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News of the Spanish Revolution
Anti-authoritarian Perspectives on the Events
by ed. Charlatan Stew and Kate Sharpley Library
In June, 1905 about two hundred anarchists, socialists and radical trade unionists held a convention in Chicago, Illinois, where they formed the Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.). The IWW was and still is dedicated to creating a revolutionary industrial union, organized on the basis of industries rather than crafts, in which all workers come together in solidarity, including workers of all races, ethnicities and genders.
The Industrial Workers of the World was a major part of the social insurgency during the first decades of the twentieth century. Throughout its history, the organization has taken stances for international solidarity between all exploited people and against exploiters, borders and nationalisms. It has also opposed political parties and others who have sought to speak for and lead the working class, while endeavoring to create and cultivate the beginnings of a new and better society in the shell of the old.
As an organization centered around the principles of rank-and-file union democratic decision-making, the IWW took an independent critical stance toward the Soviet Union and Communist Parties.
In 1936, when the Spanish Revolution began, the IWW was inspired by the part played by the anarchist-led Spanish labor union confederation, the CNT, and the endeavor to create a self-governing egalitarian society. From the IWW’s critical understanding of the danger posed by the authoritarian left, including the Communist parties of the world and the government of the Soviet Union, they were on their guard against the behavior of these groups in Spain.
The IWW press, including publications such as the One Big Union Monthly, published articles about the Spanish situation, offering alternative perspectives not available in either the Communist or liberal press. This collection contains some of these articles, offering a sample of what English-speaking anti-authoritarians could read about the Spanish Revolution in the late 1930s.
In addition, the collection contains two articles published later about participants’ experiences. One is by Russell Blackwell, who became an anarcho-syndicalist as a result of his experiences in Spain. The final article is about Federico Arcos, a Spanish anarchist veteran of the revolution. It provides a glimpse into what the anarchists of Spain experienced, and how it differed from the authoritarian interpretation of the events.
As we compare and contrast conditions and social movements in the 1930’s with those of today, the choices between authoritarian/hierarchical and anti-authoritarian/anti-hierarchical political-social action still remain relevant. We hope that the insights offered in these articles can help us in our own projects of creating a new and better social world.
Kate Sharpley Library (London, UK)
Publication Date: May 01, 2012
Printer: Black Cat Press
Format: trade paperback
Length: 88 pp.
Size: 6" x 8.5"
- anarchism 101
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