Benutzereinstellungen

Kommende Veranstaltungen

International | History of anarchism

Keine kommenden Veranstaltungen veröffentlicht

Remember: The Spanish Revolution (1936- 7): A New World In Their Hearts

category international | history of anarchism | opinion / analysis author Monday July 19, 2010 21:32author by Lucien van der Walt Report this post to the editors

July 19 marks the anniversary of the start of the Spanish Revolution (136-1939), one of the most profound popular struggles of the twentieth century - and arguably the greatest of the anarchist revolutions.
cntugtlaalianza.jpg


Remember: The Spanish Revolution (1936- 7): A New World In Their Hearts


by Lucien van der Walt
from "Workers Solidarity", Johannesburg, volume 2, number 2, 1996

REMEMBER THE REVOLUTION

The 19th of July marked the 60th Anniversary of the Spanish Revolution. For a brief time, capitalism and the State was replaced by solidarity, mutual aid, and respect for others. Workers and peasants, who were deeply influenced by anarchist ideas, ran society collectively and gained control over their lives, industry and land. A central part of the revolution was the struggle against a fascist attempt to take over Spain.

We must remember both the magnificent triumphs and tragedies of the Spanish revolution and attempt to learn from our comrades mistakes.

WORKERS AND PEASANTS ORGANISE

Anarchist- Syndicalist ideas had deep roots among Spanish peasants and workers. In 1911, a massive revolutionary trade union federation, the CNT (National Confederation of Labour) was formed. It had two aims: first, to fight the bosses with mass action in the daily struggle. Second, to make an Anarchist revolution by organising the workers and the poor to seize back the land and factories and mines.

The CNT led many militant and successful struggles against the bosses and the government. By 1936 it was the biggest union in Spain, with nearly 2 million members. But the CNT was always democratic. Despite its giant seize, the CNT never had more than one paid official.

The Anarchists did not restrict themselves to the workplace. They also organised an Anarchist political group to work within the unions (the Anarchist Federation of Iberia/ FAI), rent boycotts in poor areas, youth and women. The CNT itself included working peasants, farmworkers and the unemployed. It even organised workers schools!

FASCIST COUP ATTEMPT

In July 1936, fascists led by General Franco, and backed by the rich and the Church, tried to seize power in Spain. Fascists believe in an extreme right- wing dictatorship, and are used by the bosses to violently suppress the masses' struggle for a better life.

The elected government (the Popular Front coalition of left- wing parties) was unable and unwilling to deal with the fascists. It even tried to strike a deal with the fascists by appointing a right- winger as Prime Minister. Why? Because they would rather compromise with the right wing and protect their wealth and power than arm the workers and the poor for self- defence.

THE REVOLUTION BEGINS

Fortunately, the workers and the peasants did not wait around for the government to act. The CNT declared a general strike and organised armed resistance to the attempted take over. Other unions and left wing groups followed the CNT's lead.

In this way the people in arms were able to stop the fascists in two- thirds of Spain. It soon became apparent to these workers and peasants that this was not just a war against fascists, but the beginning of a revolution! Anarchist influence was everywhere- workers militias were set up independently from the State, workers seized control of their workplaces and peasants seized the land.

There are many triumphs of the revolution. In this article we are only able to consider a few of the Spanish workers and peasants victories. These included the general take over of the land and factories. Women also made many important gains ... ( see separate article on "Women in the Spanish Revolution": http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/africa/wsfws/2_2womens....html).

TAKING BACK THE LAND

Small peasants and farm workers faced extremely harsh conditions in Spain. Starvation and repression was a part of their daily lives. Therefore it was no surprise that anarchism was particularly strong in the countryside.

During the revolution, as many as 7 million peasants and farmworkers set up voluntary collectives in the anti- fascist region. After the majority of landowners fled, a village assembly was held. If a decision to collectivise was taken, all the land, tools and animals were pooled together for the use of the entire collective. Teams were formed to look after the various areas of work and each team elected accountable delegates to a village assembly. A committee was elected to co- ordinate the overall running of the collective and each collective had regular general meetings in which all members participated.

Individuals who did not want to join the collectives were NOT forced to. They were given enough land to farm on, but were forbidden to hire labourers to work this land. Most "individualists" eventually joined the collectives when they saw how successful the colllectives were.

SEIZING THE FACTORIES

Anarchism inspired massive transformations in industry. Workers seized control over their workplaces and directly controled production by themselves and for the benifit of the Spanish workers and peasants.

TRAM WORKERS

The tram system provided a shining example of just how much better we can do things under direct workers control. On July 24the the tram crews got together, decided to run the whole system themselves. Within 5 days 700 trams were in service, instead of the usual 600.

Wages were equalised and working conditions improved. Free medical care was created.

Everyone benefited from the trams being under workers control. Fares were reduced and an extra 50 million passengers were transported. Yet more money was made and used to improve transport services and produce weapons. With the capitalist profit motive gone, safety became much more important and the number of accidents were reduced.

WORKERS' ARMY

In the early stages of the revolution, the armed forces of the state had effectively collapsed. In their place, the trade unions and left- wing organisations set about organising the armed workers and peasants into militias. Overall, there were 150,000 volunteers willing to fight where they were needed. The vast majority were members of the CNT. All officers were elected by the rank- and- file and had no special privileges.

ACHIEVEMENTS

The revolution showed that workers, peasants and the poor can create a new world without bosses or a government. It showed that anarchists ideas and methods (such as building revolutionary unions) can work. And it showed that imperialism is the enemy of all workers: the fascists used the colonial army from North Africa to launch their attack..

THE REVOLUTION DEFEATED

Yet despite all this, the revolution was defeated. In 1939, the fascists had won the civil war and crushed the working- class and peasants with a brutal dictatorship.

Why did this happen? The revolution was defeated partly because of the strength of the fascists. They were backed by the rich, by fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.

The CNT also made mistakes. It aimed for maximum anti-fascist unity and joined the Popular Front alliance which included political parties from government and pro-capitalist forces. This required the CNT to make many compromises in its revolutionary programme.

It also gave the Popular Front government an opportunity to undermine and destroy the revolution, the collectives, and the workers militias. The Communist Party played a leading role in this attack. The Communists organised amongst small employers and conservatives and was only interested in expanding Russia's power.

NO COMPROMISE

Instead of joining the Populist Front, the CNT should have stuck to its original programme: Revolution against the bosses, the State and their fascist friends. Alliances only with worker and peasant structures. Defence by a democratic workers/peasant army. And the immediate decolonisation of all Spanish colonies.


This article was based on:
1) E. Conlon, "Spanish Civil War: Anarchism in Action." http://struggle.ws/pdfs/spain.pdf
2) N/A, "The Spanish Revolution: Anarchism in Action."
3) C Mcloughlin, "The Spanish Revolution: A New World in Their Hearts. " Workers Solidarity (Ireland) Spring 1996.


MORE ...
A collection of materials: http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/spaindx.html
Footage: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=4422580255212567940

Verwandter Link: http://flag.blackened.net/revolt/africa/wsfws/2_2spain.html
This page can be viewed in
English Italiano Deutsch

International | History of anarchism | en

Tue 31 Jan, 15:33

browse text browse image

textOctober 2014 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online 18:21 Wed 29 Oct by KSL 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 80, October 2014 has just been posted on our site.
You can get to the contents here http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/fn30cz or read the full pdf here http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/m6406g

ksl.jpg imageOctober 2013 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online 20:24 Sat 26 Oct by Kate Sharpley Library 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 76, October 2013 has just been posted on the site.

oldbakunin.jpg imageInternational conference for bicentennial of Mikhail Bakunin 21:20 Fri 08 Mar by Organizing committee of Pryamukhino Readings 2014 0 comments

On May 30, 2014 we will be celebrating 200 years of Mikhail Bakunin (1814 – 1876), a famous activist of the Russian and international revolutionary movement, a social thinker and one of the founders of the international anarchist movement. [Français] [Русский]

textFebruary 2013 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online 22:41 Sat 23 Feb by KSL 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 73, February 2013 has just been posted on the site. You can get to the contents here http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/qrfkm1 or read the full pdf here: http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/g4f5zm.

caferiocoverweb.jpg image"Revolution", by Carlo Cafiero 05:27 Fri 03 Aug by Black Cat Press 2 comments

Black Cat Press is pleased to announce the publication of "Revolution" by Carlo Cafiero for the first time ever in English (indeed nor has it ever been published as a complete volume in the original Italian!). The book brings what is certainly Cafiero's most complete, original work to English-speaking audiences for the first time. It is also an extremely important work in that it is one of the earliest attempts at compiling a complete theoretical view of the revolutionary ideal of anarchist communism. [Italiano] [Nederlands]

textA visit to the Kate Sharpley Library (2012) 20:48 Sat 21 Jul by KSL 0 comments

I’ve just come back from visiting the Kate Sharpley Library in California. Things have changed from the days when I could get there on the bus and we were buying our first filing cabinet. Lots of filing cabinets now, as well as boxes like the Left Bank Books archive. It’s good to look at the non-fiction shelves, seeing ‘old friends’ and new acquisitions.

ksl.jpg imageJuly 2012 Kate Sharpley Library bulletin (double issue) now online 18:02 Fri 20 Jul by Kate Sharpley LIbrary 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 70-71, July 2012 [Double issue] has just been posted on the site. You can get to the contents or read the full pdf too.

iron_column.jpg imageOctober 2011 Kate Sharpley Library bulletin online 18:37 Sat 05 Nov by Kate Sharpley Library 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 68, October 2011 has just been posted on the site.

cover2.jpg imageAnarchism and Syndicalism in the Colonial and Postcolonial World, 1870-1940 14:30 Sat 15 Jan by Steven Hirsch and Lucien van der Walt 0 comments

Narratives of anarchist and syndicalist history during the era of the first globalization and imperialism (1870-1930) have overwhelmingly been constructed around a Western European tradition centered on discrete national cases. This parochial perspective typically ignores transnational connections and the contemporaneous existence of large and influential libertarian movements in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Yet anarchism and syndicalism, from their very inception at the First International, were conceived and developed as international movements. By focusing on the neglected cases of the colonial and postcolonial world, this volume underscores the worldwide dimension of these movements and their centrality in anti-colonial and anti-imperialist struggles. Drawing on in-depth historical analyses of the ideology, structure, and praxis of anarchism/syndicalism, it also provides fresh perspectives and lessons for those interested in understanding their resurgence today.

archivesmall.jpg imageNestor Makhno Archive - update 21:29 Wed 07 Apr by Nestor McNab 0 comments

The Nestor Makhno Archive has now been updated, with the addition of over 70 new documents in Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, English, French, Greek, Hungarian, Italian, Macedonian, Russian, Spanish and Ukrainian.

more >>

imageTaking the Mick: Bakunin in the 21st Century Jul 11 by LAMA 2 comments

A short introduction to some of the basic ideas of Bakunin and their relevance in the 21st Century.

imageThe First International and the Development of Anarchism and Marxism Jun 11 by Wayne Price 4 comments

There are recent histories of the First International researched from anarchist perspectives, which balance the dominant Marxist narrative. Both sides had their strengths and weaknesses, but overall the anarchists had the better program.

imageJames Guillaume (1844-1916) & the birth of syndicalism, anarchist communism May 29 by Lucien van der Walt 2 comments

From Mother Earth volume 12, number 1, March 1917: OBITUARY : James Guillaume (1844-1916

imageBridges between anarchism and democratic confederalism – 2 Apr 04 by BrunoL 0 comments

Introduction to this particular issue, April 2nd Bruno Lima Rocha

In this part I will expose some basic historical information about the anarchist political organization model and in the end, make a comparison between these experiences and the nowadays mission of the political organization that intends to be the catalyst of a Democratic Confederalist social change. [Italiano]

imageThe Life of Bakunin: anti-imperialism, anti-capitalism, anti-statism Jun 01 by SAASHA 0 comments

We do not see Bakunin as a god who never made mistakes. Of course he was not perfect. was a man, but a man who gave his all for the struggle of the oppressed, a revolutionary hero who deserves our admiration and respect. “From Bakunin, we can learn much about revolutionary activism. We can learn even more about the ideas needed to win the age-old fight between exploiter and exploited, between worker and peasant, on the one hand, and boss and ruler on the other. The greatest honor we can do his memory is to fight today and always for human freedom and workers liberation.”

more >>

textOctober 2014 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online Oct 29 Kate Sharpley Library 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 80, October 2014 has just been posted on our site.
You can get to the contents here http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/fn30cz or read the full pdf here http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/m6406g

imageOctober 2013 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online Oct 26 KSL 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 76, October 2013 has just been posted on the site.

textFebruary 2013 Kate Sharpley Library Bulletin online Feb 23 Kate Sharpley Library 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 73, February 2013 has just been posted on the site. You can get to the contents here http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/qrfkm1 or read the full pdf here: http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/g4f5zm.

imageJuly 2012 Kate Sharpley Library bulletin (double issue) now online Jul 20 KSL 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 70-71, July 2012 [Double issue] has just been posted on the site. You can get to the contents or read the full pdf too.

imageOctober 2011 Kate Sharpley Library bulletin online Nov 05 KSL 0 comments

KSL: Bulletin of the Kate Sharpley Library No. 68, October 2011 has just been posted on the site.

more >>
© 2005-2023 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 ]