Sunday, 3 June 2012

Professor Preston and Spanish Anarchism

Apropos the polemic between Stuart Christie and Nostromo in which the former stoutly defends Professor Prestons hostility to anarchists and anarcho syndicalists during the Spanish Civil War. Iwould like to
refer to Prestons book "Comrades-Portraits from the Spanish Civil War".  This book is dedicated to
Miguel Dols and Dom Hilari  Raguer.    The former inspired the Vicente Canada Blanch  foundation of which  Preston is closely  connected  and the latter a Bendictine monk who has permanently altered Prestons thinking on the Spanish Civil War.

1.  Durutti on whom Preston apparently worked at length was left out as a "notable omission".   But
Dolores Ibarruri- La Passionaria-  was included.   Prestons biographical sketch reeks of sentimental
sycophancy  and he confesses to being overwhelmed by her warmth and vitality  when he met her in the
1980s.  Characteristics not usually associated with communist apparatchiks.

2.  Manuel Portela Valladares, a conservative banker  married to an aristocrat was according to Preston
"in danger from the anarchists".

3.   When the war started Preston describes the FAI as an "extreme anarchist group"  who forced Joan
Baptista Rocal i Caball a founder of the catholic Catalan Party - Unio Democratica de Catalunya to leave

4.  Manuel Carrasco i Formiguera - a member of the catholic Catalan Party was according to Preston
denounced by the CNT paper Solidaridad Obrera for conservative leanings  and the article was
thus "effectively an invitation for him to be assassinated".

5.  Archbishop Cardinal Francesc Vidal i Barraquer of Tarragona  was arrested by The FAI which
was attributed by Preston to "anti-clerical fury of the anarchists".

All these incidents were decontextualised by the Professor.   There was a notable absence of any
critique of the role of the catholic hierarchy  in aligning itself with Franco and the Nationalists in
the social, economic and political milieus.   No less a person than the author Cervantes  raised
*have it out with the church" as a national motto.  Pierats in his book on Spanish Anarchism mentions the
infamous role of the Archbishop Cardinal Soldevila of Saragossa who brought in the "pistoleros" who
murdered CNT militants.

There is an evidential basis from Prestons published writings to cast serious doubts on Stuarts
assertions of Prestons supposed predilection for Anarchists and Anarcho Syndicalists during the Spanish
Civil War.

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