This year’s anniversary of the Spanish Revolution and civil war sees the republication by PM Press of Gaston Leval’s eyewitness account, Collectives in the Spanish Revolution, with a new introduction by Pedro García-Guirao and a preface by Stuart Christie. I included excerpts from Leval’s book in the chapter on the Spanish Revolution in Volume One of Anarchism: A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas. Here I reproduce some of Leval’s reflections on the achievements of the Spanish Revolution, taken from the concluding chapter of his book.
On July 19, 1936, the Spanish Revolution and Civil War began (Anarchism, Volume One, Chapter 23). Anarchists in the anarcho-syndicalist trade union federation, the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), and the Iberian Anarchist Federation (FAI) were instrumental in preventing fascist military forces from taking over Spain in one fell swoop, organizing armed resistance and collectivizing the fields and factories in areas where they were able. This is a translation of a CNT-FAI pamphlet approved at the December 6, 1936 Regional Plenum of the FAI for distribution to Spanish peasants unfamiliar with the CNT-FAI, in order to assure them that the CNT-FAI was opposed to the forced collectivization of the land, but also to convince them of the benefits of libertarian communism.The translation is by Paul Sharkey.