July 19, 2021
From The Free

por Belén Moreno y Eduardo Pérez 19 jul 2021 de El Salto traducción The Free Online

Everything started with you

The center of the anarchist nightlife of the Catalan capital played a fundamental role in the defeat of the coup in 1936.


After a hard night in Barcelona, ​​the morning of July 19, 1936 gives way to freedom at the rhythm of a machine gun.

Specifically, the sound of the weapon resounds from the roof of the Chicago bar, on Paral·lel avenue in the Catalan capital. After several hours of fighting, a group of trade unionists led by the carpenter Antonio Ortiz has managed to take the position, with the aim of harassing the three machine guns of the coup troops located in the Brecha de San Pablo.

Marina, 1936 Revolution day, Barcelona. (photo coloured 2020)

Covering fire allows street workers to go on the attack. At noon, the news is confirmed: the people in arms have defeated the rebel Army for the first time. It will not be the last.

Unions are not going to sleep

On the afternoon of July 17, when asked about the military uprising in Melilla, the Republican President of the Government Santiago Casares Quiroga shows off his terrible humor and worst incompetence: “Have they risen up? Well. I am going to sleep”.

In Barcelona, ​​where the labor movement was overwhelmingly dominated by the National Confederation of Labor, (CNT) the victory won from the rooftop of the Chicago bar was brewing

While Casares Quiroga rested peacefully, the Army followed its agenda. The next day, the coup was advancing in much of Spain.

Milicianos en Barcelona. El primero lleva en una mano una lata de sardinas y en la otra una pata de jamón.

However, trade unionism and sectors of the left had not gone to sleep, far from it. In Barcelona, ​​where the labor movement was overwhelmingly dominated by the National Confederation of Labor, the victory won from the rooftop of the Chicago bar was brewing.

The organization had long been preparing for the battle that everyone, except apparently the Prime Minister, anticipated.

barcelona 1936.. (photo colored 2020)

They had 20,000 members in Defense Committees, an arsenal that they hoped would be enough, and a plan: as soon as the troops took to the streets, they would respond there, where they were used to fighting innumerable street clashes with the forces of order.

At four in the morning, several military detachments had left their barracks to take over the nerve centers of Barcelona. The sirens of the Poble Nou textile factories began to sound.

barcelona 1936.. (photo colored 2020)

The alarm spread to the ships in the port and to the neighborhoods.

From the outskirts of Barcelona people began to move towards the center, with the intention of surrounding the rebels. Barricades began to erupt, hampering the fascist deployment.

The republican authorities were not inclined to hand over arms to the workers’ organizations, which is why these generally had to make do with the ones they already had, plus those that they got thanks to the individual decisions of the few related military.

The Tranquility before the storm

That the roof of another bar was one of the keys to the workers’ victory in Barcelona is no coincidence.

The squadrons had been deployed in the Brecha de San Pablo, an important enclave from a strategic point of view since, if they managed to conquer it, they would be able to connect two areas that they dominated and thus prevail in the center of the city.

They knew it wouldn’t be that easy. One of the machine guns located there wason the La Tranquility Bar.

La Tranquility wasn’t just any bar, and it certainly didn’t live up to its name. As the historian Agustín Guillamón noted, next to Chicago and Rosales it was one of the main anarchist meeting places in the city center.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bar-la-tranquilidad-barcelona-av-paral.lel_.jpg

With a capacity for 200 people and presided over by a portrait of the freethinking martyr Francisco Ferrer i Guardia, La Tranquilidad was a bar, but also a center of agitation, organization and resistance that, in the hard years of gunmen when being a trade unionist did not presage a Long live, he even held raffles for pistols among his clientele. The owner, Martí Sisteró, was a CNT sympathizer and, aware that he not only ran a consumer premises, he allowed low-income customers to spend hours inside with a glass of tap water in their hands.

Anarquismo e todas as esquerdas: uni vos! - Carta Maior

La Tranquility had long been a historic site for the urban guerrilla. It was there that, in 1923, the anarchist affinity groups approved their strategy of “revolutionary gymnastics”, which 13 years later would offer great results nothing more and nothing less than against the Spanish Army.

Anarchist bars, with their history of dissenting whispers, utopian dreams, caches of weapons and clandestine ideas, had defeated fascism

Bearing this in mind, it is less surprising that the troops who had crossed the Avenida Paral·lel at dawn encountered a huge barricade of cobblestones in the Brecha de San Pablo. Despite the shells launched and the deaths caused, the Army dominated the place but could not get through the barrier.

When reinforcements arrived, with the crème de la crème of the Defense Committees at the helm, the popular victory became a reality. Anarchist bars, with their history of dissenting whispers, utopian dreams, caches of weapons, and underground ideas, had defeated fascism.


I place here some paragraphs from Diego Camacho’s book ‘Trip to the Past'(Viaje al Pasado, my translation). Reporting from Barcelona on 19th July 1936 .. He was just 16 at the time.

Revolutionary Fiesta

‘I wandered from group to group. All talk was of the rapid victory over the army (takeover attempt) in less than 12 hours of street fighting with the troops… one incident… In the blink of an eye the multitude had raised a colossal barricade across the Paralelo.’ (a main street).

‘The troops took up positions, commanded by a lieutenant, who showed little patience, and ordered his subordinates to attack the barricade without protection. Just when he began yelling the orders to attack a captain turned his weapon… and shot him dead.

The soldiers stopped firing and began to approach us, shouting enthusiastically ‘Viva La República’… We all started fraternizing like crazy; they were stripping off uniforms and all explaining how they’d been misled by their superiors…’

‘Barcelona had been converted into a labyrinth of barricades, many strategically useless, yet meaningful, built by all the neighbours, who placed with every piled up paving stone, their longing for social and political change.’… (My note: This was a big modern city and a beehive of social and political activity. Another takeover by the army, this time fascist controlled, was the last straw. When the CNT activists set off the factory sirens in warning, everyone finally said ‘They Shall Not Pass’, and built barricades.)

‘For me the time spent at our local barricade in the Clot neighborhood was vital. Nearby the Bar Fornos had its billiard hall converted in a twinkling into a free Popular Restaurant. The Damm beer workers had left 100’s of bottles, store workers piled up hams and sausage, hot bread…’-

‘Barcelona was being transformed, and so were social relations. For example… at the barricade I met Lola, a family friend who’s partner Antonio caused constant problems due to his obsessive jealousy. She was running about, being useful, surrounded by men’…

‘Later Antonio arrived with a lorry-load of activists. I saw no hint of his usual jealousy he was delighted to see her there, only worried about their 5 year old daughter. The lorry went through amid wild cheering for the CNT and FAI. How many more people experienced similar changes?’

Fets de maig Barcelona 1937 | Entrevista | Hemeroteca | El Viejo Topo

‘On the 27th July the local federation of the CNT union published a manifesto calling for the end of the General Strike, and asking people to go back to work. The generalized expropriations (workplace takeovers) were a response to the abandonment, which we found when we got there. Most of the owners had gone, both big and small, for fear of reprisals by the (mistreated) workers.

They called open Assemblies and collectivized industry… In less than 36 hours the economic base passed (surprisingly) from private to collective property. ‘-…


That’s what happened. Instead of installing the National Catholic dictatorship the military fascists accidentally provoked a leap into future, allowing a unique, short-lived Social Revolution, light years ahead of State Communism or predator Capitalism.

Exposición fotos ocultas guerra civil Antoni Campañà

Diego was there, he lived that revolution that terrified all oppressors. He’s dead now, but he inspired us too, and he’d have enjoyed being quoted here

Other worlds and social systems are not only possible, but are coming, pronto, like it or not. .

(included in novel The Free read and download HERE https://thefreeonline.wordpress.com) ISBN-10: 1501006894 of 5th Print Edition

Contigo empezó todo

Los bares de Barcelona que vencieron al Ejército

El centro de la vida nocturna anarquista de la capital catalana jugó un papel fundamental en la derrota del golpe de Estado de 1936.

ilustración de Belén Moreno

original en castellano por Belén Moreno y Eduardo Pérez 19 jul 2021 de El Salto

Tras una dura noche en Barcelona, la mañana del 19 de julio de 1936 abre paso a la libertad a ritmo de ametralladora. Concretamente, el sonido del arma resuena desde la azotea del bar Chicago, en la avenida Paral·lel de la capital catalana.

Tras varias horas de combate, un grupo de sindicalistas liderados por el carpintero Antonio Ortiz ha conseguido tomar la posición, con el objetivo de hostigar a las tres ametralladoras de las tropas golpistas situadas en la Brecha de San Pablo. El fuego de cobertura permite a los obreros a pie de calle lanzarse al ataque. A mediodía, se confirma la noticia: el pueblo en armas ha vencido por primera vez al Ejército sublevado. No será la última.

Los sindicatos no se van a dormir

En la tarde del 17 de julio, preguntado sobre el alzamiento militar en Melilla, el presidente del Gobierno republicano Santiago Casares Quiroga hace gala de su pésimo humor y peor incompetencia: “¿Se han levantado? Bueno. Yo me voy a dormir”.

En Barcelona, donde el movimiento obrero estaba dominado abrumadoramente por la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, la victoria conseguida desde la azotea del bar Chicago se estaba fraguando

Mientras Casares Quiroga reposaba plácidamente, el Ejército seguía su agenda. Al día siguiente, el golpe de Estado avanzaba en buena parte de España. Sin embargo, el sindicalismo y sectores de la izquierda no se habían ido a dormir, ni mucho menos. En Barcelona, donde el movimiento obrero estaba dominado abrumadoramente por la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, la victoria conseguida desde la azotea del bar Chicago se estaba fraguando. La organización llevaba tiempo preparándose para la batalla que todos, menos al parecer el presidente del Gobierno, preveían.

Contaban con 20.000 afiliados encuadrados en Comités de Defensa, un arsenal que esperaban que fuera suficiente y un plan: en cuanto las tropas saliesen a la calle, ellos responderían allí, donde estaban acostumbrados a combatir en innumerables choques callejeros con las fuerzas del orden. A las cuatro de la mañana, varios destacamentos militares dejaron sus cuarteles para apoderarse de puntos neurálgicos de Barcelona. Las sirenas de las fábricas textiles de Poble Nou empezaron a sonar.

barcelona 1936.. (photo colored 2020)

La alarma se extendió a los barcos del puerto y a los barrios. Desde los alrededores de Barcelona la gente empezó a moverse hacia el centro, con la intención de cercar a los sublevados. Las barricadas comenzaron a brotar, entorpeciendo el despliegue faccioso. Las autoridades republicanas no eran proclives a entregar armas a las organizaciones obreras, por lo que estas por lo general se tuvieron que apañar con las que ya tenían, más las que conseguían merced a las decisiones individuales de los escasos militares afines.

La Tranquilidad antes de la tormenta

Que la azotea de un bar fuera una de las claves para la victoria obrera de Barcelona no es casualidad. Los escuadrones se habían desplegado en la Brecha de San Pablo, enclave importante desde un punto de vista estratégico ya que, si lograban conquistarlo, conseguirían conectar dos áreas que dominaban y así imponerse en el centro de la ciudad. Sabían que no sería tan fácil. Una de las ametralladoras allí situadas se encontraba frente al bar La Tranquilidad.

La Tranquilidad no era un bar cualquiera y, desde luego, no hacía honor a su nombre. Como ha descrito el historiador Agustín Guillamón, junto al Chicago y el Rosales era uno de los principales lugares de reunión anarquista en el centro de la ciudad.

Con capacidad para 200 personas y presidido por un retrato del mártir librepensador Francisco Ferrer i Guardia, La Tranquilidad era un bar, pero también un centro de agitación, organización y resistencia que, en los años duros del pistolerismo en los que ser sindicalista no presagiaba una larga vida, llegó a celebrar rifas de pistolas entre su clientela.

El propietario, Martí Sisteró, era simpatizante cenetista y, consciente de que no solo regía un local de consumo, permitía que la clientela de escasos recursos pasara horas en su interior con un vaso de agua del grifo en sus manos. La Tranquilidad era desde hacía tiempo un emplazamiento histórico de la guerrilla urbana. Allí fue donde, en 1923, los grupos de afinidad anarquista aprobaron su estrategia de la “gimnasia revolucionaria”, que 13 años después ofrecería grandes resultados nada más y nada menos que frente al Ejército español.

Los bares anarquistas, con su historia de susurros disidentes, sueños utópicos, alijos de armas e ideas clandestinas, habían derrotado al fascismo

Teniendo esto en cuenta, sorprende menos que las tropas que habían recorrido de madrugada la Avenida Paral·lel se toparan en la Brecha de San Pablo con una enorme barricada de adoquines. A pesar de los obuses lanzados y los muertos ocasionados, el Ejército dominaba el lugar pero no conseguía atravesar la barrera. Cuando llegaron los refuerzos, con la crème de la crème de los Comités de Defensa a la cabeza, la victoria popular se hizo realidad. Los bares anarquistas, con su historia de susurros disidentes, sueños utópicos, alijos de armas e ideas clandestinas, habían derrotado al fascismo.

Source: Thefreeonline.wordpress.com