The party was founded in 1929, but its current name was given in 1946. What does the word institutional mean in its name?

Does it mean 'revolutionise the institutions'? Or does it mean 'the institutions are the revolution'? Or what?



The Institutional Revolutionary Party is described by some scholars as a "state party", a term which captures both the non-competitive history and character of the party itself, and the inextricable connection between the party and the Mexican nation-state for much of the 20th century. Institutionalism in Mexico is a concept that is based in the non-morphological character of consolidated human organizations, having the particular feature of belonging to its determined legal field and settled as the highest manifestation of social common issues, as well as people use to go in and outside the objective legal field. In its origins, it was determined that institutionalism would be the only way to solve social problems as humans establish their differences and common similarities. The PRI held power for 71 years ...

IOW, it is "Revolutionary" as a reminder of the Mexican Revolution and it is "Institutional" because it operates in such terms as "L'état, C'est Moi" or "What's good for General Motors is good for the America" (both quotes false!) In other words, it is "Партия власти", i.e., the party whose function is not so much to express and represent certain political views but to support the state. In a way, such a party becomes a state institution. Historically, CPSU and NSDAP were other such examples (no, I do not consider PRI to be a criminal organization, unlike CPSU and NSDAP).

  • 2
    clear as mud :/ – Ne Mo May 6 '15 at 23:41
  • the wiki quote may be confusing, but I am sure my explanation is lucid enough. – sds May 6 '15 at 23:52
  • The wiki doesn't cite a contemporary source for this, so this is just some wiki editor guessing a vaguely plausible explanation, which I can do myself. – Ne Mo May 7 '15 at 10:39
  • Makes sense to me (+1), but some may not be as familiar with that French phrase and its significance. You may consider either translating it, elaborating, or at least linking to a definition. – T.E.D. May 8 '15 at 11:12

First, the Mexican "Revolution" (of 1917) was more like a civil war. It should not be confused with the Guerra por la Indepedencia (War of Independence) 1810-21, which is what Americans would call the "Revolution."

Having been the "gang" that won the (de facto) civil war, the PRI wrapped itself in the "flag" of the "revolution." The acronym refers to the Partido Revolucionario Institucional, which means "Institutional Revolution Party." In effect, the PRI named itself as the "Establishment" Party. This was to distinguish itself from its right-wing predecessor, the PRN, the National Revolutionary Party, and its left wing offshoot, the PRD, the (social) Democratic Revolutionary Party.

Put another way, the PRI is the "Bolshevik" ("big" revolutionary) party of Mexico. By thus claiming "legitimacy," it was able to hold onto power for longer than its political merits might have implied.

I lived and worked in Mexico in 1994, and attended a number of meetings led by PRI officials who explained the above to me.

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