Spanish Civil War- appeal for help!

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EasternBarbarian's picture
EasternBarbarian
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Jun 18 2007 00:02
Spanish Civil War- appeal for help!

Hello everyone! Iam going to start writing my PHD about anarchist military participation in Spanish Civil war. I would be glad for all help in finding materials- English is best, Spanish is ok as well.
Please spread this appeal
mail any suggestions and offers of help to : incontrollado2003@yahoo.com
Thanks in advance

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Jun 18 2007 00:17

oh yeah, funny wink unfortunately this time just some intellectual work instead of starting revolution smile

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Jun 18 2007 00:59

no, in history

baker
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Jun 18 2007 01:16

From my understanding, the most well researched and comprehensive account in the english language of the military role of the anarchists in the spanish civil war is Robert Alexander's The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War Volume One put out by Janus Publishing Company.

Battlescarred
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Jun 18 2007 08:28

WARNING
Be very very careful about Alexander's book as it is badly researched and extremely inaccurate. It's not just me that thinks that, it was the opinion of Trots on Revolutionary History magazine who were well versed in Spain.
It's Brenan, by the way.

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Jun 18 2007 09:33

Good day,

I am an Anarchist Who is a Historian as well, and I've been looking at a very similar topic as of late, in kind.

I tend to start from the old adage(s) that A) Anarchists have been really quite poor at writing their own history and B) If we don't write our history, someone else will, and their idealogical line will be reek of shit. What I've been doing is attacking these problems historiographically. Go through the cannon, summarize and then go for the throat on an intellectual and historical level; getting at the more ridiculous aspects of theory first, and then moving to the wanton abuses of historical evidence as per the former.

Good places to start are plebeian titles like 'The Battle For Spain' and the like, but the academic field in this area is fucking deep. There are thousands of titles on the subject, pick an idealogical sampling from a few. The apotheosis of the shit catagory manifests itself in Hobsbawms 'Revolutionaries.' His bits on Spain are embarrassingly terrible, I mean, really. fucking. terrible. One could probably write a thesis just on those three essays in that text. The old, condescending (and in his case, subtle) arguments pertaining to Bergsonianism are particularly vile.

There is a Canadian labour historian who is looking through the opened Soviet archives right now, and doing something very similar. If you'd like contact information, I'll certainly pass it on.

I wish you the best of luck, there's a lot out there, and if you're anything like me, you'll probably get lost just in the mass of interesting reading.

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Jun 18 2007 15:04

Well- Berkman, I have the same idea about anarchist history- write it or somebody else will do it for you, probably in much worse version.
Anyway, I wrote one book/brochure already (in Polish only) called "Forgotten War" about anarchist resistance to franco after civil war in spain.

Anyway people- I need titles of books but what I am looking for is as well sources- documents and everything else.

Berkman- contact to that Canadian historian would be much appreciated..
Greetings

PS sorry for spelling mistakes- just have very little time..

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Jun 18 2007 20:06
Quote:
incontrollado2003@yahoo.com

I hate to break this to you, but that isn't spanish...

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Jun 18 2007 22:47

i know its not.. got some useful comments about the subject btw?

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Jun 18 2007 23:35
EasternBarbarian wrote:
i know its not.. got some useful comments about the subject btw?

possibly, but he writes them in esperanto so only losers can read them.

What language are you going to be writing your thesis in EB?

I keep meaning to learn about the spanish civil war.

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Jun 18 2007 23:53

Ok, here's how I would do it. Set up the thesis by saying "anarchist militias did 'X,' but this has been downplayed or not interacted/conversed with because of the idealogical proclivities of different writers on the subject. (10-20 pages)

Then build your historiographical debate; no use looking at the Marxists of the USSR school, but do examine the British Trots, Marxist-Humanists (Hobsbawm "Revolutionaries"), liberals (Beevor et al), crackpots (Spanish Cockpit), Anarchist (Bookchin's text is surprisingly good, Anarchist Organization of the FAI, Rocker, the list is almost endless as in all cases), Biography (Orwell, Jumping the Line, etc.) and then rape their footnotes for others like them who they seem to respect. (20-40 pages)

Then take them to pieces, and use the pieces to build up your argument. Remember, the object is not to prove something new, as there is so much on the subject it is relatively dry, but the prove that others have been wrong. This is the reason that History, as an academic subject exists. It is ugly and essentially stupid, but this is the world we inhabit. To the initiated it may seem as if we're looking to shed light on the past; this is false. We attempt to prove others wrong in a multifaceted area of endeavor. Juxtaposing views by the Marxists on 1956 and Spain would do you well in this regard, and it would certainly outline the less glaring of the theoretical failures. (45-70 pages)

Conclusion: "They are all haplessly inured to their idealogical line, and butchered history in the process. I am right." (10-15 pages)

Bang, thesis.

With the books even in my University library you could probably pound it out in a matter of months.

Good luck,

MalFunction
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Jun 19 2007 08:53

might be worth having a look at:

Abel Paz "Durruti in the Spanish Revolution" AK Press, 2007 (sadly it omits the bibliography from the Spanish edition)

there's tons of material here:

http://struggle.ws/spaindx.html

in particular:

http://struggle.ws/spain/iron_peirats.html

http://struggle.ws/spain/iron.html

http://struggle.ws/spain/general_vivancos.html

http://struggle.ws/ws/2000/spain59.html

this may also be of interest:

http://www.katesharpleylibrary.net/bulletin/ManzaneraEflier.pdf

-----------------

these links are given at the anarchist encyclopedia

http://recollectionbooks.com/bleed/Encyclopedia/MeraCipriano.htm

for further info on the career of Cipriano Mera :

# http://www.arrakis.es/~corcus/losantos/losnuestros/mera.htm
# http://www.ruedoiberico.org/libros/autores.php?id=65/a>
# http://www.terra.es/personal/cgtussam/mera.htm

# http://raforum.apinc.org/article.php3?id_article=377
# http://www.guerracivil.org/BRIGADAS/BIgeneral.html

Battlescarred
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Jun 19 2007 08:54

But Hobsbawm is no trot or Marxist Humanist he's very much a CPer on all of this. You're right the Bookchin book on Spanish anarchism is good, and he gives more credit to Brenan and Bolloten than some do here( Brenan wrote the Spanish Labyrinth by the way, it was Bolloten who wrote the Spanish Cockpit, )because he acknowledges that despite their faults and their descriptions of Spanish anarchism as quasi-religious they at least made a breach in the Stalinist wall of lies around Spain.

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Jun 19 2007 10:52

Thanks a lot for useful comments and links. They will be of great help for sure.
I need access to more sources like Manzanera's pamphlet from KSL. I dont know how phd writing goes in other countires, but here you need to base it on few good "sources" it means something written by direct participant in the event- for example Orwell would be a good source about POUM militia, Manzanera about Iron Column etc. but I need more of them as I cant base my work on only one or two. Anyway, lots of good reading, thanks a lot for links again.

Its going to be long work anyway, i am only just beginning smile

Battlescarred
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Jun 19 2007 11:41

Then you will need the account of Bruno Salvadori aka Gimenez, Italian anarchist volunteer at
www.plusloin.org/gimenez
and the account of Werner Droescher, German anarchist volunteer at http://www.thrall.orcon.net.nz/spain1.html -
part 3 at http://www.thrall.orcon.net.nz/18glimpses.html

Battlescarred
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Jun 19 2007 12:15

You might also want to get the book by the Swiss anarchist volunteers Albert Minnig and Edi Gmur in French and Spanish versions
Info on Spanish version here
http://personal5.iddeo.es/arridi/por_el_bien_de_la_revolucion.htm

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Jun 19 2007 12:48

(i only just realized that if you erase the first s, the h, and the bottom part of the i, spanish labyrinth = pan's labyrinth.)

Battlescarred
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Jun 19 2007 13:19

A-maze-ing. Not!

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Jun 19 2007 13:28
Battlescarred wrote:
A-maze-ing. Not!

borat? grin

Black Badger
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Jun 19 2007 16:16

Books written in English by authors whose last names begin with B is evidently confusing. Here's the real (partial?) list:
Brenan: Spanish Labyrinth
Borkenau: Spanish Cockpit
Beevor: The Battle for Spain (new updated edition of Spanish Civil War)
Bolloten: Spanish Civil War (last edition of The Grand Camouflage, which was updated to Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Spain)
Broue and Temime: The Revolution and the Civil War in Spain
Barea: The Clash (part of his autobiographical trilogy)
Bookchin: The Spanish Anarchists; the Herioc Years 1886-1936 (but skip the new introduction)

Alexander's book, for all its flaws (his curious incomprehension of basic anarchist ideas), is an excellent source for discussion of cenetista militias and their eventual incorporation into the Popular Army.

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Jun 19 2007 17:30

Right, will try to get some of them when I will visit UK next time..

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Jun 19 2007 18:10
Quote:
I need access to more sources...

Munis might be interesting. He was a Spanish communist from the period. Also he is quite obscure today, so it may come across as something new for university. Wiki says this:

Wiki wrote:
Grandizo Munis (1912-1989) was a Spanish politician.

Grandizo first entered revolutionary politics as a member of the Izquierda Comunista de España (ICE) or Left Communists of Spain. This group was led by Andrés Nin and was in sympathy with the views of Leon Trotsky and therefore affiliated to the International Communist League.

Trotsky was opposed to the name of the group which he argued was imprecise and badly expressed the program of the Bolshevik-Leninists. In addition he entered into dispute with Nin and the ICE when they refused his suggestion to enter the youth organisation of the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE). The majority of the ICE then split with Trotsky leaving a small remnant grouping which included Grandizo Munis.

With the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 Munis was a member of the tiny Seccion Bolshevik-Leninista. This organisation sought to influence the ranks of the larger Workers Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) and also worked closely with the more left wing anarchists of the Durruti Column.

The Trotskyists were among the very few to oppose the Popular Front government and openly took part in the May Days of 1937. This event led to their suppression by the government which was now dominated by the Stalinists. This meant that Munis was forced into illegality and had to flee for fear of his life.

Eventually Munis found refuge in Mexico where he continued his activism in the Trotskyist movement alongside other Spanish exiles. He also became a close friend of Natalya Sedova, the widow of Leon Trotsky. However he began to develop differences with the majority of the Trotskyist movement and wrote several critiques of the leadership of the Fourth International. In particular he criticised James P. Cannon and the American Trotskyists' attitude to the war as expressed in their trial testimony in the book Socialism On Trial.

Following the war Munis' critique became even more marked and he wrote a strong document which argued that the Fourth International was in danger of political collapse. He argued that this was because it failed to realise that the Soviet Union had become capitalist and was now counter-revolutionary. As a result of these differences he left the Fourth International along with a small band of sympathisers including the French surrealist poet and activist Benjamin Péret.

Eventually, after a period which he spent jailed for revolutionary activity in Spain, Munis founded Forment Ouvrier Revolutionaire (FOR), a small revolutionary organisation espousing his views. FOR would find supporters in Spain, France, Greece and in the United States. But by the time of Munis death was a tiny grouping.

Munis wrote many articles and books in his life, the best known being A Second Communist Manifesto and a history of the Spanish Civil War which remains untranslated into English. Munis is considered to have became a left communist following his break with the Fourth International.

Some of his works about Spain are here http://www.marxists.org/archive/munis/index.html :

Quote:
Biography

Obituary from Revolutionary History, 1989

A Visit to Munis, by Ernest Rogers, 1989

Biography in Encyclopedia of Marxism

Works:

The Bourgeois State in Crisis, 5 April 1937

The Road to Victory Begins with the Revolutionary Front of the Proletariat, 5 April 1937

The Bolshevik-Leninists of Spain Demand Your Aid in the Struggle for the Social Revolution, 29 May 1937

The Programme of the Spanish Bolshevik-Leninists, September 1937

Spain One Year After Franco's Victory, August 1940

Franco’s Dilemma, February 1941

Who Are Hitler’s Agents in Russia?, November 1941

Observations on the Guerrillas, March 1944

The Future of the Soviet Union And The Victories of the Red Army, October 1944

A Correction, March 1945

Defense of the Soviet Union and Revolutionary Tactics, March 1945

History:

The Spanish Left in its Own Words

SPAIN: The Politics of the Underground, 1962

There are also quite obscure contemporary materials from Bilan, the publication of the Italian Communist Left, some of whose members were in Spain at the time here http://en.internationalism.org/trip_search :

Quote:
Bilan 35: A slaughter-house for the proletariat in Spain

... fascists launch their attack in Spain. The traitors to the working class everywhere rush to their posts ... enemies and for the victory of the revolu­tion. (Bilan, no.35, September-October 1936) ...

InternationalReview | 392 reads | Jun 17 2005 - 19:06

Spain 1936 and the Friends of Durruti

... on the war of 1936 published by the ICC's section in Spain. On the other hand, some of those who turn towards libertarian ... "anti-Fascism". This was the analysis of Bilan , the publication of the Italian Communist Left in exile. For Bilan ...

InternationalReview | 1027 reads | Nov 28 2004 - 21:52

Bilan 36: The order of the day: Don't betray!

... can correspond to the interests of the workers in Spain and in every other country; only on this front can the energies of the ... proletariat in Spain as in the rest of the world. (Bilan, no.36, October-November 1936) ...

InternationalReview | 419 reads | Jun 17 2005 - 19:28

Bilan 34: Against the imperialist front and massacre of the Spanish workers

... PROLETARIAT! The simple general assertion that in Spain today there is a bloody struggle in progress between the bourgeoisie and ... with the cause of the Spanish proletariat. (Bilan, no.34, August-September 1936) ...

InternationalReview | 385 reads | Jun 17 2005 - 18:51

Report on the Public Forum in London on Spain 1936/7

... early July we held the London public forum on the war in Spain 70 years ago. We started with a short presentation of the ICC’s ... difficult conditions. This was the period in which, as Bilan (the publication of the Italian Left) showed, the revolutionary wave ...

ICConline | 341 reads | Jul 20 2006 - 09:01

Introduction to the texts from ‘Bilan’

... republishing these texts from Bilan (the publication of the Italian Fraction of the Communist Left) dealing with events in Spain between 1936-9, we do not pretend to be historians at pains to provide ...

InternationalReview | 331 reads | Jun 17 2005 - 17:46

Spain 1936: The Myth of the Anarchist Collectives

... What were the collectives? In 1936, Spain, completely overtaken by the economic crisis which since 1929 had shaken ... within the framework of state capitalism. ” (Bilan) And thus we see that the CNT, which had never called for the ...

InternationalReview | 321 reads | Jun 24 2006 - 11:01

WR Public Forum on 'Spain 1936-37: the Italian communist left and the Friends of Durruti'

... Square, Holborn, WC1). The meeting will be on the war in Spain, which began 70 years ago, with Franco’s attempted coup on July 19 ... reflection and discussion on these questions: Bilan 36: The events of 19 July (1936) ir/006_bilan36_july19.html ...

WorldRevolution | 316 reads | Jun 28 2006 - 09:50

Communism Vol. 3, Part 5 - Bilan and the problems of the period of transition

... which split from the LCI on the question of the war in Spain, and with the Italian Fraction formed the International Communist Left. ... in accordance with the whole framework and spirit of Bilan ", rejecting any speculative approach to the problems of the ...

InternationalReview | 303 reads | Feb 25 2007 - 17:13

1936: How the "Popular Front" in France and Spain mobilised the working class for war

... economic crisis and the development of the war economy. In Spain in July of the same year, the working class immediately began a general ... level, the Italian Communist Left (in its review, Bilan ) realised that the Popular Fronts were far from being the expression of ...

InternationalReview | 279 reads | Jul 26 2006 - 20:32

Bilan 36: The events of 19 July (1936)

... take. At first, as we pointed out in the last issue of Bilan , the Quiroga government was replaced by the gov­ernment of Barrio in ... by the UGT called for a general strike through­out Spain. But everywhere the workers were already in the streets. They had taken ...

InternationalReview | 216 reads | Jun 24 2006 - 11:02

Devrim

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Jun 19 2007 18:38

Right, will have a closer look, any hint is good although this particular one doesnt look very useful at first sight..

Battlescarred
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Jun 20 2007 10:35

Ummm, Munis' group was always tiny

baker
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Jun 22 2007 20:12
Battlescarred wrote:
WARNING
Be very very careful about Alexander's book as it is badly researched and extremely inaccurate. It's not just me that thinks that, it was the opinion of Trots on Revolutionary History magazine who were well versed in Spain.
It's Brenan, by the way.

Any time you get a remark like this about a book and how even the Trots thought it was inaccurate, then it's probably good and pretty accurate.

But seriously, unlike some of the other books mentioned it has about 150 pages written exclusively about the anarchists military role in the civil war (which is just what you said you were looking into right? "anarchist military participation in Spanish Civil war"). It was researched with very extensive first hand accounts and primary sources over decades of interviews, etc. And it includes a lot of disagreements with other accounts that can be compared for a decent historical analysis.

I'm no expert. But I really think that a book with this much information on your focus is worth looking into, especially if it provokes a reaction like the one above and the one from the trots. I don't know, I'm probably advocating for a book that I shouldn't be or something. I'd like to hear why other people think it's so shit. I thought it was decent.

lolstomper
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Jun 23 2007 05:58

the book Homage to Catalonia is a great book on the Spanish Civil War, its by George Orwell, even better because he was actaully participating in the fighting.

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Jun 23 2007 06:42
lolstomper wrote:
the book Homage to Catalonia is a great book on the Spanish Civil War, its by George Orwell, even better because he was actaully participating in the fighting.

Who's George Orwell?

Terry
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Jun 23 2007 12:08

MJ be a smart arse to the regular posters, be welcoming to new ones. Thank you.

Battlescarred
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Jun 25 2007 08:28

In this case the Trots were right.
Take just one example, quoting from memory as I don't have the book to hand. Jaime Balius , a leading member of the Friends of Durruti has his death given as in 1937, when in fact he survived the May Days and went to live on a good few years more, dying in France. It's not as if that information was not unavailable or obscure!

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Jun 25 2007 08:35
Terry wrote:
MJ be a smart arse to the regular posters, be welcoming to new ones. Thank you.

seconded, hi lolstomper. homage to catalonia is one of the books that steered me towards anarchism actually, and we've got it in the library here

MalFunction
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Jun 25 2007 09:40

from memory isn't "homage to catalonia" more about Orwell's time with the POUM militia, not the CNT militias?