Son of Anarchy

How Ricardo Flores Magón helped ignite The Mexican Revolution from a nascent Silver Lake

One afternoon I went looking for the old farm. The address listed in Regeneración was 2325 Ivanhoe, but the numbering on the street now bearing that name begins at 2400. I asked a young woman out walking her dog for help. She had an iPhone in one hand and a bag of poop in the other. She didn’t know. I asked a man in sunglasses walking two terriers. “It’s a little confusing over here,” he admitted. Edendale’s radical past felt as distant as the future Flores Magón had imagined 90 years earlier. In one of his last letters he described his vision of a “City of Peace,” before which the walls and bars of his cell had disappeared. “How well and with what clarity I see,” he wrote. “Not a prison, not a court, nor any capitalist building offends the sweet and tranquil beauty of the City of Peace.” Its inhabitants were neither good nor evil but “simply beautiful like the trees, like the plants, like the birds…like the rhythm of Life, the rhythm that backward peoples try to seal off in the yellowed pages of their laws.”

I headed to the library and learned that what was once the lower part of Ivanhoe Avenue is now the upper part of Glendale Boulevard. I drove back to Edendale. It was dark, but I knew the block well and knew there would be nothing to see, a few stucco buildings on a steep hill. The real city, like Flores Magón’s city, is where it always will be, just out of reach.