Praxedis Guerrero, anarchist and PLM revolutionary, was buried in 1935 at Casas Grandes as a benemérito of Chihuahua twenty-five years after his death at the battle of Janos. A formidable field commander, his death removed what would have been a significant military rival for Francisco Madero whom he saw as a “bourgeois capitalist,” “terrateniente,” and “hacendado.” The heir to the fortune of a wealthy provincial landowning family, Guerrero forsook his promising university career and became a revolutionary with Ricardo Flores Magón.
He supported the concept of direct action, the use of violence to overthrow despots, and served as the supreme commander of all PLM units in Mexico. He wrote for several pro-PLM newspapers including Alba Roja in San Francisco, Revolución in Los Angeles, and Punto Rojo in El Paso. He believed women to be oppressed by the ground rules of conventional marriage and by male treatment as pastimes. He advocated their emancipation while feeling that Christianity hurt them from the beginning with its biblical legends and portrayals.
Ferrua has contributed a useful study of an important figure in the PLM and that type of wealthy idealistic young man who objected to tyranny in Mexico and Russia at the same time. The work does have flaws. It is a eulogy and uncritical and makes Guerrero much too modern. The author claims, as I once did, that the Díaz regime acted as a buffer between the nineteenth-century and revolutionary-era anarchists. There is no reason to accept this. It is more believable that anarchism, like the working-class press and militant industrial unions, was first quieted and then officially ignored by the elite. This book is an asset for scholars interested in the PLM and Mexico’s revolutionaries.