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Scroll down for text version and book review...april 7

The Mexican Labor Movement: a Force for Social Change

WHEN:   7:00 pm, Wednesday, April 7, 2010

 Legacy Books & Cafe, 5249 Delmar (near Union), St. Louis MO 63108

A panel discussion will include:

John Ross, author of El Monstruo: Dread & Redemption in Mexico City

Rita Mauchenheimer, Interfaith Committee on Latin America

Harold Compere, Concerned Haitians and Friends

Perry Molens, former Plant Chairman, International Union of Electrical Workers

David May, Hands Off Venezuela

Don Fitz, Green Party of St. Louis [moderator]

2010 will mark the bicentennial of Mexico's war of liberation from Spain and the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. As the country plunges into the most severe economic collapse since the Great Depression, President Felipe Calderon will spend billions of pesos to celebrate the twin centennials, a mistake dictator Porfirio Diaz made a century ago.

Keynote speaker John Ross will discuss Mexican labor, especially the dismissal of 42,000 members of the Sindicato Mexicano de Electricista (Mexican Electrical Workers Union), the second oldest union in the country and the impending privatization of electricity. John Ross has written 10 books of fiction and non-fiction and regularly contributes to The Progressive, The Nation, CounterPunch and the Mexican Left daily, La Jornada.

Panelists will relate conflicts in Mexico to other struggles in this hemisphere.

Sponsored by Gateway Green Alliance and Universal African Peoples Organization. For more information call 314-727-8554 or visit:

john ross

John Ross

El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico


  ReviewKepler's Bookstore • November 20, 2009

Mexico City, the mother of all megacities, is known for chaos, overpopulation, and an extreme gap between rich and poor.

John Ross—poet, journalist, activist—first visited the city in 1957 with fellow Bay Area Beats as an expatriate escape. He eventually moved to the place he has come to call “The Monster” just one week after the devastating earthquake of 1985, which killed 30,000 people. El Monstruo is his gritty, vibrant People’s History of 23 million, told from the ground up.

El Monstruo is both a tribute and an indictment, speaking to peoples’ heroes and class warfare, culture and crime, urban beauty and blight, the underbelly and the overclass, environmental degradation and courageous growth, fear and loathing, dread and redemption, hope and corruption.

Ross demonstrates that social forces, not luminaries, drive history as he delves into Mexico City from its geologic beginnings to the Left City it has become in the last decade. Along the way, he explores the rise and fall of the Tenochtitlan and Aztec civilizations, European conquest and genocide, the War of Independence, the Yanqui Invasion (the so-called Mexican War of 1848), three revolutions and their resulting carnage, the Great Depression, the so-called “Mexican Miracle,” social revolts of the 1960’s and 70’s, the Great Electoral Fraud, the foibles of NAFTA, and the Swine Flu Panic of 2009.

Ross’s last book, Murdered Capitalism was called a “must read” by NPR’s Talk of the Nation and a “Best Book of 2004” by the San Francisco Chronicle. Ross’s fifty years covering Mexico for an array of Mexican and U.S. publications including the San Francisco Bay Guardian, The Nation, and The Progressive put him in an extraordinary position to tell the complete story of its capital with great insight, and with his quixotic passion and poet’s touch he brings a beat to the narrative that is both of the city and of himself.


Last updated  20 March 2010. Contact: