Benutzereinstellungen

Neue Veranstaltungshinweise

Iberia

Es wurden keine neuen Veranstaltungshinweise in der letzten Woche veröffentlicht

Kommende Veranstaltungen

Iberia | History of anarchism

Keine kommenden Veranstaltungen veröffentlicht
Recent articles by Jakes Factoria
This author has not submitted any other articles.
Recent Articles about Iberia History of anarchism

Η Mνήμη συνεχί&... Jul 19 19 by Αργύρης Αργυριάδης

The Sons of Night by Antoine Gimenez and the Giménologues [Book review... Mai 07 19 by KSL

Αναμνήσεις ε ... Apr 04 19 by Dmitri (ed., transl.)

Book Review: Spanish Revolution Remembered: Peirats’ “The CNT in the Spanish Revolution”

category iberia | history of anarchism | review author Mittwoch November 18, 2015 20:11author by Jakes Factoria Report this post to the editors

Almost 80 years ago the peasantry and working class of Spain, inspired by anarchism and syndicalism, rose up to change the world. The Spanish Revolution of 1936-1939 involved millions creating, from below, a new society of freedom based upon equality and participatory democracy. Had the revolution succeeded and spread, the world would have changed forever. Rather than being trapped in decades of oppression and crisis and futility, humanity could have invested the last three generations into a universal human community of libertarian communism and scientific advance.

Remarkably, the Spanish Revolution has received very little attention. The republication in English of volume 1 of José Peirats’ masterwork The CNT in the Spanish Revolution by Merlin Press and PM Press should go some way to addressing the problem. The book originally appeared in 1951 in Spanish, finally appeared in English in 2001 but soon went out of print, and is now, finally, readily available (see contact details at end). (A much-abridged version appeared in one volume in English in 1990, called the Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution) [1].
book_cover.jpeg

Revolution

Peirats, himself a militant, passed away in 1989. A man of the working class, he spent his last decades in exile, during which he produced his three-volume study of the anarchist revolution. This trilogy is an indispensable chronicle of inspiring, astonishing events: popular militias, self-managed collectives in the cities and the countryside, the masses in power, and a desperate struggle against counter-revolution.

Peirats’ account gives insights, from the inside, into the power of the CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo or National Confederation of Labour) – the massive anarchist syndicalist trade union that was the centre of gravity for Spain’s vast anarchist movement. He traces the accumulation of power by the CNT and its allied forces, including events such as the CNT’s leading (but often ignored) role in the miners’ revolt at Asturias in 1934.

The account is a passionate one, as might be expected of a man who participated directly in the Spanish Revolution, and who was at one stage the editor of the CNT’s mass circulation daily, Solidaridad Obrera (“Workers Solidarity”).

His study is also, however, a learned and rigorous account of these revolutionary events, using primary sources, many of which are quoted at great length – a real treasure. He chronicles the triumphs and tragedies of the Revolution, and its terrible defeat. The defeat was followed by a long midnight of terror under the semi-fascist regime of General Francisco Franco; hundreds of thousands fled the country, and the dictatorship lasted into the mid-1970s.

Counterpower, Counterculture

The Spanish anarchist/ syndicalist movement, centred on the CNT, built a revolutionary counterpower and counterculture in the forms of people’s schools, of mass media, of women’s and youth groups, of community activism, and of revolutionary trade unionism. It also included the anarchist political organisation, the FAI (Federación Anarquista Ibérica, or Anarchist Federation of Iberia), which was in the Bakuninist/ dual organisationalist tradition (mass movement complemented by specific anarchist-only political group, the latter to push anarchism), dating back to Bakunin’s “Alliance” of the 1860s. These were all built through engagement with immediate issues: wages, rents, discrimination, and military conscription.

It was this mass movement that fostered the capacities, skills, structures and ideological understanding that made the Spanish Revolution possible. (Peirats was himself, for example, part of the FAI, and received much of his schooling from the anarchist people’s schools.)

Decades of militant mass work, plus the development of proletarian and peasant anarchist cadre, were essential foundations for the events of 1936-1939. As Mikhail Bakunin, leading anarchist, always stressed: without a widespread popular embrace of a revolutionary theory and practice (a “new social philosophy”), a constructive social revolution from-the-bottom-up is not possible. [2]

Lessons: Defence, Power

The reader may not agree with all of Peirats’ positions, or draw the same lessons. However, he honestly catalogues the fierce debates within the CNT/ FAI over tactics and strategy, including issues like alliances with non-anarchists, and the best means to militarily defend revolution.

The CNT/ FAI made crucial mistakes in 1936, I would argue, not least of which was joining the Popular Front government in a common bloc against Franco – the man, backed by a section of the ruling class, who was behind a military coup attempt in 1936, and who subsequently led a counter-revolutionary invasion of Spain.

The idea of joining the Popular Front was to maximise the anti-Franco alliance. But joining the Popular Front effectively meant sharing power with a wing of the bourgeoisie – as well as working with hostile parties. The price of unity was a retreat from the revolution; the payment for the retreat was betrayal and treachery by the supposed allies in the Popular Front.

Joining the Popular Front meant, above all, a retreat from the CNT/ FAI programme of placing all power in the hands of the popular classes, as a counterpower that replaces ruling class power. The anarchism of the CNT/ FAI recognised power: it was not against power, but argued for placing power in the hands of all.

This was incompatible with the Popular Front, which required concession after concession, involved betrayal after betrayal, and meant containing the revolution within Spanish borders, until the Revolution unravelled. By the time Franco’s forces marched into Barcelona in 1939, ending the Revolution and inaugurating the semi-fascist dictatorship, the collectives, militias, land reforms and popular energies had been dissipated – although not completely destroyed – by the Popular Front.

Although the CNT/FAI withdrew from the Popular Front in November 1938, it was too late. The “internal” war against the Revolution by the Popular Front helped open the door to Franco’s “external” war for power. The organisational and political havoc wreaked on the CNT/ FAI, caused by a period of participation in the state, can also not be understated.

Reaffirmation: Bakunin’s Road

These mistakes and were not inevitable. They did not arise from a failure to take military defence and co-ordination seriously, [3] as some Marxists and others have claimed. Participation in the Popular Front did not arise from the absence of an anarchist/ syndicalist plan to make and defend and spread a social revolution internationally; it involved the conscious suspension of that plan, justified on the grounds of adverse circumstances.

The CNT/ FAI had repeatedly affirmed the mainstream anarchist position of defending revolution with force, based on popular militias with a coordinated military effort, but subject always to direct popular control, notably in 1917, 1932, 1933 and twice in 1936. It is simply untrue that the CNT / FAI had “no idea what to do with power,” a “theoretical inability to face up to the problems posed by the war and the revolution,” or that they were “reformist” etc. [4]

Mistakes on the military question arose from contingent factors, like the decision to use flawed tactics (the Popular Front), rather than an inherent flaw in anarchist doctrine; from a tendency at times to simplify issues (notably, underestimating the resilience of counter-revolutionary forces, and to underestimate the challenges of transition); and, tragically, also from an unprincipled revision of existing positions by a wing of the CNT/ FAI.

They did not arise from a lack of a strategy, but from the effective abandonment of that strategy.

The classic CNT/ FAI position was subsequently reaffirmed by the Friends of Durruti (a dissident CNT faction), which called in 1937 for withdrawal from the Popular Front and for a Revolutionary Council (“junta”). [5]

However, the warning came too late.

Conclusions: Draw Lessons

The CNT/ FAI experience remains proof of the possibility of mass anarchism, based on building movements of, by, and for the popular classes to struggle today and change tomorrow. A new world is possible, but only through working class-peasant revolution, based on deep, strong counterpower and counterculture.

The CNT/ FAI experience illustrates this, providing a rich reservoir of experiences from which lessons must be drawn, firmly and unflinchingly.

All too often, anarchist and syndicalist historiography is based on a chronicle of successes, and a silence on failures; far too many accounts of the defeat of the CNT blame Franco and the Popular Front, without explaining why Franco won, or how the Popular Front survived.

That will not do. Unless anarchists learn hard lessons from the failures of the past, as well as from the triumphs, the movement will not move forward.

** Copies may be obtained for a reasonable rate by contacting Tony Zurbrugg at globalbook@btconnect.com

Notes:

1. José Peirats, [1964] 1990, Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution, Freedom Press, London.

2. M. Bakunin, 1871] 1971, “The Programme of the Alliance,” in S. Dolgoff (ed.), Bakunin on Anarchy, George Allen& Unwin. pp. 249-251

3. For a Marxist example, P. Blackledge, 2010, “Marxism and Anarchism,” International Socialism, no. 125, p, 139

4. e.g. A. Guillamón, 1996, The Friends of Durruti Group, 1937-1939, AK Press, pp. 99, 108, 111

5. Friends of Durruti, 1938, 1978, Towards a Fresh Revolution, Zabalaza Books, p. 25

Verwandter Link: http://zabalaza.net/2015/11/16/book-review-spanish-revolution-remembered-peirats-the-cnt-in-the-spanish-revolution/
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch
Neste 8 de Março, levantamos mais uma vez a nossa voz e os nossos punhos pela vida das mulheres!

Iberia | History of anarchism | en

Mo 16 Sep, 21:21

browse text browse image

textNew publication: Los Maños : the lads from Aragon ; the story of an anti-Franco action group 18:23 Mi 29 Okt by KSL 0 comments

The Kate Sharpley Library collective are pleased to announce the publication of another study of the anarchist resistance to Franco's dictatorship.

ksl.jpg imageNew publication: One Hundred Years of Workers' Solidarity : the History of “Solidaridad Obrera” 00:53 Mo 19 Aug by KSL 0 comments

Solidaridad Obrera (Workers’ Solidarity), founded in Barcelona in 1907, is the voice of Spain’s Anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT: National Confederation of Labour). These essays were issued to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of “Soli” and together they illustrate the changing fortunes of the Anarcho-syndicalist movement, and its enduring attempt to communicate the anarchist idea.

textNew publication: News of the Spanish Revolution : Anti-authoritarian Perspectives on the Events 02:29 Mo 23 Jul by Kate Sharpley Library 2 comments

News of the Spanish Revolution : Anti-authoritarian Perspectives on the Events. Seven articles published in “One Big Union Monthly”, a journal of the Industrial Workers of the World, July, 1937 to February 1938, plus two later pieces on the experiences of participants.
A collection edited by Charlatan Stew. Published by the Kate Sharpley Library and Charlatan Stew: 2012. 88 pages.

One of the stolen CNT membership cards imageSpanish Revolution material stolen from Barcelona Archive 22:24 Mo 13 Feb by Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular de Barcelona 0 comments

On 1 February 2012, several important documents were stolen from the Biblioteca de l'Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular in Barcelona. Original posters from the Civil War era as well as various other objects also from the period of the Spanish Civil War were taken. If anyone has doubles of this material, please put them aside for the Library. If you see something appear on e-bay or other sites of this kind, alert them! [Italiano]

ainglicia.jpg imageNew publication: Anarchism In Galicia : Organisation, Resistance and Women in the Underground 19:15 Di 09 Aug by KSL 0 comments

The Anarchist movement in Galicia is unknown to English-language readers. These essays tells the stories of the men and women who built it, fought for it, and how they kept it alive in the face of incredible odds.

orobon.jpg imageNew publication: Valeriano Orobón Fernández: Towards the Barricades by Salvador Cano Carrillo 00:58 Sa 23 Apr by KSL 0 comments

Valeriano Orobón Fernández: Towards the Barricades by Salvador Cano Carrillo is out now, as is issue 66 of KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library.

textNew Kate Sharpley Library pamphlet on the resistance to Francoism. 19:23 So 28 Feb by KSL 0 comments

The Kate Sharpley Library are pleased to announce our latest publication:
"Anarchist International Action Against Francoism From Genoa 1949 to The First Of May Group" by Antonio Téllez Solà, translated by Paul Sharkey

84095_edo.jpg imageLuis Andrés Edo : 16:44 Mi 25 Mär by Stuart Christie 0 comments

With the death of Luis Andrés Edo, aged 83, in Barcelona, the anarchist movement has lost an outstanding militant and original thinker, and I have lost a comrade-in-arms, a former cell-mate - and an irreplaceable friend.

textNew Pamphlet : "Salvador Puig Antich and the MIL (Movimiento Iberico de Liberacion)" 23:54 So 04 Mai by KSL 0 comments

Salvador Puig Antich was a revolutionary murdered by the state in Barcelona in the last years of the Franco regime. This volume looks at the struggle of the MIL, both in the context of the times, and the light of current attempts to 'rehabilitate' him as a martyr for capitalist 'democracy'.

textNew pamphlet: "My Revolutionary Life" by Juan Garcia Oliver. 00:54 Mo 04 Feb by KSL 0 comments

The Kate Sharpley Library are pleased to announce their latest pamphlet, an interview in which Juan Garcia Oliver gives his version of his revolutionary life.

more >>

imageBuilding a mass anarchist movement: the example of Spain’s CNT Okt 02 by Thabang Sefalala* and Lucien van der Walt 0 comments

The ideas of anarchism have often been misunderstood, or sidelined. A proliferation of studies, such as Knowles’ Political Economy from Below, Peirats’ Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution, and others, have aimed to address this problem – and also to show that anarchism can never be limited to an ideology merely to keep professors and students busy in debating societies. Anarchists have been labeled “utopians” or regarded as catalysts of chaos and violence, as at the protests in Seattle, 1999, against the World Trade Organization. However, anarchism has a constructive core and an important history as a mass movement – including in its syndicalist (trade union) form. It rejects the authoritarianism and totalitarianism often associated with Marxist regimes, and seeks to present a living alternative to classical Marxism, social democracy and the current neo-liberal hegemonic order. It rejects both the versions of Marxism that have justified massive repression, and the more cautious versions, like that of Desai in his book Marx’s Revenge, which claim that a prolonged capitalist stage – with all its horrors – remains essential before socialism can be attempted. It rejects the ideas that exploitation and oppression are “historical necessities” for historical progress.

imageThe Labour Movement in Spain Nov 04 by KSL 0 comments

(Albert Meltzer was a long-standing supporter of the anarchist movement in Spain. One of our friends suggested we make this article available as one of the best things he wrote. It’s also representative of many of the things he cared about: anarchism, history, emancipation and class struggle. KSL)

imageMichael Seidman and "The Spanish Holocaust" Sep 23 by Stuart Christie 4 comments

What has happened to editorial judgement at the TLS [Times Literary Supplement]? What on earth led the editor to commission the patronisingly offensive twaddle from such a pro-Francoist apologist as Michael Seidman in his review of Paul Preston’s “The Spanish Holocaust”?

imageThe Importance of the Spanish Revolution Okt 09 by Julia Doherty 0 comments

Today a social revolution that took place seventy years ago is remembered by libertarian socialists as an example of how our ideas can work. The Spanish revolution came closer to realising the possibilities of a free stateless society on a huge scale than any other revolution in history.

textThe Great Swindle: 'This is not the tale of Salvador Puig Antich' Jul 06 by KSL 4 comments

The Catalan anarchist Salvador Puig Antich, murdered by the Francoist regime on 2 March 1974, is to be the subject of a film 'Salvador' starring Daniel Brühl. This article from the forthcoming issue of KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library highlights the falsification and recuperation it's been accused of: 'This movie is manipulative and tinkers with the real history which was insulting and terrifying to all of us who, male and female, who fought and lived through those years.'

more >>

textNew publication: Los Maños : the lads from Aragon ; the story of an anti-Franco action group Okt 29 Kate Sharpley Library 0 comments

The Kate Sharpley Library collective are pleased to announce the publication of another study of the anarchist resistance to Franco's dictatorship.

imageNew publication: One Hundred Years of Workers' Solidarity : the History of “Solidaridad Obrera” Aug 19 Kate Sharpley Library 0 comments

Solidaridad Obrera (Workers’ Solidarity), founded in Barcelona in 1907, is the voice of Spain’s Anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT: National Confederation of Labour). These essays were issued to celebrate the hundredth anniversary of “Soli” and together they illustrate the changing fortunes of the Anarcho-syndicalist movement, and its enduring attempt to communicate the anarchist idea.

textNew publication: News of the Spanish Revolution : Anti-authoritarian Perspectives on the Events Jul 23 KSL 2 comments

News of the Spanish Revolution : Anti-authoritarian Perspectives on the Events. Seven articles published in “One Big Union Monthly”, a journal of the Industrial Workers of the World, July, 1937 to February 1938, plus two later pieces on the experiences of participants.
A collection edited by Charlatan Stew. Published by the Kate Sharpley Library and Charlatan Stew: 2012. 88 pages.

imageNew publication: Anarchism In Galicia : Organisation, Resistance and Women in the Underground Aug 09 Kate Sharpley Library 0 comments

The Anarchist movement in Galicia is unknown to English-language readers. These essays tells the stories of the men and women who built it, fought for it, and how they kept it alive in the face of incredible odds.

imageNew publication: Valeriano Orobón Fernández: Towards the Barricades by Salvador Cano Carrillo Apr 23 Kate Sharpley Library 0 comments

Valeriano Orobón Fernández: Towards the Barricades by Salvador Cano Carrillo is out now, as is issue 66 of KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library.

more >>
© 2005-2019 Anarkismo.net. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by Anarkismo.net. [ Disclaimer | Privacy ]