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
The night before all peons had reunited. That was not possible to bear; the bosses had never been more insolent, neither so demanding. It was necessary for that treatment to end. The man who had been talking with them a week before, was right: the owners were the first bandits that, with the excuse to civilize them they had reached the point of war, taking their land from the Indians, their ancestors, to make them peons. What a life they had dragged for centuries! They had to accept corn and beans full of bugs, to eat--they, the ones who harvested fresh and abundant crops! Did a head of cattle die in the field? That was the only time they would taste meat, spoiled by then; the same for which the boss would make them pay higher than market prices. Were these pretty women among them slaves? The boss and his sons had the right to rape them. If a slave complained? He would go straight to the army to defend the same system which tyrannize him!
Just eight days before, a man had been with them, and nobody knew from where he had come; neither was it later known, where or when he had left. He was young; his hands, hard and strong, did not leave a doubt that he was a worker; but because of that strange fire in his eyes, one could tell something was burning inside that brow, sunburned from the outdoor and market with a frown giving him an air of an intelligent and reflective man. This man had spoken to them in this manner: "Brothers of misery, hold your heads high. We are equal human beings to the rest of humans habitating this earth. Our origin is humble, and the land, this old land, which we have irrigated with our sweat, is our mother, and because of this, we have the right to be nourished from her, to give us wood for her forests, and water from her resources, without distinction, but with only one condition: that we fertilize her by loving her. The ones who claim to be owners of the earth are the real descendants of those bandits who, with blood and fire, stole from our ancestors, four centuries ago, when these incendiary actions occurred, killings galore, and savage rapers of minors, which History describes with the name 'Conquest of Mexico.' This land is ours, comrades; let us take her for us, and for all of our descendants!"
Since that day, nothing else was talked about among all the peons except to claim the land, to take it from the bosses by any way or form. The issue here was to take possession of the land, harvest the crops for themselves, discard the old owners and continue with the work from the hacienda, once and for all free from the leaches. From then on, all would be for the workers.
Since then, the masters started noticing that the peons did not take off their hats in their presence, and that there was some kind of dignified assurance in their look; they felt a catastrophe. When the humble raise their heads high, the arrogant will knock him down. The spirit of rebelliousness, for so many years asleep within the robust chests of the slaves, had been awakened by the sincere words of the propagator. There was conspiracy in the shacks. Together, around the fire, words from the young agitator were discussed in a low voice. "If the earth is our own mother," they said, "it must be ours." "But how can we own it?" the hesitant would ask. "We will ask the Government," the ones who appeared more sensible advised; but the younger ones, and women above all, protested against those coward revolutions and voted for using violence. "Remember," the more excitable ones exclaimed, "how many times have we asked for justice or have protested against some infamy from our master. The Government has taken the best of our brothers to incarcerate them in the barracks and jails." And then, trying to recall each one of those men and women exposing examples of such nature, giving credibility to the hotheads. They would recall Juan, who was pulled out of his shack, late at night, and was executed when he had only walked about half a league form the little houses, only because he did not allow his master to abuse his wife. Spirits were becoming excited, remembering so many past infamies and talking about the present ones. A man said, "I lost my leg and arm fighting under the orders of Madero, and here I am, burdened with a large family, and not knowing if tomorrow I will have a piece of tortilla for my little children to eat." Another said, "Today the master ordered me to kill five hens I have in my chicken coop, and if I don't do it, he will take them anyway to the corral of his hacienda." Another one exposed, "Yesterday my daughter notified me that the young gentleman has threatened her to make his father send me to prison if she does not give him her body."
Similar conversations were had inside the other shacks. Hard work was mentioned and the miserable wages, and shivering, they would get close to the fire. However, they agreed to have a general meeting. It took place at night, in a nearby ravine. The cold was intense; but that human mass did not feel it; the desire for freedom was burning within their chests. The "sensible" wanted to send a commission to the Government, asking for land for all; but then the yelling would raise in loud screams: "No, we do not want to deal with our executioners. Death to the Government, and death to the rich!" The women, carrying their children, would talk about hunger and nakedness, suffering, caused by the cowardice of the men. "No more hunger!" they would scream. "Let's take the hacienda!" yelling again. The owner appeared threatening; the rags floated in the wind as black flags of vengeance. The cliffs multiplied the intensity of that tremendous yelling. "To the home of the hacienda!" screamed some women, and started a rapid race towards the houses, from where the wind would bring the barking of the nervous dogs, as if guessing the grandiose act of social justice to end a few minutes later.
Men followed the women, who reached the houses, taking hoes, shovels, anything they found; and kept on going in the shadows, racing toward the house in the hacienda...
A close shooting received the attackers, but a few arrows "Regeneración," well directed, took the fort of the bourgeoisie in a few minutes, dying in those ruins, the descendants of the bandits who, with blood and fire, raping virginities, had stolen the land from the Indians four centuries ago...
When the flames of the fire ended, a clarity like rose petals, diluted in milk, started to appear in the East: the sun shone more brilliantly, more beautiful, happy to shine the foreheads of the free men, after many centuries of only shining the muddy backs of the human herd.
It was wonderful to see so many people. Some were dedicated to count cattle heads, others counting the number of people in the community; others were ransacking stores and grain lofts (barns), and when the sun would set in the afternoon with the fiery clouds; when the birds would find refuge on tops of trees, all knew with what resources the community had, and now they were in agreement to start work on their own, and free, forever, of their masters.
(From "Regeneración," number 68, dated December 16, 1911.)
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