 77.

48 Harvey David, Paris, Capital of Modernity (London: Routledge, 2003), p. 24 and Tenorio-Trillo, I Speak of the City, p. 13.

49 Tenorio-Trillo, I Speak of the City, p. 15.

50 Flandrau Charles Macomb, Viva México! (New York: D. Appleton and Co., 1908/1921), p. 284 .

51 Novo Salvador, Nueva grandeza mexicana (Buenos Aires: Espasa-Calpe, 1947), p. 91 .

52 Ibid , p. 130.

53 Lu Duanfang, ‘Entangled Modernities in Architecture’, in Chrysler C. Greig, Cairns Stephen and Heynen Hilde (eds.), The SAGE Handbook of Architectural Theory (London: Sage, 2012).

54 Johns Michael, The City of Mexico in the Age of Díaz (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1997), pp. 1617 .

55 Hamilton Nora, The Limits of State Autonomy: Post-Revolutionary Mexico (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1982), pp. 46–8.

56 Berman Marshall, All That is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity (London: Verso, 1982), pp. 231–2.

57 Ibid ., p. 232.

58 Tenorio-Trillo, I Speak of the City, p. xvi.

59 Canclini Néstor García, Hybrid Cultures: Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1995), p. 41 .

60 Olsen Patrice Elizabeth, Artifacts of Revolution: Architecture, Society and Politics in Mexico City, 1920–1940 (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008), pp. 128–33.

61 Carranza Luis E., Architecture as Revolution: Episodes in the History of Modern Mexico (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2010), p. 4 .

62 Archivo General de la Nación, Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Obras Públicas (AGN-SCOP), ‘Informe sobre el estado probable de las obras el 16 de septiembre de 1910’, Palacio Legislativo, exp. 530/733.

63 Agostoni, Monuments of Progress, p. 87.

64 Siller Javier Pérez and Calva Martha Bénard, El sueño inconcluso de Émile Bénard y su Palacio Legislativo, hoy Monumento a la Revolución (Mexico City: Artes de México, 2009), p. 14 .

65 Salvador Villaseñor, Letter to President Plutarco Elías Calles, ‘La Catedral del Trabajo debe surgir del Palacio Legislativo’ (21 May 1925), Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Presidentes, Abelardo L. Rodríguez (1932–4) (AGN-ALR), file 017/44. This letter was related to a newspaper column surrounding these proposals; see Salvador Villaseñor, ‘Las Obras del Palacio Legislativo Federal’, El Observador (3 May 1925), AGN-ALR, exp. 017/44.

66 Tenorio-Trillo, I Speak of the City, p. 37.

67 Plutarco Elías Calles and Alberto J. Pani, ‘Iniciativa para la construcción de un Monumento a la Revolución’, presentada al C. Presidente de la República por los C. C. Gral. don Plutarco Elías Calles e. Ing. don Alberto J. Pani (15 Jan. 1933), AGN-ALR, exp. 017/44.

68 Benjamin, La Revolución, p. 127.

69 Calles and Pani, ‘Iniciativa para la construcción de un Monumento a la Revolución’.

70 Agostoni, Monuments of Progress, pp. 105, 108; Tenorio-Trillo, I Speak of the City, pp. 22, 32.

71 Santacilia Carlos Obregón, El Monumento a la Revolución: Simbolismo e historia (Mexico City: Secretaría de Educación Pública, 1960), pp. 42–3, 73.

72 See O'Rourke Kathryn, Modern Architecture in Mexico City: History, Representation and the Shaping of a Capital (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016).

73 Bracho Carlos G. Mijares, ‘The Architecture of Carlos Obregón Santacilia: A Work of Its Time and Context’, in Burian Edward R. (ed.), Modernity and Architecture of Mexico (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1997), p. 157 .

74 ‘A los C. C. Secretarios de Estado y Jefes de los Departamentos del Ejecutivo Federal’ (15 Jan. 1933), AGN-ALR, exp. 017/44.

75 The multiscalar dimensions of state power, or the wider geographical scales and territorial contours of statecraft, are today captured at the site surrounding the Monument to the Revolution by: (1) the presence of a series of individual plaques along Avenida de la República representing all thirty-two federal entities (including Mexico City) that constitute the republic of the United Mexican States; and (2) the equivalent presence at the opposite end of Plaza de la República of a series of individual plinths or columns representing all the capitals of those federal entities along Calle Valentín Gómez Farías.

76 Olsen, Artifacts of Revolution, pp. 79–81.

77 Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Presidentes, Lázaro Cárdenas del Rio (1934–40) (AGN-LC), exp. 545.3/146 (4 April 1935) and AGN-LC, exp. 562.2/6 (25 Feb. 1935).

78 Benjamin, La Revolución, p. 132.

79 Greene Graham, The Lawless Roads (London: Penguin, 1939/2006), p. 62 .

80 Waugh Evelyn, Robbery under Law: The Mexican Object-Lesson (London: Chapman & Hall Ltd., 1939), pp. 31–2. I would like to thank Alan Knight for bringing this aperçu to my attention.

81 Benjamin, La Revolución, p. 115.

82 Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Presidentes, Manuel Avila Camacho (1940–6) (AGN-MAC), exp. 545.22/549 (13 April 1946).

83 This has been contested recently, with controversies about the removal of Villa's cadaver to the site and disputes about the identity of the body then interred there: see Taibo Paco Ignacio II, Pancho Villa: Una biografía narrativa (Mexico City: Editorial Planeta Mexicana, 2006), pp. 838–44.

84 Benjamin, La Revolución, p. 118; Tenorio-Trillo, I Speak of the City, pp. 41–2.

85 Wood Ellen Meiksins, Democracy against Capitalism: Renewing Historical Materialism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 2831 .

86 Paz Octavio, ‘Olimpiada y Tlatelolco’ [1969], in Paz Octavio, El laberinto de la soledad (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2004), p. 247 .

87 Lefebvre, ‘Space and the State’, p. 228.

88 Benjamin, La Revolución, pp. 161–2.

89 Rodrigo Moya's famous photograph of the Monument to the Revolution captures one such scene from 1958, with a burning bus underneath the arch of the monument following two weeks of protests by students, teachers and discontented bus drivers; see Archivo Fotográfico Rodrigo Moya, http://archivofotograficorodrigomoya.blogspot.com.au/search/?q=monumento; accessed 1 Aug. 2017. The photography of Héctor García also wonderfully captures the unrest of the 1958 student and teacher protests; see Castillo Raquel Navarro, Héctor García en ojo! Una revista que ve (Mexico City: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 2012).

90 Hellman Judith Adler, Mexico in Crisis (New York: Holmes & Meier Publishers, 1983), pp. 202–3.

91 Taibo Paco Ignacio II, ’68 (Madrid: Traficantes de Sueños, 1991/2006).

92 Ibid ., p. 35.

93 Archivo General de la Nación, Fondo Hermanos Mayo Cronólogico (AGN-HMCR), no. 31.223.

94 de la Garza Toledo Enrique, ‘Independent Trade Unionism in Mexico: Past Developments and Future Perspectives’, in Middlebrook Kevin J. (ed.), Unions, Workers and the State in Mexico (La Jolla, CA: Center for U.S.–Mexican Studies, 1991), p. 160 .

95 Archivo General de la Nación, Sección de la Dirección Federal de Seguridad y Dirección General de Investigaciones Políticas y Sociales (AGN-SCDFS-IPS), caja 1951 A (1975–7), exp. 2.

96 Benjamin, La Revolución, p. 162.

97 AGN-SCDFS-IPS, caja 1951 A, exp. 3.

98 AGN-HMCR, no. 32.324; AGN-HMCR, no. 33.468; and AGN-HMCR, no. 33.995.

99 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p. 167.

100 Lefebvre, ‘Space and the State’, p. 238.

101 Octavio Paz, ‘Vuelta a “El laberinto de la soledad”’ [1975], in Paz, Laberinto de la soledad, pp. 345, 338.

102 Jiménez Víctor, Carlos Obregón Santacilia: Pionero de la arquitectura mexicana (Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes, 2001), pp. 135–6.

103 Lefebvre Henri, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, ed. Stanek Łukasz (Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press, 1973/2014), p. 21 .

104 Jessop Bob, State Theory: Putting the Capitalist State in its Place (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1990), p. 201 .

105 Morton, Revolution and State in Modern Mexico, pp. 113–20.

106 Peck Jamie, Constructions of Neoliberal Reason (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010), pp. 22–3.

107 Babb Sarah, Managing Mexico: Economists from Nationalism to Neoliberalism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2001), pp. 172–83.

108 Wood, Democracy against Capitalism, pp. 28–31.

109 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p. 89 and Lefebvre, The Survival of Capitalism, p. 85.

110 Harvey David, Rebel Cities: From the Right to the City to the Urban Revolution (London: Verso, 2012), pp. 90–2.

111 Ibid ., p. 106.

112 Personal interview with Alan Llanos Velázquez, Assistant Director of the Museo Nacional de la Revolución (National Museum of the Revolution) (Plaza de la República, Mexico City, 2 Dec. 2015).

113 See Grupo MYT, http://www.grupomyt.com/; accessed 2 Dec. 2015.

114 Wall Street Journal, ‘Mexico Raises Minimum Wage for 2015 by 4.2%, in Line with Inflation’, http://www.wsj.com/articles/mexico-raises-minimum-wage-for-2015-by-4-2-in-line-with-inflation-1419049866 (19 Dec. 2014); accessed 20 Nov. 2015.

115 Soederberg Susanne, Debtfare States and the Poverty Industry: Money, Discipline and the Surplus Population (London: Routledge, 2014), pp. 197–8.

116 Monumento a la Revolución, http://www.mrm.mx; accessed 20 Nov. 2015.

117 Personal interview with Miguel Ángel Berumen Campos, Director of the Museo Nacional de la Revolución (Plaza de la República, Mexico City, 10 Dec. 2015). There is even a spatial conflict over the entrances to the two attractions. The public has to enter through the one entrance of the Monument to the Revolution in order to access the Museum at the back of the complex. In the Director's phrasing people ‘get captured’ by attending the observation deck and miss the experience of the Museum.

118 Soederberg, Debtfare States, p. 46.

119 Reflective of a typical few hours on any day, some 15 interviews were conducted at the site of the Plaza de la República across different times to include a cross-section of people including families, friends and couples visiting the location as well as workers, including street cleaners, city police and employees of nearby office; see Lucas Ray, Research Methods for Architecture (London: Laurence King Publishing, 2016). Such interviewees were from Mexico City but also wider parts of the country such as Hidalgo (killing time during a hospital visit) and across the broader Estado de México (Plaza de la República, Mexico City, 2 December 2015).

120 Personal interview with a representative of Sección XXII of the CNTE (Plaza de la República, Mexico City, 2 Dec. 2015).

121 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p. 55.

122 Lefebvre, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, pp. 95–8.

123 González Luis Humberto, ‘Hector García, Fotógrafo de la Ciudad (Fragmentos)’, in Luna Córnea, no. 8 (Mexico City: Centro de la Imagen, 1995), p. 61 .

124 Again, personal interviews affirmed the site of Plaza de la República as a social space for the enjoyment of younger people within a secure environment that is cleaned regularly, is supported by medical staff, and offers the presence of city police (Plaza de la República, Mexico City, 2 Dec. 2015).

125 ‘Campesinos arribarán en caravana para apoyar al SME en la toma del DF’, La Jornada, 2 Dec. 2009, p. 8.

126 ‘Marcha de lesbianas exige respeto a los derechos humanos de ese sector’, La Jornada, 20 March 2011, p. 33.

127 ‘Limpian campamento de CNTE en Monumento a la Revolución’ La Jornada, 10 Nov. 2015, online: http://www.jornada.unam.mx/ultimas/2015/11/10/retiran-carpas-del-planton-de-cnte-en-monumento-a-la-revolucion-8660.html; accessed 20 Nov. 2015.

128 Personal interview with a representative of Sección XXII of CNTE (Plaza de la República, Mexico City, 2 Dec. 2015).

129 Harvey David, Justice, Nature and the Geography of Difference (Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 1996), p. 324 .

130 Corbusier Le, Towards an Architecture (Los Angeles, CA: Getty Publications, 1924/2008), p. 307 .

131 García Canclini, Hybrid Cultures, p. 54.

132 Guillén Mauro F., ‘Modernism without Modernity: The Rise of Modernist Architecture in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina, 1890–1940’, Latin American Research Review, 39: 2 (2004), pp. 634 ; Tenorio-Trillo, I Speak of the City, p. 11; and Scott James, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), pp. 117–30.

133 Lefebvre, The Production of Space, p. 228.

134 Gramsci, PNII, p. 53, Q3§49.

135 Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire, p. 12.

136 Gramsci, PNII, p. 387, Q5§136.

137 Lefebvre, Toward an Architecture of Enjoyment, p. 54.

138 Calles and Pani, ‘Iniciativa para la construcción de un Monumento a la Revolución’.

139 Marx Karl, Capital, Vol. 1, in Marx Karl and Engels Friedrich, Collected Works, Vol. 35 (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1887/1996), p. 142 . The Latin phrase alludes to the doctrine of res extra commercium in Roman law, whereby certain things may not be subject to private rights (such as the air or the high seas), and cannot therefore be traded; the whole phrase means ‘sacrosanct things, excluded from human commerce’.

140 García Canclini, Hybrid Cultures, p. 227.

* Many thanks to Eugenia Allier Montaño for facilitating my presentation of this paper as part of the ‘Historia del presente’ seminar of the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales (Institute for Social Research) of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexican National Autonomous University, UNAM), Mexico City (4 December 2015) and to Patricia Ramírez for comments and feedback. Pointers were also gratefully received from Andreas Bieler, Gareth Bryant, Barry Carr, Inés Duran Matute, Sujatha Fernandes, Chris Hesketh, Duanfang Lu, Emilio Allier Montaño, David Ruccio, Susanne Soederberg and Cemal Burak Tansel. The paper also benefited from earlier feedback during presentations in the Seminar Series of the School of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London (2 February 2011); at the 48th Annual Society of Latin American Studies (SLAS) Conference at the University of Sheffield (18–20 April 2012); at the First Spectrum Conference on Global Studies on ‘Historical Sociology, Historical Materialism and International Relations’, Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara (2–3 November 2012); at the 8th ‘Rethinking Marxism’ international conference ‘Surplus, Solidarity, Sufficiency’, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (19–22 September 2013); at the seminar series of the Department of Political Economy, University of Sydney (6 March 2014); at the seminar series of the Sydney University Research Community for Latin America (SURCLA), Sydney (6 October 2015); at the 7th Australian International Political Economy Network (AIPEN) annual workshop, University of Tasmania, Hobart (4–5 February 2016); at the seminar series of the School of Politics, Philosophy, International Relations and Environment (SPIRE) at Keele University (16 March 2016); and at the seminar series of the Institute of Latin American Studies (ILAS), La Trobe University, Melbourne (16 September 2016). The paper is based on three research visits undertaken at the Archivo General de la Nación (National General Archive, AGN) in 2011, 2014 and 2015. I would like to thank Álvaro Ricardo Aréstegui for his research assistance in helping me avoid my own ‘labyrinth of solitude’ while working at the AGN and negotiating its idiosyncrasies. Where archival documents are not available for the more contemporary era, recourse was made to interviews, including with official representatives linked to the site of the Monument to the Revolution as well as a cross-section of everyday public visitors to the monument. Permission to reproduce images from the AGN was requested and received for the purposes of this paper.

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