Monday 8 October 2012

Julián Gómez del Castillo

On 10 October, 1924, Julián Gómez del Castillo was born to a working-class family devoted to the ideal of justice in the destitute Spain. His father, following in his grandfather’s footsteps, member of that militant PSOE, died in jail at the time of the bourgeois Second Republic.

Capitalism robbed him of his childhood. At an early age he started working, he soon joined the fight for social justice, and together with his siblings and other children, were able to obtain funds for strikes. He sometimes remembered that being a child, he used to steal into the prison to take newspapers to his father.

Being young, he converted to Catholicism and was christened. Since then, fight for justice and Christian life were embodied together in him. In the Christian militancy he met Trini, a workwoman, and they joined their lives in Christian marriage. Later, they had four children and several miscarriages.

At that time, his devotion to the Christian ideal of justice materialised through the promotion of culture centres.  By the mid-40s he met Guillermo Rovirosa and the HOAC and joined the group of converts who strengthened the organisation. Together, they launched the newspaper “Tú” (“You”), which Franco decided to ban and close down. Those militants gave back hope to an absolutely dejected and humiliated working-class. Workers’ centres, courses, informative leaflets, incursion in the vertical Union…, every means was tried to take up the torch of historical solidarity among the poor again. While PSOE started their placid holidays in exile and gave up the militant promotion in Spain, Julián was mercilessly persecuted by Franquism and was even imprisoned and put under surveillance.    

His apostolic life was characterised by rejecting the orchestration of either Christian Democracy or Social Democracy. During the 70s post-franquist crisis of secular ministry, he, together with Rovirosa, led the way in the foundation of ZYX publishing house, which became the most important working-class publisher to oppose franquism.  During the 70s pro-marxist ministry crisis, he defended, also through the Union commitment, solidarity, self-management, and the primacy of the human person against the right and left underhand political manoeuvring.

In the early 80s, when capitalism developed into neo-capitalism, workers – especially their representatives – became part of the petty-bourgeoisie and colonialism turned into the North’s plunder of the South; Julián offered his outstanding collaborative work to launch “Movimiento Cultural Cristiano” – Christian Cultural Movement. It is to this movement that he would give his good qualities and devotion until the end of his life. His pillars, the same as in his previous associations, would be loyalty to Jesus, to the Church and to the poor. Together with “Movimiento Cultural Cristiano”, the publishing house “Voz de los Sin Voz” – The Voice of the Voiceless – was born. Julián brought to it his previous experience in ZYX, thus becoming the leading publisher of social fight issues in contemporary Spain.  

At the beginning of the third millennium, witnessing the tragedy of the poor and together with the new loyal militants who had been trained with his assistance and support, he became the main driving force behind the first totally self-managed political party: “Solidaridad y Autogestión Internacionalisa” (SAIn) – Internationalist Solidarity and Self-management. Once again, he insisted on the Christian inspiration of this platform, created to serve the impoverished.

This Christian militant passed away on 29 October 2006. Hundreds of people have benefited from the way he paved throughout Europe and Ibero-America encouraging solidarity, especially through apostolic and socio-political courses proposing a far-reaching Christian life of conversion and revolution. Hundreds of people have received his paternal love and have loved him. Due to his wisdom and vital experience, intellectuals, bishops and historical celebrities have looked up to him and have sought his advice. Yet, above all, Julián has given back hope and strength to fight to ordinary people, workmen, and the Third World impoverished. He was persecuted in thousands of ways but amid suffering he could feel happiness coming from God’s love. On 29 October 2006, died a witness, a Christian militant, a convert who loved Christ, the Church and the poor on Earth. Yet, his seed will continue rendering fruit.

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