The legacy of Federica Montseny's search for rights.
history of anarchism |
Friday September 30, 2005 22:16 by iosaf the ipsiphi bcn
& the proposed rights of the new Catalan statue.
Federica Montseny was born 100 years ago this year in Madrid to one of the most influential anarchist families in Iberia.
"They shall not pass!
E'en should they win the day,
When men as yet unborn shall read the story,
They'll judge 'twixt those who stood in Freedom's way,
And us who died for her; whose is the glory.
It shall not be! Let them do what they may,
They shall not pass!"
Montseny was educated through the libertarian system established by the mason Francesc Ferrer i Guardia and Maria Montessori she never got an "official" schooling. - no certificates, no official exams no scrolls.
Both those educationalists had fought the Roman Catholic church for the right of children to be educated - to be literate - to fulfill their potential regardless of class origin.
She joined the CNT in 1922 (when the oldest union globally was still illegal) and wrote and wrote and wrote & wrote.
In 1936 she became the first woman minister of European government, indeed in the world and one of the first anarchists to hold a ministerial portfolio in the 2nd Republic.
As minister for Health & Public assistance, she reformed the health service, offered primary rights to women, child care, pushed an equal employment and pay agenda, organised the refugee camps of the civil war.
Her programe of government included the offer of abortion rights, information and choice to women.
I need not expound on the history of the struggle of those rights.
She was exiled to France and never returned to Madrid her birthplace, or Catalonia her final Iberian home to live permenantly.
Montseny worked and fought for the Democratic contract, between the state as represntative macro-collective and the people from whom it derives, between institutions of state and government and the "estates" of any nation or state, be they military, church, media, academia, or civil service, police, trade unions, political parties and social assembles.
The contract must never be taken for granted. It is a faustian pact without 13 year review, there is no mephistophlean clown who emerges from behind the wardrobe to call in the deal.
That is, was and ever will be -
the job of the working class.
Nor is the only expression of Democracy found on "ballot day" when the enfranchised are called to poll. I need not expound on that. Nor on the day fine words are brought together and signed by careerist politicians.
The expression of democracy must be found every day, if it is to remain in any good health. Its expression relies on the rights of man, as articulated in the French Revolution and First International and United Nations charter of Human Rights as expressed through the history of anarchy and anarchosocialism, men and women such as Federica Montseny.
Freedom of Expression.
Freedom of Association.
Freedom of cultural indentity.
Freedom of Choice.
& these rights must ever be expanded, and deepened. We may not at any stage say "we have now articulated the rights of mankind".
I think about Montseny today, and thought to share links on her life with readers of this site, as her last iberian home, Catalonia has for the first time in its history since her exile and the collapse of the 2nd republic, after discussing at many levels of its society - seen voted a "constitutional statute" in its parliament where once she was a minister.
It will now pass to the Spanish state's government in Madrid for others who are not effected by its decisions to enshrine it in "internationally recognised law".
Within that statute the legacy of Montseny belief in Free and Autonomous Will has been preserved by the article 19º "the rights of women" and I believe and argue expanded by article 20º.
"the right to die with dignity"
The right to die with dignity, means the right to refuse medical care, the right to prepare in written or other form one's wishes for one's own death.
The right to decide for oneself what ought constitute dignity in death.
the right to choose.
source material on the life of Montseny
"aquesta flor de la llibertat."