‘This volume picks up where the last one ended, namely his leaving Britain to take part in an anarchist plan to assassinate Franco. Christie, however, was arrested by Franco’s secret police long before he completed his mission to give the explosives he smuggled into Spain to those who were planning the assassination. Christie recounts his experiences being arrested and his time in various Spanish prisons with assurance, humanity and wit. He is not afraid to talk about the failures and cock-ups, the bickering and the surreal along with the bravery and dedication. As such, it is a real treat to read, giving the human side which history books never really manage to do. His account of the characters he met and the life of political prisoners in Franco’s regime is engrossing. Flag Blackened
LOS MAÑOS: ANATOMY OF AN ACTION GROUP by Freddy Gómez with Mariano Aguayo Morán — interviewed in September 1976 and translated by Paul Sharkey. Appendix: Mariano Aguayo Morán — interviewed on 18 February 1992 by Antonio Téllez about the formation of the Los Maños group; also translated by Paul Sharkey. ISBN 978-1-873976-67-8. Published in 2013 by ChristieBooks —
In 1945 Mariano Aguayo Morán (1922 -1994) who had been active in a small group of anarchists and socialists, took up the armed struggle against Franco. Imprisoned for a few months in 1948, he moved to Barcelona in February 1949 and joined the Los Maños anarchist action group (maño being a slang term for natives of Aragon) led by Wenceslao Giménez Orive “Wences” and “Jimeno”, Simón Gracia Fleringan, Plácido Ortiz, Salgado, D. G. M., “Rodolfo”, César Saborit Carrelero and the traitor Aniceto Pardillo Manzanero. On March 2 1949, in Barcelona, Wences, José López Penedo, Carlos Vidal Pasanau together with Francisco and José Sabaté Llopart, ambushed what they believed to be the car of Eduardo Quintela, head of the Francoist secret police (Brigada Politico Social – BPS) in Catalonia; they killed, instead, the secretary of the Falangist Youth Front, Manuel Piñol and his driver. Subsequently the group carried out a string of armed robberies in Madrid, Malaga, Seville and in France in order to fund an attempt on the life of Franco as he drove to his residence at the royal palace on Mount Pardo. A few months later they made a second, equally unsuccessful, attempt to blow up Franco’s convoy as it made its way up the steep winding road at La Cuesta de la Muela between Zaragoza and Madrid. Following their return to Barcelona on 2 January 1950 the group was betrayed by a disaffected member, Aniceto Pardillo Manzanero (The Kid), and most were arrested on 9 January, shortly after Wences took poison and killed himself when he was shot and wounded in a police trap. Simón Gracia Fleringan was executed in Barcelona by firing squad on December 24 1950 together with Victoriano Muñoz Tresserras and Plácido Ortiz Gratal. Their bodies were thrown into a common, unmarked, grave. Mariano Aguayo was fortunate to have been in Paris when the group was betrayed in Barcelona.
This interview with Mariano Aguayo Morán, in September 1976, provided an opportunity to get to grips with the history of the libertarian anti-Franco resistance in the crucial years after the war (1946-1950), the Second World War having inspired high but ultimately disappointed hopes at a time when, after the Nazi and Italian fascist regimes had been defeated, the Franco regime looked likely to be next in line to fall. The ‘Los Maños’ group, which grew out of the close friendship between two young men from the working class El Arrabal district of Zaragoza, was soon wedded to the cause of anarchist activism and drawn into the nebulous libertarian resistance of which Quico Sabaté (1915-1960) and José Luis Facerias (1920-1957) were then the two emblematic representatives.
The main purpose behind this interview is not to extoll the praises of the shadow warriors from those times, but to learn from the story of the ‘Los Maños’ group, as told by one of its protagonists, of the difficult circumstances in which such resistance occurred, and understand the problems with which it had to grapple. There, to our way of thinking, is where its morsel of human truth resides.
FORGED IN REBELLION: LUCIO URTUBIA — The anarchist who fucked CitiBank by Lucio Urtubia (Translated by Paul Sharkey) ChristieBooks 2013 ISBN 978-1-873976-66-1 Published in 2013 by ChristieBooks, Hastings, East Sussex UK —
“The banks are the real crooks,” says Lucio Urtubia decisively. “They exploit you, take your money and cause all the wars.” Lucio had no moral scruples about forging Citibank travellers’ cheques. His motivation was not his own gain, but to dent confidence in this powerful financial institution. He was arrested for this and ended up in prison, but soon got back on his feet. ‘Forged in Rebellion’ is an engaging portrait of the anarchist Lucio Urtubia, born in Northern Spain in 1931, and who deserted from the Francoist army, working as a tiler in Paris, where he immersed himself in the world of the Spanish exiles. It was a meeting with the legendary Quico Sabaté (1915-1960) that put Lucio on the anarchist path, whereby his talents as a forger of identity papers and currency came in particularly useful. His anarchist nature is revealed in this highly particular, free-flowing memoir, a lively ‘cops and robbers’ story in which — according to the best traditions — the true scale of Lucio’s role is never completely revealed. It is also the impassioned inside story of an unequal war waged by a genuine modern day Robin Hood from the Sherwood Forest of Lucio’s thousand safehouses and hideouts around Paris as he robs the rich and helps the needy: in the latter case the story comes to an exemplary conclusion, with a solemn peace treaty, the sort signed between great powers. But above all else, what must be seen in these pages is a living document that turns the historical spotlight on to a specific time and place and recounts a singular life story which is at the same time — as all human lives are — the story of many lives. Interview: ‘The Life and Crimes of Anarchist Bricklayer, Lucio Urtubia‘
Twenty Years in Franco’s Jails. An Anarchist In Franco’s Prisons by Juan Busquets Verges. ISBN 978-1-873976-58-6. Prologue by Ángel Urzáiz and Introduction by Stuart Christie. Translated by Paul Sharkey.
First arrested in 1944, aged 16, Juan Busquets Verges was an apprentice fitter in the Hispano Suiza factory in Barcelona, a member of the clandestine anarcho-syndicalist labour union, the CNT (Confederación Nacional Del Trabajo — and a member of the factory strike committee. In 1947 he crossed into France where he contacted the Spanish Libertarian Movement in Exile (MLE) in Toulouse, and found employment in the mines of Cransac. The following year he joined Marcelino Massana Bancells’s (‘Pancho’) anti-Francoist guerrilla group and took part in a number of operations inside Spain including, in June 1949, the dynamiting of more than 40 electricity pylons and the uprooting of a kilometre of railway lines in the vicinity of Terrasa.
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Spanish anarchism and revolutionary action – 1961-1974 by Octavio Alberola and Ariane Gransac with Prologue by Luis Andrés Edo, ChristieBooks:
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 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.