Friday, May 29, 2009


Everyone went to get their yearbooks excluding Grayson+ myself.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thursday, May 21, Third Period

Sorry this is so late!
We watched All In The Family today.
There were two letters to the President from one household. :)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26th, 4th Period

I haven't done the blog yet this 9 weeks so I'm just gonna go ahead and post this:

Today in class G divided the class into 2 teams for an intense game of Jeopardy: Government Style. We were quizzed on our knowledge of various things from both US and Comp. that we have learned this past year. The winning team gained 12 extra credit points, and the losing team gained 6. Don't forget, the group game project is due next Monday, June 1!

blog from last Tuesday

Sorry this is a little late. Last Tuesday we started the trial and Period 7 almost completed it. Both sides went through their witnesses to plead their case and tomorrow the jury will announce their verdict.

Since this post was last, we already know that Yertle was found not guilty.

7 days left of school!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Monday, May 18th, 4th Period

We worked on the Yurtle the Turtle case, with the prosecution and defence getting ready to go at it the next day.

May 20

Today in class, we finished our Yurtle the Turtle trial.
The jury found Yurtle not guilty. They made their decision based on the lack of evidence of Yurtle's wrongdoings. The government system is a monarchy, and there are no laws against forcing turtles to stack on top of each other to create a throne.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today in class we began our trial of Sadie vs. Yertle the Turtle.

The defense successfully called on all of their witnesses: Sadie, Slither, Yolanda, and the doctor.

We left off just before the Defense called upon their first witness and will proceed from their tomorrow.

Monday- 7th Period

Sorry for a day late post, I wasn't signed up!

Anyway, onto Monday's festivities...

We went back and finished off the last few "Questions Americans Should Ask" (mine included). It seems that most people find the economy and what will be done to fix it to be the most important question right now and understandably so. If you get newsweek, look in the issue that arrived today (tuesday) and read the little thing in the back about President Obama's 2010 budget, its kinda related and really interesting. Anyway...back on topic...
Once we finished up all the questions, we split into our Yertle groups and prepared for the trial. The defense and the prosecution worked on making their cases and that was about it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Friday, May 15th

Today we discussed the trial about Yertle the Turtle and we each drew a piece of paper from a hat with a character on it whom we would embody in the trial. Mr. G also read to us about the lovely tale of Yertle the Turtle, who wanted to rule over all he could see by stacking his subjects underneath him to form a throne. During the trial on the 19th, Yertle will be put on trial for causing injury to one of his subjects, Sadie. Sadie and her supporters will form the prosecution, and Yertle's supporters will form the defense. The rest of the class consisted of the defense and the prosecution getting together and working on what questions they'll ask and such.

Sorry this is late....

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Today we were assigned positions for the upcoming trial of Yertle the Turtle.

Trials are on Tuesday be ready!

Friday, May 15, 2009

2nd Period: 5/14/09

Today we continued our discussion about The Most Important Questions. :) :) :) :)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Note's for May 11, 2009

Today in class we had a discussion period. We discussed the following questions as certain people shared their answers and we opened up a dialogue on certain points.
The questions were:
1. What are the most important questions Americans should be asking?
2. What are the most critical things people should be doing right now?
a. Regual citizens
b. Parents
c. Schools
d. High School/College Youth
e. Government officials
f. World leaders
g. Religious leaders
3. What do you think are the biggest challenges before us?
4. What do you hope will happen? Why?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


yes i know its wednesday but heres the run down for monday. In class we were supposed to have prepared answers for the "what do you think?" assignment. Myself, and a few others went all through our responses and then the class was opened into a forum for discussion. our main topic of discussion was the war in Iraq as well as other topics such as Pakistan, the economy,etc.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12, 2005

Today we handed back any of the books or packets we got for U.S. and comparative gov. Make sure to bring them back whenever you can.

Tuesday, May 12th

Today we continued our discussion on the discussion questions we were assigned over the weekend.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday, May 11, 2009

We began the "What Do You Think?" presentations. Mr. Gottschalk treated the assignment as a class discussion where each student presents their findings and classmates respond to those opinions. Every student must present to the class to receive a grade.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Tuesday 4/28

On Tuesday April 28th we went over more material for AP tests and we were given the chance to look over the princenton review books.

Monday, May 4, 2009

April 30th Thursday

we went over timed write questions mainly with the US government to prepare for the AP exam

Sunday, May 3, 2009

KATE LAWLOR for 4/30

In class we went over a released multiple choice test on the overhead. STUDY for AP test on Monday. Meet in room 102 at 7:40

Thursday 4/30

Today in class we reviewed an old AP Comparative Governemnt test together and we got through about half of it before the bell rang. The general consensus was that we are prepared for the AP exam and that the questions in class seemed relatively easy.

Friday, May 1, 2009

4/27 (Late: SORRY!)

On Monday the 27th, we looked at our Mid Term in preparation for our AP exams. We spent the class answering any questions in regards to the mid term. AP exams are on Monday! AHH STUDY TIME!! 

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Mexico Notes for 4th pd (intended for 4/20)

Sorry its really late!

Political Socialization: Supportive of political institutions since revolution and 1917 democratic constitution. This leaves it deemed legitimate.

  • The society is, hoever, critical of government's performance of meeting goals
  • Self serving elitists/Corrupt Bureaucrats
  • Cynical Mexicans on the electoral process (PRI)
  • The mexicans "just did it..." as a merely ritualistic system (only for the government benefits)
  • Strong Patron-client relations (Camarilla)
  • PRI dependent on these patron client systems to mobilize votes
  • Media, schools, church, are all vital social agent
Political Participation: Voting, 18 years of age, rallys and government ceremonies brought small rewards (free meals, bus prizes, door prizes.

PRI Regime:
  • Failure to participate held benefit loss.
Now, more recently, a multi party system:
  • Harder to push non-voters since there were no prizes
  • Middle class recruited for elites
  • Revolution led for middle class, religious, educated,
  • Technico's advanced in the system
  • 1970-76, politicols losing to technicos College, advanced degrees, foreign universities, economic and public administrations
  • Upper middle class spent entire career as civil servants (financial and planning particularly)
  • Technicos did NOT run for officse
  • Technicos rize to leadership positions faster AND in younger conditions.
Interest Groups:
  • No party platform telling the president of PRI what to do
  • PRI had 3 large National Organizations: (TM--Work, labor) (CNC--Rural Peasants) ("Popular Sector"--everyone else) Bureaucrats small business.
Corpratists System
  • PRI lost power since 2000, other organized interest groups: Entrepeneurs, military, Catholic Church
  • Business Community: Several private interest groups, pluralist
  • Patron Clients as well! Had advantages (of TM or CMC had large demand of govermnent, they had to listen, but with small patron clients its easier to say no, which was common)
Myth of right Connection: If citizens appealed governmnet and got declined, they kept looking.

Growth of middle class, angry peasants, (mad at credit squeezes, and urbanization) and large growing low income urban population left to independent org's

Party system: up to 2000: PRI supported president pretty much
  • Able to maintain power by being dominant over every system
  • PRI limited citizen demands to depressureize president
  • Co-opting (absorb into PRI all of the political interests possible, and give them their own "faction" of sorts
  • Today PRI is inclusive.
  • Before 2000, democratization of PRI was predominant, no independend policy influence
  • Mexico all 2000, was dominated by PRI, guaranteed election untill 1988-89.
  • They had access to mass media
  • PRI controlled Federal Election Commission to manipulate results
  • PRI vote declines due to population shifts (rural to urban)
  • Cheap goods =Cheap labor
Opposition parties in the 70's were helpful
  • Oppositions overtime became competititive
  • PAN (2nd party) 1939, nationwide following.
  • present in federal legislature; it controlled major cities but not Mexico city.
  • Social, political right, opposed anti-church
  • Opposed PRI monopoly on public education
  • Supported urban middle class, conservative peasants, working middle class
  • Forced PRI to move right on the political spectrum.
  • PRI became supportive of free economic policies
  • PRI signed nafta.
  • 3rd party PRD democratic revolutionary party (political leftist) after 1988 presidential election.
  • Tries to appeal to poor and workers unions.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

3rd Period: April 29, 2009

Today in class, we went over the free response questions for last years ap us gov exam. Here's the links to the scoring guidelines and questions:
Free response questions:
Scoring guidlines:

Remember, that your answers don't have to be long! Just get straight to the point and answer the question.

AP Test on Monday! STUDY and GOOD LUCK!!

April 21 2009

With the PRI dominating, it was kind of hard to classify Mexico’s system,
and we call it a democratic system today. Under the PRI, it was part-free,
part-authoritarian, and then over time, in the 80s and 90s, it was a system
that became increasingly competitive in its elections as the PRI became
less and less able to pull off voter fraud. With that change, the system in
Mexico is more committed to fair and honest elections. Mexico has had a
modern authoritarian regime that under the PRI dealt successfully with
recruiting elites to run for political office and then managed to get them
elected. The system was always one under the PRI that tried to co-op rather
than eliminate or crush pesky political forces or groups that were being
critical. Under the PRI, the Mexican government tried to have the broadest
range of social economic and political interests all inside the PRI or
inside the PRI within its mass organizations. As potential opposition
groups would appear, usually their leads would be co-opted into existing
government organizations, or new ones would be created to meet the needs.
Historically, opposition which could not be co-opted was dealt with
harshly. Ordering the army into the state of Chiapas in 1998 when EZLN came
out of the jungle and refused to negotiate. Another example would go back
to 2000, when more than 2000 federal police stormed Mexico’s largest
university to oust radical students who had taken over the campus. The
students had taken over the campus, barricaded building, forced classes
closed for nine months. Government put up with it, dealt with it
differently than they had in 98, when they killed 300 rebellious students.
The police this time do not injure anyone. The 2000 dispute with the
students also kind of illustrates the types of problems that Mexico faces
as it becomes more modern. The university students who took it over took an
old line dinosaur approach and were demanding a free education. The
increasingly technocrat government of Mexico wanted to modernize the
university, and they had proposed raising tuition from the current tuition,
two cents a year, to $140 a year, which is a steep change. This proposal
sparked a backlash from students, their parents, and university alumni, and
many left-leaning political people who all strongly endorsed the
university’s 89-year tradition in providing a free education to anyone in
Mexico who could gain admission. Under this protest, the government drops
the proposal for tuition, and then the students, rather than stopping and
going back to class, began to press for more admittance, and they began to
demand that they be given more time to complete their education. They were
also calling for relaxation of admissions standards.

On paper, the Mexican government looks very much like that of the US. They
have a president, three separate branches, checks and balances, and clearly
it is a federal system ON PAPER. In practice, especially during the PRI,
the government acts very different. Some differences:
1.      Mexican President elected for six years, no opportunity for reelection.
Other than that, president must be native-born with Mexican parents and at
least 35 years old
2.      There is no Vice President
3.      Elections are held if the president dies or becomes disabled in the
first two years of his term. After the first two years, if the president
dies or becomes disabled, the Congress will select a substitute to finish
out the term.
4.      Mexico has a two-house legislature, but it’s chosen by a system of mixed
single-member districts and proportional representation.
5.      There is a federal judiciary, headed by a Supreme Court with 21
magistrates appointed for life by the President with the approval of the
Mexican Senate.
6.      The federal courts in Mexico have the power to invalidate a law or an
act that it finds to be unconstitutional. However, in Mexico, a Court’s
decision, even by the Supreme Court, does not nullify the law. Instead, if
a court finds the law to be unconstitutional, it suspends the law in the
case they’re looking at, but it still applies in every other case.
7.      In Mexico, five consecutive decisions without an intervening contrary
decision have the effect of a precedent. So if a law is challenged in
court, and the Supreme Court strikes it down five times, it’s no longer a
8.      According to the Mexican Constitution, judicial review does exist, but
the Supreme Court during the years of PRI dominance, cooperated with the
PRI presidents on political matters, and in all those 70 years of PRI
dominance, the Supreme Court never invalidated any major policy of an
incumbent PRI president. They break that after the 2000 presidential
elections. When Zedillo comes in, the Supreme Court pretty much stunned the
country by ruling against Zedillo in a dispute with the Congress. The Court
rarely strikes down a President still, though.  Constitution was written in

Tuesday 4/28

In class today we had a choice of mid term review or ap review book. Yay.

Tuesday April 28

Today Mr. Gottschalk passed out study books if you wanted to go through one during class, and he passed out our mid-terms for a second time. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

April 9th notes..I may have forgotten. here they are

1917- constiution-current

politparty- holds 1st convention in 1924.

1929- 'National Revolutionary Party'- it became an official party, Mexico is a 1 party state

1946- Changes to PRI , not until Cardanos is president (1934-40) 6 year terms

In Mexico- Prez cannot run for re-election

during his presidentcy, urban workers have success in pushing land

In sextenuim, unprecedted strikes, petition, anger

more land distribured in 6 years than ever before combined

1940- land tenership is rather changed, tradition and high number of haciendas broken, now higher sector of lowly peasant farmers called Ejudatarios who is a peastant farmer who gets land from gov't though agraian reform programs

new organization of rural peasant

urban workers

turned into nationwide orgs

weapons whent to militias and gov't, nationalized foreign iol com's

worker orgs, don't amount too much utnil end ot WWII, then take off after, wealth in mexicio given to elite during time of economic goodness

heritage of prez pcardeno still live

org policies remian


1. establishing presidency as primary polit position

2. sweeping powers for prez during term

3. co-op military- will defened constitiution and not have coupes, in exchange is a pillar of society

4. elaborate netowrk of supprt for PRI until 2000

long haul, democracy slow

influence of orgz on society falls thorugh

impact is limited

-Party (PRI) domiantes mexican politics for 70 years to extent that meexico was 1 party state

-PRI won every race for 70 years, had the majoirty in the lower house form 1929 to 1997.

Being challenged for past 25 years, PAN, national action party

Challange is high during Pres Salinas

1990s- debates on

dinosaurs- old PRI's lose out to new reformist in 1990s, want to go back to when Nation owned ecnomy

1970-1976- Echerria to 1976-1982 Portillo and with Delamadrie and with Salina to Zedillo. Over time, dinosaurs lost out to technocratsMExico signs NAFTA and joins GATT and join new laws need to industrial development -when foreign firms are encouraged to open factories (Maquiledoras) that use duty free components to assemble products and export them

1990- over 15,000 maquiladores- products for export. dinosaurs trace loss of PRIpower to alot of tecnhicrats who are elitiest U.S. educated and out of touch

Tecnhicrats implement reforsm, privatize industy, liveralize trade laws, change electoral laws,a nd strike PRI core constituents and bourght away from socialist route

reforms of Mexicos authoriarian and corrupt system bacem part of Zedillos adm

-sent ament to stat for rat

-took control out of elections

-out of hands og PRI

-new election system

amended const- give polit parties equal access to media

limited campiagn spending

andy party can use green, oragnce, and white colors


3 problems disrupt gov't

1. economic problems

2. indian revolt in southern state

3. corruption with carnotics

Peso collapses -1995

Zedillo has to devalue the peso, results in 34%drop

to head of collapse, u.s. steps in provides $40 billion loan to garauntee no debt

largest loan in in't aid program since 1948, but allowed mecico to avoid default debt

issue with indians -1994- group of peasant annouce they are an army EZLN, occupy touwns and make calls for economic develpment. issue declaration, wirite, product of slavery, war, expansion. nothing to lose. no homes, land, work, health, food, education, choice, indepedence, justice, complain about develpment

2/3- never completedd primary school. object to electioification of mexico city through rivers when 1/3 of them had no electricity, distribution of wealth

Monday the 27th

Today we just went over midterms to see what we missed and ask any questions!

One week Guys! Good luck!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Today, we turned in our Mexico Country Questions as well as reviewed AP US Government material from the mid-term exam. We will continue to review material throughout this week.

Make sure if you have any questions that you ask Mr. Gottschalk so that he can clarify.

The AP Exam for this class is 1 week from today. =]

Thursday April 23

Thursday we had the Mexico Test. Questions due on Monday. AP Test May 4th! done with govt.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

4/23 4th Period

We had a test. Last country questions are due Monday. APs are the next Monday. Awesome.

Mexican Notes 4/20/2009

Socialization and Political Culture:
Culturally, Mexicans are highly supportive of their political institutions that they see as having evolved from the Mexican Revolution, and they like the democratic principles that were written into the Constitution of 1917. Given that they considered their regime legitimate, nobody is trying to overthrow the regime. Mexicans are, however, critical of their government’s performance. You remember the revolution and then the goals written into the constitution that were going to create jobs for people, reduce social inequality, get better basic public services, same things that the EZLN wanted, and people were openly critical that the government hasn’t come through sufficiently in each of those areas. Mexicans consider politicians and bureaucrats to be 1) elitist, 2) to be self-serving; that is, they are looking out for themselves, and 3) probably corrupt. Mexicans are cynical about the electoral process. For some seventy years under the one-party system, under the PRI, the average Mexican regarded participating in election campaigns, rallies, voting drives, going to actually vote, joining a political party as just something you would do, something used to say sort-of ritualistic, just something in the pattern of things people would do and that, at best, they were necessary only to extract some benefits from the system because if you were seen as getting out and supporting the PRI and their candidates, the PRI was going to dominate the government so conceivably there’s going to be some benefits for you. Mexican society is known for strong patron-client relations, and, in Mexico, we call the strong patron-client relationship a camarilla. And when the PRI was dominating for its seventy years, it depended heavily on patron-client networks to get people out to vote and to mobilize organizations to support the vote. Since 2000, patron-client networks are still there but not quite as dominant. For Mexicans, their official interpretation of the Revolution of 1910 stresses a lot of symbology, or mist—become aware of the idea that somehow their system is going to have social justice, be a democracy, and that there’s a need for national unity and that the ruling government in place came from the people. And they hold up its heroes, some of the people whose names we mentioned along the way: Father Hidalgo, Juarez, Zapata, Pancho Villa, and President Cardenas. The government’s role in all of this has been constantly reinforced by political socialization, through the mass media, through the public school system, through the families, and again when the PRI was dominant during the mass organizations that the PRI had. Another agent of socialization that I should have mentioned and didn’t was the Church; the Church is a strong teacher.

If we look at participation in Mexico: like everywhere else, the number one form of participation is voting, and, amongst the votes, the vote that’s going to get the most turnout is going to be the presidential election. In Mexico, everyone eighteen and older can vote. In the years of the PRI domination, participation in party rallies, ceremonies often brought some degree of rewards—turned out for a PRI campaign drive, probably got a free meal, door prizes, free transportation (got to ride around in a city bus), and, so in those days during the PRI domination again, people would turn out to participate, and it would almost have a holiday flavor. On the other hand, failure to participate could result in some loss of benefits from the government. Now, since 2000, as Mexico has developed into a multi-party system, it is tougher to say what the pay-off for participation is. The rewards for being seen as an active participant probably remain, but it’s tougher for a losing party to, in any way, punish people that didn’t turn out to support them. Sanctions aren’t going to be in place anymore; they’re very like the U.S. today in this regard. Political elites in Mexican have traditionally been recruited from the middle class. 1910 Revolution opened up opportunities for ambitious, well-educated elements of the middle class, and political power has shifted to that educated middle class. Since the 1970s, tecnicos (and that is lawyers, engineers, government planners, economists, professional administrators) had all advanced much to the distress of the old dinosaurs beginning with the Echeverria administration (1970-1976) continuing through Portillo (1976-1982), particularly during the de la Madrid sexennial (1882-1988), and then the Salidas (1988-1994). Through several years then old-wide politicians who had risen to leadership in Mexico through politics or through labor organizations or through peasant organizations (those mass organizations sponsored by the PRI), have lost out to the tecnicos. Tecnicos, again, are people recruited from the college-educated; they hold advanced university degrees, often from foreign universities like the universities in the United States, and they tend to take their degrees in fields like economics and public administration. These are people, the tecnicos, that tend to spend their entire career within the government bureaucracy; they’re going to be career government workers, especially in the financial and planning agencies. They don’t often run for elective office, but when they do, they are being successful. President Fox, the first president from the PAN, was the sixth president in a row to be elected president of Mexico without previously having held any elected office. So these are people who get their education, spend a career in the bureaucracy working in the government, and then rising in their party ranks, and finally running for a top elected office and getting it. The tecnicos’ advance in the system to positions of leadership faster than the dinosaurs, consequently, tecnicos are younger.

Interest Group System:
In Mexico, agenda-building—deciding major issues—takes place within the upper levels of the government bureaucracy. Policies, historically, have been initiated and then shaped by the inner circle of the president’s advisor before they get presented to the public. Remember, for the most, particularly through the PRI years, the president was really the dominant figure through those six years. So, the president would come in, get a close ring of advisors, and they would decide the issues they were going to tackle and advise to the public. The former official party, the PRI, had been the lead in all of this, and, during their seventy years of domination, the PRI maintained three mass nationwide organizations, similar to China, but in Mexico’s case much stronger. They had a mass organization referred to as the CTM that represented organized labor; they were the National Labor Union. They had another one called the CMC that supposedly represented all the peasant farmers. And then they had another third organization that they referred to as the Popular Sector that tried to scoop up everything else—sort of a mish-mash and no where near as strong as the other two. But during the PRI, then, we are operating under a corporatist system because the CTM was the recognized organization representing labor, and the CNC was the officially recognized organization representing the rural peasants. And if the workers or peasants had an issue that they want taken up with government, they had to work it through the channels of that mass organization, and the government would get back to them through those channels. Citizens and segments of Mexican society then had access to government through these mass organizations were essentially licensed by the state to represent their sector. Now, with the loss of the presidency for the PRI, these mass organizations have all but disappeared. There were other organized interest groups, which were not controlled by the PRI. They included the entrepreneurs; in the business world, they included the military and the Catholic Church. Those groups were important enough in themselves that they had access to government elites; if the head of the military needed to talk to the president or somebody high up, he could and the same with the head of the Church. So they didn’t need either a political party or a mass organization. The business community organized into several different interest groups, and, today, we’re operating pretty much on a pluralist system. Patron-client networks sprung up and, again, particularly during the seventy years of the PRI. And they became important during the seventy-year domination of the PRI because if individuals or groups wanted to go around/bypass the mass organization [They didn’t want to deal with the CTM or the CNC, and they had their own contacts in government (patron-client relationship)], they could make their needs known to government through those patron-client networks. Under the seventy-years of the PRI, having a patron-client structure, and I would guess to some extent today, something that has worked pretty well for Mexico because a patron-client structure makes it difficult for popular demands to be collected by one group, that is to mass gathered and presented; they tend to go to government in one-sies and two-sies through patron-client relationships. If you got requests or demands from the public coming to you by individuals, it’s easier to say “no” than if it’s a big mass group coming to government. And, in Mexico over the years, the people sort-of accepted that, that is, being told “no,” and they had what they called in Mexico the “Myth of the Right Connection”—a Mexican who went to a government official and asked for something and was told “no” simply assumed that they had asked the wrong person. You got to find the right connection, and they go ask somebody else. And it tended to limit citizen frustration with government performance because they would take it on themselves to try to find the right person rather than being openly critical to government. Independent organizations not tied specifically to the PRI appear in the 1980s and continue; you had a number of human rights organizations, environmental groups, Labor Worker Association, and an active women’s movement. And over time, as Mexico is changing, you get a middle class growing, and they come together and form pluralist groups. You have angry peasant groups coming together, like the EZLN—certainly not a pre-sponsored group, but effective up to a point. And the other group that is not as well organized but is large, growing in size, low-income urban population around Mexico City (so many people live in Mexico City), which is surrounded by enormous Shanty towns—people living in huts and cardboard boxes, probably no electricity. You got people drawn to Mexico City for jobs, and then there’s no housing for them; they live in these massive slums, and, when they can, they put their bans on government for better housing for electric power, plumbing, and sanitation services, those sort of things. We try to put a bottom line on this, and I think we would say that the political elite in Mexico now faces a substantially larger number of interest groups that unlike the days of the PRI dominance are now pursuing their goals with much less deference to government, which the other side of that point would be more demanding of government, more independent. Patron-client relations are going to remain in place if citizens can find people in government to strike a relationship with.

Political Parties:
The principle political structure in Mexico from 1929 to 2000 was the PRI. When the PRI dominated, it did not have to pull citizens’ interests together to formulate a party platform in the sense that parties in western democracies tend to do. The PRI was able to maintain power by turning their clientelistic social structure into an umbrella organization called the PRI that shaped what most people did politically most of the time. The PRI was an elaborate network of camarillas, patron-client relationships. They had some fifteen million members. In addition, it was an authoritarian, non-competitive party, and it had its corporatist mass organizations over the labor movement and over the rural peasants. With the situation of PRI was interested in limiting the scope, or the amount, of flexibility that citizens had to make demands on the government. They wanted to limit demands for the people in order to take pressure off the president. And the PRI, then, (This is during their seventy years of dominance.) would seek to absorb into the party as many of the diverse economic interests, political tendencies that existed in Mexico. They tried to co-opt them and bring them in. Today, say the PRI is an inclusive party that occupies pretty much the raw center of the political spectrum in Mexico, but it flounders without a clear ideology. Before democratization, the 2000 presidential elections, the PRI was very much an appendage of government itself, especially at the presidency; you can hardly tell where government stopped and the party began—very dominant one-party system. The PRI, as a party, did not, even during its dominance, did not exert any independent influence on government, either its economic policies or social policies. And this is back to its overwhelmingly strong president. The PRI party was what the president and the leading technocrats made it at any one time, and, as presidents came and went, then the essence of the party would change to be supportive of that new president; the president is going to call the shots for six years. The party doesn’t need a platform because it does what the president wants. It just gets people out to vote. In Mexico under the years of the PRI dominance, it was probably the world’s most accomplished vote-getting machine. If you got nominated to elected office by the PRI, you were going to win. Until 2000, there had never been a non-PRI president. Until 1988/1989, there had never been a non-PRI federal government senator, and there had never been a non-PRI state governor before 1988/1989. During the years of its dominance, the PRI has several advantages; it had privilege access to the mass media (We get prime time, extensive coverage, and, if it wasn’t getting everything it wanted, it spent government money to buy it. They would hire reporters to write good stories about them.). The PRI had access to government funds to finance their election campaign. There was this vast network of government patronage because of all the jobs and favors that the government, meaning the PRI, could dispense. So the PRI had a nationwide network of campaign organizers, local representatives, poll watchers, people like that, who controlled the election. The PRI also controlled the Federal Election Commission, which was responsible for counting and validating election returns, and the Federal Election Commission could easily manipulate election results. An example was that polling places tended to move during the middle of Election Day, and only PRI supporters seemed to know where they had moved to. And there’s tremendous ability to commit election fraud and stuff the ballot boxes. Despite all these advantages, over time a share of the vote going to the PRI decline, went down. What was happening is that the population was shifting from rural to urban locations, and the PRI’s mass organizations didn’t work as well in the cities as they did in the countryside. Over time, the education level of the Mexican citizens went up and that hurt the PRI’s dominance. The PRI’s mass organizations, those representing the rural peasants, those representing organized labor, the vote fell off from them; they lost some of their grip. Younger population was increasingly out of touch with the political movements and social reforms from the 1930s and 1940s. And then we have the rise of the technocrats, and, again, some of the people fed up with the PRI. If you were a worker and by chance you may want a pay raise, you go to your mass organization, CTM; we need a pay raise; cost of living is getting away from us. CTM goes to the government leadership, the president and advisor, and said, “Workers need a pay raise.” The government is going to respond “no” because they would lose cheap labor, which was their chief attraction to get companies to come in. Workers get angry at CTM because organization is not meeting their needs; so workers start looking elsewhere. Rural peasants the same thing, who say, “We need land, preferably land with water so we can grow food.” The government doesn’t come through, and the rural peasants look elsewhere. The PRI starts losing the vote. There was a sense in which Mexico’s opposition parties was helpful to the PRI during its seventy-year dominance: 1) It gave an outlet for a protest vote (People decided that they were fed up with the PRI, they go vote for another party, and the PRI can let it go because they knew that the other party was going to win because if they had to, they would rig the election. It wasn’t costing the PRI anything.) 2) It made Mexico’s system look a little more legitimate because it made it look like a competitive two-party election system. So, over time we get opposition parties slowly becoming competitive, even though they were operating at this tremendous disadvantage of the PRI turned to fraud when it wanted to. And then it leads to the PRI losing the presidency in 2000 and starting to lose its majorities in the legislative branch. The PRI of course, looking ahead to the presidential election of 2006, was hoping that they would regain the presidency and slip right back into their dominant role, and then that didn’t happen. A second party is the PAN, the National Action Party. It formed in 1939. It has a nationwide following. It first won a governorship in 1989; that grew slowly in 1996. It was up to four governorships, and it’s about there today. PAN saw its presence in the federal congress slowly increasing, and the PAN became the dominant party in Mexico’s cities, with the exception of the one very important city of Mexico City. In 2000, as we know, the PAN wins the presidency for the first time and repeats that success in 2006. PAN represents the political right, or the conservative side, of the political spectrum. It was opposed to the anti-Church provisions of the 1917 Constitution but has to kind of accept them. As it came on, it opposed the PRI, or government, monopoly over public education. The PAN supporters included the urban middle class and some socially conservative peasants, as well as some urban working class. And having a strong political party on the right has forced the PRI to move right on the spectrum trying to co-opt supporters of the PAN, which means that the PRI . . .

Friday, April 24, 2009

Blog For Today

Friday April 24th 2009

Today in class we had the Mexico timed write. Simple as that.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mexico Test!
Good Luck : ]

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Wed 4/22 7th

There are career gov’t workers and not a whole lot more. It’s mainly about patron client system. The patron client system would correlate with a one party system or dominance, clear dominance by a political party. So we use the term patron-client, when we have China, Nigeria, based on pre dominance where Mexico is a one party system with an overwhelming patron client system referred to as their Camarillas. Patron-client builds to that pyramid that we talked about with Nigeria, with the client to a patron and the patron becomes a client to a higher patron and the system builds up. That’s what was in place in Mexico up until 2000 and has lost some steam there. A patron would not limit itself to one client and no client with just one patron. In Mexico’s case when we try to use to term camarilla, were talking about that vertical building of that pyramid. In the days of the dominate PRI then there was a lot of political competition between camarillas, you’d have two senior politicians competing for favors from the president or high level jobs in the gov’t, not only did they want those jobs but everyone else in their camarilla because they all want to move with benefits. Mexico in the days of PRI dominance when the president would leave in the end of 6 years and it would become a clean slate and the new president would come in. Loyalty is what holds a camarilla together. Some implications for political systems for this, if you have a strong patron-client system there is very little opportunity for a fresh, policy idea to come from the bottom and work its way up. There’s not going to be a lot of new guys coming in saying hey I have an idea, why don’t you pass this along to the top, and the reason being is that the client isn’t going to come in all new and stuff and do anything to offend the patron because they don’t want to risk losing their job. In a strong patron client system your policy ideas are going to come from the top and be pushed down. The other thing that can happen is that when you have this strong patron client system is that the people at the bottom are not going to be very creative they are going to be concerned that they do not offend the patron. What that means is that if they are working in gov’t office where they are meeting the public and the public is coming in with either requests or demands of something, in the patron client system if they are not comfortable they are going to say no to the citizen and do what they have to do for the client.
we're done! last test tomorrow =D

4/20 notes

Mexicans tend to be proud and supportive of their political system. This is due to their connection to the Mexican Revolution, and the 1917 Constitution. They feel that the regime is legitimate.
However, they are critical of government performance, and point out shortfalls
They tend to consider politicians and bureaucrats as elitists, self serving, and probably corrupt
Strong patron client networks called camarillas exist
The PRI depended on patron client networks to mobilize citizens
They stress the symbols of the Revolution such as social justice, democracy, national unity, and the idea that the ruling government came from the people
Revolutionary figures are national heroes. Ex: Hidalgo and Villa
The mass media, public schools, the church, and families are forms of socialization. The PRI used organizations that they controlled to socialize as well.
Voting in National elections is the most common form of political participation
anyone 18 or older can vote
Election rallies and political party ceremonies were common during the PRI’s dominance
The PRI encouraged support by providing incentives such as a free meal or transportation to those who showed up to their rallies. If you didn’t support you ran the risk of not getting the help you want from the government
In 1910 the revolution shifts power to the ambitious well educated middle class. Since the 1970s, technocrats (lawyers, engineers, professionals, administrators) have advanced quickly
1970- Through the next several presidencies, oldline politicians have lost ground to the technocrats ( usually have advanced university degrees and are recruited from the upper/middle class. They tend to spend their entire career in the government bureaucracy) Technocos rarely run for public office.
Interest Groups
Historically, agenda building has been done under the upper level government
When the PRI was dominant, 3 organizations existed
CTM- represented organized labor, CNC- represented rural peasants, the Popular Secor- covered other interests ( wasn’t very strong)
Under the PRI it was a Corporatist interest group system. Organizations were licensed by the government to represent a group.
Those 3 organizations aren’t as strong anymore. Other interest groups exist that are not controlled by a political party. They’re controlled by entrepreneurs, the military, or the Catholic Church.
The business community is organized into interest groups. This is considered a pluralist system.
There is a strong patron-client system. It is strong because individuals would try to go around the nationwide organization representing them. They looked for a patron to help them out. The system makes it less difficult for the government because it’s easier to say no to individuals than to an organization.
This method brought about the saying "Myth of the Right Connection". If an official says no, find another way to get what you want.
Human Rights, Environmental, Labor, and Women’s Rights groups were increasing
There was a growth in middle class, and angry peasants upset with urban development and the refusal from banks to give out loans. There was a growing low income urban population asking for public services.
Today, the political elite has to deal with a larger number of interest groups who are less likely to take no for an answer.
Political Parties
PRI dominance: from 1929-2000. They didn’t develop a political platform. The president called the shots.
The PRI was a vote getting machine. A network of camarillas enrolled 15 million members.
It was Authoritarian, non-competitive, corporatist mass organization
It limited the amount of demands that citizens could demand of government. They tried to absorb diverse political interests to keep pressure off of the president. They wanted to diffuse demands.
Today, the PRI is an inclusive party. It is middle of the spectrum. It is also lacking in ideology an platform.
The PRI was an appendage of the government, especially of presidency
PRI didn’t exert independent policy from the government. The PRI was what the president was.
Until 2000, there had never been a non-PRI president.
It was a One Party system
They had access to mass media, government funds to finance election campaigns, a huge network of government patronage (or jobs to be given out), and nationwide campaign watchers in local areas.
They controlled the election commission, who counted the ballot returns. They could easily manipulate the numbers.
Over time, dominance of the PRI declined probably because of rural to urban population shift. The PRI’s organization methods weren’t as effective in cities.
Education and income was rising. PRI candidate support from CTM and CNC fell off.
Until the late 70s, a few opposition parties were important to the PRI. It allowed some citizens to get rid of frustration with the system. It also made the system seem more legitimate.
Over time, the PRI loses ground.
In 2000, PAN (the opposition party) won the presidence.
In 1989 the PAN won state governorship. There was an upward trend of the number of seats owned in congress as well.
The PAN owned all major cities except Mexico City.
In 2006, the PAN won again. The PAN is right on the political spectrum. They are opposed to anti-church language in the 1917 constitution. They disliked the PRI’s dominance over education.
It consists of urban middle class, conservative peasants, and some of the city working class.
The PAN has forced the PRI to move a little more right. Free market economies are now supported by the PRI. Industries are privatized.
The PAN had ties to the U.S. within business circles. The PRI had been standoffish towards U.S. business.
The PAN is not linked to the lower class. They have no interest in income equality. It is the party of choice for the young people,
The third party, the PRD (the democratic revolutionary party) is the most recently formed. It is to the left on the political spectrum.
It formed after the 1988 elections as a result of the split in the PRI.
The PRD tries to appeal to industrial workers, and rural peasants.
The PRD’s success has been in winning mayor of Mexico City

Better Late than Never....First Mexican Notes

-strongly influenced by their past
-Spain dominated Mexico for 300 years
-Spanish impose spanish political, economic, religous, cultural systems on their Indian institutions.

-They incorporate a cast systems:
  1. Spanish Born
  2. Spanish but born in Mexico Creoles
  3. Mixed offspring of Creoles and Indians (Mestizos)
  4. Mexicans/Indians

-Colonial economy was based around Indian labor.
-Most important instrument of control was the Roman Catholic Church

-Independence Movement in 1810. Father Hidalgo led peasant Indians against the Spanish.

Independents free Mexico from political control. The cast system only modified slightly. Highest Spaniards led, but creoles just move up a knotch. Handicapped by priveledged Roman Catholic Clergy and also by the system of large estates hat caontinued to grow at expense of Indians. Colonia character contained, with an emphasis on export of minerals. Political instability halts the ability to fix these problems. Caudillo (strong men)- Santa Anna dominated, defeated Americans at Alamo, last Texas and New Mexico to the U.S., and was forced into exile in 1885. Following which was the second Revolution in 1855-1856. Reform Movement led by Benito Juarez (sp?), whose goals was to establish a federal system, eliminate priveledges of clergy and military, channel wealth of Church into capitalist economy, and create class of small landholders to balance out large holders. Effort reached a climax with the Consitution of 1857. Juarez has alot of foreign debt. Europeans intervention alters the situation politically. Juarez goes into exile. Church hiearchy came to be regarded as an anti-mexican institution. Nationalism was strengthened and some Juarez reforms were written into the Constitution. Mestizos were coming into more power, federal system established, but the problem of land distribution was not solved. 1872 Juarez dies, setting off periods of violence that culminate in a military coup in 1876. From 1876-1911 Mexico is ruled by a dictator Porifirio Diaz, who emphasized the econoymy, managed to achieve order, manages progress and wins supports or bureaucracy. With help of foreigners he builds railroads, telephone lines, banks. Provoked the Revolution of 1910 because prosperity for only few who dominated the economic system and it didn't trickle to masses. The Rural landholders gathered 5 million peasants and forced them into servitude on large land estates called Hacendas (sp?). The third revolution Movement in 1910 had an agragarian character. Peasants wanted land, water, and schools. Led by Emiliano Zapata , Pancho Villa who rallied around Francisco Madero. 1910 Diaz defeated Madero in a rigged election after he was arrested on trumped up charges. Madero released and took to countryside. Was strong enough to wage a few battles, then forced in 1911 agreement for Diaz to step down. The Revolution expands and strving to work for original revolution by weakening the church, capitalists, military, large landholders. 1911 Madero was elected president. Madero was ousted in a coup, arrested, then killed. Mexico then turns into a warlord system. Pancho Villa and other guys such as Venustiano Carranza of 11 form massive armies of unfortunates. Ends in 1916when Carranza and followers write reforms into the Constitution of 1917 which established principle of state control over all natural resources, established Roman church as subordinate to state, asserts the gov. right to redistribute land, and declares it law of land. Does very little to enforce it. Soon quarrels with organized labor.

4/22 4th period

like other countries
exec branch departments headed by cabinet members
large patron client systems (camarilla) correlate with one-party system
until early 2000s defining characteristic was camarilla system
politically powerful build camarilla to compete with other camarillas to dominate policymaking
camarilla : -patrons have several clients -clients have several patrons, and try to develop their own clients
when the president leaves, camarilla goes too
incoming president brings in their own camarilla
its difficult in a large camarilla to have new ideas
the policies come from the top most of the time rather than from the clients/public
#1 job of the client is to please patron
clients cannot say yes to public as much, most of the time they are unresponsive as to not promise something they can't guarantee

then we filled out the AP packet things. if you were absent ask G about it.
Mexico multiple choice/short answer test tomorrow. free response on friday. questions due monday.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tuesday, April 21

  1. Constitution
    1. In the days of pre dominance, it was difficult to clasfiy the political system because it seemed to be a hbrid system with both free and authoritarian elements

                                               i.     By the time you get to the 1980s, elections become more competitve, and the PRI is forced to clean up its act on voter fraud.

                                             ii.     As the elections become more competitive you get a stronger committmnt to fairness, making it more democratic

    1. For most of the time with the PRI, there is a moderate, authoritarian regime that was successful

                                               i.     They could find and nominate people to offices; no recruitment problems

                                             ii.     If a president dies, the party would just select a new one

    1. Mexico’s sstem is one hwere if people came up with new ideas and challenged gobernment, the government would try very hard to coop these challengers.
    2. Historically, if the Mexican government was unable to coop oposition, the governmetn woiuld come down pretty hard on the opposition

                                               i.     Ex. In 1998, when the EZLN had come out of the Chiapas state complaining, and the goenemrnt tried to deal with them, the EZLN said they wouldn’t negotiate anymore, and that’s when the army was sent in

    1. On paper, the Mexican government looks very much like the U.S. government (constitution

                                               i.     President

                                             ii.     Three separate branches

                                            iii.     System of checks and balances

                                            iv.     Specifies a federalist system

                                             v.     States have considerable powers

                                            vi.     There are some differences though

1.     Mexican president serves for 6 years, can’t be reelected

2.     President must be native born with Mexican parents and be 35 years old

3.     No Vice President

a.     If the president dies within first 2 years, a successor would be chosen in a special election

b.     If the president is in for more than 2 years, the Congress would chose a sucessor to finish out the term

                                          vii.     Two House legislature elected by a system of mix part single member districts and proportonal representation

                                         viii.     The judicial branch is headed by a supreme court with 21 magistrates who are appointed for life by the President with the approval of the Senate

1.     The federal courts have the power to declare a law unconstitutional or to invalidate it

a.     Works differently, in Mexico if the court calls in unconsitutional, the law is suspended in the particular case to which the court is hearing

                                                                                                     i.     Not much weight given to precedent

                                                                                                   ii.     If a law is challenged on grounds of constiutionality in 5 consecutive cases, the law is struck down

                                            ix.     Judicial review does exist but historically, the supreme court has cooperated with the president on policy matters, and the point is is that the supreme court had neve invalidated any major policy of an incubent president from the PRI party during 64 of the 70 yers of dominance

1.     Not until after the 2000 election Zedillo (as he is on his way out) the court settled a dispute that he was involved in and the court went against him

  1. Executive
    1. President is the key figure

                                               i.     Prsaentialist sytem with a lot a consitutional powers vested in the president also with a lot of unwriteen poiwers

                                             ii.     The principle of executive power of the legislature and the judiciary has been well established

    1. There is a cabinet

                                               i.     Under the PRI the cabinet postiions were filled by the members of the President’s camarillos

                                             ii.     When fox was elected, he broke with the tradition and appointed a cabinet full of business leaders are prominent politicians without a close tie to Fox or the PAN

                                            iii.     Calderon has continued Fox’s approach

    1. Ratification of the PRI presidents policy was virtually locked from 1930-2000 but the legisltaure is no longer a rubber stamp
    2. The 1988 election put anew wrinkle into Mexican politics in particular the President

                                               i.     In Mexico, it takes a 2/3 majority in both houses to amend the constiuttion, and during PRI dominance, the constiution was amended to allow policy changes

1.     From 1917, the constitution has been amended over 300 times

2.     The PRI lost their majority in 1988 and thus fewer constiuttional amendments have been passed

    1. The judiciary had been firmly under the presidents contorl on any significant issue

                                               i.     Significantly, the judiciary followed the incumbent president’s lead and none of his actions were eclare un consitutional until they ruled against Zedillo in 2000

    1. Mexican presidents are not seriously constrained by the Mass media

                                               i.     The government does not censor the mass media

    1. During PRI dominance, Presidents had the poewr to make appointments from practically top to bottom

                                               i.     Outgoing presidents could name his successor

                                             ii.     That changes, and giong into the 2000 elections, the last PRI president, Zedillo, announces that the PRI would hold a primary election to determine is candidated for President in 2000

  1. The Legislature
    1. Prior to 2000, the legislature was essentially a rubber stamp legislature
    2. Still today, there are two chambers

                                               i.     Upper house is called the Senate

                                             ii.     Lower house is called the Chamber of Deputies

    1. Seats in both houses are distributed with a hybrid of single member districts and proportional representation

                                               i.     300 of the 500 seats in the Deputies are chosen by single member districts

1.     the other 200 chosen by proportional representation

                                             ii.     in the Senate, each state and in addition the federal district have 3 senators, and then another 32 seats are distributed through porportional representation

    1. Mexico is poruod of this sytem because it gives a good balance to a proportioanl representation sytem and a single member dsitrict system

                                               i.     It allows both representation through a single member districts and a fair distribution through proportaion representation

    1. The president no longer controls the legislature

                                               i.     When the congress is not in session, they havea  permanent commission composed of 14 senators and 15 deputies appointed by the two houses to acto n bhalf of the congress on matters to urgent to wait for the next session

    1. Since 2000, the congress has had a chance to become an independent check on the presidency

                                               i.     No party holds a mojority in either house


Tuesday April 21, 2009

  • The Mexican government used to be moderately authoritarian under the rule of the PRI.
  • As the PAN challenged the PRI in the elections, the elections became more fair.
  • Groups that used to rival the PRI that couldn't be coopted were dealt with harshly.
  • The government now is democratic and reflects many similarities of the American government.
  • Mexico has a federal system.
  • There are 3 independent branches, the constitution establishes checks and balances, and the president is elected to 6 year terms
  • The President must be 35, Mexican born, and have Mexican parents.
  • There is no Vice President.
  • If the President dies or becomes unable to leave within two years of his presidency then elections are held to replace him. If it's after the two years then congress appoints a standing leader.
  • The constitution establishes a 2 house legislature and are elected by both single member districts and proportional representation.
  • The court system is headed by the supreme court.
  • 21 magistrates are appointed for life by the president.
  • The court can decide if a law is unconstitutional but can only suspend the law in the particular case that they are adjudicating.
  • If the court finds the same law unconstitutional 5 times consecutively then the law becomes nullified.
  • If their is a disruption with the law before the 5 consecutive suspensions of it are up then the process starts over.
  • Judicial review exists but in the past the court cooperated with the incumbent PRI presidents until 2000.
  • In 2000 the supreme court ruled against outgoing President Zadillo which was a first
  • It is the dominant part of government in Mexico.
  • Many unwritten laws give the president recognized powers that have been produced through the long stretch of PRI rule.
  • The President had control over the legislature and Judiciary branch in the past when the PRI had control.
  • The president's cabinet used to be filled with members of his Camarilla but since Fox they have ben appointing prominent politicians instead of old party friends and affiliates.
  • Policies made by the president used to be passed easily under PRI control of the government but recently the loss of the majority in the legislature has slowed the president's power.
  • In the 1988 election the PRI lost its 2/3 majority of the legislature.
  • The presidents have never been really constrained by the mass media.
  • A big power that the president has is appointing public office holders at all levels of the political system.
  • The legislature was weak during the PRI dominance.
  • There are 2 houses in the legislature and they consist of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies.
  • The chamber of deputies consists of 500 seats. 300 are chosen by single member district elections (winner take all) and the remaining 200 are chosen through proportional representation.
  • The chamber of deputies members hold 3 year terms.
  • Each state of Mexico gets three senators and 32 senators proportionally represent the states.
  • Each senator holds 6 year terms.
  • The legislature is becoming more powerful in terms of its influence in government.
  • There is a permanent commission of 14 senators and 15 deputies that act on behalf of congress when congress is out of session.
  • No party holds a majority in either house of the legislature.


In July of 2006, the presidential election held some surprises. The PAN candidate, Felipe Calderon, won a close, disputed race against the PRD candidate, Obrador (the mayor of Mexico city who was popular with the lower class). Calderon won 36% if the vote, and Obrador was beat by less than 1%. PRD wouldn't accept the results. They had large demonstrations. Results were confirmed, though the PRD still refused to accept this and demonstrations continued. PAN now had the largest voting block in congress while the PRD had the second largest. Calderon was a good politician, and was able to scramble up a coalition with the PRE. Congress raised taxes on corporations and the wealthy. Government pensions were recalculated. The composition of the Federal Electoral Institute were revisesd to better represent the three major parties, but also limit the chances of future smaller parties. Calderon had ambitious iniative and decided to take on narcocorruption and organized crime. He set the Mexican army against the drug lords. These battles are dangerous, nasty, regular, and current. Violence sometimes reached across the border into the US. However, the Mexican army is hanging in there. The US government met in talks with Mexico to help them in their war against drug lords. Yet, some Mexicans blame the US because drug lords are getting weapons from the US. Also, they blame the US for their American drug users. In 2007, legislation was passed to make Mexico City the largest city in Latin America to legalize abortion in the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. This struck down a 70 year law of criminal penalties against women getting abortions. In 2008, the Supreme Court supported Mexico City's decision in an 8 to 3 ruling as it didn't violate the Mexican constitution and didn't violate any international agreement. This was supported by the PRE and PRD. The church and PAN opposed this decision. In 2008 president Calderon signed legislation to fundamentally change the Mexican justice system, allowing US style oral trials and presumption of innocence for criminal defendants. Also, it allowed local and state police departments to investigate organized crime (previously only the national government could do this). This will possibly not be fulfilled until 2016. Currently, trials in Mexico are done through breifs, and defendants are kept in prison for years until cases are resolved. In 2008 there was a debate with economic implications. Mexico recieves 40% of its annual income from the national oil company, called PEMEX. They're obligated to send a large portion of revenue to the government. This leaves little money left for the company for profit. This has left the company with eroded equitment, including breaking pipelines, drying up reserves, and debt. Legislation has been introduced to allow the company to pay bonuses, not give ownership shares. They will reduce imports. This is contested by the PRD who seized control of congress and held up proceedings for two wekks. This hasn't been voted on yet, and probably won't be voted on for a while.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Notes for 4-10

Notes for 4-10

-July 2006: President Election month: PAN candidate Felipe Calderon wins a very close and bitterly disputed race against PRD candidate Lopez Obradore
-Calderon wins with 36% of the vote, and wins by 1% of the the vote
-PRD refuses to accept results
-PAN has largest voting block in Congress at the time
-PRD has the 2nd largest block
-PRE comes in 3rd
- 1st 2 yrs in office: gets decent coalition in congress, raises taxes on corporations and wealthy, and passes law to revive composition of federal electorate
-Calderon has fully engaged Mexico's army against drug gangs
-2007: Mexico City passes legislation to legalize abortion
-2008: Supreme Court ruled 8 to 3 in favor that the law didn't violate the constitution or any agreements
-2008: Calderon signs legislation to make it seem more like a U.S. style court system
-Currently, criminal cases conducted in briefs, the public usually never watches, and the defendant is usually held in prison for many years
-2008: There is a huge debate on the economy
-40% of the profit from the oil industry is from penex
-Pipelines are in very poor condition, are deep in debt, and the petroleum supply is support

Friday Before Break, Way late

Mexican Government when confronted by EZLN 1994-98 fighting occurs the government sends troops. There are occurrences of disappearances and torture occurs. The Army went in with harsh treatment.
Mexico deals with much corruption. In 1996 the United States and Mexico makes an agreement to train new army with narcotics. In 1998 80 members of the narcotics task force are said to be involved in Drug Trafficking.
Election 2000 PAWN wins and Fox is elected president. When ballots were counted obviously not PRI fraud. Fox realizes PRI is still dominated in the Legislator. This causes a lack of progress.
Fox deals with economic issues. Mexico now has to compete with China because China produces cheaper iteams.
Felipe Calderon wins 2006 with 36% of the vote. PRD refuses to except these results. Calderon for his first two years coalition with the PRI. Raising taxes on the wealthy re-calculate government pentions. Represented the interest of three major parties. Limit organized crime.
In 2007 Mexico City legalizes abortion, biggest city to do this in mexico. Abortion must take place no later than the 12 week. In 2008 Mexican Supreme Court 8:3 said it was consitutional. PRI and PRD support it, PAWN and church do not.
In 2008 Mexico's much critize justice system by allowing moral arguments. Criminals are now presumed innocent instead of presumed guilty. State Police were now allowed to Investigate organized crime. Changes fully implemented in 2016. Cases are now written in breifs. Improvements in the public defender system.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thursday 4/9, third period

Sorry they're late!

We get a political party called the National Revolutionary Party holding its first convention in 1929, and this party will become Mexico’s official party because from this point on until 2000, Mexico is a one-party system. In 1946, they changed the party’s name to its current name, which is PRI (Partido Revolucion Institucional).

President serve six-year terms, a sexennium. Not until the sexennial (1934-1940) of President Cardenas that peasants and urban workers succeeded for this first time in pressing their claims for land and higher wages. This is a period of unprecedented strikes, protests, and petitions to the government calling for the break-up of the haciendas. As a result, more land was distributed by Cardenas than had been distributed by all of Cardenas’ predecessors combined. By 1940, Mexico’s land tenure system/ownership system had been fundamentally altered, breaking the traditional domination of the large haciendas and creating a large sector of small peasant farmers called ejidatarios. The ejidatarios are small peasant farmers who receive a lot of land from the government under their agrarian reform program. As more and more peasant farmers get land, we get new organizations, one of peasant farmers, the other of urban industrial workers in Mexico. They get formed into nationwide organizations. During this timeframe, weapons are provided to rural militants, and foreign oil companies are nationalized, meaning the Mexican government takes them and American-owned oil companies. US doesn’t worry, lets it go. The worker and the peasant organizations don’t take off very much, they don’t become large or effective until after WWII. The heritage, or legacy, of Cardenas, is in some respects still alive in Mexico. If you visit or read their papers, they still talk about their revolution and its goals, but from Cardenas’s constitution and his term in office, we get:
1. The Presidency as the primary institution of Mexico’s political structure, so a one-party system with a very strong President
2. Cardenas’s time sweeping powers given to the president during his six-year term. Mexican presidents are ineligible to run for re-election ever, but while Cardenas is there for six years, he can do almost anything he wants until 2000.
3. Under Cardenas, the Mexican military is co-opted or brought in to a be supporter and defender of the Constitution, and an organization that is not a threat to power and a coup again. So the military is brought in barracks and referred to as a pillar of society, and the president says goof things about this Constitution supporting military.
4. Cardenas bring a mass organizations, particularly the peasant and labor organizations, which become functioning under the control of the PRI, and become an arm of the PRI who will support, vote, and work hard for the PRI.

Democracy has been slow to arrive fully in Mexico. The influence of these mass organizations over government policies and government priorities has been limited. There’s one mass-organization representing peasants and workers, but they’re held to the PRI, and although they support the PRI, the Mexican President didn’t really have to listen to them very much. So the PRI dominates Mexican politics for the next 70 years to the extent that Mexico was for those seventy years almost a one-party state. The PRI won every presidential race from its founding in 1929 until the year 2000, they never lost a presidential election. The PRI had a majority in Mexico’s lower house of Congress from 1929 until 1997. The PRI was challenged for the last 25 years by a rival party called the PAN. When a lot of corruption becomes public knowledge during the Selinas Administration (1988-1994), the PRI flounders a bit under so many allegations of corruption. During the 1990s, we get an internal debate going on inside the PRI between an old –guard, autocratic faction called “Dinosaurs,” who lose, to more reform-minded, free-market oriented technocrats. Technocrats win in the 70s. Dinosaurs come back in the 90s and beg for the good old days and getting the Yankees out, et cetera. This begins with the Presidency of Echeverria, 1970-1976. This continues with President Portillo, 1976-1982, and then especially with President Delemadrid, 1982-1988, and then President Selinas, 1988-1994, then to President Zedillo, 1994-2000. Gradually over several administrations, old-line politicians lose out to the Technocos (Technocrats), who open up the Mexican economy. During this time frame, we see Mexico signing the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 with Canada and the United states, Mexico joins the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which is an international organization that regulates free trade. Ultimately, they join the WTO (World Trade Organization) like China.

New laws in this time frame led to industrial development generally concentrate din the Northern part of Mexico where foreign firms operated factories known as Maquiladora, which are factories that use duty-free, imported components to assemble intermediate or final products, and then export what they manufactured. Many similarities with China. Mexico is building up more assembly plants where the components are brought into Mexico, assembled there, and then exported.

By 1990, more than 15000 of these Maquiladoras were manufacturing GI Joes, Barbie dolls, televisions, and automobiles for exports. The dinosaurs then trace the PRI’s declining fortunes in the last couple of decades to the rise of these Technocos, who they claim are elitist, US-educated, never had to run for elected office, and out-of-touch with the party rank and file. The Technocos during these years had implemented a few reforms, such as government run or state run industries had largely been privatized, liberalization of their trade laws had opened up Mexican markets to foreign products, changes in their electoral laws made multi-party elections freer, and that in turn struck very hard at the PRI’s core constituencies, and in part steered the party and the entire country away from their roots that were largely socialist in nature. So there’s at least a twenty year period with dramatic change in Mexico.

Reforming Mexico’s authoritarian and corrupt political system then becomes the cornerstone of President Zedillo’s administration (1994-2000). Zedillo is looking at the PRI and saying its lost support, where it’s being accused of corruption, and being challenged by the PAN, and will lose if they’re not careful. He accuses the people of not being democratic. The PRI won all these elections by doing what they had to do to win, including stuffing ballot boxes and delivering ballots to the polling places. PRI would go around and take the polling boxes to a secret location, where PRI would count it, then announce. They also had advantages. Zedillo says people are upset with the PRI, and proposes amendments to the Constitution, sends them to the states for ratification, and one would take control of elections away from the PRI, and over to an independent federal election commission. The amendment would give this independent federal election commission the authority to supervise balloting, issue picture voter registration cards to voters, give the Mexican Supreme Court the authority to ejudicate election challenges rather than leaving that with the executive branch which was controlled by the PRI, the election commission was in the authority to equalize limited access of the media, which had been in the hands of the PRI. The amendment set limits on campaign spending, contributions, and allowed any political party, not just the PRI, to use the green, orange, and white colors of the Mexican flag in their campaign banners. Up until this time, the PAN and others couldn’t use green, orange, and white in their campaign material.

There are at least three major problems that have disrupted Mexico in recent years that prove to be beyond the ability of the PRI to keep control. One of those is the economy, two is a revolt by native Indians in a Southern state named Chiapas, and three, the Narco-corruption and drug wars such as what is occurring now where people are dying, and the wars are threatening to spill over to the US. The new Mexican President, Zedillo, on the economic side, was forced to devalue the peso. The currency is under a great deal of pressure and near collapse. He devalues it and then floats it against other currencies in the international markets, and it results in a 34% drop in the value of the peso against dollar. To head off an international collapse at the time, countries agree they can’t let Mexico collapse and their currency fail, so to head off a collapse, the Clinton administration in the US provided a 40 billion dollar loan to Mexico, which guaranteed Mexico’s debt. If the government couldn’t pay its debt, US would cover it up to 40 billion dollars, and Mexico would be expected to pay it back. That loan from the US and other loans from the international monetary fund was the largest international assistance program since the Marshall Plan in 1948 after WWII, but is allows Mexico to veer away from collapse from debts, and Mexican markets stabilize during the spring of 1996.

The Indian problem goes back to 1994 when a group of Mayan Indian peasants calling themselves the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) in January 1994, popped up and appeared in the state of Chiapas. They occupy several towns, and start calling for economic development. To highlight conditions in Mexico, and the large gap in wealth between Mexico’s well-off, and it’s very poor, the EZLN issues a declaration from the jungle when they emerge on the first of January. These peasants that are rebelling say,

“We are the product of 500 years of struggle, first against slavery in the war of independence against Spain, then to escape being absorbed by North American expansion. We have nothing to lose, absolutely nothing. There’s no decent roof over our heads, no land, no work, poor health, no food, no education, no right to freely and democratically chose our leaders, no independence from foreign interests, and no justice for ourselves or our children.”

In this declaration and other things they say, these peasants are rejecting the way Mexico had developed where, at the time they emerged, two of every three people in a population of over 3 million, never completed primary school. They were saying “no” to electrification programs in Mexico, in which the rivers in their state of Chiapas were used to supply electric power to Mexico City, but 1/3 of the population living in Chiapas lived in huts without electricity. It was rejection a distribution of wealth in Mexico where some 2/10 of 1% of the population were billionaires, owning things like supermarket chains or telephone companies, where this 2/10 of 1% were richer than half the people of Mexico combined, and they’re upset that ½ the people living in Chiapas have houses with dirt floors, and they’re upset that in Chiapas, there are twenty families that monopolize all the best land and they were very wealthy exporting cattle raised on large farms or estates to the US, when most people were landless or had a very little amount of land. They’re complaining about a pay scale in which 80% of the agriculture workers in 1994 earn less than the minimum salary per day, they were earning less than $5. This resulted in an estimated 88% of their children having growth retardation from malnourishment.

So these rebels come out of the jungle and make their declarations. The government has trouble dealing with them, and fighting occurs off and on from January 1994 to 1998. The Zedillo administration eventually sends tens of thousands of army troops into the state of Chiapas, bringing torture, disappearances, and arbitrary detentions for the residents of Chiapas. The rebels today are prominent, but the Mexican government never really did solve their complaints, or at least not totally.

The third problem, narco-corruption, is another major problem in Mexico. In 1996, during the Zedillo timeframe, the US and Mexico formed new army units trained by US special forces to lead in fighting the drug war in Mexico, and by 1998, over 80 members of this new elite drug-fighting organization were under investigation for being involved in drug trafficking. The drug situation and the drug wars are really nasty right now.

In the year 2000, for the first time, the PRI loses the presidency, and the candidate from the PAN, Vicente Fox, is elected President, and Mexico celebrates. Mexico is now a democracy, a two-party state, they’ve broken the PRI’s domination. However, Fox doesn’t win the cooperation of the legislative branch. The legislature remains dominated by the PRI, and they vow that they will not pass any of his legislation, so very few of his campaign promises get carried out. The lack of perceived progress resulted in some gains for the PRI in the July 2003 mid-term election. The PRI in 2003 went from 207 seats in the lower house to 222 seats. At the same time, the PAN went from 202 seats down to 151 seats. So by 2003, Fox, PAN’s president, is essentially a “lame duck.”

Fox also faced a new problem in Mexico, and that was that for years, Mexico had been a source of cheap labor. As long as the workers worked for low wages, Mexico was an attractive place for industry to locate, or for foreign factories to relocate. By 2003, Mexican industries were being heavily challenged by China. So Mexican-made products that were at one time priced low and looked attractive for export to countries like the United States, being undersold by the Chinese. An example is Mexico had made blankets, marketed at $10, cheap in the US. China comes along, and does blankets for $6, and Mexico loses. So Fox must step up to this competition.