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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Some notes on Franco’s military justice system, the consejos de guerra sumarísimos

Until 1964 Franco’s political prisoners were dealt with by special military courts, ‘consejos de guerra’. The most active of these was the ‘Special Tribunal for the Represion of Freemasonry and Communism’ (Tribunal Especial para la Represión de la Masonería y el Comunismo) established on 1 March 1940. Between that date and 1953, the Tribunal heard 27,085 cases and passed sentence on 8,918 prisoners in 940 secret trials. According to the Army Board (Alto Estado Mayor) sentencing figures for 1954 were 1,266; 1955, 902; 1957, 723; 1958, 717. Its victims included those arrested in the reviving labour movement and the industrial unrest of the 1950s, including the strikes of 1951, ’53, ’57-’58, and of course the wave of student activism of 1956. According to the official figures issued by the Ministry of Justice for 1959 there were 14,957 prisoners in the regime’s jails. Of these 816 were sentenced for crimes against state security and 385 for ‘Banditry and Terrorism”. At the same time, New York Times reporter Bernjamin Welles reported that these figures didn’t include 35 women, 15 freemasons and 470 other individuals convicted of ‘common law’ crimes, but who were, in fact, political prisoners, making a total of 1,721 political prisoners held by the regime.*

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Mariano R. Vázquez (‘Marianet’) — a pen portrait by ‘Farquhar McHarg’

Mariano R. Vázquez (1909-1939)

November 1936: “Farquhar was adamant that things began going badly wrong in 1936 with the vertiginous rise to power of Mariano R. Vázquez . ‘Marianet’, as he was known, was the protégé of the CNT’s collaborationist secretary-general, Horacio Martínez Prieto, and Juan García Oliver —first to the position of regional secretary of the Catalan CNT then, in November 1936, to the post of secretary-general of the CNT National Committee…

“According to Farquhar, it was Marianet who — largely single-handedly, but ably assisted by Montseny, Esgleas and others who should have known better — began suffocating the revolutionary process with his bureaucratic and cowardly deference to the Catalan and Madrid governments, and to the British and French consuls in Barcelona by ensuring that the CNT did not socialise those countries’ important commercial interests in Catalonia. Tragically, the majority of the membership acquiesced to this, by allowing the CNT-FAI street patrols to be replaced first by the Central Committee of Anti-Fascist Militias, then by security forces answerable only to the Generalidad Defence Council…

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LAUREANO CERRADA SANTOS. Notes from ¡Pistoleros! The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg. 2: 1919 (1944-1954)

1976, Café de L’Europe, Rue des Couronnes, Belleville, Paris: last photograph of Laureano Cerrada Santos (1902-1976), seated, centre. He was murdered a few days later on 18 October 1976. His murderer, Ramón Benichó Canuda (aka “Leriles”), a CNT Infiltrator and French Mafioso, fled to Canada; he was never arrested or faced extradition charges to face justice in France.

Although the French police and security services had had Laureano under regular surveillance since the Liberation (of Paris), they had only been able to arrest and convict him on a handful of occasions. According to Spanish and French police reports, he had been involved in large-scale black-market and counterfeiting operations during and after the Nazi Occupation and was reputed, according to their reports, to have amassed a fortune: ‘reckoned at over two hundred million francs, with which he funds the Spanish Libertarian action groups—within Spain as well as abroad’. Equally they knew Laureano’s counterfeit IDs, driving licences and ration cards had saved the lives of countless members of the Resistance, Allied and Jewish evaders and escaping POWs, as well as ordinary French men and women who had to reinvent themselves to escape the Gestapo and the Milice. For that reason—and for his role in the Resistance—they respected him and to a large extent turned a blind eye to his activities. But as the bitter memories of the Occupation receded, new geopolitical and domestic pressures began eroding French sympathies for the exiles who had contributed so much to the Liberation.

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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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