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Alba started his career as a political journalist at a young age. Affiliated with the Bloque Obrero y Campesino (Workers and Peasants' Bloc), he later worked for the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM). During the Spanish Civil War, he was the director of La Batalla. After the capture of the Basque region by Francoist forces in May 1937 he was arrested and jailed for six years in Valencia. After leaving prison, he went into exile in France, where he worked alongside Albert Camus, and in 1947 moved to Mexico, where he published various works. In Mexico he began a prolific literary production, in Spanish, French, Catalan and English, and became director of the Social Training center. In 1957, he moved north to the United States, working with various international groups and became a professor of the University of Kansas and in the Kent State University in Ohio.
In 1974 he retired from Kent State University, returning to Spain where he died in 2003.