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López Chávez, Julio (?–1869)

López Chávez, Julio (?–1869)

A Mexican peasant, socialist thinker, and military leader, Julio López Chávez (sometimes referred to as Chávez López) was born in or near Texcoco, in the Valley of Mexico. After becoming a disciple of Plotino Rhodakanaty's school of utopian socialism in nearby Chalco, he devoted himself to a radical vision of communal village autonomy that was anarchist in its hostility toward both the church and the centralizing and modernizing project of the liberal state. He led the Chalco Rebellion beginning in 1868, until he was captured by the Mexican army and executed on September 1, 1869.

López Chávez was working on an hacienda near Texcoco when he became a member of Rhodakanaty's school, La Escuela del Rayo y del Socialismo (The Lightning and Socialism School), founded in Chalco in 1865. López Chávez soon attracted the attention of Rhodakanaty and his follower Francisco Zalacosta, who also taught at the Chalco school. Whereas Rhodakanaty eschewed violent tactics and held, in the tradition of Proudhon and Fourier, that revolutionary change would come through education and persuasion, López Chávez believed that violence was necessary to resist the oppression of government. The example of López Chávez's peasant-led militia influenced the next generation of socialist leaders and paved the way for the agrarian uprisings of the coming decades.


Hart, John M. Anarchism & the Mexican Working Class, 1860–1931. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978.

Valadés, José C. El socialismo libertario mexicano (siglo XIX). Mexico: Universidad Autónoma de Sinaloa, 1984.

                               James Elliot McBride

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