Red and Black Flags flying

A bit of anarcho-syndicalist history in action in Dumfries last year when the IWW came to town. Prompted by Gerard’s questions about Spanish Civil War era anarchy in the UK

IWW Dumfries

  1. Tony Puppy
    Tony Puppy
    February 20, 2008 at 12:04 am

    What an amazing picture. Is it a real postcard?

  2. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    February 20, 2008 at 12:33 am

    Yes it is. There is a very small branch of the IWW here (if I went to the meetings would double in size…) and through Ben Franks and others, the IWW supported our ‘Save the Crichton Campus’ campaign. As part of this, the massed ranks of the Scottish IWW descended on Dumfries for May Day last year.

    Then someone had the bright idea to produce this postcard – although not sure if it is still available.

  3. Chris
    February 20, 2008 at 1:31 am

    Yea! that postcard is amazing! I hope folk filled up all the postcard racks in all the news agents and gift-shops with them so they were all tourists could find to send back to their loved ones at home.

    Forgot to say on that other thread that some of the original IWW wobbly founders were amazing folk who led mental lives too…Joe Hill, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Mother Jones, Eugene Debs and , in particular , ‘Boxcar Bertha’ (think there was a film made about her). If you can get hold of any of their autobiographies they are well worth a read too.

    re the Spanish Civil war, in case you weren’t aware, one of the folk who originally opened up the Centro Iberico was Miguel Garcia, a prominent Spanish anarchist and CNT organiser who was imprisoned then exiled under Franco. He wrote a book on his ordeal called, i think, ‘Franco’s prisoner’. Without wanting to enter into any deep debate, you really can’t help but wonder what folk like him, having gone through what they did for their beliefs, made of seeing their ’cause’ turn into something to paint on the back of a leather jacket.

  4. alistairliv
    alistairliv • Post Author •
    February 20, 2008 at 8:55 am

    Tony will have to fact check this, but I remember him saying he had a conversation at the Centro Iberico with Miguel about Spain in 1936and asking why the Spanish anarchists were successful then – and the reply being

    “Everyone was an anarchist”

  5. Tony Puppy
    Tony Puppy
    February 20, 2008 at 11:14 pm

    Miguel used to love hanging about the punk gigs when we moved downstairs. He used to love watching it all set up and the soundchecks, but when it got busy he’d vanish.

    He liked to see the Anarchy symbols on jackets. It made him feel young and empowered.

    Miguel told me a story about smoking and the anarchists in Catalunya during the civil war. When the anarchists were doing well no-one, he said, smoked, but as they lost ground some started smoking and when things went bad everyone started smoking and the worse it got the more they smoked.

    For some reason that has stuck with me.

  6. Chris
    February 21, 2008 at 1:15 am

    Nice story. I suppose having such a positive nature is what made him hold his beliefs after being locked up by franco for 20 years. I remember Andy Martin spoke highly of him too and in fact think an Apostles instrumental was re-named ‘for miguel garcia’ after he died. Were there any more old Spanish Comunards involved with the centro? Sure it must be documented somewhere, but unfortunately i sold a hell of a lot of my old @ books and stuff which i’m sure would hold the answer on ebay. I’d imagine meltzer’s “the anarchists in London” for one.

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