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(en) IAS Perspectives on Anarchist Theory Vol. 7, No. 2 - Libertarian Archives in South America - by Lorenzo Pezzica

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Thu, 27 Nov 2003 08:29:47 +0100 (CET)

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The following is the latest information on two important archives, which also
function as centers for the study of contemporary Brazilian and Argentine
history, and on the ongoing “Luce Fabbri” library project in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Brazil: The Edgard Leuenroth Archive (AEL) and Research and Social
Documentation Centre (Sao Paulo), was established in 1974 thanks to
the initiative of a group of researchers from the Institute of Philosophy
and Human Sciences (IFCH) and the State University of Campinas
(Unicamp). The aim was to create an information center to aid
researchers dedicated to the preservation of Brazilian social cultural
history. The name of the archive stems from a militant Brazilian
anarchist, who was a typographer, a journalist, and an influential
figure in the Brazilian anarchist movement. It is not, therefore, by
chance that the first active group involved in AEL was the same as
that involved in the Edgard Leuenroth Fund, which was acquired by
UnicCampinas in 1974. Since then, the archive has engaged in the
gathering and conservation of numerous collections related to the
history of anarchist and workers movements and of the social,
political, and cultural histories of Brazil from the nineteenth century to
the present.

Between 1974 and 1986, the archive went underground. After 1986,
AEL went public and gained legal recognition. Since the 1990s, the
archive has embarked on the digitization of the documents and
periodicals. Today, the AEL collection is available for consultation on
the Internet at the following address: www.acl.ilch.unicamp.br.

AEL currently maintains 58 archival sections (a total of 280,000
documents), 28,000 books, 171 bulletin titles, 3,811 periodical titles,
3,878 newspaper titles, 854 videos, 289 films, 1,419 audio tapes, 2200
“cartazes”, 13,330 audio records, 621 scores, and 45,000

The most important archival section is, unsurprisingly, the one named
after Edgard Leuenroth, which is comprised of a large number of
working-class, anticlerical, anarchist, and socialist periodicals. Other
important, biographical archival sections are those of the founder of
the Communist Party of Brazil, Astrojildo Pereira, the communist
party secretary Octavio Brandao, the socialist lawyer Evaristo de
Moraes, the syndicalist Mauricio de Lacerda, and the recently
recovered personal archive of the syndicalist lawyer Mario Carvalho
de Jesus, founder of the Frente Nacional di Trabalho (FNT).

AEL also maintains the documentation of two great Brazilian
working-class organizations: the archive of the metal workers union of
Volta Redonda and the collection of the Movimento Sociale Recente,
wherein the documents produced by the trade union movement since
the 1870s are preserved. Yet, the Archive does not merely preserve
the institutional memory of the Brazilian working-class and anarchist
movements and personalities: the AEL also preserves many
documents from enterprises, public administration, and of other
left-wing organizations. As a result, AEL is presently one of the most
important research centers for the study of contemporary Brazilian

The Biblioteca Archivo de Estudios Libertarios (BAEL) library was
establish by the Argentine Libertarian Federation in 1998 with the
objective of recovering, preserving, cataloging, and making available
the existing material related to the history of the anarchist and
working-class movement, so as to contribute to the building of a
libertarian alternative.

The documents preserved through the Argentine Libertarian
Federation are of considerable importance not only for their
magnitude, but also for the uniqueness of the material, for the lengthy
time-span they cover (from the nineteenth century to the present), and
for their geographical breadth. The archive actually contains
publications from 44 countries. Frequented by numerous European and
American researchers, the archive is located in spacious surroundings
amenable to preservation and consultation.

In 2002, BAEL published its first catalogue covering its library and
documentary holdings. The publication of the catalogue offers all
interested researchers the chance of recovering an important part of
Argentine history through both scientific periodicals, such as
“Ciencia Social” (1890), and working-class papers, such as
“La Protesta.” More than 20,000 periodical issues have been
catalogued, ranging from 1890 to 1945, along with the library
publications that are part of the Jose Ingenieros Popular Library
(Biblioteca Popular Jose Ingenieros).

The catalogue offers a wealth of information and an introductory
section that includes, aside from the description of the archive, an
interesting reconstruction of the contemporary history of
working-class and anarchist movements in Argentina as attested to
the archive's own documentation ( Catalogo de publicaciones
politicas, sociales y culturales anarquistas (1890 - 1945), Coleccion
Archivo - I, Federacion Libertaria Argentina, Biblioteca-Archivo de
Estudios Libertarios, Editorial reconstruir, 2002.

This last recommendation is the Archive “Luce Fabbri” library
project in Montevideo, Uruguay. The library will specialize in the
diffusion of materials and in the research connected to the social,
political, and historical aspects of the oppositional movements,
emphasizing the anarchist movement. Along with the construction of a
library, the project involves the building of a cultural center aimed at
supporting conferences, meetings, exhibits, and social gatherings,
along with photographic exhibits, historical research projects, and
research grants. &

Translated from Italian by Salvatore Engel-Di Mauro.
From the July issue of Bollettino Archivio G. Pinelli

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