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Response to Review of Goals and Means: Anarchism, Syndicalism, and Internationalism in the Origins of the Federación Anarquista Ibérica

Firstly, I’d like to thank Solomon for such a thorough and, in the main, positive review. The primary aim of the book is to provide a fresh look at the little-researched origins of the FAI using largely overlooked material found in the archives and press of militants and organizations from countries other than Spain. I also made use of the wealth of historical research into both the Spanish libertarian movement published in Spain in the last 20 years or so and the current trend in researching global or transnational anarchism. Solomon is correct, therefore, to point out my rejection of the view that Spanish anarchism was simply an ‘historical curiosity’. Not only did anarchism fit logically 'within the economic and sociopolitical reality' of Spain at that time, but also it inspired hundreds of thousands of workers and militants across the world. It deserves more attention from historians, although recently this has improved to some extent.

Solomon regrets that I have concentrated too much on political matters, which is a fair point, but this is, in fact, arises from the nature of the investigation. However, he is correct in pointing this out since material on social aspects of Spanish anarchism is relatively limited in English, although there is a wealth of source material, in comparison with work available in Spanish.

Another issue I have relates to the last paragraph – the enduring Marxist versus Anarchist animosity. In general, I believe that this has abated in recent years (particularly among younger historians!), but Hobsbawn's book is still constantly cited by students – especially here in Argentina – and so had to be mentioned. In relation to the term anarco-bolsheviks, while I agree it is problematic (in the book I added ‘so-called’), it is, in fact, not my own. The term comes from Los anarquistas españoles y el poder, a book by Cesar M. Lorenzo (the son of a CNT General Secretary and FAI member during the Civil war). To an extent, it helps to demonstrate the confusion at the time –olo for example, the Spanish police seemed not to differentiate between bolshevism and anarchism – within and without the ranks of anarchism not just in Spain but elsewhere. I am currently studying the anarchist movement in Argentina in the 1920s and here too there was a group labelled ‘anarcobolchevique’ who perhaps are more deserving of the title. In Spain the term was to describe a more militant, in terms or revolutionary action rather than ideology, group by their opponents within the CNT due to the former’s apparent desire to be some form of vanguard movement which would contribute to the genesis of the revolution. A historian is obviously tied by what went before.

Finally, I would like to say that the review captures the main ideas of a subject I feel needs to be revisited in English and I trust that any limitations the book may have will be addressed in further historical research.