Interviews from members of the CNT and Mujeres Libres- a women's anarchist group in post-Franco Spain.
Translated into English for the libertarian socialist journal Root & Branch issue #5.
Interviews from members of the CNT and Mujeres Libres- a women's anarchist group in post-Franco Spain.
Three interviews: CNT and Mujeres Libres Manifesto 
QUESTION: How do things stand today with the CNT, in Madrid in particular and in Spain generally?
ANSWER: It can't be said that things are the same in Madrid and the Central region as in Valencia, Andalusia, and Catalonia; each area has its own situation which derives from its particular history, the different aspects of the current scene, and the political organizations present. This was true when the CNT was started up, primarily thanks to the impetus of young libertarian militants, especially anarchists. Until two months ago, the CNT existed only in the form of a national committee which was such in name only. With the rebirth of anarchism and the immediate objective of reconstituting the CNT, anarcho-syndicalist groups began to develop all over Spain, giving the first real life to local, then regional, and finally national organizations. A meeting of 300 comrades in Madrid in December 1975 was the beginning of the development of the CNT in Madrid; then the unions began to develop. The first was the construction workers’, formed by young, very dynamic people, very combative. The process of reconstitution was the same in all the regions, in Andalusia, the Basque country, in Cantabria, Asturias, Estremadura. It is going on now in Galicia and Aragon, where regional committees have not been formed but where there are many groups. In effect, the collective memory dating from the civil war still exists: the young people understand our history and the old remember it. The reorganization process culminated in the nomination of the national committee last September . The national plenum decided on the election of a national committee composed of one delegate from each region and a permanent secretariat composed of five members.
QUESTION: What problems have you encountered?
ANSWER: I would say, the problems of an extremely young organization. In fact, we can say that 90% of the members of the CNT are young, and that this is very lucky; but these young people lack experience. They don't know what anarcho-syndicalism really is because they haven't lived it. This creates problems, which, however, are easily resolved. One of the major problems with which we have had to deal was with young people coming from anarchist groups, who entered the CNT with an anarchist mentality, thinking that a union can be run by the same rules and in the same way as their little groups. But to the extent that the CNT is an organization which involves many workers, it cannot function like an anarchist group. The young people must learn this from their own experience--they have now, and this difficulty has been overcome. There is also a kind of revulsion at any sort of representative structure; thus the regional or the national committee was seen as a sort of bureaucracy. But those who had such worries have seen that the committee made no decisions but only followed the decisions made by the various unions. There was a generation gap between the old and the young; but today a process of clarification, of discussion, of the confrontation of views is going on. In this way difficulties are resolved little by little. The CNT today is thus much more radical in its content than it ever was, thanks to the enormous quantity of anarchists inside it. This constitutes the guarantee that the CNT of today will become what the classical CNT was, but adapted to the present day historical situation and therefore very different from the organization of ‘36--and yet with its content, its anti-state and anti-parliamentary philosophy.
To sum up, you can say that the CNT is a new CNT, young, vintage 1977, but connected directly to the whole of its past history. At present, in this process of clarification which implies both confusions and tensions, we have a difficult and complex organization in which not everything runs smoothly but which is very lively and very dynamic.
QUESTION: What is the spectrum of political organizations? How does the CNT fit into this spectrum? What problems are there in the CNT’s relations with the other organizations?
ANSWER: We have been disorganized and dispersed as a result of the repression of the last 40 years, and we started in a weak position, significantly behind the other left groups. In addition, we have never had a professional apparatus, unlike the others. At present, the CNT has no paid officials, and all those who fill representative positions live from their labor. Thus we don't have the efficiency of the professional apparatus of the Workers’ Commissions, or of the PCE with its 50 or 100 full-time workers. But this gives us a position of moral superiority because we don't live from the organization. It must not be forgotten that the other political forces have been able to enjoy some continuity even in clandestinity; a continuity constituted by their professional apparatus which could count on economic support from the great powers: the USSR, the German Social Democrats, etc.
But while the Workers’ Commissions thus had an initial advantage over us, the image which the CC.OO. enjoy abroad as the only workers’ organization is a myth, because the UGT exists as the second largest organization of the Spanish proletariat, and the CNT also exists. The Spanish Communist Party wished to use the Workers’ Commissions as a basis for realizing their idea of union unity, which would mean, as in Portugal, a single central union. But they did not succeed in this, thanks to the opposition of the UGT and the CNT. We, in particular, fought for a plurality of tendencies and organizations, based on the real differences which exist. This battle ended in victory, and now the Workers’ Commissions have had to abandon their plan and deal with the fact that there are other forces which they cannot overpower: the UGT and the CNT. For the moment, the CC.OO. still have the majority position even if in Catalonia, for example, the CNT is beginning to have some influence. But we believe that in a while the relations of strength will change.
On the other hand, we have one great advantage over the other forces: they claim to be autonomous, independent of political parties, and this is false; the UGT depends directly on the Socialist Party, the CC.OO. on the Communist Party, the USO is tied to several socialist groups connected to the PSOE, and the only organization tied to no one is the CNT. This gives us a great theoretical advantage, because we call attention to the fact that no one imposes a line on us, and the workers have no trouble understanding this. When we say that we have no leaders, that the mass meeting is sovereign, that everyone has the power of decision, they understand what we are talking about.
Today in Spain, after 40 years of dictatorship, there is a rediscovery of Proudhonian concepts of federalism, regionalism, and autonomy. There exists a real revolutionary fervor, all the groups talk about self-management, including the PCE. Evidently all this gives us an advantage, since we are the only coherent spokespeople for self-management, and we can demonstrate it in the facts. All the groups or parties which talk of self-management have a hierarchical structure, all wish to integrate themselves into the state and the parliament--which has nothing to do with self-management. Self-management means self-government, and that means anarchy; and this people understand very well. Even the autonomist demands of the Spanish regions, and not only of Catalonia and the Basque country but also of regions which have never advanced such ideas, are favorable for us because this means movement towards decentralization, towards Proudhonian federalism. Of course, our job is to push these demands further, giving them a libertarian socialist content. It is obvious that we can't be interested in replacing one government with six or seven; but we must defend the concepts of autonomy and of regionalization from the point of view of libertarian federalism. All of what I have said here means that despite the thousand difficulties, we find ourselves in a favorable situation, in which our coherence puts us in a position to unmask, before the workers’ eyes, the contradictions and the mystifications of the other parties.
QUESTION: What specifically anarchist groups exist, and what are the relations between them and the CNT?
ANSWER: I can begin by saying that we don't recognize the official existence of the FAI at this moment; we know that a multitude of specific groups exist almost everywhere, and that some are FAI groups, but the FAI is not organized nationally. There are many anarchisms in the country, with many forms: collectives, cultural groups, student and youth groups. All this anarchism cannot be integrated under one label, not even that of the FAI. I have just finished a book on the history of the FAI, and I conclude it with the thought that what is important to the anarchists is not the FAI, but anarchism.
Many anarchists are active in neighborhood organization. There are a hundred such here; some work with us, others not, for there is an anti-union tendency--anarchism in Spain has many sides. It must be said that the development of anarchism in this country is very closely connected with the development of the CNT. The CNT is a kind of bulwark; we neither ought nor wish to lose our influence over the labor movement. If we were to lose our battle in the workers‘ movement we would suffer the hegemony of the Marxists and the Communists for many years. The movement is extremely important at this moment because not only manual workers but all who play a part in the general relations of production are part of it: from university professors to technicians of various skill grades, to laborers --all those people who are not parasites and who fill a more or less productive function. And if we were to lose our influence on this movement, in the narrow sense, even anarchism, in all its aspects, would experience a defeat, because the existence of a strong and numerically large CNT is necessary to the development of the specifically anarchist movement. If we lose our battle as the CNT in the world of labor, we will only be able to get together with other anarchists in the bars, to drink a beer and talk about anarchism: what then would be our influence on reality?
QUESTION: I would like to know whether, during the reconstruction of the CNT, there have been attempts at infiltration by the Communists or, worse, by members of the (fascist) vertical syndicates?
ANSWER: The CGT was created by anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists: now many people come out to us of the Marxist groups, disgusted by the political leaders of the Workers’ Commissions. Many of our best militants, now convinced anarchists, come from the PCE. Up to now, there has thus been no Conmunist infiltration, also because our current form of organization doesn't permit this. As far as infiltration by verticalist elements goes, there is even less. In Catalonia there were people who had been in the vertical syndicate in that they were elected by the workers as their representatives, but without ever sharing the political line of the syndicate. There are many Communists who were and still are in the syndicate because they have the practical possibility to infiltrate it, but there is no verticalist influence inside the CNT. What we defend today is trade union liberty, which will permit open activity--today we are still illegal, though tolerated. The police and the government know we exist; indeed the minister of social relations invited the CNT to a meeting--which of course we refused.
QUESTION: What are the strongest unions in the CNT?
ANSWER: At this time, in Madrid, the strongest union is the teachers’, with 200 members, including teachers, students, school workers in general. Another very strong sector is that of the graphic arts, with many journalists and writers; the metalworkers’ union and construction, and the bank workers’ and woodworkers’ unions, are strong.
QUESTION: What is the strategy of the CNT?
ANSWER: I would say, to begin with, that we ought to affirm the autonomy and the independence of our movement, and our historical characteristics: anti-capitalism, anti-statism, and anti-parliamentarism; direct action, self-management, implacable struggle against those in power. And then we ought to make maximum use of an irreversible phenomenon now in progress: the integration into the bourgeois democratic system of all the political groups, without exception, which up to now have been regarded as a political opposition. Everyone is waiting for the general elections to join the fray, on the national or on the municipal level, and their behavior will do nothing but prove that we are the only revolutionary and autonomous organization in the country, and that we are the opposition even to the opposition.
QUESTION: When I asked about the strategy of the CNT, you answered with very clear principles, but I wanted to know something else. The Spain of 1977 is not that of 1936; it has become an industrialized, advanced country, with a new social structure linked to the development of industrial capitalism; this evolution is reflected in the structure of the workers’ movement. Given all this, what is the strategy of the CNT?
ANSWER: I would say that the economic and social situation of Spain has changed, and it is true that the situation of the working classes is not the same as in '36, but in the months to come the conditions of the working class will become very hard as a result of the economic crisis. The workers’ living conditions are very bad, and their worsening points towards social conflict. I do not believe that there is a real possibility that the working class will be lulled to sleep by living too well, since such a prosperity does not exist and will not exist in the future. The workers will have to fight hard to survive, and this opens the possibility for us to get into contact with them and to offer them our ideas. We have a real alternative to offer. For example, when the process of democratization is completed, the political organizations will fight each other for the nationalization of the deficit-producing sectors of the Spanish economy, like coal. Our duty, as I see it, will be to fight against statification and for workers’ management of this sector, and to begin to create rank-and-file structures already now, in this society, for we cannot wait for the arrival of libertarian communism. we must already now give very precise ideas of it. For example, the Madrid subway runs a heavy deficit and there is talk of nationalizing it. We ought to propose, in contrast, that the subway should be run by the workers and the users, through the creation of a new type of self-managed administration. We know very well that real self-management can exist only in a libertarian society, but this society can certainly not be created magically from one day to the next. It is with such proposals that we can, starting now, advance in this direction.
Finally, I believe that our strategy ought to be continually to weaken the state, by taking all we can from it, till we come to a direct clash. This differentiates us from all the other political forces which, on the contrary, tend to reinforce the state by giving it new powers, such as the nationalization of private enterprises.
Madrid, 5 January 1977
QUESTION: What is the situation in Barcelona today?
EDO: To begin with, it must be said that at this time all the organizational levels of the CNT both exist formally and at the same time don't exist. The National Committee doesn't function, nor do the regional committees and the local federations, nor even the unions, and nevertheless, all these organs certainly exist. This holds for all levels, in all the regions, in all the provinces, and it is not a problem due to particular people or to a particular form of organization. It is a phenomenon in itself. Each level of the organization, from the assembly delegate up to the National Committee, does what it can, but we are powerless to overcome something which will not be resolved in assemblies or plenums, necessary though they are, but only through the process, now beginning, of actually constructing the organization. This is the background to the session of the Catalan regional plenum--the only one in Spain, as the others are plenums only in name. Another factor to be kept in mind is the political situation, which is going through a process of rapid democratization which can't be stopped, and which no one can control. We must thus start from the CNT as it is today, well aware that the problems it encounters have aspects similar to those encountered by all organizations and parties in this type of phase. The regional plenum of Catalonia, which took place after two and a half months of weekly meetings of about 250 delegates from the unions, was a very important event because out of it came a very clear statement of the will of the militants, mostly young, to fight any attempt at manipulation, and thus the will to control all decisions directly. The government itself hoped to use a few agents to manipulate the CNT. But this plenum destroyed illusions and hopes of this type. There were hundreds of hours of discussion, of committee work, and all this means that the organization is functioning even if it doesn't function as an organization. In effect, the new militants, authentically libertarian, wish to control an organization not run by anyone. It is out of this that the mechanisms and forms of organization will develop, by a natural and spontaneous process.
BURRO: One could say that 29 February 1976 was the date when the CNT began to function in an organic way; this functioning, more or less effective, continued until the plenum of which comrade Edo was speaking. It was a plenum which looked to the long term, and which today is bearing fruit. I would like to speak of the period before the plenum. In my opinion, the reconstitution of the CNT on 29 February was carried out from the top down by elements who had things as they wished until this plenum. That is to say that a few people set up a prefabricated organization, and afterwards welcomed others, the militants, into it. From this came a committee of contacts which became a regional committee without really being one, and which functioned without any control by the militants. This is typically authoritarian organization; it's not at all libertarian and even less anarcho-syndicalist. During all these months, therefore, the CNT was run vertically and not horizontally as it ought to be. The regional plenum broke with this practice. The government hoped that we would become a simply anti-communist organization, but this maneuver didn't succeed. After 29 February there was also a maneuver by the state syndicate to infiltrate the CNT by having various prestigious individuals enter it, but this also didn't succeed: we threw these people out. A few have remained, but their ability to maneuver has become derisory. Now I would say that we are engaged in gathering the fruits of the plenum. After two months of very heavy discussions, the militants have come to terms with the stagnation due to our collective incapacity: aside from two unions which function perfectly, the others are undergoing a process of transformation. A certain number of CNT unions are shadow-unions without any real meaning; they produce well made newsletters but they represent only a handful of nobodies who one sees nowhere. This is a contradiction within the CNT. But we must not forget that we are emerging from 40 years of dictatorship and that 80% of the militants have an average age of 22 years, and that they are therefore neither mature nor prepared. The function of the plenum was exactly that of educating the young militants.
QUESTION: What you say is rather different from what Gomez Casas told me in Madrid; he said that the organizations functions very well, even if there are some practical problems. You, on the contrary, say that the organization does not function very well, but that the militants function. This seems to me to indicate that the process of reconstructing the CNT differs from one city to another, and that, therefore, there exists a spectrum of militants and of organizations.
EDO: I respect every comrade's opinions and also that of Gomez Casas, who has been my friend for many years, but I don't agree with his opinions, and that also is the richness of the CNT. I have just returned from Madrid where there was a meeting of the National Committee at which we debated (Gomez Casas participating) at great length the theses I've put forward to you. My theses were accepted by the majority. In fact, the problem of the non-functioning of the CNT mechanism exists throughout Spain to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the size and influence of the CNT. Catalonia is the region where things are going the best; on the other hand it's absolutely normal that after 40 years, in a new organization, and a non-authoritarian one, we have such problems.
QUESTION: What are the activities you say are going so well here?
EDO: In Catalonia, in the last three months, the universities, trade schools, workers from different firms and neighborhood groups asked the various union organizations to give presentation of their positions and activities. We have already made over a hundred such presentations and we'll be doing more. There are also presentations together with the Workers’ Commissions, the USO, the UGT, with great polemics and discussions.
QUESTION: Since you're talking about these forces, can you say what are the strongest unions in Barcelona, and what are the relations between the CNT and the other unions?
EDO: First of all, today no one has any real influence over the labor movement. Many labor organizations, with their apparatuses, are trying to fool the workers, but at the moment they haven't succeeded. It is, therefore, impossible to speak of numerically stronger unions. On the other hand, one can talk about influence, and from this point of view I would say that the influence of the CNT has begun to develop in various regions, because it is organized from the bottom up, and not the other way around like the other political organizations; because of its refusal of union unity, which means the hegemony of the Spanish Communist Party (it must be said that all the forces in the labor movement--including the Workers’ Commissions--have been forced to come out for union pluralism); and, finally, because of the CNT's refusal to make deals with the bosses, or sign a social pact with the government.
QUESTION: what is the situation of the specifically anarchist movement in Barcelona, and what are its relations with the CNT?
EDO: In general, the majority of anarchists support the reconstruction of the CNT. Personally, and unlike some other comrades, I believe that the CNT ought to become more and more anarchist in its content not by having this imposed on it in some way, but through a continuing dialogue, a permanent confrontation between the different tendencies within it, just as happened for the CNT in ‘36, because it is exactly in being this kind of organization that the Confederation has its strength.
Without this character, there would not have been actualizations of our ideas like the collectives in the past, and today we wouldn't succeed in doing anything. Without this confrontation between the different anarchist tendencies, the CNT could have no influence on the workers’ movement and would fall into ordinary unionism. But this organization with its strategy, its content, its history, is essentially anti-syndicalist, that is, precisely against all the schemas of traditional unionism. The fact that today the CNT contains many active comrades who come from a new, anti-syndicalist anarchism is, in my view, an absolutely necessary condition for the very life of the CNT. It must, however, be added that there are also purely syndicalist currents in the CNT. I think they are wrong, because it is really from the confrontation and the synthesis between anarchism and syndicalism that the anarcho-syndicalist movement was born.
QUESTION: What are the strongest unions of the CNT in Barcelona?
EDO: That depends on what you mean by “strongest”: the number of militants or their quality. Numerically the two strongest unions, with more than 200 militants, are the entertainment union and the textile union; on the other hand, those which are strong in combativeness are those of the metalurgical, teaching, and graphic arts workers.
QUESTION: And neighborhood work?
BURRO: At this time there is an attempt to create a federation of neighborhood committees. There exist groups which work not on the anarcho-syndicalist level, but on the anarchist level; many anarchists are not in the CNT and prefer to center their activity in the neighborhoods where they live and which offer enormous potential for the diffusion of anarchist ideas. Where I live, for example, at Santa Colloma de Gramanet, a vast working class dormitory-city, the anarchists are the main political force, both qualitatively and quantitatively, but they have no form of coordination with people in other neighborhoods. This is why we are trying to create a federation of neighborhood committees.
EDO: I would like to make clear that when I said that the CNT has broken all the traditional union schemas I also meant to say that there exists no organization which extends its activity beyond the workplace to the places where people live after work, i.e., the neighborhoods. We think the neighborhoods are enormously important and we believe that if the CNT really wants to become a union different from the others it must unify the two areas of life, for the activity of a working class organization ought not be limited to bread-and-butter demands. but ought also to cover all aspects of the workers’ life.
BURRO: I personally believe that the CNT shouldn't have been started up on 29 February for a particular reason: its statutes date from 1910 and since then many things have happened. Multinational companies have come into existence, a capitalism with completely new characteristics has developed; it is thus necessary to verify if the structures adopted by the CNT are still valid. Personally, I have doubts about this, because I have noticed that many unions only make demands of the regular trade union type, while I think that the goal of the CNT is to insist on the different aspects of life. We ought to begin building another society right now, and thus the CNT ought to be the organization which contains the premises of this new society in embryo. But given that the CNT is structured by unions, it seems to me very difficult to succeed in this. I am a member of the health workers’ union and I can say that at the present time this union is in crisis; one part of the militants think they are in the CNT to defend their professional and wage interests while others think they are in the CNT to construct a new society. These two tendencies have given rise to a division of the union into two parallel sections with different aims. The section to which I belong thinks that a health workers’ union, in an organization like the CNT, which ought to fight for social change, doesn't make much sense. Even the very name, “health” workers, is restrictive and implies demands on our employers, while we think that it would be more significant to create a “Public Health and Hygiene” union, which would fight for preventative medicine such as one could certainly not do in hospitals, while we work only in hospitals. Our work ought to go on in the neighborhoods, because it's just there that illnesses arise, because of living conditions and overwork.
Barcelona, 10 January 1977
QUESTION: I would like to know first of all if a feminist movement exists in Spain; if so, what are its positions, and what are your relations, if any, with the feminist groups?
ANTONIA: The Spanish feminist movement is very young, for obvious reasons. The movement began a year and a half ago. It has no unified positions because it contains many tendencies: there are more radical groups of feminists which see men as the principal enemy and for whom women constitute a well-defined class which ought to defend its interests by detaching the special problem of women from social reality as a whole. Other groups have relatively moderate positions, others yet are formed by libertarian women. The majority of these feminist groups, however, use the Marxist method of analysis. The feminist movement had its first great public moment with the “Catalan Women's Days” organized in a series of meetings in which nearly 4,000 women participated, and which concluded with the unanimous approval of a platform of demands. with this as a starting point, the different groups expressed a need for links and created the Cordinadora, a weekly coordination meeting, in which we anarchists participate only as observers.
With respect to our relations with this movement, I would say that, at least for the moment, they are non-existent because we find ourselves in total disagreement on basic issues: the struggle against men, looking at women as a class, the inter-classism which characterizes many groups, and the Marxist analysis. This doesn't mean that if in the future we should see that it is possible to carry out some specific and time-bound action with these groups, we wouldn't consider this.
QUESTION: Before turning to Mujeres Libres, I would like to know how your organization deals with the woman question from the anarchist point of view. To whom do you address yourselves?
CLARA: Above all we don't define ourselves as feminists, because of the deep and important differences that separate us from the feminist movement. Obviously we are women and so want to fight for women’s emancipation, but we are also anarchists and we are quite aware that if we really want to change the totality of life we can’t stop at a single aspect of inequality but have to remember that there is a whole series of social categories excluded and discriminated against. You only have to think of children, old people, homosexuals, lesbians, invalids; these people have problems that don’t seem to exist for the feminists. Besides, we think that men are exploited, conditioned, and alienated like us, and that’s the reason why we wonder what sense there is in fighting against them instead of with them. Always, of course, if we wish to change all of society in its structures and the mentality it produces. It is necessary to destroy this hierarchical society which is based on antagonism, on divisions, and on competition. We ask if it makes sense to fight for sexual equality in the job hierarchy. It seems to us in fact that to succeed in having as many female as male executives or government officials means reinforcing hierarchical structures and the division of labor instead of destroying them, and therefore ultimately means strengthening the credibility of this exploitative society.
With respect to the people we address ourselves to, I would say that we would choose as comrades in struggle, exploited women, those at the bottom of the social pyramid since they are exploited economically as well as oppressed sexually. Bourgeois women, who are only sexually oppressed, don’t interest us, as long as they don't make a choice of class and renounce their privileges. We understand that that is very difficult to do.
QUESTION: What type of activity have you been engaged in up to now?
KATIE: Presently, we are doing some support work for the La Roca workers, who have been on strike for two months now. We are doing this in collaboration with libertarians from different neighborhoods, collecting money and other stuff to help the families to live, toys for the children, and we try to give our solidarity as many forms as possible. The first thing we did was a pamphlet called The Women of La Roca Speak in which we collected first-person accounts by these women about the situation they confront, and the problems they have lived through during this time. We are distributing this pamphlet. In this connection, I'd like to tell a revealing story: some women from La Roca went to a feminist meeting where more than 400 women were present and tried to speak on La Roca. Well, they were refused the floor and none of the women present spoke up for them.... We have a program and a series of writings on various subjects--marriage, divorce, abortion--and we try to explain what Mujeres Libres is in the various neighborhoods. Besides this, we are setting up a clinic.
QUESTION: What are your relations with the specifically anarchist groups and with the CNT?
TERESA: As a group, Mujeres Libres is completely autonomous, but since we are anarchists or libertarians, some of us are also in the CNT. They do anarcho-syndicalist work there, because the ideological framework is the same as ours.
QUESTICN: Do you have a program and any activities around abortion?
CHRISTINA: The problem of abortion is certainly very important, but in our opinion the problem of prevention is even more so. That is, we think it is very urgent to give people the knowledge necessary to use contraceptives so that they won't need abortions. At a time like today, the problem is strongly felt. We think that our task is not to campaign for legalized abortion, because we're not interested in making deals with the state, but we think we ought to create illegal structures to which proletarian women can go for abortions without risking their lives. And this is what we are in the process of setting up in collaboration with some doctors. The problem of abortion is a little like that of divorce, we don't believe in the state, we fight the state, so it would be simply absurd to demand the legalization of anything. All our initiatives ought to be undertaken outside of the logic of the state and with our own forces, under our control and by those women who identify with our struggle. As far as abortion goes, we believe concretely that with the Karman method, anybody can practice it. Thus the problem is to take from the doctors the knowledge which they have engrossed in order to have power over our bodies.
QUESTION: Do you intend to put out a journal, Mujeres Libres, later?
ANTONIA: Yes, it's a project we have, but evidently this magazine will be very different from that of 1936.
Barcelona, 10 January 1977
Edited translations of interviews published in A. Rivista Anarchica (Editrice A., Case Postale 3240, 20100 Milano, Italy), and published in French in La Lanterne Noire 8 (P. Blachier, B.P. 14, 92360 Meudon-La-Foret, France: if you write, don't mention L.N. on the envelope!).
Mujeres Libres,* a libertarian organization which began shortly before July 1936 and developed its activities up to 1939, has returned to activity with the appearance of a group of women who, as libertarian as ever, wish to continue, actualize, and widen the work of women's advancement and emancipation,with the goal of a restructuring of society which would permit men and women to live as persons, with total equality of rights and obligations.
For Mujeres Libres the fundamental question is not the liberation of women per se, but the placing of this liberation in the widest framework of the emancipation of the laboring class in a libertarian perspective.
This group proposes:
- to create a conscious and responsible feminine force, that is to say, to sensitize all those women presently alienated in their complete acceptance of the role of dependence on men and of the social habits determined by an unjust class society;
- to establish to this end schools, lecture series, courses, journals, etc., with the aim of the liberation of woman and of her emancipation from the three-fold slavery to which she has been and continues to be subjected: slavery of ignorance, slavery as a woman, slavery as a producer;
- to fight against the economic and social inequality of women, which is the primary cause of the sexual problem whose victims we are;
-to fight not against men but against the structures, both political and mental, responsible for the clashes between men and women;
-to modify the socio-legal norms of work, education, and human relations; this being only a means to our real end: that of changing the norms, behaviors, usages, customs, social forms, fashions and beliefs of people with respect to men and women;
-to eliminate every sort of rulers (political, cultural, economic, etc.) even if they are women, for we think that the hierarchy has never been a way for the emancipation of the individual, whether man or woman;
-to refuse every sort of particular culture, whether feminist, macho, bourgeois, etc.
With respect to political parties, we think that every "female section" of a party, or every feminist movement whose leaders are party figures, is condemned to serve the interests of that party, before that of the women for which it pretends to fight. We therefore accept no sort of leadership or of manipulation from parties, nor any sort of compromise with them, except for tactical reasons in a particular struggle, and if our participation is in conditions of total freedom.
This movement (ML) exists at Madrid, Valencia, Andalusia and other regions of the peninsula; it is little by little structuring itself as a federation of local groups in order to arrive at a complete coordination for the peninsula as a whole.
c/o Mendez Nuñez 14, I, 24
Barcelona 3 -- Spain