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Penichet, Antonio (?–1964)

Kirwin R. Shaffer


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Antonio Penichet played key roles in the rise of anarchosyndicalism within Cuba's labor movement in the late 1910s and 1920s, both as a labor leader and as an anarchist cultural figure. Little is known of Penichet's early life. During the island's war for independence (1895–8), Spanish forces drove rural Cubans from their homes and into urban concentration camps as a way to empty the countryside of support for separatist fighters. One of the towns caught up in this reconcetración policy was Güines. Penichet escaped from Güines and arrived in Havana. He apprenticed to become a printer, eventually editing the printers' own Memorándum Tipográfico from 1913 to 1916. During these years Penichet did not steer the paper toward any recognizable anarchist trend. By 1918, though, Penichet emerged as a leading anarchosyndicalist figure in Cuba, and one increasingly influenced by the impact of the Bolshevik Revolution. In 1919, Penichet and other anarchosyndicalists were arrested for strike activities. Later that year, while in hiding, he published his first novel, La vida de un pernicioso , and a short story, “El soldado Rafael.” The latter was widely circulated in the Cuban labor movement and quickly drew the attention of Cuban authorities due to its call for a military–worker alliance (such as had occurred in Russia) to overthrow the Cuban state. Then in 1920, authorities accused ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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