The editorial categories are research topics that have guided researchers during the recovery phase and continue to be the impetus behind the Documents Project’s digital archive and the Critical Documents book series. Developed by the project’s Editorial Board, each of the teams analyzed this framework and adapted it to their local contexts in developing their research objectives and work plans during the Recovery Phase. Learn more on the Editorial Framework page.
Act one, scene two of this farce is entitled “A jury [to try] the reactionary intellectuals and capricious intellectual revolutionaries.” The figures to be judged and the extras, as well as the wailing chorus, have the actual names of numerous intellectuals, artists, and notable academics. All are weeping “like women” in the cells where they are being held as prisoners. The soldier, who symbolizes “energy,” takes responsibility for requesting their presence before the jury and the popular assembly. The intellectuals boast about their superiority but start to attack each other in an open competition of personalities that turns into physical violence. Those being tried are divided into two groups: “the reactionaries” and “pseudo-revolutionaries.” The worker with the “experience” tells them that they must not fight because they are the same, inasmuch as they work for the “bourgeoisie” and act “giddy,” and are “chameleons.” The reactionaries are accused of being “living corpses, beings from other times” and they are condemned to die elsewhere; the pseudo-revolutionaries are criticized for their hesitation, and they are positioned to have their direction corrected and to be purged in order to be admitted among the revolutionaries. Otherwise, they would be hanged.
Although this scene in the farce is unsigned, it follows the sequence and style of the prior scene; thus, it can be attributed to Graciela (Gachita) Amador. The woodcut print that illustrates this scene is signed by Xavier Guerrero, but bears no evident relationship to the plot, as it shows a worker/teacher giving classes to some children. Regarding the content, it is characteristic that the intellectuals are judged after the traitorous soldiers, since they are considered to be similar types. As opposed to the prior figures referred to in the abstract, this act uses the actual names of intellectuals and artists categorized by the publishers of El Machete as enemies; by extension, they are considered enemies of the people. In spite of its lack of literary qualities, the scene would not go unnoticed based on its angry, biting, iconoclastic tone, as well as its invitation to lynching. Like the Holy Inquisition, the imaginary leftist court draws up an index of writers and painters prohibited in the society of the future. Notable entries on the list are Francisco Bulnes, José Elguero, Antonio Caso, Dr. Atl, Juan Sánchez Azcona, and Jaime Torres Bodet.Through discourse of this type, the communists were shameless about making enemies since, in spite of their marginal position, they held the profound conviction that they were the receivers of the only possible truth—an attitude that David Alfaro Siqueiros (1896–1974) would sum up years later in the maxim "no hay más ruta que la nuestra" [Ours Is the Only Way]. In fact, his relationships with some intellectuals not mentioned but belonging to the same circles criticized was better than the communists were prepared to admit. In short, this episode should not be read as an outburst of anti-intellectualism of the type that certain leftist groups carried out from time to time throughout the twentieth century. It was rather a statement of assumed political, artistic, and intellectual superiority.