History of the CNT

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GenerationDecay
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Mar 22 2004 00:47
History of the CNT

Anyone got any good links for the history of the CNT? In particular, I'm interested in its origins, and how it grew to be a mass union.

Cheers.

GDxx

Steve
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Mar 22 2004 08:57

Try unit 15 for starters. http://www.solfed.force9.co.uk/SelfEd/units.htm

Augusto_Sandino
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Mar 22 2004 14:12

If you live in the UK, go to the library and order George Woodcock's history of anarchism. This book has a history of the CNT from its birth, and a history of the CNT-F, and the FAU in Germany, and a whole lot of other syndicalist unions too.

AlexA
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Mar 22 2004 16:21

also Murray Bookchin's The Spanish Anarchists - the Heroic Years 1868-1936 details how they grew pretty much from when the idea first entered the country. you can get it from Freedom Press distribution distro@freedompress.org.uk

smile

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Spartacus
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Mar 23 2004 16:42

i'm reading that bookchin book at the moment, and it's excellent. it's much less narrow than just a history of the cnt or fai or whatever, and it's interesting to see how various tactics and that complemented (or not) each other and various tendencies. it's also nice to see that people claiming vegetarianism and so on are a modern lifestylist thing are talking complete bollocks as it was a strong tendency in spanish anarchism from the start. it is very inspiring, and could teach the modern british movement alot. so if you get one book about the spanish anarchist movement, get that one! and then get the one about sabate, but try to resist the urge to rob a bank when you finish that one...

nastyned
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Mar 23 2004 22:43

a lot of spanish anarchists were also very big on not drinking, which I think we could do with a bit of now (myself included!)

Augusto_Sandino
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Mar 24 2004 11:09

Yeah, ive heard anarchism in Spain, particuarly the Andalucian countryside described as a secular religion, with anarchist "saints" preaching to the poor peasants. Adherents were asked tp give up infidelity and drink!

I cant be arsed with that. I need drink....

ffaker
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Mar 24 2004 12:38

I've never drunk. Was brought up in a Christian family. Not a vegetarian thou, I know people who are.

The Black Panthers had a pretty strict "no alcohol, no drugs" policy when performing Panther duties, apparently. I think that's very good, especially in circumstances and environments that you want to be inviting to families.

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Spartacus
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Mar 25 2004 18:14

the "saints" thing has been exagerated. no drinking was very important, and it makes sense when you're trying to build working class dignity etc., but the no infidelity thing was just the idea that you should extend you respect for others into your personal relationships, which seems to mean no inconsiderate wankers, which sounds pretty good. and the anarchist movement could really do with less drinking, at least around meetings, because it makes it very hard for us to get down to serious business.

i think we should have a voluntary tax on all alcohol and drugs, where all anarchists give the same amount to the movement as they spend on drink and drugs. then we'll either have a load more resources to support prisoners, print stuff, etc. etc., or people will drink less and do more worthwhile work. or both. doubt it would ever take off tho...

Steve
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Mar 25 2004 18:31

That stuff about anarchist 'saints' and it being a secular religion comes mainy from Marxist historians like Hobsbawm who coudn't understand why the Spanish took to anarchism and not Marxism. They also put it down to the 'backward' nature of the Spanish and the latin 'hot blood'. Verging on racism I think.

I support the voluntary tax idea fully. I don't drink you see! Just the occasional piece of hash cake and a ginger beer. grin

Augusto_Sandino
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Mar 25 2004 19:49

Yeah, i can see that happening actually. I dont see it as negative really, i thought it was a funny concept and perhaps an effective way to educate and involve illiterate and mostly non-political peasants. And anarchism took off with highly educated barcelona/catalonia industrial workers too and first to the best of my knowledge, so that screws the marxist arguement!

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Spartacus
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Mar 26 2004 12:36

well alot of the industrial workers were peasants forced to come to the cities because of chronic poverty and unemployment in the countryside. but marxists generally have a complete disdain for peasants anyway, mainly because they have a fundamentally flawed ideology (where have revolutions happened in the twentieth century? in countries with huge peasant population like mexico, russia, spain, china etc. admittedly these were all hijacked, but mostly by marxists...).

also, alot of the "saints" were peasants, so it wasn't really going in and preaching, rather adopting anarchism and setting an example. and alot of the peasants were political, they just hadn't heard of anarchism, which is probably one of the reasons it took off so quickly, because they were already anarchists and the theory just confirmed and consolidated what they already knew. but i reckon the main reason anarchism was so big in spain was because the majority of the activists were willing to put in the time and the effort to do all the woork that needs doing, and only occassionally let sectarianism get in the way of coordinating this across the regions. if all anarchists were as ready and willing to do that to the extent they did, every country would have as strong a movement as spain did.