THE RAG-PICKERS’ PUIGCERDÁ MANIFESTO by Antonio Gascón and Agustín Guillamón, Puigcerdá, 27 April 2018. Translated by Paul Sharkey

The fight put up by workers in order to learn their own history is but one of the many class wars in progress. It is not sheer theory, abstraction nor banality, in that it is part and parcel of class consciousness per se and can be described as theorisation of the historical experiences of the world proletariat and in Spain it has to embrace, assimilate and inevitably lay claim to the experiences of the anarcho-syndicalist movement in the 1930s.

There is spectre hanging over historical science, the spectre of falsification. The amnesia worked out between the democratic opposition’s trade unions and political parties with the last management line-up of the Francoist state at the time of the dictator’s demise, was yet another defeat for the workers’ movement during the Transition and it had important implications for how the Francoist Dictatorship and the Civil War are remembered historically. An amnesty amounted to a clean slate and a fresh start with the past. This required a deliberate and “necessary” forgetting of all pre-1978 history. There was a brand new Official History to be rewritten, since the Francoist and the anti-Francoist versions of the past were of no further use to the new establishment, its gaze focused upon papering over the antagonisms that triggered the Spanish Civil War.

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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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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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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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