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, 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.
Translated extracts from the memoirs of Luis Andrés Edo, an anarchist activist whose life was dedicated to the ‘Idea’ and the struggle for liberty. Throughout his life Luis Andrés Edo remained always both an untiring activist and an intellectual dynamo of the international libertarian movement, constantly provoking thought and developing new anti-authoritarian ideas. His was the voice — the conscience if you like — of what he was proud to call ‘the Apache sector’, defending the anarchist principles of the CNT and fighting untiringly for the restoration of the union’s property and assets seized by the Francoists in 1939, and for justice for the victims of Francoism, particularly the cases of Delgado and Granado the two young anarchists garrotted in 1963 for a crime of which they were innocent. And for at least two generations of young Spanish anarchists who came into contact with him, Luis Andrés Edo was undoubtedly the inspirational role model of the post-Francoist era. From the 1950s until his death in 2009, Edo was to the libertarian movement what Jean Moulin was to the French Resistance. We have only translated four chapters, but should our financial circumstance improve we’ll translate the whole book — a unique and compelling insight into the activities (and shortcomings) of the CNT-in-exile and the wider Spanish Libertarian Movement (MLE). Continue reading »
COMING SOON: ‘LA NUEVE’ — 24 August 1944. The Spanish Republicans who liberated Paris by Evelyn Mesquida. Preface by Jorge Semprún and afterword by General Michel Roquejeoffre. £12.00/ €16.00 / $19.00 (+ p+p). Publication date: 5 January 2015. Limited print edition of 100 copies so advance orders (cheque, cash or Paypal, to firstname.lastname@example.org) are essential. Hopefully copies should be available before Xmas.
Officers, NCOs and soldiers of the 9th Company of the 3rd March Regiment of Chad, ‘La Nueve’. First row, l-r: Martín Bernal, Antonio Gualda, Bullosa, Zubierta, Domínguez ‘el Extremeño’, José Cortés, Domínguez ‘el Valencia’, Blanco, Lt. Campos ‘el Canario’, Amado Granell, Sarasqueta, Captain Dronne, Montoya, Federico Moreno, Salvador, Antonio. Others include: Lozano, Pradas, Pedro Castillo, LLorden, Juán Molina, Delgado, Elías, Escudero, Royo, Antonio Curto, Felipe Rodríguez ‘el Feo’, Antonio Sanchez, Salinas, Anarés Carayón, Juán Fuentes, Ginés Martinez ‘el Gallego’, Valero ‘el Sevilla’, Gutiérrez, Fernando Moreno, Antonio Muela, Vazquez, Hernández, Jordi Gomis, Luís Morales, Andrés Castillo, Santi, Liébana, Antonio Navarro ‘Carapalo’, Abenza, Baños, Pablo Cañero ‘el Murciano’, Llesta, Clarasó, Floreal, Jacinto Paniagua y Fábregas. A number of the men chose not to appear in the official photograph citing their past activities and possible future involvement in clandestine anti-Francoist activities. Lt. Campos, for example, and his other anarchist comrades of ‘La Nueve’ set up arms and materiel caches for the urban and rural guerrillas of the Defence Commission of the Spanish Libertarian Movement (MLE) in exile.
They are the heroes from a hidden page of history, the soldiers of ‘La Nueve’, No 9 company of General Leclerc’s renowned 2nd Armoured Division (DB). According to the history books, the liberation of Paris began on 25 August 1944 when General Leclerc’s 2e Division Blindée (2e DB) entered the city via the Porte d’Orléans. In fact, Leclerc began the push earlier, on 24 August, when he ordered Captain Dronne, commander of No 9 Company, to enter Paris without delay. Dronne thrust towards the city centre via the Porte d’Italie at the head of two sections from No 9 Company, better known as ‘La Nueve’.
The first vehicle from ‘La Nueve’ reached the Place d l’Hôtel de Ville on 24 August 1944 shortly after 8.00 p.m., “German time”. Amado Granell – Paris’s very first liberator! – climbed down from his half-track to be greeted inside the city hall by Georges Bidault, president of the National Resistance Council, Jean Moulin’s successor. Granell, like 146 out of the ‘La Nueve’s’ 160 men, was a Spanish republican!
The Battle of Paris cost the 2nd Armoured Division the lives of 71 men and 225 wounded. Material losses included 35 tanks, six self-propelled guns, and 111 vehicles.
On 26 August, General De Gaulle strode down the Champs Élysées accompanied by four vehicles from ‘La Nueve’ acting as his escort and protection detail. The procession was led by Amado Granell and his armoured car.
Survivors of the Spanish Revolution and the civil war against Franco, having enlisted in the Free French army, the Spaniards of ‘La Nueve’ — anarchists, socialists, communists and republicans — went on to liberate Alsace and Lorraine and continued fighting relentlessly into Germany as far as the Nazi heartland in the Obersalzberg in the Bavarian Alps. Of the 146 men who landed in Normandy, only 16 survived to be the first to enter Hitler’s Berchtesgaden Eagle’s Nest.
Evelyn Mesquida has done justice to these heroes of freedom, honouring the pledge she made to the survivors. Journalist and writer Evelyn Mesquida, is honorary chair of the Foreign Press Association in Paris and vice-chair of the European Press Club. She is the author of La Mémoire entre silence et l’oubli. Les soldats oubliés de la libération de Paris (Presses de l’université de Laval, Québec, 2006) and of Sorties de guerre des hommes de ‘la Nueve’ (Presses universitaires de Rennes, 2008)
Among the feverishly active workers at the River Rouge Plant, there were always a number of conspicuously idle men. Muscular hulking fellows, with broken noses, cauliflower ears and scarred faces, they sauntered up and down the busy assembly lines, stood beside the doorways to the various shops, and hovered near the gates leading into the plant. They were members of the Service Department’s strong-arm unit. Ford workers called them “Bennett’s pets.”
Ford has directly created and distributed more wealth than any other man since the beginning of time. None of his wealth and consequent employment was at the expense of any one or anything.
From “Way to Wealth, an article by Samuel Crowther published in the Saturday Evening Post on May 17, 1930.
Maybe we were endowed by our creator
With certain inalienable rights including
The right to assemble in peace and petition . . ..
Maybe God Almighty wrote it out
We could shoot off our mouths where we pleased
and with what and no Thank-yous
But try it at River Rouge with the Ford militia.
Try it if Mister Ford’s opinions are otherwise.
Try it and see where you land with your back broken . . .
From Land of the Free, by Archibald MacLeish
“We’ll never recognize the United Automobile Workers or any other union,” declared Henry Ford after all other leading auto manufacturers had signed contracts with the UAW. “Labor unions are the worst thing that ever struck the earth.”
No other American industrialist had waged so ruthlessly effective a fight as Henry Ford against trade unions; and the passage of the Wagner Labor Act had by no means diminished his determination to see that his employees remained unorganized. Ford had long regarded himself as above the laws of the land.
In the three and a half decades that had elapsed since Ford first experimented in an empty stable in Detroit with a strange looking contraption resembling a large perambulator with a motor in the back, the once obscure mechanic had become one of the richest and most powerful men in the world.
“We see no reflection in any way in the employment of detectives,” an attorney representing the Michigan Manufacturers Association told the members of the Senate Civil Liberties Committee in 1937. “‘Detective’ and ‘spy’ are two names that are used in a derogatory sense, but even a spy has a necessary place in time of war.”
In the war against trade unionism in America, labor espionage had long been regarded by big business as a weapon of vital importance. For more than half a century, secret battalions of professional labor spies, detectives, agents-provocateurs and paid informers had been waging clandestine warfare against the labor movement. But it was not until the advent of the New Deal, and the outmoding of the crude strikebreaking tactics of the Bergoff era, that labor espionage operations reached their peak offensive.
1935: Edward Levinson was the New York Post’s Labour Editor
Chapter IX 1. Force and Violence
It is one of our proudest boasts that the American working class has, generally speaking, the highest standard of living of any working class in the world. How did our workingmen achieve this position? Only through struggle, intense struggle against bitter opposition, and especially through the struggle of organized labour. — From a speech by Rockwell Kent, September 1948
Those who call for violence against radicals, strikers and Negroes go scot-free. Not a conviction, not a prosecution in fifteen years . . .. But the reactionaries not only incite violence; they practice it … It is plain . . . that those who defend majority prejudice or property rights may not only advocate but practice violence against their enemies without fear of prosecution. — American Civil Liberties Union Report, 1936
In his first inaugural address, President Roosevelt had promised action; and action there was, from the start— bold, hectic, intense, electrifying and sometimes confused and confusing action, action on a scale never before witnessed by the American people.
Within his first ten days in office, Roosevelt called Congress into special session, and demanded and received special emergency powers — seventy-five distinct grants of sweeping power— such as no peacetime president had ever had. He decreed a national bank holiday; drafted the National Economy Act; prohibited the export of gold and all dealing in foreign exchange; slashed Federal expenses; asked Congress to legalize beer; reopened the banks; and, as the opening week of his Administration ended, addressed the nation in the first of his famous, informal and warmly intimate Fireside Chats.
“A great man is great not because his personal qualities give individual features to great historical events, but because he possesses qualities which make him most capable of serving the great social needs of his time. A great man is precisely a beginner because he sees further than others, and desires things more strongly than others. … he points to the new social needs created by the preceding development of social relationships; he takes the initiative in satisfying these needs. He is a hero. But he is not a hero in the sense that he can stop, or change, the natural course of things, but in the sense that his activities are the conscious and free expression of this inevitable and unconscious course.”
From George Plekhanov’s essay, The Role of the Individual in History, published in 1898,
“My anchor is democracy— and more democracy.” President Franklin D. Roosevelt August 18, 1937.
During the second week of May, 1932, two hundred unemployed World War veterans in Portland, Oregon, hastily packed together a few of their meagre belongings and set out on a 3,000-mile trans-continental journey to Washington, D.C. “to petition Congress for the immediate payment of veterans bonuses.” Their departure heralded the beginning of one of the most extraordinary, spontaneous popular demonstrations in American history: the Veterans March on Washington . . .
After two-and-a-half grim years of joblessness and destitution, the smouldering resentment of American ex-servicemen had flared into a nationwide demand that Congress enact legislation providing for immediate payment of funds still due on veterans’ bonus certificates.1
With the scheduled adjournment of Congress only a few weeks away, the veterans began converging on Washington to present their “petition on boots.”