>> Monday, June 9, 2008
when i first became interested in practical, as opposed to theoretical anarchy, i was schooled on how little i knew about anarchist history, in particular, the spanish civil war. i still don't know as much as i would like, but recently have been educated on the topic more.
i watched a lecture (put on by our local anarchist rabble-rousers, pittsburgh organizing group, and our local christian peace workers, the thomas merton center) with george sossenko, pictured below...
he was a bit daft, but with it enough to recount some of his experiences running away from home to take part in what some have argued was the most successful non-hierarchical uprising in the history of the earth. for a long while, the anarchists held control of barcelona and other lands, until they we're defeated by the facists on one side and the state socialists on the other.
i asked him whether or not modern anarchists should be actively pursuing violence with the state and he said yes. easier said than done, in my eyes, considering the power of the u.s. military. i liked ashanti allston's answer better... he was the next speaker in the series, and he said, yes, we should train in violent methods, but we shouldn't put all our eggs in one basket... self defense is a must, but glamourizing violent uprising has it's problems... he should know. he said it's most important to talk and build with people, face to face. hear hear!
anyway, if you want to talk face to face with me about anarchism and revolution (and can get to pittsburgh sometime or wait till i get near you, email me... j at gyreworks dot com)
bonus album of spanish civil war songs courtesy of zerogsound.
bonus folio of bourgeois personalities courtesy of i flips me lid.
UPDATE: from the comments, reader carlos points out subtleties:
"the uprising itself was the nacionales (fascists). the anarchist thing was basically pre-existing, as spain was mostly agrarian at that point and had been anti-monarchy + anti-clerical for decades. they had also organized into syndicates / militias, and were supportive of and supported by the socialist government at the time (it was all you could do to keep the nationalists out of government in th 1930s).
so to me, the most interesting thing is that restructuring barcelona into an 'anarchist' city (and abolishing money, etc) was actually a defensive act, reactionary as opposed to the 'revolutionary' (violent, military) stance taken by the nationalists!
finally, i think it wasn't exactly the state socialists who ruined everything (specifically the POUM, that group so often associated with Orwell thanks to Homage to Catalonia). it was actually the communists from moscow, who'd become major players in the war by 1939 and were fixated on consolidating power 'to win the war'. there were plenty of state socialists who sided with the moscow commies, but just as many were very skeptical of these cats and sympathized w/the anarchist critiques of them.
in any case, if you want to read any more on this, i really really really recommend anthony beevor's The Spanish Civil War. it's pretty darn good, although there's a lot of (overly) specific descriptions of battles and shit."