The Anarcho-Statists of Spain


"Suffer no man and no cause to escape the undying penalty
which history has the power to inflict on wrong." --Lord
Acton, "The Study of History" 1. Introduction The Spanish
fascists used barbaric methods throughout the Spanish Civil
War in order to establish a brutal dictatorship.[1] The
Spanish Communists used similar wartime measures in their
failed effort to give birth to an even more totalitarian
regime.[2] But many discussions of the Spanish Civil War
overlook, minimize, or apologize for the atrocious behavior
and tyrannical aspirations of perhaps the most powerful
faction of the Spanish Republicans: the Anarchist movement.
The present essay aims to redress the balance. It first
summarizes the historical details of the Anarchists'
behavior during the Spanish Civil War, scrutinizing both
the behavior of the upper echelons of the Anarchist
movement as well as the rank-and-file militants. The essay
then examines the economics of Anarchist-controlled Spain,
focusing on both the policies adopted, their aims, and the
results. I conclude with a philosophical dissection of the
Spanish Anarchist movement, showing that their horrific
behavior was largely the result of their incoherent view of
human freedom, their unsuccessful attempt to synthesize
socialism and liberty, and their uncritical and emotional
way of thinking. 2. History and the Spanish Anarchists Many
recent discussions of the Spanish Anarchists center around
Ronald Fraser's Blood of Spain [3]. While the present essay
uses Fraser as a source, there is always a concern in a
work of oral history that the experiences of the
(necessarily small) number of people interviewed may not be
representative. Instead, my primary reference source for
the history of the Spanish Anarchists is Burnett Bolloten's
The Spanish Civil War [4]. Bolloten's objectivity and
clarity enjoy widespread approbation, even by many informed
individuals highly sympathetic to the Spanish Anarchists.
Noam Chomsky praises Bolloten's work in "Objectivity and
Liberal Scholarship," and relies heavily upon Bolloten's
earlier, less developed work throughout that essay.[5]
Bolloten was moreover the key historian who documented the
Communists' atrocities against the Spanish Anarchists, and
one of the first historians to demonstrate that contrary to
the propaganda of the Republican government, the Spanish
Anarchists experimented with radical social changes on a
vast scale during the war. Finally, Bolloten's objectivity
speaks for itself, for he takes painstaking effort to
confirm every fact and carefully note the existence of any
conflicting evidence. A. The Militants and Terror In July
of 1936, officers throughout Spain tried to orchestrate a
coup detat against the Republican government.[6] In
Catalonia, Aragon, and other areas, Anarchist militants
defeated the military uprisings. Finding themselves more
powerful than the regional governments and possibly the
central government, the Spanish Anarchists seized the
moment to implement some radical changes in those regions
of Spain where they had a large following. One of these
radical changes was the beginning of large-scale murders of
people believed to be supporters of the Nationalists. In
most cases, these supporters had taken no specific action
to assist the Nationalist rebellion; they were singled out
for their beliefs, or what people guessed their beliefs
were. As Bolloten explains: "The courts of law were
supplanted by revolutionary tribunals, which dispensed
justice in their own way. 'Everybody created his own
justice and administered it himself,' declared Juan Garcia
Oliver, a leading Anarchist who became minister of justice
in November 1936. 'Some used to call this "taking a person
for a ride," [paseo] but I maintain that it was justice
administered directly by the people in the complete absence
of regular judicial bodies.'"[7] This distinction no doubt
escaped the thousands of people who were murdered because
they happened to have political or religious beliefs that
the Anarchists did not agree with. "'We do not wish to
deny,' avowed Diego Abad de Santillan, a prominent
Anarchist in the region of Catalonia, 'that the nineteenth
of July brought with it an overflowing of passions and
abuses, a natural phenomenon of the transfer of power from
the hands of privileged to the hands of the people. It is
possible that our victory resulted in the death by violence
of four or five thousand inhabitants of Catalonia who were
listed as rightists and were linked to political or
ecclesiastical reaction.'"[8] De Santillan's comment
typifies the Spanish Anarchists' attitude toward his
movement's act of murder of several thousand people for
their political views: it is a mere "natural phenomenon,"
nothing to feel guilty over. Bolloten's account of the
Anarchist militants' wave of murders is well- corroborated
by other sources. Thus, Hugh Thomas' The Spanish Civil War
(a work which Bolloten takes issue with on a number of
points) explains that: "All who could conceivably be
suspected of sympathy for the nationalist rising were in
danger. As among the nationalists, the irrational
circumstances of a civil war made it impossible to lay down
what was or was not treason. The worthy died, the unworthy
often lived. In East Andalusia, lorries manned by the CNT
drove into villages and ordered mayors to hand over their
fascists. The mayors had often to say that they had all
fled but the terrorists would often hear from informers
which of the better off people were still there, arrest
them and shoot them in a nearby ravine."[9] Thomas adds
that, "In the vast majority of cases, the murders were of
the rank and file of the Right. Often members of the
working class would be killed by their own acquaintances
for hypocrisy, for having kow-towed too often to their
social superiors, even simply for untruthfulness. In Altea,
near Alicante, for example, a cafe proprietor was killed
with a hatchet by an anarchist for having overcharged for
stamps and for the glass of wine that buyers of stamps were
forced to take while waiting."[10] Political belief was not
the only kind of heterodoxy which the Spanish Anarchists
refused to tolerate. Mere acceptance of theism, typically
in its Catholic variant, provoked many of the Anarchist
militants to violence. The burning of religious buildings,
from cathedrals and churches to convents and monasteries
was widespread, as was the murder of priests and nuns. This
might puzzle the naive observer; after all, is not the
Catholic church a perfect example of a communal, non-profit
organization? Is not church property "held in common" by
its adherents? At least in theory, the clergy's vow of
poverty obliges them to hand over all of their personal
property to the Church, which then provides for their needs
out of the communal stockpile. The Catholic church seems to
satisfy many of the social postulates that the Spanish
Anarchists embraced. This did not save the lives of the
unfortunate clergy, since militant atheism had been a
feature of European anarchism at least since the time of
Bakunin, and because the Catholic church had historically
allied itself politically with conservative monarchism. As
Bolloten states, "Hundreds of churches and convents were
burned or put to secular uses. 'Catholic dens no longer
exist,' declared the Anarchosyndicalist organ, Solidaridad
Obrera . 'The torches of the people have reduced them to
ashes.'...'For the Revolution to be a fact,' ran an
Anarchist youth manifesto, 'we must demolish the three
pillars of reaction: the church, the army, and capitalism.
The church has already been brought to account. The temples
have been destroyed by fire and the ecclesiastical crows
who were unable to escape have been taken care of by the
people.'"[11] As Bolloten sums matters up: "Thousands of
members of the clergy and religious orders as well as of
the propertied classes were killed, but others, fearing
arrest or execution, fled abroad, including many prominent
liberal or moderate Republicans." Thomas amply confirms
Bolloten's description of the Anarchists' religious
persecution and intolerance. "'Do you still believe in this
God who never speaks and who does not defend himself even
when his images and temples are burned? Admit that God does
not exist and that you priests are all so many hypocrites
who deceive the people': such questions were put in
countless towns and villages of republican Spain. At no
time in the history of Europe, or even perhaps of the
world, has so passionate a hatred of religion and all its
works been shown. Yet one priest who, while 1,215 monks,
nuns, and priests died in the province of Barcelona,
managed to escape to France through the help of President
Companys, was generous enough to admit that 'the reds have
destroyed our churches, but we first had destroyed the
church.'"[12] Fraser documents many other instances of the
Anarchists' religious intolerance, but also brings out an
interesting case in which the Anarchist leader Carod
forbade violence against religious buildings and personnel.
"'You are burning the churches without thinking of the
grief you are causing your mothers, sisters, daughters,
parents, in whose veins flows Christian, Catholic blood. Do
not believe that by burning churches you are going to
change that blood and that tomorrow everyone will feel
himself, herself an atheist. On the contrary! The more you
violate their consciences, the more they will side with the
church. Moreover, the immense majority of you are believers
at heart.' He demanded that all lives and all property -
not only religious - be respected."[13] Note that Carod
merely appeals to the strategic folly of persecuting
religious believers, since it leads people to "side with
the church" (and presumably to side with the Nationalists
as well). Carod's argument typifies the Spanish Anarchists'
half-hearted self- criticism. One waits in vain for an
Anarchist to defend freedom of thought, the individual's
right to believe what he chooses; to say, in short, that
mere belief is not a crime, but killing someone for his
beliefs is. None of this implies, of course, that similar
atrocities were not committed by the Nationalists and by
non-Anarchist forces on the Republican side. It is to be
expected that Communists, fascists, and the other
bloodthirsty zealots of the 20th century would brutally
murder people for their beliefs. One would be surprised if
moderate Republicans, moderate Socialists, and moderate
monarchists restrained themselves from widespread murder in
the midst of a fratricidal civil war. But one would hope
that a movement condemning the state for its age-old
brutality, and advocating an end to all human domination,
would have behaved differently. Instead, it is clear that
Anarchist militants were at the vanguard of the murder
squads on the Republican side.[14] Apologists for the
Spanish Anarchist movement often claim that the
aforementioned killings simply represent the individual
decisions of unorganized groups of Anarchist militants,
rather than any sort of a party-line policy organized and
desired by the Anarchist leadership. Stanley Payne finds
the facts of the Republican repression to be rather more
complex: "A common distinction between the Red and White
terrors in Spain that has sometimes been made by partisans
of the left is that the former was disorganized and
spontaneous, while the latter was centralized and
systematic, continuing throughout the war and long
afterward. This distinction is at best only partially
accurate. In the early months the Nationalist repression
was not at all centrally organized, whereas that in the
Popular Front zone had more planning and organization than
it is given credit for. This is indicated by the many
executions in areas where social conflict was not
particularly intense, and by the fact that many of the
killings were done by revolutionary militia coming in from
other districts. Nor did the political executions in the
Republican zone end after the close of 1936, though they
did diminish in volume."[15] In any case, whether the
murders were centrally ordered, completely decentralized,
or (as is most likely) somewhere in between, what
difference does it make? Does it matter if the widespread
Nazi attacks on Jews known as the Kristallnacht were
centrally organized or "spontaneous"? No; if an ideology
categorizes many people as sub-human, urging ever greater
brutality, and recommending restraint only when it is
tactically convenient, it is perfectly reasonable to
castigate the entire movement centering around that
ideology, whether that movement be Nazism or Spanish
Anarchism. It is quite clear that the rhetoric of the
Spanish Anarchists focused on crushing the enemies of the
workers by any means necessary; safeguarding the rights of
innocent people who happened to despise everything
Anarchism stood for was simply not on their agenda.
Fraser's interview of Juan Moreno, a CNT day-laborer,
merits notice: "'We hated the bourgeoisie, they treated us
like animals. They were our worst enemies. When we looked
at them we thought we were looking at the devil himself.
And they thought the same of us.'"[16] Bolloten similarly
notes, "According to Perez-Baro [a former member of the CNT
who played a prominent role in the collectivization
movement in Catalonia], thirty to forty years of
revolutionary propaganda had made employers appear in the
eyes of the workers not as 'class enemies,' but as
'personal enemies,' which resulted in a series of abuses
against them."[17] In short, it is perfectly just to impugn
the Anarchist movement as a whole for the numerous
atrocities of its members, because these actions flowed
logically from the central ideas of the movement rather
than their misinterpretation by extreme fringe groups. B.
The Leaders and Collaboration The complicity of the Spanish
Anarchist leadership in the aforementioned atrocities is
sometimes hard to untangle; obviously, most of the murder
orders were not publicly recorded. However, public records
concerning the Anarchist leadership's record of
collaboration with the central and regional governments
throughout Spain provides ample documentation of a long
series of abuses and betrayals of whatever good principles
the Anarchist movement held dear. At the outset it is
necessary to give some background on the pre-war
organization of the Anarchists, which its supporters
frequently claim was extraordinarily democratic. From at
least 1927 on, the democratic procedures of the CNT were
frequently compromised by a special faction known as the
FAI, which Bolloten describes as the CNT's "ideological
guide, whose mission was to protect the CNT from
deviationist tendencies and to lead the trade-union
federation to the Anarchist goal of libertarian
communism."[18] Bolloten properly notes that many of the
Spanish Anarchists would violently dispute this claim, but
insists that the facts do not support them. "The FAI
attempted to accomplish its directive mission by virtue of
the fact that its members, with few exceptions, belonged to
the CNT and held many positions of trust. It was an
established principle that any person belonging to a
political party should not occupy any official position in
the trade-union organization. The FAI, moreover, kept a
close and constant supervision over the unions of the CNT,
often threatening to use force to prevent deviationist
trends when argument failed. To be sure, this domination -
or at least attempted domination - by the FAI was not
always openly acknowledged by the CNT and FAI and indeed
was at times emphatically denied, but it was frankly
admitted after the Civil War by other leaders of the
CNT."[19] Fraser corroborates Bolloten's remarks. Josep
Costa, a CNT textile worker explains, "'The FAI was acting
like a political group within the CNT, talking of liberty
and acting like dictators...'"[20] Sebastia Clara, a
dissident treintista CNT member, adds, "'Before the 1920's,
the CNT was an organization in which the masses could
express themselves democratically. Afterwards, this was no
longer the case. Things changed with the creation of the
FAI in 1927. It was they who now imposed their
decisions...'"[21] While this burgeoning authoritarianism
in the guise of democracy makes it easy to understand how
the Anarchist leadership often deviated from the viewpoint
of the rank-and-file, the fact that the FAI was noted for
its ideological purism makes its numerous deviations all
the more puzzling. While the CNT and especially the FAI
repeatedly condemned political participation before the
Civil War, it was simple to induce CNT leaders to accept
ministerial positions in the central government. Initially,
Prime Minister Caballero offered the CNT a single seat,
which the CNT national plenum rejected. This was no
principled rejection, however; the Anarchist put forward a
compromise resolution according to which "'auxiliary
commissions' were to be set up in each ministry comprising
two representatives of the CNT, two of the UGT, two of the
Popular Front parties, and one government delegate. This
project would have spared the CNT the embarrassment of
direct participation in the cabinet, but would nonetheless
have given it representation in every branch of
government."[22] This proposal failed; the next Anarchist
initiative was to advocate "that the government should be
replaced by a national council of defense composed of five
members of their organization, five of the UGT, and four
members of the Republican parties."[23] Bolloten cites one
Anarchist's acerbic critique of this Orwellian attempt to
avoid joining the government by calling it something
different: "'The purpose of this purely nominal change was
to reconcile their fervent desire to enter the government
with their antistate doctrine. What childishness! A
movement that had cured itself of all prejudices and had
always scoffed at mere appearances tried to conceal its
abjuration of fundamental principles by changing a name...
This behavior is as childish as than of an unfortunate
woman, who, having entered a house of ill fame and wishing
to preserve a veneer of morality, asks to be called a
hetera instead of a whore.'"[24] The Anarchists tried this
tactic for about a month until CNT national secretary
Horacio Prieto, who favored direct participation in the
Popular Front government, prevailed. "Horacio Prieto
decided to 'put an end to the last elements of opposition,'
within the CNT and convoked a plenary session of the
regional federations for 18 October. This time his
arguments prevailed. The plenum accorded him full powers to
conduct negotiations 'in his own way' in order to bring the
CNT into the government. 'I was convinced,' he wrote after
the war, 'of the necessity of collaboration, and I
smothered my own ideological and conscientious
scruples.'"[25] The end result of Prieto's dealings with
the government was that the CNT won control of the
ministries of justice, industry, commerce, and health.
Bolloten notes and amply documents his remark that, "Not
only did this decision represent a complete negation of the
basic tenets of Anarchism, shaking the whole structure of
libertarian theory to the core, but, in violation of
democratic principle, it had been taken without consulting
the rank and file."[26] This violation would not be the
last one, as shall be seen. The Anarchists were even more
eager to assume governmental powers in Catalonia, where
they were strong enough to overshadow the regional
Catalonian government, the Generalitat. Rather than
officially enter the Catalonian government, the Anarchists
chose to retain the Generalitat as a legal cover; but real
power shifted into the hands of the Anarchist-controlled
Central Anti-Fascist Militia Committee. Bolloten indicates
that for all practical purposes this Committee was the
government of Catalonia under a new name: "the committee
immediately became the de facto executive body in the
region. Its power rested not on the shattered machinery of
the state but on the revolutionary militia and police
squads and upon the multitudinous committees that sprang up
in the region during the first days of the Revolution. The
work of the militia committee, attests Abad de Santillan,
himself a member, included the establishment of
revolutionary order in the rear, the creation of militia
units for the front, the organization of the economy, and
legislative and judicial action."[27] After a few months
the Anarchists formally entered the Generalitat, mainly
because the central government seemed unwilling to provide
weapons to any other Catalonian organization. It should be
further noted that these Anarchist-run councils and
committees were not mild-mannered minimal states,
maintaining order while allowing the workers to organize
themselves as they pleased. They were "modern" states,
concerning themselves with the economy, education,
propaganda, transportation, and virtually everything else.
The Anarchists' position in both the central government and
in Catalonia slowly but surely declined after they entered
into coalition governments with the other anti-Franco
factions. A common pattern was for the non- Anarchists to
push for some measure that the Anarchists opposed; the
Anarchists would resist for a brief period; and finally,
the Anarchists would agree to the original measure after
changing some of the labels and minor details. By May of
1937, after a mere ten months in power, the Anarchists
found themselves out-maneuvered on the national and
regional levels by the Communists and other political
enemies. There were a series of cabinet crises in the
regional Catalonian government; the resentment of the
non-Anarchists, especially the Communists, against the
continued de facto Anarchist control of Barcelona burnt
ever brighter. While the members of the CNT who held
positions in the Catalonian government kept trying to reach
an understanding with their fellow ministers, the rank and
file Anarchists seem to have become increasingly alienated
from their leaders. A raid on the Anarchist-controlled
telephone company brought these feelings to the surface.
(The non-Anarchists objected to the Anarchists' use of
wiretaps to listen in on important conversations.) The CNT
ministers merely demanded the removal of the main people
responsible for the raid; but hundreds of the rank-and-file
Anarchists responded with rage, setting up barricades. As
Bolloten describes matters, "That same night [May 3 -B.C.]
the executive committee of the POUM met with the regional
committees of the CNT, FAI, and the Libertarian Youth.
Julian Gorkin, a member of the executive [of the POUM
-B.C.], recalls: 'We stated the problem in these precise
terms: 'Neither of us has urged the masses of Barcelona to
take this action. This is a spontaneous response to
Stalinist aggression...[The regional committees] made no
decision. Their maximal demand was the removal of the
[police] commissioner who had provoked the movement. As
though it were not the various forces behind him that had
to be destroyed! Always the form instead of the
substance!"[28] The Anarchist leadership was, as this quote
indicates, out of step with the rank-and-file; they urged
the militants to stop the fighting. Their requests were not
heeded, as Bolloten notes: "[T]here were forces intent on
stoking the conflict. Not only were Rodriguez Salas's men
initiating new offensive actions, but the tiny Trotskyist
group of Bolshevik Leninists and the dissident Anarchist
Friends of Durruti, joined by some of the more militant
members of the POUM, were extremely active. While the
activists ignored the Anarchist leadership, the CNT
ministers desperately tried to hammer out a deal with their
fellow ministers in the Generalitat, who were by this point
willing to endanger Catalonian autonomy by allowing the
armed forces of the central government to re- establish
order. All the Anarchists managed to do was to obtain a few
delays and haggle over the formation of a new government,
while they cajoled the rank-and-file to fall into line.
"CNT secretary Mariano Vasquez again begged workers to
leave the streets. 'We tell you that this situation must
end... We do not want this stigma to fall upon the Spanish
Anarchists... This is not the moment, in front of piled-up
corpses, to discuss who is right. It is essential that you
disappear with your weapons from the streets... We must not
wait for others to do so. We must do so ourselves.
Afterward we shall talk. If you decide, when you discuss
our conduct at our next assembly, that we deserve to be
shot, then you may shoot us, but now you must obey our
slogans.'"[29] The end result was that the reinforcements
from the central government arrived and firmly placed power
into the hands of the Generalitat. The power of the
Communists was greatly enhanced at both the regional and
national levels. A new central government was formed with
Juan Negrin as Prime Minister. Bolloten amply documents
that Negrin was a willing tool of the Communists, so it
should be no surprise that the Anarchists lost all of their
positions in the central government. One might think that
by this point they would be thoroughly disillusioned with
power, but the Anarchists now assumed the degrading role of
the political beggar they held for the rest of the war.
While condemning Negrin's government as
counterrevolutionary, the CNT leadership tried to strike a
new deal. When Negrin formed his second government, he
threw the CNT a bone by giving them the ministry of
education and health. This was enough to retain the CNT's
collaboration until the Republic's defeat. Soon after
Negrin's appointment, the CNT lost all its seats in the
Catalonian regional government. Making a virtue out of
necessity, Bolloten notes Tierra and Libertad announced
that, "'The CNT, with more than a million affiliates in
Catalonia, is no longer with the government. This is
because Anarchosyndicalism cannot get involved with
professional politicians and cannot humble itself before
anyone...[I]t refuses to defile itself with this kind of
dirty politics.'"[30] In reality, the hangers-on of the CNT
tried repeatedly to regain some role in the Catalonian
government even as Franco's forces prepared to capture
Barcelona. Once the CNT left the government, the Communists
intensified their persecution and terrorization of the
Anarchists. Moreover, while the Anarchists made up a very
large percentage of the Republic's soldiery, the Communists
had a vastly disproportionate representation in the officer
corps. Thus, the Anarchists allowed themselves to become
cannon fodder for the Communists at the front, while the
Communist secret police unleashed its hatred against the
Anarchists in the rear. As Bolloten describes it, "The
spontaneous, undirected terror of the CNT and FAI during
the height of the Revolution had now given way to the more
sophisticated, centrally directed, and, hence, more fearful
terror of the Communists."[31] Of course, one might wonder
how it was possible for Anarchists to have joined forces
with the Communists to begin with. How could the avowed
opponents of the very existence of the state join forces
with the pawns of the most murderous, totalitarian
dictatorship that the world had ever known? Even if moral
principle did not deter them, at least the Bolsheviks'
propensity to exterminate their Anarchist allies might have
given them pause. Even though many Anarchists eventually
realized that the defeat of Franco would lead to the
establishment of a Soviet satellite state, they kept
fighting. Clearly the Anarchists' opposition to the
Nationalists dwarfed their distaste for Leninist
totalitarianism. Then again, perhaps the CNT yearned so
strongly for power that they were willing to sacrifice many
principles for limited authority. After May 1937, they
endured considerable humiliation in exchange for a paltry
role in the Republican government. Were there any limits to
what principles the Anarchists would sacrifice in order to
be minor political players? Apparently not. Stanley Payne
indicates that the CNT leadership actually tried to strike
a deal with the fascists in 1945 and 1946. As Payne
explains, a Falangist leader "began negotiations that
summer with the new clandestine secretary general of the
CNT, Jose Leiva, in Madrid. His goal was to rescue the
Falange by gaining the support of opposition
anarchosyndicalists for a broader, stronger, and more
popular national syndicalism. Franco eventually rejected
the CNT's demands, and the negotiations foundered the
following year. Suppression of the CNT leadership was
renewed."[32] What was the nature of the deal that the CNT
sought with the Falange? "According to a report presented
to Franco in May 1946, the CNT leadership offered a policy
of cooperation, proposing to withdraw from the Giral
Republican government- in-exile and accept three Falangists
on their national committee, but in return insisted on
freedom to proselytize."[33] This was the Anarchism of the
CNT: an Anarchism which not only allied with the Communist
totalitarians, but attempted to strike a power- sharing
deal with the fascist totalitarians six years after the end
of the civil war. C. The Urban Collectives Burnett Bolloten
was the first mainstream historian to document the radical
social changes that occurred in Republican Spain; most
earlier historians took the disclaimers of the Republican
government at face value, in spite of the fact that the
Republicans had every reason to conceal this radicalism in
order to win military assistance from Britain and France.
Bolloten explains that the CNT and to a lesser extent the
UGT took advantage of the chaos to seize control of the
means of production: "In Valencia, a city of over 350,000
inhabitants, nearly all plants, both large and small, were
sequestered by the CNT and UGT, as were those in the
province of Alicante, while in the region of Catalonia,
where the Anarchosyndicalists were in almost unchecked
ascendancy during the first months of the Revolution,
collectivization in many towns was carried out so
thoroughly that it embraced not only the large factories
but the least important branches of handicraft. The
collectivization movement also infringed upon another
preserve of the middle classes. In Barcelona, the capital
of Catalonia, with a population of nearly 1.2 million, the
Anarchosyndicalist workers collectivized the wholesale
business in eggs and fish and set up a control committee in
the slaughterhouse, from which they excluded all
intermediaries; they also collectivized the principal
market for fruit and vegetables and suppressed all dealers
and commission agents as such, permitting them, however, to
join the collective as wage earners. The milk trade in
Barcelona was likewise collectivized. The
Anarchosyndicalists eliminated as unhygenic over forty
pasteurizing plants, pasteurized all milk in the remaining
nine, and proceeded to displace all dealers by establishing
their own retail outlets."[34] In fact, this policy of
shutting down factories seems to have been as important to
the CNT program as collectivizing the remainder. These
factory closures were justified by several arguments: they
were unhealthy for workers, or unhealthy for consumers, or
just plain "inefficient." As Bolloten explains, "after the
first few weeks of widespread and uncoordinated seizures,
some of the unions began a systematic reorganization of
entire trades, closing down hundreds of small plants and
concentrating production in those with the best
equipment."[35] It is worth noting that Spain was still in
the midst of the Great Depression, with overall Spanish
industrial production in 1935 about 13% below the 1929
level. Production in July of 1936 was itself about 18%
below the January 1936 level, so the existence of unused
capacity is no surprise.[36] What is odd is that in the
midst of massive unemployment the Anarchists closed down a
large percentage of the remaining firms instead of inviting
unemployed workers to join them. Initially, the workers
(rather than an Anarchist nomenklatura) usually assumed
control over their places of employment. Quoting Fraser,
"one thing dominated the libertarian revolution: the
practice of self- management - the workers' administration
of their factories and industries."[37] Yet government
control quickly followed, or at least tried to. In October,
the government of Anarchist-dominated Catalonia passed the
Collectivization and Workers' Control Decree, which legally
recognized many of the de facto collectivizations. With
government recognition came government regulation, as
Fraser indicates: "Works councils, elected by an assembly
decision of the workers and representing all sectors of the
enterprise, were to administer the collectivized factory,
'assuming the functions and responsibilities of the former
board of directors.' A Generalitat representative was
chosen, in agreement with the workers, to sit on each
council. Collectivized enterprises (and private firms under
workers' control) in each sector of industry would be
represented in an Economic Federation, in turn topped by a
general industrial council which would closely control the
whole industry. Fifty percent of a collectivized firm's
profit would go to an industrial and commercial credit fund
which would have to finance all Catalan industry; 20 per
cent was to be put to the collective's reserve and
depreciation fund; 15 per cent to the collective's social
needs, and the remaining 15 per cent to be allocated by the
workers as they decided in a general assembly."[38]
Bolloten reports that this measure was "sponsored by the
CNT and signed by its representative in the government,
Juan P. Fabregas, the councilor of the economy."[39] Thus,
the principle of genuine worker control was quickly cast
aside in favor of something much more similar to
state-socialism; a mere 15% of the profits were, under the
law, under the discretionary control of the workers. There
was some internal opposition to these measures; Fabregas'
successor de Santillan indicated hostility to some
features, and did not strictly enforce the law. More
importantly, there was a huge loophole - firms had to pay a
percentage of their profits . To eliminate the exaction,
one merely need eliminate the profits. With worker control,
there is a simple way to do this: keep raising wages until
the "profits" disappear. Taxes on profits - which is what
the Decree amounted to - will raise revenue if the workers
and the owners are different people; but with worker
control such taxes are simple to evade. Witness after
witness reports the abolition of piece-work, improvement of
working conditions, lavish non-wage compensation, and so
on. This is initially surprising; if the workers run the
factory, don't they pay the price of hampering production?
Not if the government taxes away most of the workers'
profits. As Thomas states, "[T]he industrial syndicalism of
Barcelona kept, unlike the rural anarchists, to individual
wages, and did not experiment with family wages. These
wages probably increased, it is true, in late 1936 by about
a third over July. But the effect was ruined by the
inflation, due to a fall in production, shortage of credit,
as well as an influx of refugees from Castille and
Aragon."[40] Thus, due to the weak enforcement and easy
evasion of government regulations and taxes, it appears
that some workers found themselves the new co-owners of
their former employers' property. This created vague
apprehension among many Anarchists, and experience soon
enabled them to articulate their concerns. The Anarchist
Jose Peirats aptly described their essential worry:
"Fortified in their respective collectives, the industries
would merely have replaced the old watertight compartments
of capitalism and would inevitably lapse into bureaucracy,
the first step in a new society of unequals. The
collectives would end up waging the same commercial war
against each other with the same combination of zeal and
mediocrity that characterized the old bourgeois businesses.
And so they attempted to expand the notion of collectivism
to include, in a structural and permanent way, all
industries in one harmonious and disinterested body."[41]
Joan Ferrer, secretary of the CNT commercial employees'
union, was able to confirm Peirats' fear up close. "'It
came as a psychological shock to some workers to find
themselves suddenly freed from capitalist tutelage.
Exchanging one individualism for another, they frequently
believed that, now that the owners were gone, they were the
new owners. Though affecting white-collar workers in this
instance, the problem was by no means confined to
them...'"[42] In short, after being told that the workers
now owned the means of production, the workers often took
the statement literally. What is the point of owning the
means of production if you can't get rich using them? But
of course if some workers get rich, they are unlikely to
voluntarily donate their profits to the other members of
their class. This seems elementary upon reflection, but
only practical experience was able to reveal this to the
economic reformers of the Spanish Revolution. Fraser
explains that at a joint CNT-UGT textile union conference,
"The woodworkers' union weighed in with its criticism of
the state of affairs, alleging that, while small, insolvent
workshops were left to struggle as best they could, the
collectivization of profitable enterprises was leading to
'nothing other than the creation of two classes; the new
rich and the eternal poor. We refuse the idea that there
should be rich and poor collectives. And that is the real
problem of collectivization.'"[43] Bolloten repeats a
remark of CNT militia leader Ricardo Sanz: "'[T]hings are
not going as well as they did in the early days of the
[revolutionary] movement... The workers no longer think of
workings long hours to help the front. They only think of
working as little as possible and getting the highest
possible wages.'"[44] Bolloten attributes this decline in
enthusiasm to Communist repression, but it is at least as
consistent with the simple observation that people often
prefer improving their own lot in life to nourishing
revolution. In short, practical experience gradually
revealed a basic truth of economics for which theoretical
reflection would have sufficed: if the workers take over a
factory, they will run it to benefit themselves. A
worker-run firm is essentially identical to a capitalist
firm in which the workers also happen to be the
stockholders. Once they came to this realization, however
dimly, the Spanish Anarchists had to either embrace
capitalism as the corollary of worker control, or else
denounce worker control as the corollary of capitalism. For
the most part, they chose the latter course. As Bolloten
writes, "[T]he Anarchosyndicalists, contrary to common
belief, were not without their own plans for the nationwide
control and rationalization of production. Rootedly opposed
to state control or nationalization, they advocated
centralization - or socialization, as they called it -
under trade-union management of entire branches of
production. 'If nationalization were carried out in Spain
as the Socialists and Communists desire,' said one
Anarchist newspaper, 'we should be on the way to a
dictatorship, because by nationalizing everything the
government would become the master, the chief, the absolute
boss of everyone and everything.'"[45] The Anarchist
solution for this danger of absolute dictatorship was to
call absolute dictatorship by a different name. "In the
opinion of the Anarchosyndicalists," explains Bolloten,
"socialization would eliminate the dangers of government
control by placing production in the hands of the unions.
This was the libertarian conception of socialization,
without state intervention, that was to eliminate the
wastes of competition and duplication, render possible
industrywide planning for both civilian and military needs,
and halt the growth of selfish actions among the workers of
the more prosperous collectives by using their profits to
raise the standard of living in the less favored
enterprises."[46] Of course, one could refuse to call a
union with such fearsome powers a "state," but it would
need all of the enforcement apparatus and authority of a
state to execute its objectives. The "more prosperous
collectives," for example, would be unlikely to submit
voluntarily to industrywide planning funded by their
profits. The Nationalists conquered Catalonia before the
government made any concerted, official effort to
nationalize the workers' factories. But it is doubtful that
the government would have met much resistance from the CNT
if and when the nationalization occurred. Describing the
CNT conferences of September 1937 and January 1938, Thomas
states: "Although suggestions for reform were canvassed,
most ideas put forward sought the improvement of the
existing state of affairs; the millenarian aspect of
anarchism had almost vanished. What was left seemed no more
than a federalist movement, without effective national
organization, which gave general, if grudging, support to
the government. Under the influence of the realistic
ex-secretary-general of the CNT, Horacio Prieto, anarchists
were persuaded to accept the idea of nationalization of
large industries and banks in exchange for collectivization
of small ones, and on the land, as well as the
'municipalization' of local services."[47] While the formal
expropriation of the workers did not occur, the government
frequently used its control over the Spanish money and
banking system to quietly nationalize the means of
production. For ideological reasons, Anarchists had always
avoided working in the banking industry, so insofar as
workers did control banks, they were members of the
Socialist UGT rather than the Anarchist CNT. To obtain
credit, Anarchists either had to get a loan from the
Socialist- controlled banks, or else receive a bail-out
from the central government. Bolloten explains the dilemma
of the workers' collectives: "Another obstacle to the
integration of industry into a libertarian economy lay in
the fact that a large number of firms controlled by the CNT
were in a state of insolvency or semi-insolvency and were
compelled to seek government intervention to secure
financial aid... Both in Catalonia and in the rest of
Republican Spain, this situation created grave economic
problems for the CNT collectives. So desperately did some
of them require funds that Juan Peiro, the
Anarchosyndicalist minister of industry, openly recommended
intervention by the central government, having received in
his department eleven thousand requests for funds in
January 1937 alone."[48] Fraser and Thomas corroborate
Bolloten's analysis. "[T]here were the committees,"
explains Fraser, "which... simply continued to present
their weekly wage list to the Generalitat, which went on
paying them, instead of seeking to get their businesses
going."[49] In the footnote, Fraser adds, "This later
became institutionalized as the 'pawn bank,' through which
the workers of the deficitary enterprises received their
wages in return for 'pawning' their company's capital
equipment and inventory to the Generalitat - a measure
which resulted in giving the latter virtual control of the
enterprise."[50] Along similar lines, Thomas writes that,
"In all large industries, and in industries important for
the war, a state representative sat on the committee. He
would be responsible for controlling credit, and sometimes
raw materials. His role became more and more important, so
that, in some enterprises (particularly the munitions
factories), something close to nationalization would soon
be achieved."[51] "Outside of Catalonia, the central
government... sought to bring all major factories under
state supervision, whether nationalized or privately
managed. To ensure this, credit was made difficult for
anarchist factories, and many other difficulties were put
in their way by the government... This occurred even though
an anarchist, Peiro, was nominally at the ministry of
industry."[52] Peiro initially tried to push through a
decree collectivizing all industry, but Prime Minister
Caballero squelched the idea since it would alienate
foreign capitalists and their governments. Next, Bolloten
explains, "Peiro then redrafted his decree... From the
cabinet the decree went to a ministerial commission that,
according to Peirats, converted it into a skeleton. 'But
the calvary is not over. To put the decree into effect
money is necessary, that is, credit must be granted by the
minister of finance [Juan Negrin]. He haggles like a usurer
and finally grants an insignificant sum... Finally, the
Industrial Bank intervenes, which reduces the amount still
further.'"[53] The simplest way that the collectives could
have avoided dependence on the government would have been
to issue debt; in short, to borrow from the general public
rather than the government. But undoubtedly the fear of
revealing surplus wealth to lend would make such a scheme
impossible. Even if their physical safety were not their
concern, investors could hardly expect to ever get their
money back. The insecurity of property rights thus made it
very difficult to borrow from the public, so the
collectives mortgaged themselves piece by piece to the
government until finally the government rather than the
workers owned the means of production. Fraser argues that,
"These difficulties might have been palliated if the
industrial and commercial fund foreseen by the decree had
been rapidly set up, for one of its purposes was to channel
funds from the wealthier to the poorer collectives. It was
to be financed by a levy of 50 per cent of a collective's
profits."[54] Even if enforced, though, almost all sources
indicate that profits were almost non-existence; possibly,
as I have indicated, because workers were smart enough to
realize that raising their wages and improving working
conditions was an easy route to avoid any profits tax. Even
if this could have prevented the collectives from becoming
dependent on the central government, the end result would
have been to make them dependent on a union so powerful
that it would be a state in everything but name. Fraser
quotes Albert Perez-Baro, a civil servant and a former CNT
member: "'This truly revolutionary measure [the 50 per cent
profits tax] - though rarely, if ever, applied - wasn't
well received by large numbers of workers, proving,
unfortunately, that their understanding of the scope of
collectivization was very limited. Only a minority
understood that collectivization meant the return to
society of what, historically, had been appropriated by the
capitalists...'"[55] In other words, most workers assumed
that worker control meant that the workers would actually
become the true owners of their workplaces, with all the
rights and privileges thereof. Only the elite realized that
worker control was merely a euphemism for "social control"
which in turn can only mean control by the state (or an
Anarchist "council," "committee," or "union," satisfying
the standard Weberian definition of the state). D.
Militarization In the early stages of the war, the militant
members of various left- wing parties and unions often did
battle with members of the rebel Nationalist army. There is
no doubt that the CNT's militants stifled military coups in
several regions, and were initially the vanguard of the
anti-Franco forces. "[T]here was no central military body
that could review the situation on all the battlefronts,
formulate a common plan of action, and decide on the
allocation of available supplies of men, munitions, arms,
and motor vehicles in such a way as to produce the best
results on the most promising front," explains Bolloten.
"Nor could such central control be expected in the early
days of spontaneous activity and individual initiative. 'We
all remember,' writes a Republican sympathizer, 'how we
began to wage the war. A few friends got together, jumped
into a truck or car that they owned or confiscated, one
with a rifle, another with a revolver and a few cartridges
and took to the highway to look for fascists. When we
reached a point where we encountered resistance, we fought,
and, when the munitions were exhausted, we generally
retreated not to a defensive position... but to our point
of departure.'"[56] Bolloten adds the observation that, "To
make matters worse, each party and labor union had its own
military headquarters that, in most cases, attended to the
requirements of its own militia without any knowledge of or
regard to the needs or military plans of other units on the
same or neighboring sector, least of all distant
fronts..."[57] While all of the militias resisted military
discipline to some degree, Bolloten affirms that at first
the Anarchist militias resisted it vigorously because they
took their ideals seriously: "The CNT-FAI militia reflected
the ideals of equality, individual liberty, and freedom
from obligatory discipline integral to the Anarchist
doctrine. There was no officers' hierarchy, no saluting, no
regimentation."[58] Unfortunately for the Anarchists, this
lack of discipline made their militia rather ineffective in
spite of their frequent numerical superiority. It did not
take long for the Anarchist leadership to decide that
military success was more important than the voluntaristic
notions of the rank-and-file. Solidaridad Obrera soon wrote
in favor of the strictest discipline: "'To accept
discipline means that the decisions made by comrades
assigned to any particular task, whether administrative or
military, should be executed without any obstruction in the
name of liberty, a liberty that in many cases degenerates
into wantonness.'"[59] While many of the rank-and-file
resisted, military discipline swiftly became common in the
Anarchist militias. It soon became clear that the
Republican government intended to form its own national
army. The Anarchist ministers objected; Bolloten notes that
in addition to ideological scruples, the Anarchists wanted
to keep military dominance in their own hands, and out of
the hands of the Communists. To counter this move towards a
national army, explains Bolloten, "The CNT-FAI leaders had
proposed in September 1936 that a 'war militia' be created
on the basis of compulsory service and under the joint
control of the CNT and the UGT..."[60] It thus took
scarcely two months for the Anarchists to openly advocate
conscription - enslaving young men to kill or be killed -
so long as the conscripts were forced to risk their lives
for the cause of the CNT. (Since the UGT held the loyalty
of a far smaller proportion of the working class at this
stage, the joint control of the CNT and UGT clearly would
have amounted to a junior role for the UGT at best.) In
spite of their presence in the national government,
explains Bolloten, "the libertarian movement was unable to
use its participation in the government to increase its say
in the military field or even curb the progress of the
Communists, but rather was obliged in the end to
circumscribe its efforts to maintaining control of its own
militia units and securing arms from the war ministry."[61]
The war ministry had many levers to secure compliance from
the Anarchist militias. Not only could they give or deny
weapons, supplies, and so on. The government also put the
Anarchist militias on the government payroll, and could
then threaten to withhold money from any unit that resisted
the government's decisions. The most important decision the
government made was to "militarize" the militias: in short,
to absorb them into the government's army and subject them
to standard military rule. Most of the militia columns
swiftly fell into line, although it is unclear to what
extent this was because they were following the orders of
the Anarchist leadership, or enticed by the central
government's money and weapons. One notable exception was
the so-called Iron Column. "No column," explains Bolloten,
"was more thoroughly representative of the spirit of
Anarchism, no column dissented more vehemently from the
libertarian movement's inconsistencies of theory and
practice and exhibited a more glowing enmity for the state
than the Iron Column..."[62] Bolloten quotes one of the
members of the Iron Column, in whose words there is clearly
a strong undertone of criticism of the Anarchists working
with the government: "'We accept nothing that runs counter
to our Anarchist ideas, ideas that must become a reality,
because you cannot preach one thing and practice
another.'"[63] Lest one praise their idealism too highly,
it should be noted that the Iron Column apparently saw no
contradiction between Anarchism and terrorism and robbery.
"In the early months of the war," states Bolloten, "it had
been able to rely upon its own recruiting campaigns and
upon confiscations carried out with the aid of
Anarchist-controlled committees in villages and towns
behind the lines. '[During] our stay in Valencia,' ran a
manifesto issued by the column, 'we noticed that, whereas
our negotiations for the purchase of arms had failed,
because of the lack of hard cash, in many shops there was a
large quantity of gold and other precious metals, and it
was this consideration that induced us to seize the gold,
silver, and platinum in several jewelers' shops.' 'Around
October [1936],' recounts one historian [Rafael Abella
-B.C.], 'the column abandoned the front... and went on an
expedition in Valencia [which was under Republican control
-B.C.] spreading panic in its path. Its goal was to
"cleanse the rear of all parasitic elements that endangered
the interests of the revolution." In Valencia, it stormed
hotels and restaurants, terrifying the city. In a raid on
jewelry stores, it seized all the gold and silver it could
find.'"[64] As the central government re-affirmed its
authority, such raids on Republican towns became too
dangerous; but because the Iron Column continued to lambast
Anarchist collaboration with the Popular Front government,
the Iron Column found itself unable to obtain resources
legally either. The Iron Column continued to refuse
militarization, but the central government intensified its
pressure on dissenting militias. "[T]he war ministry had
not only decided to withhold arms from all militia units
declining to reorganized themselves along the prescribed
lines, but had decreed, although in carefully selected
language, that the pay of all combatants - which in the
case of the militia had previously been handed to each
column in a lump sum without supervision and irrespective
of structure - would henceforth be distributed through
regular paymasters stationed only in battalions. As the
decree made no mention of paymasters in units that had not
adopted a military framework, it was clear that if the Iron
Column were to hold fast to its militia structure the time
would soon arrive when all pay would be suspended."[65] In
the end, some members of the Iron Column deserted rather
than face militarization (ninety-seven men were denounced
as deserters by their fellow Anarchists), while the others
caved in and joined the regular army. To be more precise,
most of the Iron Column joined units which, while nominally
part of the army of the central government, were actually
part of the private fiefdom of the CNT. While the
Communists did their best to establish ideologically
"mixed" units (hopefully with Communist officers), the
Anarchists tried very hard to keep Anarchist soldiers
together. So eager was the Anarchist leadership to build up
armed forces under its de facto control, that the CNT
national congress freely gave its approval to conscription
- on one condition: "Although a CNT national congress
decided to agree to the mobilization of the two classes
announced by the government, it did so on the understanding
that all men with Anarchosyndicalist membership cards
should be drafted by the CNT for service in its own militia
units. In Catalonia, the regional committee of the CNT
stated with reference to this decision: 'As it would be
very childish to hand over our forces to the absolute
control of the government... the national congress has
decided that all persons in the [two mobilized] classes who
belong to our trade-union organization should present
themselves immediately to the CNT barracks or, in the
absence thereof, to the trade-union or [CNT] defense
committees [of their locality], which will take note of
their affiliation, their age, their employment, the class
to which they belong, their address, and all the necessary
facts... This committee will issue militia cards that will
be sent to the inscribed comrades, who, of course, will
henceforth be at the disposal of the Regional Committee,
which will assign them to the column or front
selected.'"[66] In this manner, the Spanish Anarchist
abandoned even the pretense of voluntary service in the
armed forces. Rather than defend the right of the
individual to choose whether or not he wished to join the
army at all, the CNT merely did its best to get its fair
share of the hapless conscripts. As the remarks about the
Iron Column make clear, the CNT made no attempt to subsist
merely on voluntary donations of time and resources. It
readily accepted government hand-outs. More importantly,
the Spanish Anarchists missed no opportunity to seize
needed resources. In most cases, the Anarchists did so in
areas where they were the dominant power; the chaotic
looting of the Iron Column was dwarfed by the official
looting of the various Anarchist committees and councils.
Eventually, though, there is little precious metal and hard
currency left to steal, at least in plain sight; the real
source of wealth is human beings. As the next section
reveals, when the Anarchists realized that food and
valuable agricultural commodities could be extorted from
forced collectives of terrorized peasants, they saw an
opportunity that was simply too good to refuse. E. The
Rural Collectives In August of 1937, Prime Minister Juan
Negrin secretly ordered government forces under the
direction of the Communists to dissolve the Council of
Aragon, the Anarchist body which exercised de facto rule
over Republican-controlled Aragon. One of the primary
actions of this Communist-led operation was to break up the
Anarchist-controlled rural collectives. To justify their
action, the Communists accused the Anarchists of imposing
forced collectivization on a hostile peasantry. Considering
Stalin's forced collectivization and terror-famine in the
Soviet Union only a few years before, this was a curious
accusation to make.[67] But make it they did, while the
beaten Anarchist movement denounced the Communists for
their brutality in the service of counterrevolution. As
Bolloten writes: "'The population of Aragon, especially the
peasants,' recounts the official Communist history of the
Civil War, 'acclaimed the dissolution of the council with
indescribable enthusiasm,' but Ricardo Sanz, the
Anarchosyndicalist commander of the Twenty-sixth Division,
paints a less radiant picture. The Eleventh Division, he
claims, took by assault the official centers in Caspe and
arrested the majority of the office workers, dissolving the
Council of Aragon by force. 'It took harsh measures against
all the villages, attacking the peasant collectives. It
despoiled them of everything - work animals, foods,
agricultural implements, and buildings - and initiated a
fierce repression and persecution of the members of the
collective.'"[68] One would have to be a fool to take
Communists at their word. Still, the fact that an
accusation originated with the Communists is no reason to
bar objective research from verifying the truth of their
claims. The Communists were often the originators of
reports of German atrocities during World War II; does this
mean that any historical study of Nazi concentration camps
is suspect? Of course not. It merely means that one must
take extra care to find independent sources untainted by
the Communists' propaganda machine. (Thus, since Thomas'
evidence for the involuntary nature of the collectives
comes almost entirely from Communist sources, I omit it.)
With this in mind, I now review the history of the
Anarchists and rural collectivization. As before, Burnett
Bolloten's The Spanish Civil War , widely acclaimed for its
objectivity and comprehensiveness, is my most frequent
reference. On this particular issue, Bolloten's words carry
if possible even greater weight, for it was Bolloten, more
than any other historian, who documented the deceptive
propaganda and drive for total power of the Spanish
Communist movement. After the attempted military coup in
July 1936, there was a revolution in many rural areas
somewhat similar to that in urban areas. It should be
noted, however, that the power of the CNT was centered in
the cities rather than the countryside, so it would be
extremely surprising if the rural revolution were as
"spontaneous" as the urban revolution. "Very rapidly
collectives, in which not only the means of production but
also of consumption were socialized, began to spring up,"
explains Fraser. "It did not happen on instructions from
the CNT leadership - no more than had the collectives in
Barcelona. Here, as there, the initiative came from CNT
militants; here, as there, the 'climate' for social
revolution in the rearguard was created by CNT armed
strength: the anarcho-syndicalists' domination of the
streets of Barcelona was re- enacted in Aragon as the CNT
militia columns, manned mainly by Catalan
anarcho-syndicalist workers, poured in. Where a nucleus of
anarcho- syndicalists existed in a village, it seized the
moment to carry out the long-awaited revolution and
collectivized spontaneously. Where there was none,
villagers could find themselves under considerable pressure
from the militias to collectivize..."[69] Note well
Fraser's point that the anarchists in rural Aragon relied
heavily on urban Catalonian anarchists to get off the
ground. However over-stated the Anarchists' claim to
represent "the people," was in Barcelona, in rural Aragon
such a claim was absurd. Bolloten gives more details about
the initial stages of the rural revolution. "Although no
hard and fast rules were observed in establishing
libertarian communism, the procedure was more or less the
same everywhere. A CNT-FAI committee was set up in each
locality where the new regime was instituted. This
committee not only exercised legislative and executive
powers, but also administered justice. One of its first
acts was to abolish private trade and to collectivize the
soil of the rich, and often that of the poor, as well as
farm buildings, machinery, livestock, and transport. Except
in rare cases, barbers, bakers, carpenters, sandalmakers,
doctors, dentists, teachers, blacksmiths, and tailors also
came under the collective system. Stocks of food and
clothing and other necessities were concentrated in a
communal depot under the control of the local committee,
and the church, if not rendered useless by fire, was
converted into a storehouse, dining hall, cafe, workshop,
school, garage, or barracks. In many communities money for
internal use was abolished..."[70] It barely took a month
for Anarchists to set themselves up as the government of
those parts of Aragon under their control, euphemistically
dubbing themselves the "Regional Defense Council of
Aragon." As Thomas explains, "The collectives established
in Aragon - the CNT later claimed that there were 450 of
them - held a conference in late September... They set up a
regional 'Council of Defense,' composed of CNT members, and
presided over by Joaquin Ascaso, a cousin of the famous
anarchist killed in July. This had its seat at Fraga, and
thence exercised supreme power over the whole of
revolutionary Aragon."[71] The Anarchists angered the other
Republican factions by excluding them from the Council of
Aragon, but there was little they could do. Thus, while the
behavior of the government of Catalonia was a compromise
between the Anarchists and other parties, the actions of
the government of Aragon reveal the proclivities of
undivided Anarchist rule. Many people fled for fear of
their lives. Their land was seized almost immediately.
After all, who but a "fascist" would flee? The
expropriation of land from anyone too terrified of the new
regime to even wait to see what their new life would be
like provided the nucleus for the collectives. Bolloten
quotes one authority, who explains that, "'[A]pproximately
one-third of all lands and (since collectivization occurred
mainly on arable land) between half and two-thirds of all
cultivated land in Republican Spain were seized. By a cruel
irony, the victims were predominantly small and medium
holders, since most of the latifundio districts had fallen
to the Nationalists...'"[72] While the Anarchists
occasionally spoke of overthrowing feudalism, they did no
such thing; feudalism had been largely abolished in Spain
by the late 19th-century, as Fraser points out. "In the
course of a century, the bourgeoisie continued to extend
its holdings until, by the 1930's, approximately 90 per
cent of Spain's farm land was in its hands, the rest being
owned by the upper nobility."[73] Farmers who fled for
their lives were obviously not voluntary participants in
the Anarchists' collectivization experiment. What about the
remainder? One of the persistent claims of defenders of the
Anarchists' collectives was that the farmers were usually
"free to choose": they could either join the collective, or
continue to farm individually so long as they hired no wage
labor. The overwhelming majority of the evidence reveals
that the collectives' defenders are simply wrong. Bolloten
tells us that: "Although CNT-FAI publications cited
numerous cases of peasant proprietors and tenant farmers
who had adhered voluntarily to the collective system, there
can be no doubt that an incomparably larger number doggedly
opposed it or accepted it only under extreme duress."[74]
Bolloten goes on to explain that it was the presence of the
Anarchist militia which made collectivization possible. The
Anarchist militants, convinced of their superior wisdom,
arrived carrying a plan for a new way of life for the
farmers: "'We militiamen must awaken in these persons the
spirit that has been numbed by political tyranny,' said an
article in a CNT newspaper, referring to the villagers of
Farlete. 'We must direct them along the path of the true
life, and for that it is not sufficient to make an
appearance in the village; we must proceed with the
ideological conversion of these simple folk.'"[75] The
arrogance and paternalism of these remarks is clear; is
there no possibility that the farmers might be right and
the Anarchists might be wrong? Bolloten gives further
details; due to the presence of the Anarchist armed forces,
"[T]he fate of the peasant owner and tenant farmer in the
communities occupied by the CNT-FAI militia was determined
from the outset; for although a meeting of the population
was generally held to decide on the establishment of the
collective system, the vote was always taken by
acclamation, and the presence of armed militiamen never
failed to impose respect and fear on all opponents."[76] In
answer to the Anarchists' claims that they respected the
right not to join the collective, Bolloten answers that,
"The fact is that many small holders and tenant farmers
were forced to join the collective farms before they had an
opportunity to decide freely. Although the libertarian
movement tended to minimize the factor of coercion in the
development of collectivized agriculture or even to deny it
altogether, it was, on occasions, frankly admitted. 'During
the first few weeks of the Revolution,' wrote Higinio Noja
Ruiz, a prominent member of the CNT, 'the partisans of
collectivization acted according to their own revolutionary
opinions. They respected neither property nor persons. In
some villages collectivization was only possible by
imposing it on the minority.'"[77] Fraser amply confirms
Bolloten's allegations. "There was no need to dragoon them
at pistol point: the coercive climate, in which 'fascists'
were being shot, was sufficient. 'Spontaneous' and 'forced'
collectives existed, as did willing and unwilling
collectivists within them."[78] Fraser goes on to explain
that rural collectivization was very different from urban
collectivization; while the latter was indeed typically
carried out by the workers, the former was not. "The
collectivization, carried out under the general cover, if
not necessarily the direct agency, of CNT militia columns,
represented a revolutionary minority's attempt to control
not only production but consumption for egalitarian
purposes and the needs of the war. In this, agrarian
collectives differed radically from the industrial
collectives which regulated production only."[79] Bolloten
makes a few statements about the voluntary character of the
Anarchist collectives which can be taken out of context to
make it appear that Bolloten accepts the apologists' view
that rural collectivization was "voluntary." "While rural
collectivization in Aragon embraced more than 70 percent of
the population in the area under left-wing control, and
many of the 450 collectives of the region were largely
voluntary, it must be emphasized that this singular
development was in some measure due to the presence of
militiamen from the neighboring region of Catalonia, the
immense majority of whom were members of the CNT and
FAI."[80] It is important to realize that Bolloten rightly
regards the "voluntary" collectives to have been nearly as
coercive as the "forced" collectives: "However, although
neither the UGT nor the CNT permitted the small Republican
farmer to hold more land than he could cultivate without
the aid of hired labor, and in many instances he was unable
to dispose freely of his surplus crops because he was
compelled to deliver them to the local committee on the
latter's terms, he was often driven under various forms of
pressure, as will be shown latter in this chapter, to
attach himself to the collective system. This was true
particularly in villages where the Anarchosyndicalists were
in the ascendant."[81] While the illegality of hiring wage
labor seemed perfectly fair to the Anarchist militants,
this fact plainly demonstrates that the mere existence of
collectives cannot ensure that no one will voluntarily
contract to work for a wage-paying capitalist. Fraser
provides evidence that the prohibition against hiring wage
labor was often even stricter than it seems. As he
summarizes the testimony of one farmer, "But it was the
republicans and socialists who did not join the collective
whom he pitied most. As long as they worked their land on
their own they had no problems, but if they as much as got
their brother or a neighbor to lend them a hand, then the
trouble started. The 'individualists' were supposed to have
only as much land as they could work on their own, and any
infringement by calling on outside labour was leapt
on."[82] Plainly it is possible to preserve a nominal right
to be an "individualist," while in practice imposing so
many unreasonable restrictions on them that the independent
farmers break down and join the collective. What were the
"various forms of pressure" to which Bolloten alludes?
"Even if the peasant proprietor and tenant farmer were not
compelled to adhere to the collective system, life was made
difficult for recalcitrants; not only were they prevented
from employing hired labor and disposing freely of their
crops, as has already been seen, but they were often denied
all benefits enjoyed by members. In practice, this meant
that in the villages where libertarian communism had been
established they were not allowed to receive the services
of the collectivized barber shops, to use the ovens of the
communal bakery and the means of transport and agricultural
equipment of the collective farms, or to obtain supplies of
food from the communal warehouse and collectivized stores.
Moreover, the tenant farmer, who had believed himself freed
from the payment of rent by the execution or flight of the
landowner or of his steward, was often compelled to
continue such payment to the village committee. All these
factors combined to exert pressure almost as powerful as
the butt of the rifle and eventually forced the small
owners and tenant farmers in many villages to relinquish
their land and other possessions to the collective
farms."[83] It is especially strange that
anarcho-socialists, who frequently claim that superficially
voluntary interaction (such as the capitalist-worker
relationship) is really coercive, so credulously accept the
voluntarist credentials of the Anarchist-run rural
collectives. At least the worker can try to find another
employer; but how "voluntary" was the decision of a farmer
to join the collective when he had to sell his crops to a
legally protected Anarchist monopsony anyway? If the
middlemen and speculators had not been banned by the
Anarchists, an independent farmer could always have sold to
them if the Anarchists' price was too low. Even Graham
Kelsey, an historian with unbridled sympathy for the
Anarchist movement, reluctantly reveals an important prod
used to push the hapless peasantry into the collectives.
"The military insurrection had come at a critical moment in
the agricultural calendar. Throughout lower Aragon there
were fields of grain ready for harvesting... At the
assembly in Albalate de Cinca the opening clause of the
agreed programme had required everyone in the district,
independent farmers and collectivists alike, to contribute
equally to the war effort, thereby emphasizing one of the
most important considerations in the period immediately
following the rebellion."[84] The independent farmer, in
short, had no option to remain aloof from the Anarchists'
cause and do his own thing; even if he could keep his land,
a large part of his product belonged to the CNT. The fact
that only a small percentage of the Anarchist collectives
were called "total," cannot alter the fact that aside from
the intense monopolistic pressure wielded by the CNT
through its stranglehold over the economy and agricultural
markets, an independent farmer still had to "contribute
equally to the war effort." Fraser relays the testimony of
Fernando Aragon and his wife Francisca, "both staunch CNT
supporters," which concretizes the overwhelming
monopolistic power of the Anarchists over the economy.
"Three or four of the peasants with larger holdings tried
to leave the collective, but the committee controlled all
the sources of seed and fertilizer and there was nowhere,
now that money had been abolished, where they could buy
what they needed. They had to remain in... But soon he saw
that it was not only the reluctant peasants who had no
desire to work: it was the twenty-odd committee members -
'where three or four would have been enough,' - of the
village committee. The younger men went round with pistols
stuck in their waistbands, looking - 'but not working' -
like revolutionaries... The collective produced
considerable quantities, all the village's needs were met,
except when the committee refused to distribute
stocks."[85] Francisca Aragon tells Fraser that when one of
their twin infants fell sick, the committee refused her
transport to see a doctor. "'There was great discontent.
The women talked about it. We went out to work in the
fields - and it was right that we should. But why didn't
the wives of the committee members have to go? If things
went on like this, we would have to get rid of the
committee. I wanted to leave, but I couldn't. We had no
money, no means. Moreover, the committee had guards posted
on the roads. It was terror, dictatorship...'"[86] In a
footnote, Fraser insightfully explains that once the CNT
engineered the abolition of money (no one even tries to
explain how the abolition of money could be voluntary), the
peasants were helpless. A poor person with a little money
has options; the Aragonese peasantry did not. "The problem
of the collectivists' freedom to leave villages -
permanently or on trips - exercised the imagination of
observers from the start. With the abolition of money, the
collective held the upper hand since anyone wishing to
travel had to get 'republican' money from the committee.
This meant justifying the trip."[87] Needless to say, there
was little or no freedom of religion in the Anarchist
collectives. While many accounts praise the Anarchists'
lavish educational spending, they rarely point out that a
major goal was to brainwash the next generation. As Thomas
describes, "Church schools were shut: 'The revolutionary
will of the people has suppressed schools of confessional
tendency. Now is the turn of the new school, based on
rationalist principles of work and human fraternity.'"[88]
The despotism of the Anarchists sometimes even extended to
the pettiness of prohibiting not only alcohol but coffee
and tobacco. "In the libertarian village of Magdalena de
Pulpis, for example, the abolition of alcohol and tobacco
was hailed as a triumph. In the village of Azuara, the
collectivists closed the cafe because they regarded it as a
'frivolous institution.'"[89] Bolloten quotes Franz
Borkenau, an eyewitness. "'I tried in vain to get a drink,
either of coffee or wine or lemonade. The village bar had
been closed as nefarious commerce. I had a look at the
stores. They were so low as to foretell approaching
starvation. But the inhabitants seemed to be proud of this
state of things. They were pleased, they told us, that
coffee drinking had come to an end; they seemed to regard
this abolition of useless things as a moral
improvement.'"[90] As one peasant put it, "'[T]here is no
money for vice.'"[91] Thus, the freedom of the Aragonese
peasantry was the Orwellian freedom to live precisely as
the Anarchist militia deemed right. The typical objective
of forced agricultural collectivization, in both Communist
and Third World countries, has been to fund centrally
planned industrialization. The ugly secret of the
Anarchists is that the underlying objective of forced
collectivization was to fund their military and cement the
power of their councils and committees. Part of the seized
agricultural product was used to feed the troops; the rest
was sold on international markets for gold and hard
currency, which in turn could buy armaments. For once in
the literal sense, the peasants were "exploited,"
deliberately cut off from competing purchasers, left with
no choice but to sell to the CNT for a pittance, which
could in turn either use the product itself or re-sell at
normal world prices. Graham Kelsey, a fervent admirer of
the Spanish Anarchists, tries his best to portray this
naked exploitation favorably. "To organize the provisioning
of the front-line volunteers as rapidly and as equitably as
possibly was to be more than merely an aim in itself. One
of the most common corollaries of war in a capitalist
system is the development of such social and economic evils
as black-marketeering, profiteering, and, as a consequence,
arbitrarily imposed shortages and serious inflation. The
villages from which large numbers of volunteers had joined
the columns had immediately organized the despatch of
supplies to the front. These villages, however, were but a
handful, chiefly those with strong anarchosyndicalist
traditions. Evidently the situation had to be regularized,
particularly as the initial insurrection had begun to
assume all the characteristics of a prolonged military
confrontation. Agricultural collectivisation, therefore,
became both a way of ensuring the equal contribution of all
villages to the burden posed by the conflict and also a way
of making it impossible for those who possessed the means
or the inclination to profit from the exigencies placed
upon the regional economy by the presence of civil war. It
was not just a libertarian theory; it was also the only way
to ensure the maximum agricultural production with the
minimum economic corruption."[92] Kelsey is virtually the
only academic historian who attempts to affirm the
voluntary character of the Anarchist collectives. Among his
many puzzling statements, one that stands out is his
attempt to prove that the collectives must have been
voluntary because everyone supported them, regardless of
party. "Another sign of the acceptance of agricultural
collectivisation was the adherence of the members of other
trade-union and political groups all of which, nationally,
maintained a hostile stance towards collectivisation."[93]
Normal people see an unnatural degree of unanimity and
infer that such agreement could only be the result of
extreme coercion. Kelsey sees an unnatural degree of
unanimity and infers that such agreement could only be the
result of the extraordinary goodness of the collectives.
(Similarly, a band of well- armed conquistadors could
attribute the sudden conversion of pagans to the
inescapable truth of the Catholic faith, and deny that
their firearms had anything to do with the pagans'
decision.) Fraser, relying on the testimony of CNT leader
Macario Royo, confirms this seldom-mentioned motive.
"[Royo] believed that collectives were the most appropriate
organization for controlling production and consumption,
and ensuring that a surplus was made available for the
front. 'Everything was disorganized. The columns depended
on the villages, they had no other source of supply. If
there had been no collectives, if each peasant had kept
what he produced and disposed of it as he wished, it would
have made the matter of supplies much more
difficult...'"[94] Indeed it would have; if there had been
a free market, the farmers would be paid the value of their
labor. There is much irony in Royo's tacit admission that
the "problem" with the free market is that it prevents
exploitation, ensuring that everyone gets paid for the
product of their labor. "By abolishing a free market and in
effect rationing consumer goods, mainly food, the
collectives controlled the local economy. Feeding the
columns without payment became a source of pride or
resentment, depending on the villager's ideological
commitment. But for Royo, as for most Aragonese
libertarians, the matter did not end there. The fundamental
purpose of founding the collectives was social equality.
'That each should produce according to his ability, each
consume according to his need. Equality in production,
equality in consumption. To supply everyone equally in the
collective as well as the columns at the front - this was
the principle and usefulness of the collectives.'"[95]
Presumably the poor workers of the villages did not
realized that "equality" would also guarantee an equal
share for Anarchist soldiers who never set a foot in the
village. The necessities went to feed the troops; the
agricultural luxuries were taken to be sold on
international markets. "A more genuine grievance against
the CNT by its opponents was its control of the main ports
and the Franco-Spanish border, a control that enabled it to
ship abroad through its own export entities valuable
agricultural products that yielded large quantities of
foreign exchange. Whereas the Anarchosyndicalists regarded
this control as an inalienable conquest of the Revolution,
the central government viewed it as an impingement on the
indefeasible power of the state... Julian Zugazagoitia, the
moderate Socialist, who became interior minister under
Negrin in May 1937, claims that the premier and finance
minister 'preferred not to have Anarchists in the
government' because he wished 'to dismantle all the export
organizations created by the CNT,' and 'to end once and for
all' the loss of foreign exchange resulting from the
shipment abroad of almonds, oranges, and saffron.'"[96] In
July of 1937, the Aragonese Anarchists were desperately
trying to avoid the fate of their Catalonian comrades. The
Communists had replaced the Anarchists as the dominant
force in Catalonia. Was Aragon next? Jose Peirats, the
Anarchist historian, provides the setting. "In his
commemorative speech on July 19, 1937, the President of the
Council of Aragon was extremely pessimistic... 'it would be
regrettable if anyone tried to make trouble for [the
Council of Aragon], for that would force [the Council] to
unsheathe its claws of iron and teeth of steel.'"[97] In
December of 1936, the Council agreed to share some of its
power with members of other Republican parties, but the
dominant position of the Anarchists remained. "Subsequently
the President reported on the accomplishments made over the
first year: speculation and usury had been suppressed;
roads and highways had been constructed with the
disinterested help of the militia...; and the Aragonese
collectives, in spite of their deficiencies, were the
wonder the revolution."[98] Clearly in a conciliatory mood,
the President emphasized that the right to farm
individually would be protected (thus implicitly admitting
widespread violation of this right). Moreover, the
President could point to an agreement signed by all of the
Republican factions of Aragon, which read in part: "'The
Council of Aragon, which will collaborate enthusiastically
with the legitimate government of the Republic, will
increase production in the rearguard, mobilize all the
region's resources for the war effort, arouse the
antifascist spirit of the masses... and undertake an
intense purge in the liberated zones; it will impose
unrelenting order and hunt down hidden fascists, defeatists
and speculators.'"[99] The totalitarian tone of these words
is hard to overlook. The Council's protestations of its
loyalty and ecumenical spirit did not save it from an
invasion of Communist-led forces under the orders of the
central government. The Communists broke up many
collectives, even voluntary ones (although as noted the
"voluntarism" of the collectives was universally
questionable). Bolloten summarizes a report of the Aragon
CNT: "the land, farm implements, horses, and cattle
confiscated from right-wing supporters were returned to
their former owners or to their families; new buildings
erected by the collectives, such as stables and hen coops,
were destroyed, and in some villages the farms were
deprived even of seed for sowing, while six hundred members
of the CNT were arrested."[100] After their initial
onslaught, the Communists backed off somewhat; so long as
the Anarchists were out of power, the Communists were
generally willing to accept a milder form of
collectivization. Apologists for the Anarchists frequently
point to the fact that many collectives persisted even
after the Communist-led forces destroyed the Council of
Aragon. For example, Peirats tells us that "The Penalba
collective which, at the beginning of the revolution, was
composed of the entire village of 1500 people was reduced
to 500 members. It is very possible that in this second
phase the collectivization better reflects the sincere
convictions of the members. They had undergone a severe
test and those who had withstood it were proven
collectivists. Yet it would be facile to label as
anticollectivists those who abandoned the collectives in
this second phase. Fear, official coercion and insecurity
weighed heavily in the decisions of much of the Aragonese
peasantry."[101] Peirats' double-standard is worth
contemplating. While he is extraordinarily sensitive to
hidden coercion undermining the voluntariness of the
de-collectivizations, the enormous economic bludgeon used
to form the collectives in the first place barely bothers
him. Even after the destruction of the Council of Aragon,
might not some farmers have remained within the collectives
out of fear of later persecution if the CNT regained power?
The interview of Juan Martinez (a "medium-holding
peasant... who had thought the collectives were not a bad
idea") with Fraser confirms that such was indeed the case.
"'Most of the people left, and were happy to do so. Those
who remained - about a quarter of the original number -
were under no pressure to do so; nobody bothered them,
nobody tried to break up their collective. In fact, one or
two of the peasants with bigger holdings left their land in
because they were frightened the situation might change
again...'"[102] Bolloten aptly sums up the ironclad case
against the Anarchist rural collectives, a case which need
not rely on Communist-tainted testimony or sources: "If,
theoretically, during the Spanish Revolution, the CNT and
FAI were opposed to the state dictatorship established by
the Marxists, they nevertheless established a form of
parochial dictatorship in many localities, with the aid of
vigilance groups and revolutionary tribunals. While these
fell far short of the 'scientific concept' of totalitarian
dictatorship defined by Lenin, the CNT and FAI exercised
their power in a naked form not only against priests and
landowners, moneylenders and merchants, but in many cases
against small tradesmen and farmers."[103] This
dictatorship would undoubtedly have become even more
egregious if the Anarchists had ever become the dominant
power in Spain; Bolloten cites numerous Anarchist
publications explaining that the concessions to voluntarism
and individualism were merely temporary expedients which
would be withdrawn as soon as the Anarchists were too
powerful to be challenged. 3. Economics and the Spanish
Anarchists A. Background for the Civil War: The Great
Depression and the Labor Market It is impossible to
understand the economics of the Spanish Civil War without
realizing that in 1936, Spain remained in the midst of the
international Great Depression. If Spanish industrial
production in 1929 is set equal to 100, then in 1935 it
remained at a stagnant 86.9 in spite of six years' worth of
population growth. In Catalonia, if one indexes industrial
production in January 1936 at 100, one finds that by July
of 1936 output was lower still at 82. In short, production
at the start of the revolution was an additional 18% below
the depression-level output of January 1936. Unemployment
by all accounts was correspondingly high.[104] What was the
reason for the pre-war depression anyway? A large consensus
of economic historians argues, persuasively in my view,
that the essential cause of the Great Depression was the
international monetary contraction of the late 20's and
early 30's. Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz's A Monetary
History of the United States [105] was the seminal academic
work which established the magnitude and importance of the
monetary contraction in the United States. Barry
Eichengreen's Golden Fetters [106] largely extends Friedman
and Schwartz's argument to the international economy,
showing how the gold standard re-established after World
War I was very shaky and wound up yielding an international
monetary contraction. Spain was not itself on the gold
standard, but bank notes had to be backed by a fractional
reserve of gold so many of the same forces would be at
work.[107] Monetary contraction is thus the first symptom
to look for; but by any measure, it did not occur. Spain
devalued the peseta (a move which makes it much easier to
avoid deflation) to 79.5% of parity in 1930, and continued
to devalue it until by 1935 the gold content of the peseta
was a mere 55.3% of par. Looking at combined savings bank
deposits (a standard component in most measures of money
supply provided by Thomas), it can be seen that the peseta
quantity of deposits constantly increased over the period
for which data is available: from 1847 million pesetas in
1928, to 4116 million pesetas in 1934. Similarly, the
number of pesetas it took to buy one British pound (N.B.
The Bank of London was noted for its swift devaluation.)
increased from 25.22 in January of 1930 to 36.00 in January
of 1936. In short, there was a large decline in the
international value of the peseta, reflecting large money
supply increases uncharacteristic of other countries during
this era. A final clue which confirms the fact of high
money supply growth in Spain is that Madrid in 1936 was
estimated to have one of the largest gold reserves in the
world - precisely what one would expect in a nation which
had repeatedly cut the gold content of the peseta in order
to remove any institutional constraints on rapid money
supply growth.[108] If the standard monetary explanation
fails to explain the Spanish depression, what other factors
might be involved? The preponderance of the evidence
indicates that the Spanish labor unions, of which the CNT
was foremost, through their intransigent militancy and
activism, succeeded in raising real wages approximately 20%
from 1929 to 1936.[109] Tortella and Palafox's calculations
reveal a 20.5% real wage increase in mining, a 17.6%
increase in metallurgy, a 19.9% increase in textiles (22.3%
for women), and a 23.7% increase in agriculture (35%
increase for women) over the 1929-1936 period. In their
ignorance of and emotional hostility to classical economic
theory, the trade- unionists probably did not realize that
the necessary consequence of pushing real wages so far
above the market level would be massive unemployment; but
massive unemployment was indeed the result. The mounting
hostility to employers, sabotage, and so on undoubtedly
decreased the expected marginal productivity of labor,
leaving the prevailing union wage scale even farther above
the market-clearing level. The unions enjoyed ample
assistance from the government. Paul Preston sums up
Caballero's labor decrees, many of which greatly improved
the labor unions' bargaining position. "The so-called
'decree of municipal boundaries' prevented the hiring of
outside labor while local workers in a given municipality
remained unemployed. It struck at the landowners' most
potent weapon, the power to break strikes and keep down
wages by the import of cheap blackleg labor."[110] Thus
even the trade unions realized on some level, however
rudimentary, that raising the price of labor would reduce
the quantity demanded. Moreover, on some level the
unionists realized that unions benefit their members at the
expense of other (preferably non-union) workers priced out
of a job. Preston continues, "Largo Caballero did something
that Primo de Rivera had not been able to do: he introduced
arbitration committees for rural wages and working
conditions, which had previously been subject only to the
whim of the owners. One of the rights now to be protected
was the newly introduced eight-hour day. Given that,
previously, the braceros had been expected to work from
sunup to sundown, this meant that owners would either have
to pay overtime or else employ more men to do the same
work. [Or produce less output, which was probably the most
important response. -B.C.] Finally, in order to prevent the
owners from sabotaging these measures by lock-outs, a
decree of obligatory cultivation prevented them from taking
their land out of operation."[111] Thus, while it avoided
the monetary contraction which plagued other nations in the
early 30's, Spain enjoyed a depression courtesy of its
militant labor unions, assisted by the labor laws of the
Republican government. Disturbed by the plight of the
workers, the unions and the government simple-mindedly
tried to make matters better by pushing up wages and
improving working conditions. The necessary and empirically
observed result was massive unemployment; many workers were
simply not worth the higher price, and so no one chose to
hire them. Rather than blame the unions and the "pro-labor"
government, many unemployed workers turned to ever greater
militancy and hatred of the capitalist system.[112] Perhaps
the most plausible criticism of capitalist economies is
that they sometimes allow useful labor and capital to go to
waste. Under the circumstances, one might expect that the
workers' revolutionary takeover of their employers'
property in 1936 would have to make matters better. With
all these idle workers seizing the empty factories,
wouldn't production have to increase? It did not; after the
establishment of worker control, unemployment became even
more severe despite the wartime economy's massive monetary
growth and conscription. The next section investigates this
puzzle in detail. B. The Economics of the Civil War:
Collectivization, Inflation, and the Black Market The
puzzle of urban collectivization begins at the outset. With
massive unemployment still prevailing, the CNT began
closing plants and concentrating workers in the most
"modern" firms. The obvious measure would have been to open
the doors of every collective to the mass of unemployed
workers and invite them to select their new workplace. But
the unions insisted that in some sense the older plants
were not "efficient." No effort was made to analyze the
coherence of this view; in particular, the unions showed no
understanding of the difference between average and
marginal productivity. (The superiority of the average
productivity of the modern plants in no way shows that
marginal productivity was greater, and it is marginal
productivity that matters for "efficiency" decisions.)
Bolloten describes this massive shut down decision at
length: "'Those small employers of labor who are a little
enlightened,' declared Solidaridad Obrera , the principal
Anarchosyndicalist organ in Spain, 'will easily understand
that the system of producing goods in small plants is not
efficient. Divided effort holds back production. Operating
a tiny workshop with handicraft methods is not the same as
operating a large plant that utilizes all the advances of
technology. If our aim is to do away with the contingencies
and insecurities of the capitalist regime, then we must
direct production in a way that ensures the well-being of
society.'"[113] Apparently the well-being of unemployed
workers was of no concern; in spite of its high levels, the
issue never even arises. Bolloten gives the details of the
wave of business closings. "In accordance with this
outlook, the CNT workers, sweeping along with them those of
the UGT, closed down more than seventy foundries in the
region of Catalonia and concentrated their equipment and
personnel in twenty-four... In Barcelona, the CNT and UGT
woodworkers' unions - which had already set up control
committees in every shop and factory and used the former
employers as technical managers at the standard wage for
workers - reorganized the entire industry by closing down
hundreds of small workshops and concentrating production in
the largest plants. In the same city the CNT carried out
equally radical changes in the tanning trade, reducing 71
plants to 40, while in the glass industry, 100 plants and
warehouses were cut down to 30."[114] Similar measures were
applied to the barber shops and beauty parlors; in the
dressmaking, tailoring, metal, carpentry, and leather goods
trades; in candy, shoemaking, metal and textiles, lumber,
bricklaying, tanning, baking, cabinetmaking, and on and on.
While this program did nothing to alleviate massive
unemployment, it did have other advantages from the point
of view of the employed trade unionists. It helped to
curtail production, protect themselves against competition,
and thus keep prices high. Moreover, it helped centralize
each industry, making it somewhat easier to run them
top-down, to secure compliance with the orders of the
Anarchist leadership. Bolloten quotes the sympathetic
observer Leval. "'The machinery was gathered together in
several workshops, sometimes in a single workshop. In this
way, the regulation of production was simplified and
coordination of effort was more effective.'"[115] By all
accounts, the workers swiftly raised their own wages, cut
their own hours, and improved working conditions. One
obvious motive, as mentioned earlier, was to eliminate
accounting profits by simply increasing wages until no
taxable profits remained. As Fraser writes, "[The
collectives] generated little or no apparent surplus, and
even less so if they were paying 'unproductive' wages. This
in turn meant that the money due to go to the credit fund
to finance, and eliminate disparities between, collectives
was impaired."[116] Fraser sums up the experience of the
collective of CNT secretary Joan Ferrer. "Profits were not
a problem - there were none, at least up to mid-1937 when
Ferrer joined the army. Any surplus there might have been
was ploughed back into the stores; wages were raised,
working conditions improved and other improvements
made."[117] Decrees in Catalonia established the forty-hour
week and raised wages 15 percent, and mandated the rehiring
of workers discharged on political grounds. The essential
problem of the labor market before the Civil War simply
became worse. Real wages were too high; in consequence,
there was a labor surplus, or "unemployment." When the
workers seized control, they simply compounded the problem
by raising their own wages even further, improving working
conditions (i.e., selecting more comfort and lower
productivity), abolishing piece rates (i.e., selecting more
leisure and lower productivity), and so on. The experience
of CNT member and textile foreman Josep Costa was perhaps
more extreme than most. "Piece- work was abolished, the
working week reduced to forty hours (and soon to much less
because of raw materials shortages), the 'first social
security system in Spain' created: full retirement pay,
free medical care, free medicines, sick pay, maternity pay
(two days' pay off work for the husband when his wife was
giving birth), a clinic for specialist services and
childbirth - the scheme being financed by a levy per worker
in each collective that had the funds. An unemployment fund
was created, and a proportion of those out of work were
found jobs outside the textile industry."[118] No one
seemed to realize that the higher pay and improved working
conditions were the primary reason there was an
unemployment problem in the first place. There did exist a
simple expedient whereby the unionized workers could have
retained their privileged positions while creating
opportunities for the innumerable jobless workers. They
could have created an openly two-tier regime: old workers
present before the collectivization get paid the high wage
and get to share in the profits; new workers get a meager,
market-clearing wage and don't share in the profits. Of
course, to have done so would have required the trade
unionists to indirectly admit that their militancy had
created the problems which they had always blamed on the
capitalist system. Moreover, it would have forced them to
abandon their egalitarian ethic. Better to let a person rot
in idleness than permit inequality. The situation was
essentially similar to that of a modern law firm. If every
novice lawyer and secretary became a full partner as soon
as they were hired, there would be many unemployed novices
and secretaries. The current partners would want to avoid
diluting the value of their shares, and would therefore
keep hiring to a minimum. Modern law firms solve this
problem by accepting inequality as a fact of life; a share
of the profits is reserved for the elite lawyers, and the
other employees simply receive a comparatively small
salary. Crippled by their egalitarian ethos, the
worker-controlled firms of Anarchist Spain could not bring
themselves to do this. In consequence, in spite of massive
money supply growth and conscription, Catalonian
unemployment (complete and partial, Fraser notes) increased
from an index of 100 in January- June 1936 to 135.7 in
December 1936, and fell slightly to 123.6 in June 1937, and
120.1 in November 1937.[119] Urban workers overall often
suffered from urban collectivization. But at least some
urban workers clearly seemed to greatly improve their
standard of living during the early stages of the war.
These were the lucky workers who already had good jobs in
good factories; they enhanced their fortunate condition by
seizing control of the factories and channeling their
former employer's profits to themselves (with a combination
of wage increases, more job benefits, better working
conditions, and more leisure). Workers who had jobs in
marginal plants found their condition was basically the
same as before, only now they had to worry about bankruptcy
instead of their boss. Unemployed workers who were
previously priced out of the labor market by Catalonia's
powerful unions probably found life even harder. Whether
capitalists or the workers ran the factories, the
redistribution from unemployed and non-union workers to
employed and union workers remained constant. The rural
agricultural workers' plight was very different. The
redistribution was not normally from one rural worker to
another; rather, the mass of rural workers were exploited
by the Anarchist military elite in their struggle to win
the war. Thus, people frequently linked collectivization
with the so-called "war effort"; the collectives would
toil, receive their rations, and see the rest taken from
them. Fraser summarizes the observation of Juan Zafon,
propaganda delegate of the Council of Aragon. "The free,
independent municipality, the collective which abolished
the exploitation of man by man, the federal structure which
linked each village at district and regional level and,
after supplying the needs of the villages and fronts,
channeled what surplus was produced to the council, which
in turn could sell or exchange it with other regions or
abroad; 'all this had been talked and written about, but it
had been no more than a slogan until then.'"[120] Strip
aside the propaganda delegate's misleading remarks about
the "freedom" and "independence" of the municipality, and
the harsh truth reveals itself: the Anarchists took the
surplus of the farmers, gave them little or nothing in
return, and used it to fight the war. Fraser's interview
with CNT militant Ernesto Margeli further supports my
contention that the Anarchists collectivized in order to
better exploit the peasantry. "[A]s militia forces
continued to arrive, as the problem of supplying them
became more acute, and as the disorganization of the
initial period did not give way to anything better, several
CNT members, including Margeli, realized that something had
to be done. 'We were living through a revolutionary moment;
it had fallen into our hands. Even if the people weren't
prepared, we had to make the revolution now...'"[121] While
Margeli tried to convince the farmers that collectivization
would be more efficient, he clearly indicates that the
impetus for his decision was the need to supply the
voracious Anarchist military. Bolloten once again provides
voluminous evidence untainted by Communist sources proving
that collectivization was imposed under duress; moreover,
he confirms that the Anarchists were over-eager to
collectivize because they were desperate for supplies and
intended to extort what they needed out of the peasantry.
"By October 1936, the uncontrolled requisitioning of food
and animals by the militia columns, the majority
libertarian, had become so serious as to threaten,
according to Joaquin Ascaso, the Anarchist president of the
council, the 'total ruin' of the region. This, he said,
impelled the council to prohibit the heads of the columns
from making requisitions without its prior approval. 'We
hope that everyone, without exception, will abide by this
order, thus avoiding the lamentable and paradoxical
circumstance of a free people hating its liberty and its
liberators, and the no less sad situation of a people
totally ruined by the Revolution for which it has always
yearned.'"[122] If statistics can be believed, there were
striking differences between the urban and the rural
sectors in the Anarchist-controlled regions. Both sectors,
it should be recalled, started the war under extremely
depressed conditions; but from this similar starting point,
their progress was quite different. The urban sector simply
went from bad to worse. Thomas indexes Catalonian
industrial production to equal 100 in January 1936.
Production fluctuated between 100 and 94 until July 1936
when the revolution broke out. Production plummeted to 82,
but in the midst of chaos, transfer of control, and
fighting with Nationalists, this is understandable. What is
not understandable is that production never rose above the
July 1936 level for as long as the war lasted. It fell to
64 in August, recovered slightly to 73 in September, and
then fluctuated between 71 and 53 until April of 1938. In
the last months of Republican control in Catalonia, facing
imminent Nationalist invasion, production dropped even
more, fluctuating between 41 and 31 until the collection of
economic statistics ceased. The rural sector, in contrast,
had much more mixed performance. The agricultural
statistics, which Thomas states were gathered under a
Communist agriculture ministry, indicate that 1937 output
was 21 percent below 1936 output in Catalonia; 20 percent
greater Aragon, 16 percent greater in the Central Zone, and
8 percent lower in Levante. (The figures were adjusted to
account for the capture of farmland by the Nationalists.)
Collectivization was most widespread in Aragon, but existed
everywhere to some extent. Apologists for the Anarchist
collectives find the 20 percent output increase in Aragon
to be stunning evidence for the value of their
institutions. (The equally drastic decline in Catalonia is
often discounted because collectivization was less complete
there than in Aragon.) In fact, due to the prior depressed
conditions, any system which made use of idle land and
workers, however inefficient, could have made great strides
forward. Moreover, as Thomas explains, "Alas, the trouble
was that, even if there were indeed an increase of wheat,
as these figures suggest, the increased consumption at the
place of production, the decay of systems of transport and
distribution, the increase of refugees and the greater
demand for food made inevitable by the nationalist
blockade, caused a shortage of food in all the cities of
the republic except Valencia."[123] Of course, one may
doubt the veracity of the numbers. Urban collectives no
doubt wished to understate their production in order to
sell more on the black market. The reports made to the
ministry of agriculture may have overstated true production
in order to win favor for the Anarchists' collectivization
experiment. Yet if we entertain the notion that the numbers
are accurate, there is indeed an interesting pattern. When
the workers actually had control, output declined 30 to 40
percent below its previous depressed level. When the
workers' control was largely fictitious, production
sometimes increased by 20 percent - albeit 20 percent above
the level of the depression. The urban workers who actually
had control had no incentive to tap into the vast
unemployed resources; doing so would merely dilute the
value of each worker's share. In contrast, the Anarchist
militants who ran the agricultural collectives had no
reason to keep resources idle; they weren't really paying
the peasants anyway, so why not make use of as many of them
as possible? Slavery is often economically inefficient, but
this is not a necessary truth; slaves may work with less
energy than free workers, but the slave-owner may opt to
force the slave to work so many additional hours that his
overall output rises. Kelsey notes that women and even
elderly farmers toiled in the fields under Anarchist rule.
"Throughout the collectives many people were working harder
and longer than before. The large number of men who had
gone to man the front-lines meant that others, including
women and older people, were needed to assist with much of
the work. Many writers found that contrary to this being
resented people were ready and willing to work extra hours
and that, as at Graus, pensions were actually looked upon
as something of an insult, older workers demanding the
right to give their labour as everyone else."[124] An
alternative explanation for the same facts is that the
Anarchist leaders terrorized as many people as possible to
work in the fields, and that the victims were too
frightened to inform Anarchist journalists of the real
story. There was one form of exploitation inflicted upon
the workers for which the central government, rather than
the Anarchists, was directly to blame. The Spanish
government had long held essentially unlimited control over
the money supply; the peseta was a fiat currency, which
means that all the government had to do to get more money
was to turn on the printing press. During the war, the
Spanish government found the temptation to fund itself with
the printing press irresistible. This can easily be seen by
looking at the exchange rate with the pound: in January of
1936, it only took 36 pesetas to buy 1 pound; by January of
1937, it took 115; by January of 1938, 219, and by January
of 1939, it took a full 488 pesetas to buy a single pound.
(In 1938 the Republic also issued a new kind of note which
depreciated in valued even more swiftly.) The inevitable
result of this was massive inflation. When this inflation
set in, the central government did what governments always
do: blame the free market and impose price controls. The
natural result is a massive shortage of goods, rationing,
and corruption. When desperate people break the law by
buying or selling goods above the legal price, the
government labels their action "black market activity" and
declares it a crime. Thus, throughout the wartime period,
the Republican government used the power of the printing
press to fund itself. Ordinary people wanted to buy things
to make their life better; frequently, they just wanted to
buy the bare necessities of life. This did not accord with
the government's plan, which was to bleed the people of
Spain dry in order to defend its authority. As Fraser
explains, "The cost of living quadrupled in just over two
years; wages (as far as can be ascertained) only doubled.
Inevitably, the working class bore the brunt of the civil
war."[125] Thomas' numbers indicate that if wholesale
prices are indexed to equal 100 in 1913, then they stood at
168.8 in January of 1936, 174.7 in July of 1936 when the
war started, 209.6 in December 1936, 389.1 in December of
1937, and 564.7 in December of 1938. This understates the
suffering of Spanish consumers, because very often the
existence of price controls meant that no goods were even
available to buy (except at much higher black market
prices). While the Anarchists did not control the Spanish
money supply, they did nothing to hinder the government's
grand act of legalized counterfeiting, and played a
supporting role by demonizing the so-called "black market"
instead of the true culprit: the Spanish central bank. The
Council of Aragon's multi-party agreement, as previously
noted, pledged to "impose unrelenting order and hunt down
hidden fascists, defeatists, and speculators."[126] Fraser
describes the situation in Barcelona in the spring of 1937:
"Food was in short supply and there were long bread queues.
In April, women demonstrated in the streets against the
cost of living, which had just risen a further 13 per cent
on top of the increases that had already added nearly two
thirds to the index since the start of the war."[127]
Rather than place the blame on the central government's
printing press where it belonged, the former CNT supplies
minister Joan Domenech criticized "the PSUC [Communist]
leader for abolishing the controls he had set up and
establishing a free market in food. 'I knew that if
supplies weren't controlled a black market would spring up.
I practised a sort of dictatorship over supplies and
prices... By saying there were shortages, Comorera created
them because people rushed in to buy whatever they
could...'"[128] The central government controlled the money
supply, not the CNT, so it must bear the primary
blame.[129] But it is interesting to note that the CNT
stood quietly by and scapegoated the so-called "black
market" rather than standing up for the economic interests
of the workers they claimed to represent. By the end of the
war, a large percentage of the Spanish workers must have
found themselves destitute, their hard-earned pesetas not
worth the paper they were printed on. C. The Dilemma, Part
I: Capitalist Anarchism Suppose that there were a standard
capitalist economy in which a class of wealthy capitalists
owned the means of production and hired the rest of the
population as wage laborers. Through extraordinary effort,
the workers in each factory save enough money to buy out
their employers. The capitalists' shares of stock change
hands, so that the workers of each firm now own and control
their workplace. Question: Is this still a "capitalist
society"? Of course; there is still private property in the
means of production, it simply has different owners than
before. The economy functions the same as it always did:
the workers at each firm do their best to enrich themselves
by selling desired products to consumers; there is
inequality due to both ability and luck; firms compete for
customers. Nothing changes but the recipient of the
dividends. This simple thought experiment reveals the
dilemma of the anarcho- socialist. If the workers seize
control of their plants and run them as they wish,
capitalism remains. The only way to suppress what
socialists most despise about capitalism - greed,
inequality, and competition - is to force the worker-owners
to do something they are unlikely to do voluntarily. To do
so requires a state, an organization with sufficient
firepower to impose unselfishness, equality, and
coordination upon recalcitrant workers. One can call the
state a council, a committee, a union, or by any other
euphemism, but the simple truth remains: socialism requires
a state. A priori reasoning alone establishes this, but
empiricists may be skeptical. Surely there is some "middle
way" which is both anarchist and socialist? To the
contrary; the experience of Spanish Anarchism could give no
clearer proof that insofar as collectivization was
anarchist, it was capitalist, and insofar as
collectivization was socialist, it was statist. The only
solution to this dilemma, if solution it may be called, is
to retain the all-powerful state, but use a new word to
designate it. An overwhelming body of evidence from a wide
variety of sources confirms that when the workers really
controlled their factories, capitalism merely changed it
form; it did not cease to exist. Summarizing a CNT- UGT
textile conference, Fraser explains that, "experience had
already demonstrated that it was necessary to proceed
rapidly towards a total socialization of the industry if
ownership of the means of production was not once more to
lead to man's exploitation of man. The works councils did
not in practice know what to do with the means of
production and lacked a plan for the whole industry; as far
as the market was concerned, the decree had changed none of
the basic capitalist defects 'except that whereas before it
was the owners who competed amongst themselves it is now
the workers.'"[130] Bolloten records that, "According to
Daniel Guerin, an authority on the Spanish Anarchist
movement, 'it appeared... that workers' self-management
might lead to a kind of egotistical particularlism, each
enterprise being concerned solely with its own interests...
As a result, the excess revenues of the bus company were
used to support the street cars, which were less
profitable.' But, in actuality, there were many cases of
inequality that could not be so easily resolved."[131]
Thomas confirms this picture. "Anarchists were willing to
admit that the revolution had brought problems they had not
dreamt of: the FAI leader, Abad de Santillan (then economic
councillor in the Generalidad) wrote candidly: 'We had seen
in the private ownership of the means of production, of
factories, of means of transport, in the capitalist
apparatus of distribution, the main cause of misery and
injustice. We wished the socialization of all wealth so
that not a single individual would be left out of the
banquet of life. We have now done something, but we have
not done it well. In place of the old owner, we have
substituted a half-dozen new ones who consider the factory,
the means of transport which they control, as their own
property, with the inconvenience that they do not always
know how to organize... as well as the old.'"[132] Fraser
quotes Josep Costa, a CNT foreman outside of Barcelona,
explaining why his union decided not to collectivize.
"'Individual collectivized mills acted there from the
beginning as though they were completely autonomous units,
marketing their own products as they could and paying
little heed to the general situation. It was a sort of
popular capitalism...'"[133] How, one might wonder, could
avowed socialists act so contrary to their principles? The
workers' behavior was not particularly different from that
of wealthy Marxist professors who live in luxury while
denouncing the refusal of the West to share its wealth with
the Third World. Talk is cheap. When the worker-owners had
the option to enrich themselves, they seized it with few
regrets. The orthodox state-socialists, even the CNT's
would-be allies such as the POUM, bitterly attacked the
capitalist nature of worker-control. Fraser relays the
opinion of POUM executive Juan Andrade. "The anarcho-
syndicalist workers had made themselves the owners of
everything they collectivized; the collectives were treated
as private, not social, property. Socialization, as
practised by CNT unions, was no more than trade union
capitalism. 'Although it wasn't immediately apparent, the
economy as run by the CNT was disaster. Had it gone on like
that, there would have been enormous problems later, with
great disparities of wages and new social classes being
formed. We also wanted to collectivize, but quite
differently, so that the country's resources were
administered socially, not as individual property. The sort
of mentality which believes that the revolution is for the
immediate benefit of a particular sector of the working
class, and not for the proletariat as a whole, always
surfaces in a revolution, as I realized in the first days
of the war in Madrid.'"[134] Andrade tells Fraser a
striking story about the funeral of a POUM militant. "[T]he
CNT undertakers' union presented the POUM with its bill.
The younger POUM militants took the bill to Andrade in
amazement. He called in the undertakers' representatives.
'"What's this? You want to collect a bill for your services
while men are dying at the front, eh?" I looked at the
bill. "Moreover, you've raised your prices, this is very
expensive." "Yes," the man agreed, "we want to make
improvements - " I refused to pay and when, later, two
members of the union's committee turned up to press their
case, we threw them out. But the example made me reflect on
a particular working-class attitude to the
revolution.'"[135] The "particular working-class attitude"
to which Andrade refers is just the view that the
revolution is supposed to make the workers their own
bosses. Many workers took the slogans about worker-control
literally. They overlooked the possibility that these
slogans were intended to win their support for a revolution
to replace capitalists with party bureaucrats. Albert
Perez-Baro, a former member of the CNT who played a
prominent role in the collectivization movement in
Catalonia, gave a speech seven months after the revolution
which gives a good picture of the aspiring bureaucrats'
hidden agenda: "'...the immense majority of workers have
sinned by their indiscipline; production has fallen in an
alarming manner and in many instances has plummeted; the
distance from the front has meant that the workers have not
experienced the war with the necessary intensity. The
former discipline, born of managerial coercion, is missing,
and has not been replaced, owing to the lack of
class-consciousness, by a self-imposed discipline in
benefit of the collectivity. In an infantile manner the
workers have come to believe that everything was already
won... when in reality the real social revolution begins
precisely in the period of constructing the
Economy...'"[136] While Perez-Baro berates the workers as
"infantile," he does not consider the possibility that the
workers' attitude was perfectly sensible. It is easy to see
why workers expect to benefit by becoming their own bosses.
Why they should believe that replacing their employers with
the state or an Orwellian Anarchist council is good for
them is quite a different matter. Inequality existed within
collectives as well as between them. Invariably, the
participants attribute the tolerance of inequality to the
fact that it was impossible for one collective to impose
equal wages unless the other collectives did the same. As
Fraser summarizes the testimony of CNT militant Luis
Santacana, "But the 'single' wage could not be introduced
in his plant because it was not made general throughout the
industry. Women in the factory continued to receive wages
between 15 per cent and 20 per cent lower than men, and
manual workers less than technicians."[137] In other words,
it was impossible to impose equality so long as there was
competition for workers. If one firm refused to pay extra
to skilled workers, they would quit and find a job where
egalitarian norms were not so strictly observed. Perhaps
the most fascinating incident in Fraser's account of
worker- control involves the Tivoli opera theatre. CNT
militant Juan Sana relays the details: "Almost the only
problem Sana had not had to deal with was the 'single' wage
introduced in the theatre. It came to a rapid end in
dramatic circumstances one day when the famous tenor,
Hipolito Lazaro, arrived at the Tivoli theatre where the
union was organizing a cycle of operas at popular prices.
He was to sing the lead. Before the audience arrived, he
got up on stage and addressed the company. '"We're all
equal now," he said, "and to prove it, we all get the same
wage. Fine, since we're equal, today I am going to collect
the tickets at the door and one of you can come up here and
sing the lead." That did it, of course. There had been
several previous protests. That night several of us union
leaders met and decided at the very start that we couldn't
leave until we had come up with a worthy solution.' It
didn't take long. Top actors and singers, like Lazaro and
Marcos Redondo, were to be paid 750 pesetas a performance -
a 5,000 per cent increase over their previous 15 pesetas a
day. Second- and third-category artists received large, but
differential increases, while even ushers were given a
raise."[138] If Sana had reflected further, he might have
drawn a more general lesson from this incident: If there is
competition, exploitation is virtually impossible. This
principle holds whether the competing bidders are
capitalists or worker collectives. This can be proved with
a simple thought experiment. Imagine that a worker is able
to perform a task which increases the sale value of raw
materials by 10 pesetas. Imagine further holding an auction
with capitalists bidding for this worker's services. With
only one bidder, the traditional socialist story makes some
sense; one bidder could offer a subsistence wage, and a
worker might be desperate enough to take it. With two
bidders, it is possible to imagine that the capitalists
will collude, strike a corrupt bargain to shave their bids.
How many bidders must there be before a collusive agreement
simply becomes impossible? As normal auctions reveal, two
bidders is often all it takes; with ten bidders, collusion
is so difficult there isn't even any point in trying. The
sellers could be desperate and the bidders wealthy, but
competition drives the sale price up to the sale value of
the product. Pablo Picasso could be penniless, on the verve
of starvation, but with competitive bidding he would
nevertheless be paid a fortune for a new painting. The
buyers would be happy if competition were illegal, but so
long as competition persists, buyers will act in their own
interests, not the interests of buyers in general. In any
modern economy, including that of Spain during the 1930's,
there are not ten bidders for a given worker's services;
there are hundreds, if not thousands. The auction is less
visible than one in a hall with an auctioneer, but it is
just as real. Every compensation package an employer offers
is a bid for workers' services. With at least a few
employers, competitive bidding forces workers' pay to equal
the full value of their product. Why then are some workers
in capitalist economies so poorly paid? The simple but
harsh answer is that their labor is not very productive .
The more complex answer is that given the availability of
other productive factors , their labor was not very
productive. A contemporaneous barber in the United States
earned more than his counterpart in Spain because capital
goods were more abundant in the United States than in
Spain. The only long-term solution for Spanish poverty was
to increase the supply of capital goods in Spain; thus,
once again the militant tactics of the Spanish unions were
grossly counter-productive. While Spanish workers should
have done everything possible to attract foreign capital,
they instead chose to frighten away a large fraction of
Spain's already meager capital stock. (It is interesting to
note that Spanish workers' standard of living only began to
improve significantly after Franco relaxed his autarchic
policies of the 40's and 50's.) The real socialist
complaint against capitalism is not that capitalism
exploits workers, but that it prevents exploitation of
workers. It prevents able workers from being exploited for
the benefit of less able workers, the elderly, and
children. As Horacio Prieto, former CNT national committee
secretary lamented, "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 solidarities
toward poor collectives... No one understands the
complexities of the economy, the dependence of one industry
on another."[139] The problem, in short, is that under the
"new capitalism," the more productive collectives get rich,
and the others don't. The "new capitalism," like the old,
tightly links success and reward. Competition similarly
made it hard for the Anarchist military to exploit workers.
As CNT military leader Royo stated, "'The columns depended
on the villages, they had no other source of supply. If
there had been no collectives, if each peasant had kept
what he produced and disposed of it as he wished, it would
have made the matter of supplies much more
difficult...'"[140] It is always "much more difficult" to
accomplish anything when you must obtain the voluntary
consent of other people, for then you must pay them what
they are worth. D. The Dilemma, Part II: Socialist Statism
In spite of the harsh exploitation of the farmers by the
Anarchist military, even the limited freedom that the
milder collectives allowed began to show a capitalist face.
As Felix Carrasquer, a FAI schoolteacher, describes his
role at the February 1937 CNT congress, "'Then I got up.
The 'cantonalism' of the collectives spelt the ruin of the
movement, I said. A rich collective could live well, a poor
collective would have difficulty feedings its members. "Is
that communism? No, it's the very opposite. Whose fault is
it if one village has good land and the next has
poor?"'"[141] Similarly, Thomas notes, "Wages differed from
collective to collective, the criterion really being the
richer the collective, the better paid the workers. This
was an ironic, if doubtless inescapable, conclusion to the
libertarian dream."[142] Finally, Bolloten observes that,
"The fear that a new class of wealthy landed proprietors
would eventually rise on the ruins of the old if individual
tillage were encouraged was no doubt partly responsible for
the determination of the more zealous collectivizers to
secure the adherence of the small cultivator, whether
willing or forced, to the collective system."[143] Overall,
however, the socialist ideologue had nothing to fear from
the rural collectives. For the most part, capitalism had
been stamped out by the only means possible: the state. The
Anarchist military was the backbone of a new monopoly on
the means of coercion which was a government in everything
but name. It then became possible to use the peasantry like
cattle, to make them work, feed them their subsistence, and
seize the "surplus." Bolloten approvingly quotes Kaminsky's
account of Alcora. "'The community is represented by the
committee... All the money of Alcora, about 100,000
pesetas, is in its hands. The committee exchanges the
products of the community for others goods that are
lacking, but what it cannot secure by exchange it
purchases. Money, however, is retained only as a makeshift
and will be valid as long as other communities have not
followed Alcora's example. "'The committee is
paterfamilias. It owns everything; it directs everything;
it attends to everything. Every special desire must be
submitted to it for consideration; it alone has say. "'One
may object that the members of the committee are in danger
of becoming bureaucrats or even dictators. That possibility
has not escaped the attention of the villagers. They have
seen to it that the committee shall be renewed at short
intervals so that each inhabitant will serve on it for a
certain length of time.'"[144] What is to be done with
someone who says that he neither wishes to serve on the
committee, nor consent to its rulings? Who says that he
intends to work his own land, get rich, and refuse to share
a peseta with anyone else? This person would receive the
same treatment that any tax resister in any modern state
would receive - increasingly severe threats and sanctions
until he either submits or perishes. Fraser's interview
with the farmer Navarro clearly indicates that the
Anarchist "committees" were governments in the standard
sense of the word. "Once the decision was taken, it was
formally left to the peasants to volunteer to join. Mariano
Franco came from the front to hold a meeting, saying that
militiamen were threatening to take the livestock of all
those who remained outside the collective. As in Mas de las
Matas, all privately owned stocks of food had to be turned
it." Martinez, another farmer, adds further details. "He
shared, however, the generalized dislike for having to hand
over all the produce to 'the pile' and to get nothing
except his rations in return. Another bad things was the
way the militia columns requisitioned livestock from the
collective, issuing vouchers in return. Having been
appointed livestock delegate, he went on a couple of
occasions to Caspe to try to 'cash in' the vouchers
unsuccessfully. As elsewhere, the abolition of money soon
led to the 'coining' of local money - a task the blacksmith
carried out by punching holes in tin disks until paper
notes could be printed. The 'money' - 1.50 pesetas a day -
was distributed, as the local schoolmaster recalled, to
collectivists to spend on their 'vices' - 'the latter being
anything superfluous to the basic requirements of keeping
alive.'"[145] (For comparison, one farmer states that
pre-war he earned 250 pesetas per month.) Even Greek and
Roman slavery often recognized the slave's right to call
something his own (his "peculium"); the one- and-a-half
pesetas of "superfluous" compensation the peasants received
would probably have even struck many ancient slaves as
somewhat stingy. Still, initially rural collectivization
was indeed fairly "cantonalist," and it is conceivable that
eventually peasant mobility would have forced local
committees to relax the harshness of their regimes. The
Anarchist leadership sensed this almost instinctively; soon
voices urged regional and even national "federations." At a
February 1937 congress, Fraser notes, "Among the major
agreements reached at the congress were those to abolish
all money, including local currency, and to substitute a
standard ration book; to permit smallholders to remain
non-collectivized as long as they did not 'interfere with
the interests of the collective' from which they could
expect no benefits; to organize the collectives at the
district rather than local level; and to refuse the Council
of Aragon the monopoly of foreign trade."[146] The
self-limiting measures were clearly intended to shield the
Council of Aragon from the anger of the central government
and the Communists; the rest of the agreement reveals an
intent to permit even more severe exploitation of the
peasantry. Anarchist historian Peirats describes a later
conference in June 1937, which made the CNT's long-term
intentions even plainer. "[T]he National Committee of the
CNT convened a National Meeting of Peasants with the
express purpose of creating a National Federation of
Peasants attached to the confederal organization. The
primary objective defined in its statutes was the national
integration of the agricultural economies of all the zones
under cultivation, embracing both collectives and small
proprietors. The Federation would accept UGT collectives
and be responsible for technical consultation of all kinds
through its regional branches. Small landholders,
individual cultivators and collectives attached to the
Federation would have full freedom to initiate agricultural
development in their respective zones, but they would not
be subject to national plans designed to ensure the best
crop yields, the transformation or substitution of some
crops for others of greater economic value and the
combating of crop and livestock diseases. "The federated
cultivators were obliged to supply statistical data to the
National Federation about current and projected production
and whatever else necessary for general planning. The
Federation was the sole distributor and exporter of
produce. "Cultivators could reserve enough of their
production to meet their own consumption needs but had to
observe restrictions which might be called for at a given
time 'to ensure the equal right of all consumers without
discrimination.' Surpluses were to be turned over to the
Federation, which would pay for them 'according to local
values' or as determined by a national price regulating
board... The Federation would facilitate the moves of
peasants from zones short of cultivable lands to zones
needing workers. It would establish relations with all the
economic organizations of the CNT and other groups,
national or international. It created an auxiliary service
to even out payments across diverse zones, national and
foreign. Solidarity and mutual aid, including compensation
for fires, accidents, pestilence, sickness, retirement,
orphans, would be available even to individualists not
participating in the collectives."[147] In short, the CNT
intended to create an all-powerful state to rule the rural
population under its control; to seize all "surplus" from
them and pay them token compensation as it saw fit; to
relocate farmers to "zones needing workers." Given the fact
that the CNT assured the peasants' subsistence but seized
their surplus, it seems unlikely that any peasant would
want to move. The CNT thought about this eventuality no
more than a farmer ponders whether his herd of cows wants
to be led to a new field. In January 1938 the CNT unveiled
its plans to suppress the freedom of the urban collectives
as well. As Fraser explains, "[T]he CNT at its Enlarged
Economic Plenum in Valencia revised many of its previous
postures. It agreed to differential salaries, a corps of
factory inspectors who could sanction workers' and works
councils; the administrative centralization of all
industries and agrarian collectives controlled by the CNT,
and effective general planning by a CNT Economics Council;
the creation of a syndical bank; the development of
consumer cooperatives. The following month, in a pact with
the UGT, it called for the nationalization of mines,
railways, heavy industry, the banks, telecommunications and
airlines. (CNT interpretation of nationalization meant that
the state took over an industry and handed it to its
workers to manage; the socialists interpreted it as meaning
that the state ran the industry.)"[148] Bolloten gives
additional information about the CNT-UGT pact. It should be
remembered that the UGT was comprised of both Socialist and
a Communist wing. "Although the pact affirmed that workers'
control was one of the most valuable of the workers'
conquests and called for the legalization of the
collectives, it was a complete negation of Anarchist
doctrine, for it recognized the ultimate power and
authority of the state not only in these two issues but in
such important matters as the nationalization of industry
and the regular army. Nevertheless, the pact was
enthusiastically received by the CNT press, even by some
groups of the FAI, such as the regional committee of the
center, but in the long run neither workers' control nor
the collectives were even granted legal status. Hence, in
retrospect, the pact appears to have served the ends only
of the Communists and their allies..."[149] For some
Anarchists, these pacts represented compromises. But then
again, the CNT's initial programs were themselves a
compromise between the Anarchists who wanted total power
for the CNT from the outset. As Bolloten documents, from
the earliest days of the revolution many Anarchists and
Anarchist journals cried out for an Anarchist dictatorship.
These remarks often make it clear that even the Anarchist
opponents of seizing total power often agreed that once the
Nationalists were defeated, the Anarchist dictatorship
would swiftly follow. "[E]ven when the Anarchosyndicalists
respected the small man's property, some among them made it
clear that this was only a temporary indulgence while the
war lasted. 'Once the war has ended and the battle against
fascism has been won,' warned a prominent
Anarchosyndicalist [Tomas Cano Ruiz - B.C.] in Valencia,
'we shall suppress every form of small property and in the
way that suits us. We shall intensify collectivization and
socialization, and make them complete.'"[150] Total rural
collectivization, like total urban collectivization, was
also an ultimate (if not immediate) Anarchist goal. "'Those
peasants who are endowed with an understanding of the
advantages of collectivization or with a clear
revolutionary conscience and who have already begun to
introduce [collective farming] should endeavor by all
convincing means to prod the laggards,' said Tierra y
Libertad , the mouthpiece of the FAI, which exercised
strong ideological influence over the unions of the CNT.
'We cannot consent to small holdings... because private
property in land always creates a bourgeois mentality,
calculating and egotistical, that we wish to uproot
forever. We want to reconstruct Spain materially and
morally. Our revolution will be economic and
ethical.'"[151] It is evident that many of the Spanish
Anarchists had such a revolution in mind; a revolution
which, like other modern totalitarian revolutions, would
not only enslave the body, but enslave the mind. In this
light, the Anarchists' much-praised focus on education
seems far more malevolent. An overwhelming amount of
evidence indicates that worker control never eliminated the
greed, inequality, and competition for which the
Anarchosyndicalists denounced the capitalist system. The
classical anarchists repeatedly claimed that once the state
was destroyed, capitalism would automatically collapse.
They were wholly in error. Insofar as the state was
destroyed, capitalism merely changed its form; it did not
cease to exist. Genuine worker control essentially changed
the recipients of the dividends, nothing more. The only
feasible route for the elimination of capitalism was to
create a new state (often given a new name, such as
"council" or "committee") and coerce obedience by any means
necessary. 4. Philosophy and the Spanish Anarchists Some of
the blameworthy choices of the Spanish Anarchists occurred
due to unwanted compromises with powerful allies. Of
course, many of the evils from which the Anarchists
refrained were also unwanted compromises. Many observers
blame the war for "abuses", which made violation of
Anarchist principles especially rewarding. Even here, it
should be pointed out that unpleasant allies and wartime
conditions never make any action "necessary." They simply
make actions more attractive , more convenient . Killing
people suspected of Fascist sympathies was not
"necessary,"; it was (perhaps) convenient. This convenience
makes such murders no less culpable. Still, it is
interesting to ask: To what extent did the tyrannies and
atrocities of the Spanish Anarchists flow from their ideas?
Could their ideas ever be the basis for a free and just
society, given propitious circumstances? The sequel argues
that that the ideas of the Spanish Anarchists were utterly
in error. The Spanish Anarchists faced numerous dilemmas
largely because they endorsed an incoherent set of
principles; and almost invariably, when they had the power,
they acted on their most totalitarian impulses. These
failings were on the most fundamental level
epistemological; namely, the Spanish Anarchists were
emotional, dogmatic zealots whose failure to theorize
objectively and rigorously led millions to struggle to
achieve a viciously evil goal. A. What is Freedom? The
writings and words of the Spanish Anarchists, even the
titles of their periodicals, proclaim their love of
freedom, their desire for liberty. The classical anarchists
such as Bakunin indicated that they opposed state-socialism
because they rightly saw that a socialist state was
inconsistent with human freedom. But what exactly did the
Spanish Anarchists mean by "freedom"? Freedom of
conscience, the freedom to believe what one likes without
legal penalty, was plainly not an aspect of freedom as they
saw it. They ruthlessly suppressed the Catholic religion,
killing many church officials, burning churches, and
forbidding religious education. While Bolloten carefully
noted the internal Anarchist opposition to perceived
"compromises," he never indicates that Anarchist ideologues
saw religious intolerance as inconsistent with their
ideals. Rather, the militants declared that because the
Catholic religion was false, it should be snuffed out. "
CNT , the leading libertarian organ in Madrid, declared
editorially: 'Catholicism must be swept away implacably. We
demand not that every church be destroyed, but that no
vestige of religion should remain in any of them and that
the black spider of fanaticism should not be allowed to
spin the viscous and dusty web in which our moral and
material values have until now been caught like flies. In
Spain, more than any other country, the Catholic church has
been at the head of every retrograde aim, of every measure
taken against the people, of every attack on
liberty.'"[152] No Anarchist cited shows the slightest
appreciation of the principle that ideas should be
tolerated even if they are false, reactionary, or
retrograde. Similarly, no Anarchist expresses any
principled objection to killing people for their political
beliefs. The Anarchist critics frequently argue that
killing people hurts the revolution, or frightens the
simple peasants, or alienates the middle classes. They do
not argue that Falangists, monarchists, and Catholic
corporatists have an inalienable right to their opinion, so
long as they refrain from acting upon it. The idea does not
even occur to them. Nor did the "freedom" so acclaimed by
the Anarchist militants include the freedom to use alcohol,
tobacco, or sometimes even coffee. As Bolloten explains,
"Puritanism was a characteristic of the libertarian
movement. According to George Esenwein, an authority on
Spanish Anarchism, puritanism was 'one of the several
strands of anarchist ideology that can be traced from the
beginning of the movement in 1868 up to the Civil War. This
tendency, which sprang from the recognition of a moral
dichotomy between the proletariat and the middle classes,
advocated above all a lifestyle unfettered by materialistic
values. Thus excessive drinking, smoking and other
practices that were perceived as middle-class attributes
were nearly always censured."[153] While prohibition of
hated substances appears to have occurred in only some of
the rural collectives, it was the Anarchist prohibitionists
who felt themselves to be the purists, rather than their
more tolerant comrades. The Spanish Anarchists not only
denied their opponents the right to their beliefs; they
also denied their presumed supporters the right to control
their own bodies. For the Anarchists, it is enough to say
that allowing this or that has bad consequences, hence it
must be stopped; they never consider the possibility that
people have the right to do many things regardless of their
bad consequences. In spite of their advocacy of "free
love," the Spanish Anarchists were not tolerant on sexual
matters either. The purists crusaded against prostitution,
once again revealing their paternalism and intolerance. "My
own personal recollection," writes Bolloten, "is that
middle-class Spaniards scoffed at the Anarchists who closed
down the brothels in the cities and put the prostitutes to
useful work. But for Anarchist purists the cleaning up of
society was an article of faith. In his oral history,
Ronald Fraser tells of the young Eduardo Pons Prades who...
heard the men discussing what had to be done: '"Listen,
what about all the people who work in these dens of
iniquity?" "We've got to redeem them, educate them so they
can have the chance of doing something more worthy." "Have
you asked them if they want to be redeemed?" "How can you
be so stupid? Would you like to be exploited in that sort
of den?" "No, of course not. But after years at the same
place, it's hard to change." "Well, they'll have to. The
revolution's first duty is to clean up the place, clean up
the people's consciousness."'"[154] The important fact to
notice is that the purists want to force everyone to live
as the see fit, while the pragmatists find the purists'
behavior impolitic. One might think that if the purists
valued "freedom" above all else, they would insist that
women cannot be forced to refrain from having sex for
money. I would never presume to tell people how they may or
may not use words; I do however reserve the right to
re-translates non-standard usages back into plain English.
The Spanish Anarchists had no love of "freedom" in the
ordinary sense of the word. The "freedom" of the Spanish
Anarchists was the "freedom" to live exactly as the Spanish
Anarchists thought right. Many of the Spanish Anarchists
were genuinely anti-statist in the standard sense of the
word. But since European anarchism was essentially an
offshoot of European state-socialism, the Spanish
anarchists had almost no anti-state tradition upon which to
build. Like the state-socialists, the Spanish anarchists
were barely even aware of the long-standing anti-statist
liberal tradition, which might have at least stirred them
to think about what it is to be free.[155] Ludwig von
Mises' Liberalism , published a mere nine years before the
beginning of the Spanish Civil War, states: "Liberalism
demands tolerance as a matter of principle, not from
opportunism. It demands toleration even of obviously
nonsensical teachings, absurd forms of heterodoxy, and
childishly silly superstitions. It demands toleration for
doctrines and opinions that it deems detrimental and
ruinous to society and even for movements that it
indefatigably combats... Against what is stupid,
nonsensical, erroneous, and evil, liberalism fights with
the weapons of the mind, and not with brute force and
repression."[156] Insofar as the European anarchists were
(and are) acquianted with classical liberalism, they
frequently derided the "narrowness" of the classical
liberal view of freedom. Liberals insist merely upon the
right to be free of physical coercion against person and
property, while ignoring the many other kinds of domination
in society. Thus, the liberals ignore the ideological
domination of the church, the sexual domination of women,
the capitalists' domination of workers, the domination of
the mind by drug and alcohol addiction. The theoretical
problem that the Spanish Anarchists did not confront is
straightforward. Once you declare unpleasant but
non-violent acts to be "domination," you implicitly justify
using violence to stop them. If Catholicism is
"domination," then surely killing priests is a form of
self-defense. If prostitution is "domination," then closing
the brothels and making prostitutes take up another line of
work is actually a form of liberation. If wage-labor is
"domination," then forbidding a person to hire an eager
worker (even a worker with the option of working for a
large collective farm) actually saves the worker from
victimization. What is the pattern here? By expanding the
meaning of "domination" to include almost everything, you
actually leave people with no freedom at all. All that
remains is the Orwellian freedom to live precisely as the
Anarchist council thinks right. If "freedom" means anything
at all, it must leave open the freedom to perform many
immoral actions without punishment. Words can hurt other
people's feelings, or humiliate them, or convince them to
devote their lives to follies. But if anything is not
"domination" or "coercion," it is speaking your mind to the
world. Likewise, if a person must devote their life to a
cause, or else face punishment, they are not free. If a
person must join the war against Franco, or care for the
needy, or make the collective successful - or face prison
or execution - they are not free. They are not free even if
the cause to which they must dedicate their life is noble,
just, and right. The Spanish Anarchists loved the words
"liberty" and "freedom," but they did not love them enough
to think deeply about them. They assumed that their
application was obvious; there was no need to make a list
of what people should and should not be free to do.
Instead, the Spanish Anarchists focused upon what they
thought free people ought to do. They did not spend a great
deal of time thinking about how to treat people who planned
on using their freedom differently. Either they assumed
that a bizarre degree of unanimity would prevail once the
state was abolished; or they planned to kill all dissenters
until unanimity was achieved; or, most likely of all, they
were too emotional to think about the issue. B. Socialism,
Liberty, and the State Some modern admirers of the Spanish
Anarchists argue that abolition of the state in Max Weber's
sense of the word was not really their aim. On this view,
the Spanish Anarchists defined "state" narrowly to refer
only to some legitimated geographical monopolies of the use
of coercion. Thus, in a critical note in my Anarchist
Theory FAQ , Tom Wetzel states that: "[I]f you look at the
concept of 'state' in the very abstract way it often is in
the social sciences, as in Weber's definition, then what
the anarcho-syndicalists were proposing is not elimination
of the state or government, but its radical
democratization. That was not how anarchists themselves
spoke about it, but it can be plausibly argued that this is
a logical consequence of a certain major stream of
left-anarchist thought."[157] My own reading of the
internal debate among the Spanish Anarchists indicates that
the view Wetzel describes was at most a minority view held
by such figures as Horacio Prieto. Bolloten's writings are
filled with Anarchists' laments about the conflict between
theory and practice. As Bolloten states, "In subsequent
months, as the friction between the 'collaborationist' and
'abstentionist' tendencies in the libertarian movement
increased, some supporters of government collaboration
argued that the entry of the CNT into the cabinet had
marked no recantation of Anarchist ideals and tactics,
while others frankly acknowledged the violation of doctrine
and contended that it should yield to reality. '[The]
philosophicosocial conceptions of Anarchism are excellent,
wonderful, in theory,' wrote Manuel Mascarell, a member of
the national committee of the CNT, 'but they are
impractical when confronted with the tragic reality of a
war like ours.'"[158] Bolloten also quotes Federica
Montseny, an Anarchist purist who ultimately entered the
central government: "'Other parties, other organizations,
other sectors cannot appreciate the struggle inside the
movement and in the very consciences of its members, both
then and now, as a result of the CNT's participation in the
government. They cannot appreciate it, but the people can,
and if they cannot then they should be informed. They
should be told that for us - who had fought incessantly
against the State, who had always affirmed that through the
State nothing at all could be achieved, that the words
'government' and 'authority' signified the negation of
every possibility of freedom for men and for nations - our
intervention in the government as an organization and as
individuals signified either an act of historical audacity
of fundamental importance, or a rectification of a whole
work, of a whole past, in the field of theory and tactics.
We do not know what it signified. We only knew that we were
caught in a dilemma...'"[159] Similarly, Fraser's
description of the Anarchists' pre-war views hardly coheres
with the view that they merely wanted to "radically
democratize" the state rather than utterly abolish it.
Fraser notes that there were two tendencies in Spanish
Anarchist thought. The first tendency "was based on rural
life, rural revolution." "This tendency, with its virulent
a-politicism, a-parliamentarianism, anti- militarism,
anti-clericalism, its deep hostility to all government and
political parties - including (especially) working-class
parties - saw as its fundamental methods of action the
insurrectional strike, sabotage, boycott, and mutiny. The
popular dimension of the ideology could be expressed in a
series of equations: politics = 'the art of cheating the
people'; parties = 'no difference between any of them';
elections = 'swindle'; parliament = 'the place of
corruption'; the army = 'the organization of collective
crime'; the police = 'paid assassins of the
bourgeoisie.'"[160] The second tendency Fraser links with
the more urban, industrialized Anarchists. On their view,
"National Industrial Federations would be needed to link
local industrial unions, each of the latter being
responsible for organizing relations between each factory
within its local industry - the factory or workplace having
been taken over by its union committee which would
administer it."[161] Finally, Fraser adds that, "Common to
both tendencies was the idea that the working class
'simply' took over factories and workplaces and ran them
collectively but otherwise as before... The taking over of
factories and workplaces, however violently carried out,
was not the beginning of the revolution to create a new
order but its final goal. This view, in turn, was
conditioned by a particular view of the state. Any state
(bourgeois or working class) was considered an oppressive
power... The state did not have to be taken, crushed, and a
new - revolutionary - power established. No. It if could be
swept aside, abolished, everything else, including
oppression, disappeared."[162] At least on Fraser's
account, then, both tendencies desired to abolish the state
in the broad Weberian sense of the word. Thus, an
overwhelming volume of evidence indicates that the Spanish
Anarchists repeatedly stated, as a matter of principle,
that they intended to abolish the state; and context
indicates that they used the word in the standard sense,
for they repeatedly specified their opposition to a
working-class state, parliamentary democracy, or the
establishment of any sort of revolutionary power. The view
that Wetzel outlines is similar to that a few Anarchist
leaders like Horacio Prieto, but virtually every account
indicates that Prieto's heterodox views were widely
detested by his Anarchist comrades. In spite of this
fervent belief, the Anarchists either formed or joined
governments whenever they had the power to do so. The
reason is that the Spanish Anarchists were completely wrong
to assume that capitalism would disappear as soon as the
capitalists had been "displaced." Displacing the
capitalists simply meant that the workers were transformed
into worker-capitalists. The result was anarchist, but not
socialist. To regulate the urban collectives or
collectivize the rural farmers, displacement of the
capitalists was not enough; only a state could do the job.
Herein lies the Anarchists' dilemma: capitalist anarchism
or socialist statism. When they chose capitalist anarchism,
they were outraged by the consequent re-emergence of greed,
inequality, and competition. This was very hard to bear.
Moreover, if they simply accepted greed, inequality, and
competition as a price they must be paid to avoid the
creation of an all-powerful state, the Spanish Anarchists
would have undercut the foundation of their original
revolution. If inequality between collectives and within
collectives is morally acceptable, what was so immoral
about the pre-war inequality between capitalists and
workers? Capitalist anarchism was so unpalatable to many of
the Spanish Anarchists that they often created or
participated in states to enforce socialism; moreover, the
evidence from the later period of the war is that they
became ever more eager for socialism and less fearful of
the state. The main difficulty here is that many of
European Anarchism's greatest theorists had proclaimed that
state-socialism meant tyranny. As Bakunin stated, "'But
this minority, the Marxists argue, would consist of
workers. Yes, I dare say, of former workers, but as soon as
they become rulers and representatives of the people they
would cease to be proletarians and would look down upon all
workers from their political summit. They would no longer
represent the people; they would represent only
themselves... He who doubts this must be absolutely
ignorant of human nature.'"[163] Moreover, by 1936 Stalin's
totalitarian socialist dictatorship had confirmed Bakunin's
prediction more thoroughly and perfectly than any of his
contemporaries could even have imagined. The dramatic proof
of Bakunin's prediction in the USSR should have led the
Spanish Anarchists to make this superb insight their
central doctrine. It should have led the Spanish Anarchists
to spurn any association of any kind with the Communist
Party. Instead, the Anarchists preferred to become another
predictive success of Bakunin's theory; they collaborated
with some governments, established others on their own, and
in each case proved themselves to be at least as oppressive
as other governing classes throughout history. This is why
I call the Spanish Anarchists "anarcho-statists."[164] They
were avowed advocates of the abolition of the state who
suddenly determined that there was nothing wrong with the
state if they ran it themselves. C. Thought and Action The
Spanish Anarchists demanded the abolition of all government
in the name of human freedom; but once they had the power
to do so, they both participated in and established
governments which were no less oppressive than any other.
The proximate cause, I have argued, was that their
underlying theories of freedom, capitalism, and socialism
were uniformly in error. There was however a deeper cause:
The Spanish Anarchists theorized emotionally and
dogmatically, insofar as they theorized at all. For the
most part, they accepted their confused theories as
obvious, and instead focused their attention on "action."
What the Spanish Anarchists failed to realize is that
clear, rigorous thinking is the most important form of
"action" that any critic of the status quo can perform. It
does no good to seize the initiative and try to change the
world unless you can reasonably expect your changes to be
genuine improvements. History is filled with examples of
deluded zealots who marched forth to save the world,
defeated their enemies, and proceeded to make the world
even worse. The example of the Russian Communists should
have been omnipresent in the Spanish Anarchists' minds; or
they might have looked back to Spain's conquest of Latin
America; or to any number of other examples. Historians
usually label such conquerors "misguided idealists," but it
would be far more accurate to label them "willfully
self-deluded murderers": "murderers" because they killed
many innocent people; "self-deluded" because they were
convinced they had the truth in spite of the limited time
and effort they put into thinking about fundamental
philosophical and political issues; "willfully" because
they did not choose to devote the necessary time and effort
to informing themselves about such fundamental issues.
There is overwhelming historical evidence that the Spanish
Anarchists in fact devoted very little time to pure theory.
Fraser relays the words of dissident CNT member Sebastia
Clara. "'It had to be remembered, he stressed, that the
level of revolutionary culture was very low. Militants had,
at best, read one or two pamphlets, and Kropotkin's
Conquest of Bread . They hadn't read Marx, Engels, let
alone Hegel.'"[165] Peirats explains that due to widespread
illiteracy, most peasants could not read even the most
elementary writings. Instead, "There were also itinerant
speakers, some of them peasants, who traveled the
countryside, addressing the villagers in simple words about
understandable topics. The efficacy of this type of
propaganda can easily be understood if we remember that the
illiterate is not necessarily a brute and that lack of
learning often hides a perfectly good intellect."[166]
Quite possibly so; but it does no good to have a "perfectly
good intellect" if you don't use it. The CNT speakers were
not giving a balanced presentation of a number of different
viewpoints; they were relying on the peasants' ignorance of
the existence of other points of view, hoping to win them
over while keeping them essentially ignorant. In his
interview with Fraser, Royo admits that he and his fellow
CNT militants had not spent a great deal of time thinking
about what exactly they wanted to do. "'We were attempting
to put into practice a libertarian communism about which,
it's sad to say, none of us really knew anything.'"[167]
Why would such admittedly ignorant people be so eager to
impose their half-baked ideas on others? Abad de Santillan,
another CNT member interviewed by Fraser, confirms the
general picture of theoretical laziness. "'There's talk of
the family, delinquency, jealousy, nudism, and many other
things [the resolution had gone into all of these as part
of the future life under libertarian communism] but you
hardly find a word about work, workplaces, or the
organization of production.' It was in this condition that
the CNT found itself two months later when faced with the
task of establishing a revolutionary economic order in
Catalonia."[168] In sum, theory was so poorly developed
that many came to regard it as a luxury rather than a
valuable guide to action. Bolloten quotes Miguel Gonzalez
Inestal, a member of the FAI peninsular committee. "'In the
libertarian camp every single militant had his share of
scruples to conquer, of convictions to be adapted - and why
not admit it? - of illusions to be buried.'"[169] Along
similar lines Peirats quotes the CNT Secretary-General at
the October 1938 conference. "'We have to abandon our
literary and philosophical baggage, which has become an
impediment to our eventual assumption of power.'"[170] The
desirability of gaining power is obvious, requiring no
justificatory theory; what need is there is have any clear
ideas about what you ought to do once you have the power?
It is hard to resolve moral dilemmas sensibly when you must
decide swiftly. That is why it is important to consider
hypothetical issues in advance , when there is time to
think about them. The Spanish Anarchists were too
intellectually lazy to do so, and then blamed their poor
choices on bad luck. The questions they should have asked
themselves were simple, yet turned out to have profound
implications. To take a few examples... What should we do
if we have a chance to join the government?... What should
we do if worker-controlled firms act like
capitalist-controlled firms?... What limits are there to
how we may treat people who disagree with us?... How is a
national Economic Council different from a state, if at
all?... What should be done if some workers don't want to
join our Economic Council?... What should we do if some
farmers don't want to join a collective? Before the war,
there were plenty of other questions they could have spent
their free waking hours contemplating... If the
exploitation theory of profit is correct, why have wages
risen above the subsistence level?... What effect does
worker sabotage and vandalism have on unemployed
workers?... What effect do higher union wages-scales have
on unemployed workers?... What effect does worker militancy
have on international investment, and how does
international investment affect the welfare of workers? No
doubt constantly thinking about such questions would have
bored many Anarchist militants. They would have
particularly resented imposing minimal intellectual
self-discipline upon themselves. For starters, they might
have tried to construct arguments which would be convincing
to people who did not initially agree with them. They might
have tried familiarizing themselves with the best arguments
of other points of view. They might have considered that
the more intensely one feels something - such as they
employers are evil and treat workers unjustly - the more
important it is to put one's feelings aside and consider
the issue unemotionally. Instead, they took the easy way
out of so many earlier movements throughout history:
Violent revolution first; afterwards, we'll solve
theoretical problems as they arise. Or as Lenin stated,
"The point of the uprising is the seizure of power;
afterwards we will see what we can do with it."[171] After
so many failures of this approach, it would have been
refreshing if the Spanish Anarchists had tried to do
precisely the opposite. Instead of proclaiming their empty
devotion to "freedom," they should have enumerated
precisely what they thought people should and should not be
free to do. They should have tested the clarity and
completeness of their principles with the aid of thought
experiments in which the right answer is not immediately
obvious. They should have deliberately searched for
disconfirming evidence which could throw their entire
paradigm in doubt. Victory is worthless if you have been
wrong all along. 5. Conclusion In any war, historians tend
to look for the heroes. They rarely consider the
possibility that there were no heroes, that all of the
sides were fighting for tyranny. Thus, many historians of
the Russian Civil War single out the Mensheviks, even
though detailed investigation reveals that their
differences with the Bolsheviks were relatively
slight.[172] In the same way, historians of the Spanish
Civil War who rightly regard the Fascists and Communists as
totalitarians often try to cast the Spanish Anarchists as
the heroes of the struggle. In fact, the Spanish Anarchists
were ultimately just a third faction of totalitarians. The
classical European anarchists deserve credit for their
prescient prediction that state-socialism would merely be a
new form of oppression. This insight still elicits the
appreciation of thoughtful idealists in the tradition of
George Orwell, who recognize the horrors of state-
socialism, but remain skeptical of the morality and
efficiency of the free-market economy. Intelligent and
intellectually honest, they eagerly investigate any report
of alternatives which escape the pitfalls of both social
systems. If they investigate the history of Anarchism
during the Spanish Civil War, they will be tremendously
disappointed. The experience of the Spanish Anarchists does
not reveal any "third way"; to the contrary, their
experience eloquently affirms that state-socialism and
free-market anarchism are the two theoretical poles between
which all actual societies lie. The choice cannot be
evaded. The only alternative is to take yet another look at
the endpoints of the political spectrum and see if one has
been rejected too hastily.[173] Or as the 19th-century
Belgian economist Gustave de Molinari argues: "In reality,
we have a choice of two things: "Either communistic
production is superior to free production, or it is not.
"If it is, then it must be for all things, not just for
security. "If not, progress requires that it be replaced by
free production. "Complete communism or complete liberty:
that is the alternative!"[174]
--------------- "I cannot accept your canon that we are to
judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favorable
presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any
presumption it is against the holders of power, increasing
as the power increases. Historic responsibility has to make
up for want of legal responsibility. Power tends to
corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men
are almost always bad men..." --Lord Acton,
"Acton-Creighton Correspondence" Return to Bryan Caplan


[1] See generally Stanley G. Payne, The Franco Regime:
1946-1975 (Madison, 

WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987). 

[2] See generally Burnett Bolloten, The Spanish Civil War:
Revolution and 

Counterrevolution (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North
Carolina Press, 


[3] Ronald Fraser, Blood of Spain: An Oral History of the
Spanish Civil War 

(NY: Pantheon Books, 1986). 

[4] Bolloten, op. cit. 

[5] Noam Chomsky, "Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship," in
American Power 

and the New Mandarins (NY: Pantheon Books, 1969), esp.
pp.79- 124. The 

praise occurs in the footnote on p.140: "This book
[Bolloten's The Grand 

Camouflage], by a UP correspondent in Spain during the
Civil War, contains 

a great deal of important documentary evidence bearing on
the questions 

considered here." 

[6] For the background of the military rebellion, see esp.
Payne, op. cit., 

pp.34-45,87-106. While many studies of the Spanish Civil
War simplistically 

describe it as a struggle between "the people" who
supported "democracy," 

and a small minority who supported "fascism," the reality
is far more 

complex: the support of the population for the Nationalist
and Republican 

forces was approximately balanced. The last election before
the civil war 

in February 1936 election gives some indication of the
actual division of 

opinion: as Payne (op. cit., pp.44- 45) explains, "For the
elections of 

1936, therefore, the left was united, with even an
undetermined degree of 

voting support from the anarchists. Rightist parties, led
by the CEDA, 

formed an electoral bloc of their own. Center forces, in
contrast, found 

themselves isolated between left and right...In the 1936
elections, 73 

percent of the eligible Spanish electorate cast ballots.
According to the 

most thorough study, the Popular Front drew 34.3 percent,
the rightist 

coalition 33.2 percent, and the shrunken center only 5.4
percent. Though 

the plurality in the popular vote was rather narrow, the
Spanish electoral 

system, derived in part from Italy in 1924,
disproportionately rewarded 

coalitions with pluralities. After the new parliament met
in March and 

disqualified a few of the rightist deputies elected
earlier, the leftist 

parties held about two-thirds of the seats." 

[7] Bolloten, op. cit., p.50. 

[8] ibid, p.53. 

[9] Hugh Thomas, The Spanish Civil War (London: Hamish
Hamilton, 1986), 

pp.273-274. It is worth pointing out that in spite of the
popular practice 

of calling all of the Nationalist forces "fascists," the
Spanish fascist 

party, the Falange, was part of a coalition which included

members of the Spanish military, the Carlists, Alphonsine

Catholic corporatists, and other factions. As Payne (op.
cit., p.62) points 

out, "Up until the spring of 1936, the Falange probably
never had more than 

ten thousand regular members." Thus, it should be realized
that violence 

against "fascists," actually refers to violence against a
vastly wider 

political spectrum than might be supposed. 

[10] Thomas, op. cit., pp.275-276. 

[11] Bolloten, op. cit., p.51. 

[12] Thomas, op. cit., p.273. 

[13] Fraser, op. cit., pp.132-133. 

[14] For an objective survey of various quantitative
investigations into 

Nationalist and Republican murders and repression, see
Payne, op. cit., 


[15] ibid, p.211. 

[16] Fraser, op. cit., p.96. 

[17] Bolloten, op. cit., pp.59-60. 

[18] ibid, p.191. 

[19] ibid, p.192. 

[20] Fraser, op. cit., p.546. 

[21] ibid, p.547. 

[22] Bolloten, op. cit., p.200. 

[23] ibid, p.200-201. 

[24] ibid, p.201. 

[25] ibid, p.202. 

[26] ibid, p.207. 

[27] ibid, p.393. 

[28] ibid, pp.433-434. 

[29] ibid, pp.451-452. 

[30] ibid, pp.495-496. 

[31] ibid, p.498. 

[32] Payne, op. cit., pp.354-355. 

[33] ibid, p.355 n34. 

[34] Bolloten, op. cit., p.57. 

[35] ibid, p.58. 

[36] Thomas, op. cit., pp.966,973. 

[37] Fraser, op. cit., p.210. 

[38] ibid, pp.210-211. 

[39] Bolloten, op. cit., p.224. 

[40] Thomas, op. cit., p.528. 

[41] Jose Peirats, op. cit., p.125. 

[42] Fraser, op. cit., p.220. 

[43] ibid, p.231. 

[44] Bolloten, op. cit., p.499. 

[45] ibid, p.225. 

[46] ibid. 

[47] Thomas, op. cit., p.784. 

[48] Bolloten, op. cit., pp.226-227. 

[49] Fraser, op. cit., p.211. 

[50] ibid, n1. 

[51] Thomas, op. cit., p.529 

[52] ibid, p.531. 

[53] Bolloten, op. cit., p.227. 

[54] Fraser, op. cit., p.232. 

[55] ibid. 

[56] Bolloten, op. cit., p.259. 

[57] ibid. 

[58] ibid, p.261. 

[59] ibid, p.263. 

[60] ibid, p.324. 

[61] ibid, p.325. 

[62] ibid, p.333. 

[63] ibid. 

[64] ibid, p.334. 

[65] ibid, p.335. 

[66] ibid, p.346. 

[67] On Stalin's forced collectivization see esp. Robert
Conquest, The 

Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-
Famine (NY: 

Oxford University Press, 1986). 

[68] Bolloten, op. cit., p.526. 

[69] Fraser, op. cit., p.349. 

[70] Bolloten op. cit., p.65-66. 

[71] Thomas, op. cit., p.430. 

[72] Bolloten, op. cit., p.62. 

[73] Fraser, op. cit., pp.36-37. 

[74] Bolloten, op. cit., p.74. 

[75] ibid, pp.74-75. 

[76] ibid, p.75. 

[77] ibid, p.76. 

[78] Fraser, op. cit., p.349. 

[79] ibid, pp.370-371. 

[80] Bolloten, op. cit., p.74. 

[81] Bolloten, op. cit., pp.64-65. 

[82] Fraser, op. cit., p.355. 

[83] Bolloten, op. cit., p.75. 

[84] Graham Kelsey, Anarchosyndicalism, Libertarian
Communism and the 

State: The CNT in Zaragoza and Aragon, 1930-1937
(Amsterdam: International 

Institute of Social History, 1991), p.164. 

[85] Fraser, op. cit., p.367. 

[86] ibid, p.368. 

[87] ibid, p.368 n1. 

[88] Thomas, op. cit., p.298. 

[89] Bolloten, op. cit., p.69. 

[90] ibid, p.68. 

[91] ibid. 

[92] Kelsey, op. cit., p.163. 

[93] ibid, p.167. 

[94] Fraser, op. cit., p.349. 

[95] ibid. 

[96] Bolloten, op. cit., p.491. 

[97] Peirats, op. cit., p.251. 

[98] ibid, p.252. 

[99] ibid. 

[100] Bolloten, op. cit., p.529. 

[101] Peirats, op. cit., p.258. 

[102] Fraser, op. cit., pp.392-393. 

[103] Bolloten, op. cit., p.78. 

[104] For economic statistics, see Thomas, op. cit.,
pp.962-973, and 

Fraser, op. cit., p.235. 

[105] Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz, A
Monetary History of the 

United States, 1867-1960 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton
University Press, 1963). 

Why would a monetary contraction cause unemployment or a
loss of output? 

The short answer is that if the money supply declines, but
money wages are 

downwardly rigid, this implies that given the new money
supply the price of 

labor is set too high. The result is a "labor surplus" - in

(involuntary) unemployment. 

[106] Barry Eichengreen, Golden Fetters: The Gold Standard
and the Great 

Depression, 1919-1939 (New York: Oxford University Press,

[107] For more on the Spanish monetary system, see William
Adams Brown, 

Jr., The International Gold Standard Reinterpreted,
1914-1934 (NY: National 

Bureau of Economic Research, 1940), and Gabriel Tortella
and Jordi Palafox, 

"Banking and Industry in Spain, 1918-1936," in Pablo
Martin-Acena and James 

Simpson, eds., The Economic Development of Spain since 1870
(Aldershot, UK: 

Edward Elgar Publishing, 1995), pp.490-520. 

[108] Bolloten, op. cit., p.143 states that Spain had the
world's third 

largest gold reserve. Eichengreen, op. cit., pp.352-353,
indicates that 

Bolloten is mistaken; in fact, in 1936 Spain had the
world's fifth largest 

gold reserve. (A slight complication is the fact that
numbers cease to be 

available on the gold reserves of the USSR after 1935; but
unless there was 

a large change between 1935 and 1936, the United States,
France, Britain, 

and the USSR would all have had larger gold reserves than
Spain did.) 

[109] See Tortella and Palafox, loc. cit., p.511. 

[110] Paul Preston, The Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939
(London: Weidenfeld 

and Nicolson, 1986), p.21. 

[111] ibid. 

[112] Kelsey, op. cit., documents the growth of militant
CNT and other 

trade unionism during the 1931-1936 period. 

[113] Bolloten, op. cit., p.58. 

[114] ibid. 

[115] ibid, p.59. 

[116] Fraser, op. cit., p.234. 

[117] ibid, p.221. 

[118] ibid, p.229. 

[119] There is some evidence that the worker controlled
firms showed a 

slight interest in the unemployed workers, since complete
unemployment fell 

by 10 percent while partial unemployment doubled. Still,
considering the 

depression-level unemployment at the outset of the war, the
massive money 

supply growth, and the presence of conscription, a mere 10
percent fall 

(not a 10 percentage-point fall) from high pre-war
unemployment is truly 

abysmal performance. 

[120] Fraser, op. cit., p.351. 

[121] ibid, p.352. 

[122] Bolloten, op. cit., p.524. 

[123] Thomas, op. cit., p.559. 

[124] Kelsey, op. cit., p.171. Inspection of Kelsey's
sources reveals that 

almost all of the "writers" were themselves Anarchists,
publishing in 

Anarchist periodicals. 

[125] Fraser, op. cit., p.234. 

[126] Peirats, op. cit., p.252. 

[127] Fraser, op. cit., p.374. 

[128] ibid, p.375. 

[129] However, Thomas, op. cit., p.299, states that "given
the weakness of 

the government in Madrid, the Generalidad was able to take
over, without 

protest, ... the Bank of Spain - even the right to issue
money and pardons. 

All these powers, under the Catalan statute, belonged to
Spain. Now, under 

the pretext that they were in danger of being usurped by
the FAI, the 

Generalidad took them over." I have been unable to find any
other reference 

to the specifics of Republican monetary arrangements during
the civil war; 

but if Thomas' remark is accurate, then during the period
of CNT domination 

of the Generalidad, the Anarchists could be directly blamed
for the paper 

money inflation that afflicted the Spanish economy. 

[130] Fraser, op. cit., p.231. 

[131] Bolloten, op. cit., p.225. 

[132] Thomas, op. cit., pp.527-528. 

[133] Fraser, op. cit., pp.228-229. 

[134] ibid, p.233. 

[135] ibid. 

[136] ibid, p.236. 

[137] ibid, p.218. 

[138] ibid, p.224. 

[139] Quoted in ibid, p.209. 

[140] ibid, p.349. 

[141] ibid, p.366. 

[142] Thomas, op. cit., p.561. 

[143] Bolloten, op. cit., p.64. 

[144] ibid, op. cit., p.67. 

[145] Fraser, op. cit., pp.360-361. 

[146] ibid, p.367 n1. 

[147] Peirats, op. cit., p.152. 

[148] Fraser, op. cit., p.236. 

[149] Bolloten, op. cit., p.568. 

[150] ibid, p.59. 

[151] ibid, p.63. 

[152] ibid, p.73. 

[153] ibid, pp.68-69. 

[154] ibid, p.770 n28. 

[155] Noam Chomsky, it should be noted, has expressed
familiarity with and 

some admiration for such liberal thinkers as Adam Smith and
Wilhelm von 

Humbolt, two thinkers who the Spanish Anarchists might have
read with 


[156] Ludwig von Mises, Liberalism: A Socio-Economic
Exposition (Kansas 

City: Sheed Andrews and McMeel, 1978), pp.56-57. 

[157] Quoted in Bryan Caplan, Anarchist Theory FAQ ,
available at: 

[158] Bolloten, op. cit., p.208. 

[159] ibid, p.209. 

[160] Fraser, op. cit., p.543. 

[161] ibid, p.544. 

[162] ibid, p.545. Peirats, op. cit., esp. pp.289-301,
corroborates the 

bitter struggle within the Anarchist movement, and the
sense of many 

militants that the CNT had abandoned its principles by
entering the central 


[163] Bolloten, op. cit., p.193. 

[164] I owe this term to Prof. Roderick Long of the
University of North 

Carolina Philosophy Department. 

[165] Fraser, op. cit., p.547. 

[166] Peirats, op. cit., pp.137-138. 

[167] Fraser, op. cit., p.351. 

[168] ibid, p.551. 

[169] Bolloten, op. cit., p.330. 

[170] Peirats, op. cit., p.295. 

[171] Quoted in Bertram Wolfe, Three Who Made A Revolution
(NY: Dell, 

1964), p.4. 

[172] See Bryan Caplan, The Mensheviks' Critique of
Bolshevism and the 

Bolshevik State , available at: 

[173] Obviously there is also much value in considering

viewpoints situated between the poles as well as the poles
themselves. But 

at minimum, thinking about the polar possibilities tends to
clarify issues. 

[174] Gustave de Molinari, "The Production of Security (NY:
The Center for 

Libertarian Studies, 1977), p.8. 


The graphics files were taken from the following sources:
spain1.jpg from 

Thomas, op. cit.; spain9.jpg and spain 10.jpg from
Prescott, op. cit.; 

spain11.jpg and spain12.jpg from Peirats, op. cit.; and
spain2.jpg through 

spain 8d.jpg from Antony Beevor, The Spanish Civil War
(London: Orbis 

Publishing, 1982). 

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