Anarchist insurrection of Alt Llobregat

The Anarchist insurrection of Alt Llobregat was a revolutionary general strike which took place in January 1932, principally organized by CNT unions in the mining and textile sectors.[1] It was the first of the three insurrections carried out by the CNT during the time of the Second Spanish Republic (followed by the anarchists insurrections of January and December 1933).

Revolt of Alt Llobregat
Catalunya Berguedà.png
Location of Alt Llobregat in Catalunya
Native name Revolta de l'Alt Llobregat
Date18–27 January 1932 (1932-01-18 – 1932-01-27)
LocationAlt Llobregat,
 Catalonia
Also known asAnarchist insurrection of Alt Llobregat
TypeGeneral strike
CauseEconomic inequality
MotiveLibertarian communism
ParticipantsCNT

HistoryEdit

The outbreak of the revolutionary strike was the result of the economic situation in the area and the country, and the expectations of radical social change that had created many sectors of workers since the early days of the republican era. In Catalonia, the most radical sectors of the anarchists controlled the CNT, which coincided with an increase in social conflict between workers and the republican state.[1] Preceded by the Castilblanco events and the Arnedo events, the revolt began on 19 January 1932, when the miners of the San Cornelio colony, in Fígols, started a strike and seized weapons from the somatén (Catalan parapolice) and began patrolling the streets. Some workers even proclaimed "libertarian communism." The reason for the revolt was the harsh working conditions in the mines, with long hours and lack of security at the bottom of the shafts, and also the expectations raised by the new rights of assembly and association that the newly approved Spanish Constitution of 1931 recognized.

The following day the conflict had spread to other towns in Alt Llobregat such as Berga, Sallent, Cardona, Balsareny, Navarclés and Súria, where they stopped the mines and closed the shops. In Manresa workers' pickets prevented access to factories and workshops. Telephone lines were cut. In many places the republican flags were replaced by the red and black flags of the CNT. That same day a delegate from the CNT Regional Committee proclaimed in Fígols, in front of the revolutionary committee created by the miners, that "libertarian communism had arrived", news that spread throughout the area.[2]

The following day, 21 January, Manuel Azaña declared before the Cortes: "I am not scared that there are strikes ... because it is a right recognized by law", but no one could take "an attitude of rebellion against the Republic" and that the military had the obligation to intervene against these "excesses". The government of the Republic ordered an armed intervention and thus, on 22 January, the first military units arrived in Manresa and by the next day they had already occupied all the towns in the area except Fígols. The miners had blown up a powder magazine and fled through the mountains. Republican rule was restored and the miners were fired. [3]

 
Buenaventura Durruti.

On 23 January, when only Fígols remained under insurgent control, the National Committee of the CNT agreed to "give the order to stop all of Spain, accepting it with all its consequences." However, only a few isolated towns in Valencia and Aragon followed in the footsteps of Alt Llobregat. In Alcorisa the insurgents planted two bombs in the Civil Guard barracks, and in Castel de Cabra, the rioters seized "the City Hall, destroyed the tax register and all the documents that were in the archives of the municipal secretary." Infantry troops were sent from Barcelona under the command of Domingo Batet to put an end to the riots. On 24 January Fígols was recaptured by the state, and by 27 January the first anarchist insurrection against the Republic came to an end.[4]

There were many detainees and all CNT centers in the affected regions were closed, but the repressive measure that had the greatest impact was the government's decision to apply the Defense of the Republic Law to a hundred detainees, who were deported to the African colonies (Morocco, Western Sahara and Guinea). On 22 January, when the troops occupied Manresa, in Barcelona several anarchist militants were arrested, among whom were the brothers Francisco Ascaso and Domingo Ascaso, Buenaventura Durruti and Tomás Cano Ruiz.[1] They were transferred to the steamship "Buenos Aires", anchored in the port. Four days later there were already more than 200 detainees on the ship. On 28 January a hundred of the deportees started a hunger strike in protest and wrote a manifesto denouncing their defenselessness. Some managed to leave, but on 10 February the "Buenos Aires" set sail from the port of Barcelona with 104 detainees on board. After picking up other detainees in Cádiz, the ship passed through the Canary Islands and finally docked at Villa Cisneros on April 3. On the way, some of the prisoners had fallen ill, one of them died, and others were released. The last deportees returned to the Peninsula in September.[5]

With this mass deportation, the confrontations between the CNT and the republican-socialist government became even more intense.[5] The uprising was also a trigger for a further split within the CNT between the libertarian possibilist tendency and the anarchist, as the strategic differences of each sector began to clash.[1] After publishing a manifesto, Ángel Pestaña and other possibilists were expelled from the CNT and formed the Syndicalist Party, with the intention of participating in state politics.[6]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d Diccionari d'Història de Catalunya, p. 35, ed. 62, Barcelona, 1998, ISBN 84-297-3521-6
  2. ^ Casanova, Julián (2007). República y Guerra Civil. Vol. 8 de la Historia de España, dirigida por Josep Fontana y Ramón Villares (in Spanish). Barcelona: Crítica/Marcial Pons. pp. 65–66. ISBN 978-84-8432-878-0.
  3. ^ Casanova, Julián (2007). República y Guerra Civil. Vol. 8 de la Historia de España, dirigida por Josep Fontana y Ramón Villares (in Spanish). Barcelona: Crítica/Marcial Pons. p. 66. ISBN 978-84-8432-878-0.
  4. ^ Casanova, Julián (2007). República y Guerra Civil. Vol. 8 de la Historia de España, dirigida por Josep Fontana y Ramón Villares (in Spanish). Barcelona: Crítica/Marcial Pons. p. 67. ISBN 978-84-8432-878-0.
  5. ^ a b Casanova, Julián (2007). República y Guerra Civil. Vol. 8 de la Historia de España, dirigida por Josep Fontana y Ramón Villares (in Spanish). Barcelona: Crítica/Marcial Pons. pp. 67–68. ISBN 978-84-8432-878-0.
  6. ^ Tomás Álvarez: Ángel Pestaña: El anarquista de la triste figura. Diario de León, April 25, 2004.