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The Magonista Rebellion of 1911 was an early uprising of the Mexican Revolution organized by the Liberal Party of Mexico (known in Spanish as the Partido Liberal Mexicano or PLM), which was only successful in northern Baja California. It is named after Ricardo Flores Magón, one of the leaders of the PLM. The Magonistas controlled Tijuana and Mexicali for about six months, beginning with the "liberation" of Mexicali on January 29, 1911.[1][2] The rebellion was launched against the rule of Porfirio Díaz but was put down by forces loyal to Francisco I. Madero. Acting on a tip from Madero's agents, leaders of the Magonista movement were arrested in the United States.[3]

Magonista Rebellion
Part of the Mexican Revolution
Tijuana Tierra y Libertad 1911.jpg
Magonista guerrillas with the banner,
"Tierra y Libertad" in Tijuana, 1911.
DateJanuary 1911 - June 1911
Location
Result Mexican victory, federal forces recapture Tijuana,Initial victory for insurgents,federal forces loyal to Madero eventually drove them out, failure of the libertarian insurrection.
Belligerents
Flag of Partido Liberal Mexicano.svg Partido Liberal Mexicano Mexico Porfirio Díaz, Mexico
Mexico Francisco I. Madero, Mexico
Commanders and leaders
Flag of Partido Liberal Mexicano.svg José María Leyva
Flag of Partido Liberal Mexicano.svg Vasquez Salinas
Flag of Partido Liberal Mexicano.svg John R. Mosby
Flag of Partido Liberal Mexicano.svg Stanley Williams
Flag of Partido Liberal Mexicano.svg Caryl ap Rhys Pryce
Flag of Partido Liberal Mexicano.svg Francisco Quijada
Mexico Celso Vega
Mexico Guerrero
Strength
~220 militia 360 infantry
~200 militia
Casualties and losses
~20 killed
~10 wounded
12 killed
~10 wounded
1 captured

OverviewEdit

The uprising took place within a general uprising against the Dictatorship but it soon distanced itself from the bourgeois democratic revolution of Madero, seeking rather to abolish property and create an anarchist worker's commune. However, though several cities were held for around half a year, the attempted revolution of magonista rebels turned out quite unsuccessfully, "with the insurgents crippled by dissensions between Americans, Mexicans and Indians, and with opportunism and lack of political principle rife among some of its leading actors."[4] Compared to the agrarian revolution in Morelos, the Baja California revolt did not achieve much, but the PLM's influence on the outburst of revolution and its position as a revolutionary vanguard cannot be overlooked.[5] Thus, while the material realization of the PLM program did not attain any lasting results, the ideas for which the revolt in Baja California were fought for remained a powerful element in the social transformation of the Revolution. Opponents of the PLM tried to paint their movement as being controlled by American interests, which was probably not the case, but the accusation was effective at reducing their support.[6]

Political Divide in Southern CaliforniaEdit

PLM’s leaders and alliesEdit

The tensions that led to the rebellion was due in part to preexisting tensions between conservative and radical parties in Southern California and Northern Mexico. The PLM supported the Mexican Revolution, the overthrow of Porfirio Díaz’s dictatorship, the liberation of Baja California, and the welfare of indigenous peoples.[7][8] They were also against American investment in Baja California, something they viewed as another form of imperialism.[9] The PLM received a wide range of support from radical groups based in Southern California.[10][11] Many American conservatives in California were alarmed at the amount of support the PLM and the Magón brothers received, as well as the possibility of losing their land should the anarchists rebel. This incited further racial, political, and social tensions, as the interests of both groups collided.

Preceding the revolution, the Magón brothers, Ricardo and Enrique Magón, were exiled from Mexico due to their criticisms of Díaz as well as their calls for social reforms.[12] However, this did not stop their attempts to stir up a revolution against Díaz. The Magón brothers moved PLM’s headquarters to Los Angeles, where many were "seething with social discontent," said Emma Goldman, fellow anarchist and social reformist.[13] Here, the PLM found allies in many other left-wing groups, such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), the Socialists, Chicanos, and trade unionists.[14][15][16][17] Through their many speeches and their general activism within the labor community, their philosophy of anarchism was widely spread. Due to their pro-union and pro-workers stance, the radicals received popular support from the majority of the labor force and from sympathetic members of their community.[18][19] The PLM especially appealed to migrant workers who have experienced the harsh working conditions in Northern Mexico.[20][21]

The PLM’s main ally was the IWW of Los Angeles, particularly, those who worked in the docks or were migrant workers.[22] Those who worked on the docks were sympathetic to the cause as they approved of the militant organizing in PLM, and have consistently fought for control of the docks.[23] According to John H. M. Laslett, they were “linked by a common interest in anarcho-syndicalist doctrine, grassroots militancy, and working-class internationalism.”[24] The IWW, as well as the Socialist Party, helped start the revolution by funding the PLM.[25]

ConservativesEdit

California operated under the open shop policy, much to the dismay of workers and union groups. This created tension between the labor force and business owners and helped developed an atmosphere where social radicalism was encouraged amongst workers. Due to their high capital investments in Southern California and Baja California, the radicals' agenda and public support alarmed many conservatives.[26] They feared they would lose their land and property if the Magón brothers succeeded in inciting their revolution.[27] This prompted many conservatives to publicly decry their disapproval and fear of the insurgent population, which intensified the divide between the two parties.[28]

Media helped fuel this divide as well. The Los Angeles Times, one of the conservative papers during that time period, called supporters of Ricardo and Enrique Flores Magón, “greasers” and “wild-eyed-anarchists with smoking bombs in hand.”[29] The Regeneración, a revolutionary newspaper, published left-wing philosophy, and asked the public for support during the Mexican Revolution.[30]

The RebellionEdit

 
Magonistas in Tijuana after the first battle at the border town.

By 1906, the PLM had many operations in Mexico, the U.S. Southwest, as well as Southern California.[31] Their second organized uprising, which was to take place in Mexico in June 1908, failed due to the Los Angeles Police Department's preemptive arrests.[32][33] The Magón brothers were arrested under charges of treason and murder, but were released after a trial showed that the charges were unsubstantial.[34] The arrest however, stirred up local support in Los Angeles, and hundreds of protesters, including the leaders of many labor groups, rallied around the two brothers.[35] This wide support created backlash from American conservatives as well as right-winged newspapers, who shamed the public for their support.[36]

After their release, the Magón brothers and the PLM organized another rebellion. They planned to liberate Baja California from Díaz and California land owners, and return that land to the indigenous people who previously lived there.[37] However, despite the popular support the PLM received from either side of the border, the movement failed to recruit actual volunteers to fight in the revolution.[38] In addition to this, the rebels were armed with little ammunition and had little funding to buy ammunition with.[39][40] With a few hundred volunteers, the rebels in Baja California captured Mexicali on January 29, 1911 under the leadership of Jose Maria Leyva and Simon Berthold.[41] Following this, many border towns in Northern Baja California were captured, including Tecate and Tijuana.[42]

In March, Berthold was shot while marching with his insurgents from Mexicali to El Alamo.[43] He eventually died from his wound in April 1911.[44] After this, the revolution stalled due to a lack of volunteers, a lack of ammunition and heavy weapons, and in part due to Berthold's death, which resulted in a leadership crisis.[45] The insurgents were pushed back after an engagement south of Tijuana, and the rebellion finally died out when Mexican Federal forces under Colonel Celso Vega retook the city.[46][47]

ConsequencesEdit

Conservatives’ Growing DistrustEdit

The revolt failed to achieve its goal of liberating Baja California, but it showcased the popularity of radical groups. This was a great concern to Californian conservatives, who were still staunch supporters of the open shop policy, which suppressed unions and workers' rights in favor of business owners' rights.[48] The possibility of an insurgent movement occurring in California cemented conservative attitudes towards both the immigrant population and the working classes.[49] Faced with the threat of losing land investments, capital, as well as possible revenues, the conservatives only voiced their dismay louder. Following this episode, conservatives will associate the Mexican insurgents with the many labor strikes in Los Angeles.[50] This will contribute to the “brown scare” in Los Angeles, in which the immigrant population were discriminated against and mistreated.[51] Xenophobic and racial tensions rose in California.

Magons’ ArrestsEdit

Following the invasion of these border towns, the Magón brothers were arrested again by the LAPD on the charge of failing to abide by United States neutrality laws.[52][53] They were convicted in July 1912 and were sentenced to twenty-three months in jail.[54][55] Despite many working for Ricardo Flores Magón's release, he died in jail on November 21, 1922.[56]

Fall of the LeftistsEdit

After Díaz’s fall from power, the rise of a new president, and increased suspicions from the conservatives, the radicals' power in Southern California diminished greatly.[57] The PLM split into factions following the arrest of the Magón brothers.[58] One faction still supported the Magón brothers, while the other faction supported the new president of Mexico.[59] In addition to this, the alliances the radicals had formed prior to the revolution fell apart, and many Los Angeles trade union movements disintegrated as well.[60]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "The uprising in Baja California". Libcom.org/Organise. August 24, 2012.
  2. ^ Lawrence D. Taylor (Winter 1999). "The Magonista Revolt in Baja California". The Journal of San Diego History.
  3. ^ Richard Griswold del Castillo (Fall 1980). "The Discredited Revolution: The Magonista Capture of Tijuana in 1911". SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY.
  4. ^ "Uprising in Baja California" (PDF). Anarchist Federation. Retrieved 7 June 2013.
  5. ^ Cockcroft, James (1992). Mexico: Class Formation, Capital Accumulation, & the State. Monthly Review Press.
  6. ^ Richard Griswold del Castillo (Fall 1980). "The Discredited Revolution: The Magonista Capture of Tijuana in 1911". SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY.
  7. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  8. ^ Lawrence D. Taylor (Winter 1999). "The Magonista Revolt in Baja California". The Journal of San Diego History.
  9. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  10. ^ Roger C. Owen (August 1965). "Indians and Revolution: The 1911 Invasion of Baja California, Mexico". Duke University. JSTOR 480336. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  11. ^ Lawrence D. Taylor (Winter 1999). "The Magonista Revolt in Baja California". The Journal of San Diego History.
  12. ^ Larralde, Carlos. Mexican Americans: Movements and Leaders. Los Alamitos: Hwong Publishing Co., 1976.
  13. ^ Larralde, Carlos. Mexican Americans: Movements and Leaders. Los Alamitos: Hwong Publishing Co., 1976
  14. ^ Larralde, Carlos. Mexican Americans: Movements and Leaders. Los Alamitos: Hwong Publishing Co., 1976
  15. ^ "Uprising in Baja" (PDF). Anarchist Federation. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  16. ^ Roger C. Owen (August 1965). "Indians and Revolution: The 1911 Invasion of Baja California, Mexico". Duke University. JSTOR 480336. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  17. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  18. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  19. ^ Tutino, John. Mexico and Mexicans in the Making of the United States, University of Texas Press, 2012.
  20. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  21. ^ Tutino, John. Mexico and Mexicans in the Making of the United States, University of Texas Press, 2012.
  22. ^ Tutino, John. Mexico and Mexicans in the Making of the United States, University of Texas Press, 2012.
  23. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  24. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  25. ^ Larralde, Carlos. Mexican Americans: Movements and Leaders. Los Alamitos: Hwong Publishing Co., 1976
  26. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  27. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  28. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  29. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  30. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  31. ^ "Uprising in Baja" (PDF). Anarchist Federation. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  32. ^ "Uprising in Baja" (PDF). Anarchist Federation. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  33. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  34. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  35. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  36. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  37. ^ Roger C. Owen (August 1965). "Indians and Revolution: The 1911 Invasion of Baja California, Mexico". Duke University. JSTOR 480336. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  38. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  39. ^ Lawrence D. Taylor (Winter 1999). "The Magonista Revolt in Baja California". The Journal of San Diego History.
  40. ^ Larralde, Carlos. Mexican Americans: Movements and Leaders. Los Alamitos: Hwong Publishing Co., 1976.
  41. ^ Roger C. Owen (August 1965). "Indians and Revolution: The 1911 Invasion of Baja California, Mexico". Duke University. JSTOR 480336. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  42. ^ Roger C. Owen (August 1965). "Indians and Revolution: The 1911 Invasion of Baja California, Mexico". Duke University. JSTOR 480336. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  43. ^ Roger C. Owen (August 1965). "Indians and Revolution: The 1911 Invasion of Baja California, Mexico". Duke University. JSTOR 480336. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  44. ^ Roger C. Owen (August 1965). "Indians and Revolution: The 1911 Invasion of Baja California, Mexico". Duke University. JSTOR 480336. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  45. ^ Larralde, Carlos. Mexican Americans: Movements and Leaders. Los Alamitos: Hwong Publishing Co., 1976.
  46. ^ Roger C. Owen (August 1965). "Indians and Revolution: The 1911 Invasion of Baja California, Mexico". Duke University. JSTOR 480336. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  47. ^ David Gaddis Smith (June 26, 2011). "Centennial of Defense of Tijuana celebrated; museum exhibit opens". MexicoPerspective.com.
  48. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  49. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  50. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  51. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  52. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  53. ^ "Uprising in Baja" (PDF). Anarchist Federation. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
  54. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  55. ^ Larralde, Carlos. Mexican Americans: Movements and Leaders. Los Alamitos: Hwong Publishing Co., 1976.
  56. ^ Larralde, Carlos. Mexican Americans: Movements and Leaders. Los Alamitos: Hwong Publishing Co., 1976.
  57. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  58. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  59. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.
  60. ^ Laslett, John H. M. Sunshine Was Never Enough Los Angeles Workers, 1880-2010, 62-78. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

External linksEdit

  Media related to Rebelion of Baja California at Wikimedia Commons