From the Westword:
Ricardo Flores Magón Academy: Why was embattled school named for anarchist writer?
This week’s cover story, “A Hard Line,” takes a look at the Ricardo Flores Magon Academy, a charter school in Westminster with both high test scores and a high number of former teachers, one of whom recently filed a discrimination lawsuit against the school. Among complaints voiced by some former teachers is that the students there are called “Magonistas” in a nod to the followers of the school’s namesake, Ricardo Flores Magon. So who was he?
According to several books, Ricardo Flores Magon was an anarchist journalist who was instrumental in the Mexican Revolution to overthrow dictator Porfirio Diaz. Born on September 16, 1874, his foray into politics — and the first of his stints in jail — happened in 1892, when he participated in student-led demonstrations against Diaz’s reelection.
The next year, he helped organize the first of several revolutionary newspapers for which he would write during his 48 years. The Ward S. Albro book, Always a Rebel: Ricardo Flores Magon and the Mexican Revolution contains excerpts of some of his writings, such as this one from that time period: “God help Mexico! where human beings are treated worse than cows and hogs. Where 80 percent of all the hacienda workers exist — not live! — in a state of peonage or plain slavery.”
After that newspaper was suppressed, Magon disappeared from the political scene until 1900 (partly to attend law school, which he did not finish), when he reemerged with a different newspaper, Regeneracion. In it, he criticized the government, calling Diaz out by name. In 1901, he was arrested as a result. After his release from prison in 1903, he fled to the United States, where he spent the rest of his life.