Anarchists in the Russian RevolutionComments Off on THE UNKNOWN REVOLUTION The Russian Revolution Betrayed by ‘Voline’ (Vsevolod Mikhailovich Eikhenbaum — 1882-1945). Translated by Holley Cantine and Fredy Perlman. (Kindle and Kobo editions)
One of the most coherent and comprehensive personal accounts of the Russian Revolution, of the nature of the Bolshevik State from its birth in 1917 through to its suppression of both the Kronstadt uprising of 1921 and of the Makkhnovist peasant movement in the Ukraine between 1918 and 1921. The present ebook consists of a complete translation of La Revolution Inconnue, 1917-1921, first published in French in 1947, and re-published in Paris in 1969 by Editions Pierre Belfond. An abridged, two-volume English translate of the work (Nineteen-Seventeen. The Russian Revolution Betrayed and The Unknown Revolution. Kronstadt 1921 — Ukraine 1918-21) was published in 1954 and 1955 by the Libertarian Book Club (New York City) and Freedom Press (London). The present edition contains all the materials included in the earlier edition (translated by Holley Cantine), as well as the sections which were omitted (Book I, Part I and II, and some brief omissions later in the work, translated by Fredy Perlman). The Russian Revolution Part 1
This is not yet another book about the Civil War, and its author is not yet another academic jumping on the Spanish band wagon. The book is about what Burnett Bolloten in the opening paragraph of his remarkable book (‘The Spanish Civil War. Revolution and Counterrevolution’) calls “a far reaching social revolution more profound in some respects than the Bolshevik revolution in its early stages”.
This book can only deal with a few of the collectives that were established in Spain during the struggle against Franco, for, as the author points out, there were 400 agricultural collectives in Aragon, 900 in the Levante and 300 in Castile. In addition, the whole of industry in Catalonia, and 70 per cent in the Levante was collectivised.
In a world where relations in industry between management and worker, and in the public services between workers and government, become daily more strained, not simply over money but over the growing demand by more and more workers to be responsible for and in control of the organisation of the work they do, surely the Spanish experiment of 1936 is of more than academic interest. Such experiments are never exactly repeated, not even in a Spain which has been freed from the military dictatorship. They don’t have to be. Their importance for us now is in showing what ordinary people, land- and industrial workers, technicians, and professionals of goodwill, can do when the State machine collapses even for a brief moment and the people are left to their own devices. The result is not chaos but cooperation, the discovery that for most of us life is richer and happier when we practise mutual aid than when we engage in the power and status struggle which invariably leads to permanent bitterness for the many and a doubtful “happiness” for the few.
William Charles Rust (24 April 1903 – 3 February 1949), a London journalist and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, was the first editor of the Daily Worker, a party organiser in Lancashire, and the Daily Worker correspondent with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. On his return to the UK he resumed as DW editor until his death in 1949. To help put the Comintern’s (Communist [3rd] International established by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1919) role into context we recommend the following title, also available as an eBook: The International Brigades and the Comintern in the Spanish Civil War by Stuart Christie
NB: For some unknown reason Kindle have refused to make BRITONS IN SPAIN available in Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Brazil or Mexico… But the Kobo edition is available in all countries
Book, France, World War IIComments Off on LA NUEVE — 24 August 1944. The Spanish Republicans who liberated Paris by Evelyn Mesquida. Preface by Jorge Semprún, four articles by Albert Camus and postscript by General Michel Roquejeoffre. Translated by Paul Sharkey. ISBN 978-1-873976-70-8, 264pp, 16pp photos., paperback. Publication date 8 June 2015.
LA NUEVE — 24 August 1944. The Spanish Republicans who liberated Paris by Evelyn Mesquida. Preface by Jorge Semprún, four articles by Albert Camus and postscript by General Michel Roquejeoffre. £15.00/ €25.00 / $23.00 (+ p+p — £4.00, UK; EU, €9.00; U.S., $12.00). Publication date: 8 June 2015. A limited number of advance copies are available for purchase now. Orders (inc. Paypal payments) to email@example.com (don’t forget the postage!)
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)
World War IIComments Off on LECLERC’S SPANIARDS by Eduardo Pons Prades (translated by Paul Sharkey)
Martín Bernal is front row, second from the left
Eduardo Pons Prades, an acknowledged expert on the subject of resistance by Spanish republicans in France, in that he had fought as one of them and published a number of works on his adventures, invoked the Spanish exodus towards the French border at the end of the civil war, the treatment doled out to the Spanish refugees, the outbreak of the Second World War, the part played by Spaniards during the German invasion of France, the beginnings of partisan warfare in an exclusive series of articles for Historia 16. In the fifth instalment – using, as ever, the technique of allowing the protagonists to speak for themselves – he introduces us to the organisation of guerrillas, Spanish recruitment into the regular units of the renascent French army, the Spaniards’ part in the liberation of France and the beginnings of operations by “maquisards” inside Spain. (See also Spanish Republicans in the Liberation of Paris)
Captain Raymond Dronne‘s memoir of the regular army unit he commanded from the summer of 1943 to the spring of 1945, No. 9 Company of the Chad March Regiment, also known as ‘La Nueve‘, a company made up almost entirely of Spanish veterans of the civil war and social revolution of 1936-1939 — anarchists, socialists, republicans. It was Dronne’s column that was ordered by General Leclerc to liberate Paris, which it did — flying the Spanish Republican flag from their Sherman tanks and half- tracks — on 24 August 1944. Of the 146 men of ‘La Nueve’ who landed in Normandy, only 16 survived to be the first to enter Hitler’s Berchtesgaden Eagle’s Nest.
Luis Andrés Edo (1925-2009) pasaba largos años en prisión (1966-1972) y no sólo durante el franquismo, también en 1980, en plena transición, será durante más de un año preso gubernativo, sin acusación concreta alguna. En aquel año, en el Penal de Soria los presos realizan largos y acalorados debates. Los anarquistas son ya menos que los estalinistas del PCE y del PSUC, que se autodenominan comunistas. Como fruto de estos debates y como producto de una reflexión interior, Luis Andrés elabora este manuscrito, escrito en folios de papel cebolla y sacado clandestinamente de la cárcel gracias a la colaboración de Miguel García, también preso.
anarchismComments Off on The ‘Persons Unknown’ Case — Order in the Court Stuart Christie, City Limits, January 1980
Vince Stevenson, Iris Mills, Ronan Bennett, Trevor Dawton and ”Taff’ Ladd. ‘Taff’ skipped bail prior to the trial and the sixth defendant, Stewart Carr (a ‘politicised’ prisoner like Jake Prescott in the ‘Angry Brigade’ case before him) pled guilty and disassociated himself from his fellow accused.
We have just witnessed the first of the political show trials of the ’80s. There will certainly be others—and what proportion of them will be before freely-selected juries? Before any kind of jury? With anti-libertarianism becoming the rallying cry of the extremists of the right and centre, the state is creating an ugly balance to the unifying anti-nazism of the left. Its methods are rather different, however. Such is its vigilance that it can find conspiracies when nothing has happened.
Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid is usually, and rightly, called his masterpiece. While the high quality of all his work makes it hard to say whether this classic can be considered his best, it is fair to say that it is probably his most famous and one of his most widely read. Suffice to say, that it is rarely out of print testifies to its importance as well as the quality and timelessness of its message.
It is often called an anarchist classic. This is not entirely accurate. Yes, it is a classic and it was written by an anarchist, indeed the leading anarchist thinker of the time. However, it is not a book about anarchism. It is, first and foremost, a work of popular science, a “best-selling work,” which made co-operation “well known in lay society” while ensuring it would “be discussed among biologists in the following decades.” It was aimed at rebutting the misuse of evolutionary theory to justify the status quo, but its synthesis of zoological, anthropological, historical and sociological data achieved far more and, consequently, its influence is great. “It is arguable that of all the books on co-operation written by biologists,” suggests Lee Alan Dugatkin Professor of Evolutionary Biology at the University of Louisville, “Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid had the most profound affect on biologists, social scientists, and laymen alike.” Anthropologist Ashley Montagu dedicated his book Darwin, Competition and Co-operation, to Kropotkin, stating it was a “classic” and “no book in the whole realm of evolutionary theories is more readable or more important, for it is Mutual Aid which provides the first thoroughly documented demonstration of the importance of co-operation as a factor in evolution.”
This is not to say that anarchism plays no part in it nor that it holds nothing of interest for anarchists or anarchist theory. Far from it! The very mode of analysis, the looking into mutual aid tendencies of everyday life is inherently libertarian. It flows from the “bottom-up” and is rooted in popular history. More than that, it is documented with the skill of a talented scientist and, in this, it is somewhat unusual. It is often noted that Proudhon, the founding father of anarchism, was unique in being a socialist thinker who was also working class. In the case of Kropotkin, he was one of the few socialist thinkers who was a trained scientist, an extremely gifted one according to his peers. This education in the scientific method can be seen from all his work, but most obviously in Mutual Aid.
Anarchism in SpainComments Off on ANTONIO MARTÍN ESCUDERO (1895-1937) “THE DURRUTI OF THE CERDAÑA” by Antonio Gascón and Agustín Guillamón (Translated by Paul Sharkey)
ANTONIO MARTÍN ESCUDERO (1895-1937)
Antonio Martín Escudero, better known by the derogatory nickname “El Cojo de Málaga” (‘The Malaga Gimp’), was born in Belvis de Monroy (Cceres). He was the son of Celestino Martín Muñoz, farmer, and Ascensión Escudero Jara, “her sex being her trade”. Both were 26 years old at the time Antonio was born. The limp from which he suffered was due to a wound sustained during the revolutionary events of Tragic Week in Barcelona (1909). Other sources put the limp down to osteoathritis.
As a smuggler he, along with Cosme Paules, specialised in the smuggling of weapons across the border for the use of action groups. By 1922 he and Paules were regular active collaborators with the Los Solidarios group to which they belonged. Between 1924 and 1934 Antonio was in exile in France. He ran a tiny little shoe repair stand in a yard adjacent to an Auvergne coal-yard on the Boulevard Montparnasse in Paris. In 1927, being resident in Aubervilliers, he had a daughter by the name of Florida Martín Sanmartín (she outlived him after he was killed in 1937): The mother’s name is not known to us. In Aubervilliers he worked, first, in construction and later in a garage.