The History of the Newspaper Anti-Statist

Information about the newspaper "Anti-Statist" and the relationship between the Esperantists and the Spanish libertarian movement living in exile in France. Translation of the Esperanto language article.

Submitted by Reddebrek on May 9, 2020

Text written in 1953, Anti-statist was a libertarian newspaper published during the 1940s-50s.
The years pass on, and Anti-statist continues to appear despite the many difficulties and barriers placed on our path. By the beginning of the end of the war an incalculable number of every kind of newspaper appeared and disappeared after a long or short life span, and Anti-statist continued to appear and will continue to appear thanks alone to the contributions of its readers.

Our newspaper is own a firm path, and now I consider it opportune to report on our birth and history, and about the unimaginable difficulties that had to be conquered. A few comrades know about those difficulties and I have often heard many reproaches and criticisms about our irregular appearances etc. but we will go to the goal and let the facts do the speaking.

Immediately after the end of the war the Spanish libertarian movement, living in exile in France organised and published several Spanish language newspapers. Those newspapers accepted articles about Esperanto and communication from libertarian Esperantists who were found in diverse locations in France. That enabled the first contacts. The ground was mainly favourable in the libertarian youth movement, and in the monthly bulletin of the Iberian Libertarian Youth Federation (FIJL) in the Paris region "Crisol" an Esperanto language page titled "Nia Paĝo" (our page). Then we contacted French comrades P. Camus and P. Champs who aimed to publish an Esperanto newspaper titled "La Nigra Flago" (The Black Flag). Later we met and decided to unite our capabilities and publish a Esperanto newspaper titled "Senŝtatano" (Anti-Statist) thinking that this title is more in tune with our ideals. The aim was to get underway and we begin to prepare material for the first issue, and to establish contacts with comrades in other countries. In the meantime in Toulouse the congress of the FIJL happened, were it was decided to create a provisional committee for the re-founding of the Anarchist Youth International. That committee formed with comrades G. Gracia and E. Vivancos with the participation of French and Italian comrades had to take care of establishing the necessary contacts with the anarchist youth organisations in other countries and to prepare the occasion of the international congress.
Point 6 of the report from the congress of the FIJL was written as:

"The Restorative Committee will publish an information bulletin to notify on the real conditions of labour and to inform about the situations of the diverse libertarian organisations in the world:
a) The commission will have to study in what languages the aforementioned bulletin -preferably in Esperanto- will drafted to increase its effectiveness.

And so, as an organ of the Provisional Committee of the JAI the first issue of "Anti-statist" appeared in April 1946. The published quantity was 1500, which were sent to comrades in several comrades and soon after we received encouraging letters. Encouraging letters reached us from nearly every European country, from the Americas and Asia and E.Lanti founder of S.A.T. wrote " I have had the opportunity to read Anti-statist" and I felt myself becoming emotional, because I was an Anarchist for 17 years of my life".

The reception of our organ was successful, however we did not lack those who smiled sceptically; some Anarchists declared Esperanto to be childish, some Esperantists declared Anarchism utopian, and they all called the bulletin stillborn. We saw the resuscitation.

Evidently that the idea of re-founding the JAL was too early, because of the fact that the Anarchist Youth Movement was not organised in other countries. The enthusiasm of the Spanish youth found itself ahead of the non-existence of similar organisations. The French and Italian movements continued to limp. The Bulgarian movement, which was strong enough had too many difficulties because of the persecution of the Stalinist regime.

From other countries sometimes letters arrived from isolated comrades, but that was not enough for the goal of refounding the international. During two years the Provisional Committee sent out circulars and questionnaires, most often these remained unanswered. In the middle of 1948 the Provisional Committee resigned due to the impossibility of achieving its goal.

But, if the time was not sufficiently mature for the Youth International, it was favourable for the Global Newsletter of the Anarchist Esperantists and the task was continued, which had been begun before the war by the comrades who edited the "Libera Laboristo" (Free Worker).

I mentioned above that the first issue of Anti-statist was greatly received and encouraging letters insisted we continue our work. 14 issues appeared in France by the end of 1948 but how much effort, how much sweat, how many difficulties? After the first issue the coffers were empty, and we could not match the international fees. In those conditions we could only find money in France and we had around 200 subscribers. For every issue we had to await the following the issue, this was the only way otherwise we would have to give up on the publishing of Anti-statist, which we did not want to do. The French and Spanish libertarian movements considered us sympathetically, but sympathy is not sufficient to fill the coffers or to pay printers. In that time prices rose steadily in France. And from one issue to the next the printing cost increased. When we managed to receive money from another country, often it was more valuable to us than when it was collected.
Apart from the financial difficulties another important problem existed, that of time and circumstances. Every comrade, without exception, who took part in the tasks of Anti-statist had other pressing commitments in the cause of the Libertarian Movement. Some comrades relocated; Julian Hortelano emigrated to Mexico, Germinal Gracia and Helios Volga were arrested in Spain; the latter is still in the Francoist jail Penal del Dueso (we will not forget the existence of a solidarity service to help him), and finally, one of our most valuable comrades, Raŭlo Carballeira, who collaborated with our newspaper under the pseudonym Armando Lacunza, was shot to death in Barcelona in the beginning of 1948.

Also in France the situation deteriorated, and the Spanish comrades had to be more prudent because of the legal relationship regarding foreigners to political and social matters. Once a police officer visited me and I had to declare that I was occupied only with Esperanto. In these conditions Anti-statist took its first steps but the bulletin continued thanks to the collaboration of everyone. Worth mentioning in this report is the important work done by our movement when postal relations between France and Spain were suspended. We made it possible for correspondence between both countries, for the Spanish comrades to contact their parents, via the Netherlands and Sweden. During that time several thousands of letters crossed our hands. The writers room of Anti-statist truly became a post office. The then Dutch manager Ad Smit, and our caring sympathiser Hartvig Johansson in Sweden contributed very effectively to this task.

Thanks to that correspondence service thousands of Spanish refugees managed to contact their parents and Anti-statist became famous in the Spanish exile environment. But the situation of our organ remained critical. On the 13th September 1948 at a conference in Paris several comrades from different countries met, and it was decided that the organ would be published in the Netherlands as an independent Libertarian organ, under the editorship of comrade Adriano.

In 1949 during the 22nd congress of the S.A.T. this decision was unanimously ratified by the majority of the membership.

From 1950 until now Anti-statist has regularly appeared every month, thanks to the persistence and effort of the comrades who now work on its publication. But we must not forget that their are still difficulties, and that these comrades cannot do alone this task that belongs to all of us. Everyone must in some manner help them. It is necessary, that we live up to the high spirit of idealism as held by comrades Raŭlo Carballeira and Hartvig Johansson, who dedicated their lives to the Anarchist ideal.