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Thursday, 5 May 2011

Buenaventura Durruti



I'm half way through a book about the Spanish Civil War and have just read this description of the accidental death of Buenaventura Durutti, the great anarchist leader before and during the war-


'A rumour started that Durutti had been shot by one of his own men who objected to his severe discipline. The anarchists, for reasons of morale and propaganda, claimed he had been shot by a sniper's bullet when in fact his death had really been an accident. The cocking handle of a companion's 'naranjero' machine pistol caught on a car door, firing a bullet into his chest. Durutti was without doubt the most popular anarchist leader. He had been an unrelenting rebel throughout his life and had earned the reputation of a revolutionary Robin Hood. His funeral in Barcelona was the greatest scene of mass mourning that Spain had witnessed, with half a million people in the procession. alone. His reputation was so great, not just among anarchists, that attempts were made after his death to claim his allegiance.'


During the war Durutti told his followers 'We are not in the least afraid of ruins. We are going to inherit the earth; there is not the slightest doubt about that. The bourgeoisie might blast and ruin it's own world before it leaves the stage of history. We carry a new world here, in our hearts.' Which is quite inspiring isn't it. The anarchists refused to join the Republican government- they didn't believe in government, a philosophy which contributed to divisions among the left and let the Stalin-directed communists take the reins, and Franco take power in 1939.


There's a Spanish Civil War re-enactment society called La Columna I found while idling on the net. I'm just happy such a thing exists. You can find them here-



I'm not sure I'm going to spend my weekends dressed in 1930s clothing, digging trenches and pretending to shoot fascists. But maybe I'm just not ready yet.


On to the music. Vini Reilly's band The Durutti Column have been releasing records since the late seventies, first on Factory, managed and named by Tony Wilson. Wilson took the name from a 60s Situationist poster. From their first album The Return Of The Durutti Column this is Sketch For Winter, produced by Martin Hannett. Wonder what Buenaventura Durutti would have made of the band named after him.


1 comment:

h said...

I can see you dressed as a Spanish civil war Anarchist. I don't have to imagine too hard.