A short history summarising the transformation of Barcelona’s CNT Defence Committees during the 1930s from their origins as street fighting units to their reorganisation as integrated combat/ intelligence formations, to their suppression by the Republic after the working class defeat of May 1937. The defence cadres were formed shortly after the proclamation of the Republic, and were a continuation of the armed defence groups of the years of ‘pistolerismo’.
One hundred and ninety nine years ago, in an English country churchyard, a lady was laid to rest who enraptures the hearts of millions around the world today. She was only forty one years old, and had never married, though her thoughts were all of girls in love with love and getting wed; and from those thoughts she spun tales which still enchant us. The world of her words has the crystallised completeness of fairytale. The actual world in which she wrote was, of course, as messy as ours. And different though it was in many ways, in two absolutely fundamental respects nothing at all has changed: the division into ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, and the careful ways in which the ‘haves’ portion out their concern for those less fortunate than them. … And so it is in reading stories. This book is dedicated to lovers of literature who have a thought to spare for the never-enough-considered undistinguished multitude who “keep those wheels a-turnin’.” This is the book about Jane Austen that you were looking for. Without presupposing any background, it takes the reader on a fascinating intellectual journey documenting the enormous contribution Austen has made to the genre of literary fiction. Carefully crafted and beautifully written, as far as books on literature go, this is a masterpiece. — LOOK INSIDE!
From the author of: THE GREAT DECEPTION. How Parliamentary Democracy Duped the Workers, Donovan Pedelty
RED YEARS, BLACK YEARS. Anarchist Resistance to Fascism in Italy.eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf) Also available from Kobo and Kindle
It is a sad fact that so little historical material is available today dealing with the role of the various resistance groups throughout Europe. There are many reasons for this, ranging from the obvious; secrecy equals survival, to the more surprising and depressing fact, fascism was not defeated in 1945. Those who really fought the fascists, as opposed to those who only claim they did, still have to be careful even now. It was only in 1983 that the notorious butcher of Lyon, Klaus Barbie, was brought to trial. Between 1945 and his capture he was at various times working for the CIA, the Catholic Church, Latin American drug barons and Bolivian death squads. Likewise Paul Touvien, head of the Milice (fascist paramilitary) in Lyon, was only captured in 1989. He was protected for almost 50 years by a huge network of extreme right-wing followers, many in the highest positions in the land. If the fascists have such connections then it is quite understandable why those who have fought them do not wish to discuss these matters too openly.
In these pages we have recorded some episodes in the Italian anarchist resistance to fascism, particularly in the struggle against blackshirt gangs in the 1920s, and the armed resistance to the Nazis between 1943 and 1945. A few episodes only: We have many more accounts from comrades all over Italy than are given here. To present them all would make a much larger and more fragmented work than this.
We have not attempted to write the definitive history of the Italian anarchists in these struggles. That history, which has yet to be produced, would involve a more systematic search for documents and publications, and the collection of more eyewitness accounts from those involved in the fight. What we have tried to do is to break down the wall of silence which has surrounded the anarchists’ part in the fight against fascism, a fight which the Italian parliamentary parties now claim to have organised and led. — Revista Anarchica
NOW AVAILABLE! FACERÍAS — Urban Guerrilla Warfare (1939-1957). The Libertarian Movement’s Struggle against Francoism in Spain and in Exile by Antonio Téllez Solà (ISBN 978-1-873976-49-4), 413pp (indexed with 16 pp of photographs) £15.95 (+£3.50 p+p UK) eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf) Also available from Kobo and Kindle
Anarchist urban guerrilla and member of the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth (FIJL) since 1936, José Lluis Facerías fought on the Aragón front during the Spanish Civil War, where he was taken prisoner and held until 1945. Following his release he rejoined the clandestine anarcho-syndicalist trade union, the CNT, and dedicated himself to the armed struggle against the Francoist dictatorship. From March 1946 until his death in a police ambush in 1957, Facerias was the driving force behind the anarchist defence groups operating in Barcelona.
BARCELONA, Friday, 30 August 1957, 10:45 am. In the deserted Sant Andreu district of Barcelona, a burst of automatic gunfire crackles and, as if pushed by some mighty hand, a man on the corner of the Paseo Verdún and the Calle del Doctor Pi i Molist slumps against a low wall. A pistol appears in his hand. His eyes scan the tree-lined boulevard leading off to his right towards the Santa Cruz mental clinic, but he sees no sign of life. Suddenly, he realises he has been betrayed. Unseen assailants are shooting at him from windows overlooking the junction of the Paseo Urrutia and Calle del Doctor Pi i Molist. The first burst of gunfire shatters the man’s ankle. Further rifle shots ring out and bullets ricochet around him . . .
Facerías : Urban Guerrilla Warfare (1939-1957); The Libertarian Movement’s Struggle Against Francoism in Spain and in Exile by Antonio Téllez Solà (reviewed in the Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin )
Facerías “was a steadfast champion of an essentially anarchist-inspired labour movement like the CNT of Spain; an organisation that might offer the proletariat guidance rather than content itself with being a tiny minority in opposition to or critical of reformist and authoritarian activity. He wanted an anarchism that might be at once the head and the arm of the proletariat rather than some sort of laboratory for doctrine or the monopoly of philosophers. … As far as he was concerned, moral solidarity, whilst undoubtedly necessary, had to be matched by material action; and if help was not forthcoming through lawful means, they should resort to unlawful means, to expropriation.” (p303, p305).
RADICAL GLASGOW. A Skeletal Sketch of Glasgow’s Radical Tradition by John Couzin eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf) Also available from Kobo and Kindle
A summary of some of the events and people that have helped to shape the Glasgow of today, a glimpse at a history that is sometimes difficult to find. My hope is that anyone who reads these few pages will be prompted to dig a little bit deeper and discover a rich heritage of which we can be very proud and perhaps try to contribute to that struggle and carry the heritage forward. The information contained in these pages has been gleaned from countless conversations, stories told, articles, pamphlets and books read over more years than I care to remember. My thanks goes to those friends, acquaintances and total strangers who over the years passed on some of these stories. — John Couzin
Anarchist Noam Chomsky’s 1969 clinical dissection of historian Gabriel Jackson’s The Spanish Republic and the Civil War:1931-1939 (in American Power and the New Mandarins) in which, to quote editor Barry Pateman in his Chomsky on Anarchism, “he links to the liberal ideology prevalent in America in the 1960s, an ideology that reflects ‘an antagonism to mass movements and to social change that escapes the control of privileged elites,’ which in Jackson’s work reveals itself through a regular use of negative language to describe the actions of the anarchists. Chomsky, using a rich array of historical texts, brought his points to a wide audience and influenced a new generation of researchers and militants, inspiring them to probe deeper and further. In his portrayal of Jackson’s work as representing contemporary American liberal thinking on Vietnam, Chomsky impressively linked past and present, making a shrewd and disturbing comment on liberalism in general. In the words of Peter Werbe: ‘As Chomsky amply and admirably demonstrates, when the major issues of an era are settled in blood, liberalism’s pretense to humane ends or means crumbles under the demands of an implacable state.’”
The original essay consists of three parts. Part I, not reproduced here, deals with the Vietnam War and the influence of intellectuals and ‘advisers’ in government and public and foreign policy. The present extract, Part II, focuses on the Spanish Civil War and how the so-called objective ‘conservative, ‘moderate’ and liberal’ intelligentsia use elite ideology and bias to manipulate and mould public opinion. Part III is Chomsky’s summation and conclusion.
The final, revised, edition of Burnett Bolloten’s exhaustive and indispensable, 50-year-long scholarly study of Republican/revolutionary politics in the Spanish Civil War (“The Grand Camouflage:, 1961; “The Spanish Revolution”, 1979; “The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution”, 1986), covers the entire period of the war from 1936 to 1939. Welsh-born Bolloten, initially a Communist Party fellow-traveller, was a war correspondent for United Press who witnessed at first hand the rise to power of the Stalin- and bourgeois liberal-backed Spanish Communist Party and how it successfully subverted and repressed the popular revolutionary process that resulted from the failed military-clerical-fascist pronunciamento of July 1936.
“Burnett Bolloten’s The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution is a monument of dedicated scholarship that is not likely to be replaced. The best study of the subject in any language, it merits a place beside Gerald Brenan’s The Spanish Labyrinth and Raymond Carr’s Spain, 1808-1939 as a classic in the historiography of modern Spain.” — Paul Avrich, Queens College, City University of New York
HISTORIA DEL ANARCOSINDICALISMO ESPAÑOL llega en nuestra editorial a la 4a Edición. Hace ya tiempo, cuando la dictadura estaba en pleno apogeo, este libro fue uno de los primeros elementos de análisis que tuvimos de la verdadera historia de nuestro pueblo. En ella el «anarco» —como familiarmente se le llamaba— llenaba la tremenda laguna y el total desconocimiento de uno de los movimientos populares y obreros más arraigados en nuestro pueblo: el anarcosindicalismo. A muchos este libro nos ha servido para comenzar y buscar un compromiso con nuestra historia y con la realidad de explotación de la sociedad establecida.
El anarcosindicalismo español ha estado íntimamente ligado a la historia española desde los primeros balbuceos de organización y asociación en el movimiento obrero hasta la máxima aportación confederad en la guerra española que llevó a la colectivización de las tierras, servicios e industrias.
For aficionados of ‘Pistoleros! The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg’ here is some additional source material on Rudolf Ställmann (aka ‘The Baron de Koenig’, ‘Rex’, ‘Colonel Lemoine’, etc.) who, after Bravo Portillo’s murder in 1919, took over the 70-strong anti-union death squads and false-flag terrorists/anti-CNT provocateurs of ‘La Banda Negra’ in Barcelona on behalf of Josep Miró I Trepat and security/police chief General Miguel Arleguí. Ställmann fled Barcelona in 1920 after his murderous activities were exposed in the CNT daily ‘Solidaridad Obrera’. The information comes from a 1941 book, ‘Total Espionage’ (Putnam’s Sons), by Curt Reiss, a US (Austrian refugee and intelligence agent) journalist who seems to have met Lemoine/ Ställmann/Koenig in pre-war Paris. Lemoine’s connection with the Deuxième Bureau is backed up by French fascist journalist Lucien Rebatet (who also worked for the French security service) whose book ‘Les décombres’ describes in detail Ställmann’s forged documents setup at his office in the rue de Lisbonne. Ställmann seems to have taken over the office (with 20 operatives, including ex-Spartakist refugee Frederic Drach) on his return from Spain in 1920-’21. These details confirm Farquhar McHarg’s belief that Ställmann had been advancing French interests since his arrival in Spain in August 1915:
Galician-born surveyor Ricardo Mella (1861-1925) is regarded by many as one of the major theorists of anarchism in Spain. His moderate tone and outlook set the keynote for fellow-anarchists in Galicia and Asturias as he oposed jacobinism, regionalism, political socialism and extremism of any hue. While many embraced Ferrer’s rationalist educational methods, Mella campaigned for “neutral” education. Himself an anarcho-collectivist by inclination, he was one of those who brought Spanish anarchism out of the ghetto and into the workplace. His wide reading, incisive mind and preparedness to tackle the big subjects without going for extremist position has left a lasting imprint on the libertarian movement in Spain. In this work he considers the question — Can society really cope without law and government? What is the nature of moral coercion? How does it manifest itself in human relationships? What is its role in a free and egalitarian society? and how modern capitalist society turns moral coercion on its head.
“Whenever we posit that in a free society founded upon equality of condition moral coercion will be enough to maintain the harmony and peace between men, we are stating something that cries out for clear and precise proof.
“Folk being used to the belief that everything that happens in the world happens by the efforts and grace of governments, and persuaded that they themselves count for nothing in the life of society, so much so that they think of themselves are mere cogs in the machinery of government, it is going to be hard to explain to them how human society might function with no compulsion other than that deployed naturally and mutually by the members of society. So, even though the impact of moral coercion may be a self-evident fact today, we need to show that the world dances to the tune of said mutually suggestive force and that it, on its own, is enough to ensure that human groups with sound foundations can develop and survive.