Media History Exchange, 2018 Joint Journalism and Communication History Conference

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Cultura Proletaria: A Voice for the Spanish Anarchist Movement in the Americas
Jon Bekken

Last modified: 2018-01-12

Abstract


Published from 1927 through 1953, Cultura Proletaria was the continuation of Cultura Obrera (1910-1927), an anarchist weekly newspaper founded by Spanish maritime workers working the Atlantic Coast trade. The movement was already in decline when the group sponsoring Cultura Obrera suffered a split, with one faction soon moving the newspaper to Detroit (where only a few issues seem to have been published) and the other launching Cultura Proletaria.

 

Cultura Proletaria was, for most of its existence, a Spanish-language weekly, but one whose readers had Spanish (rather than Latin American) roots. Although it asserted its continuity with the legacy of Cultura Obrera and the fogoneros, Cultura Proletaria was a more theoretical and individualist publication. But its list of contributors bears evidence of the continuing transnational character of the movement and of the Spanish émigré audience it served, just as its enthusiastic embrace of the Spanish Revolution in 1936 showed its editor’s openness to a collective struggle and project which he seemed to no longer believe was possible in the Americas (and which ran counter to his instincts). The paper was bolstered for a time by Spanish refugees, who retained a hall in New York City for more than a decade after the newspaper’s demise.

 

This research builds on previous research into Cultura Obrera which drew on FBI and Naval Intelligence records, records of the International Seamen’s Union, and the newspaper itself. At this point I have located only scattered records on Cultura Proletaria and its editor, including an oral history conducted some years after the newspaper ceased publication. However, there are extensive holdings of the paper itself, as well as a recent dissertation on the Spanish exile theatrical community in the 1940s and 1950s which may help fill in the context of the milieu within which Cultura Proletaria was issued.


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