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The Role of Three Anarchists in Latin American Anarchist Movement in the U.S
The Mexico – US border area, and especially the urban centers of San Antonio, Laredo, Los Angeles and El Paso served as center stage for essential parts of the precursory work for the 1910 Mexican revolution. On the either sides of the boundary separating the two nations, issues of anticlericalism, liberalism, anarchism, class, nationalism, identity and race were solved with revolutionary fervor and executed through periodical publications, memoirs and autobiographical narratives by female authors who had become extremely involved in calling attention to issues of gender, in addition to the nationalist strife in Mexico for democracy. Within the issues articulated by the differing factions of the revolutionary movement in Mexico, a small but essential number of periodicals published in the Spanish language in the United States. These periodicals talked about and stressed on the growing concern for the emancipation of women and the patriarchal authority that the government had subverted by including women in the fight and struggle for justice. The women could accomplish this at times through the manipulation of genders for their own certain nationalist advantages (Lomas 50- 74).
Through unsigned editorials and articles, certain periodicals like the El Obrero meaning the worker, and the La Voz de la Mujer meaning the women’s voice proclaimed themselves as tools of politics of the predecessor revolutionary movement. Just the same, another periodical named the Pluma Roja, meaning the red pen, proclaimed and acted the same for the internationality anarchist movement. The writing of certain women like Jovita Idar who continually wrote and published articles in the periodical La Cronica, which her family owned, further increased the problems brought about by the articulation of gender by their removal of the borders in geopolitics, by focusing on cultural and political practices across the border and knowingly establishing a discourse that was transborder (Lomas 50- 74).
Despite the political imposition of the twentieth century of a physical national boundary, separating the United States from Mexico, each seeking to establish its national culture differently, the position of the Mexican women in the society in the borderlands was still determined by the ancient 19th century social norms of the Mexican culture. As the revolutionary movement continued to develop, it provided a field that was extremely fertile for the re- emergence of nationalist attitudes among the Mexican US population, and established the space to redevelop the responsibility and roles of women in the society (Lomas 50- 74).
The liberalism of this revolutionary movement strengthened the secular perspective that openly disagreed the narrative that had become master in that era; the Catholic Church narrative. Although only a few of the women in the borderline areas had the required cultural capital to express themselves and come up with these expressions in writing, the women who id had the capacity to come up with other ways of doing so. Up to today, no one has virtually recognized or acknowledged the work of these women as political and social activists and their written and intellectual contributions. This either is largely due to gender discrimination or due to political affiliation, as no one in Mexico has recognized his or her work and efforts. In the United States, these factors, in addition to linguistic and racial biases, have sentenced their work to oblivion. However, the stories of these women and their efforts to get the stories published represent the realities of individuals, the importance of whose daily lives transcends the challenges resulting from political, national, class and gender boundaries (Lomas 50- 74). This paper shows the importance, and the influence the lives of these women, and their work had on US, and the influences of the Anarchist movements of the Latin America on the United States.
Latino and Hispanic women in the United States have been involved and engaged in journalism for numerous years, utilizing their skills in multilingualism to reach and communicate across cultures and spread news and ideas throughout the nineteenth century up to the Common Era. The press in Hispanic countries provided information and knowledge essential to the Latin American and Hispanic communities and helped to preserve and foster the values of culture that we can still witness today. Just the same, these Hispanic presses provided columns of special interest commonly associated with magazines, bookstores, and publishing houses and promoted education to spread the ideologies of the external and internal writers. In the late 19th century, the women Hispanic writers became extremely influential in the press. One of the commonly known women writers from a Mexican background during those times was Casanova de Villaverde who was a Cuban activist and abolitionist and a political activist (Lazo 78- 123).
This woman wrote for the America Latina and could come up with articles about revolutionary and movements for freeing Cuba, though she was from a conservative family. A writer later married her and they moved to New York from where she and her husband continued to take part in the fight for Cuban freedom. In the early 20th century, several other women and especially those from the borderline between Mexico and Texas became instrumental in spreading the news about how concerned they were for the civil rights and freedoms of the Mexican citizens and the dislike they had for the then president in the Hispanic periodicals and newspapers. Idar was among these women when she begun to write for her father. It was her family that later organized and led the first Mexican Congress in Texas to safeguard the rights of Mexican- Americans (Lazo 78- 123).
It was also during this time that Idar and her family helped found the women organization called La Liga Femenil Mexican that focused mainly on reforms in the education sector. At almost the same time Leonar Villegas de Magnon, another educator and activist begun to write the local dailies and joined another women movement called Junta Revolutionaria. These two women participated in a small organization called La Cruz Blanca that specialized in helping soldiers who became wounded. It was from these experiences that Villegas gained news and ideas to write about the experiences people and nurses in Juarez had in the magazine The Rebel. Other women later joined different organizations and begun writing for different newspapers relaying their fears, concerns and ideas (Arrizón 90- 112).
The revolution discourse did not know any boundaries. Words, language, concepts and corridors crossed forth and back along the US- Mexican border as easily as the famous revolutionary Francisco Villa. The Partido Liberal Mexicano was an organization of anarchists that carried slogans with them from Mexico to the US across the US- Mexico border. As it follows, numerous female writers wrote for the newspaper of Pertido, which people called Regeneration, on both of the sides of the border, but mostly in the US in Los Angeles where the group finally settled in 1910. Women such as the Villarreal sisters, Sara Estela Ramirez, Blanca Moncaleano, Maria Talavera and Teresa Arteaga all contributed and participated in the agenda of the revolutionary as activists, revolutionists and journalists. The revolution then developed some kind of resurgence during which the women writers wrote essays, edited their own newspapers, magazines and journals. Most of these women who were after political exile in the southwestern part of the US wrote prolifically, championing the revolutionary as a women’s revolutionary and criticizing the then president Porfirio Diaz, who was also a dictator (Arrizón 90- 112).
In this essay, we are going to look at three particular women and the effects that their work and efforts in politics and society had on the US and the rest of the society. The here women to be looked at in this case are Blanca de Moncaleano, the Villarreal sisters, Andrea and Teresa and Luisa Capetillo. These women were extremely essential in influencing the other women through writing. The three women wrote for and contributed a number of essays to the famous feminist newspaper called Regeneration that reaffirmed the intent of the organization and its writers to politicize women. The essays that these women and their colleagues had are crucial because they show how a few women the Party and its ideologies influenced- and transformed- the ideologies of the women while writing their own stories. In their essays, the women undertook different approaches from the one the men writers used, and disputed implicitly, the ideology of the Party on women. Through their activist agendas of feminism, the female writers represented a doubling- an explicit agreement that was struck between the male leaders- when as feminists they begun an internationalist revolutionary movement, but by fighting for their own agenda, the women spoke and spoke feminism that was third space (Perez 54- 63a).
Blanca Moncaleano is the first writer we are going to look at in this paper. Whereas Teresa and Andrea Villarreal and Sara Estela Ramirez in the 1900s defied the catholic ideology that the Catholic Church had well established, and one of the newspapers they worked for called the La voz de Mujer called for democracy that was liberal through movements and revolution. In the years that followed another newspaper, the Pluma Roja proposed that the only solution to unequal rights, discrimination and oppression was anarchism. These women movement founded the Pluma Roja in Los Angeles during the second stage of the revolution. Blanca de Moncaleano was the editor and the director of the newspaper from the periods between 1915 and 1913. Although there are no signs that this newspaper was based on political ideologies or as a result of a female political movement, it was developed to create networks with the international anarchist movements across the borders (Perez 54- 63a).
There is not much known about this writer, but John hart says of her, ‘in early June 1912, Juan Francisco Moncaleano, a Colombian military (and his dynamic wife), arrived in Mexico after a brief stay in Havana (inspired by the news of the Madero led revolution)’ (Gutierrez 305). Scholars have argued that Blanca’s father was a professor in a Colombian university who also became the founder of the newspaper called Luz. The Moncaleano family based the paper in the Mexico City. According to Hart, this ‘… was a remarkable paper. Moncaleano used it to publicize the hopeless cause of Flores Magon and the Partido Liberal Mexicano, the anarchist program of which he enthusiastically endorsed and whose leader he deeply admired, (Gutierrez 305).
Unlike the nationalist ideologies represented by other news papers such as the La voz de la Mujer, the Pluma Roja had not interest and did not acknowledge or believe in national borders. For the newspaper, the need to reinstate the position of the female population in the society was at the middle of its fight for political, social and economic freedom, and was part of the ideal notions of anarchism. For the newspaper and his writers, the patriarchal authority that remained unquestioned, upheld by the state and religion, was the target of its criticism (Perez 54- 63a). The feminist stance this woman took was of great influence to other women and the US Latin movement. She supported both the revolution and the fight for women rights. Her righting often was about encouraging women to take a forefront in matters affecting their country and other women. Her stance with these two main events made her extremely essential in the war against dictatorship.
This remarkable woman meant for most of the essays that appeared in the newspaper for the women who the writers encouraged to break from the norm by acquiring more knowledge. The program of the anarchists, as defined by the newspaper, searched for a society that was egalitarian in which the female writers had fully powered the women. It proposed the freedom of women from three main oppressors who the women activists identified as religion, the state and capital. Blanca de Moncaleano was the director of the paper and she not only talked to the women but also to the men, as she encouraged them to convert their wives who were enslaved and obedient to partners who could think for themselves. For instance, the title Men, Educate Women looks like a call for the male population to educate their women, in truth Blanca wrote the article to address the issue of the significance of letting women educate themselves. The phrase, ‘men, allow women to educate themselves and to think on her own…’ (Lomas 62) can further confirm this claim.
The articles that were signed, and probably written by Blanca de Moncaleano, are probably the most passionately critical of the men who participated in the fight for liberation and who were at least conscious of their own enslavement and suppression of women. Of these men Blanca wrote, ‘consumed by their supposed superiority, conceited in their ignorance, men believe they can achieve the goal of human emancipation without the help of women’ (Iomas 62).she denounced the source of the power of men by confronting apathy from the male writers. She further expounded her militant, firm stance through the motto of the newspaper which went like,’ before me, the star of my ideal. Behind me, men. I do not look back…’ (Lomas 62).
All the papers that Blanca was involved with including the Pluma Roja, La Voz de la Mujer and El Obrero had an effect on their readers and audiences as they talked in detail about issues pertaining gender. It is highly possible that the audiences of this phenomenal female writer included PLM partisans and activists. According to certain scholars, the audience of the writer and her work included the general sympathizers from the Chicano- Mexican community and the intermittently active laborers, artisans a.............
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