BRITISH ANARCHISM AND THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR
Most historiography on the relationship between the Spanish Civil War and the British labour movement concentrates on the mainstream Left. There is an extensive literature on the Aid Spain Movement, while the more general impact of the Spanish Civil War on the British working class is examined in works focusing on the Trade Unions and the Communist and Labour parties. This study focuses instead on British anarchism, a radical tendency on the fringe of the labour movement, albeit one for whom the Spanish struggle was of fundamental significance.
The first part will concentrate on developments in Britain, examining the resurgence of activism and propaganda as a result of the Spanish Civil War and accounting for the aid given to the Spanish anarchists. The second part will focus on developments in Spain and how these were perceived and analysed by the British anarchists and the international movement in general.
The Revolution in Spain captured the imagination of anarchists all around the world, injecting a sense of confidence that overrode their scepticism regarding the politicisation of their Spanish comrades. As the war progressed however, subordinating the Revolution to its needs, the silent scepticism became a loud protest that fed upon the despair of defeat.
PART 1: BRITISH ANARCHISM
Activism and propaganda in Britain
London and Glasgow were essentially the historic centres of anarchism in Britain. In the period before the First World War, London had been the centre of a vibrant anarchist movement supported by a large immigrant population. The suppression of libertarian journals and the split over the position to be taken concerning the war however, initiated a process of marginalization which continued after the war and was facilitated by the prestige the Bolshevik Revolution bestowed upon the Leninist conception of communism among radical socialist circles. “Freedom”, the newspaper that had originally appeared in 1886 and constituted the voice of the London Freedom Group, ceased publication in 1927 when editor Tom Keel retired taking the paper’s assets with him. The London Freedom Group lingered on with its lectures and socials but its tiny size and the harsh economic climate that followed the Depression prevented the regular publication of Freedom despite its revival in 1929 by John Turner and in 1933 by Fred Stroud, George Cores and John Hamphrey.
The Glasgow anarchists did not have an independent existence but were organised in the anti-parliamentary movement, which was expressed through the Anti Parliamentary Communist Federation (APCF). There was an ideational mixture in Glasgow as anarchists and Marxists influenced each other as a result of their organisational association. Closer to the traditions of council communism rather than anarchism, anti-parliamentarism generally speaking accepted the Marxian political economy along with the Bakuninist emphasis on spontaneity, direct action and decentralisation. The attempt to explain the meaning of the world economic crisis, the formation of the National Government and the rise of fascism in Germany led to a split in the APCF with Guy Aldred, one of the founding members of the APCF, leaving along with others to form the United Socialist Movement, (USM) which included several members of the Independent Labour Party (ILP).
The outbreak of revolution in Spain, following the military rebellion in July 1936, essentially gave a new life to the British anarchist movement. Its impact as a source of inspiration was similar to that of the Russian Revolution two decades earlier, capturing the hearts and minds of British anarchists as a new social order was in the process of being created. The enthusiasm and encouragement it bestowed upon the militant activists to expand their agitational activity was demonstrated through the significant increase in the frequency of public speaking. Open-air meetings and public speeches were part of the anarchist tradition and the Spanish struggle provided the stimulus for an “attempt to start a series of mass meetings1” not confined to the usual sites of Hyde Park, Finsbury Park and Clapham Common. In Glasgow, the APCF member Willie MacDougal noted that he “was never so active in speaking at street corners as in 1936 to 1939 during the Spanish crisis2”. Guy Aldred characterised the Spanish struggle as “the mighty proletarian movement that Europe needed3”. More accurately, Mark Shipway observed that the Spanish struggle was the mighty proletarian movement the anti-parliamentarians needed after years of decline.4 Guy Aldred prepared nineteen leaflets published by the USM newspaper, Regeneracion! during August 1936 all centering on the Spanish struggle, while the Freedom Group in London prepared Freedom Bulletins with information from the CNT-FAI via the International Working-man Association and commentary by the Austrian anarchist historian Max Nettlau.
The most spectacular manifestation of the resurgence of British anarchism as a result of the Spanish Revolution and Civil War was the fortnightly newspaper which begun publication on 11th December 1936 and was dedicated to the struggle in Spain. “Spain and the World” begun spontaneously on the initiative of Vernon Richards, the dynamic young editor of the newspaper, who took upon himself a disproportionate amount of work, editing, writing, proof reading and taking care of financial and general considerations as well. Encouragement and support came from Max Sartin and Osvaldo Maraviglia (that is the editor and the administrator of the New York Italian paper L’ Adunata dei Refrattari) and most importantly from Tom Keel (for many years editor of the old Freedom) who was also the legally responsible publisher until his death in June 1938. Marie-Louise Berneri, the daughter of the Italian anarchist Camillo Berneri and Richard’s companion, Frank Leech from Glasgow and Sonia Edelman (Clements) were the other members of the editorial team, the latter assuming legal responsibility after the death of Tom Keel.
Following up on the production of the thirty-two page pamphlet “The struggle for liberty in Spain” in November 1936, “Spain and the world” described itself as an anti-fascist fortnightly which was the “mouthpiece of no political party and the defender of no government5”. Although events in Spain occupied the largest columns of the newspaper, philosophical and theoretical expositions, literary reviews, commentary on British and international themes and a review of the mainstream press were present in every issue. Furthermore, the newspaper had a readers’ column where lively discussions on a variety of themes, such as religion, imperialism, Zionism, Soviet communism and fascism took place. “Spain and the world” was at the same time the main platform through which anarchist gatherings, public meetings and literature sales were advertised.
Meanwhile the famous Russian-American anarchist, Emma Goldman, arrived in London in December 1936 to set up the CNT-FAI Bureau with the help of those around the Freedom Group. Ralph Barr, the secretary of the Freedom Group, became the secretary of the CNT-FAI London Committee (Bureau), which essentially aspired to act as the anarchist centre in Britain. Emma Goldman toured around Britain giving lectures on the constructive anarchist achievements she had witnessed in Spain and raising money for the CNT-FAI. The attempt to build a mass anarchist movement was expressed through the formation of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Union (ASU) in April 1937, which met in the Goldhawk Mews offices of the CNT-FAI London Committee. The formation of a revolutionary working class movement however is primarily determined by the intensity of the class struggle at the specific historic moment and only secondarily by the organisational structure through which it is expressed. The old vicious anarcho-syndicalist dilemma reappeared with vengeance: does one announce that one has a syndicalist movement in before having backing in the workshop, in the hope of getting it or not?6 The Syndicalist Propaganda League, which was attempting to prepare the ground for an anarcho-syndicalist movement since its formation in January 1936 by Mac Cartney, Sugg and Stenzlite considered the launching of the ASU premature and its reservations were proven correct as ASU’s activity, lacking an industrial basis, was essentially confined to propaganda. When the ASU applied for membership to the International Working-men’s Association (IWMA) (the international union of anarcho-syndicalist unions) its application was rejected on the grounds that it was merely a propagandist body and not bona fide industrial7.
Nevertheless, despite its ultimate failure, the ASU membership grew very rapidly at first, a clear sign of the significantly expanded anarchist influence by 1937. The Spanish struggle had essentially magnified the reach of the anarchist appeal in Britain. This was manifested through the hundreds or even thousands (as Meltzer claims for Glasgow) that attended anarchist public meetings. Spain and the World achieved an international and fairly large circulation with thousands of copies of each issue distributed or sold. Most of these “new converts” however proved little more than anti-fascist enthusiasts, temporarily attracted to anarchism for the duration of the Spanish civil war.
The Spanish struggle, as the first direct challenge to the international ascendancy of fascism, spelled out even more clearly the already diagnosed need for the coordination and unity of the British libertarian movement. The London Freedom Group stepped up its cooperation with the APCF and its secretary Ralph Barr appealed to Guy Aldred of the USM to join them. “Get unity with the APCF surely it is not impossible. I am in cooperation with them and there is no earthly reason why the USM should not be8”. “Freedom”, the paper of the London Freedom Group and Advance, the paper of the APCF were folded up in favour of “Fighting Call”, to be published by Frank Leech, a leading APCF member. In October 1936 the APCF declared: “It is time that in this country all personal and party pettiness was abandoned and a real united front shown to the common enemy, international capitalism and fascism. The “Fighting Call” is a concrete example of the efficiency of such an alliance. It is the joint production of the Freedom Group, London and the APCF, Glasgow9”.
Personal and party pettiness however proved difficult to eradicate especially as the APCF- Freedom Group competed with the USM for the right to speak on behalf of the Spanish anarchists. Guy Aldred insisted that he ought to get the CNT-FAI “franchise” because of his long record of commitment to the anarchist cause and because the USM was the first organisation in Britain to champion the Spanish cause and insist on its anarchist character10. Referring to the nineteen leaflets published by “Regeneracion!” he claimed that his APCF rivals had “never thought of Spain till I started the leaflets11”. The news of Barr’s communication with Augustin Souchy and Emma Goldman (while in Spain) regarding the establishment of the London CNT-FAI Bureau made Aldred even more angry. Aldred believed that Goldman, who had dropped out of political activity in the 1920s to earn a living as a literary critic (petty bourgeois careerism) could not simply burst into the scene and organise anarchists around herself ignoring those like himself who had remained active throughout the barren years of the twenties and thirties. He revealed his bitterness in a letter to Jenny Patrick: “I have lasted the distance in poverty and misery. I have endured eight years imprisonment, been on two hunger strikes…all this counts for nothing. The entire business is a disgrace.12”
Relations between the USM and the APCF-Freedom Group around the newly formed London Bureau continued to deteriorate with personal attacks becoming more frequent. Jenny Patrick denounced Frank Leech as a “capitalist13” while Leech took the lead within the APCF in opposing unity with the USM. “You express the desire for unity between the USM and the APCF. You might as well desire unity between the Roman Catholic Church and the Freethought movement….The APCF believes in and practices members democracy….The USM on the contrary, is in practice a congregation with Guy Aldred as high priest, the members follow like sheep, accepting his authority without question14”. When the much discussed about unity meeting between the APCF and the USM eventually took place, Leech demanded that the USM publicly apologise for accusations regarding how he made his living15 before unity negotiations could continue. It took Leech’s resignation (the reasons for it are obscure) from the APCF in May 1937 for the improvement of relations between the two anti-parliamentary groups to be achieved. In May 1937 the two groups cooperated to publish the one off Barcelona Bulletin, while they continued their cooperation for the remaining duration of the struggle in Spain, forming the Ethel MacDonald Defence Committee for the brief period while she was in danger in Spain. The USM invited the APCF to use its premises when the latter faced difficulties while the APCF’s “Workers’ Free Press” was opened up as a forum for discussion “for the workers and their propagandist groups in Glasgow and district16.
Nevertheless, although the tension between the USM and the APCF was reduced, the tension within the libertarian movement as a whole remained. This was mainly the result of the uneasy relationship between the CNT London Bureau and the domestic anarchist militants. Frank Leech suggested that the local groups should conduct propaganda and incitement for action on behalf of Spain, while the Bureau stuck to purely humanitarian fund raising at which Emma Goldman and her influential friends would have been adept17. The Bureau could even take on another name hiding the fact that it was anarchist and thus enhancing its efficiency like the communist front organisations. Later on and somehow a bit too late, the CNT saw the advantages of such a policy and initiated the International Anti-fascist Solidarity (SIA). Meltzer, Aldred and Leech felt that the CNT Bureau put too much emphasis in attacking the arms embargo thus consequently neglecting to explain the real nature of the Spanish struggle. Aldred went as far as claiming that it did little more than paying for Goldman’s lecture tours.
Leech and other anarchists from the APCF proceeded to form the Anarchist Communist Federation (ACF) in August 1937 coming into closer cooperation with Spain and the World and the ASU. When Emma Goldman toured Scotland in March 1938 it was to the ACF that she turned for organisational support as her relations with the USM and the APCF were less cordial. May 1937 ultimately had brought the first distinction, in Meltzer’s words between those “who supported anarchism and the revolution and those who merely supported anti-fascism but more of it18”. Emma Goldman and some of her local supporters put themselves into a very difficult position, as they had to explain the capitulationism of the CNT-FAI to the more radical anarchists who were already resentful of the anti-fascist collaborationism. An activist minority in London, had already formed the Friends of Durruti in January 1937 (no relation with the Barcelona group) opposing the compromises in Spain and advocating direct action. The Revolutionary Youth Federation, in which the younger and more impatient anarchists were organised, adopted some semi-terrorist methods such as the burning down of a fascist centre, which was housing a pro-Franco exhibition, only to bring about the disapproval of their older comrades. Goldman accused Meltzer of being a rascal and a hooligan when the latter took responsibility for the action in order to counter Barr’s claim that it must have been the work of an agent provocateur19.
The close cooperation, which the CNT London Bureau had with the ILP, was a constant point of reference for its critics. Fenner Brockway, John MacGovern, Reginald Reynolds and John MacNair were very often invited to public meetings organised by the Bureau provoking the dissatisfaction of more “purist” anarchists. Despite charges of sectarianism many anarchists felt that the ILP was basking in the glory of the CNT for its own electoral possibilities and was only looking for new allies being as it was, under Stalinist attack. Goldman partly recognised this, yet she continued collaborating with the ILP, which she considered to be more advanced than the other labour parties. The USM which had associated itself with ILP in the past, refused to follow Goldman’s example with Ethel MacDonald claiming “the USM was right to have no truck with Brockway etc20”.
As the tensions within the British libertarian movement continued to thwart its coordination, feeding upon the disillusionment and despair caused by the imminent defeat in Spain and the looming spectre of the imperialist war, the Anarchist Federation of Britain (AFB) was formed in October 1938. It was however, for the first year, to say the least, mostly a nominal body. The decline in the circulation of “Spain and the World” which was eventually incorporated into “Revolt!” in February 1939, ultimately signified the difficult times through which British anarchism was passing as the disappointment of the British masses was giving way not to the revolutionary anger preached by the anarchists, but to the reactionary hysterias of nationalism. The end of the Spanish war found the British anarchists too busy taking care of their Spanish comrades, now destitute refugees, to embark upon a sustained propaganda effort. Emma Goldman left for Canada as the US continued to deny her entry. Nevertheless, not everything was lost. Although anarchist audiences shrank, there were plenty of activists around, most of them having learnt a lot from the Spanish struggle. Opposition to the coming war (unlike the previous one) was almost unanimous in British anarchist circles. “War Commentary”, edited by Vernon Richards, Marie-Louise Berneri, Tom Brown and Albert Meltzer became a significant forum through which anarchist ideas were propagated, reaching the various pacifist groups, which made up its readership.
Aid for Spanish anarchists
The struggle in Spain did not just bring a sense of optimism and euphoria to the British anarchist movement. It also imposed a duty upon the British anarchists, not only to expand their activism and propaganda, but also and more importantly to find practical ways of expressing their solidarity with their Spanish comrades. This was recognised by British libertarians who embarked upon a humanitarian campaign. As the APCF declared in October 1936: “It is necessary to hold an intensive campaign to raise funds to be sent in any way our Spanish comrades request. They are giving their lives, let us give to the utmost of our ability”21.
“Spain and the World” set up a solidarity fund and appealed to its readership for aid to be forwarded to Spain, either directly or through the Spanish Medical Aid Committee, which had its offices in New Oxford Street, London. Publishing the aid sent to Spain from Norwegian, Swedish and American comrades, “Spain and the World” called upon the British workers to contribute with both monetary and material means to alleviate the suffering of the Spanish workers. “We do not make this appeal to you in the name of God or Christianity. We appeal to you as men and women with feeling who can no longer look whilst fascism makes thousands of innocent victims in its attempts to enslave a whole people.”22 “Spain and the World” proceeded to form a Spanish Orphans’ Fund sending all the money collected to the Comite pour l’ Espagne Libre” in Paris which had acquired a chateau in Gerona sheltering 200 orphans. “Spain and the World” became responsible for ten orphans but the encouraging response of its readership induced it to adopt ten more by May 1937. Photographs from the Durruti-Ascaso Colony as it was named and descriptions of the conditions there, were published from time to time along with appeals to expand the contributions. More than £1000 was raised, a large part coming from the Italian-American anarchists around the journal “L’ Adunata dei Refrattari”.
Emma Goldman, who arrived in Britain in December 1936 to form the CNT-FAI London Bureau, launched a series of public meetings in January and February 1937, in which she described the constructive achievements of the Spanish Revolution. At the same time, with most events being ticketed and with direct appeals for monetary aid, the CNT-FAI London Bureau managed to raise £275 by March 1937. Nevertheless Goldman was not always successful; a joint meeting with the ILP in Liverpool actually made a loss and militants such as Albert Meltzer and Guy Aldred criticised the London Bureau for inefficiency.
Emma Goldman’s activities and fund raising were usually conducted in association with ILP members, especially Ethel Mannin, who was her close friend. An example of a joint ILP-Goldman venture was the establishment of a home for forty-one children from anarchist Basque families at Street in Somerset in a large house given by the Quaker footwear firm23.
The great success of the British Communist Party tactic of raising money through front organisations along with the boycott of anarchists in Catalonia and Aragon by the Republican Government induced the CNT to launch its own front organisation in late 1937. SIA (International Antifascist Solidarity) concentrated on humanitarian relief for Catalonia and its English section was established by Goldman and Mannin and included sponsors such as: W. H. Auden, Stella Churchill, George Orwell, Herbert Read and Rebecca West. According to Mannin, the SIA was: “Essentially humanitarian in its appeal, free of sectarianism….blessedly free from the conflicts and complexities of party politics. It enlists and coordinates the sympathies and activities of antifascist men and women of all nationalities, on a basis which appeals to the non-politically minded who know only that they hate fascism24”. In Britain, the SIA cooperated with the surrealist artist Ronald Penrose in establishing the Spanish Exhibition, which included drawings by children in Barcelona schools, photographs from industrial and agricultural collectives, posters and artwork in general. Showings of the documentary film “Fury over Spain” by Adrien Porchetria, Ramon de Barros and Antonio Garcia were held in various meetings and exhibitions. Another anarchist front organisation founded by Emma Goldman and concerned with fund raising concerts and art exhibitions without mentioning the word anarchism was the “Committee to Aid Homeless Spanish Women and Children”.
Following the collapse of the Republican regime, “Revolt!”, the successor to “Spain and the World” started a refugee fund for the Spanish comrades who had arrived in Britain. “Of the 180 odd refugees from Spain, nearly fifty were our comrades of the CNT, FAI and FIJL. Most of them were sent to the Salvation Army hostel. Money is needed to get them out25”. By the end of May, the editorial team could declare that twenty of those were being taken care of26. Vernon Richards and Marie Louise Berneri took the initiative to look after their Spanish comrades, along with other activists such as Marie Goldberg who opened up her home to refugees27. A sense of bitterness prevailed at the sight of the 500 000 loyalists interned in French concentration camps. The French government was attacked for the appalling conditions in the camp but the anarchist poet Herbert Read talked for many anarchists when he blamed the British and international proletariat for betraying the Spanish workers.
The only arms that the CNT-FAI received independently of the other popular front organisations and parties, actually came from two British anarchists, Alf Rosenbaum and Albert Meltzer after they were approached by a CNT delegate, Blasco Velasquez. Velasquez attended a meeting of the Freedom Group, which was held at Rosenbaum’s tailoring workshop in an attic in Soho Square. Using the address of the gigantic international corporation, which occupied the rest of the building, a purchase of arms (rifles and machine-guns) from a Czechoslovakian manufacturer was arranged. Since the arms had to pass through German territory, sailing from Hamburg on an Irish ship, the consignee was General Franco. It was unfortunate that the ship happened to be calling at Bilbao and the arms were seized by the CNT. This occurred three times before the Czechs cancelled the shipments and informed the non-intervention authorities28.
British volunteers to Spain were very few, but this was in any case the desire of the CNT, which preferred anarchists to support it by spreading news to the world, rather than depopulating the small anarchist movements abroad. Anarchist volunteers who manned the foreign brigades were primarily Germans and Italians who had come in the early days of the struggle spontaneously and who could not return to their home countries. Nevertheless in September 1936, “Regeneration”, the organ of the USM, issued an appeal from Andre Prudhomeaux, who was working for the external propaganda department of the CNT, calling for arms, money and trained soldiers to be sent to Spain29. Guy Aldred wanted an anti-pariamentary column to leave Glasgow for Spain. Although some correspondence between the British and the Spanish anarchists apparently took place the whole scheme failed to materialise. Prudhommeaux however, sent a letter to Aldred informing him about the arrival of four Glasgow volunteers in Nimes, ready to continue their journey to Catalonia30. From London, Daniel Mullen left for Spain at his own expense and with the agreement of Augustin Souchy31. Captain J.R White, the commander of an Irish mixed grouping of Republicans, Socialists and Anarchists, became critical of Communist Party policy and converted into anarchism while in Spain. When he returned to Britain, he joined the London Freedom Group and spoke in many of Emma Goldman’s public meetings.
Ethel MacDonald of the USM and Jenny Patrick of the APCF made their journey to Spain to help with propaganda. Patrick had been invited by the CNT in her personal capacity as an experienced printer32, but she fell under suspicion as a letter from Frank Leech had arrived ahead of them disowning Patrick as an APCF member. Following the consequent clash between the USM and the APCF however, a letter was sent to Barcelona explaining that although not an APCF member, her revolutionary integrity should not be doubted33. Patrick was then able to work in the Committee of Defence in Madrid, while MacDonald became responsible for the English broadcasts of the CNT’s Radio Barcelona. Although Patrick left shortly after the May Days, MacDonald stayed and like many other revolutionaries spent some time in prison before escaping from Catalonia in September 1937, to arrive eventually in Glasgow two months later after passing from Paris and Amsterdam and informing her French and Dutch comrades of the persecutions taking place in Spain.
PART 2: BRITISH AND INTERNATIONAL ANARCHIST POSITIONS ON WAR AND REVOLUTION IN SPAIN
Criticism of CNT-FAI
British anarchists and anarchists around the world found themselves in an awkward position as the Spanish Civil War was evolving. On the one hand they were enthusiastic with the achievements of the Revolution in the economic and the social realm, while on the other hand they witnessed the most flagrant violation of anarchist doctrine: anarchist participation in the Catalan and central governments. Overwhelmed by the rapid development of events and reluctant to be too harsh in its criticisms of the only anarchist mass movement in history, international anarchism although sceptical, accepted the justifications of the CNT-FAI for its compromises in 1936. As 1937 dragged on however, criticism became more and more loud reaching its peak at the IWMA Conference in mid December in Paris where bitter confrontation took place between the CNT-FAI delegation and its critics including such historic figures as Schapiro, Prudhommeaux and Voline. Although the split was eventually avoided and the CNT-FAI achieved the passing of a resolution calling on “the anarcho-syndicalist international to suspend all criticism of CNT-FAI policies in publicly circulated publications of the movement,34” its critics were neither convinced nor silenced.
Popular resistance to the military uprising in July 1936 had effectively eclipsed the state in Catalonia as power became diffused into the streets. Local committees, defence committees, worker’s committees, peasants’ committees and committees of every sort represented the new revolutionary order. Instead of attempting to coordinate, reinforce and unify those organs of workers’ power, the CNT-FAI shied away from leading the struggle towards the achievement of libertarian communism. Garcia Oliver’s argument that the movement should take power and impose libertarian communism in the form of a CNT dictatorship was rejected on the grounds that libertarian ends cannot be achieved through totalitarian means. Anarchists were a minority in the rest of Spain, said the moderates and the immediacy of the fascist threat necessitated the unity of all anti-fascists. Thus the CNT-FAI decided for collaboration and democracy, entering the Central Committee of Anti-fascist Militias (CCAM), which soon acquired all the attributes of a revolutionary government. The nominal government, the Generalitat, was not destroyed but was reduced to legalising post-facto the various revolutionary transformations emanating from below. What was truly amazing was that the CNT-FAI broke with its apolitical past so easily, participating in two pseudo-governmental bodies (the CCAM and the Council of Aragon) with practically no domestic or international censure. Nettlau, writing in a Freedom Bulletin, declared: “the FAI’s attitude on the committee has been one of moderation. The CNT is using every effort to bring back normal life…certain enterprises have been taken over by the workers…but there is no immediate intention of introducing libertarian communism…the really important thing which takes precedence is the great struggle against fascist militarism35”.
This emphasis on anti-fascism however, induced the Spanish anarchists to accept the dilemma of war or revolution and the need to postpone the latter in favour of the former. This was effectively the rationale behind the decision to enter the Catalan and central governments in late September and early November respectively. The notion of a war between democracy and fascism rather than one between the proletariat and the forces of fascism-capitalism was tacitly accepted by the CNT-FAI leadership, and during the first few months of the struggle this was not seriously challenged by anarchist groups in Britain. Guy Aldred of USM claimed that the struggle in Spain was one “between military fascism and democracy, even constitutional democracy36” while the “Fighting Call”, organ of the APCF-Freedom Group argued in a legalistic manner that “there is not a single convincing argument to prevent the supply of arms to the legally and democratically constituted government of Spain37”.
Although the IWMA was not convinced by the arguments the CNT-FAI used to justify this complete abandonment of anarchist principles, and proceeded to replace Augustin Souchy, its Spanish representative who tolerated this degeneration, with Pierre Bresnard, , the predominant attitude in British and international anarchist circles was patience and reluctance to express strict criticism. The APCF and the Freedom Group remained silent and apologetic for the compromises made, maintaining, “To act in accordance with reality is the principal factor for attaining a definite triumph38”. It continued, “theories are grey but life is manifold and full of colour. Life is not determined by theories. Theories are determined by life39”. Emma Goldman, as the official CNT delegate in London, appealed for understanding and support, claiming that “government and ministries do not mean the same thing to the Spanish anarchists as they do to Europeans and Americans. They are makeshift to them, to be dispensed in due time40”.
In contrast, the American journal “Man!” was a consistent and firm opponent of political collaboration from the very beginning, maintaining that “anarchists who take part in a governing body cannot possibly be anarchists but in name41”.
What alternatives did the CNT-FAI have to collaboration with the political parties in the united front? As Gaston Leval claims, anti-fascist unity was not a construction of the CNT-FAI leadership to justify its treacherous reformism but a real popular desire. Montsney’s position that “in these tragic times, we must put aside our point of view, our ideological conditions, in order to realise the unity of all anti-fascists from the republicans to the anarchists42” can be taken to be representative of the state of mind prevailing in Loyalist Spain. Peirats, himself an anti-collaborationist, writes: “We all understood that leading to the period of collaboration was a chain of events that placed the CNT in a helpless position, the only alternative of those who consistently opposed collaboration with the government was a heroic defeat, they could offer no solution that would simultaneously preserve victory in the war, progress in the revolution and complete loyalty to their ideas and the preservation of their own lives, they lacked the power to perform miracles, instead they consoled themselves by clinging to their principles43”.
Camillo Berneri however, did propose a concrete and retrospectively quite reasonable policy, diametrically opposed to that of the CNT-FAI leadership; he was not able to preserve his life though. In his open letter to Federica Montseney published in Guerra de Classe of 14th April 1937 and reprinted in “Spain and the World” two months later Berneri claimed that “after three months of collaboration…the dilemma war or revolution no longer has any meaning. The only dilemma is this: either victory over Franco through revolutionary war or defeat44”. The main idea in Berneri’s plan was the granting of independence to Morocco accompanied with an attempt to stir up a rebellion throughout North Africa. This would have eroded the discipline of the Moorish Francoist troops and it could perhaps even spark a pan-Islamic revolution. Berneri’s vision though of a revolutionary war fought against western capitalism in North Africa and against the bourgeois regime in Spain, which was a constant threat to the Revolution, was totally ignored by the CNT-FAI leadership, which remained focused on anti-fascist unity.
CNT-FAI participation in Largo Caballero’s War Government not only failed to establish real anti-fascist unity, as the May Days were to show, but it essentially facilitated the resurrection of the apparatus of the bourgeois state undermining the revolutionary achievements it aimed to protect. The radical initiatives of the Spanish working class were co-opted and the revolutionary process was arrested as regular, appointed municipal councils replaced the revolutionary committees. When the anarchists were pushed out of the government in the aftermath of the May Days the consistently anti-collaborationist Man! could declare: “As for the anarcho-syndicalist members of the government, they have served their purpose. They were used up by consumed politicians as stooges to give the Spanish people a new confidence in their government. This end attained….they were dismissed with little thanks45”.
The counter-revolutionary drive spearheaded by the Spanish communists in association with the Franco-British abandonment of the Spanish republic made anarchists in Spain and abroad to re-assess the issues at stake. In February 1937 Spain and the world reprinted an article from the FAI journal “Tierra y Libertad”: “we must not count on anything more than our own strength and struggle by it without putting our hopes in the helmsmen of capitalist states. The fact is that the only international help must be given by the proletariat of the world46”. There was no longer any point in tolerating the camouflage of the revolution in the expectation of receiving arms. “Spain and the World” concluded that the idea of fascism versus democracy was useless: “there is one issue today, fascism or social revolution47”. Likewise Aldred of the USM commented in a one-off May Day Bulletin on the democratic façade of capitalism: “The official government slogan in Spain is the democratic Republic. This means capitalism, even if of a liberal, reformist type. It means exploitation even though in a less oppressive form than under Franco. Hence, this slogan does not express the aspirations in the civil war, of at least a large section of the Spanish masses. They want, not democratic capitalism, but no capitalism, they want to make a workers’ revolution, and establish workers’ collectivism48”.
In this context, where the forces of revolution and counter-revolution were heading for a confrontation, control over the armed forces was a fundamental issue. The CNT-FAI had accepted militarisation in principle, justifying this as the only way to receive heavy arms, which were coming from the USSR and were controlled by the communists. Yet repugnance of the militarist formalism that characterised the Popular Army and the disproportionate influence of the counter-revolutionary communists in it, reinforced the suspicions and surfaced the apprehensions felt by many anarchists. Ethel MacDonald echoed anarchist fears when she stated in one of her radio broadcasts: “They have used the fall of Malaga (which was blamed on the anarchist leader Morotto) for the purpose of agitation for a regular army to replace the militia altogether, so that it will be possible, by having the entire fighting forces under the control of military experts, to divorce the army completely form the people, and accomplish that which they are most anxious for, the disarming of the workers49”. As anarchist units continued to receive inferior supplies after their re-organisation, the Libertarian Youth expressed their “indignation at the government which continues boycotting the Aragon front. If the Libertarian Youth accepted mobilisation it was in the hope of undertaking an offensive. But the front still lacks sufficient arms, while the Assault Guards and Civil Guards are recalled and given the best equipment50”.
The growing gulf separating the CNT-FAI leadership from the rank and file was demonstrated during the May Days. While the CNT-FAI militants, the Libertarian Youth and the POUM set up barricades to resist the counter-revolutionary offensive, expressed through the communist led Assault Guards’ attack on the Telephone Exchange (legally under the joint CNT-UGT control) the anarchist ministers went to Barcelona to end the fighting and the official CNT-FAI press appealed for calm and a return to work. The high committees of the libertarian movement were determined to avoid the escalation of hostilities sensing that even if victory came about, it would be a pyhric one, speeding up the Francoist advance. Yet as the Generalitad stood firm, it was the CNT-FAI that had to capitulate once more. Emma Goldman considered the capitulationism displayed by the CNT-FAI as a far greater error than its actual participation in government. While in Spain, she bitterly attacked the communists and urged the Spanish anarchists to abandon their capitulationist stance. For Albert Meltzer and Vernon Richards however, CNT-FAI capitulationism was the necessary consequence of the desertion of anarchist principles. Having entered the muddy world of politics, the CNT-FAI leaders’ inexperience and naivety made them easy targets for the machinations of the politicians who isolated them, outmanoeuvred them and forced them to retreat step after step. Once they accepted the logic of the necessity of government as the mechanism to achieve unity, they lost the moral ground to protest against actions aimed at strengthening that government, allowing for its more efficient direction of the war.
When Julian Gorkin, a member of the POUM executive committee met with the regional committees of the CNT-FAI asking them to lead the spontaneous popular resistance to the Generalitad’s offensive, he was utterly disappointed: “…the regional committees made no decision. Their maximum demand was the removal of the police commissar who provoked the crisis. As though it were not the various forces behind him that had to be destroyed51”. The view of the British anti-parliamentarians was similar. In a one-off Barcelona Bulletin co-published by the USM-APCF consisting mainly of Patrick’s and MacDonald’s eyewitness accounts and analysis of the week of street fighting, they adopted a highly critical position towards the CNT-FAI. Patrick stressed that: “The CNT wants the trouble stopped…. but the CP must be cleared out of everything, especially the Genaralitad…if the CNT compromises now, and loses its opportunity of bringing this matter to a head, their chance to do so will never occur again….52”. Three days later MacDonald likewise insisted that “we should have taken up the challenge, wiped out these counter-revolutionary elements and taken over complete control… was not this the time to take over complete control? We control the ammunition factories, the transport, practically all the means of sustenance. Would we have lost?53” Within the CNT-FAI, a group called Friends of Durruti adopted a similar position. In a handbill distributed to the barricades it called: “Workers! A revolutionary junta! Shoot the culprits. Disarm the armed corps. Socialisation of the economy. Disband the political parties, which have turned on the working class. We must not surrender the streets. The Revolution before everything else. We salute our comrades from the POUM who fraternised with us on the streets. Long live the Revolution! Down with the counter-revolution!54”.
The May Days were ultimately a turning point for the future of the revolution. The central government assumed control of public order in Catalonia and decreed the disbandment of the Aragon militia, provoking the Friends of Durruti to attack the CNT-FAI leadership once more: “The treason is on a monumental scale. The two essential guarantees of the working class, security and defence are offered to our enemies on a platter55”. The new government under Negrin, in which communist influence was significantly expanded, was very determined to fully restore the power of the state and did not have any scruples in resorting to highly authoritarian measures in its efforts to silence the revolutionary voices. Yet although the CNT-FAI refused to participate in it at the beginning, it continued to participate in the apparatus of the state and remained fully committed to anti-fascist unity. It disowned the Friends of Durruti Group and ignored the protests of the Libertarian Youth which urged a defiant stance: “For our part we can no longer remain in silence, nor tolerate all the counter-revolutionary activities which are taking place… all in the name of the war and anti-fascist unity…This cannot be tolerated a moment longer, and we are prepared, if need be, to return to clandestine activities. So today we repeat: before giving up the struggle against fascism we will die in the trenches. Before renouncing the revolution, we shall know how to face death on the barricades.56”.
The May Days had effectively vindicated the anti-collaborationist tendency within the international anarchist movement. The May crisis had crystallised the anxieties felt by many as a result of the policies of the CNT-FAI, and criticism became stricter and louder. In September 1937, the APCF’s “Worker's Free Press” reprinted an article from International Council Correspondence which argued that the anti-fascist alliance had been a “united front with capitalism, which can only be a united front for capitalism…The People's front is not a lesser evil for the workers, it is only another form of capitalist dictatorship in addition to fascism.... The revolutionary watchword for Spain is: Down with the fascists and also down with the loyalists57”. Referring specifically to the CNT-FAI leadership the tone was vitriolic: “But now the revolutionary workers must recognise that also the anarchist leaders, that also the apparatchiks of the CNT and FAI oppose the interests of the workers, belong to the enemy camp. The counter-revolution extends all the way from Franco to Santillan58”. A month later MacDonald echoed this thesis in an article condemning the anti-fascist alliance with democratic capitalism: “Fascism is not something new, some new force of evil opposed to society, but it is only the old enemy, Capitalism, under a new and fearful sounding name.......Anti-fascism is the new slogan by which the working class is being betrayed59”. In London, the Revolutionary Youth Federation and the Committee for Workers’ control, jointly produced a monthly Bulletin, which opposed the compromises of the CNT-FAI raising the question: “Why fight Franco if Negrín is to be the alternative? Hitler or Stalin, hog or dog, what does it matter?” It went on to conclude that: “There is a gallows for such dictators.......If Madrid is to be the tomb of fascism, Barcelona must be the tomb of the Popular Front60”
In the climate of repression and disillusionment that prevailed, the official collaborationist position of the CNT-FAI remained unchanged. A Unity Pact was formed with the by then communist-controlled UGT, which acknowledged the expanded role of the state in the running of the economy. The CNT accepted a seat in the re-shuffled Negrin government, which followed the dismissal of Prieto. Although the CNT did openly attack Negrin and the communists in the fall of 1938, everything had been lost by then. The APCF reprinted an article by the Friends of Durruti entitled The Friends of Durruti Accuse, whose analysis on the war and revolution in Spain was by then shared by the overwhelming majority in the international anarchist movement: “We had predicted that the line pursued after July, of dissociating the war from the revolution, must inevitability lead to disaster. Our thesis has been confirmed by the facts. The revolution was lost in May and with it the war.......Two periods presented themselves......July 1936 and May 1937. On these two occasions, the same error was committed. The leaders of the CNT-FAI did not impose the power of our organisations, which were supported by the masses.......These leaders were thus most responsible for......the loss of the revolution.......The CNT-FAI leaders did not desire to impose a dictatorship on anti-working class parties. Yet they became the assistants of the bourgeois liberals, of the petty bourgeoisie, of international capitalism, which, under the mask of democracy, served fascism, thus defeating the revolution.......Those who should have heard the demands of the Spanish working class, who were called upon to defend them, were the leaders of the CNT-FAI, who betrayed them. This we have affirmed, clearly and without subtlety.......The reformism of the CNT-FAI has led us to defeat61”.
Evaluation of revolutionary achievements
According to Burnett Bolloten, during the civil war Spain had undergone “a far reaching social revolution more profound in some respects than the Bolshevik revolution in its early stages”. The fact that this revolution was led by anarchist militants and was guided by anarchist principles, even if many socialist and apolitical workers and peasants participated in it, made it especially important from an anarchist point of view as a living example of the validation of libertarian theory. Although the revolution was far from complete, workers’ self-government and distributive patterns according to need, do stand out as evidence of the transformation under way in Spanish society. In the countryside, collectivisation was genuine socialisation as libertarian communist principles were achieved at least within the rural collectives whereas in the urban centres success was much more limited as the foundations of industrial capitalism were not significantly challenged despite the conversion from a private to a collective ownership regime.
Ultimately, the greatest achievement of the Spanish Revolution, and the pride of anarchists all around the world were the agrarian collectives. Gaston Leval, writing in a pamphlet issued by “Spain and the World” described them as “the finest example of socialisation which has ever been known and the greatest example, which has been offered to the world proletariat in the struggle for emancipation62”. Church and property records were destroyed, work was distributed equally and individualists (small-holders) were generally tolerated. The General Assembly, meeting weekly, bi-monthly or monthly was essentially the body that debated the policies, took the decisions and nominated the various commissions (with no fixed term and subject to instant recall) in charge of coordinating production and distribution and administering the Collective’s internal and external affairs. If self-management was the one principle cutting across the variety of organisational structures that characterised the collectives, solidarity was the other. In Balsareny for example, the peasants’ effort to increase food production by irrigating and cultivating a nearby plateau, enlisted the support of the local miners who “decided to contribute each of them, 10 pesetas a week out of a wage of 60 to 70 pesetas, and to help by their personal labour63”. The depth of the collectivists’ revolutionary humanism was most clearly manifested in their attempts to realise the communist principle “from each according to his ability to each according to his needs”. In this they were generally successful as Leval observes: “Where money was abolished, a certain quantity of goods was assured to each person; where money was retained, each family received a wage determined by the number of members64”.
Despite the collectivists’ conscious efforts to abolish wage labour and money as the regulators of social relationships, it is an exaggeration to speak of libertarian communism in the Spanish countryside as a whole. Many collectives produced more than they needed for their own purposes in order to exchange for things they were unable to produce themselves. In the transactions between the collectives, whether effected by barter or money, the capitalist category of value remained the ultimate regulator. Nevertheless, the CNT-FAI militants did take steps to federate the collectives and create a Regional Treasury so as to arrest their degeneration into capitalist enterprises and prevent the development of parochial mentalities and localist prejudices. In this spirit the Aragon Federation of Collectives proceeded to correct the imbalances arising from differences in soil fertility, capital availability and size of labour force, as well as to increase efficiency through the achievement of economic unification. The statistics on production and consumption compiled by the Collectives were forwarded to the District Committees, which were made responsible for overseeing the periodic transfer of surplus labour from some Collectives to others that needed it most. The circulation of money within and between the Collectives was abolished in favour of a ration booklet produced by the AFC leaving it to the Collectives to determine their own rations in accordance with the available supplies.
What was more remarkable and overtly emphasized by the British and international anarchist press, was the largely spontaneous and improvised manner in which the agrarian Collectives came into existence. Although the voluntary nature of the collectivisations in Aragon is somewhat doubtful given the presence of anarchist militias in that primarily small holding peasant region, communist claims of overt anarchist force are equally questionable, merely because of the fact that a large number of small holders did remain outside the Collectives. In the Levant on the other hand, there can be no doubt about the popularity of the collectivisation since it took place despite the fact that security and defence were in the hands of the Assault Guards, the Carabineros and troops headed by non-revolutionary officers. In fact the collectivisation wave gained such a momentum that it induced socialists and communists to set up their own collectives overriding the opposition of the official UGT leadership. In Castille and Extremadura, even Catholic and republican peasants participated in the collectivist movement. The Peasant Federation of Levant represented 900 Collectives by the end of 1938, with 40% of the total population living in them65. Overall there were 1600 agrarian Collectives according to Leval while Frank Mintz puts the number at 1015; in either case, it means that Collectivists were numbered in the hundreds of thousands.
Yet, success in the economic realm was ultimately constrained by the burdens imposed by the war, while a residual moral conservatism prevented the extension of the revolution in the sexual sphere. Many Collectives became responsible for supplying the militias, and as the Francoist troops advanced, they had to accommodate an increasing influx of refugees. Anarchists acknowledged the problems but their accounts remained optimistic. “This form of communism is of course, hampered by the necessity of adopting itself to a war situation. This leads to difficulties and even shortages, but on the whole a certain level of economic security has been obtained which is valued to an ever greater extend by the population66.” After all, collectivisation did allow for a rationalisation impossible under the small land ownership regime, and there was an overall increase in agricultural production as chemical fertilisers, better quality seeds and machinery became more readily available. The illiterate peasants’ thirst for education along with the traditional anarchist insistence on its prioritisation account for the huge advances made, with almost every Collective possessing its own school. The general progress achieved in the socio-economic realm however, although remarkable in itself, (and perhaps impossible to achieve through evolutionary means) did not ultimately wholly transcend the bourgeois discourse. Patriarchy remained entrenched and the women were still oppressed, as Emma Goldman observed. The existing family pattern was not tampered upon in favour of free love and communal living. In certain cases, an almost puritan revulsion to smoking, drinking and using foul language could be observed, reminiscent more of a conservative Christian morality rather than of new liberated ethics.
Socialising the urban economy was undoubtedly a much more difficult task for the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists. The fact that they did not shy away from it and proceeded instantly to place the factories under workers’ control, was hailed as evidence of the imminent collapse of Spanish capitalism. Self-management was achieved through the direct action of the workers and this according to Pierre Ramus demonstrated that anarcho-syndicalism was an alternative to state socialism, and qualitatively superior at that. “In the period of a few months they re-organised industry upon the elementary principles of liberty, autonomy, solidarity. They have shown that Marxism is in all its luring promises a fraud…For the first time the factory belongs to the workers!…They went straight ahead in direct action and reorganised the factory upon the basis of cooperation67”. Likewise, Spain and the World glorified the proletarian zeal that guided the revolutionary process and in an article on the socialisation of the wood industry, it reprinted the words of the workers involved: “We the workers have created to-day an important industry, efficient and modern in its operation, controlled not by bourgeois enterprise but by proletarian zeal. Before the war wage differentials existed which caused internal strife among the workers. Today the wages have been almost equalised and the different categories proportionately balanced......We have organised healthy workshops, libraries, sports camps, swimming baths, and cooperative dinning rooms. All this we have accomplished ourselves without any official support.68”
Was however the situation as rosy as it appeared to be in anarchist propaganda? Seidman claims that the unattended factory assemblies, the unpaid union dues and the absenteeism and faked illness that were observed constitute evidence of workers’ resistance to work rather than of proletarian zeal and voluntary discipline. Although it is true that many newly unionised workers remained socially indifferent and individualist in their mentalities, it is wrong to see the decline in production as the inevitable consequence of the absence of the bosses’ “whip”. True, there was a slackening in discipline which the unions tried to combat by re-establishing bonus piece-work, which had been triumphally abolished at the beginning of the Revolution. Nevertheless this was more a consequence rather than a cause of the failure to abolish capitalism in Spain.
Ultimately the Revolution in Spanish industry, at no point proceeded further than the mere transfer of control of the means of production from the owners to the workers. Significant as this was, it was only the primary condition for the realisation of socialism. In many expropriated factories the profits or income were shared out among the workers, thus giving rise into a new model of collective capitalism. As the self-managed factories competed in the market, those with large stocks of raw materials and modern equipment gained an unfair advantage over the less economical factories. Although the syndicates did attempt to combat this emergent workers’ neo-capitalism, the absence of sufficient capital created a tendency for centralisation as government credit became the only way to ensure the provision of adequate raw materials. Following up on the Collectivisation Decree of October 24 1936, which essentially prevented the further development of the collectivisation experiment, governmental interference expanded steadily culminating in the nationalisation of the war industry by 1938. The steady growth of a bureaucracy eroded the workers’ control and ultimately dampened the original enthusiasm that had been the driving force of the Revolution.
Despite the failure of anarcho-syndicalism to provide a working model for the socialisation of industry, one should not write off self-management as an impractical utopia. The public services for example, (which were less depended on government finances and raw materials) run by the workers themselves, actually improved in efficiency, while the syndicalisation of the Health Services did result in significant improvements in health provision.
The Spanish Civil War, like the Russian Revolution of 1917 offered great opportunities for the British anarchist movement. It stimulated an expansion in agitational activity and allowed anarchist propaganda to reach wider audiences. Yet, like the period after the Russian Revolution, the British anarchist movement declined in the aftermath of the Spanish defeat.
In the short run, the Spanish Civil War placed British anarchists on a firm ideological ground, allowing them to take a coherent and principled position concerning the Second World War. Their experience of anti-fascist war in Spain ensured their almost unanimous rejection of the British government’s call for an anti-fascist crusade against Germany. The USM declared that the “crimes of fascism” provided “no excuse for supporting the hypocrisy of pseudo-democracy”69, while more explicitly the Anarchist Federation of Britain explained that: “The present struggle is one between rival imperialisms and for the protection of rival interests. The workers in every country belonging to the oppressed class, have nothing in common with these interests and the political aspirations of the ruling class. Their immediate struggle is for their emancipation. Their front line is the workshop and factory, not the Maginot Line.70”
In the long run, the Spanish Revolution became the most important topic in anarchist discussions, naturally so as the biggest step humanity had ever taken towards the realisation of an anarchist society. The agrarian Collectives were hailed by successive generations of anarchists as proof of the validity of anarchist theory while the disappointment with the reformist and authoritarian degeneration of CNT-FAI, increased anarchist scepticism regarding organisation. The Spanish experience provoked a long and still unresolved debate on the all-important issue of collaboration with non-anarchist forces. Most importantly however, the Spanish Revolution served and still serves the international anarchist movement as a unique source of inspiration, as a glorious albeit short-lived attempt to realise the ideal.
1. Advance (APCF, Glasgow)
2. Barcelona Bulletin (APCF-USM, Glasgow)
3. CNT Bolletin de Informacion: English edition (CNT, London)
4. Fighting Call (APCF-Freedom Group, Glasgow-London
5. Freedom (Freedom, London)
6. Industrial Worker (IWW, New York)
7. International Council Correspondence (Chicago)-
8. Joint Manifesto of the Revolutionary Youth Federation and the Committee for Workers’ Control (London)
9. Leval Gaston, Social Reconstruction in Spain (Spain and the World, London 1938)
10. Man! (San Francisco-Los Angeles)
11. Montsney Federica, Militant Anarchism and the Reality in Spain (APCF, Glasgow, 1937)
12. News from Spain (USM, Glasgow)
13. Oliver Garcia, Wrong Steps: Errors in the Spanish Revolution (Kate Sharpley Library 2000)
14. Orwell George, Homage to Catalonia (London, 1989)
15. Regeneracion! (USM Glasgow)
16. Revolt! (incorporating Spain and the World, London)
17. Solidaridad Internacional Antifascista: English edition (London)
18. Solidarity (APCF, Glasgow)
19. Spain and the World (London)
20. Spanish Revolution (New York)
21. Vanguard (United Libertarian Organisation, New York)
22. War Commentary (London)
23. The Word (USM, Glasgow)
24. Workers’ Free Press (APCF, Glasgow)
1. Alexander Robert, The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War, Vol. 1-2 (London 1999)
2. Bolloten Burnett, The Grand Camouflage: The Communist Conspiracy in the Spanish Civil War (New York, 1961)
3. Bolloten and Esenwein George, Anarchists in Government: A Paradox of the Spanish Civil War in Lannon and Preston (eds) Elites and Power in Twentieth Century Spain (Oxford 1990)
4. Brenan Gerald, The Spanish Labyrinth (Cambridge, 1950)
5. Caldwell John, Come Dungeons Dark: The Life and Times of Guy Aldred Glasgow Anarchist (Glasgow, 1988)
6. Chomsky Noam, Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship in American Power and the New Mandarins (New York, 1969)
7. Christie Stuart, We, the Anarchists! A Study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937 (East Sussex, 1996)
8. Dolgoff Sam, Anarchist Collectives (New York, 1974)
9. Freedom 100 Years (London, 1986)
10. Fyrth Jim, The Signal was Spain: The Aid Spain Movement in Britain 1936-39 (London, 1986)
11. Guillamon Augustin, The Friends of Durruti Group: 1937-39 (San Fransisco, 1996)
12. Hodgart Rhona, Ethel MacDonald: Glasgow Woman Anarchist (Kate Sharpley Library 1992)
13. Jones Ben, William McDougall in History Workshop Journal n.13, Spring 1982, pp 205-207
14. Kern Robert, Anarchist Principles and Spanish Reality: Emma Goldman as a participant in the Spanish Civil War in the Journal of Contemporary History Vol.11, n.2 July 1976 pp. 237-259
15. Leval Gaston, Collectives in the Spanish Revolution (London, 1975)
16. Meltzer Albert, The Anarchists in London 1935-1955 (Orkney, 1976)
17. Meltzer Albert, I Couldn’t Paint Golden Angels (Edinburgh, 1996)
18. Meltzer Albert, editor, Miguel Garcia’s Story (Orkney, 1982)
19. Peirats Jose, Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution (London, 1990)
20. Peirats Jose, The CNT in the Spanish Revolution Vol.1 (East Sussex, 2001)
21. Porter David, Vision on fire: Emma Goldman on the Spanish Revolution (London, 1983)
22. Richards Vernon, Lessons of the Spanish Revolution (London, 1972)
23. Souchy Augustin, With the Peasants of Aragon (Orkney, 1982)
24. Souchy The Tragic Week in May in Richards (ed) The May Days in Barcelona (London, 1987)
25. Seidman Michael, Workers Against Work (California, 1991)
26. Shipway Mark, Anti-parliamentary Communism (London 1988)
27. Shipway Mark, The Anti-parliamentary Communists and the Civil War in Spain in Scottish Labour History n.21, 1986, pp14-25
28. Woodcock, Anarchism (London, 1970)
1 Albert Meltzer, Anarchists in London, p.13
2 B Jones, Willie MacDougal, History Workshop Journal, Spring 1982 issue 13 p.205-207
3 Regeneracion! N.2 2 August 1936
4 Mark Shipway, Anti-parliamentary communism, p.28
5 Spain and the World vol.1 n.1 11 December 1936
6 Albert Melzer, The anarchists in London, p.15
7 Albert Melzer, The anarchists in London, p.15
8 M.L G.A Coll. Bundle 106, Barr to Aldred 24, Sept 1936
9 Fighting Call Vol.1 n.1 Oct 1936
10 Regenaracion! Vol.1 n.1 21 Feb 1937
11 M.L G.A Coll. Bundle 141, Aldred to Patrick, 30 Nov. 1936
12 M.L G.A Coll. Bundle 141, Aldred to Patrick, 30 Nov. 1936
13 M.L G.A Coll. Bundle 131, Patrick to Aldred, 2 Dec. 1936
14 M.L G.A Coll. Bundle 103, Leech to Russel, 20 Feb. 1937
15 M.L G.A Coll. Bundle 129, minutes of USM-APCF meeting 18 Mar 1937
16 Workers’ Free Press n.1 Sept 1937
17 Albert Melzer, The anarchists in London, p.14
1818 Albert Melzer, The anarchists in London, p.14
19 Albert Melzer, I couldn’t paint golden angels, Ch.2 p.13
20 ML GA Coll. Bundle 115 MacDonald to Aldred 29 Oct 1937
21 Fighting Call, Vol.1 n.1 October 1936
22 Spain and the World, Vol.1 n.8 19 March 1937
23 Jim Fryth, The signal was Spain, p.236
24 SIA-English Section: International Antifascist Solidarity, Vol.1 n.1 Feb 1938
25 Revolt! (incorporating Spain and the World), Vol.3 n.4 (51) 1 April 1939
26 Revolt! (incorporating Spain and the World), Vol.3 n.8 (52) 28 May 1939
27 Albert Meltzer, Anarchists in London, p.18
28 Albert Meltzer, Anarchists in London, p.13-14
29 Regeneration! 9 Sept 1936
30 M.L., G.A Coll, Bundle 111, Proudhommeaux to Aldred (no date)
31 M.L., G.A Coll, Bundle 110, Barr to CNT-FAI, 29 Sept 1936
32 M.L., G.A Coll, Bundle 129, minutes of USM meeting of 20 Oct 1936
33 M.L., G.A Coll, Bundle 129, minutes of USM meeting of 12 Nov 1936
34 David Porter, Vision on fire, p.127
35 Freedom Bulletin Spain n.1 August 1936
36 Regeneracion! n.3 5 Aug 1936
37 Fighting Call, Vol 1 n.2 Nov 1936
38 Fighting Call, Vol.1 n.3 Dec 1936
39 Fighting Call, Vol.1 n.3 Dec 1936
40 Spain and the World, Vol.1 n.5 5 Feb 1937
41 Man! Vol.4 n.10-11 Oct-Nov 1936
42 Montsney, Militant anarchism and the reality in Spain (APCF, Glasgow, February 1937)
43 Peirats, Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution p.88
44 Spain and the world, Vol.1 n.13 4 Jun 1937
45 Man! Vol5 n.4 Jun 1937
46 Spain and the world, Vol.1 n6 19 Feb 1937
47 Spain and the world, Vol.1 n.8 19 Mar 1937
48 News from Spain, 1 May 1937
49 M.L, G.A Coll, Bundle 106, text of radio broadcast by MacDonald, Revolutionary Defence, 3 Apr 1937
50 Spain and the world, Vol.1 n7 3 Mar 1937
51 Augustin Souchy, The tragic week in May, in Richards’ The May Days in Barcelona 1937, p.47
52 Radio broadcast by Jenny Patrick form Barcelona, 5 May 1937, Barcelona Bulletin 15 May 1937
53 Radio broadcast by Ethel MacDonald form Barcelona, 8 May 1937, Barcelona Bulletin 15 May 1937
54 Augustin Guillamon, The Friends of Durruti Group 1937-39, chapter 6, p.2
55 Augustin Guillamon, The Friends of Durruti Group 1937-39, chapter 6, p5
56 Protest of the Libertarian Youth, Man! Vol 5 n.4 Jun 1937
57 Workers’ Free Press, Sept 1937
58 Workers’ Free Press, Sept 1937
59 Workers’ Free Press, Oct 1937
60 Joint manifesto of the Revolutionary Youth Federation and the Committee for Workers’ Control, Vol 1 n.2 Mar-Apr 1938
61 Solidarity, June-July 1939
62 Gaston Leval, Social Reconstruction, p.3
63 Spain and the World, 5th Jan 1938
64 Gaston Leval, The Characteristics of the libertarian collectives in Sam Dolgoff ed. Anarchist Collectives p.166
65 Gaston Leval, Collectives in the Spanish Revolution, p.150
66 Spain and the World, Vol.1 n.5 8 Feb 1937
67 Man! Vol.6 n.2 Feb 1938
68 Spain and the World, Vol.2 n.28 21 Jan 1938
69 Word, May 1939 reprinted in Mark Shipway’s Anti-parliamentary communism, p.169
70 War Commentary, Nov 1939
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Warfare is a fascinating subject. Despite the dubious morality of using violence to achieve personal or political aims. It remains that conflict has been used to do just that throughout recorded history.
Your article is very well done, a good read.
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