Barricades in Barcelona : The CNT from the victory of July 1936 to the necessary defeat of May 1937

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Dedications To Pascual Guillamón, wounded and disabled in the confrontations of July 19 in Barcelona; shot by the fascists when they occupied Tarrasa. To my grandfather Eliseo, and his numerous brothers: emigrants, cenetistas, anonymous fighters and exiles; always proletarians conscious of being proletarians. To my father, who at the age of twelve lost a war. In memoriam. (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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INTRODUCTION This is a book about the barricades erected by the workers of Barcelona in July 1936 and May 1937, only ten months apart. It is a study of the reasons why they were built, as well as their similarities and differences. It attempts to explain the “offensive” character of the workers insurrection of July, and the “defensive” character of the May insurrection. How did the practically unarmed workers manage to defeat the rebellious army and the fascists in July? And how was it possible that, in May, a proletariat armed to the teeth could be politically defeated after having demonstrated its military superiority in the streets? Why were the barricades of July still standing in October 1936, while the barricades built in May were immediately dismantled? The myth of the barricades, which appeared in Barcelona on numerous occasions during the 19th century, in the general strike of 1902, during th... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Part 1 — The Victorious Insurrection of July 1936 Vivere militare est. (To live is to fight.) Seneca, Epistulae Morales </quote>0 TO ARMS, TO ARMS! At sixteen hundred hours on the sixteenth, the army rose up in revolt in Melilla. The President of the Government, Casares Quiroga, when asked by some journalists about what he was going to do about the uprising, responded with a little joke: “They have arisen? Good. I am going to bed.” On July 18, 1936 the military rebellion had spread to all of Morocco, the Canary Islands and Seville. The military garrison of Barcelona had approximately six thousand men, against almost two thousand assault guards and two hundred “mossos d’esquadra” [a special defense corps of the Generalitat]. The civil guards, whose loyalties were uncertain, had about three thousand men. (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Part 2 — The CNT-FAI in the Central Committee of Antifascist Militias of Cataluña “All history was a palimpsest, scraped clean and reinscribed exactly as often as was necessary. In no case would it have been possible, once the deed was done, to prove that any falsification had taken place.” George Orwell, 1984 “Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit.” (Compliance raises friends, and truth breeds hate.) Terence, Andria POWER IS IN THE STREETS The real power of decision and execution was in the streets, it was the power of the proletariat in arms, and it was exercised by the local committees, the defense committees and the workers control committees, spontaneously expropriating factories, workshops, buildings and land; o... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Part 3 — The Death and Funeral of Durruti “Cui prodest scelus is fecit.” (Whoever benefits from the crime is the one who committed it.) Seneca, Medea “We anarchists can go to jail, or die the way Obregón, Ascaso, Sabater, Buenaventura Durruti and Peiró died, whose lives are worthy of a Plutarch. We can die in exile, in the concentration camps, in the maquis, or in a hospice, but to accept the position of government minister, this is inconceivable.” Jaime Balius, “For the Record”, Solidaridad Obrera, September 2, 1971. FROM NOVEMBER 4 TO NOVEMBER 22, 1936 On November 4, many people were eagerly waiting to listen to a surprise speech by Durruti that was to be broadcast by Radio CNT-FAI from Barcelona to all of Spain. On... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Part 4 — The Friends of Durruti Group in the insurrection of May 1937 and its program “The function of history would therefore be showing that the laws deceive, that the kings play a part, that power deludes and that historians lie.” Michel Foucault, The Genealogy of Racism INTRODUCTION The Friends of Durruti Group was an anarchist organization, founded in March 1937. Its members were militiamen from the Durruti Column who were opposed to militarization, and anarchists who were critical of the entry of the CNT into the republican government and the Generalitat. The historical and political importance of the Friends of Durruti resided in its intention, which arose in 1937 within the ranks of the libertarian movement itself, to create a revolutionary Junta that would put and end to the abandonment of revolutionary principles and c... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Part 5 — Epilogue “The working class is revolutionary or it is nothing.” Karl Marx, Letter to Schweitzer (February 13, 1865) THE COMMITTEES OF 1936 In July 1936, what was lacking was a revolutionary theory. Without theory there is no revolution. After seventy years of anti-state preaching, the Spanish anarchist movement, without understanding the real nature of power and the state, had come to a historical crossroads where it had to decide whether to advance by the revolutionary road, or collaborate with the bourgeois government of the Generalitat (and the Republic) in order to defeat fascism. The ambiguous option of “going for broke” proposed by Juan García Oliver was conceived as a coup d’état, in which the anarchosyndicalist leaders would impose an “anarchist dictatorship” that was contr... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Part 6 — Bibliography of basic works utilized in this text Abad de Santillán, Diego, La revolución y la guerra en España, Nervio, Barcelona, 1937. “Actes del Comité Central de Milícies Antifeixistes de Catalunya.” Adsuar Torra, Josep Eduard, Catalunya: Juliol-Octubre 1936. Una dualitat de poder? (2 Vols.), Tesina de Llicenciatura, Departament Història Contemporània, Universitat de Barcelona, 1979. Bernecker, W., Colectividades y revolución social, Crítica, Barcelona, 1982. Bolloten, Burnett, La Guerra Civil española, Alianza, Madrid, 1989. [In English: Bolloten, Burnett, The Spanish Revolution: The Left and the Struggle for Power during the Civil War, Revised and Expanded Edition, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, 1979. Originally published i... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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Information drawn from the “Declaración manuscrita de Servando Meana Miranda, capitán arma de Aviación”. Abad de Santillán brought a hundred pistols to the Construction Trade Union. See: Diego Abad de Santillán, Por qué perdimos la Guerra , Plaza Janés, Esplugues de Llobregat, 1977, p. 76. Sergeant Manzana, despite the fact that his name is erroneously cited in many books as a leading figure in the revolutionary events of July 19, could not participate in the struggle because he was being held prisoner in the barracks brig, and was not liberated until the evening of the 20th. See: Marquez and Gallardo, Ortiz, General sin dios ni amo, Hacer, Barcelona, 1999, p. 101. At six in the morning a company of assault guards from Barceloneta received orders to proceed to the Paralelo, but after unexpectedly running into... (From : TheAnarchistLibrary.org.)

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