Spanish Revolution (19 July 1936), 80th anniversary links

Discussion in 'theory, philosophy & history' started by Kate Sharpley, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    "80 years after the Spanish revolution we are sure everyone will be putting their thoughts down for people to read. Two thoughts from us - Firstly we remember all those comrades who created a living utopia. They created a profound revolution in their everyday lives with courage, resilience and humour. Everyday we are learning more about what they did forcing us to re-think what we thought we knew. Secondly we celebrate the voices of our comrades - those who made the revolution and fought with the resistance against astonishing odds. We hope their voices dominate this anniversary"

    Two accounts from anarchists:
    In memory of a revolutionary Spanish anarchist : A biography of Vicente Ruiz Gutiérrez
    A grass root C.N.T. militant Remembers : The oral memoirs of Luis Parés Adán

    There's also a 30 min (French commentary) film of the Durruti Column at:
    La colonne Durruti (film, 1936)
  2. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    Radio New Zealand has a shortish piece available online devoted to the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War:
    "Eighty years ago this month a revolution got underway in Spain that was to see millions of workers take over their workplaces and run them as collectives. Volunteers from around the world flocked to Spain to defend the republican government against the fascist forces of General Franco - including Kiwis. Anarchist historian Barry Pateman; historian and author of Kiwi Companeros: New Zealand and the Spanish Civil War Mark Derby, and Catalan-Kiwi student of politics Daniel Francesc Benson-Guiu join Wallace to discuss the Spanish revolution and its legacy."

    The Spanish Revolution

    Barry's comments reminded me of this: No More Mimosa by Ethel Mannin: A re-consideration and appreciation
    Sprocket., peterkro and Gramsci like this.
  3. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I have been reading Anthony Beevors "The Battle for Spain" ( The revised version. He updated it).

    He is a military historian so concentrates on the military side of it. But he does go into what motivates people to fight and the politics behind it. It seems to me a fair appraisal so far- read two thirds.

    He had access to more archives about Soviet involvement and the work of recent Spanish historians.

    What comes across is that this was the start of WW2. The Republican side had little support from outside except from the USSR. Which was a poisoned chalice. I didnt realise the level of Stalinist involvement. The Stalinist Spanish Communist party was small. To late the socialists on the Republican side realised Stalin was taking over the security apparatus. The leader of the dissident communist POUM was arrested and murdered. Anarchists in Catalonia were arrested. Plus Republican government didn’t get arms for free they had to pay for them with gold from the banks they controlled. The so called embargo on arms supplies to all sides was a farce. Germany and Italy ignored it in particular this country did nothing. Secondly the military tactics the USSR dominated Republican army used were inappropriate. Set piece battles against Franco forces supported by German air superiority didn’t work. Stalins purging of the USSR armed forces in the Terror had meant the best military minds had been killed. Unlike German army.

    He is good on the fact that this was a peoples war. Spanish people really did take to the streets to fight Franco. The battle for Madrid is particularly moving. The Republican government moved as it was thought Franco would take the city. The people of Madrid and those who went there to defend the city to the last ( Anarchist and POUM) fought street battles to stop Madrid falling and a quick victory for Franco. To everyone’s surprise they fought Franco off.

    He is sympathetic to the Anarchists. Only criticising there military tactics. Saying why the did not use the same guerilla tactics that Makhno used in Ukraine.

    He also points out Spain was a divided country. Left and Right were so opposed that war was inevitable.

    On the International Brigades. They fought bravely but he does not romanticise there experience in Spain.
    stockwelljonny likes this.
  4. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

  5. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    Interesting links Kate Sharpley Will try to read them properly when I have time.

    My Spanish friend who grew up in post Franco Spain knows about all the leading figures in the Civil War. She told me her bit of Madrid ( just outside) is called the "Red Zone". As post Franco the repressed ideals of the Spanish left resurfaced. If I understand her correctly.

    In reading Beevors history I came across the Anarchist feminist Federica Montseny. Who my Spanish friend knew about. She survived in exile( became a novelist in exile) to see the death of Franco. Controversially she took a post in the Republican government as Minister of Health. The first women in Spain to have a ministerial post and one of very few women in Europe to hold high office. As minister she supported womens right to abortion. Radical for a country where a reactionary Catholic church was powerful.

    Agreeing to join the socialist Cabellero republican government was controversial and from what I understand the Anarchist movement in Spain was split on this. Whats your view on this? The two anarchist organisations CNT and FAI worked together but had different views on this?

    One of the interesting anecdotes in Beevors book is Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko. He was an old Bolshevik who Stalin sent to Barcelona. Had taken part in the taking the Winter Palace etc. His reports to Stalin showed he loved it in Barcelona. Back to the good old days of social revolution. The workers taking control. Year later Stalin had him shot.

    And from Beevors book the CNT had deep roots in Catalonia. Very well organised and a lot of support from the working class. When the civil war came they took over industry and reports are that they ran it well. The myth being that anarchism is only relevant to backward rural areas. Catalonia was compared to most of rest of Spain industrially advanced.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2016
  6. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    hello, G. Post Franco a lot of non-rubbish history books came out. But the 'transition' enforced a 'pact of forgetting' which is only now getting undone. Montseny's not only took state office during the Civil War, but was part of the exiled bureaucracy... I'm not sure if she's mentioned in Nancy Macdonald's 'Homage to the Spanish Exiles' but she doesn't come out well from Ealham's bio of Jose Peirats ("living anarchism")
    Not got time to go into 'the collaboration question' but tend to come down on the side of 'that didn't go very well, did it?'. I think Peirats had it right when he said the CNT ministers 'could neither politick nor walk away'. Agustin Guillamon has some very interesting books on it all...
    So, yeah, plenty of reading for you! Ealham's 'anarchism and the city' and Guillamons 'ready for revolution' might be good intros to the CNT in Barcelona and the 'spontaneous revolution' wasn't that spontaneous. And the 'ok for thickie peasants' analysis of anarchism isn't much of an analysis, more a piss take...

    before i go, the thing i most remember about Beevor's latest one on Spain was him going on about the Propaganda need to big up how important an offensive was going to be Before it happened wasn't great military strategy. But then, some of the players on the Republican side were possibly (understandably) more afraid of Stalin than Franco...
    Gramsci and Sprocket. like this.
  7. Gramsci

    Gramsci Well-Known Member

    I agree thats the impression I got from Beevors history.

    He also says some of the footsoldiers in the International Brigades were not at all happy with there experience. (Orwell came to Spain not through the communist party but through the Independent Labour Party who had links with POUM who he fought with. So is special case. ) There were cases of refusing to obey orders and executions. Also the old Soviet practise of putting machine guns behind troops to shoot anyone retreating and blaming "Trotskyites" for any defeats. . Basically the IB footsoldiers were seeing military blunders leading to the pointless death of soldiers in IB.

    This does not undermine the bravery of the individuals who volunteered to join the International Brigades who fought on the Republican side.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2016
    coley likes this.
  8. CNT36

    CNT36 Not carbon nano tubes

    When I last read it I this stuff stuck in my mind more than anything else. Really undermined any romantic notions I may of had. Many were executed for wanting to go home after only intending to stay for a fixed period.
    Gramsci likes this.
  9. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    Not quite the same but this is now on our site:
    "A Brief History of the Spanish Anarchist Refugees and Immigrants in Australia", edited and compiled by Francisco Soler with the co-operation of Grupo Cultural de Estudios Sociales de Melbourne.
    A Brief History of the Spanish Anarchist Refugees and Immigrants in Australia
    An illustrated account of Spanish anarchist exiles in Australia, including their productive collaborations with Australian - and other exiled - anarchists.
  10. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    'And, so we return to Spain. Nearly 70 years after the people’s response to a right-wing military uprising, those events remain a source of wonder, optimism, confusion, strife and tragedy. It was a high mark of personal and social possibility that has yet to be matched. It was a real revolution of everyday life that shattered the patterns and relationships created by the agencies that constituted a growing capitalism.

    Yet it was also a tragedy, comprised of millions of individual and interdependent tragedies; the curtailment of the revolutionary project by brave and well respected anarchists in the name of realism, what activist and historian Jose Peirats called, “a new theology of circumstantialism;” the slaughter of thousands who attempted to change and enrich their lives, by communists and their supporters; and a long, slow painful retreat relieved only by the individual courage of isolated groups of militants throughout the world.

    Yes, we return to Spain and always will. Not just to “give flowers for the fallen,” as Pietro Gori writes, but because what happened all those years ago still resonates with our practice as anarchists today. We must also remember that despite all of this tragedy, all of this mess, so many in Spain touched, if only for a moment, a “living Utopia.”'

    The rest is at: The Spanish Revolution 70 years later

    (lifted from
    Anudder Oik likes this.
  11. Anudder Oik

    Anudder Oik heinous pointless bellend/fucking gobshite muppet

    These guys need to take that bus to the end of its route and sort out the gentrification that's going on there. All the decendants of the fisherman have been squeezed out and the local community spread to the four winds, with speculators now asking 1900 euros a month for a 40m square attic apartment.

    It was the local people of Barceloneta who advanced on machine guns set up near Correus (bottom of via leiatana), rolling huge bales of paper in front of them as a moving barricade, then rushing the soldiers. In 1936.
  12. DaveCinzano


  13. J Ed

    J Ed Follow Back Pro Expropriation

  14. Captain Christy

    Captain Christy Active Member

    Orwell saw the horror of the war after initially believing in the Republican victory. It it common on my travels to come across memorials in different locations to the International Brigades. Down by the London Eye, in the park as you go from Putney Bridge to Craven Cottage and in rural Tipperary there is a memorial to Kit Conway International Brigade
  15. William of Walworth

    William of Walworth Festographer

    With that health warning, it's still a pretty interesting read IMO, and by no means all the details Preston provide are completely wrong (-- or are they?) :confused:

    Orwell should be read more as period detail/eye-witness viewpoint than reliable history anyway, Preston is correct about that. But I suppose most experts on Spain (here/generally) have known that for years in any case.
  16. dessiato

    dessiato Life is a lemon, and I want my money back

    I'm very interested in the Spanish civil war and read about it regularly. The Spanish Holocaust is very interesting and I recommend it. Also the last two of Laurie Lee's autobiography give a personal view of the war. They are not overly reliable as history, but, as with Orwell, do give an insight.

    Local to me is a large village/small town where two atrocities took place. A friend who lives there told me about her grandparents experiences, including one being murdered, during this time. There's also an old man who fought at the Ebro. He's offered to talk to me about his experience there.

    When I have more time I'll fill in the details.
  17. Kate Sharpley

    Kate Sharpley Well-Known Member

    Rejecting the Legend
    "Being built on men, the Spanish revolution is neither a perfect construction nor a castle of legend. The first thing we have to do if we are to be balanced is re-examine the civil war item by item on the basis of the facts, rather than encourage nostalgia through our paeans. This is a task that has never been undertaken conscientiously and courageously, for it might have ended up exposing not only the shortcomings and treacheries of others, but also the illusions and failings of us libertarians as well." ...
    William of Walworth likes this.
  18. Ralph Llama


    Happy July 24th Urban75

    A day worth remembering.


    Anarchism FTW
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2018
  19. imposs1904

    imposs1904 Thread Killa'

  20. not-bono-ever

    not-bono-ever Alles hat ein Ende nur eine Wurst hat zwei

    old bump, but the Granada series of yore- and something that younger Urbs may not have seen when it came out ( me obvs) is on youtube- is a multi parter crammed onto youtube but works well on a World at War type presentation

    DotCommunist, Signal 11 and dessiato like this.
  21. Sasaferrato

    Sasaferrato Grateful for what I have.

    That photograph of a disinterred nun is truly vile.
  22. Sasaferrato

    Sasaferrato Grateful for what I have.

    Not to forget the 40,000 from 35 countries who fought for Franco. The matter is not as one sided as the left would have us believe.
  23. zahir

    zahir Well-Known Member

  24. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    What do you mean by this? And? That thousands fought for fascism? What are you saying?
  25. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Dom Traynor and Pickman's model like this.
  26. danny la rouge

    danny la rouge Without music, life would be a mistake.

    "Not as one sides as the left would have us believe"? What do you mean? There's something to be said for fascism?
    yield and Gramsci like this.
  27. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

  28. zahir

    zahir Well-Known Member

    It seems to follow on from the mention of international volunteers for Franco and I’m not sure it’s that well known outside Spain.
  29. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    But why bring that up at all
  30. butchersapron

    butchersapron blood on the walls

    Anyway, that's the stuff the young 'uns have done a great thing about.

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