Spain: WAISER John Brademas

In February 2005, WAISer John Brademas addressed the Elcano Royal Institute of Interntional and Strategic Studies is Madrid. The Institute is named after Juan Sebaztián de Elcano. Although Ferdinand Magellan is often credited with being the first man to circumnavigate the globe, he was killed in the Moluccas in 1521 when his ship Victoria was only about halfway around the world. His pilot Juan Sebastian de Elcano took command of the vessel and arrived back at Spain with a crew of only nineteen men after a voyage of three years. He is thus a fitting symbol of globalization. John's address interested me because it contained information about his career.  As a high school student he became interested in the Mayas, went to Mexico and studied Spanish,  At Harvard he wrote his honors thesis on the Sinarquistas, the Mexican right-wing peasant movement in the 1930s.  When he went to Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, he was inspired by  Gerald Brenan's The Spanish Labyrinth  to do a thesis on the Spanish anarchists, since Brennan had  written about this working-class movement based on the ideas of Bakunin and Kropotkin..  He got in touch with Brennan, who advised him to go to Amsterdam, where he met the Dutch anarchist Müller Lehning at the International Institute for Social History, with its rich archives. In Paris John was warmly received at the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo en el Exilio. (CNT).  In Toulouse and Bordeaux he met other exiled Anarchists, including Federica Montseny. At Oxford, John's thesis adviser was the well-known historian if Spain, Sir Raymond Carr. John's book on the Spanish anarchists was translated into Spanish by Joaquin Romero, whom he met at Oxford, and published in 1974 by Ariel of Barcelona. From Madrid John went to Oxford for a conference at Ditchley Park to attend a symposium on the 2004 elections in the US, which he must have regarded as a disaster.  He stayed at his old college, Brasenose, where two other WAISers, Anthony Smith and Harry Papasoteriou, were once students.

Ronald Hilton 2005


last updated: April 16, 2005