The Cannibalist Manifesto, written by Oswald de Andrade (1890 – 1954), was published in May 1928, in the first edition of the recently founded Revista de Antropofagia, the vehicle for the Brazilian Cannibalist movement. Through its metaphoric language loaded with poetic aphorisms full of humour, the Manifesto became the theoretical kernel of this movement which aimed to rethink the question of Brazil’s cultural dependency.
Many theoretical influences may be identified in the Manifesto: the revolutionary thinking of Karl Marx (1818 – 1883), the discovery of the subconscious by psychoanalysis and the study, Totem and Taboo, by Sigmund Freud (1856 – 1939), the liberation of the primitive element in man, proposed by some Surrealist writers such as André Breton (1896 – 1966), the Manifeste Cannibale, written by Francis Picabia (1879 – 1953) in 1920, the issues surrounding the savage discussed by the philosophers, Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778) and Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592) and the idea of technical barbarism of Hermann Keyserling (1880 – 1946). When cross-fertilised through the pen of Oswald de Andrade, these influences gained a new life through the amalgamation under the banner of an unprecedented concept rooted in the history of Brazilian civilisation: Anthropophagy or Cannibalism. As the pinnacle of the first phase of Modernism that was officially inaugurated by Semana de Arte Moderna [Modern Art Week], the Cannibalist stage highlighted the violent contradiction between two cultures, the primitive (Amerindian and African) and the Latin (of a European cultural heritage), which form the basis of Brazilian culture through the transformation of the savage element into an aggressive tool.
This is no longer a process of harmonious and spontaneous assimilation between two poles, which the author had previously, to a certain extent, called for in his Manifesto da Poesia Pau-Brasil [Manifesto of Brazil Wood Poetry] of 1924. Primitivism now appeared as a sign of the critical digestion of the other, the modern and the civilised: “Tupy, or not tupy that is the question. (…) I am only interested in what is not mine. Law of Man. Law of the Cannibal”.1 In this sense, the myth, which is irrational, serves both to criticise the history of Brazil and the consequences of its colonial past, and to establish a utopian horizon, in which the matriarchate of the primitive community replaces the bourgeois patriarchal system: ‘Against the social reality recorded by Freud, clothed and oppressive, the reality without complexes, without madness, prostitution and prisons, of the matriarchate of Pindorama”.2
We should nevertheless note, that Oswald did not simply propose opposition to modern industrial civilisation. Instead, he believed that some of the benefits it provided made possible primitive forms of existence. On the other hand, only Anthropophagic thinking is capable of distinguishing the positive elements of this civilisation, eliminating what was of no interest and ultimately promoting the ‘Caraíba Revolution’ and its new ‘technologised barbarian’ man: ‘The golden age announced by America. The golden age. And all the girls . Through the opposition of cultural emblems and mythical symbols, the author retold the history of Brazil in a metaphorical way: Padre Vieira, Anchieta, ++the Mother of the Gracchi++, the court of the emperor, Dom João VI, the ++morality of the Stork++ emerge side-by-side with the mythical power of Jabuti, Guaraci, Jaci and Great Serpent. In the new image that is forged, the pre-Cabralian past is paired with avant-garde utopias, since ‘we already had Communism. We already had the surrealist language’ in our golden age.
As the author observed in a later interview, Cannibalism was a ‘poignant watershed’ in Brazilian modernism, not only as the act of becoming aware that the ‘Cannibalist descent’ implies – the shift from the aesthetic object that was still predominant in the ‘Pau Brasil’ phase to discussions that related to the social and collective subject, as well as for the divergent opinions that it generated and that were the cause of subsequent disagreement among the Modernists. The unsystematic character and telegraphic style used by the author to give form to his Cannibalist ideas undoubtedly contributed to some extent to a series of misunderstandings. Having said this, the multiplicity of interpretations caused by the juxtaposition of images and concepts is in keeping with Oswald de Andrade’s aversion to the logical-linear discourse inherited from the European colonists. His artistic trajectory indicates that there is coherence in the madness of Cannibalism and sense in its nonsense.
1 Unattributed quotations are taken from the Manifesto Antropófago. ++Translator’s note: Tupy is the main indigenous language/ethnic grouping along most of the coast of Brazil, ++and in this context means ‘native Indian’.++
2 Pindorama: name for Brazil in the indigenous language, Nheengatu
3 Translator’s note: ‘girls’ in English in the original.
Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos was the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music. He created unique compositional styles in which contemporary European techniques and reinterpreted elements of national music are combined. Born in 1887, Villa-Lobos immersed himself, at first as a guitarist, in the life of Rio’s street musicians by 1899. The music of the chorões especially fascinated him, and the impressions of this vigorous experience were of such importance that he later gave the generic designation of choros to his portrayal, in the 1920s, of a variety of Brazilian musical styles. In his later teenage years he earned a living mainly by playing the cello in the Teatro Recreio, in hotels, and in the Odeon cinema, where he met some of the most celebrated personalities of popular music of the time, including Ernesto Nazareth, Eduardo das Neves and Anacleto de Medeiros.
Villa-Lobos assembled, arranged and adapted 137 folksong melodies in his didactic Guia prático of 1932.
Compositionally, the period 1912–17 was one of intense activity and marked the maturation of Villa-Lobos’s creative personality. By 1917 he had produced some 100 works, including his first guitar pieces (e.g. the Suite popular brasileira), four string quartets and other chamber music, two symphonies, and the ballets Amazonas and Uirapuru. The first official concert fully dedicated to his work took place in 1915 and established him at once as an enfant terrible of new Brazilian art music. The works performed at the concert (such as the First Piano Trio, op.25, and the Sonata fantasia no.2, op.29) challenged the then current state of composition in Brazil. Between 1917 and 1919 additional major concerts of his music were organized, presenting some of his main orchestral works of the period. These concerts helped to establish Villa-Lobos in a very short time as the controversial, anti-establishment figure par excellence.
Villa-Lobos assimilated spontaneously a number of important influences. His friendship with Milhaud (who lived in Rio from 1917 to 1918) and Artur Rubinstein (whom he met in 1918) probably also resulted in his acquaintance with the latest French music and with Stravinsky. During the next few years Rubinstein promoted Villa-Lobos and his music throughout the world.
Although the last decade of Villa-Lobos’s life was marked by a gradual deterioration in health, he remained for the most part remarkably active: in 1949 he made a series of tours in Europe, the USA and Japan. However, by the time he returned to Rio de Janeiro in July 1959 his health had worsened considerably, and he died a few months later.
Sources: New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 2nd edition Oxford Music Online
Sou viramundo virado Nas rondas da maravilha Cortando a faca e facão Os desatinos da vida Gritando para assustar A coragem da inimiga Pulando pra não ser preso Pelas cadeias da intriga Prefiro ter toda a vida A vida como inimiga A ter na morte da vida Minha sorte decidida
Sou viramundo virado Pelo mundo do sertão Mas inda viro este mundo Em festa, trabalho e pão Virado será o mundo E viramundo verão O virador deste mundo Astuto, mau e ladrão Ser virado pelo mundo Que virou com certidão Ainda viro este mundo Em festa, trabalho e pão
Ricardo Flores Magon has been described as one of the intellectual precursors of the Mexican revolution. He is little known outside Mexico, and even within anarchist circles and texts his name is little encountered — apart from the pioneering study on him edited by David Poole (1977). But Flores Magon was an important and influential anarchist whose writings and activities had a crucial impact on the Mexican revolution. The Mexican Liberal Party, headed by Flores Magon, was closely implicated in the industrial strikes at Cananea and Orizaba.
Flores Magon was born on September 16,1874, in San Antonio Eloxochitlan in the state of Oaxaca. His father was a Zapotec Indian and a firm believer in the communal ownership of land; his mother a mestiza. While still young his family moved to Mexico City where Ricardo and his two brothers Jesus and Enrique attended school. It was while at the Escuela National Preparitoria that Flores Magon took part in his first protest against the Diaz dictatorship. He was charged with sedition and sentenced to five months imprisonment. The following year, 1893, he joined the staff of an opposition newspaper, El Democrata. But within a few months the paper was banned by the government and its staff arrested: Flores Magon was lucky to escape. In 1895 he qualified as a lawyer, but he decided not to practice law but instead to devote himself to political activities and to the struggle against the hated Diaz regime. Having become acquainted with the writings of Row, Malatesta and Kropotkin, Flores Magon, together with his brother Jesus, founded the newspaper Regeneracion, the first issue appearing in August 1900. Initially a law journal, Regeneracion, by the end of the year, had become much more radical, openly attacking the Diaz government.
In February 1901 Flores Magon attended the first congress of Liberal Clubs, held at San Luis Potosi, and it was there that he first met Librado Rivera. On the initiative of Camillo Arriaga, whose father owned one of the largest silver mines in the area, Liberal Clubs had been formed throughout Mexico. Arriaga was a mining engineer and a former senator who had been dismissed by Diaz. The aim of these clubs was specifically to combat the growing significance of the clergy in this country. But while other delegates at the congress were content to spell out their anti-clericalism, Flores Magon made his first open attack on the Diaz dictatorship. He denounced the government as a “den of thieves.” It wasn’t long before the government responded, for in May he was arrested along with his brother Jesus and sentenced to twelve months of imprisonment for “insulting the president.” The Liberal Clubs too were broken up by the police and their members imprisoned. His younger brother Enrique however, continued to publish Regeneracion, Ricardo managing to smuggle articles he had written in prison to him. It was printed clandestinely. On his release from prison in April 1902 Flores Magon took over an anti-Diaz and satirical weekly, El Hijo del Ahui-zote. But this popular paper was also soon suppressed by the government and .Magon was again arrested — along with Librado and his brother Enrique — this time for “ridiculing public officials.” He was to spend a further five months in Belem prison. In June 1903 the supreme court of Mexico passed an edict forbidding the publication of any article written by Flores Magon. Realizing that it was no longer practical to stay in Mexico amid the mounting repression, at the end of 1903 Flores Magon left Mexico to seek refuge in the United States, where many liberals had already fled. In exile he was joined by a handful of close comrades; Enrique, Librado Rivera, Juan Sarabia, and Antonio I. Villarreal. By this time his elder brother Jesus had given up the anti-Diaz struggle and had gone to Mexico to open up a law office.
After working some months as a laborer in order to raise funds, Flores Magon was able to resume the publication of Regeneracion. This was in November, 1904. Three months later he moved from San Antonio to St. Louis, Missouri, continuing to publish the weekly newspaper with the help of Librado Rivera. In September, 1905, along with Sarabia, Villarreal, Rivera and his brother Enrique, Magon formed the Junta Organizadora del Partido Liberal Mexicano — the group motto being “reform, liberty, and justice.” While in St. Louis Magon and his associates established close links with the Western Federation of Miners, the organizers of the Industrial Workers of the World, and such anarchists as Emma Goldman and Florencio Bazara, the latter being a former comrade of Malatesta. Flores Magon attended the lectures of Goldman and the two anarchists became firm friends. Copies of Regeneracion were posted by the group to Mexico and they travelled from hand to hand within the Republic. Even Zapata is said to have been influenced by it. The Liberal Party of Mexico was less of a political party than a coordinating center for radical activists, and it remained as such until 1918 when it was disbanded owing to the imprisonment of Mores Magon and Rivera.
But within a month of the founding of the party, Flores Magon and his comrades were again being harassed — this time by Pinkerton detectives who raided the offices of Regeneracion and took the presses and office equipment. Flores Magon and Juan Sarabia were arrested were arrested. Released on bail and fearing that the United States government would extradite them to Mexico, they decided to flee to Toronto, Canada. A reward of $20,000 was offered for the capture of Flores Magon. While he was in Canada the program of the Mexican Liberal Party was published in July 1906.
Although somewhat reformist in tone, for its time this program was extremely radical, and indeed went much further than the Mexican constitution of 1917. Drawn up by the extreme left wing of Mexican liberalism, it represented, as Gilly writes, “a milestone in Ricardo Flores Magon’s evolution towards anarchism and an understanding of the need for an armed social revolution to expropriate the capitalists and big landowners” (1983: 57).
Among its many clauses the program included: the abolition of the death penalty, the suppression of compulsory military service, complete secular education for children, a maximum working day of eight hours, a ban on child labor, cancellation of all peon-debt to the landowners, the restitution of communal lands to the villages and the protection of the Indian peoples (Flores Magon 1977).
In September that same year Flores Magon moved secretly to El Paso and began to organize armed uprisings against the Diaz government. The first of these took place in the town of Jimenez, Coahuila, when a group of thirty liberals took control of the main plaza before being forced to withdraw by federal forces. Four days later three hundred liberals attacked Acayucan Veracruz, but again were forced to withdraw through lack of arms. Several other small-scale actions took place in the north of the country. By this time the PLM had forty-four clandestine guerrilla units, comprised mainly of working class volunteers, and Liberal Clubs were active throughout Mexico. And, as we have noted, there was widespread labor unrest throughout the country. The circulation of Regeneracion within Mexico, though underground, was reckoned to be between 20,000 and 30,000 copies. Both Diaz and the American state department were alarmed at these events and the American Ambassador to Mexico wrote to the department that the PLM “worried” Diaz, “harmed United States’” business interests and advocated “anarchism” (Cockcroft 1968:137). The uprisings and strikes shook Diaz. The people who had been silent for so long were now beginning to speak for themselves. He began the systematic repression of liberal and working class organizations throughout the country. The United States authorities did the same and began the hunt for Flores Magon and his associates. After narrowly avoiding arrest several times, Flores Magon finally settled in Los Angeles in the spring of 1907, to be joined by Antonio I. Villarreal and Lib-rado Rivera. In June, working clandestinely, they brought out the first issue of Revolucion. In August the three men were arrested without warrant by “detectives” of the Furlong Detective Agency who were employed by the Diaz dictatorship and whose sole aim was the tracking down of PLM activists. They were placed on trial the following month and were eventually found guilty of violating the neutrality laws and sentenced to be deported to Arizona where the alleged offense was supposed to have taken place. While in prison Flores Magon smuggled out plans for a second uprising and in June 1908 insurrections by PLM groups occurred in the states of Baja California, Coahuila and Chihuahua, ut as in 1906 the revolt failed and was followed by the usual repression. At this time Flores Magon, Villarreal and Rivera were still in jail in Los Angeles, but they also managed to smuggle out a “Manifesto to the American People,” explaining their objectives and the reason for their persecution by the American authorities. It was published in Mother Earthin February 1908:
“What do we want? The program of the Liberal Party issued on the first of July of the year 1906 is the sum and substance of our aims and aspirations… We want bread for all. We consider it absurd that a few people should possess the earth, and the many not have a place to lay down their heads for rest. We want, then, that the land be accessible to all, just the same as the air, the light, the warm sun rays are there for all creatures on earth. We consider it absurd that those who neither toil nor produce should enjoy all at the expense ‘of those who till and toil and have a life of misery…
We think that political liberty is a beautiful lie so long as it has not for its basis economic liberty and towards the conquest of that liberty our steps are directed… We demand that the proletariat of Mexico organize and by doing so enable itself to take part in the tremendous struggle that alone will liberate the proletariat of this world, the struggle which someday — maybe in the near future-will place all the goods of this earth within the reach and power of all human beings” (Flores Magon 1977:16).
It was evident that within the PLM only Flores Magon, his brother Enrique and Librado Rivera fully endorsed anarchism; Juan Sarabia, Antonio I. Villar-real and Camillo Arriago being essentially liberals. Villarreal later became a stalwart of the constitutionalists. Although describing himself as a liberal, Flores Magon was fully aware that his own basic philosophy and political credo was anarchist. In a letter to his brother and Praxedis Guerrero written from prison in 1908, he wrote:
”…If we had called ourselves anarchists from the start, no one, or at best a few, would have listened to us. Without calling ourselves anarchists we have fired the peoples’ minds with hatred against the owner class and the government caste.
No liberal party in the world has the anti-capitalist tendencies of we who are about to begin a revolution in Mexico and we would not have been able to achieve this had we merely called ourselves socialists instead of anarchists. Thus everything is a question of tactics.
We must give lands to people during the course of the revolution; thus they will not be deceived. We must also give them possession of the factories, mines, etc. In order not to have everybody against us, we should continue to call ourselves liberals during the course of the revolution, and will in reality continue propagating anarchy and executing anarchist acts” (Flores Magon 1977:17).
Whereas the Bolsheviks in the Russian revolution proclaimed: “All Power to the Soviets” and land for the peasants in order to obtain working class support, only to institute state capitalism and a one-party dictatorship, Flores Magon proclaimed liberalism but was intent on establishing libertarian socialism.
On their release from prison in Arizona, where they had served an eighteen month sentence, Magon, Rivera and Villarreal returned to Los Angeles, arriving there in August 1910. they immediately began making plans for a third armed uprising. Already peasant discontent had manifested itself, for in May around 1500 armed peons had taken the town of Valladolid, Yucatan, and had held it for four days, before being overwhelmed by the federal army. The following month several other uprisings occurred, all in the name of the PLM. In October 1910 the motto of the party was changed to “Tierra y Liber-tad” — land and liberty. As Magon declared in an editorial in Regeneracion: “The Land! shouted Row, the Land! shouted Ferrer, the Land! shouts the Mexican revolution.” In the following month a liberal landowner from Oa-huila, Francisco Madero, called on Mexicans to rise up in arms against the hated dictator, this is seen by many historians as the signal which heralded the beginning of the Mexican revolution. From the outset Flores Magon realized the kind of political revolution that Madero envisaged was a limited one. As he wrote:
”…Governments have to protect the right of property above all other rights. Do not expect then, that Madero will attack the right of property in favor of the proletariat. Open your eyes. Remember a phrase, simple and true and as truth indestructible, the emancipation of the workers must be the work of the workers themselves” (Regeneracion, December 10, 1910).
In a circular sent out by the PLM to all its members a month before, the party made it clear that it wanted no pact or alliance with the supporters of Madero. The Liberal Party, it argued, “wants political and economic freedom by handing over the land to the people, the raising of salaries and the lowering of hours of work, and stopping the influence of the Church in government and the family. The anti-re-electionist party (of Madero) wants only political freedom leaving the land to the capitalists, the workers as beasts of burden, and the clergy to continue to brutalize the people” (Flores Magon 1977: 18).
Magon was convinced that a political revolution alone was a sham, and would bring nothing but another tyrant. Putting an end to the despotism of Porfirio Diaz was insufficient; a social revolution also had to be instigated. He wrote:
“Political liberty requires as an adjunct another liberty to be effective, and that is economic liberty. The rich enjoy economic liberty as well and for that reason, in reality, they alone are benefit-ted by political liberty” (Regeneracion, December 24, 1910).
It was then with sadness that Flores Magon learned that both Villarreal and Juan Sarabia had deserted the PLM and joined the supporters of Madero. He was equally saddened to learn of the death of Praxedis Guerrero. A poet and anarchist, only in his late twenties, Guerrero had been mainly responsible for directing the armed insurrection. But in December 1910, while leading a group of liberals in an attempt to take the town of Janos in the state of Chihuahua, Guerrero was killed (Poole 1978).
In the early part of 1911 PLM forces were particularly active especially in the northern states of Baja California and Sonora. But in May 1911 events took a different turn when a peace treaty was signed between Diaz and Madero. With Diaz’s resignation on May 25th the revolution as far as Madero was concerned was over. But for Magon the revolution was just beginning. Inevitably a struggle ensued between the PLM and the Maderist forces. The situation was clearly outlined in a letter that Magon wrote to E. E. Kirk that month:
”…The Mexican Liberal Party has no compromise to make with either Diaz or Madero. The proposed peace treaty between Diaz and Madero will not stop the revolutionary activity of the Liberals, nor the activity of the other revolutionary forces independent of Madero… Madero is not the revolution. Madero is simply a leader of forces at present under his command.
The Mexican Liberal Party has armed forces in all the states of the Mexican republic, and has the northern portion of Lower California in complete control.
The revolution of the Mexican Liberal Party is not a political but a true economic revolution” (Flores Magon 1977: 21).
Madero sent Juan Sarabia and Flores Magon’s elder brother Jesus to Los Angeles hoping to induce the anarchist to call off the armed insurrections. But Flores Magon refused. Only when the social revolution was complete and the peasants and urban workers had control of the means of production would he give up the struggle.
Almost immediately Madero launched a campaign against the PLM forces within Mexico. At the end of June Madero’s forces in Sonora captured and shot 28 PLM partisans, and soon afterwards the federal army was sent to Baja California to put down the revolutionary movement there. Because the Magonistas advocated the destruction of private property Madero is said to have distrusted and detested these social revolutionaries (Ruiz 1980: 144). Many members of the PLM throughout the country were being jailed in 1911 by the successor of Diaz.
In April 1911 the leading figures of the PLM still in exile in Los Angeles — Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magon, Antonio de P. Araujo, Anselmo L. Figueroa and Librado Rivera — issued a “Manifesto to the Workers of the World.” It explained that the people of Mexico, under the banner of the Red Flag, had for four months been in open rebellion against their oppressors. And taking part in the insurrection in support of the people are “those who know that the emancipation of the workers ought to be accomplished by the workers themselves, those convinced of direct action, those who deny the ‘sacred’ right of property, those who do not take up arms for the purpose of raising any master to power, but to destroy the chains of wage slavery.” Such revolutionists were represented by the Mexican Liberal Party group. They were not engaged in struggle merely “to destroy the dictator Porfirio Diaz in order to put in his place a new tyrant. The Mexican Liberal Party is taking part in the actual insurrection with the deliberate and firm purpose of expropriating the land and the means of production and handing them over to the people, that is, to each and every one of the inhabitants of Mexico, without distinction of sex.”
The Manifesto repudiates the party of Madero, a millionaire who has seen his fabulous fortune grow with the sweat and tears of the peons of his haciendas. His party is a purely political and conservative party, interested only in establishing a bourgeois republic and protecting private property. It calls for political and material support for the social revolution in Mexico.
In September 1911 a second manifesto was published by the same organizing group, and it might be useful to quote a few extracts as it gives a cogent outline of the libertarian socialist tendency of the PLM.
“But for the principle of private property there would be no reason for government, which is needed solely to keep the disinherited from going to extremes in their complaints or rebellions against those who have got into their possession the social wealth. Nor would there be any reason for the church, whose sole exclusive object is to strangle in the human being the innate spirit of revolt against oppression and exploitation, by the preaching of patience, of resignation and of humility… Capital, Authority, the Church — there you have the somber trinity that makes of this beauteous earth a paradise for those who, by cunning, violence and crime, have been successful in gathering into their clutches the product of the toiler’s sweat, of the blood, of the tears and sacrifices of generations of workers; but a hell for those who, with muscle and intelligence, till the soil, set the machinery in motion, build the houses, and transport the products. Thus humanity remains divided into two classes whose interests are diametrically opposed — the capitalist class and the working class…
Mexicans! The Mexican Liberal Party recognizes that every human being by the very fact of his coming into life, has a right to enjoy each and every one of the advantages modern civilization offers, because those advantages are the product of the efforts and sacrifices of the working class from all time…
Expropriation must be pursued to the end, at all costs, while this grand movement lasts… Expropriation must not be limited to taking possession of the land and the implements of agriculture alone. There must be a resolute taking possession of all the industries by those working in them, who should bring it about similarly that the lands the mines, the factories, the workshops, the foundries… shall be in the power of each and every one of the inhabitants, without distinction of sex…
Liberty and well-being are within our grasp. The same effort and the same sacrifices that are required to raise power to a governor — say a tyrant — will achieve the expropriation of the fortunes the rich keep from you. It is for you, then, to choose. Either a new governor- — that is to say, a new yoke — or life-redeeming expropriation and the abolition of all imposition, be that imposition religious, political or of any other kind. Land and Liberty!” (Flores Magon 1977: 97–103).
In that same month — September 1911- — responding to the criticism of former colleagues that Mexico was ill-prepared for either anarchism or socialism, Flores Magon was to write that the Mexican people instinctively hated authority and the bourgeoisie and that mutual aid and communal property was the rule among Indian communities in Mexico, until the “political and money bandits impudently robbed people of lands, forest, everything” (Regeneration, September 2, 1911).
By the end of 1911 the PLM were in open opposition against Madero, who in October had become president. The following month Emiliano Zapata also rebelled against Madero and in November issued his plan for Ayola. Zapata adopted the slogan of the PLM “Land and Liberty” and many of his ideas were clearly derived from Flores Magon. Of all the revolutionary groups within Mexico it was only the Zapatistas with whom the PLM had any connection. As Enrique Magon put it:
”…These Agrarians (Zapatistas) and the Liberals work together owing to the fact that the former are direct actionists, although they still think a government is needed. They too, as the Liberals, have burned to ashes the private property deeds as well as all official records; have thrown down that marked private properties… So Liberals and Agrarians work together in conjunction and good harmony” (quoted in Poole 1977: 83).
Although Zapata was an agrarian socialist, he was not as we shall see, an anarchist.
In June 1912 Flores Magon and three of his associates were again arrested for alleged violation of the neutrality laws. They were sentenced to twenty-three months imprisonment. When the sentences were known there was a mass demonstration outside the courtroom. It was broken up by the police who made several arrests. While the PLM group were imprisoned, Regeneracion continued publication, edited by such people as Antonio de P. Araujo, Alberto Tellez, Teodoro Gaitan and the English anarchist W.C. Owen. While Magon was in McNeil Island Prison land expropriations continued to take place in Mexico.
On his release from prison in January 1914 Flores Magon again threw himself into the struggle. His brother Enrique and Librado were also freed from the McNeil Island Prison. For a while the junta of the PLM lived in a commune on a small farm on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Towards the end of the year the publication of Regeneracion had to be suspended because of lack of funds. In February 1916 Flores Magon and his brother were again arrested — this time accused by the United States’ Postal authorities of sending material through the post that incited “murder, arson and treason.” They were released on bail, put up by Berkman and Goldman. By this time Madero had been assassinated, and another wealthy acendado, Venus-tiano Carranza, had become president of Mexico. The publication of Regeneracion was resumed in 1916 and Flores Magon wrote scathing articles criticizing the Carranza regime, particularly its use of the urban workers, the “Red Battalions” to crush the Zapatistas. Flores Magon appealed to the workers:
“By taking arms against the workers of the fields,” he wrote, “you have taken arms against your own interests, because the interests of the exploited are the same whether they use the plough or the hammer. You have shot down your class brothers, the Zapatistas and the anarchists of the Mexican Liberal Party with impunity, but in this way you have strengthened the enemy, the bourgeoisie” (Flores Magon 1977: 27).
Despite increasing ill health, for he suffered from diabetes and failing eyesight, Flores Magon continued to address meetings and with the help of Enrique and Librado to keep Regeneracion going on an intermittent basis — in spite of the repression. In March 1918, together with Librado, he published a manifesto to the Anarchists and Workers of the World suggesting that the demise of the “old society” was at hand, and encouraging everyone to fan the flames of discontent that had been lit by tyranny. Charged with violating the Espionage Laws Flores Magon and Librado Rivera were again arrested in March 1918. Magon was given a savage sentence of twenty-two years imprisonment. After a period in McNeil Island Prison, He was sent to Leavenworth Prison in Kansas. His health rapidly deteriorated due to a lack of proper medical attention. In 1920 he was offered a pension by the Mexican government but this he declined. Two years later with the founding of the anarcho-syndicalist Confederacion General de Trabajadores (CGT) a campaign was launched in Mexico calling for the release of Flores Magon and Rivera, and the boycotting of US goods. But the action came too late, for Flores was found dead in his cell on November 22, 1922. It was alleged that he died of a heart attack, but according to Librando Rivera he had been murdered by the prison authorities. He was forty-eight. Workers from the Confederation of Railway Societies transported his body back to Mexico. At every town where the cortege stopped, thousands of workers gathered to pay their respects, waving black and red flags. In Mexico City around ten thousand workers attended Flores Magon’s funeral. For years his brother Jesus, who became a prominent lawyer and a member of Madero’s government, had tried to persuade him to give up politics and return to Mexico, but Flores Magon always remained fanatically loyal to the anarchist cause.
The following year his brother Enrique and Librado Rivera were released from prison (Poole 1977: 83). Rivera settled in Mexico and continued to spread anarchist propaganda, editing the anarchist periodical Sagitario. He was imprisoned several times and was killed in an automobile accident in 1932. For more than twenty years he had been a close friend and colleague of Flores Magon…. References:
Cockcroft, J.D. 1968. Intellectual Precursors of the Mexican Revolution 1910–1913. Austin: Univ. Texas Press.
Flores Magon, R. 1977. Land and Liberty! Anarchist Influences in the Mexican Revolution. Ed. David Poole. Orkney: Cienfuegos Press.
Gilly, A. 1983. The Mexican Revolution. London: NLB Press. Orig. 1971.
Poole, D. 1977. Ricardo Flores Magon and the Mexican Revolution. Anarch. Rev. 1/3: 81–83. Cienfuegos Press. 1978. The Anarchists and the Mexican Revolution 2: Praxedis G. Guerrero (1882–1910). Anarch. Rev. 1/4: 68–72. Cienfuegos Press. 1980. Librado Rivera. Anarch. Rev. 1/5:15–19. Cienfuegos Press.
Ruiz, R. E. 1980. The Great Rebellion, Mexico 1905–1924. New York: Norton.
Article 27. Ownership of the lands and waters within the boundaries of the national territory is vested originally in the Nation, which has had, and has, the right to transmit title thereof to private persons, thereby constituting private property.
Private property shall not be expropriated except for reasons of public use and subject to payment of indemnity.
The Nation shall at all times have the right to impose on private property such limitations as the public interest may demand, as well as the right to regulate the utilization of natural resources which are susceptible of appropriation, in order to conserve them and to ensure a more equitable distribution of public wealth. With this end in view, necessary measures shall be taken to divide up large landed estates; to develop small landed holdings in operation; to create new agricultural centers, with necessary lands and waters; to encourage agriculture in general and to prevent the destruction of natural resources, and to protect property from damage to the detriment of society. Centers of population which at present either have no lands or water or which do not possess them in sufficient quantities for the needs of their inhabitants, shall be entitled to grants thereof, which shall be taken from adjacent properties, the rights of small landed holdings in operation being respected at all times.
In the Nation is vested the direct ownership of all natural resources of the continental shelf and the submarine shelf of the islands; of all minerals or substances, which in veins, ledges, masses or ore pockets, form deposits of a nature distinct from the components of the earth itself, such as the minerals from which industrial metals and metalloids are extracted; deposits of precious stones, rock-salt and the deposits of salt formed by sea water; products derived from the decomposition of rocks, when subterranean works are required for their extraction; mineral or organic deposits of materials susceptible of utilization as fertilizers; solid mineral fuels; petroleum and all solid, liquid, and gaseous hydrocarbons; and the space above the national territory to the extent and within the terms fixed by international law.(6)
In the Nation is likewise vested the ownership of the waters of the territorial seas, within the limits and terms fixed by international law; inland marine waters; those of lagoons and estuaries permanently or intermittently connected with the sea; those of natural, inland lakes which are directly connected with streams having a constant flow; those of rivers and their direct or indirect tributaries from the point in their source where the first permanent, intermittent, or torrential waters begin, to their mouth in the sea, or a lake, lagoon, or estuary forming a part of the public domain; those of constant or intermittent streams and their direct or indirect tributaries, whenever the bed of the stream, throughout the whole or a part of its length, serves as a boundary of the national territory or of two federal divisions, or if it flows from one federal division to another or crosses the boundary line of the Republic; those of lakes, lagoons, or estuaries whose basins, zones, or shores are crossed by the boundary lines of two or more divisions or by the boundary line of the Republic and a neighboring country or when the shoreline serves as the boundary between two federal divisions or of the Republic and a neighboring country; those of springs that issue from beaches, maritime areas, the beds, basins, or shores of lakes, lagoons, or estuaries in the national domain; and waters extracted from mines and the channels, beds, or shores of interior lakes and streams in an area fixed by law. Underground waters may be brought to the surface by artificial works and utilized by the surface owner, but if the public interest so requires or use by others is affected, the Federal Executive may regulate its extraction and utilization, and even establish prohibited areas, the same as may be done with other waters in the public domain. Any other waters not included in the foregoing enumeration shall be considered an integral part of the property through which they flow or in which they are deposited, but if they are located in two or more properties, their utilization shall bedeemed a matter of public use, and shall be subject to laws enacted by the States.(7)
In those cases to which the two preceding paragraphs refer, ownership by the Nation is inalienable and imprescriptible, and the exploitation, use, or appropriation of the resources concerned, by private persons or by companies organized according to Mexican laws, may not be undertaken except through concessions granted by the Federal Executive, in accordance with rules and conditions established by law. The legal rules relating to the working or exploitation of the minerals and substances referred to in the fourth paragraph shall govern the execution and proofs of what is carried out or should be carried out after they go into effect, independent of the date of granting the concessions, and their nonobservance will be grounds for cancellation thereof. The Federal Government has the power to establish national reserves and to abolish them. The declarations pertaining thereto shall be made by the Executive in those cases and conditions prescribed by law. In the case of petroleum, and solid, liquid, or gaseous hydrocarbons no concessions or contracts will be granted nor may those that have been granted continue, and the Nation shall carry out the exploitation of these products, in accordance with the provisions indicated in the respective regulatory law.(8)
It is exclusively a function of the general Nation to conduct, transform, distribute, and supply electric power which is to be used for public service. No concessions for this purpose will be granted to private persons and the Nation will make use of the property and natural resources which are required for these ends.(9) (Note: A transitory provision of the amendment adding the foregoing paragraph to Article 27 states:
“A regulatory law shall establish the rules to which concessions granted prior to the enactment of the present law (amendment) shall be subject”.)
Legal capacity to acquire ownership of lands and waters of the Nation shall be governed by the following provisions:
I.Only Mexicans by birth or naturalization and Mexican companies have the right to acquire ownership of lands, waters, and their appurtenances, or to obtain concessions for the exploitation of mines or of waters. The State may grant the same right to foreigners, provided they agree before the Ministry of Foreign Relations to consider themselves as nationals in respect to such property, and bind themselves not to invoke the protection of their governments in matters relating thereto; under penalty, in case of noncompliance with this agreement, of forfeiture of the property acquired to the Nation. Under no circumstances may foreigners acquire direct ownership of lands or waters within a zone of one hundred kilometers along the frontiers and of fifty kilometers along the shores of the country.
The State, in accordance with its internal public interests and with principles of reciprocity, may in the discretion of the Secretariat of Foreign Affairs authorize foreign states to acquire, at the permanent sites of the Federal Powers, private ownership of real property necessary for the direct services of their embassies or legations.(10)
II.Religious institutions known as churches, regardless of creed, may in no case acquire, hold, or administer real property or hold mortgages thereon; such property held at present either directly or through an intermediary shall revert to the Nation, any person whosoever being authorized to denounce any property so held. Presumptive evidence shall be sufficient to declare the denunciation well founded. Places of public worship are the property of the Nation, as represented by the Federal Government, which shall determine which of them may continue to be devoted to their present purposes. Bishoprics, rectories, seminaries, asylums, and schools belonging to religious orders, convents, or any other buildings built or intended for the administration, propagation, or teaching of a religious creed shall at once become the property of the Nation by inherent right, to be used exclusively for the public services of the Federal or State Governments, within their respective jurisdictions. All places of public worship hereafter erected shall be the property of the Nation.
III.Public or private charitable institutions for the rendering of assistance to the needy, for scientific research, the diffusion of knowledge, mutual aid to members, or for any other lawful purpose, may not acquire more real property than actually needed for their purpose and immediately and directly devoted thereto; but they may acquire, hold, or administer mortgages on real property provided the term thereof does not exceed ten years. Under no circumstances may institutions of this kind be under the patronage, direction, administration, charge, or supervision of religious orders or institutions, or of ministers of any religious sect or of their followers, even though the former or the latter may not be in active service.
IV.Commercial stock companies may not acquire, hold, or administer rural properties. Companies of this kind that are organized to operate any manufacturing, mining, or petroleum industry or for any other purpose that is not agricultural, may acquire, hold, or administer lands only of an area that is strictly necessary for their buildings or services, and this area shall be fixed in each particular case by the Federal or State Executive.
V.Banks duly authorized to operate in accordance with the laws on credit institutions may hold mortgages on urban and rural property in conformity with the provisions of such laws but they may not own or administer more real property than is actually necessary for their direct purpose.
VI.With the exception of the corporate entities referred to in clauses III, IV, and V hereof, and the centers of population which by law or in fact possess a communal status or centers that have received grants or restitutions or have been organized as centers of agricultural population, no other civil corporate entity may hold or administer real property or hold mortgages thereon, with the sole exception of the buildings intended immediately and directly for the purposes of the institution. The States, the Federal District, and the Territories, and all Municipalities in the Republic, shall have full legal capacity to acquire and hold all the real property needed to render public services.
The federal and state laws, within their respective jurisdictions, shall determine in what cases the occupation of private property shall be considered to be of public utility; and in accordance with such laws, the administrative authorities shall issue the respective declaration. The amount fixed as compensation for the expropriated property shall be based on the value recorded in assessment or tax offices for tax purposes, whether this value had been declared by the owner or tacitly accepted by him by having paid taxes on that basis. The increased or decreased value of such private property due to improvements or depreciation which occurred after such assessment is the only portion of the value that shall be subject to the decision of experts and judicial proceedings. This same procedure shall be followed in the case of property whose value is not recorded in the tax offices.
The exercise of actions pertaining to the Nation by virtue of the provisions of this article shall be made effective by judicial procedure, but during these proceedings and by order of the proper courts, which must render a decision within a maximum of one month, the administrative authorities shall proceed without delay to occupy, administer, auction, or sell the lands and waters in question and all their appurtenances, and in no case may the acts of such authorities be set aside until a final decision has been rendered.
VII.(11)The centers of population which, by law or in fact, possess a communal status shall have legal capacity to enjoy common possession of the lands, forests, and waters belonging to them or which have been or may be restored to them.
All questions, regardless of their origin, concerning the boundaries of communal lands, which are now pending or that may arise hereafter between two or more centers of population, are matters of federal jurisdiction. The Federal Executive shall take cognizance of such controversies and propose a solution to the interested parties. If the latter agree thereto, the proposal of the Executive shall take full effect as a final decision and shall be irrevocable; should they not be in conformity, the party or parties may appeal to the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation, without prejudice to immediate enforcement of the presidential proposal.
The law shall specify the brief procedure to which the settling of such controversies shall conform.
VIII.The following are declared null and void: a.All transfers of the lands, waters, and forests of villages, rancherías, groups, or communities made by local officials (jefes políticos), state governors, or other local authorities in violation of the provisions of the Law of June 25, 1856, and other related laws and rulings. b.All concessions, deals or sales of lands, waters, and forests made by the Secretariat of Development, the Secretariat of Finance, or any other federal authority from December 1, 1876 to date, which encroach upon or illegally occupy communal lands (ejidos), lands allotted in common, or lands of any other kind belonging to villages, rancherias, groups or communities, and centers of population. c.All survey or demarcation-of-boundary proceedings, transfers, alienations, or auction sales effected during the period of time referred to in the preceding sub-clause, by companies, judges, or other federal or state authorities entailing encroachments on or illegal occupation of the lands, waters, or forests of communal holdings (ejidos), lands held in common, or other holdings belonging to centers of population.
The sole exception to the aforesaid nullification shall be the lands to which title has been granted in allotments made in conformity with the Law of June 25, 1856, held by persons in their own name for more than ten years and having an area of not more than fifty hectares.
IX.Divisions or allotments of land among the inhabitants of a given center of population which, although apparently legitimate are not so, due to a mistake or defect, may be annulled at the request of three fourths of the residents holding one fourth so divided, or one fourth of such residents holding three fourths of the lands. X.Centers of population which lack communal lands (ejidos) or which are unable to have them restored to them due to lack of titles, impossibility of identification, or because they had been legally transferred, shall be granted sufficient lands and waters to constitute them, in accordance with the needs of the population; but in no case shall they fail to be granted the area needed, and for this purpose the land needed shall be expropriated, at the expense of the Federal Government, to be taken from lands adjoining the villages in question.
The area or individual unit of the grant shall hereafter be not less than ten hectares of moist or irrigated land, or in default of such land its equivalent in other types of land in accordance with the third paragraph of section XV of this article.(12)
XI.For the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this article and of regulating laws that may be enacted, the following are established: a.A direct agency of the Federal Executive entrusted with the application and enforcement of the agrarian laws; b.An advisory board composed of five persons to be appointed by the President of the Republic and who shall perform the functions specified in the organic laws; c.A mixed commission composed of an equal number of representatives of the Federal Government, the local governments, and a representative of the peasants, to be appointed in the manner set forth in the respective regulating law, to function in each State, Territory, and the Federal District, with the powers and duties set forth in the organic and regulatory laws; d.Private executive committees for each of the centers of population that are concerned with agrarian cases; e.A communal office (comisariado ejidal) for each of the centers of population that possess communal lands (ejidos).
XII.Petitions for a restitution or grant of lands or waters shall be submitted directly to the state and territorial governors.
The governors shall refer the petitions to the mixed commissions, which shall study the cases during a fixed period of time and render a report; the State governors shall approve or modify the report of the mixed commission and issue orders that immediate possession be given to areas which they deem proper. The case shall then be turned over to the Federal Executive for decision.
Whenever the governors fail to comply with the provisions of the preceding paragraph, within the peremptory period of time fixed by law, the report of the mixed commission shall be deemed rejected and the case shall be referred immediately to the Federal Executive.
Inversely, whenever a mixed commission fails to render a report during the peremptory time limit, the Governor shall be empowered to grant possession of the area of land he deems appropriate.
XIII.The agency of the Executive and the Agrarian Advisory Board shall report on the approval, rectification, or modification of the reports submitted by the mixed commissions, containing the changes made therein by the local governments, and so notify the President of the Republic, who as the supreme agrarian authority will render a decision.
XIV.Landowners affected by decisions granting or restoring communal lands and waters to villages, or who may be affected by future decisions, shall have no ordinary legal right or recourse and cannot institute amparo proceedings.
Persons affected by such decisions shall have solely the right to apply to the Federal Government for payment of the corresponding indemnity. This right must be exercised by the interested parties within one year counting from the date of publication of the respective resolution in the Diario Oficial. After this period has elapsed, no claim is admissible.
Owners or occupants of agricultural or stockraising properties in operation who have been issued or to whom there may be issued in the future certificates of non-affectability may institute amparo proceedings against any illegal deprivation or agrarian claims on their lands or water.(13)
XV.The mixed commissions, the local governments and any other authorities charged with agrarian proceedings cannot in any case affect small agricultural or livestock properties in operation and they shall incur liability for violations of the Constitution if they make grants which affect them.
Small agricultural property is that which does not exceed one hundred hectares of first-class moist or irrigated land or its equivalent in other classes of land, under cultivation.
To determine this equivalence one hectare of irrigated land shall be computed as two hectares of seasonal land; as four of good quality pasturage (agostadero) and as eight as monte (scrub land) or arid pasturage.
Also to be considered as small holdings are areas not exceeding two hundred hectares of seasonal lands or pasturage susceptible of cultivation; or one hundred fifty hectares of land used for cotton growing if irrigated from fluvial canals or by pumping; or three hundred, under cultivation, when used for growing bananas, sugar cane, coffee, henequen, rubber, coconuts, grapes, olives, quinine, vanilla, cacao, or fruit trees.
Small holdings for stockraising are lands not exceeding the area necessary to maintain up to five hundred head of cattle (ganado mayor) or their equivalent in smaller animals (ganado menor – sheep, goats, pigs) under provisions of law, in accordance with the forage capacity of the lands.
Whenever, due to irrigation or drainage works or any other works executed by the owners or occupants of a small holding to whom a certificate of non-affectability has been issued, the quality of the land is improved for agricultural or stockraising operations, such holding shall not be subject to agrarian appropriation even if, by virtue of the improvements made, the maximums indicated in this section are lowered, provided that the requirements fixed by law are met.
XVI.Lands which are subject to individual adjudication must be partitioned precisely at the time the presidential order is executed, according to regulatory laws.
XVII.The Federal Congress and the State Legislature, within their respective jurisdictions, shall enact laws to fix the maximum area of rural property, and to carry out the subdivision of the excess lands, in accordance with the following bases: a.In each State, Territory, or the Federal District, there shall be fixed a maximum area of land of which a single individual or legally constituted society may be the owner. b.The excess over the fixed area shall be subdivided by the owner within the time fixed by the local law, and these parcels shall be offered for sale under terms approved by the governments, in accordance with the aforementioned laws. c.If the owner should oppose the subdivision, it shall be carried out by the local government, by expropriation. d.The value of the parcels shall be paid by annual installments which will amortize principal and interest, at an interest rate not exceeding 3% per annum. e.Owners shall be required to receive bonds of the local Agrarian Debt to guarantee payment for the property expropriated. For this purpose, the Federal Congress shall enact a law empowering the States to create their Agrarian Debt. f.No subdivision can be sanctioned which fails to satisfy the agrarian needs of neighboring settlements (poblados inmediatos). Whenever subdivision projects are to be executed, the agrarian claims must be settled within a fixed period. g.Local laws shall organize the family patrimony, determining what property shall constitute it, on the basis that it shall be inalienable and shall not be subject to attachment or encumbrance of any kind.
XVIII.All contracts and concessions made by former Governments since the year 1876, which have resulted in the monopolization of lands, waters, and natural resources of the Nation, by a single person or company, are declared subject to revision, and the Executive of the Union is empowered to declare them void whenever they involve serious prejudice to the public interest.
The Sabino Osuna Collection was acquired for the UC Riverside Library in January 1986. Shortly after its acquisition, the Committee of Latin American Studies decided to publish a selection of Osuna’s photographs along with essays about them. However, it was unable to gather the necessary support for its publication. Nevertheless, we have successfully achieved our objective to publish with the essential support of a number of institutions and individuals. Mexico at the Hour of Combatdepicts the history of the Mexican Revolutionary era through the use of photography. The Osuna images highlight the impact of the Revolution and the importance of the personalities of the dominant class, but most importantly; the images abstractly reveal the Mexican conception of their national identity.
The book’s publication was facilitated through the collaborative financial and human support of the UC Riverside Library; the University of California Institute for Mexico and the United States; the bimonthly journal Latin American Perspectives; the independent nonprofit Laguna Wilderness Press; the Culver Center for the Arts; and the Sweeney Art Gallery.
The book includes essays about Osuna and his photographs by Peter Briscoe, Ronald Chilcote, Carlos Cortés, Georg Gugelberger, Eliud Martinez, and Tyler Stallings.