Seven Red Sundays is Sender’s third novel. Published in Spanish as Siete domingos rojos, it forms a prominent landmark in modernist Spanish literature. It was written in 1932 in the aftermath of the unsuccessful anarcho-syndicalist ‘declarations of Libertarian Communism’ (uprisings) in Figols, Berga, and Cardona in Alto Llobregat (Catalonia), and also in Alocorisa and Teruel (Aragon). The complex story covers seven consecutive days, each a ‘Red Sunday’ of socially transformative class struggle: agitation, street fighting, and a revolutionary general strike triggered by the killing of three anarcho-syndicalists by the police during a banned protest meeting. Following mass labour unrest heightened by the betrayals of the anti-working-class Second Republic, a public funeral in Madrid ends in street fighting, sabotage and the prospect of a nationwide general strike. Sabotage throws the city into darkness, leading to mass arrests, and more state terror, including the torture and cold-blooded murder of union activists by police applying the ‘Law of Flight’ (legitimising the shooting of escaping prisoners). Sender’s use of perspective — in which he looks at the network of connections and the unfolding course of events from ten different viewpoints — explores not only the ambiguities, selfless heroism, frailties and inner conflicts of the central personages struggling for change: love, sublime faith, self sacrifice, religion, betrayal and treachery. It is also a hauntingly beautiful and tender book that captures the mood and feel of revolution as well as the spirit of the Second Spanish Republic in 1932.
Cyril Connolly (1903-74) was a prominent British writer, editor, well known in particular for his book reviews. His biographer Jeremy Lewis described him as “Precociously brilliant in his youth, haunted for the rest of his life by a sense of failure and a romantic yearning to recover a lost Eden.” He was a schoolmate, from their earliest days, and friend of George Orwell, of whom he remarked: “He reduced everything to politics; he was also unalterably of the Left. His line may have been unpopular or unfashionable, but he followed it unhesitatingly; in fact it was an obsession. He could not blow his nose without moralising on conditions in the handkerchief industry.” Connolly himself is famous for his dictum addressed to would-be literary types: “Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” And reviewing for Harold Evans’s Sunday Times Miguel Garcia’s book Franco’s Prisoner (1972), his comradely words for the veterans, alive and fallen, of thirty years of anarchist resistance to fascism in Spain far surpassed in commitment any of the liberalistic phrase-mongering appearing in what passed for the mainstream anarchist press in Britain at the time.
THE FIRST THING ONE NOTICES ABOUT GOING TO BARCELONA is the peculiar meaningful handshakes of one’s friends. Accompanied though they are by some such phrase as “I wish I were going too,” one cannot avoid detecting in the farewell a moment of undertaker heartiness, of mortuary appraisal. In the early morning among the lagoons, the brown landscape and rainy sky of Languedoc, one begins to share it, only at the Spanish frontier does it completely disappear. As a rule, the change from Cerberé to Port Bou is one from gaiety and comfort to gloom and emptiness; to-day it is the Spanish end which is alive. The first thing one notices is the posters, extremely competent propaganda, of which that of a peasant’s rope-soled foot descending on a cracked swastika in a cobbled street is the most dramatic. The frontier is guarded by cultivated German and Italian anti-Fascists, and one begins at once those discussions on political ideology, which are such a feature of present-day
Dedicated to Cristina Plaza, a beloved friend whose departure has left us bereft. We would have loved you to have read this
(PART ONE) CONTENTS
- The Fighting on the Médoc Peninsula and in Pointe de Grave
- The Origin of the Gernika Battalion: the Agrupación de Guerrilleros Españoles (AGE)
- Origin of the Libertad Battalion: Lot-et-Garonne
Eysses Prison in Villeneuve-sur-Lot
The Dolle Maquis – northern Lot
Creation of the Libertad Battalion
Wilebaldo Solano’s version
The Maquis in Lot-et-Garonne
The CNT Agrupación in Fumel
The Maquis in Les Landes
24th AGE DIVISION – Commandants ROBERT and MARTA
24th DIVISION’s 31st BRIGADE (renamed the 3rd BRIGADE) – Commandant BARBAS
Creation of the Libertad Battalion. A different version.
The Maquis in the Dordogne
The SOLEIL Maquis – The CARLOS Maquis – The LEÓN Maquis
The Maquis in Tarn et Garonne
The SEPTFONDS INTERNMENT CAMPS
The Maquis in the Massif Central
The L’Aigle Dam
The Maquis, the CNT and the Resistance
The L’Aigle Dam Maquis and the UNE
- CNT PERSONNEL INSIDE COMMUNIST ORGANIZATIONS
- REGARDING ORIGINS AND EXODUSES
Segundo Jodra Gil, unmarried carpenter and CNT member, was born in 1907 in Pálmaces de Jadraque (Guadalajara). In October 1934, he was briefly jailed in Puigcerdá, together with Antonio Martín. He was acquitted of the charge of killing a policeman. In 1936, he was appointed Economy sub-delegate for the Cerdanya by the Generalidad government and was actively involved in the running of the Puigcerdá People’s Co-operative, a leading libertarian experiment in the Cerdanya. After the war ended, he was arrested in 1942 and shot in Gerona cemetery on 12 July 1943.