Juan García Oliver (1901-1980) was an anarcho-syndicalist CNT militant who played a key role in the Spanish anarchist movement from 1917 through to the end of the Spanish Civil War. When the military moved out of their barracks on 18 July 1936 he, along with Durruti, Ascaso, and other members of the ‘Nosotros’ Group, the core of the Regional CNT Defence Committee of Catalonia (the co-ordinating body of the Catalan workers’ resistance), were prepared and ready for them. From 21 July onward, following the workers’ defeat of the attempted fascist coup d’état, Oliver became a central political figure in subsequent events, first as secretary of the Militias Committee then Minister of Justice in the Madrid government of Largo Caballero. This interview with García Oliver by anarchist historian and journalist Freddy Gómez, made in Paris in June 1977, benefits enormously from Oliver’s hindsight, probably the only one of the ‘official’ CNT-FAI leadership (Federica Montseny, Germinal Esgleas, ‘Marianet’, Horacio Prieto, Diego Abad de Santillan, Fidel Miró, Francisco Isgleas, Serafín Aliaga, none of whom were activists!) with any degree of integrity.
García Oliver addressing a public meeting of the CNT-AIT in Valencia (1936)