Voltarine de Cleyre
Praxedis G. Guerrero
William C. Owen
CHICAGO WORKERS SHOW SYMPATHY.
ROUSING RESOLUTIONS PASSED BY TOOL AND DIEMAKERS1
What with the misreports of the general press, the misinformation of the radical press−let us add the timidity of the latter−the intense local warfare in the labor world, and the necessity for concentrated defense of the labor leaders now under indictment in Los Angeles2, it is hard for the average Chicagoan, even the more enlightened one, to grasp the Mexican situation and its importance in relation to himself.
Pioneers among those to recognize it are Tool and Diemakers’ Union, Local 105 International Association of Machinists3, who, during the closing weeks of May, passed resolutions as follows:
Whereas, The working people of Mexico are now in open revolt against a system of economic oppression which has robbed them of the land and the opportunity to labor, and enslaved them to a few enormously wealthy alien and native landlords;
And whereas, These insurrectionists sturdily refuse to abate their claims or abandon their struggle because of the peace pact between Diaz and Madero4, declaring the latter to be a mere political place-hunter, and, in virtue of his being one of the greatest landowners of Mexico, necessarily a bitter foe to those economic changes which alone can give liberty to the Mexican workers;
And whereas, Realizing that the struggle between capital and labor knows no boundaries; that the United States army is held upon the border5, ready to protect the interests of American capital in Mexico should the Maderist government prove unable to crush the genuine revolution; realizing that the workers everywhere, if actually informed as to the real situation (which they are not, owing to the conspiracy of the capitalist press to suppress the truth), must sympathize with the daring struggle of their Mexican brothers in revolt: the Mexican Liberal Party, (whose organizing Junta is at 5191/2 E. 4th street, Los Angeles), has issued an appeal to the Workers of the World6 to support them in their struggle by spreading the knowledge of the situation through every available means, by energetic protest against intervention from any outside power, and by contributions in money;
Therefore resolver, That we, the members of Tool and Diemakers’ Union, Local 105 International Association of Machinists, hereby express our fullest sympathy with the workers of Mexico in their just demand for the restoration of the land to the people; that we recognize their struggle as our struggle, and that of the workers everywhere; and
Resolved, That we protest with all our might against intervention either by the United States or any other government in the Mexican struggle. If capitalists have chosen to invest in Mexico, taking advantage of corrupt and barbarous political and economic conditions to wring profits from the Mexican workers, let them abide the consequences. Let not the workers of the United States, or any other country, be betrayed into getting themselves shot to maintain the supremacy of the leeches of capital, who will themselves do no fighting!
And resolved, That in emulation of our brothers of Bakers’ Union Local and Millmen’s Union No. 422 of San Francisco, we likewise pledge our moral and, if necessary, our financial support to the great struggle.
Copies were directed to be sent to Pres. Taft7, to the “Chicago daily Socialist”, and to “Regeneracion”. It was expected that the “Chicago daily Socialist” would print them in full; however, it merely made a labor note of it.
At present the situation is clarifying itself, and the daily Socialist”, is now giving better reports. Its own Socialist readers are vigorously protesting soft against the attitude of Congressman Berger9 that the proper thing for the sufferers of Mexico is to continue to suffer koora extra submissively till capitalism “has filled up the measure of its fathers”. There are Socialists who think that measure is already running over.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE
2038 Potomac Ave., Chicago, 111.
1 Publicado en Regeneración, Núm. 44, sábado 1 de Julio de 1911. La razón de la tardía publicación de este texto la expresó el encargado de la sección en inglés, William C. Owen, en el número 42 del 17 de junio: “En Chicago, Voltairine de Cleyre y otros destacados trabajadores se están esmerando activamente. No podemos decir si los informes y las remesas prometidos por ellos han llegado a Los Ángeles o no, ya que la oficina del alguacil ha tomado nuestro correo a su tierno cuidado. Al haber sido privados tanto de la correspondencia como de los envíos, naturalmente seguimos adivinando y nos vemos obligados a dejar a nuestros lectores en la misma situación.”
2 Refiérese a los hermanos John J. y James B. McNamara, miembros de la International Association of Bridges and Structural Iron Workers (Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores de Puentes y Estructuras de Acero) de la cual era secretario-tesorero el primero. Ambos fueron acusados de haber dinamitado el edificio del periódico anti-obrero The Los Ángeles Times el 1 de octubre de 1910 y encarcelados en Los Ángeles, Calif. El incendio que prosiguió a la explosión provocó 21 muertes y numerosos heridos. El Times, buscó, en un principio, incriminar en esos hechos a los redactores de Regeneración, a lo que el periódico replicó con la validación de la tesis de un auto-atentado ideado por el general Harrison Gray Otis, dueño del periódico y con la defensa de los hermanos McNamara, tras su captura en abril de 1911. RFM y McNamara coincidieron en la cárcel del condado de Los Ángeles. Los principales sindicatos y organizaciones obreras norteamericanas, incluida la American Federation of Labor, defendieron a los McNamara, hasta que James B., durante el juicio que tuvo lugar en octubre de ese año, se declaró culpable por consejo del abogado Clearence Darrow. A ello siguió una fuerte ofensiva estatal contra sindicatos y la derechización de muchos de ellos.
3 In 1888, los maquinistas de Atlanta, Georgia formaron la International Association of Machinists (Asociación Internacional de Maquinistas) como sindicato.
4 Refiérese a los Acuerdos de Ciudad Juárez, Chih. firmados el 21 de mayo de 1911.
5 El gobierno norteamericano reforzó la presencia de tropas en la frontera el 3 de febrero de 1911 y un poco más de un mes después, desplegó, por órdenes de presidente Howard W. Taft, 20 000 soldados más en la zona, así como el traslado de un crucero en cada una de las bases navales más cercanas a México: Guantánamo y San Diego.
6 Refiérese a “Un llamamiento a los Trabajadores del Mundo”, emitido por el Comité Internacional de la Junta; Regeneración, núm. 39, 27 de mayo de 1911.Organizadora del Partido Liberal Mexicano (Los Ángeles, Cal.)
7 Refiérese a William Howard Taft. Presidente de los Estados Unidos de América del 4 de marzo de 1909 al 4 de marzo de 1913.
8 Refiérese a The Chicago daily Socialist (Chicago, Ill.) 1904-1912. A. M. Simons, editor. Sucesor de The Workers’ Call (1899-1902). Portavoz, en sus inicios, del Socialist Labor Party (Partido Socialista del Trabajo), editado por la Workers’ Publication Society. A partir de 1909 se aproximó a las posturas reformistas de la AFL.
9 Refiérese a Víctor L. Berger (1860-1929), periodista y fundador del Partido Social Demócrata de América y su sucesor el Partido Socialista de América. Fue el primer senador socialista estadounidense, electo en 1910 por el distrito de Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Representó el ala derechista del socialismo en Estados Unidos.
10 Mateo, 23:32
CHICAGO COMRADES DISPLAY GREAT ACTIVITY.1
On the second of July, 1911, a number of those interested in the Mexican Revolt and the workers of “Regeneracion”, formed themselves into an association as the Mexican Liberal Defense Conference of Chicago, with Honore J. Jaxon2 as secretary, and the undersigned as treasurer.
Our purposes are to make the cause of the Mexican Revolution and the case of the accused editors and publishers3, known to the general public, and the workers in particular, in Chicago; to visit local unions and radical societies; to shell copies of the paper, and to solicit funds.
Our committees have thus far visited Bakery and Confectionery Workers’ Local 237, which expressed its moral sympathy and gave a donation of $5; Branch 30 of the Workmen’s Circle, which gave a donation of $3: Branch – which donated $2; Branch 52 which has pledged its moral and financial support; Branch 448 which promises moral and support, having taken up a free collection, and desires to co-operate with the Conference; Branch 178 which subscribed $1 and appointed a delegate to the Conference; Branch 141 which, after discussion, referred the entire matter to the executive committee; Branch 409 which passed a resolution strongly condemning the Socialist Press for its silence toward the Mexican Revolution, and promised a donation; and Branch 32, which being a strongly partisan socialist branch, escaped putting itself on record by so postponing action till the end of the meeting as to avoid giving any answer to our committeeman,−a sample of what may be expected from socialist rulings.
Papers have been sold at street and local meetings and picnics.
It is our intention, so soon as settled cooler weather may be expected, to arrange public meetings. All those who would feel interested to join in the work of distributing literature, visiting locals, writings letters to the press; helping to arrange meetings, or subscribing to funds, are invited to communicate with me at the address below, Mr. Jaxon being temporarily absent in Europe, where he is representing the same cause.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE
2038 Potomac Ave., Chicago, 111.
Accompanying the report were check for $5 from Bakery and Confectionery Workers’ Local 237, not mentioned above, and $2.35 on subscription list.
1 Publicado en Regeneración, núm. 51, 19 de agosto de 1911, p.4. Le antecedía lo siguiente: “Hemos recibido un reporte oficial de la Conferencia de Defensa Liberal Mexicana de Chicago que, aun cuando apenas organizada el mes pasado y muy desfavorecida por el clima caluroso, muestra gran actividad. Se ha realizado un excelente comienzo y conforme se aproxime el otoño, numerosas organizaciones reasumirán los mítines que han estado prácticamente en suspenso durante los meses de verano. Más aún, la Revolución Mexicana está siendo mejor entendida, y los trabajadores, en todo el mundo, están comenzando a apreciar la heroica lucha que se está llevando a cabo y los beneficios que ellos mismos han de sacar del triunfo del proletariado mexicano. La sección en inglés de “Regeneración” está dedicada casi exclusivamente a la explicación del gran papel que la Revolución Mexicana está jugando en el movimiento revolucionario internacional, el editor sostiene que la promoción de la solidaridad es el más imperativo de los deberes, y está convencido de que la falta de comprensión es lo único que retrasa la solidaridad. La actividad de nuestros camaradas de Chicago, y notablemente la Señorita [Bessie] Winner y la Señorita Goldstein, en la circulación de “Regeneración” es, por tanto, una de las más alentadoras características de una situación que se ilumina día con día.”
2 Honoré J. Jaxon (1861-1952) periodista y líder obrero canadiense. Fue secretario del caudillo Louis Riel durante la rebelión metís del noreste canadiense en 1885. Capturado, fue enviado a un asilo de locos del cual escapó y caminando desde Winnipeg, Can., llegó a refugiarse a Chicago. Ahí se vinculó a los círculos obreros, socialistas y anarquistas donde conoció a Voltairine de Cleyre. De junio a septiembre de 1911 realizó un viaje por Inglaterra promoviendo la revolución del PLM en México, participando como ponente en el 44vo Congreso Anual de los Sindicatos de Gran Bretaña y en el Congreso Universal de las Razas. Se mantuvo cercano a Regeneración hasta el final del mismo. Es el único vínculo entre las luchas por los territorios indígenas y mestizas del Canadá y la lucha por la tierra en México.
3 Refiérese a los redactores de Regeneración, en ese entonces bajo juicio en Los Ángeles, Cal.
REPORT OF THE WORK OF THE CHICAGO MEXICAN LIBERAL DEFENSE LEAGUE.1
About the middle of May, 1911, a few comrades in Chicago, responding to the appeal of the Junta of the Mexican Liberal Party, took up the task of informing themselves as to the underlying causes of the great revolutionary struggle in Mexico, and of spreading that information among others, to the end that they, too, contribute their share in marking this mighty effort of a people fruitful in the minds of the enslaved of the world.
The longer we studied developments, the clearer it became that this was a social phenomenon offering the greatest field for genuine Anarchist propaganda that has ever been presented on this continent; for here was an immense number of oppressed people endeavoring to destroy fundamental wrong, private property in land, not through any sort of governmental scheme, but by direct expropriation.
We, therefore, used every opportunity we could to win a hearing for the voice of the Mexican Liberals, Regeneracion, and to support it financially. We have not accomplished wonders, but we have done something; and it is with the hope of stimulating workers in other cities to do as well as we –and if better, we shall be only too glad- that I submit the following report.
At various picnics, private gatherings, and mass meetings we have sold copies of Regeneracion, or distributed freely the unsold copies, to the number of sixteen hundred. We have distributed four thousand copies of the leaflet “The Mexican Revolt”2 among the unions of this city; five thousand copies of W. C. Owen’s3 leaflet on the McNamara case4, showing that revolutionary action is the only possible cure for the evils under which all civilized countries are suffering. We have sold some two hundred copies of Owen’s pamphlet on the Cause, Progress, Purpose, and Probable Outcome of the Mexican Revolution5, and figure on distributing to hundred more during the coming month.
We have given a good many lectures and short talks in the city, at the Scandinavian Liberty League, at I.W.W.6 Local 85, and the Open Forum7. We have held one very successful international meeting8, and are now arranging for another on the first of May. Our secretary, Honoré Jaxon, old-time land rebel of the Canadian northwest, visited England from August till March; had an excellent statement of Mexican conditions and the purposes of the revolution printed and distributed by the Standing Orders Committee of the British Trade Unions9, beside several excellent interviews in the Manchester Labor Leader and other journals. Returning through Canada, similar interviews were printed in the largest newspapers of Montreal, Quebec, Toronto, and Winnipeg. Mr. Jaxon also lectured before the Trades and Labor council of the first three cities, explaining the struggle of the Mexican proletariat.
In February, Ludovico Caminita10 visited the city, speaking of the Revolution in Italian; as the result of his visit, we came in touch with a few very active and self-sacrificing Spanish speaking comrades, from whose example we almost unconsciously adopted the habit of taxing ourselves a little weekly for the support of the paper.
I earnestly hope that those who read these lines will feel moved to form little local groups to do the same; no matter how little it is, it is something. And when we consider the uncomplaining poverty to which Regeneracion’s workers reduce themselves (which may be seen from its weekly financial statements, – and I know no more speaking appeal than those careful accounts giving family men $3.00 or $5.00 a week to live upon) for the sake of thundering in the ears of this deaf world the battle-cry “Down with Authority-Land and Liberty” I really wonder how the mass of those who are sympathetic in idea with libertarian movements can continue to prattle about “art”, “literature”, the latest imported violinist, and the aesthetic beauty of the concepts of Anarchism! While these men fight the battle, with starvation as companion.
Comrades! We are apparently on the eve of a war of invasion to protect scoundrels in possession of the stolen lands of Mexico, against the revolt of a people who are being exterminated through this iniquity. Have you, you who read this, done anything to stop this crime? At least to register you protest? Have you circulated a paper, a pamphlet, or a leaflet against it? Have you given a dollar to maintain the Word of Revolt?
I know many of you who sit in cafés hours at a time and discuss “Chanticleer”11; spend dollars on theater tickets and concerts, and think nothing of expensive suppers. Do you think you are Anarchists? Do you know that your comrades, whose very lives are voluntarily thrown in jeopardy, hourly, are living on less than throw away? And asking no better than to go on doing it, if you will bear your share in spreading the propaganda of Revolt?
The trouble with us all has been that for many years we lived in the clouds of theory, because conditions made it impossible to do much else; and now that the condition for real work is here, we are so theory-rotted that we are helpless to face it. In the words of the editor of the Chicago Post: “The Anarchists took to kissing games”. I who write have been as much to blame as any; let me shake off my blame by stirring you to awaken now. Cease theory-spinning about future society, and deal with what is before us with what can be accomplished now.
Herewith I give financial statement of money received by me as treasurer of the League, and transmitted to the Junta at Los Angeles:
|Collected on Subscription Lists in Chicago||$ 66.06|
|Collected on Subscription Lists in Philadelphia||$ 9.00|
|Collected on Subscription Lists in Rochester||$ 9.75|
|Collected on Subscription Lists in Buffalo||$ 10.00|
|Collected on Subscription Lists in St. Louis||$ 2.75|
|Collected on Subscription Lists in Atlantic City||$ 1.00|
|Donated by three Chicago Arbeiter Ring Branches||$ 8.00|
|Donated by Bakers Local 237||$ 5.00|
|Sales of Regeneracion||$ 41.50|
|Individual subscriptions||$ 7.30|
|Collections and sales for leaflets and pamphlets||$ 31.35|
|Proceeds of meeting||$ 20.60|
|Collections of Group for Regeneracion||$ 35.65|
April 1st, 1912, Chicago
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE, Treasurer.
1 Publicado en Mother Earth, vol. VII, núm. 2, abril de 1912, p. 60-2.
2 Véase, infra, “La Revuelta Mexicana.”
3 William Charles Owen. Escritor y periodista británico. Nació en Dinapore, India en 1854, murió en Worthing, Inglaterra en 1929. Emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1882. Fue miembro de la International Workmen’s Association, a la que se unió en California. Contribuyó con Burnette G. Haskell en la edición de Truth, También editor de Nacionalist (Los Angeles y San Francisco), y colaboró con Commonweal, órgano de la Socialist League de William Morris. Fue fundador de la Novairoquesa Socialist League de Nueva York en 1890, con Severino Merlino, de la que fue expulsado a los dos años. Cercano a los círculos anarquistas de Piotr Kropotkin (traductor de algunas de sus obras, como Palabras de un rebelde), Enrico Malatesta, Emma Goldman y Alexander Berkman, entre los que promovió el apoyo a la revolución mexicana y al PLM. Colaboró con los periódicos Free Society y Mother Earth. A partir de abril de 1911 se encargó de la sección en inglés de Regeneración, que sostuvo hasta 1916. En 1912 publicó el folleto The Mexican Revolution, its progress, causes, and probable results. (La Revolución mexicana; su progreso, propósitos y probables perspectivas.) En 1914 y 1915 formó, además, su propio periódico Land and Liberty. A fines de este último año se dedicó a una pequeña granja avícola en Washington. En 1916, fue perseguido junto con Ricardo y Enrique Flores Magón por “uso del correo para difundir publicaciones que incitaban a la violencia, el asesinato y la traición.” A diferencia de los hermanos Magón, capturados en la pequeña imprenta de Edendale, Owen logro escapar a Inglaterra, donde logró evadir la persecución del gobierno norteamericano que exigió su extradición, ya que Owen había adquirido la ciudadanía estadounidense. En Inglaterra colaboró con el periódico Freedom y en el Commonwealth Land Party (Partido de la Tierra de la Mancomunidad), que luchaba por la entrega de la tierra a los que la trabajaban. En 1926 vivió en una pequeña colonia cooperativista en West Sunsex, Inglaterra. Murió de cáncer el 9 de julio de 1929 en una asilo de ancianos en Worthing, West Sussex. Su archivo está depositado en el International Institute of Social History (IISH) en Amsterdam. Autor de: The Economics of Herbert Spencer, Crime and Criminals y Anarquism versus socialism. Fuentes: William Charles Papers 1919-1929 (1931, 1938), International Institute of Social History, Amsterdam, Holanda; http://anarcoefemeridis.balearweb.net/post/46348.
4 Refiérase a William C. Owen, McNamara Case and Socialism: Have the Socialist Made Good?, Los Ángeles, Cal., s.i., 1912.
5 Refiérase a William C. Owen, The Mexican Revolution, its progress, causes, and probable results, Los Ángeles, Cal. Regeneración, 1912, 16 pp.
6 “Los ataques de los socialistas políticos prominentes despertaron más resentimientos, lo que llevó a muchos dentro del movimiento a oponerse a la acción política. En el verano de 1906, el local 85 de IWW de Chicago ofreció una resolución para enmendar el Preámbulo. “Se resuelve, que a juicio de este local el segundo párrafo del preámbulo de la Constitución debe decir: ‘Entre estas dos clases debe continuar una lucha hasta que los trabajadores se reúnan en el campo industrial y tomen y retengan lo que producen con su trabajo, a través de una organización económica, sin afiliación a ningún partido político.’ Nuestros miembros no están de acuerdo con la idea de que los trabajadores se unan en ningún campo político. (329) La resolución del Local 85 condujo a una enmienda al Preámbulo en la segunda convención de IWW. En 1908, los problemas entre la IWW y la S.L.P., que dividieron el movimiento en las IWW de Chicago y Detroit, llevaron a la revisión final del Preámbulo. La versión de 1908 de la controvertida cláusula fue completamente reescrita reflejando la intención original de [Thomas] Hagerty: Entre estas dos clases [la clase trabajadora y la clase empleadora] una lucha debe continuar hasta que los trabajadores del mundo se organicen como clase, tomen posesión de la tierra y la maquinaria de producción y abolir el sistema salarial. Salerno, 78-9. Tal versión provino de una reunión de último momento entre Thomas J. Hagerty, William E. Trautmann, y Daniel DeLeon.
7 Refiérese al Open Forum. Organizado en Boston, Mass., en 1908, y después desperdigado por diferentes poblaciones del país, las lecturas del Foro Abierto, fue promovido por George W. Coleman periodista bautista, bajo los principios del evangelio social protestante, mismo que enfatizaba la justicia en la tierra por encima de la salvación después de la muerte, bajo un protocolo de una conferencia impartida por un experto, preguntas y discusión. Existía incluso una Oficina de Conferenciantes del Foro Abierto.” Arthur S. Meyers, “W. E. B. Du Bois and the Open Forum: Human Relations in a «Difficult Industrial District”. The Journal of Negro History, 84, no. 2 (1999): 192-205. Visitado 10 de septiembre, 2020. doi:10.2307/2649049.
8 El dos de febrero de 1912, en el Roosevelt Hall de Chicago , se llevó al cabo una discusión sobre la revolución en México, en la que participaron Ludovico Caminita y Filippo Perrone y a la que asistieron, entre otros Vincent St. John, [Santos] Cimino y Gerardo M. Santana. Caminita defiende la postura del PLM, la que hacía suya la parte de la población italiana que se identificaba con el semanario L’era Nuova. Por su parte Perrone, que tuvo una corta estancia en Baja California en mayo de 1911, mantenía la postura de los redactores de la Cronaca Sovversiva, en especial de Luigi Galliani, que sostenía, en resumidas cuentas, que lo que sucedía en México no tenía un carácter anarquista ya que se trataba de una “revolución de escritorio.” Parte de dicha discusión se reprodujo en los números 77 y 78 de Regeneración. “La Nostra Propaganda in Chicago” y “Il Contradditorio di Chicago” y otra versión se encuentra en la Cronaca. Aunque ninguno menciona la presencia de Cleyre en la reunión resulta evidente tanto la misma como su entrevista con Caminita, de la que se derivará el escrito de Cleyre que publicó en L’era Nuova (vid. infra).
9 Refiérese a Honoré Jaxon “A Statement from the Working Class of Mexico to the 44th Annual Congress of the Trades Unions of Great Britain” s.p.i.
10 Minero, Impresor, Caricaturista, Escritor. De procedencia italiana, Ludovico Caminita emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1902 y radicó en Chicago. Illinois. Impresor socialista se convirtió al anarquismo después de una discusión con el español Pedro Esteve, con quien viajó a Paterson N.J, donde se convirtió en uno de los animadores de la huelga de trabajadores de la seda y publicó La Questione Sociale en 1907, publicación por la que fue sometido a un proceso judicial. El periódico fue suprimido y substituido por L’Era Nuova en 1908, editada con Franz Widmer, hebdomadario que dejó de publicarse hasta 1917. En 1910 Caminita promovió la integración de jornaleros italianos y mexicanos a la American Federation of Labor. Con este objetivo participó, como orador en su idioma en el “Gran Meeting Internacional”, celebrado el 14 de diciembre de ese año en el Italian Hall de Los Ángeles. El 26 de marzo de 1911, fue el orador del Gran Meeting de Protesta por la Intervención Americana en México, celebrado también en el Italian Hall. En mayo del mismo año, participa en la formación del Comité Internacional del Partido Liberal Mexicano, organismo integrado por él, Victorio Cravello y Andrea la Morticella (italianos), W. C. Owen (norteamericano), Rudolph Wirth (alemán), A. P. Cherbak, P. H. Leiffert (rusos), K. Jozefoski y W. Lazicki (polacos) y por Ricardo Flores Magón, Anselmo I, Figueroa, A. M. Ojeda, Fernando Velarde y Francisco Martínez. Este comité se propuso difundir internacionalmente la postura del PLM frente al gobierno de Francisco I. Madero y su primera acción fue publicar un “Llamamiento a los Trabajadores del Mundo”. El 15 de julio de 1911, Caminita inicia la publicación de una columna italiana en Regeneración. Fue orador en italiano en varios actos. “Caminita es un verdadero orador -afirma RFM-. Sabe conmover, sabe entusiasmar, sabe interesar a sus oyentes en lo que él dice.” (Reg. 4, 58, 3) Por este periodo intenta formar un grupo anarquista con los italianos de Los Ángeles que se reúne en las oficinas de Reg. En diciembre, el PLM decide enviarlo a realizar una gira de propaganda “a través de los Estados Unidos, para popularizar entre el elemento italiano la Revolución Económica que fomenta el Partido Liberal Mexicano,” lo que obliga a la suspensión de la Sección Italiana de Reg.: “…no hemos vacilado en suspender dicha Sección -explica Reg.-, pues hoy por hoy, creemos que es de vital importancia para nuestro movimiento la gira de propaganda. Caminita es un orador de fuerza, y, sobre todo, un libertario sincero, que ha dedicado todas sus energías al servicio de la causa de los desheredados de México.” (Reg. 4, 61, 3) Pese a lo anunciado, sigue publicando sus colaboraciones en el órgano del PLM. En marzo de 1912, es arrestado en Paterson a causa del antiguo proceso que se le seguía desde cinco años atrás por artículos publicados en La Questione Sociale. Se le fijó una fianza de dos mil dólares, misma que fue solventada por anarquistas italianos y judíos de New Jersey. La primera actividad pública de Caminita al salir de la cárcel, fue dictar una conferencia en Nueva York sobre el carácter libertario de la revolución mexicana. Caminita también era caricaturista. En octubre de 1912 es arrestado acusado de alentar una guerra entre los Estados Unidos e Italia; la acusación tiene origen en de sus caricaturas que hacía alusión a la guerra turco-italiana (publicada en Reg. unos meses después con el título “El Triunfo de Italia sobre Turquía”). A partir de 1912 publicó varios cartones que aparecieron en la primera plana de Reg. Entre otros, los titulados “Futuro próximo” (en el que el “pueblo mexicano” hace volar de una patada sobre el Río Grande a un Madero que se aferra a la silla presidencial, mientras el “Tío Sam” observa la escena. Reg. 4, 118, 1); “Jardín Zoológico Mexicano” (4, 122, 1); F. I. Madero (4, 127, 1) y “Tras las rejas” (Conmovedor retrato de RFM en la prisión de McNeill. (4, 140,1). Hacia julio de 1913, Caminita reside en Scranton, Penn. Pasa, entonces, por una difícil situación: sin poder emplearse en las minas a causa de una enfermedad respiratoria; despedido del empleo que consiguiera como dependiente en una tienda al descubrirse su filiación anarquista, y con su esposa también despedida de la fábrica de seda que la empleaba, el caricaturista italiano se encuentra, según Reg., en “una profundísima miseria”. Tras este anuncio, empieza a recibir aportaciones económicas “Para Caminita”. En julio de 1914, aparece su último cartón publicado en Reg.: en él, el PLM aparece como un guerrero que combate con su poderosa espada “Regeneración” a un dragón que se interpone en su camino hacia la anarquía (ilustrada como un sol resplandeciente al final de un camino sombrío). La bestia mitológica representa al capitalismo, el autoritarismo, el militarismo, la religión, la moral y el patriotismo. En 1919, de vuelta en Paterson, Caminita editó el periódico clandestino La Jacquerie. En febrero del año siguiente fue arrestado. Y según afirmaron algunos de sus compañeros, para evitar su deportación, proporcionó información sobre el movimiento anarquista a Edgar Hoover del FBI.
11 Refiérase a la obra de teatro de Edmond Rostand cuya premier en Broadway se realizó a fines de 1911.
THE MEXICAN REVOLT.1
At last we see a genuine awakening of a people, not to political demands alone, but to economic ones, -fundamentally economic ones. And in the brief period of a few months, some millions of human beings have sprung to a full consciousness of a system of wrong, beginning where all slaveries begin, in the sources of life. They have struck for LAND AND LIBERTY. And even if their revolt shall be crushed by the mailed hand of the United States Government (for I do not believe the present nondescript thing calling itself a government, in Mexico, has craft or power to pacify or crush all the seething elements of rebellion), yet it has set a foremost mark upon the record of human demand, from which hereafter there will be not retreat. From now on, when an oppressed people revolt, they will not demand less.
“Events are the true Schoolmasters”, I hear the justified voice of my dead Comrade Lum2 calling triumphantly from his grave. For years and years, the brothers Magon and their coworkers in and out of Mexico have been voices crying in the wilderness which some few thousands at best have heard. But in the storm-wind of popular revolt, rising, no prophet could have foretold when, nor gazer at the aftermath just why it was the chosen hour, in that strong clean-sweeping of the psychic atmosphere, millions of unlettered and otherwise ignorant people saw, as with lightning sharpness cutting a black night, the foundation of all their wrong, and heard the slogan “Land and Liberty” to which their ears were so long deaf, -heard it, raised it, acted on it, are acting on it. With that clear and direct perception of the needful thing to do which lettered men, men of complex lives, nearly always lack, being befogged by too many lights, they move straight upon their purpose, hew down the landmarks, burn the records of the title-deeds.
So, do the plain people. Temporizing men, sophisticated men, men of books and theories, men made timid with much mind, Hamlets all, – they devise solemn indirections; they figure on compensation schemes, on taxation fooleries, on how-to-do and how-not-to-do at the same time. The simple man says “No: you have told us, and truly, that this land was filched away from us by a paper-title scheme. Its power lay in our admitting its right. Well, we no longer admit it; we destroy it. The land is ours; we take it”. And they have driven off the paper-title men, and are working the ground on hundreds of ranches.
It is true there were other millions asleep in the storm; true that many of the awakened have been quieted with political hocus-pocus; true that a hundred and one reactionary forces are battling on the same ground, it is true that the world at large, outside of Mexico, is but little informed as to the real struggle. But that does not alter or diminish the truth that the Slaves of Our Times, in a nation-wide revolt, have smitten the Beast of Property in Land. And once a great human demand is so made, it is never let go again. Future revolts will go on from there; they will never fall behind it.
At present the great press is saying little of the chaos in the Mexican situation, though for the last few days, since as news purveyors they cannot keep entirely silent, small hinting editorials are creeping in, pointing intervention wards, “in case disturbances are not pacified”. No doubt the United States Government would prefer to preserve its hypocritical pretense of abstinent impartiality. It hopes its catspaw will safely pull the chestnuts out of the fire. It is comfortable to pose as the disinterested friend of peace in our sister republic, so long as American landlord powers in Mexico are undisturbed, or so long as the Mexican branch of the Capitalistic Defense Association is able to tend to its division. But one thing has been pretty plain since the provisional government assumed its functions:3 “Barkis is willin”4, -but not effulgently able. People who have once taken up arms and felt the satisfaction of ridding themselves of one tyrant, of doing rude justice in opening prison doors, of seeing a whole confraternity of office-holders and office-seekers in anxiety to placate them, are not so unready to taken up arms again; especially when the whole mass of discontent is leavened with conscious revolutionists who are crying the means of social regeneration in their ears.
It is very plain now that the provisional governors are treading on thin crust, and the elections instead of steadying the human subsoil down to mortuary rigidity, may prove the prelude to more violent eruptions. In that case, the reluctant (?) hand at Washington may be forced to play–clubs! on its own responsibility.
Meanwhile, what have the revolutionary elements of the United States to say about it? I almost sneered as I wrote “revolutionary elements”, for candor compels us to inquire where they are. Time was when some people thought the Single Tax was based on a fundamentally revolutionary idea, the final expropriation of the landlord by the people. The Single Tax5 papers, however, have said as little as possible about the great Land cry of the Mexican revolutionists, have laid all stress upon the political mirage-chasing by which Madero and his coadjutors side-tracked the uprising of May, and have refused to print the Manifestoes and Appeals of the Mexican Liberal Party, to afford the publicity of their columns to the real demands of the revolutionists, that their readers might give their sympathy and support, and the influence of their understanding. They were waiting, they said, for Madero to pronounce himself upon the land question! I opine they have still quite some wait coming.
From all which, it seriously appears that the expropriation of the landlords by the people, the restoration of the land to the people, is not the object of the single tax movement; on the contrary, the object is the establishment of the single tax itself, -not as a working means to a great end, the establishment of the equal right of all to the use of natural resources, but as a neat sleight-of-hand method for collecting revenue; at best, a way of getting rid of landlords by fooling them into getting rid of themselves, not because they are robbers to be got rid of, but because it’s such a clever trick to play! Men are to demand the land, not that they may get the land, but that the demand may serve as an excuse for instituting the Single Tax!
If this is not the interpretation we are to put upon it, then how else are we to read the conspicuous silence of the Single Tax press concerning this great agrarian revolt? Millions of people have been demonstrating their appreciation that The Land for All the People is the primary foundation for a better economic structure. They have taken a more direct route than the single tax. And the land agitators are silent!
Time was when Socialism was a revolutionary word. And there are still some Socialists who are international revolutionists. But, the official political Socialist Party, -bah! If ever the vitiating influence of the marriage of Socialism with Politics (that old Bluebeard husband of so many fine young wives6) was demonstrated beyond disputation, it has been in the official attitude of Socialists towards this spontaneous manifestation of the Mexican people.
The utterances of Victor Berger, “the Socialist Congressman” (we receive this information as to his status with painful reiteration at least once a column in every issue of the Chicago daily Socialist), concerning “the bandits of Mexico” were enough to make the authors of the Communist Manifesto repudiate their name. those strong souls who asserted that “the Communists everywhere support every revolutionary movement against the existing social and political order of things”, and appealed to “Workingmen of All Countries to unite”, -what would they have in common with a smug occupier of a congressional seat, who in a strongly marked German accent makes anti-immigration speeches against Slavs and Italians in the name of protection to American labor (?) and who directs his secretary to say, concerning the Mexican revolt, that “the Socialist Party can afford to have no connection with this movement” (?). In the light of this and similar utterances in the Socialist press (I have even learned on good authority that one Socialist editor really desires United States annexation of Mexico, but dares not advocate it yet, “because it would be unpopular” with Socialist readers) it would appear that the distribution of the Communist Manifesto by the Socialist Party is about of a piece with the distribution of the Christian Gospels by the Christian Church; in both cases, it is traditional literature, which nobody is supposed to taken seriously.
Instead of giving even the news of international revolutionary movements (often one looks in vain for any), or the economic ground-plan of Socialism, we have columns of vice-crusading, sporting pages, and veritable hot-air balloons of self-inflation for having assisted in some relatively trivial petition. Only in their correspondence columns is there some occasional evidence of the indignant spirit of a true Socialist, outraged by all this trimming to suit the wind, this flunkeying to the respectable element, this suffocation of revolutionary principle and sentiment under a time-serving mantle of political prudence and cheap catering. Yes; Politics is nicely bluebearding Socialism. How far away is all this from the serious, intent spirit which watches and welcomes the manifestations of the people themselves –no matter what their degree of development or enlightenment- as the real indications of how the Race will come into its own! Not according to any men´s preconcerted program, not by any little platform-prescription, not by any carefully selected route, not by anybody’s plan of campaign to make an “educated, class-conscious”, etc. ad nauseam vote-casting machine; but in their own unforeseen and unforeseeable, unpredetermined, by-the-hour-and-circumstance-decided way, as the peoples always move, -as Life, which is greater than the peoples, always moves.
And the business of the revolutionist, the Seeker for the Changes of Old Forms, the dreamer of Liberty and Plenty, is to be with them in their struggle, in their victory, in their defeat, whenever, wherever, the people rise.
Hail to our brothers, the Mexican peons, who are too unlettered to read Henry George’s gospel7, but who have discharged their landlords and set to working the ground for themselves.
Hail to the Mexican strikers, who likely are too ignorant to pursue a course in the “Evolution of Class-consciousness”, but who are apparently very alive to the fact that Now is the hour to Strike for better conditions, -the hour of governmental weakness and popular strength.
Hail to the Mexican Revolution, victorious or defeated. And hail to the next that rises!
1 Véase: “The Mexican Revolt” Mother Earth, v. VI, n. 6, agosto de 1911, p. 105 y ss. Publicado, bajo el título de “Tierra y Libertad. Su mensaje a la humanidad” en dos partes: Regeneración, (4, 61, 4, y 4, 62, 4). Al artículo le precedía el siguiente párrafo de los editores: “El siguiente artículo, por Voltairine de Cleyre, de Chicago, apareció en el número de agosto de Mother Earth. Su valor no se ha visto disminuido por los eventos que han tenido lugar desde que fue publicado por primera vez, y no podría serlo, dado que da voz a verdades eternas. Estamos por imitar el ejemplo que nos han dado en Nueva York, y vamos a publicarlo como panfleto.”
2 Refiérese a Dyer Daniel Lum (1839-1893). Poeta, periodista, sindicalista y anarquista estadounidense. Tras la detención de Alan Parsons, uno de los Mártires de Chicago, fue el editor de Alarm, vocero de la Asociación Internacional de Trabajadores en Chicago, Ill. Transitó del espiritismo y el abolicionismo al sindicalismo y al anarquismo. Fue pareja de la joven Voltairine de Cleyre. Publicó, A Concise History of the Great Trail of the Chicago Anarchists in 1866 y The Economics of Anarchy: A Study of the Industrial Type, entre otros.
3 El gobierno provisional de Francisco León de la Barra fungió del 25 de mayo al 6 de noviembre de 1911.
4 “Barkis quiere…” Frase proveniente de la novela “David Copperfield” de Charles Dickens. Remite a la voluntad de alguien para hacer algo.
5 Refiérese al movimiento anglosajón Single Tax, inspirado en las ideas de Henry George expuestas en su Progreso y Pobreza (1897). Partiendo de la premisa de que todo el valor proveniente de la tierra, (incluidos los recursos naturales y otros), estos pertenecen a todos y debe de retribuirse su explotación a través de un impuesto único.
6 Refiérese al movimiento anglosajón Single Tax, inspirado en las ideas de Henry George expuestas en su Progreso y Pobreza (1897). Partiendo de la premisa de que todo el valor proveniente de la tierra, (incluidos los recursos naturales y otros), estos pertenecen a todos y debe de retribuirse su explotación a través de un impuesto único.
7 Véase supra, n. 23. Henry George (1839.1897) Periodista y economista político. En torno al concepto de Single Tax -impuesto único sobre la tierra-, mismo que no reconocía como propio, se desarrolló un fuerte movimiento en Estados Unidos de características progresistas y antimonopólicas, cuya influencia abarcó a socialistas y anarquistas. Autor, entre otros de Our Land &Land Policy (1871), Progreso y Pobreza (1879) y Moses and the Crime of Poverty (1889)
THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION1
That a nation of people considering themselves enlightened, informed, alert to the interests of the hour, should be so generally and so profoundly ignorant of a revolution taking place in their backyard, so to speak, as the people of the United States are ignorant of the present revolution in Mexico, can be due only to profoundly and generally acting causes. That people of revolutionary principles and sympathies should be so, is inexcusable.
It is as one of such principles and sympathies that I address you,—as one interested in every move the people make to throw off their chains, no matter where, no matter how,—though naturally my interest is greatest where the move is such as appears to me to be most in consonance with the general course of progress, where the tyranny attacked is what appears to me the most fundamental, where the method followed is to my thinking most direct and unmistakable. And I add that those of you who have such principles and sympathies are in the logic of your own being bound, first, to inform yourselves concerning so great a matter as the revolt of millions of people—what they are struggling for, what they are struggling against, and how the struggle stands—from day to day, if possible; if not, from week to week, or month to month, as best you can; and second, to spread this knowledge among others, and endeavor to do what little you can to awaken the consciousness and sympathy of others.
One of the great reasons why the mass of the American people know nothing of the Revolution in Mexico, is, that they have altogether a wrong conception of what «revolution» means. Thus ninety-nine out of a hundred persons to whom you broach the subject will say, «Why, I thought that ended long ago. That ended last May»; and this week the press, even the Daily Socialist, reports, «A new revolution in Mexico.»2 It isn’t a new revolution at all; it is the same revolution, which did not begin with the armed rebellion of last May, which has been going on steadily ever since then, and before then, and is bound to go on for a long time to come, if the other nations keep their hands off and the Mexican people are allowed to work out their own destiny.
What is a revolution? and what is this revolution?
A revolution means some great and subversive change in the social institutions of a people, whether sexual, religious, political, or economic. The movement of the Reformation was a great religious revolution; a profound alteration in human thought—a refashioning of the human mind. The general movement towards political change in Europe and America about the close of the eighteenth century, was a revolution. The American and the French revolutions were only prominent individual incidents in it, culminations of the teachings of the Rights of Man.3
The present unrest of the world in its economic relations, as manifested from day to day in the opposing combinations of men and money, in strikes and bread-riots, in literature and movements of all kinds demanding a readjustment of the whole or of parts of our wealth-owning and wealth-distributing system,—this unrest is the revolution of our time, the economic revolution, which is seeking social change, and will go on until it is accomplished. We are in it; at any moment of our lives it may invade our own homes with its stern demand for self-sacrifice and suffering. Its more violent manifestations are in Liverpool and London to-day, in Barcelona and Vienna to-morrow, in New York and Chicago the day after. Humanity is a seething, heaving mass of unease, tumbling like surge over a slipping, sliding, shifting bottom; and there will never be any ease until a rock bottom of economic justice is reached.4
The Mexican revolution is one of the prominent manifestations of this world-wide economic revolt. It possibly holds as important a place in the present disruption and reconstruction of economic institutions, as the great revolution of France held in the eighteenth century movement. It did not begin with the odious government of Diaz nor end with his downfall, any more than the revolution in France began with the coronation of Louis XVI, or ended with his beheading. It began in the bitter and outraged hearts of the peasants, who for generations have suffered under a ready-made system of exploitation, imported and foisted upon them, by which they have been dispossessed of their homes, compelled to become slave-tenants of those who robbed them; and under Diaz, in case of rebellion to be deported to a distant province, a killing climate, and hellish labor. It will end only when that bitterness is assuaged by very great alteration in the land-holding system, or until the people have been absolutely crushed into subjection by a strong military power, whether that power be a native or a foreign one.
Now the political overthrow of last May, which was followed by the substitution of one political manager for another, did not at all touch the economic situation. It promised, of course; politicians always promise. It promised to consider measures for altering conditions; in the meantime, proprietors are assured that the new government intends to respect the rights of landlords and capitalists, and exhorts the workers to be patient and—frugal!
Frugal! Yes, that was the exhortation in Madero’s paper to men who, when they are able to get work, make twenty-five cents a day. A man owning 5,000,000 acres of land5 exhorts the disinherited workers of Mexico to be frugal!
The idea that such a condition can be dealt with by the immemorial remedy offered by tyrants to slaves, is like the idea of sweeping out the sea with a broom. And unless that frugality, or in other words, starvation, is forced upon the people by more bayonets and more strategy than appear to be at the government’s command, the Mexican revolution will go on to the solution of Mexico’s land question with a rapidity and directness of purpose not witnessed in any previous upheaval.
For it must be understood that the main revolt is a revolt against the system of land tenure. The industrial revolution of the cities, while it is far from being silent, is not to compare with the agrarian revolt.
Let us understand why. Mexico consists of twenty-seven states, two territories and a federal district about the capital city. Its population totals about 15,000,000. Of these, 4,000,000 are of unmixed Indian descent, people somewhat similar in character to the Pueblos6 of our own southwestern states, primitively agricultural for an immemorial period, communistic in many of their social customs, and like all Indians, invincible haters of authority. These Indians are scattered throughout the rural districts of Mexico, one particularly well-known and much talked of tribe, the Yaquis, having had its fatherland in the rich northern state of Sonora, a very valuable agricultural country.
The Indian population—especially the Yaquis and the Moquis7—have always disputed the usurpations of the invaders’ government, from the days of the early conquest until now, and will undoubtedly continue to dispute them as long as there is an Indian left, or until their right to use the soil out of which they sprang without paying tribute in any shape is freely recognized.
The communistic customs of these people are very interesting, and very instructive too; they have gone on practicing them all these hundreds of years, in spite of the foreign civilization that was being grafted upon Mexico (grafted in all senses of the word); and it was not until forty years ago (indeed the worst of it not till twenty-five years ago), that the increasing power of the government made it possible to destroy this ancient life of the people.
By them, the woods, the waters, and the lands were held in common. Any one might cut wood from the forest to build his cabin, make use of the rivers to irrigate his field or garden patch (and this is a right whose acknowledgment none but those who know the aridity of the southwest can fully appreciate the imperative necessity for). Tillable lands were allotted by mutual agreement before sowing, and reverted to the tribe after harvesting, for re-allotment. Pasturage, the right to collect fuel, were for all. The habits of mutual aid which always arise among sparsely settled communities were instinctive with them. Neighbor assisted neighbor to build his cabin, to plough his ground, to gather and store this crop.
No legal machinery existed—no tax gatherer, no justice, no jailer. All that they had to do with the hated foreign civilization was to pay the periodical rent-collector, and to get out of the way of the recruiting officer when he came around. Those two personages they regarded with spite and dread; but as the major portion of their lives was not in immediate contact with them, they could still keep on in their old way of life in the main.
With the development of the Diaz regime, which came into power in 1876 (and when I say the Diaz regime I do not especially mean the man Diaz, for I think he has been both over cursed and overpraised, but the whole force which has steadily developed centralized power from then on, and the whole policy of «civilizing Mexico,» which was the Diaz boast), with its development, I say, this Indian life has been broken up, violated with as ruthless a hand as ever tore up a people by the roots and cast them out as weeds to wither in the sun.
Historians relate with horror the iron deeds of William the Conqueror, who in the eleventh century created the New Forest by laying waste the farms of England, destroying the homes of the people to make room for the deer. But his edicts were mercy compared with the action of the Mexican government toward the Indians. In order to introduce «progressive civilization» the Diaz regime granted away immense concessions of land, to native and foreign capitalists—chiefly foreign indeed, though there were enough of native sharks as well. Mostly these concessions were granted to capitalistic combinations, which were to build railroads (and in some cases did so in a most uncalled for and uneconomic way), «develop» mineral resources, or establish «modern industries.»
The government took no note of the ancient tribal rights or customs, and those who received the concessions proceeded to enforce their property rights. They introduced the unheard of crime of «trespass.» They forbade the cutting of a tree, the breaking of a branch, the gathering of the fallen wood in the forests. They claimed the watercourses, forbidding their free use to the people; and it was as if one had forbidden to us the rains of heaven. The unoccupied land was theirs; no hand might drive a plow into the soil without first obtaining permission from a distant master—a permission granted on the condition that the product be the landlord’s, a small, pitifully small, wage, the worker’s.
Nor was this enough: in 1894 was passed «The Law of Unappropriated Lands.»8 By that law, not only were the great stretches of vacant, in the old time common, land appropriated, but the occupied lands themselves to which the occupants could not show a legal title were to be «denounced»; that is, the educated and the powerful, who were able to keep up with the doings of the government, went to the courts and said that there was no legal title to such and such land, and put in a claim for it. And the usual hocus-pocus of legality being complied with (the actual occupant of the land being all the time blissfully unconscious of the law, in the innocence of his barbarism supposing that the working of the ground by his generations of forbears was title all-sufficient) one fine day the sheriff comes upon this hapless dweller on the heath and drives him from his ancient habitat to wander an outcast.
Such are the blessings of education.
Mankind invents a written sign to aid its intercommunication; and forthwith all manner of miracles are wrought with the sign. Even such a miracle as that a part of the solid earth passes under the mastery of an impotent sheet of paper; and a distant bit of animated flesh which never even saw the ground, acquires the power to expel hundreds, thousands, of like bits of flesh, though they grew upon that ground as the trees grow, labored it with their hands, and fertilized it with their bones for a thousand years.
«This law of unappropriated lands,»9 says William Archer, «has covered the country with Naboth’s Vineyards.»10 I think it would require a Biblical prophet to describe the «abomination of desolation» it has made.
It was to become lords of this desolation that the men who play the game—landlords who are at the same time governors and magistrates, enterprising capitalists seeking investments—connived at the iniquities of the Diaz regime; I will go further and say devised them.
The Madero family alone owns some 8,000 square miles11 of territory; more than the entire state of New Jersey. The Terrazas family, in the state of Chihuahua, owns 25,000 square miles12; rather more than the entire state of West Virginia, nearly one-half the size of Illinois. What was the plantation owning of our southern states in chattel slavery days, compared with this? And the peon’s share for his toil upon these great estates is hardly more than was the chattel slave’s—wretched housing, wretched food, and wretched clothing.
It is to slaves like these that Madero appeals to be «frugal.»
It is of men who have thus been disinherited that our complacent fellow-citizens of Anglo-Saxon origin, say: «Mexicans! What do you know about Mexicans? Their whole idea of life is to lean up against a fence and smoke cigarettes». And pray, what idea of life should a people have whose means of life in their own way have been taken from them? Should they be so mighty anxious to convert their strength into wealth for some other man to loll in?
It reminds me very much of the answer given by a negro employee on the works at Fortress Monroe to a companion of mine who questioned him good-humoredly on his easy idleness when the foreman’s back was turned. «Ah ain’t goin’ to do no white man’s work, fo’ Ah don’ get no white man’s pay.»
But for the Yaquis, there was worse than this. Not only were their lands seized, but they were ordered, a few years since, to be deported to Yucatan. Now Sonora, as I said, is a northern state, and Yucatan one of the southernmost. Yucatan hemp13 is famous, and so is Yucatan fever, and Yucatan slavery on the hemp plantations. It was to that fever and that slavery that the Yaquis were deported, in droves of hundreds at a time, men, women and children—droves like cattle droves, driven and beaten like cattle. They died there, like flies, as it was meant they should. Sonora was desolated of her rebellious people, and the land became «pacific» in the hands of the new landowners. Too pacific in spots. They had not left people enough to reap the harvests.
Then the government suspended the deportation act, but with the provision that for every crime committed by a Yaqui, five hundred of his people be deported. This statement is made in Madero’s own book.14
Now what in all conscience would anyone with decent human feeling expect a Yaqui to do? Fight! As long as there was powder and bullet to be begged, borrowed, or stolen; as long as there is a garden to plunder, or a hole in the hills to hide in!
When the revolution burst out, the Yaquis and other Indian peoples, said to the revolutionists: «Promise us our lands back, and we will fight with you.» And they are keeping their word, magnificently. All during the summer, they have kept up the warfare. Early in September, the Chihuahua papers reported a band of 1,000 Yaquis in Sonora about to attack El Anil; a week later 500 Yaquis had seized the former quarters of the federal troops at Pitahaya. This week it is reported that federal troops are dispatched to Ponoitlan15, a town in Jalisco, to quell the Indians who have risen in revolt again because their delusion that the Maderist government was to restore their land has been dispelled. Like reports from Sinaloa. In the terrible state of Yucatan, the Mayas are in active rebellion; the reports say that «the authorities and leading citizens of various towns have been seized by the malcontents and put in prison.» What is more interesting is, that the peons have seized not only «the leading citizens,» but still more to the purpose have seized the plantations, parceled them, and are already gathering the crops for themselves.
Of course, it is not the pure Indians alone who form the peon class of Mexico. Rather more than double the number of Indians are mixed breeds; that is, about 8,000,000, leaving less than 3,000,000 of pure white stock. The mestiza, or mixed breed population, have followed the communistic instincts and customs of their Indian forbears; while from the Latin side of their make-up, they have certain tendencies which work well together with their Indian hatred of authority.
The mestiza16, as well as the Indians, are mostly ignorant in book-knowledge, only about sixteen per cent. of the whole population of Mexico being able to read and write. It was not within the program of the «civilizing» regime to spend money in putting the weapon of learning in the people’s hands. But to conclude that people are necessarily unintelligent because they are illiterate, is in itself a rather unintelligent proceeding.
Moreover, a people habituated to the communal customs of an ancient agricultural life do not need books or papers to tell them that the soil is the source of wealth, and they must «get back to the land,» even if their intelligence is limited.
Accordingly, they have got back to the land. In the state of Morelos, which is a small, south-central state, but a very important one—being next to the Federal District, and by consequence to the city of Mexico—there has been a remarkable land revolution. General Zapata, whose name has figured elusively in newspaper reports now as having made peace with Madero, then as breaking faith, next wounded and killed, and again resurrected and in hiding, then anew on the warpath and proclaimed by the provisional government the arch-rebel who must surrender unconditionally and be tried by court-martial; who has seized the strategic points on both the railroads running through Morelos, and who just a few days ago broke into the federal district, sacked a town, fought successfully at two or three points, with the federals, blew out two railroad bridges and so frightened the deputies in Mexico City that they are clamoring for all kinds of action; this Zapata, the fires of whose military camps are springing up now in Guerrero, Oaxaca and Puebla as well, is an Indian with a long score to pay, and all an Indian’s satisfaction in paying it. He appears to be a fighter of the style of our revolutionary Marion and Sumter17; the country in which he is operating is mountainous, and guerilla bands are exceedingly difficult of capture; even when they are defeated, they have usually succeeded in inflicting more damage than they have received, and they always get away.
Zapata has divided up the great estates of Morelos from end to end, telling the peasants to take possession. They have done so. They are in possession, and have already harvested their crops. (Morelos has a population of some 212,000.)
In Pueblo reports in September told us that eighty leading citizens had waited on the governor to protest against the taking possession of the land by the peasantry. The troops were deserting, taking horses and arms with them.
It is they no doubt who are now fighting with Zapata. In Chihuahua, one of the largest states, prisons have been thrown open and the prisoners recruited as rebels; a great hacienda was attacked and the horses run off, whereupon the peons rose and joined the attacking party.
In Sinaloa, a rich northern state—famous in the southwestern United States some years ago as the field of a great co-operative experiment in which Mr. C. B. Hoffman, one of the former editors of The Chicago daily Socialist, was a leading spirit18—this week’s paper reports that the former revolutionary general, Juan Banderas19, is heading an insurrection second in importance only to that led by Zapata.
In the southern border state of Chiapas, the taxes in many places could not be collected. Last week news items said that the present government had sent General Paz20 there, with federal troops, to remedy that state of affairs. In Tabasco, the peons refused to harvest the crops for their masters; let us hope they have imitated their brothers in Morelos and gathered them for themselves.
The Maderists have announced that a stiff repressive campaign will be inaugurated at once; if we are to believe the papers, we are to believe Madero guilty of the imbecility of saying, «Five days after my inauguration the rebellion will be crushed.» Just why the crushing has to wait till five days after the inauguration does not appear. I conceive there must have been some snickering among the reactionary deputies if such an announcement was really made; and some astonished query among his followers.
What are we to conclude from all these reports? That the Mexican people are satisfied? That it’s all good and settled? What should we think if we read that the people, not of Lower but of Upper, California had turned out the ranch owners, had started to gather in the field products for themselves and that the Secretary of War had sent United States troops to attack some thousands of armed men (Zapata has had 3,000 under arms the whole summer and that force is now greatly increased) who were defending that expropriation? if we read that in the state of Illinois the farmers had driven off the tax collector? that the coast states were talking of secession and forming an independent combination? that in Pennsylvania a division of the federal army was to be dispatched to overpower a rebel force of fifteen hundred armed men doing guerilla work from the mountains? that the prison doors of Maryland, within hailing distance of Washington City, were being thrown open by armed revoltees?
Should we call it a condition of peace? Regard it a proof that the people were appeased? We would not: we would say that revolution was in full swing. And the reason you have thought it was all over in Mexico, from last May till now, is that the Chicago press, like the eastern, northern, and central press in general, has said nothing about this steady march of revolt. Even The Socialist has been silent. Now that the flame has shot up more spectacularly for the moment, they call it «a new revolution.»
That the papers pursue this course is partly due to the generally acting causes that produce our northern indifference, which I shall presently try to explain, and partly to the settled policy of capitalized interest in controlling its mouthpieces in such a manner as to give their present henchmen, the Maderists, a chance to pull their chestnuts out of the fire. They invested some $10,000,000 in this bunch, in the hope that they may be able to accomplish the double feat of keeping capitalist possessions intact and at the same time pacifying the people with specious promises. They want to lend them all the countenance they can, till the experiment is well tried; so they deliberately suppress revolutionary news.
Among the later items of interest reported by the Los Angeles Times are those which announce an influx of ex-officials and many-millioned landlords of Mexico, who are hereafter to be residents of Los Angeles. What is the meaning of it? Simply that life in Mexico is not such a safe and comfortable proposition as it was, and that for the present they prefer to get such income as their agents can collect without themselves running the risk of actual residence.
Of course, it is understood that some of this notable efflux (the supporters of Reyes21, for example, who have their own little rebellions in Tabasco and San Luis Potosi this week) are political reactionists, scheming to get back the political loaves and fishes into their own hands. But most are simply those who know that their property right is safe enough to be respected by the Maderist government, but that the said government is not strong enough to put down the innumerable manifestations of popular hatred which are likely to terminate fatally to themselves if they remain there.
Nor is all of this fighting revolutionary; not by any means. Some is reactionary, some probably the satisfaction of personal grudge, much, no doubt, the expression of general turbulency of a very unconscious nature. But granting all that may be thrown in the balance, the main thing, the mighty thing, the regenerative revolution is the Reappropriation of the land by the peasants. Thousands upon thousands of them are doing it.
Ignorant peasants: peasants who know nothing about the jargon of land reformers or of Socialists. Yes: that’s just the glory of it! Just the fact that it is done by ignorant people; that is, people ignorant of book theories; but not ignorant, not so ignorant by half, of life on the land, as the theory-spinners of the cities. Their minds are simple and direct; they act accordingly. For them, there is one way to «get back to the land»; i. e., to ignore the machinery of paper land-holding (in many instances they have burned the records of the title-deeds) and proceed to plough the ground, to sow and plant and gather, and keep the product themselves.
Economists, of course, will say that these ignorant people, with their primitive institutions and methods, will not develop the agricultural resources of Mexico, and that they must give way before those who will so develop its resources; that such is the law of human development.
In the first place, the abominable political combination, which gave away, as recklessly as a handful of soap-bubbles, the agricultural resources of Mexico—gave them away to the millionaire speculators who were to develop the country—were the educated men of Mexico. And this is what they saw fit to do with their higher intelligence and education. So the ignorant may well distrust the good intentions of educated men who talk about improvements in land development.
In the second place, capitalistic land-ownership, so far from developing the land in such a manner as to support a denser population, has depopulated whole districts, immense districts.
In the third place, what the economists do not say is, that the only justification for intense cultivation of the land is, that the product of such cultivation may build up the bodies of men (by consequence their souls) to richer and fuller manhood. It is not merely to pile up figures of so many million bushels22 of wheat and corn produced in a season; but that this wheat and corn shall first go into the stomachs of those who planted it—and in abundance; to build up the brawn and sinew of the arms that work the ground, not meanly maintaining them in a half-starved condition. And second, to build up the strength of the rest of the nation who are willing to give needed labor in exchange. But never to increase the fortunes of idlers who dissipate it. This is the purpose, and the only purpose, of tilling soil; and the working of it for any other purpose is waste, waste both of land and of men. In the fourth place, no change ever was, or ever can be, worked out in any society, except by the mass of the people. Theories may be propounded by educated people, and set down in books, and discussed in libraries, sitting-rooms and lecture-halls; but they will remain barren, unless the people in mass work them out. If the change proposed is such that it is not adaptable to the minds of the people for whose ills it is supposed to be a remedy, then it will remain what it was, a barren theory.
Now the conditions in Mexico have been and are so desperate that some change is imperative. The action of the peasants proves it. Even if a strong military dictator shall arise, he will have to allow some provision going towards peasant proprietorship. These unlettered, but determined, people must be dealt with now; there is no such thing as «waiting till they are educated up to it.» Therefore the wisdom of the economists is wisdom out of place—rather, relative unwisdom. The people never can be educated, if their conditions are to remain what they were under the Diaz regime. Bodies and minds are both too impoverished to be able to profit by a spread of theoretical education, even if it did not require unavailable money and indefinite time to prepare such a spread. Whatever economic change is wrought, then, must be such as the people in their present state of comprehension can understand and make use of. And we see by the reports what they understand. They understand they have a right upon the soil, a right to use it for themselves, a right to drive off the invader who has robbed them, to destroy landmarks and title-deeds, to ignore the taxgatherer and his demands.
And however primitive their agricultural methods may be, one thing is sure; that they are more economical than any system which heaps up fortunes by destroying men.
Moreover, who is to say how they may develop their methods once they have a free opportunity to do so? It is a common belief of the Anglo-Saxon that the Indian is essentially lazy. The reasons for his thinking so are two: under the various tyrannies and robberies which white men in general, and Anglo-Saxons in particular (they have even gone beyond the Spaniard) have inflicted upon Indians, there is no possible reason why an Indian should want to work, save the idiotic one that work in itself is a virtuous and exalted thing, even if by it the worker increases the power of his tyrant. As William Archer says: «If there are men, and this is not denied, who work for no wage, and with no prospect or hope of any reward, it would be curious to know by what motive other than the lash or the fear of the lash, they are induced to go forth to their labor in the morning.» The second reason is, that an Indian really has a different idea of what he is alive for than an Anglo-Saxon has. And so have the Latin peoples. This different idea is what I meant when I said that the mestiza have certain tendencies inherited from the Latin side of their make-up which work well together with their Indian hatred of authority. The Indian likes to live; to be his own master; to work when he pleases and stop when he pleases. He does not crave many things, but he craves the enjoyment of the things that he has. He feels himself more a part of nature than a white man does. All his legends are of wanderings with nature, of forests, fields, streams, plants, animals. He wants to live with the same liberty as the other children of earth. His philosophy of work is, Work so as to live care-free. This is not laziness; this is sense—to the person who has that sort of make-up.
Your Latin, on the other hand, also wants to live; and having artistic impulses in him, his idea of living is very much in gratifying them. He likes music and song and dance, picture-making, carving, and decorating. He doesn’t like to be forced to create his fancies in a hurry; he likes to fashion them, and admire them, and improve and refashion them, and admire again; and all for the fun of it. If he is ordered to create a certain design or a number of objects at a fixed price in a given time, he loses his inspiration; the play becomes work, and hateful work. So he, too, does not want to work, except what is requisite to maintain himself in a position to do those things that he likes better.
Your Anglo-Saxon’s idea of life, however, is to create the useful and the profitable—whether he has any use or profit out of it or not—and to keep busy, busy; to bestir himself «like the Devil in a holy water font.» Like all other people, he makes a special virtue of his own natural tendencies, and wants all the world to «get busy»; it doesn’t so much matter to what end this business is to be conducted, provided the individual—scrabbles. Whenever a true Anglo-Saxon seeks to enjoy himself, he makes work out of that too, after the manner of a certain venerable English shopkeeper who in company with his son visited the Louvre. Being tired out with walking from room to room, consulting his catalogue, and reading artists’ names, he dropped down to rest; but after a few moments rose resolutely and faced the next room, saying, «Well, Alfred, we’d better be getting through our work.»
There is much question as to the origin of the various instincts. Most people have the impression that the chief source of variation lies in the difference in the amount of sunlight received in the native countries inhabited of the various races. Whatever the origin is, these are the broadly marked tendencies of the people. And «Business» seems bent not only upon fulfilling its own fore-ordained destiny, but upon making all the others fulfill it too. Which is both unjust and stupid. There is room enough in the world for the races to try out their several tendencies and make their independent contributions to the achievements of humanity, without imposing them on those who revolt at them.
Granting that the population of Mexico, if freed from this foreign «busy» idea which the government imported from the north and imposed on them with such severity in the last forty years, would not immediately adopt improved methods of cultivation, even when they should have free opportunity to do so, still we have no reason to conclude that they would not adopt so much of it as would fit their idea of what a man is alive for; and if that actually proved good, it would introduce still further development. So that there would be a natural, and therefore solid, economic growth which would stick; while a forced development of it through the devastation of the people is no true growth. The only way to make it go, is to kill out the Indians altogether, and transport the «busy» crowd there, and then keep on transporting for several generations, to fill up the ravages the climate will make on such an imported population.
The Indian population of our states was in fact dealt with in this murderous manner. I do not know how grateful the reflection may be to those who materially profited by its extermination; but no one who looks forward to the final unification and liberation of man, to the incorporation of the several goodness’s of the various races in the one universal race, can ever read those pages of our history without burning shame and fathomless regret.
I have spoken of the meaning of revolution in general; of the meaning of the Mexican revolution—chiefly an agrarian one; of its present condition. I think it should be apparent to you that in spite of the electoral victory of the now ruling power, it has not put an end even to the armed rebellion, and cannot, until it proposes some plan of land restoration; and that it not only has no inward disposition to do, but probably would not dare to do, in view of the fact that immense capital financed it into power.
As to what amount of popular sentiment was actually voiced in the election, it is impossible to say. The dailies informed us that “in the Federal District where there are 1,000,000 voters, the actual vote was less than 450,000”. They offered no explanation. It is impossible to explain it on the ground that we explain a light vote in our own communities, that the people are indifferent to public questions; for the people of Mexico are not now indifferent, whatever else they may be. Two explanations are possible: the first, and most probable, that of governmental intimidation; the second, that the people are convinced of the uselessness of voting as a means of settling their troubles. In the less thickly populated agricultural states, this is very largely the case; they are relying upon direct revolutionary action. But although there was guerilla warfare in the Federal District, even before the election, I find it unlikely that more than half the voting population there abstained from voting out of conviction, though I should be glad to be able to believe they did. However, Madero and his aides are in, as was expected; the question is, how will they stay in? As Diaz did, and in no other way—if they succeed in developing Diaz’s sometime ability; which so far they are wide from having done, though they are resorting to the most vindictive and spiteful tactics in their persecution of the genuine revolutionists, wherever such come near their clutch.
To this whole turbulent situation three outcomes are possible:
- A military dictator must arise, with sense enough to make some substantial concessions, and ability enough to pursue the crushing policy ably; or
- The United States must intervene in the interests of American capitalists and landholders, in case the peasant revolt is not put down by the Maderist power. And that will be the worst thing that can possibly happen, and against which every worker in the United States should protest with all his might; or
- The Mexican peasantry will be successful, and freedomin land become an actual fact. And that means the death-knell of great land-holding in this country also, for what people is going to see its neighbor enjoy so great a triumph, and sit on tamely itself under landlordism?
Whatever the outcome be, one thing is certain: it is a great movement, which all the people of the world should be eagerly watching. Yet as I said at the beginning, the majority of our population know no more about it than of a revolt on the planet Jupiter. First because they are so, so, busy; they scarcely have time to look over the baseball score and the wrestling match; how could they read up on a revolution! Second, they are supremely egotistic and concerned in their own big country with its big deeds—such as divorce scandals, vice-grafting, and auto races. Third, they do not read Spanish, and they have an ancient hostility to all that smells Spanish. Fourth, from our cradles we were told that whatever happened in Mexico was a joke. Revolutions, or rather rebellions, came and went, about like April showers, and they never meant anything serious. And in this indeed there was only too much truth—it was usually an excuse for one place-hunter to get another one’s scalp. And lastly, as I have said, the majority of our people do not know that a revolution means a fundamental change in social life, and not a spectacular display of armies.
It is not much a few can do to remove this mountain of indifference; but to me it seems that every reformer, of whatever school, should wish to watch this movement with the most intense interest, as a practical manifestation of awakening of the landworkers themselves to the recognition of what all schools of revolutionary economics admit to be the primal necessity—the social repossession of the land.
And whether they be victorious or defeated, I, for one, bow my head to those heroic strugglers, no matter how ignorant they are, who have raised the cry Land and Liberty, and planted the blood-red banner on the burning soil of Mexico.
1 Publicado en Mother Earth, v.VI, n. 10, diciembre de 1911, pp. 301-6; n.11, enero de 1912, p.335-341 y n. 12, febrero de 1912, 374-386; posteriormente, en forma parcial, en dos partes en Regeneración, (4, 69, 1) y la segunda parte, en Regeneración (4, 94, 2).
2 Refiérese a la revuelta surgida del Plan de la Empacadora firmado por Pascual Orozco el 12 de marzo de 1912.
3 Refiérese al libro de Thomas Paine Rights of Man (1791). En él se afirma que una revolución política popular es legítima cuando un gobierno no salvaguarda los derechos naturales de su pueblo.
4 En la reproducción parcial de este escrito aparecida en Regeneración núm. 94, 15 de junio de 1912, p. 4, se repite el siguiente párrafo antecediendo a la reproducción de los siguientes 16 párrafos: “El Chicago daily informa «Una nueva revolución en México.» No se trata de una nueva revolución en absoluto. Es la misma revolución, que no comenzó con la rebelión armada del pasado mes de mayo; que ha estado ocurriendo de manera constante desde entonces, y desde antes de esa fecha; y está obligada a continuar durante un largo tiempo en el futuro, si las demás naciones mantienen sus manos fuera y al pueblo mexicano se les permite labrar su propio destino.”
5 equivalentes a 2,023,428.2 hectáreas.
6 Refiérase a los indios Pueblo: Hopi, Zuni, Keres y Jemez.
7 Probable confusión entre Moquis y Mayos.
8 Refiérese a la Ley de Tierras y Enajenación de Baldíos, promulgada el 26 de marzo de 1894.
9 Se trata de del crítico literario escocés William Archer (1856-1924), autor, entre otros, de Vida, juicio y muerte de Francisco Ferrer (1911) y “The Collapse of the Díaz Legend,” McClure’s Magazine XXXVII: 4 (Agosto, 1911).
10 Reyes, 21.
11 equivale a 20,720 kilómetros cuadrados.
12 equivale a 64,750 kilómetros cuadrados.
13 Refiérase al henequén.
14 Refiérase a Francisco I. Madero, La sucesión presidencial en 1910: El partido democrático (1910).
15 Refiérase a Poncitlán, Jal. La noticia referida apareció en The El Paso Times (El Paso Tex.) del 22 de octubre de 1911.
16 En español en el original.
17 Refiérase a Francis Marion a El zorro del pantano (1732-1795) y Tomas Sumter a El gallo de pelea (1734-1832), héroes de la Independencia estadounidense, conocidos por su estilo guerrillero de combatir.
18 Refiérase a la Colonia de Topolobambo, Sin. (1872-1918) promovida por Albert K. Owen.
19 Juan Banderas a El agachado (1872-1918). Revolucionario sinaloense. Siendo jefe de rurales se unió a la revuelta maderista. Gobernador interino de Sinaloa. Fue encarcelado por el gobierno de Madero cuando buscaba ser elegido gobernador constitucional del mismo Estado. Al salir de la cárcel se unió al zapatismo en febrero de 1912. Emiliano Zapata le nombró General de División por su destacada habilidad militar. En 1915 se unió a la División del Norte y se rindió al constitucionalismo a principios de 1916. Tras un periodo de encarcelamiento, solicitó su incorporación al Ejército Constitucional a Venustiano Carranza. Murió en un altercado con un diputado obregonista.
20 Refiérase al general Pedro Paz, enviado por el gobierno provisional de Francisco de la Barra, en octubre de 1911, a reprimir la llamada Rebelión de la Mano Negra, levantamiento de las élites de San Cristóbal de la Casas en defensas de sus intereses.
21 Refiérase al general Bernardo Reyes.
22 En EUA equivale a 35.237 litros.
WILL THIS STRUGGLE BE DROWNED IN BLOOD? PASSION OF MEXICANS FOR LIBERTY HAS BEEN UNQUENCHABLE.1
Since the publication of my report of the work of the Mexican Liberal Defense Conference I have received a number of requests, on the part of those interested and anxious to do work, for an article of explanation, giving some idea of the scope and present status of the revolution. And indeed, remembering my own ignorance of the subject no longer ago than last May, and the fact that our daily and weekly press, including the Socialist2 and other reform journals, is almost absolutely silent on the matter, and that the chief source of information is a paper but little known, even to our own comrades-I mean “Regeneracion,” the organ of the Mexican Liberal Party-I believe it is quite important that an explanatory article be written for the information of the readers of “Volne Listy3”.
It is important that all anarchists, and sympathizers with anarchistic tendencies and developments among the people, should know that the Mexican Revolution neither began nor ended with the spectacular military movements which culminated in the overthrow of Diaz and the substitution of the present government in Mexico. Those movements were but brief, though important, incidents in the whole mighty effort of a people to overthrow an economic system foisted upon them partly by politicians of their own people, but largely by capitalists of this and other countries, whereby they, the genuine children of Mexican soil, have been reduced to a most hateful slavery.
The details of that slavery I do not intend to rehearse; those who wish to inform themselves as to its almost unbelievable horrors should read Turner’s “Barbarous Mexico.”4
MEXICO AND ITS PEOPLE.
Mexico consists of twenty-nine States and Territories and a Federal district similar to the District of Columbia. The smaller, but more thickly populated States are those to the southward, in the vicinity of the Federal district. The entire population of Mexico is some fifteen million, our of which four million are of its pre-European-invasion occupants. Of the remaining eleven million, the greater portion are of mixed breed, a relatively small number being of pure Spanish descent.
The mass of the population is agriculturist by instinct, habit and the general conditions of economic development in the country.
The various tribes of Indians have from time immemorial had communal land-holding arrangements which are very afford into the character of the people and for the comparisons they afford between theoretic and practical free communism.
These Indians have within the last half century seen these communal lands of theirs granted away, thousands of acres at a time, to native or alien landlords, and themselves driven to a hateful toil merely to create profit for the landlords. They have rebelled, and, as the reward of their rebellion, have been shot, tortured or sent away to pestiferous districts where they were bound to die within a few months. Thus, the landlords get rid of their “undesirable” tenants.
The half-breed population is also communist, having harked back to their Indian forbears in this respect. And both Indian and half-breed have an utter hatred of work for work’s sake. They wish to work in order to live, but they have no wish to work to make others rich.
A Rebel against Slavery
The Indian’s “laziness” is proverbial among white men; but, far from its being what the white man thinks it is, it is rather the intense protest of a free soul against a useless and degrading waste of life. He wishes to feel himself a child of the sun and sky, a being through whom moves the breath of life, a thing of the soil and the air, and not a tool for the aimless production of heaps of goods at someone else’s orders.
The half-breeds, on the white side again, are the descendants of Latins; and, white the Latin peoples work, they have never hungered and thirsted after purely commercial gain as have northern nations; they have always preserved a devotion to the beautiful (even the useless beautiful) and the more joys of life-song, dance and festival-unknown to the Anglo-Saxon.
Add to all this the enervating climate of much of Mexico, and you have an understanding of what our grab and-get system of life stigmatizes as “Mexican laziness.”
These people want the land; they do not want to live in cities; they want to use the land in their own way, according to their inherited communal customs:
Time and time again they rebelled, and their rebellions have been murderously put down, but this instinctive hunger for the free field of life is so essentially a part of their being that the only way to kill it is to kill the entire agrarian population. At the present time, it has risen up more invincible than ever; and although the people are ignorant-less than 20 per cent being able to read and write-they need no book learning to convince them that the land is theirs by right.
So far as the Mexican government is concerned, (we Anarchist knew it in advance, and the revolutionists are learning it by experience), the present one, which rode into power at the behest of the great financiers of this country and on the crest of a wave of temporary popular infatuation is no more the friend of the revolting people than was the Diaz regime. Why in the name of common sense should any one suppose that Madero, who is one of the greatest landlords of Mexico, and whose own haciendas are cultivated by the same exploited labor as that employed on other great estates, would favor the restoration of the land to the people? On the contrary, he has announced himself in favor of defending all rights of property, and has appealed to the industrial population not to strike and embarrass its employers at the present critical period.
However, neither the industrial population nor the rural one is heeding his appeal. Despite the silence of newspapers in the eastern and central section of this country, the revolution-the economic revolution-is in full swing, and heading straight for free land. No amount of hushing up will put a stop to it; nor can any power at present in sight in Mexico crush it.
Three outcomes of this immense movement are possible:
- A military organizer of the Diaz type may arise, and unite military forces so as to subdue the people for a time. But at present no such man has appeared.
- When the vacillators now endeavoring to solve the governmental problems shall have proved themselves incompetent to keep the Mexican revolters from violating “property rights” of American citizens, the U. S. government may be compelled to drop its mask, and openly intervene. Which means a possible protectorate or ultimate annexation, -a consummation devoutly to be avoided.
- The Mexican people triumphant, and an immense, an irrecoverable blow give not property in land the world over.
The present condition, -that of sporadic fighting, and general insubordination-may go on for a year, or two or three. It cannot go on indefinitely. The great property owners will ask more drastic measures; these not forthcoming, some governmental change must follow.
Of the three possibilities, the worst will be the second. It should therefore be the business of us, in the United States, to keep the purpose of the revolution before the working people of this country, as well as its development from week to week, that they may appreciate the situation of the Mexican workers and its relation to their own struggle. Then, when agitation for interference by the U. S. begins, they may oppose such interference intelligently, and with might and main.
Now, the best means of keeping informed its oared “Regeneracion,” published at 914 Boston St., Los Angeles, California. Three-fourths of the paper is in Spanish, but the fourth page is in English. I would suggest that every reader of these lines who is able to read English, send 60 cents for a three months’ subscription to the above given address; and read every line of it, from week to week.
The Spanish editors and publishers of the paper are now under indictment for having violated the neutrality laws and need financial aid for their defense; but more than all the paper should be sustained, – since it is really the voice of the heart of the great revolt. Many thousand copies are smuggled in to Mexico, and read aloud to those who are themselves unable to read, and thus the strength and encouragement of fellowship grow and spread.
While the paper refuses to label itself with any “ism,” its war cry is “Land and liberty,” its teachings anarchistic. It is fatensely alive, having little space for theory but much for facts supporting those theories which are dear to all of us.
To sum up: Our Mexican brothers have appealed to us in a really heart-rending manifesto5 not to remain ignorant of their struggle; not to believe it is a political one but an economic one, coming down to the primal needs of man; not to ignore the fact that their battle is our battle; and that we sustain them in this immense struggle which must go on a long time yet. We owe it to them to respond. Sustain and circulate “Regeneracion”; raise money for the defense; hold meetings where these things may be made known. Any money sent for them to me, or to “Volne Listy,” 217 E. 66th. St., New York, will be forwarded to Los Angeles.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE.
2038 Potomac Ave., Chicago, Treasurer Mexican Liberal Defense Conference.
1 Publicado en dos partes, la primera en Regeneración, núm. 63, 11 de noviembre de 1911, p.4 y la segunda parte en el núm. 64, 18 de noviembre de 1911, p.4, proveniente de Volne Listy (Nueva York, N. Y., s. f.). A la primera parte le antecedía: “El siguiente es copia del artículo publicado recientemente por la bien conocida escritora Voltairine de Cleyre, en el “Volne Listy”, el destacado semanario Bohemio. Nuestro limitado espacio nos obliga a posponer a la semana próxima la segunda mitad del artículo. En ella, la autora apremia con vehemencia a todos aquellos interesados en “Tierra y Libertad” a suscribirse a “Regeneración” y a enviarle todas sus contribuciones, como tesorera de la Mexican Liberal Defense Conference, o al “Volne Listy”, 217 E. 66th St., Nueva York. (Se incluyen los subtítulos de la versión de Regeneración.) Dado que se hace mención a la presidencia de Francisco I. Madero, debió de ser escrito en la segunda semana del mes de noviembre de 1911.
2 Refiérase a The Socialist, Chicago Ill., ed. C. B. Hoffman (1906-1912).
3 Volné Listy. “Casopis sirci zásady bézvládi” (Páginas Libres. “Revista de divulgación de principios anarquistas”). Nueva York, EUA (1890-1917). Dir. Václav Rejsek. Colabs. Adolph Rette, León Tolstoy, Siegfried Nacht, F. Domel Nieuwenhuis, Pierre Ramus, Carlo Malato, Jean Grave, Emma Goldman, Max Nettlau, V. Cherkesov, Voltairine de Cleyre, Joseph Kucera y otros. Publicación mensual escrita en bohemio. Se trata del más importante órgano impreso de los anarquistas de origen checo en los Estados Unidos. En septiembre de 1911 abrió en sus columnas una suscripción a favor de la revolución de México. Mantuvo un vínculo cordial con Regeneración hasta 1916.
4 Refiérase al libro de John Kenneth Turner México Bárbaro, mismo que salió a la venta en Estados Unidos en enero de 1911 bajo el sello Charles H. Kerr and Co. De Chicago, III.
5 Refiérase al Manifiesto. La Junta Organizadora del Partido Liberal Mexicano al Pueblo de México, publicado en Regeneración, núm. 56, 23 de septiembre de 1911.
THE COMMUNE IS RISEN.1
They say “She is dead; the Commune is dead”;
That “if she were living her earthquake tread
Would scatter the honeyless hornets’ hive.”
I am not dead, nor yet asleep;
Nor tardy, though my steps seem slow;
Nor feeble from the centuries’ sweep;
Nor cold, though chill the north winds blow.
My legions muster in all lands,
From field, from factory, from mine,
The workers of the world join hands
Across the centuries and brine.
Never since those lines were sung by the great unknown poet, whose heart shone red through his words, has the pulse of the world beat so true a response as it is beating now. We do not stand to-day as mourners at the Resurrection.
What was it the Commune proclaimed? With what hope did it greet the world? And why did it fall? The Commune proclaimed the autonomy of Paris. It broke the chain that fettered her to the heels of her step-mother, the State, — that State which had left her at the mercy of the Prussian besiegers, refusing to relieve her or allow her to relief herself; that State which with a debt saddled upon the unborn bought off the Prussians, that it might revenge itself upon Paris, the beautiful rebel, and keep the means of her explotation in its own hands.
The Commune was a splendid effort to break the tyranny of the centralized domination with which modern societies are cursed; a revolt at artificial ties, which express no genuine social union, the outgrowth of constructive social work, but only the union of oppression, –the union of those who seek to perfect an engine of tyranny to guarantee their possessions. “Paris is a social unit,” said the communards; “Paris is, within itself, an organic whole. Paris needs no outside shell of coercion to hold it together. But Paris owes no subservient allegiance to that traitorous tool at Versailles, which call itself the government of France; nothing to those who have left us unaided to be mowed by the Prussian guns. And Paris repudiates Versailles. «We shall fight, we shall work, we shall live for ourselves.»
This was the word of the Commune, spoken to the world in the wild morning of the Commune, spoken to the world in the wild morning of the year 1871. And the hope it built upon was this: When France beholds Paris fighting, the dream of’ 482 will rise again; and all her communes will proclaim their freedom, even as we. And then we are bound to win, for the Versailles government cannot conquer a revolt which breaks out everywhere. And France once kindled, the peoples of other nations will likewise rise; and this monster, “the State,” which is everywhere devouring liberty, will be annihilated.
This was the hope that lit the eyes of the Commune with dreaming fire, that March day, forty-one years ago. The hope was doomed to disappointment; within three months the glorious rebel fell. She had called, but the response did not come. Why? Because she had not asked enough. Because making war upon the State, she had not made war upon that which creates the State, that to preserve which the State exists.
With the scrupulous, pitiful Conscience which Authority has cunningly bred in men, the Commune had respected property; had kept its enemy’s books, and duly handed over the balances; had starved itself to feed its foes; had left common resources in private hands. And when McMahon’s troops3 rode sabering thorough the streets of Paris, when Gallifet4 the butcher was dashing out children’s brains with his own devil’s hands upon her conquered pavements, the very horses they rode, the very sabers that cut, had been paid for by the murdered.
Every day, throughout the life of the commune, the Bank of France had been allowed to transmit the sinews of war to Versailles, the social blood been drained to supply the social foe.
What appeal could so suicidal a course make to downright human nature, which, even in its utmost ignorance and simplicity, would say at once: «Feed the enemy! And starve myself! For what then shall I fight?»
In short, though there were other reason why the Commune fell, the chief one was that in the hour of necessity, the Commune were not Communists. They attempted to break political chains without breaking economic ones; and it cannot be done.
Moreover the Paris Commune was faced by a problem which will forever face revolting cities with a terrible question mark,-the problem of food supply. Only the revoltee in control of the food-sources themselves can maintain his revolt indefinitely. Never till the rebels of industrial fields have joined their forces with agrarian labor,-or seized the land and themselves made it yield -can industrial or political revolt be anything more than futile struggling for a temporary gain which will alter nothing.
And this is the splendid thing which we have lived to see,-the rebellion of the landworker against the feudalism of Lord Syndicate; the revoltee maintaining himself upon that which he has wrested from the enemy; the red banner of the Commune floating no longer on the wall of a besieged city, but in the open field of expropriated plantations, or over the rock-ribbed, volcano-built forts, whereto the free-riding guerilla fighter retreats after his dash against the lords of the soil.
I cannot speak for others. I cannot say how my comrades have felt during the long stagnant years, when spring after spring we have come together to repeat dead men’s names and deeds, and weep over those whose bones lie scattered from cayenne to New Caledonia5. I know that for myself I often felt I was doing a weary and a useless thing, wearing out a habit, so to speak,-trying to warm my cold hands at a painted fire. For all these years since we of this generation have lived in America, there has been no stirring movement of the people of this continent to do a deed worth doing. We have listened with curious fascination to our elder’s stories of the abolition movement; we have welcomed the Russian revolutionists6, and enviously listened to their accounts of deeds done or undone. We have watched the sharp crossing of weapons here and there in the ominous massing of Capital and Labor against each other all arounds us; but we have known perfectly well that there was little place for us in that combat, till it shall assume other lines than those which dominate it now, till it shall proclaim other purposes and other means.
All in vain it was for us to try to waken any profound enthusiasm in ourselves over the struggle of some limited body of workers, asking for a petty per cent. of wage. We understand too well that such a fight determines nothing, is like the continuous slipping backward of the feet in an attempt to climb a hill of gliding sand.
But now has come this glorious year of 1911-12, this year of worldwide revolt. Out of the enigmatic East a great storm sweeps; and though but little of its real breadth and height is visible or comprehensible to us, we understand so much: the immemorial silence has been broken, the crouching figure has up-straightened. The sources of our information are such that we cannot tell whether the economic regeneration of enslaved China has actually begun, or the revolt is political merely as our reports make it appear. Which ever it may be , one thing is certain: China is no longer motionless; she is touched with the breath of life; she struggles.
Across the sea, in the island of our stolid forbears, a portentous sound has risen from the depths; in the roots of human life, in coal-caverns, Revolt speaks8. And England faces Famine; faces the Property-system, faces a mighty army of voluntarily idle men; beholds the upper and the nether stone of economic folly, and feels the crunching of those merciless wheels, and underground the earthquake rumbles wide,-France, Germany, Austria-the mines growl.
And yet this mighty massing, inspiring and threatening as it is, is for a petty demand-a minimum wage! Such situations produce enlightenment; at any moment the demand may change to “The Mines for the Miners”; but as yet it has not come.
Only here in our America, on this continent cursed with land-grabbing syndicates, into whose unspoiled fatness every devouring shark has set his triple row of teeth,-this land whose mercenary spirit is the butt of Europe-only here, under the burning Mexican sun, we know men are revolting for something; for the great, common, fundamental economic right, before which all others fade,-the right of man to the earth. Not in concentrated camps and solid phalanxes; not at the breath of some leader’s word; but over all the land, from the border to Yucatan, animated by spontaneous desire and resolution, in mutually gathered bands, as freemen fight, not uniformed slaves. And leaders come, and leaders go; they use the revolution and the revolution uses them; but whether they come or go, the land battle goes on.
In that quickening soil, the sower’s response is ready; and the peasant uproots his master’s sugar cane and tobacco, replanting corn and beans instead, that himself and the fighting bands may have sustenance. He does not make the mistake that Paris made; he sends no munitions to the enemy; he is an unlettered man, but he knows the use of the soil. And no man can make peace with him, unless that use is guaranteed to him…. He has suffered so long and so terribly under the hell of landownership, that he has determined on death in revolt rather than resubmission to its slavery.
Stronger and stronger blows the hurricane, and those who listen to the singing in the wind know that Senator Lodge9 was right when he said: “I am against intervention, but it’s like having a fire next door.”
That fire is burning away the paper of artificial land-holding. That fire is destroying the delusion that any human creature on the face of the earth has right to keep any other from going straight to the sources of life, and using them. That fire is shooting a white illumination upon the labor struggle, which will make the futile wage war conduced in the United states look like baby’s play.
Yes, honorable Senators and Congressmen, the house next door is on fire-the house of Tyranny, the house of Shame, the house that is built by Robbery and Extortion, our of the sold bodies of a hapless race-its murdered men, its outraged women, its orphaned babies.
Yes, it is on fire. And let it burn,-burn to the ground-utterly. And do not seek to quench it by pouring out the blood of the people of the United States, in a vile defense of those financial adventurers who wear the name American. They undertook to play the game; let them play it to a finish; let them stand man to man against thye people they have robbed, tortured, exiled.
Let it crumble to the ground, that House of Infamy; and if the burning gleeds fly hitherward, and the rotten structure of our own life starts to blaze, welcome, thrice welcome, purifying fire, that shall set us, too, upon the earth once more,-free men upon free land,-no tenant-dwellers on a landlord’s domain. In the roar of that fire we hear the commune’s “earthquake tread,”10 and know that out of the graves at Père-la chaise, out of the trenches of Satory11, out of fever-plains of Guiana12, out of the barren burial sands of Caledonia, the Great Ghost has risen, crying across the world, vive la Commune!
1 Voltairine de Cleyre leyó este texto, el 12 de marzo de 1912, en la reunión conmemorativa de la Comuna de París organizada por el Grupo Bohemio de Chicago en esa misma ciudad. Apareció publicado en Mother Earth, vol. 7, núm 1, marzo de 1912, p. 10-14. El título refiere a Mateo, 28: 6.
2 Refiérase al ciclo de revoluciones de ese año en Francia, Alemania, Austria, Hungría e Italia, que puso punto final a la Europa Absolutista. Se caracterizó por su espontaneísmo, la incorporación de demandas nacionalistas y socialistas. Estas últimas enarboladas por el incipiente movimiento obrero.
3 Refiérase a Patrice de Mac-Mahon (1808-1893). General victorioso tanto en la Guerra de Crimea (1885) como en la Segunda Guerra de Independencia de Italia (1859) y gobernador defenestrado de Argelia (1864-1870). Fue el jefe militar de Versalles encargado por Napoleón III para suprimir la Comuna. Posteriormente fue el segundo presidente de la Tercera República francesa (1873-1879).
4 Refiérase al general francés Gastón de Galliffet (1830-1909). Participó en la mayoría de las guerras y aventuras militares francesa de su época (Crimea, Argelia, México y la franco-prusiana). Estuvo al frente del ministerio de Guerra que pretendía reformar el ejército francés a partir del caso Dreyfus. Cuando en la Asamblea Nacional se le increpó por su dureza contra los comuneros, respondió: “¿Asesino? ¡Presente!”.
5 Refiérase a las colonias francesas de Cayena y Caledonia a donde fueron remitidos los comuneros presos.
6 Refiérase tanto al movimiento por la abolición de la esclavitud desarrollado en Estados Unidos a partir de 1827 como a los revolucionarios rusos emigrados a Estados Unidos tras la Revolución Rusa de 1905.
7 Refiérase a la Revolución china de 1911 (Revolución de Hsinhai) contra la última dinastía imperial, dinastía Qing, que derivó en el establecimiento de la República de China tras el derrocamiento del Emperador Puyi.
8 Refiérase al llamado Gran Descontento Obrero que sacudió a Inglaterra e Irlanda, tras la depresión económica de 1908. La primera ola de huelgas salvajes, a partir de septiembre de 1910 y hasta agosto de 1911, se originó en la cuenca minera de Gales del Sur extendiéndose hasta la conservadora Durham. De junio a septiembre del mismo año, huelgas en el sector de transporte, entre otros, se declararon en ciudades como Liverpool y Manchester. En 1912 se declaró la primera huelga minera en Inglaterra.
9 Probable referencia Henry Cabot Lodge (1850-1924). Miembro del ala conservadora del Partido Republicano, promovió la anexión de Filipinas a los Estados Unidos y la restricción de la migración a su país.
10 Imagen proveniente del poema Hellas de Percy B. Shelley (1821).
11 Tanto el cementerio de Père Lachaise como el almacén de Satory, ambos en París, fueron lugares en que los comuneros fueron masacrados.
12 Refiérase a los campos de trabajo que formaban parte del sistema penitenciario francés en la isla de Guyana, en auge entre 1887 y 1938, a donde se calcula que fueron enviados alrededor de 75 000 presos, incluidos un número no determinado de presos políticos.
PLENTY OF GOLD BACK OF REYES
Texas Official Says America Will Soon Intervene.
Insists Diaz Is Abetting Revolution from Afar.
Thinks Madero Will Call on the United States.
[BY DIRECT WIRE TO THE TIMES]
DALLAS (Tex.) Dec. 9. – [Exclusive Dispatch] That the Reyes revolution in Mexico will be successful unless the United States intervenes; that whether intervention comes now or later, it is certain to come sometime; that Reyes is supported by Diaz, Limantour and Pascual Orozco, is the belief of Capt. J. P. Cranke, of Laredo, commanding the Texas National Guard there, and whose company is taking part in the enforcement of neutrality laws on this side of the Rio Grande.
“Gen. Reyes is now safely in Mexico”, said Capt. Cranke in an interview today.
NO DOUBT AT ALL
“There is no doubt of that. He is directing his revolution against the Madero government in accordance with a carefully matured plan, and is operating in his own country at this time. Will his revolution be successful? Why, of course it will – unless the United States intervenes. Reyes has unlimited financial backing. During the Madero revolution, when the Diaz clique became convinced Madero would be victorious, millions of dollars in gold bars, passed through Laredo, being shipped out by Diaz and his supporters to New York, London and Paris. Certain types of ‘bad men’ who have a border reputation for bravery, did nothing else for a month or two except hide in express cars to guard this gold across the border. There is no doubt that the Cientifico party, Diaz, Limantour, Reyes himself, have millions of dollars in the cities I have named, every cent of which is available for the Reyes revolution”.
Capt. Cranke declares Orozco has rallied to the support of Reyes, chagrined at not having received a certain choice governorship from Madero after the latter became President.
He believes the Reyes revolt will precipitate American intervention.
IMPOSSIBLE TO MADERO
“Madero had rather see the devil President of Mexico than to see Reyes in that office”, he explained. “Therefore, when Madero sees he cannot cope with Reyes, which he will not be long in finding out, he will announce that he cannot protect American and foreign interests, and will rely upon the United States to intervene and afford protection to American citizens and their interests. It will be difficult for this country to avoid responding to the appeal, and Madero knows that. He will deliberately prefer to see the American flag floating over Mexico than to see Reyes in the Presidential chair.
“The opinions are not mine alone”, added Capt. Cranke. “If they were, although I have spent my life on the border, and believe I understand the situation, I might be less sure of the certainty of my conclusions. The beliefs I express are shared by every white man on the border, and a great many leading Mexicans themselves.
“Every day I talk to Americans coming back from Mexico, and they with the men along the border and others in the republic, are absolutely of the opinion that intervention is coming”.
I give this to show that it is not only we of the Mex. Lib. Party who think that Madero’s position in Mexico is untenable, and that intervention is threatening. As those who read this week’s Regeneración know, Madero had resorted to conscription, which is always a desperated card to play. Which Diaz never played, which has raised a storm of protest even from his friends.
It means that the forces of rebellion are storming at every point. The danger is, of course, that the real revolt may be lost sight of, drowned in the surge of reaction. At present, however, it is holding its own in the states Pueblo, Morelos, Guerro, Sinaloa, Tabasco and Oaxaca, with guerrilla springing up everywhere.
Upon this subject, I have to say I heard some very stupid and trivial comments made in this room last Sunday evening, concerning the revolution. Two or three persons declared themselves out of sympathy because acts of brigandage and robbery are done in the name of the revolution.
I have said often enough that war is a horrible thing; but that there some times when conditions are so atrocious that there is no other thing possible. The legal brigandage, the dispossessing of a people of its heritage, the exile and deportation of thousands of people, the decree of extermination against whole tribes, are such wrongs that admit of no other solution. That innocent people will get hurt in the conflict is inevitable; that acts of robbery will be committed against those in nowise guilty of the evil system is inevitable; that those who have no principles and who act merely from unreasoning brutality will call themselves revolutionists is inevitable.
We have no open war in Chicago but we have robbery of innocent persons a plenty; and I have no doubt there are those who would like to say it’s all the fault of the labor unions, that we have. But all those things are as mere bubbles on the surging waves of revolt, whose fundamental cause is the appropriation of the earth by the legal brigands. But all those things are as mere bubbles on the surging waves of revolt, whose fundamental cause is the appropriation of the earth by the legal brigands.
A…. decent well-behaved citizens, I have here a suggestive communication to the public from Gen’l Otis1 himself. And the next time anyone tells you that the capitalist believes in political action, just add: “He does, indeed; but here is what he also believes in.” 2
- OTIS AND THE LAW.
His Vituperative Language is That of a Law Breaker.
Harrison Gray Otis, owner of The Los Angeles Times, claims he is a law-abiding citizen, yet he is planning to “do away with” certain people.. He doesn’t say how these persons will be disposed of, buy they will disappear, and that is sufficient.
His harpings on living up to the law is not carried out, according to an editorial in the Times. He condemns people for taking the law into their own hands, yet he is plotting and scheming to “dispose of” any person who dares to oppose him.
The following article was clipped from the Los Angeles Times: [Nov. 2]
“And soon –It has begun to happen already- the plain citizen of every country will form a combine. Its object will be the suppression of sedition and anarchy in the persons of professional agitators. Theirs will be a big, powerful, effective but unostentatious revolt. It will work quickly, surely, silently[…].
The first thing the plain citizen combine will accomplish is the quiet removal of all these gentlemen. They won’t be blown up; they will just quietly disappear from human ken. There will be a little inquiry at first, but it will die down ever so quickly, for of all the people in the world the professional agitator depends entirely upon his presence and his glib tongue to maintain any sort of interest on influence in his followers. His impassioned rhetoric is his only asset.
The idea of the plain citizen combine is not being mouthed abroad and it is not seeking members or subscriptions. But it is growing rapidly nevertheless, and it is a very rea[l] tangible thing. With the [itch removed, the great decease of unrest will soon be cured, and the world will settle down for another half a century].
I wonder what a good legal minded agitator would do when he found himself within the claws of the person deputized to deal and action of this sort! Wait till the next election to vote about it?
1 Harrison Gray Otis (1837-1917). Empresario y periodista estadounidense. Gerente de la Colorado River Land Company, que poseía cerca de 350,000 hectáreas de tierras en Baja California. Propietario del diario The Los Angeles Times, desde cuyas páginas orquestó una campaña de desprestigio contra el PLM y alentó abiertamente la anexión del territorio de Baja California a los Estados Unidos. El gobierno mexicano envió, en 1911, al coronel Miguel Mayol a defender expresamente los intereses de Otis en la región.
2 Este y los siguientes escritos provienen de Voltarine de Clayre Papers (1876-1914) University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Library), Joseph A. Labadie Collection.
3 “The Great Combine,” The Los Angeles Times (Los Ángeles Calif.), 2 de noviembre de 1911, secc. II, p. 4.
“I have been busy, this week with a long communication from my servant. You didn’t know. I kept servants? I have so many I can’t get rid of them. This one is a 400 lb servant –Mr. Taft.”
Mr. T. tells me some very well-sounding things about his, non-intervention policy in Mex. Unfortunately as the Daily Tribune hints, he is not altogether so clear as might be desired. I should like, to believe him wholly and utterly sincere in his dislike to intervening; but –he says too much about the “property rights” of Am. Citizens there. Which is just the thing at issue. We have said all the time, -we of the Mex. Liberal, Defense Party, that those property rights are the very things that have to be destroyed, whether they are the paper titles of American or Mexicans; and that people who go into a country to exploit its land and its people should take the risks, with and the wrath of that people when they awaken to consciousness of the wrong.
Strange to say the Los Angeles Times has suddenly changed its policy in the matter. On the 27 of Nov. It was crying down Madero and watching his incapacity to the limit1; on the 30th it comes out, in the same editorial column with a complete swing-over to Madero’s side2. It is as impossible to tell what this really means as it is to tell what Mr. Taft really means.
Meanwhile it is rather interesting to read what the Mex. Deputies think of our Gov’t. One of them, Pola3, speaking in the Chamber of Deputies ten days ago, said: “It is true that the U. S. claims to have a desire of hugging to her breast her sister republic of Mex., but only so she can choke the said sister by means of that hug.” Meanwhile the real revolution holds its way in the center, while the counter-revolution of the reactionaries burns in the North.
1 Refiérase a “Mexico’s Mistake,” The Los Angeles Times (los Ángeles Calif.), 27 de noviembre de 1911, secc. II, p. 4.
2 Refiérase a “Enough of Wars,” The Los Angeles Times (los Ángeles Calif.), 30 de noviembre de 1911, secc. II, p. 4.
3 Refiérase a Ángel Pola Moreno (1861-1948). Periodista, librero y editor chiapaneco. Se inició en el periodismo como corresponsal de El Socialista. Se desempeñó como colaborador de El Monitor del Pueblo, Diario del Hogar, El Monitor Republicano, El Partido Liberal y El Imparcial, entre otros. Fundador del periódico El Noticioso. A comienzos del siglo xx editó y publicó la Biblioteca Reformista, con escritos de Juárez, Melchor Ocampo y Lerdo, entre otros protagonistas de la Guerra de Reforma y la Intervención Francesa. Fue diputado durante la presidencia de Francisco I. Madero y con Victoriano Huerta. Condecorado en 1944 como decano del periodismo mexicano.
Most hopeful news of the revolutionary movement comes from the Southwest.
In the first place, the surrender of Reyes the head of a reactionary movement has proved the correctness of Ricardo Flores Magón in this week’s “Regeneración,”1 where he writes:
Having had one good sound lesson in the treason of a professed reformer (Madero) the people were not for shedding their blood in such a folly as putting a reactionist in power. No one now can win the support of the people except someone who will give very definite pledges upon the restoration of the land.
Military events are plenty, but they are not nearly so interesting as the evidences of economic action with which the Mexican papers of all shades of political belief teem: A deputation of representing 18000 inhabitants of the state of Durango visited the gov’t center, and demanded that the land of the Indians be restored; otherwise the deputation declared they could not be responsible of uprisings.
1 Probable referencia al núm. 69 de Regeneración del 23 de diciembre de 1911, en el que se reproduce una traducción parcial del artículo de RFM ¿Reyismo? (núm. 67) bajo el título de Not Madero, Not reyes But the Land y se informa de la delegación de duranguenses en demanda de restitución de tierra mencionada más abajo.
The fate of Mexico is so interwoven in web and woof with the peace and prosperity of our own country, particularly along the border, that events in the sister republic are almost domestic to us. All sensible, right-minded American people want Mexico to enjoy peace within her own borders and prosperity for all her people and that is all such Americans do want. We wish no square foot of Mexican soil, and are far from having any illusions as to the pleasures or profits of any directorate or suzerainty over that country. This last remark is made, not from the American point of view, but from that of some Mexicans. We know our country is casting no covetous sheep’s’ eyes towards our dark-eyed sister to the south. But the sister is occasionally given to a Little coyness and flirtation, as if someone were “taking notice” of her.
Now the natural interest felt by all intelligent Americans as to peace and prosperity in Mexico naturally led us to take close observation of what was taking place there when Francisco Madero raised the standard of revolt, the final result of which was the seat of power and from his native country, to seek refuge beyond seas. Intelligent Americans in large numbers disapproved of the raising of that standard of revolt, and had misgivings as to the intentions, as to the temperament and ability of the revolutionary leader.
But the results have radically altered the case, and have made it necessary to take a new point of view on our part. Madero is now President of the republic and Gen. Diaz is an exile from his native land. Our government is naturally so jealous of its reputation for absence of intention to unnecessarily interfere with the internal affairs of Mexico that the proper thing for us to do (and that is what has been done.) is to accept the situation in good faith.
Francisco I. Madero is now President of the Republic of Mexico, and his administration has passed through about all the transitional-period features. With the surrender of the recalcitrant leader. Gen. Bernardo Reyes, the Madero government seems to be both de jure and de facto. It will be so regarded upon the American side of the boundary line, and Americans will be scrupulous in their recognition of this fact. We sincerely hope that this is a situation that will be accepted by all the Mexican people, and we are sure that it will be by all unselfish, intelligent and patriotic Americans.
To recognize the existing conditions, to submit their wills to these conditions on the part of the people of Mexico, will mean, if the new President proves equal ti the task he has in a way imposed upon himself, the inauguration of an era of continued peace, and through peace, a continuation of the era of prosperity that marked practically the whole time of President Diaz’s administration. Peace and prosperity for Mexico should be what all Mexicans desire, these conditions are what all on this side of the line desire, and there is no separating of the two conditions. Peace means prosperity, and war means desolation and distress in any case, supremely so in the case of civil war.
There are few Mexicans living at this time old enough to remember the horrible devastation and distress that overspread their then unhappy country in the days of frequent revolutions and perpetual internal war. But all the people of the republic, who are old enough to reflect, cannot and should not forget the comparative prosperity they enjoyed through peace under the long, firm and statesmanlike administration of President Diaz.
The people of Mexico, in direct proportion to their intelligence and patriotism, will now give Mr. Madero full opportunity “to make good” as President of the republic. So far as his administration has gone (which, to be sure, is not far,) he has not shown himself a failure. It should be the earnest aspiration of all his people that he may prove himself altogether worthy, and as he becomes more accustomed to the difficult duties of the executive office, to be able to prove himself more and more worthy.
The hand of Mexicans raised against the President of the country, even for slight mistakes, or for anything less that the gravest maladministration of office, is not the hand of the patriot, but of the traitor to his own country.
Americans hope most earnestly that the heart of every Mexican will beat warmly with the impulses of pure patriotism and that Mr. Madero’s term in office will prove one of justice, of undisturbed peacefulness, and of great and permanent prosperity to all the people of the sister republic.
The prevailing liberal and just sentiment. “give President Madero a Chance,” is a good sign.
The cold snap has so delayed the mails that I have little news since the first of the week concerning revolutionary activity to the South. Heavy fighting continues between the federals and the Zapatist forces, with victories and defeats about even.
The U. Fed. of miners1 is reported as making strenuous efforts the 200 000 Mex. Miners.
The L. A. Times of Dec. 28 had a very long editorial2, full of dissatisfied grimaces which one can almost see its editor making, full of praise for the fallen Diaz, and a reluctantly yield recommendation that the people continue to try Madero a while. Its tenor is fairly typified in this sentence: «At any rate, let us be thankful that intervention is saved off a while.»
1 Probable referencia a la Western Federation Miners (Federación de Mineros del Oeste) organización obrera norteamericana de corte radical, cercana a Industrial Workers of theWorld (Trabajadores Industriales del Mundo). Dada su política de filiación de trabajadores con independencia de su origen étnico y nacional, así como su influencia en las regiones mineras del oeste norteamericano (Arizona, California, Nuevo México, Colorado y Oklahoma), contaba entre sus miembros a mexicanos, militantes a su vez del PLM. Participó activamente en la defensa de los perseguidos políticos mexicanos en Estados Unidos.
2 Refiérase al escrito reproducido supra.
The Catholic journal cries out that the state of Morelos is practically in a condition of Anarchist-communism.
El Imparcial declares the Indians have seized a large tract of Oaxaca, and formed a pueblo –that is an Indian commune.
A maderist paper, The New Era, declares the Indians in Puebla have taken forcible posession of great stretches of land.
The long list of deputations all repeating the same request, in different wards only, fills 2 columns of report. The present gov’t has been force by the outcry to promise the expenditure of 200 000 000 on agriculture and irrigation. But the people continue to pour in demands, and to refuse to lay down arms.
The very best news is that Yucatan –which lies out of the belt of any special leaders influence- Yucatan the scene of the most horrible slavery of the deported tribes- of starvation and flogging to death- is now the scene of successful revolt, reported by the government´s own papers.
1 Por su contenido parecen ser notas tomadas de Regeneración, núm. 71, 6 de enero de 1912.
On abundant crops of literature has grown out of the McNamara pleas of guilt. And some of it is really literature!
Of course, no one will suppose I include in the category of literature the mouthings of Theo. Roosevelt. He was never able to resist the temptation to express himself upon every subject under the sun, whether he had anything to soy or not. He heads his article “Murder is murder,”1 and as I read it with a gradually increasing sneer pulling at my mouth. I had a vision before my eyes of a fleeing Spaniard running San Juan Hill, pierced through the back by a rough-rider –and I felt like saying in R’s ear “Remember – Murder is a murder.” The Socialists may flatter themselves: T. R. has reorganized some of them as “true Socialists.” I congratulate those who take the recognition in themselves on the honor they have won.
Thank Debs is not of this “trues;” for T. R. has signaled Debs for his denunciation.
Debs’s own article, in the Appeal to Reason, barring what appears to me a purblind adherence to the untenable theory that Otis blew up his own building, is literature –brave, strong, burning with the fire of a great heart.2
The most contemptible thing I have seen is the utterance of A. M. Simons3, once Editor of the Chi. Daily Socialist; not satisfied with administering what Steffens4 calls “One more good Christian kick to the underdog,” the McN’s themselves, he descends to the basest attack upon Clarence Darrow5, in the same breath in which he asserts that the reason Socialists defended Haywood and his comrades, was because, being Socialists they most be innocent; when all the while he knows that however guiltless Moyer, Haywood + Pettibone6 were, it was Clarence Darrow who saved their lives, -Clarence Darrow ability and devotion. And Darrow knows that Simons know it; and yet this gnat stings Darrow.
Job Harriman’s7 utterance is a masterpiece –a masterpiece of how –not-to-say-it. Which is a politician’s business. No doubt Harriman is an able lawyer, and as much he could not condemn the course his colleagues look. On the other hand, he is a politician, honestly believing in his own party movement; and he couldn’t approve or disapprove. Besides he appears to be a humane man as well as a politician.
The finest utterance by far of this week (which I have seen) is an article entitled “Who is Guilty,” by C. B. Hoffman, -a socialist, but a big one: -a man who has never allowed his political convictions to cloud the great human element within him; a man who always sees the pathetic, the tender, the sympathetic, the passionate, the devotes, even in those with whom he cannot agree. His article is a throbbing, burning arraignment of this terrible society of ours, -but always with the human touch.
On the side of Capital there have been some interesting utterances.
Mr. Kirby8 comes out with a straight demand that labor be not allowed to organize. Of course he does not see that by attempting to crush organization he is fighting a law of nature; and that of it should be attempted the policy of vengeful reprisal would become more general.
Mr. Brandeis9 is more logical, -recognizes that there are underlying causes both to organization and to acts of terrorism.
From the standpoint of cold, logical straight talk, however, the best utterance is in the editorial columns of the English section of Regeneración.10 It is an absolutely unflinching statement of the position of militant Trade Unionism.
1 Publicado en la revista Outlook (Nueva York, N. Y.), vol. 99, núm. 16, 16 de diciembre de 1911, pp. 901-2.
2 Refiérase a Eugene Debs “Capitalists behind the Dynamiting Plots,” Appeal to Reason (Girard, Kan.) núm. 840, 6 de enero de 1912, p. 1. Días después, Debs, se retractó de esa postura en el artículo “The McNamara Case and the Labor Movement,” publicado en International Socialist Review, vol. 12, no. 7 (Jan. 1912), pp. 397-401.
3 Refiérase a Algie Martin Simons (1870-1950), periodista, editor, escritor y político socialista. Editor de la International Socialist Review (1901-1908), The Modern Magazine (Chicago, Ill., 1909-1910), entre otros. Miembro del Partido Socialista de América hasta 1916. A partir de su apoyo a la intervención de su país en la Gran Guerra transitó a posturas cada vez más conservadoras hasta terminar siendo miembro del Partido Republicano.
4 Refiérase a Lincoln Steffens (1866-1936), periodista, editor y escritor. Tuvo una inicial y fulgurante carrera como editor de la McClure’s Magazine (1901-1904) y miembro fundador del llamado periodismo muckraker junto con Upton Sinclair e Ida M. Tarbell. Siempre interesado en la revolución en México, escribió Into Mexico and–Out! (1916). Jugó un papel clave en la declaratoria de culpabilidad de los hermanos McNamara.
5 Clarence Darrow Célebre abogado norteamericano, socialista, libre pensador, pro-impuesto único y pacifista tolstoiano. Sus vínculos con los anarquistas datan de los ochenta cuando apoyó los mítines en favor de los Mártires de Chicago, promovió la edificación de un monumento en su memoria, y formó parte del comité que solicitó la amnistía para los no condenados a muerte. En 1901 asistió a una conferencia de Piotr Kropotkin en Chicago y, ese mismo año, obtuvo la libertad de algunos acusados en torno al asesinato del presidente McKinley. En 1903-4 fue consejero de John Turner, anarquista británico amenazado con la deportación bajo una ley de exclusión originada en el asesinato de Mc Kinley. En 1905 defendió a Moses Harman, el anarquista y reformador sexual, editor de Lucifer. Posteriomente tomó parte en muchos casos más relacionados con anarquistas, wobblies y socialistas. Colaborador de The Fireband y otros periódicos anarquistas, miembro de la Asociación Francisco Ferrer. En 1911 la Federación Americana del Trabajo (AFL), lo contrató para la defensa de los hermanos McNamara. Contra toda expectativa, junto con Lincoln Steffens y Edward W. Scripps, sugirió y consiguió que los mismos se declararan culpables de la voladura del edificio de The Los Angeles Times. Días después fue acusado de intento de soborno al jurado. Posteriormente y hasta el final de su vida se dedicó a la abogacía criminal. Sobre una primera apreciación de Darrow por parte de de Cleyre, véase la Nota introductoria
6 Charles Moyer, presidente de la Western Federation of Miners; William “big Bill” Haywood, secretario general de la misma organización y George Pettibone, activista laboral, fueron acusados de conspirar para asesinar a Frank Steunenberg, gobernador del Estado de Idaho. El asesinato se llevó al cabo el 30 de diciembre de 1905 y los cargos contra los tres dirigentes mineros se basaron en una declaración escrita del supuesto asesino material, Harry Orchard, un informante de las compañías mineras de la región; declaración obtenida por un agente de la agencia de detectives Pinkerton. El juicio se llevó al cabo en Boise, capital del Estado y adquirió fama nacional entre otras cosas porque el fiscal era el senador William Borah y la defensa estaba encabezada por Clarence Darrow. Los imputados fueron declarados inocentes.
7 Job Harriman. (1861-1925). Ministro protestante que devino agnóstico y después socialista. Abogado y dirigente del Partido Socialista en California. Candidato a la vice presidencia de los Estados Unidos por dicho partido en 1900. Formó parte de la defensa de los miembros del PLM encausados entre 1907 y 1912. Integró el Comité de Defensa de Presos Políticos. En octubre de 1911, en compañía de Mother Jones, buscó convencer a RFM que cesara su campaña independiente y participara con Francisco I. Madero en la reconstrucción del país. Participó inicialmente en la defensa de los hermanos McNamara, acusados de haber volado las oficinas de The Los Ángeles Times. Ambos hermanos terminaron declarándose culpables. Lo que significó un duro golpe al movimiento obrero angelino y a la carrera política de Harriman. Candidato a la alcaldía de Los Ángeles, Calif. en tres ocasiones (1910, 1911 y 1913). En la última ocasión perdió por 800 votos. En 1914 fundo la colonia socialista de Llano del Rio, al norte de Los Ángeles, misma que llegó a tener cerca de 1000 miembros, en 1918 la trasladó a Louisiana.
8 Refiérase a John Kirby Jr. empresario de Ohio, promotor de la política antisindicalista Open Shop y miembro de la Asociación Industrial de América Ciudadana y la Asociación Nacional de Manufactureros.
9 Refiérese a Louis Dembitz Brandeis (1856-1941), empresario, abogado, sionista. Primer judío miembro de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de Estados Unidos. Promotor del respeto a la vida privada, la libertad de expresión y de las leyes antimonopolio.
10 William C. Owen publicó una veintena de artículos relacionados con el caso de los hermanos McNamara entre junio de 1911 y enero de 1912. Destacan: “Monopoly Drives Workers to Crime” (4, 72, 4) del13 de enero de 1912, y “McNamara Case and Socialism,” (4, 73, 4), 20 de enero de 1912.
From Los Angeles I hear1 that the Mexican autocrat has postponed the conscription which was to have gone into effect on the 14th of Jan. Till the first of March. Madero is like a cat who has got to swim, but doesn’t like wetting its feet. He puts one foot in, pulls it back, laps it off, and looks for another place to try it. His proclamation of this suspension of constitutional guarantees contains two remarkable sentences: The first is, “Anarchist fomentations, which lamentably are prospering in the state of Morelos and which have been propagated in the state of Guerrero and the Districts co-terminus with the States of Mexico + Puebla oblige him to ask for a means of social salvation which is supreme.”
Let no one suppose that Madero means “Anarchists fomentations” in a mistaken sense; it is really genuine anarchist propaganda that he is complaining of; for the “Anarchist cry of Land and Liberty” is at his gates. The other sentence is this:
So it is reduced to this, that what is being called “brigandage” by the general press is out of Madero’s mouth explained to be “Agrarian communism” –the land workers refusing to recognize property right and using the soil for themselves.
1 Refiérase al artículo de William C. Owen “Constitutional Guarantees To Be Suspended,” en Reg. (4,73, 4), 20 de enero de 1912.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO JOSEPH JACOB COHEN1
2038 Potomac, Ave.,
Chicago, April 13, 1911
My dear and daily remembered Friend2:
I wanted to answer your letter of Apr. 4, at once, but such a combination of misfortunes overtook us, that there was no getting a moment’s peace to think. Nothing personally serious, nor indeed serious to anyone, but extremely trying and unpleasant. Mary Isaak (the younger) on her way to California with her two children, found that one of the children had broken out with measles on the train, so that she was compelled to stop off for a week. She and her friend and the two children stayed here, and life was certainly nearly unendurable that week, more by reason of company coming to see them than just themselves, l actually went out of the house and walked the streets in the rain to get away from the turmoil!
That same week there was in the city one of the organizers of the Allied Building Trades of Los Angeles3, one who was under surveillance in connection with the Los Angeles Times4 explosion, and subsequently exonerated.
I had a long and interesting conversations with him, and again it was a case of wishing I could speak wilt you about it afterward. You see he (Johannssen5) is a practical man -full of life, vigor, energy- not at all troubled by theories or the necessity of squaring his conduct by any rule of action, though I believe he thinks he is somewhat of an anarchist and is certainly to some extent a product of Isaak’s6 propaganda years ago in Chicago, A successful organizer and a hard practical fighter, and as such interesting to me. But I would like to know how such a man would impress you, and his theories of an organized fight.
Well -some time! For the present, we are still too far apart.
I imagine you have been burning with curiosity as to the real animus of the movement of the troops to Mexico; haven’t you? All I can be sure of is that the gov’t and the papers together have been throwing sand in our eyes.
Now, about my things, if you want the piano at once, you can have it any day. Just stop in and see Mr. Navro, and he will order the movers. The rest of the things, however, cannot be moved tell the end of the month, I supposes.
Next week I am going to try to find rooms here and buy what things I need; and then I shall be able to say just definitely what I am going to have shipped here, and what shall be sent down to you. That is, of course, if the weather here allows me! Il was awfully cold and snowy last week.
I think if you can squeeze in the time, it would be good if you could go in and see Mr. Navro on your way home from work. He will be very busy with his music till the 22nd of the month, when his teacher leaves the city; which will give him a week’s time to attend to my moving and his own. The piano, however is always an entirely separate affair and it can be taken any time you want it, by simply going in and arranging with him. He has the money to pay for the moving.
So, I have contradicted myself in what I wrote you about Anarchism, have I? I no longer remember what I wrote in either instance; so, when you have time, just quote me to myself so that I can see what the contradiction was , It’s nothing new, though, that I contradict myself; my thoughts are continually contradicting each other madly.
(By the way I got a request from Leonard Abbott7 the other day, asking for my lecture on Modern Education8, and saying every one seemed to be “misty” on the subject! I told him that six months ago, but he didn’t seem to feel the farce of it then. I really think he, like a good many others, got swept off their feel by Ferrer’s9 death, and began to holler “Modern Ed.” without knowing what they were hollering about. I don’t mean to say you were; because you did talk about it, before Ferrer’s death).
But where did I get to! I was speaking about contradictions! And somehow the M. School bobbed in!
Yanousky10 has also asked me to write a series of articles (that was 4 mos. ago) concerning the actual conditions, its cause, and its possible remedies, Dear me, I don’t know how. By the way , I have sent him a pair of companion sketches for Freie Gesellschaft11; one appeared in English 4 years ago; the other is entirely new, My washwoman in Phila. was the heroine thereof.
Perhaps I will try some time to do what you ask.
No; I have never read the iron Heel12; I am sorry.
Why is Mrs. C. afraid to attempt to write?
I know how she is able to write; and she knows that I know, and needs not to be ashamed of mistakes. Il would do her more good than two lessons to write one real letter; and all she has to do is just to talk to me as she would fast enough if I were there. And never mind the spelling; I will make if out.
Of course, if she has the time. I know she must be pretty busy, tending to the keeping of that place in order.
I have often thought myself that Emma13 was somewhat deficient in energy; just as my Harry14 is. I can’t see why, if children are like parents, either of them should be.
Tell her I will write her a letter, if she will learn to read it herself.
In addition to the woes of our upset, I have had the woes of writing a lecture -a thing I always dread. I have finished if today, and feel like a boy out of school, when I glance at the finished MS.
I enclose our card.
How are all your bunch of “assistants?”
How is Rosen15? And the “perniciously active”
Brandy? I suppose Rosen is still tilting with what notables personages he has recently conversed, and Brandy -making schemes!
There is Neinberg16?
Believe me, I have unsaid more than I say in thanks, in friendships, and [,,,] Greetings to all.
V. de Cleyre
1 Col. Voltairine de Cleyre and Joseph Jacob Cohen, YIVO Archives, Nueva York, N.Y. (VdC JJC YIVO).
2 Refiérase a Joseph Jacob Cohen. Editor del periódico anarquista judío neoyorkino Fraye Arbeter Shtime en los años 20. Cigarrero de Filadelfia, se convirtió al anarquismo por influencia de Voltairine de Cleyre; fundador del Radical Library Group y las colonias Stelton (Nueva York, N. Y.) y Sunrise (Alicia, Mich.). Autor de History of the Jewish Anarchist Movement (1945).
3 Refiérase al Consejo de Oficios de la Construcción de Los Ángeles, Calif. (Council of Building Trades of LA) miembro de la Federación del Trabajo del Estado de California)
4 El edificio de The Los Angeles Times (Los Ángeles, Calif.) fue dinamitado el 1 de octubre de 1910.
5 Refiérase a Anton Johannssen, organizador de trabajadores de la construcción en Chicago, San Francisco y Los Ángeles. Junto con Olaf Tveitmoe y 42 más fue acusado de conspirar para trasladar dinamita en 1912. En 1914 participa en el comité de defensa de Jesús M. Rangel y Charles Cline, como orador en distintos mítines. Todavía en noviembre de 1915 se le liga al caso durante el juicio de Mathew A.Schmitt, otro de los implicados.
6 Refiérase a Abraham Isaak (1856-1937). Escritor y editor de origen ruso. Dirigió Fireband (1895-1897; Portland Ore.) Free Society (1897-1904; San Francisco, Calif.). Por haber conocido a León Czolgoz, el asesino del presidente McKinley, y a quien denunció como posible espía, fue hostigado por la policía. En 1909 funda la colonia de inspiración anarquista Aurora en Lincoln, Calif. Hutchins Hapgood (1869-1944) lo retrata en el personaje “Anton” de su novela The Spirit of Labor (1907).
7 Leonard Abbot (1878-1953) editor y publicista. Figura del Partido Socialista de América, promotor de la candidatura de Eugene Debs a la presidencia en 1900. Editor de diversas revistas socialistas como Comrade, International Socialist Review y The Free Comrade entre otras. Se interesó por la educación libertaria hacia 1905 y fundó la Escuela Moderna en Nueva York, N. Y., siguiendo los preceptos de Francisco Ferrer y el método Montesori. En 1914, explotó una bomba cerca de las instalaciones, al parecer manipulada por anarquistas cercanos a su grupo que pretendían hacerla estallar en la casa del dueño de la Standar Oil Co., John Rockefeller.
8 Refiérase a “Modern Educational Reform” en Alexander Berkman (ed.) The Selected Works of Voltairine de Cleyre. Poems, Essays and Stories, 1885-1911, Nueva York, Mother Earth Publisher Ass., 1914; pp. 321-40.
9 Refiérese a Francisco Ferrer y Guardia. (1859-1909). Pedagogo. Entusiasta de la Primera República Española, en 1884 se hace masón. Implicado en la sublevación republicana de Villacampa, en 1886 se asila en París. En 1892 asiste al Congreso internacional de librepensadores en Madrid y en 1897 al Congreso Socialista de Londres. Decepcionado de los republicanos se aproximó a los círculos libertarios parisinos. Profesaba una concepción de la revolución que combinaba una vanguardia profesional, la huelga general y la alianza con el proletariado. A partir de 1894 se le asocia, en calidad de financiero, a todos los movimientos insurreccionales, huelgas y magnicidios que suceden en España. En 1901 funda en Barcelona la Escuela Moderna, misma que le dará fama internacional como impulsor de la llamada Escuela Racionalista. Implicado en el atentado contra Alfonso XIII que realiza Mateo Morral en Madrid fue encarcelado. Al ser liberado en junio de 1907, continúa su labor de agitación dentro y fuera de la península ibérica. Arrestado de nueva cuenta tras la llamada Semana Trágica en Barcelona, fue ejecutado en esa misma ciudad en medio de un escándalo de alcances mundiales. Escribió, entre otros. La Escuela Moderna (1912) y Páginas para la historia (1910).
10 Refiérase a Saúl Yanovsky (1864-1934). Periodista, orador y editor. Anarquista de origen ruso. Formó parte de los Pioneros de la Libertad, organización derivada de los acontecimientos en Chicago de 1886. Mantuvo contacto con Miguel Bakunin y Pedro Kropotkin. En Londres, Ingl. publicó Arberter Fraynd (1889-1903). En Nueva York, N. Y. editó el semanario anarquista en yiddish más longevo: Freie Arbeiter Stimme de 1894 a 1917, y, en paralelo, Di Abend Tsaytung (1906-7).
11 Die Freie Gesellschaft, Publicación mensual en yiddish (Nueva York, N. Y.), asociada a Freie Arbeiter Stimme. (1910-1911).
12 Refiérase a la novela de Jack London, El Talón de Hierro (1908). Novela que León Trotsky, años después describió como una brillante anticipación al fascismo.
13 Refiérase a Emma Cohen Gilbert (1904-1986), hija de Joseph J. Cohen y Sophia Gilbert.
14 Refiérase a su hijo Harry (1900- ¿?). Su padre fue James B. Elliot.
15 Refiérase probablemente a Syma Rosen, administrador del semanario Freie Arbeiter Stimme.
16 Refiérase a Chaim Leib Weinberg (1861-1939). Anarquista, participó en la Modern School de Stanton, N. J.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO ADELANDE DE CLEIRE THAYER (FRAGMENT)1
June 3, 1911
[..]By the way, girlie, have you been taking any tent of the Mexican Revolution? That part of it which centers in Lower California, is a genuine economic revolt, with the red flag for its standard. As for the rest of Mexico it’s hard telling. I send you herewith one of the two dozen suscription blanks W. C. Owen has sent to me, not because I expect you to collect any money on it, but, because you may like to read their appeal and I don’t know what else to do with it. Emma with her usual lack of good judgment, has evidently got Owen with the idea that I can do a hell of a lot towards setting Chicago afire if I wish. Her own experience here as an illuminator ought to have demonstrated that be an error. Chicago has no particular desire to be conflagrated and I have no particular desire to conflagrate it. But the result is, Owen has been «scolding» me, like an old woman, for not firing up with real and other things.
I don’t know but I might sit up and take notice if I were in Mexico; but it’s a long range fight, and I do not enjoy collecting money. However we sent them $15.66 last Monday.
1 Voltairine De Clayre Papers (1876-1914) University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Library), Joseph A. Labadie Collection.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO SAUL YANOVSKY.1
2038 Potomac Ave.
Aug. 5, 1911
Enclosed please find report for F. A. S.3 as to the M. L. D. C.4 I see you are still there, so I infer you’re not going West, and that you won your strike! – Yes?
I have an article in their month’s Mother Earth5; on the Mex. Revolt. Maybe you will to translate it.
I am too lazy to write two!
What do you think of the Tempest in the Arden Teapot6?
Voltairine de Cleire
1 Joseph Ishill papers, 1888-1966. MS Am 1614 (178). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2 Refiérase a Saúl Yanovsky.
3 Refiérase al semanario Freie Arbeiter Stimme.
4 Refiérase a la Conferencia de Defensa Liberal Mexicana.
5 Vid. supra, “La Revuelta Mexicana.” Mother Earth. “Monthly magazine devoted to social science and literature.” Nueva York (1906-1917). Editores: Emma Goldman, Max Baginsky, Alexander Berkman, Hippolyte Havel. Entre sus colaboradores destacan: Leonard Abbot, Voltairine de Cleyre, Jay Fox y Harry Kelly. Se solidarizó con la lucha del PLM desde 1907, convirtiéndose en una importante plataforma para su difusión en los medios ácratas de los Estados Unidos. Se trata de una de las más prestigiosas publicaciones anarquistas de la unión americana.
6 Refiérase a la Colonia anarquista de Arden, Dela.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO JOSPEH JACOB COHEN.1
2038 Potomac Ave.
Chicago, Oct. 30, 1911.
Yes dear friend, That’s just it! I was “waiting for my bill”. -Need I say that it was a pleasant surprise to find not only my bill, but money for Regeneracion? I am sending it on to-day to Los Angeles together with a few dollars else.
You’ll see it acknowledged duly in the Spanish section of the paper.
I enclose you card for our first meetings this season, although I have been speaking in other places the last two Sundays.
If I can get my lecture (on Mex. Revolution.2) type-written, I have a mind to send it over to you and have some good reader read it at some one of your English meetings.
Both your English card and ours look too crowded. I understand: you put a 6 week’s program on it. The Jewish card looks better.
We had to resort to the trick of a lessee to get a hall in Masonic Temple, the temple (Free Masons) has got into the control of Catholics!
To go back to you letter of Aug. 16, in which you were deploring Brown´s3 action; you said; “I can picture to myself Brown standing on a platform denouncing law, and people shouting; what did you do when you could not get what you wanted in Arden4?” – I though at the time “Well, if that ever happens Brown will make the […] of his life. Now you see how bad it is to have a law! Even one who does not believe in it is tempted to take advantage of it. lf the law were not there, I could it have fallen from grace”.
You said, also, that you think I am “wronging us by arguing against us”. That sounded strange to me. In the first place, dear friend, I hardly speak of the school movement5 at all; when I do, it is not publicly but privately and not necessarily always in a “hostile” way either. In the second place, even if I did, why am I wronging anybody by “arguing against him” if I think he is wrong. lf I am mute, it appears to me I wrong myself in such a case. As a matter of fact, I do not really find myself called upon to say much; but when I do, naturally I don’t think I wrong anybody.
In the same letter you mentioned that abominable book of Hapgood’s6. It is no more a picture of the comrades in Chicago than the comrades in New York or Phila. The Anarchist Woman was a certain “Marie-“ who, thank goodness left Chicago some five years ago. She came here from N. Y. and went to S. Frisco. She is a born prostitute, and miserable creature otherwise. There was a man here (Terry Carlin7); once a man- now a derelict- intellectual and probably originally a good fellow at heart. He became a sot, an alcohol sponge; he lived with and by that woman, and some others. And Hapgood, like the brute he is, came here and pictured those two people, as representing Chicago Anarchists. It’s my opinion he’ll picture Emma8 someday as revoltingly as he can. But she keeps on fraternizing with him.
Now your present letter; I am more than glad to know you are realizing your dreams, even to a limited extent in regard to the Sunday School; for while I’m so dubious about it myself, I always like to see you get what you want. Who are your drawing and modeling teachers? -As to your night school, that certainly there is abundant field for.
Yes to my own surprise of and still in Chicago, although I had determined to go to Los Angeles. You see – I got “cold feet”. If it were only 1000 miles; but $50.00 R. R. fare is some, and not so easy to raise. And if I couldn’t make it go there, I should have trouble to get back. And worst of all I was afraid of being alone. Still, I sometimes think, even now that it’s mighty foolish in me not to see the others end of “my” country before I go back East.- You know, I always have it in mind that some time we shall be working together again; but meanwhile, just what to do with myself I don’t know. Life isn’t very interesting. And I was thinking that to be there, more closely in contact with the Mexican bunch, who just now are doing things, I should perhaps get some other interest However, when the time drew near to go, I got too dreary thinking of the personal loneliness.
I was in St. Louis, recently, and a tailor there offered to pay my fare out to L. A.; he wanted me as a teacher. Since he is there, he wrote and renewed his offer, Of course I would never take advantage of such generosity.
The plan to publish my sketches is just about where it was. They haven’t money enough yet; and as you know, if I were a person to push or urge such things, it would go faster. But as a matter of fact, I ‘Abe far rather people would give me money for Regeneracion than for my sketches. I thank they have some $50.00 cash and maybe $50.00 more promise; but they need $200.00, about.
The idea that you will be “retired from the movement” doesn’t strike me as a probability, – as a desirability either. When I come back, I shall find you the same undaunted, indefatigable and – yes, inscrutable, I think even to yourself- worker I have always known you, And me, -I hope you will find me shaken out of my lethargy and narrow preoccupation. I hope so. Even if I go to Mexico to do it first, which I don’t much think I will, but sometimes-
My love to Emma and Mrs. C.
By the way Finkler talks of returning to Phila. this winter some time. Poor fellow he has had troubles a plenty since he left there. Most, of course of his own making. He has a bad habit of falling in love inopportunely, and his western experience cost him some $450 I am told. He didn’t tell me himself; only that his “leg had been pulled for fair”. And as I know the lady’s reputation is such as to justify the statement, and know the man who wrote the checks, I have no doubt it’s true. He thought he had built himself a home; when he got there it belonged to someone else so he come back here. -He had a strike this summer, and got cadaverous looking with it, accused of theft, etc., you understand it isn’t always possible to give a satisfactory accounting of how money is spent in strikers. -Then, unluckily I was the cause of his getting done out of $15.00 more. A fellow came here, a stranger, a “comrade” seeking company. Finkler being present by accident I introduced them. O dear me, the stranger struck him for $15.00 the neXt week! And poor F. couldn’t say “no” – But now, now, he is chasing a widow; not a bad one either, and I hope it will be all satisfactory (though I have my doubts). – I tell you all this, because he told me (when he said he might go to Phila, rather longingly it sounded to me) that he would see – So and so, and so- and-so, and at last, (rather as if saying what had all the time been the thing he wanted to say most and kept repressed) –“and Cohen,”- and I imagine he would very much like to see you again. His hair got silvered all through during that strike; otherwise he looks as of old.
So the Donelli’s have gone, Well I’m glad that tragedy is over, though I don’t see why they hustled him over to Italy. Possibly he wanted to go. Don’t worry, I think we did all we could do; and so have not to regret Though, as you say, if I had been there, I should likely have worried.
Good health and courage, dear friend. I am, with love.
V. de Cleyre.
1 Col. Voltairine de Cleyre and Joseph Jacob Cohen, YIVO Archives, Nueva York, N.Y. (VdC JJC YIVO).
2 Vid. supra, “La Revolución Mexicana.”
3 Refiérase a George Brown (1858-1915). Inglés, zapatero, orador anarquista. Miembro fundador de la Colonia de Arden, Dela.
4 Colonia de Arden, Dela. Fundada en 1900 bajo los preceptos del Impuesto Único (Single Tax) inspirada en el pensamiento de Henry George y bajo la influencia de las propuestas sobre arte y artesanías de William Morris.
5 Refiérase al movimiento de la Escuela Moderna en los Estados Unidos.
6 Refiérase al libro de Hutchins Hapgood An Anarchist Woman (1909).
7 Terry Carlin (1855-1934). Orador y anarquista. Amigo de Eugene O’Neill quien lo retrató en su novela Iceman Cometh, en el personaje de Larry Slade, el “tontósofo”.
8 Refiérase a Emma Goldman (1869-1940). Oriunda de Lituania, Rusia. Se interesó por las cuestiones políticas y sociales a partir de la ejecución de los llamados Mártires de Chicago ejecutados en 1887. Junto con Alexander Berkman, se convirtió en una de las figuras más prominentes del anarquismo en los Estados Unidos. Goldman, al parecer, entró en contacto con RFM en las giras que realizó por California entre 1908 y 1915, sostuvo esporádicos encuentros con él. Con Berkman editó Mother Earth (Nueva York) y The Blast (San Francisco, California), publicaciones que reprodujeron cartas y escritos de RFM y de otros intelectuales y dirigentes sociales simpatizantes del PLM. En 1911, organizó en Nueva York la Conferencia de la Revolución Mexicana, “con el objetivo de contribuir al amplio movimiento, de la revolución social en el país y contra la perspectiva maderista de la misma”. Goldman y Berkman fueron deportados a Rusia el 21 de diciembre de 1919.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO ADELANDE DE CLEIRE THAYER (FRAGMENTO).1
2038 Potomac Ave.
Chicago, Dec. 29, 1911
[…] This climate in winter is sure terrible on me. But for the likelihood of war with Mexico, I should go to Los Angeles now, for the rest of the winter; but as war may be declared most any time (though I hope not) I don’t care to get so near the border, for a mixed lot of reasons […]
1 Voltairine De Cleyre Papers (1876-1914) University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Library), Joseph A. Labadie Collection.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO JOSEPH JACOB COHEN.1
Jan. 12, 1912.
Ah, at last I see why you delayed writing so long! When one is engaged in a visit with the idol of one’s sixteen year old affections one postpones other matters! All right! Since Mrs. Cohen can stand it, I can!
I am so sorry I don’t get you letter 24 hours sooner; I would have sent you the messing copies of Regeneracion I thought you were getting it, so I mailed copies all around elsewhere, and gave over my balance to be distributed only last night. No. 68 has a poem of mine2 is; ask Benv Gerstine to see it. You will like it, though I correct some of the printer’s doings.
I send you copy of Owen’s3 leaflet. We bought 5000 here and start distributes this week It’s by far the best I’ve seen!
Now as to the case, Johannsson and Tvietmoe4 go for their hearing today5. We are all at sea, here; but it looks as if Frederick6 had failed to live up to his bargain, Owen thinks there will be a long and bitter persecution. I was of the same opinion as yourself; now I am in doubt. It all depends on what Frederick was really done. It may be bluffing; if not -then there will be considerable hell get.
As I glanced over Brandy’s two months’ card, I almost swore to stay in Chicago as against Phila. Discussions of dead men every one of them dead. That’s the difference between Phila. and Chicago. Chicago has no patience she is always jumping at a new live thing. You see, I the “dead one” am speaking on “Direct Action.7” If I were in Phila. I’d be shedding tears over. Thos. Paine.
A revolution in the U. S. backyard, and Phila doesn’t know it! Did you at least discuss the McNamara case publicly?
Hell, if you can stand Brandy, you are more of a daily arab wonder than I thought. Evidently, he is running the plans of the R. T. P. again.
Now as to agitating for release of the Mcs. Those other cases meets be settled first. But I agree it should be done before the Socialists start to make capital of it. And yes! Let us say what me have to say, and as loud as we can.
I’m sorry to hear Hartmann8 is there at his usual occupation of gulling people.
He passed two bogus checks on poor old Martin Drescher here last year. He always finds suckers. If he doesn’t come drunk to the meeting, you’ll be lucky.
Mrs. Parsons with you? Greet her for me.
We’re all frozen up here. Yesterday I was being ill all day, and yet -suddenly because of a telephone call for a chance to sell tickets for our comrade’s fund, and a second announcing that two pupils wouldn’t come, I went out in a blinding snow storm, stood in a 6:30 clock jam on car, sat in a cold anteroom, after innumerable previous adventures finding it, and to my own astonishment sold $10.00 worth of tickets. Come home (getting stuck on a cold storm blown corner for 15 minutes), and find my last pupil comfortably waiting for me (from 8:30 tell 10:00 he had sat there).
Hell of course “there’s a reason” It was the fighting Local 504 Carpenters, koraextra for whom I have done a lot of translating; and the Secretary proposed the plan. Also, they gave me “a rising vote of thanks” for my past labors (though really they paid me for is all).
But if anyone would have told me I would have gone out in that storm, I would have smiled and sat by the fire! An hour before I went (Our fund is about 53.00 now.
I have not seen the Public, but I have read Collier’s9 for Dec. 23 and Jan 13.
Spiteful, but pretty near correct in main points.
Some way if seems to me both your letter and mine are abominably business like, and lacking in sentiment. The cold?
My love to Ema and to her mamma, Yours,
I’m not surprised at the Y. T. C. expected that it was so.
1 Col. Voltairine de Cleyre and Joseph Jacob Cohen, YIVO Archives, Nueva York, N.Y. (VdC JJC YIVO).
2 Vid., supra, “Escrito en rojo”
3 Refiérase a William C. Owen, La Revolución mexicana; su progreso, propósitos y probables perspectivas (1912).
4 Olaf A. Tvietmoe. Líder obrero en San Francisco de origen noruego. Tesorero de la California Building Trades. Editor de Organized Labor (San Francisco, Cal.) y líder de la racista Asiatic Exclusion League. Vid., supra, n. 82.
5 Refiérase a la audiencia del juicio contra Clarence Darrow, acusado de sobornar a un testigo en el caso McNamara. En ella Johnassen y Tvietmoe, participaron como testigos de la defensa.
6 Probable referencia al Capitán John Federicks. Fiscal de Distrito en Los Ángeles (1903-1902). Fiscal en el caso McNamara y en el primer juicio contra Clarence Darrow por soborno a miembro del jurado.
7 Vid., infra. “Acción Directa.”
8 Probable referencia a Sadakachi Hartmann (1864-1944). Poeta, escritor, pintor, crítico de fotografía y actor. Cercano al grupo de Emma Goldman. Trabajó en el Centro Ferrer de Nueva York.
9 Collier’s. “The National Weekly” (1904-1918) Nueva York, N. Y. Semanario de periodismo de investigación. Favorecía la reforma Social e incluía reportajes sobre corrupción, etc.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO SAUL YANOVSKY. FRAGMENTO S/F.1
Musical Selection and Recitations.
Reading of Prison Scene from the Autobiography of Louise Michel2 by V. de Cleyre.
Admission 10 cents.
Of course, it needn’t be all that, but as much as you can put in; the item about Louse Michel’s Prison Life I think would be an attraction to the people; that’s why I mention it ad.
Now, will you do this please? For the sake of that heroic bunch of fighters over there who are living on 4.00 and 5.00 a week, so they can throw one item of energy more into the struggle to break this d—-d system under which the earth groans.
Have you seen the article by Avirette in Collier’s Weekly3? There is the admission at last, from the enemy’s mouth, that 60% of the revolutionists are men fighting for an ideal, for Communism.
And mention our meeting personally in your own columns like you, did for my own lectures once when I didn’t ask you, please, like a nice boy.
to send a report of our work for the last three months to you.4
Jaxon has just returned from England, and was speaking before the Montreal Trades and Labor Alliance on the Revolution.
Now lastly, and this is a request, and I think you will do this for me, seeing we are badly needing it, and it’s our common cause. We have arranged for a Commune Commemoration, the profits (if any to go to the Regeneracion Junta) for the Mex. Revolution.
And I give you my word we have all given over and over again beyond our means; we are only a handful of workers, -a Mexican, 2 or 3, Cubans, 5 or 6 Jews, 2 Germans and I, -all workers at poor wages.
Will you put us an ad in F. A. S.?
The ad should read to this effect.
Chicago Commemoration of the Paris Commune under the auspices of the Mexican Liberal Defense Conference at Workingmen’s Hall, Twelfth and Waller Sts., Saturday, March 16, at 8 P.M.
Speeches in English Jewish, German and Spanish, by Vincent St. John5, Honoré Jaxon, Voltairine de Cleyre, Juan Mora, S. Seidl, and others.
1 Joseph Ishill papers, 1888-1966. MS Am 1614 (178). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Por su contenido, este fragmento pertenece a una carta que debió ser escrita hacia el 25 de febrero de 1912.
2 Refiérase a Memories de Louis Michel, écrits pare elle meme, París, Fra., F. Roy, libraire-éditeur, 1886.
3 Refiérase al artículo de John A. Avirette, “Mexico’s Trouble Maker. An Estimate of Zapata-Permanent Insurgent-and An Experience in His Domain”, Collier’s Weekley, vol. XLVIII, núm. 23, 24 de febrero de 1912, pp. 15 y ss. Con la siguiente frase Avirette termina su reportaje entre las tropas zapatistas: “De cualquier modo, fue un gran correteo, y algo que platicar en el club entre nueces y vino.”
4 Vid., supra. “Reporte del trabajo de la Liga Mexicana Liberal de Defensa de Chicago.”
5 Vincent St. Johns (1876-1929). Minero y activista sindical estadounidense. Miembro de la Western Federation of Miners y fundador de Industrial Workers of the World de la que fue líder de 1908 a 1915. Junto con cientos de activistas fue encarcelado en 1917, durante la histeria anti-bolchevique, la llamada red scare.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO JOSEPH JACOB COHEN.1
Mar. 28, 1912
No, I wasn’t waiting for a bill- not at all! I was waiting for another letter from you! And I got it. You see your last preceding letter was rather short and business like- it was just before the R. T. .R. and you were busy –so I expected you would write one another and a longer one, before I was supposed to answer.
For the rest, I have been so busy that I had hardly eyes in my head when I went to bed at night! You see, Berkman2 brake down and was unable to revise the MS & proofs of his book; so they send me to me to do, -about 500 pp of MS. The Emma came and telephoned to me for the MS of my Commune speech for Mother Earth3; that made me hustle again. Then I had the Commune meeting, of which you will probable see a report in next Freie Arbeiter Stimme4; it was the most beautiful meeting I can remember –but it means a lot of work, writing letters, arranging programs, and […] meetings.
We were not aiming so much at profit (we made about $15.00 on ten cent tickets) as moral success; and we had it. Now again we are trying to arrange an International First of May meeting. So there wasn’t too much time, you see!
I heard from Navro and Hackbarum that R. T. P. was a great success; that about $300.00 were made. Hell, you know my opinion of all such affairs, morally; they are nothing, except for the money. I hate all this catering to the bourgeoisie, (or half bourgeoisie, or would be bourgeoisie) and am sorry it has to be done.
Now to answer your second letter, which came yesterday, I have so many disordered thoughts in my head, that no matter where I begin. I suppose I will wish I had begun somewhere else. So, I’ll grab it the first one that comes, tail end up, in my head: that is, I am glad you thought it worthwhile to get the 100 “Direct Actions” from Mother Earth. I had had it in my mind to suggest it to you, not knowing whether you had seen it was out
Emma was here, three weeks ago, and is coming again next week. I did not see her; privately to you only. I did not want to. And this is the reason: Last spring she undertook to collect money for the Mexican Revolution, and sometime during the summer (June I believe) sent them $100.00 as given by “A friend.” Very well. Meanwhile she returned to New York, and get busy with others schemes, “Ferrer School”5 among them, to which she publicly donates $100.00 from herself. Now two or three months later, she sends Owen $60.00 with this explanation: The friend had originally given her $250.00. Out of this she kept $25.00 for her personal expenses, $50.00 for postage stamps (!) on Mexican business; and $10.00 toward the publication of my leafter on the “Mexican Revolt.” She now sends him $60.00, and saying that she had needed to use the money meanwhile, and that she still owed them $50.00! That she has not so far send through it in more than 6 months ago.
Now this is beyond me, how people can live in $5.00 a day hotels, give $100.00 to the Ferrer Assn., and yet be unable to hand over money collected, or rather donated, for the Mexican revolutionists. And the shame and pain of it all is, those people are living actually on beans and dry bread. Read the financial statement in the Spanish section of Regeneración; for weeks neither of the Magons (both of whom are family men) have taken more than $7.00 a week; often only $5.00; and this week $3.00; and the rest of the staff the same. And this people are engaged in an actual death struggle for what we anarchists pretend we believe in. There is more genuine Anarchism in Regeneracion in a week’s issue than the rest of our publications out together! Fighting Anarchism, that means to do and is doing something to smash this whole accursed system. And [E] G. does a thing like that! And our comrades waste their money in cafés and concerts.
Well this is why I did not see Emma, I have no right to speak out about it till Owen does, and he doesn’t want to because he does not want to belittle the Revolution with personal wrangles. So, keep this for yourself.
However, tho’ I did not go, our workers went, and sold Owen’s pamphlet at her meetings; Reitman6 himself sold 35 copies, all together we sold 100 copies that week, and some 75 copies since.
He raised a $13.00 subscription among ourselves, for which they sent us 400 copies about; then we sell as many as we can and give them the money too. When we can’t sell more, we’ll do free distributing. By the way, have you done anything of this kind?
I think when you read my report of our work7, (probably in F. A. S. week after next) you will take back your statement that you are the only active group in the world. In this ten months, we have send nearly $235.00 to Reg. (we have sent a few dollars since the F. A. S. report was written).
This is outside of the other fund which is also in Los Angeles now in case of necessity arising, and which was altogether 546.50.
Of that $235.00 only 32.50 came from outside the city; so you see we are not just inactive either.
In that report, I am appealing to our comrades to form a little group like ours, which shall try to give active help every week. I am sure there are few Spanish or Cuban fellows there who would join; we have five here, the most active and generous fellows. I’ll probably go to Milwaukee in two or three weeks to try to get a little bunch there. I think we are about 15 or 20 all together; even if it’s only 5, they raise only $1.00 or $1.50 a week it’s something.
Now about your scheme for the 11th, etc. I like very much the idea of giving away the speeches. That is about the best scheme. I have heard of for a Commemoration ever. About Kroptkin’s birthday I really can’t enthuse8. I hate this deifications. But I suppose that’s what our dilletante have to have: birthdays parties, concerts, -anything lackadaisical and safe! I don’t believe K. likes it much himself. He’d rather people were interested in some bigger thing than some individual’s birthday. But since folks are as they are.
O yes: I forgot to say Emma is to have a debate here next week with Arthur M. Lewis9, -another advertiser, like herself. I think it will be a great financial success; his own meetings are crowded –the Garick Theater – every Sunday, -only because he is an A-I advertiser. Her Jewish meetings here, and one Eng. meeting were crowded: but the others probably hardly paid expenses. The high admissions, and the ugly conduct of Reitman were offensive to many.
Now about “me, myself.” How I am? Just as always; suffering with chronic torments physically; but not by any means so miserable mentally as I was in Phila. If it not for the accursed climate of this place, I think I would ask you to come here instead of my going back there. Somehow I dread falling under the old paralyzing influence I use to have, there, again; and Phila is so dead and Chicago is so live, -I mean the mental atmospheres of the cities –as cities, not our own people. But the climate is dreadful.
I haven’t decided yet whether to stay here all summer, and go back to Phila. in October, or to perhaps go to my mother’s in Michigan in midsummer for a vacation, and perhaps come there a little earlier. All that of course will be determinated by circumstances more or less.
I still wish I could go to the Pacific just on a trip before settling down again in Phila., but as I would hardly have money enough then to start in decently in Phila. I can’t do it. Still I might take a notion to, at the last minute, unless is a war with Mexico which this administration plainly does not want; though of Teddy Roosevelt were President I think we should have had it already.
Sometimes I wonder very much about reestablishing myself there. I was dreaming about living together with your folks; but as I see, you are well established where you are, and it will be inconvenient for you to move just to accommodate me; and would moreover be a bad move for the Library, -as I don’t suppose you’ll be ready to buy a house yet in the fall! – Then I remain a homeless fellow again.
By the way. I ought to tell you that if you have not had the piano tuned, it must need it very badly. Such instruments should be tuned twice a year –spring and fall- when the temperatures have settled. It will be bad for Emma’s ear to have it trained to false tones.
Wienberg’s report of the colony is that Isaak has become an ordinary common place tyrant, a Jew-hater, etc. You may not believe it all, but I guess some of it is true. Weimberg himself seems to me to be going to pieces –mentally as well as physically –talks petty gossip, and seems to have no large interests in his mind. However, this may be a misjudgment, I saw him only few hours.
It’s a gray, lonesome, raw Chicago day, threatening rain or snow; fortunately, this letter has keep me from looking at it much.
I’ve written enough the time, surely; and now, I wait your answer, of like length.
O yes; I must warn you that you must not expect me to be interested in children when I come back. The adult school is a different thing; there, I’ll be some good. But I can’t for the life of me bother any all about children.
Give my love to Mrs. Cohen. Is she well now? And Emma? And believe me, dear Comrade,
Yours as always,
V. de Cleyre
1 Col. Voltairine de Cleyre and Joseph Jacob Cohen, YIVO Archives, Nueva York, N.Y. (VdC JJC YIVO).
2 Refiérase a Alexander Berkman (1870-1936). Militante anarquista de origen lituano. Emigró a los Estados Unidos en 1888, estableciéndose en Nueva York, donde se vinculó estrechamente con la comunidad ácrata alemana. En 1892, en represalia por el asesinato de obreros con que se resolvió la huelga de Homestead, atentó contra el empresario siderúrgico Henry Clay Frick. Fracasó y fue condenado a 22 años de prisión. Al salir de la cárcel participó en la fundación de la revista Mother Earth, junto con Emma Goldman. En 1916 fundó el periódico anti militarista The Blast (San Francisco). Fue deportado a Rusia en 1919 donde permaneció hasta 1922. Huyó posteriormente a Francia, perseguido por el incipiente régimen bolchevique. Se quitó la vida en 1936.
3 Vid., infra “La Comuna resucita.”
4 Vid., infra “La Comuna resucita.”
5 Vid., infra “La Comuna resucita.”
6 Refiérase a Ben L. Reitman (1879-1942). Médico de Chicago, amante de Emma Goldman. organizó sus conferencias durante muchos años, escribió para Mother Earth. En 1913, durante la campaña a favor de la libertad de expresión en San Diego, Calif., fue secuestrado, brutalmente golpeado y sodomizado En 1916 fue encarcelado por promover el control natal. Al salir de la cárcel en 1917 terminó su relación con la Goldman. Escribió The Second Oldest Profession (1931) y Sister of Road (1937)
7 Vid., supra, “Reporte del trabajo de la Liga Mexicana Liberal de Defensa de Chicago.”
8 En ese momento, los editores de Mother Earth y Freie Arbiter Shtime, preparaban el festejo por los 70 años de vida de Pedro Kropotkin, mismo que se realizaría en el Carnegie Hall de esa ciudad el 9 de diciembre de 1912.
9 Refiérase a Arthur M. Lewis (1873-¿?). Escritor y polemista estadounidense. Autor de The Struggle Between Science and Superstition (1916). En el Teatro Garrick de Chicago solía organizar debates económicamente redituables como el mencionado.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO HARRIET ELIZABETH BILLINGS DE CLEIRE (FRAGMENT).1
About Mexico, it is that I think my life would do any good, -but sometimes I cannot bear to be alive and see and feel all the meanness, the tyranny so cold-bloodedly, so indifferently done. I would like to be finished with it, in one fierce protest.
It isn’t always that way, but at times it chokes me, -to see how people heap up what does them no earthly good at all at the price of such frightful agony tp others.
Have you news from Addie lately? I owe her a letter…
1 Voltairine De Cleyre Papers (1876-1914) University of Michigan Library (Special Collections Library), Joseph A. Labadie Collection.
VOLTAIRINE DE CLEYRE TO SAUL YANOVSKY.1
2038 Palomas, Ave.
Chicago, Apr. 15 /12
Together with this, I mail you under separate cover my lecture “Literature, the Mirror of Man”2, which has never been printed anywhere. This is the first correct copy that has been made. When you are finished, please return me the MSS. You know yourself it’s “some job” just to copy 50 pp. I don’t know whether it’s any good: l rather thought it was when l wrote it, but just now the whole subject is so uninteresting to me, that I can’t judge.
At any rate, l promised you, and here it is.
Enclosed please find copy for an advertisement, and P. O. order for $2.00. We want you to put in the twice this week and next, and give us as good a display as you can afford.
As a matter of fact, although it’s “joint auspices,” etc., it is only the Mex. Lib. League that is standing the expenses: the rest agreed to-come!
I know such things are supposed to be sent to the “business […]“ etc.; but you know I’m a privileged character! Privileged to bother you with it!
The Magon brothers are to be tried next Thursday, far violation of neutrality laws3. They have never thought about their defense, either legally or financially; and so there’s not the slightest doubt in my mind they will get the limit of the law, which, in case of Ricardo, may likely mean death in prison, for he has an incurable cough now.
They beg us to try to keep “Regeneracion” going, -a thing I believe to be impossible! They are really the soul of it; and Otis4 had a venomous attack on them personally three weeks ago, as the “instigators”, “the power behind the throne”, “the master minds”, in Mexican trouble making5.
Please make some kind of editorial note, will you not? That the trial is called, an that their dearest wish is that comrades should try to keep the paper alive, even if they are imprisoned, which is almost certain.
They violated neutrality all right! So did Madero!
Isn’t that San Diego affair simply appalling6. Four speakers actually murdered so far. The letter describing how they were taken out, compelled to stand with uplifted hands while one by one each was clubbed into insensibility, and threatened with the revolver if their hands fell from exhaustion made me deathly sick! In what manner of country are we living? And this is Otis’s direct instigation, I suppose you saw that outrageous editorial in which he proclaimed the vigilante propaganda, last winter7, I’m only confoundedly sorry McNamara didn’t hit him instead of his building, with the poor 20 scabs.
Well, good-bye; I’m in such a rush, dear, l can’t write that long letter yet. All the writing, that other people don’t know how to do, somehow comes to me to get done; it doesn’t count and doesn’t show, but it sure taker my time!
1 Joseph Ishill papers, 1888-1966. MS Am 1614 (178). Houghton Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
2 La conferencia referida se llevó al cabo en la ciudad de Nueva York el 7 de octubre de 1910.
3 La conferencia referida se llevó al cabo en la ciudad de Nueva York el 7 de octubre de 1910.
4 Vid. supra, n. 77.
5 Refiérase, probablemente al artículo de The Los Angeles Times, “Red Target for Federal Shells” publicado el 2 de abril de 1912.
6 Refiérase a la represión ejercida por grupos de “vigilantes” en contra de los participantes en las jornadas por la libertad de expresión (Free Speech) convocada por los Trabajadores Industriales del Mundo (IWW) en la ciudad californiana de San Diego a partir de enero de 1912.
7 Vid., supra, n. 63.
From the standpoint of one who thinks himself capable of discerning an undeviating route for human progress to pursue, if it is to be progress at all, who, having such a route on his mind’s map, has endeavored to point it out to others; to make them see it as he sees it; who in so doing has chosen what appeared to him clear and simple expressions to convey his thoughts to others,—to such a one it appears matter for regret and confusion of spirit that the phrase «Direct Action» has suddenly acquired in the general mind a circumscribed meaning, not at all implied in the words themselves, and certainly never attached to it by himself or his co-thinkers.
However, this is one of the common jests which Progress plays on those who think themselves able to set metes and bounds for it. Over and over again, names, phrases, mottoes, watchwords, have been turned inside out, and upside down, and hindside before, and sideways, by occurrences out of the control of those who used the expressions in their proper sense; and still, those who sturdily held their ground, and insisted on being heard, have in the end found that the period of misunderstanding and prejudice has been but the prelude to wider inquiry and understanding.
I rather think this will be the case with the present misconception of the term Direct Action, which through the misapprehension, or else the deliberate misrepresentation, of certain journalists in Los Angeles, at the time the McNamaras pleaded guilty, suddenly acquired in the popular mind the interpretation, «Forcible Attacks on Life and Property.» This was either very ignorant or very dishonest of the journalists; but it has had the effect of making a good many people curious to know all about koora extra Direct Action.
As a matter of fact, those who are so lustily and so inordinately condemning it, will find on examination that they themselves have on many occasions practised direct action, and will do so again.
Every person who ever thought he had a right to assert, and went boldly and asserted it, himself, or jointly with others that shared his convictions, was a direct actionist. Some thirty years ago I recall that the Salvation Army2 was vigorously practising direct action in the maintenance of the freedom of its members to speak, assemble, and pray. Over and over they were arrested, fined, and imprisoned; but they kept right on singing, praying, and marching, till they finally compelled their persecutors to let them alone. The Industrial Workers3 are now conducting the same fight, and have, in a number of cases, compelled the officials to let them alone by the same direct tactics.
Every person who ever had a plan to do anything, and went and did it, or who laid his plan before others, and won their co-operation to do it with him, without going to external authorities to please do the thing for them, was a direct actionist4. All co-operative experiments are essentially direct action.
Every person who ever in his life had a difference with anyone to settle, and went straight to the other persons involved to settle it, either by a peaceable plan or otherwise, was a direct actionist. Examples of such action are strikes and boycotts; many persons will recall the action of the housewives of New York who boycotted the butchers5, and lowered the price of meat; at the present moment a butter boycott seems looming up, as a direct reply to the price-makers for butter.
These actions are generally not due to any one’s reasoning overmuch on the respective merits of directness or indirectness, but are the spontaneous retorts of those who feel oppressed by a situation. In other words, all people are, most of the time, believers in the principle of direct action, and practisers of it. However, most people are also indirect or political actionists. And they are both these ankbut.com things at the same time, without making much of an analysis of either. There are only a limited number of persons who eschew political action under any and all circumstances; but there is nobody, nobody at all, who has ever been so «impossible» as to eschew direct action altogether.
The majority of thinking people are really opportunists, leaning, some, perhaps, more to directness, some more to indirectness, as a general thing, but ready to use either means when opportunity calls for it. That is to say, there are those who hold that balloting governors into power is essentially a wrong and foolish thing; but who, nevertheless, under stress of special circumstance, might consider it the wisest thing to do, to vote some individual into office at that particular time. Or there are those who believe that, in general, the wisest way for people to get what they want is by the indirect method of voting into power someone who will make what they want legal; yet who, all the same, will occasionally, under exceptional conditions, advise a strike; and a strike, as I have said, is direct action.
Or they may do as the Socialist Party agitators, who are mostly declaiming now against direct action, did last summer, when the police were holding up their meetings. They went in force to the meeting-places, prepared to speak whether-or-no; and they made the police back down. And while that was not logical on their part, thus to oppose the legal executors of the majority’s will, it was a fine, successful piece of direct action.
Those who, by the essence of their belief, are committed to Direct Action only are—just who? Why, the non-resistants; precisely those who do not believe in violence at all! Now do not make the mistake of inferring that I say direct action means non-resistance; not by any means. Direct action may be the extreme of violence, or it may be as peaceful as the waters of the Brook of Siloa that go softly. What I say is, that the real non-resistants can believe in direct action only, never in political action. For the basis of all political action is coercion; even when the State does good things, it finally rests on a club, a gun, or a prison, for its power to carry them through.
Now every school child in the United States has had the direct action of certain non-resistants brought to his notice by his school history. The case which everyone instantly recalls is that of the early Quakers6 who came to Massachusetts. The Puritans had accused the Quakers of «troubling the world by preaching peace to it.» They refused to pay church taxes; they refused to bear arms; they refused to swear allegiance to any government. (In so doing, they were direct actionists; what we may call negative direct actionists.) So the Puritans, being political actionists, passed laws to keep them out, to deport, to fine, to imprison, to mutilate, and finally, to hang them. And the Quakers just kept on coming (which was positive direct action); and history records that after the hanging of four Quakers, and the flogging of Margaret Brewster7 at the cart’s tail through the streets of Boston, «the Puritans gave up trying to silence the new missionaries»; that «Quaker persistence and Quaker non-resistance had won the day.»
Another example of direct action in early colonial history, but this time by no means of the peaceable sort, was the affair known as Bacon’s Rebellion8. All our historians certainly defend the action of the rebels in that matter, as reason is, for they were right. And yet it was a case of violent direct action against lawfully constituted authority. For the benefit of those who have forgotten the details, let me briefly remind them that the Virginia planters were in fear of a general attack by the Indians; with reason. Being political actionists, they asked, or Bacon as their leader asked, that the governor grant him a commission to raise volunteers in their own defense. The governor feared that such a company of armed men would be a threat to him; also with reason. He refused the commission. Whereupon the planters resorted to direct action. They raised the volunteers without the commission, and successfully fought off the Indians. Bacon was pronounced a traitor by the governor; but the people being with him, the governor was afraid to proceed against him. In the end, however, it came so far that the rebels burned Jamestown; and but for the untimely death of Bacon, much more might have been done. Of course the reaction was very dreadful, as it usually is where a rebellion collapses, or is crushed. Yet even during the brief period of success, it had corrected a good many abuses. I am quite sure that the political-action-at-all-costs advocates of those times, after the reaction came back into power, must have said: «See to what evils direct action brings us! Behold, the progress of the colony has been set back twenty-five years»; forgetting that if the colonists had not resorted to direct action, their scalps would have been taken by the Indians a year sooner, instead of a number of them being hanged by the governor a year later.
In the period of agitation and excitement preceding the revolution, there were all sorts and kinds of direct action from the most peaceable to the most violent; and I believe that almost everybody who studies United States history finds the account of these performances the most interesting part of the story, the part which dents into his memory most easily.
Among the peaceable moves made, were the non-importation agreements, the leagues for wearing homespun clothing and the «committees of correspondence.»9 As the inevitable growth of hostility progressed, violent direct action developed; e. g., in the matter of destroying the revenue stamps, or the action concerning the tea-ships, either by not permitting the tea to be landed, or by putting it in damp storage, or by throwing it into the harbor, as in Boston10, or by compelling a tea-ship owner to set fire to his own ship, as at Annapolis11. These are all actions which our commonest text-books record, certainly not in a condemnatory way, not even in an apologetic one, though they are all cases of direct action against legally constituted authority and property rights. If I draw attention to them, and others of like nature, it is to prove to unreflecting repeaters of words that direct action has always been used, and has the historical sanction of the very people now reprobating it.
George Washington is said to have been the leader of the Virginia planters’ non-importation league: he would now be «enjoined,» probably, by a court, from forming any such league; and if he persisted, he would be fined for contempt.
When the great quarrel between the North and the South was waxing hot and hotter, it was again direct action which preceded and precipitated political action. And I may remark here that political action is never taken, nor even contemplated, until slumbering minds have first been aroused by direct acts of protest against existing conditions.
The history of the anti-slavery movement and the Civil War is one of the greatest of paradoxes, although history is a chain of paradoxes. Politically speaking, it was the slave-holding States that stood for greater political freedom, for the autonomy of the single State against the interference of the United States; politically speaking, it was the non-slave-holding States that stood for a strong centralized government, which, Secessionists said, and said truly, was bound progressively to develop into more and more tyrannical forms. Which happened. From the close of the Civil War on, there has been continuous encroachment of the federal power upon what was formerly the concern of the States individually. The wage-slaves, in their struggles of to-day, are continually thrown into conflict with that centralized power, against which the slave-holder protested (with liberty on his lips but tyranny in his heart). Ethically speaking, it was the non-slave-holding States that, in a general way, stood for greater human liberty, while the Secessionists stood for race-slavery. In a general way only; that is, the majority of northerners, not being accustomed to the actual presence of negro slavery about them, thought it was probably a mistake; yet they were in no great ferment of anxiety to have it abolished. The Abolitionists only, and they were relatively few, were the genuine ethicals, to whom slavery itself—not secession or union—was the main question. In fact, so paramount was it with them, that a considerable number of them were themselves for the dissolution of the union, advocating that the North take the initiative in the matter of dissolving, in order that the northern people might shake off the blame of holding negroes in chains.
Of course, there were all sorts of people with all sorts of temperaments among those who advocated the abolition of slavery. There were Quakers like Whittier12 (indeed it was the peace-at-all-costs Quakers who had advocated abolition even in early colonial days); there were moderate political actionists, who were for buying off the slaves, as the cheapest way; and there were extremely violent people, who believed and did all sorts of violent things.
As to what the politicians did, it is one long record of «how-not-to-do-it,» a record of thirty years of compromising, and dickering, and trying to keep what was as it was, and to hand sops to both sides when new conditions demanded that something be done, or be pretended to be done. But «the stars in their courses fought against Sisera»;13 the system was breaking down from within, and the direct actionists from without, as well, were widening the cracks remorselessly.
Among the various expressions of direct rebellion was the organization of the «underground railroad.»14 Most of the people who belonged to it believed in both sorts of action; but however much they theoretically subscribed to the right of the majority to enact and enforce laws, they didn’t believe in it on that point. My grandfather was a member of the «underground»; many a fugitive slave he helped on his way to Canada. He was a very patient, law-abiding man, in most respects, though I have often thought he probably respected it because he didn’t have much to do with it; always leading a pioneer life, law was generally far from him, and direct action imperative. Be that as it may, and law-respecting as he was, he had no respect whatever for slave laws, no matter if made by ten times of a majority; and he conscientiously broke every one that came in his way to be broken.
There were times when in the operation of the «underground», violence was required, and was used. I recollect one old friend relating to me how she and her mother kept watch all night at the door, while a slave for whom a posse was searching hid in the cellar; and though they were of Quaker descent and sympathies, there was a shot-gun on the table. Fortunately it did not have to be used that night.
When the fugitive slave15 law was passed, with the help of the political actionists of the North who wanted to offer a new sop to the slave-holders, the direct actionists took to rescuing recaptured fugitives. There was the «rescue of Shadrach,»16 and the «rescue of Jerry,»17 the latter rescuers being led by the famous Gerrit Smith;18 and a good many more successful and unsuccessful attempts. Still the politicals kept on pottering and trying to smooth things over, and the Abolitionists were denounced and decried by the ultra-law-abiding pacificators, pretty much as Wm. D. Haywood and Frank Bohn19 are being denounced by their own party now.
The other day I read a communication in the Chicago daily Socialist from the secretary of the Louisville local, Socialist Party, to the national secretary, requesting that some safe and sane speaker be substituted for Bohn, who had been announced to speak there. In explaining why, Mr. Dobbs, secretary, makes this quotation from Bohn’s lecture: «Had the McNamaras been successful in defending the interests of the working class, they would have been right, just as John Brown would have been right, had he been successful in freeing the slaves. Ignorance was the only crime of John Brown20, and ignorance was the only crime of the McNamaras.»
Upon this Mr. Dobbs comments as follows: «We dispute emphatically the statements here made. The attempt to draw a parallel between the open—if mistaken—revolt of John Brown on the one hand, and the secret and murderous methods of the McNamaras on the other, is not only indicative of shallow reasoning, but highly mischievous in the logical conclusions which may be drawn from such statements.»
Evidently Mr. Dobbs is very ignorant of the life and work of John Brown. John Brown was a man of violence; he would have scorned anybody’s attempt to make him out anything else. And when once a person is a believer in violence, it is with him only a question of the most effective way of applying it, which can be determined only by a knowledge of conditions and means at his disposal. John Brown did not shrink at all from conspiratical methods. Those who have read the autobiography of Frederick Douglas21 and the Reminiscences of Lucy Colman22, will recall that one of the plans laid by John Brown was to organize a chain of armed camps in the mountains of West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee, send secret emissaries among the slaves inciting them to flee to these camps, and there concert such measures as times and conditions made possible for further arousing revolt among the negroes. That this plan failed was due to the weakness of the desire for liberty among the slaves themselves, more than anything else.
Later on, when the politicians in their infinite deviousness contrived a fresh proposition of how-not-to-do-it, known as the Kansas-Nebraska23 Act, which left the question of slavery to be determined by the settlers, the direct actionists on both sides sent bogus settlers into the territory, who proceeded to fight it out. The pro-slavery men, who got in first, made a constitution recognizing slavery, and a law punishing with death any one who aided a slave to escape; but the Free Soilers24, who were a little longer in arriving, since they came from more distant States, made a second constitution, and refused to recognize the other party’s laws at all. And John Brown was there, mixing in all the violence, conspiratical or open; he was «a horse-thief and a murderer,» in the eyes of decent, peaceable, political actionists. And there is no doubt that he stole horses, sending no notice in advance of his intention to steal them, and that he killed pro-slavery men. He struck and got away a good many times before his final attempt on Harper’s Ferry. If he did not use dynamite, it was because dynamite had not yet appeared as a practical weapon. He made a great many more intentional attacks on life than the two brothers Secretary Dobbs condemns for their «murderous methods.» And yet, history has not failed to understand John Brown. Mankind knows that though he was a violent man, with human blood upon his hands, who was guilty of high treason and hanged for it, yet his soul was a great, strong, unselfish soul, unable to bear the frightful crime which kept 4,000,000 people like dumb beasts, and thought that making war against it was a sacred, a God-called duty, (for John Brown was a very religious man—a Presbyterian).
It is by and because of the direct acts of the fore-runners of social change, whether they be of peaceful or warlike nature, that the Human Conscience, the conscience of the mass, becomes aroused to the need for change. It would be very stupid to say that no good results are ever brought about by political action; sometimes good things do come about that way. But never until individual rebellion, followed by mass rebellion, has forced it. Direct action is always the clamorer, the initiator, through which the great sum of indifferentists become aware that oppression is getting intolerable.
We have now an oppression in the land,—and not only in this land, but throughout all those parts of the world which enjoy the very mixed blessings of Civilization. And just as in the question of chattel slavery, so this form of slavery has been begetting both direct action and political action. A certain per cent. of our population (probably a much smaller per cent. than politicians are in the habit of assigning at mass meetings) is producing the material wealth upon which all the rest of us live; just as it was the 4,000,000 chattel blacks who supported all the crowd of parasites above them. These are the land workers and the industrial workers.
Through the unprophesied and unprophesiable operation of institutions which no individual of us created, but found in existence when he came here, these workers, the most absolutely necessary part of the whole social structure, without whose services none can either eat, or clothe, or shelter himself, are just the ones who get the least to eat, to wear, and to be housed withal—to say nothing of their share of the other social benefits which the rest of us are supposed to furnish, such as education and artistic gratifications.
These workers have, in one form or another, mutually joined their forces to see what betterment of their condition they could get; primarily by direct action, secondarily through political action. We have had the Grange25, the Farmers’ Alliance26, Co-operative Associations, Colonization Experiments, Knights of Labor27, Trade Unions, and Industrial Workers of the World. All of them have been organized for the purpose of wringing from the masters in the economic field a little better price, a little better conditions, a little shorter hours; or on the other hand, to resist a reduction in price, worse conditions, or longer hours. None of them has attempted a final solution of the social war. None of them, except the Industrial Workers, has recognized that there is a social war, inevitable so long as present legal-social conditions endure. They accepted property institutions as they found them. They were made up of average men, with average desires, and they undertook to do what appeared to them possible and very reasonable things. They were not committed to any particular political policy when they were organized, but were associated for direct action of their own initiation, either positive or defensive.
Undoubtedly there were, and are, among all these organizations, members who looked beyond immediate demands; who did see that the continuous development of forces now in operation was bound to bring about conditions to which it is impossible that life continue to submit, and against which, therefore, it will protest, and violently protest; that it will have no choice but to do so; that it must do so, or tamely die; and since it is not the nature of life to surrender without struggle, it will not tamely die. Twenty-two years ago I met Farmers’ Alliance people who said so, Knights of Labor who said so, Trade Unionists who said so. They wanted larger aims than those to which their organizations were looking; but they had to accept their fellow members as they were, and try to stir them to work for such things as it was possible to make them see. And what they could see was better prices, better wages, less dangerous or tyrannical conditions, shorter hours. At the stage of development when these movements were initiated, the land workers could not see that their struggle had anything to do with the struggle of those engaged in the manufacturing or transporting service; nor could these latter see that theirs had anything to do with the movement of the farmers. For that matter very few of them see it yet. They have yet to learn that there is one common struggle against those who have appropriated the earth, the money, and the machines.
Unfortunately the great organization of the farmers frittered itself away in a stupid chase after political power. It was quite successful in getting the power in certain States; but the courts pronounced its laws unconstitutional, and there was the burial hole of all its political conquests. Its original program was to build its own elevators, and store the products therein, holding these from the market till they could escape the speculator. Also, to organize labor exchanges, issuing credit notes upon products deposited for exchange. Had it adhered to this program of direct mutual aid, it would, to some extent, for a time at least, have afforded an illustration of how mankind may free itself from the parasitism of the bankers and the middlemen. Of course, it would have been overthrown in the end, unless it had so revolutionized men’s minds by the example as to force the overthrow of the legal monopoly of land and money; but at least it would have served a great educational purpose. As it was, it «went after the red herring,» and disintegrated merely from its futility.
The Knights of Labor subsided into comparative insignificance, not because of failure to use direct action, nor because of its tampering with politics, which was small, but chiefly because it was a heterogeneous mass of workers who could not associate their efforts effectively.
The Trade Unions grew strong about as the K. of L. subsided, and have continued slowly but persistently to increase in power. It is true the increase has fluctuated; that there have been set-backs; that great single organizations have been formed and again dispersed. But on the whole, trade unions have been a growing power. They have been so because, poor as they are, inefficient as they are, they have been a means whereby a certain section of the workers have been able to bring their united force to bear directly upon their masters, and so get for themselves some portion of what they wanted,—of what their conditions dictated to them they must try to get. The strike is their natural weapon, that which they themselves forged. It is the direct blow of the strike which nine times out of ten the boss is afraid of. (Of course there are occasions when he is glad of one, but that’s unusual.) And the reason he dreads a strike is not so much because he thinks he cannot win out against it, but simply and solely because he does not want an interruption of his business. The ordinary boss isn’t in much dread of a «class-conscious vote»; there are plenty of shops where you can talk Socialism or any other political program all day long; but if you begin to talk Unionism, you may forthwith expect to be discharged, or at best warned to shut up. Why? Not because the boss is so wise as to know that political action is a swamp in which the workingman gets mired, or because he understands that political Socialism is fast becoming a middle-class movement; not at all. He thinks Socialism is a very bad thing; but it’s a good way off! But he knows that if his shop is unionized, he will have trouble right away. His hands will be rebellious, he will be put to expense to improve his factory conditions, he will have to keep workingmen that he doesn’t like, and in case of strike he may expect injury to his machinery or his buildings.
It is often said, and parrot-like repeated, that the bosses are «class-conscious,» that they stick together for their class interest, and are willing to undergo any sort of personal loss rather than be false to those interests. It isn’t so at all. The majority of business people are just like the majority of workingmen; they care a whole lot more about their individual loss or gain than about the gain or loss of their class. And it is his individual loss the boss sees, when threatened by a union.
Now everybody knows that a strike of any size means violence. No matter what any one’s ethical preference for peace may be, he knows it will not be peaceful. If it’s a telegraph strike, it means cutting wires and poles, and getting fake scabs in to spoil the instruments. If it is a steel rolling mill strike, it means beating up the scabs, breaking the windows, setting the gauges wrong, and ruining the expensive rollers together with tons and tons of material. If it’s a miners’ strike, it means destroying tracks and bridges, and blowing up mills. If it is a garment workers’ strike, it means having an unaccountable fire, getting a volley of stones through an apparently inaccessible window, or possibly a brickbat on the manufacturer’s own head. If it’s a street-car strike, it means tracks torn up or barricaded with the contents of ash-carts and slop-carts, with overturned wagons or stolen fences, it means smashed or incinerated cars and turned switches. If it is a system federation strike, it means «dead» engines, wild engines, derailed freights, and stalled trains. If it is a building trades strike, it means dynamited structures. And always, everywhere, all the time, fights between strike-breakers and scabs against strikers and strike-sympathizers, between People and Police.
On the side of the bosses, it means search-lights, electric wires, stockades, bull-pens, detectives and provocative agents, violent kidnapping and deportation, and every device they can conceive for direct protection, besides the ultimate invocation of police, militia, State constabulary, and federal troops.
Everybody knows this; everybody smiles when union officials protest their organizations to be peaceable and law-abiding, because everybody knows they are lying. They know that violence is used, both secretly and openly; and they know it is used because the strikers cannot do any other way, without giving up the fight at once. Nor do they mistake those who thus resort to violence under stress for destructive miscreants who do what they do out of innate cussedness. The people in general understand that they do these things, through the harsh logic of a situation which they did not create, but which forces them to these attacks in order to make good in their struggle to live, or else go down the bottomless descent into poverty, that lets Death find them in the poorhouse hospital, the city street, or the river-slime. This is the awful alternative that the workers are facing; and this is what makes the most kindly disposed human beings,—men who would go out of their way to help a wounded dog, or bring home a stray kitten and nurse it, or step aside to avoid walking on a worm—resort to violence against their fellow-men. They know, for the facts have taught them, that this is the only way to win, if they can win at all. And it has always appeared to me one of the most utterly ludicrous, absolutely irrelevant things that a person can do or say, when approached for relief or assistance by a striker who is dealing with an immediate situation, to respond with, «Vote yourself into power!» when the next election is six months, a year, or two years away.
Unfortunately, the people who know best how violence is used in union warfare, cannot come forward and say: «On such a day, at such a place, such and such a specific action was done, and as the result such and such a concession was made, or such and such a boss capitulated.» To do so would imperil their liberty, and their power to go on fighting. Therefore those that know best must keep silent, and sneer in their sleeves, while those that know little prate. Events, not tongues, must make their position clear.
And there has been a very great deal of prating these last few weeks. Speakers and writers, honestly convinced, I believe, that political action, and political action only, can win the workers’ battle, have been denouncing what they are pleased to call «direct action» (what they really mean is conspiratical violence) as the author of mischief incalculable. One Oscar Ameringer28, as an example, recently said at a meeting in Chicago that the Haymarket bomb of ’86 had set back the eight-hour movement twenty-five years, arguing that the movement would have succeeded then but for the bomb. It’s a great mistake. No one can exactly measure in years or months the effect of a forward push or a reaction. No one can demonstrate that the eight-hour movement could have been won twenty-five years ago. We know that the eight-hour day was put on the statute books of Illinois in 1871, by political action, and has remained a dead letter. That the direct action of the workers could have won it, then, can not be proved; but it can be shown that many more potent factors than the Haymarket bomb worked against it. On the other hand, if the reactive influence of the bomb was really so powerful, we should naturally expect labor and union conditions to be worse in Chicago than in the cities where no such thing happened. On the contrary, bad as they are, the general conditions of labor are better in Chicago than in most other large cities, and the power of the unions is more developed there than in any other American city except San Francisco. So if we are to conclude anything for the influence of the Haymarket bomb, keep these facts in mind. Personally I do not think its influence on the labor movement, as such, was so very great.
It will be the same with the present furore about violence. Nothing fundamental has been altered. Two men have been imprisoned for what they did (twenty-four years ago they were hanged for what they did not do); some few more may yet be imprisoned. But the forces of life will continue to revolt against their economic chains. There will be no cessation in that revolt, no matter what ticket men vote or fail to vote, until the chains are broken.
How will the chains be broken?
Political actionists tell us it will be only by means of working-class party action at the polls; by voting themselves into possession of the sources of life and the tools; by voting that those who now command forests, mines, ranches, waterways, mills and factories, and likewise command the military power to defend them, shall hand over their dominion to the people.
Meanwhile be peaceable, industrious, law-abiding, patient, and frugal (as Madero told the Mexican peons to be, after he had sold them to Wall Street29)! Even if some of you are disfranchised, don’t rise up even against that, for it might «set back the party.»
Well, I have already stated that some good is occasionally accomplished by political action,—not necessarily working-class party action either. But I am abundantly convinced that the occasional good accomplished is more than counterbalanced by the evil; just as I am convinced that though there are occasional evils resulting from direct action, they are more than counterbalanced by the good.
Nearly all the laws which were originally framed with the intention of benefiting the workers, have either turned into weapons in their enemies’ hands, or become dead letters, unless the workers through their organizations have directly enforced the observance. So that in the end, it is direct action that has to be relied on anyway. As an example of getting the tarred end of a law, glance at the anti-trust law, which was supposed to benefit the people in general, and the working class in particular. About two weeks since, some 250 union leaders were cited to answer to the charge of being trust formers, as the answer of the Illinois Central to its strikers.
But the evil of pinning faith to indirect action is far greater than any such minor results. The main evil is that it destroys initiative, quenches the individual rebellious spirit, teaches people to rely on some one else to do for them what they should do for themselves, what they alone can do for themselves; finally renders organic the anomalous idea that by massing supineness together until a majority is acquired, then, through the peculiar magic of that majority, this supineness is to be transformed into energy. That is, people who have lost the habit of striking for themselves as individuals, who have submitted to every injustice while waiting for the majority to grow, are going to become metamorphosed into human high-explosives by a mere process of packing!
I quite agree that the sources of life, and all the natural wealth of the earth, and the tools necessary to co-operative production, must become free of access to all. It is a positive certainty to me that unionism must widen and deepen its purposes, or it will go under; and I feel sure that the logic of the situation will force them to see it gradually. They must learn that the workers’ problem can never be solved by beating up scabs, so long as their own policy of limiting their membership by high initiation fees and other restrictions helps to make scabs. They must learn that the course of growth is not so much along the line of higher wages, but shorter hours, which will enable them to increase membership, to take in everybody who is willing to come into the union. They must learn that if they want to win battles, all allied workers must act together, act quickly (serving no notice on bosses), and retain their freedom so to do at all times. And finally they must learn that even then (when they have a complete organization), they can win nothing permanent unless they strike for everything,—not for a wage, not for a minor improvement, but for the whole natural wealth of the earth. And proceed to the direct expropriation of it all!
They must learn that their power does not lie in their voting strength, that their power lies in their ability to stop production. It is a great mistake to suppose that the wage-earners constitute a majority of the voters. Wage-earners are here to-day and there to-morrow, and that hinders a large number from voting; a great percentage of them in this country are foreigners without a voting right. The most patent proof that Socialist leaders know this is so, is that they are compromising their propaganda at every point to win the support of the business class, the small investor. Their campaign papers proclaimed that their interviewers had been assured by Wall Street bond purchasers that they would be just as ready to buy Los Angeles bonds from a socialist as a capitalist administration; that the present Milwaukee30 administration has been a boon to the small investor; their reading notices assure their readers in this city that we need not go to the great department stores to buy,—buy rather of So-and-so on Milwaukee Avenue, who will satisfy us quite as well as a «big business» institution. In short, they are making every desperate effort to win the support, and to prolong the life, of that middle-class which socialistic economy says must be ground to pieces, because they know they cannot get a majority without them.
The most that a working-class party could do, even if its politicians remained honest, would be to form a strong faction in the legislatures, which might, by combining its vote with one side or the other, win certain political or economic palliatives.
But what the working-class can do, when once they grow into a solidified organization, is to show the possessing classes, through a sudden cessation of all work, that the whole social structure rests on them; that the possessions of the others are absolutely worthless to them without the workers’ activity; that such protests, such strikes, are inherent in the system of property, and will continually recur until the whole thing is abolished,—and having shown that, effectively, proceed to expropriate.
«But the military power,» says the political actionist; «we must get political power, or the military will be used against us!»
Against a real General Strike, the military can do nothing. Oh, true, if you have a Socialist Briand31 in power, he may declare the workers «public officials» and try to make them serve against themselves! But against the solid wall of an immobile working-mass, even a Briand would be broken.
Meanwhile, until this international awakening, the war will go on as it has been going, in spite of all the hysteria which well-meaning people, who do not understand life and its necessities, may manifest; in spite of all the shivering that timid leaders have done; in spite of all the reactionary revenges that may be taken; in spite of all the capital politicians make out of the situation. It will go on because Life cries to live, and Property denies its freedom to live; and Life will not submit.
And should not submit.
It will go on until that day when a self-freed Humanity is able to chant Swinburne’s Hymn of Man32:
«Glory to Man in the highest, For Man is the master of Things.»
1 Este ensayo, inicialmente presentado en una conferencia en la ciudad de Chicago el 2 de enero de 1912, fue publicado como panfleto, bajo el sello editorial de Mother Earth ese mismo año. El periódico Fraye Arbeiter Shtime (Nueva York, N. Y.) reprodujo una traducción del mismo al yiddish entre el 2 de marzo y el 6 de abril del mismo año. Por su parte, Regeneración (Los Ángeles, Calif.) reprodujo algunos fragmentos del mismo a partir del 9 de marzo de 1912.
2 Refiérase al Ejército de Salvación (1865), iglesia protestante y organización de caridad caracterizada por su estructura cuasi-militar.
3 Refiérase a los miembros de la Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). Vid. supra, n. 158.
4 “Direct-actionist” en el original. Se descartó el uso de la traducción directa: “directo-accionista” por aberrante. También se descartó el uso del sustantivo “activista,” pues no estaba en uso hacia 1912. N. del t.
5 Refiérase al movimiento llamado Kosher Meat Boycott, de mayo de 1912. En él cerca de 20 000 amas de casa del Lower East Side de Manhatan, N. Y., la mayoría judías, boicotearon la compra de carne por el aumento de la misma de 12 a 18 centavos la libra. El movimiento se extendió a las comunidades judía de Brooklyn, Harlem, Newark, Boston y Filadelfia. En junio los precios disminuyeron a 14 centavos la libra y el movimiento comenzó a perder fuerza. El 15 de mayo, 85 mujeres, 70 de ellas judías fueron arrestadas por “incitación al desorden.” Se considera el punto de partida de la organización de mujeres trabajadoras en Nueva York.
6 Refiérase a los miembros de la secta protestante Sociedad Religiosa de los Amigos, misma que se caracteriza por carecer de jerarquía eclesiástica y culto, además de reivindicar la sencillez, la honradez y el igualitarismo, Fue fundada en Inglaterra por George Fox (1654). Se extendió en Estados Unidos, especialmente en el Estado de Filadelfia.
7 Refiérase a la cuáquera Margaret Brawster, condenada a ser arrastrada por un carro y recibir latigazos por protestar por el encarcelamiento de otros cuáqueros, presentándose en la casa de corrección de la ciudad de Boston, Mass., vestida con un saco de cilicio sobre sus hombros, el pelo suelto y cubierto de ceniza y el rostro oscurecido con hollín.
8 Refiérase a la rebelión encabezada por el terrateniente Nathaniel Bacon en el Virginia. En 1676. Bacon exigía la expulsión o muerte de los indios que habitaban tierras protegidas por tratados entre el gobernador de Virginia William Berkeley y los grupos indios. De hecho, algunas matanzas de tales indios se habían llevado al cabo por los hombres de Bacon y otros terratenientes con anterioridad. El rechazo del gobernador de otorgarle un mandato para proseguir la expulsión armada de los indios y la acusación por parte de Bacon de que el gobernador era un corrupto, derivó en dicha rebelión.
9 Refiérase a los comités encargados de la difusión de los derechos de los colonos norteamericanos; el primero organizado por Samuel Adams en la ciudad de Boston, Mass., el 21 de noviembre de 1772. Dos años después, en septiembre de 1774 se llevó al cabo el Primer Congreso Continental, cuyos integrantes fueron en su mayoría miembros de la más de una centena de comités que se habían formado en algunas de las Colonias.
10 Refiérase al Motín del Té. El 16 de diciembre de 1773, los autodenominados Hijos de la Libertad tiraron por la borda el cargamento de té proveniente de Inglaterra de los barcos Darmouth, Beaver y Eleanour, en protesta por que la llamada Acta del Té permitía la importación libre de aranceles de esa mercancía a la Compañía Británica de las Indias Orientales, lo que lesionaba los intereses de los grandes contrabandistas como John Hancock, uno de los líderes de los Hijos de la Libertad.
11 Refiérase al velero de carga Pegy Stewart, incendiado el 19 de octubre de 1774 por su capitán Richard Jackson.
12 Refiérase al poeta y cuáquero John Greenleaf Withtier (1807-1892).
13 Jueces, 5:20.
14 Refiérase a la red de caminos secretos y casas de seguridad utilizados por esclavos negros para escapar a Canadá y otros destinos no esclavistas. Dicha red se desarrolló desde fines del siglo XVI, pero llegó a su auge entre 1850 y 1860. Se calcula que alrededor de 50 000 esclavos hicieron uso de ella. Con ese mismo nombre se conoce a los abolicionistas blancos y simpatizantes de los mismos,
15 Refiérase a el acta del Esclavo Fugitivo, aprobada por el Congreso de los Estados Unidos el 18 de septiembre de 1850. Exigía que todo esclavo fugitivo capturado debía ser entregado a su antiguo amo y obligaba a ciudadanos y autoridades de los Estados libres a colaborar en ello. Los abolicionistas le llamaban “ley bloodhound,” haciendo referencia a los perros que se usaban en la cacerías de esclavos.
16 Refiérase al rescate de Shadrac Minks, esclavo fugitivo, de la Corte Federal de Boston, Mass., por parte de abolicionistas el 15 de febrero de 1855. Shadrac había sido detenido bajo el Acta del esclavo Fugitivo mencionada arriba.
17 Refiérase al recate de las manos de la policía de Siracusa, N. Y, del esclavo fugitivo William Henry a Jerry, llevado al cabo por una turba el 1 de octubre de 1851, día en que se desarrollaba la convención del Partido de la Libertad (antiesclavista).
18 Refiérase a Gerrit Smith (1797-1874), acaudalado neoyorkino. Promotor de la templanza alcohólica y miembro de la Sociedad Anti-esclavista que financió comunidades de negros libres en Virginia.
19 William D. Haywood y Frank Bohn pertenecían tanto al Partido Socialista de América como a los Trabajadores Industriales del Mundo. Juntos publicaron en 1911 Industrial Socialism, cuyo contenido les acarreó una fuerte repulsa por parte de los dirigentes del Partido Socialista.
20 Refiérase a John Brown (1800-1859). Granjero abolicionista e insurreccionalista. Radicado en Kansas, defendió con las armas el que tal estado permaneciera libre de la esclavitud. Murió fusilado.
21 Refiérase a The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave (1845) Editor y poeta, Douglass es considerado uno de los escritores más influyentes de su época.
22 Refiérase a Lucy N. Coleman (1817-1906) librepensadora, abolicionista y promotora de los derechos de educación, femeninos y de justicia racial. Participó en el Congreso Nacional de los Derechos de la Mujeres (1850). Publicó Reminiscences en 1891.
23 El Acta Kansas- Nebraska (1854) creó los territorios de Kansas y Nebraska a partir de los territorios de la vieja Luisiana francesa. Dejaba a los pobladores de Kansas la libertad de decidir con posterioridad la condición esclavista o no del Estado.
24 Refiérase a los miembros del Partido del Suelo Libre (1849-1954), de carácter abolicionista.
25 Refiérase a The Grange (La Granja), organización de granjeros fundada en 1868, en Fredonia, N. Y., por Oliver Hudson, comisionado para cuestiones agrícolas del presidente Andrew Johnson. Posteriormente se convirtió en la Order of the Patrons of Husbandry (Orden de los Patronos de la Labranza). N. del t. Husbandry también tiene la acepción de “buen gobierno.”
26 Refiérase a Alianza Nacional de Granjeros (The National Farmers Alliance), fundad en 1877. Junto con otras agrupaciones de granjeros y organizaciones de trabajadores como Los Caballeros del Trabajo (Knights of Labor) formó la Alianaza Nacional de Granjeros y Unión Industrial (The National Farmers Alliance and Industrial Union). Se caracterizó por incorporar a sus demandas, la abolición y transformación de los diversos mecanismos económicos por medio de los cuales sus agremiados eran expoliados.
27 Refiérase a los Knights of Labor (1869), la primera organización obrera de relevancia nacional en los Estados Unidos. Inicialmente tuvo un carácter secreto, con el fin de evitar represalias a sus miembros. En su mejor momento, hacia 1880 llegó a contar con 700,000 miembros.
28 Refiérase a Oscar Ameringer (1870). Sindicalista, socialista y editor- Miembro de los Caballeros del Trabajo (1886) y, posteriormente de la Federación Americana de Trabajo (1903). Candidato de Partido Socialista para alcalde Oklahoma City. Formó distintas publicaciones, tales como el Industrial Democrat (1909), The Oklahoma Pioneer (1910) y Milwaukee Leader (1913). Escribió una sátira sobre la historia de Estados Unidos: The Life and Deeds of Uncle Sam. En Oklahoma combatió al Ku Klus Klan.
29 “De acuerdo con las, al parecer, cuidadosas investigaciones de John Kenneth Turner como señala en “México Bárbaro, los capitalistas estadounidenses tienen la insignificante apuesta de $900,000,000 en México. La Southern Pacific posee dos tercios del sistema ferroviario, Standard Oil, Morgan, los Guggenheims, Hearst, ¡todos aquellos que habitualmente asociamos con los “intereses” y “Wall Street”, tienen gigantescas participaciones; por no hablar de Inglaterra, Alemania, Francia y otros países europeos.” William C. Owen “Progress and Outcome of the Mexican Revolution,” Reg, 74, 4.
30 Entonces, 1912, bajo administración de un socialista.
31 Refiérase a Arisitide Briand (1862-1932). Político socialista francés. Renunció a su partido para ocupar un ministerio de Justicia (1908-9) en el gobierno de George Clemenceau. Fue jefe de gabinete en once ocasiones entre 1909 y 1929
32 Refiérase a Algern Charles Swinburne (1837-1909), poeta inglés cuyas referencias al sadomasoquismo, lesbianismo, blasfemia y al radicalismo político, escandalizaron.
WRITTEN IN RED.
(To Our Living Dead in Mexico’s Struggle)
Written in red their protest stands,
For the Gods of the World to see;
On the dooming wall their bodiless hands
Have Blazoned “Upharsin”, and flaring brands
Illumine the message: Seize the lands!
Open the prisons and make men free!”
Flae out the living words of the dead
Gods of the World! Their mouths are dumb!
Your guns have spoken and they are dust.
But the shrouded Living, whose hearts were numb,
Have felt the beat of a wakening drum
Within them sounding –the Dead Men’s tongue-
Calling “Smite off the ancient rust!”
Have beheld “Resurrexit,” the word of the Dead,
Bear it aloft, O roaring flame!
Skyward aloft, where all may see.
Slaves of the World! Our cause is the same;
One is the immemorial shame;
One is the struggle, and in One name-
MANHOOD- we battle to set men free.
“Uncurse us the Land!” burn the words of the Dead,
1 Written in red, último poema escrito por Voltairine de Cleyre, apareció en Regeneración núm. 68, 16 de diciembre de 1911.