The Assassination of Don Tomás

Voices in Movement

Luis Hernández Navarro

Tomás Martínez Pinacho was preparing to eat something at Los Primos taqueria, in the municipality of Ánimas Trujano, Oaxaca, when a heavily armed commando shot him with a bullet. It was 6:30 pm on August 24th and he was returning from participating in a rally of 2,600 people in the state capital. His lifeless body was left sown to his chair.

The biography of don Tomás – as he was affectionately called by his comrades in the Sierra Sur – intersects with the social struggles of the district of Miahuatlán over the past 30 years. His trajectory was summarized in one word: struggle. He organized the Union of Poor Peasants; he managed better water services and garbage collection; he opposed the construction of the Cefereso in the municipality; he mobilized so that government resources would reach communities, agencies and ranches and not remain in the headwaters; he was re-elected as candidate for municipal president and for councilman; he supported the protests of democratic teachers against educational reform and in favor of public education, and he actively opposed open-pit mining.

He was born in Miahuatlán de Porfirio Díaz, on March 7, 1956, to a very humble family. His father was a farmer. As a child, Tomas supported his mother in selling tortillas at the center. He studied a few years of elementary school between 1965 and 1969, at the Leona Vicario School, and then migrated to Mexico City. In Naucalpan, State of Mexico, he continued his studies at the Manuel Avila Camacho night school and at the INEA. He sold food at the Teatro Blanquita. He worked in a grocery store until he returned to his hometown in 1990.

The attitude and commitment of democratic professor Germán Mendoza Nube, several times arrested and tortured for his participation in popular struggles, marked him definitely. Tomás told how, on one occasion when a comrade of Germán’s went to look for him because he had a difficulty, the teacher, in spite of having to move on a wheelchair, got up from bed, got on his chair and went to solve the problem. Germán’s attitude impacted Tomás. At that moment he said to himself: I have two hands, I have two feet. I return to my community and begin to fight for my companions, for the people.

That’s how he did it. Since then, Martínez Pinacho joined the Union of Poor Peasants and the Revolutionary People’s Front (FPR), in a struggle that only his murder stopped. He toured the communities, appointed the organization’s basic committees, collected the demands and needs of the populations, their agricultural conflicts.

Tomás actively participated as a councilman in the Popular Assembly of the Peoples of Oaxaca (APPO) in 2006, which demanded the resignation of Governor Ulises Ruiz. For this reason he was persecuted, harassed and forced into hiding.

In Oaxaca there are about 300 mining concessions, three of them in the Sierra Sur: in Suchixtepec, another in the Coatlanes and one very close to Miahuatlán, in communities of Zompantle and Ocote. Don Tomás played a central role in the resistance to open-pit mining in the region, with the engineer Bernardo Vázquez Sánchez, who was murdered on March 15, 2012, for opposing the Fortuna Silver Mines project in San José del Progreso. In 2018, after a work of information and organization in the communities that began in 2016, he promoted the formation of the Frente Regional de la Sierra Sur en Defensa del Territorio, los Recursos Naturales y la Libre Autodeterminación de los Pueblos, in rejection of mining, in which social organizations such as MULT, API-PUP, FPR, section 22-CNTE, MAS and Coordinadora de Comunidades de Loxicha also participated.

Unfortunately, events such as don Tomás’ murder are far from being an exception in this government. According to the organization Front Line Defenders, Mexico is the fourth most dangerous country in the world for human rights defenders. In 2019 alone, 24 activists, environmentalists and land defenders were murdered. In May, several organizations, including the German Coordination for Human Rights in Mexico, documented that at least 30 human rights defenders have been killed during López Obrador’s six-year term.

Son of a dyke and a farmer, simple and extremely humble, Tomás was always concerned about the people who came to see him and those who sought him out for some support. He was dismissed in Miahuatlán by his comrades, friends and family, in a massive public tribute, in the midst of endless rain, the explosion of rockets and inconsolable expressions of rage and mourning.

The crime of don Tomás left in the Sierra Sur a mixture of pain and commitment to keep his saga alive. In the words of his son José Alberto: I am in pain as my father, as my mentor, as my comrade in struggle, but the struggle of Tomás Martínez remains. The State thought that by killing him everything would end. It is the opposite. Tomás Martínez is revived in hundreds, in thousands who today are asking for justice together.

EN/ES/DE/FR – ‘On the tightrope: Contributions and considerations from and for the anarchic combat’ – Letter by imprisoned anarchist comrade Francisco Solar

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On July 24, 2020, the anarchist comrades Monica Caballero and Francisco Solar were arrested. Francisco is accused of sending package bombs against the 54th police station and against the former Minister of the Interior, Rodrigo Hinzpeter, in July 2019, in an action claimed by “Seditious Accomplices/Fraction for Revenge“. While both are also accused of the double explosive attack against the Tánica building in the wealthy neighborhood of Vitacura on February 27, 2020, during the middle of the uprising in Chile, which was an action claimed by “Armed Affinities in Revolt“.

Both comrades are known not only for this case of repression, they have faced different repressive operations in Chile and Spain previously, but they are also known in the different environments of struggle, being active in publications, demonstrations, radio programs and initiatives against power.

On the tightrope: Contributions and considerations from and for the anarchic combat.

This text aims to contribute to the development and deepening of the informal anarchic combat, taking into consideration the increasingly specialized technological advances of control and surveillance of the population in general and, specially, of those who venture to rebel against what is established.

It arises from the need to bash the power harder and constantly in order to create cracks that can keep on growing.

It comes as no surprise to anyone

Read more

Kill Franco!

Stuart Christie recounts the anti-Fascist resistance in post war Spain, including his own attempt to assassinate the dictator Francisco Franco.

Stuart Christie, the Eternal Young Rebel Always in the Fight for Life, by Xavier Montanyà

Kate Sharpley Library.

Stuart Christie was born in Glasgow in 1946, too late to enlist in the International Brigades and go off and fight alongside the Spanish republicans in the 1936-39 war. As a child, though, he befriended some Scottish miners who had fought with the International Brigades in that faraway war that he was to take so closely to his heart. A war for ideals that were and are universal. He used to listen in wonder to the tales they used to tell. Taking a pride in them. Such conversations moulded his sensibility to life and struggle.

He did not know it yet, but Stuart would later be ready to carry on with their fight. He would try to complete his friends’ task in Spain. From then on, that was to be his mission and his life. A commitment to the struggle that would be deployed across many fronts. Internationalist, revolutionary antifascist activism, direct action and history, publishing and investigative journalism. Stuart Christie was the real thing, a free man.

As he was to put it in the first volume of his memoirs The Christie File: Part 1, 1946-1964: My Granny Made Me An Anarchist (2002), his granny

Read more.

Obituary: Stuart Christie (1946-2020)

Anarchist Communist Group.

We mourn the loss of our anarchist comrade Stuart Christie who died on August 15th. It was thanks to people like Stuart Christie and Albert Meltzer that British anarchism began to break with the liberal, quietist, gradualist and “non-violent” outlook that had pervaded it since the end of the Second World War. They sought to return it to its radical roots, back to a revolutionary working class anarchism that had first emerged with the First International.

Joining the Anarchist Federation in Glasgow in 1962, Stuart became involved in the anti- nuclear bombs movement, at first with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and then with the more radical direct-actionist wing of the anti-bomb movement, the Direct Action Committee and its successor the Committee of 100.

Stuart made contact with the action groups of the exiled Spanish anarchist movement, organised around Internal Defence (DI) and involving militants of long standing like Octavio Alberola and Luis Andres Edo. As such he was arrested in Spain in 1964 and charged with the possession of explosives. These were intended for an attempt on Franco’s life and he was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. Thanks to a continuing international campaign he was freed after 3 years.

Returning to Britain he re-founded the Anarchist Black Cross with Albert Meltzer, which acted as a support organisation for prisoners internationally. Its bulletin transformed itself into Black Flag, a paper advocating revolutionary class struggle anarchism.

Stuart Christie co-wrote The Floodgates of Anarchy with Meltzer in 1970, which further popularised class struggle anarchism. He strongly believed in the power of the printed word and founded Cienfuegos Press and Cienfuegos Press Review. He was also involved in the setting up in the Centro Iberica and International Libertarian Centre in London with the Spanish militant Miguel Garcia.

In 1972 he and other defendants were acquitted in the Angry Brigade trial. In 1974 he moved to Orkney and edited a local radical paper there, the Free-Winged Eagle. In 1981 he moved to Hastings and set up the Anarchist Film Channel in 2006. He also produced a three-volume autobiography which was then condensed into a bestselling paperback Granny Made Me an Anarchist in 2004. In addition, Stuart brought out his history of the Federacion Anarquista Iberica, We, The Anarchists! And re-published Jose Peirats’ three volume history of the Spanish anarchist movement, continuing his publication and distribution of books and films through his Christie Books.

Stuart did much to popularise class struggle anarchism, and his importance to the movement in Britain cannot be underestimated. He was definitely “on the side of the angels”. However, it would be false to say that there were no differences with the current in British anarchism which has culminated in the Anarchist Communist Group. He was suspicious of specific anarchist organisations, preferring an approach of ad hoc organisation and networks of affinity groups. As a result, he was to characterise the Organisation of Revolutionary Anarchists as “semi-Trotskyist”. Similarly, he gained entrance for the Franco-German militant Daniel Cohn-Bendit, with whom he shared similar organisational views, to the congress in Carrara in Italy of the International of Anarchist Federations. Cohn-Bendit promptly denounced the Cuban anarchists present as agents of the CIA for daring to criticise the Castro regime. As Stuart was to write himself: “He had no proof whatsoever for this accusation…” Well, now Cohn-Bendit is a reformist politician, which speaks for itself. Stuart thought that the existing anarchist federations were sclerotic, oligarchic and bureaucratic and indeed there was some truth in this, with people like Federica Montseny and Germinal Esgleas of the exiled CNT-FAI, always opposed to militant direct action, carrying out bureaucratic manoeuvres at the congress. However, there were also present many long-term anarchist communist militants like Alfonso Failla, Mario Mantovani and Umberto Marzocchi. Was it the right decision to abandon the Congress and set up an informal one at the beach nearby as Stuart and others did? The Congress represented a clash between different generations, but it also represented a clash between spontaneism and organisation. Certainly, one of the positive things that came out of the informal congress was the idea to set up Anarchist Black Crosses in different countries, but looking back was it not a good idea to develop better relations with the best of the militants of previous generations?

Despite these fraternal criticisms, we appreciate the many beneficial influences that Stuart had on British anarchism, not least the creation of the ABC, Black Flag, and his consistent publishing efforts. Stuart was a comrade of great charm, warmth, humour and a wide and expansive culture. He will be sorely missed. We extend our condolences to his daughter and granddaughters.

Message from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton – protest tomorrow.

Dear All

I hope you are well and not wilting in the heat. Thank you to everyone who supported Glyn, Jon and Sally on their Big Ride for Palestine. They raised £300 for the Middle East Children’s Alliance and the money will be targeted for children’s Play equipment in Gaza.

Stop Arming Israel Campaign -HSBC Bank Town Centre- 22nd August

Southampton PSC will be Campaigning outside HSBC Bank in the town centre, Above Bar Street on 22nd August from 10.30 am -12.30. Please come and add your voice. We will be asking people to sign a petition asking the UK Government to place a two way arms embargo on Israel.

According to the Campaign against the Arms Trade, between 2014-2018 the UK provided export licenses for the export of military equipment to Israel worth £364 million.

HSBC bank invests in and provides financial services to, companies such as BAE Systems and Raytheon that provide arms to Israel.HSBC also invests in Caterpillar, a company that provides armed bulldozers that Israel uses to destroy Palestinian homes.

Please come and get involved in this campaign.

We will have flags and placards. We will be respecting social distancing guidelines and we advise that you wear a face covering.

We look forward to seeing you.

Warm Regards Cathryn Spiller (Secretary Southampton PSC)

Remember to follow us on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/southamptonpsc

Stuart Christie 1946-2020: anarchist, antifascist, publisher and educator

Stuart Christie passed away on the 15th August 2020, the anniversary of the day in 1964 that the Spanish state announced the capture of two ‘terrorists’ in an attempt (one of many) on the life of the fascist dictator Francisco Franco. He will be sorely missed.

Short biography by John Patten here.

Bella Caledonia

If you would like to share your own memories of Stuart for a more comprehensive biography contact KSL, BM Hurricane, London  WC1N 3XX. or e -mail:

info@katesharpleylibrary.net

His work on the historiography of the anarchist movement and the Spanish Civil War can be sampled here:

https://christiebooks.co.uk

his anarchist film archive:

https://christiebooks.co.uk/anarchist-film-archive

If you would like to help carry on Stuart’s work paypal to:

christie@btclick.com

Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners Mônica & Francisco in Brazil

Words of Mónica Caballero from the San Miguel Prison, Santiago. Chile

Compañerxs, friends, and family:

I’m writing to you again from a cell. I am being held in the San Miguel prison, for 14 days I will remain isolated under the protocol for prevention of contagion from COVID-19, later I will be classified and taken to a definitive module.

It’s been almost 10 years since I first set foot in the prison as a defendant. During these years my life has always been linked in one way or another to prisons, although the control systems may change, but their structure essentially does not, punishment and repentance are still sought.

Almost 10 years ago when I entered prison, I was fully convinced that a set of anti-authoritarian ideas and practices were fundamental keys to face domination, in all this time there has not been a single day in which I have thought otherwise. I stand in this prison with my head held high, proud of the road I have traveled.

Solidarity with all anti-capitalist struggles Newen Peñis, Mapuche Political Prisoners Subversive prisoners and prisoners of the revolt To the street!

Mónica Andrea Caballero Sepúlveda Anarchist prisoner.

July 2o2o.


Porto Alegre. Burning barricade and banners at dawn in solidarity with Mônica and Francisco. In front of the enemy: Indomitable!!!

Since last Friday, July 24th, we have felt the imprisonment of two anarchists Mônica Caballero and Francisco Solar, known enemies of the State and of domination. They spent years arrested first in Chile for the Bombs Case, and then in Spain, more than 4 years kidnapped, accused of attacking a basilica, a Catholic church. And today, they are kidnapped again by the Chilean state accused of sending two explosive packages, one against a police station famous for leading repression and the other against former Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter, an old repressor and boss of sending the bullets from his office, what some would call the intellectual author of the crimes of the Chilean state. They are also accused of being responsible for two explosive devices left in the building of a luxury real estate company, Tánica.

Far from the punitive logic, this is not a call for the innocence of these compas, they are neither innocent nor guilty. They are part of those on the other side of the machine of domination and of the society that sustains it, they are part of those who have demonstrated that they do not negotiate with repression when it knocks on their doors, of those who shout death to the state and long live anarchy in the very face of the judges. The power of democracy and its networks of domination over the actions of the compas and over the supposedly “criminal” character of the actions for which they are accused is not recognized. This call is for the propagation of hostility as an action of solidarity with all those who fight and through action, for the solidarity that propagates the action that offends the imposed normality, because these acts of solidarity also expand anarchic sedition against domination.

It is nothing new that the state kills and tortures not only using death policies, but above all the armed wing of the forces of law and order, that is, all its police forces which are always despicable.

The role of the church in this miserable life is fundamental, the church is the spiritual producer of blameless and resigned dominators. The Church, whichever one it may be, is one of the greatest accomplices in the maintenance of the unhealthy order of democracy and the exploitation of labor, causing in people the disease of inferiority and the surrender of life and decisions in the hands of a non-existent fetish. But not many seem to worry about the millions of people who lost their freedom to act and think, dominated by some pastor or priest.

On this side of the ridge, the scenery is not much different. We know even more about the murderous and mutilating police, the life condemned to misery, and the role of the many churches in the multiplication of the resigned and blameless dominated.

Some of us have chosen to keep our anger against all this burning, aware that passivity only strengthens those who dominate, aware that for the dominator to triumph, the complicity of all is fundamental. In times when much is said against fascism and phrases such as “with fascism you don’t argue, you fight” are repeated, we choose to speak with actions, and this is worth more that hundreds of words enclosed in the normality of social networks, the new corral of freedom of expression.

That’s why we chose the day when the tyrant who imposes on us was walking in the region so as to not to collaborate with the image of submissive cattle that they want to present to him.

Expect this domination to end in the exhaustion of tyrants? Expect a new leader to change something? We must take our lives in our hands and for that it is essential to bite our tormentor. In the end every violent action is valid and justified by centuries of domination.

Every small act, as simple as putting some tires together, lighting them up with a little gasoline, changing the normality of any day, provoking others who don’t agree, and collaborating with combative solidarity.

May these flames warm up and bring courage to the anarchists who in Italy, Russia, Spain, France, Belarus, Chile… face the cold repressive winds.

May the fires from the barricades warm the cold of dawn.

On one of the banners could be read: “In front of the enemy: Indomitable! Strength to Mônica and Francisco” and on the other: “Against all authority! Long live anarchy!”

From: Anarchists Worldwide

The Durruti Column 1936

Message from Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Southampton Branch

Dear All
One of our long standing Members/Group Officers, Jon Ellis, whom many of you will know, is entering the Big Ride for Palestine this year.Below is a message from him.
To sponsor Jon: Please make a payment to Acc:08269513 Sort:08/90/26

For Mr J D Ellis and Reference it Gaza. It will be sent to the Middle East Children’s Alliance.

Dear Friend of Palestine,

This year numerous small and local Rides for Palestine will be taking place around Britain during the week ending Sunday 2 August. The annual Big Ride covering 100 – 200 miles with hundreds of participants is not possible due to Covid 19 restrictions. Local rides will have a maximum of 6 riders in a group.

On Saturday 1 August I am leading a Hampshire / Dorset Ride from Lymington Quay to Poole Quay and back again, a round trip distance of about 44 miles.

44 miles is significant. It is the length of the militarized fence which imprisons the Palestinian people of Gaza, the site of hundreds of Palestinian deaths and thousands of wounded.

Please join me for the Ride on 1 August if you are free and if you can cycle the distance. If planning to ride please seek sponsorship. If unable to ride with me please consider sponsoring me to complete the ride.

The route is substantially flat, including the Bournemouth and Poole seafronts, with small hills in Bournemouth itself and between Highcliff and Lymington. The weather forecast is good. There will be a ONE HOUR stop for lunch on Poole Quay, with short stops in Christchurch and Bournemouth for publicity.

The Ride will depart from Lymington Quay outside the Ship Inn at 10am, reaching Bournemouth pier at about 11.30am and Poole Quay at about 12.30pm.  We aim to return to Lymington by 4pm. The ride moves at the speed of the slowest, and goes whatever the weather. We ride with the Flag of Palestine.

The Ride will be measured and recorded on the sports website STRAVA.

You can reach Lymington by train with a bike via Brockenhurst  – half hourly service, bikes free.

Contact to ride or sponsor : Jon Ellis,   Mob.07775982908

lymfriendsofpalestine@gmail.com

For info about the national Big Ride for Palestine event go to :

https://www.thebigride4palestine.com/

Southampton Palestine Solidarity will be in Southampton outside West Quay on 22nd August from 10.30am to 12.30. Tell HSBC and the UK Government to STOP ARMING ISRAEL. Come and join us. More details will follow in a further email in about 10 days time.

Best wishes
Cathryn M Spiller (Secretary Southampton PSC)