A vivid biographical sketch of Joaquín Pérez (1907-2006), based on a manuscript he wrote during the last few years of his life, who joined the CNT at the age of sixteen in the early 1920s, and was, successively, a specialist in the CNT’s Defense Committees in Barcelona during the 1930s, a militiaman in the Durruti Column during the first months of the Civil War, one of the original members of The Friends of Durruti, a fugitive, a prisoner in Montjuich, and then, after escaping from Montjuich as Franco’s forces closed in on the citadel, an exile, first in labor camps in France, and then, after stowing away on a British warship during the evacuation of Brest, in London.
An essay on the “political” dimension of the revolution and the years immediately preceding it in Spain during the 1930s, “the struggle of the Spanish workers and peasants for their rights and liberties, for the factories and the land, and finally, for political power”, examining not only “demonstrations, strikes, storming the prisons, militiamen clad in overalls, barricades, dinamiteros, summary executions and collectivizations” but also “contradictory exegeses, theoretical debates, polemics and personal conflicts, and battles between political machines, fractions and tendencies”, as well as the “ever-present” menace of the counterrevolution.
In this 2015 interview, Miguel Amorós discusses his book about Buenaventura Durruti, Durruti in the Labyrinth (2006), the controversies and enigmas surrounding the untimely and mysterious death of this charismatic figure of anarchism, and the impact of his death on the anarchosyndicalist movement in Spain during the civil war, which Amorós says was not dependent on the actions of any single individual, but that his demise demoralized the rank and file of the anarchist movement and reinforced the trend towards bureaucratization in the CNT-FAI by providing those institutions with a martyr for propaganda purposes to rally the masses behind the war and government collaboration.
Revista Argelaga examines the broader implications of the recent (March 2015) witch-hunt against anarchists in Spain known as “Operation Piñata” through the lens of the “Criminal Law of the Enemy” (Günther Jakobs), observing that the draconian measures implemented to deal with the domestic “enemy”—the excluded and dissenters, now stigmatized as “terrorists”—are plunging us into a “Kafkaesque universe” ruled by “the logic of fear”, and that we face the threat of the emergence of an inauspicious “totalitarian surveillance and control hysteria among the masses of the citizenry” terrified by the economic crisis and the “Jihadist aberration”.
Twenty-seven people have been arrested by police during a new operation against anarchists in Spain. Starting at 6 a.m. on March 30 2015, police actions in Madrid, Barcelona, Palencia and Granada led to the arrest of 13 people whom police allege belonged to a “criminal organization with terrorist aims”. In the course of raids on six social centres and 11 homes, 14 more people were arrested on charges of resisting the authorities.
An analysis of the recent totalitarian trends in Spain in the legislative and judicial domains, as exemplified by a recent (2015) Supreme Court verdict sentencing several people to three years in prison for peacefully protesting in front of a government building in June 2011, discussing the continuity between Franco’s Spain and “today’s parliamentary regime”, the myth of “popular sovereignty”, and the concept of “despotism” in its contemporary guise.
In this text based on a presentation delivered in 1985 at a conference on the POUM held in Madrid, the former leader of the Iberian Communist Youth, and the last general secretary of the POUM, reviews the history of the POUM and discusses the background of its leading militants in anarchosyndicalism and Spanish communism, its leading role in the founding of the Workers Alliance and the October 1934 insurrection in Asturias, it founding in 1935, the Popular Front and the February 1936 elections, its fight against Stalinist repression and its persecution under the Negrín government during the civil war, and the fates of the party’s militants underground and in exile.
First published in France in 1974, a “critical analysis of the bureaucratization of the CNT, with regard to both the political as well as the economic terrain”, bureaucratization which the author claims was “total and complete”, with discussions of certain historical turning points and watershed moments (e.g., the militarization of the militias, the May Events and the overthrow of the Council of Aragon), and extensive passages quoted from eyewitness accounts (e.g., Marcel Ollivier’s Les journées sanglantes de Barcelone), newspaper articles and official documents that have not previously appeared in English translation.