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Anarchism & Asturias - Anarquismo & Asturies
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Brian X.



Rexistrau: 23 Xun 2006
Mensaxes: 4

MensaxePublicao: Vie Xun 23, 2006 9:31 pm    Asuntu: Anarchism & Asturias - Anarquismo & Asturies Responder citando

[Art: this message and several others have been moved from this thread:
http://www.asturianus.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1208 ]

Dear Barbara:

I believe you are closely related to Marcellino Garcia (1893-1977). I read a wonderful interview with him in Paul Avrich's book "Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America." If you have not read this interview, you must do so. I admire not only his compassion and intellect, but his courage for acting on his ideals despite the terrible risks.

I must admit that I was saddened to discover that your political views differ so sharply from his. It would have been nice to find that you had carried on his legacy of compassion for the weak and exploited, rather than become a supporter of the very forces Garcia struggled to restrain.
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Carlos
Moderator


Rexistrau: 18 Och 2003
Mensaxes: 528
Llugar: Xixón

MensaxePublicao: Sab Xun 24, 2006 7:13 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

Hi Brian.

Can you explain some things on the life and the facts of Marcelino García, please?
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Brian X.



Rexistrau: 23 Xun 2006
Mensaxes: 4

MensaxePublicao: Sab Xun 24, 2006 2:04 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Carlos Plumió:
Hi Brian.

Can you explain some things on the life and the facts of Marcelino García, please?


MARCELINO GARCIA

Source: Paul Avrich, Anarchist Voices: An Oral History of Anarchism in America (AK Press 2005).

Introduction by Professor Paul Avrich:

An immigrant from Spain [San Martin, Oviedo] as a boy, Marcelino Garcia worked at a variety of hard jobs before settling in New York and meeting Pedro Esteve (1866-1925), editor of “Cultura Obrera” and the foremost Spanish anarchist in America. After Esteve’s death, Garcia emerged as a leading figure within the Cultura Obrera Group. For more than two decades he edited “Cultura Proletaria,” which succeeded “Cultura Obrera” as the principal Spanish anarchist journal in America. He was also a popular speaker at anarchist picnics and meetings, with his lilting voice and jet black hair and flowing mustache. During the 1920s and 1930s, Garcia was active in the campaign to save Sacco and Vanzetti, in the Solidaridad Internacional Anti-fascista, and in other libertarian causes. In 1937 he spent several weeks in Spain (where he met Emma Goldman) and provided an eyewitness description of the social revolution for the readers of “Cultura Proletaria.” With the victory of General Franco, however, and the outbreak of world war, the Spanish anarchist movement in America entered a period of decline from which it never recovered. In 1952 “Cultura Proletaria” suspended publication. A few years later Garcia’s companion Gloria developed a blood clot which left her paralyzed. Moving to a small house in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, Garcia nursed her until her death after five years of suffering. Tragedy struck again in 1975 when his son, who lived with him in Palmerton, was killed in an accident. On April 1, 1977, Marcelino himself passed away in his eighty-fourth year, bringing to an end his long and active career as a libertarian socialist.

Interview conducted December 18, 1971, Palmerton, Pennsylvania, USA by Professor Paul Avrich:

I was born in 1893 in San Martin (Oviedo) in the Asturias region of northern Spain, where all the rebels come from. My father was a socialist. We came to the US twice, the first time illegally when I was thirteen, then again soon after. At fifteen I was a zinc worker in West Virginia. Our family moved a lot; we were like gypsies. I worked on the docks, stoked coal furnaces, and was an elevator operator in New York. My favorite places are the town where I was born and New York. All I learned was in New York.

When did I become an anarchist? As far as I am concerned I was born an anarchist. It was in my nature, my emotions. I didn’t have to read about it; it was within me. At seven or eight years old I already had great admiration for the anarchists. I saw in them men who were willing to fight for the poor. Angiolillo, for example. He once came to my town. He was my angel. At the time I thought anarchism was a secret society. What kind of anarchist am I? A simple anarchist. The Italians say they are individualists, but they are as collectivist as you or I. A syndicalist? No. A more precise term for anarchist would be libertarian socialist. That should be the name.

The greatest influence in my life was Pedro Esteve. Look at his picture and you will see why. He was a great moral influence. I got to know him well only during the last few months of his life, though we had met several times previously and I had read his journal “Cultura Obrera.” He was the outstanding leader of the Spanish anarchists in America, an educated man who could speak in simple terms. He devoted his life to educate peasants like me.

Esteve had a serious, calm, dignified demeanor. Catalans are composed people. But he had a sense of humor. Only once did I see him blow his top, and then he was like a tiger. He spoke English and also Italian—his wife Maria was Italian. He was born in Barcelona in 1866. He planned to study medicine, but when he was fourteen his father died and he had to go to work. He became a printer, a typesetter. In 1891 he met Errico Malatesta at a convention in Milan, and also the woman he was later to marry. During 1892 he toured Spain with Malatesta until the Jerez uprising. Malatesta fled to Portugal and then England. Esteve went into hiding and the same year made his way to the United States.

Starting in late 1892 Esteve edited “El Despertar,” an anarchist journal in Paterson [New Jersey]. Around 1895 he went to Tampa [Florida], where Spaniards from Cuba worked as cigar makers. There was a stipulation in their contract that they be read to while working. Esteve sat on a high stool and read them anarchist literature. He also published a small anarchist paper in Ybor City, next to Tampa. Esteve was warned by a socialist friend that vigilantes were out to hang him, so he hid in his friend’s house for three days, shaved his beard and mustache, and returned to New York.

Esteve began publishing “Cultura Obrera” in 1911 or 1912. He wrote for the paper, set up the type, and did other tasks. He also became the secretary of the IWW [labor union] in New York, in order to serve the many Spanish sailors and dock workers in the city, who needed an organization that was open to them. He was paid ten dollars a month. But he was soon disturbed by the authoritarianism of the IWW and, not wanting to make a public issue of it, quietly resigned.

Esteve, like Malatesta, was an internationalist, and he opposed America’s entry into the war [World War I]. As a result, “Cultura Obrera” was shut down and Esteve, together with Frank Gonzalez, was arrested. The two men were questioned separately, but Gonzalez could hear Esteve’s answers; he spoke intelligently, knew his rights, and was unmoved by threats of deportation. “But you have eight children,” they said. “They are all Americans,” he replied. And he refused to stop propagandizing. “Then you won’t publish any more,” they said. There was no rule of law in those days.

But Esteve was not deported. After four hours in jail he was released, with a 24-hour guard placed at his house. He was out of work, but a Russian anarchist on 14th Street [New York City] gave him a job and persuaded him to cut off his beard and mustache again. In 1921 “Cultura Obrera” resumed publication. Esteve remained the editor until his death in September 1925, at the age of 59, about six weeks after he delivered a speech at Stelton [anarchist colony in New Jersey] (here is a picture). His oldest son was an anarchist, but he died. The others are still alive but aren’t interested.

Spaniards like Esteve began coming to the United States in large numbers during the 1890s. Many settled in port cities, like New York, Boston, and Baltimore, and worked as sailors and dock workers. Spanish seamen were masters of the Port of New York. Over the years many moved inland to the mines and factories of West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, and took up their former occupations. They were an important element in steel, mining, and metallurgy, as well as in cigarmaking. Of course not all Spaniards were anarchists, but even those who were not tended to be sympathizers. Spanish workers are by nature anarchists; Spaniards joined no other radical groups in any numbers in the US.

At the height of the movement, during the 1920s and 1930s, there were about 2,500 active Spanish anarchists in the United States, as well as about 2,000 sympathizers. The top circulation of “Cultura Prroletaria,” which I edited from the 1930s till it closed in 1952, was 4,000. But we were largely isolated. We had little contact with other anarchist groups, the biggest mistake we ever made in this country. We engaged mainly in propaganda—journals, lectures—and little participation in strikes. We were a small minority wherever we were.

In Spain itself the situation was different. Spain, in fact, was the only nation in the whole world where anarchism was truly a mass movement. I myself went to Spain during the Civil War and met Emma Goldman there. When I returned I wrote about Spain in “Cultura Proletaria” and made speeches to raise money for our comrades. I had done the same a decade earlier in behalf of Sacco and Vanzetti. The movement in Spain has been suppressed, but it will rise again in three or four years. The doors are opening.

In America the movement is dead. Many comrades have died, and after the Second World War many moved to California. They too are dying out. And the younger generation is not interested.
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Barbara Alonso Novellino



Rexistrau: 22 Och 2003
Mensaxes: 324
Llugar: Long Island, New York

MensaxePublicao: Sab Xun 24, 2006 6:33 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Cita:
l. somebody who rejects the need for a system of government in society and proposes its abolition

2. somebody who tries to overthrow a society's formal system of government or behaves in a generally lawless manner and encourages others to do the same (disapproving)


Brian,

Thats the definition of anarchist...Are you kidding me!

I would like to know who you are and how you made the determination that he was a close relative of mine.

After learning that I will have an answer for you.
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Brian X.



Rexistrau: 23 Xun 2006
Mensaxes: 4

MensaxePublicao: Sab Xun 24, 2006 6:54 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Barbara:

I hope that two-line blurb you cited isn't the extent of your understanding of anarchist philosophy and history.

Besides, I'm afraid I don't recall asking you a question in my post.

Lastly, I believe you may be related to Garcia based on a prior posting of yours. I could be wrong.

I hope you didn't interpret my original post as a personal attack on you. It wasn't. Rather, I feel that your politics are a sad footnote to Garcia's life's work.
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Barbara Alonso Novellino



Rexistrau: 22 Och 2003
Mensaxes: 324
Llugar: Long Island, New York

MensaxePublicao: Sab Xun 24, 2006 7:51 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Brian,

No the two line blurb is not the extent of my understanding...it was a reaction to your original post. I do realize how harmful the Franco regime was. During the Civil War my Grandfather, Marcellino's father, was arrested for what...who knows. He was sentenced to be hung, but that fact that he was a US citizen and I had an Maternal Uncle who was in the State Department in England he was saved.

Yes, Marcellino Garcia was my father's older brother and my Uncle. As I recall I did mention it in a post when I spoke about the family coming from Spain. My Dad came in 1906 as a 9 month old baby. The family settled in Clarksburg (Grasselli) and the men worked in the Zinc Works.

Sorry, but I did interpret your original post as a personal attack. If you read most of my posts...I have been attacked many times because of my politics. Thankfully in the USA we all have the right to believe in what we feel. My Dad, who passed in 1988, was a Liberal Democrat, as is all my family, he knew that I didn't have the same views as his, but he respected me and what I believe.

Cita:
must admit that I was saddened to discover that your political views differ so sharply from his. It would have been nice to find that you had carried on his legacy of compassion for the weak and exploited, rather than become a supporter of the very forces Garcia struggled to restrain.


This is probably what angered me the most. You don't know me yet you feel that it would have been nice to find out that I carried on his legacy of compassion for the weak and exploited. What makes you think that I have no compassion. I really don't understand how you can make that determination. Also I don't understand...a supporter of the very forces he struggled to restrain...could you please explain that to me...

Barbara
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Art
Site Admin


Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 4498
Llugar: Maryland

MensaxePublicao: Dom Xun 25, 2006 1:27 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Welcome, Brian!

I'm writing here as a moderator. Most of us here enjoy hearing good questions and different ideas, so the discussion you've begun is interesting and well-worth perusing. I'm thinking of the discussion of anarchism in Asturias, not Barbara's status as a fallen angel of anarchism. (That's a joke Barbara!)

Your style, I believe, is more confrontational than necessary. I'd recommend a less aggressive stance if your goal is to be effective. If your goal is to be on the cutting edge and chop others to pieces for your own glory, then be prepared to be chopped up yourself.

Brian X. Plumió:
Besides, I'm afraid I don't recall asking you a question in my post.


Answers don't always result from questions. They also come as responses to statements. And you've made provovcative statements. I don't blame Barbara for wanting to know who you are and on what you base your statement about her being related to Garcia. If I were in her shoes, I'd want to avoid taking the bait of a "troll", too.

"Anarchism" is a word that has many definitions. Even the dictionary definitions obviously have a strong political orientiation. I'm guessing that most of your U.S.-based readers here have had little contact with anarchism. How would an anarchist define "anarchism"? How would you define it?
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Brian X.



Rexistrau: 23 Xun 2006
Mensaxes: 4

MensaxePublicao: Llu Xun 26, 2006 5:09 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

[Art: edited to remove personal attack on member]

Dear Art,

Simply put, anarchism is the principle that all forms of authority must be justified or they must be abandoned. It does not envision a world where people live without order and rules. Thus, anarchists would consider some types of authority and coercion legitimate.

For example, a parent who grabs her child thereby preventing the child from running into a busy street would be considered a legitimate exercise of authority. Likewise, a parent who inoculates a child against polio despite the child’s loud protestations—legitimate. Similarly, segregating members of a society from the population due to that member’s destructive and violent behavior can be a legitimate exercise of authority.

On the other hand, a government that boils people alive (Uzbekistan) or that hammers nails into people’s heads (Turkey) or that disembowels people (El Salvador) or that executes children or holds them in cages in Guantanamo for years without charge (United States) would all be illegitimate.

Aside from political oppression, anarchists have long recognized economic exploitation as an illegitimate exercise of authority. For example, when a mutual fund manager pressures a company to lay off thousands of workers in order to improve his portfolio, that destructive and cruel behavior is clearly illegitimate and has no place in a future humane society (despite the fact that it is perfectly legal and even lauded in our current society).

I am not Spanish. I know next to nothing about the Asturias region of Spain. But what intrigues me is why this area produced people who could see things so clearly, and who had the courage to act according to their noble impulses. It appears these people were poor and uneducated, yet they were enlightened—more so than the vast majority of Americans with their degrees and Internet and media. How many Americans do you know who turn off “American Idol” and ponder whether the nation state system is beneficial for the majority of the world rather than a tiny elite holding the reins of each nation? Who ponder whether the stock market is the antithesis of democracy by putting workplace decisions in the hands of shareholders rather than the workers themselves? Yet these are the types of questions Asturians and Asturian-American were asking. And they were punished severely by the elite of both Spain and United States for daring to ask.

And why did this consciousness evaporate so quickly and thoroughly? One explanation could be that both Spain and the United States used violence and terror to crush these people. Here in the US, the execution of Sacco and Vanzetti, the Red Scare, the Palmer Raids, and police brutality surely had a chilling effect. I shudder to think of what cruelties were exacted on anarchists by Franco in Spain. But state terror can’t be the only reason the anarchists disappeared. [...]

Sadly, I am convinced that the current generation of Asturian-Americans, like their Italian- and Jewish American counterparts, have taken many steps backwards in their political acumen. The chasm [... in] sophistication is symbolic of an entire generation. Hopefully, these things are cyclical and future generations will have more Marcellinos [...].

P.S. If you are interested in seeing anarchism in action, I highly recommend a documentary filmed in Argentina a couple years ago called “The Take.” Much to my surprise and delight, hundreds of factories in Argentina were taken over by their workers and run democratically. I don’t believe the word “anarchism” appears once in the film, yet that is precisely what you are watching in action. And like other brief experiments in anarchism, the experiments are terminated by violence from elites in business and in the state. It is a remarkable movie and deeply moving.
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Bob
Moderator


Rexistrau: 24 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 1740
Llugar: Connecticut and Massachusetts

MensaxePublicao: Llu Xun 26, 2006 1:12 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

I don't think it is quite fair to make assumptions about the political views of Barbara, or any other member of our forum. Of course, opinions that have been explicitly expressed are fair game for debate. But please discuss the opinion, not the person who holds the opinion. Does not the independence that Barbara's relative exhibited in defense of his own points of view make her willingness to express differing opinions all the more valuable? I may agree with or disagree with members at various locations in the political spectrum, but I can still learn (and sometimes teach) from their ideas.

We all have relatives whose politics are very different from our own, and we cannot be held responsible for their opinions. To assume that our own opinions would be the same as those of our relatives or that we should be disappointed because a member's opinions differ from those of his or her relatives, assumes that we do not have our own independent life experiences and ethical perspectives. I may find a posted opinion that is different from my own annoying or even offensive, but I can still remain grateful for the author's willingness to engage me (and others) in dialogue.

To our valuable members on the far right, and those on the far left, as well as to the vast majority of members in between, please focus on the opinions and the arguments and reasoning behind them rather than on the individual who espouses the opinions.

Bob Martinez
Moderator
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Art
Site Admin


Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
Mensaxes: 4498
Llugar: Maryland

MensaxePublicao: Llu Xun 26, 2006 2:16 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

After consultation with the moderators, I have removed a few lines from Brian's message which were a personal attack on a member.

This should be obvious, but I'll say it just in case it's not. A personal attack draws attention away from whatever we're communicating about and erodes one's credibility.

------------------

Después de una consulta con los moderadores, he cortado algunas líneas del mensaje de Brian que eran un ataque personal contra un socio.

Quizá es obvio, pero lo diré en caso de que no es. Un ataque personal se se aleja la atención de lo que estamos comunicando y erosiona la credibilidad del atacante.
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Xose



Rexistrau: 24 Och 2003
Mensaxes: 338
Llugar: Washington, D.C.

MensaxePublicao: Mar Xun 27, 2006 1:26 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Brian,

Barbara is my cousin. We both share the same relation to Marcellino, as he was my great-grandmother's brother.

Barbara and I have very divergent paths politically, but I can tell you that your post was quite uncalled for and I will not stand by while my family is attacked by someone who doesn't even know us.

You said, "I am not Spanish. I know next to nothing about the Asturias region of Spain." This is obvious by your inane postings.

Anarchism died out internationally because it cannot work in a complex society. If you want to beat a dead horse, please do it on another forum.

Xose
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Barbara Alonso Novellino



Rexistrau: 22 Och 2003
Mensaxes: 324
Llugar: Long Island, New York

MensaxePublicao: Mar Xun 27, 2006 11:09 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

Dear Xose,

Thank you!

As they say...Blood is thicker than water!

Laughing

Barbara
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gabitones



Rexistrau: 18 Xut 2006
Mensaxes: 22

MensaxePublicao: Sab Pay 11, 2006 9:27 am    Asuntu: Anarchism is not died Responder citando

Anarchism isn't completely died, neither in Spain nor in Asturias. It's true that it hasn't the strenght it had before the Spanish Civil War, but
here you can read some things about Spanish Anarchism nowdays:

The CNT is the traditional spanish anarchist trade union. The CNT is still active today. Their influence, however, is limited. The CNT, in 1979, split into two factions: CNT/AIT and CNT/U. The CNT/AIT claimed the original "CNT" name, which led the CNT/U to change its name to Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) in 1989, which retains most of the CNT's principles. The CGT is much larger, with perhaps 50,000 members (although it represents as many as two million workers), and is currently the third largest union in Spain. An important cause for the split and the main practical difference between the two trade unions today is that the CGT participates, just like any other Spanish trade union, in elecciones sindicales, where workers choose their representatives who sign their collective bargaining agreements. CGT has an important number of representatives in, for example, SEAT, the Spanish car manufacturer and still the largest enterprise in Catalonia and also in the public railroad system, e.g.: it holds the majority in Barcelona's underground. CNT does not participate in elecciones sindicales and criticizes this model. The CNT-CGT split has made impossible for the government to give back the unions important facilities that belonged to them before Franco's regime seized them and used them for their only legal trade union, a devolution also still pending in part for some of the other historical political parties and worker organizations.
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Art
Site Admin


Rexistrau: 17 Feb 2003
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MensaxePublicao: Dom Pay 12, 2006 2:12 am    Asuntu: Responder citando

That's very interesting, Gabitones, and surprising! Do CNT or CGT participate in politics in Spain in any way? What would their political stance be like today?

--------------------

¡Ése es muy interesante, Gabitones, y sorprendente! ¿Participan CNT o CGT en la política en España de cualquier manera? ¿Cuál sea su postura política hoy en día?
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gabitones



Rexistrau: 18 Xut 2006
Mensaxes: 22

MensaxePublicao: Llu Pay 13, 2006 4:51 pm    Asuntu: Responder citando

These two organizations that I have mentioned aren't political partys (that are incompatible with anarchism) they are trade unions.
CNT and CGT keep their anarchist stance. But, as labour unions, their main work is leaded to the defence of worker's rights.
As anarchists, they don't believe neither in representative democracy nor in the state. Their main political aims are to develop the direct democracy and to fight against capitalism and globalization. The organization that keep more pures these principles is CNT, because, as the previous post says, CGT accepts representative democracy to choose the representants of workers.
I've said that Anarchism isn't died and that's because the two labour unions had more than 70000 members in Spain. But we can't compare the strength of this movement with the one that CNT had before the Civil War, with 1.500.000 members.

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