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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Footnotes to History: “Operation Durruti”, First of May Group


On 24 October 1966 five members of the anarchist ‘First of May Group’1 were arrested in Madrid by the Francoist Brigada Político-Social and charged with preparing acts of terrorism. The action in question, ‘Operation Durruti’, involved the kidnapping of US Rear Admiral Norman Campbell Gillette, Jr., commander of US forces in Spain, but the plan was compromised and betrayed from the beginning by a sixth member of the group, police informer Inocencio Martínez, who was allowed to escape and return to France where he continued his treachery for some years.

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LA CNT EN LA ENCRUCIJADA Aventuras de un heterodoxo por Luis Andrés Edo (£1.50/€2.00 see eBookshelf)

EdoCoverSpanishLA CNT EN LA ENCRUCIJADA Aventuras de un heterodoxo por Luis Andrés Edo. (In Spanish) LOOK INSIDE

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Sin título académico alguno, Luis Andrés Edo es producto, experimental e intelectual, del asambleísmo de la CNT, de la Asamblea más importante de la historia del Exilio: La Asamblea de París, que se mantuvo funcionando durante 40 años.

Luis Andrés Edo descubrió dicha Asamblea tras su segunda deserción del Ejercito en 1954 como asiduo participante, todos los domingos, hasta 1966, cuando fue capturado en Madrid por la Unidad Móvil de la Brigada Político Social.

A esa formación asamblearia debe añadirse otra fase complementaria: sus diversos y prolongados pasajes (por un total de diez años) cumplidos en prisiones franquistas, donde puso a prueba toda su capacidad analítica adquirida en aquel auténtico Magisterio Asambleario citado más arriba, y se tradujo en innumerables informes sobre la situación carcelaria de aquellos años (a los que se hace referencia en este libro) y en un hecho histórico sin precedentes de las cárceles españolas, durante el franquismo: La ausencia de debates entre las diversas tendencias políticas de los presos se rompe en el Penal de Soria en 1967-68, de cuyas discusiones Luis Andrés Edo elaboró clandestinamente su libro La Corriente, de la que hace ahora una amplia referencia.

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