|Historia 16, No 111, July 1985|
|La Nueve‘ (see FILMS – new documentary – in French), consisting almost entirely of Spanish anarchists and Spanish republican soldiers, captained by Raymond Dronne, was the first company of General Leclerc’s 2nd Armoured Division to liberate Paris and take the Nazi surrender. This article, in English, written by anarchist journalist Eduardo Pons Prade, originally appeared in Historia 16 in July 1985. 24 August 1944: at 21.22 hours several half-tracks and a Sherman tank (the ‘Romilly’), the vanguard of the Allied armies, drove into the square outside the Hotel de Ville in Paris flying the tricolour flag of the Second Spanish Republic. Painted on the vehicles were unforgettable names from the Revolution and Civil War in Spain: ‘Madrid’, ‘Jarama’, Ebro’, ‘Teruel’, ‘Guernica’, Belchite, ‘Guadalajara’, ‘Brunete’. They belonged to No 1, 2 and 3 sections of the famous IX Company (‘La Nueve’) of the Chad Regiment, whose 36 men, 32 of them Spaniards, were commanded by Martin Bernal (Zaragoza), Federico Moreno (Madrid), Montoya (Andalucia), Elias (Catalan), Campos (Canaries), and Dominguez (Valencia) — the men who liberated Paris – and a good part of Southwestern France …Spanish Republicans in the Liberation of Paris (PDF in English)
Documentary La Nueve – the Spaniards who liberated Paris (see FILMS above)
CARABANCHEL PRISON (Prisión Provincial de Madrid), one of the largest and most notorious prisons in Europe until its closure in 1998, was built between 1940 and 1944 by the slave labour of Franco’s political prisoners. Over the years untold numbers of Franco’s political prisoners were executed here, either by firing squad or by garrotte-vil. The layout followed the panopticon model devised by Liberal reformist Jeremy Bentham in 1785. During the Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) and the subsequent ‘Bunker’ period (1975-1981) when Francoists continued to wield overt political power, the prison hosted a large community of political prisoners. Since then, until its closure, only common criminals on remand and members of the Basque separatist group ETA and other paramilitary groups remained behind its walls. Although the documentary Franco’s Prison – or La Otra Orilla (see FILMS above) was made (by Adolfo Garijo) sometime in the 1990s, the place hadn’t changed much, structurally anyway, since the 1940s. The final TV news footage – Goodbye Carabanchel – shows the prison’s demolition in October 2008.
In 2009 the previously unpublished memoirs of José Peirats (1908-1989), former CNT general secretary and anarchist historian (author of The CNT in the Spanish Revolution, 3 Vols, edited by Chris Ealham, ChristieBooks), were published in Spain in abridged form. They were accompanied by a controversial prologue from Catalan-based historian Enric Ucelay da Cal. While Peirats’ original text was cut, Ucelay’s prologue weighed in at over 100 pages. There are two hallmark’s to Ucelay’s work: his inability to synthesise his ‘ideas’ and his pronounced hostility to anarchism. Peirats, who died in 1989, is unable to respond to this calumny. Instead, we have a rejoinder, in Spanish, to Ucelay from Freddy Gómez Pelaez, editor of the French anarchist journal A contretemps, who knew Peirats personally from his time in exile in France. We hope to post an English-language translation of Freddy’s article very soon. PAUL DAVIS
Raoul Vaneigem‘s classic situationist text — Knowing How To Live or The Revolution of Everyday Life – An Illustrated Reader (Part 1) launches a blistering attack on the reduction of western life to boredom, consumerism, fragmentation, sacrifice, packaged ‘happiness’ and meaningless interactions, while all that is vibrant is deported into the illusion of the spectacle. First published in 1967, the text has proved prophetic about life in the 21st century. Vaneigem’s visionary thoughts have inspired generations of free thinkers. This reader is complemented by a ‘spectacular’ set of original photographs.
‘… affluence and its comforts are only the children of capitalist productivity, children doomed to age prematurely as soon as the marketing system has transformed them into mere objects of passive consumption.’
‘We have nothing in common except the illusion of being together. Certainly the seeds of an authentic collective life are lying dormant within the illusion itself – there is no illusion without a real basis – but real community remains to be created.’
Spanish singer songwriter Chicho Sánchez Ferlosio (1940-2003) sings of the agonies of those condemned to be legally murdered. Chicho was a Spanish singer/songwriter of countless well-known songs, many of which were recorded by other artists such as Rolando Alarcón, Joan Baez, Soledad Bravo, Víctor Jara and Quilapayún. Many of his songs such as Gallo rojo, gallo negro, Hoy no me levanto yo, Balada de las Prisiones and A la huelga have passed into popular Spanish culture. Chicho, an anarchist, was the son of Rafael Sánchez Maza, writer and founder member of the Falange Española , brother of the author Rafael Sánchez Ferlosio, and brother of the mathematician and philosopher Miguel Sánchez-Mazas Ferlosio.
2) The Case of Delgado and Granado (see FILMS above)
Short TV news report on the campaign to establish the innocence of Joaquin Delgado and Francisco Granado. Includes interviews with Octavio Alberola, the coordinator of the clandestine organisation ‘Defensa Interior‘ dedicated to assasinating the dictator and toppling the regime, and Antonio Martin and Sergio Hernandez, the two anarchists, responsible for the bombs for which Delgado and Granado were executed in August 1963