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

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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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EL ECO DE LOS PASOS. Juan García Oliver. El anarcosindicalismo en la calle, en el Comité de Milicias, en el gobierno, en el exilio.(/strong> eBook, £1.50/€2.00/$2.50

 Spain, Spanish anarchism, Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on EL ECO DE LOS PASOS. Juan García Oliver. El anarcosindicalismo en la calle, en el Comité de Milicias, en el gobierno, en el exilio.(/strong> eBook, £1.50/€2.00/$2.50
Jan 282016
 

EcodeLosPasossmallEL ECO DE LOS PASOS. Juan García Oliver. El anarcosindicalismo en la calle, en el Comité de Milicias, en el gobierno, en el exilio. eBook — £1.50/€2.00/$2.50 direct from the CB eBookshelf

KINDLE MARKETSUK : £3.51 ; USA : $5.00 FRANCE : €4.63 ; GERMANY : €4.63 ; SPAIN : €4.63 ; ITALY: €4.63 ; NETHERLANDS : €4.63 ; JAPAN : ¥ 594CANADA : CDN $7.06 ; BRAZIL : R$ 20.47 ; AUSTRALIA : $7.14 ;   INDIA : R338 ; Mexico : $92.21KOBO : EL ECO DE LOS PASOS: EL ANARCOSINDICALISMO En la calle En el Comité de Milicias En el gobierno En el exilio by Juan García Oliver. £10.00

La autobiografía extraordinaria de Juan García Oliver, escrita a sus 71 años desde el exilio en México y publicada originalmente por Ruedo Ibérico. En ella se narran, con prosa ágil y hasta frenética en este extraordinario testimonio, los acontecimientos de su extraordinaria vida, desde sus precoces actividades sindicales, participaciones en huelgas y encarcelaciones, hasta su nombramiento como Ministro de Justicia y su doloroso periplo de exiliado por medio mundo.

Tras muchos años de silencio y de huir de todo tipo de protagonismo histórico, desde su exilio mexicano Juan García Oliver da a la publicidad sus Memorias. Anarcosindicalista de la primera hora, hombre bregado en huelgas y luchas revolucionarias, este antiguo camarero, huésped asiduo de los más duros penales de la dictadura primorriverista, había de convertirse en una de las figuras políticas claves del bando republicano. Su intervención resultó decisiva para la continuidad de la legalidad republiblicana en Catalunya tras la derrota de las fuerzas insurrectas y más tarde, siendo ya ministro de Justicia, había de convertirse en hombre-puente a quien confiar el allanamiento y suavización de los antagonismos que enfrentaban a las fuerzas en el seno de la República.

De sí mismo, Juan García Oliver ha dicho: “Mi muerte será gris y posiblemente llegue con demasiado retraso.” Más de medio siglo de actividad militante hacen imposible una biografía sucinta, a la manera clásica, que mar- que los hitos más importantes de su vida. Lo importante en García Oliver es el hilo conductor, la coherencia íntima de sus actos.

A modo de introducción

Este no será un libro completo. Tampoco será una obra lograda. Sobre la CNT -CNT igual a anarcosindicalismo- se ha escrito bastante. Y se ha escrito por haberse revelado como la única fuerza capaz de hacer frente a los militares españoles sublevados contra el pueblo. Fue la CNT -los anarcosindicalistas- la que impidió, por primera vez en la historia, que un ejército de casta se apoderase de una nación mediante el golpe de Estado militar. Hasta entonces, y aún después, nadie se opuso a los militares cuando en la calle y al frente de sus soldados asestaban a su pueblo un golpe de Estado. La sublevación de julio de 1936 era de carácter fascista y al fascismo europeo, en la calle y frente a frente, ningún partido ni organización había osado enfrentarlo. La CNT -los anarcosindicalistas- no logró hacer escuela en las formaciones proletarias del mundo entero. Otros golpes de Estado han sido realizados después por militares. El de Chile, por ejemplo, frente a casi los mismos componentes que en España -socialistas, comunistas, marxistas-, pero sin anarcosindicalistas, fue para los militares un paseo. Tal como se está explicando lo ocurrido en Chile, la lección para los trabajadores será nula. Porque no fueron los militares quienes mataron a Allende, sino la soledad en que lo dejaron. Algo muy parecido le ocurrió al presidente de la Generalidad de Cataluña, Luis Companys, en el movimiento de octubre de 1934. Entonces, como ahora, predominaba en Europa una manifestación del comunismo, gritón, llorón, dado a difamar a cuantos no se doblegan al peso de sus consignas. Bueno, sí, para organizar desfiles aparatosos en Madrid, en Barcelona, en Santiago, en Berlín. Pero, al trepar al poder Hitler en Alemania, solamente el anarquista individualista holandés Van der Lubbe tuvo el arranque de pegarle fuego al Parlamento, desafiando las iras de quien se creía más poderoso que los dioses. Aquel fuego purificador alumbró la sordidez del mundo comunista, pagado de sus periódicos, de sus desfiles, de sus manifestaciones, pero que, carente de la chispa insurreccional de los anarcos, siempre dejó libre el paso a los enemigos de la libertad. No amando la libertad, no son aptos para defenderla.

La CNT tuvo excelentes luchadores, hombres y mujeres capaces de llenar páginas de Historia. Pero careció de intelectuales capaces de describir y de teorizar nuestras gestas.

Durante años he vivido en la duda de si debía eternizarse nuestras luchas en narraciones veraces. El final de Allende, asesinado por la soledad en que lo dejaron sus partidarios, me ha convencido de que convenía que el mundo obrero conociera lo que éramos colectivamente, y no solamente a través de la imagen de un hombre y de un nombre. La CNT dio vida a muchos héroes. En la medida de lo posible deben irse aportando ya los materiales de la verdadera historia del anarcosindicalismo en su aspecto humano, más importante que las manifestaciones burocráticas, que tanto se han prodigado. Solamente la veracidad puede dar la verdadera dimensión de lo que fuimos.

La verdad, la bella verdad, sólo puede ser apreciada si, junto a ella, como parte de ella misma, está también la fea cara de la verdad. — Juan García Oliver

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MY REVOLUTIONARY LIFE JUAN GARCÍA OLIVER Interviewed by FREDDY GÓMEZ Translated by PAUL SHARKEY. Interview conducted in Paris on 29 June 1977 (eBook £1.00. Print copy also available from Kate Sharpley Library)

 Anarchism in Spain  Comments Off on MY REVOLUTIONARY LIFE JUAN GARCÍA OLIVER Interviewed by FREDDY GÓMEZ Translated by PAUL SHARKEY. Interview conducted in Paris on 29 June 1977 (eBook £1.00. Print copy also available from Kate Sharpley Library)
Jan 162016
 

MyRevLifeOliverJuan García Oliver (1901-1980) was an anarcho-syndicalist CNT militant who played a key role in the Spanish anarchist movement from 1917 through to the end of the Spanish Civil War. When the military moved out of their barracks on 18 July 1936 he, along with Durruti, Ascaso, and other members of the ‘Nosotros’ Group, the core of the Regional CNT Defence Committee of Catalonia (the co-ordinating body of the Catalan workers’ resistance), were prepared and ready for them. From 21 July onward, following the workers’ defeat of the attempted fascist coup d’état, Oliver became a central political figure in subsequent events, first as secretary of the Militias Committee then Minister of Justice in the Madrid government of Largo Caballero. This interview with García Oliver by anarchist historian and journalist Freddy Gómez, made in Paris in June 1977, benefits enormously from Oliver’s hindsight, probably the only one of the ‘official’ CNT-FAI leadership (Federica Montseny, Germinal Esgleas, ‘Marianet’, Horacio Prieto, Diego Abad de Santillan, Fidel Miró, Francisco Isgleas, Serafín Aliaga, none of whom were activists!) with any degree of integrity.

The eBook is available as a Mobi file from the CB eBookshelf at £1.00. An ePub file is also available (email) (Also available from both Kindle and Kobo)

A print copy is available here from the Kate Sharpley Library.

García Oliver addressing a public meeting of the CNT-AIT in Valencia (1936)

Darkness and Blood: The Libertarian Movement Against Francoism (April 1949—July 1952) – Antecedents and Consequences by Antonio Téllez Solá (Notes for an unpublished work).

Tinieblas y sangre. El movimiento libertario contra el franquismo (abril de 1949 a julio de 1952). Antecedentes y consecuencias por Antonio Téllez Solá. Notas para una obra inédita.

Tenebres i sang. El moviment llibertari contra el franquisme (abril de 1949 a juliol de 1952). Antecedents i conseqüències per Antonio Téllez Solá (Notes per a una obra inèdita).

 Anarchism in Spain  Comments Off on Darkness and Blood: The Libertarian Movement Against Francoism (April 1949—July 1952) – Antecedents and Consequences by Antonio Téllez Solá (Notes for an unpublished work).

Tinieblas y sangre. El movimiento libertario contra el franquismo (abril de 1949 a julio de 1952). Antecedentes y consecuencias por Antonio Téllez Solá. Notas para una obra inédita.

Tenebres i sang. El moviment llibertari contra el franquisme (abril de 1949 a juliol de 1952). Antecedents i conseqüències per Antonio Téllez Solá (Notes per a una obra inèdita).

Feb 272015
 

TinieblasySangreDarkness and Blood: The Libertarian Movement Against Francoism (April 1949—July 1952) –  Antecedents and Consequences by Antonio Téllez Solá (Notes for an unpublished work). (In Spanish)
Tinieblas y sangre. El movimiento libertario contra el franquismo (abril de 1949 a julio de 1952). Antecedentes y consecuencias por Antonio Téllez Solá. Notas para una obra inédita.

Tenebres i sang. El moviment llibertari contra el franquisme (abril de 1949 a juliol de 1952). Antecedents i conseqüències per Antonio Téllez Solá (Notes per a una obra inèdita).

NOW AVAILABLE ON KINDLE — £3.25 .  Check out all Christiebooks titles HERE UK : £3.25 ; USA : $5.00 FRANCE :  €4.39 ; SPAIN  €4.39 ; ITALY:  €4.39 ; GERMANY : €4.39NETHERLANDS : €4.39JAPAN : ¥ 595CANADA : CDN$ 6.27 ; BRAZIL : R$ 14.35 ; MEXICO: $75.16 ; AUSTRALIA : $6.38 ; INDIA : R311

ChristieBooks on KOBO  — Tinieblas y sangre. El movimiento libertario contra el franquismo (abril de 1949 a julio de 1952). Antecedentes y consecuencias (not available on the Kobo platform)

This collection of hitherto unpublished and unedited reports, memos and jottings were sent to me by the indefatigable historian of the anti-Francoist guerrillas in Spain, Antonio Téllez (1921–2005), prior to his death.  They were intended to provide the basis for his ongoing investigation into the treachery, malfeasance, chicanery, incompetence and litany of failures of the Toulouse-based executive committees of the Spanish Libertarian Movement in Exile (CNT-FAI-FIJL). There had been, he was convinced, treachery and betrayal on a grand scale that, from 1947 until the mid 1950s, had led to the arrest, torture, imprisonment, murder and execution of many brave men, including close friends of his, urban and rural guerrillas as well as CNT militants involved in clandestine propaganda, intelligence gathering and organisational work inside Spain. At the very least the reader comes away better informed about the existence of so many questions as to the roles of X, Y and Z, rather than being able to answer the serious questions raised; to actually identify the traitors and informers by name would require access to the Toulouse MLE-CNT archives, as well as to those of the French and Spanish police, intelligence and security services — an unlikely scenario. (Some of the questions raised by Téllez are, however, addressed in some detail in volume 3 of the novel ¡Pistoleros! The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg.)

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Three French Libertarians in Franco’s Jails — Alain Pecunia, Bernard Ferri and Guy Batoux by Steven Forti (Atlantica). Translated by Paul Sharkey

 Anarchism in Spain  Comments Off on Three French Libertarians in Franco’s Jails — Alain Pecunia, Bernard Ferri and Guy Batoux by Steven Forti (Atlantica). Translated by Paul Sharkey
Jul 222014
 
Alain-Pecunia-1965

Alain Pecunia-1965 (Carabanchel Prison)

“Those were bright and happy years. Awesome times! We were out to make revolution. Was it worth it? On that I am clear; it was worth it!” So says an amiable and chatty Alain Pecunia in a phone conversation from his Paris home. Thereby summing up his teenage years back in the 60s, divided between De Gaulle’ France and Franco’s Spain. Alain Pecunia’s story is little known this side of the Pyrenees, although his life has a lot to do with Spain and anti-Francoism. In 2004 he wrote an account of those years in Les ombres ardentes. Un francais de 17 ans dans les prisons franquistes (The Burning Shadows. A 17 Year-Old Frenchman in Franco’s Prisons). “There is a lot of talk about the intellectuals who opposed Franco but very little is said of the workers and peasants who did so. Which is why I wrote the book”, he says. “In Carabanchel prison I ran into peasants from Valencia and miners from Mieres. I dedicate Les ombres ardentes to them, lest we forget about their struggle.” (en Français – en Español)

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ANTONIO VERARDINI DÍEZ-FERRETI (1910-198?)

 Spanish anarchism, Spanish Revolution/Civil War  Comments Off on ANTONIO VERARDINI DÍEZ-FERRETI (1910-198?)
May 232013
 
Verd2

Antonio Verardini Díez-Ferreti

Antonio Verardini Díez-Ferreti was born in 1910 into a middle-class Madrileño family; his father was a mining engineer and he himself was educated in a Jesuit college from which he was expelled for his anti-clerical ideas and activities. In the mid 1920s he moved to France where he studied Engineering at the Paris Polytechnic, returning to Madrid on the death of his father. Unable to find work in Spain he moved to the small Spanish North African exclave of Ceuta where he set up his own construction company; there he joined the anti-colonial Izquierda Revolucionaria y Antiimperialista (Anti-Imperialist Revolutionary Left) (IRYA).

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Keeping the faith in exile – Pistoleros! Vol 3. Review from Hastings Online Times

 Anarchism in Barcelona, CNT, Memoir, Reviews, Spanish anarchism  Comments Off on Keeping the faith in exile – Pistoleros! Vol 3. Review from Hastings Online Times
Mar 272013
 

Pistoleros3-resized1-197x300Hastings Online Times 27/3/2013

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.

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Aug 062012
 

Farquhar McHarg, Belleville, Paris, 1976

¡Pistoleros! 1 – 1918

¡Pistoleros! 2 – 1919

Farquhar’s Chronicles (Vols. 1 ; 2 ; 3 )are folk history, bringing the changes that shook the political and social landscape of Spain (and the world) between 1918 and 1977 into the framework of a contemporary adult lifetime. They make a vexatious but fascinating story that explains the spirit and Idea that moved the selfless, generous, occasionally naïve and recklessly idealistic people involved in the bitter social struggles that marked the hectic insurrectionary and utopian aftermath of the great imperialist war of 1914-18.

This third volume of Farquhar McHarg’s journal focuses on the remarkable adventures of the Glaswegian anarchist during the period 1920-24 as a member of the anarchist action groups: Los Justicieros (‘the Avengers’); Crisol (‘Crucible’); Los Solidarios (‘Solidarity’), and the armed clandestine defence cadres of the CNT, the anarcho-syndicalist labour union. Their militants faced extermination from the calculated violence of the security services of a vicious semi-feudal state, and the mercenary killers employed by landed grandees and an equally savage industrial and commercial bourgeoisie.

Pistoleros! 2 – 1920-1924 (to 1977)

Farquhar’s Chronicles also tell a parallel narrative of plot and counterplot, ranging from 1936 to 1976, exploring the background to the murder of Farquhar’s comrade, the notorious anarchist counterfeiter and facilitator Laureano Cerrada Santos, and the subsequent attempts to kill the seventy-six-year-old Farquhar himself. It is a compelling and dramatic tale of the Govan man’s attempt to ferret out the identity of a long-term traitor within the Spanish émigré anarcho-syndicalist organisation, the CNT-MLE (Spanish Libertarian Movement), a confidente known only as ‘The Priest’.

Farquhar McHarg 1925

This story unfolds against the backdrop of machinations by Spanish and other Western spymasters obsessed with the idea that post-Franco Spain might go ‘Red’. To pre-empt this eventuality they deployed deep-penetration agents of influence, traitors at the highest level of the Spanish émigré anarcho-syndicalist movement. By inducing fear and paranoia through acts of treachery, their objective was to demoralise, disrupt and neutralise the effectiveness of that small band of anarchist militants who had fought relentlessly to topple the old regime by aggressive action and who might thwart their plans for a post-Francoist Spain.

Farquhar McHarg 1959

Farquhar McHarg 1976

These puppetmasters also sought to extend and consolidate their proxy control over the influential anarcho-syndicalist organisation inside and outside of Spain during the ‘disease-prone’ transition period to democracy’ (communism being defined as a ‘disease of transition’). It was the height of the Cold War and, with Spain’s dictator dead, the West’s geopolitical agenda-setters needed to ensure NATO hegemony over the Mediterranean, and the continuity of the Francoist agenda (and elite) at a time when they believed Spanish society would be particularly susceptible to a social breakdown as it underwent modernisation.

PHOTO ALBUMS Vol. 1: 1918 a ; 1918 b ; 1918 c

PHOTO ALBUMS Vol. 2: 1919 a ; 1919 b

PHOTO ALBUMS Vol. 3: 1920-24 a ; 1920-24 b ; 1920-24 c

 

SUCH A PARCEL OF ROGUES . . .

Notes for an ongoing inquiry into the pernicious role of police and security service informers, infiltrators, agents of influence, malfeasors and traitors, particularly within the Spanish anarchist movement (1939-1975)— and any lessons to be learned thereof . . .

 anarchism, CNT, Ethics, Secret Services/Servicios Especiales, Spanish anarchism, Spies and informers  Comments Off on SUCH A PARCEL OF ROGUES . . .

Notes for an ongoing inquiry into the pernicious role of police and security service informers, infiltrators, agents of influence, malfeasors and traitors, particularly within the Spanish anarchist movement (1939-1975)— and any lessons to be learned thereof . . .

Jun 152012
 

Cipriano Mera’s challenge to Germinal Esgleas (1903–81) and Vicente Llansola (1915–96), 11 September 1964

Cipriano Mera Sanz (1897-1975)

I, Cipriano Mera*, hereby impugn Germinal Esgleas**, general secretary of the Intercontinental Secretariat (SI) of the National Confederation of Labour of Spain in Exile (CNTE), on the following grounds:

FIRST: For deliberately accepting the position he currently holds, despite the fact that the Congress which appointed him rubber-stamped the performance of the DI Section (Interior Defence, the clandestine action planning section of the CNT-FAI-FIJL) — from which he later resigned — whereas he was knowingly at odds with said performance and with the aims and objectives of the aforementioned Section (the DI), and for exploiting his position — from within and without — deliberately to sabotage said Section, right from its inception.

SECOND: As the person primarily responsible for the majority of the problems that thwarted the normal coordination of activities under the Defence (DI) remit, and because of his determination to torpedo its operations, as evidenced by his resignation some months in advance of the Confederal Congress at which he knew he would be proposed as candidate for the post of general secretary, thereby pre-empting any scrutiny of his conduct in respect of his obligations as a member of the DI.

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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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