This short essay aims to do nothing more than record the historical continuity of the CNT newspaper Solidaridad Obrera through the terrible times of exile and clandestinity as well as into lawful existence in the wake of its re-emergence in year one of the transition in Spanish politics.
Bear in mind that Solidaridad Obrera‘s glory days were during the years leading up to the civil war and its influence among the populace during that war was truly significant. Later, with the CNT confronted by a new reality, Soli ceased as a daily newspaper, becoming instead an anarcho-syndicalist publication appearing at pretty regular intervals depending on the times and upon the finances of the Organisation.
The historical dates that crop up in this article have been tossed in only to help flag up the times and the circumstances in which the CNT found itself when it came to produce its publications, most especially Solidaridad Obrera.
To conclude this introduction, I ought to state that this essay was made possible only thanks to the documentary resources available at the Centre de Documentació Histórico-Social at the Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular in Barcelona.
Following the military defeat of the republican forces and, more so, of the CNT, the position of Spain and of millions of people changed radically. The Francoist victory, abetted by international fascism, drove into exile the largest diaspora in the history of the Spanish people: between January and February 1939, upwards of half a million people crossed the border, fleeing from the Francoist victors. The folk crossing the Pyrenees, generally on foot, were escorted by French gendarmes and Senegalese troops to makeshift concentration camps along the coast; the Spanish refugees were crammed into these en masse. The more influential or more fortunate could reach Toulouse or Paris; others would emigrate onwards to the Americas.
Those not lucky enough to be near the border or who failed to flee in time were almost instantaneously stricken by the most ferocious repression the Spanish people ever experienced. Franco’s new political regime not only wiped out all political freedoms, banning political, trade union and cultural organisations, but also had thousands upon thousands of people jailed by summary procedures, sentences against which there was no appeal and shootings were carried out on a daily basis. In short, the most elementary human rights were, for many years, ridden over roughshod and a state of siege turned Spain into an out-and-out graveyard.
Not that those who chose the road to exile found a bed of roses. The flight towards France began in mid-winter and they lacked proper clothing and suitable rations. The beaten Spaniards trudging across the borders looked like wraiths fleeing from Hell.
Having quit Barcelona on 26 January 1939, part of the governments of the Republic and Generalidad, military commanders and leaders of the political parties and trade union organisations settled in Figueras for a few days; from there, as best they could, they would orchestrate the human torrent flooding towards the border. The Cortes held a final session on Spanish soil in the castle in Figueras. Elsewhere, troops from the Popular Army – mainly from the 5th Regiment on one side and from the 26th (former Durruti Column) Division on the other covered the withdrawal.
Solidaridad Obrera, the CNT newspaper enjoying the greatest influence and prestige among the populace had appeared in Barcelona for one last time on the very day that Franco’s troops entered the city. Even though its headlines cried out for resistance, the people’s minds were focused elsewhere and the revolutionary spirit of 19 July 1936 was but a distant memory. After its editors set up in Figueras, they managed to bring out three further editions designed to brief the fugitives, after which it would not be seen again, in exile or within Spain, for some years to come.
On 10 February 1939 the last few batches of Spaniards crossed into France; on the same day, Francoist troops reached the border but the war was not over just yet. The struggle would persist in the Centre-South Zone of Spain; the Republic clung on for another month and a half before it finally went under. The defeat of the Republic triggered further exoduses and waves of imprisonment, but some CNT militants as well as counterparts from other political factions managed to get out to North Africa by sea; others fled for the Americas, but the vast majority were trapped in the port of Alicante, in Madrid or elsewhere in the republican zone: they were taken prisoner and deported to prisons and concentration camps such as the camp at Albatera, 28 kilometres from Alicante. The war had ended in Francoist victory and the victors were about to impose their will and bring the Spanish people to its knees. The Francoist victory hoisted the Inquisition into power: the machinery of police repression was set in motion and no city or village in Spain, however small, would be spared. Every single Spaniard was examined under the Francoist microscope. Another of Francoism’s aims was to annihilate the identities of peoples like the Catalans or Basques. The freedom that these had previously enjoyed was to cost them dear.
In February 1939 the CNT national committee, FAI peninsular committee and peninsular committee of the FIJL met in Paris. After analysing the position, they resolved to launch a General Council of the Spanish Libertarian Movement (MLE) made up of twelve members: Mariano R. Vázquez, Germinal de Sousa, Germinal Esgleas, Francisco Iglesias, J. García Oliver, Roberto Alfonso, Pedro Herrera, Horacio M. Prieto, Valerio Mas, Lorenzo Iñigo and Serafín Aliaga. Mariano R. Vázquez was appointed general secretary to the General Council. The first statement from this libertarian body was dated 25 February. One of its first decisions was to appoint Juan Manuel Molina (aka Juanel) delegate for the concentration camps and liaison with the organisation within Spain.
The first stirrings of CNT reorganisation in the Spanish interior came in 1939. CNT militants organised themselves into camp committees or prison committees so as to assist one another and stay in touch with the outside world through relatives and friends. But it was in April 1939, with the war but recently concluded, that a first meeting of libertarian militants who had escaped the police dragnet was held in a fruit-shop in Valencia. The underground CNT began to function and a national committee was elected, with Esteban Pallarols its very first general secretary: he was later arrested by the police and shot. Between 1939 and 1951, no less than fourteen CNT national committees were rounded up by the police; but for every committee that fell, there were militants standing by to fill the breach and take charge of the Confederation. 1942 saw the very first clandestine version of Soli (according to Fontaura), printed on a ‘cyclostyle’ machine in Barcelona, although the CNT’s mouthpiece would not appear on any regular basis until 1945, but more of that anon.
In exile, there had been efforts made to reorganise in those locations where CNT militants had settled – Algiers, Mexico, France, Venezuela, Argentina, etc. One of the pressing tasks facing the CNT in exile was helping refugees who, as if they did not have enough problems in places like France, faced worse prospects with the German army’s occupation of French soil. Lots of exiles went home to face persecution: if captured in France, they would be dispatched to Nazi concentration camps where the greatest danger was falling into Gestapo hands and being handed over to the Franco government, as befell Lluis Companys and Juan Peiró, Julián Zugazagoitia and so many other republican militants of every hue.
The first nucleus of CNT exiles to produce Solidaridad Obrera was the group in Mexico. Issue No. 1 appeared in 1942 and it was to appear on a regular basis up until 1963, 197 issues in all. Initially it was offered as ‘Mouthpiece of the CNT membership in exile‘ but later would see publication with the subtitles ‘Organ of the CNT of Spain in Mexico’ and ‘Organ of the CNT in Spain on the American Continent’. One after another, the direction of the paper fell to the following militants – Progreso Alfarache, José Viadiu, Hermoso Plaja, J.B. Magriñá, Adolfo Hernández, Octavio Alberola and B. Cano Ruiz. The pages of the paper, a monthly publication, contained organisational communiqués from the CNT, news from Spain, reports from exile, ideological pointers and free contributions by the militants scattered across the Americas along with those from the CNT and republican colony in Mexico proper; there was also widespread contribution by CNT members living in Europe. Among the more regular contributors we might cite Manuel Buenacasa, Ángel Samblancat, Fidel Miró, José Alberola, Liberto Callejas, Albano Rosell, Severino Campos, Carlos M. Rama, Floreal Ocaña, Eusebio C. Carbó, León Felipe, Ramón J. Sender, T. Cano Ruiz, Mariano Viñuales, Manuel Pérez, Juan López, Proudhon Carbó, Fabián Moro, C. Subirats, Ácrata Pons, Jaime Rosma, J. García Durán and Juan Papiol.
In 1944 Solidaridad Obrera would appear in Algiers, to begin with, and later in France. CNT militants who had organised themselves in North Africa decided to adopt Soli as the title of the CNT mouthpiece as it addressed itself to the substantial Spanish presence in places like Algiers, Tunis or Morocco. Some 53 issues appeared in Algiers between 1944 and 1947 and there, as in Mexico, publication was monthly. Throughout its brief existence, its subtitle was ‘Organ of the Spanish Libertarian Movement in North Africa‘. It carried contributions from various militants from the Confederation in exile alongside articles by anarchist authors of acknowledged international reputation. There were also lots of organisational announcements and news about the repression in Spain. The most regular contributors were: Dionysios, Puyol, Isabel del Castillo, J. Muñoz Congost, Pedro Herrera, Rudolf Rocker, Gaston Leval, Belis, Augustin Souchy, Pedro L. de Gálvez, John Andersson, Fosco Falaschi, etc. Most of the members of this particular segment of the Spanish exile community gradually left North Africa as the situation returned to normal in Europe after the end of the Second World War and most of them opted to settle in France.
France was the country that harboured the largest number of CNT members. Reorganisation in France was soon a fait accompli and the CNT had a foothold in every French department, the two main concentrations of CNT exiles being in Toulouse and Paris. The national committee set up shop in Toulouse, its general secretaryship falling upon Germinal Esgleas. Toulouse was to publish the newspaper CNT, of which Federica Montseny was the director. But the honour of reissuing the legendary CNT newspaper, Solidaridad Obrera, fell to the Paris group.
At the Libertarian Movement’s Region 11 regional plenum, held in Paris in January 1945, one of the items on the agenda referred to Soli‘s policy line and the motion passed stated:
Soli should abide by the line taken to date, to wit, defending and spreading anarcho-syndicalist principles and the tactics of direct, anti-political, anti-state action, as ratified by the Madrid and Zaragoza congresses.
Solidaridad Obrera in France was published from Paris from 1944 up until 1961 when – following protests from the Franco government – the French government imposed a ban, forcing a change of the paper’s name to Solidaridad and – later – to Le Combat Syndicaliste when Spanish exiles took over the organ of the French CNT. Publication of CNT was also banned; it changed its name to Espoir. Both publications were kept afloat by the nuclei of Spanish exiles in France until well into the 1980s. Now amalgamated, both these CNT organs continue to publish on a weekly basis from Paris under the title Cenit.
Some 867 issues were published on a weekly basis under the designation Solidaridad Obrera. Phase one was under the direction of A. Casanovas; he was followed by F. Gómez Pelaez, with the editorial panel made up of José García Pradas, Felipe Alaiz and José Peirats. From 1954 until 1961, the director was Igualada-born CNT militant Juan Ferrer. Later, after the publication’s name was changed, Ferrer remained at the helm of Le Combat Syndicaliste for a long time. During the civil war, Juan Ferrer had served as an editor on Soli and as director of Catalunya.
In Paris Solidaridad Obrera would publish using the subtitle ‘Mouthpiece of the National Confederation of Labour (CNT) of Spain in Exile‘. From the outset it surrounded itself with the best libertarian-minded writers which afforded it a certain access to the Spanish emigré community. In the 1940s, in the wake of the Second World War, its print-runs soared to something of the order of 30,000 copies monthly; under Ferrer’s direction, Soli was publishing 6,000 copies a week. Solidaridad Obrera attracted lots of contributors in France, the long list of whom includes Federica Montseny, Fernando Pintado, Fontaura, Amador Franco, Raúl Carballeira, Juan Puig Elías, Félix Martí Ibáñez, Albert Camus, Ángel Samblancat, Eusebio C. Carbó, J. Borrás, J. Doménech, Ramón Álvarez, Germinal Esgleas, Alberto Carsi, Vega Álvarez, García Birlán (aka Dionysios) and Gaston Leval.
Beginning with issue no. 459 (1 January 1954) Soli was to print the Solidaridad Obrera literary supplement containing works of literature, art, science and culture in general. That supplement was a monthly feature and it carried on up until 1961 when a general ban on Spanish republican publication in exile in France saw it turn into Umbral. Some 96 issues of the ‘Solidaridad Obrera literary supplement’ saw publication. Its interesting contents included a number of monographic studies of Cervantes, Don Quixote, Ferrer y Guardia, León Felipe, Antonio Machado, Juan Ramón Jiménez, García Lorca, Valle Inclán, Pere Bosch i Gimpera, Fernando Valera, Víctor García, Lluís Montaña, Octavio Paz, Lluís Capdevila, Albert Camus, Jean Cassou, Agustí Pi i Sunyer, Jean Rostand, Marcos Ana, Félix Martí Ibáñez, Carlos M. Rama and Felipe Alaiz.
Mention must also be made of the publishing efforts of Spanish exiles – especially CNT members – who launched lots of book and pamphlet collections directed at the emigré community and publicising libertarian thinking, personal testimonies or literary creations of their own. In 1950 Solidaridad Obrera issued its first catalogue listing a large number of published books and pamphlets. Solidaridad Obrera publications also appeared in Buenos Aires under the direction of Diego Abad de Santillán.
Without question, of all the groups and organisations forced into exile after the end of the civil war, it was the anarchists that published and released the biggest amount of propaganda, whether in the form of newspapers, books or pamphlets. An Inter-Continental Plenum of Nuclei held in Bordeaux in August 1969 declared:
This motion holds that it is vitally necessary that we sustain the existence of our publications, the most consistent and widely distributed in the whole of the Spanish exile community.
And at a plenum held clandestinely in 1946, there was talk of “boosting the newspaper CNT to the maximum and publishing Soli as often as practicable.”
In 1945 a congress of the CNT-in-exile was held in Paris. The CNT membership was nurturing a lot of high hopes: at the end of the Second World War, with the Allies triumphant, there was a belief that Francoist Spain’s days were to be numbered in weeks or months, but the reality was different. Yet again, differences over the tactics to be espoused by anarcho-syndicalists in the fight against Francoism produced a split within the libertarian movement’s ranks in late 1945. The main issue to be thrashed out and which triggered the CNT split was the matter of collaborationism, “collaboration, yes or no?” vis à vis the republican government-in-exile headed by José Giral in Mexico. That was a real dilemma for the CNT. Although the majority of exiles plumped for principles, tactics and objectives approved at the Zaragoza congress in 1936, part of the Organisation-in-exile chose to collaborate and appointed José Expósito Leiva and Horacio Martínez Prieto to take up portfolios in the republican government-in-exile. Other militants also took up places within Josep Terradellas’s Generalitat of Catalonia government-in-exile.
The split within the CNT was a fact over many years up until a fresh congress in France in 1961 brought about a reunification.
In early 1944, the regional committee of the CNT of Catalonia decided to issue a newspaper, Solidaridad Obrera, clandestinely, in Barcelona. Publication of the first few editions of the paper was entrusted to Pedro Mas Valois, a journalist and photographer, who, after contacting the artist Helios Gómez, managed to locate a CNT old-timer by the name of Soto who had access to a printing press. The first 8 editions of the clandestine Soli were run off on those presses between March and June 1944. Later, publication had to be suspended for security reasons as the police had suspicions about the presses and although a house search produced no results, the organisation chose to wait for new presses to be found.
1945 was a year of great activity for the CNT. There was a widespread belief that the Franco regime’s days were numbered. Even though committees were being arrested, other militants took up the coordination effort and the CNT remained in place as one of the leading forces in opposition to Francoism. With other elements, the CNT was also involved in a joint platform known as the Alianza Nacional de Fuerzas Democráticas – National Alliance of Democratic Forces – ANFD). For the first time since 1939, the end of the regime looked imminent. To get some understanding of the times, remember that between late 1945 and summer 1946, the CNT had issued some 60,000 membership cards in Catalonia, 21,000 of those belonging to the Barcelona Local Federation. At the time, Soli was putting out 30,000 copies per issue for distribution in the factories, workshops, offices and firms. The newspaper was really tiny, just 16 x 21 cms in size and four well presented printed pages. It came in other sizes too, but as a general rule, the smaller version was preferred as it facilitated distribution in times of strict clandestinity. The contents were mainly notices from the Organisation, announcements and declarations. In one editorial, the one for November 1945, (Issue No. 14), the front page headline read: “Going Down”, the general idea being that in the wake of the Allied victory over fascism, the Franco regime’s days were numbered.
Soli carried on appearing over the years that followed and was printed on premises in the Calle Estruch and then in the Calle Dos de Mayo. With the rounding up of the various national and regional committees, as well as the capture of the presses on which propaganda, bulletins and CNT newspapers were being printed, the incoming committees had to search for new places to meet and to publish its propaganda. When straits were at their direst, the propaganda was printed up in France and smuggled back into Spain over the mountains. According to (then CNT general secretary) Cipriano Damiano: “The organisation was to reach its high point in 1946 and 1947”, and, as for Soli, he opined “Solidaridad Obrera will not budge from periodical publication and will be devoured by the working class, keen to learn of the views and attitudes of its organisation.” During this period, not only was Soli appearing, but the CNT was at its height in virtually every region of Spain. In Galicia the regional CNT confederation also published a Solidaridad Obrera as a fortnightly. From the Centre region came Castilla Libre; from Valencia, Fragua Social; from Andalusia, Solidaridad Obrera; from Extremadura, Extremadura Libre. In addition, Ruta, Juventud Libre, Tierra y Libertad, CNT and such were also being produced. In his book, Juan Manuel Molina states:
The organisation was gaining in strength with every passing day, despite upsets. It was publishing Solidaridad Obrera, bulletins, circulars, manifestos. Reaching beyond Barcelona to the rest of the country. Provincial and comarcal committees were being formed and there were even local federations.
After these days of splendour in clandestine operation, with Soli publishing huge print runs, it settled down to an average of 6,000 copies an issue; in all 42 issues were produced in a variety of formats between 1944 and 1957, although most of these appeared between 1944 and 1947. In the years thereafter there were changes in terms of periodicity, coinciding from 1948 on with the police crackdowns in the wake of the previous year’s strikes. Soli‘s publication became more irregular and this became more pronounced after the Barcelona tram strike in 1951 as the harshest repression in the Francoist era fell upon CNT personnel and Communists, with arrests, prison sentences and death sentences. Besides, we should remember that in the 1939-1951 period alone the members of no less than 14 CNT national committees were rounded up, as were several regional committees around Spain, plus rank-and-file CNT members galore. In 1957, repression zeroed in on the CNT organisation once more. Solidaridad Obrera was to disappear until it burst into a new era of activity in 1963-1966: and over those three years only five issues appeared, published in France and smuggled back into Spain, although earlier, in October 1958, there had been a Solidaridad Obrera ‘extra’ produced marking the 48th anniversary of the establishment of the CNT. Two languages (Castilian and Catalan) were widely used in many of the clandestine editions of Solidaridad Obrera and it carried the subtitle ‘Organ of the National Confederation of Labour and Mouthpiece of the Regional Confederation of Labour in Catalonia’. And below the masthead were emblazoned the initials AIT (=IWA). Articles in the paper were either unsigned or signed with noms de plume.
At the same time, even as some militants were busy organising (that is, publishing newspapers, bulletins, circulars, manifestos, etc., or getting together to deal with the trade union or political business of opposing the Franco regime in terms of agitation or propaganda targeting workers of anarcho-syndicalist leanings), other libertarian militants embarked upon armed struggle against the regime, initially in guerrilla campaigns in all parts of Spain and involving personnel from almost every republican faction, and later, in the late 1940s, in urban guerrilla activity wherein men such as Quico Sabaté, José Lluís Facerías, Marcelino Massana, Ramón Vila Capdevila and many another were to keep the Spanish police at full stretch right up until the early 1960s.
The weakening of CNT strength, what with their whole-hearted engagement with the fight against Franco in the years of the harshest repression, ensured that the CNT was all but marginalised in Francoism’s later years, especially after 1968, when trade unionism started to take off and the labour movement acquired fresh clout thanks to a new organisation spawned in Asturias in 1962 and known as the Workers’ Commissions. Initially this organisation purported to be an umbrella organisation, but later it was exposed as the trade union front of the Communist Party.
In spite of everything, Solidaridad Obrera resurfaced in 1973 and 1974, with a different numbering and dating system in each year, due to the fact that it had been produced by different committees, although back in 1972 the Rojo y Negro Group of Grenoble had produced an edition of Solidaridad Obrera. In this new phase, Soli was printed on a cyclostyle machine by young Barcelona students who had refloated the CNT, but the arrest of committee members and want of funds brought publication of that Soli to a halt. It would be two more years before it resurfaced when, in the wake of Franco’s death, the CNT was rebuilt.
In late 1975, after the death of Franco, initial contacts were established between a number of nuclei and groups with an eye to rebuilding the CNT within Spain. The CNT had been missing from anti-Francoist opposition platforms since the late 1960s: in spite of which, it was during those dying days of Francoism that – especially in Catalonia – groups of anarchist persuasions, such as the First of May Group, the MIL and the GARI were active, but as an organisation the CNT was on the fringes of the big opposition political and trade union campaigns – the Junta Democrática and the Asamblea de Catalunya. CNT reorganisation took off after the Asamblea de Sants, held in the Sant Medir parish church on 29 February 1976. In the wake of that Assembly, in which militants and groups from right across the libertarian spectrum, from syndicalists to councilists, including anarchists, anarcho-syndicalists, libertarian marxists and Trotskyists, took part, the National Confederation of Labour (CNT) bounced back on to the scene: with it came the committees, local federations, comarcal federations, unions and confederal organs.
On May Day 1976 Solidaridad Obrera resurfaced as the Organ of the Catalonia Regional Committee and mouthpiece of the CNT. Its first 15 editions appeared on a monthly basis in folio format; responsibility for the paper lay with the regional committee’s press and propaganda secretariat and its administrator was Matías, from the Badalona Local Federation. The editorial offices used by those initial issues were located in the Calle Méndez Núñez. After that, a team of militants from the printing trades union would take charge of Soli. In this second phase there was a change in format and although it was still being produced as a monthly, the print run was increased and Soli began to be sold through a number of kiosk outlets: the administrator of Soli during this period would be Cipriano Damiano.
Over those years, there was an expansion in CNT membership, the unions were publishing bulletins of their own and gradually Soli started to seep through into the workplace. In May 1977, whilst the regional plenum for Catalonia was under way, a sizeable gang of CNT personnel invaded the premises of the Falangist newspapers Prensa and Solidaridad Nacional, overrunning the premises and chanting “Let’s take back Soli“. The occupation was the CNT’s way of claiming back the presses seized from it by the Francoists at the end of the civil war; the CNT was claiming back its historical patrimony, of which Solidaridad Obrera was a part. That June, the CNT was granted lawful status. General elections were held and there was a sort of a libertarian spring-time, with mass rallies like the one in Montjuich and the International Libertarian Showcase (the Jornadas Libertarias). At the time, the CNT took part in assembly-based strikes like the Roca dispute, as well as ones involving the printing trades, construction workers and filling stations across Barcelona province. CNT recruitment had taken off by this point, but then came the murky ‘Scala’ nightclub fire which plunged the CNT into one its first crises. Despite this, Solidaridad Obrera was revamped and switched from monthly to fortnightly publishing from 1978 on. Ramón Barnils was chosen to direct it and Toni Batalla would look after the administration side of things.
Under Barnils, Soli got a second wind with print runs of 15,000 copies a fortnight, with regular features, correspondents, paid editors (editorial staff earned 10,000 and 5,000 pesetas a month). It was printed on the presses of El Noticiero Universal and was distributed through kiosks. During this stage of Soli‘s existence the editorial offices were located at 56, Calle Princesa. But Barnils’s term as director became a matter of controversy as far as one segment of the organisation was concerned. One year later, at a regional plenum held in April 1979, Barnils and his team were driven out of Soli and the directorship of the paper passed to Severino Campos. During this time Soli would remain a 16-page newspaper and its regular features were retained, as was its fortnightly schedule.
That same year the CNT held its Fifth Congress in Madrid. Having relocated to Madrid, the Soli editorial team produced a 4-page special given over to the congress. After that congress, the CNT was in tatters. A split that had been months in the making became a reality and even though the tendency favouring the historic line approved at the 1936 Zaragoza congress emerged triumphant, a real crisis erupted to tear the organisation apart. The main pretext for this fresh split in the CNT would be the issue of whether or not to participate in the trade union elections.
In the summer of 1980 Soli would be taken over by Ramón Liarte, with Lucas Moreno as administrator; the editorial offices were set up in an apartment in the Calle Reina Cristina and Solidaridad Obrera stopped the printing arrangement with El Noticiero Universal. A press in Hospitalet was to cover the next phase when Soli switched from fortnightly back to monthly publication; at the same time the number of pages per issue was cut and the print run was severely reduced. In December 1980, during an exercise known as ‘The Scala Case’, Soli would appear daily in cyclostyle format, with a print run of 5,000 copies of four pages each.
Over the years that followed Carmen Diaz Mayo, Francisco Posa, Luis Andrés Edo and Josep Alemany all served as directors.
Over the 11 years when Solidaridad Obrera was being published without interruption, the most regular staffers or contributors to write for it were: Gerard Jacas, Ferrán Aisa, Esteban Alonso, Eugenio Recuero, Mario Vila, Juanjo Fernández, Miquel Correas, Josep Mateu, Miquel Didad Piñero, Abel Paz, Lluis Correal, Ramón Sentís, Francisco Piqueras, Francisco García Cano, Rafael Henares, Carles J. Sanz, Pep Castells, Federica Montseny, Bernart Gisbert, etc.
We should also mention the inclusion within Solidaridad Obrera from mid-1978 to 1980 of a page in Catalan (with its own numbering/dating system) entitled Catalunya and sub-titled (in Catalan) ‘Mouthpiece of the Regional Confederation of Labour of Catalonia’. A CNT paper of that name was published as an evening daily during the civil war and was published on the presses of Soli, entirely in Catalan. During the period when Barnils was at the helm, this insert was under the care of Josep Serra Estruch and later the Catalunya page would be handled by Gerard Jacas, Josep Alemany and Ferrán Aisa. From time to time it has reappeared in Soli but only as just another page of the contents, without any separate dating or numbering. Although Catalunya did resurface as a (theoretically monthly but actually irregularly published) review published by the breakaway CNT and under the direction of Josep Serra Estruch. The breakaways were also to publish Solidaridad Obrera as the ‘Organ of the National Confederation of Labour (CNT)’, dispensing with the AIT initials, initially publishing out of Valencia and later from Madrid. That version of Soli, published by the CNT that emerged from the Valencia congress, was rather irregular in terms of periodicity and its contents ranged from trade union business to current affairs. No director’s name was given and responsibility for the paper lay with the Press and Propaganda secretariat of the CNT’s confederal committee; it had correspondents in each of the ‘autonomous communities’ and, as for contributors, we should mention the names of Enric Marcos and Josep Costa Font.
To conclude this brief study of Solidaridad Obrera, I should state that in July 1986, on the 50th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Revolution, Soli released a very high-quality printed review containing interesting articles and photographs from those historic events back in 1936 and entitled Sin Fronteras; it bore the subtitle ‘Solidaridad Obrera Supplement‘.
At present, Solidaridad Obrera continues to publish regularly, although neither its print run nor the number of its pages nor its regular features are the same as in the years when the CNT was in the ascendant. 185 issues, plus several ‘specials’ were published between 1976 and October 1987.
From: www.soliobrera.org. Translated by: Paul Sharkey.