Wednesday, November 30, 2005


In June, 1896, in Barcelona, two bombs were thrown at a procession attended by the Captain General. There were several victims. As a result, hundreds of prisoners, many brought on foot from the countryside, were crowded into the dungeons of the notorious Barcelona fortress of Montjuich. Among them were Anselmo Lorenzo, Tarrida de Mármol, Teresa Claramunt, Federico Urales and José Llunas.

Commander Enrique Marzo was in charge of the case, and a lieutenant of the Civil Guard, Narciso Portas, conducted the interrogations. On his orders hired thugs tried to obtain confessions from the prisoners, who were whipped into running for hours at a time until they dropped from exhaustion. They were also prevented from sleeping and given dry cod instead of water. In desperation they came to drink their own urine. Their testicles were twisted, and glowing irons were inserted under their fingernails and toenails. These tortures took place deep inside the fortress.

By the end of September the executioners had chosen their victims. Five of them, Aschery, Más, Nogués, Molas, and Alsina, were condemned to death and executed inside the castle. Twenty-two others were given maximum penalties (they too were freed by international pressure in the spring of 1900) and the rest were banished from the country. During the trial the climate of international opinion changed to the extent that those exiled were given asylum in England. Fernando Tarrida de Mhrmol, an anarchist professor in the Barcelona Politechnical Atheneum, who, because of his intellectual reputation and his wealthy family, had been released in the first phase of the investigation, roused the international community with a powerful book denouncing the trial.

Influenced by these reports, Miguele Angiolillo, an Italian anarchist, left London for Spain in August, 1897 with the express purpose of assassinating the Prime Minister, Chnovas del Castillo. Angiolillo was executed on August 20, 1897. The following month, a Spanish anarchist named Sempau tried in vain to attack Portas, the interrogator.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005


In 1892 a peasant uprising took place in Jerez de la Frontera. More than 4,000 peasants took over the city, shouting "Long Live Anarchy!"

The peasant rebellion of '92 was the act of dreamers. Armed with staves and scythes they thought they would overcome the wen guarded lords of Jerez who lived off lands they never even saw, while those who worked the lands could hardly eat.

Blasco lbáñez has written of this episode in his novel, La Bodega. The anarchist apostle of Andalusia, Fermin Salvochea, was in the Cadiz prison at the time of the events, but he was still held responsible for the uprising and condemned to twelve years imprisonment. (The prosecutor demanded 52 years.) Four men were condemned and executed. Eighteen other defendants were sentenced to heavy terms, some of them for life. They, too, were given amnesty at the beginning of this century.

The end of the century in Spain was punctuated by explosions of anarchist dynamite. In Barcelona on September 24, 11892, Paulino Pallás threw a bomb at General Martinez Campos, one of the architects of the Restoration. Pallás acted in retaliation for the Jerez executions. When Pallás in turn was executed, another anarchist, Santiago Salvador, tried to avenge him by throwing another bomb, this time into the orchestra section of the Lyceum, a patrician theatre in Barcelona, on November 8, 1892. Twenty persons were killed. The police rounded up a number of anarchists and tortured some of them into confessing that they had committed the crime. José Codina, Mariano Cerezuela, José Bernat, Jaime Sogas, José Salvat, and Manuel Archs were condemned to death. In the meantime the police discovered the real culprit, but in spite of his confession they carried out all of the executions.

Manuel Archs, wrote his son a letter shortly before his execution in which he said:

Perhaps tomorrow people will tell you your father was a criminal. Tell them loudly that he was innocent of the crime he was accused of. I hope you will understand and will not despair because of what happened to your father. On the contrary, may my end serve to inspire you to spread far and wide the principles for which I give my life.

Years later Archs' son was assassinated by one of the gangs of gunmen which operated with impunity under the reign of the Generals, Martinez Anido and Arlegui.

Monday, November 28, 2005


At times in public, at times underground, the anarchist workers' movement has been in existence in Spain since the founding of the Spanish section of the First International in 1869. It began as the Spanish Regional Federation, outlawed from 1872 to 1874 but continuing underground until the dissolution of the International. It became known, in turn, as the Federation of Workers of the Spanish Region (1881-1889), the Pact for Union and Solidarity (1889-1896), Worker Solidarity (1904-1909), and since 1910 as the National Confederation of Labour, CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo).

At the turn of the century the movement declined, both because it was forced to go underground and because it was divided internally. At this time the more authoritarian members, influenced by the doctrines of Karl Marx and his representative in Spain, the Frenchman Paul Lafargue, split off from the movement. Also, there was heavy repression, the bloodiest of which was the persecution in 1882 of an alleged organization of evildoers called "The Black Hand".

In response to government repression, some of the followers of the International formed secret societies. In Andalusia members of one such group swore to avenge assassinated or imprisoned members, and to aid their families where necessary. One member, jealous of another's love affair, informed on the group. When the informer was killed, local landowners and the police seized on the incident to fabricate a bizarre plot. On a wall in the village of Villamartín the print of a hand appeared in paint; this was the famous "black hand". Likewise the police "discovered," this time under a pile of stones on a mountain, the macabre rules of a secret society "founded for the robbery and murder of decent people". Two sinister figures, the head of the Civil Guard of Jerez, Tomás Pérez Monforte, and his aide Oliver, directed the repression that followed. All unsolved murders, thefts, or fires were included in the case. Numerous prisoners were severely tortured to force confessions of pre-selected crimes. The reactionaries sought to discredit the anarchist movement and deprive it of its leaders. Three members of the District Commission, Juan Ruiz, Pedro Corbacho, and Francisco Corbacho, along with Cristábal Fernández, Manuel Gago, Gregorio Shnchez, and Juan Galftn, were condemned and executed. Le6n Ortega avoided the scaffold by going mad in jail. Eleven other men were condemned to life imprisonment and several of them died in jail before amnesty was declared twenty years later, after an international campaign.

From 1880 until the turn of the century a kind of renaissance took place in anarchist intellectual circles: the founding of the satirical periodical La Tramontana by José Llunas (Barcelona, 1881); the First Socialist Literary Competition, organized by the Centre of the Friends of Reus, Tarragona, in 1885; the founding of the review Acracia (Barcelona, 1886); the publication of the newspaper El Productor (Barcelona, 1887); and the Second Socialist Literary Competition (Barcelona, 1889). The best Spanish anarchist writers, most notably Ricardo Mella, took part in these competitions.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Four.2.4

2d. Intra-group bonding may prove detrimental in certain situations. Detrimental actions committed by one member of the group almost always reflects badly on all members of the groups. The lack of internal discipline inevitably leads toward corruption and predation. Such behavior invites confrontation. In a technological world, as witnessed by current events, anyone sufficiently motivated can prove a threat. As previously stated, whom needs more enemies? Certain actions deserve censure or repudiation. The local standards set the bar. Yet be wary. The whole world might be watching.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Four.2.3

2c. Individuals may form groupings for a common objective. Real freedom is the ability to walk away even before completed. Anything meaningful is worth staying to the end; anything else is not worth the effort. The moral high ground gives the better vantage point.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Four.2.2

2b. Employed skillfully, quickness often proves the surest means to success (at least in the short term). The non-hierarchical are always disadvantaged compared to authoritarian systems with respect to operational speed. However, flexibility will often overcome this deficiency. Unlike those ordered from above, anti-authoritarian drive must come from within both the group and the self. As witnessed, hierarchies are vulnerable.

Monday, November 21, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Four.2.1

2a. Occasionally, circumstances require cooperation with others. Often similarities will prove the greatest impedance to a successful working relationship. In situations where one's ability obviously make one most suited, little argument regarding superiority is likely. However, when skills are evenly matched, the danger lies wherein a clash of egos and the resulting needless expenditure of energy. In a hierarchical situation, leadership may act as a mediator. In the case of a grouping of individuals, decision making still requires process. Dispute resolution must be quick. How is a matter for and only for those involved.

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three

Second Draft

Part Three.1.1
Part Three.1.2
Part Three.1.3
Part Three.2.1
Part Three.2.2
Part Three.3.1
Part Three.3.2
Part Three.3.3
Part Three.3.4
Part Three.4.1
Part Three.4.2
Part Three.4.3
Part Three.5.1
Part Three.5.2
Part Three.6.1
Part Three.6.2
Part Three.7.0

Sunday, November 20, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Four.1.0

Part Three.

On Groupings and Cooperation–

Draft 2.0

1. A Note–

Ego might be a concept useful as a psychological description, but it is not an absolute. Language can be used to describe the same thing in many different ways. For the purposes of this discussion (and this discussion only), the term will refer to something akin to that which drives so-called "pissing matches." In conflict, it does not really matter that which is inside someone’s skull, only that action is decisive and not reckless. In the absence of a hierarchy, this ability is something that needs to be instilled without the benefit of indoctrination. Cultural strengths and weaknesses are a big factor in contributing to successful conflict resolution or otherwise.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Interlude: "Democratization of Warfare"

In Women Warriors by Fabius Maximus, the reality of women and child soldiers is discussed. The author points out that modern warfare has essentially become an undertaking devoid of honor. He concludes:

What drives this democratization of warfare, providing women and children the opportunity to die for their tribe, religion, or nation?

Technology is the obvious candidate. Many powerful weapons require little strength, such as pulling the trigger on an AK-47 or detonating 10 kg of SEMTEX wrapped around your waist.

Today even the physically weak can fight. And they do fight, proving that bravery is a universal aspect of the human spirit. Many kinds of societies send women and children to fight and die, another example of the soulless, Darwinian nature of warfare. What works gets used. Even the most fundamental social rules bow to the necessities of war.

Consider this trend from another perspective.

Many armies have traditionally relied on “stand-off” weapons, such as cavalry armed with the
composite bow, to combat heavy infantry. Now armies can in some circumstances rely almost
entirely on mines, mortars, and missiles – with no need to even face their enemy.

We see this in Iraq, where about 2/3 of our deaths result from insurgents’ IEDs. We see the
same trend in our own forces, as the day nears when remotely piloted vehicles sweep manned
aircraft from the sky. What need for the traditional warrior virtues in this form of combat? Bravery, discipline, and loyalty have no role. Armies themselves become unnecessary in any conventional sense. Perhaps armies become strange in form, mixing fighters who face their foe and those who do not – a more radical divide than anything in today’s military.

These trends affect all soldiers in another way. Warfare is an intimate relationship between
enemies. What glory for our elaborately equipped soldiers when they kill “armies” containing
women and children? Or for a “pilot” sitting in a comfortable chair, commanding a RPV to drop
500-pound bombs on a densely populated neighborhood hundreds of miles distant?

This puts a new spin on Thomas Barnett’s sunny tales about a future in which American
Expeditionary forces sail off to civilize dark corners of the world. To do so means wars of a kind alien to our culture and experience. Are we willing to kill women and children soldiers who are defending their cultures, however misguided we believe them to be?
This is our times’ Revolution in Military Affairs, perhaps the most significant in many millennia.

What might this mean for warfare as a social phenomenon?
Often the entrance of significant numbers of women into a profession both lowers its social
standing and sparks an exodus of men. Examples are teaching in the United States and medicine
in the Soviet Union.

The increased role of women in both conventional and unconventional armies might do this for
warfare. The increased role of children in guerilla warfare might do so even more powerfully,
especially in tribal societies where the role of Warrior has deep connections with concepts of manhood and glory.

Perhaps men will no longer see war as a high status occupation, but just another nasty but
occasionally necessary task. Like fixing sewers.

We will have moved from the Clausewitz’s ordered theater of war to a new world where war
becomes a more primal thing – still terrible, but with little room for glory or honor.
Perhaps then it will become less common.

Perhaps that is an acceptable trade-off, if one wants to live in societies that send women and children to fight and die – or sends soldiers to kill armies of women and children -- for politically convenient goals.

For myself, it seems better to stay at home, waging defensive warfare.

I would have to agree with this sentiment. The fact is aggression through warfare can only end when the warriors refuse to fight. Even for the warrior, killing for the lies of politicians is becoming less attractive. Personally, if I am not defending myself or my own, then I have no interest (which is why the military never had any appeal). It would appear others are beginning to agree. The inevitable conclusion is that those who wage aggression are a threat to be defended against. My question is when will the obvious next step be taken?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.7.0

7. Pride is a stupid thing. Even Christians understand its folly. Occasionally, an obstacle is too big or challenging to overcome alone. Aid is required. The lone individual may only do so much. This Modern Warrior Archetype knows that a time comes when allies may be needed. The difficult part is discerning reliability.

End of Part Three.

Monday, November 14, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.6.2

6b. Unless extremely fortunate, from time to time, everyone loses. A fall-back plan is an advisable means of mitigating failure. In addition, one must examine defeat with the greatest clarity. An honest assessment may enable future success. Why endlessly repeat the same error? Those whom lack adaptability are doomed.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.6.1

6a. Many struggles are a waste of time and resources. Battles must be carefully chosen. The high ground is better identified preceding conflict. The immediate terrain and environment should be reconnoitered well before the start of any troubles. Escape points and bolt holes can thus be identified. Things can go wrong. If one knows where to run and hide, one will less likely be caught in a dead end and trapped. Feet are the optimal means. Speed distorts and hides detail. During conflict, small things may become great. Through planning, failure can become success. This Modern Warrior Archetype knows it may fail. It knows swagger is mainly theater.[1]

[1] After writing this last sentence, I started laughing as I recalled a drag queen loudly proclaiming, "it’s all just theater, baby."

Thursday, November 10, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.5.2

5b. Leadership is often a lie. Rather than earned, status is conferred. Legitimacy is eroded. The pretenders seek influence but only spawn alienation. Their failure is inevitable. Their cause is not worth supporting. This Modern Warrior Archetype does not require enemies. All scales and levels suffer the idiot. Stampedes are better avoided. Fortunately, anyone with minimal powers of observation and a little sense can see it. History is a good guide of what not to be.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.5.1

5a. Rash action often results in disaster. As for nations, so may individuals become bogged down in quagmires of their own making. A situation may engulf one whole. Since satisfaction will never be achieved, the price is never worth it. Trying is often over-rated by those who have never done anything worth mentioning. This Modern Warrior Archetype has done enough to know better.

Monday, November 07, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.4.3

4c. Self-discipline is sometimes necessary in achieving the means to an end. One must learn to control reaction. In conflict situation, maintaining a cool head is imperative. At the very least, the appearance is intimidating. The easiest targets are not calm. The hurricane’s eye is shielded by fury. Even if one has not truly reached the level of this Modern Warrior Archetype, the screen will allow one to build confidence. If those you fear also fear you, then they must not have been so very fearsome in the first place.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.4.2

4b. Suffering may impart harsh but extremely useful lessons. Pain is an excellent means for motivating memory retention. Of course, care must be taken not to cross the line into sadism (or masochism). Physical exertion is an almost universal means for pushing toward individual limits. Intellectual and most other heights are too uneven. One may develop sufficient character towards greatly ensuring survival under adverse conditions through physical means. At least, one knows things could be worse.

Friday, November 04, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.4.1

4a. In conflict situations, weakness can be compensated, but one must be self-aware to be successful. By failing to acknowledge limitations, one will never fully recognize those subtle strengths found within. However, a danger does lie when one becomes self-absorbed by the process. This Modern Warrior Archetype must walk the line between introversion and extroversion, or else one may stare downward when one should be facing forward. Therefore, the moment is not seized, and failure is part of the price. Even so, one may still learn from such errors. As noted by Nietzsche, that which does not kill us makes us stronger.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

On This Modern Warrior Archetype Part Three.3.4

3d. Inflation is a danger spawned by projection. One whom projects their desires on reality often gets burned. Self-image is inflated beyond anything sustainable, thus vulnerable to bursting. In addition, as a consequence, one will often find oneself a target. Predators can smell those whom are all talk with nothing to back it up. This Modern Warrior Archetype is realistic in identifying weakness and finding a way to overcome. One may even find strength through acknowledging failings. However, in doing so, it is not necessary to broadcast everything.