Origins of the Friends of Durruti; the opposition to militarisation and Balius' journalistic career

The Friends of Durruti Group was formally launched on March 17, 1937, although its origins can be traced back to October 1936. The Group was the confluence of two main currents: the opposition on the part of anarchist militians from the Durruti Column (and the Iron Column1) to militarization of the people's militias, and the opposition to governmentalism, best articulated in the writings of Jaime Balius (though not Jaime Balius only) in Solidaridad Obrera between July and November 1936, in Ideas, between December 1936 and April 1937, and in La Noche between March and May 1937.

Both currents, the "militia" current repudiating militarization of the people's militias, as represented by Pablo Ruiz, and the "journalistic" critique of the CNT-FAI's collaboration with the government, as spearheaded by Jaime Balius, opposed the CNT's circumstantialist ideology (which provided the alibi for the jettisoning of anarchism's quintessential and fundamental characteristics) as embodied, to varying degrees, by Federica Montseny, Garcia Oliver, Abad de Santillán or Juan Peiro, among others.

Repudiation of militarization of the People's Militias caused grave unease in several anarchist militia units, and was articulated at the plenum of confederal and anarchist columns held in Valencia from February 5 to 8, 19372. Pablo Ruiz attended as delegate from the Durruti Column's militians of the Gelsa sector who were resistant to militarization, and Francisco Pellicer3 was present to represent the militians of The Iron Column. The Gelsa sector even witnessed a defiant refusal to comply with the orders received from the CNT and FAI Regional Committees that militarization be accepted. The acrimony between those Durruti Column militians who agreed to the militarization and those who rejected it caused serious problems, leading in the end to the formation of a commission from the Column, headed by Manzana, which raised the problem with the Regional Committee. The upshot of these discussions was the decision that all militians be given a fortnight to choose one of two courses of action: accept the militarization imposed by the Republican government, or quit the front4.

Balius's journalistic trajectory between July 1936 and the end of the war is very telling. His political stance of advocacy of permanent revolution remained virtually unchanged whereas his professional and personal standing underwent rapid change with the incoming tide of counterrevolution.

Between July and early November 1936, Balius, who, with no help other than his friend Gilabert, saw to it that Solidaridad Obrera hit the streets on July 205, published numerous articles in that paper, the chief organ of the CNT. Some were purely informative6 in character, as was appropriate for journalistic reportage: but many of them, and without doubt the most interesting among them, were expressions of political opinion. These articles, which filled a regular column in Solidaridad Obrera7, occasionally appeared on the cover by way of editorial comment by the paper8. And there is every likelihood that Balius was the writer of several editorials (in September-October 1936), published without byline9 as expressions of the Solidaridad Obrera policy line. But whatever the extent of his involvement in the drafting of these editorials, it can be affirmed beyond doubt of any sort that Balius, through the pages of the CNT's organ in Catalonia, in September and October 1936, during Liberto Callejas's time as managing editor, played a very prominent ideological role as molder and shaper of the political stance of the CNT's main daily newspaper. Ever present in his articles was insistence upon defense of the revolutionary gains of July and the need to press these home to which end he urged tough, decisive repressive measures or, as Balius liked to call them, invoking the French Revolution, "public safety" measures against the counterrevolutionary threat from the bourgeoisie10.

At the beginning of November 1936, Liberto Callejas was stood down as managing editor of Solidaridad Obrera. Jacinto Toryho was appointed in his place11. Bear in mind that at the beginning of November Durruti had gone to the Madrid front and four confederal ministers had joined the Republican government. Toryho's appointment was in response to the need for the director of Solidaridad Obrera to be an adamant champion of the CNT's circumstantialist and collaborationist policy. By the end of December, Toryho had managed to get rid of Liberto Callejas's old editorial team of Jaime Balius, Mingo, Alejandro Gilabert, Pintado, Galipienzo, Borras, Gamón12, etc., who were against the official CNT policy, and their place was taken by contributions from prominent anarcho-syndicalist leaders such as Peiró, Montseny and Abad de Santillán, faithful friends of Toryho, such as Leandro Blanco (erstwhile editor of a monarchist newspaper) and the prestigious bylines of "progressives" like Cánovas Cervantes and Zamacois13.

One of the last articles Balius published in Solidaridad Obrera (on December 6, 1936) under the title "Durruti's testament," is deserving of a detailed mention. The article is a commentary upon the radio broadcast made by Durruti from Madrid on November 514, only days before he died: written in what might have appealed to many anarchists a provocative manner, this article gives us an inkling of what was to become one of the basic ideological pillars of the future Friends of Durruti Group, namely, the totalitarian character of any proletarian revolution:

Quote:
Durruti bluntly stated that we anarchists require that the revolution be of a totalitarian nature. And that the comrades standing up to fascism so doggedly on the fields of battle are not prepared to let anyone tamper with the revolutionary and liberating import of this present hour.

(. . .) Durruti's testament lives on. It lingers with even greater force than on the night he harangued us. We shall see to it that his last wishes are made a reality.

December 29, 1936 saw the appearance of the first issue of Ideas the mouthpiece of the CNT federation in the Bajo Llobregat comarca. Balius had an article published in virtually every edition of Ideas. His articles insistently denounced the advance of the counterrevolution15. Outstanding among them was the attack upon the President of the Generalidad, Luis Companys, which was carried in Ideas No. 15 of April 8, 1937, under the title "Let's make revolution."16

Ideas was a direct antecedent of El Amigo del Pueblo. Although not every contributor to Ideas17 was a member of the Friends of Durruti, we can state that, along with Acracia in Lerida18, Ideas was the most outstanding mouthpiece of the anarchist revolutionary current prior to May.

Balius was appointed director of La Noche on January 26, 1937 by the Local Federation of Unions. La Noche was an evening daily, run by a cooperative of workers, most of whom belonged to the CNT, although it was not part of the organizational press of the CNT.

It was in La Noche of March 2, 1937 that the first report came of the aims and membership conditions of a new anarchist grouping which had taken the name of the "Friends of Durruti Group."19 Between early March and the May events, La Noche, while it never became the Group's official mouthpiece, became, thanks to its not being an organizational paper, the paper in which the Friends of Durruti were able to give free expression to their criticisms of the official policy of the CNT.

Without doubt the most outstanding articles are those from Balius, but we cannot fail to mention those above the signature of Mingo, on the subject of the Municipality and trade union management of the economy, because these represent a very significant factor in the political theory of the Friends of Durruti.

In the March 2, 1937 edition, Balius published an article entitled "Careful, workers, Not a single step backwards," which had the merit of catching the eye of Nin, who, in the March 4th edition of La Batalla , gave a glowing welcome to the views set out by Balius, and also to the launching of the Friends of Durruti Group announced in the same edition, on account of the chances that it might give a revolutionary fillip to the CNT masses, whom the anarchist leaders were leading down the path of the crassest and most short-sighted reformism.

In that article, Balius railed against the view, increasingly widespread in some anarchist circles, that, if the war was to be won, the revolution had to be abjured. And he bluntly cited an article signed by the prominent treintista militant Juan Peiró. After noting the onslaught of counterrevolution, which was now demanding that the Control Patrols be disbanded, he placed the blame for this upon the ongoing policy of appeasement pursued by the CNT. The article called for an amendment of this policy, for only if the revolution made headway in the rearguard could the war be won on the battle-fronts. The article's title, "Not a single step backwards!" was therefore a very telling one.

On March 6, 1937, Balius had an article in La Nocheentitled "Counter-revolutionary Postures. Neutral positions are damaging," in which he catalogued the features of the new security force set up by the Generalidad government, identifying it as a bourgeois corps in the service of the capitalist State and inimical to the most elementary interests of the workers.

March 8, 1937 saw the publication in La Noche of one of those articles so typical of Balius's style, where, through an astute admixture of news and opinion, he recorded the spectacle of trains crammed with residents of Barcelona off into the countryside in search of foodstuffs. By means of a description of the folk thronging the carriages, Balius lashed out at the new approach being adopted in the provision of supplies, an approach introduced by the Stalinist leader, Comorera.

In its March 11, 1937 edition, La Noche carried an article paying tribute to the figure of Durruti. Balius recalled the address given by Durruti over the radio from the Madrid front just days before he died, an address in which he had deplored the failures of the rearguard to take the war to its heart. The solution, as Durruti saw it, lay in waging war properly, enrolling the bourgeois into fortification battalions and placing all workers on a war footing. According to Balius, Durruti's death had been followed by a funeral fit for a king, but no one had taken his reasoning to heart. As a result, the journalist concluded, the argument was beginning to be heard that the civil war was a war of independence and not the class war that Durruti had called for. Balius closed the article by asserting that Durruti was more relevant than ever, and that there could be no loyalty to his memory that did not include subscription to his ideas.

The following day, March 12, Balius had a piece in La Noche entitled "Comments by Largo Caballero: Counter-revolution on the march," in which he was critical of statements by the UGT leader, describing them as counterrevolutionary, in that they confirmed an intention to revert to the situation which had obtained prior to July 19, with the collectivizations and socializations of firms being dismantled just as soon as the war was won.

In La Noche of March 13, 1937, Balius had an article entitled "We must wage war. Our future requires it," calling for a war economy and criticizing the Generalidad's economic policy.

Balius's article, "Fascist barbarism. We must use the mailed fist" (in La Noche of March 16, 1937) referred to the air raids on Barcelona, attacked the exchanges of refugees through the embassies and called for the stamping out of the fifth column. He even recommended that neighborhood watch committees be set up. The writer's conclusion was that an immediate purge of the rearguard was imperative and a necessary prerequisite for success in the war:

Quote:
No purge has been made of the rearguard. (. . .) Fascists are still at large in huge numbers. (. . .) Our enemies must be rounded up and eliminated (. . .) Anyone attempting to dampen the fires of popular justice is an enemy of the Revolution. Let us act with the utmost vigor. Heedless of our soft hearts, let us show the mailed fist.

The March 18th edition of La Noche carried an insertion reporting the formal launching of the Friends of Durruti. Félix Martin(ez) was listed as the group's secretary and Jaime Balius as vice-secretary. José Paniagua, Antonio Puig, Francisco Carreño, Pablo Ruiz, Antonio Romero, Serafin Sobias and Eduardo Cervera were listed as members of the steering committee.

On Tuesday, March 23, 1937, Balius had a piece published in La Noche under the title "Time to be specific: Catalonia's role in the Spanish Revolution," wherein he championed the Catalan proletariat's role as the driving force of a thorough-going social revolution, which was not, as in Madrid and other regions in Spain, hobbled by the immediate needs of the war.

In the March 24th edition, the paper carried a lengthy interview with Pablo Ruiz, a member of the Group and spokesman for the Gelsa militias opposed to militarization of the columns. We are offered a short but intriguing biographical sketch of Pablo Ruiz, thanks to which we know that he was a member of the Figols revolutionary committee back on January 8, 1933, that he fought at the head of forty men in Las Rondas and the Paralelo in the July events, that he had a hand in the siege and final assault upon the Atarazanas barracks, alongside Durruti and Ascaso, and that he had set off for the Aragon front in the Durruti Column, and had been on active service there in the Gelsa sector ever since. After a paean to the virtues and advantages of the anarchist peasant collectivizations in Aragon, the interviewer asks his views on militarization. His answer was considered, prudent and nuanced: but at the same time quite coherent and radical, as if to underline the incompatibility between anarchistIdeasand the war's being directed by the bourgeoisie and the Republican State:

Quote:
to reorganization of the Army, we have no objection, for it ought to be remembered that we were the first to call for a single, common command (. . .) in the care of delegates from the various columns by way of ensuring homogeneity in the performance of them all. Let restructuring proceed, but let the people's Army not be in thrall to the Generalidad, nor to the Central Government. It must be under the Confederation's control."

In the interview, Pablo Ruiz alludes to the constant retreat from the revolutionary gains of July and to the inception of the Friends of Durruti:

Quote:
When we left for the front we left it to our comrades to ensure that the Revolution would march on to victory, in the anarchist sense. But, in the elaboration of that Revolution, a role has been assigned to the bourgeois parties which had no feeling for the revolution, in that their task was to champion the interests of the petite bourgeoisie and of the UGT which had a very tiny following in Catalonia compared to ours. (. . .) By entering into a compact with them, we have lost hegemony over the Revolution and have found ourselves required to compromise day after day, with the result that the Revolution has been disfigured as the initial revolutionary gains have been whittled away.

Out of this has arisen the formation of the "Friends of Durruti," in that this new organization has as its primary object the preservation, intact, of the postulates of the CNT-FAI.

Pablo Ruiz concluded the interview by setting out his own view of how the revolution might be set back on the right track: 1. Propaganda should be carried out within the CNT, without recourse to violence. 2. There should be pressure for trade union (CNT) direction of the economy. 3. The political parties should be pushed aside. 4. No alliance and no compromise with the forces harboring the counterrevolution, that is, the PSUC and the UGT:

Quote:
The direction of the economy and of society ought to be vested in the trade union organization [the CNT], with no place for the political parties, on the basis that these do not meet the criteria to be regarded as renovative. None of which implies imposition through force, but rather through propaganda within CNT ranks. [. . .] And I am opposed to involving the political parties, being convinced that that would entail loss of the revolution, which has to be prosecuted by every means short of compromise with groups that not only have no feeling for the revolution but are also in the minority.

Balius published (in the March 27, 1937 edition La Noche) an article entitled "The revolution has its requirements. All power to the unions," in which he dealt with the protracted crisis in the Generalidad government. His view of the trade unions as organs of the revolution is very interesting. He classified the Generalidad government crisis as the product of the tensions characterizing a situation of dual power: the Generalidad made laws and passed decrees, but the unions paid no heed to the Generalidad's decisions. In Balius's view, for the revolution to move forward and consolidate, power had to pass to the working class, and this was encapsulated in the slogan: 'All power to the unions.'

Balius also penned an intriguing article entitled "A historical moment. A categorical dilemma" (La Noche April 5, 1937), in which he probed the significance of the crisis in the Generalidad government. As far as Balius was concerned, the Generalidad was a relic from the past, one that was incongruent with the new revolutionary needs:

Quote:
The Generalidad government is a hang-over from the past, from a petit-bourgeois system that involves all sorts of incongruencies, vacillation and hypocrisy.

Thus, according to Balius, there could be only one resolution of the Generalidad government crisis. A change of government personnel would achieve nothing. And Balius even made a veiled appeal for the CNT to replace the Generalidad with the power of the workers, and sweep the counterrevolutionary parties out of existence:

Quote:
We are not pessimists, but we honestly believe that we have not been equal to the challenge.

The dilemma cannot be sidestepped. The future of the proletariat requires heroic decisions. If there are some organizations attempting to strangle the revolution, we must be ready to shoulder the responsibility of a moment in history which, by reason of its very grandeur, presupposes a series of measures and decisions that are not out of tune with the present hour.

With the Revolution, or lined up against it. There can be no middle ground.

In La Noche of April 7th, Balius had an article entitled "In this grave hour. The sovereign will resides in the people," in which he reiterated the viewpoint he had spelled out in his April 5th article and repeated his attacks on Companys.

Also in La Noche, there were several articles by Mingo20, remarkable for their vehemence, sounding the alarm about the advance of the counterrevolution, eulogizing anarchism's revolutionary spirit (which was held to be incompatible with governmental collaborationism, which had to be ended forthwith), attacking the UGT, the PSUC, Comorera and Companys over their constant defamation of the Confederation, agreeing that there was an overriding need (as spelled out by Balius) to do away with the Generalidad, and echoing the growing malaise among the people. But the most interesting of these articles was the one given over to the municipalities, because his thinking (merely outlined here) was to be spelled out in full in the program set out by the Friends of Durruti in El Amigo del Pueblo after May. In that article21, Mingo stated:

Quote:
The municipality is the authentic revolutionary government.

According to Mingo, ever since July 19, 1936, the Generalidad government had been redundant. The only policy now was economic policy, and that was the province of the trade unions. So, according to Mingo, the municipality, run by the workers, with economic policy supervised by the workers, could and should have stepped into the shoes of the State.

In the April 14, 1937 edition of the daily La Noche, Balius had an article, "A historic date: April 14," marking the anniversary of the proclamation of the Republic, in which he underlined the petit-bourgeois character of the day when the Republic was proclaimed, attacked Catalanism, whether right-wing or left-wing, Macià or Cambó, in that both had forsworn their nationalism in the face of threats from the Catalan proletariat.

Without the slightest doubt, these articles of Balius's, (and of other members of the Friends of Durruti), touching upon such a wide variety of topics, generally political opinion, but also with a news content, were the mortar binding together a critical current of opposition to the CNT's collaborationist policy. Balius was not the sole critic, but he was one of the most outstanding and of course the one most consistent, coherent and radical. Balius's merit resides in his having secured the backing of a sizable group of militians opposed to the militarization of the Militias. The conjunction of these militians, led by Pablo Ruiz, with other anarcho-syndicalists opposed to the CNT's collaborationist policy found its political views articulated in theoretical terms in Balius's articles and criticisms. Those views were to crystallize in the program set out on the poster dating from late April 1937 and would be spelled out in greater detail in El Amigo del Pueblo newspaper, published after the May Events.

So, to sum up: although the Friends of Durruti Grouping was formally launched on March 17, 1937, its origins can be traced to the deep-seated malaise created in militians' ranks by the Generalidad decree on militarization of the People's Militias, which is to say, to late October 1936, when Durruti was still alive. Then again, Balius had come to prominence as early as 1935 as a journalist and anarchist ideologue, known for his interesting theoretical contributions on nationalism, his savage criticisms of the Catalan bourgeoisie's political activities, his attacks on Macià and Companys, his expose of the Catalanist fascism embodied in Dencas and Badia, as well as his analysis of the events of October 1934 in Catalonia from a CNT perspective. Nor was collaboration between Jaime Balius and Pablo Ruiz anything new, since they had jointly written a pamphlet22 and had both belonged to the same anarchist affinity group, "Renacer" - that being the name of the publishing house which had issued Balius's pamphlets prior to July 193623. In addition to Jaime Balius and Pablo Ruiz, the "Renacer" group included Francisco Pellicer (who would be the Iron Column's delegate during the civil war) and Bruno Lladó (who was a Sabadell city councilor during the war and the Generalidad Department of Economy's comarcal delegate)24.

  • 1. On the Iron Column, see Abel Paz's splendid study Crònica de la Columna de Ferro (Hacer, Barcelona, 1984). As early as September and October 1936, the Iron Column had figured in sensational incidents concerned with cleansing the rearguard (Valencia city), traveling there from the front lines in order to demand the disarmament and disbanding of armed corps in the service of the State and the despatching of their members to front-line service. Repudiation of militarization of the militias was debated inside the Iron Column as it was in every other confederal column. In the end, the Column's assembly gave its approval to militarization, since it would otherwise be denied weapons, pay and provisions. Then again, in the event of its being disbanded, there was a danger that the militians might enlist into other, already militarized units.
  • 2. Frank Mintz La autogestión en la España revolucionaria (La Piqueta, Madrid, 1977) pp. 295-308. Also Abel Paz, op. cit. pp. 275-294. And Paul Sharkey The Friends of Durruti: A Chronology (Editorial Crisol, Tokyo, May 1984).
  • 3. Jaime Balius, Pablo Ruiz and Francisco Pellicer were the leading organizers behind the meeting held by the Friends of Durruti in the Poliorama Theater on Sunday, April 19, 1937.
  • 4. See Jaime Balius's interview with Pablo Ruiz in the newspaper La Noche No. 3545 (March 24, 1937): and El Amigo del Pueblo No. 5 (July 21, 1937): and Paul Sharkey, op. cit.
  • 5. "Ponencia que a la Asamblea del Sindicato presenta la sección de periodistas para que sea tomada en consideración y elevada al Pleno y pueda servir de controversia al informe que presente el director interino de Solidaridad Obrera," dated Barcelona, February 21 and 22, 1937, on behalf of the Asamblea de la Sección de Periodistas. [Document on deposit with the Archivo Histórico Municipal de Barcelona (AHMB).]
  • 6. See some of the new articles carried by Solidaridad Obrera, like "La ciudad de Barcelona" (August 18, 1936), "En el nuevo local del Comite de Milicias Antifascistas" (August 23, 1936), "Ha caido en el cumplimiento de su deber" (October 3, 1936), "Los galeotos de la retaguardia" (October 4, 1936), "Solidaridad con los caidos. . ." (October 9, 1936) or "Los pájaros de la revolución" (October 16, 1936).

    See also, in the September and October 1936 editions of Solidaridad Obrera, articles similar to those of Balius, under the bylines of Mingo, Floreal Ocaña, Gilabert, etc.

  • 7. Balius's regular column was headlined "Como en la guerra," and, on occasion, the articles were not credited. Endériz, among others, also had a regular column.
  • 8. See some of the articles above Balius's byline carried on the cover, like "No podemos olvidar. 6 de octubre" (October 6, 1936), "la revolución no ha de frenarse. El léxico de la prensa burguesa es de un sabor contrarevolucionario" (October 15, 1936), "Como en la guerra. En los frentes de combate no han de faltar prendas que son indispensables para sobrellevar la campaña de invierno" (October 16, 1936).
  • 9. We must not omit to highlight (whether or not it was written by Balius) the editorial carried anonymously by Solidaridad Obrera (October 11, 1936) under the headline "Ha de constituirse el Consejo Nacional de Defensa," because of the way in which it was taken up later in El Amigo del Pueblo, as one of the most original points in the Friends of Durruti's revolutionary program, to wit, the formation of a Revolutionary Junta or National Defense Council.
  • 10. See some of these articles of a political nature, in addition to those named above: "Ha de imponerse un tributo de guerra" (September 8, 1936), "Once de septiembre" (September 11, 1936), "Como en la guerra. Es de inmediata necesidad el racionamiento del consumo" (September 16, 1936), "Han triunfado las tacticas revolucionarias" (September 23, 1936), "Como en la guerra. La justicia ha de ser inflexible" (October 11, 1936), "Seamos conscientes. Por una moral revolucionaria" (October 18, 1936), "Problemas fundamentales de la revolución. La descentralización es la garantia que ha de recabar la clase trabajadora en defensa de la prerrogativas que se debaten en las lineas de fuego" (October 24, 1936), "Como en la guerra. Los agiotistas tienen pena de la vida" [an uncredited article which can be put down to Balius] (October 31, 1936), "Como en la guerra. La justicia ha de ser fulminante e intachable" [attributable to Balius] (November 1, 1936), "Como en la guerra. Se ha de establecer un control riguroso de la población" (November 3, 1936), "La cuestión catalana" (December 2, 1936), "El testamento de Durruti" (December 6, 1936) and "La revolución de julio ha de cellal el paso a los arribislas" (December 17, 1936).
  • 11. See the "Ponencia. . ." on deposit with the AHMB.
  • 12. See the "Ponencia. . ." on deposit with the AHMB.
  • 13. See Balius's remarks on the replacement of Liberto Callejas by Jacinto Toryho as managing editor of Solidaridad Obrera, the CNT's leading daily newspaper: "And I who served as editor [of Soli] alongside Alejandro Gilabert, Fontaura and others, ought to make it clear that a distinction has to be made between Soli under Liberto Callejas's management and the Soli run by Jacinto Toryho. As long as Callejas was director the CNT's July gains were at all times defended, and anarchist principles praised and propagated. But once Jacinto Toryho was imposed as director of Solidaridad Obrera, by the counterrevolutionaries ensconced in the committees, that is, by the cabal which has no goal other than to dispose of the authentic CNT, then not only was militarization championed, as F. Montseny implies, [but there was] something else. Day after day one could read in Soli about comrade Prieto and comrade Negrin. Let us come out with it all: men of dubious repute, like Canovas Cervantes and Leandro Blanco, former editor of El Debate, joined the editorial team at Soli. Life at Soli became impossible. I quit." (Jaime Balius "Por los fueros de la verdad," in Le Combat Syndicaliste of September 2, 1971.)

    See also "Ponencia . . ."

  • 14. Radio broadcast reprinted in Solidaridad Obrera (November 6,1936). That edition of Soli attributed the following words to Durruti: "If this militarization decreed by the Generalidad is intended to frighten us and force iron discipline upon us, they have made a mistake, and we invite those who devised the Decree to go to the front . . . and then we will be able to make comparisons with the morale and discipline of the rearguard. Rest easy. On the front, there is no chaos, no indiscipline."
  • 15. Balius's most outstanding articles carried inIdeasare as follows: "La pequera burguesia es impotente para reconstruir España destruida por el fascismo" (No. 1, December 29, 1936), "La Revolución ha de seguir avanzando" (No. 3, January 14, 1937), "El fracaso de la democracia burguesa" (No. 4, January 21, 1937), "La Revolución exige un supremo esfuerzo" (No. 7, February 11, 1937), "Despues del 19 de julio" (No. 14, April 1, 1937) and "Hagamos la revolución" (No. 15, April 8, 1937).

    No. 11 ofIdeas(March 11, 1937) carries an unsigned article entitled "¡Destitución inmediata de Aiguadé!," denouncing the counterrevolutionary activities of the Generalidad's councilor for Security, two months ahead of the May events, over his theft of twelve tanks from the CNT through the use of forged documents, and over his systematic recruitment of monarchist and fascist personnel into the Generalidad's Security Corps.

  • 16. Balius states: "It is intolerable that an individual without the slightest support in the workplace should attempt to lay claim to the Power which belongs to the working people alone. That of itself is enough to tell us that, had he a sizable body of men at his disposal, that same politician would once again place the working class in the capitalist harness. [. . .] For those guilty of the Revolution's failure to sweep aside the enemies of the working class, we have to look to the workers' ranks, to those who, for want of decisiveness in the early stages have allowed the counterrevolutionary forces to grow to such dimensions that it will be an expensive business to put them in their place."
  • 17. Issue No. l of Ideas carries the following list of the editors of and contributors to the "mouthpiece of the Bajo Llobregat Libertarian Movement": Liberto Callejas (former director of Solidaridad Obrera), Evelio G. Fontaura, Floreal Ocaña, José Abella and Ginés Alonso, as editors. And Senén Félix as administrator. As contributors: Jaime Balius, Nieves Núñez, Elias Garcia, Severino Campos, José Peirats (director of Acracia in Lerida and future historian of the Spanish anarchist movement), Fraterno Alba, Dr. Amparo Poch, Ricardo Riccetti, Ramón Calopa, Luzbel Ruiz, Vicente Marcet, Manuel Viñuales, Antonio Ocaña, Tomás and Benjamin Cano Ruiz, Francisco Carreño (a member of the Durruti Column, its delegate to Moscow and a future leading militant of the Friends of Durruti), Antollio Vidal, Felipe Alaiz (a prominent anarchist theorist), Acracio Progreso, Manuel Pérez, José Alberola and Miguel Giménez. The cartoonists included Joaquin Cadena and E. Badia and Bonet.
  • 18. For Acracia of Lerida and its director, Peirats, it is interesting to consult the latter's memoirs, especially for the stark description of the tremendous disappointment which the CNT-FAI's collaboration with the government created in lots of anarchist militants. See José Peirats Valls "Memorias," in Suplementos AnthroposNo. 18, Barcelona, January 1990.

    In addition toIdeasin Hospilalet and Acracia in Lerida, the following were prominent anarcho-syndicalist opposition newspapers critical of the CNT's collaborationism: Ciudad y Campo in Tortosa and Nosotros in Valencia. Mention should also be made of Ruta and Esfuerzo, organs of the Libertarian Youth of Catalonia.

  • 19. The notice in La Noche (March 2, 1937) states:

    "At the instigation of a number of comrades of the anarchist Buenaventura Durruti who knew how to end his life with those same yearnings for liberation that marked his whole personal trajectory, it has been adjudged appropriate that a group should be launched to keep alive the memory of the man who, by dint of his integrity and courage, was the very symbol of the revolutionary era begun in mid-July. We invite all comrades who cherished Durruti while he was alive and who, after that giant's death, have cherished the memory of that great warrior, to join the "Friends of Durruti."

    The "Friends of Durruti" is not just another club. Our intention is that the Spanish Revolution should be filled with our Durruti's revolutionary spirit. The Friends of Durruti remain faithful to the last words uttered by our comrade in the very heart of Barcelona in denunciation of the work of the counterrevolution, tracing, with a manly hand, the route that we must take.

    To enroll in our association, you must be a CNT member and furnish evidence of a record of struggle and of love forIdeasand for the revolution. For the time being, applications are being received at Rambla de Cataluña, 15, principal, (CNT Journalists' branch) between five and seven in the evening. -

    The steering commission.

  • 20. Articles in La Noche bearing Mingo's signature are "Nuestra labor. La Revolución ha de seguir avallzando" (April 2, 1937), "Al pueblo se le ha de hablar claro"(April 8, 1937), "La Revolución exige una labor depuradora" (April 9, 1937) and "Una labor revolucionaria. La revalorización de los Municipios" (April 13, 1937).
  • 21. Mingo: "Una labor revolucionaria. La revalorización de los Municipios," in La Noche (April 13, 1937).
  • 22. The pamphlet [which we have not been able to consult] jointly credited to Jaime Balius and Pablo Ruiz is entitled Figols, 8 de enero, 8 de diciembre, y Octubre and was published by Editorial Renacer.
  • 23. Although undated, these pamphlets by Balius came after October 1934 and before July 1936, and in order of publication they were: Jaime Balius De Jaca a Octubre Editorial Renacer, [Barcelona] undated; Jaime Balius Octubre catalan Editorial Renacer,[Barcelona] undated; and, Jaime Balius El nacionalisrno y el proletariado Editorial Renacer, [Barcelona] undated.
  • 24. As Balius stated in his letter of June 1, 1978 to Paul Sharkey: "I belonged to the FAI's Renacer group along with comrades Pablo Ruiz, Francisco Pellicer, since deceased and Bruno Lladó, likewise deceased." [Letter made available by Paul Sharkey, whom we thank for this information.]