Piacenza, Ana (1906-1972) aka Anita Piacenza aka Nita Nahuel

Ana Piacenza

A short biography of Argentinian anarchist communist Ana Piacenza.

Submitted by Battlescarred on March 5, 2024

Ana Piacenza was born on April 10, 1906 in Coronel Moldes in Argentina, into a well-off middle class family. Her father, Esteban, was one of the founders of the Argentine Agrarian Federation, and moved from socialism to fascism during his life. The family had emigrated from Piedmont, Italy, and her father had changed his first name from Stefano to Esteban.

Around 1916, the family moved to the city of Rosario on the coast. There Ana studied law at the university and graduated. She did not practice as a lawyer until later, but was one of the few Argentinian women with a university degree. She had a penchant for opera, and sang on the radio.

Around 1930 she became involved in the anarchist movement and met the anarchist José Grunfeld, who became her life partner. In 1932 she was active in the Libertarian Group of Rosario. She joined the Federación Anarco-Comunista de Argentina -Argentine Anarcho-Communist Federation (FACA) created in October 1935.

Ana involved herself in prisoner solidarity work, including the defence campaign for three anarchist workers, Pascual Vuotto, Reclus de Diago and Santiago Mainini, framed on explosives charges in 1931 (they were finally pardoned in 1942). She undertook many tours of the country in solidarity campaigns.

In 1934 she took part in the Agrupació Femenina Antiguerrera (AFA),Anti-War Women’s Union, and undertook a lecture tour of Bahia Blanca for this grouping the following year.

With the outbreak of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War In July 1936, she involved herself in solidarity work organised by the FACA, the anarchist group Solidaridad con el Pueblo Espanol (SPE), and International Anti-Fascist Solidarity (SIA).

In November of that year she and Grunfeld, who went as a delegate of FACA, together with Jacobo Maguid and Jacobo Prince from the Ideas group, also FACA delegates, travelled to Barcelona via Marseilles, using false documents, arriving there on December 28th, 1936. They took with them 40,000 vaccine shots provided by students of the Faculty of Medicine and Chemistry of La Plata.

In Barcelona, she joined the mass anarcho-syndicalist union, the National Confederation of Labour(CNT), and Group C of the Federacion Anarquista Iberica (FAI). She and Grunfeld shared a house there with the two Jacobos. She was part of a group of Argentinean anarchists who sent back information to Latin America on the state of the struggle. She operated in Spain under the pseudonym of Nita Nahuel.

She worked at the editorial offices of the anarchist papers Tierra y Libertad and Solidaridad Obrera. She contributed poems to Tierra y Libertad. She joined the libertarian women’s organisation Mujeres Libres (Free Women) and was a delegate of FACA within Group C.

She wrote a criticism of those who objected to women taking part in the armed struggle, in the first issue of Mujeres Libres, the eponymous paper of the organisation. She condemned the misogynist attitudes of certain anarchists, describing them as “fascists in red and black scarves.”

She spoke on behalf of Mujeres Libres on the radio, and gave talks in their name at the Ateneo Libertario in District IV of Barcelona. She also contributed to the CNT-FAI Boletín de Relaciones Exteriores.

She spoke at the closing ceremony of the 2nd Regional Congress of Mujeres Libres, alongside Aurea Cuadrado and Lucia Sanchez Saornil.

On December 30th, 1937 she was one of the FACA signatories of the Manifesto Addressed to All anarchists in Argentina, in December 1937. This defended the CNT-FAI decision to join the Republican government, against the criticisms of anarchists like Volin, Pierre Besnard , Alexander Shapiro, etc, who regarded this as against anarchist principles and an interclassist move.

The following year, and before Franco's offensive on Aragon began, she left Barcelona, pregnant with her first daughter. She returned to Rosario, where she was later joined by Grunfeld, who had remained in Spain until the end of the Republic, and was able to see their four month old daughter Miri for the first time.
In Rosario, she worked as a lawyer, defending workers. She also translated various anarchist texts. With the military coup of 1943, she and Grunfeld were arrested. She later wrote about this in October 1944, but the manuscript has been lost.

In 1946, she, together with Grunfeld, helped found the Libertarian Socialist Union (USL) of Rosario and later the Union of Libertarian Socialist Women (UMSL) of Rosario.

Both of these groups suffered repression under Peronism. Ana argued during the Peronist years for a feminism based around various demands like sex education, reproductive rights, etc. against suffragism which sought to draw women into conventional bourgeois politics.

She also directed a sex education clinic in Rosario.

In 1955 she moved to Buenos Aires, where he was a member of the Argentine Libertarian Federation (FLA), successor entity to the FACA. She later had another daughter, Diana. Suffering from heart disease since November 1971, Ana Piacenza died on January 24, 1972 in Rosario.

She features in a 2019 TV documentary, Las Libertarias, alongside other anarchist women like Virginia Bolten, Margarita Rouco Buela and Iris Pavon.

Nick Heath