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I am Action: Literary and Combat Articles, Thoughts, and Revolutionary Chronicles

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“Without vacillation, I can say that Praxedis was the most pure, most intelligent, and most selfless man—the bravest when it came to the cause of the dispos­sessed.” —Ricardo Flores Magón

Praxedis G. Guerrero was born into a wealthy family in Guanajuato, Mexico, in 1882. While still a young man, he renounced his inheritance, claiming that he would rather earn his meals through manual labor than secure them by exploiting his fellow human beings. Within less than a decade, he was a central figure in the transnational revolutionary network established by the Organizational Council of the Mexican Liberal Party (PLM), which was dedicated to deposing the dictator Porfirio Díaz and promoting anar­chist revolution throughout Mexico. He was killed in battle at the age of twenty-eight in 1910.

Guerrero was also one of the most prolific and talented revolutionary writ­ers of his era, penning numerous articles that were known for both their literary style and their polemical force. In this volume, editor and translator Javier Sethness-Castro has collected a wide range of Guerrero’s work for the newspapers Revolucíon, Punto Rojo, and Regeneracíon, most of them appear­ing for the first time in English. This edition also includes a biographical introduction and helpful annotations throughout.

ISBN-13: 9781849353144

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: AK Press

Publication Date: 08-14-2018

Pages: 112

Product Dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

Age Range: 12 Years

Praxedis G. Guerrero (1882-1910) was a Mexican revolutionary from Guanajuato. He was a poet, essayist, and journalist associated with Flores Magón's Mexican Liberal Party. He lived for many years in the United States before dying in the 1910 Mexican Revolution.JAVIER SETHNESS-CASTRO is the author of Imperiled Life: Revolution Against Climate Catastrophe, Eros and Revolution: The Critical Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse, and For a Free Nature: Critical Theory, Social Ecology, and Post-Developmentalism. Javier Sethness-Castro is a libertarian socialist, the author of Imperiled Life: Revolution Against Climate Catastrophe, For a Free Nature: Critical Theory, Social Ecology, and Post-Developmentalism, and Eros and Revolution: The Critical Philosophy of Herbert Marcuse. His essays and articles have appeared in Truthout, Marx and Philosophy, and Perspectives on Anarchist Theory.

Read an Excerpt

I am Action

Without me, the conceptions of the human mind would be but a few wet matches in a moldy matchbox.

Without me, the fire would not have warmed the home of men, nor would steam have launched on two steel tracks the rapid locomotive.

Without me, the home of humanity would be the forest or the cave.

Without me, the stars and suns would still be the brilliant patches that Jehovah nailed to the firmament for the pleasure of the eyes of his people.

Without me, Columbus would have been a madman; Bernard Parlissy, a demented person; Kepler, Copernicus, Newton, Galileo, and Giordano Bruno, liars; Fulton, Franklin, Rontgen, Mongolfier, Marconi, Edison, and Pasteur, dreamers.

Without me, the rebellion of conscience would be a cloud of smoke trapped in a nutshell, and the desire for freedom the useless flapping of the wings of an enchained, imprisoned eagle.

Without me, all the aspirations and ideals would roll in the mind of people like fallen leaves swirled by the north wind.

Progress and Freedom are impossible without me.

I am Action.

The Goal of Revolution

Why is it that, if you desire freedom, you do not kill the tyrant and thus avoid the horrors of a large fratricidal war? Why do you not just kill the despot who oppresses the people and has put a price on your head? This I have been asked several times. "Because I am not an enemy of the tyrant," I reply, "because if I killed the man, tyranny would still persist, and it is this that I fight against; because if I were to launch myself blindly against him, I would do what the dog does when biting the stone, unconsciously injuring itself, without discerning or understanding the impulse from where the injury comes." Tyranny is the logical result of a social illness, which has as its present remedy the Revolution, given that peaceful resistance according to the Tolstoyan doctrine would only produce at this time the annihilation of the few who understand its simplicity and practice it. Inviolable laws of nature govern beings and things: the cause is the creation of the effect; the environment determines in an absolute way the appearance and qualities of the product; where there are putrefying materials, worms live; wherever an organism arises and develops, this is due to the existence of elements for its appearance and nutrition. The bloodiest and most ferocious tyrannies and despotisms cannot transgress this law, which has no trap doors. These oppressive systems exist; beyond the perimeter prevails a special state of the environment, of which they are the result. If they cause offense, damages, or disturbances, one must seek their annulment through the transformation of this morbid environment, not just through the simple assassination of the tyrant. In order to destroy tyranny, the isolated death of one man is ineffective, whether he be tsar, sultan, dictator, or president. Such assassination would be equivalent to procuring the dessication of a swamp by killing the vermin every so often born in it.

If it were otherwise, nothing would be more practical or simple than to go after the individual and tear him to shreds. Modern science gives us powerful instruments that have assured and terrible effectiveness, ones which, upon being used once and creating an insignificant number of victims, would realize the freedom of the people. Then the Revolution would have no excuse or goal. For a majority of people, revolution and war have the same meaning: this is an error that in light of presumptuous criteria makes the supreme resource of the oppressed appear to be barbarism. War has the invariable characteristics of hatred and national or personal ambitions; from it comes a relative benefit for a given individual or group who is paid with the blood and sacrifice of the masses. The Revolution is an abrupt shaking off, part of the human tendency toward improvement, when a more or less numerous proportion of humanity is subordinated by violence to a state that is incompatible with its necessities and aspirations. Against humanity are wars waged, but never revolutions; the former destroy, perpetuating injustices, while the latter mix, agitate, confuse, disrupt, and melt in the purifying fire of new ideas the old elements poisoned by prejudice and eaten away by moths, to extract from the ardent crucible of catastrophe a more benign environment for the development and expansion of all species. The Revolution is the torrent that overflows the dryness of the dead countryside, so as to extend the mud of life which transforms the wastelands of the forced peace, where only reptiles reside, into fertile lands conditioned for the splendid flowering of superior species.

Tyrants do not emerge from the people by a self-generating phenomenon. The universal law of determinism raises them onto the backs of the people. The same law, manifesting itself in the powerful revolutionary transformation, will make them fall forever, asphyxiated like the fish that is deprived of its liquid abode.

The Revolution is a fully conscious act, not the spasm of a primitive bestiality. There is no inconsistency between the idea that guides and the action that is imposed.

Table of Contents

Introduction, by Javier Sethness-Castro


Make Way!


Activists, Let's Get to Work!


Vile Hatreds

Passivity and Rebellion


Women, Whom Do You Love?

Residents of El Paso

And Still, You Remain Passive!


Miserable Ones

Ul'a Speaks

Impatient Ones

Something More

The True Interest of the Bourgeois and the Proletarian


I am Action

The Goal of Revolution

The Inconvenience of Gratitude


Let us Propel Rationalist Education

Sweet Peace

Filogonio's Argument


Program of the Pan-American Labor League

The Probable Intervention

A Friend's Advice

The Means and the End


Whites, Whites


He is Not Proletarian; He is Bourgeois

Revolutionary Women

Red Points

Las Vacas



The Death of the Heroes


Praxedis Guerrero Has Died

Praxedis Guerrero

A Letter from Ricardo Flores Magón

The Apostle

A Catastrophe