Apr 232014
 

BelgradoCoverWe were the Rebels, We were the Marauders. Fragments of an Outlaw Autobiography. Translated by Paul Sharkey. Kindle Edition, 2014 Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles  —  READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR! UK : £1.84 ; USA : $3.00 ; Germany : €2.24 ; France :  €2.24 ; Spain:  €2.24 ; Italy:  €2.24 ; Japan: ¥ 307 ; India: R181 : Canada: CDN$ 3.31 ; Brazil: R$6.71 ; Mexico: $39.16 ; Australia: $3.21

This is the story of Belgrado Pedrini, a self-educated 18-year-old who, in the early 1930s, threw himself into the revolutionary struggle at the height of Italian fascism’s hold on the state. It is about an anarchist who took up arms against fascism long before 1943, the year of the Anglo-American landings in Sicily, of Mussolini’s brief fall from power and of the official beginnings of the Resistance. Well before the end of the truce between brown and red fascism; the red fascism that prompted the Italian Communist Party, the fiefdom of Togliatti, to urge its militants to infiltrate the vital mass structures set up by the fascists so that they might some day use them for their own purposes.

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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

Jun 012013
 

Octavio_AlberolaPensar la utopía en la acción Trazas de un anarquista heterodoxo 1950-1975 : en el exilio y en la clandestinidad 1975-2013 : en la “Transición” y la “Democracia” por Octavio Alberola Surinach. ISBN 978-1-873976-05-0, ChristieBooks, PO Box 35, Hastings, East Sussex, TN34 1ZS (Check out all Kindle editions of ChristieBooks titles) NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £2.72/€3,18 READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR! See also Spanish anarchism and Revolutionary Action

UK : £2.72 ; USA : $4.11 ; Germany : €3,18 ; France :  €3,18 ; Spain:  €3,18 ; Italy :  €3,18 ; Japan : ¥ 405 ; Canada : CDN$ 4.13 ; Brazil : R$ 8,21

UtopiacoverPara el autor, “pensar la utopía es pensar una sociedad fundada en la anarquía, porque sólo rechazando la autoridad es posible la libertad, la igualdad y la fraternidad”. Y pensarla “en la acción” es por haberlo hecho durante su exilio en México, en donde  militó socialmente y colaboró con el Movimiento 26 de Julio en la lucha contra la dictadura del general Batista en Cuba, y luego al incorporarse en 1962 a la lucha clandestina antifranquista hasta la muerte de Franco en 1975 y comenzar la llamada ‘Transición a la democracia’ que “ha culminado hoy en la regentada por los herederos del franquismo”. 

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Mar 242013
 

Ponzan1A 2004 BBC Radio 4 documentary on the role of the Spanish maquis in the French Resistance, an episode in the ‘Ramblings’ slot with excerpts of interviews with Nancy Wake, Peter Lake and Francis Cammaerts. Listen HERE

Jul 092012
 

Twenty Years in Franco’s Jails. An Anarchist In Franco’s Prisons by Juan Busquets Verges. ISBN 978-1-873976-58-6 (Kindle eBook). Prologue by Ángel Urzáiz and Introduction by Stuart Christie. Translated by Paul Sharkey (£5.98, $9.26, Eur 7,55) Kindle UK, Kindle US/Canada, Kindle Spain, Kindle France, Kindle Germany, Kindle Italy

Juan Busquets Verges, 1948

First arrested in 1944, aged 16, Juan Busquets Verges was an apprentice fitter in the Hispano Suiza factory in Barcelona, a member of the clandestine anarcho-syndicalist labour union, the CNT (Confederación Nacional Del Trabajo — and a member of the factory strike committee. In 1947 he crossed into France where he contacted the Spanish Libertarian Movement in Exile (MLE) in Toulouse, and found employment in the mines of Cransac. The following year he joined Marcelino Massana Bancells’s (‘Pancho’) anti-Francoist guerrilla group and took part in a number of operations inside Spain including, in June 1949, the dynamiting of more than 40 electricity pylons and the uprooting of a kilometre of railway lines in the vicinity of Terrasa.

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Jun 032012
 

Farquhar McHarg (the ‘Big Man’ from Govan), Céret, Pyrénées-Orientales, 1959

Autobiography is essentially an act of confession. Some people can’t bring themselves to do it; others just can’t be stopped. Sometimes what comes out is so unbelievable it’s easy to mistake it for fiction. In the case of “The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg”, you couldn’t make it up if you tried. Or could you?

Albert Meltzer introduced me to Farquhar in 1974, but the legend had already preceded him. I refrained from asking how much, if any, of it was true. What little I knew about his past seemed the sort of stuff you keep quiet about, if you want to avoid answering serious criminal charges, or stopping a bullet with your face. When Laureano Cerrada Santos was murdered in Paris two years later I expected Farquhar to be next; so did he. Farquhar furiously committed to paper his experiences of a lifetime of anarchist activism, to leave behind an explanation of things which powerful and dangerous people would much rather leave unexplained.

This is the testimony of a man drawn into clandestine struggle as a naive but idealistic teenager, who witnessed the “heroic” days, and the not so heroic days, of Spanish anarchism and survived long enough to tell the tale.

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May 272012
 

Press clippings relating to First of May Group (Grupo Primero de Mayo) actions

Spanish anarchism and revolutionary action – 1961-1974 by Octavio Alberola and Ariane Gransac with Prologue by Luis Andrés Edo, ChristieBooks (Kindle edition only – for the moment): KINDLE UK, USA, FRANCE, GERMANY, SPAIN, ITALY

This account of the role of anarchist activism in Europe between 1961 and 1974 (by two of the principal protagonists in the events they describe) was first published in Spanish and French in 1975, shortly after the authors’ release from prison following the kidnapping Francoist banker Baltasar Suárez. To this day it remains  essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the history and development of the libertarian opposition to the Franco Dictatorship subsequent to the urban and rural guerrilla tactics as practised by Sabaté, Facerías, and Caraquemada, etc. It examines the birth of the clandestine ‘Defensa Interior’ Section of the Spanish Libertarian Movement (MLE – CNT-FAI-FIJL) through to ‘The First of May Group‘ and its influence on — and links with — other European action groups of the later 1960s and early 1970s, groups such as ‘The Angry Brigade‘, the ‘Grupos Autonomos de Combate — GAC‘, 2nd June Group, the Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación — ‘MIL‘, Gruppo d’Azione Partigiano – GAP, Grupos de Acción Revolucionaria Internacional — ‘GARI‘, etc.

The authors: Ariane Gransac and Octavio Alberola, Bruges April 1968. The photo was taken soon after their release from their respective Belgian prisons. Ariane had been subsequently expelled but had returned clandestinely with other comrades to meet with Octavio.

The story begins in late 1961 with the creation of Sección DEFENSA INTERIOR (DI), the clandestine planning and action organisation set up at the Limoges Congress in France by the Defence Commission of the recently reunited three wings of the exiled Spanish libertarian movement (MLE — Movimiento Libertario Español) — the CNT, the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist trade union; the FAI, the Iberian Anarchist Federation, and the FIJL, the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth. One of the DI’s principal objectives was to organise and carry out attempts on the life of General Franco. Its other role was to generate examples of resistance by means of propaganda by deed. The DI’s short-term objectives were: to remind the world, unremittingly, that Franco’s brutal and repressive dictatorship had not only survived WWII but was now flourishing through tourism and US financial and diplomatic support; to provide solidarity for those continuining the struggle within Spain; to polarise public opinion and focus attention on the plight of the steadily increasing number of political prisoners in Franco’s jails; to interrupt the conduct of Francoist commercial and diplomatic life; undermine its financial basis — tourism; to take the struggle against Franco into the international sphere by showing the world that Franco did not enjoy unchallenged power and that there was resistance to the regime within and beyond Spain’s borders.

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May 232012
 

Available now on KINDLE UK, US and Canada, Spain, France, Germany, Italy

'Mario de Langullo' (Cover illustration by Phill Evans)

Mario Rodríguez Losada, (‘Mario de Langullo’ — nom de guerre ‘O Pinche’), was one of the many legendary guerrillas who, after the fall of the Republic, took to the mountains of North-West Spain to continue the armed struggle against the repressive forces of the Franco regime. Mario’s guerrilla group, one of the most active in the region, was based in the Sierra de Queija and operated in the area of El Bollo-La Gudina-Verin and Castro Caldelas — from the spring of 1941 until August 1968 when he went into exile in France.

Mario Rodríguez Losada (O Pinche, O Langullo). Guerrilla Warfare in Galicia, by his friend and biographer Antonio Téllez, is a riveting personal account of the lived experiences of one band of little-known anti-Francoist guerrillas who operated in the mountains of Galicia. Tellez’s story of O Pinche’s life as a resistance fighter provides a rare insight into the ‘intangible’ atmosphere of the events of the time and the outlook and motives of those who, putting their lives on the line, refused to abandon the struggle against injustice and oppression.

Mario Rodríguez Losada — 'O Pinche'

Operational area of the 'O Pinche' guerrillas

Apr 202012
 

KINDLE edition available here (click on image)

This compelling and moving book, first published in Spanish in 1972 (and in English in 1974, and now republished for Kindle), examines the life of one of the best-known of all the Spanish resistance fighters — Francisco Sabaté Llopart, known as El Quico, General Franco’s ‘Public Enemy No. 1’. But it is more than this, for the author, Antonio Téllez, traces in detail what has been called ‘a little-known period of Spanish history’, the period that saw the development of the Anarchist resistance to the Fascist regime following the tragic end of the Spanish Civil War, a resistance that continues to this day (1974). It paints a striking picture not only of the development of resistance in Spain, but also of its too-long ignored influence on contemporary (1960s and 1970s) urban guerrilla movements in South America and in Europe.

It is a sad story: of a man who would not compromise his ideals nor treat with a system he found tyrannical and vile, a man who devoted his adult life to freeing the most openly oppressed people in Europe. But Sabaté ‘s story does not end in 1960, as did his life, in the dusty street in San Celoni surrounded by Militia and Guardia Civil and broken by their bullets. His struggle was taken up by men and women throughout Spain. As Téllez demonstrates, Sabaté proved by his selfless battle that the individual is never helpless; there is always a possibility of rebelling and defending an idea one considers just. Francisco Sabaté, unquenchably brave, undismayed by failure, unmarked by treachery, gave to his people and to the free world the knowledge of the rightness of his cause.

‘Soy El Quico!’ 1Soy El Quico‘ – 2 — El Maquis a Catalunya

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Apr 092012
 

Click to view illustrations

The Anarchist Pimpernel. Francisco Ponzán Vidal (1936 1944). The anarchists in the Spanish Civil War and the Allied Escape Networks of WWII  by Antonio Téllez Solá (With the collaboration of Pilar Ponzán Vidal). Translated by Paul Sharkey. (Also available here from Amazon.com in the USA)

(Originally published in Spanish in 1996 as: ‘La Red de Evasion del Grupo Ponzán. Anarquistas en la guerra secreta contra el franquismo y el nazismo (1936-1944)’. This e-edition has been translated by Paul Sharkey from Tellez’s subsequently re-written and updated (1997) typescript, which incorporates the memoirs of Pilar Ponzán Vidal (Francisco’s sister) and Tellez’s hitherto unpublished work on Agustín Remiro ‘El Guerrillero Anarquista Agustín Remiro y el Batallón de Ametralladoras “C” (Batallón Remiro)’.

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). (Interestingly, one of those evaders who owed their life to anarchists was the ungrateful psycopath Harold ‘Tanky” Challenor, a Commando during the war, who later joined the Metropolitan Police (West End Central) and famously — and unsuccessfully— attempted to frame anarchist cartoonist Donald Rooum by claiming to have found a piece of brick — ‘an offensive weapon ‘ — in his pocket at a demonstration against the unpopular Greek king and queen during their visit to London in 1963).  Other successful — and appreciative — 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.

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