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New pamphlet: The Iron Column : Testament of a Revolutionary by Elias Manzanera

category iberia | history of anarchism | press release author Saturday July 08, 2006 04:41author by KSL - Kate Sharpley Library Report this post to the editors

Elias Manzanera helped to set up the Valencian anarchist militia unit, the Iron Column, to unleash social revolution against the military and fascist revolt of July 1936 which began the Spanish Civil War. The Iron Column was the most intransigent and most maligned of the anarchist militias. Manzanera served on its War Committee and here remembers both its achievements, and his comrades who fell fighting, not only against fascism, but for anarchy.

The Iron Column : Testament of a Revolutionary by Elias Manzanera
With a profile by Ramon Liarte and an introduction by the Kate Sharpley Library. Translated by Paul Sharkey.

"[Manzanera's] attitudes stand in sharp relief. First, he has an intense pride, both in his association with the Iron Column and in the place that he comes from. Secondly, he expressed the firm, almost puritan idealism which drove him and so many of his comrades: bourgeois society was on the way out and the new one would have no need of bourgeois vices. His language comes from another time when 'manhood' meant 'dignity'. Now we would say 'Do the right thing.'
"Finally, he has the bitter tone of someone used to being lied about. The people in arms had defeated the military revolt but the republican bourgeoisie and their Communist Party allies campaigned ceaselessly against the revolution. The Iron Column was one of their favourite targets. In the language of power, Communists destroying collectives and killing peasants were 'restoring order' – anarchists defending them were 'uncontrollables'. For anyone unwilling to come out and say 'I believe in power and I want my snout in the trough!' it's always a good trick to divide your anarchist opponents into impractical idealists or criminal opportunists. But the Iron Column were neither 'bandits' nor 'saints'. They were revolutionaries who knew who their enemies were. For that reason, their long and painful odyssey is worth studying."
From the Introduction.

Introduction: The Iron Column and the Spanish Revolution
Further reading on the Iron Column
Profile of the author
Touring Valencia
The Fascist Revolt
An Entire Column
The Salesian convent
The make-up of the Column
Formation of the War Committee
Leaving Valencia for the Front
Reaching Barracas
from Barracas to Sarrion
The Battle of Sarrion
On to La Puebla de Valverde
Searching for and capturing the wretches misusing the Column's name
In Puerto de Escandon
What our young men wrote in the newspaper
Glimpses of La Puebla
The sort of thing the young people wrote for our newspaper Linea de fuego
In Puerto de Escandon
Deservedly remembered
The victory belongs to you, Galileo
A fraternal Libertarian message

The Iron Column : Testament of a Revolutionary by Elias Manzanera
With a profile by Ramon Liarte and an introduction by the Kate Sharpley Library. Translated by Paul Sharkey.
36 pages. Cover art by Josh MacPhee
ISBN: 1-873605-19-6 £3 (£2 to subscribers) / $3

Available direct from the publisher
Kate Sharpley Library, BM Hurricane, London, WC1N 3XX
Kate Sharpley Library, PMB 820, 2425 Channing Way, Berkeley CA 94704, USA
or from good bookshops.

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library, number 46-47, July 2006 is a special double issue, with articles on: Salvador Puig Antich and the Iberian Liberation Movement (MIL) including a critical response to the new film Salvador (starring Daniel Brühl)... The 70th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution with a special focus on the Iron Column, containing biographical articles on an Iron Column militiawoman ('La Jabalina') and Jose Pellicer, one of the Column's founders. This issue will also feature the KSL obituary of Paul Avrich. There should also be the usual news and reviews. Please contact us if you want to subscribe.

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