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In addition, his account of the early days of the revolution are important to understanding why the CNT and FAI made the decision to collaborate against Franco rather than encourage the social revolution.

We, the Anarchists!: A Study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) 1927-1937

As he puts it:. Either they committed themselves to the solutions offered by social revolution, regardless of the difficulties involved in fighting both fascism and international capitalism, or, through fear of fascism or of the people , they sacrificed their anarchist principles and revolutionary objectives to bolster, to become, part of the bourgeois state … Faced with an imperfect state of affairs and preferring defeat to a possibly Pyrrhic victory, the Catalan anarchist leadership renounced anarchism in the name of expediency and removed the social transformation of Spain from their agenda.

Anarchism was not something which could be transformed from theory into practice by organisational decree … [the] spontaneous defensive movement of 19 July had developed a political direction of its own.

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By fully providing and discussing the context in which this dilemma was discussed, Christie has provided the key work by which to judge all other accounts of the Spanish Revolution. Unlike most accounts of this historic decision, his analysis is grounded in the objective circumstances facing the CNT and FAI at the time.

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This is a breath of fresh air compared to the superficial and usually inaccurate and often non-materialist analyses of both historians and Trotskyists. Equally important is his discussion on how this decision was made. It was over a month before a regular plenum was held, so presenting the membership with a fait accompli. This break with traditional procedures was the first of many and this centralisation of power within the CNT aided the collaborationist position of the leadership.

Ironically enough, rather than show that anarchism is flawed, the experience of the Catalan CNT after it had rejected anarchist theory confirmed the principles of anarchism — centralised, hierarchical organisations hindered and ultimately destroyed the revolution. Simply put, it seems ironic to blame anarchism when anarchists ignore its recommendations! They also prevented the local committees from integrating themselves to form a regional, provincial, and national federal network which would facilitate the revolutionary task of social and economic reconstruction.

Also, by comparing the events in Catalonia and Aragon, Christie refutes those who argue that anarchism failed in Spain.

Anarchism (History)

How can it be argued that anarchist politics were to blame when those very same politics had formed the Council of Aragon? It cannot. I would suggest that this is a weak argument as compared to his main one and one which underestimates the need for a specific anarchist group to spread its ideas within the class struggle. You must be logged in to post a comment. Page 41 - Spain is a democratic Republic of workers of all classes, organized under a regime of liberty and justice.

The powers of all its organs emanate from the people. The Republic constitutes an integral state, compatible with the autonomy of municipalities and regions.

We, the Anarchists!: A Study of the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) by Stuart Christie

Page 4 - It has, therefore, a double purpose: 1. As the fighting organization of the workers against the employers to enforce the demands of the workers for the safeguarding and raising of their standard of living; 2. As the school for the intellectual training of the workers to make them acquainted with the technical management of production and economic life in general, so that when a revolutionary situation arises they will be capable of taking the socio-economic organism into their own hands and remaking Page ii Andrquica Iberica : Iberian Anarchist Federation , bears a name which strikes terror into the heart of most Spaniards.

If ' ruthless ' be the qualification fitted for the UGT, ' bloodthirsty ' does not sufficiently describe the FAI The members of both these associations are recruited by methods more closely resembling coercion than persuasion, the flourish of a pistol being one of the most frequent. They are inscribed on the rolls without the slightest regard to their trade.

One and the other Page A prince should be a fox, to know the traps and snares ; and a lion, to be able to frighten the wolves; for those who simply hold to the nature of the lion do not understand their business. The unions, having become hybrid agencies from the political viewpoint, as a result of the circumstances noted earlier, cannot stamp upon their activities anything except the professional function The driving force to which we refer cannot but be the FAI.

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  4. The FAI, an organism whose popular status has grown immeasurably has, as necessarily it must have, an obligation to encompass the membership in keeping with this status and this favourable Page - Every interest," says the Marquis d'Argenson, "has different principles. The agreement of two particular interests is formed by opposition to a third.

    CNT Anarchists and the Spanish Civil War (part 1/3)

    If there were no different interests, the common interest would be barely felt, as it would encounter no obstacle; all would go on of its own accord, and politics would cease to be an art. The FAI's influence must reach into every nook and cranny and to this end it needs numerous and well-prepared groups.

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    The example of the Regional Committees, which are engaged in overhauling their organisms, must be taken on board as the model to be imitated and in this way we will ensure that the tremendous aura which surrounds our movement may faithfully reflect our membership. The gaps torn in our Page ii - With the crowd of commonplace chatterers, we are already past praying for: no reproach is too bitter for us, no epithet too insulting.