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LORENZO, Anselmo
Article published on 31 March 2004
last modification on 2 November 2005

by r-c.
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Mother Earth Vol. IX. February, 1915 No. 12

DEATH OF ANSELMO LORENZO

WITH much regret we announce the death of our well-known Spanish comrade, Anselmo Lorenzo, who died suddenly on November 30. In a letter to James Guillaume, published in La Bataille Syndicaliste , his daughter Marina says that her father’s last days were much saddened by the regret which he felt at the bellicose opinions of some of his Anarchist friends for whom he had a lively affection and a great admiration. "At eight in the evening before he died he sent to some friends a manuscript for Almanaque Obrera (Workers’ Almanac"). He rose to work the next day, but fainted, and died at 4:30 p.m. "That was a death such as he used to desire," says his daughter. The following notes are taken from Solidaridad Obrera, of Barcelona (December 3):

Born on April 21, 1841, in Toledo, of a working-class family, and receiving the defective education given to the workers, Anselmo Lorenzo was apprenticed to a firm of printers in Madrid.

At the time the influence of the International movement had not yet reached Madrid; and, feeling his humanity and his courage stirred against the government oppression, Lorenzo fought ardently in the ranks of the Federal Republican party, which then represented in Spain the people’s aspiration for liberty and the maximum of progress in the realm of politics.

In the library he made the acquaintance of the works of Proudhon, and gleaned extracts from Fourier, neither of whose works were in circulation in Spain at that time. His mental outlook and his disposition were much influenced by the journal La Discusion , in which the celebrated Pi y Margall published his Socialistic principles, which, later in life, he revoked.

With his mind thus prepared, Lorenzo met Fanelli, who was in Madrid as delegate of the so-called "Democratic Alliance" (with anti-Parliamentary principles) to found the Spanish section of the International Working Men’s Association. The section was founded, and, the impulse which Lorenzo, with his enthusiasm and activity, gave to it, there began for the first time in Spain the open dissemination of internationalist ideas, which were welcomed from the first moment by the Spanish workers as the hope of approaching economic and political liberation. In 1870, Lorenzo was instrumental in bringing about the publication of Solidaridad. This work of propaganda in a country already shaken by the revolution ary spirit was bound to bear fruit; and as a matter of fact in a short time it was marked by the institution of various "organizations of resistance."

In June, 1870, the first Spanish Labor Congress was held in Barcelona, with Lorenzo brilliantly to the fore. His opinion on "The International in Relation to Politics" gained the united approbation of the assembly. Comrade Lorenzo was nominated a member of the Federal Committee of the Spanish Region.

A few days after the constitution of the committee the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 broke out, and this event gave occasion to the Spanish Regional Federation to hold a demonstration in favor of human brotherhood, and to publish a manifesto from the pen of Lorenzo, in which he lashed the barbarism of the governments which launched their respective peoples into useless slaughter provoked by two tyrants.

It had been a custom every year in Madrid to hold a patriotic festival on May 2, during which popular brutality was exercised against the few Frenchmen who, not knowing the custom, ventured into the streets. The Federal Committee wanted to put an end to such a savage custom, and so determined to hold a fraternal tea, with both French and Spanish guests.

The government now began to take serious notice of the organization, on the suggestion of the political press, fearing that it would lose its adherents, and that its parties would be broken up, was waging a bitter campaign against the International.

In a discussion in Parliament on the International a stream of invective was poured on the workers who wished to emancipate themselves by it. Lorenzo, in defense, said: "If the International be declared contrary to the law, the International will declare the law contrary to reason and justice." The menace of the government against the International kept the Federal Council alert. In order to be prepared, defensive groups were formed in every district, Lorenzo organizing those in the region of Andalusia. Later, in Barcelona, he did good work in the trade unions, bringing to bear all his intelligence and activity. He also contributed to the labor journals in Spain, and, in Spanish, to various foreign reviews and capitalist dailies.

As a consequence of the bomb explosion in Barcelona in 1897, Lorenzo, like many others, found himself persecuted and imprisoned in the ill-famed Castle of Montjuich for about a year. The sufferings he underwent are not for narration here; we all know the bitter days in which "eyes were shut to right and justice." He was among those deported to Paris, whence he returned on the granting of an amnesty.

In 1909 he was persecuted by the ferocious reactionaries of the Maura Ministry, and fled to Alcaniz and Teruel with the family of Francisco Ferrer. His name will always be linked with that of the founder of the Modern School, to whom he was an inspiration and an enthusiastic collaborator in the great and glorious undertaking. In the founding of Ferrer’s publishing house, it was Lorenzo who lifted the weight of the management from him, translating an infinite number of works to be published in Spain. Among them may be selected for their special importance: "Man and Earth," by Reclus; "The Great Revolution," by Kropotkin; "How We Shall Make the Revolution," by Pataud; "In War," "The New School," and many others. His own works show an analytical spirit, a high intellect, and a keen, relentless criticism of capitalist society, permeated with libertarian ideas. — London Freedom .


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