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Sinarquismo, a movement of conservative, lay Mexican Catholics that originated in opposition to radical and liberal tendencies during the presidency of Lázaro Cárdenas (1934–1940). The term sinarquismo literally means "with order," the opposite of anarchism, but its advocates intended to counter not that ideology (peripheral in the 1930s) but both communism and capitalism by appeals to a traditional, hierarchical, Hispanic, corporate social order.

Allegedly founded at a clandestine meeting in León, Guanajuato, in May 1937, the National Sinarquist Union's (Unión Nacional Sinarquista) penchant for secrecy makes historical documentation difficult. The use of obscure gestures, code words, and a quasi-military structure has led some observers to overstate its ties with European fascism during World War II. The Sinarquistas claimed 900,000 members in 1944, but in view of its rapid decline soon thereafter, this figure seems inflated. Members were largely peasants from Guanajuato, Jalisco, and neighboring states where the Cristeros had arisen in the 1920s. Often left out of land reform and other government programs, these peasants turned to Sinarquismo as a form of political protest. After 1950 Sinarquistas maintained a marginal but outspoken opposition to the dominant National Revolutionary Party (by 1950 named the Institutional Revolutionary Party).

See alsoMexico, Political Parties: Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) .


The historical and political context is explored in Donald J. Mabry, Mexico's Acción Nacional: A Catholic Alternative to Revolution (1973), esp. pp. 16-31, 43-44, 52-53, 193-194; and Jean Meyer, El Sinarquismo: ¿Un fascismo mexicano?, translated by Aurelio Garzón del Camino (1979). Nathan L. Whetten exaggerates Sinarquista influence in the 1940s but includes translations from several Sinarquista publications of that period in his Rural Mexico (1948), esp. pp. 454-522.

Additional Bibliography

Aguilar, Rubén, and Guillermo Zermeño P. Religión, política y sociedad: El sinarquismo y la iglesia en México: Nueve ensayos. Mexico: Universidad Iberoamericana, Departamento de Historia, 1992.

Hernández García de León, Héctor. Historia política del sinarquismo, 1934–1944. México: Universidad Iberoamericana; M.A. Porrúa, 2004.

Meyer, Jean A. El sinarquismo, el cardenismo y la iglesia: 1937–1947. México: Tusquets Editores, 2003.

Serrano Alvarez, Pablo. La batalla del espíritu: El movimiento sinarquista en El Bajío, 1932–1951. México, D.F.: Consejo Nacional para la Cultura y las Artes, 1992.

                                           John A. Britton