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(en) US, Minneapolis, DAYBREAK #6 - Anarchist Classic: HOMAGE to CATALONIA by GEORGE ORWELL

Date Fri, 03 Jun 2005 08:02:48 +0300


Homage to Catalonia is an autobiographical account of
Orwell’s experiences in Spain during the Spanish Civil War.
Spain of the 1930’s was a hotbed of radicalism. The Catholic
church conspired with the rich to maintain a semi-feudal system
where the majority of workers and peasants were incredibly
impoverished. This led to the growth of a revolutionary labor union,
the anarchist CNT, with somewhere around a million members.
Over time, anarchist ideas integrated into the mainstream of
working class culture. Every time a general strike would happen,
these militants would declare “communismo libertario” and
burn a church or town hall. At the same time, democratic
reformers were threatening the power of the church. When the left
won an election, the right wing forces in the military led by
Francisco Franco, with the support of the Catholic church, Hitler,
and Mussolini staged a coup. They captured about half of Spain
immediately and were only deterred in the northern cities by the
CNT who fought them in the streets. In the areas where they
fought off the fascists the government had completely collapsed so,
as usual, these people declared “communismo libertario,”
but this time it came true. The country was swept into revolution.
Workplaces, plantations, and public services were collectivized.
The whole of Spain was in a tumult of the future with one half
under fascist occupation and the other experimenting with
anarchist ways of living. Orwell originally went to Spain as a
newspaper reporter but was swept up in the revolution and joined a
left wing militia of a small Marxist party. He tells the story of
battles, the people, and the political intrigue of the Civil War from
the position of both participant and foreigner.

This book is good for people who don’t like to read history.
It’s the real experience of a man with sincere social ideals who
became disillusioned with authoritarians who sought power under
the pretext of social change. Orwell describes the day to day
existence of the militias to shed light on the larger political realities.
The Spanish Revolution has been described as the preliminary to
WW2 because the West refused help to the Spanish people while
the Nazi’s and Italians poured money into weapons and
supplies for Franco. Spain became the training ground for
Hitler’s troops and strategies. Wary of supporting the radical
tendencies of the Spanish people the ‘democratic
countries’ preferred fascism. On the side of the Republicans, a
loose alliance of anarchists, socialists, communists, and
democrats, only the Soviet Union offered any assistance. The
Soviets also feared any genuine revolutionary change and so
worked to undermine the power of the workers unions and the
democratically run militias. Orwell describes the shoddy weaponry
and ammunition that the non-communist militias received, even
though the anarchists were the ones who ran the factories making
the ammunition. The Soviets used their materials to get their
Communist party into power (even though it was non-existent at
the start of the war) at the same time as they used the sneaky
political tricks that communists and socialists are still using today
to subvert the democracy of the coalition. Orwell talks a lot about
the change in communist “line” in their newspapers. One
day, some anarchist would be a hero and the next described as an
outlaw and thief. He describes how the militias at the front would
be lacking even bullets while the communist cops in Barcelona had
shiny new pistols and uniforms. In the end, the communists
reverted to their true face and outlawed, first the POUM, and then
the anarchists, shooting them dead in the streets of Barcelona.
Orwell was targeted by the communists as were thousands of other
militia members at the same time as the Fascists were at the city
walls.

Homage to Catalonia is interesting not only for this depressing
lesson about power but also for the descriptions of revolutionary
Spain. “Above all, there was a belief in the revolution and the
future, a feeling of having suddenly emerged into an era of equality
and freedom. Human beings were trying to behave as human
beings and not as cogs in the capitalist machine. In the
barbers’ shops were Anarchist notices (the barbers were mostly
Anarchists) solemnly explaining that barbers were no longer
slaves.” Orwell’s experiences may not reflect our current
reality, but at least it offers an alternative vision and a hope that
something else is possible. His story is a ray of light that broke out
from between the totalitarian nightmares of communism and
fascism at a time when no one thought any other option was
available. It’s an inspiring example that, with the current
trajectory of American and global politics, we may soon need to
consider once again. (Peligro)
a bad idea to poke
air holes in the bottom of the box, and then prop it up with a tray
underneath. Any drips you catch can be used as fertilizer too.

Now you need worms. A pound of redworms (about 1,000)
can be ordered over the internet for about $25, depending on the
site. You want Eisenia foetida (red wriggler) or Lumbricus
rubellus
worms. Worms multiply pretty fast (they can double their
population every 90 days), so it’s not a bad idea to buy
a pound
of worms and split them up with a friend.

Your next step is to add your kitchen scraps. You can feed
your worms basically the same things you would throw in a regular
compost pile: fruit and vegetable scraps, grains, coffee grounds
and
tea leaves, breads, and crushed egg shells. Don’t feed
them
any meat or dairy products or oils. The smaller you chop your
kitchen wastes, the faster your little worms can chow through
them.

Finally, it’s harvest time! When most of the
bedding
has been eaten, move the food, the bedding and the worms all to
one side. Then add new bedding and food on the other side. The
worms will migrate over to the fresh side, leaving you free to
remove the castings (worm poo) from the older side. Just be sure
to leave the worms behind!
===================================
Daybreak is an anarchist tabloid put out from Minneapolis.

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