ETA Life Stories

Episode 46 with Nicolás Buckley

Although it declared an end to its armed activities in 2011, ETA remains one of the most controversial phenomena in the historical memory of Spain’s recent past. Often missing from these debates is discussion of the lives of ETA members themselves, who are usually portrayed as either terrorists or freedom fighters. In this episode, Nicolás Buckley traces the rise and fall of ETA, as seen through the eyes of seven ETA activists he interviewed. Along the way, we discuss such topics as their motivations, the violence they experienced from the Spanish state and their experiences in prison. We also touch on larger questions such as Spain’s democratization process, Spanish and Basque identity, the line between victims and perpetrators, and oral history methodology.

The Episode

The Guest

Dr. Nicolás Buckley holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. During his undergraduate studies, he spent an Erasmus year at the University of Warsaw, Poland. Upon graduation, he completed a master’s degree in Dispute and Conflict Resolution at the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Afterwards, he completed his doctoral thesis on the oral life stories of ETA activists in the Department of History at Royal Holloway- University of London. During this period, he also worked as a researcher at the Cañada Blanch Centre for Spanish Contemporary Studies at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Nowadays, Buckley is a professor at the Universidad Metropolitana del Ecuador and Universidad Europea de Madrid. He is currently working on his new book based on the oral life stories of the Ecuadoran guerrilla “Alfaro Vive Carajo.”

Suggested Readings

  • Aretxaga, Begoña. Los funerales en el nacionalismo radical vasco. San Sebastián: Baroja, 1988.
  • Hamilton, Carrie. “The Gender of ETA and Radical Basque Moral Community”PhD diss., Royal Holloway University of London, 1999.
  • Heiberg, Marianne. The Making of the Basque Nation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
  • Ibarra Guell, Pedro. Basque Political Systems. Reno: Basque Political Series, 2011.
  • Payne, Stanley G. Basque Nationalism. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1975.
  • Kasmir, Sharryn. The Myth of Mondragón. Cooperatives, Politics, and Working Class Life in a Basque Town. New York: University of New York Press, 1996.
  • Sullivan, John. ETA and Basque Nationalism: The Fight for Euskadi 1890-1986. London: Routledge, 1988.
  • Zulaika, Joseba. Basque Violence: Metaphor and Sacrament. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 1988.

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