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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MEMORIA HISTORICA Las Relaciones Comerciales y Políticas Franco-Españolas y sus Repercusiones en las Actividades de los Refugiados Anti-Franquistas (1945-1964) por Antonio Téllez Solá

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En este compendio no examinaremos las relaciones franco-españolas en los años de la Segunda Guerra Mundial, con el régimen de Vichy, durante el cual el mariscal Philippe Petain accedió a ciertas peticiones dél gobierno franquista referentes a la extradición de dirigentes republicanos, algunos de los cuales fueron fusilados en Espana. Partiremos de 1945, cuando con la victoria de las naciones aliadas las relaciones franco-españolas adquirieron, durante varios años, un carácter muy diferente, dado que Francia preconizaba una política internacional de repudio del régimen franquista.

Los antifranquistas españoles en el exilio colaboraron activamente con las fuerzas aliadas durante la contienda y en Francia ocuparon un lugar destacado en la Resistencia contra el ocupante nazi. Al producirse la liberación, pues, gozaron de la simpatía de amplios sectores de la población, de numerosas personas políticasy, sobre todo, de autoridades locales.

El gobierno francés, mediante decreto del 15 de marzo de 1945, concedió cualidad de refugiados políticos a los españoles que habían huido del régimen franquista y en el mes de julio del mismo año creaba una Oficina central encargada de aportarles la protección jurídica y administrativa para los refugiados, bajo el patrocinio del Comité Intergubernamental para los Refugiados (CIR).

A partir de 1945 las actividades de los refugiados antifranquistas fueron objeto de incesantes y apremientes quejas de Madrid al Delegado francés en España, quejas que la prensa española secundaba activamente con campañas contra las escuelas de terrorismo en Francia, los efectivos guerrilleros cerca de la frontera y sus incursiones en la Península y también en lo referente a los consulados españoles que habían sido ocupados por los refugiados durante la etapa de la liberación de Francia. En 1945 comenzaron a ser evacuados y puestos a la disposición del Encargado de Negocios español.

REVOLUTION AND SOCIAL REVOLUTION: A Contribution to the History of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Movement in Spain 1930-1937 by Stephen John Brademas. Edited and Introduced by Pedro García-Guirao – eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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John Brademas died in Manhattan on 11 July 2016, at the age of 89. He was an outstanding member of the United States Congress for the Democratic Party for 22 years (1959-81), a partner with the Rockefeller Foundation, founder of the King Juan Carlos I of Spain Center at New York University (of which he served as president from 1981 to 1992), a recipient of the Great Cross of Alfonso X (the Wise) of Spain (2011), conferred upon him by King Juan Carlos I of Spain, and recipient of some thirty other awards.

However, as his obituary in the New York Times (11 July 2016) set out, behind this glamorous award-studded life lay something that ran much deeper. The son of a Greek immigrant restaurant-owner (whose restaurant came under repeated Ku Klux Klan attacks) and an Indiana elementary-school teacher, John Brademas recalled how his father told him on several occasions that he would strive not to leave him a great legacy (unlikely as he was an immigrant to Indiana and owner of a modest restaurant) but rather a first-rate education. Brademas embraced his father’s educational ambitions and never forgot his origins. In fact, James Fernandez (New York University) stressed in his obituary that “towering over everything else, perhaps, was the wisdom, decency and compassion of a truly extraordinary man who never forgot where he came from.”1

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THE GOLPISTA SLAUGHTER OF ANARCHO-SYNDICALISTS IN CADIZ (1936-1937) by José Luis Gutiérrez Molina (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

JOSE BONAT ORTEGA (Cádiz, 1890 – 1936)

In July 1936, the coup-makers (golpistas) were clear that their success would be bought at the cost of the physical elimination of the leading members of the republican and workers’ political parties, as well as of the trade unions. In addition to members or organisations like the freemasons which were held to be hostile to the golpistas’ clericalism and unreconstructed version of Catholicism. This repressive approach resulted in a policy of extermination once the golpistas woke up to the fact that their coup attempt had failed across the country. So that during the summer and the months that followed there occurred in the occupied territories what has been described as “Francoism’s foundational massacre” or “the Spanish Holocaust”.

The rebels were trying to stop the changes in economic relations and in in Spanish society as a whole, these having gathered pace after the proclamation of the Second Republic in April 1931. Both the moderate changes pushed by the republican groups and the more far-reaching changes pushed by anarcho-syndicalism. The defeat of the coup was a boost to the spread of the revolution which it was supposed to have been meant to prevent. The number one enemies to be eliminated were those who represented the greatest radicalism: the libertarians.

This essay means to describe how the policy of extermination was applied to the anarcho-syndicalist constituency in Cadiz. A city where the main economic sectors – metalworking, transport and construction – were dominated by the CNT. I shall focus upon a few of the more prominent militants, whilst not forgetting that the repression encompassed the bulk of the city’s anarcho-syndicalists.

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ANARCOSINDICALISMO Y REVOLUCIÓN EN ESPAÑA 1930-1937 por John Brademas. Prefacio de Pedro García-Guirao — eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

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El historiador y político norteamericano John Brademas (1927 –  2016), que se graduó en la Universidad de Harvard y se doctoró en la de Oxford, era desde 1959 miembro demócrata de la Cámara de Representantes del Congreso de su país. A pesar de la importancia de los grupos revolucionarios, en general, y del anarquismo, en particular, no abundan los estudios valiosos dedicados al tema. En tanto que la obra de Stanley Payne, La revolución española intenta presentar una óptica de conjunto, la de Brademas analiza concretamente el anarcosindicalismo español durante el período 1930-1937.

A lo largo de su estudio John Brademas mostró la evolución del más poderoso movimiento anarcosindicalista del mundo, la CNT, y sus relaciones con la UGT y la FAI. El libro comienza con un ‘análisis del tema “conspiración y colaboración bajo el régimen de Primo de Rivera”, sigue con la etapa inicial de la República y las huelgas de la Telefónica y del puerto de Barcelona; la declaración de los treinta; la sublevación del alto Llobregat y la consiguiente escisión de la CNT; la sublevación anarquista de enero de 1933; la Alianza Obrera; la revolución de octubre de 1934; y la formación y la efímera trayectoria del Frente formación de las milicias y de sus comités; la justicia revolucionaria; la organización económica de la revolución (las colectivizaciones en la industria, las colectividades agrícolas, etc.) y la participación de ministros anarquistas en el Consejo de la Generalidad y en el gobierno de la Republica. El libro concluye con los sucesos de mayo de 1937 en Barcelona, que, entre otras cosas, significaron pare el anarquismo la pérdida de su predominio político en el campo republicano.

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