Tuesday, 20 May 2008

Concha Pérez. A Woman of '36

I went over to see Concha last week.

She's always an inspiration, 92 years old, her mind still
sharp and clear. She's one of the founding, anarchist, members
of Les Dones del 36, the group of 8 women formed in
1997 to tell the story of the women who fought, in one way
or another, to defend the Republican government from the
fascist uprising.

I first met her in the summer of 1995 when I was looking
for information about civil defence. Somebody at the Salvador
Segui Foundation suggested I should go to talk to a group of
libertarian survivors of the war who met every week in a social
centre near the old university.

Note: Will have to finish this later as it's late and the graphic is
provisional till I can scan the photo I prefer. Though the breaking
chains in Catholic Spain in the 30s is very apt.


Jon said...

As a teenager I was given a great gift by some old anarchists. They ordered me to escort an elderly woman home from a meeting. She was a founding member of the Communist Party. She split with Trotsky and the left opposition to form the Socialist Worker's Party. Finally, in the late thirties, she broke with Leninism to join the Industrial Workers of the World. On the bus to her apartment she pointed out locations and told me their class struggle history.

This was more than thirty five years ago, and I can't remember anything that she told me, but I understood that the streets, that seemed so dull and ordinary, were alive with struggle.

I know a lot of old American leftists who are stuck in their youth and don't seem to be able to communicate with modern young people. I am trying to work with some young anarchists because I want to pass on some of what was given to me.

Your blog continues to impress me.

Valerie said...

Thanks for the nice comment, Jon.

"The Women of '36" formed the group precisely to try and connect with young people. In their first three years' existence they visited 95 schools and 20 universities to speak about their fight for social justice and freedom. Over 11,500 students listened. Some will, I'm sure, rethink the possibilities.