Maguid, Jacobo, 1907-1997

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A short biography of active Argentinian anarchist Jacobo Maguid.

Jacobo Maguid
Alias alias Macizo, alias Jacinto Cimazo, born 1907, died 1997

To talk of Jacobo Maguid is to review in one’s mind’s eye the entire history of Argentina in the 20th century and, against that backdrop, the entire history of the Argentinian libertarian movement from the dying days of the Yrigoyen regime up until the current, protracted and turbulent convalescence from dictatorship. Maguid came from Santa Fe but attended university in La Plata where, even then committed to libertarian beliefs, he was a member of the Ideas group.

That group had a very special place within the anarchist movement and a significance that, with the benefit of hindsight, strikes one as even more obvious. It included Lunazzi, José Grunfeld and his brothers David and Rafael. His commitment to anarchist ideas was crucial to the young engineering student, so much so that he took time off from his university career to become an editor of the newspaper La Protesta when, at the end of the Uriburu dictatorship, it managed to bounce back, thanks to the efforts of Diego Abad de Santillan who handled the printing of it single-handedly and was in need of help. Maguid saw the inside of prison a number of times during the Uriburu dictatorship as well as during his brief foray in to publishing (brief because La Protesta was shut down shortly afterwards by the authorities). His name cannot be dissociated from that of the FLA (Argentinian Libertarian Federation), going right back to the times of the CRRA (Regional Anarchist Liaison Committee) established at the 1932 congress and, from 1935 onwards, from the FACA (Argentinian Anarcho- Communist Federation), as the FLA was at first known. This obscure organisational work was boosted and convictions bolstered and enthusiasm refreshed unexpectedly by the bright light emanating from Spain. Maguid, who was at the time in the middle of a busy lecture tour in relation to the Bragado arrests, received a letter appointing him his organisation’s delegate and informing him that he was to go to Spain to assist the Spanish comrades in their mighty undertakings. He returned immediately to Buenos Aires, embarking on a ship for Spain along with his fellow delegates, Jacobo Prince, José Grunfeld and Anita Piacenza.

He had barely arrived when he was entrusted with a post: managing editor of the Tierra y Libertad newspaper, a post vacated by Santillan who was up to his neck in other matters at the time.

In October 1938, Maguid gave up the editorship in order to avoid having to get embroiled in the internal squabbles of the Spanish movement and instead preferred to study the CNT archives, his intention being to prepare a memorandum documenting, without any subsequent misrepresentation, the events that had occurred during those three wondrous years.

When the defeat came, Maguid was among the last to leave and his escape from Spain was fraught with dangers. A fall during his crossing of the Pyrenees forced him to see the inside of a hospital and then the French concentration camps. On his return to Argentina, he resumed his activities in defence of the Bragado prisoners. Taking up his post again within the FACA, his story from then on was to become one with the story of that organisation which was to take the name FLA from 1952 onwards and which would successfully survive the Peron years and successive military dictatorships.

Maguid filled lots of roles inside the FLA. Those who stood well back could follow it in part because of his publishing activities, especially through the review Reconstruir and the books published under the same imprint.

In recent years his efforts as a writer have been particularly prolific. Three books by him have seen publication- ‘Libertarian writings’, ‘The Spanish Libertarian revolution’ and lately the little booklet ‘Memoirs of a Libertarian’, containing his autobiography, guiding us adroitly and without digression through a century of Argentinian social history, following the connecting thread of one militant’s lifetime.

By Luce Fabbri

Translated from: Bolletino Archivio G. Pinelli No. 10 December 1997.
From the Kate Sharpley Library