Visit Website Fearing that the liberal government would give way to Marxist revolution, army officers conspired to seize power.
Jonas Holmgren Between myth and reality there lies a precarious zone of transition that occasionally captures the truth of each. Spain, caught in a world-historic revolution fifty years ago, was exactly such an occasion—a rare moment when the most generous, almost mythic dreams of freedom seemed suddenly to become real for millions of Spanish workers, peasants, and intellectuals.
Taken together with the massive, spontaneous collectivization of factories, Spanish communist party 1936, even hotels and restaurants, the oppressed classes of Spain reclaimed history with a force and passion of an unprecedented scope and gave a stunning reality in many areas of the peninsula to the ageless dream of a free society.
And like so many life-forms that appear for the last time, before fading away forever, it was the most far-reaching and challenging of all such popular movements of the great revolutionary era that encompasses Cromwellian England of the late s and the working-class uprisings of Vienna and Asturias of the early s.
It is not a myth but a sheer lie—the cretinous perversion of history by its makers in the academy—to depict the Spanish Civil War as a mere prelude to World War II, an alleged conflict between "democracy and fascism.
Spain was seized by more than a civil war: This seemingly "Third World" feature of the Spanish Civil War and, above all, the extraordinary alternatives it posed to capitalism and authoritarian forms of socialism make the revolution hauntingly relevant to liberation movements today.
In modernizing the country, the Spanish working class and peasantry literally took over much of its economy and managed it directly in the form of collectives, cooperatives, and union-networked syndicalist structures. Democratically-run militias, free of all ranking distinctions and organized around a joint decision-making process that involved the soldiers as well as their elected "commanders," moved rapidly to the military fronts.
Behind the "Republican" lines, power lay essentially in the hands of the trade unions and their political organizations: Additionally, another leftist organization, the Workers Party of Marxist Unification POUMwhose more radical members and leaders had been rooted in a Trotskyist tradition in earlier years, followed up the more influential socialists and anarchists.
The Communist Party PCE at the inception of the revolution was inconsequential in numbers and influence, lagging far behind the three major left-wing organizations and their unions. In the more thoroughly anarchist areas, particularly among the agrarian collectives, money was eliminated and the material means of life were allocated strictly according to need rather than work, following the traditional precepts of a libertarian communist society.
As the BBC-Granada television documentary puts it: All forms of production were owned by the community, run by their workers. Militia units were formed everywhere—in factories, on farms, and in socialist and anarchist community centers and union halls, initially including women as well as men.
A vast network of local revolutionary committees coordinated the feeding of the cities, the operations of the economy, and the meting out of justice, indeed, almost every facet of Spanish life from production to culture, bringing the whole of Spanish society in the "Republican" zone into a well-organized and coherent whole.
This historically unprecedented appropriation of society by its most oppressed sectors—including women, who were liberated from all the constraints of a highly traditional Catholic country, be it the prohibition of abortion and divorce or a degraded status in the economy—was the work of the Spanish proletariat and peasantry.
It was a movement from below that overwhelmed even the revolutionary organizations of the oppressed, including the CNT-FAI. The revolution that transformed Barcelona in a matter of days into a city virtually run by the working class sprang initially from individual CNT unions, impelled by their most advanced militants; and as their example spread it was not only large enterprises but small workshops and businesses that were being taken over.
For Communists like Eric Hobsbawn to designate these segments, largely influenced by anarchist ideas, as "primitive rebels" is worse than prejudice; it represents ideology mechanically imposed on the flux of history, organizing it into "stages" of development in flat contradiction to real life and freezing it into categories that exist solely in the mind of the historian.
Since Spain, as we are told, was a predominately agrarian country, in fact, "feudal" in its social structure, its proletariat must have been "undeveloped" and its peasantry caught in a fever of "millennarian" expectations.
Where it could not be completely concealed from the outside world, the revolution was denounced by the Communists as "premature" in a "balance of history" that was determined somewhere in the foreign commissariat of Stalinist Russia and resolutely assaulted by the PCE on a scale that brought "Republican" Spain to the edge of a civil war within the civil war.
Despite its outward trappings, Spain was not the overwhelmingly agrarian and "feudal" country we were taught it was two generations ago. From the turn of the century to the coming of the Second Republic inSpain had undergone enormous economic growth with major changes in the relative weight of the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors.
From to the peasantry had declined from 66 percent to Indeed, the peasantry now formed a minority of the population, not its traditional majority, and a substantial portion of the "peasantry" owned land, particularly in areas that adhered to the highly conservative "National Front" as against the liberal-socialist-communist coalition under the rubric of the "Popular Front.
Moreover, as Edward Malefakis has shown in his thoroughly researched study of agrarian unrest in the period leading up to the civil war, the CNT had its greatest strength among the industrial working class of Catalonia, not among the "millennarian" agricultural day-workers of the South.
Many of these braceros joined socialist unions in the s, pushing the reformist Socialist party in an increasingly revolutionary direction.
The decade of the s under the fairly indulgent, Mussolini-type dictatorship of Primo de Rivera a Spanish parody of Italian fascism in which leading Socialists like Largo Caballero actually held official positions as did other UGT chieftainssaw an economic modernization of the country that almost equaled and in some cases exceeded the boom years under Franco between and Illiteracy was substantially decreased, and economic expansion was accelerated; hence the very sizable middle class or service workers with middle-class values that could be played against the militant working class of Spain.
The greatest single reservoir of economic unrest was in the south: Periodic uprisings of the braceros had culminated in an agrarian war in and were put down mercilessly, leaving a legacy of savage class hatred that expressed itself in the burning of crops, farm buildings, and rural mansions many of which were turned into virtual fortresses during times of social unrestand assassinations on both sides of the class barrier.
Long before the s, Andalusia became, for all practical purposes, an occupied territory where Civil Guards patrolled the countryside and, together with armed thugs hired by landowners, fired wantonly at striking braceros and created the endemic violence that claimed an appalling toll during the first weeks of the civil war.
Yet here too, agriculture was largely capitalistic in its orientation toward the marketplace.
Noble titles often concealed bourgeois avarice in its most unfeeling form, and upper-class references to the "tradition" of Spain barely camouflaged pernicious greed and privilege.
What cannot be ignored after presenting this tableau is the extent to which the crisis that led to the revolution was cultural as well as economic. Spain was a land of several nations:Spain Revolution and civil war. PSOE got 88 deputies and the Spanish Communist Party (PCE) Of the three bourgeois parties in the front, the Republican Left gained 79 deputies.
In the National Front bloc, the right-wing CEDA party had deputies, while the openly fascist Falange party did not get any.
The Spanish Communist Party, however, and many socialists, maintained that Spain was not historically ripe for an anticapitalist revolution and openly declared themselves for the bourgeois republic.
Nov 13, · In her first broadcast after the outbreak of war in she told Spanish republicans: ''It is better to die on your feet than to live on your knees! The Spanish Communist Party was made legal. The Spanish Revolution was a workers' social revolution that began during the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in and resulted in the widespread implementation of anarchist and more broadly libertarian socialist organizational principles throughout various portions of the country for two to three years, primarily Catalonia, Aragon Resulted in: Suppressed after ten-month period.
The year marks the 70th anniversary of the proclamation of the Spanish Republic in , an event which was the opening shot in the Spanish Revolution.
Also 65 years ago, on July 18th , we saw the uprising of Franco, once the Spanish ruling class understood that they could no longer rule. Communist Party of Spain (PCE), Spanish Partido Comunista de España, Spanish political party founded in by dissident members of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE).
In April youth members of the PSOE split from the party, and the following year the PCE was formed when these former socialists united with the Spanish Communist Workers’ Party.