Statement by the Anarchist Comrades Detained in Madrid

AWM English 19/05/19

Madrid

The following is the statement of the compañeras arrested in Madrid on May 13 in an “anti-terrorist” operation carried out jointly by agents of the Information and Riot Squad of the UIP in two squatted spaces in the district of Tetuán, a house and the Anarchist Space The Ambush.

“Guilty” or “innocent”, for them our solidarity, complicity and affection.


On the morning of May 13, an anti-riot unit, together with the group 21 of the Provincial Information Brigade of Madrid, dedicated exclusively to espionage and hunting, burst into our homes and into the anarchist space La Emboscada, three weeks after its inauguration.

They informed us that they were bringing a warrant for the arrest and detention of two of us under the charge of terrorism.

During the registration, which lasted approximately 6 hours, comrades from all over Madrid came to show their support.

Meanwhile, the police seemed especially interested in taking clothes: colored and black coats, scarves of concrete colors, foulards, flower handkerchiefs, specific footwear; they were also interested in agendas, calendars, some notebooks, some notes, notes between the pages of books, computers, hard drives, memory cards, usb, mobiles, cameras and video, CDs and DVDs, construction tools and, in particular, hammers; as well as stickers, patches and T-shirts of the brand M.A.L.P; posters and propaganda in relation to the counter-summit of the G20 2017.

During the investigation, which has been ongoing since March 2017, they have intervened in emails, ordinary mail, mobile phones, tablets, whatsapp, icloud, dropbox and communications in general. For now, we do not have more information, since the investigation continues under summary secrecy.

We were detained 32 hours and, although there were times when the situation was confusing and did not seem favorable, any sadness or fear became insignificant when we left and saw the support and solidarity we received from our friends and friends.

Because even if the State comes for us, the ideas and practices that they pursue are irrepressible and multiply in every gesture of solidarity. And although we do not know what we are accused of, we are very clear about what we are and why we are being persecuted: and we do not ever regret being anarchists.

Repression has always been on the lookout for those who fight but throughout our lives it has given us strength and encouragement to know that there were anarchists all over the world and people who shared our affinity and, living this in the first person and finding so many people, it has been very beautiful and meaningful for us.

No anarchist will be alone as long as there are comrades who continue to fight.

A hug to Embers, arrested on May 1 in Paris and still in prison along with many others. And to all the other anarchists and prisoners in struggle, we do not forget.

From: https://vozcomoarma.noblogs.org/?p=22194

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RADICAL WORKERS’ BLOC AT TOLPUDDLE 2019

Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival and rally 2019 Friday, 19th to Sunday, 21st July 2019. View map No stall this year, apparently they were “oversubscribed”. Nah we don’t either, more time to get drunk then.

On the plus side the IWW are back, with a new improved stall run by Dorset branch.

Wob kitchen will run from Friday evening to Sunday lunch, next to the Big Tent; you’ll hardly notice the difference. Wessex Solidarity will make some of our literature catalogue available on the day. We’ve lots of new stuff that isn’t in the reference library as we’re running out of storage space – it hasn’t been updated for years. Why not get in touch now if there’s a subject you’re particularly interested in.

Catering Cadre: Comrade Les, our Wob kitchen chef is offering free training on outside and event catering for Radical Workers and groups who want to feed their members, homeless or unemployed workers in a safe and cost-effective way. Topics including:

  • Basic Health safety and hygiene.
  • Basic budget and Menu planning.
  • Basic dietary requirements.
  • Basic safe use of LPG and Butane gas cookers.

Let us know if you’re interested or come and see us about it at the festival.

Safe Space Policy: “don’t be a dick”.

This year we ask Radical Workers to be especially kind to members of the Prison Officers Association, as they are ever so sensitive, and easily upset by loud noises and rude words.

Bloody hell it was hot! Tolpuddle R.W.B. 2018

Joint Statement by CGT, Solidaridad Obrera and CNT About the Situation in Catalonia

As signatory organizations, unions at state level, we share our concern about the situation in Catalonia, the repression that the state has unleashed, including the diminution of rights and freedoms and the rise of a stale nationalism which is appearing again in much of the state.

We defend the emancipation of all the working people of Catalonia and the rest of the world. Perhaps, in this context, it is necessary to remember that we do not understand the right to self-determination in a statist way, as nationalist parties and organizations proclaim, but as the right to self-organization of our class in a given territory. Thus understood, self-determination passes more by control of production and consumption by workers and by direct democracy from the bottom up, organized according to federalist principles, than by the establishment of a new frontier or the creation of a new state.

As internationalists, we understand that solidarity among working people should not be limited to state borders, so we are not really concerned where these are drawn. What we do find very disturbing is the reaction that is being experienced in many parts of the rest of the State, with the enthusiasm for a stale Spanish state, which is more reminiscent of past times, brewed by the media and in line with the authoritarian drift of the government, notable after the imprisonment of persons for summoning acts of disobedience or the application of article 155 of the Constitution. We do not forget that this nationalist outbreak lays the groundwork for further cuts in rights and freedoms which we must be prevent. The shameful unity of so-called “democratic forces” in justifying repression shows a gloomy picture for all future dissents. It seems that the post-Franco regime that governs us for 40 years, close its ranks to ensure its continuity.

This regime, which has existed and exists in Catalonia as well as in the rest of Spain, feels that its own survival is at stake. Questioned extensively and plunged into a deep crisis of legitimacy, it is alarmed because of the accumulation of open fronts. The threat to the territorial integrity of the state is compounded by corruption scandals, the monarchy’s stigmatization, the questioning of (bank) rescues and cuts that have been applied to the population, discontent with slavery in the workplace derived from the last labor reforms, the extension of retirement age and the economic reduction of pensions, etc. The constant calls to defend the constitution must be understood as foul to rebate and deal with this true existential crisis that besieges the state. The danger is that in the process, repressive behaviors such as those seen recently in many Catalan cities will be sanctioned and become standard. The worst …

Obviously, we do not know in what sense the events will decant. We will remain attentive to what happens, ready to defend the interests of working people throughout the State. We will oppose the repression and the normalization of right-of-way attitudes, which are already perceived, with all our forces. Of course, we will not allow ourselves to be used by the strategies of political parties whose objectives are extraneous to us. At the same time, we will not stop encouraging the mobilizations of the working class when they finally decide that the time has come to shake off the dictatorship of political and economic elites who have spent too long managing the territory to serve exclusively their own interests. As trade union organizations, libertarian and combative, we will be on the streets, in the mobilizations, as we have shown on many occasions, against repression, cuts in rights and freedoms and against corruption.

The Catalan crisis may be the brink of a dying state model. Whether this change is in one sense or another will depend on our ability, as a class, to take the process in the opposite direction of repression and the rise of nationalisms. Let us hope that the final result will be more freedoms and rights and not the other way around. We risk a lot.

FOR RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS! AGAINST REPRESSION OF WORKING CLASSES!

CGT – Solidaridad Obrera – CNT, October 26, 2017.

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

 

Red And Black Telly: GIBRALTAR – STORM IN A SHERRY GLASS?

Eighty years ago: Malaga, Jarama and Guadalajara.

The story so far: Madrid has been saved a second time by the Working Class, no thanks to the government which  fled to Valencia. Durruti is dead, his column decimated, the remainder face militarisation and dispersal. Prime minister Largo Caballero has devoted his energies to re-establishing the power of the state in the republican zone, and Stalin’s grip tightens on it. The Russians have arrived, and so have thousands of foreign antifascists. The following lines from ‘The Authority of the Bootmaker’ by Mal Content.

The fall of Malaga to Italy on the 8th of February 1937 gave the dictator his excuse to unseat Caballero. Malaga suffered from the same government prejudice as Catalonia, agriculture on the coastal strip was mostly collectivised and the city had been held by Confederal militia, only three-quarters of whom were armed; they had sixteen artillery pieces in total. The government’s military representative was Communist fellow-traveller Colonel Villalba, whose incompetence on the Huesca front had inflicted significant losses on the Durruti Column. Weeks of fascist build-up in the surrounding countryside had been ignored. Mussolini’s Blackshirts, nine mechanised battalions worth, descended from the hills to the North and West in little turretless tanks and armoured cars. They were accompanied by thousands of African legionnaires and Carlist Requetés, supported by a hundred aircraft, three Spanish cruisers and the German battleship Admiral Graf Spee. The city had to be evacuated; some ten thousand prisoners were executed while four thousand refugees died on the hundred and fifty mile march to Almeria, simultaneously bombarded from land, sea and air. A nationalist officer wrote:

“During the first week, when no-one could enter Malaga, four thousand were shot. They were shot down in groups by machine-guns on the Playa del Palo. Later on, courts martial were set up. At dizzying speed, people were tried – if that is the right word – in groups of fifty to seventy. In this fashion, by the third month of Malaga’s liberation (sic) ten thousand people had perished.”

– Antonio Bahamonde y Sanchez de Castro: ‘Un Ano de Queipo: Memorias de un Nacionalista’

The reprisals continued for years, in August 1944 the death toll stood at twenty thousand as reported by the nationalist administration to the British consul. I could speculate that the liberal democracies’ indifference to the systematic extermination of non-combatants may have encouraged the Nazis to press ahead with their own genocide; it certainly did nothing to put them off.

The Communists claimed the defeat was due to treachery, and they may well have been right*. Villalba was arrested but swiftly released; the under-secretary of war, General Asensio, one of the few who had failed to join the party, was variously accused of incompetence and duplicity, and Caballero had defended him. He succumbed to the pressure, but his replacement was a left-wing socialist.

*Was Villalba a ‘fifth columnist’ who regretted getting stuck on the republican side? He was allowed to return to Spain after the war, and claim a Colonel’s pension; had he ever been of any use to the Republic he would undoubtedly have been shot. He seriously undermined the Aragon front from the start, when he prevailed on the anarchists to delay the assault on Zaragoza until it was too late. Did he sacrifice Malaga on Franco’s or Stalin’s orders? Or was he just an arsehole?

The Nationalists then sought to cut the road from Madrid to Valencia, which required skirting the south of the city and crossing the valley of the Jarama River. The action was intended to coincide with an attack on Guadalajara by the Italians but they weren’t ready so Franco went ahead anyway. Beginning on the 5th February the Army of Africa with a German armoured company surprised and overran Republican forces on the West bank. They defended their positions to the death, but by the 8th, the Western heights were in fascist hands. The river crossing on the 11th was led by Moroccan commandos who killed the sentries, immediately followed by cavalry that engaged the XIV International Brigade. Another column crossed the Arganda Bridge, which failed to collapse when its charges were detonated, but was halted by the Garibaldi Battalion of the XII I.B. German and Russian aircraft clashed overhead, the Russians retaining control.

The Eastern side was reinforced by the recently formed XV I.B. of British, Irish, Francophone and Balkan volunteers. The British Battalion went into action here for the first time. Things didn’t get off to an auspicious start; their commander Wilf McCartney was accidentally shot by the Brigade Commissar Peter Kerrigan (the Comintern’s British delegate) before they left their base at Madrigueras. McCartney was invalided out so Tom Wintringham took over. The first deployment of the XV was a cock-up; they were poorly equipped, had no maps and had not been told the enemy had already crossed the river, so they came under fire as soon as they began to descend the valley. The machine-gun company found it had been given the wrong ammunition. The truck carrying the replacement batch broke down, and when it arrived, the cartridges had to be belted by hand. The ridge of land that became known as ‘suicide hill’ was continuously swept with fascist machine gun fire, it was held for hours against terrific odds by one of the three infantry companies, led by I.R.A. veteran Kit Conway, who died there.

“Reaching the crest of the hills overlooking the valley and the river, the three companies of the Battalion met the full force of the Fascist advance. Up the slopes long lines of Moors and Foreign Legionnaires surged forward under cover of artillery and machine gun fire, threatening to sweep all before them. No one in his senses could have conceived that this line of riflemen could hold up that onslaught for more than a few minutes. And behind them? Nothing. A clear field down to Arganda, Morata and the Madrid road.

            But men who had come hundreds of miles to fight, sustained by an understanding of the cause for which they are fighting, do not act in the way prescribed by the military textbooks. Rapidly deploying in open formation, the Battalion went into the attack against the advancing Moors. The Fascist troops faltered, then hastily dropped down to cover. Only the sheer audacity of this handful of men could have achieved this. Had the Fascist officers been aware of the true position on our side, they would have overwhelmed the Battalion by sheer superiority of arms and numbers.”

– George Leeson, antifascist: ‘Spain Today, February 1947.

The ridge was eventually abandoned, but as luck would have it, just as the fascists came over the top the machine-gunners managed to get re-supplied and mowed them all down. The following day’s chaotic infantry retreat left the machine-gun company exposed and most were captured. Forty infantrymen then charged the position, of whom six survived. On the third day fascist tanks pushed the line back to the road, it was ‘shit or bust’. Frank Ryan and Jock Cunningham gathered the survivors to counter attack, leading them in a chorus of the ‘Internationale’:

“Some were still straggling down the slopes from what had been up to an hour ago, the front line. And now, there was no line, nothing between the Madrid road and the Fascists but disorganised groups, of weary, war-wrecked men. After three days of terrific struggle, the superior numbers, the superior armament of the Fascists had routed them. All, as they came back, had similar stories to tell: of comrades dead, of conditions that were more than flesh and blood could stand, of weariness they found hard to resist.

I recognised the young Commissar of the Spanish Company. His hand bloody where a bullet had grazed the palm, he was fumbling nevertheless with his automatic, in turn threatening and pleading with his men. I got Manuel to calm him, and to tell him we would rally everyone in a moment. As I walked along the road to see how many men we had, I found myself deciding that we should go back up the line of the road to San Martín de la Vega, and take the Moors on their left flank. Groups were lying about on the roadside, hungrily eating oranges that had been thrown to them by a passing lorry. This was no time to sort them into units. I noted with satisfaction that some had brought down spare rifles. I found my eyes straying always to the hills we had vacated. I hitched a rifle to my shoulder.

They stumbled to their feet. No time for barrack-square drill. One line of four. ‘Fall in behind us.’ A few were still on the grass bank beside the road, adjusting helmets and rifles. ‘Hurry up!’ came the cry from the ranks. Up the road towards the Cook-House I saw Jock Cunningham assembling another crowd. We hurried up, joined forces. Together we two marched at the head. Whatever popular writers may say, neither your Briton nor your Irishman is an exuberant type. Demonstrativeness is not his dominating trait. The crowd behind us was marching silently. The thoughts in their minds could not be inspiring ones. I remembered a trick of the old days when we were holding banned demonstrations. I jerked my head back: Sing up, ye sons o’guns!

– Frank Ryan: ‘The Book of the 15th Brigade’ 1938.

The one hundred and forty volunteers who marched back up the road to suicide hill did not all speak the same language, but everyone knew the tune; to compensate for their lack of numbers they engaged the enemy with a high rate of fire. Evidently the Fascists had not expected to see the routed Brigaders again, and presuming them to be reinforcements, fell back. The breach in the front was filled overnight and did not move for two years. To their right the Dimitrov and Thälmann Battalions held off the frontal assault on their own positions.

There were several costly counter attacks that failed to shift the Nationalist lines significantly, Lister’s fifth regiment advancing across open ground in broad daylight took fifty percent casualties, the North American and Irish Abraham Lincoln Battalion fared no better under similar conditions, their first engagement immortalised in the last words of poet Charlie Donnelly: “Even the olives are bleeding”. Jarama seriously undermined the morale of the International Brigades; they were used as expendable shock troops by inexperienced Communist generals who wanted propaganda victories. A month of bloodshed left both sides entrenched in a stalemate reminiscent of the Western front.

It’s fair to say the republic suffered from a lack of military experience, the Spanish metropolitan army had been little more than a dining club, only those officers who had been to Africa had ever seen combat, or even been on manouvres. Their tactics were from old French textbooks* or gleaned from the First World War, to which they had been spectators. The Russian officers were mostly young and equally untested, as the Red Army was being purged. Their authoritarian culture stifled initiative and they were under strict instructions not to risk capture. The best of the I.B.s were those like the Irish, with recent battle experience, or veterans of the Great War.

*To the extent that Franco believed they were receiving training from the French armed forces.

Flushed with the carnage at Malaga, Mussolini planned a showcase for fascist Italy’s martial prowess; sending his Blackshirts to cut off Madrid to the North East at Guadalajara. Instead they took such a shafting as to acquire a reputation for military incompetence and retreat that outlived his regime. Instrumental in their downfall was the Garibaldi battalion of the 12th I.B., exiled Italian antifascists with a score to settle. On the 8th of March the motorised infantry swarmed into the pass in their fleet of little tankettes. With about five to one numerical superiority they initially made rapid progress but were slowed by bad weather and boggy ground. The vehicles began to get stuck and their air support was grounded whilst the Republican air force benefitted from the concrete runway at Albacete. The 14th division led by the Madrid bricklayer Cipriano Mera counterattacked. The rout at Guadalajara guaranteed Mussolini’s continued support for Franco, to save face, it also led to the latter rescinding Blackshirt military autonomy and caused observers to re-think their strategy regarding mechanised infantry. At the same time, in their capacity as members of the non-intervention committee, Italian and German navies blockaded the Mediterranean coast; the only supply route left to the Republic was across the Pyrenees, and the French were all over that.

Anti-fascist play coming to The Lighthouse, Poole 1st Feb 2017

Dare Devil Rides To Jarama: For more info, reviews, full tour schedule etc, see Townsend Productions
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“An amazing story of Wall of Death motorcycle rider Clem “Dare Devil” Beckett and Marxist writer and poet Christopher Caudwell, at first sight two unlikely friends and comrades, who were thrown together by their shared determination to defend the Spanish republic against Franco’s rising fascist tide.

Marking the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, Dare Devil Rides To Jarama is a world premiere based on the experiences of The International Brigades during The Spanish Civil War. Looking at the powerful political and economic forces that engulfed 1930s Europe, Dare Devil Rides to Jarama follows the life of why so many ordinary people made the extraordinary choice to leave family and livelihoods and fight in a brutal war so far from home.

When Spaniards rose up to resist General Franco’s military rebellion in 1936, it was an inspiration to millions of people worldwide. Their heroic struggle alerted the rest of the world to the threat of fascism. Dare Devil Rides To Jarama commemorates and celebrates the contribution and sacrifice of the Volunteer International Brigades, including two and a half thousand from Britain and Ireland. Compelling and humorous, Dare Devil Rides To Jarama focuses on the contrasting lives of Clem Beckett, born in Oldham and famous star of the speedway track around Manchester and the North, and Christopher Caudwell, a renowned writer, poet and philosopher. Both men were killed together at Jarama in February 1937, having become friends as members of the British Battalion’s machine-gun company.

Through stirring song, poetry and compelling movement and dance, Dare Devil Rides To Jarama captures the raw passions and emotions of the time. Musical direction is from acclaimed folk singer and squeeze box player John Kirkpatrick. The play has a particular resonance in our current climate as it examines how the economic pressures in the 1930s contributed to the rise of xenophobic tendencies throughout Europe and the failure of a unified left to join together to successfully challenge these forces. Dare Devil Rides To Jarama aims to bring the full story of the compelling dispute to life in this powerful and thought-provoking new play. This production follows Townsend Productions’ critically acclaimed United We Stand, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and We Will Be Free.

Director Louise Townsend comments, This project is a tremendous opportunity to tell this very intricate and extraordinary story of exceptional people. The challenge is twofold – to do justice to their achievements and to reflect the dense, turbulent political and historical times.

Writer Neil Gore comments, The play is an exciting and evocative piece about the incredible contribution made by the volunteers that made up the International Brigades to fight the forces of fascism and to uphold the power of democracy. It is also an important examination of the fascinating and brilliant life of Clem Beckett who achieved so much in such a short time as a top speedway rider and a rider in the Wall of Death around Europe.”

Louise Townsend