Claudio Lomnitz, The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magon.

Author:Krovel, Roy
Position:Book review

Claudio Lomnitz, The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magon New York: Zone Books, 2014; 640pp; ISBN 978-1-935408-43-7.

Ricardo Flores Magon was born the second of three brothers in 1874. All three brothers figure prominently in this fine account of a group of friends and comrades leading up to and during the Mexican revolution. As with so many other libertarian socialists and anarchists, the Magon brothers became politically engaged as members of the Liberal Party but became radicalised as the party leaders found ever more arguments for collaborating and supporting the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. From the pages of the newspaper Regeneracion they launched a brave campaign against the dictatorship, a campaign that led to repression, arrests and finally exile in the US, which, for Ricardo, was to last until his death in Leavenworth Penitentiary in 1922.

The exiled revolutionaries made several attempts to influence the Mexican Revolution but the group remained largely marginal to the dramatic events that unfolded across the border. After the revolution, however, surviving members of the group were celebrated as 'precursors' of the revolution, and Ricardo was given a funeral worthy of a hero when his body was returned to Mexico. The post-revolutionary regime excelled in incorporating and domesticating potential opposition. It is, however, noteworthy that Ricardo Flores Magon continues to be remembered in Mexico and elsewhere as one of the few revolutionary leaders who did not become corrupted as the revolution degenerated into an abyss of factionalism and violence motivated as much by personal ambition as desire for freedom. For instance, an autonomous Zapatista municipality took the name 'Ricardo Flores Magon' after the Zapatista (EZLN) uprising. And Magon was placed prominently...

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