Albert Meltzer, anarchist, born London, January 7,1920;
died, Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset, May 7, 1996.
Albert Meltzer was one of the most enduring and respected torchbearers of the international anarchist movement in the second half of the twentieth century. His sixty-year commitment to the vision and practice of anarchism survived both the collapse of the Revolution and Civil War in Spain and The Second World War; he helped fuel the libertarian impetus of the 1960s and 1970s and steer it through the reactionary challenges of the Thatcherite 1980s and post-Cold War 1990s.
Fortunately, before he died, Albert managed to finish his autobiography, I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels, a pungent, no-punches pulled, Schvejkian accoun... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Another fine comrade gone! Just heard the news that Amedeo Bertolo, a friend and comrade since May 1968, a pivotal figure in the Italian and international anarchist movement, passed away this morning (22 November ) in Milan. Amedeo was, with others, including Giuseppe Pinelli, a founding member of the Ponte della Ghisolfa anarchist group, the Croce Nera Anarchica and its bulletin which later became the glossy monthly ‘Revista A’, and countless other anarchist and libertarian initiatives and actions over the years. One such spectacular action was the 1962 kidnapping of Franco’s vice-consul in Milan, Isu Elias – the first political kidnapping since the war. The abduction was in response to the sentencing to death... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) What is anarchism?
Anarchism is the movement for social justice through freedom. It is concrete, democratic and egalitarian. It has existed and developed since the seventeenth century, with a philosophy and a defined outlook that have evolved and grown with time and circumstance. Anarchism began as what it remains today: a direct challenge by the underprivileged to their oppression and exploitation. It opposes both the insidious growth of state power and the pernicious ethos of possessive individualism, which, together or separately, ultimately serve only the interests of the few at the expense of the rest.
Anarchism promotes mutual aid, harmony and human solidarity, to achieve a free, classless society — a cooperative commonwealt... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Cienfuegos Press is an anarchist publishing project that for the last eight years has made a startling variety of books, pamphlets and magazines available to the English language reader. Its first book was Sabate, the story of one part of the guerrilla war carried on by anarchists against the Franco regime in Spain until the late 1950’s.
Man! , an edited collection of articles and poems from the U.S. journal of the same name that published from 1933 until 1940 followed later. The Press has since published many, many books and booklets including Berkman’s The Russian Tragedy, Albert Meltzer’s The International Revolutionary Solidarity Movement, Gregory Maximoff’s The Guillotine at Work, Poole’s Land and Liberty... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) It is becoming increasingly fashionable these days for academics and professional writers and historians to illustrate their theses with the assistance of the tape-recorded mumblings of the inarticulate to support their unsubstantiated class-prejudices. This book is described by its publishers as “a deft combination of serious in-depth research and imaginative reconstruction”, but not one word of fact emerges from it. (We subsequently learned that the “in-depth research” and information came from a fringe theater group). The author’s “imaginative reconstruction” consists of one specific reference to the blowing-up of the Post Office Tower which, incidentally, was omitted from the police charges whic... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) I am sorry to announce the death this morning of my old friend and comrade Antonio Martin Bellido who died at 5.00 am, the same time 51 years ago as his two comrades, Joaquin Delgado and Francisco Granado, whose lives – and deaths were so closely entwined with his own. His funeral will take place in a few days.
Antonio Martín Bellido, Madrid 1938-Paris August 17, 2014: son of a Madrid UGT (General Workers’ Union) militant exiled in France where he lived, in Strasbourg, from the age of two. Having served his apprenticeship as an electrical engineer, he moved to Paris at the age of 19 where he joined the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth (FIJL). In 1962 he visited London with other young Spanish and French anarchists... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Antonio Téllez Solà, who has died at his home in Perpignan aged 84, was one of the last survivors of the anarchist resistance which fought to overthrow the Franco dictatorship. He was also one of the first historians of the post civil war urban and rural guerrilla resistance to the fascist regime. In his actions and his writings, Tellez personified refusal to surrender to tyranny.
The son of a railway worker, he was born in Tarragona and was radicalized by the October 1934 insurrection in Asturias, which failed when the unions outside the mining region failed to give their support. On 19 July 1936, when the workers, this time united, held at bay the rebellion of most of the Spanish officer class against the infant left-wing R... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) WRITING IN the preface to l’Espagne Libre, in 1946, the year of my birth, Albert Camus said of the Spanish struggle: “It is now nine years that men of my generation have had Spain within their hearts. Nine years that they have carried it with them like an evil wound. It was in Spain that men learned that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, that there are times when courage is not its own recompense. It is this, doubtless, which explains why so many men, the world over, regard the Spanish drama as a personal tragedy”.
On 1 April 2009 seventy years will have passed since General Franco declared victory in his three-year crusade against the Spanish Republic. His victory was won with the milita... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Statement by Vivaldo Fagundes
The militians’ distrust of the motives for imposing militarization was not unfounded. Vivaldo Fagundes, a Portuguese anarchist who participated in the Spanish Revolution has this to say:
“I have an extract from a letter of Indalecio Prieto, a minister, to Fernando de los Rios, then ambassador in Washington, in which Prieto gives an account of the work he was doing to finish anarchism off. He told him that already he had managed to win over its finest militants by interesting them in governmental politics and that the most stubborn ones, “the uncontrollables”, would be annihilated by militarization — an anti-revolutionary ploy clearly anti-libertarian in its objectives &mdas... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) My eulogy for Brenda:
Good morning everyone and thank you all for coming on this sad occasion to say goodbye to Bern, my wife, life partner, friend and comrade through fifty-one years of life’s vicissitudes, caprices and blessings — the beloved mother of Branwen — and Nanna to granddaughters Merri and Mo.
Brenda was an intensely private person who— although engaging, sociable and witty — disliked being the focus of attention, but I’ve no doubt she would have been pleased to see everyone here, sharing this day with us.
A baby-boomer, born in Shoreditch in London in April 1949, Bern’s formative years were spent in Gosport in Hampshire where her lovely dad, Bert, was a Chief Petty Officer, a ‘... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Sad news today: after a month’s deterioration in his health, Flavio Costantini, graphic artist and friend of 40-years, passed away peacefully in a Rapallo hospice on Monday 20 September. His wife, Wanda, and other close family members and friends were at his bedside. Flavio had lung cancer for some time; the seriousness of his condition, however, was known only to himself and Wanda – until near the end, which came sooner than everyone expected. He leaves cheery memories, and the world – artistically at least, with his visually thought-provoking images – a richer place …
Flavio collaborated with me from the launch of the first Cienfuegos Press publication, illustrating the cover of Antonio Tellez’s &lsqu... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) More often than not it is the artist, writer or poet, rather than the historian or sociologist, who succeed in capturing the spirit of an age; in so doing, they make an important contribution to our understanding of society.
Flavio Costantini is such a person. Born in Rome in 1926, his earliest ventures into art were motivated more by intellectual frustration than by artistic masters. “I started to draw because I read the Kafka books… it was impossible to write like Kafka, so I began to draw”. Other writers followed, but it was the human condition as portrayed by Kafka which was to remain the dominant influence in Costantini’s world.
Retiring from the navy in 1955, Costantini returned to Italy to begin a new caree... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) 8 Reforms and Revolution
Anticipation of what is coming anyway tends to be regarded as reform. It is possible, at the time of writing, to see a classic monument to liberal do-goodism in Victoria Embankment Gardens, where one of the typically useless London statues to forgotten nonentities is raised. Epitaphs are notoriously inaccurate, but here we are asked to admire “William Edward Forster 1818/86, to whose wisdom and courage England owes the establishment throughout the land of a national system of elementary education”. Could one better it for an outrageous lie? Mr Forster was no doubt a worthy man, but does England really owe its elementary education to him? When he was born, England was largely illiterate, and when he di... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) I’ve just heard  from Xavier Montanyà that Floreal Barberà Blanch, another of the unsung heroes of the anarchist anti-fascist struggle, has died at the age of 98. A veteran of the 117th Brigade of the 25th Division on the Levante front where he fought until the final exile in France. His extraordinary life story is too action-packed to compress into a few paragraphs, but suffice it to say among other things he was a key member of the Ponzan escape network (sometimes known as the Réseau Pat O’Leary). As a 23-year-old he saved the lives of a caravan of sixty members of the Jewish Combat Organization (OJC) who had been abandoned by their guides crossing the Pyrenees into Spain, preventing them falling int... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Goliardo Fiaschi, anarchist, born August 21 1930; died (aged 69) July 29 2000, was one of the youngest of the generation of anti-fascist partisans who resisted Mussolini’s Fascist regime in Italy and Franco’s dictatorship in Spain. (He left me his Lavallière knot floppy necktie — shown here — in his will.)
In 1943, the young Italian anarchist, Goliardo Fiaschi, falsified his birth certificate — to make himself appear older than his 13 years — and joined the wartime Italian partisans. Armed with a captured rifle almost as big as himself, he accompanied the women who regularly crossed the Apennines on foot carrying food from Parma, Reggio or Modena, some 150 miles away, back to the starving inhabita... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) CHAPTER V
On 'Active' Service; the Marquis and the Maquis;
the Cairo Mutiny; Bounty on the Mutiny
On 'Active' Service
We crossed the Channel in early 1946 and took a train, so packed that men were even sleeping on the luggage racks, across France to Marseilles. Our only contact with the outside world was with the dispirited people we saw at stations, and the main thing they were interested in was cigarettes. 'Liberation' had worn off a few months earlier; now, when anyone stole anything, they referred to it as 'being liberated'.
We stopped over a day in Marseilles. Most of the draft, young men out of England for the first time, went off looking for the brothels. A couple of KRs attached themselves to me thinking I, with my kn... (From: Hack.org.) Stuart Christie has been an active anarchist through writing, publishing and action. He first achieved notoriety in 1964, when he attempted to assassinate the dictator, Franco. He was imprisoned for 20 years but freed only 3 years later thanks to an international campaign that included Jean-Paul Sartre and Bertrand Russell. In the 1970s, Stuart and Alfred Meltzer re-formed the Anarchist Black Cross (an organization to aid anarchist prisoners), edited Black Flag magazine and – by and by – was acquitted of being part of the Angry Brigade. Below is an interview with Stuart, together with an extract from a book he wrote providing details of what happened on that fateful journey to Spain to assassinate Franco.
On 31 ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) My first meeting with the dynamic and generous-spirited writer José Martín-Artajo (Pepe) was… in London in the early part of 1968. It was a year after he broke completely with his bourgeois past and walked out of his career as a Francoist diplomat, following the US-led colonels’ coup in Greece in April 1967. He had been first secretary at the Spanish Embassy in Athens. At the same time he separated from his German wife, Christa von Petersdorff, a psychoanalyst and translator of the works of Freud into French. Christa and Pepe met while she was researching her PhD on the comparative myth of ‘Don Juan’ in France, Italy and Spain. After the split she always said, with a smile, that she had ‘known Do... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Just how important are the extremist groups in Britain today? Are they compatible with Parliamentary Democracy? These are some of the questions John Tomlinson, academic ex-labor M.P. and Junior Minister at the Foreign Office sets out to answer in this book — or does he? At the end of it, the reader is left wondering just who the extremists are; the medicine the author prescribes would serve only to further polarize society and kill the doctor as well as the patient.
In spite of his self-styled impartiality and objectivity, Tomlinson’s position is that of an “extremist of the center.” By damning Left and Right equally he hopes to infer that he is the guardian of the mythical middle ground and epitomizes the spirit of... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The life of Lucio Urtubia Jiménez (1931–2020), an anarchist from Navarre in northern Spain, is the stuff of legend. As an activist in 1950s Paris he counted André Breton and Albert Camus among his friends, worked with the legendary anarchist urban guerrilla Francisco Sabate (El Quico) in attempting to bring down Franco’s fascist regime, and carried out numerous bank robberies to fund the struggle to free Spain. But it was in 1977, after having his earlier scheme to destabilize the US economy by forging US dollars rejected by Che Guevara, he put his most infamous plan into action, successfully forging and circulating 20 million dollars of Citibank travelers checks with the goal of funding urban guerrilla groups in E... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) With the death of Luis Andrés Edo, aged 83, in Barcelona, the anarchist movement has lost an outstanding militant and original thinker, and I have lost a comrade-in-arms, a former cell-mate — and an irreplaceable friend. The son of a Guardia Civil, Luis was born in the benemérita barracks in Caspe (Zaragoza) in 1925, but the family moved to Barcelona the following year when his father, Román, was transferred to a new cuartel in the Sants district of Barcelona, where the young boy grew up, educated by nuns, monks and priests. Later, after the social revolution of July 19 1936, the ten-year old Luis became not only a ‘child of the barricades’, but also a ‘son of the CENU’ (el Consell de l&rsq... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Antonio Martín Bellido, Madrid 1938-Paris August 17, 2014: son of a Madrid UGT (General Workers’ Union) militant exiled in France where he lived, in Strasbourg, from the age of two.
Having served his apprenticeship as an electrical engineer, he moved to Paris at the age of 19 where he joined the Iberian Federation of Libertarian Youth (FIJL). In 1962 he visited London with other young Spanish and French anarchists to take part in the annual anti-nuclear Aldermaston march, during which many enduring friendships were forged.
That same year he joined the recently re-constituted MLE’s (Libertarian Movement in Exile) clandestine planning section known as ‘Defensa Interior’ (D.I.), whose remit was (a) to organize ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Born 20 March 1924, died 6 February 6 2004
The milieu in which the anti-nuclear Scottish Committee of 100 flourished no longer exists, its activists having long since adopted other agendas. However, its brief flowering will always be associated with the dynamic figure of Walter Morrison, who seemingly at birth had signed up for life as a private extraordinaire in the Awkward Squad.
Morrison, who has died in his eightieth year, fought courageously against the wrongs in society, proudly wore the badges of nonviolence and libertarian socialism, and spoke his mind fearlessly no matter where he was or in whose company.
Angered by the Clydebank blitz in 1940, the 16-year-old Morrison lied about his age and joined the army. He wanted to fight f... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In 1943, the young Italian anarchist, Goliardo Fiaschi, falsified his birth certificate — to make himself seem older than his 13 years — and joined the wartime Italian partisans. Armed with a captured rifle almost as big as himself, he accompanied the women who regularly crossed the Apennines on foot to carry food from Parma, Reggio or Modena, some 150 miles away, back to the starving inhabitants of his Tuscan birthplace, Massa di Carrara. In 1944, he was adopted as a mascot by the Costrignano Brigade, and, in that role, entered Modena as standard-bearer on its liberation in April 1945.
Fiaschi, who has died aged 69, was one of the youngest of the generation of anti- fascist partisans who fought against Mussolini’s rule i... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Russian Anarchists (1967) was followed by Kronstadt 1921 (1970) and in 1972, Russian Rebels: 1600–1800. He then moved into American anarchism with The Haymarket Tragedy (1984). This focused on the campaign for the eight-hour day in Chicago in 1886 during which seven policemen were killed by a bomb, and for which four innocent anarchists were executed — one cheated the gallows by killing himself, and another three served sentences until pardoned by the state governor. Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background (1991) established that the two men, executed in 1927 in Massachusetts, were serious revolutionaries rather than “philosophical anarchists”.
Avrich was born in Brooklyn, New York, into a Jewish family origina... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) My first meeting with Miguel García García took place in the mid-1960s in la primera galleria of Madrid’s Carabanchel Prison. He was in transit to another penitentiary and was in what was known as ‘periodo’ – a fortnight of sanitary isolation, ostensibly to prevent or limit the spread of disease. I was the practice nurse (practicante) for the 7th Gallery, a position that gave me the run of most of the prison and allowed me to liaise with comrades in different wings, especially with isolated transit prisoners or prisoners in solitary confinement. Miguel passed through Carabanchel on a number of occasions over the years, going backwards and forwards between penitentiaries and Yeserias, Spain’s main ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) In Glasgow’s Pavilion Theater you would not expect to see a play like THE SASH MY FATHER WORE by Hector MacMillan. Folks go there to see pantomime more than biting satires. And one has to admire the courage of the actors who can get up in Glasgow and tear into their lines that strip the Orange and Papist legends down to their pubic hair. It’s about a stalwart Orangeman who finds to his dismay his long haired son is falling away from the faith of his fathers and the bits of realization start coming out … only fourteen miles from Scotland to Ireland… “Christ it’s three times that f’Glasgow t’Edinburgh” and did you know “King William there ‘of blessed memory’ … th... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Written by an American intelligence agent (Psychological Warfare Branch), this is the first reasonably satisfying account to date, in English, of the French Resistance. David Schoenbrun has an obvious affinity for those whose activities he describes, and his profession as a spy proves both useful and illuminating as he guides us through the murky labyrinthine world of political and military intrigue in London, Washington and Casablanca as well as Occupied and Vichy France.
But it was not the Generals who fled to London or North Africa, nor the adventurers of the OSS or the SE who constituted the French Resistance, as this book clearly shows. It was the ordinary men and women from all walks of life and varying political persuasions. They we... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) Anarchism is a revolutionary method of achieving a free nonviolent society, without class divisions or imposed authority. Whether this is a “utopian” achievement or not is irrelevant; the Anarchist, on any normal definition, is a person who, having this aim in mind, proceeds to get rid of authoritarian structures, and advances towards such a society by making people independent of the State and by intensifying the class struggle so that the means of economic exploitation will be weakened and destroyed.
There should be no confusion between anarchism and liberalism however militant the latter might be (e.g. movements towards national liberation). The liberal seeks greeter freedom within the structure of society that ... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.) The strategy of tension
Delle Chiaie’s principal contact, and puppetmaster within the Italian secret service during this period was Guido Giannettini, a rightwing journalist of high standing in western intelligence circles.
In November 1961, Giannettini had been invited by General Pedro del Valle, commander of the United States Central Naval Academy at Annapolis, to conduct a three-day seminar on The Techniques and Prospects of a Coup d’Etat in Europe. His audience included both Pentagon and CIA representatives. This appears to have established Giannettini as a respected figure among NATO spy chiefs.
At this time a principal concern in western strategic thinking was the need to counter nascent national libe... (From: TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)