Perez, Maria, 1917-1942, aka La Jabalina

A short biography of Spanish anarchist Maria Perez, who fought with the Iron Column and was murdered by the Francoists in 1942, from Libcom

Maria Perez Cruz was born at Teruel in Spain on the 3rd of May 1917. Her parents were Manuel Perez de la Esperanza and Isabel Lacruz Civera, also originating in Teruel. Maria’s nick name of La Jabalina (which can be translated as The Javelin in English but also is the name for wild pigs) comes from the fact that her mother’s family were from the village of Jabaloyas, and this nickname was given to all the women of the family.

Economic necessity forced the family to move to the port town of Sagunto in Valencia when Maria was only six years old. A railway linked Sagunto to the Teruel mines and minerals mined there were then shipped to other parts of Europe. There were serious problems of housing and health in the town and this triggered the first workers’ protests.

The family settled near the municipal market. Maria and her five brothers helped the family by working at a vegetable stall in the market. She also helped her mother in the house and worked as a cleaner at the house of a local doctor. Angered by the condition of the working class in Sagunto, Maria joined the Libertarian Youth in 1934 at the age of seventeen. She joined the anarchist militia The Iron Column in August 1936. This had been put together from various groups, including Sagunto metalworkers. She served with it as a nurse, and helped set up a hospital on the front.

During the Battle of Teruel on August 23rd 1936 she received a gunshot wound in the leg at Puerto Escandon, which fractured a femur. She then was hospitalised until December 24th at the Valencia hospital.

After this she worked in an arms factory at Sagunto and then at Cieza in Murcia at a steel works. With the victory of Franco, she attempted to go unnoticed in Sagunto. She was now pregnant.

On April 23rd 1939 she was arrested by the Guardia Civil. After questioning, where she was asked about who she knew in the Iron Column, her head was shaved and she was paraded through the streets, and then released.

She was again summoned by the Guardia Civil on May 30th. She refused to sign a statement read out by the military judge, saying that some of the content was untrue. She was released but on the following day was imprisoned in the Sagunto jail.

She was then charged during a military trial of “aiding the rebellion” and a whole list of deeds, most of which had occurred whilst she was hospitalised, including the assault on the Castellon prison when 11 warders were killed. One of the crimes cited was the murder of the Bolivian consul in Valencia (where no such consulate had existed), whist other murders, including eight priests and an MP, were assigned to her. Local Falangist leaders said that “she had not taken part in the atrocities” but a neighbour testified that “it was said” that she had taken part in the burning of a church. The Director of the Valencia Hospital vouched that she had been there in the period when these deaths happened.

On November 4th she was transported to the Valencia Hospital because of the state of her health and her advanced pregnancy. She was released from there in January 1940 and returned to prison and later the provincial women’s prison.

She was tried before a court martial on July 28th 1942 and sentenced to death. Ten days later on August 8th she was shot with six other male prisoners against the cemetery wall at Paterna. She received a bullet to the head and another to the chest.

During her three years in prison she had been beaten and tortured but refused to own up to anything, apart from being the lover of Paco el Frances (French Paco), who may have been the Column’s war delegate in Sarrion. It is assumed she gave birth to a child on January 9th 1940, but nothing is known further of this child. Many children of prisoners of the Franco regime were given up for adoption, and this seems to have been the fate of the child.

In 2003 a women’s association of the Baladre neighbourhood of Sagunto carried out a campaign Breaking The Silences which remembered Maria and others killed by the Franco regime. A square in Sagunto has now been named after her.

Manuel Girona Rubio wrote a book about her “Un Miliciana en la Columna de Hierro”, published in 2011 and this was followed by a novel based on her life “Si me llegas a olvidar” by Rosana Corral-Marquez and a play written and acted by Lola Lopez, both in 2013.

Nick Heath

Sources:
http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/m0cgsn
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mar%C3%ADa_la_Jabalina
http://mayores.uji.es/blogs/antropmorve/2011/12/06/maria-%E2%80%9Cla-jabalina%E2%80%9D-una-victima-de-su-tiempo/
http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/qnkb9q

 

Banksy, Balfour and Bethlehem 5th September in Southampton.

News from Southampton Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Here are some important dates for your diary. Please come along and join us we would love to see you. We meet monthly to plan actions and events. For dates and agendas, please e-mail

The Dorset Book Fair Sat 3rd June at Portfield Community Hall, Christchurch, BH23 2AQ. This is a fair promoting anti-oppression, anti-racism and environmental awareness of all kinds. There will many stalls and speaker events taking place. Southampton PSC will have a presence there and if you want to be involved please contact us.

A Celebration of May Day in Southampton, Monday May 1st 11am to 3pm, Palmerston Park, SO14 1ND. Please see attachment for further information. If you are available to help on the PSC Stall at this event then please get in touch. It should be an enjoyable day.

Sponsored Walk 28th May. A walk from Salisbury to Tisbury, through beautiful countryside. Please join us; it is a lovely opportunity to get to know others in the group. The sponsorship is for Medical Aid for Palestinians as well as PSC. Meet at 9.55, platform 4 Southampton Central. Back by 5pm.

Saturday 10th June London, Lunchtime Celebration of Palestinian Culture and Grand Send off for those walking in “Just Walk to Jerusalem.” Just Walk to Jerusalem is a campaign organised by Amos Trust to raise awareness of Justice for Palestine. See how you can become involved:

An Action you can take:

On Friday 7th April, Kamel Hawwash member of PSC Executive and also vice chair of the British Palestine policy council was refused entry into Israel under the new anti- boycott law. This follows the refusal last month to allow entry to Hugh Lanning PSC chair, and last weekend to Anuar Majluf, director of the Palestinian Federation of Chile. Kamel was on a family holiday with his wife and son, who he had to leave at the airport. Kamel’s wife has Jerusalem ID and he has many relatives in Jerusalem. Kamel has stated “I am personally devastated at my denial of entry. Firstly because I could not be with my wife and son for our holiday, but also because I have been denied entry to my homeland. I have elderly relatives that I will never see again if I am not allowed to enter in the future. I had to leave my wife and son alone in the airport in tears.”

Ben Jamal PSC Director stated ”The BDS movement peacefully pressures Israel to comply with international law and cease human rights violations. It draws directly from the tactics of Gandhi and Mandela to effect positive change. According to the Israeli government, human rights activism is a security threat. Fundamental democratic norms and freedoms don’t matter. The British government must demand that Israel ceases this harassment.”

Please write to your MP and ask that he/she writes to the foreign secretary and ask that they protest to the government of Israel in the strongest of terms.

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Jihad: the political is personal. By Mal Content.

Khalid Masood was, like me, born into Britain’s post war social democratic settlement and came of age under thatcher. He would have had every reason to despise the establishment and long for its downfall, as we all did. The political left offered no serviceable antidote to neoliberalism, so many of us drifted into individualist pursuits: hooliganism, petty crime, using and selling drugs, some went to prison as did Masood. I swerved it myself, more by luck than judgement. Still pissed off, I became an anarchist.

That Masood was pissed off is beyond doubt, he may also have been mentally ill. His history betrays violent mood swings; too much coke will do that as well, mind. What then, is the appeal of an ultra-conservative, authoritarian death cult to a feckless hedonist? Perhaps it’s just a badge, like the hammer-sickle or swastika conferring an outlaw identity. Mediaevalist Islam is hardly liberation theology, yet with the collapse of Marxism-Leninism it has managed to position itself as the default anti-imperialist movement. Jihad is one of those concepts, like dictatorship of the Proletariat, or war on terror, that sounds good when you say it but on reflection is incredibly stupid.

Being of African heritage and growing up in Dartford probably didn’t help. In living memory thousands of Africans were murdered, abused or displaced from their land by the British state, and the Franco-Algerian conflict still rumbles on in the French suburbs. Only by internalising white supremacy are their descendants allowed to play the liberal game. I can barely imagine the weight of such resentment piled on top of my own class anger.

We’ll most likely never know whether Masood actually supported the aims of the self-styled Islamic State – to precipitate the apocalypse – which coincidentally is what our elders and betters were planning throughout our formative years. His desperate act took the lives of strangers who for all he knew, might have shared his alienation, and be jarred by the same dissonance; there was nothing ideological about it. The symbolism that marked this indiscriminate violence as ‘political’ was its location adjacent to the palace of Westminster, the seat of our oppression. Even the killing of a cop, which could be construed as an attack on the state, might equally be an angry child stabbing at authority. Nevertheless, whereas the sadistic proclivity and petty spite of individual colonists terrorised their subjects into compliance for hundreds of years, now the despair and low self-esteem liberal-bourgeois states foster in their citizens is being used against them by their latest enemy. Given the epidemic of suicide and self-harm among our Class, there must be thousands of such people in existential crisis, with nothing to gain and nothing to lose.

While the state’s security agencies tripped over their bootlaces, arresting and releasing people apparently at random, the perpetually bewildered Theresa May reassured her followers, at some length, that events would have no effect on the British way of life, or its democracy. To sum up: you will still be ordered about by people considerably richer than you and judged solely on your ability to increase their wealth. The executive will still be selected by Rupert Murdoch – and big up the filth, who are keeping you safe, except when they shoot you. The next morning we were told that ‘London had gone back to work’, and that it was ‘open for business’. The extraction of surplus-value is uninterrupted.

As its colonial chickens come home to roost the desperate ruling class struggles to cover the catastrophe of neoliberal globalisation by cobbling up a pretence of national identity from the ragged mess of state-supported oligarchy mashed up with state-manufactured destitution. As Kevin Carson put it:

“The ideological framework of “national unity” is taken to the point that “this country,” “society,” or “our system of government” is set up as an object of gratitude for “the freedoms we enjoy.” Only the most unpatriotic notice that our liberties, far from being granted to us by a generous and benevolent government, were won by past resistance against the state. Charters and bills of rights were not grants from the state, but were forced on the state from below. […]

[…] This ideological construct of a unified “national interest” includes the fiction of a “neutral” set of laws, which conceals the exploitative nature of the system of power we live under. Under corporate capitalism the relationships of exploitation are mediated by the political system to an extent unknown under previous class systems.”

‘The Iron Fist behind the Invisible Hand – Corporate Capitalism as a State-Guaranteed System of Privilege’.

The liberal media self-consciously pats the head of any union jack-waving Muslim who accepts the legacy of primitive accumulation as given. Kids who grew up as targets for abuse by the police are being exhorted to confide in them their suspicions of friends and neighbours who appear to take their culture a little too seriously – fat chance, I’d say. To adopt ‘British values’ is to concur that the Empire civilised the rest of the world at gunpoint, rather than simply robbing it blind. Such ideas are as bogus to me as they may have been to Masood, but I also struggle with the idea that anyone actually believes in god in the 21st century – you’ve got an I-phone and a youtube account for crying out loud! A boss in heaven is just an excuse for a boss on earth as Bakunin had it, and indeed Western civilisation has little more than divine authority for its excesses. The murderous Blair and Bush went in for a lot of god-bothering in between condemning multitudes to death. Mythology only serves to fill a gap in reality, and that gap is maintained by capitalism.

In the society of the spectacle capitalism perpetuates itself by denying its existence. The very mention of the word usually places its author on the political margins. The bourgeoisie are never acknowledged as such by their apologists; the Great Expropriation is long forgotten. Class is trivialised, the alienation of labour denied, its fetishes and reifications presented as (capitalist) reality, the only game in town. The simple mechanism that guarantees the power and status of the ruling class under liberal democracy is hidden behind homely concepts such as market, work ethic, enterprise, membership of society, serving the community; conjuring a mirage of pre-capitalist village life – which is of course what humans are most comfortable with.

Whilst the warmongers were smashing the infrastructure of the Middle East, the Jihadis were all living quietly in Birmingham. If the R.A.F. were Hitler’s children, the present crop of home-grown Jihadis are thatcher’s. They grew up in Western societies that had nothing they wanted, and made no pretence of accommodating them. Small wonder the misfits turn to mythology, when society itself is founded on myths.

Stolen lives: public meeting about immigration detention in Dorchester 10th March.

stolen-lives-poster-final_1_orig

Verne Visitors Group are holding a public meeting about immigration detention at Dorchester Corn Exchange on Friday 10th March at 7:30 p.m. free admission, all welcome.

If you can, please come to make the point that detention is not wrong for all the bad effects it has (which are frequently listed – mental health, physical health, loneliness, despair etc), although it certainly does have these effects.

It is inherently wrong to lock people up just because they don’t have the right nationality papers

For information: EMAIL

Solidarity With Trans Prisoners: Noise Demo at HMP Doncaster.

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January 22nd is International Day of Solidarity With Trans Prisoners, a day to highlight the struggles of our siblings behind bars and fight for a world without prisons.

Following the tragic and preventable death of Jenny Swift last month we will be demonstrating outside HMP Doncaster at 4pm after visiting hours. Wrap up warm, bring torches, glow sticks, sparklers, bright things, and things to make noise – we want to be loud enough for the people held inside to hear and let them know they’re not forgotten. Sound systems, loudhalers, drums, pots and pans, anything you can think of! facebook event

HMP Doncaster is 22 mins walk from Doncaster train station, well connected by rail. Manchester No Prisons are organising minibuses from Manchester and will be able to shuttle people from the station to the prison and back on the day, Leeds Action for Trans Health are coming from Leeds, Sheffield Action for Trans Health and Queer Agenda Sheffield – QASh are organising lifts from Sheffield. We’ll update with more information about lifts as it becomes avalable – comment on the event if you’re driving and have spaces going.

Love and rage,

Action for Trans Health

Red & Black Telly: WILL 2017 BE THE PRELUDE TO YEAR ZERO?