Anarchist biography: José Ruiz Jiménez

The KSL was established so that anarchists could access their own history, and in particular so that the unknown many were rescued from the professional historians' desire to concentrate on the famous few. It was for this reason it was named for an unknown World War One anarchist militant.

We found the following piece in Extremadura Libre, the paper of the Extremeño region of the CNT. It is a touching and fond obituary to a veteran who clearly taught the post-77 cenetistas in that region a lot.

José Ruiz Jiménez

José Ruiz Jiménez died, aged 96, on the 1st June 2002; With his death, the Extremeño region has lost its oldest militant and its most intimate connection with the origins of anarcho-syndicalism. Those of us who were young in the 70s and 80s in Extremadura, and particularly in the High Plains district, had in him the best history book, which made up for what was stolen from us. To anarcho-syndicalism - or at least to active struggle and organisation - we learnt his lessons well.

He told us that he'd been a member of the CNT since 1922, therefore being younger then than those who were listening to him. In Andalusia where he lived the biggest problem was unemployment, in part made worse by incipient mechanisation, and so they did something about those first combine harvesters, which burned very well because everything was made of wood. He laughed like a mischievous child remembering. Then came the Primo dictatorship, the struggle against the Mixed tribunals (jurados mixtos), the day labourers strikes, the republic, Casas Viejas, the war; And around him was gathered a circle who listened with open mouths. (Some of this material we have placed in the Fundacion Anselmo Lorenzo)*.

And even worse than the war was the post war period. He went from one punishment squad to another. First, the Valle de los Caidos, monument to fascist hypocrisy. Later, the Plan of Badajoz, in this way he came to Extremadura. With this Plan Franco set about developing irrigation in the region. In Entrerrios in the province of Badajoz, "Seño José" took root and gave an example of tolerance by becoming a friend of the priest. He came to the local of Villanueva de la Serena, then to the demos of the 80s, and some of those of the 90s. He spoke at May Day meetings, always with one word in his mouth - culture. Soon the years began to show and he had to slow down although he was lucid to the end.

His will was respected and he was given a civil burial, wrapped in our flag and with a pacifist symbol. That the earth is to you slight, we shall not forget you!

* The archive established by the CNT