(Eng)El Acratador #54 - part 2 (Cast)

Luis Prat (prat@chem.ucsb.edu)
Thu, 17 Oct 1996 15:50:43 -0700


During the revolutionary process and the civil war, the organization Mujeres
Libres (Free Women) and the women from the Libertarian Movement posed the
problem of dual militancy, political and feminist. These women recognized
the specific role of genre in the oppression of women. Those women's
struggle has been one of the most "officially" hidden episodes and now to
have to suffer such degrading views such as in the film _Libertarias_. Free
Women insists, from the moment of the fascist uprising, upon several
aspects, notably the insistance on freeing women from household chores, by
means of creating child care centers and the opening of people's dining
rooms. All of which would allow women to join the revolution completely.

products and enterprises funded with capital from Germany, Italy or
Portugal. The group Mujeres Libres had about 28,000 members in the whole
country and its main objective was to obtain victory for the antifascist
cause. A typical example of their activities would be the "Casal de la Dona
Treballadora" which gave classes to 911 pupils on the three r's and other
disciplines such as arithmetic, languages, agriculture, mechanics,
electricity, sociology, economics ...

The opening of co-ed elementary schools in which workers of both sexes
learned to read, write and do arithmetic to enable them to avoid the bosses'
abuses, since illiteracy was one of the workers' main enemies was also
remarkable. Children's education was another very active area, as were also
hygene and physical education where they applied pressure to improve the
lives of those less fortunate. They likewise upheld the right to abort,
total economic independence, while actively participating in forming
collectives, distributing propaganda and participating in the front lines.

All of which shows that Free Women's vision of the revolutionary process is
a global one, promoting a culture radically different that touches upon all
of life's and people's aspects, fortelling in many instances the current
claims. The activity and ideology of the libertarian women can be contrasted
with that of Mujeres Libres Antifascistas, under control of the PCE (Partido
Comunista Espan~ol - Spanish Communist Party T.N.) who limited themselves to
lionizing the image of the hero's mother and to exalt maternity.

Note also the magazine _Mujeres Libres_ which appeared in Madrid in 1934,
published by Mercedes Comaposada, Lucia Sanchez and Aragon's Amparo Poch;
this magazine was the seed of the organization.

These women that confronted "masculine culture", fascism, war and
counterrevolution also had to confront their own companions and were forced
to leave the front. Later they would take part in the fight against nazism,
the antifranco struggle; they endured torture, prison, exile and many of
them died. The women of the Libertarian Movement did great work on the
practical aspects of the daily struggle as well as in the intelectual
aspect, with a multitude of writings, essays and magazines. This work has to
be vindicated as it is too little known. We don't have room to name all of
them but let these lines honor the memory of their struggle which is also
ours. At the present time Mujeres Libres is active in several points of the
Spanish State.


Buenaventura Durruti Dominguez (Leon, July 14 1896 - Madrid, November 20 1936).

He starts to work as a mechanic at a young age, and under his family's
influence he comes in contact with socialism. In 1913 he joins the Metal
Worker's Union, affiliated with UGT.

In 1917 he takes active part in the general strike against the monarchy. The
asturian miners continue the strike and Durruti, with other young men from
Leon sabotage locomotives and railroad tracks in support. This costs them
their jobs and being expelled from UGT. Durruti, together with his friend
Toto, who later would found Leon's CNT, are wanted by the police and escape
to Gijon and later to France. Durruti was wanted as a saboteur and deserter
(insumiso today) from military service. "Alfonso XIII may count one soldier
less and one revolutionary more", he said.

He returns in 1919 carrying a CNT card. He is arrested and tried in a
military court, but he is able to escape a few days later and again flees to
France. He comes back in 1920 and forms the anarchist group Los Justicieros
that were active in Euskadi and Aragon. In San Sebastian they planned an
attempt against Alfonso XIII. Three of the Justicieros were arrested,
Durruti and others with help from railroad workers escaped to Zaragoza where
they remained for some time. Francisco Ascaso was imprisoned in Predicadores
Prison, accused of the death of the chief writer for the _Heraldo de Aragon_
who paid dearly for his collaboration with the police; also in jail were
three justicieros accused of an attempt against the CEO of La Quimica,
famous for the methods he employed at the factory.

In 1921 the assasination of the head of the Council of Ministers, Eduardo
Dato caught Durruti, coming from Andalucia, in Madrid. He, like hundreds of
suspects, is arrested but with a fancy move gives a false identity and is
released. In 1922 the Justicieros and other anarchist groups (CNT was
closed down) unleash a large campaign of strikes and mobilizations in
support of anarchists imprisoned in Zaragoza. On the day of the trial
thousands of workers were in the street. The defendants were declared not
guilty and the mob took them from their guards as they were being returned
to prison. From that moment on the aragones anarchist Francisco Ascaso
becomes Durruti's inseparable companion. In April of that year he travels to
Barcelona, where together with the Ascaso brothers, Garcia Oliver, Ricardo
Sanz, Escartin, Toto and others they form the group Crisol and later Los
Solidarios with the objective of answering the patron's violence. During
those years bands of gunmen of the "Sindicatos Libres", paid by the business
owners and protected by the Church, had painted with blood the streets of
Barcelona. Just the Wood Syndicate of the CNT had lost 107 militants to
these gunmen. In March 1923 Salvador Segui is assasinated in Barcelona.
Known as "El Noi del Sucre" (The sugar boy), he was secretary general of the
CNT, fundamental figure in anarchosyndicalism and very influential in
intellectual circles.

A meeting of catalan CNT militants resolved to put an end to gunmen and
their chiefs. Los Solidarios assumed the elimination of several
personalities linked to the patron's terrorism. Among their objectives were:
Police commander Martinez Anido, coronel Arregui, Ministers Bagallal and
Coello, Governor Regueral and Cardinal Soldevilla. A few expropiations took
place to collect funds. They pursued their targets although they could not
attempt some of the executions. Durruti was arrested in Madrid and
transported to San Sebastian. During his imprisonment in Leon in May former
governor Regueral was killed by Superviela and El Toto, while Ascaso and
Escartin in Zaragoza in July did the same to Cardinal Soldevilla who was a
reactionary catholic integrist with great political influence in Zaragoza
and Barcelona. Soldevilla recommended to the authorities strong measures
against workers and agitators and promoted the gunmen. Thanks to Ascaso and
Escartin the Vatican punished Zaragoza and since then we haven't had to
suffer a new Cardinal.

The repression was considerable, with mass arrests, and as so often
happened, innocent people were accused. In August 1923 Los Solidarios
perform an espectacular assault on Banco de Espan~a in Gijon, obtaining a
large booty. Days later Torres Escartin was arrested and accused of the
assault and the murder of Soldevilla. He tried to escape from Zaragoza's
jail but was caught as a priest denounced him to the Civil Guard. He
suffered continuous torture which left him deranged so he was placed in a
psychiatric hospital and was executed (by Franco - T.N.) in 1939.

In 1924 the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera started, the CNT outlawed,
Durruti and Ascaso escaped to France where they founded an anarchist
editorial. Meanwhile in Spain some Solidarios were arrested or riddled with
bullets (Superviela). An insurrection against the dictatorship was attempted
which consisted of the taking of army garrisons in Barcelona (Domingo
Ascaso), the penetration of armed groups through the frontier at Perpignan
(F. Ascaso) and Vera del Bidasoa (Durruti). After some combats the attempt
failed. Towards the end of 1924 Durruti and Ascaso went to South America to
obtain funds for the confederate organization. After staying in Cuba for a
while they had to flee after the execution of a landowner that had ordered
his guards to kill three cuban syndicalist militants. They claimed
responsibility for this act as "Los Errantes". Together with Jover and
Vivancos they went to Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina and Peru, making contact
with the anarchosyndicalist movements and expropiating banks whose money was
sent to anarchist organizations.

Sought by all the southamerican police forces they went back to Europe in
January 1926. Note that during the thirties, at that particular point of the
Republic, Durruti declared himself against individual hold-ups, saying:
"Individual hold-ups no, collective expropiation yes". In 1926 Durruti,
Ascaso and Jover were arrested in Paris acussed of planning an attempt on
Alfonso XIII and Primo de Rivera who were on an official visit to France. In
Paris they came in contact with the most famous anarchists of the time:
Sebastian Faure, Voline and Nestor Makhno, the Ukranian anarchist whose
libertarian revolution had been butchered by the bolsheviks. Lecoin and
Faure, very influential in France, headed a campaign for the release of the
prisoners and to avoid their extradition to any of the countries that
solicited it, knowing that in most of them the death penalty awaited them.
Miguel de Unamuno, then exiled in Paris took part in a meeting in favor of
the accused. They were sentenced in France to several months in prison thus
avoiding extradition. After their release, and being wanted in Spain, they
were for months continuously expelled from France, Belgium and Germany,
since neither wanted to give them asilum. Finally Belgium accepted them with
the condition that they adopt a false identity. Legality using illegality,
Ascaso commented.

On April 14 1931 the Republic was proclaimed. Alfonso XIII crossed paths on
his way out of Spain with hundreds of exiles on their return, among them
Durruti and Ascaso. The 1st of May in Barcelona CNT displayed its power.
Durruti, Ascaso, Garcia Oliver and Federica Montseny were its best known
personalities and busily propagated their revolutionary program.

The Solidarios group takes membership in the Iberian Anarchist Federation
(FAI), founded in 1927. Since there was another group by the same name, they
changed it to Nosotros. During this time social conflicts and strikes had
spread all over the nation. On January 18 1932 libertarian communism is
proclaimed in the Alto Llobregat region, with the intervention of the armed
forces. There are mass arrests and 125 anarchists, among them Durruti and
Ascaso are deported and shipped to Guinea and Fuerteventura. Released once
again, Durruti, Asacaso and Garcia Oliver form a revolutionary committee
that coordinates the uprising of 1933. It was particularly sound in
Catalunya, Levante and Andalucia. This event was particularly important
because of the slaughter at Casa Viejas (Cadiz), where the civil guard
assasinated several peasants. This event provoked a serious government
crisis and President Azan~a, considered responsible became famous with his
sentence "neither wounded nor prisoners, shoot at their bellies". Months
later, Durruti and Ascaso who were in hiding were arrested. They tried to
applied the vagrancy laws against them. This enraged Durruti: "There isn't a
judge that has the right to convict worker Durruti as a vagrant". In
December 1932, after the right wing takes power, there is a new libertarian
uprising. The national revolutionary committee, consisting of, among others,
Cipriano Mera (mason who during the war achieved the rank of general in the
Republican Army), Isaac Puente and Durruti, resides in Zaragoza. In Aragon
several towns proclaim libertarian communism which would last for seven
days. There was a general strike and combats in most major cities. Zaragoza
was declared a war zone. There were mass arrests which included the whole
revolutionary committee, and the CNT was once again declared illegal. Soon
after a group of armed libertarians broke into the courthouse and destroyed
the files against the accused so that most of them, except the visible heads
were released.

The strikes intensify in support of the prisoners in Madrid and Barcelona.
In Zaragoza the general strike of April 1934 in support of the prisoners
lasted 34 days. The workers show no fear when faced with arrests and
terminations. An important campaign of solidarity was the train and bus
convoy that sent hundreds of children of the Zaragoza strikers to Barcelona
to be cared for by working class families. In May an amnesty is decreed and
many prisoners, among them the members of the revolutionary committee are
set free. On October 4 Durruti is arrested during a raid. Days later in
Asturias the October Revolution takes place, with workers from UGT and CNT
are defeated after two weeks of unequal combat with the army under the
command of General Franco. Heated by these events the bourgeois catalanist
parties proclaimed Estat Catala (Catalan State) in Barcelona, which lasted
only one day when the independentists put down their weapons as soon as the
army arrived. Many of these weapons, abandoned in the streets, were
collected by the anarchosyndicalists and played an important role on July 19

In 1936 CNT and FAI put together numerous public events against fascism and
for revolutionary unity. In May the IV CNT Congress was celebrated in
Zaragoza, where 1,500,000 were represented. They set the basis for
libertarian communism that would be put in practice a few months later. In
July faced with the inminent threat of a coup d'etat the Committees of
Confederal Defense are formed in Barcelona, organized by neighborhood and
prepared to answer the coming military insurrection. They are in contact
with like minded people in the barracks. Among them we mention sergeant
Manzana that became military advisor to the Durruti Column. The republican
government refused to arm the workers to reply to the military uprising that
started in Morocco. This would cause many cities, amomng them Zaragoza, to
fall in the hands of the fascist military in spite of having a large
revolutionary potential. In Barcelona the CNT Defense Committees assault
armories and warships with weapons. On July 19 the rebellious military
officers held most of the garrisons in Barcelona. The workers of the CNT,
FAI, POUM started the attack on the barracks together with soldiers, civil
guards and policemen faithful to the republic. By July 20 only the
Atarazanas barracks remained in the hands of the rebels. During the assault
Francisco Ascaso was killed.


Luis J. Prat

University of California
Chemistry Dept.
Santa Barbara CA 93106
(805) 893-3295
(805) 893-4120 FAX


+++ stop the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal
+++ if you agree copy these lines to your sig
+++ see http://www.xs4all.nl/~tank/spg-l/sigaction.htm

### B O Y C O T T S H E L L ###
greedy murderers and polluters
remember Ken Saro Wiwa and the slaughtered Ogoni