Ricardo Flores Magón
|This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Portuguese Wikipedia. (February 2009)|
|Ricardo Flores Magón|
Linocut portrait by Albertro Beltran, date unknown.
September 16, 1874|
San Antonio Eloxochitlán, Oaxaca, Mexico
|Died||November 21, 1922
Leavenworth Penitentiary, Kansas, United States
|Known for||Involvement in the Mexican Revolution and introducing anarchism to Mexico|
Cipriano Ricardo Flores Magón (Spanish pronunciation: [riˈkarðo ˈfloɾes maˈɣon]; September 16, 1874 – November 21, 1922) was a noted Mexican anarchist and social reform activist. His brothers Enrique and Jesús were also active in politics. Followers of the Magón brothers were known as Magonistas. He has been considered an important participant in the social movement that sparked the Mexican Revolution.
Ricardo was born on 16 September 1874, in San Antonio Eloxochitlán, Oaxaca, an indigenous Mazatec community. His father, Teodoro Flores, was a Zapotec Indian and his mother, Margarita Magón was a Mestiza. The couple met each other in 1863 during the Siege of Puebla when both were carrying munitions to the Mexican troops.
Magón explored the writings and ideas of many early anarchists, such as Mikhail Bakunin and Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, but was also influenced by anarchist contemporaries Élisée Reclus, Charles Malato, Errico Malatesta, Anselmo Lorenzo, Emma Goldman, and Fernando Tarrida del Mármol. He was most influenced by Peter Kropotkin. He also read from the works of Karl Marx and Henrik Ibsen.
He was one of the major thinkers of the Mexican Revolution and the Mexican revolutionary movement in the Partido Liberal Mexicano. Flores Magón organised with the Wobblies (IWW) and edited the Mexican anarchist newspaper Regeneración, which aroused the workers against the dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz.
Kropotkin's The Conquest of Bread, which Flores Magón considered a kind of anarchist bible, served as basis for the short-lived revolutionary communes in Baja California during the "Magonista" Revolt of 1911.
The Magón brothers were from a family of modest means in Oaxaca and all three studied law at the Escuela Nacional de Jurisprudencia (today Faculty of Law of the UNAM). Ricardo initially attended the Escuela Nacional Preparatoria. During this time, he participated in student opposition to President Porfirio Diaz and he was jailed for five months. Nevertheless, he graduated and then transferred to the National School of Law. While there, he worked as a proofreader for the student newspaper El Demócrata and narrowly escaped arrest when the entire staff was arrested by the police. He was in hiding for three months but continued his studies and received his law degree in 1895 and passed the examination of the Barra Mexicana-Colegio de Abogados (Mexican Bar and Advocate’s College). He practised law for a short time and continued to study for a higher degree but was expelled from the school in 1898 because of his political activities. In 1900, he and Jesus founded the newspaper El Regeneración in which Ricardo wrote numerous articles attacking Diaz. He also wrote articles for the opposition periodicals Excelsior, La República Mexicana, and El Hijo del Ahuizote. He joined the PLM in 1900.
In 1904, Magón fled Mexico when the courts banned the printing of his writings and he remained in the USA for the remainder of his life. Half this period was spent in prison. He resumed publication of Regeneración and led the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM) (Mexican Liberal Party) from abroad. In 1906, he went to California. Around this time PLM uprisings occurred in Mexico which were crushed by the Mexican government. The US sympathized with the Mexican government and started taking PLM leaders in the US into custody. Magón was fearful that he would be caught and returned to Mexico, where he faced the possibility of execution. Agents of the Mexican government found him in Los Angeles and beat him unconscious before handing him over to the police. He was charged with violating U.S. neutrality laws and, although the Angeleno left rallied to his defense, he was convicted and sent to an Arizona federal prison. He was released in 1910 and again resumed publishing Regeneración from an office in down-town Los Angeles. The Mexican civil war began that same year and the Magonistas, as the PLM forces were known, were involved in combat throughout Mexico. By June 1911, they were defeated and Magón was arrested again. After two years in prison in Washington state, he was released and settled with brother Enrique in Edendale, just north of the Silver Lake Reservoir. The PLM had no funds by this time and the brothers and their friends farmed and raised chickens on the rented plot of land. He continued publishing Regeneración and making speeches in the region. He was again arrested in 1916, accused of sending "indecent materials" through the U.S. Mail. With the help of Emma Goldman, he made bail. In 1918, he published an anti-war maifesto. In this he wrote, "The death of the old order is at hand. It is being whispered in the bars, theatres, streetcars and homes, especially in our homes, the homes of those at the bottom." For these writings, he was charged with sedition under the Espionage Act of 1917, convicted and sentenced to twenty years.
His last arrest was in 1918, when he received a 20-year sentence for "obstructing the war effort", a violation of the Espionage Act of 1917. The Wilson administration conducted what were called the Palmer Raids, a wholesale crackdown on war dissidents and leftists that also swept up notable socialists such as Eugene V. Debs. He died at Leavenworth Penitentiary in Kansas. He had been suffering from diabetes for many years and was losing his eyesight by the time of his death.
The cause of Flores Magón's death has been disputed. Some believe that he was deliberately murdered by prison guards. Others contend that he died as a result of deteriorating health caused by his long imprisonment, possibly exacerbated by medical neglect by Leavenworth Penitentiary officials and staff. Flores Magón wrote several letters to friends complaining of debilitating health problems and of what he perceived to be purposeful neglect by the prison staff.
The Mexican Chamber of Deputies adopted a resolution requesting the repatriation of of Magón's body. It stated,
"The undersigned Deputies, animated by the desire of rendering posthumous homage to the grand Mexican revolutionary, Ricardo Flores Magón, martyr and apostle of libertarian ideas, who has just died poor and blind in the cell of a Yankee prison, propose that this honorable Assembly pass the following resolution:
That there be brought to rest in the soil of his native land, at the expense of the Mexican Government, the mortal
remains of Ricardo Flores Magón. We request that this be acted upon immediately without reference to committee.
Hall of the Mexican Congress, Mexico, D.F., November 22, 1922"
- (Signed) Julian S. Gonzalez, Antonio G. Rivera, E. Baron Obregon, J. M. Alvarez Del Castillo, A. Diaz So'ro Y Gama, and others
The U.S. authorities denied the request and Magón was buried in Los Angeles..
|Part of a series on|
Flores Magón's movement fired the imagination of both American and Mexican anarchists. In 1945, his remains were repatriated to Mexico and were interred in the Rotonda de los Hombres Ilustres in Mexico City. In Mexico, the Flores Magón brothers are considered left-wing political icons nearly as notable as Emiliano Zapata; numerous streets, public schools, towns and neighborhoods are named for them.
In 1991, Douglas Day published The Prison Notebooks of Ricardo Flores Magón, a fictional diary covering Flores Magon's life from his birth in Oaxaca until his mysterious death in his cell at Leavenworth.
In 1997, an organization of indigenous peoples of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca formed the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores Magón" (Consejo Indígena Popular de Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores Magón", or CIPO-RFM), based on the philosophy of Magón.
- INAFED. "Teotitlán de Flores Magón". Enciclopedia de los Municipios de México. Retrieved 2008-10-24.. However, he is invariably known to posterity as "Ricardo".
- Lee Stacy (2002) Mexico And The United States pp. 329-30, Marshall Cavendish, ISBN 978-0761474029
- Poole, David, ed. (1977). Land and Liberty: Anarchist Influences in the Mexican Revolution. Black Rose Books. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-919618-30-5.
- Flores Magón, Ricardo; Chaz Bufe and Mitchell Cowen Verter (eds.) (2005). Dreams of Freedom: A Ricardo Flores Magón Reader. Stirling: AK Press. p. 339. ISBN 978-1-904859-24-6.
- Stephen P. Reyna, R. E. Downs. (1999) Deadly Developments: Capitalism, States and War p. 101, Taylor & Francis Group, ISBN 978-9056995898
- MacLachlan, Colin (1991). Anarchism and the Mexican Revolution: The Political Trials of Ricardo Flores Magón in the United States. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-07117-9.
- John Mason Hart (1987) Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution, University of California Press ISBN 0-520-05995--6
- "Ricardo Flores Magón", Dictionary of Hispanic Biography (1996), Gale, Detroit
- "Son of Anarchy" (Dec 2013) Los Angeles magazine
- "Death of Ricardo Flores Magón" (December 1922) Freedom Vol.XXXVI No.402 p.82
- Rivera, Librado (1922-11-25). "Letter to Raúl Palma". Retrieved 2007-11-30.
- "Mexico's Martyr" (December 18, 1922) The Nation Vol.CV No.2998 p 702
- Douglas Day (1991) The Prison Notebooks of Ricardo Flores Magón, Harcourt ISBN 978-0151745982
- Kolhatkar, Sonali (2005-12-02). "An Interview with Raúl Gatica". Z Magazine Online. ZNET.
- Albro, Ward S. (1992). Always a Rebel: Ricardo Flores Magón and the Mexican Revolution. Texas Christian University Press. ISBN 978-0-87565-281-8.
- Bufe, Chaz; Verter, Mitchell (2005). Dreams of Freedom: A Ricardo Flores Magon Reader. AK Press. ISBN 9781904859246.
- Lucas, Jeffrey Kent (2010). The Rightward Drift of Mexico’s Former Revolutionaries: The Case of Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama. Edwin Mellen Press. ISBN 978-0-7734-3665-7.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ricardo Flores Magón.|
- Ricardo Flores Magón entry at the Anarchy Archives
- Complete Works (mostly in Spanish)
- Ricardo Flores Magón in English and Spanish
- Death of a Political Prisoner: Revisiting the Case of Ricardo Flores Magón
- Historic Sites of Magón's travels in exile, including addresses in Laredo, San Antonio, Saint Louis, El Paso, Los Angeles, Tucson, Tombstone, and prisons in Yuma, Florence (AZ), McNeil Island (WA), and Leavenworth (KA) (site in progress)
- Ricardo Flores Magon at Find a Grave