Luis Andrés Edo (1925-2009)

With the death of Luis Andrés Edo who has died of heart failure one of the historical touchstones of the CNT has passed away. He was born in Caspe (Aragon) on 7 November 1925. He moved to Barcelona very shortly after that and there was educated by the CENU (New Unified School) and lived through the revolutionary response to the army mutiny of 18 July 1936 and the cruel air raids during the civil war.

As he often stated himself, during the tough years of the post-wear repression he founded his unshakable commitment to the libertarian movement initially upon his reading and later through discussions and clandestine trade union activity which drew him into playing his part in the earliest strikes in Barcelona against the dictatorship and prompted him to dodge the draft, resulting in his first ever period of detention in Figueras castle in 1947.

He managed to get out to France only to be rearrested after secretly re-entering Spain in 1948. He deserted a second time and left for exile where he became a charismatic figure for the broad range of libertarian schools of thought. Following the CNT’s reunification congress in 1961 he joined ‘Defensa Interior’, an agency established to carry the fight to Francoism.

In 1966 he was arrested in Madrid and between then and 1972 passed through the prisons of Carabanchel, Soria and Segovia, where he wrote La Corriente, which book was revised and published in 2002. From 1972 to 1974 he was in Paris but on returning to Spain was arrested again on 1 May 1974, remaining in prison until the amnesty in 1976.

Following the refloating of the CNT in Catalonia on 29 February 1976, he served on its regional committee as general secretary and as editor of Solidaridad Obrera. But by 1980 he was back behind bars for a number of months. His comrades have the happiest memories of those years when he made all of his organisational abilities available to the weakest and most marginalised, the social prisoners.

In the Modelo prison he became a rallying point for anti-Francoist inmates and he enjoyed remembering how, through a sophisticated but simple system of internal communications the most significant news - such as that Franco was dead - could be passed around the entire prison. That same system was used in the orchestration of protest and solidarity activity with the prisoners held in the direst conditions of isolation or punishment.

From the mid-1980s, Edo devoted all of his efforts to using his writing, talks and debates to press for the need to rise above the rigidity of organisation structures and boost the trend (corriente) that should embrace the libertarian movement in all of its manifestations, nuances and complexity. His latest contribution was his lobbying on behalf of free municipalities. In his most recent book, La CNT en la encrucijada. Aventuras de un heterodoxo (2006) [The CNT at the Crossroads. A Maverick’s adventures] he reviewed much of his life experiences and considered opinions.

In recent years he enjoyed getting together with friends made over a life devoted to spreading libertarian ideas as well as attending meetings debating anarchist history.

No question about it: Edo’s death has robbed us of a part of our history and it is a pity that the book he was lately working on will never now see publication. And above all it is a pity that we have lost an indefatigable fighter for freedom and human dignity who was, as all who knew him, regardless of their ideological persuasion, will concede, capable of dialogue and overpoweringly human in his openness to other people’s ideas. As the farewell message from the Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular had it: “May the soil lay lightly upon you, Luis Andrés.”

Antoni Segura, professor of Contemporary History, Barcelona University, wrtten for El País.

From: From Rojo y Negro Digital website .