Albert Meltzer was one of the most notable and influential figures in the British anarchist movement of the second half of the 20th century. This commemorative appreciation of Albert’s life and work by his close friend and comrade, ‘Black Flag’ cartoonist Phil Ruff, also includes contributions from his European activist contemporaries and a response to the calumnies propagated by those who attempted for several decades to revile or belittle his indefatigable efforts in the cause of human liberation. Funeral of Albert Meltzer ; I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels
“The banks are the real crooks,” says Lucio Urtubia decisively. “They exploit you, take your money and cause all the wars.” Lucio had no moral scruples about forging Citybank travellers’ cheques. His motivation was not his own gain, but to dent confidence in this powerful financial institution. He was arrested for this and ended up in prison, but soon got back on his feet. ‘Forged in Rebellion’ is an engaging portrait of the anarchist Lucio Urtubia, born in Northern Spain in 1931, and who deserted from the Francoist army, working as a tiler in Paris, where he immersed himself in the world of the Spanish exiles. It was a meeting with the legendary Quico Sabaté (1915-1960) that put Lucio on the anarchist path, whereby his talents as a forger of identity papers and currency came in particularly useful. His anarchist nature is revealed in this highly particular, free-flowing memoir, a lively ‘cops and robbers’ story in which — according to the best traditions — the true scale of Lucio’s role is never completely revealed. It is also the impassioned inside story of an unequal war waged by a genuine modern day Robin Hood from the Sherwood Forest of Lucio’s thousand safehouses and hideouts around Paris as he robs the rich and helps the needy: in the latter case the story comes to an exemplary conclusion, with a solemn peace treaty, the sort signed between great powers. But above all else, what must be seen in these pages is a living document that turns the historical spotlight on to a specific time and place and recounts a singular life story which is at the same time — as all human lives are — the story of many lives. Interview: ‘The Life and Crimes of Anarchist Bricklayer, Lucio Urtubia‘
A concise study of the origins and development of the revolutionary anarchist movement in Europe 1945-73, with particular reference to the First of May Group. Formed in 1966 by the post-war generation of (largely Spanish) anarchist militants this group took up arms against Franco and US imperialism was the best known anarchist activist group of the period, representing a continuation of the work of Francisco Sabaté (el Quico) and the immediate post-war Spanish urban and rural guerrilla resistance, and a bridgehead into the next period when revolutionary activism in many countries (Germany, USA, Italy, and South America) consisted of many strands, some of which were authoritarian Marxist—usually Maoist, sometimes Council-Communist, occasionally Trotskyist, others Anarchist. Includes background, a chronology, and documents from The First of May Group, (search for El Grupo Primero de Mayo) the International Revolutionary Solidarity Movement and the Federación Ibérica de Juventudes Libertarias. LOOK INSIDE
Miguel García Garcíawas born in Barcelona in 1908, the seventh of nine children. He became a newspaper-seller at the age of nine, and an apprentice printer at twelve; he was a lifelong member of the CNT, the anarcho-syndicalist trade union in Spain.
Miguel García García fought for nearly forty years for the freedoms we take for granted. A veteran of the Spanish Civil War, Miguel then put his experience as a printer to good use — forging documents and printing pamphlets for the Resistance.
On 21 October 1949, he was arrested, tried and sentenced to death together with eight comrades. He spent thirty-eight days in the condemned cell until his sentence was commuted to thirty years’ imprisonment. Four of his comrades were executed.
The third volume in the Pistoleros! trilogy by the anonymous Hastings-based author finds our hero Farquhar McHarg still in revolutionary Barcelona, now in the early years of the 1920s, as he continues the struggle, alongside fellow workers and anarchist comrades, against the forces of right-wing repression.
We know he survived these murderous times because interspersed with that first-person narrative is the third-person account of his latter years as a political exile in France. In volume one his close comrade Laureano Cerrada was gunned down in the streets of Paris, and Farquhar knows he is next on the list.
Joan Català Balañà (1913-2012) One of the finest people-smugglers (‘passeurs’) who helped dozens flee the Nazis via Andorra and elsewhere in the Pyrenees during the Second World War. His life story is the stuff of movies. Born on 21 February 1913 in Llavorsí (Lérida province, Catalonia). During the Spanish Civil War he fought with the anarchist Durruti Column (26th Division) and later, in 1937 operated as a guide and spy in the Alt Urgell area, working for the SIEP (Servicio de Información Especial Periférica/special services unit) with the Aragonese Francisco Ponzán. In March 1939, following the Francoist victory, he crossed into France where he was held in the Le Vernet concentration camp (Ariège department) but soon escaped to Andorra.
Catalá worked as a smuggler, but he soon met up again with Ponzán and began working for the Allied secret services. Captured in Cadiz in 1940 he was jailed in Madrid’s El Cisne prison from which he escaped to Andorra, subsequently embarking on intense activity as a smuggler of foreign refugees, escapers and evaders. A great hill-walker, Catalá’s preference was for courier work. In 1941 he was recaptured in Barcelona’s Estación de Francia escorting two US airmen, but he escaped on his way to trial and returned safely to Andorra. Not that any of this interfered with his regular trips carrying papers and documents for the CNT.
His umpteenth escape came in December 1942 after he was captured while rendezvousing with an unsuspected Francoist informer. He was recaptured a few days later but a clerical error allowed him to slip out of Lerida prison. At the request of the British Consul he returned to smuggling people out of France via the town of Oceja. His preferred stop-over prior to embarking on a crossing of the Sierra del Cadí near Manresa was the Jaume d’Alp hotel. On other occasions, Catalá crossed the border via the Alt Emporda district.
As WWII drew to an end Catalá still possessed the maverick nature that was so perfectly captured by the title of his autobiography El eterno descontento (Forever Restless). In 1944 he had been arrested in Adrall and sentenced to 12-years prison sentence in 1946 – of which he served less than one, breaking out of Carabanchel prison in March 1947 and escaping to France where he was arrested yet again for having no papers, although he was subsequently released, mainly due to his wartime record.
His irregular circumstances in post-war France meant meant he had a thin time of it. In 1951 he and a number of Spanish anarchist comrades were arrested, accused of involvement in a post office van robbery in Lyon in which a guard was killed. He served 15 years in French prisons after which he settled in Andorra — eventually, in Seu d’Urgell. On 11 April 2010 Joan Catalá Balaña received a warm tribute in recognition of a life-time of libertarian activism. He passed away on 14 October 2012 aged 98.
- The Colectivo a les trinxeres / cnt (Madrid) No 394, November 2012
‘You can’t reform profit capitalism and inhumanity. Just kick it till it breaks.’
— Angry Brigade, communiqué 8.
Between 1970 and 1972 the Angry Brigade used guns and bombs in a series of symbolic attacks against property. A series of communiqués accompanied the actions, explaining the choice of targets and the Angry Brigade philosophy: autonomous organisation and attacks on property alongside other forms of militant working class action. Targets included the embassies of repressive regimes, police stations and army barracks, boutiques and factories, government departments and the homes of Cabinet ministers, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.
These attacks on the homes of senior political figures increased the pressure for results and brought an avalanche of police raids. From the start the police were faced with the difficulty of getting to grips with a section of society they found totally alien. And were they facing an organisation — or an idea?
This book covers the roots of the Angry Brigade in the revolutionary ferment of the 1960s, and follows their campaign and the police investigation to its culmination in the ‘Stoke Newington 8′ conspiracy trial at the Old Bailey — the longest criminal trial in British legal history.
Gordon Carr produced the BBC documentary on the Angry Brigade and followed it up with this book. Written after extensive research — among both the libertarian opposition and the police — it remains the essential study of Britain’s first urban guerrilla group. This expanded edition contains a comprehensive chronology of the ‘Angry Decade’, extra illustrations and a police view of the Angry Brigade. Introductions by Stuart Christie and John Barker (two of the ‘Stoke Newington 8′ defendants) discuss the Angry Brigade in the political and social context of its times — and its longer-term significance.
'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.
Fundraiser fine art poster: Sabaté — Guerrilla Extraordinary by Flavio Costantini — £55.00; €68,00; US$90.00 (post free)
This premium A2 (420 x 594mm – 16.5 x 594 inches) giclée* print by Flavio Costantini is digitally printed on Epson Enhanced Matte Paper** (189gsm)*; it shares the same vivid colours, accuracy, and exceptional resolution that makes giclée prints the standard for museums and galleries around the world.
* The word “giclée” was created by Jack Duganne, a print maker working at Nash Editions. He wanted a name for the new type of prints they were producing on the IRIS printer, a large format high resolution industrial prepress proofing ink-jet printer they had adapted for fine art printing. He was specifically looking for a word that would not have the negative connotations of “ink-jet” or “computer generated”. To make the word descriptive of ink-jet technologies he based it on the French language word ”le gicleur” meaning “nozzle”, or more specifically “gicler” meaning “to squirt, spurt, or spray”. The Epson large format printer uses Ultrachrome inks which are fade free for over 100 years,
** Epson Enhanced Matte/Archival Matte – Epson Enhanced Matte – formerly named Archival Matte – is a single-sided paper with medium thickness and weight, and a smooth, soft white (slightly warm) surface. Print quality is excellent, with deep blacks, saturated colors and good shadow and highlight detail. Enhanced Matte is incredible value, offering outstanding print quality.
*** Giclée prints of selected Spanish Civil War/Revolution posters also available HERE
Edward Heath Made Me Angry: The Christie File: Part 3, 1967-1975. This third volume of Christie’s memoirs provides the historical and political context for the international anti-Franco resistance of the anarchist ‘First of May Group’, from 1967 to the dictator’s death in 1975. It is a first-hand account — by someone accused but acquitted — of the campaign of anti-state and anti-capitalist bombings by diverse groups of libertarian militants who came together as the ‘Angry Brigade’ to challenge the aggressively anti-working class policies of the Tory government of Edward Heath.
The coming to power of Edward Heath’s government in 1971 redefined the limits of protest. Opponents of government were ignored or criminalised, hard won employment rights and social reforms were rolled back, and so was democracy itself. To challenge government became life threatening, as radicals across Europe and America were to discover (Benno Ohensorg, Thomas Weissbecker, Georg von Rauch, Rudi Dutschke, Giuseppe Pinelli, the six anti-Vietnam war protestors at Kent and Jackson State universities).