COHA Book Notice: Anarchist Immigrants in Spain and Argentina

Anarchist Immigrants in Spain and Argentina. By JAMES A. BAER. Urbana, Il.: University of Illinois Press, 2015. pp. 272. $55.00 USD. ISBN: 978-0-252-03899-0.

JAMES A. BAER is a professor of history at Northern Virginia Community College and a Senior Research Fellow at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs (COHA) in Washington, D.C.

The transatlantic bonds between two entwined anarchist movements

“Drawing on current conceptions of transnational and migration processes and networks, this study is a welcome corrective to the standard nation-centered treatments of anarchism in Spain and Argentina. Baer’s detailed prosopographical analysis of a decisive nucleus of Spanish anarchist thinkers and militants whose activism extended to both sides of the Atlantic, enriches and advances our understanding of the mutually constitutive character of Spanish and Argentine anarchism.”
—Steven J. Hirsch, Washington University-St. Louis

From 1868 through 1939, anarchists’ migrations from Spain to Argentina and back again created a transnational ideology and influenced the move- ment’s growth in each country.

James A. Baer follows the lives, careers, and travels of Diego Abad de Santillán, Manuel Villar, and other migrating anarchists to highlight the ide- ological and interpersonal relationships that defined a vital era in anarchist history. Drawing on extensive interviews with Abad de Santillán, José Grunfeld, and Jacobo Maguid, along with unusual access to anarchist records and networks, Baer uncovers the ways anarchist migrants in pursuit of jobs and political goals formed a critical nucleus of militants, binding the two countries in an ideological relationship that profoundly affected the history of both. He also considers the impact of reverse migration and discusses political decisions that had a hitherto unknown influence on the course of the Spanish Civil War.

Personal in perspective and transnational in scope, Anarchist Immigrants in Spain and Argentina offers an enlightening history of a movement and an era.

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