Spanish Revolution

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The Spanish Revolution was a workers' social revolution that began during the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 and resulted in the widespread implementation of anarchist and more broadly socialist organizational principles throughout various portions of the country for two to three years, primarily Catalonia, Aragon, Andalusia, and parts of the Levante. Much of Spain's economy was put under worker control; in anarchist strongholds like Catalonia, the figure was as high as 75%, but lower in areas with heavy Communist Party influence, as the Soviet-allied party actively resisted attempts at collectivization enactment. Factories were run through worker committees, agrarian areas became collectivised and run as libertarian communes. Even places like hotels, barber shops, and restaurants were collectivized and managed by their workers. Sam Dolgoff estimated that about eight million people participated directly or at least indirectly in the Spanish Revolution, which he claimed "came closer to realizing the ideal of the free stateless society on a vast scale than any other revolution in history." The collectivization effort was primarily orchestrated by the rank-and-file members of the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT; English: National Confederation of Labor) and the Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI; English: Iberian Anarchist Federation), with the two often abbreviated as CNT-FAI due to the affinity between the two organizations and the major role of the latter within the former in maintaining anarchist "purity." The non-anarchist socialist Unión General de Trabajadores (UGT; English: General Union of Workers) also participated in the implementation of collectivization, albeit to a far lesser degree.

The British author George Orwell, best known for his anti-sovietic works "Animal Farm" and "Nineteen Eighty-Four", was a soldier in the militia of the CNT-allied Partido Obrero Unificación Marxista (POUM; English: Workers' Party of Marxist Unification). Orwell meticulously documented his first-hand observations of the civil war, and expressed admiration for the social revolution in his book "Homage to Catalonia":

I had dropped more or less by chance into the only community of any size in Western Europe where political consciousness and disbelief in capitalism were more normal than their opposites. Up here in Aragon one was among tens of thousands of people, mainly though not entirely of working-class origin, all living at the same level and mingling on terms of equality. In theory it was perfect equality, and even in practice it was not far from it. There is a sense in which it would be true to say that one was experiencing a foretaste of Socialism, by which I mean that the prevailing mental atmosphere was that of Socialism. Many of the normal motives of civilized life—snobbishness, money-grubbing, fear of the boss, etc.—had simply ceased to exist. The ordinary class-division of society had disappeared to an extent that is almost unthinkable in the money-tainted air of England; there was no one there except the peasants and ourselves, and no one owned anyone else as his master.