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Anarchism in the Spanish civil war

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Clifton S.
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  1. Introduction.
  2. Anarchist ideology.
  3. The key element of Anarchist philosophy.
  4. Participation and direct action.
  5. The Spanish Anarchists.
  6. Popularity of Anarchism in Spain.
  7. Combating the challenges such as the powerful Nationalist forces.
  8. The Anarchists' defeat.
  9. Conclusion.

In a decade of cataclysmic worldwide depression and spreading fascism, the Spanish Civil War's Anarchist forces signaled a message of renewed hope of emancipation to the scattered working-class forces throughout the globe. The question still remains though, as to whether these forces contributed to a revolution. The Random House Unabridged Dictionary defines revolution as thus: 1. a complete and forcible overthrow of an established government or political system. 2. Social. a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure, esp. one made suddenly and often accompanied by violence (Random 1227). Under these requirements, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939 (a.k.a. The Spanish Revolution) certainly does not qualify. As will be revealed later, the predominantly working-class Anarchist masses of Spain successfully mobilized an effective force realizing the potential of Anarchist doctrine, but failing to secure a complete change in national politics or social protocol

[...] This radical doctrine has not always remained so abstract and theoretical: hundreds of participants in the Spanish Civil War believed in Anarchism and implemented community systems with varying Anarchist tenets. The Anarchist International Informational Service articulates this concept of staying in tune to reality, rather than just dreaming up theories and schemes: ?Anarchists are interested in what de facto and in reality, are going on in society, not formal or symbolic values, government, rule and hierarchies. Symbolic and formal things and positions are only interesting to the extent they influence realities.? (IFA) As the civil war raged on, the Spanish Anarchists united under several groups that helped organize and collaborate their forces. [...]


[...] In these ways and more, these revolutionary political militia groups of the Spanish Civil War added to the real possibility of a new world order based on Anarchism. The Durruti Column may very well have been the most infamous of these militias because of its powerful and progressive activities throughout the country. Just as many other militias did, this column set out from Barcelona on its own mission: to liberate Saragossa - a vital link to the Basque industrial region full of raw materials and arms manufacturing plants - from Nationalist control (Thomas 200). [...]


[...] An anonymous escaped convict fighting in the Iron Column during the Spanish Revolution reiterates this common Anarchist feeling: ?What happens in the future depends on ourselves alone, on the cohesion that exists among us. Nobody will be imposing another rhythm on us; on the contrary, we will be imposing our own rhythm on those around us by maintaining our own personality.? (Mournful 24) As people realize they are not all in competition for their ?piece of the pie,' society can be broken down into smaller-scale communal units, with small groups of people working efficiently together and co-coordinating with other such groups. [...]

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