The Beggar and the Thief

By Ricardo Flores Mag (1915)

Entry 3341


From: holdoffhunger [id: 1]


Revolt Library Anarchism The Beggar and the Thief

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(1874 - 1922)

Revolutionary Leader of the Mexican, Anarchist Militias

: important and influential anarchist whose writings and activities had a crucial impact on the Mexican revolution. The Mexican Liberal Party, headed by Flores Magon, was closely implicated in the industrial strikes at Cananea and Orizaba. (From: Brian Morris Bio.)
• "What, then, is the use of Authority? It serves to inculcate respect for the law which, written by the rich and by educated men in the service of the rich, has for its object the guaranteeing them a tranquil possession of their riches and exploitation of human labor." (From: "Land and Liberty," by Ricardo Flores "Land and Li....)
• "It was my own good fortune to live for years where we all habitually spake our minds, for we were economically free. It was my subsequent misfortune to be caged for years in business, as conducted in these United States, and to chafe unceasingly at restraints on free speech which apparently my associates took philosophically, as part of the day's work." (From: "Land and Liberty," by Ricardo Flores "Land and Li....)
• "The Revolution will be the most serious business we could take in hand. Let us master it as we master other business; eliminating slipshod methods and studying it painstakingly in all its details, that it may be made to yield the best results." (From: "Land and Liberty," by Ricardo Flores "Land and Li....)

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The Beggar and the Thief

 Photo by Dustin Jensen, CC BY-NC License

Photo by Dustin Jensen,
CC BY-NC License

Along the cheerful boulevard, pedestrians come and go, perfumed, elegant, insulting. The beggar is sticking to the wall, his insistent hand in front of him, a servile supplication trembling on his lips:

“Alms for the poor, for the love of God!”

Occasionally, a coin falls in the panhandler’s palm. He quickly stuffs it into his pocket as he lavishes degrading praise and gratitude upon his beneficiary. The thief passes by, but can not avoid the entreaties of the beggar, and he scowls contemptuously. The panhandler becomes indignant, and this indignation makes him red with anger. He growls with irritation:

“Why don’t you blush from embarrassment, scoundrel? You are looking face to face with an honorable man like myself. I respect the law: I do not commit the crime of putting my hand in another person’s pocket. My footsteps are firm, like all the good citizens who do not regularly scamper on tiptoe around other people’s homes in the silence of the night. I can show my face in all places. I do not avoid the eyes of the police. The rich look at me benevolently. Throwing a coin in my hat, they pat my shoulder, saying to me ‘good man!’”

The thief lowers the brim of his hat to his nose and gestures as if he were vomiting. He casts a glance, scrutinizing all around him, and replies to the beggar:

“Do not wait for me to blush in front of you, vile beggar! Are you honorable? Honor does not live on its knees waiting for someone to fling a bone for it to nibble upon. Honor puts on airs of excellence. I do not know if I am honorable of not. However, I admit to you that I do not lack the courage to beg rich people to give me, for the love of God, a crumb of what they have despoiled from me. Who violates the law? It is clear; but the law is a very distinct thing from justice. I violate the law written by the bourgeoisie, and this violation contains in it an act of justice, because the law authorizes rich people to rob at the expense of poor people. This is an injustice. By snatching from the rich a fraction of what they have robbed from us poor people, I am executing an act of justice. The rich pat you on the shoulder for your servility, your base abjectness, endorsing their tranquil enjoyment of what is rightfully yours and mine, of all the things they have robbed from all the poor people all over the world. The ideal of the rich is that all the poor should have the souls of beggars. If you were a man, you would bite the hand of the rich who tosses you a crust of bread. I scorn you!”

The thief spits and loses himself in the multitude. The beggar lifts his eyes to the sky and groans:

“Alms for the poor, for the love of God”

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July 14, 2019; 4:52:19 PM (America/Los_Angeles)
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