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(en) Itali, FdCA statement: That 19th July in Spain in 1936 [it]

Date Wed, 19 Jul 2006 19:32:30 +0300

Seventy years from that date.
Seventy years that have not been able to wipe out the memory of or the
intensity of feelings when one thinks about the victory of the Spanish workers
in 1936 in most parts of the country over the military and fascist coup and the
start of the biggest mass social revolution in western Europe.
Seventy years that must force us to reflect on (and not only commemorate) the
political significance of the events that were sparked off by the outcome of
19th July and the Spanish Revolution. And two views come into play: one
positive, the other much less so.
What was extraordinary was the enormous collective struggle (influenced to no
small degree by the propaganda and example of several generations of anarchist
communist revolutionaries rooted amongst the working masses) to build a new
world, a free stateless society which would abolish the exploitation of one
person by another through wage-slavery, which would organize society from below
by means of an effective system of direct democracy, and which would socialize
both production and distribution.

The Spanish revolution bore the hallmarks of anarchist communism, being the
work of the Spanish people themselves and not the invention of some higher

The driving force behind that explosion of popular energy was the dream of
building a new system based on respect for the individual, for the individual's
rights and the individual's needs. This dream was enacted by the Spanish
workers, men and women alike, who set about self-managing transport, factories,
militias, farms, schools. And this self-management was enormously successful.
It was the only time in history when a similar experience toojk place, when
society was at the service of the people and not at the expense of the people.

Extraordinary too, in those difficult times, was the way people freed their
consciousness and their intelligence, undoing the work of the priests, noblemen
and bosses who had oppressed the people with their prejudices and authoritarian
chains. And the dream was defended to the bitter end by the many comrades who
came from all over the world and sacrificed their youth and their lives to
fight against everything that was freedom-killing and backward about "España
negra", everything which lay at the root of the political, social and economic
oppression. But they were unable to defeat this cancer, that was already
spreading throughout Europe and would contaminate the whole world.

While some of the causes of the defeat are physiologically present in any
social revolution and should therefore be taken as granted in advance (such as
the counter-revolutionary intervention of foreign forces or the creation of
counter-revolutionary alliances within the composite anti-fascist front with
the aim of re-establish the previously-existing status quo at the end of the
civil war), we need to concentrate on how the revolutionary organizations dealt
with these factors.

While grassroots militants and most people were busy with the war and the
revolution, the political choices of any strategic relevance made by the
revolutionary organizations contributed to the failure of the very revolution
they had been preaching for decades.

In the CNT (Confederación Nacional del Trabajo) and in the FAI (Federación
Anarquista Iberica), it became dramatically evident that there was a total lack
of a strategy and tactics, or even an awareness of the political task of
libertarians in a situation (a useful one, objectively speaking) where the
State structures were in a state of total collapse and there was a widespread
mobilization of the proletariat, even though the international context had been
marked by a series of painful defeats for the workers' movement.

The libertarian communist programme that Spanish anarchists were proposing
became a reality above all thanks to the collective efforts of the proletarians
who carried out the greatest spontaneous, libertarian, social revolution of the
20th century, despite the fact that, at the crucial moment, those organizations
that had been preaching revolution for decades found themselves without any
idea of what to do in order to usher in libertarian communism and ended up
making decisions that were not consistent with the popular revolutionary
experimentation in progress.

There is much to learn from that great revolution. For example, the need for
members of organizations who (as in Spain) have a sufficient level of economic
knowledge (above all with regard to the globalized context) and who study the
mechanisms which are essential to the running of capitalist production and
distribution, with the double aim of being able to provide the correct answers
to the problems these areas create, and of enabling the change from the
capitalist management of the economy to the revolutionary management of the
economy to take place in as smooth a way as possible. The revolution is by no
means just around the corner, but that is no excuse to act as if it will never

With this in mind and in our hearts, in memory of all those comrades who
struggled and who, for three long years, engaged in the revolution, we have
celebrated this anniversary in the best possible way - by publishing new and
old material about the war in Spain, some of it never before published in
Italian: "Towards a Fresh Revolution" by the Friends of Durruti, who tried to
oppose the insipience of the old and new bureaucracies and the Stalinist
violence which preferred to fight the anarchists and the revolution rather than
the fascists and the bourgeoisie; "Mujeres Libres", a pamphlet on the women of
Spain who, with their intelligence and physical presence sought to give birth
to a new Spain and who demonstrated that freedom can only be conquered day by
day, women and men all together; finally "Libertarian Communism & Other
Writings" by Isaac Puente, a clear outline of what needed to be done for the

We have also dedicated the seventh issue of "Antipodi", our magazine of
culture, politics and art, to the subject of Anarchist Communism and
revolutions, including the Spanish Revolution.

Because each revolution grows thanks to the mistakes and thanks to the
conquests of the previous ones. And the next revolution is no exception.

Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici
Rome, 19th July 2006

From: Federazione dei Comunisti Anarchici <internazionale-A-fdca.it>
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