1.1 The limits of the bourgeois urban utopía
If, as has been claimed, Catalonia was, from the nineteenth century, ‘the factory of Spain’, then its capital, Barcelona, was Spain’s industrial capital. Barcelona underwent a major transformation from the 1850s as accumulated economic forces burst out beyond the medieval walls that had hemmed the city in around the port and that had long been regarded by urban elites as a physical reminder of a bygone economic system and a barrier to Catalonia’s future prosperity.1 2 During what could be described as the progressive phase in bourgeois urbanism, local economic and political elites revealed a determination to construct a modern capitalist city that might reflect the rising social power of the bourgeoisie. This urban vision was nourished by the unalloyed idealism of planners and architects, who postulated that the demolition of the city walls and urban growth would bring unfettered progress, which would maximise the prosperity of all its denizens. The most famous of these planners was Ildefons Cerdà, a progressive social thinker whose utopian and ambitious plan for rational urban development became the blueprint for Barcelona’s development in 1859.3 Cerdà’s plan sought urban renewal in the overcrowded and randomly arranged medieval streets of the Ciutat Vella (Old City), which was to be connected to the nearby industrial satellites that lay beyond the city walls. This would be achieved through the construction of an Eixample (Extension), which, for Cerdà, would become the core of a new socially inclusive, inter-class, functional city in which people from all walks of life would interact amid a new equality and civic unity.
The great contradiction of bourgeois urbanism was that it invested unlimited faith in market forces. The subordination of the urbanisation process to the narrow interests of the local bourgeoisie and landowners ensured that Cerdà’s egalitarian goals were a chimera.
First, the Ciutat Vella landlords (a term that dignifies those who were often little more than ‘slumlords’) mobilised successfully against Cerdà’s urban renewal programme, just as they mobilised against every subsequent reformist urban project. Although some of the old inner-city slums were sacrificed for the construction of Les Rambles, a central thoroughfare and the new vertebral column of the city, connecting the port with the Eixample, housing renewal in the overcrowded city centre was thwarted. Second, capital shortages and an investment crisis hindered the creation of the Eixample; effectively, unregulated markets, property speculation and corruption combined to distort beyond recognition the construction of what Cerdà had envisaged as a rational urban space.4
The failure to realise the hopes of the Cerdà Plan underscored the limits of the bourgeois urban project. Whereas the Parisian bourgeoisie, in close alliance with the French state, successfully implemented the Hausmann Plan and thus reshaped Paris in a way that reaffirmed the hegemonic position of capitalist interests, the urban capitalist development of Barcelona was, from its origins, a marginal industrialisation process that underscored the weaknesses of local industrialists. While Catalonia’s relatively dynamic and prosperous agrarian economy had laid the basis for industrial take-off in the early part of the nineteenth century, capital accumulation and the development of finance capital were subsequently retarded by the context of the combined and uneven development of the Spanish economy and the weak internal market provided by the vast unreformed agricultural heartland of the south and central regions of Spain. This situation was further compounded by the generally indifferent industrial policies adopted during the Restoration monarchy (1875–1923), a centralist, backward-looking and repressive political system. For the most part dominated by the agrarian elite, the Madrid-based state was invariably aloof from, if not hostile to, the modernisation process occurring largely in Spain’s periphery. Lacking both the economic resources and the political will necessary to guide the urbanisation/industrialisation process, the Restoration authorities responded to the demands for reform emanating from the new social classes associated with capitalist modernisation with a blend of electoral falsification, stultifying centralism and physical repression. Nevertheless, the Madrid-based state could offer the Catalan bourgeoisie a degree of stability, at least during the early years of the Restoration, when most of Barcelona’s employers uncritically accepted the hegemony of the central state, a number of them serving as the local representatives for the Spanish Conservative and Liberal parties, the ‘dynastic parties’ that alternated in power in Madrid.5 But the alliance between Catalan big business and the Restoration political class ended abruptly after the so-called ‘Disaster’ of 1898, when Spain’s last overseas colonies—Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico—were lost. For Barcelona’s industrialists, this was an economic disaster as it signalled the end of their access to lucrative protected overseas markets. For growing numbers of employers, the inability of the Spanish state to find a new ‘place in the sun’ for Catalan exports—and the absence of any coherent industrial policy per se—enhanced the feelings of isolation towards a distant central state that was increasingly accused of pampering the unproductive southern landowners to the detriment of modern capitalist economic interests. These sentiments crystallised around the bourgeois nationalist project of the Lliga Regionalista (Regionalist League). Formed in 1901, the Lliga was the first modern bourgeois political party in Spain, and its new style of populist mass politics established a broad middleclass base that quickly broke the power—in Catalonia at least—of the clientelist political machines that had hitherto plugged into the corrupt central state.11 In the context of the Restoration system, the Lliga was a modernising force in that it aimed to mobilise public opinion behind its plans to overhaul the backward central state and create an autonomous authority capable of reflecting the industrial requirements of Catalonia. In this way, the Lliga hoped to found a new focus for bourgeois urbanising energies and convert Barcelona into a city of capital. According to La Veu de Catalunya, the Lliga press organ:
Barcelona is, for us, an extraordinary city, the unrivalled city, the city par excellence, the capital, the complete city, the point of radiation for all the trends in national life, whether economic or political, [the] fundamental organ of the people…heart and basis of the race.6
Barcelona was to become ‘an immense city’, ‘a great European city’, ‘the Paris of the south’, ‘the ideal city’ with ‘an organic unity’ in which class differences would be submerged in a shared nationalistic endeavour; for Enric Prat de la Riba, the main theorist of bourgeois catalanisme, Barcelona could then become ‘an Imperial city’.7 This cult of a ‘Great Barcelona’ (Gran Barcelona) was sponsored by the organic intellectuals of bourgeois nationalism, writers such as Eugeni d’Ors and Gabriel Alomar, who idealised the city in their dreams of ‘Catalonia-city’ (Catalunya-ciutat), with Barcelona at the centre of a fully urbanised and industrialised region. Paying lip service to Cerdà’s utopian view of urbanisation as an integrating, civilising force that would nullify social conflict, these thinkers were enthralled by the prospect of urban-industrial expansion, giving little consideration to the implications of city growth for social fragmentation and conflict.8 Rather, by invoking universalist ideals, it was asserted that urban development would establish new political freedoms and liberties.9 Such views appealed to the more pragmatic and prosaic business and political elites, for whom the city was perceived as a physical and material measure of the industrial order and of their own economic, cultural and social power. In short, the local capitalists represented by the Lliga envisioned Barcelona (and Catalonia) as a bourgeois space, free of ‘Spanish’ feudal-agrarian residues, a goal that explains their advocacy of total economic and urban expansion.
When, after the 1901 local elections, the dynastic parties lost political control in the city, the Lliga had an opportunity to mobilise municipal resources behind a programme of bourgeois urbanism, not least because the other main anti-dynastic political force of the day, the demagogic and populist Partido Republicano Radical (Radical Republican Party, popularly known as the Radicals) also advocated a reformist urban project.
Notwithstanding formal political differences, which occasioned an often fierce rivalry between the conservative-Catalanist Lliga and the procentralist Radicals, both parties sought to use local institutions to foster urban growth, which was widely identified with social progress.10 Accordingly, from the turn of the century plans were drawn up for the construction of Laietana Way, a long, North American-style business avenue that was built on the ruins of some of the most decrepit streets of the city centre and that greatly assisted capital movements and commerce, as well as providing office space for many of the city’s entrepreneurs, financial institutions and employer’s groups.11 Urban reform gathered pace during the time of the Mancomunitat (1913–25), a Catalan authority conceded by the central state that, while being far from autonomous, brought considerable improvements in the urban transport infrastructure of Barcelona and Catalonia and, simultaneously, enhanced the movement of capital and goods.12 Yet hopes that this essay in self-administration would foster a new bourgeois political hegemony through the planned transformation of urban life were wrecked by the centralising ethos that dominated official life during the Restoration. The limited fiscal powers of local institutions ensured that the blueprints for the transformation of Barcelona’s urban morphology devised by bourgeois planners remained on the drawing board.13 Instead, city space was reorganised by market forces in a thoroughly unplanned and chaotic fashion, principally during the speculative frenzy that preceded the World Exhibitions of 1888 and 192914 and during World War One, when Catalan employers exploited Spanish neutrality and the disruption in the international commercial status quo to trade with both belligerent camps.15 Thus, in the period leading up to the 1930s, accelerated industrial development and economic diversiflcation made Barcelona into a global commercial centre: the city’s industrial hinterland was consolidated as many older companies relocated to newer and larger workshops in the growing urban periphery; the urban transport and energy infrastructure was also modernised consonant with this urban sprawl.16
However, it would be wrong to exaggerate the strengths or the stability of Catalan capitalism. After the ‘Disaster’ and the ensuing economic crisis, a series of shortcomings were thrown into sharp relief: the historical under-capitalisation and limited profitability of industry; the relatively small-scale nature of production, which also shaped the development of newer industries like metallurgy and transport;17 the frailty of indigenous financial institutions; the poor international competitiveness of exports; the domination of foreign capital in the most advanced industries; and the restricted domestic market within a context of combined and uneven development.18 These features had an enduring impact on the development of capitalism, so that while the 1929 Exhibition allowed for the emergence of several large-scale plants, textile manufacturing, an industry associated with the birth pangs of capitalism, continued to be the city’s biggest employer.
However, there were no such barriers to urban population growth. Between 1850 and 1900, as the city’s frontiers were swollen by the annexation and industrialisation of previously independent villages such as Gràcia, Sants and Sant Martí, the population increased by over 300 percent, only to double again between 1900 and 1930.19 By 1930, Barcelona was the most populated city in the Spanish state and a member of the select band of European millionaire cities.20 Yet because of the low birth rate among the indigenous population and the tendency of local workers to seek out the best jobs, there was a huge shortage of the cheap, unskilled labour needed to occupy a frontline position in the urban-industrial economy. In order to increase the supply of labour, employers promoted migration among Spain’s rural dispossessed, stimulating an exodus of hungry economic migrants from depressed agrarian areas, who arrived in ‘the Catalan California’ in their droves.21 In the 1880s, the first major wave of migrant workers hailed from provincial Catalonia and neighbouring Aragón and Valencia, but by the 1920s, in what was then the biggest wave of immigration in the city’s history, an army of landless labourers arrived from Murcia and Andalusia. While migrants invariably performed the most menial and badly remunerated jobs, the belief that Barcelona offered a possible escape from the structural unemployment of a subsistence agricultural system was enough to ensure a steady flow of economic refugees, and by the late 1920s around 35 percent of the urban population was non-Catalan.22
City growth culminated in a profound urban crisis. While all rapidly expanding capitalist cities display signs of such a crisis,23 the nature and scale of this crisis was shaped by a series of local economic and political factors. At an economic level, we must again mention Spain’s uneven economic development. Simply put, the outmoded agrarian system in the south and the low profit margins of Catalan industry constituted an inadequate basis for funding a modern welfare state. This resulted in what Ignasi Terrades has described as an ‘absentee’ state: an authority structurally incapable of ameliorating the social problems engendered by the urbanisation/industrialisation couplet through the provision of a social wage of collective educational, medical and welfare services.24 In political terms, the prevailing authoritarian mentality within the central state apparatus, combined with the political support offered by the Radicals and the Lliga to Barcelona’s urban elites, tended to neutralise reformist impulses. In addition, municipal corruption stymied the effective deployment of the limited funds available to local state institutions, thereby compounding the crisis of urban administration.25 Frequently, the Restoration authorities looked to the reactionary Catholic Church to provide a basic level of public services in areas that, elsewhere in Europe, were coming under the aegis of the state.26 Education was a prime example. Church schools relied on violence and fear in an effort to instil obedience and respect in working-class children. So great was the scale of punishment and humiliation inflicted on children in these schools that one former pupil labelled them ‘the prison-schools’.27
The limitations of the social wage were witnessed most starkly through the absence of public housing for the working class. Although the 1911 Ley de Casas Baratas (Public Housing Act) committed local authorities to work with private capital to provide low-rent accommodation, by 1921 housing had been built for only 540 families.28 In part, this can be explained by the growing political influence of Joan Pich i Pon, the leader of the Radicals, who became mayor during this period. The leading light within the COPUB (Cámara Oficial de la Propiedad Urbana de Barcelona, or Chamber of Urban Property of Barcelona), the main defence organisation of the city’s landlords, Pich i Pon used his considerable political influence to defend the interests of private landlords and bitterly resented any reforms that threatened profits. Yet more crucial was the fragmentation of Barcelona’s under-capitalised construction companies, which, divided into an array of small firms, met no more than two-thirds of total market demand for housing after World War One.29
The result was a massive increase in the exploitation of working-class tenants. According to Nick Rider, landlords engaged in ‘constant speculation and rack-renting in working-class housing’, with rents increasing by between 50 and 150 percent during the 1920s alone.30 Moreover, these increases occurred during a time when existing housing stock was being subdivided on a huge scale: by 1930, there were over 100,000 subtenants in Barcelona, as flats originally built for a single family were converted into ‘beehives’, sometimes accommodating as many as eight families. The problem of subdivision was particularly endemic in the already overcrowded tenement blocks of the Raval, the most built-up area of the Ciutat Vella: in 1930, the number of residents per building there was twice the city average, while the population density was almost ten times greater.31 With multiple families sharing a single toilet in some tenements, the health context was appalling, and diseases such as glaucoma, typhoid, cholera, meningitis, tuberculosis and even bubonic plague were rife.32 Despite the decline in housing conditions, economic migrants continued to flock to the Raval in search of cheap housing, thereby ensuring that overcrowding increased unchecked.33 Homelessness was also rife in the area, notably among single, unskilled workers, who lacked the resources to secure a permanent residence. Depending on the weather and the prospects for casual labour, the homeless might sleep rough or rent cheap rooms in the pensiones (bed-and-breakfasts) or casas de dormir (doss houses), where beds were available on daily or hourly rates.34 In some of the more rudimentary establishments workers paid to sleep on foot, leaning against a rope suspended in a large communal room. These low-budget options abounded in the Raval, especially near the port area.35
However, the most obvious example of the crisis in housing and urban administration was the expansion of barraquisme (shanty dwelling).36 In contrast to the squatter camps on the margins of cities such as Johannesburg and Rio de Janeiro in the late twentieth century, because most land in Barcelona was in private ownership, the city’s barracas were constructed by owners who profited from the housing crisis, charging newly arrived migrants a deposit and rent to live in the shanties.37 Built from a range of materials, including cardboard, scrap metal and household rubbish, barracas normally consisted of one large room in which all family members would sleep. Lacking all basic amenities, including toilets, electricity and water, barracas were highly unstable structures, vulnerable to the extremes of heat and rain and occasionally collapsing during inclement weather. Yet the shanty dwellers did not necessarily occupy a marginal position within the labour market—the first barracas were constructed in the 1880s on the public beach in Poblenou, then the centre of Barcelona’s industry, to accommodate migrant workers.38
The barracas were therefore a vital complement to the urban economy, the product of the ‘normal’ operation of the housing market and the local capitalist economy, both of which were organised to further the economic fortunes of the industrial elite and the landlord class. Accordingly, the steady increase in shanty houses throughout the 1920s inspired socialist critics to dub Barcelona a‘barracopólis’.39
The only significant public housing initiative in Barcelona prior to the 1930s—the construction of 2,200 cases barates (literally ‘cheap houses’), which were built for ‘humble people’—underscored the weak reformism of the local authorities.40 In no sense did the cases barates signify a belated recognition by the city’s elders of the need to coordinate the urbanisation process and resolve the urban crisis: the number of houses planned could never meet the genuine demand for housing. Like the Cerdà Plan before it, the cases barates project was also undermined by property speculation and corruption.
This centred on the Patronat de l’Habitacio, the housing trust responsible for implementing and administering the housing reform. A clique within the Patronat formed a construction company and, unsurprisingly, secured the contract to build a projected six groups of cases barates. Following much embezzlement and graft, the building programme came to a premature end with only four of the projected six groups of houses constructed.41
Effectively, the cases barates initiative was a cosmetic programme of rudimentary slum clearance, first seen in the 1900s with the construction of Laietana Way, part of a conscious strategy of the city’s elders to push the workers to the margins of the city.42
The immediate aim of the cases barates was the demolition of the barracas of Montjuïc, which marred the view of visitors to the lavish palaces that housed the 1929 Exhibition.
While vast amounts of private and public money financed the construction of hotels to receive well-to-do tourists from across the world, the cases barates were built from cheap materials on wasteland on the semi-urban periphery of the city. The overriding desire to create the maximum number of housing units at the lowest possible cost meant that the new houses were poorly built slums in the making. The name cases barates was also a misnomer: they were not ‘cheap’ (rents were more or less comparable with those in the private sector), nor could these hastily erected dwellings credibly be described as ‘houses’.43 In addition, the social wage and urban fabric in the new housing projects were deficient: there were few or no basic amenities and services, such as schools and shops, and because the cases barates were located outside the metropolitan transport system, there were hidden social costs of habitation, as residents were forced to walk long distances on foot to reach tram or bus lines in order to travel to work or to shop.44
The cases barates provide us with an interesting example of how housing ‘reform’ can be conceived with avowedly repressive ends. Security concerns doubtless informed the highly structured design of the housing projects. Organised in uniform terraces in which the inhabitants could be easily isolated and policed, from the air the cases barates, with their perimeter walls, resembled the barrack buildings of army or prison camps.45
Segregated from Barcelona by a cordon sanitaire of farmland, in Foucauldian terms the cases barates represented a new phase in the ‘disciplinary order’; like Hausmann’s project for Paris, the aim here was spatial closure and preventive social control: a section of the ‘dangerous classes’ was banished from the city centre and relocated and sociospatially excluded in a highly circumscribed area on the margins of the city, where it constituted less of a threat to urban order and could be more easily neutralised by repressive forces. In one group of cases barates a police station was constructed inside the housing complex, while another group was built alongside Sant Andreu army barracks.46
The cases barates project illustrates how urban development occurs in the image of society. The subordination of Barcelona’s growth to private interests resulted in the ‘urbanisation of injustice’ as the radical inequalities and class divisions characteristic of modern capitalism became embedded in the built environment.47 In other words, for all the high-sounding rhetoric of the urban elites and their emphasis on progress and civic equality, Barcelona was not organised for the benefit of all of its inhabitants. Rather, the principal beneficiaries of the urbanisation process were private interests—many of which were represented politically by the Lliga and the Radicals—which profited from municipal clientilism, frenzied land speculation and rent inflation. Indeed, with local politics firmly under the domination of a coalition of the city’s commercial, industrial and business sectors, landlords faced little regulation from the authorities: legislation that protected tenants’ rights was frequently not implemented, and landlords enjoyed a free hand in the housing sector, frequently ignoring the law with impunity.48
Market-led, marginal urbanisation failed to stimulate a new civic unity. Indeed, in social terms a process of urban bifurcation was at work, according to which class divisions became inscribed in space. And so, by the end of the 1920s, the city was effectively divided in two, a trend epitomised by the stark polarities offered by the opulence and wealth of bourgeois districts and the squalor and poverty of the barracas, the cases barates and proletarianised barris like the Raval, spaces in which the prosperity promoted by the World Exhibitions was barely felt.49
Bourgeois families had steadily vacated the Ciutat Vella from the 1880s, their former residences becoming subdivided for multiple occupancy by economic migrants and their families.50
The bourgeoisie, meanwhile, moved eastwards into the Eixample, particularly its two main boulevards, the Passeig de Gràcia and the Rambla de Catalunya, thereby ensuring that the area was anything but the inter-class neighbourhood of which Cerdà had dreamed;51
over time, the migratory path of the bourgeoisie within the city extended further eastwards into adjoining districts like Sant Gervasi, Tres Torres, La Bonanova and, increasingly, Sarrià and Pedralbes.52
That the zonal segregation of classes was always a trend, rather than a completed process of hermetic urban segmentation, can be seen in the presence of significant proletarian minorities in some bourgeois areas. The general process towards urban segregation was nevertheless irreversible: capitalists and proletarians were increasingly concentrated in distinct neighbourhoods as city space became more and more divided.53
Figure 1.3 Map of Barcelona circa 1930
Source: adapted from David Goodway (ed.), For Anarchism: History, Theory, Practice, London, 1989, p. 81
1.2 Bourgeois dystopia and moral panics
Barcelona fitted Manuel Castells’ model of the ‘wild city’, a chaotic and ‘raw’ freemarket model for urban growth, a space in which social tensions were naked and explosive.54 As the local elite became conscious of this, utopian visions of a civilised, unified polis were eclipsed by dystopian nightmares of an uncontrollable and violent city55 Bourgeois confidence in the city was first rocked by a series of terrorist bombs in the 1890s.56 Thereafter, capitalists were gripped by anxieties that the ‘criminal classes’ were steadily encroaching upon the frontiers of policed society. Such feelings were not assuaged by the general strikes of 1902 and 1909, both of which saw the erection of barricades, while the latter culminated in full-scale urban insurrection.57 The terrifying image of city streets being barricaded drove incalculable fear into the ‘men of property’; when insurgents took control of the labyrinthine streets of the old city in 1909, the destructive proximity of the ‘internal enemy’ to bourgeois social, financial and political centres was revealed. By hastening the migration of ‘honourable citizens’ to safe havens away from the old city centre, the 1909 uprising increased urban segregation and indicated the growing preference of the bourgeoisie for suburban life. By the 1910s, therefore, any lingering hopes for an urban utopía were eclipsed by dystopian visions, as bourgeois consciousness became predicated upon a dread of urban disorder and the desire to pacify and reconquer a city besieged by an army of proletarian barbarians. The progressive urbanism of Cerdà’s day gave way to an explicitly repressive urban philosophy and the conversion of a radicalised bourgeoisie into spatial militarists.58
The most obvious public expression of this shift in elite consciousness was the proliferation of moral panics within bourgeois circles.59 These moral panics increasingly emphasised the nefarious consequences of city life, identifying a series of ‘outsider’ groups that, it was claimed, were the cause of urban ‘disorder’. Utilising a variety of mediums in the growing bourgeois public sphere, including the press, pamphlets and scientific and medical papers, in certain respects the moral panics reflected the burgeoning interest in social life that eventually gave rise to the academic disciplines of sociology and anthropology. While the moral panics were not a coherent or unified body of thought—they valued morality over sociology and presented an obscure and fragmented vision of social reality that is of little use to students of either the practices or motivations of ‘outsider’ groups—they are nonetheless an important elite commentary on the evolution of the capitalist city.
The first key area of elite anxiety revolved around workers’ behaviour outside the workplace. Across Europe, from the 1880s onwards, there were numerous initiatives aimed at engineering the ‘model’ worker, whose prudent use of time and wages and rational consumption of the growing range of urban-based leisure activities would make for an obedient and efficient labourer.60 The dream of the ‘model’ worker obsessed commentators from across the political spectrum, ranging from the fundamentalist Catholic Right and conservative bourgeois philanthropists across to enlightened liberal reformers. The result was a series of discourses that, although exhibiting varying degrees of Puritanism and positivist rationalism, were united in their determination to ‘moralise’ the working class by transforming its norms and culture.61 At play here was a Manichean vision that contrasted the ‘good’ worker—respectable, abstinent, thrifty, whose ‘good customs’ fostered a stable family and working life—with the lot of homeless alcoholics and syphilis sufferers who were no longer able to work.
This discourse also revealed a ‘moral geography’ in that ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts of the city were mapped out. New terms such as ‘underworld’ (bajos fondos) delineated places of ‘darkness’, an imagined moral wasteland in which crime, suicide and numerous other moral depredations were committed by a legion of unchristian ‘degenerates’ and undersocialised individuals, decentred or degraded by the whirlpool of urbanisation. During and after World War One, elite commentators located the ‘underworld’ in the area around the Raval, which was renamed ‘Chinatown’ (Barri xino), after inner-city Los Angeles.62
Having gone into economic decline after the destruction of the old city walls and the relocation of industry to the urban periphery, the Raval’s empty industrial buildings had been converted into bars, cabarets, dance halls, taverns and cafes as a new leisure industry expanded to cater to the predominantly single, unskilled, migrant labourers who constituted the shock troops of the urban industrial revolution. This, matched with the Raval’s proximity to the port, gave the area a marginal, ‘rough’, working-class ambience that was doubtless enhanced by the geographical mobility of a significant proportion of the population who resided in the numerous cheap hostels and ‘doss houses’ in the area.63
A similarly bawdy atmosphere was evident on the nearby Marquès del Duero Avenue, a wide avenue that started at the port and that was surrounded by some of the poorest tenement blocks. Known popularly as ‘El Paral.lel’, this street was a more down-at-heel version of Les Rambles and, by the 1920s, it had assimilated cosmopolitan European and both North and South American influences, such as jazz and tango, and it enjoyed a reputation as the ‘Broadway of Barcelona’. Although a smattering of bourgeois and middle-class bohemians brought an inter-class air to Paral.lel’s leisure spaces, there was a fundamental gulf between those who pursued the raw pleasures on offer in the city centre and the elite values of deferred gratification, sobriety and respectability to which the industrial bourgeoisie publicly adhered. Increasingly, ‘good citizens’ reviled the waterfront area bordering Paral.lel and the Raval as a zone of vice and corruption, a Dantesque inferno dominated by the criminal lairs of sexual deviants, drug barons and the lawless classes dangereux, which had to be placed under ‘continual vigilance’.64
The second focal point for bourgeois apprehension was working-class youth, or more precisely the ‘aggressive’ and ‘insolent’ adolescents who were highly visible on the streets.65 Upper-class opinion was noticeably sensitive to the activities of ‘hooligans’ (trinxeraires) made up of homeless children abandoned by the many working-class families torn asunder by a combination of market forces and the post-1898 economic crisis, or who had left home to escape abusive parents. When these youths banded together, as they inevitably did, the ‘gangs’ (pandillas) were even more alarming, especially the much-maligned ‘TB gangs’, the real ‘outsiders’ on the streets, consisting of unemployable youths suffering from tuberculosis.66 Lurid and sensationalist articles appeared in the middle-class press about the deviant activities of ‘ungovernable’ gangs of ‘rebel youths’ who were in permanent conflict with ‘the fundamental institution of society…[and] the foundations of social order: tradition, family, property, law’.
Increasingly, various folk devils and moral panics converged in the conservative imagination. Thus the spectre of disease was raised amid claims that hedonistic young immigrants were attracted to Barcelona by the reputation of ‘Chinatown’: these were errant youths who ‘escaped from their homes, attracted and carried away by a bohemia which has as its epilogue a bed in a hospital’. Alternatively, the street gangs were identified with crime, street disorder and the illegalities of an ‘evil’ and depraved ‘lumpenproletarian’ ‘underclass’.67 There were even concerns that ‘juvenile delinquency’ would be transformed into urban insurgency by the ‘uncultured’ and ‘barbaric’ inner-city mob.68 Yet these anxieties were more than simply adult apprehension towards rowdy youthful spirits. Given that the street was the main arena for proletarian socialisation, these panics had a pronounced class content: they represented the fear of the bourgeoisie that future generations of workers would not accept their place in the industrial order.
Figure 1.4 ‘Men of order’ surveying Les Rambles, circa 1920
Source: L’Avenç Archive
Another source of anxiety for the local elite—again one that exhibited a clear class basis—were the ‘other Catalans’, the economic migrants without which rapid industrialisation and the equally speedy enrichment of the bourgeoisie would have been impossible.69 By the end of the 1920s, these migrant workers were, along with their Catalan counterparts, concentrated in a series of proletarian ghettos; these spaces provided the main source for the dystopian nightmares of a bourgeoisie haunted by the menace posed by the proletarian city to its city In an attempt to weaken the proletarian city and enshroud capitalist privilege in popular nationalist imagery, bourgeois ideologues vilified ‘outsiders’ (forasters) for importing alien values that they deemed to be injurious to social stability and the traditional (Christian) values of Catalan society. By drawing upon racist, social-Darwinist and colonialist discourse, migrants—and occasionally also indigenous workers—were presented as being morally inadequate, living in a state of nature or primitive barbarism, the criminal heart of darkness in the city.70 The intonation of these denunciations made it possible for urban problems to be externalised (for instance, the first shanty communities in Poblenou were christened ‘Peking’, while decades later, as we have seen, ‘Chinatown’ became a byword for urban degeneration and crime in the conservative lexicon).71 In addition, the new leisure forms, such as cabaret, flamenco and tango, were identified with immigration.72 This evocation of exotic, alien ‘otherness’ was accompanied by a nineteenth-century medical discourse that defined social normality and stability by juxtaposing health and disease. Even liberal reformist opinion typically identified migrants with problems of ‘unhygienic behaviour’, providing grist to the mill of those who vilified the ‘contagion’ of the ‘unhealthy’ and the ‘diseased’ as a threat to the governance of the city and the freedom of all.73 However, these themes found their apotheosis in the discourse of catalaniste conservative thinkers, who denounced the ‘plague’ of ‘foreign dung’ (femta forana) who, it was warned, would ‘infect’ the core values of nation and family and lead to ‘de-Catalanisation’.74 Perhaps the most extreme example of this trend was the openly racist and xenophobic writings of Pere Rossell, who emphasised the psychological, moral and religious gulf separating Catalans from ‘Castilians’ and the dangers of intermarriage (mental aberrations, biological degeneracy and moral breakdown).75
With the growth of the organised labour movement from the 1900s onwards, the multiple threats to public order outlined in the moral panics were synthesised into a single overarching challenge to the capitalist city: that of the trade unions. All conservatives, catalanistes and centralists alike, commonly viewed labour conflicts, particularly those of anarcho-syndicalist inspiration, as a ‘provocation’ caused by ‘agitators’ from outside Catalonia, whether the sinister foreign forces of international freemasonry and French anarchism or the migrant workers, ‘a kind of tribe without authority, hierarchy or law’.76
Yet for catalanistes, the emphasis was naturally distinct: ‘outsiders’ and ‘primitive peoples’ had eroded the culture of political compromise and common sense (seny) that had been evident throughout Catalonia’s pre-industrial history.77 This myth of a consensual, violence-free, rural arcadia allowed nationalist thinkers to attribute the violent conflicts produced by industrialisation and urbanisation to exogenous factors and ‘Spanish problems’, such as the agrarian crisis in the south or the permissive culture of migrant workers, thereby diminishing the importance of the contradictions of the Catalan model of unregulated economic and urban development. Thus anarchism was portrayed as an alien ideology, a ‘cerebral deviation’ imported by southern migrants and the ‘dangerous’ working class.78 Similarly, areas such as ‘Chinatown’ and Paral.lel, which were already viewed as ‘crime zones’, were now depicted as the centre of an ‘anarchic city’, a’city of bombs’. Fears were also expressed that ‘disobedient’ street youths would ally with the revolutionary movement and provide cannon fodder for ‘wayward ideologies’.79 These themes were given wider intellectual legitimacy by quasi- Durkheimian criminologists, sociologists and psychologists, who stressed a unitary urban value system and who contended that any behaviour that demurred from this desired value consensus reflected the dysfunctional socialisation, deviancy, personality disorder and moral disintegration wrought by rapid urbanisation. In a highly ideological discourse that permitted no analysis of power, violence or conflict, it was suggested that social conflict was not a function of collective grievances or of structural economic factors but, rather, the outcome of the ‘collective crimes’ of ‘primitive’ and ‘deviant’ creeds (anarchism or socialism), which connoted diseases, be they hereditary (‘degeneracy’), psychological (‘madness’) or physical (‘cancer’).80 These concerns were amalgamated into a new myth of the ‘dangerous classes’ in which labour activists were cast as ‘professional agitators’ detached from the masses, ‘uneducated’ and under-socialised ‘troublemakers’ who comprised the criminal vanguard of an offensive against the ‘natural stability’ of a just and otherwise harmonious social order.81
How then are we to assess the significance of these moral panics? First, as I mentioned above, these concerns were part of an outpouring of moral panics across Europe during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, when, in the course of the uneven but inexorable transition towards the age of mass politics, urban elites struggled to adjust to the unsettling consequences of social change. In the case of Barcelona, over the course of a few generations the city had grown massively beyond its old walls, and industrialists now faced a mass working class. With the explosion of the traditional city, social and economic modernisation had eroded traditional mechanisms of social control based on patronage and paternalism.82 In this new situation, the moral panics were part of a hegemonic project, an ideological offensive through which urban elites sought to strengthen the bourgeois public sphere by limiting working-class access to the streets (thus the shadow of the worker was always discernible in the moral panics). In other terms, this was a language of power that allowed the urban bourgeoisie to define the streets as its own: they delineated the permissible uses of public space, castigating all resistance to the expansion of the capitalist urban order. As such, the moral panics were framed with a view towards working upon the subject by instilling a hierarchical cultural vision among workers, disempowering and dispossessing them, and by changing those aspects of working-class behaviour that, whether political or not, were deemed to be a barrier to the free circulation of goods and capital within the city or in opposition to the time discipline of industry.83
Yet the real importance of the moral panics was their ideological and discursive function as a language of repression. Such a language was extremely attractive for many capitalists, who, under the pressure of the historically narrow profit margins of Catalan industry, displayed what Antoni Jutglar has termed ‘class egoism’.84 Accordingly, rather than treat or compromise with organised labour, industrialists interpreted working-class demands, whether individual or collective, as a rude threat to profits and to bourgeois authority in the workplace. For the ‘men of order’ (gent d’ordre) among the bourgeoisie, the moral panics were a guide to repressive action: they profiled the ‘danger’ represented by ‘recalcitrant’ and ‘diseased’ groups (hence the positivist concern with classifying, cleansing and civilising), which had to be excluded from the full rights of citizenship and isolated from ‘healthy’ and ‘respectable’ individuals. They were also a justification for closing off the nascent proletarian public sphere, creating a moral and political climate that legitimated the extension of state power on the streets and the establishment of a new system of bureaucratic surveillance to regulate civil society.85 For the angst-ridden bourgeoisie, this far-reaching project of sociopolitical closure of the public sphere was intensely calming, an emotional compensation for the fragility and vulnerability of the Catalan economy.
The moral panics were then historically and spatially grounded in Restoration Barcelona, a fundamental part of bourgeois culture in a given time and a given place. In the first instance, they were the product of the authoritarian cultural frames of reference that emerged within the bourgeoisie in the context of the combined and uneven development of the Catalan economy. Such reactionary ideas were able to flourish within the exclusionary political framework provided by the Restoration system, especially following the 1898 ‘Disaster’, when themes of ‘purification’ and ‘cleansing’ became entwined with national soul searching about ‘regeneration’ and ‘degeneration’.86 Mostly, however, the moral panics signalled the growing frustration of the bourgeoisie at the crisis of the repressive apparatus of the Restoration state.
1.3 Spatial militarism and policing before the Second Republic
At the start of the Restoration, Catalan big business welcomed the new political system as a source of stability. Public order was the cornerstone of the Restoration state system, so while the state was ‘absent’ in Barcelona in terms of public welfare, from the 1870s onwards its repressive power was felt on the streets in the form of a militarised apparatus that monitored the public sphere. A new architecture of repression, consisting of army garrisons, police stations, jails and reformatories, was created, and innovations such as the introduction of police beats and street illumination enabled the authorities to extend their gaze across the expanding cityscape.87 Day-to-day responsibility for law and order, and for monitoring the public sphere in general, rested with the Civil Governor, the institutional agent of the central state.88
It fell to the police to preserve urban discipline and neutralise the myriad tensions on the streets of this divided city. This project was problematised by the absence of a coherent governmental attitude towards urban policing. The fiscal crisis of the state retarded the evolution of an effective civilian police force. State expenditure on the security forces simply failed to keep pace with the growing population, and between 1896 and 1905, when the urban population rose by around 25 percent, the number of policemen in the city decreased from 193 to 170, resulting in a ratio of one policeman for every 3,200 inhabitants. Although by 1919 this ratio stood at one policeman per 700 inhabitants, the Barcelona constabulary was still small by European standards.
Furthermore, chronic under-funding and poor administration hampered the operational efficiency of the police. Among the underpaid ranks of the police, demoralisation and corruption were widespread. Low pay encouraged many officers, including those of high rank, to take part-time jobs, regardless of the distractions from everyday police tasks that this presented.89 In sum, the force was singularly ill-equipped to undertake the multifarious investigative or preventive police tasks required in an increasingly complex city.
Figure 1.5 Members of the Barcelona constabulary taking a cigarette break in the back of a lorry, circa 1930
Source: Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular
The police force compensated for its lack of professionalism and absence of roots in and intelligence about civil society with a brutal readiness to exceed its remit. In keeping with the authoritarian mentality that dominated the Restoration state, policing evolved in a highly reactive fashion, as an essentially repressive response to events. This modus operandi resulted in frequent complaints of brutality, miscarriages of justice and violent ‘third degree’ interrogations from those who came into contact with the security forces.90 Throughout the Restoration, the authorities encouraged police terror, and the judiciary remained supine before the political executive. Justice was the exclusive preserve of the upper classes. As far as policing the lower classes was concerned, an array of arbitrary and draconian practices was permitted, including detention without trial (detención gubernativa),91 internal deportation (conducción ordinaria),92 extra-judicial murder (ley de fugas)93 and the prosecution of radical intellectuals and labour leaders, who were ‘morally guilty’ of inspiring the material deeds of protesters.94 In practice, the police were deployed to limit the access of trade unions to the public sphere: trade unionists were routinely intimidated, at work, at home or in the streets, while during periods of social conflict the force protected employers and their property unconditionally.95
During moments of intense social or class confrontation, such as the 1902 and 1917 general strikes, the 1909 urban uprising, or the urban guerrilla struggles of 1918–23, the police proved incapable of preserving public order. At such times, the Civil Governor resorted to martial law (estado de guerra), whereupon constitutional guarantees were suspended and responsibility for public order passed to the captain-general of the Barcelona garrison.96 The army, whose power was symbolised by and embodied in Montjuïc Castle, the mountain fortress overlooking the city from the south, was the last line of a system of militarised urban repression.97 Another component of this repressive system was the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard), a paramilitary rural police force that enjoyed the status of a regular army unit and was commanded by a senior army officer.98 The Guardia Civil played a growing role in maintaining public order in Barcelona, and the force had a number of posts and barracks in the volatile inner city, as well as in the growing industrial periphery and in one of the groups of cases barates. Specialising in ‘preventive brutality’, the Guardia Civil practised a direct form of exemplary violence against those who dared to contest the urban order.
As industrialisation continued apace and the working class grew in size and organisation, this militarised system of policing came under growing pressure and could be sustained only by increasing force. But confrontational and brutal policing tarnished the public image of the state security forces, generating, as will be seen in Chapter 2, a focus for anti-police, anti-state sentiments. In this way, rather than producing quiescence, state violence exacerbated social rebellion. And so, by the end of World War One, when economic crisis provoked a sharp rise in social protest, the repressive apparatus was in danger of being overloaded. The culture of repression that prevailed in capitalist circles also played a big part in the escalation of social protest. As we have seen, the ‘men of order’ possessed a very narrow conception of ‘order’, which consisted of little more than strict hierarchical control in the factories and a sense of security on the streets.99
However, the irony here was that by the late 1910s the first of these goals increasingly made the latter impossible. Indeed, in the context of a mass inter-war working class, the ferocious and unrelenting drive of capitalists to maintain industrial control, coupled with the absence of any channels through which workplace conflicts could be resolved peacefully, meant that labour conflicts periodically spilled onto the streets, placing the security forces under renewed strain and thereby frustrating bourgeois sentiments of public safety.100
The conflict between Barcelona industrialists and the Restoration state over the issue of public order has rarely figured in explanations of the rise of bourgeois catalanisme.101 Nevertheless, the fact that the Catalan bourgeoisie could not claim a state of its own, matched with its distance from the levers of political power in Madrid, amplified elite insecurities from the start of the twentieth century. In both 1902 and 1909, the ‘men of order’ complained of the ‘general strike by the authorities’ and the fact that the security forces ‘disappeared’, leaving the city unguarded and defenceless before ‘the power of anarchy’.102 Although the army could, in extremis, be mobilised to shore up the urban order, the strategic concerns of both the military top brass and the political elite sometimes limited the deployment of the armed forces on the streets. Thus, in 1909 for instance, the upper classes were irritated at what they saw as the reluctance of authorities to deploy the army to crush the urban insurrection.103 In general terms, the fact that the Restoration state was, between 1898 and 1923, progressively weakened by a combination of cabinet instability, military rebellion, economic decline, colonial failure and rising working-class struggle did little to instil confidence among industrialists in the ability of the central authorities to structure daily life and guarantee adequate social control in the streets. In these circumstances, public order anxieties provided fertile ground for the Lliga, which projected elite resentments about the failure of the corrupt Spanish state to preserve order into its campaign for a reform of public administration.104
And yet the defence of the bourgeois order always preceded party political concerns. The culture of social control expressed through the moral panics provided an important (repressive) common ground for Barcelona’s divided elites who, after 1898, were increasingly fragmented into monarchist, republican, catalaniste and Hispanophile sectors.105 Postulating an imagined political community and assuming a single civic interest, the moral panics were a clarion call for the unity of ‘citizens of good will’ and the ‘lovers of order’ in the face of the threat of the ‘dangerous’, ‘other’ city. This was a call to arms behind a repressive minimum programme around which various bourgeois factions could unite to parry any threat to their authority. There was no scope for tolerance or sentiment; Barcelona must become a carceral city in which all ‘men of order’ would stand en garde, united and ready to repel any possible attack on the everyday life of the bourgeois urban order.106
In this way, public order concerns were placed at the very centre of bourgeois politics, to the extent that the defence of law and order was the sine qua non of successful government. By evaluating government in terms of the effectiveness of its public order policies, the bourgeoisie exerted constant pressure on the authorities for an expansion of the architecture of repression in the city. This pressure became all the greater after 1917 owing to the emergence of aggressive nouveaux riches capitalists during the war and to the general radicalisation of European elites in the wake of the Russian Revolution.107
With the Restoration state entering its definitive crisis, and clearly unable to meet industrialists’ demands for increased police resources, the central authorities allowed the city bourgeoisie extensive rights of self-determination in the sphere of policing. This resulted in the creation of paramilitary groups, which were mobilised alongside the state security forces in the battle against the ‘red peril’.108 The first and largest of these parallel police forces was the Sometent militia. Established as a rural militia centuries earlier, during the 1902 general strike the Sometent was deployed in Barcelona in flagrant contravention of its charter, which prohibited it from entering cities. In 1919, Sometent volunteers started to receive military training, and its charter was modified to allow it to join in the repression of urban labour protest. While the Sometent was recruited from all social classes, its explicit anti-worker role endeared it to the higher echelons of Catalan society and, in many respects, this militia represented the bourgeoisie and the petit bourgeoisie in arms.109 Guided by its watchwords pau, pau i sempre pau (peace, peace, forever peace), the Sometent played a crucial auxiliary role in repressing strikes and dislocating working-class organisation. Moreover, by recruiting from within civil society, particularly among local shopkeepers and Catholic workers, the Sometent compensated for some of the shortcomings of police intelligence.110
Employers also protected themselves, either by carrying firearms or by recruiting small teams of gunmen and private security teams, whose services were especially important during strikes.111 During and after World War One, the assorted adventurers, gangsters and foreign agents who decamped in neutral Barcelona bolstered these groups and, as a consequence, they subsequently acquired a more sinister and aggressive repertoire. The most notorious of these groups included the assassination team recruited by former police chief Bravo Portillo during the war, and which was financed by German secret services to eliminate employers working for the Allied war machine.112 Another shadowy gang from this era was masterminded by the self-styled ‘Barón de Koenig’, a German agent and enigmatic playboy, who operated from an office on Les Rambles.113
However, it would be wrong to exaggerate the role of foreigners in the violent labour struggles, which originated for the most part in the readiness of the ‘men of order’ to militarise industrial relations. Indeed, the most active and enduring of all the parallel police squads were recruited from the gunmen of the Sindicatos Libres (Free Trades Unions), counter-revolutionary, ‘yellow’ trade unions that included members of the Sometent.114
In the postwar era, these paramilitary or ‘parallel’ police groups crystallised within a wide network of repression designed to prop up the urban order.115 This militarisation of space reached its zenith during 1920–22, when two army officers, General Miguel Arlegui and General Severiano Martínez Anido,116 served as Barcelona chief of police and civil governor, respectively. During their tenure in office, Libres gunmen worked in tandem with official police and army teams in a ‘dirty war’ against trade union activists.117 Leading members of the bourgeoisie were at the centre of this disciplinarian project. Publicly, many industrialists welcomed the intervention of the armed forces in labour conflicts and celebrated the robust approach to ‘union problems’ adopted by Martínez Anido, ‘the pacifier of Barcelona’. If there were casualties or fatalities among the forces of repression of ‘labour insurgency’, collections for the families and dependents of the ‘victims of terrorism’ were expeditiously organised by businessmen. Industrialists also regularly found work for retired or wounded policemen and soldiers. Privately, however, the ‘men of order’ played a decisive role in the anti-union murder squads, for it was the city’s employers who, both individually and collectively, bankrolled gangs specialising in extra-judicial murder.118
While the repressive initiatives of locally recruited paramilitaries undoubtedly assuaged elite anxieties, the very need for these auxiliary forces in the first place remained a graphic illustration of the shortcomings of existing policing arrangements under the Restoration. Thus, although the combination of formal and informal repressive agencies resisted the challenge of the trade unions in the postwar years, this was clearly not a recipe for long-term stability. Moreover, growing levels of violence could mask neither the profound crisis of the disciplinary methods of the state nor the more obvious and general crisis of the Restoration political system. Finally, in 1923, the Restoration system was overthrown by General Miguel Primo de Rivera, a former army commander in Barcelona, who was fully apprised of the threat to public order in the city and whose aspirations had been encouraged by important sectors of the industrial bourgeoisie. Unsurprisingly, the ‘good citizens’ welcomed the military security offered by Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship (1923–30), the ‘iron surgeon’ who, they hoped, would improve the business climate by eliminating ‘terror and crime’ on the streets and liberate the bourgeoisie from the threat of the unions.119
The support offered by the Lliga to Primo de Rivera highlighted the contradictions of the bourgeois catalaniste project, compressed as it was between a militant working class and a central state that, while distant and backward, nevertheless remained the ultimate guarantor of order. It also reveals how the ‘social question’ always came well ahead of the ‘national question’ in the priorities of the Lliga.
Yet the loyalty of Barcelona’s industrialists towards the Madrid-based state was always conditional and, during the Primo de Rivera dictatorship, as occurred during the Restoration, leading groups within the Barcelona bourgeoisie moved from a position of support to a stance of controlled opposition towards their erstwhile knight protector. This estrangement can in part be attributed to the gulf between the catalaniste sentiments of a fraction of the bourgeoisie and Primo de Rivera’s centralising tendencies, as well as the failure of the dictator’s monetary policies to guarantee economic growth. Yet what is often ignored is the extent to which the bourgeois ‘men of order’ reacted against what they perceived as the failure of the dictatorship to satisfy their everyday security requirements.120 For all the efforts of both the bourgeoisie and the authorities to assert their control over the cityscape in the 1920s (witness the drive to dominate space symbolically via the architectural monumentalism of the dictatorship), the urban elite repudiated a regime that, it believed, had failed to preserve public order within the city.
The root of the problem for the bourgeoisie consisted in the ongoing failure of police expenditure to keep pace with a rising population.121 Indeed, elite concerns centred on the massively expanded proletarian neighbourhoods such as the cases barates, and particularly Collblanc and La Torrassa in l’Hospitalet, the main destination for the legions of unskilled migrant labourers who arrived prior to the 1929 Exhibition. The extent of elite disquiet was summed up by two petitions sent to the local authorities in l’Hospitalet in April and September 1930, in which the ‘lovers of order’ and ‘rightthinking individuals’ complained that public order was dangerously reliant on volunteers from the Sometent and on the speedy arrival of mobile police units from Barcelona.122 In short, because of ‘a shortage of representatives of the civil authority’ and the fact that the Barcelona constabulary was often busy, I’Hospitalet was effectively at the mercy of ‘evil doers’ (maleantes), a point underlined by numerous ‘regrettable incidents’ that occurred in the city. The predictable conclusion of these petitions was that the future prosperity of Barcelona’s southern neighbour hinged upon the creation of a new Guardia Civil barracks in the La Torrassa-Collblancarea.123
We must now turn our attention to the proletarian city that aroused such trepidation among the ‘men of order’.
- 1 Central government had previously relied upon the walls to limit the growth of this potentially disloyal city.
- 2 libcom note: unfortunately a small number of footnotes are missing from the early part of this chapter. They are viewable in the PDF version, however.
- 3 Cerdà was a parliamentary deputy for Barcelona during the ephemeral First Republic (1868– 1874). See M.Nieto, La I República española en Barcelona, Barcelona, 1974.
- 4 The Eixample finally took shape in the 1920s and 1930s, although, contrary to Cerdà’s vision, it evolved with a far higher concentration of buildings and hardly any open or green spaces.
- 5However, it is noteworthy that the foundations of the Restoration state were always weak in Catalonia. See A.Jutglar, Historia crítica de la burguesía en Cataluña, Barcelona, 1984, pp. 275–9.
- 6La Veu de Catalunya (hereafter Veu) 18 February 1905.
- 7See Veu, 18 January 1902, 8 September and 11 October 1905, 18 February 1906, 1 March and 26 April 1914. For Prat’s vision, see Veu, 24 April 1909.
- 8M.Perau et al., Noucentisme i ciutat, Barcelona, 1994.
- 9Veu, 11 October 1905.
- 10See J.Culla i Clarà, El republicanisme lerrouxista a Catalunya (1901–1923), Barcelona, 1986.
- 11Veu, 17 March 1902.
- 12Veu, 11 December 1908.
- 13J.Grau, ‘Vers la “Ciutat immensa”: 1’accio municipalista de la Mancomunitat de Catalunya, 1914–1923’, in J.Roca (ed.), El municipi de Barcelona i els combats pel govern de la ciutat, Barcelona, 1997, pp. 213–20.
- 14The period 1876–88 has been described as one of ‘gold fever’ (febre d’or). To quote Walter Benjamin, the Exhibitions were ‘places of pilgrimage to the fetish Commodity’ (Charles Baudelaire. A Lyric Poet in the Era of High Capitalism, London, 1973, p. 165).
- 15The novelist Josep María de Sagarra reflected that World War One ‘brought the nineteenth century to a close in Barcelona’ (Memories, Barcelona, 1981, Vol. 2, p. 290).
- 16I.Solà-Morales, ‘L’Exposició Internacional de Barcelona (1914–1929) com a instrument de política urbana’, Recerques 6, 1976, pp. 137–45; M.Tatjer Mir, ‘Els barris obrers del centre històric de Barcelona’, in J.L.Oyón (ed.), Vida obrera en la Barcelona de entreguerras, Barcelona, 1998, p. 28.
- 17A myriad of small workshops were scattered across the city. In 1927, around 50 percent of the workforce was employed in small-scale enterprises (P.Gabriel, ‘La Barcelona obrera y proletaria’, in A.Sànchez (ed.), Barcelona, 1888–1929. Modernidad, ambición y conflictos de una ciudad soñada, Madrid, 1994, p. 104). In 1931, the average company’s capital in Catalonia was 1.17 million pesetas, under half that of the Basque country (3.6 million pesetas) (A.Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social en Cataluña (1930–1936), Barcelona, 1971, p. 162, n. 14).
- 18Jutglar, Historia, pp. 319–40.
- 19C.Massana, Indústria, ciutat i propietat. Política económica i propietat urbana a l’Área de Barcelona (1901–1939), Barcelona, 1985, pp. 20–1, 120–9.
- 20During the 1920s, the population of working-class neighbourhoods like Sants, Sant Martí and Sant Andreu grew by over 30, 40 and 45 percent, respectively, and by 1930 Barcelona’s main industrial districts had more inhabitants than many big Spanish towns and cities (A.Cabré and I.Pujades, ‘La població de Barcelona i el seu entorn al segle XX’, L’Avenç 88, 1985, pp. 33–7).
- 21J.Peirats, Figuras del movimiento libertario español, Barcelona, 1978, p. 89; J.M. Ainaud de Lasarte et al, Barcelona contemporánea 1856–1999, Barcelona, 1996, pp. 38–9.
- 22J.Vandellós, La immigració a Catalunya, Barcelona, 1935; J.Termes, L’lmmigració a Catalunya i altres estudis d’história del nacionalisme català, Barcelona, 1984.
- 23M.Castells, The Urban Question. A Marxist Approach, London, 1977, p. 146.
- 24I.Terrades, Towards a comparative approach to the study of industrial and urban politics: the case of Spain’, in M.Harloe (ed.), New Perspectives in Urban Change and Conflict, London, 1981, p. 179. An outbreak of bubonic plague in the Can Tunis district in 1905, which Notes 174 claimed twenty-three lives, underlined the shortcomings of urban welfare networks (J.Fabre and J.M.Huertas, Tots els barris de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1976, Vol. 4, pp. 201–2; J.Busquets, Barcelona. Evolución urbanistica de una capital compacta, Madrid, 1992, p. 216). See also A. Carsi, El abastecimiento de aguas de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1911, and P.García Fària, Insalubridad en las viviendas de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1890).
- 25Despite the appalling levels of typhoid in Barcelona, several planned improvements in the city’s water supply foundered on corruption (E.Masjuan, La ecología humana en el anarquismo ibérico, Barcelona, 2000, pp. 66–80).
- 26For instance, nuns and priests served as nurses in hospitals and as schoolteachers. The clergy was also entrusted with running institutions such as orphanages, borstals, psychiatric hospitals and workhouses. In all these institutions, the Church played a highly abusive and repressive role, singling out non-worshippers and atheists for punishment.
- 27E.Salut, Vivers de revolucionaris. Apunts històrics del Districte Cinqué, Barcelona, 1938, p. 26.
- 28 J.Aiguader, ‘La solució de la casa higiènica i a bon preu’, Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular Noticiari 17, 1922, p. 67.
- 29 Ibid, pp. 113–217; X.Tafunell, ‘La construcción en Barcelona, 1860–1935: continuidad y cambio’, in J.L.García Delgado (ed.), Las ciudades en la modernización de España. Los decenios interseculares, Madrid, 1992, pp. 5–9, n. 10.
- 30 N.Rider, Anarquisme i lluita popular: la vaga dels lloguers de 1931’, L’Avenç 89, 1986, p. 8, and ‘Anarchism’, p. 22.
- 31 The population of the Raval grew from 192,828 in 1900 to 230,107 in 1930: Tatjer in Oyón (ed.), p. 16.
- 32 There were six outbreaks of bubonic plague between 1919 and 1930. Barcelona workers were also thirty-eight times more likely than London workers to contract typhoid: Dr L.Claramunt i Furest, La pesta en el pla de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1933, pp. 6–8 and La Lluita contra la Fibra Tifòidea a Catalunya, Barcelona, 1933, pp. 189–206; V.Alba and M.Casasús, Diàlegs a Barcelona, Barcelona, 1990, p. 15; Rider, Anarchism’, p. 152.
- 33 Rider, Anarquisme’, p. 8; L.Claramunt, Problemes d’urbanisme, Barcelona, 1934, pp. 14– 18; Massana, Indústria, pp. 22, 126–30; J.Aiguader, El problema de l’habitació obrera a Barcelona, Barcelona, 1932, p. 14; Solidaridad Obrera (hereafter SO), 14 May 1931.
- 34 One flop house was known locally as ‘the three eights’ after the number of daily shifts in the beds (R.Vidiella, Los de ayer, Barcelona, 1938, p. 33).
- 35 M.Gil Maestre, La criminalidad en Barcelona y en las grandes poblaciones, Barcelona, 1886, pp. 147–57; P.Villar, Historia y leyenda del Barrio Chino (1900–1992). Crònica y documentos de los bajos fondos de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1996, pp. 37–41; Busquets, Barcelona, p. 213; Tatjer in Oyón (ed.), p. 29.
- 36 In the Raval, where no land was available for construction, barracas were built on the roofs of tenement slums (J.Artigues, F.Mas and X.Sunyol, The Raval. Història d’un barri servidor d’una ciutat, Barcelona, 1980, pp. 53–4).
- 37 During the 1920s, when the average monthly wage for an unskilled labourer was 130–150 pesetas, a 25-square-metre barraca might command a monthly rent of between 15 and 75 pesetas.
- 38 It has been claimed that the ‘shanty dwellers’ consisted of ‘social groups belonging to the lumpenproletariat and the least skilled sectors of the proletariat’ (T.García Castro de la Peña, ‘Barrios barceloneses de la dictadura de Primo de Rivera’, Revista de Geografía 7 (1–2), 1974, p. 83). Unfortunately, besides not defining what is signified by the term ‘lumpenproletariat’, García also concedes that ‘in their majority they [i.e. the barraquistes] were workers employed as unskilled labourers’. Moreover, according to figures cited by the same author (pp. 82–3), in the early 1920s, 49 percent of barraquistes were Catalan, 28 percent of whom were natives of Barcelona. This would therefore seem to suggest that the ‘shanty dwellers’ were not marginal, déclassé migrants but local workers rendered homeless by housing shortages.
- 39 See the series of articles in Justicia Social (hereafter JS) between 24 November 1923 and 23 August 1924. There are no accurate statistics for the total number of barracas, and the figures in Table 1.1 are no more than a general indicator.
Table 1.1 Numbers of shanty houses and shanty dwellers in Barcelona, 1914–27
Year - Number of shanty dwellings - Number of shanty dwellers 1914 1,218 4,950 1922 3,859 19,984 1924 n.a. 25,000 1927 6,000 n.a.
In 1929, during the hey-day of barraquisme immediately prior to the Exhibition, there were an estimated 6,478 barracas on Montjuïc alone. Figures from J.L.Oyón, ‘Las segundas periferias, 1918–1936: una geografia preliminar’, in Oyón (ed.), p. 62, n. 15; Massana, Indústria, p. 405; C.Massana and F.Roca, ‘Vicis privats, iniciativa pública. Barcelona 1901–39’, L’Avenç 88, 1985, p. 41; Fabre and Huertas, Barris, Vol. 4, p. 159.
- 40 M.Domingo and F.Sagarra, Barcelona: Les Cases Barates, Barcelona, 1999.
- 41 García, ‘Barrios’, p. 84; Fabre and Huertas, Barris, Vol. 5, p. 158–9.
- 42 See López, Verano, passim.
- 43 One immigrant worker claimed that the Cases Barates ‘could be described as barracas’ (interview with ‘Juan’, November 1997).
- 44 García, ‘Barrios’, p. 84; Rider, ‘Anarchism’, p. 197; S.Cánovas Cervantes, Apuntes históricos de ‘Solidaridad Obrera’. Proceso histórico de la revolución española, Barcelona, 1937, p. 233; Massana and Roca, ‘Vicis’, p. 40; L’Opinió, 8 May 1932; SO, 9 May 1931.
- 45 L’Opinió, 8 May 1932.
- 46 García, ‘Barrios’, p. 84.
- 47 A.Merrifleld and E.Swyngedouw (eds), The Urbanization of Injustice, London, 1996.
- 48 C.Canyellas and R.Toran, ‘L’Ajuntament de Barcelona i el règim restauracionista (1875– 1901)’, L’Avenç, 116, 1988, pp. 9–15. By 1928, the wealthiest 3.5 percent of Barcelona’s landlords controlled over 50–60 percent of all housing stock (Massana, Indústria, pp. 7, 176–84).
- 49 M.Vilanova, ‘lntransigència de classe, alfabetització i gènere. Les fronteres interiors de la societat de Barcelona, 1900–75’, in J.Roca (ed.), L’articulació social de la Barcelona contemporània, Barcelona, 1997, p. 71; López, Verano, pp. 49–98.
- 50 Tatjer, in Oyón (ed.), pp. 14, 19.
- 51 Tatjer, in Oyón (ed.), p. 16; Fabre and Huertas, Barris, Vol. 5, pp. 157–8.
- 52 J.L.Oyón, ‘Obreros en la ciudad: líneas de un proyecto de investigación en historia urbana’, Historia Contemporánea 18, 1999, pp. 317–45. Perched high above the city, Sarrià and Pedralbes were the most isolated of all these bourgeois settlements, ‘as far from Barcelona as one could get while still being part of the city’ (R.Hughes, Barcelona, London, 1992, p. 343).
- 53 J.Estivill and G.Barbat, ‘L’anticlericalisme en la revolta popular del 1909’, L’Avenç 2, 1977, p. 32.
- 54 Castells, Urban Question, p. 169.
- 55 C.Ealham, ‘Class and the city: spatial memories of pleasure and danger in Barcelona, 1914– 23’, Oral History 29(1), 2001, pp. 33–47.
- 56 R.Núñez Florencio, El terrorismo anarquista, 1888–1909, Madrid, 1983.
- 57 López, Verano, pp. 215–41; J.Connelly Ullman, The Tragic Week. A Study of Anticlericalism in Spain, 1875–1912, Cambridge, Mass., 1968, pp. 167–304; J. Romero Maura, ‘La rosa de fuego’. El obrerismo barcelonés de 1899 a 1909, Madrid, 1989.
- 58 M.Pérez Ledesma, ‘El miedo de los acomodados y la moral de los obreros’, in P. Folguera (ed.), Otras visiones de España, Madrid, 1993, pp. 27–64; Veu, 10 August 1905, 24 April 1909; P.López Sánchez ‘El desordre de l’ordre. Al.legats de la ciutat disciplinària en el somni de la Gran Barcelona’, Acàcia 3, 1993, p. 103. This conservative project was reflected in the work of the city’s most imaginative architect, Antoni Gaudí, a highly anti-democratic thinker, who was closely linked to bourgeois circles. Gaudí’s famous church, La Sagrada Família, can be viewed as part of a project to ‘Christianise’ Barcelona’s godless proletariat (Hughes, Barcelona, pp. 474–5, 498).
- 59 The classic study of moral panics is S.Cohen, Folk Devils and Moral Panics, London, 1972.
- 60 F.Alvarez-Uría, Miserables y locos. Medicina mental y Orden social en la España del siglo XIX, Barcelona, 1983, pp. 308–64.
- 61 See C.de Andrés, La clase obrera o breve descripción de lo que debe ser un buen obrero, Madrid, 1900; M.Bembo, La mala vida en Barcelona, Barcelona, 1912; G.López, Barcelona sucia. Artículos de malas costumbres. Registro de higiene, Barcelona, n.d.; A.Masriera, Los buenos barceloneses. Hombres, costumbres y anécdotas de la Barcelona ochocentista, Barcelona, 1924; T.Caballé La criminalidad en Barcelona, Barcelona, 1945.
- 62 Villar, Historia, passim; Vidiella, Ayer, p. 133. Liberal-left journalists such as Paco Madrid added to the rising sense of panic surrounding ‘Chinatown’. See his articles in El Escándalo and his sensationalist study Sangre en Atarazanas, Barcelona, 1926.
- 63 A.Avel.li Artís (Sempronio), Aquella entremaliada Barcelona, Barcelona, 1978; D.de Bellmunt, Les Catacumbes de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1930; J.Planes, Nits de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1931.
- 64 J.Alvarez Junco, El Emperador del Paralelo. Lerroux y la demagogía populista, Madrid, 1990, p. 399; J.del Castillo and S.Alvarez, Barcelona, Objetivo Cubierto, Barcelona, 1958, p. 31.
- 65 Middle-class children tended not to spend time in the streets, as according to certain prejudices ‘only hooligans play in the street’ (I Ballester, Memories d’un noi de Gràcia, Barcelona, 1999, p. 52).
- 66 According to Church sources, there were between 8,000 and 10,000 gang members in Barcelona at the start of the twentieth century (Romero, ‘Rosa’, p. 130, n. 50; J.Juderías, La juventud delincuente. Leyes e instituciones que tienden a su regeneración, Madrid, 1912, p. 8; J.Elías, La obrera en Cataluña, en la ciudad y en el campo, Barcelona, 1915, p. 53; J.Vallmitjana, Criminalitat típica local, Barcelona, 1910, p. 8). 74 El Diluvio (hereafter Diluvio), 27 November 1920; Veu, 10 June 1931. Much of this journalism, including that which appeared in liberal-left newspapers, was steeped in middleclass sexual obsessions and anxieties.
- 67 See especially Juderías, Juventud, and Vallmitjana, Criminalitat.
- 68 Salut, Vivers, pp. 147–8.
- 69 For an insider’s view of the immigrant world, see F.Candel, Els altres catalans, Barcelona, 1963.
- 70 Fabre and Huertas, Barris, Vol. 4, pp. 124, 202.
- 71 F.Barangó-Solís, Reportajes Pintorescos, Barcelona, 1934, pp. 107–15; Avel.li, Barcelona, pp. 171–2; de Bellmunt, Catacumbes, passim.
- 72 L.Almeric, El hostal, la fonda, la taverna y el café en la vida Barcelonesa, Barcelona, 1945, p. 67. Interestingly, the spread of flamenco in Barcelona after World War One can be attributed to Raval bar owners, who created the myth of ‘little Andalusia’ (Andalusia chica) in order to attract foreign tourism to the city (A.Bueso, Recuerdos de un cenetista, Barcelona, 1978, Vol. 2, pp. 74–5.
- 73 P.García Fària, Medios de aminorar las enfermedades y mortalidad en Barcelona, Barcelona, 1893; A.Farreras, De la Setmana Trágica a la Implantació del Franquisme, Barcelona, 1977, p. 39.
- 74 A.Rovira, La nacionalització de Catalunya, Barcelona, 1914. The españolista right rivalled these criticisms with their own attacks on the migrants as ‘the detritus of the city’; see, for example, La Voz de Hospitalet, 16 March 1929.
- 75 P.Rossell, La raca, Barcelona, 1930.
- 76 El Correo Catalán, 7 August 1909; Fabre and Huertas, Barris, Vol. 4, p. 202.
- 77 Veu, 20 August 1901.
- 78 Veu, 14 February 1904; J.Solé-Tura, Catalanismo y revolución burguesa. La síntesis de Prat de la Riba, Madrid, 1970, pp. 255–8. For an example of this literature, see A. Masriera, Barcelona isabelina y revolucionaria, Barcelona, 1930.
- 79 F.de Xercavins, ¿Cabe una institución entre la escuela y la cárcel’, Barcelona, 1889; B.Porcel, La revuelta permanente, Barcelona, 1978, p. 54; Salut, Vivers, pp. 147–8; Avel.li, Barcelona, p. 172; Gil, Criminalidad, pp. ix–x, 39.
- 80 A.Pulido, El cáncer comunista. Degeneración del socialismo y del sindicalismo, Valencia, n.d., p. 10; El País, 21 January and 17 February 1894; Veu, 14 February 1904.
- 81 Anarchism was identified with a lack of culture; for references to its ‘horrifying uncouthness’, ‘unpredictability’, ‘irresponsibility’ and ‘lack of control’, see Veu, 23 February 1902 and 21 October 1930.
- 82 See M.Berman, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air. The Experience of Modernity, London, 1983, pp. 98–105.
- 83 In the words of David Sibley, the aim here was the establishment of ‘moral barricades’ that close space, exclude and set limits to what is acceptable, thereby ‘demarcat[ing] the boundaries of society, beyond which lie those who do not belong’ (Geographies of Exclusion. Society and Difference in the West, London, 1995, pp. 42, 49).
- 84 Jutglar, Historia, pp. 224–6. Vilanova in Roca (ed.), L’articulació, p. 81, emphasises the militant nature of the bourgeoisie, which, ‘despite the evident moderation of the masses…was most in favour of acting violently against the world of work rather than accepting negotiations, because from its point of view profit was more decisive than agreement, co-existence and social understanding’.
- 85 S.Hall, C.Critcher, T.Jefferson, J.Clarke and B.Roberts, Policing the Crisis: Mugging, the State and Law and Order, London, 1978, p. 221; Sibley, Geographies, p. 14; M.Foucault, Discipline and Punish. The Birth of the Prison, Harmondsworth, 1991, pp. 101, 286.
- 86 V.Gay, Constitución y vida del pueblo español Estudio sobre la etnografía y psicología de las razas de la España contemporánea, Madrid, 1905; G.Sergi, La decadencia de las naciones latinas, Barcelona, 1901; P.García Fària, Anarquía o caciquismo, Barcelona, 1902.
- 87 The Asil Durán, the city’s main borstal, was opened in 1890; in 1904 the Model jail was established; at the end of 1907 the council-funded Guàrdia Urbana was founded; and in 1916 the Asil de Port was created for the incarceration of the poor in the waterfront area. A.Pomares and V.Valentí, ‘Notas per a un estudi sobre el control social a la Barcelona del segle XIX: la instrucció pública’, Acàcia 3, 1993, p. 135; El Escándolo (hereafter Escándolo), 16 September 1926.
- 88 This involved supervising popular leisure, censoring the content of plays or songs of any material deemed seditious, blasphemous or politically unacceptable, and regulating potentially autonomous political spaces, such as meetings and demonstrations.
- 89 SO, 8 June 1918; Núñez, Terrorismo, pp. 99–103. According to one Barcelona police chief, work in the force was viewed as ‘the quick solution to a family catastrophe’ (E.Mola, Memorias de mi paso por la dirección general de seguridad. Lo que yo supe…, Madrid, n.d., Vol. 1, p. 28).
- 90 Núñez, Terrorismo, pp. 93–8.
- 91 This allowed for the detention of police suspects on the order of the civil governor as ‘governmental prisoners’ (presos gubernativos) for two weeks, during which time agents could ‘work’ to obtain a ‘confession’; if necessary, the period of internment could be extended by the civil governor. It was often alleged that the police used this form of detention to recruit informants.
- 92 F.Madrid, Ocho meses y un día en el gobierno civil de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1932, p. 199, n. 1; Porcel, Revuelta, pp. 107, 117, 128; A.Pestaña, Terrorismo en Barcelona (Memorias inéditas), Barcelona, 1979, pp. 80–2.
- 93 Basically, ‘shot while trying to escape’.
- 94 This concept of ‘moral guilt’ served as the pretext for the execution of anarchist educationalist Francesco Ferrer, whose rationalist philosophy was deemed to have been responsible for the urban riots of 1909.
- 95 J.Peiró, Juan Peiró. Teórico y militante de anarcosindicalismo español, Barcelona, 1978, pp. 12, 21, 26, 28; Porcel, Revuelta, pp. 107, 117.
- 96 A law of 1879 gave the army ultimate responsibility for public order.
- 97 M.Turrado Vidal, La policia en la historia contemporánea de España (1766–1986), Madrid, 1995, pp. 144, 162; Ballbé, Orden, pp. 247–303; J.Lleixá, Cien años de militarismo en España. Funciones estatales confiadas al Ejército en la Restauración y el Franquismo, Barcelona, 1986, pp. 57–95.
- 98 D.López Garrido, La Guàrdia Civil y los orígenes del Estado centmlista, Barcelona, 1982, passim; Ballbé, Orden, pp. 250–71.
- 99 J.M.Jover, Política, diplomacia y humanismo popular en la España del siglo XIX, Madrid, 1976, p. 53; P.Gual Villalbi, Memorias de un industrial de nuestro tiempo, Barcelona, n.d., pp. 162–4, 194.
- 100 Letters from the civil governor of Barcelona to the minister of the interior and the directorgeneral of security, 1, 11 and 29 March, 1 December 1919, 17 May 1922, 7 August 1923, Legajo 54a (AHN/MG).
- 101 F.del Rey Reguillo, Propietarios y patronos. La política de las organizaciones económicas en la España de la Restauración, Madrid, 1992, p. 464.
- 102 Veu, 28 February 1902; Romero, ‘Rosa’ p. 511.
- 103 Romero, ‘Rosa’ p. 519.
- 104 Prat de la Riba once wrote that ‘The Spanish police, like all state organs, is incapable of operating in lands of intense civilisation: it is a primitive body, a useless fossil’ (Veu, 27 December 1906). The Lliga also claimed that the central authorities tolerated a ‘criminal population’ in Barcelona, since it would drain the local economy and limit the future prosperity of Catalonia. It even asserted that the government sponsored provocateurs to come to Catalonia to create conflicts in order to divide Catalans (G.Graell, La cuestión catalana, Barcelona, 1902, passim, and Solé-Tura, Catalanismo, pp. 249, 255–8). Not without reason was Cambó, the Lliga leader, described as ‘the politician of the great panics’ (J.Maurín, Los hombres de la Dictadura, Barcelona, 1977 , p. 138).
- 105 It is significant that both the catalaniste and españolista wings of the bourgeoisie concurred that Barcelona was a ‘lawless city’ (del Castillo and Alvarez, Barcelona, p. 32).
- 106 This project was articulated by the ‘national poet’ of Catalonia, Joan Maragall, who wrote of the need ‘to purify (depurar) the mass, expelling bad people, rendering them incapable of committing evil, watching them, also impeding criminal propaganda’ (cited in López, Verano, p. 85).
- 107 See Gual, Memorias, passim; S.Bengoechea, Organització patronal i conflictivitat social a Catalunya; tradició i corporativisme entre finals de segle i la Dictadura de Primo de Rivera, Barcelona, 1994, pp. 175–283. According to Léon-Ignacio, the ‘new’ employers imposed social relations ‘like those in the colonies between the natives and the white minority. The bourgeoisie considered its operatives as an inferior and separate race’ (‘El pistolerisme dels anys vint’, L’Avenç, 52, 1982, p. 24).
- 108 See E.González Calleja and F.del Rey Reguillo, La defensa armada contra la revolución. Una historia de la guardias cívicas en la España del siglo XX, Madrid, 1995.
- 109 del Rey, Propietarios, pp. 628–50. Shopkeepers joined the militia in their droves, particularly in neighbourhoods where the workers’ movement was a force to be reckoned with. It is also significant that, despite the ultra-conservative españolismo of the Sometent, many leading figures from the nationalist Lliga joined the ranks of the militia.
- 110 Sometent membership in Catalonia grew dramatically, from 43,891 in 1918 to 65,735 in 1923. This expansion was based on Barcelona, where the militia grew from 17,685 in 1918 (when it accounted for 40 percent of all sometentistes) to 34,740 in 1923 (52.85 percent) (del Rey, Propietarios, pp. 639–40, n. 232).
- 111 Gun licences were easily obtained by the ‘good citizens of Barcelona’, who were free to arm themselves and their bodyguards.
- 112 A.Pestaña, Lo qué aprendí en la vida, Bilbao, 1973 (2nd edn), Vol. 2, pp. 68–71.
- 113 His real identity remains a mystery. His original surname is believed to have been ‘Colman’ or ‘Kölmann’. To add to the confusion, his nom de guerre is frequently cited as ‘de Koening’ or ‘de König’. Besides working for the German secret service, it has also been claimed that the ‘Barón’ was employed by either British or French intelligence. He was deported in May 1920 when it emerged that the ‘Barón’ was operating a protection racket and intimidating employers. He apparently settled in Paris, where he dedicated himself to extortion and blackmail before changing his identity and disappearing without trace. (J. Subirato Centura, ‘La verdadera personalidad del “Barón de Koenig’”, Cuadernos de Historía Ecónomica de Cataluña, 1971, pp. 103–18).
- 114 The Sindicatos Libres were formed in December 1919 from the fusion of several small Catholic trade unions. Léon-Ignacio, Los años del pistolerismo, Barcelona, 1981, passim; Pestaña, Terrorismo, pp. 122–80.
- 115 For instance, Bravo Portillo and the ‘Barón de Koenig’ were personal friends of General Joaquín Milans del Bosch, the captain-general of the Barcelona garrison from 1918 to 1920.
- 116 He later occupied ministerial positions in the dictatorships of General Primo de Rivera and General Franco. During the civil war, he was responsible for much of the repression in the Francoist zone.
- 117 See P.Foix, Los archivos del terrorismo blanco. El fichero Lasarte, 1910–1930, Madrid, 1978 [Barcelona, 1931].
- 118 J.M.Huertas, Obrers a Catalunya. Manual d’história del moviment obrer (1840–1975), Barcelona, 1994, p. 189; J.Peirats, La CNT en la revolución española, Madrid, 1978, Vol. 1, pp. 33–6. A.Balcells, El sindicalismo en Barcelona, 1916–1923, Barcelona, 1965, p. 137; Foix, Archivos, p. 73.
- 119 Las Noticias (hereafter LasN), 2 September 1923; Comercio y Navegación (hereafter CyN), August–October 1923.
- 120 F.Cambó, Les dictadures, Barcelona, 1929, p. 206.
- 121 E.Mola, Memorias. El derrumbamiento de la monarquía, Madrid n.d., Vol. 3, pp. 127–35.
- 122 L’Opinió, 18 July 1930.
- 123 Letter from the president of el Gremio de Ultramarinos y Similares de l’Hospitalet to the mayor of l’Hospitalet, April 1930, and letter from the presidents of la Cambra Oficial de la Propietat, la Asociación de Propietarios, el Gremio de Ultramarinos y Similares, el Gremio de Líquidos, el Centro Gremial de Carboneros and la Sociedad de Maestros Peluqueros y Barberos to the mayor of l’Hospitalet, 30 September 1930 (AHl’HL/AM).