Living Utopia - subtitled

POUM - article from social worker online

Issue: 2057 dated: 30 June 2007 posted: 6.38pm Tue 26 Jun 2007

Andreu Nin and the Poum in the Spanish Revolution

Andreu Nin was one of the leaders of the Poum during the Spanish Civil War.
The revolutionary socialist Andreu Nin resisted fascism and Stalinism during the Spanish Civil War of 1936-9. Nin was murdered by Stalinists 70 years ago this month. Andy Durgan looks at his life
Frustration with the timidity of working class leaders who repeatedly insist parliament is the crucial way to achieve change is nothing new. Prior to the First World War there was an insistence within the Socialist and Labour Parties in western Europe and North America on winning gradual reforms through parliament.
But a generation of the finest class fighters reacted to this by arguing for aggressive class struggle based on collective organisation in the workplace and the trade unions to beat the bosses.
These activists were termed syndicalists. Many of them were won to socialism through the victory of the 1917 Russian Revolution.
One of the strongholds of syndicalism was the Catalan capital, Barcelona, which exploded into revolutionary class struggle. A revolutionary trade union federation, the CNT, led by anarcho-syndicalists, organised in a city in the throes of industrialisation.
A cocktail of economic crisis, corruption, disaffection in the army, unrest on the land, Catalan regionalism and the impact of the revolution in Russia brought things to a head in August 1917 when the CNT called a general strike.
The Spanish government sent in the army who treated Barcelona as it would a rebellious colony, killing 70 strikers and wounding over 500 workers.
Andreu Nin, a young teacher, joined the CNT at its congress in December 1919. Nin had joined the Spanish Socialist Party in 1913, soon becoming one of its most effective propagandists in his native Catalonia.
At the CNT’s congress, Nin was one of several speakers who successfully urged the union to join the new Communist International, which had been set up after the Russian Revolution.
Barcelona was swept by strikes, while the employers contracted people to kill union activists. With older leaders arrested or murdered by the employers’ gunmen, Nin became general secretary of the CNT in 1921.
Nin travelled to Moscow in July 1921 to represent the CNT at the founding of the Red International of Labour Unions (RILU).
Unable to return to Spain, where he was falsely accused of having participated in the assassination of prime minister Eduardo Dato, Nin stayed in Moscow. He became one of the organisers of the RILU as it united millions of trade unionists throughout the world.
Nin’s years in Russia were decisive to his political evolution. He worked closely with many of the leading Bolsheviks, joined the Russian Communist Party and was elected as a delegate to the Moscow Soviet, or workers’ council.
Majority
He understood that while it was vital to organise within the unions it was also necessary to organise politically to champion the idea that radical change required revolution. Socialists needed to rally the minority of workers who accepted that idea in the present so they could win a majority in the future when major struggles exploded.
Like many, Nin was alarmed by the bureaucratisation of the new soviet state after the failure of the revolution to spread to other countries, as its leaders such as Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky hoped.
The resulting isolation helped Joseph Stalin rise to power after the death of Lenin. Russian state interests were increasingly put before the interests of creating world revolution.
In 1926 Nin joined the Left Opposition led by Trotsky. As a result, he was removed from the leadership of the RILU, put under house arrest, and expelled from Russia in 1930.
Back in Spain, Nin dedicated himself to building a Trotskyist organisation, the Communist Left. Nin also wrote on the national question. The Spanish state included various nations like the Catalans and Basques who wanted to escape centralised rule from Madrid.
Nin viewed national liberation movements as potential allies of the working class. This contrasted with the conservatism of most of Spain’s labour movement who identified with the centralised Spanish state.
In 1931 a popular movement across Spain swept away dictatorship and the unpopular monarchy. Nin analysed this unfolding revolution, arguing that the new Republic which replaced the monarchy would be unable to satisfy workers’ demands for social reform.
The Republic’s middle class government would prove to be more afraid of the masses than of the entrenched interests of a conservative oligarchy.
Nin said that the democratic revolution that had begun in 1931 would only be completed by the working class, and lead directly to socialism.
Unfortunately Nin and the exiled Trotsky began increasingly to disagee.
Nin favoured orientating on the dissident communist group in Catalonia – the Workers and Peasants’ Bloc (the BOC). He rejected Trotsky’s advice to enter the Socialist Party and work with its newly-radicalised left wing.
Nin and the Communist Left formed a new party with the BOC – the Poum – to offer an alternative to the socialist left and the CNT. In fact, the new party had much in common with the Trotskyists. It defended the need for international revolution and workers’ democracy. It was clearly anti-Stalinist.
Independence
The Poum also opposed the Communists’ Popular Front strategy of making alliances with capitalist parties and its attempts to limit the revolution to a goal of liberal democracy. The Poum defended the need for the workers’ movement to maintain its ideological and organisational independence.
However, in the 1936 elections the Poum supported the Popular Front alliance of the Socialists, the Communists, middle class liberals and republicans. This was in order to obtain the freedom of thousands of political prisoners and “defeat the right at the polls”.
Despite the party continuing to criticise the Popular Front as offering no solution for workers’ aspirations, Trotsky criticised the Poum’s decision arguing it could only lead to political confusion.
In July 1936 Nin played an important role in the revolution that resisted General Franco’s military uprising that aimed at toppling the Spanish Republic. Workers and peasants rose up to stop the coup attempt.
In the process a wide-ranging revolution took place with land and industry being taken over and collectivised. Franco launched a civil war.
Despite the Poum being at the centre of events it remained a minority in the revolution’s stronghold of Catalonia and was even weaker in the rest of Spain.
The dilemma for the Poum, and one it would never overcome, was how to win over the CNT, or at least part of it, to the need to “complete the revolution”.
This meant consolidating the power of the industrial and agricultural collectives, and the militias that had developed to defend them. It meant creating a revolutionary and democratic state.
Collaborating
But the anarchists opposed all states as repressive and baulked at the idea of taking power. Instead, faced with the practical realities of organising the war effort, the CNT effectively ended up collaborating in the rebuilding of the shattered Republican state machine.
The Poum was not prepared to break with the CNT leadership and followed them into the Catalan government in October 1936.
Nin became minister of justice. The Poum justified its decision by pointing out that the new government had a working class majority and a revolutionary economic programme, which was written by Nin. But this majority included the Communist Party which, following Stalin, opposed the revolution.
Nin was able to introduce reforms such as a system of revolutionary justice and new rights for young people and women. Yet this was of little consequence given the government was undermining the power of the revolution in the streets, factories and the land.
Local committees were replaced by municipal councils and the collectivisation process was brought under increasing institutional control.
With the backing of Russia – the only major power prepared to send arms to the Republic – the Communist Party grew massively. But Russia opposed a revolution that it did not control and that harmed its chances of establishing an alliance with Britain and France against Nazi Germany.
The Poum’s attacks on the purges of old Bolsheviks then taking place in Russia was irksome for Stalin. The Poum was denounced as being “Trotskyist” and in the service of fascism.
The Communists claimed that Nin had “never worked” because he had “always been in the pay of Hitler”. This slander helped to prepare the ground for counter-revolution.
At the request of the Russian consul, Nin was ejected from the Catalan government in December 1936. The Poum’s militias were starved of arms, its organisation closed down in Madrid and its members attacked.
This process culminated in May 1937 when street fighting broke out in Barcelona between forces controlled by the Stalinists, and the CNT and the Poum. The CNT backed down and opened the way for the last vestiges of the revolution to be eliminated.
The Poum was accused of having organised a “fascist putsch” and was made illegal. Nin was kidnapped in the street by police accompanied by members of Russia’s secret services.
He was taken to a secret prison near Madrid and tortured with the aim of getting him to confess he was a “fascist agent”, so that a show trial could be organised against the Poum. Unable to obtain the confession, his captors murdered him.
Dozens of Poum members and other revolutionaries were murdered and hundreds imprisoned. With the revolution crushed, the Republic went on to wage a desperate war using an orthodox military strategy and proclaiming its defence of capitalist legality.
Without the revolutionary enthusiasm of the early months, it was doomed to defeat. The fate of Andreu Nin became a symbol of the terrible fate that would now befall the Spanish workers and peasants with the victory of Franco.
Frances_Forgotten_Concentration_Camps  audio


Philip Sweeney travels to southern France to investigate a network of concentration camps set up 70 years ago when hundreds of thousands of refugees fled over the Pyrenees after the Spanish Civil War. Since then thousands of others have been detained: Jews, gypsies, Algerians and more recently immigrants escaping persecution in their own countries.
In_Our_Time_The_Spanish_Civil_War audio

Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the Spanish Civil War which was a defining war of the twentieth century. It was a brutal conflict that polarised Spain, pitting the Left against the Right, the anti-clericals against the Church, the unions against the landed classes and the Republicans against the Monarchists. It was a bloody war which saw, in the space of just three years, the murder and execution of 350,000 people. It was also a conflict which soon became internationalised, becoming a battleground for the forces of Fascism and Communism as Europe itself geared up for war.
But what were the roots of the Spanish Civil War? To what extent did Franco prosecute the war as a religious crusade? How did Franco institutionalise his victory after the war? And has Spain fully come to terms with its past?
With Paul Preston, Principe de Asturias Professor of Contemporary Spanish History at the London School of Economics; Helen Graham, Professor of Spanish History at Royal Holloway, University of London; Dr Mary Vincent, Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at Sheffield University.

general stuff

The Spanish Civil War 1936 - 39

Background to the war

In the 1930s, Spain was a deeply divided country that was politically torn between right-wing Nationalist and left-wing Republican parties. The Nationalist party was made up of monarchists, landowners, employers, the Roman Catholic Church and the army. The Republicans consisted of the workers, the trade unions, socialists and peasants.
Economically, the country had been deeply hit by the Great Depression after the Wall Street Crash. Partly due to this turmoil, in 1929 the military dictatorship that had ruled Spain since 1923 collapsed. In 1931 the King abdicated after the Republicans came to power.
There followed a period where the two political rivals had periods in power as the elected government. The country was so divided and unstable that in 1936 the army rebelled and forcibly removed the Republicans from power. Civil war ensued.

The importance of Spain in Europe

If Spain fell to the Nationalists, France would be surrounded by Fascist powers (Germany and Italy). If France was invaded by Fascist nations, the alliances between other anti-Fascist nations would be weakened. In effect, there would be one less nation to resist Fascist plans to expand their borders - one less army to stand up to them.
Spain also had strategic naval bases on the Mediterranean Sea and Atlantic Ocean that could be used by the Fascists to control shipping and for setting up submarine bases. These could be used to put military and economic pressure on other European nations.

International intervention

The Fascist powers

Hitler and Mussolini (Italy's Fascist leader) both sent thousands of troops and weapons to Spain to aid the Nationalist forces. They both had similar aims and a common desire to see Spain fall to the right-wing Nationalists.
As Fascist allies, it was in both Germany's and Italy's interest to fight the spread of Communism. They did not want Spain, a near neighbour to both nations, to become a Soviet-backed stronghold. Indeed, the opposite was true. If Spain came under right-wing control it could be an important ally to the two countries in any future conflict.
Furthermore, if yet another major European nation were to adopt the Fascist creed, it would send a message to the whole world that the Fascists were a power to be reckoned with.

The Democracies

France and Britain were both in an awkward situation regarding Spain. They did not want the nation to fall to the Nationalists, as this would strengthen the power of the Fascist alliance of Germany and Italy. Equally, though, they would be no better off if Spain fell to the Soviet-backed Republicans, as Communism was seen as a huge threat to world peace.
The French and British agreed a mutual policy and set up a Non-Intervention Committee that effectively blocked international aid reaching Spain. They could not, however, stop Germany and Italy sending forces and supplies to the Nationalists. The result of this was that the Republicans had to rely solely on the dubious charity and benevolence of Stalin's Russia.

The Soviet Union

The USSR sent weapons and supplies to aid the Republicans in their struggle against the forces of Fascism, but it was never as committed to the conflict as either Germany or Italy. The Russian leader, Stalin, sold only enough supplies to the Republicans to keep them fighting. Stalin was content that Germany was being kept busy with Spain rather than concentrating its efforts in eastern Europe.

The International Brigades

The fight against Fascism drew young men and women from all over Europe and the USA to Spain. Fighting for the Republicans, these idealists, socialists and communists, formed a rag-tag army determined to uphold democracy against the right-wing threat. At any one time up to 15,000 people were fighting in the International Brigades.

The results

  • The better organised and better equipped Nationalist forces won the war after Madrid was captured in March 1939.
  • Hitler's position in Europe was now strengthened since he had another potential ally in the right-wing dictator of Spain, General Franco.
  • Participation and co-operation in the Spanish war strengthened the bond between Italy and Germany. As a result, the Rome-Berlin Axis was formed. Italy and Germany were now firm allies.
  • By ignoring the Non-Intervention Committee and its chief architects, France and Britain, Hitler had shown his strength in European affairs.

Women of the Spanish Revolution (1 of 3)

Women of the Spanish Revolution (2 of 3)

Women of the Spanish Revolution (3 of 3)

Images within images

Picasso y el cuadro 1934, simbolismos gnósticos, Melvin Becraft

18 bodies in a ditch

Exhumados en una finca de Granada un grupo de fusilados en 1936. Exhumed from a farm in Granada a group shot in 1936.

El País/ISABEL PEDROTE - Sevilla/09-09-2010 Country / ISABEL Pedroto - Sevilla/09-09-2010

Se habla mucho de ella, pero pocas veces se había visto tan nítidamente en imágenes. There is much talk of it, but rarely seen so clearly in images. La típica fosa de la cuneta de la Guerra Civil. The typical pit by the side of the Civil War. La Asociación Granadina para la Recuperación de la Memoria Histórica ha exhumado los cuerpos de 18 personas que fueron fusiladas en 1936 a la orilla de una carretera y enterradas apresuradamente en una finca privada de Montefrío (Granada). The Grenadian Association for the Recovery of Historical Memory has exhumed the bodies of 18 people who were shot in 1936 at the edge of a road and hastily buried in a private estate of Montefrio (Granada).


Se trata 16 hombres y dos mujeres procedentes de las localidades vecinas de Algarinejo y Fuentes de Cesna, supuestamente asesinadas entre el 21 y 28 de septiembre del año en que comenzó la contienda. These 16 men and two women from the neighboring villages, and fonts Algarinejo Cessna, allegedly killed between 21 and 28 September of the year when the race began. Los trabajos, subvencionados por el Ministerio de la Presidencia, han sido filmados a diario por un cámara profesional para elaborar un documental. The work, funded by the Ministry of the Presidency, were filmed daily by a professional camera to make a documentary.


Tienen como novedad que se ha recurrido a la fotografía aérea para mostrar el recorrido de los camiones desde su lugar de origen hasta la misma fosa, ubicada a la derecha de una curva, en un campo de olivos. They have as a novelty that has used aerial photography to show the path of the truck from its point of origin to the same pit, located to the right of a curve, in an olive grove.



Según fuentes cercanas al equipo que ha realizado la exhumación, la mayoría de los fallecidos estaban emparentados (parejas de hermanos, padres e hijos, primos). According to sources close to the team that carried out the exhumation, the majority of deaths were related (pairs of brothers, fathers and sons, cousins). Junto a sus cadáveres se han hallado objetos personales como un lápiz, un dedal y unas tijeras, la boquilla de un cigarro, un suspensorio para las hernias, suelas de zapatos, hebillas, botones, además de restos de proyectiles. Next to their bodies were found personal items like a pencil, a thimble and scissors, the mouthpiece of a cigarette, a jockstrap for hernias, shoe soles, buckles, buttons, and the remains of shells.


Uno de los cuerpos pertenece a un chico de 17 años con dos impactos de bala en la nuca. One of the bodies belongs to a 17 year old boy with two bullet wounds in the neck. Los cuerpos han sido ya estudiados (están a la espera de que se les practique la prueba de ADN), depositados en ataúdes y trasladados a una oficina del cementerio de la localidad de Algarinejo, que era la antigua capilla. The bodies have been already studied (they are waiting for them to practice the DNA testing), placed in coffins and taken to a cemetery office in the town of Algarinejo, which was the old chapel.

(translated with Google Translate)

SCW in brief

In July 1936, Spain was ruled as a monarchist republic. Strikes and political maneuvering marked months of economic turmoil. Into this cauldron stepped Spanish Army General Francisco Franco, commander of the armies of Spanish Morocco. He attempted a coup de état in late July 1936, coming to Madrid from Morocco borne by German and Italian aircraft.
What was seemingly a local dispute between different political factions became an international incident. The Loyalists, true to their Communist affiliation, were hostile to religion. Catholic churches were closed. Franco sought and received the support of the Church. The forces loyal to the Monarchy were supported by the Soviets, and thousands of foreign nationals came to form “Brigades” that would fight for Spain. Franco was supported by Germany and Italy. The world was not prepared for the glimpse of the weapons and tactics that would mark the Second World War.

Hundreds of Junkers Ju-52 sorties flew 13,000 troops and their equipment from Franco’s Moroccan Army to Spain in July 1936. Over 100,000 troops came from Italy, with modern equipment and advisors for the Fascists. The Germans sent the Condor Legion, 18,000 men from the Wehrmacht and the Luftwaffe, to use the new arms Germany was producing in “test” situations — actual combat. The Germans perfected the dive-bombing techniques using Ju-87 Stukas, and began the terror from the air — unrestricted area bombing of civilian centers — attacking the town of Durango on March 31, 1937.

But the world would take notice of the total destruction of the town of Guernica, the old Basque capital, on April 26, 1937. Ju-52s pushed incendiaries, high explosives, and antipersonnel bombs out of their cargo doors. The town had no military targets. 1,654 people were killed and 889 injured out of 5,000 residents.

The effect of foreign aid was telling. Soviet aid, organized by the Comintern (Soviet agency to promote worldwide Communism,) was purchased by Loyalist gold. The International Brigades were ill equipped and poorly trained, and only 250 Soviet flyers joined in combat. At first, their I-15 Polipokarov monoplanes easily bested the Condor Legion’s Henschel Hs-123 biplanes. Hitler sent the new Messerschmitt Bf-109E, an all-metal, streamlined monoplane, and the Condor Legion found they had a potent weapon in their hands. In 1937 the United States applied the Neutrality Act to Spain, cutting off sales to both sides.

The Loyalists also spent as much time fighting each other as they did the Fascists, and this blunted their efforts. In 1939, Franco eliminated his opposition, and declared himself Generalissimo of Spain.

Franco clearly supported the Axis. The Blue Division of Spanish Regular Army troops was sent to the Soviet Union to fight for the “extermination” of Communism. Franco allowed tankers to refuel U-boats, and rallies agitated for the return of Gibraltar and French Morocco to Spain. German spies were not impeded.

Hitler and Franco met to discuss Spain’s entry into the war on Germany’s side in 1940Franco demurred, saying Spain was not prepared to fight. As the fortunes of war changed for Germany, Spain tried to appear as an Ally, severing diplomatic ties with Japan in April 1945. But at Potsdam the victorious Allies decreed that Spain could not be a founding member of the United Nations, denying entry until 1955.

Franco, a shrewd politician and dictator, stayed in power in Spain until his death in 1975, longer than any other political leader of World War II. Only Japanese Emperor Hirohito lived longer.

Pablo Picasso's "Guernica"


George Orwell - Spanish Civil War and Tea

Orwell recounts his time spent fighting in the Spanish Civil War and shows us how to make the perfect cup of tea.
From 'George Orwell: A Life in Pictures'

Spanish Civil War Chapter 3: The Politics of war

Documentary on the politics and history behind the Spanish Civil War, as viewed through first-hand recordings and modern film.

Spanish Civil War Chapter 2: The Spanish Revolution

Documentary on the politics and history behind the Spanish Civil War, as viewed through first-hand recordings and modern film.

Spanish Civil War Chapter 1: The Path to War

Documentary on the politics and history behind the Spanish Civil War, as viewed through first-hand recordings and modern film.

"The Sons of Spain" the story of a British volunteer who fought in the Spanish Civil War



This is a documentary about Joseph Kahn, one of the few surviving British volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War.

Joseph was 18 when he volunteered to lead a convoy of ambulances from Camden Town to Madrid.

He arrived and went on to Albacete, where he joined the newly formed British Battalion.

In February 1937, the battalion fought at the Battle of Jarama. In a single day's bloody fighting on 12 February against Moors from Franco's Army of Africa, the British Battalion suffered 275 casualties - leaving 125 rifleman fit for duty.

On the second day of fighting, the machine gun company was surrounded by Fascists and many of its members were captured.

The battalion remained in the trenches at Jarama until 17 June 1937.

The film was the final project of a two week film-making course run by the Documentary Film-makers Group (DFG).

Spanish civil war veteran in his own words

Anarchists in the 1936 Spanish Civil War

The Falange

Anarchists - Guernica



The Republican government responded to the threat of a military uprising with remarkable timidity and inaction. The CNT had warned Madrid of a rising based in Morocco months earlier and even gave the exact date and time of 5 A.M. on July 19, which it had learned through its impressive espionage apparatus. Yet, the Popular Front did nothing, and refused to give arms to the CNT. Tired of begging for weapons and being denied, CNT militants raided an arsenal and doled out arms to the unions. Militias were placed on alert days before the planned rising.

The rising was actually moved forward two days to July 17, and was crushed in areas heavily defended by anarchist militants, such as Barcelona. Some anarchist strongholds, such as Zaragoza, fell, to the great dismay of those in Catalonia; this is possibly due to the fact that they were being told that there was no "desperate situation" by Madrid and thus did not prepare. The Government still remained in a state of denial, even saying that the "Nationalist" forces had been crushed in places where it had not been. It is largely because of the militancy on the part of the unions, both anarchist and socialist, that the Rebel forces did not win the war immediately.

Anarchist militias were remarkably libertarian within themselves, particularly in the early part of the war before being partially absorbed into the regular army. They had no rank system, no hierarchy, no salutes, and those called "Commanders" were elected by the troops.

The most effective anarchist unit was the Durruti Column, led by already legendary militant Buenaventura Durruti. It was the only anarchist unit which managed to gain respect from otherwise fiercely hostile political opponents. However, they had a difficult time getting arms from a fearful Republican government, so Durruti and his men compensated by seizing unused arms from government stockpiles. Durruti's death on November 20, 1936 weakened the Column in spirit and tactical ability; they were eventually incorporated, by decree, into the regular army.

In 1936, the CNT decided, after several refusals, to collaborate with the government of Largo Cabellero. Many anarchists outside of Spain criticized the CNT leadership for entering into government and compromising with communist elements on the Republican side. It is true that in these years the anarchist movement in Spain gave up many of its basic principles; however, those in Spain felt that this was a temporary adjustment, and that once Franco was defeated, they would continue in their libertarian ways. There was also concern with the growing power of authoritarian communists within the government.

Along with the fight against fascism was a profound anarchist revolution throughout Spain. Much of Spain's economy was put under worker control; in anarchist strongholds like Catalonia, the figure was as high as 75%, but lower in areas with heavy socialist influence. Factories were run through worker committees, agrarian areas became collectivized and run as libertarian communes. Even places like hotels, barber shops, and restaurants were collectivized and managed by their workers.

The anarchist held areas were run according to the basic principle of "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need." In some places, money was entirely eliminated, to be replaced with vouchers. Under this system, goods were often up to a quarter of their previous cost. Despite the critics clamoring for maximum efficiency, anarchic communes often produced more than before the collectivization. The newly liberated zones worked on entirely libertarian principles; decisions were made through councils of ordinary citizens without any sort of bureaucracy.

During the Civil War, a reactionary Communist Party gained considerable influence due to the necessity of aid from the Soviet Union. Communists and "liberals" on the Republican side gave considerable effort to crush the anarchist revolution, ostensibly to bolster the anti-Fascist effort. Pravda announced in December of 1936 that "...the mopping up of Trotskyists and anarcho-syndicalists has already begun. It will be carried out with the same vigor as in the USSR." Another communist boldly proclaimed in an interview that they would "make short work of the anarchists after the defeat of Franco." Their efforts to weaken the revolution were ultimately successful: hierarchy was eventually restored in many of the collectivized areas, and power was taken away from workers and unions, to be monopolized by the Popular Front.

Most important, perhaps, were the measures to destroy the militias, who were arguably leading the war effort in spirit as well as in action. The militias were eventually declared illegal and technically merged with the Popular Army. This had the effect of demoralizing the soldiers and taking away what they had ultimately been fighting for: not for the Soviet Union, but for themselves and for freedom

Anarchists played a central role in the fight against Franco



Anarchism has historically gained the most support and influence in Spain, especially in the seventy or so years before Francisco Franco's victory in the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.

There were several variants of anarchism in Spain: the peasant anarchism in the countryside of Andalusia; urban anarcho-syndicalism in Catalonia, particularly its capital Barcelona; and what is sometimes called "pure" anarchism in other cities such as Zaragoza. However, these were complementary trajectories, and shared a great deal of ideological similarities.

Early on, the success of the anarchist movement was sporadic. Anarchists would organize a strike and ranks would swell. Usually, repression by police reduced the numbers again, but at the same time further radicalized many members. This cycle helped lead to an era of mutual violence at the beginning of the 20th century, in which armed anarchists and pistoleros, armed men paid by company owners, were both responsible for political assassinations.

In the 20th century, this violence began to fade, and the movement gained speed with the rise of anarcho-syndicalism and the creation of the huge libertarian union, the CNT. General strikes became common, and large portions of the Spanish working class adopted anarchist ideas. The FAI was created as a purely anarchist association, with the intention of keeping the CNT focused on the principles of anarchism.

Anarchists played a central role in the fight against Franco during the Spanish Civil War. At the same time, a far-reaching social revolution spread throughout Spain, where land and factories were collectivized and controlled by the workers. The revolution was virtually snuffed out towards the end of the civil war, by the communist/Stalinist controlled forces who wanted to ensure that the social model adopted in the Spanish Republic would be of their own choosing whilst proving to the western neoliberal democracies that communist Russia would not sponsor social revolutions unfriendly to the established social order. All remaining social reforms ended in 1939 with the victory of Franco, who had thousands of anarchists executed. Resistance to his rule never entirely died, with resilient militants participating in acts of sabotage and other direct action, and making several attempts on the ruler's life.

Their legacy remains important to this day, particularly to anarchists who look at their achievements as an historical precedent of anarchism's validity.

Victory and Defeat 6of6.

Inside the Revolution. 5of6.

Franco and the Nationalists 4of6

Battleground for Idealists 3of6

Revolution, Counter-Revolution & Terror 2of6

Prelude to Tragedy 1of6