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Translated by Paul Sharkey.
MANZANERA, Elias. The Iron Column : Testament of a Revolutionary.
With a profile by Ramon Liarte and an introduction by the Kate Sharpley Library.
Article published on 9 July 2006
last modification on 26 August 2006

by r-c.
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36 pages. Cover art by Josh MacPhee. ISBN: 1-873605-19-6

Kate Sharpley Library, BM Hurricane, London, WC1N 3XX

Kate Sharpley Library, PMB 820, 2425 Channing Way, Berkeley CA 94704, USA

Elias Manzanera helped to set up the Valencian anarchist militia unit, the
Iron Column, to unleash social revolution against the military and fascist
revolt of July 1936 which began the Spanish Civil War. The Iron Column was
the most intransigent and most maligned of the anarchist militias.
Manzanera served on its War Committee and here remembers both its
achievements, and his comrades who fell fighting, not only against
fascism, but for anarchy.

Poster of the Iron Column
For the freedom of humanity!
For anarchy!

"[Manzanera’s] attitudes stand in sharp relief. First, he has an intense
pride, both in his association with the Iron Column and in the place that
he comes from. Secondly, he expressed the firm, almost puritan idealism
which drove him and so many of his comrades: bourgeois society was on the
way out and the new one would have no need of bourgeois vices. His
language comes from another time when ’manhood’ meant ’dignity’. Now we
would say ’Do the right thing.’

"Finally, he has the bitter tone of someone used to being lied about. The
people in arms had defeated the military revolt but the republican
bourgeoisie and their Communist Party allies campaigned ceaselessly
against the revolution. The Iron Column was one of their favourite
targets. In the language of power, Communists destroying collectives and
killing peasants were ’restoring order’ ˆ anarchists defending them were
’uncontrollables’. For anyone unwilling to come out and say ’I believe in
power and I want my snout in the trough!’ it’s always a good trick to
divide your anarchist opponents into impractical idealists or criminal
opportunists. But the Iron Column were neither ’bandits’ nor ’saints’.
They were revolutionaries who knew who their enemies were. For that
reason, their long and painful odyssey is worth studying."
From the Introduction.


Introduction: The Iron Column and the Spanish Revolution

Further reading on the Iron Column

Profile of the author


Touring Valencia

The Fascist Revolt

An Entire Column

The Salesian convent

The make-up of the Column

Formation of the War Committee

Leaving Valencia for the Front

Reaching Barracas

from Barracas to Sarrion

The Battle of Sarrion

On to La Puebla de Valverde

Searching for and capturing the wretches misusing the Column’s name

In Puerto de Escandon

What our young men wrote in the newspaper

Glimpses of La Puebla

The sort of thing the young people wrote for our newspaper Linea de fuego

In Puerto de Escandon



Deservedly remembered

The victory belongs to you, Galileo

A fraternal Libertarian message


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