In this title, the author offers evidence that Mexico aimed at nothing less than developing a loyal and politically dependent emigrant community among Mexican Americans, which would serve to replicate Mexico's political and economic subordination to the United States. Gonzalez centres his study around four major agricultural workers' strikes in Depression-era California. Drawing on a variety of sources, he documents how Mexican consuls worked with the US growers to break strikes, underminding militants within union ranks and in one case, successfully setting up a grower-approved union. In addition, Gonzalez seeks to demonstrate that the Mexican government's intervention in the Chicanon community did not end after a New Deal and that it continued as the Bracero Program of the 1940s and 1950s, as a patron of Chicano civil rights causes in the 1960s and 1970s and as a prominent voice in the debates over NAFTA in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Gilbert G. Gonzalez is Professor of Social Sciences and Director of the Labor Studies Program at the University of California, Irvine.