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I wasn't there and the history of the Anarchist movement during the civil war is not something that really gets talked about much in Spain. A cursory google search  reveals very different accounts of what it was like. Anarchist sources paint it like a paradise where there was no coercion and landowners were allowed to not join the communes but eventually chose to. Communist sources excoriate the Anarchists for being economically naive and bringing economic ruin to the countryside and paralysis to the Republican rearguard. Let's not even go into what rightist sources say.

I don't know whether Ken Loach's Land and Freedom is faithful to Orwell's Homage to Catalonia, which I haven't read, but forced collectivisations and the shooting of landowners who wouldn't join the collective are depicted. To be honest, knowing how quickly Spaniards were to kill their neighbours over political differences, old grievances, or nothing at all, I would be very surprised if the "Spanish Revolution" as it is called in English had been peaceful and non-coercive in the countryside as the Anarchist propaganda depicts it.

Any suggested reading?

Can the last politician to go out the revolving door please turn the lights off?

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 6th, 2007 at 06:26:36 PM EST
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Homage to Catalonia is a classic 'take' by a master of English prose and is worth reading.  If you can find a copy The Spanish Collectives by Sam Dolgoff will give the FAI/CNT view.  I'll have to roust through my library and see what else is there.  I don't know what the standard Marxist and Fascist texts are & I really don't care.  

I would be very surprised if the "Spanish Revolution" as it is called in English had been peaceful and non-coercive in the countryside as the Anarchist propaganda depicts

Hum.  How can I put this?

From what I've heard, directly from FAI/CNT people who were there at the time ... you don't have to be surprised.  Neither was it the bloodbath depicted by all Right Thinking people either.  From what I've been able to gather the local history of interaction(s) between the landlord(s) and the general populace of an area counted far more than ideological/political position.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Fri Jul 6th, 2007 at 06:59:07 PM EST
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I second ATinM in saying that Homage to Catalonia is a very good read.

From browsing the "policy" chapter, Orwell himself doesn't talk about landowners being shot ; only priests. But he certainly talks about land seizures. (I'm not sure how and why an self-respecting Anarchist would recognise property rights dating from feudal times, anyway)

And reading the book puts a different emphasis on the way Stalinists source are to be believed about revolutionary behaviour ; or on how propaganda was impressive at the times : he notes an accusation that the Fascists used live children to build barricades, a "most unhandy thing to build barricades with"...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jul 6th, 2007 at 07:10:44 PM EST
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