!Pistoleros! 3:1920-24

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Autobiography is essentially an act of confession. Some people can’t bring themselves to do it; others just can’t be stopped. Sometimes what comes out is so unbelievable it’s easy to mistake it for fiction. In the case of “The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg”, you couldn’t make it up if you tried. Or could you? Albert Meltzer introduced me to Farquhar in 1974, but the legend had already preceded him. I refrained from asking how much, if any, of it was true. What little I knew about his past seemed the sort of stuff you keep quiet about, if you want to avoid answering serious criminal charges, or stopping a bullet with your face. When Laureano Cerrada Santos was murdered in Paris two years later I expected Farquhar to be next; so did he. Farquhar furiously committed to paper his experiences of a lifetime of anarchist activism, to leave behind an explanation of things which powerful and dangerous people would much rather leave unexplained. This is the testimony of a man drawn into clandestine struggle as a naive but idealistic teenager, who witnessed the “heroic” days, and the not so heroic days, of Spanish anarchism and survived long enough to tell the tale. These “Chronicles” are unique. I was incredulous when I read them, but only to see them finally in print. Knowing a little about some of the stories and the people chronicled, I can only say that as far I can judge Farquhar has told the truth – though perhaps not the whole truth. And it must be admitted that in a few instances his way of telling the truth could well be mistaken for spinning a yarn. A case in point is an episode in November 1976, in which Miguel Garcia is supposed to have punched Federica Montseny in the face. This never happened. Miguel was too much the gentleman to ever strike a woman, even if she was a hateful treacherous bitch who richly deserved it. But here the point is only that in such instances Farquhar uses fictional narrative as a device for presenting disturbing facts (in this case, t

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