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Durruti

One of my personal heroes, Buenaventura Durruti typifies the uncompromising anarchist.http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:J_QH3t69FPvpbM:http://www.smotyndu.info/images/durruti.jpg

Durruti had a long history of political activism as far back as 1917 when he was involved in a violent UGT strike. Escaping to France he eventually came back to Barcelona in 1920 to organise workers and then in 1923 became involved in the shooting of the Archbishop of Saragossa. Once again he was forced to flee and travelled throughout South America. Returning again to Barcelona he became very influential in the CNT & FAI anarchist organisations.

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Original Photo of 3 Volunteers in front of a F.A.I (federacion Anarquista Iberia) poster. The F.A.I were the 'no compromise' anarchist inner group of the C.N.T (Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo) trade union. It is likely they were photographed signing up to the union or even the militia in 1936.


In response to the Franco rebellion and as an official of the CNT he commanded and took part in the storming of the Atarazanas barracks on July 1936. In spite of enormous casualty figures the battle remains a prime example of selfless bravery from what were for the most part ordinary factory workers. Within days armed workers and hastily put together militia groups rushed towards Saragossa to fight the advancing Nationalists.

He lead what became known as the Durruti Column – an almost mythical group of austere CNT militants who numbered around 6000 that expanded to 20,000 if you include regular troops and civilians. After skirmishes on the Aragon front (Caspe & Pina de Ebro) Durruti returned to help defend Madrid but was fatally wounded in a tragic accident (the truth may never be known – some say he was assassinated) and died on November 20th (the same day as Jose Antonio was executed in Alicante prison).

So who was Durruti? He had no time for politics or Politician’s and only believed in doing whatever was necessary to defeat the nationalists and further social revolution. I used the word uncompromising earlier and this is correct – he would take no part in the Republican government and only supported its aims whilst they agreed with his. He made many enemies amongst Politians, republican army officers, the Spanish bourgeois and even amongst the civilian population of the Aragon front. He only saw the bigger picture and when he organised agricultural collectives in order to efficiently get the harvest in to feed the cities the rural workers often turned against him. To many people, even today, he represents the ultimate hardline anarchist.

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Another original hand coloured photograph. A militia man in army belt and cap in front of a F.A.I anti fascist poster. Likely to be 1936 or 37.

Many of his speeches and writings are astonishingly provocative and powerful...

"There are only two roads, victory for the working class, freedom, or victory for the fascists which means tyranny. Both combatants know what's in store for the loser. We are ready to end fascism once and for all, even in spite of the Republican government.’’

‘’No government fights fascism to destroy it. When the bourgeoisie sees that power is slipping out of its hands, it brings up fascism to hold onto their privileges."

‘’The Only Church That Illuminates Is A Burning Church."

"It is we the workers who built these palaces and cities here in Spain and in America and everywhere. We, the workers, can build others to take their place. And better ones! We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin its own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world here, in our hearts. That world is growing this minute."


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Columna Durruti Ration card issued to the 9th battalion of the 14th Brigade in Oviedo in 1937. On the rear of this sheet are different coupons so the soldiers & civilians could buy food and drink.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Three books! Rather important because they were published in Catalan (not Spanish) are numbered and marked ‘biblioteca del miliciano culto’ and would have been part of a library travelling with the Catalan militia in the early days of the war 1936/37.
Likely the library would have been with the Durrutis or at least with the other Catalan Militias on the Aragon Front.

 

P1010008.JPG Additionally they are stamped ‘Milicias Populares, Comite de Cultura, 5th Regimiento Comandancia Este’

 

 



See Durruti Column photo album