Spanish revolution

Articles on the Spanish revolution that started July 19 1936 once the civil war started by the fascists spread to mainland Spain. During the revolution millions of workers organised in the anarchist CNT union took part of a huge experiment in workers self management from the advanced industries of Barcelona to the primitive farming conditions of Aragon. This article on the collectivisation as well as on the politics of the revolution and counter revolution itself.

Review: The Friends of Durruti Group: 1937-1939

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The Friends of Durruti organisation, which arose from the ranks of anarchist militants during the Spanish Civil War, condemned the CNT and FAI members who joined the anti-Franco government. For their pains they were accused of wanting to establish an "anarchist dictatorship". Alan MacSimóin reviews the first English language book about them, and looks at the lessons to be learnt from Spain. The 'Friends of Durruti' appear in just about every book on the Spanish Civil War, especially in relation to the 1937 May Days in Barcelona. They get mentioned but we are told very little about their politics or activities. Some organisations, like the Workers Solidarity Movement, see their political stance as important to the tradition of revolutionary anarchism. Other anarchists, most notably sections of the syndicalist movement, condemn them for 'flirting with Bolshevism/Leninism/Trotskyism' or for 'advocating an anarchist dictatorship'. So who were they, where did they come from, what did they say, and what did they do?

The Militias in the Spanish Revolution - review of The Spanish Civil War by Antony Beevan

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A SURPRISING BEST SELLER last year was 'Stalingrad' by the same author. His publishers have obviously re-released this book, first published in 1982, to cash in on this. As you might expect, it is primarily a military history of the Spanish Revolution. But it is a very welcome break from the normal pattern of mainstream military histories of the Spanish Revolution. For the most part these fail to discuss the revolution within the civil war, the thousands of collectives or the role of the anarchists. If they are mentioned, they are usually portrayed as an obstruction to the efficient military pursuit of the war by the republican side.

Anarchism in Action - the collectives in the Spanish Civil War

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Many people would agree that the anarchist principle "from each according to their ability, to each according to their needs" is a nice idea. A self managed society with everyone having a real say in how things were run is a lovely ideal. They might nod along to the lyrics of "Imagine" by John Lennon but then equally shake their heads and tell you that such a thing could never work "in the real world". You would probably be told that people are just naturally greedy and self-centred and such a thing would end in chaos.

Introduction to the Revolution in Spain (with audio version)

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The extent of the democracy in Spain during the revolution was far more thorough going than anything ever achieved anywhere else in the world at any time in know history. This might seem like a grand claim but I challenge anyone to disprove it. As many of you will know there is a great deal written on the Spanish Civil War. Not just standard history and accounts of the war and its wider political impact, but personal memoirs, poems, journalistic diaries and novels. In Homage To Catalonia, George Orwell has written one of the better accounts of what it was like to be in Spain at the time. In terms of atmosphere and drama he goes a considerable way towards giving the reader some idea of the mood in Spain in 36. Orwell hints at the revolution that was taking place, and at the atmosphere of comradeship and solidarity that abounded in revolutionary Barcelona.

Mujeres Libres

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Mujeres Libres (Free Women) were a group of women anarchists who organised and fought both for women's liberation and an anarchist revolution during the Spanish Civil War. The work they did is truly inspirational. Their example shows how the struggle against women's oppression and against capitalism can be combined in one fight for freedom.

As anarchists they rejected any relegation of women to a secondary position within the libertarian movement. In the 1930's feminism had a narrower meaning than it does now, and they rejected it as a theory which fought for 'equality of women within an existing system of privileges'. They argued "We are not, and were not then feminists. We were not fighting against men. We did not want to substitute a feminist hierarchy for a masculine one. It's necessary to work, to struggle, together because if we don't we'll never have a social revolution. But we needed our own organisation to struggle for ourselves".

The Barcelona Rent Strike of 1931

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A look at how the Barcelonia rent strike of 1931 prepared the ground for the revolution of 1936. The Barcelona Rent Strike of 1931 not only served to reduce rent costs for working class families but was also an education in self-organisation for thousands of workers. It, along with other stuggles in those years, created an organised working class that in 1936 made the most succesful attempt yet to overthrow capitalism and create libertarian communism.

Mujeres Libres: Free Women of Spain

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The women who founded Mujeres Libres were all active within the anarchist movement, in the CNT or in the FIJL, however as women they were in a minority and found it difficult to incorporate more women into the activist core, either because of the sexism of the men, or because of the reluctance of the women or a combination of both.

The Friends of Durruti in the Spanish Civil War

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THE WAR in Spain (1936-1939) has often been portrayed as a simple struggle between Fascism and democracy. In fact it was anything but. A military coup launched in July 1936 was defeated by worker's action in most parts of Spain. There then followed a wide ranging social revolution (see Worker's Solidarity 33). As many as 5-7 million were involved in the collectivisation of agriculture and thousands in worker's control of industry. About 2 million of these were also members of the oldest union in Spain the anarcho-syndicalist; CNT.

The Spanish Civil War - A Fresh Revolution - Chapter 4

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As said earlier Anarchists are against the state - all states, whether they be liberal democratic, monarchist or totalitarian. Anarchists view the state (the standing army, police, government, bureaucracy) as the organ through which the ruling class maintains its control over the majority of the population. Central to anarchism is the belief that the state must be smashed and replaced by a system based on workers' and community councils. Delegates from each workplace and community would go to regional councils which would then send delegates to a national and, eventually, international council. Delegates would be clearly mandated and all major decisions would be made at assemblies of workers.

Spanish Civil War - The Counter Revolution - Chapter 3

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The behaviour of the Spanish Communist Party and the United Socialist Party of a Catalonia (PSUC) had more to do with what was in the best interests of Stalin than what was in the best interests of the Spanish working class. They went out of their way to deny that a revolution had taken place. Then they did all they could to repress this revolution they pretended had not happened. As far as they were concerned the Civil War was only about restoring democracy to Spain. To see why they took this attitude we have to look outside Spain.

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