Francisco Ferrer

Francisco Ferrer Guardia (1859–1909) was a radical freethinker, anarchist, and educationist behind a network of secular, private, libertarian schools in and around Barcelona. His execution, following a revolt in Barcelona, propelled Ferrer into martyrdom and grew an international movement of radicals and liberals, who established schools in his model and promoted his schooling approach.

Ferrer was raised on a farm near Barcelona, where he developed republican and anti-clerical convictions. As a train conductor, he transmitted messages for the Republican leader Manuel Ruíz Zorilla, exiled in France. Following a failed Republican uprising in 1885, Ferrer too moved to Paris with his family, where they stayed for 16 years. Ferrer began to explore anarchism and education. At the turn of the century, Ferrer had resolved to open a libertarian school modeled on Paul Robin's Prévost orphanage school. A large inheritance from a Parisian tutee provided the means to do so.

Upon returning to Barcelona in 1901, Ferrer founded the Barcelona Modern School, Escuela Moderna, which sought to provide a secular, libertarian curriculum as an alternative to the religious dogma and compulsory lessons common within Spanish schools. Ferrer's pedagogy borrowed from a tradition of 18th century rationalism and 19th century romanticism. He held that children should wield freewheeling liberties at the expense of conformity, regulation, and discipline. His school eschewed punishments, rewards, and exams, and encouraged practical experience over academic study. The school hosted lectures for adults, a school for teacher training, and a radical printing press, which printed textbooks and the school's journal. Around 120 offshoots of the school spread throughout Spain. The rapidity of Ferrer's rise troubled Spanish church and state authorities, who viewed the school as a front for insurrectionary activity. Ferrer was held in association with the 1906 assassination attempt on the Spanish King, which was used as a pretext for closing the school, but was ultimately released without conviction under international pressure a year later. Ferrer traveled Europe as an advocate of the Spanish revolutionary cause, founded a libertarian education advocacy organization, and reopened his press.

In mid-1909, Ferrer was arrested and accused of orchestrating a week of insurrection known as Barcelona's Tragic Week. Though Ferrer's involvement was likely not as blameless as intimated by his peers, he did not mastermind the events as charged.[1] The ensuing court case, remembered as a show trial by a kangaroo court,[2] resulted in Ferrer's execution and triggered international outcry, as Ferrer was widely believed to be innocent at the time of his death. He was prominently memorialized in writing, monuments, and demonstrations across three continents. The protest became an movement to propagate his educational ideas, and Modern Schools in his name sprouted across the United States and Europe, reaching into Brazil and Asia.

Francisco Ferrer
Francisco Ferrer Guardia
BornJanuary 10, 1859
DiedOctober 13, 1909 (aged 50)
Known forEscuela Moderna

Early life and career

Francisco Ferrer Guardia was born on January 10, 1859, on a farm near Barcelona[3] in Alella, Spain.[4] He became a republican and freethinker in his youth.[4] While his parents were pious Catholics, he grew independent and anti-clerical convictions from his freethinker uncle and militant atheist first employer.[3]

By 1883, his mid-20s, Ferrer had become a Freemason and radical Republican. He used his position as a train conductor on a route between France and Barcelona to transmit messages for the exiled Republican leader Manuel Ruíz Zorilla and shepherd political refugees to sanctuary. He would do the same for himself: following his participation in a failed Republican uprising in 1885, he moved to Paris with his wife and three daughters, where they would stay for 16 years.[5]

Exile in Paris

In Paris, Ferrer taught Spanish, sold wine on commission, volunteered as Ruíz's secretary (until his 1895 death), and pursued radical efforts. He was a Dreyfusard, a delegate to the London 1896 Congress of the Second International, and a teacher at the Masonic school.[5]

Ferrer began to explore anarchism following Ruíz's death. He met Louise Michel, Elisée Reclus, Sébastien Faure, befriended Charles Malato and Jean Grave, and bonded with Spanish anarchists Anselmo Lorenzo and Fernando Tarrida del Mármol. Their personalities and ideas impressed him, and by the late 1890s, he considered them kindred spirits.[5] While Ferrer would later deny involvement in the anarchist movement, especially when government scrutiny was strongest against him, historian of anarchism Paul Avrich wrote that Ferrer's anarchist affiliation was indisputable, despite his portrayal by former historians as a pacifist or idealist rather than revolutionary.[6] Throughout his entire life and across multiple countries, Ferrer worked for anarchist causes, funded other anarchist work, and published anarchist books. Many major and minor anarchist figures from Barcelona worked in affiliation with the school Ferrer later opened, and Europe's most prominent anarchist leaders advised and wrote for him.[7]

While in Paris, Ferrer became interested in education, which was a hot topic in anarchist and rationalist circles. Ferrer was captivated by Paul Robin's Prévost orphanage school in Cempuis, which modeled the school Ferrer would open. Robin's' co-educational "integral" program sought to develop the children's physical and intellectual capacities without coercion. He believed that social and economic environment played a larger role in a child's development than heredity, and so his school aimed to provide nature, exercise, love, and understanding, especially towards children normally subject to stigma. Ferrer corresponded with but never visited Robin in Cempuis. Around 1900, Ferrer declared his intention to open a similar libertarian school, which became plausible when he inherited around a million francs from a middle-aged French woman whom he had tutored in Spanish and convinced of his ideas.[8]

Barcelona Modern School

With this inheritance, Ferrer returned to Spain in 1901, where he would found the Barcelona Modern School, Escuela Moderna. Spain was in a time of self-reflection after losing the Spanish–American War, particularly regarding their national education.[9] Liberals and radicals wanted more secular curriculum, with new scientific, historical, and sociological content and teachers not beholden to diocesan inspectors.[10] Ferrer, a fervent atheist,[11] became prominent in these conversations and advocated for a rational school as an alternative to the religious dogma and compulsory lessons common within Spanish schools.[12] As a speaker, he was unpretentious and uncharismatic, but his sincerity and capacity for organization inspired others.[13] Ferrer followed in a rough and ready Spanish tradition of extragovernment, rationalist education: the republicans and Fourierists schools (1840–50s), the anarchist and secularist schools (1870–80s), Paul Robin's Cempuis orphanage, Elías Puig (Catalonia), and José Sanchez Rosa (Andalusia).[12]

Ferrer's libertarian pedagogy also borrowed from 18th century rationalism, 19th century romanticism, and pedagogues including Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Kropotkin, and Tolstoy. This tradition pursued freewheeling liberties for children at the expense of conformity, regulation, and discipline. It combined play and crafts alongside academic work and championed traits of reason, dignity, self-reliance, and scientific observation over that of piety and obedience. It advocated for learning through experience rather than drilled instruction by rote, and for treating children with love and warmth. This model's adherents, in seeking a school that eschewed religious and political authority, thought that changes in mass education would circumvent the stunted public enlightenment and preservation of status quo that they blamed on the influence of both church and state.[14] Free education, to Ferrer, entailed educators who would use improvised experimentation to arouse the child's will and autodidactic drive rather than impose their own dogmatic ideas through formal curriculum.[15]

The Escuela Moderna opened on Barcelona's Calle de las Cortes with thirty students in September 1901. More than 126 students were enrolled five years later, in 1906, when the state shuttered the school. The Escuela Moderna charged sliding scale tuition based on parental capacity to pay, and divided students into three curricular levels.[16] Ferrer's pedagogy sought to strip dogma from education and instead help children direct their own powers. Ferrer's school eschewed punishments and rewards, which he felt incentivized deception over sincerity. Similarly, he did not adopt grades or exams, whose propensity to flatter, deflate, and torture Ferrer considered injurious. Ferrer prioritized practical knowledge over theory, and encouraged children to experience rather than read. Lessons entailed visits to local factories, museums, and parks where the objects of the lesson could be experienced firsthand. Pupils planned their own work and were trusted and free to attend as they pleased.[17]

The Escuela Moderna additionally hosted a school to train teachers and a radical publishing press, which translated and created more than 40 textbooks adequate for Ferrer's purposes, written in accessible language on recent scientific concepts. The Spanish authorities abhorred the books, which covered topics from math and grammar to natural and social sciences to religious mythology and the iniquities of patriotism and conquest, for upending social order.[18] The press's monthly journal hosted the school's news and articles from prominent libertarian writers.[19]

Aside from the school's purpose of fostering self-development, Ferrer believed it had an additional function: prefigurative social regeneration. The school was an embryonic version of the future libertarian society Ferrer hoped to see. Propaganda and agitation were central to the Escuela Moderna's aims, as Ferrer dreamt of a society in which people constantly renewed themselves and their environment through experimentation.[19] To this end, students received dogmatic instruction in the form of moral indoctrination. Ferrer believed that respect for fellow men was a quality to be instilled in children, as children brought to love freedom and see their dignity as shared with others would become good adults. The lessons of this education in social justice, equality, and liberty included capitalism as evil, government as slavery, war as crime against humanity, freedom as fundamental to human development, and suffering produced through patriotism, exploitation, and superstition. Their textbooks took positions against capitalism, the state, and the military.[20] This education extended to adults, as well. The school invited parents to participate in the school's operation and the public to attend evening and Sunday afternoon lessons.[17] Ferrer also advocated for a Spanish popular university that never came to fruition.[21]

Ferrer was the center of Barcelonian libertarian education for the decade between his return and his death. The Escuela Moderna's program, from Ferrer's anticlericalism to the quality of guest intellectual lecturers, had impressed even middle-class liberal reformers. Anarchist Emma Goldman credited the success of the school's expansion to Ferrer's methodical administrative ability.[22]

Other schools and centers in his model spread across Spain and to South America.[4] By the time Ferrer opened a satellite school in the nearby textile center Vilanova i la Geltrú towards the end of 1905, Ferrer schools in the image of his Escuela Moderna, for both children and adults, grew across eastern Spain: 14 in Barcelona and 34 across Catalonia, Valencia, and Andalusia. The Spanish Republicans and the secular League of Freethinkers organized their own classes using materials from the school press, with around 120 such rationalist schools in all.[23]


The rapidity of Ferrer's rise in influence troubled Spanish authorities. His monetary inheritance and organizing ability amplified his subversive efforts,[23] and authorities viewed his school as a front for insurrectionary sentiment.[24] Ferrer represented peril to many social institutions—the church, the state, the military, the family, gender segregation, property—and the conservatives who wished to preserve them.[25]

During the school's early years, Ferrer adopted principles of anarcho-syndicalism, a philosophy of worker co-ownership that grew in prominence during this period. He published La Huelga General (The General Strike), a syndicalist journal, between 1901 and 1903, and worked to organize the Catalonian revolutionary labor movement and promote direct action.[7] Ferrer led a parade of 1,700 children for secular education on Good Friday in April 1906.[23]

Ferrer was intimidated and vilified for his work in Barcelona. Police raided his house and tailed his movements. He was subject to slanderous public rumors to tarnish his reputation, including intonations of gambling, financial speculation, and hedonism. Ferrer's various romantic relations with women were presented as indications of his school's moral lessons.[24]

He was held in association with the 1906 assassination attempt on Spanish King Alfonso XIII, but ultimately released under international pressure the next year.[4] The assassin, Mateo Morral, was a 25-year-old anarchist, well-educated and from a wealthy family, who worked at the school's press.[26] While the attempt itself—the second in two years—was unsuccessful, it was successful as the pretense for deposing Ferrer.[27] He was arrested in June 1906 on charges of planning the attempt and persuading Morral to perform it. Within two weeks, state authorities closed the school due to its association with Morral and Ferrer. Conservative members of lower house of Spain's legislature unsuccessfully proposed that all secular schools be closed for their promotion of antisocial behaviors. For a year Ferrer awaited trial, where he was acquitted for lack of proof.[26]

Ferrer's role in the Morral affair remains indeterminate, as of 1985.[28] Ferrer was a militant anarchist, contrary to his proclamations otherwise, who believed in direct action and the usefulness of violence.[29] The Spanish authorities attempted to connect Ferrer with two assassination attempts prior to Morral's.[28] The Oxford historian Joaquín Romero Maura credits Ferrer with coordinating the Morral assassination attempt and a similar attempt a year earlier. Based on papers from French and Spanish authorities, Maura argues that Ferrer supplied the bombs and funds for the attempt to provoke insurrection.[29] These types of official records from this period, however, were famous for their partiality and, even before some evidence from the case went missing, were altogether insufficient for conviction in Ferrer's time.[28]

After Escuela Moderna

Ferrer was released from prison in June 1907,[28] backed by an international coalition of anarchist and rationalist organizations who presented Ferrer's case as another iniquitous Spanish inquitition.[26] The next month, Ferrer toured the European capitals as an advocate of the Spanish revolutionary cause.[4] When he returned to Barcelona in September, though Ferrer was prohibited from reopening his school, he reopened his press, where he published new textbooks and translations. He additionally helped the creation of the syndicalist labor federation Solidaridad Obrera and its journal.[28]

In April 1908, Ferrer founded the International League for the Rational Education of Children, which would advocate for libertarian education across Europe. Its primary of three journals, L'Ecole Renovée, included articles by major anarchists and figures in libertarian education. Through its first year, the League led to libertarian schools in Amsterdam, Brussels, and Milan and worked with the libertarian schools of Sébastien Faure and Madeleine Vernet.[30] But Ferrer would not see a second year with the League.[1]

Ferrer was arrested at the end of August 1909 following the previous month's civil unrest and week of outright insurrection in Barcelona known as Tragic Week. Citizens, wary from a prior war and governmental corruption, originally demonstrated against a call for military reserves to fight a renewed colonial war in Morocco. The general strike called by Solidaridad Obrera culminated in a week of riots, which killed hundreds in and around Barcelona, and mass arrests, which led to torture, deportation, and execution. Ferrer was charged with orchestrating the rebellion and became its most famous casualty.[1]

Though Ferrer's involvement in the Catalonian Tragic Week was likely not as blameless as intimated by his peers, Ferrer did not mastermind the events as charged.[1] Reliable retellings of the insurrection credit spontaneous forces rather than anarchist premeditation.[1] Ferrer likely participated in the week's events, though historian of anarchism Paul Avrich considered Ferrer's role reasonably marginal.[1] The evidence presented at Ferrer's military court trial included testimony from his political enemies and Ferrer's prior subversive writings, but no evidence of his having orchestrated the rebellion.[31] Ferrer maintained his innocence and was barred from presenting complimentary testimony.[32]

The court case, which would culminate in Ferrer's death by firing squad, is remembered as a show trial by a kangaroo court.[2] Historian Paul Avrich later summarized the case as "judicial murder", a successful attempt to quell an agitator whose ideas were dangerous to the status quo, as retribution for not convicting him in the Morral affair.[32] His last words before the firing squad of Montjuïc Castle on October 13, 1909, were, "Aim well, my friends. You are not responsible. I am innocent. Long live the Modern School!"[32]


Ferrer's execution became known as "martyrdom"[33] to the causes of free thought[34] and rational education.[4] Ferrer was widely believed to be innocent at the time of his death.[33] His execution sparked worldwide protest and indignation.[32][4] Beyond anarchism, liberals across society viewed Ferrer as a martyr to the collusion of a vengeful church and traditionalist state.[35] Protests in many of Europe's major cities coincided with hundreds of meetings across America, Europe, and Asia. A 15,000-person throng descended on Paris's Spanish embassy, and the anarchist black flag draped from the Milan Cathedral.[32] British luminaries spoke in outrage, including George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, and Arthur Conan Doyle alongside anarchists Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, and Tarrida.[34] Ferrer's death was covered widely, from the front page of The New York Times to a number of books.[33]

The worldwide protest became the Ferrer educational movement in his honor.[33] The fact of his execution accelerated Ferrer's renown as the most famous libertarian educator, over Sébastian Faure and Paul Robin.[34] His works were translated into multiple languages as a rationalist education movement spread worldwide.[34] Modern Schools sprouted across Europe and the United States, including the long-lived colony at Stelton, New Jersey, but most did not last past the mid-1920s.[4] Schools by his name reached as far as Argentina, Brazil, China, Japan, Mexico, Poland, and Yugoslavia. His methods were invoked by Gustav Landauer (Bavarian Revolution of 1919) and Nestor Makhno (Russian Revolution of 1917).[34]

Groups erected and named public memorials to Ferrer across Europe. Brussels displayed a marble commemoration for Ferrer in its Grand Place in mid-1910. The city hosted a statue of a nude man holding the torch of enlightenment from 1911 to 1915 and since 1926, when the international freethought movement restored the work from its destruction by the Germans. Public places in France and Italy adopted Ferrer's name in memorial.[34]

The international fallout from Ferrer's execution led to the demise of the Antonio Maura administration.[36]

Personal life

Ferrer separated from his wife, Teresa Sanmartí, and later had relations with a friend of the woman whose inheritance funded the Barcelona school. He then fell in love with a teacher at his Escuela Moderna, Soledad Villafranca.[24]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Avrich 1980, p. 31.
  2. ^ a b
    • Holguin, Sandie Eleanor (2002). Creating Spaniards: Culture and National Identity in Republican Spain. University of Wisconsin Press. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-299-17634-1.
    • Avrich 1980, p. 32.
    • Cooke, Bill. A Rebel to His Last Breath: Joseph Mccabe and Rationalism. Prometheus Books. p. 217. ISBN 978-1-61592-749-4.
    • Hughes, Robert (2011). Barcelona. Knopf Doubleday. p. 523. ISBN 978-0-307-76461-4.
    • Tusell, Javier; García Queipo de Llano, Genoveva (2002) [2001]. Alfonso XIII. El rey polémico (2ª ed.). Madrid: Taurus. pp. 185–186. ISBN 84-306-0449-9.
  3. ^ a b Avrich 1980, p. 3.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Fidler 1985, p. 103.
  5. ^ a b c Avrich 1980, p. 4.
  6. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 24–25.
  7. ^ a b Avrich 1980, p. 25.
  8. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 4–6.
  9. ^ Avrich 1980, p. 6.
  10. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 6–7.
  11. ^ Avrich 1980, p. 8.
  12. ^ a b Avrich 1980, p. 7.
  13. ^ Avrich 1980, p. 19.
  14. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 7–8.
  15. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 9–10.
  16. ^ Avrich 1980, p. 20.
  17. ^ a b Avrich 1980, p. 21.
  18. ^ Avrich 1980, p. 22–23.
  19. ^ a b Avrich 1980, p. 23.
  20. ^ Avrich 1980, p. 24.
  21. ^ Avrich 1980, p. 22.
  22. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 25–26.
  23. ^ a b c Avrich 1980, p. 26.
  24. ^ a b c Avrich 1980, p. 27.
  25. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 26–27.
  26. ^ a b c Avrich 1980, p. 28.
  27. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 27–28.
  28. ^ a b c d e Avrich 1980, p. 29.
  29. ^ a b Avrich 1980, pp. 28–29.
  30. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 29–30.
  31. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 31–32.
  32. ^ a b c d e Avrich 1980, p. 32.
  33. ^ a b c d Veysey 1973, p. 77.
  34. ^ a b c d e f Avrich 1980, p. 33.
  35. ^ Avrich 1980, pp. 32–33.
  36. ^ Buffery, Helena; Marcer, Elisenda (2010). "Ferrer i Guàrdia, Francesc (1859–1909)". Historical Dictionary of the Catalans. Historical Dictionaries of Peoples and Cultures. Scarecrow Press. p. 169. ISBN 978-0-8108-5483-3.


Further reading

  • Gay, Kathlyn; Gay, Martin (1999). Encyclopedia of Political Anarchy. ABC-CLIO. pp. 75–76. ISBN 978-0-87436-982-3.
  • Laqua, Daniel (September 2014). "Freethinkers, anarchists and Francisco Ferrer: the making of a transnational solidarity campaign". European Review of History: Revue Européenne d'Histoire. 21 (4): 467–484. doi:10.1080/13507486.2014.933185. ISSN 1350-7486.
  • Park, T. Peter (2007). "Ferrer Guardia, Francisco". In Dawkins, Richard. The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books. pp. 326–327. ISBN 978-1-61592-280-2.
  • Ullman, Joan Connelly (1968). The Tragic Week: A Study of Anti-Clericalism in Spain, 1875–1912. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-43418-9. OCLC 396076.

External links


Alella (Catalan pronunciation: [əˈleʎə]) is a village in the comarca (shire) of Maresme in

Catalunya, Spain. It is situated on the coast on the south-west side of the granite Litoral range. The town is known for its

wines, cava and perfumes, but is also a commuter town for nearby Barcelona. What used to be the old Roman Road (Via Augusta) uniting Rome and Andalusia, is still today a narrow road running through the village.

Amakasu incident

The Amakasu Incident (Amakasu jiken) refers to a crime in which the Lieutenant Amakasu Masahiko was found responsible for the murders of two anarchists and a young boy in September 1923.

Anarchism and Other Essays

Anarchism and Other Essays is a 1910 essay collection by Emma Goldman, first published by Mother Earth Publishing. The essays outline Goldman's anarchist views on a number of subjects, most notably the oppression of women and perceived shortcomings of first wave feminism, but also prisons, political violence, sexuality, religion, nationalism and art theory. Hippolyte Havel contributed a short biography of Goldman to the anthology.

Lori Jo Marso argues that Goldman's essays, in conjunction with her life and thought, make important contributions to ongoing debates in feminism, including around "the connections and tensions between sexuality, love and feminist politics".Contents of Anarchism and Other Essays include:

Anarchism: What It Really Stands For

Minorities Versus Majorities

The Psychology of Political Violence

Prisons: A Social Crime and Failure

Patriotism: A Menace to Liberty

Francisco Ferrer and The Modern School

The Hypocrisy of Puritanism

The Traffic in Women (1910)

Woman Suffrage

The Tragedy of Woman's Emancipation

Marriage and Love

The Drama: A Powerful Disseminator of Radical Thought


Anarcho-pacifism (also pacifist anarchism or anarchist pacifism) is a tendency within anarchism that rejects the use of violence in the struggle for social change, the abolition of capitalism and the state. The main early influences were the thought of Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy while later the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi gained importance. Pacifist anarchism "appeared mostly in the Netherlands, Britain, and the United States, before and after the Second World War and has continued since then in the deep in the anarchist involvement in the protests against nuclear armament.".

Anarchy Archives

The Anarchy Archives project is a self-described online research center on the history and theory of anarchism. It was created in September 1995 by Dana Ward, a Professor of Political Studies at Pitzer College. It has since been expanded by students in the Political Studies department at Pitzer College, starting in the spring of 1997.

The project consists of two main parts, an archive of collected works of major anarchist theorists and a history of the major anarchist movements in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Anselmo Lorenzo

Anselmo Lorenzo (21 April 1841, in Toledo, Spain – 30 November 1914) was a defining figure in the early Spanish Anarchist movement, earning the often quoted sobriquet "the grandfather of Spanish anarchism," in the words of Murray Bookchin: "his contribution to the spread of Anarchist ideas in Barcelona and Andalusia over the decades was enormous".His activity in the movement and adherence to Anarchist ideals can be rooted to his meeting and befriending of Giuseppe Fanelli in 1868, a disciple of Mikhail Bakunin recruiting for the International Workingmen's Association. Lorenzo edited the anarchist syndicalist newspaper La Huelga General from 1901–1902 with Francisco Ferrer. He died in 1914 and was laid to rest on the Cemetery of Montjuïc.


Anti-authoritarianism is opposition to authoritarianism, which is defined as "a form of social organisation characterised by submission to authority", "favoring complete obedience or subjection to authority as opposed to individual freedom" and to authoritarian government. Anti-authoritarians usually believe in full equality before the law and strong civil liberties. Sometimes the term is used interchangeably with anarchism, an ideology which entails opposing authority or hierarchical organization in the conduct of human relations, including the state system.

Charles Malato

Charles Malato (1857–1938) was a French anarchist and writer.

He was born to a noble Neapolitan family, his grandfather Count Malato being a Field Marshal and the Commander-in-Chief of the army of the last King of Naples. Though Count Malato ferociously suppressed a popular anti-dynastic insurrection, his son – Charles' father – supported the communards of the Paris Commune, and was banished as a result to the penal colony of New Caledonia, where Charles was born. After the amnesty of anarchists and communists, Charles and his by that time ninety-year-old father returned to Paris, where they immersed themselves in the anarchist movement.

On his return to France, Malato was condemned to fifteen months imprison for inciting murder, pillage and arson, and instead went into exile in London. Malato collaborated briefly with Victor Henri Rochefort, Marquis de Rochefort-Luçay before they fell out over the Dreyfus affair (Rochefort was an anti-Dreyfusard). He wrote for Georges Clemenceau's L'Aurore, L'Humanité, and the Journal du peuple (with Sébastien Faure) and partook in a revolutionary committee against nationalist activities. According to The New York Times Malato wrote articles "remarkable for their literary grace", was well known in political and literary circles, and "noted for the perfection of his manners".He was accused by French police in 1905 of organising an assassination attempt against King Alfonso XIII of Spain, but was acquitted. Between 1907 and 1914, Malato wrote in the journals La Guerre Sociale and La Bataille Syndicaliste, and became friends with the anarchist educator Francisco Ferrer.

At the outset of World War I, Malato was a supporter of the union sacrée and a signatory of the pro-Allies Manifesto of the Sixteen.

Eleuterio Quintanilla

Eleuterio Quintanilla (1886–1966) was a Spanish anarchist, educator and pupil of Francisco Ferrer Guardia.

Escalante, Negros Occidental

Escalante, officially the City of Escalante, is a 4th class city in the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 94,070 people.

Ferrer Center and Colony

The Ferrer Center and Stelton Colony were an anarchist social center and colony, respectively, organized to honor the memory of anarchist pedagogue Francisco Ferrer and to build a school based on his model in the United States.

In the widespread outcry following Ferrer's execution in 1909 and the international movement that sprung in its wake, a group of New York anarchists convened as the Ferrer Association in 1910. Their headquarters, the Ferrer Center, hosted a variety of cultural events in the avant-garde arts and radical politics, including lectures, discussions, and performances. It was also home to the Ferrer Modern School, a libertarian, day school that emphasized unplanned, undogmatic curriculum. The Center moved several times throughout Manhattan to establish a space conducive to children's play. Following a bomb plot and police infiltration, several anarchists from the association decided to take the school out to the country.

The school moved to what would become the Ferrer Colony in Stelton, New Jersey, 30 miles outside New York City, in 1914. The colony was based around the school and land was individually parceled such that, in the spirit of anarchist volunteerism, anyone could sell and exit the colony at their prerogative. They intended for the colony to form the center of a national libertarian education movement. The school floundered in its first years and passed through multiple administrations, the longest of which with co-principals Elizabeth and Alexis Ferm. The school closed in 1953. It had been a model for short-lived Ferrer schools across the country and lasted among the longest.

Ferrer movement

The Ferrer school was an early 20th century libertarian school inspired by the anarchist pedagogy of Francisco Ferrer. He was a proponent of rationalist, secular education that emphasized reason, dignity, self-reliance, and scientific observation, as opposed to the ecclesiastical and dogmatic standard Spanish curriculum of the period. Ferrer's teachings followed in a tradition of rationalist and romantic education philosophy, and 19th century extragovernment, secular Spanish schools. He was particularly influenced by Paul Robin's orphanage at Cempuis.

With this ideal in mind, Ferrer established the Escuela Moderna in Barcelona, which ran for five years between 1901 and 1906. Ferrer attempted a less dogmatic approach to education that would attempt to draw out the child's natural powers, though children still received moral indoctrination on social responsibility and the importance of freedom. Ferrer championed practical knowledge over theory, and emphasized experiences and trips over readings. Pupils were free and trusted to direct their own education and attend as they pleased. The school also hosted lectures for adults in the evenings and weekends. It also hosted a printing press to create readings for the school. The press ran its own journal with news from the school and articles from prominent libertarian writers.

Following Ferrer's execution, an international Ferrer movement (also known as the Modern School movement) spread throughout Europe and as far as Brazil and the United States, most notably in the New York and Stelton Modern School.

Harry Kelly (anarchist)

Harry May Kelly (1871–1953) was an American anarchist and lifelong activist in the Modern School movement.

Industrial action

Industrial action (Commonwealth English) or job action (North American English) is a temporary show of dissatisfaction by employees, especially a strike or slowdown or working to rule to protest against bad working conditions or low pay and to increase bargaining power with the employer and intended to force the employer to improve them by reducing productivity in a workplace. Industrial action is usually organized by trade unions or other organised labour, most commonly when employees are forced out of work due to contract termination and without reaching an agreement with the employer. Quite often it is used and interpreted as a euphemism for strike or mass strike, but the scope is much wider. Industrial action may take place in the context of a labour dispute or may be meant to effect political or social change. This form of communication tends to be their only means to voice their concerns about safety and benefits.

It is also a legal term used to refer to almost the opposite phenomenon, an action taken by an employer that affects an employee's terms of employment, especially adversely.


Occupation of factories


General strike (mass strike)

Slowdown (or Go-slow)

Overtime ban

Blue flu

Juan Avilés Farré

Juan Avilés Farré is a Spanish historian and professor at the Spanish National University of Distance Education.

Maria Lacerda de Moura

Maria Lacerda de Moura (16 May 1887 – 20 March 1945) was a Brazilian anarcha-feminist, individualist anarchist, teacher, journalist, and writer.

Morral affair

The Morral affair was the attempted regicide of Spanish King Alfonso XIII and his bride, Victoria Eugenie, on their wedding day, May 31, 1906. The attacker, Mateu Morral, acting on a desire to spur revolution, threw a bomb concealed in a flower bouquet from his hotel window as the King's procession passed, killing 24 bystanders and soldiers, wounding over 100 others, and leaving the royals unscathed. Morral sought refuge from republican journalist José Nakens but fled in the night to Torrejón de Ardoz, whose villagers reported the interloper. Two days after the attack, militiamen accosted Morral, who killed one before killing himself. Morral was likely involved in a similar attack on the king a year prior.

The affair became a pretext to stop Francisco Ferrer, an anarchist pedagogue who ran Escuela Moderna, the influential, rationalist, antigovernment, anticlerical, antimilitary, Barcelonean school in whose library Morral worked. An unrequited love interest from the school might also have influenced Morral. Ferrer was charged with masterminding the attack, and though he was acquitted for lack of evidence, he remained a target of the government and church. The journalist Nakens and two friends, however, received prison sentences, held partially responsible for the murder Morral committed after fleeing the city. Following a prominent campaign for royal pardon, the three were released within a year of sentencing. Nakens' role in the affair spotlighted fissures in the Spanish republican movement between gradualism and near-term revolution that would later become an identity crisis.

Mother Earth (journal)

This version of Mother Earth was an anarchist periodical aimed at the discussion of progressive issues. It was in circulation among people in the radical community in the United States from 1933–1934.

The first issue of Mother Earth journal was published in 1933. It borrowed its title from the original magazine of that name by Emma Goldman and others, which was published from 1906 to 1917. The couple John G. Scott and Jo Ann Wheeler were the editors of all seventeen issues of Mother Earth journal, which they published until 1934. The first sixteen issues were printed in Craryville, New York. Scott and Wheeler printed the final issue after leaving Craryville to live and teach in the Ferrer Colony and Ferrer Modern School, where their two children attended school. Scott was a teacher of nature studies for about five years. Wheeler was an art and reading teacher in the Modern Schools for seventeen years. In addition to teaching and publishing the journal Mother Earth, the couple farmed a small piece of land in East Taghkanic, New York, following the guidelines of Thoreau’s Walden.

The Ferrer Colony and Modern School of Stelton, New Jersey, a free school to which Scott and Wheeler moved, were established following the assassination of Francisco Ferrer, founder of the original Escuela Moderna in Spain (1909) The Francisco Ferrer Association, established in the east coast of the United States by Emma Goldman, Alexander Berkman and other anarchists, led to the formation of Modern Schools in many parts of the United States. These anarchist leaders published the original Mother Earth magazine until August 1917, after Goldman was jailed for speaking against the draft and against the participation of the United States in the First World War. Wheeler stated to her son, Jon Thoreau Scott, and granddaughter, Nina Scott Frisch, that her journal was named after Goldman’s to honour the original Mother Earth and the work of earlier anarchists. During its publication, the original Mother Earth magazine was a major periodical of the anarchist movement.

The Craryville version Mother Earth was primarily written and edited by Scott and Wheeler, with illustrations by Wheeler. It included contributions from leading anarchists of the time, including Tom Bell, Laurance Labadie and Carl Nold. Articles debated political issues of the time, including Marxism versus Anarchism, free schools, freedom of speech, and labour organizing through the IWW and other unions. Other topics included organic and collective farming. The journal described the methods of farming used and way of life in rural upstate New York during the 1930s, and includes discussions from meetings of the United Farmers Protective Association, the National Farmers Holiday Association, and similar organizations.

Solidaridad Obrera (periodical)

Solidaridad Obrera (Spanish for Workers' Solidarity) is a newspaper, published by the Catalan/Balearic regional section of the anarchist labor union Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), and mouthpiece of the CNT in Spain.

The paper takes its name from an organization of the same name that started in 1907 and reorganized the labor movement in Spain based on the structure of the Federación de Trabajadores de la Región Española (FTRE). This name has been used by numerous anarchist periodicals in several countries.

The newspaper Solidaridad Obrera was first published on 19 October 1907, in Barcelona, Catalonia (Spain) as the mouthpiece of the Solidaridad Obrera federation and has been published, in different forms up to today, now consisting of an online version as well as a print-version that has a print-run of 5,000 copies that have been distributed for free since 2005.

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