Anarchism in Mexico

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Anarchism in Mexico, the anarchist movement in Mexico, extends from Plotino Rhodakanaty's organization of peasant workers in the 1860s, to Ricardo Flores Magón's activism prior to the Mexican Revolution, to the punk subcultures of the 1980s.[1]


In the mid-19th century, workers' organizations confronted inadequate working conditions. Mutualist groups offered members compensation for unemployment, medical leave, and old age, and focused on providing equal social provisions to workers rather than critiquing capitalism. Separately, anarchist groups, who blamed capitalism and the state for workers' ills, encouraged worker protest, as influenced by the European anarchist movement. Anarchists organized the country's first industrial strikes. Mutualist groups were hesitant to strike, but eventually joined. The strikes, mostly for wages and working conditions, were primarily in textile and mining industries.[2]

The Greek proto-anarchist Plotino Rhodakanaty arrived from Paris in 1861 in search of Mexico's semiautonomous agricultural tradition of peasant farming, where he sought to establish a commune in 1861. His Cartilla Socialista was the first pamphlet for socialism in the country. It argued for cooperative peasant socialist communes following Fourier's utopian ideals. For two decades, he professed Proudhon's belief in giving people the ability to control their own land, housing, and tools, and thought that this philosophy would resonate with Mexican peasant farmers, who already lived in a communal tradition in resistance to capitalist haciendas. After the 1871 Paris Commune, Rhodakanaty's group turned its focus to urban workers and founding a proletarian anarchist movement. While Rhodakanaty's moral outreach did not reach beyond young artisans and peasants, he inspired Julio López Chávez to lead a peasant rebellion in the late 1860s.[3]

Mexican Revolution[edit]

Ricardo Flores Magón was the preeminent figure in early 20th-century Mexican anarchism[4] and a progenitor of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.[5] He wrote the newspaper Regeneración with his brother Enrique.[6] Their movement of followers were known as the Magonistas.[7]

Anselmo L. Figueroa was a Mexican-American anarchist political figure, journalist and member of the Organizing Council of the Mexican Liberal Party (MLP). He was imprisoned in the United States between 1911 and 1914 due to violations of U.S. neutrality laws. He published Regeneración, the official newspaper of the MLP, before and after his imprisonment. At the time of the uprisings, Regeneración generated about US$1,000 per week in subscription fees. Even after covering its publication costs, several hundred dollars per week were made available for MLP revolutionary causes. Smaller sums of money were received from outside donors to the organization.[8] Regeneración was published until 1918. It was distributed in Mexican communities in the United States and used in literacy lessons there, as books were often scarce.[9]

Juana Belén Gutiérrez de Mendoza was an anarchist and feminist activist, typographer, journalist and poet born in San Juan del Río, Durango, Mexico. While many women contributed in the Mexican Revolution 1910-1920 by fighting alongside their husbands, others wrote against the injustices of the Díaz regime. In May 1901 she found an anti-Díaz newspaper called Vésper. She attacked the clergy in Guanajuato and wrote against foreign domination in Mexico. She also wrote against the Díaz regime and criticized Díaz for not carrying out the requests and needs of the people. As a result, her newspaper was confiscated and she was also put in jail several times by Díaz between 1904 and 1920. She established a new newspaper called El Desmonte (1900-1919) and continued her writings. She translated the works of Peter Kropotkin, Mikhail Bakunin, and Pierre Joseph Proudhon to Spanish.[10] She was also a Caxcan Indian from the state of Durango.[11]

The Mexican Anarchist Federation[edit]

The Mexican Anarchist Federation (sp: Federación Anarquista Mexicana) was a Mexican anarchist organization that existed from December 28, 1945 until the 1970s.[12] It appeared as the Anarchist Federation of the Center joined with the Anarchist Federation of the Federal District.[12] It published the periodical Regeneración.[12] It received the energy of recent Spanish anarchists who sought refuge in Mexico escaping from Francisco Franco's dictatorship.[12]

Shortly after its establishment it gained the attention of the Mexican police forces and the Mexican government after some Spanish exiled anarchists along with members of the Mexican Anarchist Federation were arrested after trying to rob a truck that carried large amounts of money from a beer industry.[12] Also linked to the Mexican Anarchist Federation was the Libertarian Youth (sp:Juventudes Libertarias)[12] and the publication Tierra y Libertad.[12]

Present day[edit]

Formed in 1997, the Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores Magón" (CIPO-RFM) is a grassroots organization based on the philosophy of Ricardo Magón.[13]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morse, Chuck (2009). "Anarchism, Mexico". In Ness, Immanuel. The International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 1–4. ISBN 978-1-4051-9807-3.
  2. ^ Kirkwood, J. Burton (2009). The History of Mexico (2nd ed.). ABC-CLIO. p. 125. ISBN 978-0-313-36602-4.
  3. ^ Chacón, Justin Akers (2018). Radicals in the Barrio: Magonistas, Socialists, Wobblies, and Communists in the Mexican-American Working Class. Haymarket Books. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-60846-776-1.
  4. ^ Coerver, Don M.; Pasztor, Suzanne B.; Buffington, Robert (2004). "Anarchism". Mexico: An Encyclopedia of Contemporary Culture and History. ABC-CLIO. p. 14. ISBN 978-1-57607-132-8.
  5. ^ Anderson, Gary L.; Herr, Kathryn G. (2007). Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice. SAGE Publications. p. 655. ISBN 978-1-4522-6565-0.
  6. ^ Hart, John Mason (1997). Revolutionary Mexico: The Coming and Process of the Mexican Revolution, Tenth Anniversary Edition. University of California Press. p. 91. ISBN 978-0-520-21531-3.
  7. ^ John, Rachel St. (2011). Line in the Sand: A History of the Western U.S.-Mexico Border. Princeton University Press. p. 124. ISBN 1-4008-3863-0.
  8. ^ Crawford, Richard W., ed. (Winter 1999). "The Magonista Revolt in Baja California". Journal of San Diego History. 45 (1). Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  9. ^ "A History of Mexican Americans in California: Historic Sites". Five Views: An Ethnic Historic Site Survey for California. National Park Service. Retrieved June 22, 2013.
  10. ^ Lucas, Jeffrey Kent (2010). The Rightward Drift of Mexico's Former Revolutionaries: The Case of Antonio Díaz Soto y Gama. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press. pp. 40–62. ISBN 978-0-7734-3665-7.
  11. ^ Pouwels, Joel Bollinger. Political Journalism by Mexican Women During the Age of Revolution 1876-1940. New York: Edwin Mellen P, 2006]
  12. ^ a b c d e f g "Regeneración y la Federación Anarquista Mexicana (1952-1960)" by Ulises Ortega Aguilar Archived 2011-07-26 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ An Interview with Raúl Gatica Archived 2007-11-09 at the Wayback Machine, Z Magazine (December 2005)

External links[edit]