Book Review: Collectives in the Spanish Revolution (Gaston Leval)

Submitted by hadrian on Sat, 08/06/2016 - 03:09

Introduction

Nowadays, anarchism is a movement on the fringes of society. Anarchists are repeatedly ridiculed by people who know nothing about anarchism, its history, or the constructive work that many anarchists are still working on. Even in the heydays of the movement, anarchists had to fight against almost impossible odds.

The Spanish Revolution

Submitted by hadrian on Tue, 07/19/2016 - 16:55

Introductie

In Gaston Leval's words, "it succeeded in achieving, in many cases completely, the finest ideal conceived by the human mind and this will be its permanent glory." It had already been an eventful week, eighty years ago, when a radio-station had been occupied for a short time by fascists on the 11th of July. A day later, the fascists shot a socialist assault guard lieutenant which was avenged by some of his comrades who 'arrested' the leader of the parliamentary right-wing. However, they were friendly enough to deliver his corpse to the cemetary (Murray Bookchin, The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years 1868-1936). The army had already, by that time, been planning a coup for several months. When the government was informed about these plans they merely replied by reiterating their faith in the military power of the government (Bookchin). A strange reaction, when that same military power was planning the coup.

On the 18th of July the generals issued a pronunciamento in which they declared they had taken power. Throughout Spain, soldiers began crawling out of their barracks and started to occupy strategic places. The CNT and FAI militants were well aware of the likely repercussions of a military take-over and had long since begun preparations to resist. In Barcelona, at the center of Spain's most important industrial region, the soldiers were greeted by the worker's bullets. The rebels were defeated in Barcelona, the North of Basque, Madrid, a significant area of the south of Spain, and one of the Balearic islands. A heroic but too often forgotten struggle that lasted more than two years ensued. However, this wasn't just a war between competing power-hungry dictators. The Spanish Civil War was also a struggle by workers who defended themselves and, in the rearguard, tried to build a new world.

Was it Fake?

Submitted by hadrian on Sat, 07/16/2016 - 18:41

Introduction

Another major world event has been able to gain our attention. Some saw a shining ray of hope in the attempted coup in Turkey, the Black Rose federation quickly showed the eery similarities between Erdogan and the army. The reports we've had over the years from Turkey - filtered by a media that is alternately very negative or positive towards this country, depending on the necessities of Western politics - give us few reasons to be hopeful. After several hours the coup was reported to have failed and Erdogan - who is now likely to become a sort of folk-hero who defeated the army - was able to return to Istanbul triumphantly. Some in the Turkish government have already started talking about re-introducing the death penalty (Dutch link) and Erdogan seems to be following Stalin's example from the 1930s.

Every time some world event like this happens some immediately try to blame a multitude of different actors. Within an hour, a rumour spread that the coup was staged by Erdogan to allow him to relegitimize himself and his reign of terror. Another theory claims he already knew about the coup but allowed it to continue nonetheless. Others put the blame on the usual suspects: CIA, Mossad, Zionists, the New World Order, and so forth. This strategy of pointing fingers has become common-place and expected at every major world event from Daesh bombings, to the attack on the twin towers, to this coup. It's time to stop this behaviour and look at solutions instead.

Racism: What's that?

Submitted by hadrian on Thu, 07/07/2016 - 21:58

Introduction

It happened, again. Yet again, a man has been killed by the cops. This time the crime was reported and we can't dance around one simple fact: it was murder. At the time of writing there have been, in the United States alone, 561 extra-judicial murders by these cowardly mercenaries. Cowards? Yes, most definitely. There is no bravery in shooting a man already under your knee and barely able to move. In the meantime many white people are making a fuss about #BlackLivesMatter not being #AllLivesMatter. Although the absolute amount of white people murdered by the police, in the United States, is higher than the amount of killed black people, the amount of people per million inhabitants shows that black people are more than twice as likely to be murdered. Only the Native American population has, this year, seen a higher amount of murdered people per million inhabitants. How long is this going to continue? Why does this keep happening?

Society is Racist

We've grown used to the corporate media never engendering a proper discussion about what racism is and how it works. They can't avoid the problem any more, a small victory for the #BlackLivesMatter movement - a victory that more than legitimizes that movement. In the Netherlands, racism also continues to be a common point of discussion. But what exactly is racism? There's two vantage points that exist simultaneously: structural discrimination and stereotyping.

Structural Discrimination

Racisme is a system of structural discrimination which, because of the socio-economic context, has oppressive effects. This socio-economic context makes it necessary for us to beg for an income - usually this means getting a 'job.' If you don't get that job, it's very likely your income isn't enough to pay all the bills. In the Netherlands there is a small stipend provided by the state but everyone who has to survive on this pittance knows it's not enough. Lack of money also means a constant source of stress. With a system of structural discrimination we see that certain groups become marginalized. For example, Moroccan-Dutch people are known to be twice as likely, according to the Central Bureau for Statistics, to be structurally unemployed compared to white people. This isn't a choice; the only ones who can choose not to do anything useful for society are the rich and there are remarkably few rich Moroccan-Dutch people.

Spain and the World

Submitted by hadrian on Mon, 07/04/2016 - 18:40

It is now almost eighty years ago that the dictator Franco first tried to grab power in Spain. Unlike Hitler, Mussolini, and Dollfuss, the Spanish fascists would meet with large amounts of resistance. Over the course of the next weeks we will, undoubtedly, see a variety of articles pop up on Anarchist sites dealing with the Spanish Civil War and, more importantly, the revolution in the rearguard.