Ángel Pestaña

Ángel Pestaña

Ángel Pestaña Nuñez (sometimes rendered Àngel Pestanya in Catalan versions; February 14 1886, Ponferrada, in León—December 11 1937, Barcelona) was a Spanish Anarcho-syndicalist and later Syndicalist leader.


Early life

He came from an impoverished background, being forced to earn a living from a very early age and trained as a clockmaker. He was imprisoned for fifteen years in Sestao, Spain, following his participation in a political rally.

After travels in North Africa and France, Pestaña settled in Catalonia, and became active in local anarchist politics. He took part in the "Confederación Nacional del Trabajo" (CNT) Congress of 1918, being unanimously elected editor-in-chief of the group's newspaper "Solidaridad Obrera". Under his direction, the paper mounted a violent campaign against the local police force, accusing its leader of being a hireling of Imperial Germany.

In April 1919, after Catalonia was shaken by the "Canadenca" protests, Pestaña was arrested and detained, and the paper banned. He left for Bolshevist Russia in 1920, in order to be present at the 2nd Comintern Congress and the preliminary sessions of the Profintern - he met Vladimir Lenin, Leon Trotsky, Grigory Zinoviev, and other Bolshevik leaders. Upon his return, he was yet again detained.

Conflicts with the government and the anarchists

Together with his mentor Salvador Seguí, Pestaña opposed the paramilitary and terrorist actions advocated and carried out by other members of the CNT. In August 1922, he was the victim of an assassination attempt while giving a speech in Manresa, as part of the violent repression measures taken by the Spanish authorities. The indignation caused throughout Spain by news of this act brought the dismissal of several government officials, as well as an end to legislation that had made allowed for the murder of trade union activists. [harvnb|Carr|2002]

After Seguí fell victim to an assassination, Pestaña remained the main figure of the moderate CNT. This position allowed him to oppose, together with Joan Peiró, all attempts by the 1927-founded "Federación Anarquista Ibérica" (FAI) at assuming control of the CNT during the dictatorship of Miguel Primo de Rivera.

plit with the CNT

After the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic in 1931, the conflict between Pestaña's group and FAI deepened: Pestaña initiated the issue of "Manifiesto de los Treinta"/"Manifest dels Trenta" ("Manifesto of the Thirty"), a clear condemnation of the Federación's tactics, one which got him expelled from the CNT in August. [harvnb|Woodcock|2004|p=322] He went on to found his own Syndicalist Party in the closing months of 1932.

The Party adhered to the Popular Front, and Pestaña was elected to the Cortes on a Front platform in 1936, as one of the two Party representatives (he had won a seat in Cádiz). In October, with the start of the Spanish Civil War, he was appointed general subcommisioner for War, but had to resign due to bad health in December. He died soon after, and the Syndicalist Party did not survive the end of the conflict.


*"The trade-unionists will act lawfully [only] as long as the law is respected."



*cite book|title=Modern Spain, 1875-1980 |author= Raymond Carr |year= 2002|publisher=Oxford University Press|url= http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0192801295&id=nDfAU5IjYWwC&pg=RA1-PA89&lpg=RA1-PA89&ie=ISO-8859-1&output=html&sig=dvVha2stbctMaWDM4M9WblykN_4|id=ISBN 0192801295
*Woodcock, George (2004). "Anarchism: A History Of Libertarian Ideas And Movements", Broadview Press, ISBN 1551116294.

External links

* [http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/gallery/galleryindex.htm#AngelPestana Ángel Pestaña] Daily Bleed's Anarchist Encyclopedia

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