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A DOMINIE DISMISSED
A DOMINIE DISMISSED
In consequence of the Dominie’s go-as- you-please methods of educating village children, the inevitable happens he is dismissed, giving place to an approved disciplinarian. The unhappy Dominie, forced to leave his bairns, seeks to enlist but the doctor discovers that his lungs are affected, and he is ordered an open-air life. He returns as a cattleman to the village where he has previously been a school master. Incidentally, he watches the effect of his successor’s teaching, the triumph of his own methods and the discomfiture of his rival at the hands of the children, in whom the Dominie cultivated personality and the rights of bairns.
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A DOMINIE IN DOUBT
A DOMINIE IN DOUBT
One day when re-reading A Dominie's Log, its author decided that a book is out of date five minutes after it is written. In other words, he was in doubt—terrible and perplexing doubt. Do I really understand children? he asked himself. Are my ideas upon education right or wrong ? He decided that he had not sufficiently studied the psychology of children and that, in consequence, he had been guilty of almost criminal neglect. In the same delightfully discursive and humorous manner the Dominic reveals himself, as attractive in his doubts as in his convictions. He does not repent his unconventions. On the contrary, he reproaches himself for having been a heretic, whereas he ought to have been an arch-heretic.
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A DOMINIE'S LOG
A DOMINIE'S LOG
Alexander Sutherland Neill was born in Forfar in the N.E, of Scotland on 17 October 1883 (d. 23/9/1973) to George and Mary Neill. He was raised in an austere, Calvinist house and instilled with values of fear, guilt, and adult and divine authority, which he later repudiated. His father was the village dominie (Scottish schoolmaster) of Kingsmuir, near Forfar in eastern Scotland; his mother, too, had been a teacher before her marriage. The village dominie held a position in the community of prestige, but hierarchically beneath that of the gentry, doctors, and clergymen. The dominie, typically, controlled overcrowded classrooms with the tawse (the belt), as the means of maintaining good order and discipline. Aged 15, his parents decided to appoint him his father's assistant "pupil teacher". The children liked Neill, though he received poor marks from a school inspector. He taught a wider range of topics as his self-confidence grew. After four years, he attended teacher training college— coming nearly last in his class — but continued as a pupil teacher in Bonnyrigg and Kingskettle, where he found the teachers' instruction militant and loathsome. He remained in Kingskettle for three years, during which time he learned Greek from a local priest, an experience that stimulated his interest in things academic and sublimated his interest in the priesthood into a desire to attend university. After studying with the priest and the Forfar math master, Neill passed his university entrance exam and preliminary teacher's certification, becoming an assistant teacher at the Newport Public School, where he learned to dance and appreciate music and theatre. He adopted progressive techniques at this school, abandoning the tawse for other forms of establishing discipline. Neill was friendly and relaxed with his pupils; he described the two years he spent there as "the happiest of [his] life thus far". He subsequently finished his entrance exams at Edinburgh University and received his full teaching certification in 1912. The present work, ‘A Dominie’s Log’, appeared in 1915 — 9 years before launching his own free school, Summerhill in 1924. It is a delightful and insightful record of a young Scottish dominie’s coming of age as a teacher in the early 20th century.
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THE PROBLEM PARENT
THE PROBLEM PARENT
“When Mr. Neill was correcting the proofs of The Problem Child, he realized suddenly that he had written the wrong book. ‘There isn’t a problem child,’ he said, ‘there is only a problem parent.’ That was some years ago, and then he had no time to tell the problem parent what he thought of him . . . and her. Now the book of the parent has been written. Mr. Neill has been called the only genius in modern education. The Problem Parent is a wise book, full of new ideas of value because they are the results of long experience in child and adult psychology. It is a book that will shock the die-hards into thinking and the go-aheads into action. “
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THE END OF ANARCHISM
THE END OF ANARCHISM
Here, translated for the first time into English, is a new edition of 'The End of Anarchism?' by Luigi Galleani, an anarchist militant in both Italy and North America, who is best known for his activities as the editor of the US-based Italian language journal, 'Cronaca Sovversiva', published between 1903-1918. From this paper sprang one of the largest and most enduring elements of the anarchist movement in North America. 'The End of Anarchism?', first published as a volume in 1925, is an expanded version of a series of articles that appeared under the same title some twenty years earlier — in 'Cronaca Sovversiva' — as a reply to an assertion by a former militant, Saverio Merlino, that the anarchist movement was no longer vital or significant. Initially conceived as a rebuttal, it developed into an eloquent exposition of Galleani's own concept of anarchist-communism, his most organic theoretical work — “a lucid statement of the ever present problems of anarchism in relation to the would-be revolutionary movements" in the words of Errico Malatesta. This edition contains an introduction specially written for Cienfuegos Press by 'Max Sartin' (Raffaele Schiavina, 1894-1987), a close collaborator of Galleani's and the editor of L'Adunata dei Refrattari, the last major Italian anarchist journal published in the USA (1922-1971).
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LA BODEGA. The Fruit of the Vine
LA BODEGA. The Fruit of the Vine
“The overwhelming value to stress concerning La Bodega is its ability to convey a sense of what life was like on a daily basis for the people in the South. It expresses the persecution of labour leaders following the ‘Black Hand’ hysteria, placing it in a relatable context to similar ‘Red Scares’ throughout the world. It demonstrates the relationship of anarchist ‘believers’ to a larger public who considers the radical notions utopian, yet still harbor a deep respect. Perhaps most successfully, the novel puts human faces to the material depravity of the masks in Andalusia. Such forms of knowledge surely supplement the rich historical record available.”
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BARRICADES IN BARCELONA. The CNT from the victory of July 1936 to the necessary defeat of May 1937
BARRICADES IN BARCELONA. The CNT from the victory of July 1936 to the necessary defeat of May 1937
BARRICADES IN BARCELONA focuses on Barcelona in 1936-1937; it provides an account of the street battles and victory of July 1936, examines the defence and neighborhood committees that defeated the uprising in the city, and addresses the arbitrary decision of the CNT-FAI superior committees to collaborate with counterrevolutionary parties and social groups to preserve anti-fascist unity at any price, and how this decision culminated, in May 1937, in the defeat of the revolution. It also focuses on the emerging discontent among the anarchosyndicalist rank and file and the role of The Friends of Durruti Group in crystallizing opposition to official CNT policies. This book is about the barricades erected by the workers of Barcelona in July 1936 and May 1937, only ten months apart. It is a study of the reasons why they were built, as well as their similarities and differences. It attempts to explain the “offensive” character of the workers insurrection of July, and the “defensive” character of the May insurrection. How did the practically unarmed workers manage to defeat the rebellious army and the fascists in July? And how was it possible that, in May, a proletariat armed to the teeth could be politically defeated after having demonstrated its military superiority in the streets? Why were the barricades of July still standing in October 1936, while the barricades built in May were immediately dismantled? The myth of the barricades, which appeared in Barcelona on numerous occasions during the 19th century, in the general strike of 1902, during the Tragic Week of 1909 and the general strike of 1917, was not propagated in vain. As history teaches us, barricades are structures for defensive purposes, and almost always presage the defeat of the workers at the hands of the army or the police. In July 1936 the first victory of the proletariat over the army took place at the Brecha de San Pablo, against some soldiers entrenched behind the barricades. This book considers the barricades as one instrument, among others, of the irrevocable decision of the proletariat to confront the class enemy; not as a myth that chains it to the past. It contemplates the barricades as a class frontier, with the proletariat on one side, and the enemy on the other. Today’s class frontiers would include on the enemy side those who deny the existence of the proletariat, confuse the Stalinist dictatorships with communism, propose the conquest of the state instead of its destruction, or proclaim that capitalism is eternal. In the epilogue, the committees that arose during the Spanish revolutionary events of 1936 are considered in the context of the international experience of the Russian soviets and the German councils, in order to recognize them as a form of revolutionary organization of the working class. July 1936 was a victorious insurrection; but was the insurrection of May 1937 a victory or a defeat? This book aspires to understand why, and above all how, some of the revolutionary leaders of July 1936 became the most disastrous and influential counterrevolutionaries of May 1937. To put it another way, it attempts to explain the history of the workers movement and to discard the ridiculous comic strips of supermen and traitors, as well as the bourgeois or Stalinist biased arbitrary interpretations that are characteristic of university academic studies. The book also tries to respond to the questions posed by the French surrealist poet Benjamin Péret, who was in Barcelona between August 1936 and April 1937: “What is the nature of the revolution of July 19, 1936: bourgeois, anti-fascist, proletarian? Was there a situation of dual power on July 20, 1936? If so, to whose benefit did it evolve? What forces presided over its liquidation? Have the workers seized control of the apparatus of production? Has the nationalization of production led to or created the material basis for a form of state capitalism? Did the working class organizations (parties, trade unions, etc.) attempt to organize a workers power? Where and under what conditions? Why was bourgeois power not liquidated? Why did the Spanish revolution end up in disaster?” The task of the poet is to ask the questions, the job of the historian is to try to answer them, and the privilege of the reader is to judge whether the responses given are correct and convincing.
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Building Utopia. The Spanish Revolution 1936-1937
Building Utopia. The Spanish Revolution 1936-1937
Within the Spanish anarchist and anarcho-syndicalist movements there were three distinct points of view on the question of war and revolution. The first, probably the majority view, was that the war would be over in a matter of weeks, after all, a few days had been enough to rout the army in Barcelona and other industrial centres, and that the social revolution and Libertarian Communism as debated and adopted by the CNT’s national congress at Zaragoza in February, five months previously, was an inseparable aspect of the struggle against economic and social oppression. Thus, the movement should proceed immediately to socialise the factories, the land and their communities. The second position was that held by members of the regional, national and peninsular committees of the CNT-FAI, the so-called ‘notables’, office holders such as such as Horacio Prieto, Mariano Rodriguez, Federica Montseny, Diego Abad de Santillan, García Oliver, etc. They anticipated a lengthy war and opposed implementing Libertarian Communism until the war was won. They opted instead for compromising alliances with the bourgeois Republican, Catalanist and Stalinist parties. Their argument was that such a strategy would prevent a situation developing wherein a victorious but exhausted CNT might be overwhelmed by another political force which had been more sparing with its forces ie, the Spanish Communist Party. It was a fatal strategy that quickly absorbed them, undermined their principles and transformed what had hitherto been a great instrument of the working class into just another rigid bureaucratic institution. The third body of opinion, a minority one held by militants such as Durruti, Camillo Berneri, Jaime Balius, and so on (and one which I incidentally agree with) also anticipated a lengthy war because of the involvement of Germany and Italy — but held that war and revolution were inseparable. Only a libertarian revolution could finally destroy fascism because to do so meant destroying the state, since fascism only means a certain mode of the state: all states turn fascist when the threat to the privilege that the state protects — and to a degree also embodies — becomes strong enough, which happens when the participatory procedures of the state can no longer secure that privilege. Fascism, in other words, is enforced class collaboration, as opposed to the voluntary class collaboration of parliamentary government. The author's main contention is, briefly, that between July 21 and the end of August 1936, the so-called ‘notables’ of the CNT-FAI regional, national and peninsular committees abandoned all pretence of being revolutionary organs. Instead, they constituted a vested interest structure that served, primarily, to apply the brakes to the spontaneous revolutionary activity of the union rank and file and to repress the revolutionary activists of the Libertarian Youth, the confederal defence cadres, the action groups and affinity groups such as the ‘Friends of Durruti’. They promoted ‘Anti-fascist unity’ and state power at the expense of anarchist principles and values, and imposed the hegemony of the Catalan CNT–FAI leadership over the local revolutionary committees and the general assemblies, not only of Catalonia, but of Aragón as well particularly the Regional Defence Council of Aragón. Their principal aim being to perpetuate their power base, even at the expense of the revolutionary anarchist principles and values that had inspired the largest mass labour union in Spanish history. For them the instrumental means had become the organisational end. Not only that; they were now part of a state that was increasingly dominated not just by reformist, welfarist, egalitarian social democrats, but by the agents of Soviet communism, anarchism’s deadliest enemy. The ‘notables’ careers as anarchists were over — they were now counter-revolutionaries.
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JOAQUÍN ASCASO Memorias (1936-1938) HACIA UN NUEVO ARAGÓN
JOAQUÍN ASCASO Memorias (1936-1938) HACIA UN NUEVO ARAGÓN
De profesión obrero albañil, en su juventud se afilió a la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, participando en la agrupación anarquista "Los Indomables" y colaborando con otra llamada "Los Solidarios". Fue detenido en Zaragoza por sus actividades sindicales en 1924 y la ficha policial le daba una edad de 17 años, tras lo que huyó a Francia hasta el advenimiento de la Segunda República Española, viéndose muy influenciado por la Sublevación de Jaca. El inicio de la Guerra Civil española le sorprende en Barcelona y en el contexto de la Revolución Española de 1936, parte hacia el Frente de Aragón, primero integrado en la Columna Durruti y posteriormente en la Columna Ortiz. Recibió el nombramiento oficial de delegado gubernamental del Consejo Regional de Defensa de Aragón el 19 de enero de 1937. Durante su gestión, Ascaso actuó en Aragón prácticamente como un gobernante independiente del gobierno central, lo que provocó no pocos desaires entre Ascaso y las autoridades republicanas y . Tras la disolución del Consejo, fue detenido por orden del Gobierno de la Segunda República Española el 19 de agosto de 1937, bajo la acusación de contrabando de joyas y otros delitos.3 El republicano José Ignacio Mantecón se hizo cargo de la región, siendo nombrado Gobernador General de Aragón por las autoridades republicanas.1 Ascaso permaneció preso 38 días en la prisión de San Miguel de los Reyes, cerca de Valencia. Finalmente se marchó a Francia a través de Andorra junto a Antonio Ortiz, desde donde partió hacia Uruguay, pasando también por Chile y Paraguay, estableciéndose finalmente en Venezuela. Allí formó en la década de 1960 el grupo anarquista Fuerza Única, junto a Antonio Ortiz y otros anarquistas españoles en el exilio. El historiador Alejandro Díez Torre rescató y publicó en 2006 este libro escrito por el propio Ascaso, "Memorias, 1936-1938. Hacia un nuevo Aragón", editado por la Universidad de Zaragoza
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JOURNEY THROUGH UTOPIA
JOURNEY THROUGH UTOPIA
A forensically critical and scholarly assessment of the most important utopian writings from Plato’s ‘Republic’ to Huxley’s ‘Brave New World’. What is ‘utopian’? Is it the desire for a ‘just’, equitable and cooperative society free of moral and physical compulsion, or the economists’, politicians’, planners’ and ideologues’ vision of a regimented, mechanically-functioning society with their schemes for social improvement in which all society’s conflicts are reconciled or contained? Marx’s theory of history, for example, predicts an end to history in which all social contradictions will be permanently resolved. In her account of Utopias, Marie Louise Berneri emphasises the intolerant and authoritarian nature of most of these visions; the exceptions, such as those of Morris, Diderot and Foigny, being only a very slight minority. She points to the fact that, although the Marxists have always claimed to be “scientific” as opposed to Utopian socialists, their actual social experiments have in practice taken on the generally rigid structure and even many of the individual institutional features of the classic Utopias. Visions of an ideal future, where every action, as in Cabet’s or Bellamy’s schemes, is carefully regulated and fitted into a model state, are no longer popular, and it is impossible to consider such a book today achieving the fame which was enjoyed by Bellamy’s Looking Backward in the late nineteenth century. It is significant that not only are those writers who are conscious of present-day social evils writing anti-Utopias to warn people of the dangers of going further in the direction of a regimented life, but these very books have the same kind of popularity which the smug visions of a socialist paradise enjoyed before 1914.
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ENTRE EL SOL Y LA TORMENTA. Revolución, guerra y exilio de una mujer libre
ENTRE EL SOL Y LA TORMENTA. Revolución, guerra y exilio de una mujer libre
El testimonio de una vida consagrada a pelear por la libertad, entre el sol y la tormenta es, a la vez, un documento excepcional que nos permite conocer mejor uno de los episodios más extraordinarios de la guerra civil española: la lucha de las mujeres libertarias. En aquellos momentos decisivos de la historia europea, estas mujeres salieron a la calle junto a sus compañeros para defender la República y la revolución social. Acabada la guerra, muchas de ellas continuaron trabajando por sus ideas en el exilio. Sara Berenguer Lahosa nació en 1919 (murio Montady 2010), en la barcelonesa barriada de Poble Sec. Hija de obreros, cuando estalla la guerra civil, ocupará diversos cargos: comité revolucionario (CNT-FAI) del barrio de Les Corts y Comité Regional de Catalunya de las industrias de la edificación, madera y decoración (CNT-AIT). Actividades que alternó con su colaboración de maestra en el Ateneo Cultural de Les Corts y en las Juventudes Libertarias. Mediada la guerra, se integró en la sección de combate del SIA (Solidaridad Internacional Antifascista). Formó parte de varias delegaciones de Mujeres Libres que visitaron a los milicianos del frente de Aragón, cerca de la línea de fuego y organizaron visitas a los hospitales de sangre; por último, fue secretaria de propaganda del Comité Regional de Mujeres Libres. A finales de enero de 1939 abandona Barcelona y parte al exilio –que duraría 37 años- por la frontera de los Pirineos. Poco después, su compañero se reuniría con ella y juntos militarían en la Resistencia.
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The Anarchists and the Mexican Revolution. Práxedis G. Guerrero (1882-1910)
The Anarchists and the Mexican Revolution. Práxedis G. Guerrero (1882-1910)
Práxedis G. Guerrero, anarchist, militant, propagandist, poet and secretary to the ‘Junta Organizadora del Partido Liberal Mexicano’ was the first Mexican anarchist to give his life for Land and Liberty, when he was killed, at the early age of only 28, during an attack on the town of Janos, Chihuahua, in the early months of the Mexican Revolution. Together with Ricardo Flores Magón, Práxedis was one of the main animators of the early revolutionary attempts made by the P.L.M. to rid Mexico of its ageing and dictatorial ruler, Porfirio Díaz who, for forty years, had subjected the Mexican people to the most cruel despotism and slavery; and during the imprisonment of Ricardo Flores Magón, between 1907 and 1910, Práxedis took on this revolutionary task almost single-handed. Joining the P.L.M.’s Junta Organizadora in 1907 soon after its foundation. Práxedis not only became its most able and important 'military' organiser, but also a clear-sighted propagandist who contributed much to the anarchist ideas of the P.L.M. In his short but heroic life Práxedis translated the anarchism of theory into the anarchism of practical action." Contents: Biography of Práxedis G. Guerrero; Writings of Práxedis G. Guerrero: Racism, Women, Tyranny and a literary essay, Blow!
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LIBRADO RIVERA. Anarchists in the Mexican Revolution
LIBRADO RIVERA. Anarchists in the Mexican Revolution
Of the many comrades and collaborators of Ricardo Flores Magón, Librado Rivera was by far the closest. Their revolutionary partnership lasted twenty years, rivalling that of Durruti and Ascaso and only ended with Ricardo’s death in Leavenworth Prison murdered directly or indirectly by the U.S. authorities. Librado was a founding member of the Partido Liberal Mexicano and made fundamental and major contribution to its anarchist orientation. Despite this, though, Librado has been badly neglected on his own account. This may be in part due to his own natural modesty an reticence, as he always shunned the limelight while remaining at the same time in the forefront of the struggle, preferring to adopt the role of a seemingly ‘simple militant’. He was, in reality, far from this. As a tireless anarchist revolutionary and propagandist he spent more than thirty years fighting, as he would say, ‘in favour of all the oppressed and exploited of the earth’ in order to establish ‘a new society which would have as well as liberty, love and justice for all!
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LAND AND LIBERTY. Anarchist Influences in the Mexican Revolution
LAND AND LIBERTY. Anarchist Influences in the Mexican Revolution
A succinct biography of Ricardo Flores Magón together with a collection of his essays, a history of Mexican anarchism, and a chronology of the Magonist movement. “It contains the finest collection of Magón’s writings yet seen in English. It also presents important evidence in support of the argument that Magón’s in?uence within the Mexican left between 1910 and 1920 was far stronger than we have previously recognised.” John M. Hart, Hispanic American Historical Review.” ‘This collection of articles under the title 'Land and Liberty' was ?rst published by the Organising Junta of the Mexican Liberal Party in Los Angeles, California, in 1913. It was intended to be the ?rst of a series of booklets to explain to English speaking readers, mainly in North America, the aims and ideas of the Mexican Liberal Party, and the true social aspect of the Mexican Revolution ignored by the general press. Some of articles published in ‘Land and Liberty’ first appeared in Regeneración during the years 1910-1912 and were written by Ricardo Flores Magón, William C. Owen and Antonio de P. Araujo
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ZAPATA OF MEXICO
ZAPATA OF MEXICO
Emiliano Zapata (born in the pueblo of Anenecuilco in the Mexican state of Morelos on 9 August 1879), possibly the ‘purest embodiment’ of the Mexican Revolution, was betrayed and murdered in the patio of the Hacienda de San Juan, in Chinameca on 10 April 1919. Who, and what, was Zapata? This book attempts to describe what Emiliano Zapata sought to achieve—and just how much he and his compañeros of the Liberation Army of the South actually dld achieve, in Morelos and southern Mexico, between 1910 and 1920. It also includes an account of the evolution of the ejldos and common lands of that country.
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¡TENIAMOS QUE PERDER!
¡TENIAMOS QUE PERDER!
Cuando el editor me propuso escribir unas letras como prefacio de la re-edición del libro de ¡Teníamos que perder!, de García Pradas, no dudé en aceptar el guante para dicho trabajo. Una re-edición necesaria para seguir desentrañando, con todos los protagonistas y agentes en la mano, lo que fue la historia de la España republicana en los últimos días de la guerra. Y el libro viene en un momento importante. En los últimos años hemos asistido a la publicación de valiosos trabajos que han tratado de acercar el final de la República. Cabría destacar la obra que en 2009 publicaron los historiadores Ángel Viñas y Fernando Hernández Sánchez El desplome de la República (Crítica, Barcelona, 2009), coincidiendo con el 70 aniversario del final de la contienda. Un libro completo y muy documentado sobre el significado del final de la Guerra. Cuando se alcanzó el 75 aniversario del final de la Guerra aparecieron otros dos importantes trabajos. El catedrático de la Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Ángel Bahamonde, publicó el libro Madrid, 1939. La conjura del coronel Casado (Cátedra, Madrid, 2014), centrado básicamente en los aspectos militares y la figura de Segismundo Casado. El profesor Paul Preston publicó El final de la Guerra. La última puñalda a la República (Debate, Barcelona, 2014), donde hace un pormenorizado análisis de las figuras fundamentales del final de la cotienda y del posicionamiento de las distintas organizaciones al conflicto. El libro de Preston tiene dos grandes virtudes. En primer lugar analiza los antecedentes que llevaron al final de la Guerra Civil, las fuertes disputas en el interior del bando republicano y los diversos focos de conflicto que se dieron en la débil España republicana en marzo de 1939. Por otra parte, Preston traza su libro en un análisis de tres figuras de aquel final: Juan Negrín, presidente del Gobierno de la Segunda República, Segismundo Casado, militar leal a la República pero ambicioso, y Julián Besteiro, una de las figuras más importantes del socialismo español en la década de 1910, 1920 y 1930. Sin embargo, lo que no se ha aboradado en ningún estudio monográfico o se deja en segundo plano subsidiario es el papel que los anarquistas jugaron en aquellos momentos. Quiza porque la complejidad del tema daría para un solo libro. Quiza porque algunos de los personajes que fueron protagonistas de aquellos sucesos en el campo libertario han quedado desdibujados con el paso del tiempo. José García Pradas fue uno de ellos.
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THE FINAL WEEKS OF THE SPANISH REPUBLIC
THE FINAL WEEKS OF THE SPANISH REPUBLIC
Some myths are long-lived, perhaps because they are fed by relentless partisan propaganda. One such myth credits Negrín and the communists alone with a will to resist throughout the civil war. A whole swathe of literature has made it its business to portray them as the very symbols of uncompromising opposition, of active, indefatigable resistance “with bread or without it”, “with guns or without them”, and so on, to General Franco and his side. Even today, so many years on, this nonsense is still being peddled; the reality is starkly different. To be honest, the policy of resistance was merely a mask behind which other designs were lurking; whilst harping on about it, the communists, ably abetted by Negrín, were picking off all the political organisations and personalities standing in the way of their quest for hegemony. Thus the POUM was liquidated, the CNT sidelined, the leftist faction creamed off from the Socialist Party, Largo Caballero brought down, first, followed by Indalecio Prieto. Meanwhile, even as the POUM was being publicly and thunderously denounced as having been in cahoots with the Nazis, the Communist Party of Spain’s sponsor, the Soviet Union, was entering into a dalliance with Hitler; and even as Prieto was being labelled a defeatist for searching for some sort of an arrangement whereby the war might be ended, Negrín had opened up channels to the enemy, as he himself later admitted.
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WE, THE ANARCHISTS! A Study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937
WE, THE ANARCHISTS! A Study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937
Since the official birth of organized anarchism at the Saint Imier Congress of 1872, no anarchist organization has been held up to greater opprobrium or subjected to such gross misrepresentation than the Federación Anarquista Ibérica. Better known by its initials, the FAI, was a group of twentieth-century militants dedicated to keeping Spain’s largest labour union, the CNT, on a revolutionary, anarcho-syndicalist path. There are two dimensions to Stuart Christie’s indispensable ‘We, The Anarchists!’ The ?rst is descriptive and historical: it outlines the evolution of the organised anarchist movement in Spain and its relationship with the wider labour movement, and, at the same time, it provides some insight into the main ideas that made the Spanish labour movement one of the most revolutionary of modern times. The second is analytical, as the book addresses —from an anarchist perspective—the problem of understanding and coping with change in the contemporary world; how can ideals survive the process of institutionalisation? Stuart Christie’s analysis covers the history of Spanish anarchism and the Spanish Civil War, the affinity group organisation of the FAI, and the misreadings and outright lies told about the FAI in numerous popular and academic accounts of the period. ‘We, The Anarchists!’ Also provides lessons relevant to today's neutered labour movement. A gripping tale and informative historical corrective, Christie’s book jumps out of history with lessons for contemporary organizations and individuals struggling for social and economic change. ‘At last. A serious examination of the legendary FAI. And hence, by necessity, a history and analysis of the organised anarchist movement in Spain, and its relationship with the wider labor movement. By far the best book on the subject, Christie is ruthless in his examination — from an anarchist perspective - of the theory, and practice of this loose-knit group of anarchist militants. Required reading for everyone who not only wants to understand the history of Spanish anarchism, but for those that might want to see some viable form of anarchist organisation in the 21st century.’
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THE SPANISH LABYRINTH An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Civil War
THE SPANISH LABYRINTH An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Civil War
Written during the Spanish Civil War, published in 1943, revised in 1950 and republished in paperback in1960, The Spanish Labyrinth assesses the social and political background of the war, not the war itself. Brenan—a middle class, liberal, Anglo-Irish expatriate who lived in Spain from 1919 until 1936, returning in 1953 — wrote comprehensively about the political and religious divisions in Spain from the 16th to the 20th centuries: the church, the tensions with Liberalism, the ‘patria chica’ and the main autonomous regions, Carlism, industrialisation, the agrarian question, communal life, the Republic, the Constituent Cortes, class struggle, etc. — not forgetting the important role of anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism in Spanish politics. And although his attitude to the Spanish anarchist-anarcho-syndicalist movement and working class in general is patronising and condescending, it is to an extent understandable given his middle-class upbringing, prejudices and friendship circles. Brenan swallowed, uncritically, contemporary hysterical, calumnious and propagandistic accounts of ‘irresponsible’, ‘ruthless’ and ‘typical’ acts of mass terrorism allegedly “carried out by the Durruti column in Aragón, and by the militia in Madrid on their way to the front”. Describing them as “the counterpart of the September Massacres of 1792”, he goes on to compare Durruti to the fanatical ultra-Catholic Carlist general Ramón Cabrera, and refers to the F.A.I. (Iberian Anarchist Federation) as a ‘secret society’, which it most definitely was not (see my “We, the anarchists. A study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937”). He also states as fact (and without adducing any evidence) that the advent of the FAI brought with it an increasingly noticeable trend in Spanish anarchism: “the inclusion within its ranks of professional criminals — thieves and gunmen who certainly would not have been accepted by any other working class party — together with idealists of the purest and most selfless kind.” In spite of Brenan’s shortcomings as an historian and his ambivalence toward the Spanish anarchist movement, as a personal insight The Spanish Labyrinth remains a highly readable, comprehensive and valuable account of social and political life in Spain in the years leading up to the Civil War.
Price: £1.50
THE GREAT DECEPTION. How Parliamentary Democracy Duped the Workers,
THE GREAT DECEPTION. How Parliamentary Democracy Duped the Workers,
‘An elegantly argued and searing indictment of the economic and sociological background of the British political system of “representative” democracy in general, and parliamentary socialism in particular. The first hundred pages or so examine the evolution of the British Conservative Party over the past two centuries; the remaining four-fifths of the book focuses on the British Labour Party and how it corrupted the socialist ideal. An important and challenging book that should be read by ANYONE interested in politics, especially those who put their faith in the “Labour Movement”’ — Stuart Christie A hundred years or so ago socialist thinking, in tune with the rising tide of labour protest, presented a serious challenge to the capitalist hegemony. However much they differed over ultimate objectives and how to reach them, the socialists of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were at one in their conviction that possessive, individualistic, capitalism would have to be overcome to establish a just, equitable and sane society. They were equally certain that the huge advance in productive capacity which capitalism had helped to bring about, by proving that poverty could be abolished, had made such a transformation possible, immediately or at least within the near future.
Price: £1.50
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 Posted by at 1:33 pm