Vale Antonio Burgos (May 13, 1918–October 31, 2018) : The Last of the Spanish Anarchists Exiled to Australia

via asf-iwa

It is with deep sadness that the ASF Secretariat announces the passing of Antonio Burgos (13 May 1918 — 31 October 2018), the last remaining veteran of the Spanish Revolution in Australia. Antonio served in a CNT centuria during the revolution, was captured in 1939 and imprisoned for 7 years. Upon his release he took a boat from Malaga to Casablanca and then made his way to Beni-Saf to join other CNT exiles who eventually made their way to Australia and resettled as refugees. In December 1965, Antonio Burgos was a founding member of the Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne. Antonio Burgos died at 1am 31 October 2018 at the Austin Hospital in Heidelberg, Victoria. He was born in Alicante, Spain on 13 May 1918.

Above : Antonio Burgos with ASF comrades and the Secretary of the IWA at his home in February 2016.

See also : A Brief History of the Spanish Anarchist Refugees and Immigrants in Australia, ASF-IWA, June 3, 2012 | The Grupo has published a number of texts, including Interviewing Salvador Torrents (1950/1975/2012) : Spanish anarchist exiled to Australia (July 27, 2012).

anarchist notes (april 25, 2017) : IWA-AIT, Michael Schmidt +++


A little under 12 months ago, the anarcho-syndicalist International Workers’ Association / Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores (IWA-AIT) underwent an acrimonious split. Well, of sorts. In any event, at its XXVI Congress (December 2-4, 2016, Warsaw, Poland), the (Spanish) CNT, (German) FAU and (Italian) USI sections were disaffiliated ‘as a result of a conscious disregard for process, statutes and dues of the IWA’. For its part, in November 2016 the CNT organised a conference in Barakaldo, with participants from ‘comrades from IWW from the USA and Canada, IWW from the UK and Ireland, FAU and IWW from Germany, IP from Poland, USI from Italy, ESE and Rocinante from Greece, CNT-GAP and CNT-Vignoles from France and FORA from Argentina, as well as receiving solidarity statements from the Sociedad Obrera from Paraguay, FOB from Brazil and CNT-STCPP from France’. The purpose of the gathering was to establish a new international. In January 2017, the FAU published a statement elaborating upon its issues with the IWA-AIT and committing the organisation, along with the CNT and USI, ‘to jump-start a new international project’. More recently (April 17, 2017), segments of the CNT have published a statement [ESP] which suggests that at least some will be adhering to the IWA-AIT rather than joining in this new project.

    Communique of the CNT-AIT Congress to all workers and fighters — To All Anarchosyndicalists and Sympathizers
    [April 23, 2017]

    From various unions of the CNT-AIT that left what is now called the “CNT”, together with others that remain in it but with a critical stance, as well as with many others that were expelled or purged for having denounced the irregularities committed, we have met in Villalonga from the 13-16 of April in the Congress of Restructuring the anarchosyndicalist organization. We would like to publically communicate the reasons and the resolutions of our Congress and make a call to unite in our organization in order to strengthen and give potential to revolutionary, anti-authoritarian and emancipatory anarchosyndicalism.

    Motivations: In the last few years, what now calls itself “CNT” has been suffering an ideological derive [ie, drift] in all senses. This has included a series of scandalous situations in which some things are decided in the absence of assemblies, there has been a rupture of Confederal pact and federalism, a lack of solidarity, the inexistence of transparency[1], executive decisions of the Committees, the buying of votes, falsification of agreements, committees that veto the unions or their proposals without putting them on the agenda, centralism and even physical aggression. This derive has produced a weakness in [the] CNT that anybody can see: the need to have paid position[s] because of an absence of militants, the inability to publish the CNT newspaper, the decrease in the number of unions federated… Above all, it has provoked the serious fact that it was expelled from the IWA, our International which established anarchosyndicalism in the world, because of the numerous irregularities committed by its Spanish section, the “CNT”, among others not paying the dues[2], as established in the statutes, but also trying to organize a parallel international, only because it could not impose its agreements in the Congresses of the IWA[3].

    The Congress of Restructurization: We met in order to give structure to the numerous anarchosyndicalist unions that exist in the geographical area, to affirm anarchosyndicalism and the values that have inspired it, especially direct action, against parliamentarianism and bourgeois representationism that are being injected into supposedly revolutionary organizations, including the “CNT”.

    We have taken the following agreements:

    – We have adopted new statutes which are free of provisions which have supported or can support authoritarian practices, vertical structures and executive committees. In exchange, we are fostering consensus among the unions, more means for the local organizations and more autonomy against the committees, which will be reduced to authentic organs limited to coordination.

    – Affiliation to the IWA, with the CNT-AIT being its Section in Spain, putting an end to the irregular situation that has been promoted by the Committee of the “CNT”, and contributing to the promotion of internationalism which is so necessary for the opposition of a globalized capitalist world, a question that characterizes the real anarcosyndicalism and not this colonialism of a negative and irrational “CNT”.

    – We consider ourselves the continuation of the CNT created in 1910, the anarchosyndicalist and historic one.

    – We call on all the anarchosyndicalists in the geographic area to retake and resurge anarchosyndicalism and to put it in the place that it should be: as a libertarian and emanicapatory reference for the working class in the whole world.

    From Villalonga, libertarian greetings, in solidarity and internationalist, to all the people, groups and organizations that aspire for freedom.

    1. Such an absence of transparency, for example, encouraged the theft of around 20,000 euros from the CNT treasury by the General Secretary based in Valladolid.
    2. For example: The union responsible for the CNT newspaper is no longer nominated by the unions and decided in Plenaries, but by the Confederal Committee, since the XI Congress in Zaragoza. (Translator’s explanation: The CNT’s reformist and executive wing have caused the situation in which the paper has not been published in years, due to the fact that they are trying to keep control of the publication and infuse it with their politics.)
    3. A paradox since some unions that were expelled from the CNT were for dues arrears. While the CNT failed to pay dues to the IWA, it paid for a legal office of cronies whose cost were higher than the dues to the IWA. This office also absorbs all the resources destined to help repressed workers and prisoners that are from or collaborate with the CNT.
    4. This decision was made by the Committees of the CNT without any agreement of the unions or the Congress. Leaving the IWA was not proposed in the XI Congress of the “CNT”.

See also : ASF-IWA (Australian section of the IWA).

Michael Schmidt

In September 2015, AK Press issued a statement about one of its authors, historian Michael Schmidt, describing him as “an undercover fascist” and “a white nationalist trying to infiltrate the anarchist movement”. Subsequently, Alexander Reid Ross and Joshua Stephens published a series of articles detailing the allegations, and there has been a good deal of discussion online About Schmidt. Most recently, the Instituto de Teoria e História Anarquista (ITHA) / Institute for Anarchist Theory and History (IATH) have published a 2017 Statement on Michael Schmidt Case / Declaração sobre o caso Michael Schmidt (March 23, 2017) and Schmidt’s one-time co-author Lucien van der Walt has also released a statement: Lucien van der Walt – 2017 Statement on Michael Schmidt Affair – 10 April 2017 while anarkismo has published a Statement on the Schmidt Case and Proposed Commission of Inquiry. Schmidt himself has recently announced his intention to complete an anarchist history titled Wildfire, ‘a 16-year study [which] will be the most comprehensive global history of the anarchist movement over 15 decades’.

Other …

• On ANZAC Day, the Melbourne Anarchist Communist Group has issued a statement on the subject of WAR: WWI was a crime against humanity, with two rival imperialist alliances fighting it out to redivide the colonies, markets and resources of the world. The lives of soldiers, Australians included, and civilian populations were sacrificed to the power and profits of their own ruling classes …

On the Role of Black Bloc: A Critical Look, K., First of May Anarchist Alliance (M1), April 18, 2017: When we, as anarchists or anti-fascists, go out into the streets, questions should arise: What are we doing here? What are our goals? What is the most appropriate or powerful way to achieve those goals? Our tactical choices should always be in service of our goals — they should never be goals in themselves. I fear that in the anti-fascist movement, the tactic of black bloc has become fetishized and that this fetishization has impeded the growth of our movement and struggle …

Channel Zero is a newly formed podcast network of several anarchist and anti-authoritarian podcasts across so-called North America. Our goal is to create an ever growing platform to expand the reach of anarchist analysis into a larger and more public audience. Currently, we are made of up the Final Straw, the Crimethinc Ex-Worker Podcast, SubMedia, the Solecast, Which Side Podcast, Resonance: an Anarchist Audio Distro and the IGDCAST. Our goals with this network are several fold. First, we aim to support each other and expand the audience of all of our podcasts with a common website and platform where each of our shows can easily be found.

• CrimethInc is always worth reading. Some recent articles of interest include: The State of Emergency and the Totalitarian Drift of the State: A Report from France (April 20, 2017); From the Loi Travail to the French Elections: A Retrospective on Social Upheaval in France, 2015-2017 (April 19, 2017); “The Struggle Is not for Martyrdom but for Life”: A Critical Discussion about Armed Struggle with Anarchist Guerrillas in Rojava (April 18, 2017) and; Why the Alt-Right Are So Weak And Why They’re Becoming So Dangerous (April 17, 2017).

#Northcote (Anti) Social Club : Pay Your Workers!

Update (October 24, 2016) :

The ASF is pleased to announce a win for Shawn in his dispute with Northcote Social Club.

On Tuesday 18 October, during a Fair Work Australia conciliation meeting, Northcote Social Club backed down and agreed to pay Shawn compensation for his unfair dismissal. While Shawn is not at liberty to disclose the details of those discussions, nor the nature of the resolution, the ASF understands he is very happy with the result.

In light of what we previously knew, we understand this to mean that Shawn feels fully compensated regarding the pro rata long service leave entitlement he would have become eligible for this October had he not been illegally sacked from his role in July.

The ASF would like to thank all of those who helped by participating in the picketing of Corner Group’s four pubs:

– The Northcote Social Club (Northcote, Vic.)
– The Corner Hotel (Richmond, Vic.)
– The National Hotel (Richmond, Vic.)
– The Newtown Social Club (Newtown, NSW).

This win would not have been achieved without the pressure exerted on Corner Group’s bosses by the ASF’s direct action methods.

For the time being, Shawn has requested that the ASF and all the people who supported him during this dispute refrain from taking any further action in his name against the company.

While the ASF will continue to support other underpaid workers from Northcote Social Club, we will be observing a 30 day hiatus of action in order not to jeopardise the agreement reached between Shawn and Corner Group.

Well done to all involved. And thank you for your support!



Apparently, the Northcote Social Club (301 High Street, Northcote), which is part of the Corner Group of venues (owners of The Corner Hotel and The National Hotel in Richmond and the Newtown Social Club in Sydney), has been screwing over some of its workers. The situation has been developing over some months and it seems that management has been intransigent in refusing to fulfill its obligations with regards at least one and possibly more workers. This is disappointing as the venues are very popular and generally well-regarded and myself and a shitload of people I know like to drink and perform there. In any case, as a consequence of management’s poor behaviour, a boycott of the Northcote has been initiated — until such time as The Corner Group agrees to do what’s right. Hopefully, this is soon, as a failure to do so will permanently scar the venue’s reputation among locals, especially unionists and music-lovers.

The Anarcho-Syndicalist Federation (ASF) is calling upon patrons, bands, booking agents to boycott Northcote Social Club (NSC) to support Shawn, in a case of wrongful dismissal.

After reviewing the facts associated with this case, the ASF is of the opinion Shawn’s dismissal was engineered by NSC management to avoid becoming liable to pay Shawn pro rata long-service leave to which he was 3 months short of becoming entitled to under Section 58(1) and (2) of the Long Service Leave Act 1992 (Vic.).

Five of Shawn’s fellow workers at NSC have since resigned in protest at his treatment. The ASF also believes that NSC has been illegally underpaying its employees for the last 7 years, by using their annual leave entitlements to pay certain public holidays in contravention of Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth), Sections 114–116.

We note the cynical hypocrisy of these actions in a pub whose branding seeks to cultivate an image of working class values.

The ASF requests your assistance in boycotting NSC until these grievances are addressed.

Furthermore we encourage the boycott of all CUB products in solidarity with the CUB55 (incidentally CUB is the Northcote Social Club’s main supplier).

You can’t quench a hard earned thirst with a cold, scab beer, especially not at the NSC!

For more information and to keep up-to-date with the ongoing campaign, please see : Boycott the Northcote Social Club.

Spanish Revolution 80th Anniversary 1936–2016


July 19, 1936 is the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and Revolution.

Next week, the ASF-IWA has organised a meeting to commemorate the occasion:

On the 19 July 1936, the CNT and the FAI launched the Spanish Revolution in response to the attempted coup by fascist Spanish army generals. The ASF Melbourne is holding an event at the Melbourne Anarchist Club with Vincente Ruiz Jr., son of CNT column commander, Vincente Ruiz and CNT veteran, Antonio Burgos, the last remaining veteran of the Spanish Revolution living in Australia. There will be a short presentation followed by a Q&A session.

In addition to the meeting, local anarchists belonging to the Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne have published two pamphlets about the revolution. The first, The Spanish Social Revolution, is published in Spanish and is a re-edition of a booklet originally published in 1975, a transcript of a conference given by compañero Ramon Liarte in 1973 at the meeting hall of the local federation of Bordeaux. The second, English-language pamphlet is titled A grass root C.N.T. militant remembers and is based on the oral memoirs of Luis Parés Adán (translated by Vicente Ruiz Jnr.).

The Spanish Social Revolution (PDF)
A grass root C.N.T. militant remembers (PDF)

See also : Spanish civil war 1936-39: reading guide (libcom) | Chomsky’s Recommended Spanish Civil War Books List | AK Press titles re Spanish Revolution | Living utopia / Vivir la utopía. V.O. with English subtitles — a terrific 1997 documentary in which anarchists who participated in the revolution speak about their experiences and about anarchism.

anarchist notes : iwa-ait splits


Update (June 9, 2016) : Response to the Yellow CNT on the IWA (CNT-AIT Regional de Levante).

Well it’s hardly ‘news’, but it’s note-worthy: the International Workers’ Association (IWA) / Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores (AIT) — the anarcho-syndicalist international — appears set to split. The December 2015 congress of the Spanish CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo / National Confederation of Labour) apparently decided to ‘refound’ the IWA-AIT on a different organisational basis. The CNT has published an explanatory note (in English) titled ‘CNT on the re-foundation of the IWA. CNT-E’s XI Congress agreements on internacionalism’, which claims, inter alia, that:

… we have found sections in the current IWA to have very little commitment to union work in their local context. Rather, they exert enormous efforts to monitor the activities of other sections, larger or smaller, that do make this area a priority. Consequently, over the past few years, the IWA has become inoperative as a vehicle to promote anarcho-syndicalism and revolutionary unionism at an international level.

In addition to complaints about inactivity/bad practices, the statement also claims that the current general secretary of the IWA-AIT acted unilaterally to expel the German section (FAU). This claim, along with others, is disputed by the general secretary. See : On The Publication of the CNT Spain Regarding the IWA.

Currently, the IWA has the following sections:

Priama Akcia (SLOVAKIA)
Solidarity Federation (ENGLAND)

The FAU and USI — which, after the CNT, are the largest sections in terms of membership — have welcomed the CNT’s declaration, and would seem likely to join the ‘refoundation’. See : Erklärung des FAU-Kongress 2016 (May 17, 2016) and Le Mozioni del Congresso straordinario dell’USI-AIT (April 17, 2016). (The IWA has published a response to the USI statement here.)

Further discussion on the split/proposed refoundation can be found on Robert Graham’s (excellent) blog: The CNT Splits from the IWA (April 12, 2016).