May 212014

ChevronVenIntroduction: Why a report about Chevron in Venezuela?

May 21st is the day various social movements from around the world have chosen to stage a planetary day of action against Chevron. The objective is to demand that the United States- based oil company modifies its practices and admits responsibility for the serious crimes it has committed all over the planet during its history.

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Feb 272014

Antonio Castro (Fidel’s son): international golf champion, Habanero mover and shaker, and champion of the Castroite Cuban ‘buro-bourgeoisie’ and bon-viveurs…

CL28    Mais où sont les neiges d’antan?  After rejecting calls for a ‘more rapid move toward the implementation of Socialism’, Raúl Castro announced (in January) the inauguration of the Mariel ‘Special Development Zone’, a commercial/industrial business zone in which the now mature Cuban ruling class (men such as Castro’s son Antonio Castro) can invite foreign entrepreneurs, rentier capitalists and bankers to invest in Cuba. Presumably with the aim of building capitalism in one country …


Jan 032014

ThreeJapAnsKotuko, Osugi y Yamaga: tres anarquistas Japoneses by Victor García (in Spanish). ISBN 978-1-873976-68-5. First published in September 1975 by ‘Ruta’, Venezuela. This eBook (Kindle edition) is published by ChristieBooks in conjunction with the Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne and Acracia Publications —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £1.87/€2.25/$3.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

UK : £1.87 ; USA : $3.00 ; Germany : €2.25 ; France :  €2.25 ; Spain:  €2.25 ; Italy:  €2.25 ; Japan: ¥ 316 ; India: R186.00 : Canada: CDN$ 3.21 ; Brazil: R$7.01 ; Mexico: $39.17 ; Australia: $3.38

In his 1975 work the late Víctor García (as editor of the anarchist youth (FIJL) paper Ruta) profiled three important Japanese libertarians whose struggles took place during what might be described as the heroic age of the organised anarchist movement in Japan (1903-1937). It was a period in which many of them died challenging the cruel and despotic Mikado regime.

The three freedom fighters he selected from this period were: Denjiro Kotoku, Sakai Osugi and Taiji Yamaga, chronologically placed at the beginning, middle and the end of that heroic time frame in order to give Westerners some insight into the anarchist movement in Japan.


Caracas, Venezuela, 1960: Victor García (left) and Octavio Alberola

Víctor García, considered by some to be the Marco Polo of the international anarchist movement (because of his extensive travels), visited Japan in 1957 and again in 1974. During his first visit he was welcomed by the last of the anarchist biographees — Taiji Yamaga — with whom he spent three months travelling to many cities and towns in the archipelago (except Hokkaido) being presented to most of the survivors of the Japanese libertarian movement. On his second visit in 1957, Víctor García interviewed more old and new militants to glean the material for the present work and for his more substantial (600+ pages) study of Japanese anarchism, ‘Museifushugi’, which was translated by Paul Sharkey and edited, substantially expanded and enhanced by ‘Wat Tyler’, an English teacher — a comrade —living in Osaka. ‘Museifushugi’ was originally scheduled for publication in 1981 by Cienfuegos Press but had to be scrapped when the printer ‘lost’ the corrected galleys in a fire — and refused to re-set the book. Fortunately, we have recently salvaged the corrected text and it is currently being re-proofed and further updated by Wat Tyler, Victor Garcia’s joint author and original English-language editor. It should be available in Kindle format sometime later this year.


Left to right: Denjiro Kotoku, Sakae Osugi, Taiji Yamaga, and Taiji Yamaga with Victor Garcia (pseudonym of Tomás Germinal Gracia Ibars, a founder of the Catalan Libertarian Youth – JJLL – and one of the most prolific writer/activists of the Spanish anarchist movement)

Dec 142013

Los Manoscover2LOS MAÑOS: ANATOMY OF AN ACTION GROUP by Freddy Gómez with Mariano Aguayo Morán — interviewed in September 1976 and translated by Paul Sharkey. Appendix: Mariano Aguayo Morán — interviewed on 18 February 1992 by Antonio Téllez about the formation of the Los Maños group; also translated by Paul Sharkey. ISBN 978-1-873976-67-8. Published in 2013 by ChristieBooks —  Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £1.88/€2.26/$3.00  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

UK : £1.88 ; USA : $3.00 ; Germany : €2.26 ; France :  €2.26 ; Spain:  €2.26 ; Italy:  €2.26 ; Japan: ¥ 309 ; India: R184.00 : Canada: CDN$ 3.19 ; Brazil: R$7.00 ; Mexico: $38.00; Australia: $3.30

In 1945 Mariano Aguayo Morán (1922 -1994) who had been active in a small group of anarchists and socialists, took up the armed struggle against Franco. Imprisoned for a few months in 1948, he moved to Barcelona in February 1949 and joined the Los Maños anarchist action group (maño being a slang term for natives of Aragon) led by Wenceslao Giménez Orive “Wences” and “Jimeno”, Simón Gracia Fleringan, Plácido Ortiz, Salgado, D. G. M., “Rodolfo”, César Saborit Carrelero and the traitor Aniceto Pardillo Manzanero. On March 2 1949, in Barcelona, Wences, José López Penedo, Carlos Vidal Pasanau together with Francisco and José Sabaté Llopart, ambushed what they believed to be the car of Eduardo Quintela, head of the Francoist secret police (Brigada Politico Social – BPS) in Catalonia; they killed, instead, the secretary of the Falangist Youth Front, Manuel Piñol and his driver. Subsequently the group carried out a string of armed robberies in Madrid, Malaga, Seville and in France in order to fund an attempt on the life of Franco as he drove to his residence at the royal palace on Mount Pardo. A few months later they made a second, equally unsuccessful, attempt to blow up Franco’s convoy as it made its way up the steep winding road at La Cuesta de la Muela between Zaragoza and Madrid. Following their return to Barcelona on 2 January 1950 the group was betrayed by a disaffected member, Aniceto Pardillo Manzanero (The Kid), and most were arrested on 9 January, shortly after Wences took poison and killed himself when he was shot and wounded in a police trap. Simón Gracia Fleringan was executed in Barcelona by firing squad on December 24 1950 together with  Victoriano Muñoz Tresserras and Plácido Ortiz Gratal. Their bodies were thrown into a common, unmarked, grave. Mariano Aguayo was fortunate to have been in Paris when the group was betrayed in Barcelona.

Mariano Aguayo 1

Mariano Aguayo Morán

This interview with Mariano Aguayo Morán, in September 1976, provided an opportunity to get to grips with the history of the libertarian anti-Franco resistance in the crucial years after the war (1946-1950), the Second World War having inspired high but ultimately disappointed hopes at a time when, after the Nazi and Italian fascist regimes had been defeated, the Franco regime looked likely to be next in line to fall. The ‘Los Maños’ group, which grew out of the close friendship between two young men from the working class El Arrabal district of Zaragoza, was soon wedded to the cause of anarchist activism and drawn into the nebulous libertarian resistance of which Quico Sabaté (1915-1960) and José Luis Facerias (1920-1957) were then the two emblematic representatives.

The main purpose behind this interview is not to extoll the praises of the shadow warriors from those times, but to learn from the story of the ‘Los Maños’ group, as told by one of its protagonists, of the difficult circumstances in which such resistance occurred, and understand the problems with which it had to grapple. There, to our way of thinking, is where its morsel of human truth resides.

Freddy Gómez

May 212013

Flavio Costantini: self portrait. Tempera, 1980

Sad news today: after a month’s deterioration in his health, Flavio Costantini, graphic artist and friend of 40-years, passed away peacefully in a Rapallo hospice on Monday 20 September. His wife, Wanda, and other close family members and friends were at his bedside. Flavio had lung cancer for some time; the seriousness of his condition, however, was known only to himself and Wanda — until near the end, which came sooner than everyone expected. He leaves cheery memories, and the world — artistically at least, with his visually thought-provoking images — a richer place …

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Dec 042012

December 2012

Dear Mr. President Obama: I wrote the following letter when you were first elected, but it looks as if it got filed away in one of your bureaucrats’ drawers. As the subject remains unresolved I write to you again with the same stress and feelings as the previous letter. I hope this time you take on board the extradition issue and return to Bolivians the trust in justice which you have preached and which I hope is not only paying lip service or electoral campaign point.

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Nov 102012

Camilo Cienfuegos (February 6, 1932 – October 28, 1959)


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CUBA libertaria n° 27 del GALSIC (Grupo de Apoyo a los libertarios y sindicalistas independientes de Cuba), en el que, bajo el título común “Cuba: ¿qué democracia?” se pueden leer una serie de artículos y comentarios en torno al debate que se ha abierto en Cuba sobre el devenir de la “democracia” tras la divulgación de un documento (1), elaborado por un grupo de las más variadas tendencias políticas de la oposición, demandando “un diálogo nacional, abierto, transparente, pluralista y sin condiciones para poder acometer constructivamente el desafío que nos presenta la actual crisis”.

“Un documento que ha tenido la virtud de abrir el debate entre, por lo menos, los más activos representantes de esta oposición tan heterogénea que comienza a manifestarse de más en más abiertamente en la isla; pero que también ha puesto de manifiesto discrepancias fundamentales en su seno. Pues si bien todos coinciden en la urgente necesidad de la descentralización y desburocratización de la vida política del país en manos de la minoría que ocupa los principales cargos del Partido y del Estado, no todos están de acuerdo en cómo hacer posibles esos deseos y hasta dónde debe llegar la democratización… Discrepancias que han suscitado polémicas que nos parecen deben ser conocidas por nuestros lectores. De ahí que reproduzcamos las puntualizaciones, sobre este documento, de un compañero libertario que no lo firmó, así como un resumen de los comentarios que tales puntualizaciones provocaron y una serie de enlaces a textos exponiendo las diferentes sensibilidades que se han ido manifestando en este debate”.

Además de estos materiales del debate que se desarrolla al margen de la parodia del “debate público” sobre el “perfeccionamiento del socialismo” “abierto” por Raúl Castro ante la evidencia de que el país se encuentra al borde del “precipicio” (2), este número incluye un artículo sobre el delito de opinión en la reciente Reforma Migratoria y otro sobre el funcionamiento de Internet en la isla.

(1) Llamamiento urgente por una Cuba mejor y posible

(2) “O rectificamos o ya se acabó el tiempo de seguir bordeando el precipicio, nos hundimos y hundiremos, como dijimos con anterioridad, el esfuerzo de generaciones enteras…” – Raúl Castro Ruz, Palacio de las Convenciones, 18 de diciembre de 2011.

Nov 032012

Agustín García Calvo (Zamora, Spain, Oct. 15, 1926 — Zamora, Spain, 1 Nov. 2012)

Agustín García Calvo, Paris, Belleville, 2002 (portrait by Ariane Gransac)

Philologist, philosopher, writer, lifelong rebel, revolutionary and comrade, Agustín García Calvo was expelled by the Francoist authorities from his chair of Classical Languages at Madrid University for his support of the nascent student anti-Francoist movement in 1964-1965. In 1967 he was, perhaps, the leading light in the formation of the ‘Acratas’, an important Spanish anarchist student grouping that was part of the Europe-wide radical and revolutionary movement of the time. Nor did Garcia Calvo confine himself to the role of thinker, speaker and writer — he was also an activist prepared to put himself on the line. In the early 1970s he was an important liaison between the ‘Angry Brigade’, the ‘First of May Group’ (Grupo Primero de Mayo) and other European anti-Francoist/anti-capitalist action groups operating at the time and in this role was investigated as a ‘revolutionary facilitator’ by both the Metropolitan Police Special Branch (as it then was) and the French Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire (DST). In 1971 our imprint ‘Simian’ published his reflections and speculations on the nature of the 1960s/’70s’ student revolt under the title ‘On How The Student Movement Is Re-Absorbed’ (original title ‘De los modos de integración del pronunciamento estudantil’).  (A fuller appreciation by Octavio Alberola follows)

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Aug 132012

The British Council and the Edinburgh Writers Conference

On a recent Sunday the Herald had a twenty page full colour supplement in association with the Scottish Tourist Board. Stories from the land that inspired Disney Pixar’s Brave. That’s us. The land “Where Legends Come to Life”. People wonder why we get irritated occasionally. It isn’t to do with the movie itself. I havent even seen it. The storyline involves loveable indigenous aristocrats, which is familiar: the kind of shite favoured by Scottish politicians, cuddly comedians and cuddly actors, cuddly rockstar rebels, millionaire sportstars and, of course, the cuddly ruling elite. This particular movie has a royal daughter hero rather than a royal son, which appeals to some as a blow for female emancipation, apparently.

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