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Sonia Hernandez publishes, For a Just and Better World

Dr. Sonia Hernández has just published For a Just and Better World:  Engendering Anarchism in the Mexican Borderlands, 1900–1938 with the University of Illinois Press, a national leader in labor history!  The link is here…

For a Just and Better World builds upon historic transnational connections between the cosmopolitan port of Tampico, the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, the Mexican north, and ports of entry across the Atlantic.  Dr. Hernández retraces an anarchist-inspired network of labor activists that emerged on the eve of the 1910 Mexican Revolution.  Mexicanas such as Caritina Piña Montalvo and others, fought to promote labor rights locally and abroad.  They did so by promoting anarchist ideals and envisioning a community of workers beyond geopolitical borders.  Anarchist based organizations were among the first collectives to open doors to women and to incorporate women’s issues.  Yet, despite such progressivism, gendered ideas about femininity and masculinity shaped members’ perspectives just as much as they shaped mainstream media outlets casting radical female activists as “women of ill-repute.”  For a Just and Better World argues that Piña and colleagues employed the language of motherhood, which echoed the state discourse on mother-citizens.  Yet for these anarcho-feminists, motherhood and maternalism was a catalyst for revolutionary change apart from any state-building project.  Thus, their real revolution—not the 1910 Revolution—was yet to come.  By the early 1930s, anarcho-syndicalism declined as the revolutionary state grew stronger in co-opting organized labor which silenced both anarchists and communists.  State-sanctioned socialism triumphed but the legacy of women’s activism in the form of direct-action and reciprocal organizing remained a distinctive feature of the greater Mexican borderlands.  Such historic and gendered border solidarities were foundational to postrevolutionary labor alliances.  To quote Caritina Piña, their struggles focused on one goal, to create a “Just and Better World…”

On the heels of the publication of Reverberations of Violence, her co-edited anthology a few months ago, Sonia is having quite the publishing year.  Congrats to our colleague Dr. Sonia Hernández for publishing For a Just and Better World!!