La Tarcoteca

La Tarcoteca

domingo, 3 de enero de 2016

The Anarchist Collectivities

Translation of the original Source in spanish "Las Colectividades Anarquistas" at-

During the Spanish Civil War on the Republican side, especially in Catalonia, Levant and Aragon, an important self-management practice took place; It can be considered one of the most important social experiments of the twentieth century.

The collectivities did not originate in the State, nor political parties, nor any vanguard, but were the result of popular will. As Abad de Santillan [historician] said, the bodies of the CNT or the FAI did not mark any guideline, the revival of industry, services, fields, were the work of a complete spontaneity where new foundations were established. In every workplace, administrative and management were formed committees set by the most capable and trustworthy workers. A few weeks after the conflict began, there was already a strong collectivist economy with labor regulation and truly worker and peasant production. The means of production were in the hands of workers.

Arguably, although spontaneity was an important factor, the success of collectives long rested on traditional community of Spanish people. Although sometimes seconded by the UGT, other groups and republicans personalities, were the CNT and the libertarian movement that ensured the creation of this new forms of economic and social organization. Gaston Leval, author of the most important works on the subject, Libertarian Communities in Spain [en, es], said that the achievements of the anarchist movement would not have happened if they had not been o the same page with the deep psychology of at least largely of workers and peasants. Another author, Daniel Guerin in The Anarchism [enes], said that collectivization was not any imposition or bloodshed; peasants and small landowners who refused to join the work were respected, but then a lot of them integrated into collectivization when verify the benefits of it. Even the rights of people who were not integrated and could use some of the services communities are respected.

Recalling the proposals of classical anarchism, we must say that the structure of the collectivities was not homogeneous; some were close to communism (usually represent by The Naval in Huesca), but most responded more to collectivism. If some, the currency was abolished and equivalent bonds were created for the exchange (more in towns of Aragon), in others they continued to use that (Levante, Catalonia and Castile). In any case, regardless of the differences, which were prevalent in libertarian collectives values: solidarity, mutual support and equality. Brotherhood practiced for the benefit of the community and every person should contribute to the work to the extent of his capacities.

The richest collectivities helped the poorest through a Compensation Found, regional or local, which was responsible for accounting the income of each collectivized work. These Saving Boxes, were administered by people appointed by the general assembly of delegates from the collectives. Several works, such as those named, show the significant numbers of these Boxes, whose funds were obtained from the proceeds of the sale of the surplus of the most prosperous collectivities. All the resources, tools, machinery and technicians were avaliable for several communities in each region; there was no isolation, but an important support network that also effectively link city and countryside. Collective and self-managed work, not surprisingly, was not complete; Much of the economy was outside the collectivisation work, although we must say that in these cases there was at least some workers' control (i.e. on foreign banks and corporations).

If we talk about agricultural collectivization, it was centered in Aragon and Levante, lesser extent, in Catalonia. In Caspe, 14th and 15th February  was established the Aragon Federation of Collectivities. We can talk about 40% of rural population that was part of the collectivities. The most numerous and robust, in terms of strength of its system were those of the Valencian region. In Castile, about 300 collectives were formed. We can speak of a great success in self-managed agriculture if we stick to the numbers: the crops increased a 30 to 50%. The agrarian collectivist regime was more complete and intense that urban and industrial collectivities, probably bocausw of the unions intervention in that cases; in the agricultural case, there was greater independence and there was room for all who wanted to join.

In the case of industrial and services collectivization, was main focus in Catalonia, although there were also other areas of the country. The factories of more than 100 workers were socialized and also the one over 50 could be at request of three quarters of the workforce. In Catalonia, the collectivisation work included, in addition to agriculture, the most important sectors of industry and services; we must highlight the remarkable war industry, the production was ten times higher than in the rest of Republican Spain.

Unfortunately, collectivities awoke early on suspicion of a large segment of the Republican side, from the bourgeois to the socialist parties. They had the greatest hostility in the Communists who directed their efforts to discredit and trying to override them. Uribe, the minister of agriculture, since the government boycotted the collectivisation activity; Thus, the decree that legalized, in order to remove control unions, arose from this person. In March 1937, groups of police and of assault guards, well chosen, from Murcia and Alicante began a march to the north to seize Cullera and Alfara towns and from that vantage point, launch a crackdown on collectives. According to Gaston Leval, it appears that the operation was set by the Socialist Indalecio Prieto, minister of war, who could agree with the Communists if it came to fight the anarchists.

The August 10, 1937, was abolished the Aragon Council, one of the bastions of independent anarchist movement. Shortly thereafter, General Lister, head of the 11th division, raze 30% of the Aragon collectives arresting the most prominent members of communities. In the case of self-management industry in Catalonia, the central government consistently denied any kind of help. The Central Government, of President Negrin and the Communists, on August 22, 1937 issued a decree that annulled that other one of October 1936 favoring collectivization. The war was finelly lost, but first, the self-management movement, largely encouraged by anarchists, lost many other battles agaist those who were supposed to be allies against fascism.

2 comentarios:

Loam dijo...

What was achieved once can be achieved again. Therefore we are still fighting!

Health and anarchy!

Pablo Heraklio dijo...

The reaction powers are strong but the change has to be made and nothing will stop it, or we will come back to the king and cave ages.