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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.
Price: £1.50
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.
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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.
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FROM DEFENCE CADRES TO POPULAR MILITIAS
FROM DEFENCE CADRES TO POPULAR MILITIAS
A short history summarising the transformation of Barcelona’s CNT Defence Committees during the 1930s from their origins as street fighting units to their reorganisation as integrated combat/ intelligence formations, to their suppression by the Republic after the working class defeat of May 1937.
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THE WRITER AND REALITY. Jane Austen and Her World
THE WRITER AND REALITY. Jane Austen and Her World
One hundred and ninety nine years ago, in an English country churchyard, a lady was laid to rest who enraptures the hearts of millions around the world today. She was only forty one years old, and had never married, though her thoughts were all of girls in love with love and getting wed; and from those thoughts she spun tales which still enchant us. The world of her words has the crystallised completeness of fairytale. The actual world in which she wrote was, of course, as messy as ours. And different though it was in many ways, in two absolutely fundamental respects nothing at all has changed: the division into ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, and the careful ways in which the ‘haves’ portion out their concern for those less fortunate than them. ... And so it is in reading stories. This book is dedicated to lovers of literature who have a thought to spare for the never-enough-considered undistinguished multitude who “keep those wheels a-turnin’.” This is the book about Jane Austen that you were looking for. Without presupposing any background, it takes the reader on a fascinating intellectual journey documenting the enormous contributions Austen has made to the genre of literary fiction. Carefully crafted and beautifully written, as far as books on literature go, this is a masterpiece.
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RED YEARS, BLACK YEARS Anarchist Resistance to Fascism in Italy
RED YEARS, BLACK YEARS Anarchist Resistance to Fascism in Italy
In tthese pages we have recorded some episodes in the Italian anarchist resistance to fascism, particularly in the struggle against blackshirt gangs in the 1920s, and the armed resistance to the Nazis between 1943 and 1945. A few episodes only: We have many more accounts from comrades all over Italy than are given here. To present them all would make a much larger and more fragmented work than this. We have not attempted to write the definitive history of the Italian anarchists in these struggles. That history, which has yet to be produced, would involve a more systematic search for documents and publications, and the collection of more eyewitness accounts from those involved in the fight. What we have tried to do is to break down the wall of silence which has surrounded the anarchists' part in the fight against fascism, a fight which the Italian parliamentary parties now claim to have organised and led.
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 FACERÍAS Urban Guerrilla Warfare (1939-1957). The Libertarian Movement's Struggle against Francoism in Spain and in Exile
FACERÍAS Urban Guerrilla Warfare (1939-1957). The Libertarian Movement's Struggle against Francoism in Spain and in Exile
BARCELONA, Friday, 30 August 1957, 10:45 am. In the deserted Sant Andreu district of Barcelona, a burst of automatic gunfire crackles and, as if pushed by some mighty hand, a man on the corner of the Paseo Verdún and the Calle del Doctor Pi i Molist slumps against a low wall. A pistol appears in his hand. His eyes scan the tree-lined boulevard leading off to his right towards the Santa Cruz mental clinic, but he sees no sign of life. Suddenly, he realises he has been betrayed. Unseen assailants are shooting at him from windows overlooking the junction of the Paseo Urrutia and Calle del Doctor Pi i Molist. The first burst of gunfire shatters the man’s ankle. Further rifle shots ring out and bullets ricochet all around him . . . Facerías was born in Barcelona on 6 January 1920. When the Spanish army mutinied in July 1936, Face, a member of the Woodworkers’ Union of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and of the ‘Faros’ Libertarian Youth, promptly enlisted in the Ascaso Column (the Popular Front’s 28th Division) and joined the militia columns fighting against the fascist uprising on the Aragón front. Two and a half years later, in the last stages of the fighting in Catalonia, Facerías was taken prisoner and passed through a number of concentration camps and labour battalions. On his release, in late 1945, Face rejoined the underground CNT’s Printing Trades Union, and devoted all his spare time —and some of his working hours — to clandestine activities. From March 1946 onwards he became the driving force behind the union confederation’s Defence Groups in Barcelona’s central district. In July 1947, after a brief period of imprisonment, he formed his urban guerrilla group and launched the first of many major actions: armed robberies at the Hispano-Olivetti factory and the Spanish Credit Bank in the Calle Mallorca, a robbery which netted the union over 400,000 pesetas. Facerias believed that armed struggle was the fastest way to obtain money to support the union, its gaoled members and their desperately needy families. The published and unpublished output of the author of this book, Antonio Telléz (1921-2005), was phenomenal, covering the period from Franco’s victory on 1 April 1939 to his death on 20 November 1975 — and beyond. Telléz had one main objective: to record the lives of selfless men who refused to compromise their ideals or treat with a system they found villainous and vile, men who devoted their adult lives to freeing Spain from the last of the Axis dictators. His work has made a major contribution to the movement for the recovery of historical memory which is now playing such an important part in contemporary Spanish politics.
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RADICAL GLASGOW A skeletal sketch of Glasgow’s radical tradition
RADICAL GLASGOW A skeletal sketch of Glasgow’s radical tradition
A summary of some of the events and people that have helped to shape the Glasgow of today, a glimpse at a history that is sometimes difficult to find. The information contained in these pages has been gleaned from countless conversations, stories told, articles, pamphlets and books read over more years than I care to remember. My thanks goes to those friends, acquaintances and total strangers who over the years passed on some of these stories.
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THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR — Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship
THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR — Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship
Anarchist Noam Chomsky’s 1969 clinical dissection of historian Gabriel Jackson’s The Spanish Republic and the Civil War:1931-1939 (in American Power and the New Mandarins) which, to quote editor Barry Pateman in his Chomsky on Anarchism, “he links to the liberal ideology prevalent in America in the 1960s, an ideology that reflects ‘an antagonism to mass movements and to social change that escapes the control of privileged elites,’ which in Jackson's work reveals itself through a regular use of negative language to describe the actions of the anarchists. Chomsky, using a rich array of historical texts, brought his points to a wide audience and influenced a new generation of researchers and militants, inspiring them to probe deeper and further. In his portrayal of Jackson's work as representing contemporary American liberal thinking on Vietnam, Chomsky impressively linked past and present, making a shrewd and disturbing comment on liberalism in general. In the words of Peter Werbe: ‘As Chomsky amply and admirably demonstrates, when the major issues of an era are settled in blood, liberalism’s pretense to humane ends or means crumbles under the demands of an implacable state.’” The original essay consists of three parts. Part I, not reproduced here, deals with the Vietnam War and the influence of intellectuals and ‘advisers’ in government and public and foreign policy. The present extract, Part II, focuses on the Spanish Civil War and how the so-called objective ‘conservative, ‘moderate’ and liberal’ intelligentsia use elite ideology and bias to manipulate and mould public opinion. Part III is Chomsky’s summation and conclusion.
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 Posted by at 1:33 pm