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Any anarchist responses to Marxist/ left communist critiques of anarcho-syndicalists in Spanish Civil War?

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klas batalo's picture
klas batalo
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Jun 30 2017 16:06
Any anarchist responses to Marxist/ left communist critiques of anarcho-syndicalists in Spanish Civil War?

I'm sure there are a lot of folks aware that there are various Marxist and definitely left communist critiques of the anarcho-syndicalists in the Spanish Civil War.

Discussing some of these critiques casually with comrades, I've often had pointed out factual errors about their history, and such but wondering if anyone know if there are any point by point style breakdowns / responses to such criticism from a anarchist or libertarian point of view?

Thanks in advance if you know any.

Fluffy
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Jun 30 2017 16:26

I am not sure about point by point rebuttals but Rudolph Rocker wrote quite an in depth piece called 'The Tragedy of Spain' in 1937 which gives the Anarchist perspective on the earlier part of the struggle. https://libcom.org/library/the-tragedy-of-spain-rudolf-rocker

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Jun 30 2017 16:45

I found these in the library by searching the whole Spanish Civil War tag. Idk if they are sufficient yet either, reading them now.

https://libcom.org/library/trotskyist-lies-on-anarchism-felix-morrow-on-...

https://libcom.org/library/controversy-anarchists-spanish-revolution-sam...

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Jun 30 2017 17:04

I don't know whether you would see Agustin Guillamon as an anarchist, as he often seems to be very close to the views of the communist left, But he has published a very critical article on the position of Bilan on the war:
https://libcom.org/library/theses-spanish-civil-war-revolutionary-situat...

The ICC responded to him in the second of two articles on the war in Spain. You can read it on our website or here on libcom: http://libcom.org/history/war-spain-exposes-anarchism%E2%80%99s-fatal-fl...

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Jun 30 2017 17:11

He's not, really an anarchist, but I do think he's important on these issues. Fwiw I'm interested in hearing all sides of the debate. And have been reading a lot of the critical stuff, so trying to find anything that has a different perspective.

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Jun 30 2017 17:50

A pertinent reply to the Dolgoff piece I feel:

syndicalistcat wrote:
There is one error I'll point out. The proposal for a National Defense Council, to replace the central Republican government, and regional defense councils, which was approved by a national CNT plenary Sept 3, 1936, envisioned 7 delegates from UGT, 7 from CNT, with Largo Caballero as president of the council. This was intended to be a working class government, by the unions. Obviously this would have been a way around Dolgoff's scenario of being against all other anti-fascists apart from the CNT & anarchists. The UGT leadership objected to this proposal on the grounds that it would leave out the middle class Republicans. So two weeks later CNT held another plenary and came up with the proposal of 5 CNT delegates, 5 UGT delegates, and 5 Republicans. But this was also veto'd by Largo Caballero and the Communists. CNT had tried to get around Communist objections by pointing out they'd be represented through their UGT members.

Once Largo Caballero & the UGT leaders rejected the CNT's National Defense Council proposal, most of the FAI & CNT membership then seems to have capitulated to joining the Generalitat government in Catalonia. And this was then approved by local and regional plenaries & assemblies in Catalonia.

The alternative not considered by Dolgoff is the proposal of Durruti. Durruti proposed to try to force the hand of Largo Caballero & the UGT leadership by having the CNT take power in the areas where it was the majority and had the power to do so. It seems he expected the UGT would then reluctantly agree to go along so as not to be left out. Dolgoff's reference to all the various middle class people...farmers and such...sort of confronts a general problem of a worker revolution. A purely working class government excludes them. On the other hand, would those classes accept the expropriation of capitalist property and other revolutionary measures?.

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Jun 30 2017 20:14

https://libcom.org/files/subversion-19.pdf

Reader responses from John Crump and AFed (North) to Subversion on Spain, are located in this pdf.

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Jun 30 2017 22:28

I've heard someone in SolFed wrote a debunking of Michael Seidman on Spain? Anyone have a link?

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Jul 5 2017 14:37
klas batalo wrote:
https://libcom.org/files/subversion-19.pdf

Reader responses from John Crump and AFed (North) to Subversion on Spain, are located in this pdf.

Subversions response to the replies gives away a rather important weakness in their criticism.

"We admit that the title of the article was poorly chosen. It would have been more accurate to have called it, 'The End of Collectivist Anarchism',or 'The End of Syndicalist Anarchism'."

I've seen this quite a bit, the one group doing something is proof that the movement and ideology in its entirety is bankrupt, line is a really poor one. Especially in this case when other AS's criticised the CNT's decision and even the CNT wasn't unanimous on collaboration with the Republic.

Then theres the bit on page 12

"Mujeres Libres was formed because of the sexism of men in the CNT -FAI. If the attitudes and behaviour of some members of an or-ganisation prevent other members from playing as full a part as possible in the organisation, then in our opinion that organisation is not a revolutionary one."

A very strange statement from a group like subversion, I could be wrong but I thought they believed that class struggle developed revolutionary consciousness. Surely the forming of a group like Mujeres Libres to combat sexism in the overall organisation is a product of that process. Seems like they expect a group to measure up to their standards without having to actually develop itself.

Honestly the reply by Subversion makes me think the point of their article was motivated more by political opportunism rather than a desire to clarify an historical event. That's really disappointing, I quite liked Subversion but now I find myself questioning their analysis if this is an example of their framework.

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May 16 2020 21:48

Found this interesting article:

https://increasinglyadequate.com/commleft_german.html

syndicalist
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May 16 2020 23:16

None. They were perfect.

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Reddebrek
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May 17 2020 05:36
klas batalo wrote:
Found this interesting article:

https://increasinglyadequate.com/commleft_german.html

"What cynicism! More than a million people, have already died in the civil war. If one has to die anyway, he might as well die for a worthy cause"