The Silenced Revolution Part 2
Bank robber, kidnapper, rousing speaker, reputed assassinator of kings and archbishops, anarchistic leader and a man on the run from death sentences in at least 4 countries. Today, in PART 2 of the Silenced Revolution (if you haven't read Part 1 yet, you can read it here) we look at a man followed by millions when he drew his pistol, grinned knowingly at the enemy and launched into his next revolutionary act. Today we introduce Buenaventura Durruti.
In Spain of the 1920’s, the big employers in cities like Barcelona were using armed groups to hunt down and eliminate “agitators” - a euphemism for CNT workers and anarchist leaders. This practice became known as pistolerismo and alongside the ley de fugas (where agitators were shot 'trying to escape' from political sentences in jail) almost every well-known union or anarchist leaders between 1919 and 1922 was murdered.
Helping organise this political repression of workers in Spain, were figures such as the Cardinal Soldevila of Zaragossa, who had financed alternative employer-backed unions with money raised from his gambling empires. After a period of time in exile, Durruti returns to Spain and helps form a new group to combat this wave of violence. "Give Peace a Chance" will be a slogan for later era. Now, argues Durruti, peace needs more than a chance, it needs bullets.
Just as all hope seems lost for the struggling workers of Catalunya - riding in at the sun-set from San Sebatian comes the the Justiceros - the pistol waving bullets-for-peace gang led by our hero Durruti. This armed group of radical anarchists seeks out the private band of Pistoleros and kills them off or chases them out of town. "Yeehah!"
But the hand that fed the Pistoleros was still alive and functioning. Durruti takes the next logical step in the Justiceros manual: he decides if peace is still to have a chance, he must assassinate the archbishop. (Read more below)
Most people believe the Spanish Civil War was a straightforward struggle between democracy and fascism. It wasn't. The struggle had begun years earlier when a libertarian revolutionary movement began across the country. Consolidated in Barcelona, this new society was not interested in the defence of the a republic - but it was keen to develop and spread the one and only anarchist society in the history of the modern world. This is another Forgotten Story from Spain.
Part One: The Backdrop
As elections draw closer I fear the continuum. More of the same - save a difference in colour or shape of beard - I fear there will be no change, when change really ought to be on everyone's agenda. You must have noticed it too. The same lack of idealism, the same lack of vision and the same lack of leadership. But now we have some hope, we have Podemos talking about change. Some people are excited, some are frightened, some are not interested. But, before you condemn the new, remember that history moves in circles. Yes, it's actually all happened before.
What if we thought again about leadership? What if we could say to those in government: "justify your position to govern us, and if we are not satisfied by your explanation, we are at liberty to throw you on to the scrap heap".
Sounds fun doesn't it, but maybe a little idealistic? Well, hold on to your horses because it is not only an attractive theory, it was a working theory in Spain during the early 1930’s. This is the story of a struggle that was silenced and a genuine revolution from below.
A Revolution from Below
In this series of articles on the Other Civil War in Spain - a subject I have already touched upon with Orwell and Ethel MacDonald - we are going to take a look at a figure that shook the establishment to the ground. A bank robber, an assassin, a soldier, and an inspiration to millions of people across the world: Put your hands together please for...
Composed of three special investigations, the Gazpachomonk offers up a Mediterranean diet of text, classic videos and films as well as audio files - (See "To the Barricades" above). So put on the kettle, tilt back your Durruti hat, stick your feet up on the dog and enjoy The Silenced Struggle.
Read the rest of The Silenced Revolution here...
What prompted a working class girl from Scotland to come to Spain during the civil war? What compelled her to side with the anarchist movement and what drove her - like George Orwell - to keep on fighting for the truth about what the struggle was really about?
In this 3 part series on Anarchism in Spain, discover what another possible world through the eyes of Orwell, Durrutti and in this post: Ethel MacDonald
It is astonishing how many accounts of the Spanish Civil War even today, portray that battle as a struggle between the forces of Fascism and the forces of Democracy.
Yet for anyone who has delved into the origins of the 2nd Republic in Spain and the issues being fought for during the early 1930's there was another agenda, a parallel struggle as important as anything that was happening in the barracks or the battlefield.
This was the struggle for another way of life. Not merely the defence of the new "democratic Republic" that after 5 years had failed to counter the hardships, inequalities and injustices of the masses. This was no simple "left-right" ideological war. This was a struggle to forge something altogether new, something previously never seen - something - as Noam Chomsky has argued - that would represent an entirely new way of living in this world.
The Promise of Anarchism
In this short series on Anarchism in Spain, I shall be exploring this radical and immensely popular movement through the eyes of a few individuals that were driven not simply to defend the few hard-won rights in a fledging democracy, but to go further and implement a new society altogether. These individuals were not satisfied with the reformism of democracy, nor the authoritarianism of the Communist dreams, but individuals that articulated a new future that would shake the political forces across the globe and construct an uneasy alliance between left and right to undermine it, to capture and kill its leaders and finally to destroy its ideology, turning it into the sad parody it has become today.
Read more about Ethel and watch the biographical film on YoutUbe below....
Why Orwell is essential to understanding Spain today. More here - Forgotten Stories From Spain
Find out More about the ebook and audio
Forgotten Stories From Spain Book HERE
And Watch The Tortilla Intro Video here...
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