Buenaventura Durruti

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José Buenaventura Durruti Dumange (14 July 1896 – 20 November 1936) was a central figure of Spanish anarchism during the period leading up to and including the Spanish Civil War.



Early life

Durruti was born in León, Spain. He started work at the age of 14 in the railway yard in León. In 1917 the socialist Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT) called a strike in which Durruti was an active and prominent participant. The government brought in the Spanish Army to suppress the strike; they killed 70 people and injured more than 500 workers. 2,000 of the strikers were imprisoned without trial or legal process. Durruti escaped to France.

During his exile, Durruti worked in Paris as a mechanic. In 1920, he was persuaded to go to Barcelona to organise the workers there. In Catalonia, with Juan García Oliver, Francisco Ascaso, and a number of other anarchists, he founded Los Solidarios ("Solidarity"). Members of this group attempted unsuccessfully to blow up King Alfonso XIII. In 1923 the group was also implicated in the assassination of Cardinal Juan Soldevilla y Romero, as a reprisal for the killing of an anarcho-syndicalist union activist Salvador Seguí. After Miguel Primo de Rivera seized power in Spain in 1923, Durruti and his comrades organized attacks on the military barracks in Barcelona and on the border stations near France. These attacks were unsuccessful and quite a few anarchists were killed. Following these defeats, Durruti, Ascaso and Oliver fled to Argentina. They subsequently travelled widely in Latin America, visiting Cuba and elsewhere.[1]

Durruti and his companions returned to Spain and Barcelona, becoming an influential militant within two of the largest anarchist organisations in Spain at the time, the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI), and of the anarcho-syndicalist trade union Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). The influence Durruti's group gained inside the CNT caused a split, with a reformist faction under Ángel Pestaña leaving in 1931 and subsequently forming the Syndicalist Party.

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