Land and liberty

The story of Ricardo Flores Magón’s anarchist organisation, the Partido Liberal Mexicano, is long
out of print – but well worth tracking down


Land & Liberty: Anarchist Influences in the Mexican Revolution
by Ricardo Flores Magón, compiled and introduced by David Poole
1977, Cienfuegos Press/Black Rose Books
156 pages

Reviewed by Jay Kerr

FOR ANYONE interested in the story of Ricardo Flores Magón’s anarchist organisation, the Partido Liberal Mexicano (PLM), and its influence on the Mexican Revolution, this is the perfect companion to Dreams of Freedom: A Ricardo Flores Magon Reader by Chaz Bufe and Mitchell Cowen Verter.

Land & Liberty: Anarchist Influences in the Mexican Revolution – first published in 1977 and long out of print, but well worth tracking down – includes the re-publication of a booklet from 1913 (from which it takes its title) that explained to English readers, mainly in North America, the aims and ideas of the PLM in order to counter the group’s misrepresentation in the press of the time.

This volume also contains the invaluable, complete manifestos of the PLM, written 1911 and 1918 urging closer ties between Mexican workers and the International Labour Movement and presenting a practical programme in the struggle to achieve an anarchist society.

It is a must for anybody who has an interest in the revolutionary era of Mexico, the more obscure characters of the Revolution, or the study of anarchist history.

The articles are presented in their entirety with brief explanations of each at the beginning, as well as an historical summary and preface by David Poole and Albert Meltzer, respected anarchists of the late twentieth century.

Land & Liberty is complemented by photographs of the Revolution and leading protagonists of the PLM, some artwork from the period, and a beautiful poem by Ricardo written just before his murder in Leavenworth prison. There is also a detailed Magonist chronology and annotated bibliography.

The collection ends with a small note by Poole noting that there exists very little in English of works on Magón’s life and stating that he is, therefore, preparing a full-length biography, supplemented with a large selection of articles, speeches and letters, many to be translated for the first time.

It would seem the latter was never finished and, for this reason, Land & Liberty is an important work to delve into in the meantime while the full story is still waiting to be told.

Jay Kerr is writing a history of anarchism in Latin America

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