Federación Anarquista Ibérica

The Iberian Anarchist Federation (Spanish: Federación Anarquista Ibérica, FAI) is a Spanish organization of anarchist (anarcho-syndicalist and anarchist-communist) militants active within affinity groups inside the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) anarcho-syndicalist union. It is often abbreviated as CNT-FAI because of the close relationship between the two organizations. The FAI publishes the periodical Tierra y Libertad.

The Iberian part of its name alludes to the purpose of unifying Spanish and Portuguese anarchists in a Pan-Iberian organization. The FAI meetings were attended by members of the União Anarquista Portuguesa and the Confederação Geral do Trabalho (including the Zaragoza Congress of the CNT in 1936). It is still in operation today, and aligns itself with the International of Anarchist Federations (IAF-IFA).

Iberian Anarchist Federation

Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI)
NewspaperTierra y Libertad
Political positionFar-left
International affiliationInternational of Anarchist Federations
Party flag
Bandera CNT-FAI


It was founded in Valencia in 1927 (after a preliminary meeting the previous year in Marseille, France), to campaign for keeping the CNT on an anarchist path by challenging the bureaucracy of the CNT—which it viewed as having grown to become a mediating link between labor and capital, rather than a representative of the working class. This issue was becoming especially tense, as Miguel Primo de Rivera's dictatorial regime took over in Spain, and engineered a crackdown on labour movements.

The disproportional hegemony which the FAI gained over CNT politics in the early 1930s led to confrontation with the less radical revolutionary syndicalist members. From 1931, in the first years of the Second Spanish Republic, possibilist union officials (the pro-Republican 'Treinta' and their followers) were systematically forced out of office or expelled, leading to the creation of anti-FAI opposition unions within the CNT in March 1933. The most moderate trade-unionists, under Ángel Pestaña, were ultimately expelled, forming the Syndicalist Party in April 1934, and leaving the CNT leadership under firm FAI control by the time of the Spanish Civil War. Members of the FAI were at the forefront of the fight against Francisco Franco's forces during the Civil War, mainly in the Eastern Army (Ejército del Este).[1]

Since Franco's death, and Spain's transition to representative democracy, the FAI has continued to function. Though the organization shares members with the CNT, the FAI's membership is secret.[2]

See also


  1. ^ Antony Beevor (2006) [1982]. The Battle for Spain. Orion. ISBN 978-0-7538-2165-7.
  2. ^ Roca Martínez, p.116



External links

Abraham Guillén

Abraham Guillén (13 March 1913 – 1 August 1993), was a Spanish author, economist and educator. He was a veteran of Spanish Civil War, influenced by anarchism and Marxism. One of the most prolific revolutionary writers in Latin America during the 1960s and intellectual mentor of Uruguay's revolutionary Movement of National Liberation (Tupamaros). He is most widely known as the author of Strategy of the Urban Guerrilla, which played an important role in the activities of urban guerrillas in Uruguay, Argentina and Brazil.

Anarchism in Spain

Anarchism in Spain has historically gained more support and influence than anywhere else, especially before Francisco Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War of 1936–39.

There were several variants of anarchism in Spain: expropriative anarchism in the period leading up to the conflict, the peasant anarchism in the countryside of Andalusia; urban anarcho-syndicalism in Catalonia, particularly its capital Barcelona; and what is sometimes called "pure" anarchism in other cities such as Zaragoza. However, these were complementary trajectories, and shared a great deal of ideological similarities.

Early on, the success of the anarchist movement was sporadic. Anarchists would organize a strike and ranks would swell. Usually, repression by police reduced the numbers again, but at the same time further radicalized many strikers. This cycle helped lead to an era of mutual violence at the beginning of the 20th century, in which armed anarchists and pistoleros, armed men paid by company owners, were both responsible for political assassinations.

In the 20th century, this violence began to fade, and the movement gained speed with the rise of anarcho-syndicalism and the creation of the huge libertarian trade union, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). General strikes became common, and large portions of the Spanish working class adopted anarchist ideas. There also emerged a small individualist anarchist movement based on publications such as Iniciales and La Revista Blanca. The Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI, Iberian Anarchist Federation) was created as a purely anarchist association, with the intention of keeping the CNT focused on the principles of anarchism.

Anarchists played a central role in the fight against Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. At the same time, a far-reaching social revolution spread throughout Spain, where land and factories were collectivized and controlled by the workers. All remaining social reforms ended in 1939 with the victory of Franco, who had thousands of anarchists executed. Resistance to his rule never entirely died, with resilient militants participating in acts of sabotage and other direct action after the war, and making several attempts on the ruler's life.

Their legacy remains important to this day, particularly to anarchists who look at their achievements as a historical precedent of anarchism's validity.

Confederación Nacional del Trabajo

The Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (English: National Confederation of Labour; CNT) is a Spanish confederation of anarcho-syndicalist labour unions, which was long affiliated with the International Workers' Association (AIT). When working with the latter group it was also known as CNT-AIT. Historically, the CNT has also been affiliated with the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (English: Iberian Anarchist Federation); thus, it has also been referred to as the CNT-FAI. Throughout its history, it has played a major role in the Spanish labor movement.

Founded in 1910 in Barcelona from groups brought together by the trade union Solidaridad Obrera, it significantly expanded the role of anarchism in Spain, which can be traced to the creation of the Federación de Trabajadores de la Región Española, the successor organization to the Spanish chapter of the IWA.

Despite several decades when the organization was illegal in Spain, today the CNT continues to participate in the Spanish worker's movement, focusing its efforts on the principles of workers' self-management, federalism, and mutual aid.

Iberian federalism

Iberian federalism, Pan-Iberism or simply Iberism (Spanish and Portuguese: Iberismo, Catalan: Iberisme) are the names for the pan-nationalist ideology supporting the federation of all the territories of the Iberian Peninsula.

International Institute of Social History

The International Institute of Social History (IISG) is one of the largest archives for labour, left and social history in the world. It is an independent scientific institute in Amsterdam. The IISG is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. It was founded in 1935 by Nicolaas Posthumus. The large archives of the institute (ca. 50 km) harbor invaluable and extensive papers of several international social movements and currents, including papers of individuals such as Rosa Luxemburg, Friedrich Engels, Karl Marx and Mikhail Bakunin.

José Peirats

José Peirats Valls (15 March 1908 La Vall d'Uixó - 20 August 1989) was a Spanish anarchist, activist, journalist and historian.

Peirats was born in the Province of Castellón. He had a limited schooling in one of the working class rationalist schools which offered an alternative to mainstream education controlled by the clergy and state. Thus he developed a thirst for learning which never left him. For many years he worked as a tile-maker, and devoted himself to the anarchist movement.

Peirats came to anarchism after moving in his early years to Barcelona. He was a long-standing member of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) and at one point edited its newspaper, Solidaridad Obrera ('Workers Solidarity'). He was also a member of the federation of anarchist affinity groups, the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI).

As a historian of the Spanish anarchist movement, Peirats produced an important three volume study of the libertarian movement in the Spanish Civil War, La CNT en la revolución española. A one volume abridgement, Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution was printed by Black and Red. An English translation of the full three-volume work was published by Stuart Christie, edited by Chris Ealham. The first two volumes were published in 2001 and 2005 respectively; the third volume was published in 2006.

Peirats papers are held by the International Institute of Social History in Amsterdam.

Juan García Oliver

Juan García Oliver (1901–1980) was a Spanish anarcho-syndicalist revolutionary and Minister of Justice of the Second Spanish Republic. He was a leading figure of anarchism in Spain.

La Revista Blanca

La Revista Blanca was a Spanish individualist anarchist magazine of sociology and arts published in Madrid by Joan Montseny (Federico Urales) y Teresa Mañé (Soledad Gustavo) from 1898 to 1905 and in Barcelona from June 1, 1923 till August 15, 1936.

In its first stage, it relied on collaborations by non anarchists such as Leopoldo Alas Clarín, Miguel de Unamuno, Manuel Cossío, José Nakens, Fernando Giner de los Ríos, Jaume Brossa, and Pere Coromines. Also Anselmo Lorenzo, Ricardo Mella, Fernando Tarrida del Mármol, Leopoldo Bonafulla, and Teresa Claramunt wrote regularly in it.

At one point it reached 8000 copies and this success helped it edit Suplemento de la Revista Blanca from 1899 until 1902, later renamed Tierra y Libertad. The magazine disappeared due to criticism of its main editors Ricardo Mella, Josep Prat, and Leopoldo Bonafulla.

The magazine reappeared in 1923 aligned with a philosophical anarchism critical of the syndicalism of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, but it also defended the Federación Anarquista Ibérica. In this second stage, Federica Montseny, Max Nettlau, Adrià del Valle, Charles Malato (desde París), Diego Abad de Santillán, Jean Grabo, Rudolf Rocker, Sébastien Faure, Luigi Fabbri, and Camillo Berneri were among its collaborators.

La Revista Blanca ended publication in 1936.

Lola Iturbe

Lola (Dolores) Iturbe (Barcelona, 1 August 1902 – Gijón, 5 January 1990) was a prominent Spanish anarcho-syndicalist, trade unionist, activist, and journalist during the Second Spanish Republic, and a member of the French Resistance during the Battle of France. Working as a maid since childhood, she was self-taught. Iturbe was a member of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). In 1921 she was joined by the anarchist Juan Manuel Molina. She was one of the founders of the anarcho-feminist movement, Mujeres Libres and of the Comité de Milicias Antifascistas during the Spanish Civil War. She chronicled the war for Tierra y Libertad from the Aragón front. At the end of the conflict, she was exiled to France with her companion, Juan Manuel Molina Mateo, or "Juanel", a former secretary-general of the Federación Anarquista Ibérica. Together, they formed part of the French Resistance.

Lorenzo Íñigo Granizo

Lorenzo Íñigo Granizo (10 August 1910 – 30 April 1991) was a Spanish metalworker and anarchist trade unionist.

He played an important role during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) and later became head of the anarchist trade union federation, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT).

Los Solidarios

Los Solidarios (“Solidarity”), also known as Crisol (“Crucible”), was a Spanish anarchist armed-struggle group founded in 1922 or 1923 in Barcelona, as a reply to the dirty war strategy used by the employers and government against trade unions.

Pierre Monatte

Pierre Monatte (15 January 1881 – 27 June 1960) was a French trade unionist, a founder of the Confédération générale du travail (CGT, Generation Confederation of Labour) at the beginning of the 20th century, and founder of its journal La Vie Ouvrière (Workers' Life) on 5 October 1909. Monatte has been considered one of the great figures of revolutionary syndicalism.

Revolutionary Catalonia

Revolutionary Catalonia (21 July 1936 – 1939) was the part of Catalonia (an autonomous region in northeast Spain) controlled by various anarchist, communist, and socialist trade unions, parties, and militias of the Spanish Civil War period. Although the Generalitat of Catalonia was nominally in power, the trade unions were de facto in command of most of the economy and military forces, which includes the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT, National Confederation of Labor) which was the dominant labor union at the time and the closely associated Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI, Iberian Anarchist Federation). The Unión General de Trabajadores (General Worker's Union), the POUM and the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (which included the Communist Party of Catalonia) were also involved.

Socialist rule of the region began with the Spanish Revolution of 1936, resulting in workers' control of businesses and factories, collective farming in the countryside, and attacks against Spanish nationalists and the Catholic clergy. The growing influence of the Communist Party of Spain's (PCE) Popular Front government and their desire to nationalize revolutionary committees and militias brought it into conflict with the CNT and POUM, resulting in the May Days and the eventual replacement of the CNT by the PCE as the major political force in Catalonia until the arrival of the fascists.

Synthesis anarchism

Synthesis anarchism, synthesist anarchism, synthesism or synthesis federations is a form of anarchist organization that seeks diversity upon it's participants, which tries to join anarchists of different tendencies under the principles of anarchism without adjectives. In the 1920s, this form found as its main proponents the anarcho-communists Voline and Sébastien Faure, bringing together anarchists of three main tendencies, namely individualist anarchism, anarchist communism and anarcho-syndicalism. It is the main principle behind the anarchist federations grouped around the contemporary global International of Anarchist Federations.

Sébastien Faure

Sébastien Faure (born 6 January 1858 in Saint-Étienne, Loire, France; died 14 July 1942 in Royan, Charente-Maritime, France) was a French anarchist, freethought and secularist activist and a principal proponent of synthesis anarchism.

Unione Sindacale Italiana

Unione Sindacale Italiana (USI; Italian Syndicalist Union or Italian Workers' Union) is an anarcho-syndicalist trade union. It is the Italian section of the International Workers Association (IWA; Associazione Internazionale dei Lavoratori in Italian or AIT - ''Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores in the common Spanish reference), and the name of USI is also abbreviated as USI-AIT.

Women in Second Spanish Republic

Women in the Second Republic period were formally allowed to enter the public sphere for the first time in Spanish cultural life, where they had a number of rights they had lacked before including the right to vote, divorce and access to higher education. The Second Spanish Republic had three elections, ones in 1931, 1933 and 1936. Women were able to run in all three and vote in the last two. Clara Campoamor Rodríguez, Victoria Kent Siano and Margarita Nelken y Mansbergen were the most important women to emerge in this period.

Spanish feminism in this period was typically about "dual militancy," and was greatly influenced by anarchism. It was about trying to understand what role women should play in Spanish life. Women were also politically active in large numbers in this period as a result of constitutional reforms. While allowed in, they were still underrepresented in labor and anarchist organizations like UGT and CNT, and these organizations would often reinforce traditional gender roles. To succeed in their social and political efforts, women sometimes created their own organizations like Mujeres Libres though such organizations still were often not accepted by their male run counterparts. Some organizations were more willing to let women join, including Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM). This organization provided women with weapons training during the Second Republic to prepare for the war POUM saw as inevitable. Communist women also faced internal discrimination, which Dolores Ibárruri successfully navigated to join the top ranks of Partido Comunista de España.

Women on Spain's right were also socially and politically active, with Sección Femenina representing Falange, Acción Católica de la Mujer representing Catholic women, and Margaritas representing Carlists.

Pre-war interactions with the Guardia Civil and Falange starting in 1931 and occurring regularly until mid-1936, coupled with the Asturian minsters' strike of 1934, would set the stage for the start of Spanish Civil War.

Women in the Federación Anarquista Ibérica in the Spanish Civil War

Women in Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) in the Spanish Civil War were often only addressed because of what they appeared to be able to offer male FAI leadership in terms of attracting adept fighters and politicians.

The FAI as a militant anarcho-syndalicalism organization came into existence prior to the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera because of differing views on government engagement, but its formalization as an organization only occurred in 1927 during a clandestine meeting which saw García Oliver chosen as their initial leader.

Despite the more liberal policies of the Second Republic, male anarchists generally opposed women's groups and women's involvement, seeing it as a threat to their own status. Men in the FAI were vehemently opposed to the creation of Mujeres Libres, a women's only anarchist organization created in response to female exclusion from the broader anarchist movement.

The Spanish Civil War saw a rise in status for the FAI among anarchist organizations. The FAI attracted milicianas (English: Militawomen) from within its ranks. It also saw one of its female members, Federica Montseny, serving as the Minister to Health in the Republican government. After the war, many former members would look back fondly at the utopian aspects of women's liberation supported by the FAI during the Second Republic and the Civil War. Many of them had to do so though from exile.

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