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Looking at the Mexican Revolution from a distance, we can see that the overt theme was set in the tone of the poor versus the rich; those who drank pulque and had a sense of community and those who sipped fine wine at the expense of the working-class, with an affinity for privileged isolationism.

Ricardo Flores Magón may have been right all along when he said that:
“The dreamer is the designer of tomorrow. The practical man, the sensible, cold head, can laugh at the dreamer; they do not know that he, the dreamer, is the true dynamic force that pushes the world forward. Suppress the dreamer, and the world will deteriorate toward barbarism. Despised, impoverished, the dreamer opens the way for his race, sowing sowing sowing the seeds which will be harvested, not by him, but by the practical men, the sensible cold heads of tomorrow, who will laugh at the sight of another dreamer seeding, seeding, seeding.”

Ricardo Flores Magón (left) and his brother Enrique
Ricardo Flores Magón (left) and his brother Enrique

Looking back on the Mexican Revolution from a critical perspective, with a look at Anarchism via infamous "bourgeois" Anarchist thinker Ricardo Flores Magon...

La Revolución Mexicano: ¿Tierra y Libertad?
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Looking at the Mexican Revolution from a distance, we can see that the overt theme was set in the tone of the poor versus the rich; those who drank pulque and had a sense of community and those who sipped fine wine at the expense of the working-class, with an affinity for privileged isolationism.

Under dictatorship, Mexicans became more and more resentful towards Porfirio Diaz, whose rein was not in the interest of the Mexican people, but instead his interest having to do with being rich and powerful. An example of his apathy or even aversion towards his own people can be seen with the Cananea Strike of 1906.

On 16 January 1906, the Union Liberal Humanidad was formed by staff members of the Cananea-based radical newspaper El Centenario, which re-published many articles from Regeneración, a San Luis Potosí-based radical magazine. Members of Union Liberal Humanidad numbered around fifteen members, and then followed the Cananea Strike, which took place on 01 June 1906, after months of unrest at the Cananea Consolidated Copper Company.

Although not so cut-and-dry, the contrast during the Mexican Revolution was undeniably tied to the protection of the rich by the dictator Porfirio Diaz, whose tyranny and apathy for the poor led to his inevitable demise. His behaviour insofar as the Cananea Strike of 1906 was indicative of his eventual demise. Diaz requested help from the United States government and allowed them to send in U.S. troops to break-up the strike in Cananea and repress the workers in the town on the Arizona border. This was one major incident that led to the resentment and ultimate revolt against the Diaz government.

The government that replaced the dissolved Diaz dictatorship in 1910 could be considered more democratic than its predecessor, but was it truly revolutionary in its nature? Some Mexican revolutionaries sought to end capitalist government as a whole in Mexico, for the benefit of the people. One of these revolutionaries, namely Anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón, was very much opposed to Francisco Madero, the “bourgeois revolutionary” (Albro, p.127). Flores Magón feared that the revolution of the maderistas would be one of mild reform lacking any real change, or as he put it, “an opera bouffe revolt, ending in the enthronement of a new tyrant.” (Albro, p.133)

Porfirio Diaz, was a dictator whose tyrannical and undemocratic rule was favoured by the rich, who enjoyed life on their haciendas; estates and ranches kept by people who had great wealth and allowed the poor to work on their land, but never allowed them to own the land. On the anti-Diaz end of the spectrum were la Gente, or “the People” who made up the great bulk of Mexican society and lived as pueblos, and whose sense of community was real, unlike the rich who made up what some referred to as “Imaginary Mexico”.

Another leading factor in the Mexican Revolution was the fact that many people remained poor in Mexico while U.S. Imperialist interests— via companies in Mexico and Latin America— led to great resentment towards Porfirio Diaz for his lack of opposition to the U.S.

One of the main consequences for Mexico was that its people were short-changed after the decade of struggle in the revolution. Not only was Porfirio Diaz replaced with a reformist and non-revolutionary leader, such as Francisco Madero, but their semi-democratic society was still riddled with substantial poverty and inequality.

Many of the revolutionary battle cries for Tierra, Libertad, y Pan were ignored, and instead many Mexicans were left to endure a less-tyrannical president, because anything seemed better than the wrath of the former president and dictator Porfirio Diaz. At least with Diaz ousted, workers had substantially better rights, with unions and labour able to organise without as much repression.

Francisco Madero and Venustiano Carranza were part of the bourgeoisie, and although they were at unrest with Diaz, they did not have the true sense of revolutionary fervour that was a big part of the movements who followed Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa. Villa and Zapata, whose revolutionary spirits live on to this day (as seen by the Zapatista movement in Chiapas, for example). Madero and his maderistas were perhaps not as great as they may have seemed at the outset of the Revolution.

There were not many consequences for the United States as a result of the Mexican Revolution. In some aspects, the U.S. did not have a strong of an imperialistic hold on Mexico. In other ways, however, the U.S. was able to take advantage of the Revolution and the unrest in Mexico by taking land and setting up businesses in Mexican territory, thereby using cheap Mexican labour, as is the case to this day. Leading up to the Revolution, the United States took Arizona away from Mexico’s territory, however, after the Revolution, the United States was not able to oppress the people of Mexico as easily as was allowed under Diaz and under the volatility of the Revolutionary struggle.

Mexican-Americans were caught up in the whole mess, as many Mexicans fled northward during the Revolution and became refugees in a new society that was very different from their familiar barrios and without pulquerias; some families were split apart and displaced.

Ricardo Flores Magón may have been right all along when he said that:

“The dreamer is the designer of tomorrow. The practical man, the sensible, cold head, can laugh at the dreamer; they do not know that he, the dreamer, is the true dynamic force that pushes the world forward. Suppress the dreamer, and the world will deteriorate toward barbarism. Despised, impovershied, the dreamer opens the way for his race, sowing sowing sowing the seeds which will be harvested, not by him, but by the practical men, the sensible cold heads of tomorrow, who will laugh at the sight of another dreamer seeding, seeding, seeding.” (Albro, p.139)

Let us hope that the seeds of change are still in the soil of Mexico and that it will soon be harvested for the good of all people.

_______________________________________________________________________
Works Cited:

Gonzales, Juan. Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America. United States:

Viking Penguin Press, 2000 (member of Penguin Putnam Inc.)

Albro, Ward. Always a Rebel: Ricardo Flores Magón and the Mexican Revolution.

United States: Texas Christian University Press, 1992


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