Adela García Murillo

The Granada CNT-AIT lost one of its longest standing female members with the death on 27 January 2012 of Adela García Murillo.

Born in Guéjar Sierra, Adela witnessed the outbreak of civil war when she was just 17. In those days the CNT was unknown in Guéjar Sierra as it was kept at bay political bosses who attacked it any time it raised its head: there were only vague rumours by locals travelling to the city of Granada from time to time who returned with reports of “a more radical organisation in Granada”.

During the civil war the Maroto Column arrived in Guéjar Sierra and the CNT thus had a real chance to make itself known in the village: locals joined it en masse, the new organisation being more radical than the UGT which the local bosses had petty much tolerated. That radicalism made it better suited to needs of a village where, as Adela recalled, folk were half-starved and barely clothed. She remembered the Columns and all its trucks arriving, bringing plenty of food and clothing at long last, plus something the village had not witnessed for centuries - a revolution, although no collectives were formed in Guéjar Sierra which was close to the battlefront. Adela herself knew some famous militants such as Francisco Maroto del Ojo “a tall fellow who always went around in his work overalls, rather boyish in good-natured way”. He led the Column that bore his name and turned up in Guéjar, just 16 kilometers from Granada, albeit that after a few weeks he was forced to withdraw and avoid a fight due to ammunition shortages. José Barcojo, a Granada CNT member from the Bakers’ Union, who served as a militiaman in the war, was to become Adela’s brother-in-law.

After the war, by which time Adela had joined the CNT herself, she was none too well known to the Francoist authorities on account of her youth and the fact that the organisation had been unknown there prior to the civil war and so she was below the police radar. This left her ideally placed to be able to help the guerrillas - the maquis - and the reorganisation of the CNT in Granada, together with Barcojo and other militants. Adela always told us that she never identified all of the various guerrillas who passed through her home and that Barcojo could give us more of the details, but that she had chosen to remain ignorant so as to be as tight-lipped as possible. Only later on did she discover that some of her visitors may well have included the famous Quero brothers, looking for a place to hide out, or, above all, for material assistance and intelligence. There was also a lot of talk about harbouring the Clares, ‘El Yatero’ and the Ollafrías, but, aside from the last named, Adela, when pressed, could never confirm or deny this. Unfortunately, in the course of the capture of some of the groups, leaks emerged that gave Adela away and she was arrested and served 10 years in a female prison. The horrors she witnessed there were such that she always said she would carry them with her to her grave.

On her release from prison, Adela focused mainly on reorganising the CNT. The time of the guerrillas were drawing to an end, she had a record now and besides she regarded organising the union as a better option than a spreading guerrilla war as such. As she saw it, helping the guerrillas was a thankless task, exposing all the comrades to great risks and there was less and less of an opening for armed struggle. Her comrade Barcojo crossed the border into France several times together with railwayman Carlos Soriano (who came from Antequera, although he was very active in Granada) to take part in several CNT plenums. By then Adela had moved into the city of Granada.

Come the death of Franco and the Transition, she played an active part in resurrecting the CNT in Granada and experienced some great times such as Federica Montseny’s rally in the erstwhile Sánchez Herrera stadium in El Zaidin (Granada), only to see this followed by a split and an all-round weakening of the organisation. Although right to the end she insisted that, although small, the potential for struggle at a local level was still there, as are the chances of recovery.

Many students dropped by her home in the El Zaidin quarter to record her testimony to carry back to their schools and colleges. A number of Andalusian institutions paid tribute to her for her struggle against Francoism and her time in jail.

Her comrade Barcojo died in 1995.

Adela remained active in the CNT all throughout her life and every year, without fail, she turned out for the Granada CNT’s 1st of May demonstration in Plaza de las Pasiegas, she received visits from comrades and did what she could to answer the call of the organisation.

The CNT grieves for the loss of one its best female comrades, one of those women who never make it into the history books but who were always there, day after day, tackling the most demanding tasks and grappling with the toughest and most unrewarding struggle. Any gratitude we may feel towards Adela and female comrades like her will always fall a long way short of what they have given to the cause of emancipation and human freedom. Even so, we should feel grateful and publicise what they - and Adela - were and what they counted for and press on until we achieve a freedom that is a fitting tribute to them.

Farewell, Adela, the CNT mourns you but we shall pay tribute to your memory with every day that passes.

CNT-AIT Granada

From: www.cnt-es/noticias. Translated by: Paul Sharkey.