A Century of Insurgency in Mexico (1909-present)

August 25, 2009 by admin1  
Filed under Featured, Media


Pancho Villa (in the Presidential chair) chats with Emiliano Zapata at Mexico City. Tómas Urbina is seated at far left, Otilio Montaño (with his head bandaged) is seated to the far right.

Zapata, Villa and anarchist influences of Ricardo Flores Magon among the Indigenous Revolutionary.

–Translated by Michael Anastasio & crew


The conflict taking place today in southern Mexico with the Zapatista Army in open rebellion and most of the province of Chiapas under their control, shows clearly how the severe problems that led to armed insurrection in Mexico in the early twentieth century were never resolved. The serious situation of social injustice, poverty and widespread violence, which also affects most of Latin America, “continued the reforms and dosed by the populist regime that emerged from the revolution allowed the oligarchy to keep their privileges.

This was exclusively Creole oligarchy, ie, descendants of Spanish. The process of enrichment and concentration of ownership and power in his hands was as follows:

At the beginning of the colonial period (1519-1824) the Spanish Crown granted land to settlers peninsular by the figure of “encomienda”, a transfer of land use with the right to require the work of the Indians attached to it for a certain number of days per year.

But since the seventeenth century the monarchy needed money and saw a quick way to get by selling parcels to settlers.

This is the moment when the lands are named after “estate”.

The Indians continued to suffer, whose small farms and communal lands were seized by the landowners with several methods: alleged payments of debts, suits that small communities could not afford or simply robbing and expelling them through violent means.

The institution of the Treasury is decisive in the history of Mexico. The vast distances and poor communications made self-sufficient farms territories in all areas, including politics. Thus, the farmer became a kind of feudal lord almighty in their properties and proud of its independence.

Almost all the literature agrees noted 1910 as the start of the Mexican Revolution. I prefer it forward to 1909 because this year appeared publicly for the first time, the figure of Emiliano Zapata and mature the Mexican Liberal Party coexistence with indigenous groups, which had begun in 1905.

EL Zapata

In September 1909, Emiliano Zapata was elected president of the Board of Defense of the Land Anenecuilco, she started to analyze the documents certifying the rights of peoples to their lands. It conviritió, so in agrarian leader from Morelos, his home state. His first political appearance outside his rural world was in the election for governor of Morelos in 1909, when he supported the opposition candidate, Patricio Leyva, against the landowners, Paul Escandon and Barron.

In 1910 he began an armed insurrection by force recovered several lands, which left in possession of the peasants, and he was declared outlaw. It was the first of which was to become General of the Southern Liberation Army, known as “El Caudillo del Sur”.


This was the nickname Pancho Villa was known, that became General of the Northern Division. After a history of robber and horse thief, his experience as a miner and construction worker led him to pursue a case in defense of the working class, which was heavily exploited almost to the point of slavery.

Like Zapata in the south, Villa, in the north, in 1910 joined the Madero revolution against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz. After the triumph of the revolution, Villa abandoned weapons since, despite the treachery of Francisco Ignacio Madero much of the early insurgency, it was now liable for the president for several favors. Zapata, however, continued in arms, as Madero did not meet even the basic promise of distributing the state farms. Only after aesinato Madero, Villa and Zapata joined forces to fight together against Huertas, first, and Carranza, later.


There are many similarities between Villa and Zapata, but also countless differences. When he had his hands on some administrations, Pancho Villa opened schools, imposed price controls and taxes earmarked for the war to supply the population of commodities. In its ideology emphasize the value of equal treatment and opportunities, however, differed from the aspiration for equality of classes ( “What would the world be if we were all speaking, if we were all capitalists, or if we were all poor?” ) not fully shared the agrarian program of the Zapatistas, as they aspire to common ownership of land and he preferred the deal in small family units. On the other hand, was also an enthusiastic supporter of technological progress applied to agricultural production.

For its part, the government of Zapata in Morelos created agrarian commissions, established the first agricultural credit institution in Mexico, tried to convert the sugar industry in a cooperative.

Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa are the two characters in which we summarize, at least in Europe, the epic of the Mexican Revolution. Nothing is further from the truth.

THE P.L.M. And Ricardo Flores Magon

Ricardo was the second of three brothers from a mestizo family of liberal tradition among indigenous Mazatec freeman. From a young age he participated in student movements against Porfirio Díaz and worked as a journalist in the opposition press. He founded the newspaper “Regenaración” and this lead him to jail for the first time.

In 1901 he attended the First Congress of Liberal Clubs and harshly attacked the government of Porfirio Díaz, which cost him his second imprisonment.

On February 5, 1903 part, alongside his brother Henry and other liberals in the protests against the government for not enforcing the Constitution promulgated on February 5, 1857. He was apprehended again and, when he was released in 1904, left for Laredo, Texas, in exile with his brother and other companions.

Founded in 1906 in the U.S., after a year of preparation with several militants, the Partido Liberal Mexicano (there and then, the term “liberal” actually came from “freedom”) Among the tenets of the new party had ideas quite revolutionary for that time:

Suppression of reelection.

Abolition of the death penalty.

Compulsory primary education until age 14.

Setting the minimum wage.

Regulation and reduction of working hours.

Ricardo Flores Magon was an intellectual precursor of the Mexican Revolution in 1906 and promoted armed struggle along the U.S. border to extend the social revolution to the rest of Mexico, but the armed activities of PLM failed to influence the rest of the armed movement that began in 1910.

Madero INIVIT to join the revolution to overthrow Porfirio Díaz, but Ricardo refused the offer on the grounds that it was a bourgeois revolt devoid of social proposals. For him, a political revolution would be driven by economic and social revolution that contemplate the abolition of the state and private property.

From Los Angeles, California, he continued the revolutionary activity and had contact with American anarchists and socialists, mostly with union militants Industrial Workers of the World (Industrial Workers of the World) and participated in the founding of the Revolutionary Anarchist Los Angeles anarcho clearly principled, from which summoned the Mexican revolutionaries fighting against the Authority, the Clergy and Capital. Many accounts claim that there was subsequent correspondence between Ricardo Flores Magon and Emiliano Zapata, and even that was an invitation from the latter so that members of the PLM be moved to the State of Morelos to be provided with paper and printing to producing publications nationwide. The invitation was not accepted because Flores Magon considered that the Zapatista movement, in spite of the sympathy that he raised was not going beyond demanding restitution of land to peasants.

Regarding Pancho Villa, Ricardo Flores had always disliked him since he was declared an unconditional Villa Madero. Even more so when in 1914 the anarchist Franco Basilia crossed the border to distribute propaganda PLM in Chihuahua and was arrested and imprisoned by order of Pancho Villa.

Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magon spent half the time they were in America in jail. Sometimes they were helped for bail by a committee led by the revolutionary Lithuanian based in USA until his deportation, Emma Goldman, and his companion, Alexander Berkman.

But the March 16, 1918 Ricardo published, along with his friend Librado Rivera, a manifesto addressed to the anarchists of the world. They were then arrested, tried and sentenced to 21 years in prison, accused of sabotaging the U.S. war effort, which then participated in World War I Munidal.

Ricardo and would not leave jail until his death.

The body arrived in Ciudad Juárez on January 5 of 1923 and Mexico City on 15 January. Workers with red and black flags approached the funeral train to
pay tribute to Ricardo. On the 16th of January, 10,000 workers accompanied the body up to where he was buried.

Ironically, once dead, the State against which he fought began to recognize him as the great forerunner of the Mexican Revolution. On May 1, 1945 his remains were moved to the Rotunda of Illustrious Men in Mexico City. From then until today, the line of tributes and reissues of his works Hypocrites have not ceased, displaying one of the most succinct paradoxes of history!


The political and social agenda of the Flores Magon brothers soon began to be defined as “magonismo” by the government and the press. However, both the brothers and his colleagues always rejected the term, they felt they were fighting for an ideal and not the elevation of power to a leader or a group. They called themselves “liberals”, being organized in the Mexican Liberal Party, and later “anarchists”, the same Ricardo Flores Magon said: “The liberal party members are not magonistas, are anarchists” In fact, the thought magonista was influenced by Bakunin, Proudhon, Malatesta, Anselmo Lorenzo, Emma Goldman, Max Stirner, but also knew the work of Marx, Gorki and Ibsen. However, it can be said that it was the work of Kropotkin’s “The Conquest of Bread” and “Mutual Aid” those who most influenced the magonismo, while that drew on the liberal tradition of the nineteenth century Mexican and sense of autonomy and indigenous community, meaning that its militants had learned to live with them between 1905 and 1910. Indigenous communities that hosted and taught the people of the PLM Popolucas were in Veracruz; Yoquis and the Mayos in Sonora, and Cucapás, Baja California, nations, all of them, that since the conquest by the Spanish México, sought to preserve the practice of direct democracy, taking decision in assembly, rotation of management positions, defense of community property, mutual support and community and rational exploitation of natural resources, principles identical to those raised by the anarchist ideals magonistas.


After the death of Ricardo Flores Magon began the rescue of his thought, mainly in by unionists in Mexico and the U.S. First came the Industrial Workers of the World, founded by Mexican workers and exiled from the Spanish CNT, then the Mexican Anarchist Federation, founded in 1941 and active almost until 1980. Later, survived magonismo among young anarcho-punk collective, and finally, in the late twentieth century anarchism and claims is wielded magonista from the ranks of the Zapatista National Liberation Army, which is up in arms in Chiapas in 1994, but its foundation dates back to November 1983.

In 1997, indigenous and social organizations, collectives libertarians and municipalities declared a state of Oaxaca “Ricardo Flores Magon Citizen Year. The invitation stated:

Because magonismo is an experience that life continues.

Because we need to extend their work among our young people.

Because the central government has exclusive rights to our historic leaders (a clear allusion to the hypocrite recognition of the State)

Because it is compact and mandate of our assemblies.

In the popular uprising in Oaxaca in 2006 involving youth organizations and groups influenced by anarchist ideals magonistas.

THE C.G.T. And Ricardo Flores Magon

In 1998, the General Confederation of Labor State Spanish anarcho-syndicalist organization, is twinned with the Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion “Ricardo Flores Magon”, released by the EZLN, and collaborates on various charity projects, both from Spain and on the ground, with the presence and work of some militants.


Emilano Zapata was betrayed and murdered on 10 April 1919.

Pancho Villa was betrayed and murdered on July 20, 1923

Ricardo Flores Magon was tortured to death (or hanged, according to other versions) in November 1922 by officials of the U.S. prison serving a sentence.

That the land will be mild.

Long live Subcomandante Marcos!

This article first appeared on: cgt.info

Thursday, August 20th, 2009 / Anarkirias Tartessus