The Black Autonomy Collective

and the Spanish Civil War

by Joseph Green
(from Communist Voice #10, Oct. 1, 1996)


. My article "Anarchism and the marketplace" in the Sept. 1995 issue of the Communist Voice attracted the ire of the Black Autonomy Collective (BAC) of Seattle, member of the Black Autonomist International. Greg Jackson, one of the BAC's leaders, denounced it in his open letter of April 1996 to the left, which has recently come into our possession. The BAC produced Jackson's letter as a pamphlet, entitled "Authoritarian Leftists: Kill the Cop in Your Head! The Struggle against Fascism begins with the struggle against Left-wing White Supremacy!" (emphasis as in the original)

. Jackson's letter centers on the well-known "guilt-trip-the-liberals" technique, this time applied to the entire left. Jackson doesn't appeal to other activists as comrades in the struggle, but as worthless scum who can only redeem themselves by shutting up and doing what he says. Jackson says, talking about the "white left" (his term, not ours), that "most (if not all) are provocateurs, opportunists, and fundamentally incorrect" -- but ends up demanding that these same provocateurs, opportunists and fundamentally incorrect people "provide unconditional (no strings attached) material support for non-white factions". This. he says, is the practical way that the "white left" can "come to terms with your white skin privilege (and the ideology and attitude(s) this privilege breeds) . . ." Give money and resources and praise, but don't comment and don't criticize and don't analyze and forget about "dogma" (theory). Don't criticize us, says Greg Jackson, and don't even criticize Farrakhan, he adds. Yes, Farrakhan. Jackson says that the "white left's isolation and alienation is revealed even more profoundly" in its criticizing the Million Men March. In contrast to this, Jackson says that, among the forces in the Million Men March, "despite our own minor ideological differences [with Farrakhan's Nation of Islam--CV], we agreed on one point: it was none of your business or the business of the rest of the white population. When we organize among our own, we consider it a 'family matter'. When we have conflicts, that is also a 'family matter'. Again, it is none of your business unless we tell you differently."

. Also notable is Jackson's disdain for theory. For him theory is dogma, ritual, theology, Eurocentrism, and just downright hypocrisy. Why debate about revolutionary orientation, and socialist values and the future society when it's all so simple -- weren't there communal societies in the past? weren't there militant struggles? aren't the daily lives of the oppressed already an example of the protracted struggle that is needed: so aren't "miniature" examples of the new society all around?

. In the course of this polemic, the pamphlet takes the Communist Voice as the sole so-called "white leftist" which it trashes in any detail. Below will be found

From the Open Letter to the Left of

the Black Autonomy Collective

by Greg Jackson, Black Autonomy Collective, Seattle

. Because the white left refuses to combat and reject reactionary tendencies in their (your) own heads and among themselves (yourselves), and because they (you) refuse to see how white culture is rooted firmly in capitalism and imperialism; . . . you in fact re-invent racist and authoritarian social relations as the final product of your so-called 'revolutionary theory'; what I call Left-wing white supremacy.

. * This tragic dilemma is compounded by, and finds some of its initial roots in, your generally ahistorical and wishful "analysis" of Black/white relations in the U.S.; and rigid, dogmatic definitions of "scientific socialism" or "revolutionary communism", based in a Eurocentric context. Thus, we are expected to embrace these "socialist" values of the settler/conqueror culture, rather than the "traditional amerikkkan values" of your reactionary opponents; as if we do not possess our own 'socialist' values, rooted in our own daily and cultural realities! Wasn't the Black Panther Party "socialist"? What about the Underground Railroad; our ancestors (and yes, even some of yours) were practicing "mutual aid" back when most European revolutionary theorists were still talking about it like it was a lofty, far away ideal!

. One extreme example of this previously mentioned wishful thinking in place of a true analysis on the historical and current political dynamics particular to this country is an article by Joseph Green entitled "Anarchism and the Market Place", which appeared in the newsletter "Communist Voice" (Vol. #1, Issue #4, September 15, 1995).

. In it he asserts that anarchism is nothing more than small-scale operations run by individuals that will inevitably lead to the re-introduction of economic exploitation. He also claims that "it fails because its failure to understand the relation of freedom to mass activity mirrors the capitalist ideology of each person for their self." He then offers up a vague "plan of action", that the workers must rely on their "class organization and all-round mass struggle". In addition, he argues for the centralization of all means of production.

. Clearly, Green's political ideology is in fact a theology. First, anarchism was practiced in mass scale most recently in Spain from 1936-39. By most accounts (including Marxist-Leninist), the Spanish working class organizations such as the CNT (National Confederation of Labor) and the FAI (Federation of Anarchists of Iberia) seized true direct workers' power and in fact kept people alive during a massive civil war.

. Their main failure was on a military, and (partially) on an ideological level:

. Besides leaving out those important facts, Green also omits that today the majority of prisoner support groups in the U.S. are anarchist run or influenced. He also leaves out that anarchists are generally the most supportive and involved in grassroots issues such as homelessness, police brutality, Klan/nazi activity, Native sovereignty issues, (physical) defense of women's health clinics, sexual assault prevention, animal rights, environmentalism, and free speech issues.

. Green later attacks "supporters of capitalist realism on one hand and anarchist dreamers on the other". What he fails to understand is that the movement will be influenced mostly by those who do practical work around day-to-day struggles, not by those who spout empty rhetoric with no basis in reality because they themselves (like Green) are fundamentally incapable of practicing what they preach. Any theory which cannot, at the very least, be demonstrated in miniature scale (with the current reality of the economically, socially, and militarily imposed limitations of capitalist/white supremacist society taken in to consideration) in daily life is not even worth serious discussion because it is rigid dogma of the worst kind.

. Even if he could "show and prove", his proposed system is doomed to repeat the cannibalistic practices of Josef Stalin or Pol Pot. While state planning can accelerate economic growth no one from Lenin, to Mao, to Green himself has truly dealt with the power relationship between the working class and the middle-class "revolutionaries" who seize state power 'on their behalf'. How can one use the organizing methods of the European bourgeoisie, "(hierarchical) party building" and "seizing state power" and not expect this method of organizing people to not take on the reactionary characteristics of what it supposedly seeks to eliminate? Then there's the question of asserting one's authoritarian will upon others (the usual recruitment tactics of the white left attempting to attract Black members).

. At one point in the article Green claims that anarchistic social relations take on the oppressive characteristics of the capitalist ideology they're rooted in. Really? What about the capitalist characteristics of know-it-all ahistorical white "radicals" who can just as effectively assert capitalistic, oppressive social relations when utilizing a top-down party structure (especially when it's utilized against minority populations)? What about the re-assertion of patriarchy (or actual physical and mental abuse) in interpersonal relationships; especially when an organizational structure allows for, and in fact rewards, oppressive social relationships?

. What is the qualitative difference between a party bureaucrat who uses his position to steal from people (in additional to living a neo-bourgeois lifestyle; privilege derived from one's official position and justified by other party members who do the same. And, potentially derived from the color of his skin in the amerikkkan context) and a collective member who steals from the local community? One major difference is that the bureaucrat can only be removed by the party, the people (once again) have no real voice in the matter (unless the people themselves take up arms and dislodge the bureaucrat and his party), the collective member can receive a swift punishment rooted in the true working class traditions, culture, and values of the working class themselves, rather than that which is interpreted for them by so-called "professional revolutionaries" with no real ties to that particular community. This is a very important, yet very basic, concept for the white left to consider when working with non-white workers (who, by the way, are the true "vanguard" in the U.S.; Black workers in particular. Check your history, especially the last thirty years of it.).

. This demand has become more central over the last thirty years as we have seen the creation of a Black elite of liberal and conservative (negrosie) puppets for the white power structure to speak through to the people, the few who were allowed to succeed because they took up the ideology of the oppressor. But, they too have become increasingly powerless as the shift to the right in the various branches of the state and federal government has quickly, and easily, "checked" what little political power they had. Also, we do not have direct control over neighborhood institutions as capitalists, let alone as workers; at least white workers have a means of production they could potentially seize. Small "mom and pop" restaurants and stores or federally funded health clinics and social services in the 'hood hardly count as "Black capitalist" enterprises, nor are any of these things particularly "liberating" in themselves.

. But white radicals, the white left of the U.S. in particular, have a hard time dealing with the reality that Black people have always managed to survive, despite the worst or best intentions of the majority population. We will continue to survive without you and can make our revolution without you (or against you) if necessary; don't tell us about "protracted struggle", the daily lives of non-white workers are testimony to the true meaning of protracted struggle, both in the U.S.and globally. Your inability or unwillingness to accept the fact that our struggle is parallel to yours, but at the same time very specific, and will be finished successfully when we as a people, as working-class Blacks on the North American continent, decide that we have achieved full freedom (as defined by our history, our culture, our needs, our desires, our personal experiences, and our political idea(s)) is by far the primary reason why the white left is so weak in this country.

. In addition, this sinking garbage scow of American leftism is dragging other liberating politically vessels down with it, particularly the smaller, anti-authoritarian factions within the white settler nation itself and the few (non-dogmatic and non-ritualistic) individuals within today's Marxist-Leninist parties who sincerely wish to get away from the old, tired historical revisionism of their particular 'revolutionary' party.

. (Italics, underlining, and boldfacing here and in all other extracts anywhere in this issue of Communist Voice from Jackson's writings are as in the original. Also, parenthetical remarks in extracts from Jackson are as in the original, unless otherwise marked.)

From Anarchism and the Marketplace

Below are extracts from the article that the
Black Autonomy Collective is denouncing:

. . . a nagging question remains. Even if the government were eliminated, would oppression end? What about the power of the giant corporations? Some of them are as large and wealthy as many governments, and employ as many people. What about the power of the marketplace? Doesn't it ravage forests, pollute water, condemn tens and hundreds of millions of people to poverty and toil, as brutally as any government?

. The run-of the mill capitalist politicians say that an economy run by the marketplace and a variety of corporations brings freedom. On the other hand, the reformists and anarchists, who think they are saying something radically different, would replace the giant corporations and profiteers by communal or other small-scale enterprises. They hope thus to eliminate authority and hierarchy, since each enterprise is small and may even be run as a collective. Then, they think, there would be no oppression and no ruling class and maybe no authority. Well, they may envisage weak federations of local councils, but for them to think about this too much is to trend on the dread waters of politics.

. But when production is carried out by independent enterprises, whether communally owned or run by profiteers, this is not the basis of freedom, but ultimately it is the basis of oppression. It means that the various enterprises and workers are connected, not by any conscious plan, but by the rule of market forces, by the result of thousands of transactions among the little groups. And the market forces inevitably give rise to a division of rich and poor, to monopoly, and to the oppression of the poor by the rich.

. So perhaps, however radical the anarchist ideology appears, it has something in common with the anti-government neo-conservative atmosphere of our time, However much it hopes to eliminate all coercion -- government or corporate -- its solutions are bound to the marketplace.It's no accident that one outright capitalist party, the Libertarian, is willing to flirt with anarchist phrases. It says it would remove all interference by the government in personal decisions, but it would subject the people even more to the marketplace than Newt Gingrich's 'Contract on the Workers and the Poor'.

. Anarchism fails because it can't see that the economic basis of the government remains under small-scale production including that run by communal groups. So its denunciation of the state ends up as wishful thinking, or even worse, finds a reflection in the anti-government posturing which the right-wing and the Libertarians use as a cover for supporting the marketplace. It fails because it sees the individual or the small group as self-sufficient, while in fact only the collective action of the working masses -- the building of a proletarian party, the carrying out of revolutionary struggle, the collective running of the economy -- can overcome exploitation and provide a true basis of the flourishing of individuality and creativity. It fails because its failure to understand the relation of freedom to mass activity mirrors the capitalist ideology of each person for their self.

* * * * *

. The only way to overcome oppression is by eliminating the division of society into hostile classes. And this requires that the workers not recoil before, but take up the most powerful methods of political struggle in order to assault the domination of private ownership. They must rely on class organization and all-round mass struggle, political and economic and ideological. They must take over all production via revolution. At first, the new society requires a revolutionary government. Such a government will at long last be a tool of the majority of the people in their fight against exploitation by the few. It will help stamp out exploitation and bring the economy under the conscious control of all workers. But ultimately, as the economy is really run by all, everyone will be both a worker and an overseer of society's affairs, and so class division will come to an end. It is the end of class division that will bring the end of government and the whole political apparatus. Only in this way can there be a real and not illusory end of government and of political.

* * * * *

. Anarchism has a disorganizing effect in the class struggle. . . . It tends to see organization and discipline and joint effort as a shackle on the individual, and it fails to see how they can be the agencies of liberation.

* * * * *

. . . Today we study the misadventures of one group, the Revolutionary Socialist Study Group of Seattle, which broke up into two trends of thought: supporters of capitalist realism on one hand and anarchist dreamers on the other. We show how both sides of this split have abandoned communism: the 'realistic' opponents of revolutionism, and the anarchist parody of revolutionism are both based on marketplace ideas.

(Communist Voice, vol. 1, #4, Sept.15, 1995 -- full article)


Reply to the Open Letter of the Black Autonomy Collective:

The experience of the Spanish anarchists shows that autonomous collectives can't overcome the marketplace

by Joseph Green, Detroit

The Spanish example refutes the anarchists
The failure of the anarchist method of abolishing money
Patriarchalism and small-scale production
Failure of the anarchist method of abolishing government
Errors of the Spanish anarchists, as admitted by the anarchist nationalists
First error--weakness in the fight against fascism
Second error--lack of independence
Third error--lack of international solidarity
Eurocentrism and Morocco
From Spain to the Black Autonomists of Seattle


. A key question which Greg Jackson and the other anarchists and Libertarians can't deal with is how to eliminate the power of the marketplace. Mr. Jackson fumes against my article "Anarchism and the marketplace", but he won't directly deal with my assertion that

"a nagging question remains. Even if the government were eliminated, would oppression end? What about the power of the giant corporations? Some of them are as large and wealthy as many governments, and employ as many people. What about the power of the marketplace? Doesn't it ravage forests, pollute water, condemn tens and hundreds of millions of people to poverty and toil, as brutally as any government? (emphasis added)"

. I pointed out that

"when production is carried out by independent enterprises, whether communally owned or run by profiteers, this is not the basis of freedom, but ultimately it is the basis of oppression. It means that the various enterprises and workers are connected, not by any conscious plan, but by the rule of market forces, by the result of thousands of transactions among the separate groups. And the market forces inevitably give rise to a division of rich and poor, to monopoly, and to the oppression of the poor by the rich."

. What does the Black Autonomy Collective offer as an alternative to the marketplace? If we look at the next to last page of any issue of "Black Autonomy", we find the "unified position statement of Black Autonomy newspaper and affiliated Black Autonomist (anarchist) activists in the United States". It is entitled "Anarchism + black revolution = new black autonomous politics". It states that "The new autonomous politics is made up of the anti-authoritarian core of Anarchism and many of the tenets of revolutionary Black nationalism". But despite its mention of revolution, one will find just about nothing about what this revolution is supposed to do. Oh yes, it mentions a "revolutionary project to defeat the system of capitalism and enslavement . . ." But it don't say how it envisages this, and how capitalism and the marketplace will be overcome. We're just supposed to take their word for it that their plans are capable of doing this.

. Jackson refers us to the example of Spain in 1936-39. He tells us that

"anarchism was practiced in mass scale most recently in Spain from 1936-39. By most accounts (including Marxist-Leninist), the Spanish working class organizations such as the CNT (National Confederation of Labor) and the FAI (Federation of Anarchists of Iberia) seized true direct workers' power and in fact kept people alive during a massive civil war."

. His implication is that the Spanish anarchists really did overcome the marketplace and were so successful that the anarchist areas were the breadbasket for the Spanish Republic in its losing battle against Franco's fascists from 1936-39.

. This example is important for Jackson, who presents himself as the practical activist par excellence, above all "dogma". He implies that he knows what's right not because of the hated theory, but because it actually works! After all, he says, "Any theory which cannot, at the very least, be demonstrated in miniature scale . . . in daily life is not even worth serious discussion because it is rigid dogma of the worst kind." So he had better have an example, or else his anarchism is condemned by his own words as "rigid dogma of the worst kind". Well, Jackson can't seem to find a convincing one from "daily life", but at least he can find one sometime in this century. And that example is the Spanish Civil War.

The Spanish example refutes the anarchists

. So let's look at this example. Let's not begrudge the time and effort it takes, for the example of the Spanish Civil War collectives is indeed a fascinating one that will repay serious study. And it is one of the main examples used not just by Jackson and the anarchist nationalists, but by most anarchists. There are many examples of isolated anarchist colonies, but they didn't prove durable. The Spanish Civil War provides about the only example of anarchist collectives embracing both agriculture and industry, the countryside and the city, on a mass scale. But this example shows that the anarchists were incapable of overcoming the power of the marketplace, and ended up blaming the masses for their "utilitarian and petty bourgeois spirit" (as we shall, in a moment, see the CNT saying) rather than admitting that anarchist dogma was at fault.

. The Spanish anarchists believed that a system of autonomous collectives, with the weakest possible connections between them, was the alternative to capitalism and also to the Marxist view of society running the entire economy as one whole. Thus the anarchists believed that once they had collectivized the village communities or taken over the workplaces in the cities, that they had abolished capitalism, money, and all government. In fact, this proved not to be the case, and anarchism proved unable to understand what was going on and unable to provide revolutionary guidance to the workers and peasants of Spain. Among other things, market forces asserted themselves among the anarchist-led collectives, providing a vivid illustration of the point made in my article "Anarchism and the marketplace". It wasn't just the major hardships of the Spanish Civil War that plagued the collectives, but the economic relations (or lack of them) between the collectives. The inability of the system of independent collectives to overcome inequality and other problems was noted by serious commentators on the Civil War of various trends, including those who are quite sympathetic to the anarchists. Indeed, as we shall see shortly, at the time this was taking place, some prominent Spanish anarchists and the CNT union themselves noted these problems, but they didn't know what to do about it. This can only be denied by the wishful thinking of present-day anarchists, who make Spain into a legend but refuse to study what actually happened.

. It's not that the collectives were a failure in themselves. Just prior to and during the Civil War, large numbers of toilers rose up to take over the agrarian communities in some regions of Spain and workplaces in Barcelona and some other cities. Some collectives and cooperatives worked well, some didn't, and some were even imposed on the toilers. But all in all, this was the masses starting to take things into their own hands, and they showed that they could continue production in their workplaces without the whip of the big landlords and bloated parasites. The taking over of the individual workplaces and communities is one step in a revolutionary process. But there is yet more that must be done -- the workplaces and communities must be integrated into an overall economy. A vast organizational task faces the oppressed masses who are rising up to eliminate the old exploiting system, but anarchist theory just brushes aside this problem -- coordination between collective would supposedly be easily accomplished by "mutual aid" or "voluntary cooperation" or, if absolutely need be, by the weakest possible federation. The anarchist theory was then, as now, allergic to centralism and central planning. The anarchists didn't and don't understand that a new centralism -- compatible with and requiring the initiative of the workers at the base -- has to be built up if capitalism is to be overcome. For them, democracy at the base and centralism are incompatible; they identify centralism with tyranny; and when they talked about "self-management" they meant collectives that are autonomous and independent. Faced with the need for coordination and planning and class-wide action in the Spanish Civil War, the anarchists were in a quandary. They ended up adopting more and more of the plans of their opponents, such as the reformist socialists, the Stalinists (fake communists), and the liberal bourgeoisie. Grumbling and stumbling, the anarchists accepted these plans, not just as a compromise, but because they had no independent idea about how to accomplish the needed centralism. They didn't know how to counterpose revolutionary centralism and class-wide consciousness to the bureaucracy of the reformists, Stalinists and liberal bourgeoisie.

. The problems facing the anarchist collectives weren't due to their leaders not being fully dedicated or committed anarchists, as the BAC's Jackson implies. The real, long-time Spanish anarchists led a large section of those revolutionary Spanish workers and peasants who hated the bourgeoisie and capitalism. They were in the forefront of the movement to establish collectives (there were also collectives and cooperatives organized by other forces). The anarchist-led agrarian collectives were concentrated in Aragon and the Levante, and for about a year the anarchists had a pretty free hand with them, and the anarchist stronghold of Barcelona was a key center of the revolutionary workers' movement in Spain. This system only had a short time to develop. But even in the first year, economic forces arose among the collectives that the anarchists didn't know what to do about. And there is good reason to believe that the problem of coordination would only have become worse if the anarchist experiment had lasted longer.


. Let's evaluate the Spanish collectives according to one of the basic goals set by the anarchists themselves. This was to ensure equality among the toilers. They believed that the autonomous collectives would rapidly equalize conditions among themselves through "mutual aid" and solidarity. This did not happen. The various agrarian collectives organized themselves in varying ways, and might in some cases pool the community's goods in a central storehouse. But these collectives faced economic conditions that varied dramatically from community to community, and factory to factory, and the living conditions between different collectives continued to vary dramatically. David Miller, a most sympathetic critic of the anarchists, refers in his book Anarchism to the universal admission of all commentators that conditions varied greatly among the Spanish collectives, with peasants at some agricultural collectives making three times that of peasants at other collectives. Miller concludes that "Such variations no doubt reflected historical inequalities of wealth, but at the same time the redistributive impact of the [anarchist] federation had clearly been slight."(1)

. What happened to "mutual aid" among the collectives? The collectives didn't display that much interest in equalizing conditions among themselves, although they might see the point of supporting the struggle against fascism, for they feared the fascist troops would ravage their community and restore the rich to control of the land. Miller says that "rural communities were more likely to send their surpluses to the militias on the front and to the cities than to one another".(2) This happened even though in "Aragon and the Levante -- the two major areas in which [agrarian] collectivization was able to proceed relatively unhindered", the anarchist regional federations took mutual aid and redistribution among collectives quite seriously, as "one of their primary tasks". One could argue that the collectives didn't have much time to develop, being in existence for only two and a half years at most, with the anarchists only having one year of reasonably unhindered work, but one could certainly not argue that this experience confirmed anarchist theory.

. A similar phenomenon took place among worker collectives in the city of Barcelona, which was the main center of anarchist industrial collectives. The workers took over the factories, but anarchist principles could not establish durable cooperation among these factories. The anarchist theory led to the ordinary anarchist considering each factory as owned simply by the workers that labored there, and not by the working class as a whole. This was noted at the time by the Spanish anarcho-syndicalist union itself, the CNT. One of its commissions referred to the failure of the collectives to work together properly and stated that "By regarding each collective as private property [of the workers of that workplace], and not merely as its usufruct, the interests of the rest of the collective have been disregarded. . . . The collectivized firms are solely concerned with their [own] liabilities, leading to an imbalance in the finances of other firms." It claimed that "a utilitarian and petty bourgeois spirit" was manifesting itself among the masses.(3) In short, the CNT noted that the workers regarded themselves as owners of their own particular workplace, rather than seeing their workplace as the property of the entire working class, which grants them the right ("usufruct") to operate it on their behalf. And it identifies the result of this as a lack of coordination.

. How did the anarchists relate the various workplace collectives to each other in Barcelona? Despite anarchist declarations against money, they made use of a patchwork system including a Central Labor Bank, an Economic Council, credit, cash purchases, requisitioning, etc. They not only were unable to eliminate money and capitalist accounting, but had to organize forms of banking and finance. Moreover, the growing polarization among the collectives was reflected in many of them losing their independence. The poor collectives needed funds to pay wages, and many obtained these funds by mortgaging their workplace's equipment and stockpiles to the bourgeois Catalan government of the "Generalitat".(4) As a result of the operation of this "pawn bank," as it was called, the control of these workplaces passed in essence to the Catalan government.

. No wonder that the anarchist Horacio Prieto, member of the national committee of the CNT and at one time its secretary (leader), cried out in pain:

. "The collectivism we are living in Spain is not anarchist collectivism, it is the creation of a new capitalism, more inorganic than the old capitalist system we have destroyed . . . Rich collectives refuse to recognize any responsibilities, duties or solidarity towards poor collectives .  .  . No one understands the complexities of the economy, the dependence of one industry on another." (January 6, 1938) (5)

. And yet this is the same Spanish collectivism that the BAC's Greg Jackson assures us proves that marketplace forces will not operate among autonomous collectives.

The failure of the anarchist method of abolishing money

. Let's take a further look at anarchist theory in light of the Spanish experience. The anarchists had believed that simply taking over the workplaces and village communities would suffice to abolish money. One author describes the process in the countryside as follows:

. "In Binéfor, as in the other 450 collectivized Aragon towns, money was declared abolished. Anarchists rejected it as the root of everything they abhorred. An economy based totally on barter being impractical, the committee issued coupons in 5-, 6- and 7-peseta denominations. The value of all male work, whether performed by doctor or truck driver, was fixed at 7 pesetas a day. Women . .  . got 5 pesetas. The old currency was not seized, and a black market flourished. Some services were available only to collectivists. Whoever chose not to join the system could not get a haircut; the only barber shop did not cater to individualistas."(6)

. Thus having begun by abolishing money, the local committee of the autonomous commune proceeded to issue local coupons that functioned as local money.(7) It didn't strike the anarchists to consider whether their local coupons served the role of money. For the anarchists, money only meant the hated national banknotes, while local currency was not -- in their eyes -- money at all. Meanwhile the necessity for the collective to deal with other collectives, and as well to provide money to peasants visiting other parts of Spain, resulted in a patchwork system. According to Miller, the inconvenience of this system resulted in the "growing belief, in anarchist circles, that a uniform national currency was after all a good thing."(8)

. The collectives carried out a number of measures which were probably of great value to the local population. This included rationing of some key goods, such as wheat and wine, and financing some services -- such as barber shops, apothecaries, etc. -- by the collective instead of by fees from individuals. The excitement at the peasants actually deciding matters and at these new methods of dealing with economic hardship no doubt appeared to many as the abolition of the old capitalism. But these steps do not in themselves go beyond capitalism, and indeed have been used by capitalist governments, as seen in rationing and in national health insurance, public education systems, public library systems, etc. Indeed, some of these measures actually increase the power of government, but the anarchists didn't see local government as government -- more about that in a moment. The main point here is that the anarchists saw only the surface features of money -- the banknote issued by the financial institutions of the rich and powerful -- and not the real economic features of money.

. The problem is not that the anarchists couldn't accomplish the impossible -- the immediate abolition of money. This failure discredits their anarchist theory, but it doesn't in itself fault the practical actions taken by the anarchists in organizing the collectives. The problem is that, saddled with their false theory, they could not understand the real nature of the economic steps taken in the collectives, and thus they could not deal with the economic relations that arose among the collectives. With their view that local government and local coupons aren't really government and money, they couldn't understand the need for social control over the economy, control by all of the working people as a whole, if steps towards abolishing capitalism were to be made. For them centralism = authoritarianism = capitalism, and they had no idea that their simple equations doomed them to be victims of marketplace forces.

. From the point of view of Marxist theory, it is not surprising that money cannot be done away with at once. Marxism recognizes the need for a relatively lengthy transitional period between the start of the social revolution and the attainment of a classless society which has done away with government, money, etc. During this transitional period, the workers have to learn to run the economy in a centralized way, thus overcoming the marketplace. As well, the productive forces must be developed far enough to eliminate the scarcity economy among the masses. And the class divisions in society have to be overcome in practice before the workers can dispense with the use of a revolutionary state machine. But the anarchists denounce the Marxists for worrying about transition periods, and say that this means the Marxists are just "state socialists" and "state capitalists". All you supposedly have to do is have the workers and peasants take over each workplace and farm by themselves, and then money and government can be abolished immediately. The experience of the Spanish Civil War shows that the anarchist plan could not abolish money and government.

Patriarchalism and small-scale production

. The anarchists believed that the village communities would enter the realm of a future liberated society if only they became autonomous collectives. They didn't see the collectives as only one step, and they didn't see the need for the collectives to be integrated into a broader social control of all production. But when the village communities were freed from the old national forms of money and when they achieved self-government as collectives, they not only hadn't been liberated from capitalism, they even still discriminated against women. We have glanced briefly above at the anarchist collective of Binéfor, which despite its supposed abolition of money still paid men more than women. This didn't happen simply in Binéfor, but in most of the collectives. And it isn't simply the slander of some bigoted opponent of anarchism, but was discussed by anarchist women themselves. One author points out, in discussing the situation in 1936-37, that

. "The anarchists had always declared the equality of all human beings, but, as the anarchist feminist organization, Mujeres Libres [Liberated Women], emphasized, relationships still remained 'feudal'. The most blatant way in which the anarchists had failed to live up to their professed ideals was the different levels of pay form men and women in most CNT enterprises. . . . Little headway was made outside the cities, though the greatest demonstration of the new equality was the number of militiawomen fighting in the front line."(9)

. The inequality between men and women existed in industrial collectives in Barcelona as well as in the Spanish countryside. But it was most resistant to change in the agrarian villages. And this patriarchal oppression of women isn't something particular to Spanish agrarian collectives. As far as the countryside goes, it is typical of independent agrarian collectives engaging in small-scale production. It was seen in the Russian mir a century ago and in a number of Mexican ejidos in this century. The agrarian village community, if it is a self-contained entity, is not the harbinger of a new society, but tends to suffer from all the ills of small-scale production. This is true even if its members own the land in common, have various joint responsibilities, and decide their local community affairs democratically. In the Bolshevik Revolution, the communists, before their party degenerated into Stalinist revisionism, took seriously the issue of working for the equality of working women with working men. This required not simply liberating the village community from the old tsarist oppression, but tying the village community into a broader social context. It required the workers systematically seeking to influence the countryside, and it required bringing the benefits of large-scale production to the village. Among the methods of influence was mobilizing the local population around social measures promulgated throughout the country. The banner of the struggle was not autonomy, but class-wide effort.

Failure of the anarchist method of abolishing government

. The anarchist abolition of government didn't fare much better than their abolition of money. They believed that once they had established their self-governing communities in the villages and taken over the workplaces in the cities, government was abolished. That's not what happened.

. Take the villages. The anarchist version of the abolition of money resulted in the local village committee issuing coupons, running various social services (barber shop, apothecaries, etc.), determining the conditions of work, etc. This actually increased the role of the local committee. As one source points out, in the midst of praising the agrarian collectives: ". . . But the lives of those who joined were strictly controlled by the elected administrative commission that managed the collective, shared out the work, and paid the wages on a 'household' basis (single man, 5 pesetas; single woman, 4 pesetas; head of family, 5 pesetas; his wife, 2 pesetas, etc.)."(10)

. The power of the poor in these committees was undoubtedly a great improvement over having one's life dictated to by the rich. But anyone who thinks that a local committee -- because it's local -- is not exercising political power has never taken made a realistic study of self-governing communities and organizations.

. But to continue. What about the all-important supply of foodstuffs to the cities and the front lines of the fight against the fascist armies? It turns out that this wasn't simply left to the agrarian villages. Instead it was aided by the use of force, by anarchist militias. Above I have cited Miller saying that the agrarian collectives supplied the cities and the front, although they didn't equalize conditions among themselves. But what Miller left out, is the role of the anarchist militia columns in supplying the city and the front. Antony Beevor, who is favorable to the anarchist collectives, points out that "In Aragon some collectives were installed forcibly by anarchist militia columns, especially Durruti's. Their impatience to get the harvest in to feed the cities, as well as the fervor of their beliefs, sometimes led to violence."(11)

. This is not to say that the agrarian collectives didn't see the necessity of supplying the cities and the front. But to actually accomplish this supply, it took more than the goodwill of the collectives. Militia columns were used. And when it came to equalizing conditions between the agrarian collectives -- something far too delicate and intricate to be accomplished by roving militia columns -- very little was done. This puts a somewhat different picture on the "mutual aid" in the countryside.

. But what does it mean to use the militia columns? The armed forces are one of the key features of the state. And the militia columns were not under the command of the autonomous villages and were not the village community in arms, but were roving bands filled in large part with anarchists from the cities. So here we have the anarchists making use of one the chief tools of state power in order to collect grain from the collectives. Of course, the anarchists believed that since these were anarchist militias, and free of saluting and other features of the Spanish regular army, that they were no longer tools of state power. This was the same mistake they made when they assumed that local coupons were not money, because they were not the hated banknotes issued by the central government.

. As far as the Barcelona and Catalan governments went, the anarchists fared no better. At the outset of the Civil War, the anarchists were dominant in Barcelona, the main city of Catalonia, and could have dispersed the government of Catalonia, the so-called "Generalitat", which was in the hands of liberal bourgeois Catalan nationalists. The anarchists didn't do so, because it went against their anarchist ideology to form a government. They were content in July 1936 to form a Central Committee of the Anti-fascist Militias (also known as the Anti-fascist Militias Committee), to take over workplaces, and to create local committees. At a time when the Anti-fascist Militias Committee was pretty much the dominant force in Catalonia, the anarchists coexisted with the government. It seemed that the anarchist opposition to government was now interpreted as also being opposition to dispersing the government. The anarchist leader Ahad de Santillán later wrote:

. "We could have remained alone, imposed our absolute will, declared the Generalitat null and void, and imposed the true power of the people in its place, but we did not believe in dictatorship when it was exercised against us, and we did not want it when we could exercise it ourselves only at the expense of others. The Generalitat government would remain in force with President Companys at its head, and the popular forces would organize themselves into militias to carry on the struggle for the liberation of Spain. Thus was born the Catalonia Antifascist Militias Committee, . . "(12)

. By September 1936, the anarchists joined the Generalitat government of Catalonia, and in November joined the Republican government of Spain. Thus the anarchists first refused to form a government, as a violation of their anti-state and anti-authoritarian principles, and then joined both the provincial and national governments.

. Once again, the problem isn't that the anarchists couldn't achieve the impossible -- the immediate abolition of government. This failure discredits the anarchist theory, but it doesn't in itself fault the practical steps they took in developing what were in effect organs of revolutionary power. But these practical steps were deeply flawed by their inability to understand, due to their false theory, what type of political organization is needed by the revolutionary movement. They misinterpreted the use of militia columns and local committees as the abolition of government, when it was a step in the development of a sort of revolutionary government.

Errors of the Spanish anarchists, as admitted by the anarchist nationalists

. Now the BAC's Jackson himself admits that there were some errors made by the Spanish anarchists. Let's look at Jackson's analysis. He claims that the anarchist "main failure was on a military, and (partially) on an ideological level". He entirely ignores the economic problems facing the anarchists, as he prefer to live in a world of legends and wishful thinking on that front. But the errors he does list are of much interest. And although Jackson says there was something of an ideological basis for them, he stays as far away in practice from giving that basis. That is an error that we won't make.

First error--weakness in the fight against fascism

. First of all, Jackson tells us that the Spanish anarchists "didn't carry out a protracted fight against the fascist Falange with the attitude of driving them off the face of the planet." Now this is a shocking admission. The anarchists, the self-proclaimed greatest enemies of the state, didn't carry out enough of a fight against the fascist Falange, the representative of the worst type of repressive state. Unfortunately, Jackson doesn't tell us why this was so. Didn't the Spanish anarchists shout as loud as Jackson about the evils of the state and all authority? Yes, they did. And if they nevertheless couldn't put enough emphasis on the fight against the fascists, why should we believe that Seattle anarchists like Jackson can carry out a sufficiently protracted and fierce fight against the reactionaries here?

. Let's suggest a reason why the Spanish anarchists had trouble. The anarchist ideology -- take over your local workplace, and that's all that is needed -- gives rise to a localist outlook. Its disgust at centralism goes against the idea of organizing nation-wide (and even broader) struggles against the reactionary enemy. This requires a centralized struggle; and anarchists aren't any happier with political centralization than with economic centralization.

. One author, sympathetic to anarchists, nevertheless writes that:

"For example, the anarchists of Catalonia felt that to recapture Saragossa would be tantamount to winning the war. The advance of the Army of Africa(13) in the south-west [of Spain] could almost have been in a foreign country, as far as they were concerned."(14)

. Ironically, another writer in Black Autonomy put his finger in passing on one aspect of the issue. David Ashley wrote that "Splintered nations have always destroyed themselves with just the slightest push from the outside. . . The reason for this is that no matter the size of an organization it will defeat disorganization and in-fighting."(15) Organization will defeat disorganization, even if the organization is tiny compared to the huge disorganized mass -- that's a strange admission for an anarchist to make. But it gives a key to the difficulty that the Spanish anarchists had in the fight against the Falange. The Falange was organized, while the anarchists -- able to take over and run individual collectives, or even some regional committees -- nevertheless tended to disorganization.

Second error--lack of independence

. The second reason Jackson gives is that the Spanish anarchists "underestimated the treachery of their Marxist-Leninist 'allies' (and even some of their anarchist 'allies'), who later sided with the liberal government to destroy the anarchist collectives. Some CNT members even joined the government in the name of a 'united front against fascism'." Here we see that the anarchists to some extent trailed the Stalinists (the Spanish Communist Party was no longer Marxist-Leninist but had been overcome by Stalinist revisionism by the time of the Spanish Civil War). Moreover, while Jackson blames the Stalinists for the political errors of the anarchists, he admits that the anarchists themselves joined the government -- i.e. trailed the liberal bourgeois republicans.

. But why did the anarchists do this? Is it because the Spanish anarchists had a tradition of working with the communists and following them around? Far from it. The Spanish anarchists were just as hostile to either Marxist communism or Stalinism (fake communism), and just as hostile to the bourgeois politicians as Jackson. They shouted just as loud as Jackson, and they had been doing it for far longer than Jackson has been doing it. They had been trained in decades of abuse against politics as well as against Marxism. So it's hard to believe that they joined a government out of softness towards either Marxism or Stalinism.

. What happened is that the anarchists lacked any independent answers to the struggle against fascism. Without these independent answers, they could do nothing but splinter and follow other political forces, even those forces whom they had been denouncing for decades. When they saw that the autonomous collectives were getting into trouble, they had to turn to solutions proposed by other political forces, because they had no real answer for themselves. When they saw that the anarchist militias weren't sufficient for the military struggle, they had to turn to the plans for regularizing the army proposed by other political forces. When they saw that they couldn't simply abolish government in the midst of the crisis, they vacillated between letting the liberal bourgeois governments alone and joining them.

. It is to the credit of the Spanish anarchists that they recognized that some of their rhetoric had to be thrown aside. They couldn't be satisfied with the empty rhetoric that satisfies Jackson because they could see with their eyes that the anarchist plans were in trouble. But on the other hand, they had no idea of how to deal with the problems they saw. They ended up trailing other forces, while grumbling about this and that. It was a fiasco of the highest order.

. This isn't the first time that anarchism had proved bankrupt in Spain. Engels discussed a similar fiasco that overwhelmed the Spanish anarchists in the 19th century in his pamphlet "The Bakuninists at Work: An Account of the Spanish Revolt in the Summer of 1873". Here the Spanish anarchists were faced with the possible replacement of the monarchy with a democratic republic. According to the Bakuninist theory which they were following at the time, the anarchists shouldn't have cared about the political events unfolding. As Engels describes it, the Spanish anarchists "had been preaching for years that no part should be taken in a revolution that did not have as its aim the immediate and complete emancipation of the working class, . .  ." (This is still anarchist doctrine.) And yet, every Spanish worker knew that the working class must intervene in the crucial political events that were occurring.

. So what did the anarchists do in 1873? They ended up in part abstaining from taking any definite line in the struggle, and in part following the bourgeois republicans. Having preached against revolutionary government, the Bakuninists nevertheless joined in government "juntas" with the bourgeois republicans, generally without being able to influence their program. And militarily, Engels pointed out that their allergy towards centralism resulted in fragmentation of the revolutionary forces, so that the reactionaries could "conquer one city after another with a handful of soldiers, practically unresisted."

. The root cause of the anarchists trailing other forces in the Spanish Civil War was the failure of anarchist theory. It's what happened in 1873, and it happened again six decades later in the Spanish Civil War.

Third error--lack of international solidarity

. Jackson's third criticism of the Spanish anarchists is that they "hadn't spent enough time really developing their networks outside the country in the event they needed weapons, supplies, or a place to seek refuge quickly." Here again, Jackson doesn't suggest a reason why this happened. Yet here again the localist anarchist outlook would go against such preparations. True, the anarchists had had their own International association in the 1870s, separate from the original First International and the Marxists. It had flopped so badly that the anarchists never tried to resuscitate it and seem to prefer to forget about it. Given anarchist localism, it is not surprising that this International doesn't even seem to be been missed by current-day anarchists.

Eurocentrism and Morocco

. Finally, let's note another shortcoming of the Spanish anarchists that is related to their shortcomings in internationalism. Jackson is silent about this shortcoming, although it would seem to be related to the "Eurocentrism" that Jackson talks so much about. (Jackson accuses the "white left" of being Eurocentrist throughout his open letter.) It may seem strange that Jackson accuses the general left -- which debates the nature of regimes in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Eastern Europe -- of being Eurocentric, while he himself gives the experience of the struggle in a Western European country, Spain, as his main example of successful anarchism. This is another example of an anarchist having one idea in theory, but being forced to eat his words in practice. But far more significant is that Jackson fails to note the "Eurocentrism" of the Spanish anarchists.

. The issue here concerns Morocco, a part of North Africa. Morocco was at that time partitioned between Spain and France. During the Spanish Civil War, the fascists made use of a large number of Moroccan troops. If the Spanish working class was to defeat fascism, it was important to raise the Moroccans in revolt against their fascist Falangist commanders. In order to do this, it would have been necessary to proclaim Morocco's right to self-determination and to promise that, if the fascists were defeated, there would be an end to Spanish domination. This was never done. While the Republic's granting of autonomy to Catalonia and the Basque region had increased its support in those areas of European Spain, there was no serious attempt to win over the Moroccan masses in Africa.

. It looked as if the bourgeois republicans would rather lose to the fascists than see Morocco become independent. They were also frightened that recognizing Moroccan rights would alienate France and other imperialist powers. It was up to the working class to stand up for the national rights of the Moroccans. But the anarchists weren't that interested in this issue. In the literature discussing the views of the Spanish anarchists, it is hard to even find mention of the Moroccan problem. ( No doubt this too is part of the localist orientation of anarchism, as well as their opposition to all states.) But according to one source, "Prior to the Civil War, all the revolutionary parties had stood for the independence, or at least the full autonomy of Morocco." But only POUM (which was not anarchist) "came out publicly" for this during the war.(16).

. It's not that the Moroccan war had been a minor issue in Spain, which might be accidentally overlooked at a time of national crisis. A revolt of the Rif tribespeople of Morocco led by Abd el-Krim had lasted from 1919 to 1926. In 1921, they had crushed an entire Spanish army in a major battle, and for several years a large zone of Morocco was liberated. It took major forces from France as well as Spain to put down this uprising. And history would soon show how disastrous it is for the working class if "their" country wins an unjust war of oppression. The Spanish "Army of Africa" that suppressed the Moroccans(17) would be the core of the fascist forces that would suppress the Spanish toilers in the Civil War; among its generals were the spark plugs of the fascist rebellion, such as Mola, Goded, Queipo de Llano, Sanjurjo, and Franco himself(18); and the subjugation of Morocco had paved the way for the use of thousands of indigenous Moroccan troops against the Republic. As Marxism teaches, a nation that oppresses another forges the chains of its own slavery. French and Spanish communists had campaigned vigorously in support of the Rif rebellion while it was proceeding, and the Spanish communists had continued to support Moroccan independence until their Marxist-Leninist stand was replaced by Stalinist revisionism. In the mid-30's, the Stalinists abandoned the Moroccans as part of their wheelings and dealings with the liberal republicans. And the anarchists? They just didn't seem that concerned with the issue during the Civil War.

. And so the Spanish anarchists treated the Moroccans with indifference. And Greg Jackson -- the campaigner against Eurocentrism supposedly on behalf of the [non-European] masses -- overlooks the issue.

. But Jackson isn't that concerned with the real history of the struggle against national and colonial oppression. Since he is not just an anarchist, but a nationalist anarchist, his concern is to prove that unity is all but impossible between the black workers and other workers. So he pretends that communism and the workers' movement have never really opposed the oppression of the minorities and subject nationalities. In fact, the communist parties and movements, in their days as Marxist revolutionary movements, led masses of workers to raise the banners of the anti-colonial movement, the right to self-determination, the struggle against racial discrimination, and the unity of workers of all nationalities, races and backgrounds. The campaigns of communists in favor of freedom for the peoples oppressed by their "own" county, their "own" bourgeoisie, were consistent and spirited. This stand of the communists was spurred on by their Marxist theory, which encourages workers and activists to see their liberation as coming from a world-wide class struggle and not from fencing themselves off from the world in a supposedly autonomous collective. Besides the campaigns of the communists in favor of the revolt of the Rif tribes, mention could also be made of the communist stand against apartheid in South Africa, against racial discrimination in the U.S., against the colonial empires of the imperial powers, etc.

From Spain to the Black Autonomists of Seattle

. We have thus seen that the example of Spain goes against the anarchist theories. Jackson brought up Spain as a reply to my article "Anarchism and the marketplace" where I pointed out that the anarchist ideal of autonomous collectives leaves the workers enslaved by market forces. Jackson replied by telling us to look at the anarchist collectives in the Spanish Civil War. We have looked, and we have seen that inequality remained in the countryside while even the Spanish anarcho-syndicalists of the CNT were upset with the result of the autonomous workplace collectives in Barcelona. And this is despite the fact that the Spanish collectives represented just about the best that the anarchists ever achieved on any sizeable scale.

. Well then, does Jackson have any further answers to the problems of social liberation beyond what the Spanish anarchists already tried? Jackson is upset with "the centralization of all means of production", which he can only visualize as "state capitalism". So presumably Jackson does not believe that society as a whole can run the economy. The economy will not be centralized. But this leaves to question. How will the individual small pieces of the economy be run? The Spanish anarchists found it wasn't enough to simply say "mutual aid" or "voluntary cooperation".Does Jackson have any further answer?

. Well, Jackson insists that the form of future society must already exist on a small-scale in today's society. It must be "demonstrated in miniature scale . . . in daily life". But unfortunately, Jackson doesn't tell us what are the examples today of the autonomist future society "in miniature scale". But it turns out that he supports small businesses, if they are run by black people. So this is apparently a part of the new society "in miniature".

. Thus Jackson not only doesn't have any new answers to the problem of social liberation, but he appears to be moving backward. While Jackson and the anarchists of the Spanish Civil War period hold many theories in common, they represent different social forces. The Spanish anarchists were deep in the workers' movement, although they were unable to give it revolutionary guidance. Jackson however fumes at the general workers' movement, but is sympathetic to the national bourgeoisie.

. Jackson is helping organize a boycott of "white-owned businesses in Seattle" in favor of "Black businesses".(19) Moreover, David Ashley, a self-proclaimed "black middle class" member of BAC, states that "The role of the Black middle class is not to stop striving, but to strive for the people. There is nothing wrong with business if the business is run by the people and for the people not for the fattening of bosses' pockets."(20) This suggests that the BAC admits there is something similar between an autonomous collective and a business that, in their view, "is run by the people and for the people". Such a business is Ashley's romanticized picture of what petty-bourgeois enterprise could be.

. In his open letter to the left, Jackson even theorizes about the role of business. He defends "our [BAC] support of Black-owned businesses" by claiming that it "goes hand-in-glove with Marx's theory that revolution could only ensue once capitalism was fully developed." If Jackson were serious that business has to be built up to ensure that capitalism is developed, then of course he shouldn't limit his support only to black business or to small businesses. But it is a craven reformist interpretation of Marxism to argue that one should support the bourgeoisie in order to develop capitalism. Marxism advocates the development of the class struggle, while the Greg Jackson theorizes on the need to support the national bourgeoisie.

. Indeed, Jackson -- when discussing the division in the black community -- denounces the black elite simply as puppets of the overall power structure, not as bourgeois. He glosses over their class nature, but instead writes of "a Black elite of liberal and conservative (negrosie) puppets for the white power structure . . ." He doesn't point out that the "Black elite" has its own class interests, but only denounces it for subordinating itself to the dominant bourgeoisie.

. But let's look further into the autonomous collectives of the anarchists. Jackson's vision of them differs substantially from that of the Spanish anarchists in at least one way: the Spanish anarchists would have the workers of all backgrounds mixed together in their collectives. But what about the BAC? Would its idea of the future collective include people of all nationalities and backgrounds, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, indigenous, etc.? Jackson doesn't say. Yet, looking at the various declarations of the BAC, it's a legitimate issue to raise. In a progressive collective, one would imagine that each and every individual should have a full say on all controversial issues. But Jackson insists that the "white left" and "white" working class should stay out of the affairs of black people, such as discussions of the revolutionary goal. Indeed, he writes that he has "no illusions about white people confronting their own racism". So does this mean segregated collectives, while the "white collectives" are to give "unconditional (no strings attached) material support" to any decision of the "black collectives" (and the Hispanic, Asian and indigenous collectives are somehow to find a way to fit into this system)? Or does this mean collectives where only part of the workers has a say?

. Perhaps Jackson and the other anarchists would regard it as Stalinist or Pol Pot-ist to have definite answers on these questions. Hard thought on issues of revolutionary orientation is regarded by Jackson as "dogmatic", and definite answers as "theology". Why should the movement worry about these issues, in the anarchist view? Wouldn't this be, in Jackson's view, adopting the authoritarian and hierarchical methods of the revolutionaries of the past? But what happens if a movement full of empty slogans and conflicting ideas ends up in a position of influence in the middle of a mass upsurge, as happened to the Spanish anarchists? It will be faced with the need for answers on what should be done. Won't it be a bit late to start debating the question at that point, when the time calls out for immediate action?


(1) David Miller, Anarchism, "Constructive Achievements", p. 164. (Return to text)

(2) Ibid., p. 163. (Text)

(3) Pierre Broué and Emile Témime, The Revolution and the Civil War in Spain, p. 163. (Text)

(4) Ronald Fraser, Blood of Spain: An Oral History of the Spanish Civil War, pp. 211, 578. (This book contains a good deal of documentation, aside from its interviews.) Catalonia, under the Republic, was an autonomous province of Spain. Its "Generalitat" government--which sided with the Republic against Franco's fascists--was led by the liberal bourgeois Catalan nationalists. The anarchists, at the height of revolutionary ferment, were content to set up their own councils and leave the Catalan government in place. They soon joined this government, along with other left-wing parties. (Text)

(5) Blood of Spain, p. 209. Don't confuse Horacio Prieto with the more well-known Spanish Civil War politician Indalecio Prieto, a reformist socialist and minister of the Spanish Republican government. (Text)

(6) Peter Wyden, The Passionate War: The Narrative History of the Spanish Civil War", 1936-1939, p. 72. (Text)

(7) Such coupons were used in many collectives organized by the UGT union of the reformist socialists as well as by collectives organized by the anarchist CNT. (Text)

(8) Miller, p. 163. (Text)

(9) Antony Beevor, The Spanish Civil War, p. 89. The inequality between the wages paid to men and women even by those collectives that had otherwise equalized wages is noted by many sources. (Text)

(10) Broué and Témime, p. 159. (Text)

(11) Beevor, p. 93. Buenaventura Durruti was one of the heroes of Spanish anarchism. (Text)

(12) Broué and Témime, p. 131, citing Santillán's Por qué perdimos la guerra [Why we lost the war], p. 168. (Text)

( 13) This was the most trained and battle-hardened section of the Spanish army and of Franco's forces. Despite its name, the Army of Africa was part of the Spanish army. (Text)

(14) Beevor, p. 91. (Text)

(15) "The Truth of the Black Middle Class", Black Autonomy, May-June 1996, vol.2 #3, p.6. Presumably Ashley makes this point about nations due to the BAC's nationalism, and doesn't recognize the relation of this point to autonomous organization. (Text)

( 16) Stanley G. Payne, The Spanish Revolution, p. 270. (Text)

( 17) The "Army of Africa" doesn't refer to the North Africans that fought the Spanish, but the part of the Spanish army that was devoted to suppressing and occupying Morocco. The Spanish officers that served in Morocco and helped slaughter the North Africans were known as africanistas. (Text)

( 18) Fraser, p. 566. (Text)

(19) See Jackson, "Seattle's Black Revolutionary Factions Fight Back Against Police Brutality and Murder", Black Autonomy, May-June 1996, p. 3. There is no mention of the attitude to Asian and Hispanic businesses. (Text)

( 20) Ashley, "The Truth of the Black Middle Class", Black Autonomy, May-June 1996, p. 6. (Text)

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