THE SPANISH LABYRINTH An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Civil War Gerald Brenan eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

SpanLabyrinthsmallTHE SPANISH LABYRINTH An Account of the Social and Political Background of the Civil War eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)  Also available from Kobo

£1.50Add to basket

Written during the Spanish Civil War, published in 1943, revised in 1950 and republished in paperback in1960, The Spanish Labyrinth assesses the social and political background of the war, not the war itself. Brenan a middle-class, liberal, Anglo-Irish expatriate who lived in Spain from 1919 until 1936, returning in 1953 — wrote comprehensively about the political and religious divisions in Spain from the 16th to the 20th centuries: the church, the tensions with Liberalism, the ‘patria chica’ and the main autonomous regions, Carlism, industrialisation, the agrarian question, communal life, the Republic, the Constituent Cortes, class struggle, etc. — not forgetting the important role of anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism in Spanish politics. And although his attitude to the Spanish anarchist–anarcho-syndicalist movement and working class in general is patronising and condescending, it is to an extent understandable given his middle-class upbringing, prejudices and friendship circles.

Brenan swallowed, uncritically, contemporary hysterical, calumnious and propagandistic accounts of ‘irresponsible’, ‘ruthless’ and ‘typical’ acts of mass terrorism allegedly ‘carried out by the Durruti column in Aragón, and by the militia in Madrid on their way to the front’. Describing them as ‘the counterpart of the September Massacres of 1792’, he goes on to compare Durruti to the fanatical ultra-Catholic Carlist general Ramón Cabrera, and refers to the FAI (Iberian Anarchist Federation) as a ‘secret society’, which it most definitely was not (see my We, the Anarchists. A Study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927—1937). He also states as fact (and without adducing any evidence) that the advent of the FAI brought with it an increasingly noticeable trend in Spanish anarchism: ‘the inclusion within its ranks of professional criminals — thieves and gunmen who certainly would not have been accepted by any other working class party — together with idealists of the purest and most selfless kind.’

In spite of Brenan’s shortcomings as an historian and his ambivalence toward the Spanish anarchist movement, as a personal insight The Spanish Labyrinth remains a highly readable, comprehensive and valuable account of social and political life in Spain in the years leading up to the Civil War.

REVIEW OF THE SPANISH LABYRINTH BY MARIE LOUISE BERNERI, an editor of War Commentary and 
later Freedom, until her death at the age of 31 in 1949. She was the
 author of Journey Through Utopia (Routledge) and Neither East Nor
 West (Freedom Press). Her article was originally written for Now! in
 1944 as a review of the original edition of Brenan’s book:

Continue reading…

THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Burnett Bolloten. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

BollotenSCWBWsmallThe Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Burnett Bolloten.  

£1.50Add to basket

Also available from the eBookshelf and Kobo  ; Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE

The final, revised, edition of Burnett Bolloten’s exhaustive and indispensable, 50-year-long scholarly study of Republican/revolutionary politics in the Spanish Civil War (“The Grand Camouflage:, 1961; “The Spanish Revolution”, 1979; “The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution”, 1986), covers the entire period of the war from 1936 to 1939. Welsh-born Bolloten, initially a Communist Party fellow-traveller, was a war correspondent for United Press who witnessed at first hand the rise to power of the Stalin- and bourgeois liberal-backed Spanish Communist Party and how it successfully subverted and repressed the popular revolutionary process that resulted from the failed military-clerical-fascist pronunciamento of July 1936.

“Burnett Bolloten’s The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution is a monument of dedicated scholarship that is not likely to be replaced. The best study of the subject in any language, it merits a place beside Gerald Brenan’s The Spanish Labyrinth and Raymond Carr’s Spain, 1808-1939 as a classic in the historiography of modern Spain.” Paul Avrich, Queens College, City University of New York

Continue reading…

SPANISH INTELLECT. From the Fifth to the Nineteenth Century by Henry Thomas Buckle. From Vol. II of his History of Civilisation in England, 1861. eBook £1.50 /€2.00

Review: New York Times, 28 July 1861 — 

£1.50Add to basket

Also available from the eBookshelf and Kobo  ; Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE

SpainBucklesmall“The relation which the second volume of the History of Civilization holds to the first is somewhat peculiar. It is a relation, not of continuity, but of Method. Having, in the first volume arrived, by induction, at certain generalizations regarding the laws of historical progress, he devotes the second volume to testing, by deduction, the truth of those generalizations. The inductive defence comprised a collection of historical and scientific facts which suggested and authorized certain conclusions as to the laws of civilization; the deductive defence consists of a verification of those conclusions by showing how they explain the history of different countries and their various fortunes. This second volume, accordingly, may be viewed as a series of pieces justificatives of the principles of the first installment. These principles, which Mr. BUCKLE regards as the basis of the history of civilization, are: First, that the progress of mankind depends on the success with which the laws of phenomena are investigated and on the extent to which a knowledge of these laws is diffused. Second, that before such investigation can begin a spirit of scepticism must arise, which, at first aiding the investigation, is afterwards aided by it. Third, That the discoveries thus made increase the influence of intellectual truths, and diminish, relatively, not absolutely, the influence of moral truths. Fourth, that the great enemy of this movement, and consequently of civilization, is the Protective spirit; that is, the notion that society cannot prosper unless the affairs of life are watched over and protected at nearly every turn by the State and the Church — the State teaching men what they are to do, and the Church teaching them what they are to believe.

“It is in the history of Spain and of Scotland that he now seeks illustrations of these cardinal propositions. Spain and Scotland exemplify more palpably than any other modern peoples the baleful action of the protective spirit of Church and State; and the use to which he turns the history of those two countries is analogous to the value which the anatomist finds in morbid manifestations for the illustration of natural conditions. Spain is the country where the fundamental conditions of national improvement have been most flagrantly violated, and hence the country where the penalty paid for the violation has been most heavy, and where, therefore, it is most instructive to ascertain how far the prevalence of certain opinions causes the decay of the people among whom they predominate. If Spain illustrates the evil results of loyalty and superstition combined, Scotland exemplifies the evil results of superstition, but at the same time manifests how those evil results may be in part neutralized by the absence of the spirit of loyalty. It is to the elucidation of these considerations that Mr. BUCKLE has devoted the present volume, of which we shall, as a preliminary, try to give a running analysis:

Continue reading…

MEMORIA HISTORICA. LAS RELACIONES COMERCIALES Y POLÍTICAS FRANCO-ESPAÑOLAS Y SUS REPERCUSIONES EN LAS ACTIVIDADES DE LOS REFUGIADOS ANTIFRANQUISTAS (1945-1964) por Antonio Téllez Sola. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

CharlemagneMEMORIA HISTORICA. LAS RELACIONES COMERCIALES Y POLÍTICAS FRANCO-ESPAÑOLAS Y SUS REPERCUSIONES EN LAS ACTIVIDADES DE LOS REFUGIADOS ANTIFRANQUISTAS (1945-1964) por Antonio Téllez Sola.

£1.50Add to basket

Also available from the eBookshelf and Kobo  ; Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE

Francia y España firmaron acuerdos en Burgos el 25 de febrero de 1939; el senador Léon Bérard, enviado por el gobierno de Eduard Deladier para negociar una reanudación de relaciones diplomáticas, y el teniente general Francisco Gómez Jordana, conde de Jordana, vicepresidente y ministro de Asuntos Exteriores del gobierno nacional, decidieron mantener relaciones amistosas, vivir en buena vecindad y practicar en Marruecos una política de leal y franca colaboración. Los dos países se comprometieron mutuamente a actuar de manera que cada uno, en su territorio, tomaría las disposiciones necesarias para garantizar la tranquilidad, o la seguridad del otro. El gobierno francés se comprometía, más especialmente, a adoptar las medidas necesarias para prohibir, en la proximidad de la frontera, cualquier acción de los españoles contraria a la declaración anterior. Por otra parte, el gobierno francés aceptaba restituir a España todo el material de guerra, todos los navíos, tanto de guerra como mercantes o pesqueros, todas las obras de arte, todos los vehículos y todos los documentos que se encontraban en Francia. El 27 de febrero de 1939, después de los acuerdos Bérard-Jordana, Francia y Gran Bretaña reconocían oficialmente al gobierno de Burgos. Estos acuerdos iban a ser la referencia básica de las exigencias franquistas 1 durante cuatro lustros. — Hugh Thomas: La Guerre d’Espagne, Robert Laffont, París, 1961, p. 585.

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 del 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.

SPANISH ANARCHISM AND REVOLUTIONARY ACTION – 1961-1974 by Octavio Alberola and Ariane Gransac, ChristieBooks. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

Press clippings relating to First of May Group (Grupo Primero de Mayo) actions

Spanish anarchism and revolutionary action – 1961-1974 by Octavio Alberola and Ariane Gransac with Prologue by Luis Andrés Edo, ChristieBooks:

£1.50Add to basket

Also available from the eBookshelf and Kobo  ; Check out other Christiebooks titles HERE

This account of the role of anarchist activism in Europe between 1961 and 1974 (by two of the principal protagonists in the events they describe) was first published in Spanish and French in 1975, shortly after the authors’ release from prison following the kidnapping Francoist banker Baltasar Suárez. To this day it remains  essential reading for anyone seeking to understand the history and development of the libertarian opposition to the Franco Dictatorship subsequent to the urban and rural guerrilla tactics as practised by Sabaté, Facerías, and Caraquemada, etc. It examines the birth of the clandestine ‘Defensa Interior’ Section of the Spanish Libertarian Movement (MLE – CNT-FAI-FIJL) through to ‘The First of May Group‘ and its influence on — and links with — other European action groups of the later 1960s and early 1970s, groups such as ‘The Angry Brigade‘, the ‘Grupos Autonomos de Combate — GAC‘, 2nd June Group, the Movimiento Ibérico de Liberación — ‘MIL‘, Gruppo d’Azione Partigiano – GAP, Grupos de Acción Revolucionaria Internacional — ‘GARI‘, etc.

The authors: Ariane Gransac and Octavio Alberola, Bruges April 1968. The photo was taken soon after their release from their respective Belgian prisons. Ariane had been subsequently expelled but had returned clandestinely with other comrades to meet with Octavio.

The story begins in late 1961 with the creation of Sección DEFENSA INTERIOR (DI), the clandestine planning and action organisation set up at the Limoges Congress in France by the Defence Commission of the recently reunited three wings of the exiled Spanish libertarian movement (MLE — Movimiento Libertario Español) — the CNT, the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist trade union; the FAI, the Iberian Anarchist Federation, and the FIJL, the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth. One of the DI’s principal objectives was to organise and carry out attempts on the life of General Franco. Its other role was to generate examples of resistance by means of propaganda by deed. The DI’s short-term objectives were: to remind the world, unremittingly, that Franco’s brutal and repressive dictatorship had not only survived WWII but was now flourishing through tourism and US financial and diplomatic support; to provide solidarity for those continuining the struggle within Spain; to polarise public opinion and focus attention on the plight of the steadily increasing number of political prisoners in Franco’s jails; to interrupt the conduct of Francoist commercial and diplomatic life; undermine its financial basis — tourism; to take the struggle against Franco into the international sphere by showing the world that Franco did not enjoy unchallenged power and that there was resistance to the regime within and beyond Spain’s borders.

Continue reading…