THE REVOLUTION ENDED IN MAY A film by Mikel Muñoz

‘The revolution ended in May’, Mikel Muñoz’s 2015 film (Spanish with French subtitles) on the five days of infamy and treachery that ended Spain’s social revolution. In the Spring of 1937, with the anti-fascist war at its peak, the pro-Stalinist ‘socialists’ of the PSOE, led by Finance Minister Juan Negrín, the communist-led PSUC (The Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia) led by Juan Comorera, supported by right wing nationalists of the Estat Català, moved against the power bases of the anarcho-syndicalist workers’ militias in Catalonia, starting on April 25 with the customs post at Puigcerdá on the French border, and culminating in the attempted seizure of the Barcelona Telephone Exchange. The latter action and the call for the CNT employees defending the building and adjoining barrio barricades to abandon their positions and give up their arms was endorsed by the infamous ‘notables’ of the higher committees of the CNT, particularly anarchist ministers Federica Montseny and Juan Garcia Oliver, and CNT National Secretary Mariano T. Vazquez. The following account of the ‘Events of May’ is from ‘Building Utopia’.

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The Murder and Burial of Camillo Berneri and Francesco Barbieri in Barcelona, May 1937 by Agustín Guillamón (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

  1. The Murder

Francesco Barbieri (1895-1937)
Camilo Berneri (1897-1937)

“At 10.00 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday 4 May, two individuals wearing red arm-bands presented themselves at Apartment No 1, 2 Plaza del Ángel. They were received by comrades Berneri[1] and Barbieri[2], whom they told not to shoot as they were friends and there was nothing to fear. Our comrades replied that, as antifascists who had come to Spain to defend the revolution, they had no reason to be shooting at antifascist workers.

The two individuals then left and were seen from the window to enter the premises opposite belonging to the UGT union. At around 3.00 p.m. the same day, five or six individuals wearing the same red arm-bands as the ones who called that morning, plus steel helmets and shotguns called to the apartment again, stating that they had authority to effect a search. Seeing that the search was thorough, comrade Tantini handed three rifles over to them, stating that they had been left there for safe-keeping by three militians who had turned up on leave from the Huesca front. After collecting the rifles, the UGT personnel and policemen left, just two of the latter staying behind to complete the search. Papers found in comrade Fantosi’s room and a few books and maps from comrade Mastrodicasa’s room were taken away. As for comrade Berneri’s room[3], given the volume of the material there, they made off with only a portion of it, stating that they would be back with a car. As they left, they warned our comrades not to venture outside and to keep away from the windows, unless they wanted to get themselvers shot. The searchers, upon being questioned, replied that they had had reports of armed Italian anarchists in the apartment.

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THE OBLIGATORY MARTYR by André Prudhommeaux (1902-1968) (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

André Prudhommeaux

André Prudhommeaux (15 October 1902 – 13 November 1968 ) was an was an early Council Communist, then an anarchist publisher and bookstore owner whose Paris shop (opened in 1928) specialized in social history and was a venue for many debates and discussions. An agronomist, libertarian socialist, editor of Le Libertaire and Le Monde Libertaire, writer and publicist, he grew up in a Fourierist “Familistere” cooperative association, but always adopted a non-sectarian approach to the left, generally. His bookshop carried publications of the Italian Left, the Bordiguists, and council communism, and he was prominent in defending Marinus Van Der Lubbe, the Dutch council communist accused of setting fire to the Reichstag in February 1933. Ultimately, however, Prudhommeaux inclined more towards anarchism. 

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Dionisio EROLES BATLLÓ by Agustín Guillamón (Originally published in Catalan in issue No, 194 of ‘Catalunya (CGT), July-August 2017). Translated by Paul Sharkey.

Left to right: Josep Xena, Dionisio Eroles Batlló (1900-1940), and an unidentified journalist in the grounds of the Generalitat Palace waiting to be received by President Companys during talks to resolve the government crisis of 1937. Photo: Josep Maria de Segarra.

Born in Barcelona on 2 November 1900. His father, Valentí, was born in a little village, Pla de Sant Tirs, in the Upper Urgell comarca, from where he moved to Barcelona. His mother was a native of Barcelona, born in the Sants barrio. Dionis was born in the family home at No 35, Calle Manso, fifth floor.

He was no more than 8 years old when he started working in a glass factory, joining the CNT at a very early age. In August 1919 he was jailed, as he was again in May and November 1920. On 30 November 1920, he was banished to the fortress of La Mola in Mahón, remaining there until October 1922.

The vessel Giraldo set sail from Barcelona with 35 anarcho-syndicalists plus Lluis Companys, a Barcelona city councillor on board. Those 35 were the CNT élite at the time and had been sentenced for their roles in the La Canadiense strike in 1919. They were: Salvador Seguí Rubinat, Manuel Salvador Serrano, Camilo Piñón Orihuela, Francisco Comas Pagès, Viçenç Botella Moya, Narcis Vidal Cucurella, Eusebio Manzanares Barrera, Martín Barrera Maresma, Miguel Abós Serena, Antoni Soler Cuadrado, Josep Viadiu Valls, Enrique Rueda Lopez, Aniceto López Dalmau, Emilio Albaricias Descarga, Manuel Núñez García, Saturnino Meca González, Dionisio Eroles Batlle, Antonio Ocaña Martín, Josep Soler Guillemat, Manuel Casterienas Domingo, José Francàs Jarquin, Josep Roigé Redondo, Guillermo Vales Brugera, Daniel Rebull Cabré, José Antonio Gómez Vicente, Eusebio Jorge Sánchez, Salvador Pascua Mascaró, Antonio Calomarte Costa, Salvador Caracena Díaz, Ramón Recasens Miret, Francisco Arsia Simón, Jesús Vega Fernández and Antonio Amador Obón.

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Dionisio EROLES BATLLÓ por Agustín Guillamón (Publicado en catalán en el núm.194 del Catalunya (CGT), julio-agosto de 2017)

Left to right: Josep Xena, Dionisio Eroles Batlló (1900-1940), and an unidentified journalist in the grounds of the Generalitat Palace waiting to be received by President Companys during the talks to solve the government crisis of 1937. Photo: Josep Maria de Segarra.

Nació en Barcelona el 2 de noviembre de 1900. Valentín, su padre, había nacido en el pueblecito de Pla de Sant Tirs, en la comarca del Alt Urgell, de donde había emigrado a la ciudad de Barcelona. Su madre era barcelonesa, nacida en el barrio de Sants. Dionisio nació en el domicilio familiar, en la calle Manso número 35, quinto piso.

Empezó a trabajar con solo 8 años en una fábrica de vidrio, ingresando muy joven en la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). Fue encarcelado en agosto de 1919, y también en mayo y noviembre de 1920. El 30 de noviembre de 1920 fue desterrado a la fortaleza de la Mola, en Mahón, donde permaneció hasta octubre de 1922.

El barco Giralda salió del puerto de Barcelona con 35 militantes anarcosindicalistas y el concejal del Ayuntamiento barcelonés, Lluís Companys. Esos 35 sindicalistas eran la élite cenetista del momento, y habían sido condenados por su intervención en la huelga de la Canadiense en 1919: Salvador Seguí Rubinat, Manuel Salvador Serrano, Camilo Piñón Orihuela, Francisco Comas Pagès, Vicenç Botella Moya, Narcís Vidal Cucurella, Josep Vidal Cucurella, Eusebio Manzanares Barrera, Martín Barrera Maresma, Miguel Abós Serena, Antoni Soler Cuadrado, Josep Viadiu Valls, Enrique Rueda López, Aniceto López Dalmau, Emilio Albaricias Alorda, Jaime Albaricias Descarga, Manuel Núñez García, Saturnino Meca González, Dionisio Eroles Batlló, Antonio Ocaña Martín, Josep Soler Guillemat, Manuel Castarienas Domingo, José Francàs Jarquín, Josep Roigé Redondo, Guillermo Vales Bruguera, Daniel Rebull Cabré, José Antonio Gómez Vicente, Eusebio Jorge Sánchez, Salvador Pascual Mascaró, Antonio Calomarte Costa, Salvador Caracena Díaz, Ramón Recasens Miret, Francisco Arsia Simón, Jesús Vega Fernández y Antonio Amador Obón.

Al día siguiente, cuando el barco llegó a Mahón, uno de los oficiales de la tripulación comunicó a los deportados que el abogado laboralista Francesc Layret había sido asesinado en Barcelona.

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