Saturday, 25 July 2015

Death of Federico Arcos


The death of Federico Arcos

18 July 1920 – 26 May 2015


I am writing to people who will gather at the Cass Café in Detroit, Michigan on Sunday, 19 July 2015 to commemorate and honor Federico Arcos.

I remember Federico as a friend, a compañero, a philosopher, a fellow anarchist, a fellow poet, a social activist in the here and now, and a multi-dimensional autodidact.

Federico grew up in the old CNT districts of Barcelona in the 1920s and 1930s.  He was a member of Los Quijotes del Ideal in the Barrio de Gracia in revolutionary Barcelona in 1937.

However, unlike many of the Iberian anarchists who survived the Spanish Civil War and the total fascist oppression which followed it, Federico did not spend ALL of his time grieving for loss and grieving for the horror of the Spanish tragedy.  He understood that the struggle for freedom is a permanent struggle.  It is a struggle in the here and now.  Thus he did not hesitate to involve himself with the New Left anarchists of the generation of the 1960s and 1970s, my own generation.

Forced out of Spain, Federico worked much of his life in a Ford factory in Windsor, Ontario.  He was a loyal and respected rank-and-file union comrade, participating in the historic 110-day Canadian Auto Workers strike in Windsor in 1955.  He was also a behind-the-scenes theoretician and supporter of the anarchosyndicalist-involved MEI strike in Duluth, Minnesota, and its twin-strike, a point-of-production sympathy strike, in Mezzomerico and Novara, Italy, during 1999-2000.  Federico was a true compañero.  He never failed to give us aid.  He never failed to answer our questions.  He never failed to calm and balance our jitters.  He never failed to give us thoughtful advice.  Federico understood the true meaning of the word SOLIDARITY.

Federico loved poetry.  He was a true anarchist autodidact.  He could quote large amounts of poetry by heart.  Indeed, he believed in the power of the word, just as he believed in the power of freedom.  As a poet myself, I was especially thrilled by his meditations on the human condition.  I was also thrilled by Federico's own life, a life of meaningful dedication.

In freedom,

Séamas Cain,
Duluth, Minnesota

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