RICARDO FLORES MAGON: VIDA Y OBRA
(HISTORIETAS RELACIONADAS CON LAS CONDICIONES SOCIALES DE MEXICO)
(4. DE LA SERIE)
EDICIONES DEL GRUPO CULTURAL RICARDO FLORES MAGON
APARTADO POSTAL NUM. 1563
It is eleven thirty on a winter night in Valle de México, when appears, in one unexpected moment, a wonderful miracle, as the stars fall in showers of diamonds.
The district of the capitol sleeps just the same as their inhabitants, working people who spend hours of the Mexican days in the shadows of the shops and factories, adding to the wealth of the bourgeoisie, and the splendid nights in the darkness of their homes, poor, very poor. There is not even a transient in the suburb of Santiago Tlaltololco, with the exception of the passing women, selling and crying with melancholic voices, hiding sadness, bitterness, the torments of a martyrdom of their race: "Booooooiled duuuuuuuck, tortillas with chiliiiiiiii."
It is the cold; the flickering of lanterns on the street corners, "tecolates"; a man knocks softly at a dirty door of one of the outbuildings of the Puente de Tres Guerras; the door opens as a big mouth yawning in the dark, and the odor of poverty comes out from within; the man comes in with assuredness and the door closes behind him.
That outbuilding is the home of Melquiades, weaving worker, where twenty others work together. As the newcomer enters, all approach him to shake his hand. How long he has taken! They were desperate; some had already left for their homes. The newcomer explains the best he can the reason for his delay: he had to leave town to take care of important business for the worker syndicate, of which he is an organizer. In a corner, two workers are squatting and speaking in soft voices.
"I can bet, brother, that that one has been in the whorehouse and now he comes to tell us he has been out taking care of syndicate business. He dresses fine, eats better, he doesn't collapse like we do, because he makes his good old salary, as an organizer. That one is already emancipated. Why does he worry about us anyway? Do you think he is concerned with how the worker feels? He knew important businesses were to be dealt with here for the benefit of the working class; however, he comes late. He sure is not in a hurry so we can be emancipated, because if we did the union would go to hell for being unnecessary! The officials would have to work to live, just as any mortal will have to do when we are able to overthrow the system that crushes us."
"Your are right, brother," says the other. "The union or syndicate official feels that as a member of the bourgeoisie and, due to that reason, he is interested in delaying our emancipation."
Everybody talks at the same time, excited as the organization arrives. Time flies, it is important that this issue be taken care of at once. Melquiades raises his right arm, signaling that he wants to say something. There is silence. Melquiades tightens his voice, spits and speaks in a tone that reflects the honesty of a noble proletarian heart.
Comrades, as we explained in the circular sent to all members of "Grupo Humanidad Conciente," this meeting has only one objective: to determine what attitudes we should assume as workers, before the lack of fulfillment of promises, due to us by the Constitutionalist Party, when that party aspires to power, and wants our supports. This support was given, as many hard workers shed their blood at the battlefront for the constitutional flag, and many more went to vote in favor of Carranza. Well, comrades, it has been awhile since we have had a Carranzista government, and everything is just the same than before the Revolution, or should I say, everything is even worse than before because now the worker has to carry on his shoulders not only the old debt, but the new one, as well, owed to the bankers of the United States to consolidate the government of Carranza. That is without counting the hundreds of millions of pesos that we are paying as indemnities for the national bourgeoisie and foreigners who have suffered prejudices during the Revolution. Suffering poverty is extreme; tyranny is even worse than the time of the hateful Porifirio Diaz. Speaking about the workers from Grupo "Humanidad Conciente," what is needed is to join the beautiful movement of the ones who didn't abandon arms when Venustiano Carranza took power, and to shout, 'Country and Freedom!' Yes, comrades, let's adopt the beginnings of the Liberal Mexican Party and make our own Manifesto, dated September 23, 1911. To tyranny, we respond; to tyranny we respond with barricade, to hunger with expropriation! Let's rebel!"
The boldness causes the afraid ones to tremble; others, due to the excitement so related to violence, as the only recourse to effect a right, respond to ideas and desires, kept in secret; however, no one materializes with a "yes" or a "no," approving or disapproving. The "owl" (watchman) from the corner blows a whistle to alert, and that whistle others follow, until all the owls from the neighborhood and all his friends form the city follow. The dog from next door, where there is a wake, howls mournfully; a chestnut dealer, covered up to his eyes, yells so loud that his voice denounces liquor. Even though our brothers do not notice, the stars wink to our mother Earth, twinkling persistently.
The organizer, pale, convulsive, doesn't know if it is fear of losing his privileged position of his devotion to drinking and orgies, or has exclaimed, "Ha, what do I hear? Really I thought you were more sensible, Melquiades. Violence has never given anything more than blood, tears, pain, and death. I could bet you have been reading a damn newspaper named "Regeneracion," written by renegades, tricksters, traitors to the country, exploits, scoundrels, and cannibals, getting fat at the expense of the imbeciles who fill their pockets with gold, cowards who do not have the guts to come here and publish an anarchist newspaper or to get into any of those groups of thieves, who assure, without proving, that they follow their principles. Who knows them here?
A noise, as the one produced from a paper stubbing the floor, makes at least one hundred eyes turn toward the door. There is a paper on the floor, a paper appearing at the scene to represent itself. One person from the rally takes the paper in his hands. "It's 'Regeneracion'!" The hated paper from all deceitful; the dreadful paper from all the tyrants. The lofty publications that is, at the same time, incentive for the good, poison for the bad. An abnegated hand slid the paper under the door. On the front page there is a picture of Nicolas Riveles, the accredited artist, modest, talented, straight in his conceptions, as he does not deviate from the anarchist ideal. The paper goes from one to the next, admiring all of the inspiration from Riveles. The organizer grabs the incendiary paper from one of the workers, and looking up to the ceiling, seeing a few spiders as if they were curious as to his exclamation, pale as ever, exclaims, "There is always propagandists for worse causes! The presence of this paper reveals the fact that there is a Magonist element in the city, that works in exchange for the gold received from Los Angeles. Do you want to believe it now? Those men are very rich, and proof is the fact that some miserable people distribute the despicable paper for a few cents. Comrades, not violence! We can get everything within the law, in a peaceful way. When we have three million workers in the union, then we can adopt stronger resolutions. Besides, our working class is not ready enough to take advantage; the reforms our Government works so hard to implement are not even ready. Much more, comrades, the attitude of those armed ruffians are not giving the Government the opportunity to realize the reforms it has offered. I invite you to organize a public rally, running in all of the principle streets form our city, asking, in a peaceful and orderly way, a fast resolution to all those offered reforms form the constitutional movement. By doing this, we can show the whole world that Mexican workers are cultured."
All, with the exception of Melquiades, and from bath workers hands, squatted, gossiped, and applauded, making the organizers mad. Insurrection, as a way to take from the hands of the tyrants of the town, their bread, freedom, lost at least for the moment.
Peaceful feelings, peaceful ideas, predominant to the ambient, reflected just yesterday, by revelry and protest. It is the flow and rising of the Revolution; it is the momentary retrieve of the revolutionary wave, to return, a bit later, enervating, magnificent, to give another blow to the rock, until succeeding to demolish it.
Melquiades, angry, fixes his belt, as it was dragging down his heels; turns around to see everyone with disdain, a look corresponding to the idea he felt about those men, and what it could translate to (borregos), or stupid! He spits on the floor with anger, and pulling the lock of hair from his forehead, "I have only known a caliber of men who hate Regeneracion, and those are scoundrels. All who struggle with lack of interest for the human emancipation, love Regeneracion. The members from the Mexican Liberal Party are not Magonists; we are anarchists.
All of them argue in loud voices, and time flies, flies. It is six o'clock in the morning. The call of "je-llo!," given by a passing man, startles the men. It's too much, we have to end this meeting. Anyway, everything is taken care of; instead of revenge and a redeeming barricade, the protest seemed a procession in the streets. Everybody leaves except Melquiades, and the two workers, who were gossiping, squatting in the corner. The three anarchists look at each other with sadness, move their heads left and right, and again, while an idea goes to their minds: this is the worst weight, that the most advanced workers are condemned to drag, and how much delays our victory for the Ideal.
As it was approved, the demonstration takes place. Since nine o'clock, it has been walking through street after street. There haven't been major incidents. All has been mocking looks to the demonstrators, and stares from the bourgeoisie from their stores, banks, and casinos, looks that without doubt wanted to say, "poor devils! We can keep on cutting their dough for a while: let's live in peace!"
It's twelve noon; the sun shines in all splendor; it is a privilege for a Mexican sky to be in gala, happy, smiley, amiable, in comparison to other heavens, pale, opaque, speckles, sad as a heart hungry for love and tenderness.
The procession is very long. The once in charge peeps from the corner. Norte del Portal de Mercaderes, and still the tail cannot be seen from the Glorieta de Cuauhtémoc. The multitude is a great river of people marching toward an uncertain destiny. The sun, with its immense kindness, plays with the colors of the banners; all in all it displays happiness; but the expression of the workers' faces, reveals the contrary, as they are marching toward something good, they feel in the depths of their hearts, they are not going to conquer life, but the burial of their hope.
The procession marches at the front of the Cathedral, until it reaches the door of Mariana del Palacio Federal, where the head of the march turns right and continues in front of the Palace, where crime hides in the guise of Government to expel expression and infamy. The head almost reaches the corner of Flamencos Street and portal de las Flores, when a few soldiers of the Cavalry stop in front of the procession, intercepting them. The ones behind step against the ones on fronts as if stopping the march. A deaf murmur of admiration and surprise exalts from that human serpent. What happened? What's the meaning of this? Excitement travels to the heights and assumptions multiply as larvae in mud. It is that Venustiano Carranza has invited the union officials to talk with him and concede everything they request. General favor reaches this assumption. However, let us see what is happening at the head of procession.
The soldiers' official asks the ones at the front who gave permission to organize this march. The ones who are listening get alarmed. What, isn't it true the Revolution has succeeded and with it the political freedom for all citizens? Why did they need permission if they are exercising a right backed by the Constitution?
There are no reasons; the official orders to disperse the march; some protest, detesting the tyranny; the sack of clothes from Palacio Naciónal set on fire, clouding with smoke, and the noise of firing over the multitude of workers. The firing happens rapidly, as if there was a hurry to kill, to finish with the producers of the social wealth, the simple workers who did not have the strength to put barricades and die as lions, and were part of a farce where they died as lambs.
The three-colored flag proudly floats attached to its mast, following the massacre.
(From "Regeneración," number 211, dated November 6, 1915.)
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