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(en) Spain, Madrid: Report on the Conferences* on the libertarian revolution [pt]

Date Wed, 26 Jul 2006 13:08:04 +0300


Commemoration of 70 years since 19th July 1936
At the Madrid Athenaeum at 7.00pm on the 19th July, there was a simple event,
but one dense with political meaning - the opening of an exhibition organised
by the Spanish CGT from the Madrid region with the participation of the
Salvador Seguí Foundation and the Libertarian Athenaeum La Idea.
The CGT secretary from Madrid-Castilla-La Mancha, Cristina Escrivá, spoke a few
words for the opening, greeting those present and explaining the session's programme.
Rafael Mestre from the Salvador Seguí Foundation then stated that the main
underlying concern was to show what the Spanish Revolution actually did, its
achievements in various realms of life from the economy and collectivisations,
to the rich and diversified ways of promoting libertarian and alternative art,
culture and values rooted in the agricultural and industrial proletariat well
before the 19th July 1936, a fact that explains the protagonists' behaviour in
the days of July and in the three years of fierce fighting against fascism and
against those who, in government and on the pretext of discipline, wanted to
suffocate the libertarian revolution.

There followed a speech by Franck Mintz, of the CNT-F, who underlined the
importance of the self-management experiences in the communities of Aragon and
Levant, the solutions adopted in different branches of the economy and society,
also in Catalan cities, and its relevance today as a subject of study, not for
nostalgic reasons but because they make up such a rich libertarian laboratory,
an experiment that went farther than any other in the application of our
principles to the whole of society, an experiment never surpassed since.

The pressure of the war which was fought simultaneously had an influence but
did not stop the impetus of revolutionary construction by the CNT grassroots
and by other political affiliations (including the UGT and CPE). The war
against fascism was not seen by them as a reason to renounce their work - on
the contrary, it encouraged them to build new productive relations and new
relationships between people with even more energy.

The 70th anniversary of the revolution has been treated with seriousness and
dignity by the various branches of anarcho-syndicalism and anarchism both in
Spain and abroad, but not by other currents, and this shows there has been an
important drift in the authoritarian socialist camp, for they could also
rightly claim the comrades from the UGT, from the Socialist, Communist and
Marxist Parties who took part, side by side with the people from the FAI and
CNT, in the above-mentioned communities. The reformists too are silent
regarding the previous attempts that were often the initiative of
revolutionary-minded workers inside the UGT with a minority of CNT
participation, followed by hot repression, by the bourgeois republic's police
and army apparatus.

Before July 1936 several insurrections and armed strikes took place, from the
Asturias miners to the agricultural proletarians in Andalusia and other places,
libertarian communist insurrections where the people of a village or town took
over, controlling communications, and beginning at once the process of land
collectivisation with libertarian self-management. Whether they were from the
CNT, the UGT or other organisations, they were simply cultivated
revolutionary-minded people, even if illiterate, people who had long heard of
and debated the ideals and practical solutions defended in the pamphlets of
Kropotkin, Isaac Puente and many other authors.

In his speech, Félix Garcia Moriyón, university professor and CGT militant,
pointed out the context of a "historical memory" law, at this moment under
discussion in parliament on the initiative of the socialist government, that in
fact goes against our fundamental claims: namely, that the sentences against
the victims of Francoist "justice" be reviewed, in particular the cases of
Granado and Delgado, of Puig Antich and of many others who were sentenced to
death, who should be honoured as victims and as resisters, like the many
thousands of survivors of Francoist prisons to whom not the slightest
restitution was made nor their cases cleared from the criminal register, a
symbolic measure that the hypocritical power (heir of the Moncloa pact) does
not have the generosity or honesty to take for fear of displeasing the
Francoist nomenclature that is well established in power (it is sufficient to
think of the armed forces, the courts and even the leaders of some parties like
Fraga Iribarne, president of the Galician regional government, and Franco's
home minister, directly responsible for death sentences against anti-fascist
militants).

This law is being thought of as a sort of final point to the debate by all the
parliamentary parties, to consign to oblivion for a second time the millions of
innocent victims of Francoism. They are the legitimate political heirs of this
regime which began by forgetting these victims during the time of the so-called
"transition", and that can never be a proper solution to the question of how to
heal the scars of a dramatic past. To pay homage without making justice - this
is the "trick" of power.

One cannot expect anything from those, but from the libertarian milieu one
should on the contrary expect a deep analysis of the issues at stake at that
time, issues that divided opinion sharply and which are still the source of
lively debates in libertarian ranks - such controversial issues as the
participation in government of CNT and FAI leaders, and the renouncing by most
of the CNT and FAI leadership of the revolutionary programme in order to "save
the republic" or "fight against fascism before anything else". Nowadays, these
disagreements are still the cause of deep debate as they go to the heart of the
libertarian ethics of action.

In the lively debate that followed the speeches, various people spoke,
including a member of the CNT-Madrid, all showing a strong desire for unity
within diversity, in the natural and tolerant form of relationships between us,
comrades of the same ideal, though divided on the questions of tactics and
strategy.

Manuel Baptista
(AC-Interpro)
===============================================

* September 15th, 19th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd the Conferences Cycle will continue
in the Madrid Athenaeum.

See also:
http://www.memorialibertaria.org
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