A short biography of Juan Gomez Casas, underground militant, then first post-Franco Secretary General of the CNT and prolific writer and historian.
Many English speaking anarchists and anarcho- syndicalists will best remember the authoritative work of Gomez Casas The history of the FAI.
According to the National Committee of the CNT-AIT, Juan Gomez Casas was born in Burdeos in 1921. In 1936 Gomez Casas joined the main youth organisation affiliated with the CNT-AIT, Juventudes Libertarias (Libertarian Youth).
Upon the fascist defeat of the Revolution, Gomez Casas eluded imprisonment and joined in the clandestine struggle against the Franco regime. In 1947 he was elected as the Secretary General of the Juventudes Libertarias del Centro in Toulouse, France. Upon his return to Spain he was arrested and sentenced to 30 years in jail. He was freed from prison in 1962 and then worked as an antique painter, a trade he learned in prison.
Amazingly, with no formal education, he wrote many books, including The history of Spanish Anarcho-syndicalism, The history of the FAI and other historical books that are considered classical texts and are referred to today. Gomez Casas even translated into Spanish the classic book Moby Dick.
Those of us who were active in supporting the underground CNT-AIT, and the then emerging above ground organisation in the mid to late 1970s, will remember Gomez Casas in many ways. Aside from being a prolific propagandist he was the first above ground CNT-AIT General Secretary from 1976-1978. Here in the United States the former Libertarian Workers Group (now W.S.A. NY-NJ) had many occasions to correspond with Gomez Casas and to establish a relationship with the above ground CNT-AIT inside Spain.
Gomez Casas's long revolutionary life began to wane due to illness in 1999.
We celebrate Juan Gomez Casas's life and all the rich contributions he made to both the growth of the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist movement and to the intellectual growth and understanding he taught us through his many writings.
According to the CNT-AIT's obituary, Gomez Casas wrote for the folowing publication: Cambio 16, Castilla Libre, CNT, Espoir, Frente Libertario, Historia Libetaria, El País, Sindicalismo, Solidaridad Obrera, Tierra y Libertad de México, Umbral, La Voz Confederal de Rubí etc.
He edited the CNT-AIT's principal organ "C.N.T." (1980-1981). Was the author of: Anarquismo y federalismo (Madrid 1983), Los anarquistas en el Gobierno (Barcelona 1977), El apocalipsis (Madrid 1969), Autogestión en España (Madrid 1976), Los cruces de caminos (1984), Cuentos carcelarios (Madrid 1968), Los desheredados del tío Sam (Madrid 1968), España 1970 (Toulouse 1970), España ácrata. Inventario al día (Caracas 1976, con C. Rama), El frente de Aragón (1973), Historia del anarcosindicalismo español (Madrid 1968), Historia de la FAI (Madrid 1977), Las horas decisivas de la guerra civil, Nacionalimperialismo y movimiento obrero en Europa hasta después de la Segunda Guerra Mundial (Móstoles 1985), La política española y la guerra civil (1974), La Primera Internacional en España (Madrid 1974), Relanzamiento de la C.N.T. 1975-1979, con un epílogo hasta la primavera de 1984 (Madrid-París 1984), Situación límite (Madrid 1975), Sociología del anarquismo hispánico (Madrid 1988), Sociología e historia (Madrid 1973).
Gomez Casas, under the pseudonym, Benjamín wrote many diverse prologues and introductions for books on the theme of anarchism.
Source: Workers Solidarity Alliance. (US section, IWA)
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