TO DIE IN MADRID. THE MAN WHO KILLED DURRUTI — José Manzana; the person responsible, Federica Montseny

 Spanish anarchism, Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on TO DIE IN MADRID. THE MAN WHO KILLED DURRUTI — José Manzana; the person responsible, Federica Montseny
Nov 202016
 
durrutikiller

Above left: Durruti’s Generalidad-appointed military adviser, Sergeant José Manzana (circled), a professional soldier, was a drill sergeant in the Corps of Artillery and an Olympic-standard pistol-shooting champion. On the morning of 19 July he escaped from the besieged Barcelona Dockyard to join the Confederal militias. From that time on he accompanied Durruti everywhere, and was at his side on the Aragón front where he became his military adviser following Captain Enrique Pérez-Farrás recall to Barcelona by the Generalitat to head up the Mossos d’Escuadra. After Durruti’s death Manzana returned to the Aragón front to reorganize the remainder of the Durruti Column and prepare it for militarisation while Ricardo Sanz assumed command of the column in Madrid. Militarisation of the column was finally completed on 28 April 1937, less than a week before the Stalinist coup of May 3-8. Above right: Sergeant José Manzana, wearing a militiaman’s cap, his wounded right arm in a sling, is in the first line of mourners. On his left is the grieving widow, Emilienne Morin, whose features bear all the emotion evoked by the death of her compañero. Holding her other arm is Miguel Yoldi’s wife.

Madrid, 20 November 1936: Today is the 80th anniversary of the mysterious death of the anarchist Buenaventura Durruti.

November 1936 was a milestone in the civil war. Having surrounded Madrid, the mutinous fascist army was making a supreme effort to over-run the capital. On 4 November 1936 the ‘notable leaders’* of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT and anarchist FAI Peninsular Committee finally and completely abandoned the Confederation’s apolitical stance by taking it upon themselves to accept four nominal ministries in the central government of Largo Caballero. Many believed this was a cynical move on the part of Caballero to facilitate the government’s flight to Valencia and to pre-empt any criticism, or, presumably, any revolutionary initiatives from the anarcho-syndicalist rank and file. Coincidentally (if you believe in coincidences!), two days later, on 6 November, Largo Caballero and his cabinet, including his newly appointed anarchist ministers, fled to Valencia — while the people of Madrid rallied to the city’s defence to cries of ‘Long Live Madrid Without Government!’

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SEVEN RED SUNDAYS (Siete domingos rojos) Ramón José Sender. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

 Anarchism in Spain, Fiction  Comments Off on SEVEN RED SUNDAYS (Siete domingos rojos) Ramón José Sender. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)
Nov 122016
 

eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo    Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE 

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Amparo García del Rio

Seven Red Sundays is Sender’s third novel. Published in Spanish as Siete domingos rojos, it forms a prominent landmark in modernist Spanish literature. It was written in 1932 in the aftermath of the unsuccessful anarcho-syndicalist ‘declarations of Libertarian Communism’ (uprisings) in Figols, Berga, and Cardona in Alto Llobregat (Catalonia), and also in Alocorisa and Teruel (Aragon). The complex story covers seven consecutive days, each a ‘Red Sunday’ of socially transformative class struggle: agitation, street fighting, and a revolutionary general strike triggered by the killing of three anarcho-syndicalists by the police during a banned protest meeting. Following mass labour unrest heightened by the betrayals of the anti-working-class Second Republic, a public funeral in Madrid ends in street fighting, sabotage and the prospect of a nationwide general strike. Sabotage throws the city into darkness, leading to mass arrests, and more state terror, including the torture and cold-blooded murder of union activists by police applying the ‘Law of Flight’ (legitimising the shooting of escaping prisoners).  Sender’s use of perspective — in which he looks at the network of connections and the unfolding course of events from ten different viewpoints — explores not only the ambiguities, selfless heroism, frailties and inner conflicts of the central personages struggling for change: love, sublime faith, self sacrifice, religion, betrayal and treachery. It is also a hauntingly beautiful and tender book that captures the mood and feel of revolution as well as the spirit of the Second Spanish Republic in 1932.

‘Magnificent… a masterpiece.’” — New York Times Book Review.

‘An extraordinary book, extremely intelligent. As exciting as a long ski run on a crisp morning and as beautiful and dangerous.’ — New Statesman.

sevenredsundayssmallRamón José Sender Garcés, anarchist journalist and author, was born in Chalamera de Cinca, Huesca, in Northern Aragón, Spain on 3 February 1901 and died in San Diego, California, USA on 16 January 1982.

Sender moved to Alcañiz (Teruel) aged 16 where he worked as a messenger for a pharmacist while studying for his baccalaureate at the College of the Escalopion Fathers. In 1918 he moved to Madrid, again working for a pharmacist, and began frequenting the Ateneo de Madrid where he came into contact with writers such as Ramón María del Valle Inclán and Miguel de Unamuno. At Madrid University he studied Philosophy and Letters while developing his literary talents writing for Nueva España and El País. In 1922 he was conscripted to fight in the Spanish colonial war to suppress the Berber rebel Republic of the Rif and served two years in Morocco. His first novel, Imán (Magnet) (1930), was based on these North African experiences. Demobbed in 1924 Sender returned to Madrid where he found employment as an editor at El Sol. Around this time he joined the journalists’ section of the CNT (National Confederation of Labour), the anarcho-syndicalist workers’ union, and was also active in the Spartacus anarchist group. Imprisoned for anti-monarchist agitation in 1926 he spent some time in Madrid’s Cárcel Modelo (Model Prison), another experience he used as the basis for his second novel O. P. (Orden Público) (Public Order) (1931).

IF ANYONE should ask me: ‘Do you think that anarcho-syndicalism is an ultimate factor in Spanish politics?’ my answer is ‘Yes’ and that neither today nor ever can it be neglected. Lastly, if anyone should beg me to be explicit as to my own view on anarcho-syndicalism as a political fact, I return to what I have said already. Here is my formula; it is a non-political formula. People too full of humanity dream of freedom, of the good, of justice, giving these an emotional and individualistic significance. Carrying such a load, an individual can hope for the respect and loyalty of his relations and friends, but if he should hope to influence the general social structure, he nullifies himself in heroic and sterile rebellion. No man can approach mankind giving his all and expecting all in return. Societies are not based on the virtues of individuals, but on a system which controls defects by limiting the freedom of everyone. Naturally the system takes a different form under feudalism, capitalism and communism. Let anarcho-syndicalists invent their own system, and until they have attained it, go on dreaming of a strange state of society in which all men are as disinterested as St Francis of Assisi, bold as Spartacus, and able as Newton and Hegel. But behind the dream there is a human truth of the most generous kind — sometimes, let me insist, absolutely sublime. Is not that enough?’

Ramón J Sender, Seven Red Sundays

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Other fiction titles available direct from ChristieBooks Bookshelf (all at £1.50) include: THE MAN WHO KILLED DURRUTI ; TIGRE JACK Y otras prosas atrocesTHE TASTE OF BLOOD ; THE SPANISH HORSE  ;  BASTARDS DIE HARD ; FESTIVAL OF STIFFS ; THE WORLD IS MINE. (The Story of a Modern Monte Cristo) ; LA BODEGA. (The Fruit of the Vine) ; ADVENTURES IN BUKHARA — Tales of Khoja Nasreddin ; WITHOUT A GLIMMER OF REMORSE. (The remarkable story of Sir Arthur Connan Doyle’s chauffeur) ; THE BUTCHER OF LES HURLUS ; ¡PISTOLEROS! 1:1918 – The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg ; ¡PISTOLEROS! 2:1919 – The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg ; ¡PISTOLEROS! 3:1920-24 – The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg ; WORDS IN THE SNOW [A FILANDÓN]

THE GUERRILLA WAR AGAINST FRANCO (1939-1952) by Antonio Téllez. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 Anarchism in Spain, Anarchist resistance  Comments Off on THE GUERRILLA WAR AGAINST FRANCO (1939-1952) by Antonio Téllez. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Oct 012016
 

TellezGuerCoverTHE GUERRILLA WAR AGAINST FRANCO (1939-1952) by Antonio Téllez. Translated by Paul Sharkey. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo and Kindle

The guerrilla struggle against Francoism arose in the days following the army revolt against the Spanish Republic on 18 July 1936. In areas which fell immediately to the mutinous army the principal leader of which was Lieutenant-General José Sanjurjo y Sacanell (then a refugee in Portugal) with General Emilio Mola Vidal (relieved by the Popular Front government of his post as general-in-chief of the Armed Forces in Morocco and appointed Army Commander in Navarre instead) as its organiser, a bloody repression was promptly set in motion and this obliged many antifascists to take to the hills to save their skins.

This business of fleeing into the hills for survival’s sake was repeated over nearly three years of civil war in the areas conquered one after another, by the Francoist army and it extended to virtually the entirety of the Peninsula after the Republican troops surrendered in the Centre-Levante zone on 31 March 1939.

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BARRICADES IN BARCELONA. The CNT from the victory of July 1936 to the necessary defeat of May 1937 Agustín Guillamón. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 Anarchism in Barcelona, Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on BARRICADES IN BARCELONA. The CNT from the victory of July 1936 to the necessary defeat of May 1937 Agustín Guillamón. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Aug 202016
 

BarricadesBarcelonasmallBARRICADES IN BARCELONA. The CNT from the victory of July 1936 to the necessary defeat of May 1937 eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo  and Kindle

BARRICADES IN BARCELONA focuses on Barcelona in 1936-1937; it provides an account of the street battles and victory of July 1936, examines the defence and neighborhood committees that defeated the uprising in the city, and addresses the arbitrary decision of the CNT-FAI superior committees to collaborate with counterrevolutionary parties and social groups to preserve anti-fascist unity at any price, and how this decision culminated, in May 1937, in the defeat of the revolution. It also focuses on the emerging discontent among the anarchosyndicalist rank and file and the role of The Friends of Durruti Group in crystallizing opposition to official CNT policies.

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JOAQUÍN ASCASO. Memorias (1936-1938). HACIA UN NUEVO ARAGÓN, Introducción, edición y notas de Alejandro R. Díez Torre eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

 Anarchism in Aragón  Comments Off on JOAQUÍN ASCASO. Memorias (1936-1938). HACIA UN NUEVO ARAGÓN, Introducción, edición y notas de Alejandro R. Díez Torre eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)
Aug 142016
 

AscasocoversmallerJOAQUÍN ASCASO. Memorias (1936-1938). HACIA UN NUEVO ARAGÓN, Introducción, edición y notas de Alejandro R. Díez Torre. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo

Joaquín Ascaso Budría (Zaragoza, aprox. 1906 ó 1907 – Caracas, marzo de 1977), anarcosindicalista español, presidente del Consejo Regional de Defensa de Aragón entre 1936 y 1937. De profesión obrero albañil, en su juventud se afilió a la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, participando en la agrupación anarquista “Los Indomables” y colaborando con otra llamada “Los Solidarios”. Fue detenido en Zaragoza por sus actividades sindicales en 1924 y la ficha policial le daba una edad de 17 años, tras lo que huyó a Francia hasta el advenimiento de la Segunda República Española, viéndose muy influenciado por la Sublevación de Jaca.

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THE COUNCIL OF ARAGÓN (from Building Utopia by Stuart Christie)

 Anarchism in Aragón, Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on THE COUNCIL OF ARAGÓN (from Building Utopia by Stuart Christie)
Aug 142016
 

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To protect the hard won land of the rural communities and the new society the people of liberated Aragón were building, the regional committee of the CNT, acting in concert with Durruti and his column, organised by an assembly of militia, village, and trade union representatives from Rioja and Navarre which was held in Bujaraloz on 6 October 1936. Francisco Muñoz, the regional secretary of the Aragónese CNT outlined proposals for the formation of a special regional committee which would ensure that the Aragonese region was ready and able ‘to organise itself in this revolutionary hour and re-establish its personality among the other Iberian peoples, in preparation for the great federation of the future.

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More on the last days of the Spanish Republic — A Mission of No Importance (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

 Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on More on the last days of the Spanish Republic — A Mission of No Importance (Translated by Paul Sharkey)
Jul 312016
 

Extracts from Juan López Sánchez’s1 Una misión sin importancia (written in September 1939. Published Madrid 1972). The mission was to meet with the exiled MLE leadership in Paris to discuss salvaging the best possible outcome to the war, inform them of the creation of the Madrid-based Casadist National Defence Council,  and organising resistance to post-war Francoism. The author, Juan López Sánchez (16 January 1900 – 1972) was a Spanish construction worker and, as a signatory of Angel Pestaña’s anti-FAI ‘Manifesto of the Thirty’, an anarchist-hostile member of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo. From November 1936 he was the collaborationist CNT National Committee’s appointee as Minister of Commerce under Largo Caballero. By February/March 1939 he was part of Lt. Colonel Segismundo Casado’s National Defence Council which ousted the pro-Stalinist premier Dr Juan Negrin; López was also secretary-general of the highly questionable and self-appointed National Committee of the Spanish Libertarian Movement (MLE). He returned to Spain from Mexico in 1966 and later joined the Falangist trade union organisation, the Sindicato Vertical.

Albacete — January-February 1939

Juan López Sánchez

Juan López Sánchez

“Allow me to briefly introduce my comrades.  Val is Eduardo Val [Bescós 1908-1992. Close friend of Cipriano Mera and a pivotal player in countering the military coup in Madrid in July 1936], the then secretary of the Defence Section of the Regional Committee of the CNT of the Centre. He is a comrade associated with two “hardlies” that mean a lot: he hardly ever speaks; he hardly ever writes. His name has popped up out of anonymity during the war, gaining a position of importance in the Castilian libertarian organization. The fact that he says little and writes less has not stopped him from acquiring a sound reputation in the Republic’s military circles for his performance as Defence Secretary. That was a position of some importance in the recent conflict, for in war-time the CNT’s Defence Sections have been equally as important as the National Defence Ministry. But Val hardy speaks and hardly writes. And there is about him another “hardly” no less important than the other two: he hardly dresses. This is the man who donned his mono the day the war started and did not take it off until he came ashore in the English port of Newhaven where he wound up as one of the refugees who left from the port of Gandia, by then a member of the National Defence Council. During the war he had no time to eat, to shave, to wash, much less bother about his apparel. My first dealings with him were on that occasion, but from hearsay I knew the prestige he enjoyed in the Centre Region. (There is a mistake in the above that the reader will correct. He removed his mono, not in Newhaven, as he had no clothing there into which to change. That action would take place in London, where he set up home and where he is living at the time of the writing of these memoirs).

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THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR — Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship by NOAM CHOMSKY eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf)

 Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR — Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship by NOAM CHOMSKY eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf)
May 212016
 

CharlemagneTHE SPANISH CIVIL WAR — Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship eBook £1.00/€1.50 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo  and Kindle

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.

Living Anarchism. José Peirats and the Spanish Anarcho-Syndicalist Movement by Chris Ealham, AK Press, £15.00. Reviewed by Stuart Christie.

 Anarchism in Spain  Comments Off on Living Anarchism. José Peirats and the Spanish Anarcho-Syndicalist Movement by Chris Ealham, AK Press, £15.00. Reviewed by Stuart Christie.
Mar 302016
 

Peirats1Living Anarchism. José Peirats and the Spanish Anarcho-Syndicalist Movement by Chris Ealham, AK Press, ISBN 978-1-84935-238-3, £15.00.

In August 1989, José Peirats — anarchist militant, brickmaker, baker, propagandist and chronicler of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT labour unions — ended his intensely lived span of eighty-one years by walking into the sea at Burriana beach. A multitude of deteriorating health issues including Parkinson’s disease meant he could no longer face life— or death — with dignity. As his biographer, Chris Ealham, observes: “As a lifelong activist, existence had little meaning without action — this had been the principle that guided him in his struggle for a better Spain.”

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TOMAS ORTS MARTIN (1908 – ??) A profile by Agustín Guillamón (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

 Anarchism in Spain, Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on TOMAS ORTS MARTIN (1908 – ??) A profile by Agustín Guillamón (Translated by Paul Sharkey)
Feb 022016
 

tomasortsTomàs Orts Martin was born in Barcelona on 5 December 1908 A Catalan speaker, he worked for two years in Jesús García’s umbrella factory at 7 Calle Villaroel before moving on to Bartolomé Español at 7 Calle Salvador where he joined the CNT union on 1 February 1930, and subsequently held various posts with the Local Federation of Trade Unions.

During the street-fighting of 19-20 July 1936 Tomàs fought on the Paralelo, the University, Atarazanas barracks and elsewhere alongside Manuel Hernández (president of the Timberworkers’ Union), Eugenio Vallejo (the metalworker who spearheaded the conversion of Catalonia’s industry into war industries) and Liberto Minue (brother-in-law to Manuel Escorza, secretary of the CNT-FAI Investigation and Information Service).

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