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The Magonista Insurrection and the San Diego Free Speech Fight: A Volatile U.S.-Mexican Border Region at the turn of the 20th century
Volatile U.S.-Mexican Border Region at the turn of the 20th century
Passananti, ThomasWiese, AndrewDel Castillo, Richard Griswald
vi, 127 pages
At the turn of the 20th century, two events rocked the western-most corner of the U.S.-Mexico border: The Magonista Insurrection of 1911 and the I.W.W. San Diego Free Speech Fight of 1912. Throughout the late 18th and early 19th century, the United States and Mexico experienced a period of rapid industrialization and modernization. This vast social and economic transformation restructured society to better meet the demands of the new industrial-capitalist order. Aside from experiencing an erosion of traditions and a drastic shift in day-to-day social life, inhabitants from both sides of the border encountered analogous worker grievances by new industrial conditions. Workers experienced an increase in demand for productivity all while wages stagnated and working conditions deteriorated. In addition, worker unions and organizations were cruelly repressed by the state acting in the interest of business. As grievances persisted and wealth continued to be disproportionally distributed, workers began to envision a world where the toiler received the full product of his or her toil. Radical groups were formed that directly engaged in disputes with both capital and the state. When the call-to-arms by Ricardo Flores Magon was sent to all sympathizers to aid and/or join the Magonista Insurrection in radically transforming society for the betterment of the peasant and worker class, first in Baja then throughout the world, many individuals in the U.S. answered. Captivated by Flores Magon's allure of utopia and adventure, a number of Wobblies flocked into San Diego and then into Tijuana. A year later, the most volatile and infamous I.W.W. Free Speech Fight took place in San Diego. These events are often studied separately, however, in connecting them, one observes a transnational history of labor movements that is often ignored by national historical narratives.
Arts and Letters
San Diego State University
Master of Arts (M.A.) San Diego State University, 2015
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