Sep 112014

October34LA REVOLUCIÓN DE OCTOBRE 1934: Asturias, October 1934 (Spanish Kindle Edition) Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBook titles.  — £1.90 READ INSIDE!

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Ochenta años de la fecha cuando estalló el movimiento de Octubre 1934, y es preciso asegurarnos que momentos históricos como éste no permanezcan olvidados ni escondidos.

“La revolución Asturiana se inició en la madrugada del 5 de Octubre de 1934, hasta su rendición el día 18 del mismo mes. Sin la menor duda, fue el hecho más cohesionado y eficaz realizado por el proletariado frente a las derechas que se habían apoderado del gobierno de la República, siendo lamentable que quedara limitado a dicha región, ya que de generalizarse, hubiera podido lograr dar una tónica más radical al régimen, inyectándole un sentido social, determinado por la acción revolucionarias triunfante. De parte de la CNT, todas las referencias señalaron a José María Martínez (muerto en misión del Comité Revolucionario en Sotiello el día 12) como el forjador de la unidad combativa, ya que tuvo que vencer seria oposición de sus propios compañeros para formular un pacto de alianza con los socialistas, debido a la obra desarrollada por éstos, desde el gobierno, de franca y agresiva hostilidad contra el anarcosindicalismo. Pero Martínez, con su tenacidad y argumentos, hizo triunfar sus ideas, lo que vino a impulsar y fortalecer el hecho insurreccional.
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Sep 092014

Octubre 34Calm and courageous from the outset, the handsome gladiator who is to scatter the seeds of a new society of active producers who shall live without masters and without tyrants, in perfect harmony with other producers and other villages where other guerrillas gladiators as handsome and courageous as himself, will have established Libertarian Communism as a superior arrangement for a life of justice and dignity

Published by the Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne/Acracia Publications, October 2013

By Way of a Preamble

 “One of the best known CNT and FAI militants in La Felguera (Asturias), the leading steel town in the province, sent us the following account of what he witnessed during the October 1934 Asturian uprising. We think that these brief jottings will help shed light on matters that deserve to be known.”

Introduction by the original publishers of Cultura Proletaria (New York), republished as a CNT document in late 1973 by the Fomento de Cultura Libertaria (Paris). From exile, October 2013


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Sep 022014

Edward Heath Made Me Angry: The Christie File: Part 3, 1967-1975. (The later memoirs of a West of Scotland ‘baby-boomer’) Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBook titles — £3.10  READ INSIDE!

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This third volume of Christie’s memoirs provides the historical and political context for the international anti-Franco resistance of the anarchist ‘First of May Group’, from 1967 to the dictator’s death in 1975. It is a first-hand account — by someone accused but acquitted — of the campaign of anti-state and anti-capitalist bombings by diverse groups of libertarian militants who came together as the ‘Angry Brigade’ to challenge the aggressively anti-working class policies of the Tory government of Edward Heath.

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Aug 262014

alberolagransacpalma“No longer does innovation come about through parties, trade unions, bureaucracies or politics. It is now dependent on individual moral concern. No longer do we look to political theory for an indication of what we should be doing; we need no tutors. The change is ideological and it runs deep.”

(M Foucault, 1978)

Back in 1978 I opened an article on the topic “Ethics and Revolution – the dialectical tension of the age” [i] with the quotation above from Michel Foucault; not merely to underline the change that was taking place in terms of social transformation but also because it struck me that that change was of great significance to anarchism and liberation struggles.

More than three decades have now passed since then and the course of history has repeatedly borne out what, back then, was more than plain to be seen: that “innovation no longer comes about through parties, trade unions, bureaucracies and politics”, that “nobody looks to political theory any more for guidance as to what we should be doing” and that “we have no need of tutors”. This does not mean, however, that there is not still an insistence – coming from various strands of the left (institutional left and supposedly “alternative” left alike) – upon the need to theorise about action before setting about it and that some grassroots groups are not still on the look-out for tutors …

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Aug 232014

AnodelaVictoriaEL ANO DE LA VICTORIA. Memorias de la Guerra Civil Española 1936-39 por Eduardo de Guzmán. (Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.47  READ INSIDE!

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Nacido en Villada (Palencia) en 1909 pero residente en Madrid hace medio siglo, Eduardo de Guzmán inicía muy joven sus actividades profesionales trabajando en diversos periódicos. En 1930 es nombrado redactor jefe del diario madrileño «La Tierra», cargo que desempeña durante cinco años. En 1935 pasa a «La Libertad» como editorialista y redactor político. En febrero de 1937 se le designa director del periódico matutino «Castilla Libre», órgano de la C.N T en la capital de España.

THE YEAR OF VICTORY is the second volume (in Spanish) of Eduardo de Guzmán’s riveting memoir, telling the story of Spain’s social revolution and Civil War, and the aftermath of the Francoist victory. It gives an unputdownable first-hand account of the tragic fate of defeated republican prisoners detained at the port of Alicante on 1 April 1939. Guzmán’s richly descriptive story of their gruelling three-month odyssey which took them, from Alicante, through the horrors of the Los Almendros and Albatera concentration camps, to their ultimate destination, a sinister Falangist building in Madrid’s Calle de Almargo. The book exposes the entire repressive apparatus of Francoist bloodlust in the aftermath of ‘victory’.

The author was editor of the Madrid-based Castilla Libre, the daily newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ union, the National Confederation of Labour (CNT), between February 1937 and March 1939. For me he is the Spanish Solzhenitsyn – the chronicler and indicter of one of Europe’s most enduring and bloodsoaked fascist regimes, one that killed more Spaniards than Hitler killed Germans. Guzmán’s insights and painstaking descriptions of his fellow prisoners, guards, conditions of confinement – the whole world of captivity – had me gripped all the way, from the fall of Alicante until the moment he and his comrades are delivered into the hands of the triumphalist, spiteful secret police and Falangist captors. My personal memories date from 24 years after the events described here — and are nowhere near as dramatic — but all the same I recognise each and every one of the situations and characters — oppressors and victims — and empathise with the latter every step of the way. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich exposed the brutalities of Stalin’s faraway prison system, Guzmán’s The Year of Victory does the same for Franco’s ignored gulag archipelago just the other side of the Pyrenees. The pity is that this three-volume Civil War masterpiece — La muerte de la esperanza (1973); El año de la victoria (1974) and Nosotros los asesinos: memorias de la guerra de España (1976) — remains more or less unrecognised in the very country whose history, vast areas of which still remain suppressed today — albeit more subtly — he tells so movingly.

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Aug 172014

Agustín Guillamón, historian of the proletarian revolution in Barcelona in 1936

Agustín Guillamón was born in Barcelona in 1950, the son of textile workers. From the age of 13 he lived in the working class barrio of Poble Nou and later in La Verneda. He graduated from the University of Barcelona in contemporary history; his dissertation, under the supervision of Muniesa, dealt with the activism and political thought of Amadeo Bordiga.

He has published four books on the 1936 revolution, ‘Barricadas en Barcelona‘, ‘Els Comités de Defensa en Barcelona 1936-1938,La Revolución de los Comités‘, and most recently La Guerra del Pan. Hambre y violencia en Barcelona revolucionaria. De diciembre de 1936 a mayo de 1937 wherein he provides a platform for the protagonists of the revolution themselves. His books are essential reading for anyone investigating the revolution and for any Catalan eager to know what happened in Barcelona during the revolution and the counter-revolution in 1937. Agustín Guillamón lets the protagonists speak for themselves and this entails complicated and dogged research. A non-directional, non-interpretative, superb way of showing us the history by letting the ‘cast’ do the talking. Vital books on self-organisation among the Barcelona proletariat, mostly, the handiwork of a non-aligned historian involved in class struggle.

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Jul 252014

Martín Bernal is front row, second from the left

Eduardo Pons Prades, an acknowledged expert on the subject of resistance by Spanish republicans in France, in that he had fought as one of them and published a number of works on his adventures, invoked the Spanish exodus towards the French border at the end of the civil war, the treatment doled out to the Spanish refugees, the outbreak of the Second World War, the part played by Spaniards during the German invasion of France, the beginnings of partisan warfare in an exclusive series of articles for Historia 16. In the fifth instalment – using, as ever, the technique of allowing the protagonists to speak for themselves – he introduces us to the organisation of guerrillas, Spanish recruitment into the regular units of the renascent French army, the Spaniards’ part in the liberation of France and the beginnings of operations by “maquisards” inside Spain. (See also Spanish Republicans in the Liberation of Paris)

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Jul 222014

Alain Pecunia-1965 (Carabanchel Prison)

“Those were bright and happy years. Awesome times! We were out to make revolution. Was it worth it? On that I am clear; it was worth it!” So says an amiable and chatty Alain Pecunia in a phone conversation from his Paris home. Thereby summing up his teenage years back in the 60s, divided between De Gaulle’ France and Franco’s Spain. Alain Pecunia’s story is little known this side of the Pyrenees, although his life has a lot to do with Spain and anti-Francoism. In 2004 he wrote an account of those years in Les ombres ardentes. Un francais de 17 ans dans les prisons franquistes (The Burning Shadows. A 17 Year-Old Frenchman in Franco’s Prisons). “There is a lot of talk about the intellectuals who opposed Franco but very little is said of the workers and peasants who did so. Which is why I wrote the book”, he says. “In Carabanchel prison I ran into peasants from Valencia and miners from Mieres. I dedicate Les ombres ardentes to them, lest we forget about their struggle.” (en Français – en Español)

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Jul 172014

StepniakCover1aTHE RUSSIAN PEASANT by ‘Stepniak’. Introduced by Martyn Everett (Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £3.01  READ INSIDE!

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Ukranian Nihilist Sergei Stepniak’s compelling study of the Russian peasant. Published over 120 years ago in the time of Nicholas II (but mostly written in the time of Alexander III) it describes the social plight of the peasant in 19th century Russia and the collective forms of social organisation they adopted that could have provided the basis for the development of Russia as a free and egalitarian society. Perhaps more importantly from a contemporary perspective, it helps explains the influence of revived orthodox and non-orthodox religion that persists at the cultural and political heart of modern-day Russia. A timeless and powerful insight into the Russian psyche, national culture and rural history. Focusing on village life, agricultural labourers, the landed gentry, the churches and sects, Stepniak examines the social structures of the village and artisanal communes, and illustrates the intimate connection between patriarchal theocracy, the parochial clergy, popular religious faith and the Russian peasantry. Invaluable for anyone interested in — or wishing to understand — the roots of Vladimir Putin’s ultra-conservative nationalism and his territorial ambitions.

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Jul 132014

Soldados Italianos en el puerto de Alicante, 1 de Abril 1939

LA MUERTE DE LA ESPERANZA. Segunda parte: EL PUERTO DE ALICANTE (Así terminó la guerra de España) por Eduardo de Guzmán. (Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.40  READ INSIDE!

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Nacido en Villada (Palencia) en 1909 pero residente en Madrid hace medio siglo, Eduardo de Guzmán inicía muy joven sus actividades profesionales trabajando en diversos periódicos. En 1930 es nombrado redactor jefe del diario madrileño «La Tierra», cargo que desempeña durante cinco años. En 1935 pasa a «La Libertad» como editorialista y redactor político. En febrero de 1937 se le designa director del periódico matutino «Castilla Libre», órgano de la C.N T en la capital de España.


El Puerto de Alicante

«LA MUERTE DE LA ESPERANZA» recoge las memorias personales del autor en los primeros y los últimos días de la guerra de España. Dividida en dos partes, la primera —«Nuestro día más largo»— es un relato vivido y dramático de la cambiante situación de Madrid durante las jornadas febriles y azarosas del 17 al 20 de julio de 1936; una narración de los comienzos de la trágica contienda en los centros oficiales, las redacciones de los periódicos, las sedes de los sindicatos obreros y especialmente en la calle donde millares de luchadores anónimos se aprestaban a combatir a morir de ser preciso, en defensa de sus respectivos ideales. La segunda parte «El Puerto de Alicante», se inicia el 28 de marzo de 1939, cuando la suerte de la guerra está ya decidida, con la difícil y accidentada salida de Madrid, el éxodo republicano hacia las costas mediterráneas, la vida en Valencia durante las horas postreras del Consejo Nacional de Defensa y la concentración en Alicante de cuantos intentan expatriarse. Finaliza con las angustiosas jornadas del puerto donde millares de personas se debaten setenta y dos horas entre la ilusión y la desesperanza, arrinconadas contra el mar por el avance de las fuerzas vencedoras, esperando unos barcos que no llegan y sin otras salidas que la rendición o la muerte. Concluyen las memorias en la mañana del 1 de abril con la entrega de los que aún se encuentran en los muelles y el suicidio de quienes no pueden, o no quieren, sobreponerse al dolor de la gran derrota.

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