Sep 302013
 
Ada Marti

ADA MARTÍ (1915-1960)

Maria de la Concepción Martí Fuster, better known as Ada Martí, was born into a middle class family in Barcelona on 1 July 1915. She became an anarchist, a highly cultivated intellectual and a writer of great fluency in Spanish and Catalan. A university graduate, leader of the Federación Estudiantil de Conciencias Libres (Student Free Thought Federation), and active in the Mujeres Libres, she impressed and charmed the youngsters of her generation with her beauty, intelligence, wide reading, educated conversation, intellectual passion, her flowing dark hair and white clothing.

During the fighting in October 1934 she was wounded alongside Jaume Compte defending the CADCI building. Well versed in — and could quote from — Kierkegaard, Unamuno, Freud, Reich, Romain Rolland, Gide and Rabelais … she corresponded with Pio Baroja whom she regarded as her mentor. In April 1936 (and again in October) she published two stories in the ‘Novela Ideal’ series published under the auspices of the Revista Blanca.

Continue reading »

Apr 252013
 

The Life, Trial and Death of Francisco Ferrer GuardiaWilliam Archer (Edited and Introduced by Dave Poole) (ISBN 978-1-873976-02-9),  £2.71  ChristieBooks. PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN341ZS. First published in 1977 by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney, This fully revised ChristieBooks (Kindle eBook) edition published 2013. READ INSIDE!

UK : £2.71 ; USA : $4.13 ; Germany : €3,15 ; France €3,15 ; Spain €3,15 ; Italy :  €3,15 ; Japan : ¥ 398 ; Canada : CDN$ 4.11 ; Brazil : R$ 8,04

FerrerMontjuich

Francisco Ferrer y Guardia (1859 –1909), anarchist, internationally renowned educationalist and founder of the rationalist ‘Modern School’ (La Escuela Moderna), was arrested in September 1909 in the wake of the popular and violent protests in Catalonia against Spain’s highly unpopular war against Moroccan tribesmen. The events of that week in July 1909 came to be known as the ‘Tragic Week’ (La Semana Tragica) for which the Spanish government and Catholic Church selected their most hated enemy, Francisco Ferrer, as the scapegoat — ‘the author in chief of the popular rebellion”. Within a month he had faced a mock military trial – a drumhead court martial – and on October 13 he was escorted to the ‘ditch of many sighs’ in Montjuich Castle and executed by a firing squad.

FerrerCover2This account of the life and death of Francisco Ferrer Guardia (now available as a Kindle volume) was written by William Archer for the October and November issues of McClure’s Magazine for 1910. Archer, a freelance journalist, had been commissioned by the magazine editor to go to Spain to find new material on the Ferrer case, as public interest in the affair had been revived. During his stay in Spain, Archer was able to interview Ferrer’s family and friends, as well as his opponents. He was also able to consult the many new books on the Tragic Week that had, at the time, just been published, and the official trial report, Juicio Ordinario Seguido … contra Francisco Ferrer Guardia. It is therefore to Archer’s credit, that on his return from Spain, he was able to write a very fine and well-documented article.

Continue reading »

Jan 312013
 

MillysmallMilly Witkop-Rocker (March 3, 1877 – November 23, 1955) by Rudolf Rocker. This 1956 tribute to his life-partner, Milly Witkop, by Rudolph Rocker was handset with the Kennerley and Hadriang types, designed by Frederick W. Goudy & printed on superfine text paper at the Oriole Press by Joseph Ishill, Berkley Heights, New Jersey.  The frontispiece illustration is a crayon drawing by her son, Fermin Rocker. Republished 1981 by Cienfuegos Press, Over the Water, Sanday, Orkney, UK, and Soil of Liberty, Minneapolis, Minnesota. KOBO eBook £1.00

Milly Witkop was born Vitkopski in the Ukrainian shtetl of Zlatopol to a Jewish Ukrainian-Russian family as the oldest of four sisters. The youngest of the four, Rose, was also a well-known anarchist. In 1894, Witkop left the Ukraine for London where she worked in a tailoring sweatshop saving enough money to finance her parents’ and sisters’ passage to England, and it was her involvement in a bakers’ strike that led her to become involved with the group around the Jewish anarchist newspaper Arbayter Fraynd. In 1895, she met Rudolf Rocker in the course of her political work and, in May 1898, Rocker invited her to accompany him to New York, where he hoped to find employment. The two were, however, not admitted to the country, because they refused to marry legally and were returned to the United Kingdom on the same ship that had taken them to the United States.

Continue reading »

Dec 152011
 

Francisco Ponzán Vidal, The Anarchist Pimpernel (b. Oviedo, 1911- d. Buzet sur Tarn, 17 August 1944)

Around 6:30 pm on 17 August 1944 a number of trucks carrying some 50 prisoners left Saint-Michel prison in Toulouse heading northwest along the Albi road. Half an hour or so later, people living on the outskirts of the village of Buzet-sur-Tarn (Haute Garonne) saw a caravan of German military vehicles with an accompanying Gestapo touring car turn off the road and drive up a track into a wood. Shortly afterwards they heard shouts and the sounds of automatic gunfire and rifle shots coming from the woods. The shooting continued for 45 minutes. Some time later the vehicles emerged and returned in the direction of Toulouse. Two days later, informed by local residents, the authorities from Buzet-sur-Tarn visited the woods where they discovered the site of a chilling massacre. Beneath a still smouldering funeral pyre — and the debris of two burned-out barns, of which only smoke-blackened side walls bearing the pockmarks of bullets remained standing — they found what the carbonized remains of the 50 prisoners, all members of the Resistance. Among the blackened corpses was that of Francisco Ponzán Vidal, a lifelong Spanish anarchist and CNT union militant, one of countless unsung heroes of the Spanish Civil War and the anti-Francoist and anti-Nazi/Vichy resistance.

Founder and organiser of the escape and evasion lines used by the ‘Pat O’Leary’ and ‘Sabot’ networks, the French security services (Travaux Ruraux), and local French Resistance organisations, from 1940 to 1943, Francisco Ponzán Vidal’s group, consisting mainly of Spanish anarchist exiles, saved the lives of hundreds if not thousands of resistance fighters, evadees and escaped prisoners of war. Between January 1942 and April 1943 (when he was arrested by the Vichy milice), Ponzán’s records, consisting of two notebooks, list the names, dates and some photographs of 311 Allied evaders who successfully escaped to Spain and Gibraltar through his network. The names in the books include those of Lt. Airey Neave (the later MI9 officer and Thatcherite Tory MP), and RAF sergeant John Prendergast (later Sir John, colonial police chief — Kenya, Cyprus and Aden — and head of the Royal Hong Kong Police Special Branch). Among other successful evaders Ponzán’s anarchist network helped to make it back to Britain included Bill Sparks (my wife’s cousin’s brother) and major ‘Blondie’ Hasler, the sole survivors of ‘Operation Frankton’, the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ Royal Marine commando raid on German ships in Bordeaux harbour.

Continue reading »

Jul 032011
 

Jorge Semprún (2010) Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Jorge Semprún Maura, political activist and writer, born 10 December 1923; died 7 June 2011)

How shall we remember Jorge Semprún, the writer and political figure who died on June 7, just before the seventy-fifth anniversary of the event that, more than any other, including his imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp, would define his life? I refer to the approach of July 17, 2011, which will mark the date in 1936 when Francisco Franco and his cohort of military officers rose against the second Spanish Republic. The ensuing three-year “Spanish civil war,” as most refer to it, and the distinct but coterminous “Spanish Revolution,” in the idiom of others, affected numerous prominent intellectuals, as well as millions of ordinary people in the twentieth century, many of who were much younger than Semprún and shared few of his direct experiences.

Continue reading »

Dec 292010
 

Giuseppe Pinelli (1928 - 15 December 1969)

Pinelli and the Piazza Fontana – Italy’s Cold War

It all began in the spring of 1969, with the “anarchist” bombs of 25 April, but it really took off on 12 December with bombs exploding in a bank in Milan’s Piazza Fontana killing 17 people, and injuring 88. According to the police and the official media these were “anarchist” bombs, as were those that later exploded on trains and in public squares in Bologna, in Brescia, on trains in tunnels, and other Italian cities. From day one the anarchists stated that these were not anarchist bombs, they were “state massacres”, part of a strategy of tension intended to prevent the Italian Communist Party from participating in government. A Rivista Anarchica, an investigative journal founded in early 1971 to expose the truth about the strategy of tension, published a number of articles over the years on the subject, as did its sister journal Libertaria, some of which  are republished here. With the Berlusconi government in serious trouble is it possible that a new ‘strategy of tension’ is under way?

State coup: interview with Guido Salvini; Assassination? No – active illness!; The funeral of Pinelli by Franco Fortini; The anarchist thrown from a window by Paolo Finzi; The window-inspector by Patrizio Biagi; Forty years after the mother of all massacres; A conversation with aunt Rachele and the lawyer Guido Calvi by Antonella Schroeder and A.B; On the walls – picture/graphic research by Roberto Gimm; The state v. Pietro Valpreda by A. B.; Those years are still with us by Giulio D’Errico, Martino Iniziato and Fabio Vercilo; My friendship with Pino by Lorenzo Pezzica; Two 22 March members by Giulio D’Errico, Martino Iniziato, Fabio Vercilli and Matteo Villa; That day with Valpreda by Giulio D’Errico; The Ponte della Ghisolfa/Crocenera group by Giulio D’Errico; Days of bombs and trials (from 1969 to 2005)

BOOK (ISSUU) Stefano delle Chiaie. Portrait of a “Black” terrorist

FILMS: Gladio 1 – The Ringmasters; Gladio 2 The Puppeteers; Gladio 3 – The Footsoldiers; L’Orchestre Noir; Nella Citta Perduta di Sarzana; Piazza Fontana – 12 December 1969; Il Filo della memoria Giuseppe Pinelli; S’era tutti sovversivi – a Franco Serantini; Storia – Strage di Stato – Three hypotheses on the death of Pinelli

Nov 302010
 

Noam Chomsky’s Memorial Day lecture (31 May 2010) at New York’s Left Forum. He began by discussing the case of Joseph Andrew Stack, who crashed his small plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, hitting an IRS office, committing suicide:

NOAM CHOMSKY: One month ago, Joseph Andrew Stack crashed his small plane into an office building in Austin, Texas, hitting an IRS office, committing suicide. He left a manifesto explaining his actions. It was mostly ridiculed, but I think it deserves a lot better than that. Stack’s manifesto traces the life history that led him to this final desperate act. The story begins when he was a teenage student living on a pittance in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, right near the heart of what was once a great industrial area. His neighbor—I’m mostly quoting now—his neighbor was a woman in her eighties, surviving on cat food, the widowed wife of a retired steel worker. Her husband had worked all his life in the steel mills of central Pennsylvania with promises from big business and the union that, for the thirty years of his service, he would have a pension and medical care to look forward to in his retirement. Instead he was one of the thousands who got nothing, because the incompetent mill management and corrupt union, not to mention the government, raided the pension funds and stole their retirement. All she had was Social Security to live on. And Stack could have added that are concerted and continuing efforts by the super-rich and their political allies to take even that away on spurious grounds . .

Democracy Now! (full transcript)

Aug 232010
 

Edwin Morgan - June 2009 (Iain Clark)

I took Edwin’s portrait in June 2009. I had been trying to organise it for a while and had visited him a couple of months earlier to introduce myself and take a look at his room in the care home. He had a nice room, he was surrounded by his books and a few other possessions. He was so gentle and had a strange combination of steeliness and humour in his eyes. It seemed to me that here was a man who had lived a satisfying life and was content to see out his remaining days in peace. Iain Clark

EULOGY by George Reid, 26 August 2010, Glasgow University

IN MEMORIAM – Edwin Morgan (1920-2010) BELLA CALEDONIA

Aug 192010
 

JIMMY REID, the Glaswegian socialist and union activist who died on 10 August, was a truly inspiring orator. ‘Alienation’ or the so-called  ‘rat-race speech’  he delivered on the occasion of his inauguration as rector of Glasgow University in 1972 was compared at the time to the Gettysburg Address. It has lost little of its relevance today

“Reject the values and false morality that underlie these attitudes. A rat race is for rats. We’re not rats. We’re human beings. Reject the insidious pressures in society that would blunt your critical faculties to all that is happening around you, that would caution silence in the face of injustice lest you jeopardise your chances of promotion and self-advancement. This is how it starts, and before you know where you are, you’re a fully paid-up member of the rat-pack. The price is too high. It entails the loss of your dignity and human spirit. Or as Christ put it, “What doth it profit a man if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his soul?”

Inauguration Speech (PDF)

Aug 072010
 

RELACIÓN DE DESAPARECIDOS MUNICIPIO ARUCAS (GRAN CANARIA). (A list of the names of the ‘disappeared’ of Arucas  under Franco.)

Asociación por la Memoria Histórica de Arucas

Paseo de San Patricio, n. º 42, Trasmontaña – 35400 – Arucas – Gran Canaria

Teléfonos 928 261 764 y 928 600 968

balbinasosa@hotmail.com   PDF