For a Just and Better World

Engendering Anarchism in the Mexican Borderlands, 1900-1938
Author: Sonia Hernández
Mexico's women activists living their ideals
Cloth – $110
Paper – $28
eBook – $19.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 11/02/2021
Cloth: 11/02/2021
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About the Book

Caritina Piña Montalvo personified the vital role played by Mexican women in the anarcho-syndicalist movement. Sonia Hernández tells the story of how Piña and other Mexicanas in the Gulf of Mexico region fought for labor rights both locally and abroad in service to the anarchist ideal of a worldwide community of workers. An international labor broker, Piña never left her native Tamaulipas. Yet she excelled in connecting groups in the United States and Mexico. Her story explains the conditions that led to anarcho-syndicalism's rise as a tool to achieve labor and gender equity. It also reveals how women's ideas and expressions of feminist beliefs informed their experiences as leaders in and members of the labor movement.

A vivid look at a radical activist and her times, For a Just and Better World illuminates the lives and work of Mexican women battling for labor rights and gender equality in the early twentieth century.

Watch a video with the author introducing the book

Virtual Event with the Center for Global Studies

About the Author

Sonia Hernández is an associate professor of history at Texas A&M University and the author of Working Women into the Borderlands.


"Sonia Hernández's new book is an engaging story that unites a traditional focus on anarchist labor initiatives with a study of the roles that women anarchists played in the gendered and transnational politics stretching from the Gulf of Mexico and northward toward the Mexican-US border from before the Mexican Revolution to the end of the Lázaro Cárdenas era." --Hispanic American Historical Review

"For a Just and Better World is a well-written and detail-rich narrative with a robust theoretical framework and creative analysis of a complex world. . . Sonia Hernández provides a much-needed map for readers to find both the women and the engendered anarchism integral in this story of a collective quest for a just and better world." --Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"Hernández offers a meticulous history of the anarchist women in the Mexican borderlands. . . . This book offers invaluable insights for those of us who are interested in how anarchists created and sustained their movements beyond the Mexican borderlands. It is also a major contribution to anarchist historiography that allows us to get to know some of the movement's women." --H-Net Reviews

"Sonia Hernández paints a vivid and heroic mural of Mexican labor activists in and around industrial Tampico during the early twentieth century in her latest book, For a Just and Better World: Engendering Anarchism in the Mexican Borderlands, 1900-1938. . . . A richly woven and important labor study." --Journal of American Ethnic History


"A significant and solid contribution to gender-labor history, the history of women, the history of Latinas in the United States, and transnational history. Hernández puts the political biography of the anarcho-unionist leaders at the center and examines their political trajectory. She also intertwines their stories with the most important changes in anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism, mutualism, trade unionism, and the labor policies of the new Mexican state."--María Teresa Fernández Aceves, author of Mujeres en el cambio social en el siglo XX mexicano


•  Winner, Philip Taft Labor History Book Award, ILR School at Cornell University in cooperation with the Labor and Working-Class History Association, 2022