An essay on the nature of the Spanish Civil War and Revolution of 1936 that briefly summarizes the historical background of the military uprising and emphasizes the fact that immediately after the uprising began, spontaneously formed committees and workers patrols replaced the state and its repressive apparatus throughout most of Spain. Noting that these “revolutionary achievements . . . did not appear in the political program of any organization”, the author refers to these working class institutions as “organs of power” and asserts that they provide “irrefutable proof of the socialist character of the Spanish Revolution”.
The achievements of anarchist ‘self-management’ during the Spanish Civil War show that production can be organised without the bourgeoisie or Leninist parties. But any genuinely anti-capitalist revolution in the 21st century will not be about democratic self-management of capitalist industry. Rather, it will be about the transformation of society world-wide so people can collectively fulfill their needs without any external discipline. Consequently, we need to understand workers’ resistance to work during the Spanish revolution rather than to just praise the achievements of anarchist militants (especially when those ‘achievements’ even included the setting up of labour camps!).
This is a study of social protest and repression in one of the twentieth century's most important revolutionary hotspots. It explains why Barcelona became the undisputed capital of the European anarchist movement and explores the sources of anarchist power in the city. It also places Barcelona at the center of Spain's economic, social, cultural and political life during 1898-1937.
An introduction by Russian anarcho-syndicalist Alexander Schapiro to a 1937 pamphlet by the then-secretary of the International Workers Association (IWA) Pierre Besnard, discussing the relationship between anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism.