“The revolutionary knows that in the very depths of his being, not only in words but also in deeds, he has broken all the bonds which tie him to the social order and the civilized world with all its laws, moralities, and customs, and with all its generally accepted conventions. He is their implacable enemy, and if he continues to live with them it is only in order to destroy them more speedily.” – Sergey Genadievich Nechayev, Catechism of a Revolutionary
“The State’s behavior is violence, and it calls its violence ‘law’; that of the individual, ‘crime’… .only by crime does he overcome the State’s violence when he thinks that the State is not above him, but he is above the State.” – Max Stirner, The Ego and Its Own
“The illegalist milieu also illuminates a singular aspect of utopia, specifically that when the anarchist society is realized it will not be as a result of some esoteric will-to-liberty, or a Freudian erotic demiurge, nor as the result and sum of a labored economic equation, rather utopia will arise as a function of necessity, as banal as breakfast and as certain as summer heat.” – Paul Z. Simons, “Illegalism: Why Pay for a Revolution on the Installment Plan… When You Can Steal One?”
I am heaving now, clumsily reaching for a bucket as vomit flies out of my mouth at high speeds. All my wife can do is look on in horror, my eyes moving wildly as small whimpers creep from my disjointed jaw.
The drugs. Something is wrong with the drugs.
Sweat is not supposed to be dripping from my head. My legs and arms keep curling and I’m losing muscle control. I try to go back in my head, try to recall exactly what I took but I can’t. Everything is going black. My kidneys feel like they’re on fire. In between vomiting I can feel my body seizing and shaking, as my soul screams to be released from the pain lighting up my nerves. Blood is pouring from my mouth. A hallucination? I gasp for air, waves of pure dread emanating from my aura.
My wife scoots closer and grips my hand. She is saying something. I can’t make out the words. I can barely recognize her face. My hearing has stopped. Now I’m shaking. Something has gone wrong, very wrong.
All this for a simple question: “Who is Jesus Malverde?”
¡Que Malverde es Milagroso!
(Court Case Work with Jesus Malverde)
Who is Jesus Malverde?
Much like any question regarding Anarchism, Communism, or if a revolver is a valid choice for everyday carry, the answers depend on who you ask.
To cops he’s a symbol of criminal activity, his image “suspicious” enough to cause your car to be searched; to the Catholic Church he’s a foreign and pagan invader, a “narco saint” dressing up murder and drug-dealing in the guise of religion; to the working class of Mexico he is a hero, a loving soul that blesses border crossings, protects from corrupt police, and ensures the faithful never starve.
Perhaps he is all these things and more. My own dealings with the Saint seemed to suggest as such. I had been introduced to Jesus Malverde through a Conjure Woman by the name of Mama Micki. She had worked with him for many years, petitioning him for help with her job and gambling, and after reading a few articles of mine knew we’d be a good fit. “I thought you would be interested in Jesus Malverde because he was more interested in helping people than supporting an unjust system,” she told me. “He robbed the rich and gave to the poor.”
Well, I thought, who better for an Anarchist advocating violence, theft, and violence than a Saint who knew that route all too well?
The results were incredible.
My first act was simple enough: printing out two images of him, taping them to two white novena candles, offering water and tequila and asking for a sign he’d be interested in helping me. A taxi driver recognized me on a walk that day out of the blue and gave me a free ride. Keeping this simple set up that ran me about $10 I asked his aid for a hopeless court case I had fallen victim to, one where “guilt” was a very grey term.
I can remember that petition, paying fervently and promising that if Malverde aided me I’d build him a permanent altar in my home and send money to a children’s charity in Mexico. I watched in amazement as I felt a vaguely human shape sit upfrom the altar, say the word’s “okay, let’s go,” throw on a mask and disappear to the East.
Not only did Malverde make the whole thing go my way he made sure my insurance rates miraculously never went up. He brought me total victory and in return all he asked was that I make a donation to the poor.
This was a power the Weird Left had to know, a champion of the oppressed. Who better for the magical Anarchist to have as a patron than someone who gives fuck-all about the law and instead focuses on what’s right?
According to the legend Jesus Malverde was born in Culiacán, Sinoloa in the late 1800’s. Like the majority of the proletariat of Mexico he was destined to a life of starvation and poverty like his working-class parents, and by all accounts he lived a normal life. That changed when his parents died due to malnutrition in a land of plenty. Jesus, incensed and determined not to suffer the same fate, decided to make a change.
He became a criminal.
Jesus began robbing carriages at gunpoint, quickly gaining notoriety for his bravery and cunning in liberating the wealthy from their ill-gotten gains. As his exploits became renowned Jesus upgraded his methods, learning to pick locks, plan raids, and become a master of stealth; he became a burglar, ran a gang, and gathered intelligence to ensure every job supplied him with greater and greater loot.
Jesus Malverde never kept his prizes and instead shared them among the poor. Clothes, jewelry, and priceless antiques were fenced to buy medicine, cancel debts, and even bury the dead. No one went hungry and to the people all over the state of Sinaloa Jesus became known as “The Angel of the Poor” or “The Generous Bandit.”
The wealthy were afraid. Through guile, strength, and sheer guts he lifted the peasantry out of squalor. He exploits were dangerous enough, and quickly becoming the stuff of legend. The governor of Sinaloa, Francisco Cañedo, had even had his home broken into by the bandit. What if word spread farther across Mexico and imitators no doubt followed? Something had to be done.
Malverde was eventually betrayed by a member of his gang for a 10,000 peso reward. On May 3rd 1909 he was sentenced to death by hanging, and it is said his final words were “do not forget my people.”
Governor Cañedo, wanting to warn those of the gang who survived and intimidate the peasantry, demanded Malverde’s corpse be left to rot on a mesquite tree and promised a swift death to any who cut him down.
For a nation of Catholics this was a particularly cruel punishment, and implied Malverde would never know peace in the afterlife. And maybe it worked. Three days after Malverde died the betrayer was caught and murdered. Governor Cañedo died 33 days later.
The police intended to keep Malverde in torment, even with the Governor dead. The threat of execution still loomed. Gang members and peasants, in an attempt to right the state’s wrong, began to toss stones at the corpse’s feet whenever they passed it, eventually covering the body up and building a makeshift tomb.
It was from this tomb Malverde would perform his first miracle. A man was traveling near the body one night with mules who were loaded down with gold, a very uncommon thing for a “law-abiding citizen.” The mules ran off and took the man’s fortune with it. In total desperation, and quite possibly fearing reprisal for his bad luck, the man prayed for Malverde’s aid from beyond the grave.
Quickly, even as the man finished his prayer, the donkey’s returned as if lead by an unseen hand. The man cut down the corpse in gratitude and buried it in a secret place, a place still unknown to this day. The stones remained as a monument and word quickly spread:
Jesus Malverde had not forgotten his people. A Saint had been born.
The Responsible Thing to Do
So the history was intriguing: murder, robbery, and a steadfast dedication to the exploited. Yes, this was my fucking man! The people had to know! But how to tell them?
The Weird Left deserved more than a mere listicle. I wanted to really get to know my new patron, a Saint both my wife and I had grown to love, while at the same time making him available to the masses; a sort of keenly subjective assault on altered reality in search of the gnosis of Jesus Malverde, the unutterable fullness behind the image, not just who he is or what he’s about but what he means.
If he’d been alive I’d have bought him a stream of drinks, recorded our conversation, and mused deeply on its implications.
This avenue was unavailable due to Malverde being dead, so I figured I’d do what any responsible journalist would: load up on hallucinogens and fervently call to the Saint beyond the veil, praying direct knowledge permeate my being on a cellular level.
And after that?
As of this writing my kidneys still hurt and the vomit won’t wash out of the carpet. Perhaps I should have made a better statement of intent.