Anarchist Barcelona: The Spanish Civil War Essay

Anarchist Barcelona: The Spanish Civil War Essay

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“What so few of us knew outside of Spain, however, was that the ‘Spanish Civil War’ was in fact a sweeping social revolution by millions of workers and peasants… to reconstruct Spanish society along revolutionary lines” (Dolgoff xii).
The politics of Spain during the Republic and the role anarchism played in the recurring dramas of the fledgling government has been commented upon extensively. This paper will address factors which allowed anarchism to become a successful political force in Spain, and particularly Barcelona, as well as the power of anarcho-syndicalism and its unifying force in revolutionary Catalonia. Daily life in Barcelona during the period between the outbreak of war in 1936 and the fall of Catalonia in 1939 will be examined to demonstrate how anarchism functioned as a political reality for the people of Barcelona.
Spain is the only country in the world where anarchism developed into a major political force (Mintz 2). Catalonia and Barcelona were the epicenter of this Spanish social revolution. Other regions, notably Andalucía, had anarcho-syndicalism among other facets of the anarchist movement, yet the urban workers of Barcelona were able to change the social and political fabric of the city through continuous upheaval brought on by strikes and protests.
Barcelona in 1930 was a city of stark class contrasts. “…illegality was so deeply embedded in the property relations of 1930’s Barcelona that it is difficult to disguise its pronounced class character” (Ealham 104). Public spaces such as the Rambles became magnets for petty crime, mainly the robbery of wealthy appearing pedestrians. Ealham notes that little inter-working class crime was recorded, showing crime was primarily a worry of the bourgeoisie and a r...

... middle of paper ...

...Rajoy is stripping Spaniards of just that” (BBC web).

Works Cited

Bookchin, Murray. The Spanish anarchists: the heroic years, 1868-1936. New York: Free Life Editions, 1977. Print.
Brenan, Gerald. The Spanish labyrinth: an account of the social and political background of the civil war. 2. ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1974. Print.
Dolgoff, Sam. The anarchist collectives: worker's self-management in the Span. Revolution 1936-1939. 1. ed. New York, NY: Free Life Ed., 1974. Print.
Ealham, Chris. Anarchism and the City. ; Revolution and Counter Revolution in Barcelona, 1898-1937. Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2010. Print.
Mintz, Jerome R. The anarchists of Casas Viejas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1982. Print.
"Spain austerity: Huge Madrid protest turns violent." BBC News. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Mar. 2014. .

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