A Study of the Revolution in Spain, 1936–1937

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(1946 - ) ~ Scottish Anarchist Publisher and Would-Be Assassin of a Fascist Dictator
Stuart Christie (born 10 July 1946) is a Scottish anarchist writer and publisher. As an 18-year-old Christie was arrested while carrying explosives to assassinate the Spanish caudillo General Franco. He was later alleged to be a member of the Angry Brigade, but was acquitted of related charges. He went on to found the Cienfuegos Press publishing house and in 2008 the online Anarchist Film Channel which hosts films and documentaries with anarchist and libertarian themes. (From : Wikipedia.org.)

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Introduction In July 1936, the popular movement that contained the military and right-wing uprising in Spain triggered one of the most profound social revolutions of the twentieth century. The period that began on 19 July 1936 and ended in August 1937 with the destruction of the revolutionary Aragón collectives by communist-led republican military forces was one of profound and extended freedom and democracy in the management of social life, work and the economy. The history of the Spain of 1936–7 demonstrates the fate of a revolution that attempted to create a genuinely autonomous society, but did not make a complete break with those bodies that are inherently given to control and manipulation — the state, the political parties and the unions. In other words, the Spanish anarchist movement of the time failed to clarify its radicalism and to pursue the logic of its principles. Why did this happen? How did the republican parties reestablish the aut... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The Spanish army in Morocco rose in rebellion against the Second Spanish Republic on 17 July 1936. By the following day, the long-planned coup d’état, under the leadership of General Sanjurjo and a military directorate consisting of generals Yagüe, Quiepo de Llano, Mola and Franco, had spread to the Spanish mainland. The Spanish anarcho-syndicalist labor organization, the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), had been preparing for the eventuality of such a coup for some time. Earlier that year, on 14 February, just two days before the elections that were to bring to power the Popular Front government that precipitated the military uprising, the National Committee of the CNT in Zaragoza issued a prophetic warning to its members as to the likely consequences of a leftist victory in the forthcoming elections. This was a clear statement of intent to the Republican and social-democratic bourgeoisie, as well as to the military plotters and th... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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In Valencia, the militants of the CNT, FAI and FIJL (Federacion Iberica de Juventudes Libertarias — the anarchist youth movement) who had led the attack on the city’s army barracks on 18 July met in a monastery that they had converted into a temporary militia quarters, and formed what was to become known as the Iron Column. In line with anarchist policy, all prisoners were released when the jails were opened during an insurrection. Many of these were common-law prisoners, who had been politicized during their imprisonment by anarchist or ‘social’ prisoners, and chose to fight alongside their liberators. With several hundred freed prisoners among its numbers, the new column set off for the Teruel Front, where they later routed the fascists at Sarion, in the Mastrazgo, on 13 August. The column then captured the village of La Puebla, where they declared libertarian communism and set up their headquarters. They quickly established a defensive line, some 15 mil... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The CNT joins the Generalidad Early in September, the Giral government resigned to make way for a cabinet consisting of 3 left-wing and 3 right-wing socialists, 5 republicans and 2 communists. The new government was led by the head of the socialist party, Largo Caballero. The new regime lost no time in moving to restore the balance of power to the state, which, in spite of the welter of declarations and decrees, had not existed since the working class victory over the military on 19 July. The response of the CNT leadership to the new government, which they had not been invited to join, came in mid-September when a ‘working party’ consisting of Juan Lopez, Aurelio Alvarez and Federica Montseny issued a statement calling for the setting up of what they described as a National Defense Council. This was a government by another name, and a further indication of the willingness of the CNT leadership to collaborate with the political pa... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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The obsession of the CNT leadership with antifascist unity steadily widened the gap between them and the aspirations of the mass of the radical working-class membership. The interests they now defended were those of the bourgeoisie and the property-owning classes. On 23 October a ‘Pact of Unity’ was signed between the CNT, FAI, the UGT and the PSUC in Catalonia. Article Two of this agreement, relating to collectivization, stated that although the Council supported collectivization ‘of everything which may be essential in the interests of the war’, the council’s understanding was that “this collectivization would fail to produce the desired results unless overseen and orchestrated by a body genuinely representative of the collectivity,” in this instance the Generalidad Council. “With regard to small industry we do not advocate collectivization here except in cases of sedition by owners or of urgent w... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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CNT National Committee declaration of 14 February 1936 Federico Escofet, De una derrota a una victoria, Barcelona, 1984, p. 233. Ibid., p. 231 B. Bolloten, The Spanish Revolution: The Left and the Struggle for Power during the Civil War, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, 1979. Juan Gómez Casas, Historia de la FAI, Montreal, p. 27. Reported by Diego Abad de Santill·n; quoted in Abel Paz, Durruti: The People Armed, Montreal, 1976. Gómez Casas, Historia de la FAI, p. 217. Escofet, De una derrota a una victoria, p. 231. Ibid., p. 348. Ibid., p. 352. Miguel GarcÌa, The Miguel GarcÌa Story, Sanday, Orkney, 1982. Juan GarcÌa Oliver, Solidaridad Obrera (Barcelona), 19 July 1937. (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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