The Life and Universe of anarchist Octavio Alberola by Xavier Montanyà (translated by Paul Sharkey)

Agustín Comotto’s new biography of Octavio Alberola, El peso de las estrellas (Rayo Verde), delves into the 20th century libertarian struggle through the life, considered thoughts and ideals of one of the most pugnacious anarchists of our day.

In Octavio Alberola we have the red thread connecting and affording meaning to the continuity between the libertarian struggles under the Republic and the civil war, the anti-Franco struggle, the revolts and armed actions of the 1970s, right up to the fresh re-formulations of anarchism in a globalized world. The narrative and his thoughts on his life and times as offered to us by the author of this book, the Argentinean writer and artist Agustín Comotto, through the skilful use of two voices embodying two generations, allows for a contextual analysis of things.  We have the voice of a protagonist who lived through historic times and personal and collective tragedies, and an activist familiar with great players in history such as García Oliver, Cipriano Mera, Federica Montseny, Fidel Castro, Che Guevara, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, Régis Debray and Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.

Furthermore, the book plunges into the contradictions and misgivings, certainties and ethical commitment to his ideas and to society that have always guided Alberola’s life through an unrelenting re-framing of the anarchist idea and the meaning of social struggle, not forgetting what it means to live one’s own individual life in accordance with anarchist ideas too. We discover not just the activist but also the person alive to and curious about the world of culture and thought. He was a very good friend of Agustín García Calvo and locked horns with Noam Chomsky, among others. His intellectual interests range from quantum physics and relativity theory to art, music, history, cinema, engineering and architecture.

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LA RESISTENCIA INTERIOR EN LA ESPAÑA DE FRANCO Valentina Fernández Vargas (eBook – Mobi)

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 La naturaleza del franquismo ha suscitado múltiples discusiones que, en mi opinión, pueden aclararse bastante si partimos del análisis del Estado español entre 1939 y 1975.1

Es sabido que un Estado soberano necesita una serie de medios cuyas características varían según el servicio que hayan de prestar y de las condiciones históricas en que se encuadren. Ha de contar con un territorio, base geográfica del poder, delimitado por unas fronteras militares y por unas barreras económicas —las aduanas—que sirven para defender, y controlar, a los nacionales y a los extranjeros. Debe tener, asimismo, un gobierno y una administración; el grado de participación de los gobernados en estos organismos y la distribución social de los beneficios nacionales sirven para definir al Estado como autocrático o democrático. Finalmente, la autoridad considerada no sólo como ejecutivo, sino también como cuerpo teórico que configura toda la organización, puede proceder de una situación de hecho o de derecho, y autodefinirse de forma más o menos democrática.

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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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Extracts from THE CNT AT THE CROSSROADS The Adventures of an Anarchist Heterodox by Luis Andrés Edo (£1.50/€2.00 see eBookshelf)

EDOEnglishRGBExtracts— THE CNT AT THE CROSSROADS. The Adventures of an Anarchist Heterodox, Luis Andrés Edo (translated by Paul Sharkey).

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Translated extracts from the memoirs of Luis Andrés Edo, an anarchist activist whose life was dedicated to the ‘Idea’ and the struggle for liberty. Throughout his life Luis Andrés Edo remained always both an untiring activist and an intellectual dynamo of the international libertarian movement, constantly provoking thought and developing new anti-authoritarian ideas. His was the voice — the conscience if you like — of what he was proud to call ‘the Apache sector’, defending the anarchist principles of the CNT and fighting untiringly for the restoration of the union’s property and assets seized by the Francoists in 1939, and for justice for the victims of Francoism, particularly the cases of Delgado and Granado the two young anarchists garrotted in 1963 for a crime of which they were innocent. And for at least two generations of young Spanish anarchists who came into contact with him, Luis Andrés Edo was undoubtedly the inspirational role model of the post-Francoist era. From the 1950s until his death in 2009, Edo was to the libertarian movement what Jean Moulin was to the French Resistance. We have only translated four chapters, but should our financial circumstance improve we’ll translate the whole book — a unique and compelling insight into the activities (and shortcomings) of the CNT-in-exile and the wider Spanish Libertarian Movement (MLE).
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