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
WHAT IS AUTHORITY GOOD FOR?
Bent down over the plough, spilling his sweat over the furrow he is ploughing, the peon works at the same time he tunes one of those sad songs from his village, in which he seems to sink, condemning himself with all the bitterness social injustice has accumulated from centuries and centuries ago, in the hearts of the poor. The peon works and sings, at the same time, he thinks about his loved ones waiting to eat together, the poorest supper. His heart fills with tenderness thinking about his little children and his partner, and lifting his eyes to the disposition of the sun, at that moment, as to guess the time it could be, perceives at far, a light cloud of dust, becoming bigger and bigger little by little as it gets closer to the place he is standing. They are calvary soldiers getting close and at the same time asking him, "Are you Juan?" and he answers affirmatively. They say, "Come with us; the Government needs you." And there he goes with them, tied with ropes, as if he was a criminal, walking away from town, where the quarter waits for him, while his family stays in their shack, doomed to famish or steal and prostitute, so they won't die.
Could Juan say that the Authority is good to the poor?
It is the third day Pedro runs over all the town, anxiously all over the streets, looking for a job. He is a good worker; his muscles are made of iron; his square face, son of his town, reflects honesty. It is useless for him to run all over the place begging the burguese masters "to bother" themselves exploiting his strong arms. Everywhere all doors close in his face; but Pedro is persistent, does not dismay, and, sweating, with his fine teeth from the hunger destroying his stomach, offers and offers his iron fists, with the hope of finding a master who will "do him the favor" of exploiting them. And as he crosses the town the twentieth time, he thinks about his loved ones, who, lie him, suffer hunger and wait for him anxiously in the poor shack, from which they soon will be evicted by the landlord who cannot wait any longer for the rent. He thinks about them...and struggling and heart broken, with tears running down, walks faster, pretending he will find masters, masters, masters...but a stupid policeman sees him, "checking for public order," and picking him by the neck, drags him to the closest police station, where he accuses him of vagrancy. While he suffers in jail, his family will suffer hunger and cold, or they will prostitute or steal so as not to die of hunger. Could Pedro say the Authority is good of fair to the poor?
Santiago, happy, says good bye to his co-workers. He is going to ask the owner of the hacienda the part; as a sharecropper, he is entitled from the abundant crop harvested. The landowner takes out his book, notes, debts, and after adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing, etc., tells his sharecropper, "I do not owe you anything; much on the contrary, you owe me for groceries, clothing, wood, etc., etc." The sharecropper protests and goes to the judge, asking for justice. The judge checks the books, notes, debts, and after adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing condemns the sharecropper to pay his debt to the landowner plus the expense of the court. The wife runs very happy to meet Santiago with the youngest child in her arms, thinking that he will bring lots of money, considering the crop has been abundant; but her face fades when she sees the tears of her hard worker, with sun-burned cheeks, running down his face, with empty hands and a broken heart. The landowner had done his earnings as a Great Captain and the judge, as always, had leaned to the side of the strong. Could Santiago say that the Authority was fair to the poor?
In the small room, the atmosphere saturated with smoke from petroleum and tobacco, Martín, the intelligent labor agitator, speaks to his commander. "It is not possible to tolerate the innocuous exploitation to which we are subjected," says Martín, throwing back his head with the beautiful mane like a lion. "We work twelve, fourteen, and sixteen hours for a few pennies; we are penalized with any excuse, to deduct from our miserable salary; we are humiliated, prohibiting us to give roof or help to our friends or relatives or anyone we want; we are prohibited from reading newspapers which alert or educate us. We must not accept anymore humiliation, comrades; let's go on strike, asking for raise of salaries, and less work hours, and to respect the guarantees of the Constitution given to us! Applauses receive those words from the orator; votes for strike, but the whole town knows that Martín has been arrested as he arrives home, and there is an order of arrest for some of the most intelligent of the workers. Panic spreads, the labor mass gives up, and succeeding again, gives away to be the object of humiliations. Could Martín say that the Authority is good and fair to the poor?
Before dawn, Epifania is already up, preparing her big basket with cabbages,lettuce, tomatoes, green peppers, onions which she gets from her small vegetable garden, and, with it carried on her back, gets to the market to sell her humble merchandise. With that money she will be able to buy medicine for her old father, and bread for her small brothers. Before Epifania sells her onions, the tax collector from the Government presents himself , demanding money to pay ministers, deputies, senators, judges, policemen, solkiers, city workers, governors, politicians, and jailers. Epifania cannot pay so her merchandise is taken by the Government. Not even her tears or crying can soften the heart of the public functionary.
Could Epifania say that the Authority is good or fair to the poor?
What is the value of the Authority? To make the law be respected, writen byrich or educated men, at the service of the rich, who have to have the guarantee, the assurance of possession of richness, and the exploitation of the work of men. In other words: The Authority is the watchman of the Capital, and this watchman is not paid by the Capital, it is paid by the poor.
To end with the Authority we have to start with finishing the Capital. Let us take possession of the land, the machinery of production and the means of transportation. Let us organize work and common consumers, establishing a common ownership for all, and then, there will not be a necessity to pay funcitionaries to guard Capital held in only a few hands, as every man and every woman will be at the same time, producer and guardian of the social richness.
Your future is in your own hands. Today that Authority has lost strength because of the popular rebeliousness, this is the precise moment to put hold on the law and destroy it; to get a hand over the individual ownership, making it property to all and each one of the human beings who live in the Mexican Republic.
Let us not allow, that the Government becomes so strong. Let's expropriate without delay for public use! And if by unfortunate fate another individual gets the seat of the Presidency of the Republic, war against him and his followers! So by it, avoid letting them become strong, and, in the meantime, continue with expropriation.
(From "Regeneración," number 83, dated the 30th of March, 1912)
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