"Towards a Fresh Revolution" and Free Municipalities

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BakuninistDialectics's picture
BakuninistDialectics
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Apr 15 2015 19:17
"Towards a Fresh Revolution" and Free Municipalities

In 1937 the Friends of Durruti had published "Towards a Fresh Revolution", theorizing on ways that future revolutions could do better than the Spanish Revolution had done. One of their suggestions was the utilization of "free municipalities":

III - Free municipality
Prior to the coming of the foreign dynasties, municipal rights were defended with great tenacity in Spain. Such decentralisation precluded the erection of a new State system. And in this new Spain which the proletariat looks forward to, the charter of freedoms that went under at Villalar shall rise again. And the so-called Catalan and Basque problems . . . will be resolved.

The Municipality shall take charge of those functions of society that fall outside the preserve of the unions. And since the society we are going to build shall be composed exclusively of producers, it will be the unions, no less, that will provide sustenance for the municipalities. And, as there is no disparity of interests, there can be no conflict.

The Municipalities will be organised at the level of local, comarcal and peninsula federations. Unions and municipalities will maintain liaison at local, comarcal and national levels.1

My question to you all, is in what way do you think these municipalities should be organised? Do you think that Bookchinite Libertarian Municipalism presents a good model for this sort of free municipality?

1. https://libcom.org/library/towards-fresh-revolution-friends-durruti/our-...

akai
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Apr 16 2015 10:51

I don't think the main criticism of the FOD had to do with municipalism but something else. And I don't think Bookchin provides any real models for anything except decentralist democracy.

It is clear that society should be in charge of daily life and workers deciding together with society on issues that directly effect them. I don't see this as anything different than what anarchists have been proposing for a long time. This long predates Bookchin and the only contribution I think he made was to make the libertarian project less specific.

Foristaruso
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Apr 16 2015 13:44

In the CNT in the 1930s, there were discussion between "communalists" and "more-syndicalist" tendencies. But this was not in the center of FOD discurs

BakuninistDialectics's picture
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Apr 16 2015 21:12

The "main" criticism was not about municipalism, but I think we'd have to consciously ignore that part of their recommendations was free municipalities, to not acknowledge that municipalism was a part, however small, of "Towards a Fresh Revolution". So that considered, the question is "how do we organise it?"

boomerang
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Apr 17 2015 04:06

It's been many years since I read Libertarian Municipalism. From what I recall, the proposed structures are consistent with anarchist principles, and would be a fine way of organizing a free municipality. But I could be wrong, as my memory of it is foggy, and I read that book before I was an anarchist.

I do remember enough though to know that Bookchin proposes an electoralist, reformist, and class-collaborationist strategy for achieving libertarian municipalism, which of course goes against anarchist principles. But that's a problem with strategy, not with the municipal structures.

Other proposals or sketches or hypothetical descriptions that are anarchist or at least inspired by / similar to anarchism can be found here

An Anarchist FAQ, section I.5 "What would the social structure of anarchy look like?" http://anarchism.pageabode.com/afaq/secIcon.html

Libertarian Communism by Isaac Puente http://libcom.org/library/libertarian-communism

Parpolity https://zcomm.org/znetarticle/parpolity-political-vision-for-a-good-soci...

“Glimpses into the Year 2100” by Ilan Shalif http://ilan.shalif.com/anarchy/glimpses/glimpses.html

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Apr 21 2015 00:48

The program of FOD was essentially drawn from the CNT's own program. The "free municipalities" were a central feature of the May 1936 Libertarian Communist program. This program was approved based on a push from the big unions in Barcelona. To understand this, I think it's necessary to understand the rich context of local neighborhood based organization built by anarchists in Barcelona...cultural centers, dozens of Ateneos, defense groups, etc. In the '20s Juan Peiro had said the CNT needed a "district" type of organization to deal with issues outside the workplace, especially housing. Discussions around this to led the now-famous 1931 mass rent strike.

The libertarian communist program of May 1936 gave certain roles to the free municipalities, particularly in the context of a federalist and articulated system of socialized economy. They were given responsibility for housing, health care & education proposals, which would go to the unions & their congresses to decide on the allocation of the resources & coordination. So I guess they were seen as a kind of input for public services to the overall system of self-management. In addition to having some sort of local governance role.

For large cities I believe the anarcho-syndicalists at that time thought of the free municipality as based on neighborhood assemblies, which would also have their elected committee, and then also delegates to a city-wide council of some sort.

so in essence the 1936 program envisioned a kind of dual governance structure in which the base would be both assemblies of residents in neighborhoods & villages and assemblies of workers in workplaces. I see this as an advance over earlier syndicalist programs that envisioned power only in the hands of worker councils or unions.

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Apr 21 2015 18:35
syndicalistcat wrote:
The program of FOD was essentially drawn from the CNT's own program. The "free municipalities" were a central feature of the May 1936 Libertarian Communist program. This program was approved based on a push from the big unions in Barcelona. To understand this, I think it's necessary to understand the rich context of local neighborhood based organization built by anarchists in Barcelona...cultural centers, dozens of Ateneos, defense groups, etc. In the '20s Juan Peiro had said the CNT needed a "district" type of organization to deal with issues outside the workplace, especially housing. Discussions around this to led the now-famous 1931 mass rent strike.

The libertarian communist program of May 1936 gave certain roles to the free municipalities, particularly in the context of a federalist and articulated system of socialized economy. They were given responsibility for housing, health care & education proposals, which would go to the unions & their congresses to decide on the allocation of the resources & coordination. So I guess they were seen as a kind of input for public services to the overall system of self-management. In addition to having some sort of local governance role.

For large cities I believe the anarcho-syndicalists at that time thought of the free municipality as based on neighborhood assemblies, which would also have their elected committee, and then also delegates to a city-wide council of some sort.

so in essence the 1936 program envisioned a kind of dual governance structure in which the base would be both assemblies of residents in neighborhoods & villages and assemblies of workers in workplaces. I see this as an advance over earlier syndicalist programs that envisioned power only in the hands of worker councils or unions.

That's quite interesting. Do you know of further reading available on this subject?

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Joseph Kay
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Apr 21 2015 19:25

I think the '36 program was based on Isaac Puente's 1932 Libertarian Communism.

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May 4 2015 20:32

I'm sure that was an influence. But the May 1936 program also gives a nod to things like industrial federations and congresses of delegates, economic coordinating councils. I've heard de Santillan didn't like the program because it didn't follow his After the Revolution enough, but it did give a nod to bits of his program. So it seems it was an attempt to synthesize some ideas from various tendencies in the CNT.