Auteur: Farquhar McHarg
Titel: Pistoleros! volume 1, 1918
Sub titel: The Chronicles of Farquhar McHarg
In 1976 Farquhar McHarg, a 76-year old Glaswegian, recounts the dramatic events of 1918, the first eight months of his life after the ship in which he is an apprentice engineer docks at Barcelona in the spring of 1918. Here he is saved from certain death by a life-changing encounter with the anarchist action groups. Plunged into the city’s revolutionary milieu he finds himself working with the clandestine action service of the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo. To his surprise he finds that these men have joined forces with the foreign section of the British Secret Service Bureau to break up a network of Central Power spies, saboteurs and agents provocateurs who, working with Spain’s employers’ organisation, are using a strategy of tension to cow a discontented and potentially rebellious working class, and discredit and break the country’s leading union by framing its activists for a campaign of murder and terror. As Catalonia’s Merchant City is transformed from gay and cosmopolitan Paris-sur-Mer to hunger- and gangster-plagued Chicagoby-the-Med, Farquhar’s personal displacement shakes the foundations of his Presbyterian upbringing, inextricably intertwining his personal story with the dramatic events of the period. As Farquhar is drawn deeper into actions inimical to the cultural and ethical values he grew up with he is forced to rethink his core beliefs about ends and means in the struggle for justice – and survival, particularly with regard to the age-old question – is violence justifiable to challenge ruthless, tyrannical capitalism and to prevent, or at least ameliorate, suffering? This first part of Farquhar’s odyssey through the political landscape of the early twentieth century begins eight months before the end of the great imperialist war. Europe’s ‘Captains and Kings’ are preparing to depart the stage of history, leaving the fate of the industrialised world hanging on the edge of universal civil and class war. It is a time of turbulent social upheaval fuelled by four years of bloody slaughter and inspired by the apparent success of the Russian Revolution of October 1917, which unleashed – internationally – unprecedented utopian social and political expectations that capitalism was about to be overthrown – and replaced – by democratic organs of popular power – allowing the hitherto oppressed and impoverished to run society without the domination, interference or mediation of aristocrats, landed gentry, employers, priests, bourgeois facilitators and politicians, or bureaucrats. Farquhar’s Chronicles is one of the many micro-stories of history. It is a story of generous, naïve and reckless idealism, exemplary friendship and solidarity, of men and women – charismatic and ordinary – resisting attempts by the ruling elites to force them to comply with rules designed to limit and curtail their dreams of freedom, while selflessly risking their lives to resist tyranny and draconian laws that people may live as free individuals in a just and fair society. It is also a story oftreachery and betrayal, and, occasionally, of redemption, but above all of hope, optimism and some of the ideas that set the world ablaze in the first part of the twentieth century.
2010, 266 pag., Euro 13,4
Christie Books, East Sussex, ISBN 9781873976371
This page last updated on: 13-1-2015