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Buenaventura Durruti

Buenaventura Durruti

Film: Durruti in the Spanish Revolution

Saturday, November 19, 2016 -
5:00pm to 7:00pm

Jura is pleased to be screening "Durruti in the Spanish Revolution" - the first screening in Australia as far as we know. It's a 60 minute film by Fundacion de Estudios Libertarios Anselmo Lorenzo via Pacific Street Films, based on the book by Abel Paz. Sid will give a brief introduction to the events depicted for those who may not be familiar with them. More importantly, the film has archival footage from the time of Durruti and the working classes of Spain.

Durruti was a major figure in the anarchist movement, from his teenage years, the formation of the affinity groups and on to the greatest revolutionary event in human history – the Spanish Revolution. He always fought for the poor and downtrodden, and against the State, whether of the social democratic, fascist or marxist varieties. In the film you can hear the voice of his wife, and some of his companions.

Jura's Red and Black Forum is showing this film in this, the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution, and also of Durruti's death on the battle front. The questions that these events present us, remain: social revolution or reformism, a world free that develops all human potential or authoritarian domination of all and the destruction of the planet?

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Book reviews: Durruti, Utopia, Workers' Control, and The Death Ship

 

The Man Who Killed Durruti, by Pedro de Paz

Why worry about an man who died in November 1936, or about the man who killed him? Perhaps the more important question is 'who is Durruti and why be concerned about him?'. In this intriguing book both of the questions are addressed in two parts. The first is an investigative historical novel about the death of Buenaventura Durruti, in the form of a detective novel that leads to a conclusion about his killer. This section of the book won the 2003 Spanish Jose Saramago International Short Novel Award. The second part is a more straight historical account of Durruti, his actions and ideas, during the Spanish Revolution, and is by Stuart Christie. This second part covers more about Durruti as a person, a militant anarchist worker, an anarchist militia leader, and, overall, a partisan of the Spanish people with an internationalist vision. His death was a turning point in the Spanish Revolution and one of the events that lead to the defeat of the revolution. Half a million people turned out for his funeral in Barcelona, a tribute to the place he held in people's hearts.

 

The Anthropology of Utiopia: Essays on Social Ecology and Community Development, by Dan Chodorkoff

This is an interesting book which is a collection of essays that have been printed in various places over the years. What brings them together is a series of important themes: an exposition of the work and ideas of Murray Bookchin, examples of how some of Bookchin's ideas have already (and can be now and in the future) be put into practice, the importance of action to (re-) build community as part of the long term revolutionary project and a defense of Bookchin against the poorly thought-out ideological assaults of his post-modern/'post-anarchist' attackers. All this is wrapped in a major theme of looking at ourselves anthropologically. The parts that I liked the most were about Chodorkoff's and a participant and activist in the Lower East Side of New York, in helping to build community among poor Puerto Ricans in what was then a desolate part of New York. Also, how an academic can support and be a part of change, although admittedly he did this when in the Institute for Social Ecology - a radical/anarchist institute if ever there was one. So many lessons to learn, both positive and challenging, that I've got notes scribbled all over the copy that I read. Well worth getting into.

 

Ours to Master and to Own: Workers' Control from the Commune to the Present, Edited by Immanuel Ness and Dario Azzellini

This book is so inspiring and so annoying in so many ways! The various authors come from widely different backgrounds in terms of work, geographic and  cultural location, and ideology. The best aspect is that many examples of attempts at workers' control are covered, from all over the world, although with a less than needed entries from non-European (and its offshoots) areas. So it's a rollikin' read going from workers' revolt to insurrectionary event to factory takeover, and is enjoyable if you don't look too closely into the ideological limitations and biases of many of the authors. So many are just stuck in the nonsense of marxist apologia, here is one example from a look at Russia, 1917-1920: "Some anarchist called for the takeover of factories, but a Bolshevik delegate replied: "control is not yet socialism, nor even taking of production into our hands....Having taken power into our hands, we should direct capitalism along a path such that it will outlive itself..." But no where, in this chapter, in a book about Workers' Control, is there the obvious critique of this marxist nonsense: if marxism is about 'directing capitalism' then it is not revolutionary, and certainly not about workers' control. One look at Simon Pirani's book The Russian Revolution in Retreat, 1920-1924: Soviet Workers and the new Communist Elite, should dispel the illusions that some of these authors have. So, if a reader can keep the rose coloured glasses off, and look critically at its limitations, then the book is a good read.

 

The Death Ship, by B. Traven

Traven, not his real name (which was possibly Ret Marut) was a mystery man who shunned fame and notoriety. He always insisted that his work should stand alone and be judged for what it was worth. This novel, his first after escape from his activities during the post WW1 Bavarian German Revolution of 1919, was probably a part biography of his experiences in the deep and dark holds of cargo ships. While the story itself is a great read, like all his other novels, the politics underlying the narrative is not hidden, but not always explicit. He attacked rampant authoritarianism in the form of the state, the boss, the military, religion, and any other of its manifestations that came across his path, or the paths that developed in his stories. Having read it 30 years ago and again recently, I thoroughly enjoyed his writing style and the pace of the action, while giving cause and pause for thinking of the meanings within. An easy read, but a provocative and stimulating one. Am now looking forward to re-reading The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, which was made into a great film with Humphrey Bogart.

 

Crisis and Struggle in Spain today - film, talk and exhibition

"In Spain we have an anarchist movement that is more or less solid. It's like a rock with cracks in it. We have serious internal problems, but we have a strong movement of squatting… we also have a strong culture of music, zines, books, information to share and relationships between areas that connect lots of different people. We have a web." - Mario, an anarchist in Madrid interviewed recently by Jeremy Kay.

Freedom Fundraiser

Sunday, March 17, 2013 -
1:00am to 4:00am

Film Screening as fundraiser for freedom bookshop.
'Durruti' and 'The Take': Films about the Past and Present with Lessons for a Revolutionary Future".

Don't forget your revolution

Last week (19 July) was the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution. Between 1936 and 1939, more than eight million workers and peasants participated in a revolution that turned anarchist ideals into a reality in their factories, farms and schools.

Political Perspectives: 

Anarchism in the 21st century

Saturday, September 19, 2009 -
4:00am to 6:00am

What form should anarchism take in the 21st century? What relevance does the last 150 years of anarchist history have? What's the difference between anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism? What do anarchist ideas have to offer in light of the current economic and climate crises? What about the tensions between employment, unemployment, and re-employment? Come and consider these questions with us (and raise more) at the first of a series of Jura Talks - Left Libertarian Discussions. Our first talk is on 'Anarchism in the 21st Century'.

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