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Grupos Autónomos and Armed Anticapitalism in Spain, 1974–1984. by Joni D. (Author); Paul Sharkey (Translator). AK Press 2023

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A cultural history of Spain’s dictatorship through the lens of the Grupos Autónomos, who opposed both the Franco regime and the new capitalist democracy. 

“Franco died on November 20, 1975 after thirty-six years of brutality toward those who opposed him. His death, for some, signaled all sorts of radical possibilities. We might best characterize this period as what Alexander Berkman, when describing other times and places ripe with potential, described as ‘the psychological moment.’ If the time was seized, then another world was possible.… Now the fight was with capitalist democracy not the smothering brutality of the Francoist state.” —from the introduction by the Kate Sharpley Library

The Franco dictatorship in Spain was famously beset by armed revolutionary groups, inheritors of the legacy of Spanish anarchism that Franco had crushed. Less well known are the Grupos Autónomos (Autonomous Groups) active during Spain’s transition to “democracy,” a transition set in motion and overseen by the powerful elites of the Franco regime and intended to maintain existing social and economic relations. As the country reorganized under a veneer of a parliamentary monarchy, resistance spread in the form of small autonomous bands of armed rebels who sought a more free and egalitarian future for Spain. Agitated is the tale of those groups. It brings alive the young people who comprised them, detailing their struggle against the faux democracy of authoritarian capitalism and the vibrant lives they lived: the counterculture they formed, their relations with workers, life underground, and, of course, the repression they suffered.


Joni D. was born in Barcelona in 1968. He has written on the early punk movement in Spain as well as a trilogy of novels about the Spanish resistance to the dictatorship, the punk and autonomous movements, and the global struggle for freedom.

Paul Sharkey has made a vast body of anarchist works available in English, including those of Peter Kropotkin, Errico Malatesta, Nestor Makhno, and many more. He lives in Ireland.

AK Press 2023, 308 pages

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Weight 0.503000 kg