File: append32.txt

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anarchism 9.5-1
  • links: PTS
  • area: main
  • in suites: woody
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  • ctags: 493
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Marxists and Spanish Anarchism

1.  Were the Spanish Anarchists "Primitive Rebels"?
2.  How accurate is Felix Morrow's book on the Spanish
    Revolution?
3.  Did a "highly centralised" FAI control the CNT?
4.  What is the history of the CNT and the Communist 
    International?
5.  Why did the CNT not join the Workers' Alliance?
6.  Was the October 1934 revolt sabotaged by the CNT?
7.  Were the Friends of Durruti Marxists?
8.  Did the Friends of Durruti "break with" anarchism?
9.  Were the Friends of Durruti influenced by Trotskyists?
10. What does the Friends of Durruti's programme tell us 
    about Trotskyism?
11. Why is Morrow's comments against the militarisation
    of the Militias ironic?
12. What is ironic about Morrow's vision of revolution?
13. Why do anarchists reject the Marxist "workers' state"?
14. What is wrong with Morrow's "fundamental tenet" of
    anarchism?
15. Did Spanish Anarchism aim for the creation of "collectives" 
    before the revolution?
16. How does the development of the collectives indicate the 
    differences between Bolshevism and anarchism?
17. Why is Morrow's support for "proletarian methods of production" 
    ironic?
18. Were the federations of collectives an "abandonment" of anarchist 
    ideas?
19. Did the experience of the rural collectives refute anarchism?
20. Does the experience of the Spanish Revolution indicate the 
    failure of anarchism or the failure of anarchists?

In this appendix of our FAQ we discuss and reply to various 
analyses of Spanish anarchism put forward by Marxists, particularly 
Marxist-Leninists of various shades. The history and politics of 
Spanish Anarchism is not well known in many circles, particularly 
Marxist ones, and the various misrepresentations and distortions 
that Marxists have spread about that history and politics are many. 
This appendix is an attempt to put the record straight with regards
the Spanish Anarchist movement and point out the errors associated 
with the standard Marxist accounts of that movement, its politics 
and its history.

Hopefully this appendix will go some way towards making Marxists
(and others) investigate the actual facts of anarchism and Spanish 
anarchist history rather than depending on inaccurate secondary
material (usually written by their comrades).

Part of this essay is based on the article "Trotskyist Lies on 
Anarchism" which appeared in _Black Flag_ issue no. 211 and Tom 
Wetzel's article _Workers' Power and the Spanish Revolution_.

1. Were the Spanish Anarchists "Primitive Rebels"?

The thesis that the Spanish Anarchists were "primitive rebels,"
with a primitive understanding of the nature of revolution is
a common one amongst Marxists. One of the main sources for this
kind of argument is Eric Hobsbawm's _Primitive Rebels_, who was
a member of the British Communist Party at the time. While the
obvious Stalinist nature of the author may be thought enough
to alert the intelligent of its political biases, its basic
thesis is repeated by many Marxists.

Before discussing Hobsbawm in more detail, it would be useful
to refute some of the more silly things so-called serious
historians have asserted about Spanish Anarchism. Indeed,
it would be hard to find another social or political movement
which has been more misrepresented or its ideas and activities
so distorted by historians whose attitudes seem more supported
by ideological conviction rather than history or investigation
of social life.

One of the most common descriptions of Spanish anarchism is that 
it was "religious" or "millenarium" in nature. Hobsbawm himself 
accepts this conceptualisation, along with historians and 
commentators like Gerald Brenan and Franz Brokenau (who, in 
fact, did state "Anarchism *is* a religious movement"). Such
use of religion was largely due to the influence of Juan Diaz
del Moral, a lawyer and historian who was also a landowner.
As Jerome R. Mintz points out, "according to Diaz del Moral,
the moral and passionate obreros conscientes [conscious
workers -- i.e. workers who considered themselves to be
anarchists] absorbed in their pamphlets and newspapers were
akin to frenzied believers in a new religion." [_The Anarchists
of Casas Viejas_, p. 5f] However, such a perspective was formed 
by his class position and privileges which could not help
but reflect them:

"Diaz del Moral ascribed to the campesinos [of Andalusia] racial
and cultural stereotypes that were common saws of his class. 
The sole cause for the waves of rural unrest, Diaz del Moral
asserted, could be found in the psychology of the campesinos
. . . He believed that the Andalusian field workers had
inherited a Moorish tendency toward ecstasy and millenarianism
that accounted for their attraction to anarchist teaching. 
Diaz del Moral was mystified by expressions of animosity
directed toward him, but the workers considered him to be a
senorito, a landowner who does not labour . . . Although he
was both scholarly and sympathetic, Diaz del Moral could not
comprehend the hunger and the desperation of the campesinos
around him . . . To Diaz del Moral, campesino ignorance,
passion, ecstasy, illusion, and depression, not having a
legitimate basis in reality, could be found only in the
roots of their racial heritage." [Op. Cit., pp. 5-6]

Hence the "religious" nature of anarchism -- it was one of
the ways an uncomprehending member of the middle-class could
explain working class discontent and rebellion. Unfortunately,
this "explanation" has become common place in history books
(partly reflected academics class interest too and lack of
understanding of working class interests, needs and hopes).

As Mintz argues, "at first glance the religious model seems to 
make anarchism easier to understand, particularly in the absence 
of detailed observation and intimate contact. The model was,
however,  also used to serve the political ends of anarchism's 
opponents. Here the use of the terms 'religious' and 'millenarium' 
stamp anarchist goals as unrealistic and unattainable. Anarchism 
is thus dismissed as a viable solution to social ills." He 
continues by arguing that the "oversimplifications posited 
became serious distortions of anarchist belief and practice" 
(as we shall see). [Op. Cit., p. 5 and p. 6] 

Temma Kaplan's critique of the "religious" view is also worth 
mentioning. She argues that "the millenarium theory is too 
mechanistic to explain the complex pattern of Andalusian 
anarchist activity. The millenarian argument, in portraying 
the Andalusian anarchists as fundamentally religious, overlooks 
their clear comprehension of the social sources of their 
oppression." She concludes that "the degree of organisation, 
not the religiosity of workers and the community, accounts 
for mass mobilisations carried on by the Andalusian 
anarchists at the end of the nineteenth century." She also
notes that the "[i]n a secular age, the taint of religion
is the taint of irrationality." [_Anarchists of Andalusia:
1868-1903_, pp. 210-12 and p. 211] Thus, the Andalusian
anarchists had a clear idea who their enemies were, namely
the ruling class of the region. She also points out that,
for all their revolutionary elan, the anarchists developed
a rational strategy of revolution, channelling their
energies into organising a trade union movement that 
could be used as a vehicle for social and economic change.
Moreover, as well as a clear idea of how to change society
they had a clear vision of what sort of society they desired
-- one built around collective ownership and federations 
of workers' associations and communes. 

Therefore the idea that anarchism can be explained in "religious"
terms is fundamentally flawed. It basically assumes that the
Spanish workers were fundamentally irrational, unable to 
comprehend the sources of their unhappiness nor able to define 
their own political goals and tactics and instead looked to 
naive theories which reinforced their irrationalities. In
actuality, like most people, they were sensible, intelligent 
human beings who believed in a better life and were willing 
to apply their ideas in their everyday life. That historians
apply patronising attitudes towards them says more about the
historians than the campesinos.

This uncomprehending attitude to historians can be seen from
some of the more strange assertions they make against the
Spanish Anarchists. Gerald Brenan, Eric Hobsbawm and Raymond
Carr, for example, all maintained that there was a connection
between anarchist strikes and sexual practices. Carr's
description gives a flavour:

"Austere puritans, they sought to impose vegetarianism, sexual
abstinence, and atheism on one of the most backward peasantries
of Europe . . . Thus strikes were moments of exaltation as
well as demands for better conditions; spontaneous and often
disconnected they would bring, not only the abolition of
piece-work, but 'the day,' so near at hand that sexual
intercourse and alcohol were abandoned by enthusiasts till
it should dawn." [_Spain: 1808-1975_, p. 444]

Mintz, an American anthropologist who actually stayed with
the campesino's for a number of years after 1965, actually
asked them about such claims. As he put it, the "level-headed
anarchists were astonished by such descriptions of supposed
Spanish puritanism by over-enthusiastic historians." [Op. Cit.,
p. 6] As one anarchist put it, "[o]f course, without any
work the husband couldn't provide any food at dinnertime,
and so they were angry at each other, and she wouldn't have
anything to do with him. In that sense, yes, there were no
sexual relations." [quoted, Op. Cit., p. 7]

Mintz traces the citations which allowed the historians to 
arrive at such ridiculous views to a French social historian, 
Angel Maraud, who observed that during the general strike of 1902 
in Moron, marriages were postponed to after the promised division 
of the lands. As Mintz points out, "as a Frenchman, Maraud 
undoubtedly assumed that everyone knew a formal wedding ceremony 
did not necessarily govern the sexual relations of courting 
couples." [Op. Cit., p. 6f]

As for abstinence and puritanism, nothing could be further from
the truth. As Mintz argues, the anarchists considered alcoholism 
as being "responsible for much of the social malaise among
many workers . . . Excessive drinking robbed the worker of
his senses and deprived his family of food. Anarchist 
newspapers and pamphlets hammered out the evil of this vice."
However, "[p]roscriptions were not of a puritanical order"
(and so there was no desire to "impose" such things on people)
and quotes an anarchist who stated that "coffee and tobacco
were not prohibited, but one was advised against using them.
Men were warned against going to a brothel. It was not a
matter of morality but of hygiene." As for vegetarianism, 
it "attracted few adherents, even among the *obreros 
conscientes*." [Op. Cit., pp. 86-7 and p. 88]

Moreover, academic mockery of anarchist attempts to combat
alcoholism (and *not* alcohol as such) forgets the social
context. Being academics they may not have experienced wage
labour directly and so do not realise the misery it can cause.
People turn to drink simply because their jobs are so bad
and seek escape from the drudgery of their everyday lives.
As Bakunin argued, "confined in their life like a prisoner 
in his prison, without horizon, without outlet . . . the 
people would have the singularly narrow souls and blunted
instincts of the bourgeois if they did not feel a desire
to escape; but of escape there are but three methods --
two chimerical and a third real. The first two are the
dram-shop and the church, debauchery of the body or
debauchery of the mind; the third is social revolution."
[_God and the State_, p. 16] So to combat alcoholism was
particularly important as many workers turned to alcohol
as a means of escaping the misery of life under capitalism.
Thus Bookchin:

"[T]o abstain from smoking, to live by high moral standards,
and to especially adjure the consumption of alcohol was
very important at the time. Spain was going through her own
belated industrial revolution during the period of anarchist
ascendancy with all its demoralising features. The collapse
of morale among the proletariat, with rampant drunkenness,
venereal disease, and the collapse of sanitary facilities,
was the foremost problem which Spanish revolutionaries had
to deal with . . . On this score, the Spanish anarchists
were eminently successful. Few CNT workers, much less a
committed anarchist, would have dared show up drunk at
meetings or misbehave overtly with their comrades. If one
considers the terrible working and living conditions of
the period, alcoholism was not as serious a problem in
Spain as it was in England during the industrial revolution."
["Introductory Essay", _The Anarchist Collectives_, Sam
Dolgoff (ed.), pp. xix-xxf]

Mintz sums up by stating "[c]ontrary to exaggerated accounts
of anarchist zeal, most thoughtful *obreros conscientes*
believed in moderation, not abstinence." [Op. Cit., p. 88]
Unfortunately Mintz's work, the product of years of living
with and talking to the people actually involved in the
movement, does not seem to have made much impact on the
historians. Unsurprising, really, as history is rarely
about the actions, ideas and hopes of working people.

As can be seen, historians seem to delight in misrepresenting the 
ideas and actions of the Spanish Anarchists. Sometimes, as just seen, 
the distortions are quite serious, extremely misleading and ensure 
that anarchism cannot be understood or viewed as a serious political 
theory (we can understand why Marxists historians would seek this). 
Sometimes they can be subtle as when Ronald Fraser states that 
at the CNT's  Saragossa congress in 1936 "the proposal to create
a libertarian militia to crush a military uprising was rejected
almost scornfully, in the name of traditional anti-militarism." 
[_Blood of Spain_, p. 101] Hugh Thomas makes the same claim, 
stating at "there was no sign that anyone [at the congress] 
realised that there was a danger of fascism; and no agreement, 
in consequence, on the arming of militias, much less the 
organisation of a revolutionary army as suggested by Juan Garcia 
Oliver." [_The Spanish Civil War_, p. 181]

However, what Fraser and Thomas omit to tell the reader is that this 
motion "was defeated by one favouring the idea of guerrilla warfare." 
[Peter Marshal, _Demanding the Impossible_, p. 460] The Saragossa 
resolution itself stated that a "permanent army constitutes the 
greatest danger for the revolution . . . The armed people will be 
the best guarantee against all attempts to restore the destroyed 
regime by interior or exterior forces . . . Each Commune should 
have its arms and elements of defence." [quoted by Robert Alexander, 
_The Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War_, vol. 1, p. 64] 

Fraser's and Hugh's omission is extremely serious -- it gives a 
radically false impression of anarchist politics. Their comments 
could led a reader to think that anarchists, as Marxists claim, 
do not believe in defending a revolution. As can be seen from 
the actual resolutions of the Saragossa conference, this is not 
the case. Indeed, given that the congress was explicitly discussing, 
along with many other issues, the question of "defence of the 
revolution" their omission seriously distorts the CNT's position 
and anarchist theory. As seen, the congress supported the need 
to arm the people and to keep those arms under the control of the 
communes (as well as the role of "Confederal Defence Forces" and 
the efficient organisation of forces on a national level). Given 
that Thomas quotes extensively from the Saragossa resolution on 
libertarian communism we can only surmise that he forgot to read 
the section entitled "Defence of the Revolution." 

Hugh and Thomas omissions, however, ensure that anarchism is 
presented as an utopian and naive theory, unaware of the problems 
facing society. In reality, the opposite is the case -- the Spanish 
anarchists were well aware of the need to arm the people and resist 
counter-revolution and fascism by force. Regardless of Thomas' claims,
it is clear that the CNT and FAI realised the danger of fascism existed
and passed appropriate resolutions outlining how to organise an 
effective means of self-defence (indeed, as early as February 14 
of that year, the CNT had issued a prophetic manifesto warning that 
right-wing elements were ready to provoke a military coup [Murray 
Bookchin, _The Spanish Anarchists_, p. 273]). To state otherwise,
while quoting from the document that discusses the issue, must be
considered a deliberate lie.

However, to return to our main point -- Eric Hobsbawm's thesis
that the Spanish anarchists were an example of "pre-political"
groups -- the "primitive rebels" of his title.

Essentially, Hobsbawm describes the Spanish Anarchists -- 
particularly the Andalusian anarchists -- as modern-day
secular mystics who, like the millenarians of the Middle
Ages, were guided by the irrational belief that it was
possible to will profound social change. The actions of
the Spanish anarchist movement, therefore, can be explained
in terms of millenarian behaviour -- the belief that it
was able to jump start to utopia via an act of will. 

The Spanish farm and industrial workers, it is argued, were 
unable to grasp the complexities of the economic and political 
structures that dominated their lives and so were attracted 
to anarchism. According to Hobsbawm, anarchism is marked by 
"theoretical primitivism" and a primitive understanding of 
revolution and this explained why anarchism was popular with 
Spanish workers, particularly farm workers. According to 
Hobsbawm, anarchism told the workers that by spontaneously 
rising up together they could overthrow the forces of 
repression and create the new millennium.

Obviously, we cannot refute Hobsbawm's claims of anarchism's
"theoretical primitivism" in this appendix, the reader is
invited to consult the main FAQ. Moreover, we cannot stress
more that Hobsbawm's assertion that anarchists believe in
spontaneous, overnight uprisings is false. Rather, we see
revolution as a *process* in which day-to-day struggle and
organisation play a key role -- it is not seen as occurring
independently of the on-going class struggle or social
evolution. While we discuss in depth the nature of an 
anarchist social revolution in section J.7, we can present 
a few quotes by Bakunin to refute Hobsbawm's claim:

"Revolutions are not improvised. They are not made at will
by individuals. They come about through the force of 
circumstances and are independent of any deliberate ill
or conspiracy." [quoted by Brian Morris, _Bakunin: The
Philosophy of Freedom_, p. 139]

"It is impossible to rouse people by artificial means. Popular
revolutions are born by the actual force of events . . . It
is impossible to bring about such a revolution artificially.
It is not even possible to speed it up at all significantly
. . . There are some periods in history when revolutions are
quite simply impossible; there are other periods when they
are inevitable." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, 
p. 183]

As Brian Morris correctly argues, "Bakunin denies that a social
revolution could be made by the will of individuals, independent
of social and economic circumstances. He was much less a 
voluntarist than his Marxist critics make out . . . he was
. . . aware that the social revolution would be a long process
that may take many years for its realisation." [_Bakunin: The
Philosophy of Freedom_, pp. 138-9] To aid the process of social
revolution, Bakunin supported the need for "pioneering groups
or associations of advanced workers who were willing to initiate
this great movement of self-emancipation." However, more is
needed -- namely popular working class organisations -- "what 
is the organisation of the masses? . . . It is the organisation 
by professions and trades . . . The organisation of the trade 
sections . . . bear in themselves the living seed of the new 
society which is to replace the old world. They are creating 
not only the ideas but also the facts of the future itself." 
[_Bakunin on Anarchism_, p. 252 and p. 255]

Therefore, Bakunin saw revolution as a process which starts
with day-to-day struggle and creation of labour unions to
organise that struggle. As he put it himself:

"What policy should the International [Workers' Association]
follow during th[e] somewhat extended time period that
separates us from this terrible social revolution . . . 
the International will give labour unrest in all countries
an *essentially economic* character, with the aim of 
reducing working hours and increasing salary, by means of
the *association of the working masses* . . . It will [also]
propagandise its principles . . . Lastly, the International
will expand and organise across frontiers of all countries,
so that when the revolution -- brought about by the force 
of circumstances -- breaks out, the International will be
a real force and will know what it has to do. Then it will
be able to take the revolution into its own hands and
give it a direction that will benefit the people: an earnest
international organisation of workers' associations from
all countries, capable of replacing this departing world
of States and bourgeoisie." [_The Basic Bakunin_, pp. 109-10]

However, while quoting Bakunin refutes part of his thesis, 
Hobsbawm does base his case on some actual events of Spanish 
Anarchist history. Therefore we need to look at these cases 
and show how he gets these wrong. Without an empirical basis, 
his case obviously falls even without quotes by Bakunin. Luckily
the important examples he uses have been analysed by people without
the ideological blinkers inherent in Leninism. 

While we shall concentrate on just two cases -- Casa Viejas
in 1933 and the Jerez rising of 1892 -- a few general points
should be mentioned. As Jerome Mintz notes, Hobsbawms' "account
is based primarily on a preconceived evolutionary model of
political development rather than on data gathered in field
research. The model scales labour movements in accord with
their progress toward mass parties and central authority. In
short, he explains how anarchosyndicalists were presumed to
act rather than what actually took place, and the uprising
at Casa Viejas was used to prove an already established point
of view. Unfortunately, his evolutionary model misled him
on virtually every point." [Op. Cit., p. 271] We should also
note his "model" is essentially Marxist ideology -- namely,
Marx's assertion that his aim for mass political parties
expressed the interests of the working class and all other
visions were the products of sectarians. Mintz also points
out that Hobsbawm does not live up to his own model:

"While Hobsbawm's theoretical model is evolutionary, in 
his own treatment anarchism is often regarded as unchanging
from one decade to the other. In his text, attitudes and 
beliefs of 1903-5, 1918-20, 1933, and 1936 are lumped 
together or considered interchangeable. Of course during
these decades the anarchosyndicalists had developed their
programs and the individuals involved had become more
experienced." [Op. Cit., p. 271f]

Hobsbawm believed that Casas Viejas was the classic "anarchist"
uprising -- "utopian, millenarian, apocalyptic, as all 
witnesses agree it to have been." [_Primitive Rebels_, p. 90]
As Mintz states, "the facts prove otherwise. Casas Viejas
rose not in a frenzy of blind millenarianism but in response
to a call for a nation-wide revolutionary strike. The
insurrection of January 1933 was hatched by faistas 
[members of the FAI] in Barcelona and was to be fought
primarily there and in other urban centres. The uprisings
in the countryside would be diversionary and designed to
keep the civil guard from shifting reinforcements. The
faista plot was then fed by intensive newspaper propaganda,
by travelling orators, and by actions undertaken by the
[CNT] defence committees. Representatives of the defence
committees from Casas Viejas and Medina had received 
instructions at a regional meeting held days before. On
January 11, the anarchosyndicalists of Casas Viejas 
believed that they were joining their companeros who
had already been at the barricades since January 8."
[Op. Cit., p. 272]

Hobsbawm argued that the uprising occurred in accordance
with an established economic pattern:

"Economic conditions naturally determined the timing and
periodicity of the revolutionary outbreaks -- for instance,
social movements tended to reach a peak intensity during the
worse months of the year -- January to March, when farm
labourers have least work (the march on Jerez in 1892 and
the rising of Casas Viejas in 1933 both occurred early in
January), March-July, when the proceeding harvest has been
exhausted and times are lean." [Op. Cit., p. 79]

Mintz states the obvious:

"In reality, most agricultural strikes took place in May
and June, the period of the harvest and the only time of
the year when the campesinos had any leverage against the
landowners. The uprising at Casas Viejas occurred in January
precisely because it was *not* an agricultural strike. The
timing of the insurrection, hurriedly called to coincide
with a planned railway strike that would make it difficult
for the government to shift its forces, was determined by
strategic rather than economic considerations." [Op. Cit.,
p. 273]

As for the revolt itself, Hobsbawm asserts that:

"Secure from the outside world, [the men] put up the red and
black flag of anarchy and set about dividing the land. They
made no attempt to spread the movement or kill anyone." 
[Op. Cit., p. 274]

Which, as Mintz clearly shows, was nonsense:

"As is already evident, rather than securing themselves from
the rest of world, the uprising at Casas Viejas was a pathetic
attempt to join in an ill-fated national insurrection. With
regard to his second point, there was neither the time nor
the opportunity to 'set about dividing the land.' The men
were scattered in various locations guarding roads and paths
leading to the town. There were no meetings or discussions
during this brief period of control. Only a few hours 
separated the shooting at the barracks and the entrance of
the small [government] rescue force from Alcala. Contrary
to Hobsbawm's description of peaceful enterprise, at the
outset the anarchists surrounding the barracks had fired 
on the civil guards, mortally wounding two men." [Op. Cit.,
p. 274]

As can be seen, Hobsbawm was totally wrong about the uprising
itself and so it cannot be used as evidence for his thesis.
On other, less key issues, he was equally wrong. Mintz gives
an excellent summary:

"Since kinship is a key feature in 'primitive' societies,
according to Hobsbawm, it was a major factor in the 
leadership of the sindicato [union] in Casas Viejas. 

"There is no evidence that kinship had anything to do with
leadership in the anarchist movement in Casa Viejas or
anywhere else. The reverse would be closer to the truth.
Since the anarchists expressed belief in universal brotherhood,
kinship ties were often undermined. In times of strike or
in carrying out any decision of the collective membership,
obreros conscientes sometimes had to act counter to their
kinship demands in order to keep faith with the movement
and with their companeros.

"Hobsbawm's specific examples are unfortunately based in
part on errors of fact. . . 

"Hobsbawm's model [also] requires a charismatic leader.
Accordingly, the inspired leader of the uprising is said
to be 'old Curro Cruz ('Six Fingers') who issued the call
for revolution . . . '

[. . .]

"This celebration of Seisdedo's role ['Six Fingers'], however,
ignores the unanimous view of townspeople of every class and
political persuasion, who assert that the old man was apolitical
and had nothing to do with the uprising . . . every observer
and participant in the uprising agrees that Seisdedos was not
the leader and was never anything other than a virtuous 
charcoal burner with but a slight interest in anarchosyndicalism.

[. . .]

"Should the role of charismatic leader be given to someone else
in the town? This was not a case of mistaken identity. No single
person in Casas Viejas could lay clam to dominating the hearts
and minds of the men. . .The sindicato was governed by a junta.
Among the cast of characters there is no sign of charismatic
leadership . . ." [Op. Cit., pp. 274-6]

Mintz sums up by stating "Hobsbawm's adherence to a model,
and the accumulation of misinformation, led him away from
the essential conflicts underlying the tragedy and from the
reality of the people who participated in it." [Op. Cit.,
p. 276]

The Jerez uprising of 1892 also fails to provide Hobsbawm with
any empirical evidence to support his claims. Indeed, as in
Casas Viejas, the evidence actually works against him. The
actual events of the uprising are as follows. Just before
midnight of 8th January 1892, several hundred workers entered
the town of Jerez crying "Long live the revolution! Long live
Anarchy!" Armed with only rocks, sticks, scythes and other
farm equipment, they marched toward the city jail with the
evident intention of releasing its prisoners -- who included
many political prisoners, victims of the government's recent
anti-anarchist campaign. A few people were killed and the
uprising dispersed by a regiment of mounted troops.

Hobsbawm claims this revolt as evidence for his "primitive
rebels" thesis. As historian George R. Esenwein argues:

"[T]he Jerez incident cannot be explained in terms of this
model. What the millenarian view fails to do in this instance
is to credit the workers with the ability to define their
own political goals. This is not to deny that there were
millenarian aspects of the rising, for the mob action of
the workers on the night of 8 January indicates a degree
of irrationalism that is consistent with millenarian
behaviour. But . . . the agitators seem to have had a
clear motive in mind when they rose: they sought to
release their comrades from the local jail and thereby
demonstrate their defiance of the government's incessant
persecution of the International [Workers' Association] 
movement. However clumsily and crudely they expressed
their grievance, the workers were patently aiming to 
achieve this objective and not to overthrow the local
government in order to inaugurate the birth of a
libertarian society." [_Anarchist Ideology and the 
Working Class Movement in Spain: 1868-1898_, p. 184]

Similarly, many Marxists (and liberal historians) point to the 
"cycle of insurrections" that occurred during the 1930s. They 
usually portray these revolts as isolated insurrections organised 
by the FAI who appeared in villages and proclaimed libertarian 
communism. The picture is one of disorganisation, millenarianism 
and a believe in spontaneous revolution inspired by a few militants
and their daring actions. Nothing could be further from the
truth. The "cycle of insurrections" was far more complex
that this, as Juan Gomez Casas makes clear:

"Between 1932 and 1934 . . . the Spanish anarchists tried
to destroy the existing social order through a series of
increasingly violent strikes and insurrections, which
were at first spontaneous, later co-ordinated." [_Anarchist
Organisation: The History of the FAI_, p. 135]

Stuart Christie stresses this point when he wrote "[i]t has 
been widely assumed that the cycle of insurrections which began
in . . . January 1933 were organised and instigated by the
FAI . . . In fact the rising had nothing to do with the FAI.
It began as an entirely spontaneous local affair directed
against a local employer, but quickly mushroomed into a
popular movement which threatened to engulf the whole of
Catalonia and the rest of Spain . . . [CNT militant] Arturo 
Parera later confirmed that the FAI had not participated in 
the aborted movement 'as an organisation.'" [_We, the 
Anarchists_, p. 61] While the initial revolts, such as those 
of the miners of Alto Llobregat in January 1932, were spontaneous 
acts which caught the CNT and FAI by surprise, the following 
insurrections became increasingly organised and co-ordinated 
by those organisations. The January 1933 revolt, as noted 
above, was based around a planned strike by the CNT railway 
workers union. The revolt of December 1933 was organised by 
a National Revolutionary Committee. Both revolts aimed at
uprisings all across Spain, based on the existing organisations
of the CNT -- the unions and their "Defence committees". Such 
a degree of planning belies any claims that Spanish Anarchists 
were "primitive rebels" or did not understand the complexities 
of modern society or what was required to change it.

Ultimately, Hobsbawm's thesis and its underlying model
represents Marxist arrogance and sectarianism. His model
assumes the validity of the Marxist claim that true working 
class movements are based on mass political parties based on 
hierarchical, centralised, leadership and those who reject 
this model and political action (electioneering) are sects 
and sectarians. It was for this reason that Marx, faced with
the increased influence of Bakunin, overturned the First 
International's original basis of free discussion with his
own concept of what a real workers' movement should be. 

Originally, because the various sections of the International
worked under different circumstances and had attained 
different degrees of development, the theoretical ideals 
which reflected the real movement would also diverge. The
International, therefore, was open to all socialist and
working class tendencies. The general policies of the 
International would be, by necessity, based on conference 
decisions that reflected the free political development 
that flowed from local needs. These decisions would be 
determined by free discussion within and between sections 
of all economic, social and political ideas. Marx, however, 
replaced this policy with a common program of "political 
action" (i.e. electioneering) by mass political parties via 
the fixed Hague conference of 1872. Rather than having this 
position agreed by the normal exchange of ideas and theoretical 
discussion in the sections guided by the needs of the practical 
struggle, Marx imposed what *he* considered as the future of
the workers movement onto the International -- and denounced
those who disagreed with him as sectarians. The notion that 
what Marx considered as necessary might be another sectarian 
position imposed on the workers' movement did not enter his 
head nor that of his followers -- as can be seen, Hobsbawm 
(mis)interpreted anarchism and its history thanks to this
Marxist model and vision.

However, once we look at the anarchist movement without the
blinkers created by Marxism, we see that rather than being
a movement of "primitive rebels" Spanish Anarchism was a
movement of working class people using valid tactics to
meet their own social, economic and political goals -- tactics
and goals which evolved to meet changing circumstances. Seeing
the rise of anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism as the political
expression of the class struggle, guided by the needs of the 
practical struggle they faced naturally follows when we
recognise the Marxist model for what it is -- just one 
possible interpretation of the future of the workers'
movement rather than *the* future of that movement. Moreover,
as the history of Social Democracy indicates, the predictions
of Bakunin and the anarchists within the First International
were proved correct. Therefore, rather than being "primitive
rebels" or sectarian politics forced upon the working class,
anarchism reflected the politics required to built a
*revolutionary* workers' movement rather than a reformist
mass party.

2. How accurate is Felix Morrow's book on the Spanish Revolution?

It is fair to say that most Marxists in Britain base their criticisms 
of the Spanish Anarchism, particularly the revolution of 1936, on 
the work of Trotskyist Felix Morrow. Morrow's book _Revolution and 
Counter-Revolution in Spain_, first published in 1938, actually is 
not that bad -- for some kinds of information. However, it is 
basically written as Trotskyist propaganda. All too often Morrow 
is inaccurate, and over-eager to bend reality to fit the party line.
This is particularly the case when discussing the actions and ideas
of the CNT and FAI and when discussing the activities of his 
fellow Trotskyists in Spain, the Bolshevik-Leninists. We discuss
the first set of inaccuracies in the following sections, here
we mention the second, Morrow's comments on the Spanish Trotskyists.

The Bolshevik-Leninists, for example, an obscure sect who perhaps 
numbered 20 members at most, are, according to Morrow, transformed 
into the only ones who could save the Spanish Revolution -- because 
they alone were members of the Fourth International, Morrow's own 
organisation. As he put it: 

"Only the small forces of the Bolshevik-Leninists. . . clearly 
pointed the road for the workers." [Felix Morrow, _Revolution and 
Counter-Revolution in Spain_, p. 191]

"Could that party [the party needed to lead the revolution] be any 
but a party standing on the platform of the Fourth International?" 
[Op. Cit., p. 248]

And so on. As we will make clear in the following discussion, 
Morrow was as wrong about this as he was about anarchism.

The POUM -- a more significant Marxist party in Spain, though still 
tiny compared to the anarchists -- is also written up as far more 
important than it was, and slagged off for failing to lead the 
masses to victory (or listening to the Bolshevik-Leninists). The 
Fourth Internationalists "offered the POUM the rarest and most 
precious form of aid: a consistent Marxist analysis" [Op. Cit., 
p. 105] (never mind Spanish workers needing guns and solidarity!). 
But when such a programme -- prepared in advance -- was offered to 
the POUM by the Fourth International representative -- only two hours 
after arriving in Spain, and a quarter of an hour after meeting the 
POUM [Op. Cit., p. 139] -- the POUM were not interested. The POUM 
have been both attacked (and claimed as their own) by Trotskyists 
ever since.
 
It is Morrow's attacks on anarchism, though, that have most readily 
entered leftist folklore -- even among Marxists who reject Leninism. 
Some of Morrow's criticisms are fair enough -- but these were voiced 
by anarchists long before Morrow put pen to paper. Morrow, in fact, 
quotes and accepts the analyses of anarchists like Camillo Berneri 
("Berneri had been right" etc. [Op. Cit., p. 153]), and praises 
anarchists like Durruti ("the greatest military figure produced by 
the war" [Op. Cit., p. 224]) -- then sticks the boot into anarchism. 
Indeed, Durruti's analysis is praised but he is transformed into 
"no theoretician, but an activist leader of masses. . . his words 
express the revolutionary outlook of the class-conscious workers."
[Op. Cit., p. 250] Of course, his words, activity and "outlook"
(i.e. political analysis) did not spring out of thin air but 
rather, to state the obvious, were informed by and reflected 
his anarchist politics, history, activity and vision (which in
turn reflected his experiences and needs as a member of the
working class). Morrow obviously wanted to have his cake 
and eat it. 

Typically for today's left, perhaps, the most quoted sections of 
Morrow's book are the most inaccurate. In the next eight sections 
we discuss some of the most inaccurate claims. After that we point
out that Morrow's analysis of the militias is deeply ironic given
Trotsky's actions as leader of the Red Army. Then we discuss some 
of Morrow's inaccurate assertions about anarchism in general.

Of course, some of the errors we highlight in Morrow's work 
are the product of the conditions in which it was written --
thousands of miles from Spain in America, dependent on papers
produced by Spanish Marxists, Anarchists and others. We cannot 
blame him for such mistakes (although we can blame the Trotskyist
publisher who reprints his account without indicating his factual
errors and the Marxist writers who repeat his claims without
checking their accuracy). We *do,* however, blame Morrow for his 
errors and misrepresentations of the activities and politics of 
the Spanish Anarchists and anarchism in general. These errors 
derive from his politics and inability to understand anarchism 
or provide an honest account of it.

By the end of our discussion we hope to show why anarchists argue 
that Morrow's book is deeply flawed and its objectively skewed by 
the authors politics and so cannot be taken at face value. Morrow's 
book may bring comfort to those Marxists who look for ready-made 
answers and are prepared to accept the works of hacks at face-value. 
Those who want to learn from the past -- instead of re-writing it -- 
will have to look elsewhere. 

3. Did a "highly centralised" FAI control the CNT?

According to Morrow, "Spanish Anarchism had in the FAI a highly 
centralised party apparatus through which it maintained control 
of the CNT" [Op. Cit., p. 100]

In reality, the FAI -- the Iberian Anarchist Federation -- 
was founded, in 1927, as a confederation of regional federations 
(including the Portuguese Anarchist Union). These regional 
federations, in turn, co-ordinated local and district 
federations of highly autonomous anarchist affinity groups. 
In the words of Murray Bookchin:

"Like the CNT, the FAI was structured along confederal
lines: the affinity groups were linked together in a
Local Federation and the Local Federation in District
and Regional Federations. A Local Federation was 
administered by an ongoing secretariat, usually of
three persons, and a committee composed of one mandated
delegate from each affinity group. This body comprised
a sort of local executive committee. To allow for a full
expression of rank-and-file views, the Local Federation
was obliged to convene assemblies of all the *faistas*
in its area. The District and Regional Federations,
in turn, were simply the Local federation writ large,
replicating the structure of the lower body. All the
Local Districts and Regional Federations were linked
together by a Peninsular Committee whose tasks, at
least theoretically, were administrative. . . [A 
FAI secretary] admits that the FAI 'exhibited a tendency 
towards centralism' . . . Yet it must also be emphasised 
that the affinity groups were far more independent than 
any comparable bodies in the Socialist Party, much less 
the Communist. . . the FAI was not an internally repressive 
organisation . . . Almost as a matter of second nature, 
dissidents were permitted a considerable amount of freedom 
in voicing and publishing material against the leadership
and established policies." [_The Spanish Anarchists_, 
pp. 197-8]

And:

"Most writers on the Spanish labour movement seem to
concur in the view that, with the departure of the
moderates, the CNT was to fall under the complete
domination of the FAI . . . But is this appraisal
correct? The FAI . . . was more loosely jointed as 
an organisation than many of its admirers and critics
seem to recognise. It has no bureaucratic apparatus,
no membership cards or dues, and no headquarters
with paid officials, secretaries, and clerks. . .
They jealously guarded the autonomy of their affinity
groups from the authority of higher organisational
bodies -- a state of mind hardly conducive to the
development of a tightly knit, vanguard organisation.

"The FAI, moreover, was not a politically homogeneous
organisation which followed a fixed 'line' like the
Communists and many Socialists. It had no official
program by which all *faistas* could mechanically
guide their actions." [Op. Cit., p. 224]

So, while the FAI may have had centralising tendencies, 
a "highly centralised" political party it was not. Further, 
many anarcho-syndicalists and affinity groups were not in 
the FAI (though most seem to have supported it), and many 
FAI members put loyalty to the CNT (the anarcho-syndicalist 
union confederation) first. For instance, according to the 
minutes of the FAI national plenum of January-February 1936:

"The Regional Committee [of Aragon, Rioja, and Navarra] is 
completely neglected by the majority of the militants because 
they are absorbed in the larger activities of the CNT". 

And 

"One of the reasons for the poor condition of the FAI was the 
fact that almost all the comrades were active in the defence 
groups of the CNT" (report from the Regional Federation of the 
North). 

These are internal documents and so unlikely to be lies. [Juan 
Gomez Casas, _Anarchist Organisation: the History of the FAI_, 
p. 165 and p. 168]

Anarchists were obviously the main influence in the CNT. Indeed,
the CNT was anarcho-syndicalist long before the FAI was founded --
from its creation in 1910 the CNT had been anarcho-syndicalist
and remained so for 17 years before the FAI existed. However,
Morrow was not the only person to assert "FAI control" of the
CNT. In fact, the claim of "FAI control" was an invention of 
a reformist minority within the organisation -- people like Angel 
Pestana, ex-CNT National Secretary, who wanted to turn the CNT 
into a politically "neutral" union movement. Pestana later showed 
what he meant by forming the Syndicalist Party and standing for 
Parliament (the Cortes). Obviously, in the struggle against the 
reformists, anarcho-syndicalists -- inside the FAI or not -- voted 
for people they trusted to run CNT committees. The reformists 
(called *Treinistas*) lost, split from the CNT (taking about
10% of the membership with them), and the myth of "FAI dictatorship" 
was born. Rather than accept that the membership no longer supported 
them, the *Treinistas* consoled themselves with tales that a minority, 
the FAI, had taken control of the CNT.

In fact, due to its decentralised and federal structure, the FAI 
could not have had the sort of dominance over the CNT that is often 
attributed to it. At union congresses, where policies and the 
program for the movement were argued out:

"[D]elegates, whether or not they were members of the FAI, were 
presenting resolutions adopted by their unions at open membership 
meetings. Actions taken at the congress had to be reported back to 
their unions at open meetings, and given the degree of union 
education among the members, it was impossible for delegates 
to support personal, non-representative positions." [Juan Gomez 
Casas, _Anarchist Organisation: The History of the FAI_, p. 121]

The union committees were typically rotated out of office 
frequently and committeemen continued to work as wage-earners. 
In a movement so closely based on the shop floor, the FAI could 
not maintain influence for long if they ignored the concerns 
and opinions of co-workers. Moreover, only a minority of the
anarcho-syndicalist activists in the CNT belonged to the FAI
and, as Juan Gomez Casas points out in his history of the 
FAI, FAI militants frequently had a prior loyalty to the CNT.
Thus his summation seems correct:

"As a minority organisation, the FAI could not possibly have
had the kind of control attributed to it . . . in 1931 . . . 
there were fifty CNT members for each member of a FAI group.
The FAI was strongly federalist, with its groups at the base
freely associated. It could not dominate an organisation like
the CNT, which had fifty times as many members and was also
opposed to hierarchy and centralism. We know that FAI militants
were also CNT militants, and frequently they were loyal first
to the CNT. Their influence was limited to the base of the
organisation through participation in the plenums of militants
or unions meetings." [Op. Cit., p. 133]

He sums up by arguing:

"The myth of the FAI as conqueror and ruler of the CNT was
created basically by the *Treinistas*" [Op. Cit., p. 134]

Therefore, Morrow is re-cycling an argument which was produced
by the reformist wing of the CNT after it had lost influence
in the union rank-and-file. Perhaps he judges the FAI by his
own standards? After all, the aim of Leninists is for the
vanguard party to control the labour unions in their countries.
Anarchists reject such a vision and believe in union autonomy
-- influence of political parties and groups should only exist 
in as much as they influence the rank-and-file who control
the union. Rather than aim to control the CNT, the FAI worked
to influence its membership. In the words of Francisco Ascaso 
(friend of Durruti and an influential anarchist militant in the 
CNT and FAI in his own right): 

"There is not a single militant who as a 'FAIista' intervenes 
in union meetings. I work, therefore I am an exploited person. 
I pay my dues to the workers' union and when I intervene at 
union meetings I do it as someone who us exploited, and with 
the right which is granted me by the card in my possession, as 
do the other militants, whether they belong to the FAI or not."
[cited by Abel Paz, Durruti: The People Armed, p. 137]

In other words, the FAI "controlled" the CNT only to the extent 
it influenced the membership -- who, in fact, controlled the 
organisation. We must also note that Ascaso's comment echoes 
Bakunin's that the "purpose of the Alliance [i.e. anarchist 
federation] is to promote the Revolution . . . it will combat 
all ambition to dominate the revolutionary movement of the people, 
either by cliques or individuals. The Alliance will promote the 
Revolution only through the NATURAL BUT NEVER OFFICIAL INFLUENCE 
of all members of the Alliance." [_Bakunin on Anarchism_, p. 387]

Regardless of Morrow's claims, the FAI was a federation of
autonomous affinity groups in which, as one member put it,
"[e]ach FAI group thought and acted as it deemed fit, without
bothering about what the others might be thinking or deciding
. . . they had no . . . opportunity or jurisdiction . . . to
foist a party line upon the grass-roots." [Francisco Carrasquer,
quoted by Stuart Christie, _We, the Anarchists!_, p. 29] There
was co-ordination in a federal structure, of course, but that
did not create a "highly centralised" party-like organisation.
Morrow judged the FAI according to his own standards, squeezing
it into his ideological vision of the world rather than reporting
the reality of the situation (see Stuart Christie's work for
a more detailed refutation of the usual Marxist and Liberal
inventions of the activities and nature of the FAI).

In addition, Morrow's picture of the FAI implicitly paints the CNT 
as a mere "transmission belt" for that organisation (and so a
re-production of the Bolshevik position on the relationship of
the labour unions and the revolutionary party). Such a picture,
however, ignores the CNT's character as a non-hierarchical, 
democratic (self-managed) mass movement which had many tendencies 
within it. It also fails to understand the way anarchists seek to 
influence mass organisations -- not by assuming positions of power 
but by convincing their fellow workers' of the validity of their 
ideas in policy making mass assemblies (see section J.3.6 for more
details). 

In other words, Morrow's claims are simply false and express a
total lack of understanding of the nature of the CNT, the FAI
and their relationship.

4.  What is the history of the CNT and the Communist International?

Morrow states that the "tide of the October Revolution had, for 
a short time, overtaken the CNT. It had sent a delegate to the 
Comintern [Communist International] Congress in 1921. The 
anarchists had then resorted to organised fraction work and 
recaptured it." [Op. Cit., p. 100] He links this to the FAI by 
stating "[t]henceforward . . . the FAI . . . maintained control 
of the CNT." Given that the FAI was formed in 1927 and the CNT 
disassociated itself with the Comintern in 1922, five years 
before the FAI was created, "thenceforward" does not do 
the FAI's ability to control the CNT before it was created 
justice! 

Partly it is the inability of the Communist Party and its Trotskyist
off-shoots to dominate the CNT which explains Morrow's comments.
Seeing anarchism as "petty bourgeois" it is hard to combine this
with the obvious truth that a mass, revolutionary, workers' union
could be so heavily influenced by anarchism rather than Marxism.
Hence the need for FAI (or anarchist) "control" of the CNT. It
allows Trotskyists ignore dangerous ideological questions. As
J. Romero Maura notes, the question why anarchism influenced
the CNT "in fact raises the problem why the reformist social
democratic, or alternatively the communist conceptions, did not
impose themselves on the CNT as they managed to in most of the
rest of Europe. This question . . . is based on the false
assumption that the anarcho-syndicalist conception of the
workers' struggle in pre-revolutionary society was completely
at odds with what the *real* social process signified (hence
the constant reference to religious', 'messianic', models
as explanations)." He argues that the "explanation of Spanish
anarcho-syndicalist success in organising a mass movement with
a sustained revolutionary *elan* should initially be sought in
the very nature of the anarchist concept of society and of how
to achieve revolution." [J. Romero Maura, "The Spanish Case", in 
_Anarchism Today_, D. Apter and J. Joll (eds.), p. 78 and p. 65] 
Once we do that, we can see the weakness of Morrow's (and others)
"Myth of the FAI" -- having dismissed the obvious reason for
anarchist influence, namely its practicality and valid politics,
there can only be "control by the FAI."

However, the question of affiliation of the CNT to the Comintern
is worth discussing as it indicates the differences between 
anarchists and Leninists. As will be seen, the truth of this 
matter is somewhat different to Morrow's claims and indicates 
well his distorted vision.

Firstly to correct a factual error. The CNT in fact sent two 
delegations to the Comintern. At its 1919 national congress,
the CNT discussed the Russian Revolution and accepted a
proposition that stated it "declares itself a staunch
defender of the principles upheld by Bakunin in the First
International. It declares further that it affiliates
provisionally to the Third International on account of its
predominantly revolutionary character, pending the holding
of the International Congress in Spain, which must establish
the foundations which are to govern the true workers' 
International." [_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 2, pp. 220-1]

In June 1920, Angel Pestana arrived in Moscow and represented 
the CNT at the Second Congress of the Communist International. 
He was arrested when he arrived back in Spain and so could not 
give his eye-witness account of the strangulation of the revolution 
and the deeply dishonest manipulation of the congress by the 
Communist Party. A later delegation arrived in April 1921,
headed by Andres Nin and Joaquin Maurin professing to represent 
the CNT. Actually, Nin and Maurin represented virtually no one 
but the Lerida local federation (their stronghold). Their actions 
and clams were disavowed by a plenum of the CNT the following
August.

How did Nin and Maurin manage to get into a position to be sent
to Russia? Simply because of the repression the CNT was under
at the time. This was the period when Catalan bosses hired
gun men to assassinate CNT militants and members and the police
exercised the notorious practice known as *ley de fugas* (shot
while trying to escape). In such a situation, the normal
workings of the CNT came under must stress and "with the
best known libertarian militants imprisoned, deported,
exiled, if not murdered outright, Nin and his group managed
to hoist themselves on to the National Committee . . . Pestana's
report not being available, it was decided that a further 
delegation should be sent . . . in response to Moscow's
invitation to the CNT to take part in the foundation of
the Red International of Labour Unions." [Ignaio de Llorens,
_The CNT and the Russian Revolution_, p. 8] Juan Gomez Casas
confirms this account:

"At a plenum held in Lerida in 1921, while the CNT was in
disarray [due to repression] in Catalonia, a group of
Bolsheviks was designated to represent the Spanish CNT in
Russia . . . The restoration of constitutional guarantees
by the Spanish government in April 1922, permitted the 
anarcho-syndicalists to meet in Saragossa in June 11 . . .
[where they] confirmed the withdrawal of the CNT from the
Third International and the entrance on principle into the
new [revolutionary syndicalist] International Working Men's 
Association." [_Anarchist Organisation: History of the FAI_,
p. 61]

We should note that along with pro-Bolshevik Nin and Maurin was 
anarchist Gaston Leval. Leval quickly got in touch with Russian 
and other anarchists, helping some imprisoned Russia anarchists 
get deported after bringing news of their hunger strike to the 
assembled international delegates. By embarrassing Lenin and
Trotsky, Leval helped save his comrades from the prison camp 
and so saved their lives.

By the time Leval arrived back in Spain, Pestana's account
of his experiences had been published -- along with accounts
of the Bolshevik repression of workers, the Kronstadt revolt,
the anarchist movement and other socialist parties. These
accounts made it clear that the Russian Revolution had become
dominated by the Communist Party and the "dictatorship of
the proletariat" little more that dictatorship by the central
committee of that party. 

Moreover, the way the two internationals operated violated 
basic libertarian principles. Firstly, the "Red Labour 
International completely subordinated trade unions to the 
Communist Party." [Peirats, _Anarchists in the Spanish 
Revolution_, p. 38] This completely violated the CNT principle 
of unions being controlled by their members (via self-management 
from the bottom up). Secondly, the congresses' methodology
in its debates and decision-making were alien to the CNT
tradition. In that organisation self-management was its 
pride and glory and its gatherings and congresses reflected
this. Pestana could not fathom the fierce struggle surrounding
the make-up of the chairmanship of the Comintern congress:

"Pestana says that he was particularly intrigued by the
struggle for the chairmanship. He soon realised that the
chair *was* the congress, and that the Congress was a
farce. The chairman made the rules, presided over deliberations,
modified proposals at will, changed the agenda, and presented
proposals of his own. For a start, the way the chair handled
the gavel was very inequitable. For example, Zinoviev gave
a speech which lasted one and one-half hours, although each
speaker was supposedly limited to ten minutes. Pestana tried
to rebut the speech, but was cut off by the chairman, watch
in hand. Pestana himself was rebutted by Trotsky who spoke
for three-quarters of an hour, and when Pestana wanted to
answer Trotsky's attack on him, the chairman declared the
debate over." [Op. Cit., pp. 37-8]

In addition, "[i]n theory, every delegate was free to table
a motion, but the chair itself selected the ones that were
'interesting.' Proportional voting [by delegation or delegate]
had been provided for, but was not implemented. The Russian
Communist Party ensured that it enjoyed a comfortable majority."
Peirats continues by noting that "[t]o top it all, certain
important decisions were not even made in the congress hall,
but were made begin the scenes." That was how the resolution
that "[i]n forthcoming world congresses of the Third International,
the national trade union organisations affiliated to it are
to be represented by delegates from each country's Communist
Party" was adopted. He also noted that "[o]bjections to this
decision were quite simply ignored." [_No Gods, No Masters_,
vol. 2, p. 224]

Many of the syndicalist delegates to this "pantomime" congress 
later meet in Berlin and founded the anarcho-syndicalist 
_International Workers Association_ based on union autonomy,
self-management and federalism. Unsurprisingly, once Pestana 
and Leval reported back to their organisation, the CNT rejected 
the Bolshevik Myth and re-affirmed the libertarian principles 
it had proclaimed at its 1919 congress. At a plenum of the CNT 
in 1922, the organisation withdrew its provisional affiliation 
and voted to join the syndicalist International formed in Berlin.

Therefore, rather than the anarchists conducting "fraction work" 
to "recapture" the CNT, the facts are the pro-Bolshevik National 
Committee of 1921 came about due to the extreme repression the 
CNT was suffering at the time. Militants were being assassinated 
in the streets, including committee members. In this context it 
is easy to see how an unrepresentative minority could temporarily 
gain influence in the National Committee. Moreover, it was CNT 
plenary session which revoked the organisations provisional 
affiliation to the Comintern -- that is, a regular meeting 
of mandated and accountable delegates. In other words, by the 
membership itself who had been informed of what had actually
been happening under the Bolsheviks. In addition, it was this 
plenum which agreed affiliation to the anarcho-syndicalist
_International Workers Association_ founded in Berlin during 
1922 by syndicalists and anarchists horrified by the Bolshevik 
dictatorship, having seen it at first hand. 

Thus the decision of the CNT in 1922 (and the process by which
this decision was made) follow exactly the decisions and processes 
of 1919. That congress agreed to provisionally affiliate to the 
Comintern until such time as a real workers' International
inspired by the ideas of Bakunin was created. The only difference
was that this International was formed in Germany, not Spain. 
Given this, it is impossible to argue that the anarchists
"recaptured" the CNT.

As can be seen, Morrow's comment presents radically false image of
what happened during this period. Rather than resort to "fraction
work" to "recapture" the CNT, the policies of the CNT in 1919 and
1922 were identical. Moreover, the decision to disaffiliate from
the Comintern was made by a confederal meeting of mandated delegates
representing the rank-and-file as was the original. The anarchists
did not "capture" the CNT, rather they continued to influence the
membership of the organisation as they had always done. Lastly,
the concept of "capture" displays no real understanding of how
the CNT worked -- each syndicate was autonomous and self-managed.
There was no real officialdom to take over, just administrative
posts which were unpaid and conducted after working hours. To
"capture" the CNT was impossible as each syndicate would ignore
any unrepresentative minority which tried to do so.

However, Morrow's comments allow us to indicate some of the key
differences between anarchists and Leninists -- the CNT rejected
the Comintern because it violated its principles of self-management,
union autonomy and equality and built party domination of the union
movement in its place.

5. Why did the CNT not join the Workers' Alliance?

Morrow in his discussion of the struggles of the 1930s implies
that the CNT was at fault in not joining the Socialist UGT's 
"Workers' Alliance" (*Alianza Obrera*). These were first 
put forward by the Marxist-Leninists of the BOC (Workers and 
Peasants Bloc -- later to form the POUM) after their attempts 
to turn the CNT into a Bolshevik vanguard failed [Paul Preston, 
_The Coming of the Spanish Civil War_, p. 154]. Socialist Party 
and UGT interest began only after their election defeat in 1933.
By 1934, however, there existed quite a few alliances, including
one in Asturias in which the CNT participated. Nationally, however, 
the CNT refused to join with the UGT and this, he implies, lead to 
the defeat of the October 1934 uprising (see next section for a 
discussion of this rebellion). 

However, Morrow fails to provide any relevant historical background 
to understand the CNT's decision. Moreover, their reasons *why* 
they did not join have a striking similarity to Morrow's own 
arguments against the "Workers' Alliance" (which may explain why 
Morrow does not mention them). In effect, the CNT is dammed for 
having policies similar to Morrow's but having principles enough 
to stick to them.

First, we must discuss the history of UGT and CNT relationships
in order to understand the context within which the anarchists
made their decision. Unless we do this, Morrow's claims may
seem more reasonable than they actually are. Once we have done
this we will discuss the politics of that decision.

From 1931 (the birth of the Second Spanish Republic) to 1933 the 
Socialists, in coalition with Republicans, had attacked the CNT 
(a repeat, in many ways, of the UGT's collaboration with the 
quasi-fascist Primo de Rivera dictatorship of 1923-30). Laws 
were passed, with Socialist help, making lightening strikes 
illegal and state arbitration compulsory. Anarchist-organised 
strikes were violently repressed, and the UGT provided scabs -- 
as against the CNT Telephone Company strike of 1931. This strike 
gives in indication of the role of the socialists during its time 
as part of the government (Socialist Largo Caballero was the 
Minister of Labour, for example):

"The UGT . . . had its own bone to pick with the CNT. The
telephone syndicate, which the CNT had established in 1918,
was a constant challenge to the Socialists' grip on the
Madrid labour movement. Like the construction workers'
syndicate, it was a CNT enclave in a solidly UGT centre.
Accordingly, the government and the Socialist Party found
no difficulty in forming a common front to break the strike
and weaken CNT influence.

"The Ministry of Labour declared the strike illegal and
the Ministry of the Interior called out the Civil Guard
to intimidate the strikers . . . Shedding all pretence
of labour solidarity, the UGT provided the *Compania
Telefonica* with scabs while *El Socialista*, the
Socialist Party organ, accused the CNT of being run by
*pistoleros.* Those tactics were successful in Madrid,
where the defeated strikers were obliged to enrol in the
UGT to retain their jobs. So far as the Socialists were
concerned, the CNT's appeals for solidarity had fallen on
deaf ears. . .

"In Seville, however, the strike began to take on very
serious dimensions. . . on July 20, a general strike broke
out in Seville and serious fighting erupted in the streets.
This strike . . . stemmed from the walkout of the telephone
workers . . . pitched battles took place in the countryside
around the city between the Civil Guard and the agricultural
workers. Maura, as minister of interior, decided to crush the
'insurrection' ruthlessly. Martial law was declared and the 
CNT's headquarters was reduced to shambles by artillery fire.
After nine days, during which heavily armed police detachments
patrolled the streets, the Seville general strike came to an
end. The struggle in the Andalusian capital left 40 dead and
some 200 wounded." [Murray Bookchin, _The Spanish Anarchists_,
pp. 221-2]

Elsewhere, "[d]uring a Barcelona building strike CNT workers
barricaded themselves in and said they would only surrender
to regular troops. The army arrived and then machine-gunned
them as soon as they surrendered." [Antony Beevor, _The Spanish 
Civil War_, p. 33] In other words, the republican-socialist
government repressed the CNT with violence as well as using
the law to undermine CNT activities and strikes.

Morrow fails to discuss this history of violence against the
CNT. He mentions in passing that the republican-socialist coalition 
government "[i]n crushing the CNT, the troops broadened the 
repression to the whole working class."  He states that
"[u]nder the cover of putting down an anarchist putsch in
January 1933, the Civil Guard 'mopped up' various groups of
trouble makers. And encounter with peasants at Casas Viejas,
early in January 1933, became a *cause celebre* which shook
the government to its foundations."  However, his account 
of the Casas Viejas massacre is totally inaccurate. He states 
that "the little village . . ., after two years of patient 
waiting for the Institute of Agrarian Reform to divide the 
neighbouring Duke's estate, the peasants had moved in and 
begun to till the soil for themselves." [Op. Cit., p. 22] 

Nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, we must note
that the land workers (who were not, in the main, peasants) were 
members of the CNT. Secondly, as we pointed in section 1, the
uprising had nothing to do with land reform. The CNT members
did not "till the soil", rather they rose in insurrection as
part of a planned CNT-FAI uprising based on an expected rail
workers strike (the "anarchist putsch" Morrow mentions). The
workers were too busy fighting the Civil and Assault Guards to 
till anything. He is correct in terms of the repression, of 
course, but his account of the events leading up to it is not
only wrong, it is misleading (indeed, it appears to be an 
invention based on Trotskyist ideology rather than having any 
basis in reality). Rather than being part of a "broadened
. . . repression [against] the whole working class," it was
actually part of the "putting down" of the anarchist revolt.
CNT members were killed -- along with a dozen politically
neutral workers who were selected at random and murdered.
Thus Morrow downplays the role of the Socialists in repressing
the CNT and FAI -- he presents it as general repression rather
than a massacre resulting from repressing a CNT revolt.

He even quotes a communist paper stating that 9 000 political
prisoners were in jail in June 1933. Morrow states that they
were "mostly workers." [p. 23] Yes, they were mostly workers,
CNT members in fact -- "[i]n mid-April [1933]. . . the CNT 
launched a massive campaign to release imprisoned CNT-FAI 
militants whose numbers had now soared to about 9 000." 
[Bookchin, Op. Cit., pp. 231-2]

Moreover, during and after CNT insurrections in Catalonia in 
1932, and the much wider insurrections of January 1933 (9 000 
CNT members jailed) and December 1933 (16 000 jailed) Socialist 
solidarity was nil. Indeed, the 1932 and January 1933 revolts
had been repressed by the government which the Socialist Party 
was a member of.

In other words, and to state the obvious, the socialists had
been part of a government which repressed CNT revolts and 
syndicates, imprisoned and killed their members, passed laws 

to restrict their ability to strike and use direct action
and provided scabs during strikes. Little wonder that Peirats 
states "[i]t was difficult for the CNT and the FAI to get used 
to the idea of an alliance with their Socialist oppressors."
[_Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution_, p. 94]

It is *only* in this context can we understand the events of
1934 and the refusal of the CNT to run into the UGT's alliance. 
Morrow, needless to say, does not present this essential
context and so the reader cannot understand why the CNT acted
as it did in response to Socialist appeals for "unity." Instead,
Morrow implies that CNT-FAI opposition to "workers alliances"
were due to them believing "all governments were equally bad." 
[p. 29] Perhaps if Morrow had presented an honest account of the
repression the republican-socialist government had inflicted on 
the CNT then the reader could make an informed judgement on why
anarchist opposition to the socialist proposals existed. Rather
than being sectarian or against labour unity, they had been
at receiving end of extensive socialist scabbing and state
repression.

Moreover, as well as the recent history of socialist repression
and scabbing, there was also the experience of a similar alliance 
between the CNT and UGT that had occurred in 1917. The first
test of the alliance came with a miners strike in Andalusia, 
and a "CNT proposal for a joint general strike, to be initiated
by UGT miners and railway workers, had been rejected by the
Madrid Socialists . . . the miners, after striking for four
months, returned to work in defeat." Little wonder that "the
pact was in shreds. It was to be eliminated completely when
a general strike broke out in Barcelona over the arrests of 
the CNT leaders and the assassination of Layret. Once again
the CNT called upon the UGT for support. Not only was aid
refused but it was denied with an arrogance that clearly
indicated the Socialists had lost all interest in future
collaboration. . . The strike in Catalonia collapsed and,
with it, any prospect of collaboration between the two
unions for years to come." [Bookchin, Op. Cit., pp. 175-6]

Of course, such historical context would confuse readers
with facts and so goes unmentioned by Morrow.

In addition, there was another reason for opposing the "workers'
alliances" -- particularly an alliance between the UGT and CNT.
Given the history of UGT and CNT pacts plus the actions of
the UGT and socialists in the previous government it was
completely sensible and politically principled. This reason
was political and flowed from the CNT's libertarian vision. 
As Durruti argued in 1934:

"The alliance, to be revolutionary, must be genuinely working
class. It must be the result of an agreement between the
workers' organisation, and those alone. No party, however,
socialist it may be, can belong to a workers' alliance,
which should be built from its foundations, in the
enterprises where the workers struggle. Its representative
bodies must be the workers' committee chosen in the shops,
the factories, the mines and the villages. We must reject
any agreement on a national level, between National
Committees, but rather favour an alliance carried out
at the base by the workers themselves. Then and only
then, can the revolutionary drive come to life, develop
and take root." [quoted by Abel Paz, _Durruti: The People
Armed_, p. 154]

In the Central Region, Valeriano Orobon Fernandez argued
along similar lines in Madrid's _La Tierra_:

"Revolutionary worker democracy is direct management of
society by the proletariat, a certain bulwark against
party dictatorships and a guarantee of the development
of the revolution's forces and undertakings. . .
guidelines of a general nature sort should be laid
down so that these may serve as a platform for the
alliance, and furnish a combative and constructive norm
for the forces unites . . . [These include:] Acceptance
of revolutionary worker democracy, which is to say, of
the majority will of the proletariat, as the common
denominator and determining factor of the new order
of things. . . Immediate socialisation of the means
of production, transportation, exchange, accommodation
and finance . . . Federated on the basis of their
area of interest and confederated at national level,
the municipal and industrial organisations will look
after the upkeep of the precept of unity in the
structuring of the economy." [quoted by Jose Peirats,
_The CNT in the Spanish Revolution_, vol. 1, pp. 45-6]

The May 1936 Saragossa congress of the CNT passed a
resolution concerning revolutionary alliances which was 
obviously based on these arguments. It stated that in 
order "the social revolution may be an effective reality, 
the social and political system regulating the life of the 
country has to be utterly destroyed" and that the "new order 
of co-existence born of the act of revolution is to be 
determined by the free election of the freely assembled 
workers." [quoted by Jose Peirats, Op. Cit., p. 63]

Only such an alliance, from the bottom up and based on workers'
self-management could be a revolutionary one. Indeed, any pact 
not based on this but rather conducted between organisations 
would be a pact the CNT and the bureaucracy of the UGT -- and 
remove any possibility of creating genuine bodies of working 
class self-management (as the history of the Civil War proved). 
Indeed, Morrow seems to agree:

"The broad character of the proletarian insurrection was 
explained by the Communist Left (Trotskyist). It devoted 
itself to efforts to build the indispensable instrument of 
the insurrection: workers' councils constituted by delegates 
representing all the labour parties and unions, the shops and 
streets; to be created in every locality and joined together 
nationally . . . Unfortunately, the socialists failed to 
understand the profound need of these Workers' Alliances. The
bureaucratic traditions were not to be so easily overcome . . . 
the socialist leaders thought that the Workers' Alliances 
meant they would have merely to share leadership with the 
Communist Left and other dissident communist groups . . . 
actually in most cases they [Workers' Alliances] were merely 
'top' committees, without elected or lower-rank delegates, 
that is, little more than liaison committees between the 
leadership of the organisations involved." [Op. Cit., 
pp. 27-8]

As can be seen, this closely follows Durruti's arguments.
Bar the reference of "labour parties," Morrow's "indispensable
instrument" is identical to Durruti's and other anarchist's 
arguments against taking part in the "Workers' Alliances" 
created by the UGT and the creation of genuine alliances
from the bottom-up. Thus Morrow faults the CNT for trying to 
force the UGT to form a *real* workers' alliance by not taking 
part in what Morrow himself admits were "little more than liaison
committees between the leadership"! Also, Morrow argues that 
"[w]ithout developing soviets -- workers' councils -- it 
was inevitable that even the anarchists and the POUM would 
drift into governmental collaboration with the bourgeoisie" 
and he asks "[h]ow could party agreements be the substitute 
for the necessary vast network of workers' councils?" [Op. Cit., 
p. 89 and p. 114] Which was, of course, the CNT-FAI's argument.
It seems strange that Morrow faults the CNT for trying to
create real workers' councils, the "indispensable instrument"
of the revolution, by not taking part in a "party agreements"
urged by the UGT which would undermine real attempts at 
rank-and-file unity from below.

Of course, Morrow's statement that "labour parties and unions" 
should be represented by delegates as well as "the shop and
street" contradicts claims it would be democratic. After all,
that it would mean that some workers would have multiple votes 
(one from their shop, their union and their party). Moreover,
it would mean that parties would have an influence greater
than their actual support in the working class -- something
a minuscule group like the Spanish Trotskyists would obviously
favour as would the bureaucrats of the Socialist and Communist
Parties. Little wonder the anarchists urged a workers' alliance
made up of actual workers rather than an organisation which
would allow bureaucrats, politicians and sects more influence
than they actually had or deserved.

In addition, the "Workers' Alliances" were not seen by the UGT
and Socialist Party as an organisation of equals. Rather, in
words of historian Paul Preston, "from the first it seemed that
the Socialists saw the Alianza Obrera was a possible means of
dominating the workers movement in areas where the PSOE and 
UGT were relatively weak." [Op. Cit., p. 154] The Socialist 
Party only allowed regional branches of the Alianza Obrera
to be formed only if they could guarantee Party control 
would never be lost. [Adrian Schubert "The Epic Failure: The 
Asturian Revolution of October 1934", in _Revolution and War 
in Spain_, Paul Preston (ed.), p. 127] Raymond Carr argues 
that the Socialists, "in spite of professions to the contrary, 
wished to keep socialist domination of the *Alianza Obrera*" 
[_Spain: 1808-1975_, pp. 634-5f] And only one month after the 
first alliance was set up, one of its founder members -- the 
Catalan _Socialist Union_ -- left in protest over PSOE 
domination. [Preston, _The Coming of the Spanish Civil 
War_, p. 157] In Madrid, the Alianza was "dominated by 
the Socialists, who imposed their own policy." [Op. Cit.,
p. 154] Indeed, as Jose Peirats notes, in Asturias where the
CNT had joined the Alliance, "despite the provisions of the
terms of the pact of Alliance to which the CNT was signatory,
the order for the uprising was issued by the Socialists. The
specifically Socialist, revolutionary committee was secretly
at work in Oviedo and it contained no CNT representative." 
[_The CNT in the Spanish Revolution_, vol. 1, p. 48] Largo 
Caballero's desire for trade union unity in 1936 was from a 
similar mould -- "[t]he clear implication was that proletarian 
unification meant Socialist take-over." Little wonder Preston 
states that "[i]f the use that he [Caballero] made of the 
Alianza Obreras in 1934 had revealed anything, it was that 
the domination of the working class movement by the UGT meant 
far more to Largo Caballero than any future prospect of 
revolution." [Preston, Op. Cit., p. 270]

As can be seen, the CNT's position seemed a sensible one given
the nature and activities of the "Workers' Alliance" in practice.
Also it seems strange that, if unity was the UGT's aims, that 
a CNT call, made by the national plenary in February 1934, for 
information and for the UGT to clearly and publicly state its 
revolutionary objectives, met with no reply. [Peirats, Op. Cit.,
p. 46] In addition, the Catalan Workers' Alliance called a 
general strike in March 1934 the day *after* the CNT's -- 
hardly an example of workers' unity. [Norman Jones, 
"Regionalism and Revolution in Catalonia", _Revolution and 
War in Spain_, Paul Preston (ed.), p. 102]

Thus, the reasons why the CNT did not join in the UGT's "Workers'
Alliance" are clear. As well as the natural distrust towards 
organisations that had repressed them and provided scabs to
break their strikes just one year previously, there were political
reasons for opposing such an alliance. Rather than being a
force to ensure revolutionary organisations springing from
the workplace, the "Workers' Alliance" was little more than
pacts between the bureaucrats of the UGT and various Marxist
Parties. This was Morrow's own argument, which also provided
the explanation why such an alliance would weaken any real
revolutionary movement. To requote Morrow, "[w]ithout developing 
soviets -- workers' councils -- it was inevitable that even the 
anarchists and the POUM would drift into governmental collaboration 
with the bourgeoisie." [Op. Cit., p. 89]

That is exactly what happened in July, 1936, when the CNT did
forsake its anarchist politics and joined in a "Workers'
Alliance" type organisation with other anti-fascist parties
and unions to set up the "Central Committee of Anti-Fascist
Militias" (see section 20). Thus Morrow himself provides the 
explanation of the CNT's *political* rationale for being wary 
of the UGT's "Workers' Alliance" while, of course, refusing 
to provide the historical context the decision was made.

However, while the CNT's refusal to join the "Workers' Alliance" 
outside of Asturias may have been principled (and sensible), it 
may be argued that they were the only organisation with 
revolutionary potential (indeed, this would be the only 
argument Trotskyists could put forward to explain their 
hypocrisy). Such an argument would be false for two reason.

Firstly, such Alliances may have potentially created a 
revolutionary situation but they would have hindered the
formation of working class organs of self-management such
as workers' councils (soviets). This was the experience of
the Central Committee of Anti-Fascist Militias and of the
Asturias revolt -- in spite of massive revolutionary upheaval
such councils based on delegates from workplace and community
assembles were *not* formed.

Secondly, the CNT policy of "Unity, yes, but by the rank-and-file"
was a valid method of "from the bottom up solidarity." This can
be seen from just two examples -- Aragon in 1934 and Madrid in
1936. In Aragon, there was a "general strike that had totally
paralysed the Aragonese capital throughout April 1935, ending
 . . . on 10 May. . . the Zaragoza general strike had been a
powerful advertisement of the value of a united working-class
front . . . [However,] no formal agreement . . . had been
reached in Zaragoza. The pact there has been created on a
purely circumstantial basis with a unity of trade-union action
achieved in quite specific circumstances and generated to a
considerable extent by the workers themselves." [Graham Kelsey,
_Anarchism in Aragon_, p. 72] In Madrid, April 1936 (in the 
words of Morrow himself) "the CNT declared a general strike in
Madrid . . . The UGT had not been asked to join the strike, and
at first had denounced it . . . But the workers came out of
all the shops and factories and public services . . . because
they wanted to fight, and only the anarchists were calling
them to struggle." [Op. Cit., p. 41]

Thus Morrow's comments against the CNT refusing to join the
Workers' Alliance do not provide the reader with the historical
context required to make an informed judgement of the CNT's
decision. Moreover, they seem hypocritical as the CNT's reasons
for refusing to join is similar to Morrow's own arguments 
against the Workers' Alliance. In addition, the CNT's practical 
counter-proposal of solidarity from below had more revolutionary
potential as it was far more likely to promote rank-and-file
unity plus the creation of self-managed organisations such as
workers' councils. The Workers' Alliance system would have
hindered such developments.

6. Was the October 1934 revolt sabotaged by the CNT?

Again, following Morrow, Marxists have often alleged that the 
Socialist and Workers Alliance strike wave, of October 1934, 
was sabotaged by the CNT. To understand this allegation, you 
have to understand the background to October 1934, and the split 
in the workers' movement between the CNT and the UGT (unions 
controlled by the reformist Socialist Party, the PSOE).
 
Socialist conversion to "revolution" occurred only after the 
elections of November 1933. In the face of massive and bloody
repression (see last section), the CNT-FAI had agitated for a 
mass abstention at the polling booth. Faced with this campaign, 
the republicans and socialists lost and all the laws they had 
passed against the CNT were used against themselves. When cabinet 
seats were offered to the non-republican (fascist or quasi-fascist) 
right, in October 1934, the PSOE/UGT called for a general strike. 
If the CNT, nationally, failed to take part in this -- a mistake 
recognised by many anarchist writers -- this was not (as reading 
Morrow suggests) because the CNT thought "all governments were 
equally bad" [Morrow, Op. Cit., p. 29], but because of well-founded, 
as it turned out, mistrust of Socialist aims. 

A CNT call, on the 13th of February 1934, for the UGT to clearly 
and publicly state its revolutionary objectives, had met with no 
reply. As Peirats argues, "[t]hat the absence of the CNT did not 
bother them [the UGT and Socialist Party] is clear from their 
silence in regards to the [CNT's] National Plenary's request." 
[Peirats, _Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution_, p. 96] Rhetoric 
aside, the Socialist Party's main aim in October seems to have been 
to force new elections, so they could again form a (mildly reformist) 
coalition with the Republicans (their programme for the revolt was
written by right-wing socialist Indalecio Prieto and seemed more like
an election manifesto prepared by the Liberal Republicans than a
program for revolutionary change). This was the viewpoint of the CNT,
for example. Thus, the CNT, in effect, was to be used as cannon-fodder 
to help produce another government that would attack the CNT. 

As we discussed in the last section, the UGT backed "Workers 
Alliances" were little better. To repeat our comments again,
the Socialist Party (PSOE) saw the alliances as a means of 
dominating the workers movement in areas where the UGT was weak. 
The Socialist "Liaison Committee", for instance, set up to prepare 
for insurrection, only allowed regional branches to take part 
in the alliances if they could guarantee Party control (see
last section). Raymond Carr argues that the Socialists, "in 
spite of professions to the contrary, wished to keep socialist 
domination of the *Alianza Obrera*" [_Spain: 1808-1975_, 
pp. 634-5f] Only one month after the first alliance was set up, 
one of its founder members -- the Socialist Union of Catalonia 
-- left in protest over PSOE domination. 

During October the only real centre of resistance was in Asturias 
(on the Spanish north coast). However, before discussing that 
area, we must mention Madrid and Barcelona. According to Morrow, 
Catalonia "should have been the fortress of the uprising" and
that "[t]erribly discredited for their refusal to join the
October revolt, the anarchists sought to apologise by pointing
to the repression they were undergoing at the time from Companys."
[Op. Cit., p. 30 and p. 32] Morrow fails, however and yet again, 
to mention a few important facts. 

Firstly, the uprising in Catalonia was pushed for and lead by 
Estat Catala which had "temporary ascendancy over the other 
groups in the Esquerra" (the Catalan Nationalist Party which 
was the Catalan government). "Companys felt obliged to yield 
to Dencas' [the leader of Estat Catala] demand that Catalonia 
should take this opportunity for breaking with Madrid." 
[Gerald Brenan, _The Spanish Labyrinth_, pp. 282-3] Estat 
Catala "was a Youth movement . . . and composed mostly of 
workmen and adventurers -- men drawn from the same soil as 
the *sindicatos libres* [boss created anti-CNT yellow unions] 
of a dozen years before -- with a violent antagonism to 
the Anarcho-Syndicalists. It had a small military organisation, 
the *escamots*, who wore green uniforms. It represented Catalan 
Nationalism in its most intransigent form: it was in fact 
Catalan Fascism." [Op. Cit., p. 282] Gabriel Jackson calls 
Estat Catala a "quasi-fascist movement within the younger 
ranks of the Esquerra." [_The Spanish Republic and the Civil 
War: 1931-1939_, p. 150] Ronald Fraser terms it "the extreme 
nationalist and proto-fascist" wing of the party. [_Blood of 
Spain_, p. 535] Hugh Thomas notes "the fascist colouring of 
Dencas ideas." [_The Spanish Civil War_, p. 135]

In other words, Morrow attacks the CNT for not participating
in a revolt organised and led by Catalan Fascists (or, at
best, near fascists)! 

Secondly, far from being apologetics, the repression the
CNT was suffering from Dencas police forces was very real
and was occurring right up to the moment of the revolt. In
the words of historian Paul Preston:

"[T]he Anarchists bitterly resented the way in which the 
Generalitat had followed a repressive policy against them 
in the previous months. This had been the work of the 
Generalitat's counsellor for public order, Josep Dencas, 
leader of the quasi-fascist, ultra-nationalist party 
Estat Catala." [_The Coming of the Spanish Civil War_,
p. 176]

This is confirmed by anarchist accounts of the rising.
As Peirats points out:

"On the eve of the rebellion the Catalan police jailed as 
many anarchists as they could put their hands on . . . The 
union offices had been shut for some time. The press censor 
had completely blacked out the October 6th issue of 
*Solidaridad Obrera* . . . When the woodworkers began to 
open their offices, they were attacked by the police, and 
a furious gunfight ensured. The official radio . . . reported 
. . . that the fight had already began against the FAI 
fascists . . . In the afternoon large numbers of police 
and *escamots* turned out to attack and shut down the 
editorial offices of _Solidaridad Obrera_." [Peirats, 
Op. Cit., pp. 98-9]

In other words, the first shots fired in the Catalan revolt
were against the CNT by those in revolt against the central
government! 

Why were the first shots of the revolt directed at the
members of the CNT? Simply because they were trying to take
part in the revolt in an organised and coherent manner as
urged by the CNT's Regional Committee itself. In spite of 
the mass arrests of anarchists and CNT militants the night 
before by the Catalan rebels, the CNT's Catalan Regional 
Committee issued a clandestine leaflet that stated that 
the CNT "must partake in the fray in the manner congruent 
with its revolutionary anarchist principles . . . The revolt 
which broke out this morning must assume the characteristics 
of a popular act . . . We demand the right to intervene in 
this struggle and that right we seize." A leaflet had to be 
issued as _Solidaridad Obrera* was several hours late in 
appearing due censorship by the Catalan state. The workers had 
tried to open their union halls (all CNT union buildings had been 
closed by the Catalan government since the CNT revolt of December 
1933) because the CNT's leaflet had called for them to be opened 
and "the massing of the workers on those premises." [quoted by 
Peirats, _The CNT in the Spanish Revolution_, vol. 1, p. 53] The
participation of the CNT in the revolt as an organised force was 
something the Catalan rebels refused to allow and so they fired 
on workers trying to open their union buildings. Indeed, after 
shutting down _Solidaridad Obrera_, the police then tried to 
break up the CNT's regional plenum that was then in session, 
but fortunately it was meeting on different premises and so
they failed. [Peirats, Op. Cit., p. 53]

Juan Gomez Casas argues that:

"The situation [in October 1934] was especially difficult
in Catalonia. The Workers' Alliance . . . declared a
general strike. Luis Companys, president of the Catalan
Parliament, proclaimed the Catalan State within the Spanish
Federal Republic . . . But at the same time, militants of
the CNT and the FAI were arrested . . . *Solidaridad Obrera*
was censored. The Catalan libertarians understood that the
Catalan nationalists had two objectives in mind: to oppose
the central government and to destroy the CNT. Jose Dencas,
Counsellor of Defence, issued a strict order: 'Watch out
for the FAI' . . . Luis Companys broadcast a message on 
October 5 to all 'citizens regardless of ideology.' However,
many anarchosyndicalist militants were held by his deputy,
Dencas, in the underground cells of police headquarters."
[Op. Cit., pp. 151-2]

Hence the paradoxical situation in which the anarchists,
anarcho-syndicalists and FAI members found themselves in
during this time. The uprising was organised by Catalan
fascists who continued to direct their blows against the
CNT. As Abel Paz argues, "[f]or the rank and file Catalan
worker . . . the insurgents . . . were actually orienting
their action in order to destroy the CNT. After that, how 
could they collaborate with the reactionary movement which 
was directing its blows against the working class? Here
was the paradox of the Catalan uprising of October 6,
1934." [_Durruti: The People Armed_, p. 158]

In other words, during the Catalan revolt, "the CNT had a 
difficult time because the insurgents were its worst enemies." 
[Peirats, _The Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution_, p. 98] 
However, the complexity of the actual situation does not bother 
the reader of Morrow's work as it is not reported. Little
wonder, as Peirats argues, the "absurd contention according
to which the confederal proletariat of Catalonia allegedly
betrayed their brethren in Asturias melts away in the face
of a truthful narration of the facts." [_The CNT in the
Spanish Revolution_, vol. 1, p. 53-4]
 
In summary, therefore, Morrow expected the membership of the 
Catalan CNT and FAI to join in a struggle started and directed 
by Catalan fascists, whose leaders in the government were arresting 
and shooting their members, censoring their press, closing 
their union offices and refusing them a role in the revolt as
self-organised forces. We think that sums up the validity of
Trotskyism as a revolutionary theory quite well.

In Madrid, the revolt was slightly less farcical. Here the CNT
joined the general strike. However, the UGT gave the government
24 hours notice of the general strike, allowing the state to
round up the Socialist "leaders," seize arm depots and repress
the insurrection before it got started [Morrow, Op. Cit., p. 30].
As Bookchin argues, the "massive strike in Madrid, which was
supported by the entire left, foundered for want of arms and
a revolutionary sense of direction." [Op. Cit., p. 245] He
continues:

"As usual, the Socialists emerged as unreliable allies of the
Anarchists. A revolutionary committee, established by the CNT
and FAI to co-ordinate their own operations, was denied direly
needed weapons by the UGT. The arms, as it turned out, had
been conveniently intercepted by government troops. But even
if they had been available, it is almost certain that the
Socialists would not have shared them with the Anarchists.
Indeed, relationships between the two major sectors of the
labour movement had already been poisoned by the failure of
the Socialist Youth and the UGT to keep the CNT adequately
informed of their plans or confer with Anarchosyndicalist
delegates. Despite heavy fighting in Madrid, the CNT and FAI
were obliged to function largely on their own. When, at
length, a UGT delegate informed the revolutionary committee
that Largo Caballero was not interested in common action
with the CNT, the committee disbanded." [Op. Cit., p. 246]

Bookchin correctly states that "Abad de Santillan was to
observe with ample justification that Socialist attempts to
blame the failure of the October Insurrection on Anarchist
abstention was a shabby falsehood" and quotes Santillan:

"Can there be talk of abstention of the CNT and censure of it
by those who go on strike without warning our organisation
about it, who refuse to meet with the delegates of the
National Committee [of the CNT], who consent to let the
Lerrous-Gil Robles Government take possession of the arms
deposits and let them go unused before handing them over
to the Confederation and the FAI?" [Ibid.]

Historian Paul Preston confirms that in Madrid "Socialists and 
Anarchists went on strike . . ." and that "the Socialists 
actually rejected the participation of Anarchist and Trotskyist
groups who offered to help make a revolutionary coup in Madrid." 
[_The Coming of the Spanish Civil War_, p. 174] Moreover, "when
delegates travelled secretly to Madrid to try to co-ordinate 
support for the revolutionary Asturian miners, they were 
rebuffed by the UGT leadership." [Graham Kelsey, _Anarchism 
in Aragon_, p. 73] 

Therefore, in two of the three centres of the revolt, the uprising
was badly organised. In Catalonia, the revolt was led by fascist
Catalan Nationalists who arrested and shot at CNT militants. In
Madrid, the CNT backed the strike and was ignored by the Socialists.
The revolt itself was badly organised and quickly repressed (thanks,
in part, to the actions of the Socialists themselves). Little
wonder Peirats asks:

"Although it seems absurd, one constantly has to ask whether
the Socialists meant to start a true revolution [in October
1934] in Spain. If the answer is affirmative, the questions 
keep coming: Why did they not make the action a national one?
Why did they try to do it without the powerful national CNT?
Is a peaceful general strike revolutionary? Was what happened
in Asturias expected, or were orders exceeded? Did they mean
only to scare the Radical-CEDA government with their action?"
[_The Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution_, pp 95-6]

The only real centre of resistance was in Asturias (on the Spanish 
north coast). Here, the CNT had joined the Socialists and Communists 
in a "Workers Alliance". But, against the alliance's terms, the 
Socialists alone gave the order for the uprising -- and the 
Socialist-controlled Provincial Committee starved the CNT of 
arms. This despite the CNT having over 22 000 affiliates in 
the area (to the UGT's 40 000). We discuss the activities of
the CNT during the revolt in Asturias later (in section 20) and 
so will do so here.

Morrow states that the "backbone of the struggle was broken . . . 
when the refusal of the CNT railroad workers to strike enabled the 
government to transport goods and troops." [Morrow, Op. Cit., p. 30]
Yet in Asturias (the only area where major troop transportation was 
needed) the main government attack was from a sea borne landing of 
Foreign Legion and Moroccan troops - against the port and CNT 
stronghold (15 000 affiliates) of Gijon (and, we must stress, 
the Socialists and Communists refused to provide the anarchists
of these ports with weapons to resist the troop landings). Hence his 
claim seems somewhat at odds with the actual events of the October 
uprising.

Moreover, he seems alone in this claim. No other historian (for
example, Hugh Thomas in _The Spanish Civil War_, Raymond Carr in 
_Spain: 1808-1975_, Paul Preston in _The Coming of the Spanish
Civil War_, Gerald Brenan, _The Spanish Labyrinth_, Gabriel
Jackson, _The Spanish Republic and the Civil War: 1931-1939_) 
makes this claim. But, of course, these are not Trotskyists and 
so can be ignored. However, for objective readers such an omission 
might be significant. In addition, they point to other reasons for 
the defeat of the revolt -- the amazingly bad organisation of 
it by the Socialist Party. Raymond Carr sums up the overwhelming 
opinion of the historians when he says that "[a]s a national 
movement the revolution was a fiasco." [Op. Cit., p. 633] Hugh 
Thomas states that the revolt in Catalonia was "crushed nearly 
as quickly as the general strike had been in Madrid." [_The 
Spanish Civil War_, p. 136] Brenan correctly argues that "[f]rom
the moment that Barcelona capitulated and the rising in Madrid
fizzled out, the miners were of course doomed." [Op. Cit., 
p. 286] The failure of both these revolts was directly 
attributable to the policies and actions of the Socialists 
who controlled the "Workers' Alliances" in both areas. Having 
discussed both Madrid and Barcelona above, we leave it to the 
reader to conclude whether Morrow's comments are correct or 
whether a more likely alternative explanation for the revolt's 
failure is possible.

However, even assuming Morrow's claims that the failure of the 
CNT rail workers' union to continue striking in the face of a 
completely farcical "revolt" played a key role in its defeat 
were true, it does not explain many facts. Firstly, the 
government had declared martial law -- placing the railway 
workers in a dangerous position. Secondly, as Jerome R. Mintz 
points out, railway workers "were represented by two competing 
unions -- the Sindicato Nacional Ferroviario of the UGT . . . 
and the CNT-affiliated FNIFF . . . The UGT . . . controlled 
the large majority of the workers. [In 1933] Trifon Gomez, 
secretary of the UGT union, did not believe it possible
to mobilise the workers, few of whom had revolutionary
aspirations." [_The Anarchists of Casa Viejas_, p. 178]
Outside of Catalonia, the majority of the railway workers
belonged to the UGT [Sam Dolgoff, _The Anarchist Collectives_,
p. 90f] Asturias (the only area where major troop transportation 
was needed) does not border Catalonia -- apparently the army 
managed to cross Spain on a rail network manned by a minority 
of its workers. 

However, these points are of little import when compared to 
the fact that Asturias the main government attack was, as
we mentioned above, from a sea borne landing of Foreign 
Legion and Moroccan troops. Troops from Morocco who land 
by sea do not need trains. Indeed, The ports of Aviles and 
Gijon were the principle military bases for launching the
repression against the uprising.

The real failure of the Asturias revolt did not lie with the
CNT, it lay (unsurprisingly enough) with the Socialists and
Communists. Despite CNT pleas the Socialists refused arms, 
Gjon fell after a bloody struggle and became the main base 
for the crushing of the entire region (in "the ports of Aviles 
and Gijon . . . [the] revolutionary committees . . . were
Anarchist dominated . . . the Socialists and Communists
of Oviedo clearly distrusted them and had refused arms to
their delegate the day before" troops landed [Gabriel
Jackson, Op. Cit., p. 152]). 

This Socialist and Communist sabotage of Anarchist resistance 
was repeated in the Civil War, less than two years later. 

As can be seen, Morrow's account of the October Insurrection
of 1934 leaves a lot to be desired. The claim that the CNT
was responsible for its failure cannot withstand a close
examination of the events. Indeed, by providing the facts which
Morrow does not provide we can safely say that the failure
of the revolt across Spain rested squarely with the PSOE
and UGT. It was badly organised, they failed to co-operate
or even communicate with CNT when aid was offered, they relied 
upon the enemies of the CNT in Catalonia and refused arms to 
the CNT in both Madrid and Asturias (so allowing the government 
force, the main force of which landed by sea, easy access to 
Asturias). All in all, even if the minority of railway workers 
in the CNT had joined the strike it would have, in all probability, 
resulted in the same outcome.

Unfortunately, Morrow's assertions have become commonplace
in the ranks of the Left and have become even more distorted 
in the hands of his Trotskyist readers. For example, we find 
Nick Wrack arguing that the "Socialist Party called a general
strike and there were insurrectionary movements in Asturias
and Catalonia, In Madrid and Catalonia the anarchist CNT
stood to one side, arguing that this was a 'struggle between
politicians' and did not concern the workers even though 
this was a strike against a move to incorporate fascism
into the government." He continues, "[i]n Asturias the
anarchist militants participated under the pressure of
the masses and because of the traditions of unity in
that area. However, because of their abstentionist
stupidity, the anarchists elsewhere continued to work,
even working trains which brought the Moorish troops
under Franco to suppress the Asturias insurrection."
["Marxism, Anarchism and the State", pp. 31-7, _Militant
International Review_, no. 46, p. 34]

Its hard to work out where to start in this travesty of
history. We will start with the simple errors. The CNT
*did* take part in the struggle in Madrid. As Paul Preston
notes, in Madrid the "Socialists and Anarchists went on 
strike" [_The Coming of the Spanish Civil War_, p. 174]
In Catalonia, as indicated above, the "insurrectionary
movement" in Catalonia was organised and lead by Catalan
Fascists, who shot upon CNT members when they tried to
open their union halls and who arrested CNT and FAI
militants the night before the uprising. Moreover, the
people organising the revolt had been repressing the
CNT for months previously. Obviously attempts by Catalan
Fascists to become a government should be supported by
socialists, including Trotskyists. Moreover, the UGT and
PSOE had worked with the quasi-fascist Primo do Rivera
dictatorship during the 1920s. The hypocrisy is clear. 
So much for the CNT standing "to one side, arguing that 
this was a 'struggle between politicians' and did not 
concern the workers even though this was a strike against 
a move to incorporate fascism into the government."

His comments that "the anarchists . . . work[ed] trains which 
brought the Moorish troops under Franco to suppress the Asturias 
insurrection" is just plain silly. It was *not* anarchists who
ran the trains, it was railway workers -- under martial law --
some of whom were in the CNT and some of whom were anarchists. 
Moreover, as noted above the Moorish troops under Franco arrived 
*by sea* and not by train. And, of course, no mention of the fact 
that the CNT-FAI in the strategically key port of Gijon was denied 
arms by the Socialists and Communists, which allowed the Moorish 
troops to disembark without real resistance.

Morrow has a lot to answer for.

7. Were the Friends of Durruti Marxists?

It is sometimes claimed that the _Friends of Durruti_ Group
which formed during the Spanish Revolution were Marxists
or represented a "break" with anarchism and a move towards 
Marxism. Both these assertions are false. We discuss whether
the Friends of Durruti (FoD) represented a "break" with
anarchism in the following section. Here we indicate that
claims of the FoD being Marxists are false.

The Friends of Durruti were formed, in March 1937, by anarchist 
militants who had refused to submit to Communist-controlled 
"militarisation" of the workers' militias. During the Maydays -- 
the government attack against the revolution two months later -- 
the Friends of Durruti were notable for their calls to stand 
firm and crush the counter-revolution. During and after the
May Days, the leaders of the CNT asserted that the FoD were
Marxists (which was quite ironic as it was the CNT leaders
who were acting as Marxists in Spain usually did by joining
with bourgeois governments). This was a slander, pure and
simple.

The best source to refute claims that the FoD were Marxists 
(or becoming Marxist) or that they were influenced by, 
or moved towards, the Bolshevik-Leninists is Agustin
Guillamon's book _The Friends of Durruti Group: 1937-1939_.
Guillamon is a Marxist (of the "left-communist" kind) and
no anarchist (indeed he states that the "Spanish Revolution
was the tomb of anarchism as a revolutionary theory of the
proletariat." [p. 108]). That indicates that his account can
be considered objective and not anarchist wishful thinking.
Here we use his work to refute the claims that the FoD
were Marxists. Section 9 discusses their links (or lack
of them) with the Spanish Trotskyists.

So were the FoD Marxists? Guillamon makes it clear -- no,
they were not. In his words, "[t]here is nothing in the
Group's theoretical tenets, much less in the columns of
*El Amigo del Pueblo* [their newspaper], or in their
various manifestos and handbills to merit the description
'marxist' being applied to the Group [by the CNT leadership].
They were simply an opposition to the CNT's leadership's
collaborationist policy, making their stand within the
organisation and upon anarcho-syndicalist ideology." [p. 61]
He stresses this in his conclusion:

"The Friends of Durruti was an affinity group, like many
another existing in anarcho-syndicalist quarters. It was
not influenced to any extent by the Trotskyists, nor by
the POUM. Its ideology and watchwords were quintessentially
in the CNT idiom: it cannot be said that they displayed
a marxist ideology at any time . . . They were against
the abandonment of revolutionary objectives and of anarchism's
fundamental and quintessential ideological principles, which
the CNT-FAI leaders had thrown over in favour of anti-fascist
unity and the need to adapt to circumstances." [p. 107]

In other words, they wanted to return the CNT "to its class
struggle roots." [Ibid.] Indeed, Balius (a leading member
of the group and writer of its 1938 pamphlet _Towards a
Fresh Revolution_) was moved to challenge the charges of
"marxist" levelled at him:

"I will not repay defamatory comment in kind. But what I cannot 
keep mum about is that a legend of marxism has been woven about 
my person and I should like the record put straight . . . It 
grieves me that at the present time there is somebody who dares 
call me a Marxist when I could refute with unanswerable arguments 
those who hang such an unjustified label on me. As one who attends 
our union assemblies and specific gatherings, I might speak of the 
loss of class sensibility which I have observed on a number of 
occasions. I have heard it said that we should be making politics 
-- in as many words, comrades -- in an abstract sense, and virtually 
no one protested. And I, who have been aghast at countless such 
instances, am dubbed a marxist just because I feel, myself to be 
a one hundred percent revolutionary . . . On returning from exile 
in France in the days of Primo de Rivera . . . I have been a defender 
of the CNT and the FAI ever since. In spite of my paralysis, I have 
done time in prison and been taken in manacles to Madrid for my 
fervent and steadfast championship of our organisations and for 
fighting those who once were friends of mine Is that not enough?
. . . So where is this marxism of mine? Is it because my roots are 
not in the factory? . . . The time has come to clarify my position. 
It is not good enough to say that the matter has already been agreed. 
The truth must shine through. As far as I am concerned, I call upon 
all the comrades who have used the press to hang this label upon me 
to spell out what makes me a marxist." [_El Amigo del Pueblo_, no. 4,
p. 3]
 
As can be seen, the FoD were not Marxists. Two more questions arise.
Were they a "break" with anarchism (i.e. moving towards Marxism)
and were they influenced by the Spanish Trotskyists. We turn to these
questions in the next two sections.

8. Did the Friends of Durruti "break with" anarchism?

Morrow claims that the Friends of Durruti (FoD) "represented a 
conscious break with the anti-statism of traditional anarchism. 
They explicitly declared the need for democratic organs of 
power, juntas or soviets, in the overthrow of capitalism." 
[Morrow, Op. Cit., p. 247] The truth of the matter is somewhat
different.

Before discussing his assertion in more detail a few comments
are required. Typically, in Morrow's topsy-turvy world, all 
anarchists like the Friends of Durruti (Morrow also includes 
the Libertarian Youth, the "politically awakened" CNT rank 
and file, local FAI groups, etc.) who remained true to 
anarchism and stuck to their guns (often literally) -- 
represented a break with anarchism and a move towards Marxism, 
the revolutionary vanguard party (no doubt part of the 4th 
International), and a fight for the "workers state." Those 
anarchists, on the other hand, who compromised for "anti-fascist 
unity" (but mainly to try and get weapons to fight Franco) are 
the real anarchists because "class collaboration . . . lies 
concealed in the heart of anarchist philosophy." [Op. Cit.,
p. 101] 

Morrow, of course, would have had a fit if anarchists pointed 
to the example of the Social Democrat's who crushed the German 
Revolution or Stalin's Russia as examples that "rule by an 
elite lies concealed in the heart of Marxist philosophy." 
It does not spring into Morrow's mind that those anarchists
he praises are the ones who show the revolutionary heart of
anarchism. This can best be seen from his comments on the
Friends of Durruti, who we argue were not evolving towards
"Marxism" but rather were trying to push the CNT and FAI
back to its pre-Civil War politics and strategy. Moreover,
as we argue in section 12, anarchism has always argued for
self-managed working class organisations to carry out and 
defend a revolution. The FoD were simply following in the
tradition founded by Bakunin. 

In other words, we will show that they did not "break with" 
anarchism -- rather they refused to compromise their anarchism 
in the face of "comrades" who thought winning the war meant 
entering the government. This is clear from their leaflets, 
paper and manifesto. Moreover, as will become obvious, their 
"break" with anarchism actually just restates pre-war CNT 
policy and organisation. 

For example, their leaflets, in April 1937, called for the unions 
and municipalities to "replace the state" and for no retreat:

"We have the organs that must supplant a State in ruins. The
Trade Unions and Municipalities must take charge of economic
and social life." [quoted by Agustin Guillamon, Op. Cit.,
p. 38]

This clearly is within the CNT and anarcho-syndicalist tradition.
Their manifesto, in 1938, repeated this call ("the state cannot 
be retained in the face of the unions"), and made three demands
as part of their programme. It is worth quoting these at length: 

"I - Establishment of a Revolutionary Junta or National Defence 
Council.

"This body will be organised as follows: members of the revolutionary 
Junta will be elected by democratic vote in the union organisations. 
Account is to be taken of the number of comrades away at the front 
. . . The Junta will steer clear of economic affairs, which are the 
exclusive preserve of the unions.

"The functions of the revolutionary Junta are as follows:

     "a) The management of the war
     "b) The supervision of revolutionary order
     "c) International affairs
     "d) Revolutionary propaganda.

"Posts to come up regularly for re-allocation so as to prevent anyone 
growing attached to them. And the trade union assemblies will exercise 
control over the Junta's activities.

"II - All economic power to the syndicates.

"Since July the unions have supplied evidence of the great capacity for
constructive labour. . . It will be the unions that structure the 
proletarian economy.

"An Economic Council may also be set up, taking into consideration 
the natures of the Industrial Unions and Industrial federations, to 
improve on the co-ordination of economic activities.

"III - Free municipality.

[...]

"The Municipality shall take charge of those functions of society 
that fall outside the preserve of the unions. And since the society 
we are going to build shall be composed exclusively of producers, 
it will be the unions, no less, that will provide sustenance for 
the municipalities. . .

"The Municipalities will be organised at the level of local, comarcal 
and peninsula federations. Unions and municipalities will maintain 
liaison at local, comarcal and national levels." [_Towards a Fresh 
Revolution_]

This programme basically mimics the pre-war CNT policy and organisation
and so cannot be considered as a "break" with anarchist or CNT politics
or tradition. 

Firstly, we should note that the "municipality" was a common CNT
expression to describe a "commune" which was considered as "all 
the residents of a village or hamlet meeting in assembly (council) 
with full powers to administer and order local affairs, primarily 
production and distribution." In the cities and town the equivalent 
organisation was "the union" which "brings individuals together, 
grouping them according to the nature of their work . . . First,
it groups the workers of a factory, workshop or firm together, 
this being the smallest cell enjoying autonomy with regard to 
whatever concerns it alone . . . The local unions federate with 
one another, forming a local federation, composed of the committee 
elected by the unions, and of the general assembly that, in the 
last analysis, holds supreme sovereignty." [Issac Puente, 
_Libertarian Communism_, p. 25 and p. 24]

In addition, the "national federations [of unions] will hold as 
common property the roads, railways, buildings, equipment, machinery 
and workshops" and the "free municipality will federate with its 
counterparts in other localities and with the national industrial 
federations." [Op. Cit., p. 29 and p. 26] Thus Puente's classic
pre-war pamphlet is almost identical to points two and three of
the FoD Programme.

Moreover, the "Economic Council" urged by the FoD in point two
of their programme is obviously inspired by the work of Abad Diego 
de Santillan, particularly his book _After the Revolution_ (_El 
Organismo Economico de la Revolucion_). Discussing the role of the 
"Federal Council of Economy", de Santillan says that it "receives 
its orientation from below and operates in accordance with the
resolutions of the regional and national assemblies." [p. 86] Just 
as the CNT Congresses were the supreme policy-making body in the 
CNT itself, they envisioned a similar body emanating from the 
rank-and-file assemblies to make the guiding decisions for a 
socialised economy.

This leaves point one of their programme, the call for a 
"Revolutionary Junta or National Defence Council." It is here
that Morrow and a host of other Marxists claim the FoD broke
with anarchism towards Marxism. Nothing could be further from
the truth.

Firstly, anarchists have long supported the idea of workers' 
councils (or soviets) as an expression of working class power
to control their own lives (and so society) -- indeed, far 
longer than Marxists. Thus we find Bakunin arguing that the 
"future social organisation must be made solely from the bottom 
up, by the free association or federation of workers, firstly 
in their unions, then in the communes, regions, nations and 
finally in a great federation, international and universal." 
Anarchists "attain this goal . . . by the development and 
organisation, not of the political but of the social (and, 
by consequence, anti-political) power of the working masses." 
[_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, p. 206 and p. 198] 
These councils of workers' delegates (workers' councils) would
be the basis of the commune and defence of the revolution:

"the federative Alliance of all working men's associations . . . 
constitute the Commune . . .. Commune will be organised by the 
standing federation of the Barricades. . . [T]he federation of 
insurgent associations, communes and provinces . . . [would] 
organise a revolutionary force capable of defeating reaction 
. . . it is the very fact of the expansion and organisation 
of the revolution for the purpose of self-defence among the 
insurgent areas that will bring about the triumph of the 
revolution." [Op. Cit., pp. 170-1]

This perspective can be seen in the words of the German
anarcho-syndicalist H. Ruediger (member of the IWA's
secretariat in 1937) when he argued that for anarchists
"social re-organisation, like the defence of the revolution,
should be concentrated in the hands of *working class
organisations* -- whether labour unions or new organs of 
spontaneous creation, such as free councils, etc., which, 
as an expression of the will of the workers themselves, 
from *below up*, should construct the revolutionary social 
community." [quoted in _The May Days in Barcelona_, Vernon 
Richards (ed.), p. 71]

Camillo Berneri sums up the anarchist perspective clearly
when he wrote:

"The Marxists . . . foresee the natural disappearance of the
State as a consequence of the destruction of classes by the
means of 'the dictatorship of the proletariat,' that is to say
State Socialism, whereas the Anarchists desire the destruction
of the classes by means of a social revolution which eliminates,
with the classes, the State. The Marxists, moreover, do not
propose the armed conquest of the Commune by the whole proletariat,
but the propose the conquest of the State by the party which
imagines that it represents the proletariat. The Anarchists allow
the use of direct power by the proletariat, but they understand
by the organ of this power to be formed by the entire corpus of
systems of communist administration -- corporate organisations
[i.e. industrial unions], communal institutions, both regional
and national -- freely constituted outside and in opposition to
all political monopoly by parties and endeavouring to a minimum
administrational centralisation." ["Dictatorship of the
Proletariat and State Socialism", _Cienfuegos Press Anarchist
Review_, no. 4, p. 52]

In other words, anarchists *do* support democratic organs of
power when they are *directly* democratic (i.e. self-managed).
"The basic idea of Anarchism is simple," argued Voline, 
"no party . . . placed above or outside the labouring masses  
. . . ever succeeds in emancipating them . . . Effective
emancipation can only be achieved by the *direct, widespread,
and independent action of those concerned, of the workers
themselves*, grouped, not under the banner of a political
party . . . but in their own class organisations (productive
workers' unions, factory committees, co-operatives, et cetra)
on the basis of concrete action and self-government." [_The
Unknown Revolution_, p, 197] 

Anarchists oppose *representative* organs of power as these 
are governments and so based on minority power and subject 
to bureaucratic deformations which ensure *un*-accountablity 
from below. Anarchists argue "that, by its very nature, 
political power could not be exercised except by a very 
restricted group of men at the centre. Therefore this power 
-- the *real* power -- could not belong to the soviets. It 
would actually be in the hands of the party." [Voline, 
Op. Cit., p. 213]

Thus Morrow's argument is flawed on the basic point that he
does not understand anarchist theory or the nature of an
anarchist revolution (also see section 12).

Secondly, and more importantly given the Spanish context, the 
FoD's vision has a marked similarity to pre-Civil War CNT 
organisation, policy and vision. This means that the idea of 
a National Defence Council was not the radical break with the 
CNT that some claim. Before the civil war the CNT had long has 
its defence groups, federated at regional and national level.
Historian Jerome Mintz provides a good summary:

"The policies and actions of the CNT were conducted primarily
by administrative juntas, beginning with the sindicato, whose
junta consisted of a president, secretary, treasurer, and 
council members. At each step in the confederation, a
representative [sic! -- delegate] was sent to participate
at the next organisational level -- from sindicato to the
district to the regional confederation, then to the national
confederation. In addition to the juntas, however, there
were two major committee systems established as adjuncts
to the juntas that had developed some autonomy: the
*comites pro presos*, or committees for political 
prisoners, which worked for the release of prisoners and
raised money for the relief of their families; and the
*comites de defensa*, or defence committees, whose task
was to stockpile weapons for the coming battle and to
organise the shock troops who would bear the brunt of
the fighting." [_The Anarchists of Casas Viejas_, p. 141]

Thus we see that the CNT had its "juntas" (which means council 
or committee and so does not imply any authoritarianism) as well 
as "defence committees" which were elected by democratic vote in 
the union organisations decades before the FoD existed. The 
Defence Committees (or councils) were a CNT insurgent agency in 
existence well before July 1936 and had, in fact, played a key 
role in many insurrections and strikes, including the events of 
July 1936. In other words, the "break" with anarchism Morrow
presents was, in fact, an exact reproduction of the way the CNT 
had traditionally operated and acted -- it is the same program of 
a "workers defence council" and "union management of the economy" 
that the CNT had advocated prior to the outbreak of the Civil War. 
The only "break" that *did* occur post 19th of July was that of
the CNT and FAI ignoring its politics and history in favour of 
"anti-fascist unity" and a UGT "Workers' Alliance" with all 
anti-fascist unions and parties (see section 5).

Moreover, the CNT insurrection of December 1933 had been 
co-ordinated by a National Revolutionary Committee [_No Gods, 
No Masters_, vol. 2, p. 235]. D.A. Santillan argued that the
"local Council of Economy will assume the mission of defence
and raise voluntary corps for guard duty and if need be,
for combat" in the "cases of emergency or danger of a 
counter-revolution." [_After the Revolution_, p. 80] During 
the war itself a CNT national plenum of regions, in September 
1936, called for a National Defence Council, with majority 
union representation and based on Regional Defence Councils. 
The Defence Council of Aragon, set up soon after, was based 
on these ideas. The need for co-ordinated revolutionary defence 
and attack is just common sense -- and had been reflected in 
CNT theory, policy and structure for decades.

An understanding of the basic ideas of anarchist theory on
revolution combined with the awareness of the CNT's juntas 
(administrative councils or committees) had "defence committees" 
associated with them makes it extremely clear that rather than 
being a "conscious break with the anti-statism of traditional 
anarchism" the FoD's programme was, in fact, a conscious *return* 
to the anti-statism of traditional anarchism and the revolutionary 
program and vision of the pre-Civil War CNT.

This is confirmed if we look at the activities of the CNT in Aragon 
where they formed the "Defence Council of Aragon" in September 1936. 
In the words of historian Antony Beevor, "[i]n late September delegates 
from the Aragonese collectives attended a conference at Bujaraloz,
near where Durruti's column was based. They decided to establish a 
Defence Council of Aragon, and elected as president Joaquin Ascaso." 
[Op. Cit., p. 96] In February 1937, the first congress of the regional 
federation of collectives was held at Caspe to co-ordinate the 
activities of the collectives -- an obvious example of a regional
economic council desired by the FoD. Morrow does mention the Council 
of Aragon -- "the anarchist-controlled Council for the Defence of
Aragon" [Op. Cit., p. 111] -- however, he strangely fails to relate
this fact to anarchist politics. After all, in Aragon the CNT-FAI
remained true to anarchism, created a defence council and a
federation of collectives. If Morrow had discussed the events in
Aragon he would have had to draw the conclusion that the FoD 
were not a "conscious break with the traditional anti-statism
of anarchism" but rather were an expression of it.

This can be seen from the comments made after the end of the war by
the Franco-Spanish Group of _The Friends of Durruti_. They clearly
argued for a return to the principles of anarchism and the pre-war 
CNT. They argued not only for workers' self-organisation and 
self-management as the basis of the revolution but also to the 
pre-war CNT idea of a workers' alliance from the bottom up rather 
than a UGT-style one at the top (see section 5). In their words:

"A revolution requires the absolute domination of the workers' 
organisations as was the case in July, 1936, when the CNT-FAI were 
masters . . .  We incline to the view that it is necessary to form a 
Revolutionary Alliance; a Workers' Front; where no one would be allowed 
to enter and take their place except on a revolutionary basis . . . " 
[_The Friends of Durruti Accuse_]

As can be seen, rather than a "revolutionary government" the FoD were
consistently arguing for a federation of workers' associations as the
basis of the revolution. In this they were loyally following Bakunin's
basic arguments and the ideas of anarchism. Rather than the FoD breaking
with anarchism, it is clear that it was the leading committees of the
CNT and FAI which actually broke with the politics of anarchism and
the tactics, ideas and ideals of the CNT.

Lastly there are the words of Jaime Balius, one of the FoD's main 
activists, who states in 1976 that:

"We did not support the formation of Soviets; there were no 
grounds in Spain for calling for such. We stood for 'all power 
to the trade unions'. In no way were we politically orientated
. . . Ours was solely an attempt to save the revolution; at
the historical level it can be compared to Kronstadt because
if there the sailors and workers called for 'all power to
the Soviets', we were calling for all power to the unions." 
[quoted by Ronald Fraser, _Blood of Spain_, p. 381] 

"Political" here meaning "state-political" -- a common anarchist 
use of the word. According to Fraser, the "proposed revolutionary
junta was to be composed of combatants from the barricades." [Ibid.]
This echoes Bakunin's comment that the "Commune will be organised 
by the standing federation of the Barricades and by the creation
of a Revolutionary Communal Council composed of one or two
delegates from each barricade . . . vested with plenary but
accountable and removable mandates." [Op. Cit., pp. 170-1]

As can be seen, rather than calling for power to a party or
looking to form a government (i.e. being "politically orientated")
the FoD were calling for "all power to the unions." This meant,
in the context of the CNT, all power to the union assemblies
in the workplace. Decision making would flow from the bottom
upwards rather than being delegated to a "revolutionary" 
government as in Trotskyism. To stress the point, the FoD
did not represent a "break" with anarchism or the CNT tradition.
To claim otherwise means to misunderstand anarchist politics
and CNT history.

Our analysis, we must note, also makes a mockery of Guillamon's 
claim that because the FoD thought that libertarian communism 
had to be "impose[d]" and "defended by force of arms" their 
position represented an "evolution within anarchist thought
processes." [Op. Cit., p. 95] As has been made clear above,
from Bakunin onwards revolutionary anarchism has been aware
of the need for an insurrection to create an anarchist society
by destroying both the state and capitalism (i.e. to "impose" 
a free society upon those who wish hierarchy to continue and
are in a position of power) and for that revolution to be 
defended against attempts to defeat it. Similarly, his claim
that the FoD's "revolutionary junta" was the equivalent of 
what "others call the vanguard or the revolutionary party"
cannot be defended given our discussion above -- it is clear
that the junta was not seen as a form of delegated power
by rather as a means of defending the revolution like the
CNT's defence committees and under the direct control of
the union assemblies.

It may be argued that the FoD did not actually mean this
sort of structure. Indeed, their manifesto states that
they are "introducing a slight variation in anarchism into
our program. The establishment of a Revolutionary Junta."
Surely this implies that they saw themselves as having moved 
away from anarchism and CNT policy? As can be seen from Balius'
comments during and after the revolution, the FoD were
arguing for "all power to the unions" and stating that
"apolitical anarchism had failed." However, "apolitical" 
anarchism came about post-July 19th when the CNT-FAI (ignoring
anarchist theory and CNT policy and history) *ignored* the 
state machine rather than destroying it and supplanting it 
with libertarian organs of self-management. The social 
revolution that spontaneously occurred after July 19th was 
essentially economic and social (i.e. "apolitical") and not 
"anti-political" (i.e. the destruction of the state machine).
Such a revolution would soon come to grief on the shores
of the (revitalised) state machine -- as the FoD correctly
argued had happened.

To state that they had introduced a variation into their
anarchism makes sense post-July 1936. The "apolitical" line
of the CNT-FAI had obviously failed and a new departure was
required. While it is clear that the FoD's "new" position was
nothing of the kind, it was elemental anarchist principles,
it was "new" in respect to the policy the CNT ("anarchism") 
had conducted during the Civil War -- a policy they justified 
by selective use of anarchist theory and principles. In the 
face of this, the FoD could claim they were presenting a new 
variation in spite of its obvious similarities to pre-war CNT 
policies and anarchist theory. Thus the claim that the FoD saw 
their ideas as some sort of departure from traditional anarchism 
cannot be maintained, given the obvious links this "new" idea had 
with the past policies and structure of the CNT. As Guillamon 
makes it clear, the FoD made "their stand within the organisation 
and upon anarcho-syndicalist ideology" and "[a]t all times
the Group articulated an anarcho-syndicalist ideology, 
although it also voiced radical criticism of the CNT and
FAI leadership. But it is a huge leap from that to claiming
that the Group espoused marxist positions." [Op. Cit., p. 61
and p. 95]

One last comment. Morrow states that the "CNT leadership . . . 
expelled the Friends of Durruti" [Op. Cit., p. 189] This is not 
true. The CNT leadership did *try* to expel the FoD. However, as 
Balius points out, the "higher committees order[ed] our expulsion, 
but this was rejected by the rank and file in the trade union 
assemblies  and at a plenum of FAI groups held in the Casa 
CNT-FAI." [quoted by Agustin Guillamon, Op. Cit., p. 73] Thus 
the CNT leadership could never get their desire ratified by
any assembly of unions or FAI groups. Unfortunately, Morrow
gets his facts wrong (and also presents a somewhat false
impression of the relationship of the CNT leadership and
the rank and file).  

9. Were the Friends of Durruti influenced by Trotskyists?

Morrow implies that the Bolshevik-Leninists "established close 
contacts with the anarchist workers, especially the 'Friends of 
Durruti'" [Op. Cit., p. 139] The truth, as usual, is somewhat
different.

To prove this we must again turn to Guillamon's work in which
he dedicates a chapter to this issue. He brings this chapter
by stating:

"It requires only a cursory perusal of *El Amigo del Pueblo*
or Balius's statements to establish that the Friends of
Durruti were never marxists, nor influenced at all by the
Trotskyists or the Bolshevik-Leninist Section. But there
is a school of historians determined to maintain the
opposite and hence the necessity for this chapter." 
[Op. Cit., p. 94]

He stresses that the FoD "were not in any way *beholden* to 
Spanish Trotskyism is transparent from several documents" 
and notes that while the POUM and Trotskyists displayed "an 
interest" in "bringing the Friends of Durruti under their
influence" this was "something in which they never succeeded."
[Op. Cit., p. 96 and p. 110]

Pre-May, 1937, Balius himself states that the FoD "had no 
contact with the POUM, nor with the Trotskyists." [Op. Cit.,
p. 104] Post-May, this had not changed as witness E. Wolf 
letter to Trotsky in July 1937 which stated that it "will
be impossible to achieve any collaboration with them . . .
Neither the POUMists nor the Friends would agree to the
meeting [to discuss joint action]." [Op. Cit., pp. 97-8]

In other words, the Friends of Durruti did not establish
"close contacts" with the Bolshevik-Leninists after the
May Days of 1937. While the Bolshevik-Leninists may have
wished for such contacts, the FoD did not (they probably 
remembered their fellow anarchists and workers imprisoned 
and murdered when Trotsky was in power in Russia). They
were, of course, contacts of a limited kind but no influence
or significant co-operation. Little wonder Balius stated in 
1946 that the "alleged influence of the POUM or the Trotskyists 
upon us is untrue." [quoted, Op. Cit., p. 104]

It is hardly surprising that the FoD were not influenced by
Trotskyism. After all, they were well aware of the policies
Trotsky introduced when he was in power. Moreover, the program
of the Bolshevik-Leninists was similar in rhetoric to the
anarchist vision -- they differed on the question of whether
they actually *meant* "all power to the working class" or 
not (see sections 12 and 13). And, of course, the Trotskyists
activities during the May Days amounted to little more
that demanding that the workers' do what they were already
doing (as can be seen from the leaflet they produced -- as 
George Orwell noted, "it merely demanded what was happening 
already" [_Homage to Catalonia_, p. 221]). As usual, the 
"vanguard of the proletariat" were trying to catch up with 
the proletariat.

In theory and practice the FoD were miles ahead of the 
Bolshevik-Leninists -- as to be expected, as the FoD were
anarchists. 

10. What does the Friends of Durruti's programme tell us about
    Trotskyism?

Morrow states that the FoD's "slogans included the essential 
points of a revolutionary program: all power to the working 
class, and democratic organs of the workers, peasants and 
combatants, as the expression of the workers' power." 
[Op. Cit., p. 133] It is useful to compare Leninism to these
points to see if that provides a revolutionary program.

Firstly, as we argue in more detail in section 11, Trotsky
abolished the democratic organs of the Red Army. Lenin's
rule also saw the elimination of the factory committee movement
and its replacement with one-man management appointed from
above (see section 17 and Maurice Brinton's _The Bolsheviks and 
Workers' Control_ for details). Both these events occurred before 
the start of the Russian Civil War in May 1918. Moreover, neither
Lenin nor Trotsky considered workers' self-management of
production as a key aspects of socialism. On this level,
Leninism in power did not constitute a "revolutionary
program."

Secondly, Leninism does *not* call for "all power to the
working class" or even "workers' power" to manage their
own affairs. To quote Trotsky, in an article written in
1937, "the proletariat can take power only through its 
vanguard." The working classes' role is one of supporting 
the party:

"Without the confidence of the class in the vanguard, without 
support of the vanguard by the class, there can be no talk of 
the conquest of power.

"In this sense the proletarian revolution and dictatorship
are the work of the whole class, but only under the leadership
of the vanguard." 

Thus, rather than the working class as a whole seizing power,
it is the "vanguard" which takes power -- "a revolutionary 
party, even after seizing power . . . is still by no means
the sovereign ruler of society." ["Stalinism and Bolshevism", 
_Socialist Review_, no. 146, p. 16] So much for "workers'
power" -- unless you equate that with the "power" to give
your power, your control over your own affairs, to a minority
who claim to represent you. Indeed, Trotsky even attacks the 
idea that workers' can achieve power directly via organs of 
self-management like workers' councils (or soviets):

"Those who propose the abstraction of the Soviets from the 
party dictatorship should understand that only thanks to 
the party dictatorship were the Soviets able to lift 
themselves out of the mud of reformism and attain the
state form of the proletariat." [Op. Cit., p. 18]

In other words, the dictatorship of the proletariat is, in
fact, expressed by "the party dictatorship." In this Trotsky
follows Lenin who asserted that:

"The very presentation of the question -- 'dictatorship of the 
Party *or* dictatorship of the class, dictatorship (Party) of 
the leaders *or* dictatorship (Party) of the masses?' -- is 
evidence of the most incredible and hopeless confusion of 
mind . . . [because] classes are usually . . . led by political 
parties. . . " [_Left-wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder_, 
pp. 25-6]

As has been made clear above, the FoD being anarchists aimed
for a society of generalised self-management, a system in which
working people directly controlled their own affairs and so
society. As these words by Lenin and Trotsky indicate they did
not aim for such a society, a society based on "all power to the 
working class." Rather, they aimed for a society in which the
workers would delegate their power into the hands of a few,
the revolutionary party, who would exercise power *on their
behalf.* The FoD meant exactly what they said when they argued
for "all power to the working class" -- they did not mean this
as a euphemism for party rule. In this they followed Bakunin:

"[T]he federated Alliance of all labour associations . . . 
will constitute the Commune . . .  there will be a federation
of the standing barricades and a Revolutionary Communal Council
will operate on the basis of one or two delegates from each
barricade . . . these deputies being invested with binding
mandates and accountable and revocable at all times. . . 
An appeal will be issued to all provinces, communes and
associations inviting them to follow the example set . . .
[and] to reorganise along revolutionary lines . . . and to then
delegate deputies to an agreed place of assembly (all of
those deputies invested with binding mandates and accountable
and subject to recall), in order to found the federation of
insurgent associations, communes and provinces . . . Thus it
is through the very act of extrapolation and organisation
of the Revolution with an eye to the mutual defences of
insurgent areas that the . . . Revolution, founded upon . . .
the ruins of States, will emerge triumphant. . . 

"Since it is the people which must make the revolution
everywhere, and since the ultimate direction of it must at
all times be vested in the people organised into a free
federation of agricultural and industrial organisations
. . . being organised from the bottom up through
revolutionary delegation . . ." [_No God, No Masters_,
vol. 1, pp. 155-6]

And:

"Not even as revolutionary transition will we countenance 
national Conventions, nor Constituent Assemblies, nor 
provisional governments, nor so-called revolutionary
dictatorships: because we are persuaded that revolution
s sincere, honest and real only among the masses and that,
whenever it is concentrated in the hands of a few governing
individuals, it inevitably and immediately turns into
reaction." [Op. Cit., p. 160]

As can be seen, Bakunin's vision is precisely, to use Morrow'
words, "all power to the working class, and democratic organs 
of the workers, peasants and combatants, as the expression of 
the workers' power." Thus the Friends of Durruti's program
is not a "break" with anarchism (as we discussed in more 
detail in the section 8) but rather in the tradition started
by Bakunin -- in other words, an anarchist program. It is
Leninism, as can be seen, which rejects this "revolutionary
program" in favour of all power to the representatives of
the working class (i.e. party) which it confuses with the
working class as a whole.

Given that Morrow asserts that "all power to the working class" 
was an "essential" point of "a revolutionary program" we can only
conclude that Trotskyism does not provide a revolutionary
program -- rather it provides a program based, at best, on
representative government in which the workers' delegate 
their power to a minority or, at worse, on party dictatorship 
*over* the working class (the experience of Bolshevik Russia
would suggest the former quickly becomes the latter, and is
justified by Bolshevik ideology).

By his own arguments, here as in so many other cases, Morrow
indicates that Trotskyism is not a revolutionary movement or
theory.

11. Why is Morrow's comments against the militarisation of the 
    Militias ironic?

Morrow denounces the Stalinist militarisation of the militias
(their "campaign for wiping out the internal democratic
life of the militias") as follows:

"The Stalinists early sought to set an 'example' by handing
their militias over to government control, helping to 
institute the salute, supremacy of officers behind the
lines, etc. . .

"The example was wasted on the CNT masses . . . The POUM
reprinted for distribution in the militias the original
Red Army Manual of Trotsky, providing for a democratic
internal regime and political life in the army." [Op. Cit.,
p. 126]

Morrow states that he supported the "democratic election of
soldiers' committees in each unit, centralised in a national
election of soldiers' delegates to a national council." 
Moreover, he attacks the POUM leadership because it "*forbade* 
election of soldiers' committees" and argued that the "simple, 
concrete slogan of elected soldier's committees was the only 
road for securing proletariat control of the army." He attacks 
the POUM because its "ten thousand militiamen were controlled 
bureaucratically by officials appointed by the Central Committee
of the party, election of soldiers' committees being expressly 
forbidden." [Op. Cit., p. 127, p. 128 and pp. 136-7]

Again, Morrow is correct. A revolutionary working class militia 
*does* require self-management, the election of delegates, soldiers' 
councils and so on. Bakunin, for example, argued that the fighters
on the barricades would take a role in determining the development
of the revolution as the "Commune will be organised by the standing
federation of the Barricades . . . composed of one or two delegates
from each barricade . . . vested with plenary but accountable and
removable mandates." This would complement "the federative Alliance
of all working men's [and women's] associations . . . which will
constitute the Commune." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_,
pp. 170-1] That is *exactly* why the CNT militia organised in this 
fashion (and, we must note, they were only applying the organisational
principles of the CNT and FAI -- i.e. anarchism -- to the militias). 
The militia columns were organised in a libertarian fashion from the 
bottom up: 

"The establishment of war committees is acceptable to all confederal 
militias. We start from the individual and form groups of ten, which 
come to accommodations among themselves for small-scale operations. 
Ten such groups together make up one centuria, which appoints a delegate 
to represent it. Thirty centurias make up one column, which is directed 
by a war committee, on which the delegates from the centurias have their 
say. . . although every column retains its freedom of action, we arrive 
at co-ordination of forces, which is not the same thing as unity of 
command." [_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 2, pp. 256-7] 

In other words, Morrow is arguing for an *anarchist* solution to the 
problem of defending the revolution and organising those who were 
fighting fascism. We say anarchist for good reason. What is ironic 
about Morrow's comments and description of "workers' control of the 
army" is that these features were *exactly* those eliminated by 
Trotsky when he created the Red Army in 1918! Indeed, Trotsky 
acted in *exactly* the same way as Morrow attacks the Stalinists 
for acting (and they used many of the same arguments as Trotsky
did to justify it). 

As Maurice Brinton correctly summarises:

"Trotsky, appointed Commissar of Military Affairs after
Brest-Litovsk, had rapidly been reorganising the Red
Army. The death penalty for disobedience under fire had
been restored. So, more gradually, had saluting, special
forms of address, separate living quarters and other
privileges for officers. Democratic forms of organisation,
including the election of officers, had been quickly
dispensed with." [_The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control_,
p. 37]

He notes that "[f]or years, Trotskyist literature has denounced 
these reactionary facets of the Red Army as examples of what 
happened to it 'under Stalinism.'" [Op. Cit., p. 37f] This claim 
was, amazingly enough, also made by Trotsky himself. In 1935 he 
re-wrote history by arguing that "[i]n the fire of the cruel 
struggle [of the Civil War], there could not be even a question 
of a privileged position for officers: the very word was scrubbed 
out of the vocabulary." Only "after the victories had been won 
and the passage made to a peaceful situation" did "the military 
apparatus" try to "become the most influential and privileged 
part of the whole bureaucratic apparatus" with "the Stalinist 
bureaucracy . . . gradually over the succeeding ten to twelve 
years" ensuring for them "a superior position" and giving them 
"ranks and decorations." [_How Did Stalin Defeat the Opposition?_]

In fact, "ranks and decorations" and "superior" positions
were introduced by Trotsky *before* the outbreak of the Civil 
War in May 1918. Having been responsible for such developments
you would think he would remember them!

On March 28th, 1918, Trotsky gave a report to the Moscow City 
Conference of the Communist Party. In this report he stated 
that "the principle of election is politically purposeless 
and technically inexpedient, and it has been, in practice, 
abolished by decree" and that the Bolsheviks "fac[ed] the 
task of creating a regular Army." Why the change? Simply 
because the Bolshevik Party held power ("political power
is in the hands of the same working class from whose ranks
the Army is recruited"). Of course, power was actually held 
by the Bolshevik party, not the working class, but never fear:

"Once we have established the Soviet regime, that is a system 
under which the government is headed by persons who have been 
directly elected by the Soviets of Workers', Peasants' and 
Soldiers' Deputies, there can be no antagonism between the 
government and the mass of the workers, just as there is no 
antagonism between the administration of the union and the 
general assembly of its members, and, therefore, there cannot 
be any grounds for fearing the *appointment* of members of the
commanding staff by the organs of the Soviet Power."
[_Work, Discipline, Order_]

Of course, most workers' are well aware that the administration 
of a trade union usually works against them during periods of 
struggle. Indeed, so are most Trotskyists as they often denounce 
the betrayals by that administration. Thus Trotsky's own analogy 
indicates the fallacy of his argument. Elected officials do not
necessary reflect the interests of those who elected them. That
is why anarchists have always supported *delegation* rather 
than representation combined with decentralisation, strict 
accountability and the power of instant recall. In a highly 
centralised system (as created by the Bolsheviks and as exists
in most social democratic trade unions) the ability to recall 
an administration is difficult as it requires the agreement of 
*all* the people. Thus there are quite a few grounds for fearing 
the appointment of commanders by the government -- no matter
which party makes it up. 

If, as Morrow argues, the "simple, concrete slogan of elected 
soldier's committees was the only road for securing proletariat 
control of the army" then Trotsky's regime in the Red Army ensured 
the defeat of proletarian control of that organisation. The question 
Morrow raises of who would control the army, the working class or 
the bourgeois failed to realise the real question -- who was to 
control the army, the working class, the bourgeois or the state 
bureaucracy. Trotsky ensured that it would be the latter.

Hence Morrow's own arguments indicate the anti-revolutionary
nature of Trotskyism -- unless, of course, we decide to look
only at what people say and not what they do.

Of course some Trotskyists know what Trotsky actually did 
when he held power and try and present apologetics for his
obvious destruction of soldiers' democracy. One argues that 
the "Red Army, more than any other institution of the civil 
war years, embodied the contradiction between the political 
consciousness and circumstantial coercion. On the one hand 
the creation of a Red Army was a retreat: it was a conscripted 
not a voluntary army; officers were appointed not elected . . . 
But the Red Army was also filled with a magnificent socialist 
consciousness." [John Rees, "In Defence of October", 
_International Socialism_, no. 52, pp. 3-82, p. 46]

This argument is somewhat weak for two reasons. 

Firstly, the regressive features of the Red Army appeared 
*before* the start of the Civil War. It was a political 
decision to organise in this way, a decision *not justified 
at the time in terms of circumstantial necessity*. Indeed, 
far from it (like most of the other Bolshevik policies of 
the period). Rather it was justified under the rather dubious 
rationale that workers did not need to fear the actions of a 
workers' state. Circumstances were not mentioned at all nor 
was the move considered as a retreat or as a defeat. It was 
not even considered as a matter of principle. 

This perspective was reiterated by Trotsky after the end of 
the Civil War. Writing in 1922, he argued that:

"There was and could be no question of controlling troops
by means of elected committees and commanders who were 
subordinate to these committees and might be replaced at 
any moment . . . [The old army] had carried out a social 
revolution within itself, casting aside the commanders from 
the landlord and bourgeois classes and establishing organs 
of revolutionary self-government, in the shape of the Soviets 
of Soldiers' Deputies. These organisational and political 
measures were correct and necessary from the standpoint of 
breaking up the old army. But a new army capable of fighting 
could certainly not grow directly out of them . . . The attempt 
made to apply our old organisational methods to the building 
of a Red Army threatened to undermine it from the very outset
. . . the system of election could in no way secure competent, 
suitable and authoritative commanders for the revolutionary 
army. The Red Army was built from above, in accordance with 
the principles of the dictatorship of the working class. 
Commanders were selected and tested by the organs of the
Soviet power and the Communist Party. Election of commanders 
by the units themselves -- which were politically ill-educated, 
being composed of recently mobilised young peasants -- would 
inevitably have been transformed into a game of chance, and 
would often, in fact, have created favourable circumstances 
for the machinations of various intriguers and adventurers. 
Similarly, the revolutionary army, as an army for action 
and not as an arena of propaganda, was incompatible with 
a regime of elected committees, which in fact could not 
but destroy all centralised control." [_The Path of the 
Red Army_]

If a "circumstantial" factor exists in this rationale, it is
the claim that the soldiers were "politically ill-educated."
However, *every* mass movement or revolution *starts* with
those involved being "politically ill-educated." The very
process of struggle educates them politically. A key part
of this radicalisation is practising self-management and
self-organisation -- in other words, in participating in
the decision making process of the struggle, by discussing
ideas and actions, by hearing other viewpoints, electing
and mandating delegates. To remove this ensures that those
involved *remain* "politically ill-educated" and, ultimately,
incapable of self-government. It also contains the rationale
for continuing party dictatorship:

"If some people . . . have assumed the right to violate
everybody's freedom on the pretext of preparing the triumph 
of freedom, they will always find that the people are not yet 
sufficiently mature, that the dangers of reaction are ever-present, 
that the education of the people has not yet been completed. And 
with these excuses they will seek to perpetuate their own power." 
[Errico Malatesta, _Life and Ideas_, p. 52]

In addition, Trotsky's rationale refutes any claim that Bolshevism 
is somehow "fundamentally" democratic. The ramifications of it were 
felt everywhere in the soviet system as the Bolsheviks ignored 
the "wrong" democratic decisions made by the working masses and 
replaced their democratic organisations with appointees from above. 
Indeed, Trotsky admits that the "Red Army was built from above, 
in accordance with the principles of the dictatorship of the 
working class." Which means, to state the obvious, appointment
from above, the dismantling of self-government, and so on
are "in accordance with the principles" of Trotskyism. These
comments were not made in the heat of the civil war, but
afterward during peacetime. Notice Trotsky admits that a 
"social revolution" had swept through the Tsarist army. His 
actions, he also admits, reversed that revolution and replaced 
its organs of "self-government" with ones identical to the old 
regime. When that happens it is usually called by its true
name, namely *counter*-revolution.

For a Trotskyist, therefore, to present themselves as a supporter 
of self-managed militias is the height of hypocrisy. The Stalinists 
repeated the same arguments used by Trotsky and acted in exactly
the same way in their campaign against the CNT and POUM militias.
Certain acts have certain ramifications, no matter who does them
or under what government. In other words, abolishing democracy
in the army will generate autocratic tendencies which will 
undermine socialistic ones *no matter who does it.* The same
means cannot be used to serve different ends as there is an
intrinsic relationship between the instruments used and the
results obtained -- that is why the bourgeoisie do not encourage
democracy in the army or the workplace! Just as the capitalist
workplace is organised to produce proletarians and capital 
along with cloth and steel, the capitalist army is organised to
protect and reinforce minority power. The army and the capitalist 
workplace are not simply means or neutral instruments. Rather 
they are social structures which generate, reinforce and *protect* 
specific social relations. This is what the Russian masses 
instinctively realised and conducted a social-revolution in 
both the army and workplace to *transform* these structures into
ones which would enhance rather than crush freedom and working 
class autonomy. The Bolsheviks reversed these movements in favour
of structures which reproduced capitalist social relationships 
*and justified it in terms of "socialism."* Unfortunately,
capitalist means and organisations would only generate 
capitalist ends.

It was for these reasons that the CNT and its militias were 
organised from the bottom up in a self-managed way. It was the 
only way *socialists* and a socialist society could be created -- 
that is why anarchists are anarchists, we recognise that a socialist
(i.e. libertarian) society cannot be created by authoritarian
organisations. As the justly famous Sonvillier Circular argued 
"[h]ow could one expect an egalitarian society to emerge out
of an authoritarian organisation? It is impossible." [quoted
by Brian Morris, _Bakunin: The Philosophy of Freedom_, p. 61] 
Just as the capitalist state cannot be utilised by the working
class for its own ends, capitalist/statist organisational 
principles such as appointment, autocratic management, 
centralisation and delegation of power and so on cannot be 
utilised for social liberation. They are not designed to be 
used for that purpose (and, indeed, they were developed in
the first place to stop it and enforce minority rule!).

In addition, to abolish democracy on the pretext that people 
are not ready for it ensures that it will never exist. Anarchists, 
in contrast, argue that "[o]nly freedom or the struggle for freedom 
can be the school for freedom." [Malatesta, Op. Cit., p. 59] 

Secondly, how can a "socialist consciousness" be encouraged, 
or continue to exist, without socialist institutions to 
express it? Such a position is idealistic nonsense, 
expressing the wishful notion that the social relationships 
people experiences does not impact on those involved. In 
effect, Rees is arguing that as long as the leaders have 
the "right ideas" it does not matter how an organisation is 
structured. However, how people develop, the ideas they 
have in their heads, are influenced by the relations they 
create with each other -- autocratic organisations do not 
encourage self-management or socialism, they produce 
bureaucrats and subjects.

An autocratic organisation *cannot* encourage a socialist
consciousness by its institutional life, only in spite of it.
For example, the capitalist workplace encourages a spirit of 
revolt and solidarity in those subject to its hierarchical
management and this is expressed in direct action -- by
*resisting* the authority of the boss. It only generates a
socialist perspective via resistance to it. Similarly with 
the Red Army. Education programs to encourage reading and
writing does not generate socialists, it generates soldiers 
who are literate. If these soldiers do not have the 
institutional means to manage their own affairs, a forum 
to discuss political and social issues, then they remain 
order takers and any socialist conscious will wither and 
die. 

The Red Army was based on the fallacy that the structure 
of an organisation is unimportant and it is the politics of 
those in charge that matter (Marxists make a similar claim
for the state, so we should not be too surprised). However, 
it is no co-incidence that bourgeois structures are always
hierarchical -- self-management is a politically educational
experience which erodes the power of those in charge and
transforms those who do it. It is to stop this development,
to protect the power of the ruling few, that the bourgeois
always turn to centralised, hierarchical structures -- they
reinforce elite rule. You cannot use the same form of
organisation and expect different results -- they are
designed that way for a reason! To twitter on about
the Red Army being "filled with a magnificent socialist 
consciousness" while justifying the elimination of the 
only means by which that consciousness could survive, 
prosper and grow indicates a complete lack of socialist 
politics and any understanding of materialist philosophy. 

Moreover, one of the basic principles of the anarchist militia 
was equality between all members. Delegates received the same 
pay, ate the same food, wore the same clothes as the rest of 
the unit. Not so in the Red Army. Trotsky thought, when he
was in charge of it, that inequality was "in some cases . . . 
quite explicable and unavoidable" and that "[e]very Red Army 
warrior fully accepts that the commander of his unit should 
enjoy certain privileges as regards lodging, means of transport 
and even uniform." [_More Equality!_] 

Of course, Trotsky would think that, being the head commander 
of the Army. Unfortunately, because soldier democracy had 
been abolished by decree, we have no idea whether the rank 
and file of the Red Army agreed with him. For Trotsky, 
privilege "is, in itself, in certain cases, inevitable" but 
"*[o]stentatious indulgence* in privilege is not just evil, 
it is a crime." Hence his desire for "more" equality rather
than equality -- to aim for "eliminating the most abnormal [!] 
phenomena, softening [!] the inequality that exists" rather 
than abolish it as they did in the CNT militias. [Op. Cit.]

But, of course, such inequalities that existed in the Red Army 
are to be expected in an autocratically run organisation. The 
inequality inherent in hierarchy, the inequality in power 
between the order giver and order taker, will, sooner or 
later, be reflected in material inequality. As happened in 
the Red Army (and all across the "workers' state"). All Trotsky
wanted was for those in power to be respectable in their
privilege rather than showing it off. The anarchist militias 
did not have this problem because being libertarian, delegates 
were subject to recall and power rested with the rank and file, 
*not* an elected government.

As another irony of history, Morrow quotes a Bolshevik-Leninist 
leaflet (which "points the road") as demanding "[e]qual pay for 
officers and soldiers." [Op. Cit., p. 191] Obviously these good 
Trotskyists had no idea what their hero actually wrote on this 
subject or did when in power. We have to wonder how long their 
egalitarian demands would have survived once they had acquired 
power -- if the experience of Trotsky in power is anything to 
go by, not very long.

Trotsky did not consider how the abolition of democracy and
its replacement with an autocratic system would effect the
morale or consciousness of the soldiers subject to it. He 
argued that in the Red Army "the *best* soldier does not 
mean at all the *most submissive and uncomplaining.*"
Rather, "the best soldier will nearly always be sharper,
more observant and critical than the others. . . by his
critical comments, based on facts accessible to all, he
will pretty often undermine the prestige of the commanders
and commissars in the eyes of the mass of the soldiers."
However, not having a democratic army the soldiers could
hardly express their opinion other than rebellion or 
by indiscipline. Trotsky, however, adds a comment that
makes his praise of critical soldiers seem less than
sincere. He states that "counter-revolutionary elements,
agents of the enemy, make conscious and skilful use of
the circumstances I have mentioned [presumably excessive
privilege rather than critical soldiers, but who can tell]
in order to stir up discontent and intensify antagonism
between rank and file and the commanding personnel."
[Op. Cit.] The question, of course, arises of who can 
tell the difference between a critical soldier and a
"counter-revolutionary element"? Without a democratic
organisation, soldier are dependent (as in any other
hierarchy) on the power of the commanders, commissars and, 
in the Red Army, the Bolshevik Secret Police (the Cheka). 
In other words, members of the very class of autocrats 
their comments are directed against.

Without democratic organisation, the Red Army could never 
be a means for creating a socialist society, only a means
of reproducing autocratic organisation. The influence of
the autocratic organisation created by Trotsky had a
massive impact on the development of the Soviet State.
According to Trotsky himself:

"The demobilisation of the Red Army of five million played 
no small role in the formation of the bureaucracy. The
victorious commanders assumed leading posts in the local 
Soviets, in economy, in education, and they persistently
introduced everywhere that regime which had ensured success 
in the civil war. Thus on all sides the masses were pushed 
away gradually from actual participation in the leadership 
of the country." [_The Revolution Betrayed_]

Obviously Trotsky had forgotten who created the regime in
the Red Army in the first place! He also seems to have
forgotten that after militarising the Red Army, he turned
his power to militarising workers (starting with the
railway workers). He also forgets that Lenin had been
arguing that workers' must "*unquestioningly obey the
single will* of the leaders of labour" from April 1918
along with granting "individual executives dictatorial
power (or 'unlimited' powers)" and that "the appointment
of individuals, dictators with unlimited powers" was,
in fact, "in general compatible with the fundamental
principles of Soviet government" simply because "the
history of revolutionary movements" had "shown" that
"the dictatorship of individuals was very often the
expression, the vehicle, the channel of the dictatorship
of revolutionary classes." He notes that "[u]ndoubtably,
the dictatorship of individuals was compatible with
bourgeois democracy." [_The Immediate Tasks of the
Soviet Government_, p. 34 and p. 32]

In other words, Lenin urged the creation of, and implemented, 
*bourgeois* forms of workplace management based on the
appointment of managers from above. To indicate that this 
was not in contradiction with Soviet principles, he points
to the example of *bourgeois* revolutions! As if bourgeois
methods do not reflect bourgeois interests and goals. In
addition, these "dictators" were given the same autocratic
powers Trotsky claimed the demobilisation of the Red Army 
four years later had "persistently introduced everywhere." 
Yes, "on all sides the masses were pushed away gradually 
from actual participation in the leadership of the country"
but the process had started immediately after the October
Revolution and was urged and organised by Lenin and Trotsky
before the Civil War had started.

Lenin's support for appointment of ("dictatorial") managers 
from above makes Trotsky's 1922 comment that the "Red Army 
was built from above, in accordance with the principles of 
the dictatorship of the working class" take on a new light.
[_The Path of the Red Army_] After all, Lenin argued for
an economy system built from above via the appointment of 
managers before the start of the Civil War. The Red Army 
was created from above via the appointment of officers before
the start of the Civil War. Things had certainly changed since
Lenin had argued in _The State and Revolution_ that "[a]ll
officials, without exception, [would be] elected and
subject to recall *at any time.*" This would "serve as
the bridge between capitalism and socialism." [_The Essential 
Lenin_, p. 302] One major difference, given Trotsky's 
rationales, seems to be that the Bolsheviks were now in 
power and so election and recall without exception 
could be forgotten and replaced by appointment. 

In summary, Trotsky's argument against functional democracy 
in the Red Army could, and was, used to justify the 
suppression of any democratic decision or organisation 
of the working class the Bolshevik government disapproved 
of. He used the same argument, for example, to justify the 
undermining of the Factory Committee movement and the 
struggle for workers' control in favour of one-man 
management -- the form of management in the workplace was 
irrelevant as the workers' were now citizens of a workers' 
state and under a workers' government (see section 17). 
Needless to say, a state which eliminates functional 
democracy in the grassroots will not stay democratic 
for long (and to remain the sovereign power in society,
any state will have to eliminate it or, at the very least, 
bring it under central control -- as institutionalised
in the USSR constitution of 1918).

Instead of seeing socialism as a product of free association,
of working class self-organisation from the bottom up by
self-managed organisations, Trotsky saw it as a centralised,
top-down system. Of course, being a democrat of sorts he
saw the Bolshevik Government as being elected by the mass
of the population (or, more correctly, he saw it being
elected by the national congress of soviets). However, his
vision of centralisation of power provided the rationale
for destroying functional democracy in the grass-roots
-- and without healthy roots, any plant will wither and
die. Little wonder, then, that the Bolshevik experiment
proved such a disaster -- yes, the civil war did not help
but the logic of Bolshevism has started to undermine
working class self-management *before* is started. 

Thus Trotsky's argument that the democratic nature of
a workers' army or militia is irrelevant because a
"workers' state" exists is flawed on many different
levels. And the experience of Trotsky in power indicates
well the poverty of Trotskyism and Morrow's criticism
of the CNT -- his suggestion for a self-managed militia
is pure anarchism with nothing to do with Leninism and
the experience of Bolshevism in power.

12. What is ironic about Morrow's vision of revolution?

Equally ironic as Morrow's comments concerning democratic militias
(see last section) is his argument that the revolution needed
to "give the factory committees, militia committees, peasant
committees, a democratic character, by having them elected
by all workers in each unit; to bring together these elected
delegates in village, city, regional councils . . . [and]
a national congress." [Op. Cit., p. 100]

Such a position is correct, such developments were required
to ensure the success of the revolution. However, it is 
somewhat ironic that a Trotskyist would present them as
somehow being opposed to anarchism when, in fact, they are
pure anarchism. Indeed, anarchists were arguing in favour
of workers' councils more than five decades before Lenin
discovered the importance of the Russian Soviets in 1917. 
Moreover, as we will indicate, what is even more ironic is
the fact that Trotskyism does not actually see these organs
as an expression of working class self-management and power
but rather as a means of the party to take power. In addition,
we must also note that it was Lenin and Trotsky who helped
undermine the Russian workers' factory committees, militia
committees and so on in favour of party rule. We will discuss
each of these ironies in turn.

Firstly, as noted, such Morrow's stated position is exactly 
what Bakunin and the anarchist movement had been arguing since 
the 1860s. To quote Bakunin:

"the federative alliance of all working men's associations 
. . . constitute the Commune . . . all provinces, communes
and associations . . . by first *reorganising* on revolutionary
lines . . . [will] constitute the federation of insurgent
associations, communes and provinces . . . [and] organise a
revolutionary force capable defeating reaction . . . [and
for] self-defence . . . [The] revolution everywhere must be 
created by the people, and supreme control must always belong 
to the people organised into a free federation of agricultural 
and industrial associations . . . organised from the bottom 
upwards by means of revolutionary delegation. . . " [_Michael 
Bakunin: Selected Writings_, p. 170-2]

"The future social organisation must be made solely from the 
bottom up, by the free association or federation of workers, 
firstly in their unions, then in the communes, regions, 
nations and finally in a great federation, international 
and universal." [Op. Cit., p. 206]

Here is Kropotkin presenting the same vision:

"independent Communes for the territorial organisation, and 
of federations of Trade Unions [i.e. workplace associations] 
for the organisation of men [and women] in accordance with 
their different functions. . . [and] free combines and societies 
. . . for the satisfaction of all possible and imaginable needs, 
economic, sanitary, and educational; for mutual protection, for 
the propaganda of ideas, for arts, for amusement, and so on." 
[Peter Kropotkin, _Evolution and Environment_, p. 79]

"the complete independence of the Communes, the Federation of free 
communes and the social revolution in the communes, that is to say 
the formation of associated productive groups in place of the state 
organisation." [quoted by Camillo Berneri, _Peter Kropotkin: His
Federalist Ideas_]

Bakunin also mentions that those defending the revolution would
have a say in the revolutionary structure -- the "Commune will be
organised by the standing federation of the Barricades and by
the creation of a Revolutionary Council composed of . . . 
delegates from each barricade . . . vested with plenary but
accountable and removable mandates." [Op. Cit., p. 171] This
obviously parallels the democratic nature of the CNT militias.

Interestingly enough, Marx commented that "odd barricades,
these barricades of the Alliance [Bakunin's anarchist 
organisation], where instead of fighting they spend their
time writing mandates." [Marx, Engels and Lenin, _Anarchism
and Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 111] Obviously the importance
of militia self-management was as lost on him as it was
on Lenin and Trotsky -- under Marx's state would its defenders
just be cannon-fodder, obeying their government and officers
without the ability to help determine the revolution they
were fighting for? Apparently so. Moreover, Marx quotes
Bakunin's support for "responsible and recallable delegates,
vested with their imperative mandates" without commenting
on the fact Bakunin *predicts* those features of the Paris
Commune Marx praised in his _Civil War in France_ by a
number of years. Looks like Morrow is not the first Marxist 
to appropriate anarchist ideas without crediting their source.

As can be seen, Morrow's suggestion on how to push the 
Spanish Revolution forward just repeats the ideas of 
anarchism. Any one familiar with anarchist theory would not
be surprised by this as they would know that we have seen 
a free federation of workplace and communal associations 
as the basis of a revolution and, therefore, a free society 
since the time of Proudhon. Thus Morrow's "Trotskyist" vision 
of a federation of workers' council actually reproduces basic
anarchist ideas, ideas which pre-date Lenin's support for 
soviets as the basis of his "workers' state" by over half 
a century (we will indicate the fundamental difference 
between the anarchist vision and the Trotskyist in due 
course).

As an aside, these quotes by Bakunin and Kropotkin make a 
mockery of Lenin's assertion that anarchists do not analysis 
"*what* to put in the place of what has been destroyed [i.e. 
the old state machine] and *how*" [_Essential Works of Lenin_, 
p. 362] Anarchists have always suggested a clear answer to 
what we should "replace" the state with -- namely free federations
of working class organisations created in the struggle against 
capital and state. To state otherwise is to either be ignorant
of anarchist theory or seek to deceive.

Some anarchists like Bakunin and the anarcho-syndicalists and 
collectivists saw these organisations being based primarily on 
libertarian labour unions complemented by whatever organisations 
were created in the process of revolution ("The future society 
must be nothing else than the universalisation of the organisation 
that the International has formed for itself" -- "The Sonvillier 
Circular" echoing Bakunin, quoted by Brian Morris, _Bakunin: 
The Philosophy of Freedom_, p. 61] Others like Kropotkin and 
anarcho-communists saw it as a free federation of organisations 
created by the process of revolution itself. While anarchists 
did not present a blueprint of what would occur after the 
revolution (and rightly so) they did provide a general outline 
in terms of a decentralised, free federation of self-managed 
workers' associations as well as linking these future forms of 
working class self-government with the forms generated in the 
current class struggle in the here and now.

Similarly, Lenin's other assertion that anarchists do 
not study "the *concrete* lessons of previous proletarian 
revolutions" [Ibid.] is equally baseless, as any one 
reading, say, Kropotkin's work would soon realise (for 
example, _The Great French Revolution_, _Modern Science 
and Anarchism_ or his pamphlet "Revolutionary Government"). 
Starting with Bakunin, anarchists analysed the experiences 
of the Paris Commune and the class struggle itself to 
generalise political conclusions from them (for example,
the vision of a free society as a federation of workers'
associations is clearly a product of analysing the class
struggle and looking at the failures of the Commune). Given
that Lenin states in the same work that "anarchists had
tried to claim the Paris Commune as their 'own'" [p. 350]
suggests that anarchists *had* studied the Paris Commune
and he was aware of that fact. Of course, Lenin states 
that we had "failed to give . . . a true solution" to 
its lessons -- given that the solution anarchists proposed 
was a federation of workers councils to smash the state and 
defend the revolution his comments seem strange as this, 
according to _The State and Revolution_, is the "Marxist" 
solution as well (in fact, as we will soon see, Lenin played 
lip service to this and instead saw the solution as government
by his party rather than the masses as a whole). 

Thus, Morrow's vision of what was required for a successful
revolution parallels that of anarchism. We shall now discuss
where and how they differ.

The essential difference between the anarchist and Trotskyist
vision of workers' councils as the basis of a revolution is
what role these councils should play. For anarchists, these
federations of self-managed assemblies is the actual framework
of the revolution (and the free society it is trying to
create). As Murray Bookchin puts it:

"There can be no separation of the revolutionary process from 
the revolutionary goal. *A society based on self-administration 
must be achieved by means of self-administration* . . . Assembly
and community must arise from within the revolutionary
process itself; indeed, the revolutionary process must *be*
the formation of assembly and community, and with it, the
destruction of power.  Assembly and community must become
'fighting words,' not distinct panaceas. They must be
created as *modes of struggle* against the existing society,
not as theoretical or programmatic abstractions. . . The
factory committees . . . must be managed directly by workers'
assemblies in the factories. . . neighbourhood committees,
councils and boards must be rooted completely in the
neighbourhood assemble. They must be answerable at every
point to the assembly, they and their work must be under
continual review by the assembly; and finally, their
members must be subject to immediate recall by the assembly.
The specific gravity of society, in short, must be shifted
to its base -- the armed people in permanent assembly." 
[_Post-Scarcity Anarchism_, pp. 167-9]

Thus the anarchist social revolution sees workers' councils
as organs of working class self-management, the means by
which they control their own lives and create a new society
based on their needs, visions, dreams and hopes. They are
not seen as means by which others, the revolutionary party,
seized power *on behalf* of the people as Trotskyists do.
 
Harsh words? No, as can be seen from Morrow who is quite clear
on the role of working class organisation -- it is seen
purely as the means by which the party can take power. As
he argues, there is "no magic in the soviet form: it is merely
the most accurate, most quickly reflecting and responsively
changing form of political representation of the masses. . . 
It would provide the arena in which the revolutionary
party can win the support of the working class." [Op. Cit., 
p. 136]

He states that initially the "reformist majority in the 
executive committee would decline the assumption of state 
power. But the workers could still find in the soviets their 
natural organs of struggle until the genuinely revolutionary 
elements in the various parties banded together to win a 
revolutionary majority in the congress and establish a 
workers' state." In other words, the "workers' state, the 
dictatorship of the proletariat . . . can only be brought 
into existence by the direct, *political* intervention of 
the masses, through the factory and village councils 
(soviets) at that point where a majority in the soviets 
is wielded by the workers' party or parties which are 
determined to overthrow the bourgeois state. Such was the 
basic theoretical contribution of Lenin." [Op. Cit., p. 100
and p. 113]

From an anarchist perspective, this indicates well the
fundamental difference between anarchism and Trotskyism.
For anarchists, the existence of an "executive committee"
indicates that the workers' council do not, in fact,
have power in society -- rather it is the minority in
the executive committee who have been delegated power.
Rather than govern themselves and society directly, 
workers are turned into voters implementing the decisions
their leaders have made on their behalf. If revolutionary 
bodies like workers' councils *did* create a "workers' state" 
(as Morrow recommends) then their power would be transferred 
and centralised into the hands of a so-called "revolutionary" 
government. In this, Morrow follows his guru Trotsky:

"the proletariat can take power only through its vanguard. In
itself the necessity for state power arises from an insufficient
cultural level of the masses and their heterogeneity. In the
revolutionary vanguard, organised in a party, is crystallised
the aspirations of the masses to obtain their freedom. Without
the confidence of the class in the vanguard, without support
of the vanguard by the class, there can be no talk of the
conquest of power.

"In this sense the proletarian revolution and dictatorship
are the work of the whole class, but only under the leadership
of the vanguard." [Trotsky, "Stalinism and Bolshevism", 
_Socialist Review_, no. 146, p. 16]

Thus, rather than the working class as a whole "seizing power",
it is the "vanguard" which takes power -- "a revolutionary 
party, even after seizing power . . . is still by no means
the sovereign ruler of society." [Ibid.] He mocks the anarchist 
idea that a socialist revolution should be based on the 
self-management of workers within their own autonomous 
class organisations:

"Those who propose the abstraction of Soviets to the party 
dictatorship should understand that only thanks to the party 
dictatorship were the Soviets able to lift themselves out of 
the mud of reformism and attain the state form of the 
proletariat." [Trotsky, Op. Cit., p. 18]

In this he followed comments made when he was in power. In
1920 he argued that "[w]e have more than once been accused
of having substituted for the dictatorships of the Soviets
the dictatorship of the party. Yet it can be said with
complete justice that the dictatorship of the Soviets
became possible only be means of the dictatorship of the
party. It is thanks to the . . . party . . . [that] the
Soviets . . . [became] transformed from shapeless parliaments 
of labour into the apparatus of the supremacy of labour. In 
this 'substitution' of the power of the party for the power 
of the working class these is nothing accidental, and in 
reality there is no substitution at all. The Communists
express the fundamental interests of the working class." 
[_Terrorism and Communism_, p. 109] Any claims that Trotsky's 
infamously authoritarian (indeed dictatorial) politics were a 
temporary aberration caused by the necessities of the Russian 
Civil War are refuted by these quotes -- 17 years later he was 
still arguing the same point. 

He had the same vision of party dictatorship being the basis 
of a revolution in 1924. Commenting on the Bolshevik Party 
conference of April 1917, he states that "whole of . . . 
Conference was devoted to the following fundamental question: 
Are we heading toward the conquest of power in the name of 
the socialist revolution or are we helping (anybody and 
everybody) to complete the democratic revolution? . . .  
Lenin's position was this: . . .  the capture of the soviet 
majority; the overthrow of the Provisional Government; the seizure 
of power through the soviets." Note, *through* the soviets not
*by* the soviets thus indicating the fact the Party would hold
the real power, not the soviets of workers' delegates. Moreover,
he states that "to prepare the insurrection and to carry it out 
under cover of preparing for the Second Soviet Congress and under 
the slogan of defending it, was of inestimable advantage to us."
He continued by noting that it was "one thing to prepare an armed
insurrection under the naked slogan of the seizure of power by the 
party, and quite another thing to prepare and then carry out an 
insurrection under the slogan of defending the rights of the 
Congress of Soviets." The Soviet Congress just provided "the 
legal cover" for the Bolshevik plans rather than a desire to
see the Soviets actually start managing society. [_The Lessons
of October_]

We are not denying that Trotskyists do aim to gain a majority
within working class conferences. That is clear. Anarchists also
seek to gain the support of the mass of the population. It is
what they do next that counts. Trotskyists seek to create
a government above these organisations and dominate the
executive committees that requires. Thus power in society
shifts to the top, to the leaders of the centralised party
in charge of the centralised state. The workers' become 
mere electors rather than actual controllers of the revolution.
Anarchists, in contrast, seek to dissolve power back into
the hands of society and empower the individual by giving
them a direct say in the revolution through their workplace,
community and militia assemblies and their councils and
conferences.

Trotskyists, therefore, advocate workers councils because they 
see them as *the* means the vanguard party can take power. Rather
than seeing socialism or "workers' power" as a society in which 
everyone would directly control their own affairs, Trotskyists see 
it in terms of working class people delegating their power into
the hands of a government. Needless to say, the two things are
not identical and, in practice, the government soon turns from
being the people's servant into its master.

It is clear that Morrow always discusses workers councils in 
terms of the strategy and program of the party, not the value
that workers councils have as organs of direct workers control 
of society. He clearly advocates workers councils because he sees 
them as the best way for the vanguard party to rally workers 
around its leadership and organise the seizure of state power.
At no time does he see then as means by which working class
people can govern themselves directly -- quite the reverse.

The danger of such an approach is obvious. The government
will soon become isolated from the mass of the population
and, due to the centralised nature of the state, difficult
to hold accountable. Moreover, given the dominant role of
the party in the new state and the perspective that it is
the workers' vanguard, it becomes increasingly likely that
it will place its power before that of those it claims to
represent.

Certainly Trotsky's role in the Russian revolution tells us 
that the power of the party was more important to him than 
democratic control by workers through mass bodies. When the 
workers and sailors of the Kronstadt navy base rebelled in 
1921, in solidarity with striking workers in Petrograd, they
were demanding freedom of the press for socialist and anarchist 
groups and new elections to the soviets. But the reaction of 
the Bolshevik leadership was to crush the Kronstadt dissent in 
blood. Trotsky's attitude towards workers democracy was clearly 
expressed at the time:

"They [the dissent Bolsheviks of the Workers' Opposition] have
placed the workers' right to elect representatives above the
Party. As if the Party were not entitled to assert its 
dictatorship even if that dictatorship temporarily clashed
with the passing moods of the worker's democracy!" 

He spoke of the "revolutionary historic birthright of the Party" 
and that it "is obliged to maintain its dictatorship . . .
regardless of temporary vacillations even in the working
class . . . The dictatorship does not base itself at every
given moment on the formal principle of a workers' democracy."
[quoted by M. Brinton, Op. Cit., p. 78]

This perspective naturally follows from Trotsky's vanguardist
politics. For Leninists, the party is the bearer of "socialist
consciousness" and, according to Lenin in _What is to be Done?_,
workers, by their own efforts, can only achieve a "trade
union" consciousness and, indeed, "there can be no talk of
an independent ideology being developed by the masses of
workers in the process of their struggle" and so "*the only
choice is*: either bourgeois or socialist ideology" (the
later being developed not by workers but by the "bourgeois
intelligentsia"). [_Essential Works of Lenin_, p. 82 and 
p. 74] To weaken or question the party means to weaken or
question the socialist nature of the revolution and so
weaken the "dictatorship of the proletariat." Thus we
have the paradoxical situation of the "proletarian
dictatorship" repressing workers, eliminating democracy
and maintaining itself against the "passing moods" of
the workers (which means rejecting what democracy is all
about). Hence Lenin's comment at a conference of the
Cheka (his political police) in 1920:

"Without revolutionary coercion directed against the avowed 
enemies of the workers and peasants, it is impossible to
break down the resistance of these exploiters. On the other
hand, revolutionary coercion is bound to be employed towards
the wavering and unstable elements among the masses 
themselves." [_Collected Works_, vol. 24, p. 170]

Significantly, of the 17 000 camp detainees on whom statistical
information was available on 1 November 1920, peasants and
workers constituted the largest groups, at 39% and 34% 
respectively. Similarly, of the 40 913 prisoners held in
December 1921 (of whom 44% had been committed by the Cheka)
nearly 84% were illiterate or minimally educated, clearly,
therefore, either peasants of workers. [George Leggett, 
_The Cheka: Lenin's Political Police_, p. 178] Needless 
to say, Lenin failed to mention this aspect of his system
in _The State and Revolution_ (a failure shared by Morrow 
and later Trotskyists).

It is hard to combine these facts and Lenin's and Trotsky's
comments with the claim that the "workers' state" is an 
instrument of class rule -- after all, Lenin is acknowledging 
that coercion will be exercised against members of the working 
class as well. The question of course arises -- who decides 
what a "wavering" or "unstable" element is? Given their 
comments on the role of the party and the need for the party 
to assume power, it will mean in practice whoever rejects the 
government's decisions (for example, strikers, local soviets 
who reject central decrees and instructions, workers who
vote for anarchists or parties other than the Bolshevik 
party in elections to soviets, unions and so on, socialists 
and anarchists, etc.). Given a hierarchical system, Lenin's 
comment is simply a justification for state repression of 
its enemies (including elements within or even the whole 
working class).

It could be argued, however, that workers could use the
soviets to recall the government. However, this fails for 
two reasons (we will ignore the question of the interests
of the bureaucratic machine which will inevitably surround
a centralised body -- see section H.3 for further discussion). 

Firstly, the Leninist state will be highly centralised, 
with power flowing from the top-down. This means that 
in order to revoke the government, all the soviets in 
all parts of the country must, at the same time, recall 
their delegates and organise a national congress of soviets 
(which, we stress, is not in permanent session). The local 
soviets are bound to carry out the commands of the central 
government (to quote the Soviet constitution of 1918 --
they are to "carry out all orders of the respective higher 
organs of the soviet power"). Any independence on their part 
would be considered "wavering" or an expression of "unstable" 
natures and so subject to "revolutionary coercion". In a highly
centralised system, the means of accountability is reduced
to the usual bourgeois level -- vote in the general election
every few years (which, in any case, can be annulled by the
government to ensure that the soviets do not go back into
the "mud" via the "passing moods" caused by the "insufficient
cultural level of the masses"). In other words, the soviet
form may be the "most accurate, most quickly reflecting and 
responsively changing form of political representation of the 
masses" (to use Morrow's words) but only *before* they 
become transformed into state organs.

Secondly, "revolutionary coercion" against "wavering" elements
does not happen in isolation. It will encourage critical workers
to keep quiet in case they, too, are deemed "unstable" and
become subject to "revolutionary" coercion. As a government
policy it can have no other effect than deterring democracy. 

Thus Trotskyist politics provides the rationale for eliminating
even the limited role of soviets for electing representatives
they hold in that ideology.

Morrow argues that "[o]ne must never forget . . . that soviets 
*do not begin* as organs of state power" rather they start
as "organs defending the workers' daily interests" and
include "powerful strike committees." [Op. Cit., p. 136]
That is true, initially workers' councils are expressions
of working class power and are organs of working class
self-management and self-activity. They are subject to
direct control from below and unite from the bottom up.
However, once they are turned into "organs of state power"
their role (to re-quote the Soviet constitution of 1918)
becomes that of "carry[ing] out all orders of the 
respective higher organs of the soviet power." Soviet
power is replaced by party power and they become a shell
of their former selves -- essentially rubber-stamps for
the decisions of the party central committee. 

Ironically, Morrow quotes the main theoretician of the Spanish
Socialist Party as stating "the organ of the proletarian 
dictatorship will be the Socialist Party" and states that 
they "were saying precisely what the anarchist leaders had 
been accusing both communists and revolutionary socialists of 
meaning by the proletarian dictatorship." [Op. Cit., p. 99 and 
p. 100] This is hardly surprising, as this was what the likes
of Lenin and Trotsky *had* been arguing. As well as the quotes
we have provided above, we may add Trotsky's comment that the 
"fundamental instrument of proletarian revolution is the party."
[_Lessons of October_] And the resolution of the Second World 
Congress of the Communist International which stated that 
"[e]very class struggle is a political struggle. The goal of 
this struggle . . . is the conquest of political power. 
Political power cannot be seized, organised and operated 
except through a political party." [cited by Duncan Hallas, 
_The Comintern_, p. 35] In addition, we may quote Lenin's
opinion that:

"The very presentation of the question -- 'dictatorship
of the Party *or* dictatorship of the class, dictatorship
(Party) of the leaders *or* dictatorship (Party) of the
masses?' -- is evidence of the most incredible and
hopeless confusion of mind . . . [because] classes
are usually . . . led by political parties. . . "

And

"To go so far in this matter as to draw a contrast in
general between the dictatorship of the masses and
the dictatorship of the leaders, is ridiculously
absurd and stupid." [_Left-wing Communism: An Infantile
Disorder_, pp. 25-6 and p. 27]

As Lenin and Trotsky constantly argued, proletarian dictatorship
was impossible without the political party of the workers 
(whatever its name). Indeed, to even discuss any difference 
between the dictatorship of the class and that of the party
just indicated a confused mind. Hence Morrow's comments are
incredulous, particularly as he himself stresses that the
soviet form is useful purely as a means of gaining support
for the revolutionary party which would take over the
executive of the workers' councils. He clearly is aware
that the party is the *essential* organ of proletarian 
rule from a Leninist perspective -- without the dictatorship
of the party, Trotsky argues, the soviets fall back into
the mud. 

The net result of Bolshevik politics in Russia was that Lenin 
and Trotsky undermined the self-management of working class 
bodies during the Russian Revolution and *before* the Civil
War started in May 1918. We have already chronicled Trotsky's 
elimination of democracy and equality in the Red Army (see
section 11). A similar fate befell the factory committees 
(see section 17) and soviet democracy (as noted above). 
The logic of Bolshevism is such that at no point did Lenin 
describe the suppression of soviet democracy and workers' 
control as a defeat (indeed, as far as workers' control 
went Lenin quickly moved to a position favouring one-man 
management). We discuss the Russian Revolution in more 
detail in section H.4 and so will not do so here.

All in all, while Morrow's rhetoric on the nature of the
social revolution may sound anarchist, there are important
differences between the two visions. While Trotskyists
support workers' councils on purely instrumentalist grounds
as the best means of gaining support for their party's
assumption of governmental power, anarchists see workers'
councils as the means by which people can revolutionise
society and themselves by practising self-management in
all aspects of their lives. The difference is important
and its ramifications signify why the Russian Revolution
became the "dictatorship *over* the proletariat" Bakunin
predicted. His words still ring true:

"[b]y popular government they [the Marxists] mean government 
of the people by a small under of representatives elected by 
the people. . . [That is,] government of the vast majority 
of the people by a privileged minority. But this minority, 
the Marxists say, will consist of workers. Yes, perhaps, 
of *former* workers, who, as soon as they become rulers 
or representatives of the people will cease to be workers 
and will begin to look upon the whole workers' world from 
the heights of the state. They will no longer represent
the people but themselves and their own pretensions to 
govern the people." [_Statism and Anarchy_, p. 178]

It was for this reason that he argued the anarchists do "not 
accept, even in the process of revolutionary transition, either 
constituent assemblies, provisional governments or so-called 
revolutionary dictatorships; because we are convinced that 
revolution is only sincere, honest and real in the hands of 
the masses, and that when it is concentrated in those of a 
few ruling individuals it inevitably and immediately becomes 
reaction." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_, p. 237]
The history of the Russian Revolution proved him right. Hence
anarchist support for popular assemblies and federations of
workers' councils as the framework of the social revolution
rather than as a means to elect a "revolutionary" government.

One last point. We must point out that Morrow's follows Lenin 
in favouring executive committees associated with workers' 
councils. In this he actually ignores Marx's (and Lenin's, 
in _State and Revolution_) comments that the Paris Commune
was "to be a working, not a parliamentary, body, executive
and legislative at the same time." [_Selected Writings_, 
p. 287] The existence of executive committees was coded
into the Soviet Union's 1918 Constitution. This suggests
two things. Firstly, Leninism and Trotskyism differ on
fundamental points with Marx and so the claim that Leninism
equals Marxism is difficult to support (the existence of
libertarian Marxists like Anton Pannekoek and other
council communists also disprove such claims). Secondly,
it indicates that Lenin's claims in _State and Revolution_
were ignored once the Bolsheviks took power so indicating
that use of that work to prove the democratic nature of
Bolshevism is flawed.

Moreover, Marx's support of the fusion of executive and
legislative powers is not as revolutionary as some
imagine. For anarchists, as Bookchin argues, "[i]n point 
of fact, the consolidation of 'executive and legislative' 
functions in a single body was regressive. It simply 
identified the process of policy-making, a function that 
rightly should belong to the people in assembly, with the 
technical execution of these policies, a function that 
should be left to strictly administrative bodies subject 
to rotation, recall, limitations of tenure . . . Accordingly, 
the melding of policy formation with administration placed
the institutional emphasis of classical [Marxist] 
socialism on centralised bodies, indeed, by an ironical
twist of historical events, bestowing the privilege of
formulating policy on the 'higher bodies' of socialist
hierarchies and their execution precisely on the more
popular 'revolutionary committees' below." [_Toward
an Ecological Society_, pp. 215-6]

13. Why do anarchists reject the Marxist "workers' state"?

Morrow asserts two "fundamental" tenets of "anarchism" in
his book [Op. Cit., pp. 101-2]. Unfortunately for him, his 
claims are somewhat at odds with reality. Anarchism, as we
will prove in section 14, does not hold one of the positions 
Morrow states it does. The first "tenet" of anarchism he fails 
to discuss at all and so the reader cannot understand *why* 
anarchists think as they do. We discuss this "tenet" here.

The first tenet is that anarchism "has consistently refused
to recognise the distinction between a bourgeois and a
workers' state. Even in the days of Lenin and Trotsky,
anarchism denounced the Soviet Union as an exploiters'
regime." [Op. Cit., p. 101] It is due to this, he argues,
the CNT co-operated with the bourgeois state:

"The false anarchist teachings on the nature of the state
. . . should logically have led them [the CNT] to refuse
governmental participation in any event . . . the anarchists
were in the intolerable position of objecting to the
necessary administrative co-ordination and centralisation
of the work they had already begun. Their anti-statism 'as
such' had to be thrown off. What *did* remain, to wreck
disaster in the end, was their failure to recognise the
distinction between a workers' and a bourgeois state."
[Op. Cit., p. 101]

Needless to say, Morrow does not bother to explain *why*
anarchists consider the bourgeois and workers' state to
be similar. If he did then perhaps his readers would
agree with the anarchists on this matter. However, before
discussing that we have to address a misrepresentation
of Morrow's. Rather than the expression of anarchist
politics, the actions of the CNT were in direct opposition
to them. As we showed in the last section, anarchists see
a social revolution in terms of creating federations of
workers associations (i.e. workers' councils). It was this
vision that had created the structure of the CNT (as
Bakunin had argued, "the organisation of the trade sections
and their representation in the Chambers of Labour . . .
bear in themselves the living seeds of the new society
which is to replace the old one. They are creating not
only the ideas, but also the facts of the future itself"
[_Bakunin on Anarchism_, p. 255]).

Thus, the social revolution would see the workers' organisation
(be they labour unions or spontaneously created organs) "tak[ing]
the revolution into its own hands . . . an earnest international
organisation of workers' associations . . . [would] replac[e] 
this departing political world of States and bourgeoisie."
[_The Basic Bakunin_, p. 110] This is *precisely* what the
CNT did not do -- rather it decided against following anarchist
theory and instead decided to co-operate with other parties
and unions in the "Central Committee of Anti-Fascist Militias"
(at least temporarily until the CNT stronghold in Saragossa
was liberated by CNT militias). In effect, it created a UGT-like
"Alliance" with other anti-fascist parties and unions and
rejected its pre-war policy of "unity from below." The CNT
and FAI leadership decided not to talk of libertarian communism 
but only of the fight against fascism. A greater mistake they
could not have made.

An anarchist approach in the aftermath of the fascist uprising 
would have meant replacing the Generalitat with a federal
assembly of delegates from workplace and local community
assemblies (a Defence Council, to use a CNT expression). Only
popular assemblies (not political parties) would be represented
(parties would have an influence only in proportion to their
influence in the basic assemblies). All the CNT would have had 
do was to call a Regional Congress of unions and invite the UGT,
independent unions and unorganised workplaces to send delegates
to create the framework of this system. This, we must stress,
was *not* done. We will discuss why in section 20 and so will
refrain from doing so here. However, *because* the CNT in
effect "postponed" the political aspects of the social
revolution (namely, to quote Kropotkin, to "smash the
State and replace it with the Federation [of Communes]"
[_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 259]) the natural result
would be exactly as Morrow explains:

"But isn't it a far cry from the failure to create the organs 
to overthrow the bourgeoisie, to the acceptance of the role of 
class collaboration with the bourgeoisie? Not at all . . . 
Without developing soviets -- workers' councils -- it was 
inevitable that even the anarchists and the POUM would drift 
into governmental collaboration with the bourgeoisie." 
[Op. Cit., pp. 88-9]

As Kropotkin predicted, "there can be no half-way house:
either the Commune is to be absolutely free to endow itself
with whatever institutions it wishes and introduce all 
reforms and revolutions it may deem necessary, or else it
will remain . . . a mere subsidiary of the State, chained
in its every movement." [Op. Cit., p. 259] Without an 
alternative means of co-ordinating the struggle, the
CNT would, as Morrow argued, have little choice but to
collaborate with the state. However, rather than being a 
product of anarchist theory, as Morrow states, this came 
about by *ignoring* that theory (see section 20).

This can be seen from the false alternative used to
justify the CNT's and FAI's actions -- namely, "either
libertarian communism, which means anarchist dictatorship,
or democracy, which means collaboration." The creation
of libertarian communism is done *from below* by those
subject to capitalist and statist hierarchy overthrowing
those with power over them by smashing the state machine
and replacing it with self-managed organisations as well
as expropriating capital and placing it under workers'
self-management. As Murray Bookchin argues:

"Underlying all [the] errors [of the CNT], at least in
theoretical terms, was the CNT-FAI's absurd notion that
if it assumed power in the areas it controlled, it was
establishing a 'State.' As long as the institutions of
power consisted of armed workers and peasants as
distinguished from a professional bureaucracy, police
force, army, and cabal of politicians and judges, 
they were no[t] a State . . . These institutions, in
fact comprised a revolutionary people in arms . . .
not a professional apparatus that could be regarded as
a State in any meaningful sense of the term. . . 
That the 'taking of power' by an armed people in
militias, libertarian unions and federations, peasant
communes and industrial collectives could be viewed
as an 'anarchist dictatorship' reveals the incredible
confusion that filled the minds of the 'influential
militants.'" ["Looking Back at Spain," pp. 53-96, _The 
Radical Papers_, pp. 86-7]

This perspective explains why anarchists do not see any
fundamental difference between a so-called "workers'
state" and the existing state. For anarchists, the state 
is based fundamentally on hierarchical power -- the 
delegation of power into the hands of a few, of a 
government, of an "executive" committee. Unlike Lenin,
who stressed the "bodies of armed men" aspect of the 
state, anarchists consider the real question as one of 
who will tell these "bodies of armed men" what to do. Will 
it be the people as a whole (as expressed through their 
self-managed organisations) or will be it a government 
(perhaps elected by representative organisations)? 

If it *was* simply a question of consolidating a revolution
and its self-defence then there would be no argument:

"But perhaps the truth is simply this: . . . [some] take the 
expression 'dictatorship of the proletariat' to mean simply 
the revolutionary action of the workers in taking possession 
of the land and the instruments of labour, and trying to 
build a society and organise a way of life in which there 
will be no place for a class that exploits and oppresses the 
producers.

"Thus constructed, the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' would 
be the effective power of all workers trying to bring down 
capitalist society and would thus turn into Anarchy as soon 
as resistance from reactionaries would have ceased and no one 
can any longer seek to compel the masses by violence to obey 
and work for him. In which case, the discrepancy between us 
would be nothing more than a question of semantics. Dictatorship 
of the proletariat would signify the dictatorship of everyone,
which is to say, it would be a dictatorship no longer, just as 
government by everybody is no longer a government in the 
authoritarian, historical and practical sense of the word.

"But the real supporters of 'dictatorship of the proletariat'
do not take that line, as they are making quite plain in 
Russia. Of course, the proletariat has a hand in this, just
as the people has a part to play in democratic regimes,
that is to say, to conceal the reality of things. In reality,
what we have is the dictatorship of one party, or rather,
of one' party's leaders: a genuine dictatorship, with its
decrees, its penal sanctions, its henchmen and above all its
armed forces, which are at present [1919] also deployed in
the defence of the revolution against its external enemies,
but which will tomorrow be used to impose the dictator's
will upon the workers, to apply a break on revolution,
to consolidate the new interests in the process of emerging
and protect a new privileged class against the masses." 
[Malatesta, _No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 2, pp. 38-9]

Maurice Brinton sums up the issue well when he argued that 
"workers' power" "cannot be identified or equated with the 
power of the Party -- as it repeatedly was by the Bolsheviks 
. . . What 'taking power' really implies is that the vast 
majority of the working class at last realises its ability 
to manage both production and society -- and organises
to this end." [_The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control_,
p. xiv] 

The question is, therefore, one of *who* "seizes power"
-- will it be the mass of the population or will it be a 
party claiming to represent the mass of the population. 
The difference is vital -- and anyone who confuses the 
issue (like Lenin) does so either out of stupidity or 
vested interests.

If it *is* the mass of people then they have to express 
themselves and their power (i.e. the power to manage 
their own affairs). That requires that individuals -- 
no matter where they are, be it in the workplace, 
community or on the front line -- are part of 
self-managed organisations. Only by self-management 
in functional groups can working class people be said 
to controlling their own lives and determining their 
own fate. Such a system of popular assemblies and their
means of defence would not be a state in the anarchist
sense of the word.

As we argued in section 12, the Trotskyist vision of
revolution, while seeming in some ways similar to that
of anarchists, differ on this question. For Trotskyists,
the *party* takes power, *not* the mass of the population
directly. Only if you view "proletarian" seizure of power in 
terms of electing a political party to government could you 
see the elimination of functional democracy in the armed
forces and the workplaces as no threat to working class power. 
Given Trotsky's actual elimination of democracy in the Red
Army and Navy plus his comments on one-man management (and 
their justifications -- see sections 11 and 17) it is clear that 
Trotskyists consider the workers' state in terms of party 
government, *not* self-management, *not* functional direct 
democracy. 

Yes, the Trotskyists do claim that it is the workers, via their 
soviets, who will elect the government and hold it accountable 
but such a position fails to realise that a social revolution 
can only be created from below, by the direct action of the mass 
of the population. By delegating power into the hands of a
few, the revolution is distorted. The initiative and power
no longer rests in the hands of the mass of the population
and so they can no longer take part in the constructive work
of the revolution *and so it will not reflect their interests
and needs.* As power flows from the top-down, bureaucratic
distortions are inevitable.

Moreover, the government will inevitably clash with its subjects 
and Trotskyist theory provides the justification for the government
imposing its wishes and negating workers' democracy (see section 12 
for evidence for this claim). Moreover, in the centralised state 
desired by Trotskyists democratic accountability will inevitably 
suffer as power flows to the top:

"The power of the local soviets passed into the hands of the 
[National] Executive Committee, the power of the Executive 
Committee passed into the hands of the Council of People's 
Commissars, and finally, the power of the Council of People's 
Commissars passed into the hands of the Political Bureau of 
the Communist Party." [Murray Bookchin, _Post-Scarcity 
Anarchism_, p. 152]

Little wonder, then, these CNT aphorisms:

"power corrupts both those who exercise it and those over whom it
is exercised; those who think they can conquer the State in order
to destroy it are unaware that the State overcomes all its
conquerors. . . dictatorship of the proletariat is dictatorship
without the proletariat and against them." [Peter Marshall,
_Demanding the Impossible_, p. 456]

That, in a nut shell, why anarchists consider the workers' state 
as no real change from the bourgeois state. Rather than creating
a system in which working class people directly manage their
own affairs, the workers' state, like any other state, involves
the delegation of that power into the hands of a few. Given that 
state institutions generate specific social relations, specific
relations of authority (namely those order giver and order taker) 
they cannot help becoming separated from society, becoming a new 
class based on the state's bureaucratic machine.  Any state
structure (particularly a highly centralised one, as desired by
Leninists) has a certain independence from society and so
serves the interests of those within the State institutions
rather than the people as a whole.

Perhaps a Leninist will point to _The State and Revolution_
as evidence that Lenin desired a state based round the
soviets -- workers' council -- and so our comments are
unjustified. However, as Marx said, judge people by what
they do, not what they say. The first act of the October
Revolution was to form an executive power *over* the
soviets (although, of course, in theory accountable to
their national congress). In _The State and Revolution_
Lenin praised Marx's comment that the Paris Commune was
both administrative *and* executive. The "workers' state"
created by Lenin did not follow that model (as Russian
anarcho-syndicalists argued in August 1918, "the Soviet
of People's Commissars [i]s an organ which does not stem
from the soviet structure but only interferes with its
work" [_The Anarchists in the Russian Revolution_, p. 118]). 

Thus the Bolshevik state was not based around soviet 
self-management *nor* the fusion of executive and 
administrative in their hands but rather the use of 
the soviets to elect a government (a separate executive) 
which had the real power. The issue is quite simple -- 
either "All power to the Soviets" means just that or it 
means "All power to the government elected by the Soviets". 
The two are not the same as the first, for the obvious 
reason that in the second the soviets become simply 
ratification machines for the government and not organs 
in which the working masses can run their own affairs. We 
must also point out that the other promises made in Lenin's 
book went the same way as his support for the combining 
administration and executive tasks in the Paris Commune 
-- and, we stress, all *before* the Civil War started in 
May 1918 (the usual Trotskyist defence of such betrayals 
is blame the Civil War which is hard to do as it had not 
started yet).

So it is unsurprising that Morrow does not explain why 
anarchists reject the "dictatorship of the proletariat" -- 
to do so would be to show that Trotskyism is not the revolutionary
movement for workers' liberty it likes to claim it is.
Moreover, it would involve giving an objective account of
anarchist theory and admitting that the CNT did not follow
its teachings.

14. What is wrong with Morrow's "fundamental tenet" of
    anarchism?

According to Morrow the "second fundamental tenet in anarchist 
teaching" is, apparently, the following:

"Since Bakunin, the anarchists had accused Marxists of
over-estimating the importance of state power, and had
characterised this as merely the reflection of the
petty-bourgeois intellectuals' pre-occupation with
lucrative administrative posts. Anarchism calls upon
workers to turn their backs on the state and seek control
of the factories as the real source of power. The
ultimate sources of power (property relations) being
secured, the state power will collapse, never to be
replaced."

He then sums up by stating the Spanish anarchists "thus
failed to understand that it was only the collapse of
state power . . . which had enabled them to seize the
factories." [Op. Cit., p. 102]

It would be interesting to discover in what work of Bakunin, 
or any anarchist, such a position could be found. Morrow 
gives us no references to help us in our quest -- hardly 
surprising as no anarchist (Spanish or otherwise) ever 
argued this point before July 1936. However, in September 
1936, we discover the CNT arguing that the "withering away 
of the State is socialism's ultimate objective. Facts have 
demonstrated that in practice it is achieved by liquidation 
of the bourgeois State, brought to a state of asphyxiation 
by economic expropriation." [_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 2,
p. 261] This, we must note, was the same month the CNT decided
to join the Catalan Government! So much for the state
having withered away. 

However, will soon be made clear, such comments were a 
revision of anarchist theory brought about by the apparent 
victory of the CNT on July 19th, 1936 (just as other revisions 
occurred to justify CNT participation in the state). In other
words, Morrow's "second fundamental tenet" does not exist in 
anarchist theory. To prove this, we will quote Bakunin and a 
few other famous anarchists as well as giving an overview of 
some of the insurrections organised by the CNT before 1936. 
We start with Bakunin, Kropotkin and Malatesta.

Given that Bakunin thought that the state was "the natural 
protector of capitalists" it follows that to abolish capitalism, 
to allow the seizure of factories by the workers, the state
had to be abolished (or "destroyed"). Equally clear is that
the "natural and necessary consequence of this destruction will 
be . . . [among others, the] dissolution of army, magistracy, 
bureaucracy, police and priesthood. . . confiscation of
all productive capital and means of production on behalf
of workers' associations, who are to put them to use . . .
the federative Alliance of all working men's associations 
. . . will constitute the Commune." [_Michael Bakunin: 
Selected Writings_ p. 253 and p. 170] 

Thus, the state has to be abolished in order to ensure that 
workers' can take over the means of production, so abolishing 
capitalism. This is the *direct opposite* of Morrow's claim 
that "[s]ince Bakunin" anarchism had "call[ed] upon the 
workers to turn their backs to the state and seek control 
of the factories as the real source of power." While control 
of the economy by workers is an important, indeed a key, aspect 
of a social revolution it is not a sufficient one for anarchists. 
It must be combined with the destruction of the state (as
Bakunin argued, "[n]o revolution could succeed . . . today 
unless it was simultaneously a political and a social revolution"
[_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 141]). As the state is the 
"natural protector of capitalists" it clearly follows that 
the capitalist only has his property because the state 
protects his property claims -- without the state, workers' 
would seize the means of production. Which means, contra Morrow, 
Bakunin was aware that in order for workers' to take over 
their workplaces the state had to be destroyed as it was by
means of the state that capitalist property rights are 
enforced.

And, just to stress the obvious, you cannot "turn your backs 
on the state" while dissolving the state bureaucracy, the army, 
police and so on. This is clear for Bakunin. He argued that
"[l]iberty can only be created by liberty, by an insurrection
of all the people and the voluntary organisation of the
workers from below upward." And the nature of this workers'
organisation? Workers' councils -- the "proletariat . . .
must enter the International [Workers' Association] en
masse, form[ing] factory, artisan, and agrarian sections,
and unite them into local federations." [_Statism and Anarchy_,
p. 179 and p. 49]

Similarly, we discover Kropotkin arguing that "expropriation"
would occur at the same time as "the capitalists' power to
resist [had] been smashed" and that "the authorities" will
be "overthrown." [_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 232 and 
p. 233] He also recognised the need for self-defence, 
arguing that the revolution must "withstand both the
attempts to form a government that would seek to strangle
it and any onslaughts which may emanate from without." 
[Op. Cit., p. 232] He argued the Commune "must smash the
State and replace it with the Federation and it will act
accordingly." [Op. Cit., p. 259] You cannot do all this by
"turning your backs" on the state. To smash the state you
need to face it and fight it -- there is no other way.

Elsewhere he argued that the commune of the future would base 
itself on "the principles of anarchist communism" and "entirely 
abolish . . .  property, government, and the state." They will 
"proclaim and establish their independence by direct socialist 
revolutionary action, abolishing private property" when 
"governments are swept away by the people . . .  the insurgent 
people will not wait until some new government decrees, in its 
marvellous wisdom, a few economic reforms." Rather, they "will 
take possession on the spot and establish their rights by 
utilising it without delay. They will organise themselves in 
the workshops to continue the work, but what they will produce 
will be what is wanted by the masses, not what gives the highest 
profit to employers. . .  they will organise themselves to turn to 
immediate use the wealth stored up in the towns; they will take 
possession of it as if it had never been stolen from them by the 
middle class." [_The Commune of Paris_] Note that Kropotkin
explicitly states that only *after* "governments are swept away" 
would the "insurgent people . . . organise themselves in the 
workshops."

As Malatesta noted, the anarchist principles formulated in 1872
at the Congress of St Imier (under the influence of Bakunin,
obviously) stated that "[d]estruction of all political power
is the first duty of the proletariat" who must "establish
solidarity in revolutionary action outside the framework
of bourgeois politics." He adds, "[n]eedless to say, for the
delegates of St. Imier as for us and for all anarchists, the
abolition of political power is not possible without the
simultaneous destruction of economic privilege." [_Life and
Ideas_, pp. 157-8] 

Malatesta himself always stressed that revolution required
"the insurrectionary act which sweeps away the material
obstacles, the armed forces of the government." He argued
that "[o]nce the government has been overthrown . . . it
will be the task of the people . . . to provide for the
satisfaction of immediate needs and to prepare for the
future by destroying privileges and harmful institutions."
[Op. Cit., p. 163 and p. 161] In other words, the revolution
needs to smash the state and at the same time abolish
capitalism by expropriation by the workers. 

Thus anarchism is clear on that you need to destroy the state
in order to expropriate capital. Morrow's assertions on this
are clearly false. Rather than urging "workers to turn their 
backs on the state and seek control of the factories as the 
real source of power" anarchism calls upon workers to "overthrow,"
"smash," "sweep away," "destroy", "dissolve" the state and
its bureaucratic machinery via an "insurrectionary act" and
expropriate capital *at the same time* -- in other words, a
popular uprising probably combined with a general strike ("an
excellent means for starting the social revolution," in 
Malatesta's words, but not in itself enough to made "armed 
insurrection unnecessary" [Errico Malatesta, _The Anarchist 
Reader_, pp. 224-5]).

That, in itself, indicates that Morrow's "fundamental tenet" of
anarchism does not, in fact, actually exist. In addition, if we
look at the history of the CNT during the 1930s we discover
that the union organised numerous insurrections which did not,
in fact, involve workers "turning their backs on the state" 
but rather attacking the state. For example, in the spontaneous
revolt of CNT miners in January 1932, the workers "seized town
halls, raised the black-and-red flags of the CNT, and declared
*communismo liberatario.*" In Tarassa, the same year, the workers
again "seiz[ed] town halls" and the town "swept by street 
fighting." The revolt in January 1933 began with "assaults by
Anarchist action groups . . . on Barcelona's military barracks
. . . Serious fighting occurred in working-class *barrios* and
the outlying areas of Barcelona . . . Uprising occurred in
Tarassa, Sardanola-Ripollet, Lerida, in several *pueblos* in
Valencia province, and in Andalusia." In Casas Viejas, as
we discussed in section 1, the CNT members surrounded and
attacked the barracks of the Civil Guard. In December 1933,
the workers "reared barricades, attacked public buildings,
and engaged in heavy street fighting .  . . many villages
declared libertarian communism."  [Murray Bookchin, _The 
Spanish Anarchists_, p. 225, p. 226, p. 227 and p. 238]

Moreover, "[w]herever possible . . . insurrections had
carried out industrial and agrarian take-overs and established
committees for workers' and peasant's control, libertarian
systems of logistics and distribution -- in short, a
miniature society 'organised on the lines set down by
Kropotkin.'" [Bookchin, Op. Cit., p. 239]

Now, does all that really sound like workers turning their
backs on the state and only seizing control of their factories?

Perhaps it will be argued that Morrow is referring to *after* 
the insurrection (although he clearly is not). What about
the defence of the revolution? Anarchists have always been
clear on this too -- the revolution would be defended by
the people in arms. We have discussed this issue above (in
sections 1 and 8 in particular) so we do not need to discuss
it in much detail here. We will just provide another quote
by Bakunin (although written in 1865, Bakunin made the same
points over and over again until his death in 1876):

"While it [the revolution] will be carried out locally everywhere,
the revolution will of necessity take a federalist format. 
Immediately after established government has been overthrown,
communes will have to reorganise themselves along revolutionary
lines . . . In order to defend the revolution, their volunteers 
will at the same time form a communal militia. But no commune can 
defend itself in isolation. So it will be necessary for each of 
them to radiate outwards, to raise all its neighbouring communes 
in revolt . . . and to federate with them for common defence." 
[_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 142]

This was essentially the position agreed by the CNT in May 1936:

"The armed people will be the best guarantee against all attempts 
to restore the destroyed regime by interior or exterior forces . . . 
Each Commune should have its arms and elements of defence." 
[quoted by Robert Alexander, _The Anarchists in the Spanish 
Civil War_, vol. 1, p. 64]

Like the CNT with its "Defence Committees" the defence of the
revolution would rest with the commune and its federation. Thus
Morrow's "fundamental tenet" of anarchism does not exist. We
have *never* urged the ignoring of the state nor the idea that
seizing economic power will eliminate political power by itself.
Nor is anarchism against the defence of a revolution. The position
of the CNT in May 1936 was identical to that of Bakunin in 1865.
The question is, of course, how do you organise a revolution
and its defence -- is it by the whole people or is it by a
party representing that people. Anarchists argue for the former,
Trotskyists the latter. Needless to say, a state structure
(i.e. a centralised, hierarchical structure based on the
delegation of power) is required only when a revolution is
seen as rule by a party -- little wonder anarchists reject
the concept of a "workers' state" as a contradiction in terms.

The question of July 1936 however rears its head. If anarchism
*does* stand for insurrection, workers councils and so on, then
why did the CNT ignore the state? Surely that suggests anarchism
is, as Morrow claims, flawed? No, it does not -- as we argue in
some detail in section 20 this confuses mistakes by *anarchists*
with errors in anarchist theory. The CNT-FAI did not pursue
anarchist theory and so July 1936 does not invalidate anarchism.
As Bakunin argued, "[n]o revolution could succeed . . . unless it 
was simultaneously a political and a social revolution." [_No Gods, 
No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 141] The revolution of July 1936 was a 
social revolution (it expropriated capital and revolutionised 
social relationships across society) but it was not a political
revolution -- in other words, it did not destroy the state. The
CNT refused to do this because of the danger of fascism and fear
of isolation (see section 20). Little wonder the social revolution 
was defeated -- the CNT did not apply basic anarchist theory. To 
dismiss anarchist ideas because they were not applied seems somewhat 
strange.

To finish this section we must indicate that Morrow's statement 
concerning anarchists "turning our backs" to the state and
concentrating on property actually contradicts both Engels 
and Lenin. 

As Lenin notes in _The State and Revolution_, "Marx agreed
with Proudhon on the necessity of 'smashing' the present
state machine. . . [there is] similarity between Marxism
and anarchism (Proudhon and Bakunin) . . . on this point"
and that anarchists advocate "the destruction of the state 
machine." [_Essential Works of Lenin_, p. 310 and p. 358] 
You can hardly smash the state or destroy the state machine 
by "turning your back" to it. Similarly, Engels argued 
(although distorting his thought somewhat) that Bakunin 
saw "the *state* as the main evil to be abolished . . . 
[and] maintains that it is the *state* which has created 
capital, that the capitalist has his capital *only by the 
grace of the state* . . . [Hence] it is above all the state 
which must be done away with . . . organise, and when ALL 
workers are won over . . . abolish the state and replace it 
with the organisation of the International." [_The Marx-Engels 
Reader_, pp. 728-9] You cannot "abolish" and "replace" the state 
by ignoring it ("turning your back to it"). We must also stress
that Engels comments disprove Lenin's assertion that anarchists
"have absolutely no clear idea of *what* the proletariat will
put in its [the states] place." [Op. Cit., p. 358] We have
always been clear, namely a federation of workers' associations
(this was the organisation of the First International). In
other, more modern, words, a system of workers' councils -- 
a position Marxists only embraced six decades later when Lenin 
advocated them as the basis of his "workers' state."

Thus Morrow's comments against anarchism are in contradiction 
to usual Marxist claims against anarchism (namely, that we
seek to smash the state but do not understand that the 
workers' state is necessary to abolish capitalism). Indeed,  
Engels attributed the opposite idea to Bakunin that Morrow
implies anarchists think with regards to property -- namely 
the idea that the capitalist has his property because of 
the state. Morrow's "fundamental tenet" of anarchism not 
only does not exist in anarchist theory, it does not even 
exist in the Marxist critique of that theory! It is impressive 
enough to assign a false doctrine to your enemies, it takes 
real ability to make a claim which contradicts your own 
theory's assertions!

15. Did Spanish Anarchism aim for the creation of "collectives" 
    before the revolution?

The formation of the worker-managed enterprises called 
"collectives" in the Spanish revolution of 1936 has sometimes 
led people (particularly Marxists) to misconceptions about 
anarcho-syndicalist and communist-anarchist theory. These 
comments by a Marxist-Leninist are typical:

"Spanish anarchists believed that a system of autonomous collectives, 
with the weakest possible connections between them, was the alternative 
to capitalism and also to the Marxist view of society running the entire 
economy as one whole."

And:

"The anarchist theory led to the ordinary anarchist considering each 
factory as owned simply by the workers that laboured there, and not by 
the working class as a whole." [Joseph Green, "The Black Autonomy 
Collective and the Spanish Civil War", _Communist Voice_ no. 10, 
Vol. 2, no. 5, Oct. 1, 1996]

This assertion is sometimes voiced by Libertarian Marxists of
the council communist tendency (who should know better):
 
"At the time of the Civil War, a popular idea amongst the Spanish 
working class and peasants was that each factory, area of land, 
etc., should be owned collectively by its workers, and that 
these 'collectives' should be linked with each other on a 
'federal' basis - that is, without any superior central 
authority.

"This basic idea had been propagated by anarchists in Spain for 
more than 50 years.  When the Civil War began, peasants and 
working class people in those parts of the country which had 
not immediately fallen under fascist control seized the 
opportunity to turn anarchist ideal into reality." ["Anarchism 
and the Spanish 'Revolution'", _Subversion_ no. 18]

Trotskyist Felix Morrow also presents a similar analysis when
he states that the POUM "recorded the tendency of CNT unions
to treat collectivised property as their own. It never attacked
the anarcho-syndicalist theories which created the tendency."
[Op. Cit., p. 104]

However, the truth of the matter is somewhat different. 

Firstly, as will soon become clear, CNT policy and anarchist 
theory was *not* in favour of workers' owning their individual 
workplaces. Instead both argued for *socialisation* of the means 
of life by a system of federations of workers' assemblies. 
Individual workplaces would be managed by their workers but 
they would not exist in isolation or independently of the 
others -- they would be members of various federations (minimally 
an industrial one and one which united all workplaces regardless 
of industry in a geographical area). These would facilitate 
co-ordination and co-operation between self-managed workplaces.
The workplace would, indeed, be autonomous but such autonomy 
did not negate the need for federal organs of co-ordination nor 
did federation negate that autonomy (as we will discuss later
in section 18, autonomy means the ability to make agreements 
with others and so joining a federation is an expression of 
autonomy and not necessarily its abandonment, it depends on 
the nature of the federation). 

Secondly, rather than being the product of "more than 50 years" of 
anarchist propaganda or of "anarcho-syndicalist theories", the 
"collectives" instituted during the Civil War were seen by the 
CNT as merely a temporary stop-gap. They had not been advocated 
in the CNT's pre-Civil War program, but came into existence 
precisely because the CNT was unable to carry out its libertarian 
communist program, which would have required setting up workers 
congresses and federal councils to establish co-ordination and 
aid the planning of common activities between the self-managed
workplaces. In other words, the idea of self-managed workplaces
was seen as one step in a process of socialisation, the basic
building block of a federal structure of workers' councils. They
were *not* seen as an end in themselves no matter how important
they were as the base of a socialised economy.

Thus the CNT had never proposed that factories or other 
facilities would be owned by the people who happened to 
work there. The CNT's program called for the construction of 
"libertarian communism." This was the CNT's agreed goal,
recognising it must be freely created from below. In addition, 
the Spanish Anarchists argued for "free experimentation, free 
show of initiative and suggestions, as well as the freedom of 
organisation," recognising that "[i]n each locality the degree of 
[libertarian] communism, collectivism or mutualism will depend 
on conditions prevailing. Why dictate rules? We who make freedom 
our banner, cannot deny it in economy." [D. A. de Santillan, 
_After the Revolution_, p. 97] In other words, the CNT recognised
that libertarian communism would not be created overnight and
different areas will develop at different speeds and in different
directions depending on the material circumstances they faced
and what their population desired.

However, libertarian communism was the CNTs declared goal. This 
meant that the CNT aimed for a situation where the economy as 
a whole would be socialised and *not* an mutualist economy 
consisting independent co-operatives owned and controlled 
by their workers (with the producers operating totally 
independently of each other on the basis of market exchange). 
Instead, workers would manage their workplace directly,
but would not own it -- rather ownership would rest with
society as a whole but the day-to-day management of the 
means of production would be delegated to those who did the
actual work. Councils of workers' delegates, mandated by and
accountable to workplace assemblies, would be created to 
co-ordinate activity at all levels of the economy. 

A few quotes will be needed to show that this was, in fact,
the position of the Spanish Anarchists. According to Issac 
Puente, the "national federations will hold as common property 
all the roads, railways, buildings, equipment, machinery and 
workshops." The village commune "will federate with its 
counterparts in other localities and with the national 
industrial federations." [_Libertarian Communism_, p. 29 
and p. 26] In D. A. de Santillan's vision, libertarian 
communism would see workers' councils overseeing 18 
industrial sectors. There would also be "councils of the 
economy" for local, regional and national levels (ultimately, 
international as well). [Op. Cit., pp. 50-1 and pp. 80-7] 
These councils would be "constitute[d] by delegations or 
through assemblies" and "receives [their] orientation from 
below and operates in accordance with the resolutions" of 
their appropriate "assemblies." [Op. Cit., p. 83 and p. 86]

The CNT's national conference in Saragossa during May 1936
stressed this vision. Its resolution declared that the
revolution would abolish "private property, the State,
the principle of authority, and . . . classes." It argued 
that "the economic plan of organisation, throughout national 
production, will adjust to the strictest principles of
social economy, directly administered by the producers
through their various organs of production, designated
in general assemblies of the various organisations, and
always controlled by them." In urban areas, "the workshop
or factory council" would make "pacts with other labour
centres" via "Councils of Statistics and Production" 
which are the "organ of relations of Union to Union 
(association of producers)", in other words, workers'
councils. These would "federate among themselves, forming
a network of constant and close relations among all the
producers of the Iberian Confederation." In rural areas,
"the producers of the Commune" would create a "Council
of Cultivation" which would "establish the same network
of relations as the Workshop, Factory Councils and those
of Production and Statistics, complementing the free
federation represented by the Commune." 

The resolution argues that "[b]oth the Associations of industrial 
producers and Associations of agricultural producers will federate 
nationally" and "Communes will federate on a county and regional 
basis . . . Together these Communes will constitute an Iberian 
Confederation of Autonomous Libertarian Communes." Being anarchists, 
the CNT stressed that "[n]one of these organs will have executive 
or bureaucratic character" and their members "will carry out their 
mission as producers, meeting after the work day to discuss questions 
of details which don't require the decision of the communal 
assemblies." The assemblies themselves "will meet as often as 
needed by the interests of the Commune. . . When problems are 
dealt with which affect a country or province, it must be the 
Federations which deliberate, and in the meetings and assemblies 
all Communities will be represented and the delegates will bring 
points of view previously agreed upon" by the Commune assembly.
[quoted by Robert Alexander, _The Anarchists in the Spanish 
Revolution_, vol. 1, p. 59, p. 60 and p. 62]

Joan Ferrer, a bookkeeper who was the secretary of the CNT 
commercial workers union in Barcelona, explained this vision:

"It was our idea in the CNT that everything should start from 
the worker, not -- as with the Communists -- that everything 
should be run by the state. To this end we wanted to set up 
industrial federations -- textiles, metal-working, department 
stores, etc. -- which would be represented on an overall Economics 
Council which would direct the economy. Everything, including 
economic planning, would thus remain in the hands of the
workers." [quoted by Ronald Fraser, _Blood of Spain_, p. 180]

However, social revolution is a dynamic process and things
rarely develop exactly as predicted or hoped in pre-revolutionary
times. The "collectives" in Spain are an example of this.
Although the regional union conferences in Catalonia had 
put off overthrowing the government in July of 1936, workers 
began taking over the management of industries as soon as 
the street-fighting had died down. The initiative for this 
did not come from the higher bodies -- the regional and national
committees -- but from the rank-and-file activists in the 
local unions. In some cases this happened because the top 
management of the enterprise had fled and it was necessary 
for the workers to take over if production was to continue. 
But in many cases the local union militants decided to take
advantage of the situation to end wage labour by creating
self-managed workplaces.

As to be expected of a real movement, mistakes were made by
those involved and the development of the movement reflected
the real problems the workers faced and their general level
of consciousness and what they wanted. This is natural and
to denounce such developments in favour of ideal solutions
means to misunderstand the dynamic of a revolutionary 
situation. In the words of Malatesta:

"To organise a [libertarian] communist society on a large 
scale it would be necessary to transform all economic life 
radically, such as methods of production, of exchange and 
consumption; and all this could not be achieved other than 
gradually, as the objective circumstances permitted and to the 
extent that the masses understood what advantages could be 
gained and were able to act for themselves." [_Life and Ideas_, 
p. 36]

This was the situation in revolutionary Spain. Moreover, the
situation was complicated by the continued existence of the
bourgeois state. As Gaston Leval, in his justly famous study
of the collectives, states "it was not . . . true socialisation, 
but . . . a self-management straddling capitalism and socialism, 
which we maintain would not have occurred had the Revolution 
been able to extend itself fully under the direction of our 
syndicates." [Gaston Leval, _Collectives in the Spanish Revolution_, 
p. 227-8] Leval in fact terms it "a form of workers neo-capitalism"
but such a description is inaccurate (and unfortunate) simply 
because wage labour had been abolished and so it was not a form
of capitalism -- rather it was a form of mutualism, of workers'
co-operatives exchanging the product of their labour on the
market.

However, Leval basic argument was correct -- due to the fact
the political aspect of the revolution (the abolition of the
state) had been "postponed" until after the defeat of fascism,
the economic aspects of the revolution would also remain 
incomplete. The unions that had seized workplaces were confronted
with a dilemma. They had control of their individual workplaces, 
but the original libertarian plan for economic co-ordination was 
precluded by the continued existence of the State. It was in 
this context of a partial revolution, under attack by the 
counter-revolution, that the idea of "collectives" was first 
put forward to solve some of the problems facing the workers
and their self-managed workplaces. Unfortunately, this very
"solution" caused problems of its own. For example, Gaston Leval 
indicates that the collectivisation decree of October 1936 
"legalising collectivisation", "distorted everything right from 
the start" [Op. Cit., p. 227] and did not allow the collectives 
to develop beyond a mutualist condition into full libertarian
communism. It basically legalised the existing situation while
hindering its development towards libertarian communism by
undermining union control.

This dilemma of self-managed individual workplaces and lack of
federations to co-ordinate them was debated at a CNT union plenary 
in September of 1936. The idea of converting the worker-managed 
workplaces into co-operatives, operating in a market economy, had 
never been advocated by the Spanish anarchists before the Civil War, 
but was now seen by some as a temporary stop-gap that would solve 
the immediate question of what to do with the workplaces that had 
been seized by the workers. It was at this meeting that the term 
"collective" was first adopted to describe this solution. This
concept of "collectivisation" was suggested by Joan Fabregas, a 
Catalan nationalist of middle class origin who had joined the CNT 
after July of 1936. As one CNT militant recalled:

"Up to that moment, I had never heard of collectivisation as a 
solution for industry -- the department stores were being run 
by the union. What the new system meant was that each collectivised 
firm would retain its individual character, but with the ultimate 
objective of federating all enterprises within the same industry." 
[quoted by Ronald Fraser, _Blood of Spain_, p. 212]

However, a number of unions went beyond "collectivisation" and 
took over all the facilities in their industries, eliminating 
competition between separate firms. The many small barber and 
beauty shops in Barcelona were shut down and replaced with large 
neighbourhood haircutting centres, run through the assemblies 
of the CNT barbers' union. The CNT bakers union did something
similar. The CNT Wood Industry Union shut down the many small
cabinet-making shops, where conditions were often dangerous and 
unhealthy. They were replaced with two large factories, which 
included new facilities for the benefit of the workforce, such 
as a large swimming pool.

The union ran the entire industry, from the felling of timber in 
the Val d'Aran to the furniture showrooms in Barcelona. The railway, 
maritime shipping and water, gas and electric industry unions also 
pursued this strategy of industrial unification, as did the textile 
union in the industrial town of Badalona, outside Barcelona. This 
was considered to be a step in the direction of eventual socialisation.

At the Catalan union plenary of September, 1936, "the bigger, more 
powerful unions, like the woodworkers, the transport workers, the 
public entertainment union, all of which had already socialised [i.e. 
unified their industries under union management], wanted to extend 
their solution to the rest of industry. The smaller, weaker unions 
wanted to form co-operatives. . ." [Fraser, Op. Cit., p. 212]

The collectives came out of this conflict and discussion as a sort
of "middle ground" -- however, it should be stressed that it did
not stop many unions from ignoring the Catalan's governments'
attempt to legalise (and so control) the collectives (the so-called
"collectivisation" decree) as far as they could. As Albert Perez-Baro,
a Catalan Civil Servant noted, "the CNT . . . pursued its own,
unilateral objectives which were different. Syndical collectivisation
or syndicalised collectives, I would call those objectives; that's
to say, collectives run by their respective unions . . . The
CNT's policy was thus not the same as that pursued by the decree."
[quoted by Fraser, Op. Cit., pp. 212-3] Indeed, Abad de Santillan
stated later that he "was an enemy of the decree because I considered
it premature . . . When I became [economics] councillor [of the
Generalitat for the CNT], I had no intention of taking into account
of carrying out the decree; I intended to allow our great people
to carry on the task as they saw fit, according to their own
aspiration." [quoted, Op. Cit., p. 212f]

Therefore, when Leninist Joseph Green argues the initial collectivisation
of workplaces "was the masses starting to take things into their own 
hands, and they showed that they could continue production in their 
workplaces . . . The taking over of the individual workplaces and 
communities is one step in a revolutionary process. But there is yet 
more that must be done -- the workplaces and communities must be 
integrated into an overall economy" he is just showing his ignorance.
The CNT, despite Green's assertions to the contrary, were well aware
that the initial collectivisations were just one step in the
revolution and were acting appropriately. It takes some gall (or
extreme ignorance) to claim that CNT theory, policy and actions 
were, in fact, the exact opposite of what they were. Similarly,
when he argues "[h]ow did the anarchists relate the various workplace 
collectives to each other in Barcelona? . . . they made use of a 
patchwork system including a Central Labour Bank, an Economic Council, 
credit . . ." he strangely fails to mention the socialisation attempts 
made by many CNT industrial unions during the revolution, attempts which 
reflected pre-war CNT policy. But such facts would get in the way of 
a political diatribe and so are ignored. [Green, Op. Cit.]

Green continues his inaccurate diatribe by arguing that:

"The problem is that, saddled with their false theory, they could not 
understand the real nature of the economic steps taken in the collectives, 
and thus they could not deal with the economic relations that arose 
among the collectives." [Op. Cit.]

However, the only thing false about this is the false assertions
concerning anarchist theory. As is crystal clear from our comments
above, the Spanish anarchists (like all anarchists) were well aware 
of the need for economic relations between collectives (self-managed 
workplaces) before the revolution and acted to create them during 
it. These were the industrial federations and federations of rural 
communities/collectives predicted in anarchist and CNT theory and
actually created, in part at least, during the revolution itself.

Thus Green's "critique" of anarchism is, in fact, *exactly* what 
anarchist theory actually argues and what the Spanish anarchists 
themselves argued and tried to implement in all industries. Of 
course, there are fundamental differences between the anarchist 
vision of socialisation and the Leninist vision of Nationalisation 
but this does not mean that anarchism is blind to the necessity of 
integrating workplaces and communities into a coherent system of 
federations of workers' councils (as proven above). However, such 
federation has two sources -- it is either imposed from above or 
agreed to from below. Anarchists choose the former as the latter
negates any claim that a revolution is a popular, mass movement
from below (and, incidentally, the Leninist claim that the "workers' 
state" is simply a tool of the workers to defeat capitalist 
oppression).

The actual process in Spain towards industrial federations and so 
socialisation was dependent on the wishes of the workers involved -- 
as would be expected in a true social revolution. For example, the 
department stores were collectivised and an attempt to federate the 
stores failed. The works councils opposed it, considering the 
enterprises as their own and were unwilling to join a federation -- 
the general assemblies of the collectives agreed. Joan Ferrer, the 
secretary of the CNT commercial union, considered it natural as 
"[o]nly a few months before, the traditional relationship between 
employer and worker had been overthrown. Now the workers were 
being asked to make a new leap -- to the concept of collective 
ownership. It was asking a lot to expect the latter to happen 
overnight." [quoted by Fraser, Op. Cit., p. 220] 

However, before Leninists like Green rush in and assert that
this proves that "anarchist theory led to the ordinary anarchist 
considering each factory as owned simply by the workers that 
laboured there" we should point out two things. Firstly, it 
was the "ordinary anarchists" who were trying to organise 
socialisation (i.e. CNT members and militants). Secondly, 
the Russian Revolution also saw workers taking over their 
workplaces and treating them as their own property. Leninists 
like Green would have a fit if we took these examples to "prove" 
that Leninism "led to the ordinary Bolshevik worker considering 
each factory as owned simply by the workers that laboured there"
(which was what the Mensheviks *did* argue in 1917 when Martov
"blamed the Bolsheviks for creating the local, particularistic
attitudes prevailing among the masses." [Samuel Farber, _Before
Stalinism_, p. 72]). In other words, such events are a natural 
part of the process of a revolution and are to be expected 
regardless of the dominant theory in that revolution. 

To summarise.

The Spanish revolution does confirm anarchist theory and in no
way contradicts it. While many of the aspects of the collectives 
were in accord with pre-war CNT policy and anarchist theory, 
other aspects of them were in contradiction to them. This was 
seen by the militants of the CNT and FAI who worked to transform 
these spontaneously created organs of economic self-management 
into parts of a socialised economy as required for libertarian 
communism. Such a transformation flowed from below and was not 
imposed from above, as would be expected in a libertarian social 
revolution.

As can be seen, the standard Marxist account of the collectives
and its relationship to anarchist theory and CNT policy is
simply wrong.

16. How does the development of the collectives indicate the 
    differences between Bolshevism and anarchism?

As argued in the last section, the collectives formed during
the Spanish Revolution reflected certain aspects of anarchist
theory but not others. They were a compromise solution brought
upon by the development of the revolution and did not, as such,
reflect CNT or anarchist theory or vision bar being self-managed
by their workers. The militants of the CNT and FAI tried to convince
their members to federate together and truly socialise the 
economy, with various degrees of success. A similar process
occurred during the Russian Revolution of 1917. There workers
created factory committees which tried to introduce workers'
self-management of production. The differences in outcome in
these two experiences and the actions of the Bolsheviks and
anarchists indicate well the fundamental differences between
the two philosophies. In this section we discuss the contrasting
solutions pursued by the CNT and the Bolsheviks in their
respective revolutions.

The simple fact is that revolutions are complex and dynamic 
processes which involve many contradictory developments. The 
question is how do you push them forward -- either from below 
or from above. Both the Spanish and the Russian revolution
were marked by "localism" -- when the workers in a factory 
consider it their own property and ignore wider issues and
organisation. 

Lenin and the Bolsheviks "solved" the problem of localism by 
eliminating workers' self-management in favour of one-man 
management appointed from above. Attempts by the workers and
factory committees themselves to combat localism were stopped
by the Bolshevik dominated trade unions which "prevented the
convocation of a planned All-Russian Congress of Factory
Committees" in November 1917 when "called upon" by the
Bolsheviks "to render a special serve to the nascent Soviet
State and to discipline the Factory Committees." [I. Deutscher, 
quoted by Maurice Brinton, _The Bolsheviks and Workers'
Control_, p. 19] Instead, the Bolsheviks built from the 
top-down their system of "unified administration" based on
converting the Tsarist system of central bodies which governed 
and regulated certain industries during the war. [Brinton,
Op. Cit., p. 36] 

The CNT, in comparison, tried to solve the problem of localism by 
a process of discussion and debate from below to convince the
workers involved on the need to federate with their fellow
workers (see last section).

Both were aware of the fact the revolution was progressing 
in ways different from their desired goal but their solution 
reflected their different politics -- libertarian in the case 
of the CNT, authoritarian in the case of Bolshevism. 

Therefore the actual economic aspects of the Spanish revolution
reflected the various degrees of political development in each
workplace and industry. Some industries socialised according to
the CNT's pre-war vision of libertarian communism, others remained
at the level of self-managed workplaces in spite of the theories 
of the union and anarchists. This was the case with other aspects 
of the collectives. As Vernon Richards points out, "[i]n some 
factories . . . the profits or income were shared out among the 
workers . . . As a result, wages fluctuated in different factories 
and even within the same industry . . . But fortunately . . . the 
injustice of this form of collectivisation was recognised and 
combated by the CNT syndicates from the beginning." [_Lessons 
of the Spanish Revolution_, pp. 106-7]

As argued in the last section the collectives, rather than expressing 
the economic vision of communist-anarchism or anarcho-syndicalism, 
came into existence precisely because the CNT was unable to carry 
out its libertarian communist program, which would have required 
setting up workers congresses and co-ordinating councils to 
establish common ownership and society wide self-management. To 
assert that the collectives were an exact reflection of anarchist 
or anarcho-syndicalist theory is, therefore, incorrect. Rather, 
they reflected certain aspects of that theory (such as workers' 
self-management in the workplace) while others (industrial 
federations to co-ordinate economic activity, for example) were 
only partially meet. This, we must stress, is to be expected as 
a revolution is a *process* and not an event. As Kropotkin argued:

"It is a whole insurrectionary period of three, four, perhaps
five years that we must traverse to accomplish our revolution
in the property system and in social organisation." [_Words of
a Rebel_, p. 72] 

Thus the divergence of the actual revolution from the program
of the CNT was to be expected and so did not represent a
failure or a feature of anarchist or anarcho-syndicalist 
theory as Morrow and other Marxists assert. Rather, it 
expresses the nature of a social revolution, a movement 
from below which, by its very nature, reflects real needs 
and problems and subject to change via discussion and debate. 
Bakunin's comments stress this aspect of the revolution:

"I do not say that the peasants [and workers], freely organised 
from the bottom up, will miraculously create an ideal organisation,
confirming in all respects to our dreams. But I am convinced
that what they construct will be living and vibrant, a thousands
times better and more just than any existing organisation.
Moreover, this . . . organisation, being on the one hand open
to revolutionary propaganda . . . , and on the other, not
petrified by the intervention of the State . . . will develop
and perfect itself through free experimentation as fully as
one can reasonably expect in our times.

"With the abolition of the State, the spontaneous self-organisation
of popular life . . . will revert to the communes. The development
of each commune will take its point of departure the actual
condition of its civilisation . . ." [_Bakunin on Anarchism_,
p. 207]

To *impose* an "ideal" solution would destroy a revolution --
the actions and decisions (*including what others may consider
mistakes*) of a free people are infinitely more productive and 
useful than the decisions and decrees of the best central
committee. Moreover, a centralised system by necessity is
an imposed system (as it excludes by its very nature the 
participation of the mass of the people in determining their
own fate). As Bakunin argued, "Collectivism could be imposed
only on slaves, and this kind of collectivism would then be
the negation of humanity. In a free community, collectivism
can come about only through the pressure of circumstances,
not by imposition from above but by a free spontaneous
movement from below." [Op. Cit., p. 200] Thus socialisation
must proceed from below, reflecting the real development and
desires of those involved. To "speed-up" the process via
centralisation can only result in replacing socialisation
with nationalisation and the elimination of workers'
self-management with hierarchical management. Workers'
again would be reduced to the level of order-takers,
with control over their workplaces resting not in their
hands but in those of the state.

Lenin argued that "Communism requires and presupposes the 
greatest possible centralisation of large-scale production
throughout the country. The all-Russian centre, therefore, 
should definitely be given the right of direct control over all
the enterprises of the given branch of industry. The regional
centres define their functions depending on local conditions
of life, etc., in accordance with the general production 
directions and decisions of the centre." He continued by
explicitly arguing that "[t]o deprive the all-Russia centre 
of the right to direct control over all the enterprises of 
the given industry . . . would be regional anarcho-syndicalism, 
and not communism." [Marx, Engels and Lenin, _Anarchism and 
Anarcho-Syndicalism_, p. 292]

We expect that Morrow would subscribe to this "solution" to
the problems of a social revolution generates. However, such
a system has its own problems. 

First is the basic fallacy that the centre will not start to 
view the whole economy as its property (and being centralised, 
such a body would be difficult to effectively control). Indeed,
Stalin's power was derived from the state bureaucracy which
ran the economy in its own interests. Not that it suddenly arose
with Stalin. It was a feature of the Soviet system from the start.
Samuel Farber, for example, notes that, "in practice, [the] 
hypercentralisation [pursued by the Bolsheviks from early 1918
onwards] turned into infighting and scrambles for control among 
competing bureaucracies" and he points to the "not untypical 
example of a small condensed milk plant with few than 15 workers 
that became the object of a drawn-out competition among six 
organisations including the Supreme Council of National Economy, 
the Council of People's Commissars of the Northern Region, the 
Vologda Council of People's Commissars, and the Petrograd Food
Commissariat." [Op. Cit., p. 73] In other words, centralised
bodies are not immune to viewing resources as their own property
(and compared to an individual workplace, the state's power to 
enforce its viewpoint against the rest of society is considerably 
stronger).

Secondly, to eliminate the dangers of workers' self-management 
generating "propertarian" notions, the workers' have to have 
their control over their workplace reduced, if not eliminated. 
This, by necessity, generates *bourgeois* social relationships 
and, equally, appointment of managers from above (which the
Bolsheviks did embrace). Indeed, by 1920 Lenin was boasting
that in 1918 he had "pointed out the necessity of recognising 
the dictatorial authority of single individuals for the pursue 
of carrying out the Soviet idea" and even claimed that at
that stage "there were no disputes in connection with the
question" of one-man management. [quoted by Brinton, Op. Cit.,
p. 65] While the first claim is true (Lenin argued for one-man
management appointed from above *before* the start of the Civil
War in May 1918) the latter one is *not* true (excluding 
anarchists and anarcho-syndicalists, there were also the 
dissent Left-Communists in the Bolshevik party itself).

Thirdly, a centralised body effectively excludes the mass 
participation of the mass of workers -- power rests in the 
hands of a few people which, by its nature, generates 
bureaucratic rule. This can be seen from the example of 
Lenin's Russia. The central bodies the Bolsheviks created 
had little knowledge of the local situation and often gave 
orders that contradicted each other or had little bearing to 
reality, so encouraging factories to ignore the centre 
[Carmen Sirianni, _Workers' Control and Socialist Democracy_,
pp. 72-3 and pp. 118-20]. In other words the government's 
attempts to centralise actually led to localism (as well as 
economic mismanagement)! Perhaps this was what Green means 
when he argues for a "new centralism" which would be "compatible 
with and requiring the initiative of the workers at the base" 
[Green, Op. Cit.]-- that is, the initiative of the workers to 
ignore the central bodies and keep the economy going 
*in spite* of the "new centralism"? 

The simple fact is, a socialist society *must* be created
from below, by the working class itself. If the workers do
not know how to create the necessary conditions for a 
socialist organisation of labour, no one else can do it for
them or compel them to do it. If the state is used to combat
"localism" and such things then it obviously cannot be in
the hands of the workers' themselves. Socialism can only
be created by workers' own actions and organisations 
otherwise it will not be set up at all -- something else 
will be, namely state capitalism.

Thus, a close look at Lenin's "solution" indicates that Trotskyist 
claim that their state is the "tool of the majority in their fight 
against exploitation by the few" (to use Joseph Green's words) is 
refuted by their assertion that this state will also bring the 
economy under centralised control and by the actions of the 
Bolsheviks themselves.

Why is this? Simply because *if* the mass of collectives are not
interested in equality and mutual aid in society as a whole then 
how can the government actually be the "tool" of the majority when 
it imposes such "mutual aid" and "equality" upon the collectives?
In other words, the interests of the government replace those of
the majority. After all, if workers *did* favour mutual aid and
equality then they would federate themselves to achieve it (which
the collectives were actually doing all across Spain, we must
note). If they do not do this then how can the "workers' state" be 
said to be simply their tool when it has to *impose* the appropriate
economic structure upon them? The government is elected by the
whole people, so it will be claimed, and so must be their tool.
This is obviously flawed -- "if," argued Malatesta, "you consider 
these worthy electors as unable to look after their own interests 
themselves, how is it that they will know how to choose for 
themselves the shepherds who must guide them? And how will 
they be able to solve this problem of social alchemy, of 
producing a genius from the votes of a mass of fools? And 
what will happen to the minorities which are still the most 
intelligent, most active and radical part of a society?"
[Malatesta, _Anarchy_, p. 53]

What does all this mean? Simply that Trotskyists recognise, implicitly
at least, that the workers' state is not, in fact, the simple tool
of the workers. Rather, it is the means by which "socialism" will
be imposed upon the workers by the party. If workers do not practice 
mutual aid and federation in their day-to-day running of their
lives, then how can the state impose it if it is simply their
tool? It suggests what is desired "by all of the working people as 
a whole" (nearly always a euphemism for the party in Trotskyist
ideology) is different that what they actually want (as expressed
by their actions). In other words, a conflict exists between 
the workers' and the so-called "workers' state" -- in Russia,
the party imposed *its* concept of the interests of the working
class, even against the working class itself.

Rather than indicate some kind of failure of anarchist theory, the
experience of workers' self-management in both Spain and Russia 
indicate the authoritarian core of Trotskyist ideology. If workers 
do not practice mutual aid or federation then a state claiming to 
represent them, to be simply their tool, cannot force them to do 
so without exposing itself as being an alien body with power *over* 
the workers.

For these reasons Bakunin was correct to argue that anarchists
have "no faith except in freedom. Both [Marxists and anarchists],
equally supporters of science which is to destroy superstition
and replace belief, differ in the former wishing to impose it,
and the latter striving to propagate it; so human groups, 
convinced of its truth, may organise and federate spontaneously,
freely, from the bottom up, by their own momentum according
to their real interests, but never according to any plan laid
down in advance and imposed upon the *ignorant masses* by
some superior intellects." Anarchists, he continues, "think
that there is much more practical and intellectual common
sense in the instinctive aspirations and in the real needs of
the mass of the people than in the profound intelligence of
all these doctors and teachers of mankind who, after so many
fruitless attempts to make humanity happy, still aspire to
add their own efforts." [_Michael Bakunin: Selected Writings_,
p. 198] 

In summary, the problem of "localism" and any other problems faced
by a social revolution will be solved in the interests of the working 
class only if working class people solve them themselves. For 
this to happen it requires working class people to manage their 
own affairs directly and that implies self-managed organising from
the bottom up (i.e. anarchism) rather than delegating power to a
minority at the top, to a "revolutionary" party or government. This
applies economically, socially and politically. As Bakunin argued,
the "revolution should not only be made for the people's sake; it 
should also be made by the people." [_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, 
p. 141] 

Thus the actual experience of the collectives and their development,
rather than refuting anarchism, indicates well that it is the only
real form of socialism. Attempts to nationalise the means of
production inevitably disempower workers and eliminate meaningful
workers' self-management or control. It does not eliminate wage
labour but rather changes the name of the boss. Socialism can
only be built from below. If it is not, as the Russian experience
indicated, then state capitalism will be the inevitable outcome.

17. Why is Morrow's support for "proletarian methods of production" ironic?

Morrow states "[i]n the midst of civil war the factory committees 
are demonstrating the superiority of proletarian methods of 
production." [Op. Cit., p. 53] This is ironic as the Bolsheviks 
in power fought against the factory committees and their attempts 
to introduce the kind of workers' self-management Morrow praises 
in Spain (see Maurice Brinton's _The Bolsheviks and Workers' 
Control_ for details). 

Moreover, rather than seeing workers' self-management (i.e. "proletarian 
methods of production") as the basic building block of socialism, 
Lenin and Trotsky thought that how a workplace was managed was 
irrelevant under socialism. Trotsky argued that "[i]t would be 
a most crying error to confuse the question as to the supremacy 
of the proletariat with the question of boards of workers at the 
head of factories. The dictatorship of the proletariat is 
expressed in the abolition of private property in the means of 
production, in the supremacy of the collective will of the workers
[a euphemism for the Party -- M.B.] and not at all in the form in 
which individual economic organisations are administered." Indeed,
"I consider if the civil war had not plundered our economic organs 
of all that was strongest, most independent, most endowed with 
initiative, we should undoubtedly have entered the path of 
one-man management in the sphere of economic administration 
much sooner and much less painfully." [quoted by Maurice 
Brinton, Op. Cit., p. 66 and pp. 66-7] 

In other words, Trotsky both in theory and in practice opposed
"proletarian methods of production" -- and if the regime introduced
by Trotsky and Lenin in Russia was *not* based on "proletarian
methods of production" then what methods was it based on? One-man
management with "the appointment of individuals, dictators
with unlimited powers" by the government and "the people 
*unquestioningly obey[ing] the single will* of the leaders 
of labour." [_The Immediate Tasks of the Soviet Government_, 
p. 32 and p. 34] In other words, the usual *bourgeois* methods 
of production with the workers' doing what the boss tells them. 
At no time did the Bolsheviks support the kind of workers'
self-management introduced by the anarchist influenced workers
of Spain -- indeed they hindered it and replaced it with one-man
management at the first opportunity (see Maurice Brinton's 
classic _The Bolsheviks and Workers' Control_ for details). 

To point out the obvious, bourgeois methods of production 
means bourgeois social relations and relations of production. 
In other words, Morrow comments allows us to see that Lenin 
and Trotsky's regime was not proletarian at the point of 
production. How ironic. And if it was not proletarian at
the point of production (i.e. at the source of *economic*
power) how could it remain proletarian at the political
level? Unsurprisingly, it did not -- party power soon 
replaced workers' power and the state bureaucracy replaced
the party.

Yet again Morrow's book exposes the anti-revolutionary
politics of Trotskyism by allowing anarchists to show the
divergence between the rhetoric of that movement and what 
it did when it was in power. Morrow, faced with a workers'
movement influenced by anarchism, inadvertently indicates
the poverty of Trotskyism when he praises the accomplishments
of that movement. The reality of Leninism in power was that 
it eliminated the very things Morrow praises -- such as
"proletarian methods of production," democratic militias,
workers' councils and so on. Needless to say, the irony of
Morrow's work is lost on most of the Trotskyists who read
it.

18. Were the federations of collectives an "abandonment" of anarchist 
    ideas?

From our discussion in section 15, it is clear that anarchism 
does not deny the need for co-ordination and joint activity, for 
federations of self-managed workplaces, industries and rural 
collectives at all levels of society. Far from it. As proven 
in sections 12 and 15, such federations are a basic idea of 
anarchism. In anarchy co-ordination flows *from below* and 
not imposed by a few from above. Unfortunately Marxists
cannot tell the difference between solidarity from below
and unity imposed from above. Morrow, for example, argues 
that "the anarchist majority in the Council of Aragon led 
in practice to the abandonment of the anarchist theory of 
the autonomy of economic administration. The Council acted 
as a centralising agency." [Op. Cit., pp. 205-6] 

Of course it does nothing of the kind. Yes, anarchists are
in favour of autonomy -- including the autonomy of economic
administration. We are also in favour of federalism to
co-ordinate join activity and promote co-operation on a
wide-scale (what Morrow would, inaccuracy, call "centralism" 
or "centralisation"). Rather than seeing such agreements of 
joint activity as the "abandonment" of autonomy, we see it 
as an *expression* of that autonomy. It would be a strange
form of "freedom" that suggested making arrangements and
agreements with others meant a restriction of your liberty.
For example, no one would argue that to arrange to meet your 
friend at a certain place and time meant the elimination
of your autonomy even though it obviously reduces your 
"liberty" to be somewhere else at the same time.

Similarly, when an individual joins a group and takes part
in its collective decisions and abides by their decisions,
this does not represent the abandonment of their autonomy.
Rather, it is an expression of their freedom. If we took
Morrow's comment seriously then anarchists would be against
all forms of organisation and association as they would
mean the "abandonment of autonomy" (of course some Marxists
*do* make that claim, but such a position indicates an
essentially *negative* viewpoint of liberty, a position 
they normally reject). In reality, of course, anarchists 
are aware that freedom is impossible outside of association.
Within an association absolute "autonomy" cannot exist, but
such "autonomy" would restrict freedom to such a degree 
that it would be so self-defeating as to make a mockery 
of the concept of autonomy and no sane person would seek it.

Of course anarchists are aware that even the best association
could turn into a bureaucracy that *does* restrict freedom.
Any organisation could transform from being an expression of
liberty into a bureaucratic structure which restricts liberty
because power concentrates at the top, into the hands of an
elite. That is why we propose specific forms of organisation,
ones based on self-management, decentralisation and federalism
which promote decision-making from the bottom-up and ensure
that the organisation remains in the hands of its members and
its policies are agreements between them rather than ones 
imposed upon them. For this reason the basic building block 
of the federation is the autonomous group assembly. It is 
this body which decides on its own issues and mandates 
delegates to reach agreements within the federal structure, 
leaving to itself the power to countermand the agreements 
its delegates make. In this way autonomy is combined with 
co-ordination in an organisation that is structured to 
accurately reflect the needs and interests of its members
by leaving power in their hands. In the words of Murray Bookchin, 
anarchists "do not deny the need for co-ordination between
groups, for discipline, for meticulous planning, and for 
unity in action. But [we] believe that co-ordination, 
discipline, planning, and unity in action must be achieved
*voluntarily,* by means of self-discipline nourished by
conviction and understanding, not by coercion and a
mindless, unquestioning obedience to orders from above."
[_Post-Scarcity Anarchism_, p. 215]

Therefore, anarchist support for "the autonomy of economic 
administration" does not imply the lack of co-operation and
co-ordination, of joint agreements and federal structures
which may, to the uninformed like Morrow, seem to imply the
"abandonment" of autonomy. As Kropotkin argued, the commune
"cannot any longer acknowledge any superior: that, above it,
there cannot be anything, save the interests of the Federation,
freely embraced by itself in concert with other Communes."
[_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 259] This vision was stressed 
in the CNT's Saragossa resolution on Libertarian Communism made
in May, 1936, which stated that the "the foundation of this 
administration will be the Commune. These Communes are to be 
autonomous and will be federated at regional and national levels 
for the purpose of achieving goals of a general nature. The right 
of autonomy is not to preclude the duty of implementation of 
agreements regarding collective benefits." [quoted by Jose Peirats,
_The CNT in the Spanish Revolution_, p. 68] Hence anarchists
do not see making collective decisions and working in a 
federation as an abandonment of autonomy or a violation of
anarchist theory.

The reason for this is simple. To exercise your autonomy by 
joining self-managing organisations and, therefore, agreeing 
to abide by the decisions you help make is not a denial of 
that autonomy (unlike joining a hierarchical structure, we 
must stress). That is why anarchists have always stressed 
the importance of the *nature* of the associations people 
join *as well as* their voluntary nature -- as Kropotkin
argued, the "communes of the next revolution will not only break 
down the state and substitute free federation for parliamentary 
rule; they will part with parliamentary rule within the commune 
itself . . .  They will be anarchist within the commune as they 
will be anarchist outside it." [_The Commune of Paris_] Moreover, 
within the federal structures anarchists envision, the actual 
day-to-day running of the association would be autonomous. There 
would be little or no need for the federation to interfere with 
the mundane decisions a group has to make day in, day out. As
the Saragossa resolution makes clear:

"[The] commune . . . will undertake to adhere to whatever general 
norms may be agreed by majority vote after free debate . . . The 
inhabitants of a Commune are to debate their internal problems . . . 
among themselves. Whenever problems affecting an entire comarca
[local area] or province are involved, it must be the Federations 
who deliberate and at every . . . assembly these may hold all of 
the Communes are to be represented, and their delegates will 
relay the viewpoints previously approved in their respective 
Communes . . . every commune will have its right to have its 
say . . . On matters of a regional nature, it will be up to
the Regional Federation to put agreements into practice . . .
So the starting point is the individual, moving on through
the Commune, to the Federation and right on up finally to
the Confederation." [quoted by Jose Peirats, Op. Cit., 
pp. 68-9]

Since the Council of Aragon and the Federation of Collectives
were based on a federal structure, regular meetings of mandated
delegates and decision-making from the bottom up, it would
be wrong to call them a "centralising agency" or an "abandonment"
of the principle of "autonomy." Rather, they were expressions
of that autonomy based around a *federal* and not centralised
organisation. The autonomy of the collective, of its mass
assembly, was not restricted by the federation nor did the
federation interfere with the day to day running of the
collectives which made it up. The structure was a federation
of autonomous collectives. The role of the Council was to
co-ordinate the decisions of the federation delegate meetings
-- in other words, purely administrative implementation of
collective agreements. To confuse this with centralisation is
a mistake common to Marxists, but it is still a confusion.

To summarise, what Morrow claims is an "abandonment" of 
anarchism is, in fact, an expression of anarchist ideas. The 
Council of Aragon and the Aragon Federation of Collectives were 
following the CNT's vision of libertarian communism and not 
abandoning it, as Morrow claims. As anyone with even a basic
understanding of anarchism would know.

19. Did the experience of the rural collectives refute anarchism?

Some Leninists attack the rural collectives on similar lines as 
they attack the urban ones (as being independent identities and
without co-ordination -- see section 15 for details). They argue 
that "anarchist theory" resulted in them considering themselves as 
being independent bodies and so they ignored wider social issues 
and organisation. This meant that anarchist goals could not 
be achieved:

"Let's evaluate the Spanish collectives according to one of the 
basic goals set by the anarchists themselves. This was to ensure 
equality among the toilers. They believed that the autonomous 
collectives would rapidly equalise conditions among themselves 
through 'mutual aid' and solidarity. This did not happen . . . 
conditions varied greatly among the Spanish collectives, with 
peasants at some agricultural collectives making three times 
that of peasants at other collectives." [Joseph Green, Op. Cit.]

Of course, Green fails to mention that in the presumably "centralised" 
system created by the Bolsheviks, the official rationing system had 
a differentiation of *eight to one* under the class ration of May 
1918. By 1921, this, apparently, had fallen to around four to one 
(which is still higher than the rural collectives) but, in fact, 
remained at eight to one due to workers in selected defence-industry
factories getting the naval ration which was approximately double 
that of the top civilian workers' ration. [Mary McAuley, _Bread and
Justice: State and Society in Petrograd 1917-1922_, pp. 292-3] This, 
we note, ignores the various privileges associated with state
office and Communist Party membership which would increase differentials
even more (and such inequality extended into other fields, Lenin for
example warned in 1921 against "giving non-Party workers a false
sense of having some increase in their rights" [Marx, Engels and
Lenin, Op. Cit., p. 325]). The various resolutions made by workers
for equality in rations were ignored by the government (all this
long before, to use Green's words "their party degenerated into 
Stalinist revisionism").

So, if equality is important, then the decentralised rural collectives 
were far more successful in achieving it than the "centralised" system 
under Lenin (as to be expected, as the rank-and-file were in control, 
not a few at the top).

Needless to the collectives could not unify history instantly. Some 
towns and workplaces started off on a more favourable position than 
others. Green quotes an academic (David Miller) on this: 

"Such variations no doubt reflected historical inequalities of wealth, 
but at the same time the redistributive impact of the [anarchist] 
federation had clearly been slight." 

Note that Green implicitly acknowledges that the collectives *did* 
form a federation. This makes a mockery of his claims that earlier
claims that the anarchists "believed that the village communities 
would enter the realm of a future liberated society if only they 
became autonomous collectives. They didn't see the collectives as 
only one step, and they didn't see the need for the collectives 
to be integrated into a broader social control of all production."
[Op. Cit.] As proven above, such assertions are either the product 
of ignorance or a conscious lie. We quoted numerous Spanish anarchist
documents that stated the exact opposite to Green's assertions. The 
Spanish anarchists were well aware of the need for self-managed 
communities to federate. Indeed, the federation of collectives 
fits *exactly* pre-war CNT policy and anarchist theory (see
sections 15 and 18 for details). To re-quote a Spanish Anarchist 
pamphlet, the village commune "will federate with its counterparts 
in other localities and with the national industrial federations." 
[Issac Puente, _Libertarian Communism_, p. 26] Thus what Green 
asserts the CNT and FAI did not see the need of, they in fact *did* 
see the need for and argued for their creation before the Civil War 
and actually created during it! Green's comments indicate a certain 
amount of "doublethink" -- he maintains that the anarchists rejected 
federations while acknowledging they did federate.

However, historical differences are the product of *centuries* 
and so it will take some time to overcome them, particularly when 
such changes are not imposed by a central government. In addition, 
the collectives were not allowed to operate freely and were soon 
being hindered (if not physically attacked) by the state within 
a year. Green dismisses this recognition of reality by arguing 
"one could argue that the collectives didn't have much time to 
develop, being in existence for only two and a half years at 
most, with the anarchists only having one year of reasonably 
unhindered work, but one could certainly not argue that this 
experience confirmed anarchist theory." However, his argument 
is deeply flawed for many reasons.

Firstly, we have to point out that Green quotes Miller who is using
data from collectives in Castille. Green, however, was apparently
discussing the collectives of Aragon and the Levante and their
respective federations (as was Miller). To state the obvious, it
is hard to evaluate the activities of the Aragon or Levante 
federation using data from collectives in the Castille federation. 
Moreover, in order to evaluate the redistributive activities of
the federations you need to look at the differentials before and
after the federation was created. The data Miller uses does not
do that and so the lack of success of the federation cannot be
evaluated using Green's source. Thus Green uses data which is,
frankly, a joke to dismiss anarchism. This says a lot about the
quality of his critique.

As far as the Castille federation goes, Robert Alexander notes
"[a]nother feature of the work of regional federation was that
of aiding the less fortunate collectives. Thus, within a year,
it spent 2 000 000 pesetas on providing chemical fertilisers
and machines to poorer collectives, the money from this being
provided by the sale of products of the wealthier ones." [_The
Anarchists in the Spanish Civil War_, vol. 1, p. 438] He also
quotes an article from an anarchist paper which states "there
does not yet exist sufficient solidarity" between rich and
poor collectives and that notes "the difficulties which the
State has put in the way of the development of the collectives."
[Op. Cit., p. 439] Thus the CNT was open about the difficulties
it was experiencing in the collectives and the problems facing
it.

Secondly, the collectives may have been in existence for about 
one year before the Stalinists attacked but their federations
had not. The Castille federation was born in April, 1937 (the
general secretary stated in July of that year "[w]e have fought 
terrible battles with the Communists" [Op. Cit., p. 446]). The 
Aragon federation was created in February 1937 (the Council
of Aragon was created in October 1936) and the Communists
under Lister attacked in August 1937. The Levante federation
was formed a few weeks after the start of the war and the
attacks against them started in March 1937. The longest
period of free development, therefore, was only *seven* months
and not a year. Thus the federations of collectives -- the means 
seen by anarchist theory to co-ordinate economic and social 
activities and promote equality -- existed for only a few 
months before they were physically attacked by the state. 
Green expects miracles if he thinks history can be nullified 
in half a year.

Thirdly, anarchists do not think communist-anarchism, in all
its many aspects, is possible overnight. Anarchists are well
aware, to quote Kropotkin, the "revolution may assume a variety
of characters and differing degrees of intensity among different
peoples." [_No Gods, No Masters_, vol. 1, p. 231] Also, as
noted above, we are well aware that a revolution is a *process*
("By revolution we do not mean just the insurrectionary act"
[Malatesta, _Life and Ideas_, p. 156]) which will take some time 
to fully develop once the state has been destroyed and capital 
expropriated. Green's assertion that the Spanish Revolution 
refutes anarchist theory is clearly a false one.

Green argues that a "vast organisational task faces the oppressed 
masses who are rising up to eliminate the old exploiting system, 
but anarchist theory just brushes aside this problem -- co-ordination 
between collective would supposedly be easily accomplished by 'mutual 
aid' or 'voluntary co-operation' or, if absolutely need be, by the 
weakest possible federation." [Op. Cit.] As can be seen from our
discussion, such a claim is a false one. Anarchists are well aware
of difficulties involved in a revolution. That is why we stress that
revolution must come from below, by the actions of the oppressed
themselves -- it is far too complex to left to a few party leaders
to decree the abolition of capitalism. Moreover, as proven above
anarchist theory and practice is well aware of the need for
organisation, co-operation and co-ordination. We obviously do
not "brush it aside." This can be seen from Green's reference to 
"the weakest possible federation." This obviously is a cover just 
in case the reader is familiar with anarchist theory and history
and knows that anarchists support the federation of workers' 
associations and communes as the organisational framework of
a revolution and of the free society.

This distorted vision of anarchism even extents to other aspects
of the revolution. Green decides to attack the relative lack of 
international links the Spanish anarchist movement had in 1936. 
He blames this on anarchist theory and states "again the localist 
anarchist outlook would go against such preparations. True, the 
anarchists had had their own International association in the 1870s, 
separate from the original First International and the Marxists. It 
had flopped so badly that the anarchists never tried to resuscitate 
it and seem to prefer to forget about it. Given anarchist localism, 
it is not surprising that this International doesn't even seem 
to be been missed by current-day anarchists." [Op. Cit.] 

Actually, the anarchist International came out of the First 
International and was made up of the libertarian wing of that 
association. Moreover, in 1936 the CNT was a member of the 
International Workers' Association founded in 1922 in Berlin. 
The IWA was small, but this was due to state and Fascist 
repression. For example, the German FAUD, the Italian USI 
and the FORA in Argentina had all been destroyed by fascist 
governments. However, those sections which did exist (such
as the Swedish SAC and French CGTSR) *did* send aid to Spain 
and spread CNT and FAI news and appeals (as did anarchist groups 
across the world). The IWA still exists today, with sections 
in over a dozen countries (including the CNT in Spain). In 
addition, the International Anarchist Federation also exists, 
having done so for a number of decades, and also has sections 
in numerous countries. In other words, Green either knows 
nothing about anarchist history and theory or he does and 
is lying. 

He attacks the lack of CNT support for Moroccan independence during the
war and states "[t]hey just didn't seem that concerned with the issue 
during the Civil War." Actually, many anarchists *did* raise this
important issue. Just one example, Camillo Berneri argued that "we
must intensify our propaganda in favour of Morocco autonomy." ["What
can we do?", _Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review_, no. 4, p. 51]
Thus to state "the anarchists . . . didn't seem that concerned" is 
simply false. Many anarchists were and publicly argued for it. 
Trapped as a minority force in the government, the CNT could not
push through this position.

Green also points out that inequality existed between men and woman.
He even quotes the anarchist women's organisation Mujeres Libres 
to prove his point. He then notes what the Bolsheviks did to combat
sexism, "[a]mong the methods of influence was mobilising the local 
population around social measures promulgated throughout the country. 
The banner of the struggle was not autonomy, but class-wide effort."
Two points, Mujeres Libres was a nation wide organisation which aimed
to end sexism by collective action inside and outside the anarchist
movement by organising women to achieve their own liberation (see 
Martha Ackelsberg's , _Free Women of Spain_ for more details). Thus 
its aims and mode of struggle *was* "class-wide" -- as anyone familiar 
with that organisation and its activities would know. Secondly, why 
is equality between men and women important? Because inequality reduces 
the freedom of women to control their own lives, in a word, it hinders
they *autonomy.* Any campaign against sexism is based on the banner
of autonomy -- that Green decides to forget this suggests a lot about
his politics.

Thus Green gets it wrong again and again. Such is the quality of
most Leninist accounts of the Spanish revolution.

20. Does the experience of the Spanish Revolution indicate the 
    failure of anarchism or the failure of anarchists?

Marxists usually point to the events in Catalonia after July 19th,
1936, as evidence that anarchism is a flawed theory. They bemoan
the fact that, when given the chance, the anarchists did not
"seize power" and create a "dictatorship of the proletariat." 
To re-quote Trotsky:

"A revolutionary party, even having seized power (of which the 
anarchist leaders were incapable in spite of the heroism of the 
anarchist workers), is still by no means the sovereign ruler of 
society." ["Stalinism and Bolshevism", _Socialist Review_, 
no. 146, p. 16]

However, as we argued in section 12, the Trotskyist "definition" 
of "workers' power" and "proletarian dictatorship" is, in fact, 
party power, party dictatorship and party sovereignty -- *not*
working class self-management. 

Hence the usual Trotskyist lament concerning the CNT is that
the anarchist leaders did not seize power themselves and
create the so-called "dictatorship of the proletariat" (i.e.
the dictatorship of those claiming to represent the proletariat).
A strange definition of "workers' power," we must admit. The
"leaders" of the CNT and FAI quite rightly rejected such a
position -- unfortunately they also rejected the anarchist
position at the same time, as we will see.

Trotsky states that the "leaders of the CNT . . . explained their
open betrayal of the theory of anarchism by the pressure of
'exceptional circumstances' . . . Naturally, civil war is
not a peaceful and ordinary but an 'exceptional circumstance.'
Every serious revolutionary organisation, however, prepares
precisely for 'exceptional circumstances.'" ["Stalinism and 
Bolshevism", Op. Cit., p. 16] 

Trotsky is, for once, correct. We will ignore the obvious fact 
that his own (and every other Leninist) account of the degeneration 
of the Russian Revolution into Stalinism is a variation of the
"exceptional circumstances" excuse and turn to his essential
point. In order to evaluate anarchism and the actions of the CNT 
we have to evaluate *all* the revolutionary situations it found 
itself in, *not* just July, 1936 in Catalonia. This is something
Trotsky and his followers seldom do -- for reasons that will
become clear.

Obviously space considerations does not allow us to discuss
every revolutionary situation anarchism faced. We will, 
therefore, concentrate on the Russian Revolution and the
activities of the CNT in Spain in the 1930s. These examples
will indicate that rather than signifying the failure of
anarchism, the actions of the CNT during the Civil War
indicate the failure of anarchists to apply anarchist theory
and so signifies a betrayal of anarchism. In other words,
that anarchism is a valid form of revolutionary politics.

If we look at the Russian Revolution, we see anarchist theory
gain its most wide scale influence in those parts of the 
Ukraine protected by the Makhnovist army. The Makhnovists
fought against White (pro-Tsarist), Red and Ukrainian 
Nationalists in favour of a system of "free soviets" in
which the "working people themselves must freely choose their 
own soviets, which are to carry out the will and desires of 
the working people themselves. that is to say, *administrative*,
not ruling councils." As for the economy, the "land, the
factories, the workshops, the mines, the railroads and the
other wealth of the people must belong to the working people
themselves, to those who work in them, that is to say, 
they must be socialised." ["Some Makhnovist Proclamations",
contained in Peter Arshinov, _The History of the Makhnovist
Movement_, p. 273]

To ensure this end, the Makhnovists refused to set up 
governments in the towns and cities they liberated, instead
urging the creation of free soviets so that the working
people could govern themselves. Taking the example of 
Aleksandrovsk, once they had liberated the city the
Makhnovists "immediately invited the working population
to participate in a general conference . . . it was
proposed that the workers organise the life of the city
and the functioning of the factories with their own
forces and their own organisations . . . The first
conference was followed by a second. The problems of
organising life according to principles of self-management
by workers were examined and discussed with animation
by the masses of workers, who all welcomed this ideas
with the greatest enthusiasm . . . Railroad workers
took the first step . . . They formed a committee
charged with organising the railway network of the
region . . . From this point, the proletariat of
Aleksandrovsk began systematically to the problem
of creating organs of self-management." [Op. Cit., 
p. 149]

They also organised free agricultural communes which 
"[a]dmittedly . . . were not numerous, and included only
a minority of the population . . .  But what was most
precious was that these communes were formed by the poor 
peasants themselves. The Makhnovists never exerted any
pressure on the peasants, confining themselves to propagating
the idea of free communes." [Op. Cit., p. 87] Makhno played 
an important role in abolishing the holdings of the landed 
gentry. The local soviet and their district and regional 
congresses equalised the use of the land between all 
sections of the peasant community. [Op. Cit., pp. 53-4]

Moreover, the Makhnovists took the time and energy to involve
the whole population in discussing the development of the
revolution, the activities of the army and social policy. 
They organised numerous conferences of workers', soldiers'
and peasants' delegates to discuss political and social
issues. They organised a regional congress of peasants
and workers when they had liberated Aleksandrovsk. When
the Makhnovists tried to convene the third regional 
congress of peasants, workers and insurgents in April
1919 and an extraordinary congress of several regions
in June 1919 (including Red Army soldiers) the Bolsheviks
viewed them as counter-revolutionary, tried to ban them 
and declared their organisers and delegates outside the law. 
For example, Trotsky issued order 1824 which stated the June 
1919 congress was forbidden, that to inform the population of 
it was an act of high treason and all delegates should be 
arrested immediately as were all the spreading the call.
[Op. Cit., p. 98-105 and p. 122-31] 

The Makhnovists replied by holding the conferences anyway
and asking "[c]an there exist laws made by a few people 
who call themselves revolutionaries, which permit them to
outlaw a whole people who are more revolutionary than they
are themselves?" and "[w]hose interests should the revolution
defend: those of the Party or those of the people who set
the revolution in motion with their blood?" Makhno himself
stated that he "consider[ed] it an inviolable right of the 
workers and peasants, a right won by the revolution, to call 
conferences on their own account, to discuss their affairs." 
[Op. Cit., p. 103 and p. 129] These actions by the Bolsheviks
should make the reader ponder if the elimination of workers'
democracy during the civil war can fully be explained by
the objective conditions facing Lenin's government or whether
Leninist ideology played an important role in it. As Arshinov
argues, "[w]hoever studies the Russian Revolution should
learn it [Trotsky's order no. 1824] by heart." [Op. Cit., 
p. 123] Obviously the Bolsheviks considered that soviet
system was threatened if soviet conferences were called
and the "dictatorship of the proletariat" was undermined
if the proletariat took part in such events.

In addition, the Makhnovists "full applied the revolutionary
principles of freedom of speech, of thought, of the press,
and of political association. In all cities and towns
occupied by the Makhnovists, they began by lifting all 
the prohibitions and repealing all the restrictions 
imposed on the press and on political organisations by 
one or another power." Indeed, the "only restriction that 
the Makhnovists considered necessary to impose on the 
Bolsheviks, the left Socialist-Revolutionaries and other
statists was a prohibition on the formation of those
'revolutionary committees' which sought to impose a
dictatorship over the people."  [Op. Cit., p. 153 and
p. 154]

The army itself, in stark contrast to the Red Army, was
fundamentally democratic (although, of course, the horrific
nature of the civil war did result in a few deviations from
the ideal -- however, compared to the regime imposed on the
Red Army by Trotsky, the Makhnovists were much more democratic 
movement). Arshinov proves a good summary:

"The Makhnovist insurrectionary army was organised according
to three fundamental principles: voluntary enlistment, the
electoral principle, and self-discipline.

"*Voluntary enlistment* meant that the army was composed
only of revolutionary fighters who entered it of their
own free will.

"*The electoral principle* meant that the commanders of
all units of the army, including the staff, as well as
all the men who held other positions in the army, were
either elected or accepted by the insurgents of the unit
in question or by the whole army.

"*Self-discipline* meant that all the rules of discipline
were drawn up by commissions of insurgents, then approved
by general assemblies of the various units; once approved,
they were rigorously observed on the individual responsibility
of each insurgent and each commander." [Op. Cit., p. 96]

Thus the Makhnovists indicate the validity of anarchist theory.
They organised the self-defence of their region, refused to
form of a "revolutionary" government and so the life of the 
region, its social and revolutionary development followed the 
path of self-activity of the working people who did not allow 
any authorities to tell them what to do. They respected freedom
of association, speech, press and so on while actively encouraging
workers' and peasants' self-management and self-organisation.

Moving to the Spanish movement, the various revolts and uprisings
organised by the CNT and FAI that occurred before 1936 were
marked by a similar revolutionary developments as the Makhnovists.
We discuss the actual events of the revolts in 1932 and 1933 
in more detail in section 14 and so will not repeat ourselves
here. However, all were marked by the anarchist movement
attacking town halls, army barracks and other sources of
state authority and urging the troops to revolt and side with
the masses (the anarchists paid a lot of attention to this
issue -- like the French syndicalists they produced 
anti-militarist propaganda arguing that soldiers should
side with their class and refuse orders to fire on 
strikers and to join popular revolts). The revolts also
saw workers taking over their workplaces and the land,
trying to abolish capitalism while trying to abolish the
state. In summary, they were *insurrections* which combined 
political goals (the abolition of the state) and social ones 
(expropriation of capital and the creation of self-managed 
workplaces and communes).

The events in Asturias in October 1934 gives a more detailed
account of nature of these insurrections. The anarchist role
in this revolt has not been as widely known as it should be
and this is an ideal opportunity to discuss it. Combined
with the other insurrections of the 1930s it clearly indicates
that anarchism is a valid form of revolutionary theory.

While the CNT was the minority union in Asturias, it had
a considerable influence of its own (the CNT had over 22 000 
affiliates in the area and the UGT had 40 000). The CNT
had some miners in their union (the majority were in the UGT)
but most of their membership was above ground, particularly 
in the towns of Aviles and Gijon. The regional federation
of the CNT had joined the Socialist Party dominated "Alianza 
Obrera," unlike the other regional federations of the CNT.

When the revolt started, the workers organised attacks on
barracks, town halls and other sources of state authority
(just as the CNT revolts of 1932 and 1933 had). Bookchin
indicates that "[s]tructurely, the insurrection was managed
by hundreds of small revolutionary committees whose delegates
were drawn from unions, parties, the FAI and even anti-Stalinist
Communist groups. Rarely, if at all, were there large councils
(or 'soviets') composed of delegates from factories." [_The
Spanish Anarchists_, p. 249] This, incidentally, indicates
that Morrow's claims that in Asturias "the Workers' Alliances
were most nearly like soviets, and had been functioning for
a year under socialist and Communist Left leadership" are 
false. [Op. Cit., p. 31] The claims that the Asturias 
uprising had established soviets was simply Communist and
government propaganda.

In fact, the Socialists "generally functioned through
tightly knit committees, commonly highly centralised
and with strong bureaucratic proclivities. In Asturias,
the UGT tried to perpetuate this form wherever possible
. . . But the mountainous terrain of Asturias made such
committees difficult to co-ordinate, so that each one
became an isolated miniature central committee of its
own, often retaining its traditional authoritarian 
character." The anarchists, on the other hand, "favoured 
looser structures, often quasi-councils composed of
factory workers and assemblies composed of peasants.
The ambience of these fairly decentralised structures,
their improvisatory character and libertarian spirit,
fostered an almost festive atmosphere in Anarchist-held
areas." [Op. Cit., p. 249] Bookchin quotes an account
which compares anarchist La Felguera with Marxist
Sama, towns of equal size and separated only by the
Nalon river:

"[The October Insurrection] triumphed immediately in
the metallurgical and in the mining town. . . . Sama
was organised along military lines. Dictatorship of the 
proletariat, red army, Central Committee, discipline.
authority . . . La Felguera opted for *communismo
libertario*: the people in arms, liberty to come and
go, respect for the technicians of the Duro-Felguera
metallurgical plant, public deliberations of all
issues, abolition of money, the rational distribution
of food and clothing. Enthusiasm and gaiety in La
Felguera; the sullenness of the barracks in Sama.
The bridges [of Sama] were held by a corp of guards
complete with officers and all. No one could enter or
leave Sama without a safe-conduct pass, or walk through
the streets without passwords. All of this was ridiculously
useless, because the government troops were far away
and the Sama bourgeoisie disarmed and neutralised . . .
The workers of Sama who did not adhere to the Marxist
religion preferred to go to La Felguera, where at least
they could breathe. Side by side there were two concepts
of socialism: the authoritarian and the libertarian; on
each bank of the Nalon, two populations of brothers
began a new life: with dictatorship in Sama; with liberty
in La Felguera." [Op. Cit., pp. 249-50]

Bookchin notes that "[i]n contrast to the severely delimited
Marxist committee in Sama, La Felguera workers met in 
popular assembly, where they socialised the industrial
city's economy. The population was divided into wards,
each of which elected delegates to supply and distribution
committees. . . The La Felguera commune . . . proved to
be so successful, indeed so admirable, that surrounding
communities invited the La Felguera Anarchists to advice
them on reorganising their own social order. Rarely were
comparable institutions created by the Socialists and,
where they did emerge, it was on the insistence of the 
rank-and-file workers." [Op. Cit., p. 250]

In other words, the Asturias uprising saw anarchists yet
again applying their ideas with great success in a 
revolutionary situation. As Bookchin argues: 

"Almost alone, the Anarchists were to create viable 
revolutionary institutions structured around workers' 
control of industry and peasants' control of land. That 
these institutions were to be duplicated by Socialist 
workers and peasants was due in small measure to Anarchist 
example rather than Socialist precept. To the degree 
that the Asturian miners and industrial workers in
various communities established direct control over
the local economy and structured their committees
along libertarian lines, these achievements were due
to Anarchist precedents and long years of propaganda
and education." [Op. Cit., p. 250-1]

Unlike their Socialist and Communist allies, the anarchists
in Asturias took the Alianza's slogan "Unity, Proletarian
Brothers" seriously. A key factor in the defeat of the 
uprising (beyond its isolation due to socialist incompetence
elsewhere -- see section 6) was the fact that "[s]o far
as the Aviles and Gijon Anarchists were concerned . . . 
their Socialist and Communist 'brothers' were to honour
the slogan only in the breach. When Anarchist delegates
from the seaports arrived in Oviedo on October 7, pleading
for arms to resist the imminent landings of government
troops, their requests were totally ignored by Socialists
and Communists who, as [historian Gabriel] Jackson notes,
'clearly mistrusted them.' The Oviedo Committee was to
pay a bitter price for its refusal. The next day, when
Anarchist resistance, hampered by the pitiful supply
of weapons, failed to prevent the government from
landing its troops, the way into Asturias lay open. The
two seaports became the principal military bases for
launching the savage repression of the Asturian 
insurrection that occupied so much of October and
claimed thousands of lives." [Murray Bookchin, Op. Cit.,
p. 248]

Therefore, to state as Morrow does that before July 1936,
"anarchism had never been tested on a grand scale" and
now "leading great masses, it was to have a definite test"
is simply wrong. [Op. Cit., p. 101] Anarchism had had
numerous definite tests before involving "great masses,"
both in Spain and elsewhere. The revolts of the 1930s, the
Makhnovists in the Ukraine, the factory occupations in
Italy in 1920 (see section A.5.5) and in numerous other
revolutionary and near revolutionary situations anarchism
had been tested *and had passed* those tests. Defeat came
about by the actions of the Marxists (in the case of 
Asturias and Italy) or by superior force (as in the 1932 
and 1933 Spanish insurrections and the Ukraine) *not* 
because of anarchist theory or activities. At no time did
they collaborate with the bourgeois state or compromise
their politics. By concentrating on July 1936, Marxists
effectively distort the history of anarchism -- a bit
like arguing the actions of the Social Democratic Party
in crushing the German discredits Marxism while ignoring
the actions and politics of the council communists during
it or the Russian Revolution.

But the question remains, why did the CNT and FAI make
such a mess (politically at least) of the Spanish Revolution 
of 1936? However, even this question is unfair as the
example of the Aragon Defence Council and Federation of
Collectives indicate that anarchists *did* apply their
ideas successfully in certain areas during that revolution.

Morrow is aware of that example, as he argues that the 
"Catalonian [i.e. CNT] militia marched into Aragon as 
an army of social liberation . . . Arriving in a village, 
the militia committees sponsor the election of a village 
anti-fascist committee . . . [which] organises production 
on a new basis" and "[e]very village wrested from the
fascists was transformed into a forest of revolution."
Its "municipal councils were elected directly by the
communities. The Council of Aragon was at first largely
anarchist." He notes that "[l]ibertarian principles
were attempted in the field of money and wages" yet 
he fails to mention the obvious application of libertarian
principles in the field of *politics* with the state
abolished and replaced by a federation of workers'
associations. To do so would be to invalidate his basic
thesis against anarchism and so it goes unmentioned,
hoping the reader will not notice this confirmation of
anarchist *politics* in practice. [Op. Cit., p. 53, p. 204 
and p. 205]

So, from the experience of the Ukraine, the previous revolts in 
1932, 1933 and 1934 and the example of the Council of Aragon it 
appears clear that rather than exposing anarchist theory (as
Marxists claim), the example of July 1936 in Catalonia is an 
aberration. Anarchist politics had been confirmed as a valid 
revolutionary theory many times before and, indeed, shown 
themselves as the only one to ensure a free society. However, 
why did this aberration occur?

Most opponents of anarchism provide a rather (in)famous quote 
from FAI militant Juan Garcia Oliver, describing the crucial 
decision made in Catalonia in July of '36 to co-operate with 
Companys' government to explain the failure of the CNT to
"seize power": 

"The CNT and FAI decided on collaboration and democracy, eschewing 
revolutionary totalitarianism . . . by the anarchist and Confederal
dictatorship." [quoted by Stuart Christie, _We, the Anarchists!_,
p. 93]

In this statement Garcia Oliver describes the capitalist state as 
"democracy" and refers to the alternative of the directly democratic 
CNT unions taking power as "totalitarianism" and "dictatorship." 
Marxists tend to think this statement tells us something about the 
CNT's original program in the period leading up to the crisis of 
July 1936. As proven above, any such assertion would be false (see
also section 8). In fact this statement was made in December of 
1937, many months after Garcia Oliver and other influential CNT 
activists had embarked upon collaboration in the government 
ministries and Republican army command. The quote is taken
from a report by the CNT leadership, presented by Garcia Oliver 
and Mariano Vazquez (CNT National Secretary in 1937) at the 
congress of the International Workers Association (IWA). The CNT 
was aware that government participation was in violation of the 
principles of the IWA and the report was intended to provide a 
rationalisation. That report is an indication of just how far 
Garcia Oliver and other influential CNT radicals had been 
corrupted by the experience of government collaboration. 

Garcia Oliver's position in July of 1936 had been entirely 
different. He had been one of the militants to argue in favour 
of overthrowing the Companys government in Catalonia in the 
crucial union assemblies of July 20-21. As Juan Gomez Casas
argues:

"The position supported by Juan Garcia Oliver [in July of '36] 
has been described as `anarchist dictatorship' Actually, though, 
Oliver was advocating application of the goals of the Saragossa 
Congress in Barcelona and Catalonia at a time in history when, 
in his opinion, libertarian communism was a real possibility. 
It would always signify dissolution of the old parties dedicated 
to the idea of [state] power, or at least make it impossible for 
them to pursue their politics aimed at seizure of power. There 
will always be pockets of opposition to new experiences and 
therefore resistance to joining 'the spontaneity of the popular 
masses.' In addition, the masses would have complete freedom of 
expression in the unions and in the economic organisations of the 
revolution as well as in their political organisations." 
[_Anarchist Organisation: The History of the FAI_, p. 188f]
 
Those libertarians who defended government participation in Spain 
argued that a non-hierarchical re-organisation of society in Catalonia 
in July of '36 could only have been imposed by force, against the 
opposition of the parties and sectors of society that have a vested 
interest in existing inequalities. They argued that this would have 
been a "dictatorship," no better than the alternative of government 
collaboration. 

If this argument were valid, then it logically means that anarchism 
itself would be impossible, for there will always be sectors of 
society -- bosses, judges, politicians, etc. -- who will oppose 
social re-organisation on a libertarian basis. As Malatesta once 
argued, some people "seem almost to believe that after having 
brought down government and private property we would allow both to 
be quietly built up again, because of a respect for the *freedom* of 
those who might feel the need to be rulers and property owners. A 
truly curious way of interpreting our ideas!" [_Anarchy_, p. 41]
It is doubtful he would have predicted that certain anarchists
would be included in such believers!

Neither anarchism nor the CNT program called for suppressing other 
viewpoints. The various viewpoints that existed among the workforce 
and population would be reflected in the deliberations and debates 
of the workplace and community assemblies as well as in the various
local and regional congresses and conference and on their co-ordinating
Councils. The various political groups would be free to organise,
publish their periodicals and seek influence in the various self-managed
assemblies and structures that existed. The CNT would be dominant 
because it had overwhelming support among the workers of Catalonia 
(and would have remained dominant as long as that continued). 

What is essential to a state is that its authority and armed power 
be top-down, separate and distinct from the population. Otherwise 
it could not function to protect the power of a boss class. When 
a population in society directly and democratically controls the 
armed force (in fact, effectively *is* the armed force as in the
case of the CNT militias), directly manages its own fairs in
decentralised, federal organisations based on self-management 
from the bottom upwards and manages the economy, this is not a 
"state" in the historical sense. Thus the CNT would not in any
real sense had "seized power" in Catalonia, rather it would
have allowed the mass of people, previously disempowered by the
state, to take control of their own lives -- both individually
and collectively -- by smashing the state and replacing it by
a free federation of workers' associations.

What this means is that a non-hierarchical society must be 
imposed by the working class against the opposition of those 
who would lose power. In building the new world we must destroy 
the old one. Revolutions are authoritarian by their very nature, 
but only in respect to structures and social relations which promote 
injustice, hierarchy and inequality. It is not "authoritarian" to 
destroy authority, in other words! Revolutions, above all else, must 
be libertarian in respect to the oppressed (indeed, they are acts
of liberation in which the oppressed end their oppression by their
own direct action). That is, they must develop structures that 
involve the great majority of the population, who have previously 
been excluded from decision making about social and economic issues.

So the dilemma of "anarchist dictatorship" or "collaboration" 
was a false one and fundamentally wrong. It was never a case of 
banning parties, etc. under an anarchist system, far from it. Full 
rights of free speech, organisation and so on should have existed 
for all but the parties would only have as much influence as they 
exerted in union, workplace, community, militia (and so on) 
assemblies, as should be the case! "Collaboration" yes, but 
within the rank and file and within organisations organised 
in a libertarian manner. Anarchism does not respect the "freedom" 
to be a capitalist, boss or politician.

Instead of this "collaboration" from the bottom up, the CNT 
and FAI committees favoured "collaboration" from the top down.
In this they followed the example of the UGT and its "Workers'
Alliances" rather than their own activities previous to the
military revolt. Why? Why did the CNT and FAI in Catalonia
reject their previous political perspective and reject the
basis ideas of anarchism? As shown above, the CNT and FAI
has successfully applied their ideas in many insurrections
before hand. Why the change of direction? There were two
main reasons.

Firstly, while a majority in Catalonia and certain other parts of 
Spain, the CNT and FAI were a minority in such areas as Castille 
and Asturias. To combat fascism required the combined forces of 
all parties and unions and by collaborating with a UGT-like 
"Anti-Fascist Alliance" in Catalonia, it was believed that such 
alliances could be formed elsewhere, with equality for the CNT 
ensured by the Catalan CNT's decision of equal representation 
for minority organisations in the Catalan Anti-Fascist Committee. 
This would, hopefully, also ensure aid to CNT militias via the 
government's vast gold reserves and stop foreign intervention 
by Britain and other countries to protect their interests if 
libertarian communism was declared. 

However, as Vernon Richards argues:

"This argument contains . . . two fundamental mistakes,
which many of the leaders of the CNT-FAI have since
recognised, but for which there can be no excuse, since
they were not mistakes of judgement but the deliberate
abandonment of the principles of the CNT. Firstly, that
an armed struggle against fascism or any other form of
reaction could be waged more successfully within the 
framework of the State and subordinating all else, 
including the transformation of the economic and social
structure of the country, to winning the war. Secondly,
that it was essential, and possible, to collaborate with   
political parties -- that is politicians -- honestly and   
sincerely, and at a time when power was in the hands 
of the two workers organisations. . .

"All the initiative . . . was in the hands of the workers. The   
politicians were like generals without armies floundering in a   
desert of futility. Collaboration with them could not, by any   
stretch of the imagination, strengthen resistance to Franco.   
On the contrary, it was clear that collaboration with   
political parties meant the recreation of governmental   
institutions and the transferring of initiative from the armed   
workers to a central body with executive powers. By removing
the initiative from the workers, the responsibility for the
conduct of the struggle and its objectives were also
transferred to a governing hierarchy, and this could not
have other than an adverse effect on the morale of the
revolutionary fighters." [_Lessons of the Spanish Revolution_, 
p. 42]

In addition, in failing to take the initiative to unite the 
working class independently of the Republican state at the 
crucial moment, in July of '36, the CNT of Catalonia was in 
effect abandoning the only feasible alternative to the Popular 
Front strategy. Without a libertarian system of popular
self-management, the CNT and FAI had no alternative but to
join the bourgeois state. For a revolution to be successful,
as Bakunin and Kropotkin argued, it needs to create libertarian  
organisations (such as workers' associations, free communes
and their federations) which can effectively replace the state 
and the market, that is to create a widespread libertarian   
organisation for social and economic decision making   
through which working class people can start to set their own   
agendas. Only by going this can the state and capitalism be   
effectively smashed. If this is not done and the state is 
ignored rather than smashed, it continue and get stronger as 
it will be the only medium that exists for wide scale decision 
making. This will result in revolutionaries having to work within 
it, trying to influence it since no other means exist to reach 
collective decisions.

The failure to smash the state, this first betrayal of anarchist 
principles, led to all the rest, and so the defeat of the revolution. 
Not destroying the state meant that the revolution could never
be fully successful economically as politics and economics are
bound together so closely. Only under the political conditions 
of anarchism can its economic conditions flourish and vice versa.

The CNT had never considered a "strategy" of collaboration with the
Popular Front prior to July of '36. In the months leading up to 
the July explosion, the CNT had consistently criticised the Popular 
Front strategy as a fake unity of leaders over the workers, a 
strategy that would subordinate the working class to capitalist 
legality. However, in July of '36, the CNT conferences in Catalonia 
had not seen clearly that their "temporary" participation in the 
Anti-Fascist Militia Committee would drag them inexorably into a 
practice of collaboration with the Popular Front. As Christie
argues, "the Militias Committee was a compromise, an artificial
political solution . . . It . . . drew the CNT-FAI leadership
inexorably into the State apparatus, until them its principle
enemy, and led to the steady erosion of anarchist influence 
and credibility." [Op. Cit., p. 93]

Secondly, the fear of fascism played a key role. After all,
this was 1936. The CNT and FAI had seen their comrades in
Italy and Germany being crushed by fascist dictatorships,
sent to concentration camps and so on. In Spain, Franco's
forces were slaughtering union and political militants and
members by the tens of thousands (soon to reach hundreds of
thousands by the end of the war and beyond). The insurrection 
had not been initiated by the people themselves (as had the 
previous revolts in the 1930s) and this also had a psychological 
impact on the decision making process. The anarchists were, 
therefore, in a position of being caught between two evils -- 
fascism and the bourgeois state, elements of which had fought 
with them on the streets. To pursue anarchist politics at such 
a time, it was argued, could have resulted in the CNT fighting 
on two fronts -- against the fascists and also against the 
Republican government. Such a situation would have been 
unbearable and so it was better to accept collaboration than 
aid Fascism by dividing the forces of the anti-fascist camp.

However, such a perspective failed to appreciate the depth
of hatred the politicians and bourgeois had for the CNT.
Indeed, by their actions it would appear they preferred
fascism to the social revolution. So, in the name of 
"anti-fascist" unity, the CNT worked with parties and 
classes which hated both them and the revolution. In the 
words of Sam Dolgoff "both before and after July 19th,   
an unwavering determination to crush the revolutionary   
movement was the leitmotif behind the policies of the   
Republican government; irrespective of the party in power."
[_The Anarchist Collectives_, p. 40] 

Rather than eliminate a civil war developing within the civil 
war, the policy of the CNT just postponed it -- until such
time as the state was stronger than the working class. The 
Republican government was quite happy to attack the gains of the
revolution, physically attacking rural and urban collectives,
union halls, assassinating CNT and FAI members of so on. The
difference was the CNT's act only postponed such conflict
until the balance of power had shifted back towards the status
quo.

Moreover, the fact that the bourgeois republic was fighting
fascism could have meant that it would have tolerated the
CNT social revolution rather than fight it (and so weakening
its own fight against Franco). However, such an argument
remains moot.

It is clear that anti-fascism destroyed the revolution, not   
fascism. As a Scottish anarchist in Barcelona during the
revolution argued, "Fascism is not something new, some new 
force of evil opposed to society, but is only the old enemy, 
Capitalism, under a new and fearful sounding name . . . 
Anti-Fascism is the new slogan by which the working class is 
being betrayed." [Ethal McDonald, _Workers Free Press_, 
Oct. 1937] This was also argued by the _Friends of Durruti_
who stated that "[d]emocracy defeated the Spanish people,
not Fascism." [_The Friends of Durruti Accuse_]

The majority at the July 20-21 conferences and subsequent meetings
went along with proposal of postponing the social revolution, of 
starting the work of creating libertarian communism, of smashing 
the state and replacing it with a federation of workers' assemblies.
Companys (the head of the Catalan government and past repressor 
of the CNT-FAI) had proposed the creation of a body containing 
representatives of all anti-fascist parties and unions called 
the "Central Committee of Anti-Fascist Militias," sponsored by 
his government. The CNT meeting agreed to this proposal, though 
only on condition that the CNT be given the majority on it. A 
sizeable minority of delegates were apparently disgusted by 
this decision. The delegation from Bajo Llobregat County (an 
industrial area south of Barcelona) walked out saying they would 
never go along with government collaboration.

Therefore, the decision to postpone the revolution and so to
ignore the state rather than smashing was a product of isolation
and the fear of a fascist victory. However, while "isolation" may 
explain the Catalan militants' fears and so decision, it does not 
justify that decision. If the CNT of Catalonia had given Companys 
the boot and set up a federation of workplace and community 
assemblies in Catalonia, uniting the rank-and-file of the other
unions with the CNT, this would have strengthened the resolve 
of workers in other parts of Spain, and it might have also 
inspired workers in nearby countries to move in a similar direction.

Isolation, the uneven support for a libertarian revolution across
Spain and the dangers of fascism were real problems, but they 
do not excuse the libertarian movement for its mistakes. On the 
contrary, in following the course of action advised by leaders 
like Horacio Prieto and Abad Diego de Santillan, the CNT only 
weakened the revolution and helped to discredit libertarian 
socialism. After all, as Bakunin and Kropotkin continually
stressed, revolutions break out in specific areas and then
spread outward -- isolation is a feature of revolution which
can only be overcome by action, by showing a practical example
which others can follow.

Most of the CNT militants at the July 20th meeting saw the 
compromise as a temporary expedient, until the rest of Spain 
was freed from Franco's forces (in particular, Aragon and 
Saragossa). As the official account states, "[t]he situation 
was considered and it was unanimously decided not to mention 
Libertarian Communism until such time as we had captured that 
part of Spain that was in the hands of the rebels." [quoted by 
Christie, Op. Cit., p. 91] However, the membership of the CNT 
decided *themselves* to start the social revolution ("very 
rapidly collectives . . . began to spring up. It did not 
happen on instructions from the CNT leadership . . . the 
initiative came from CNT militants" [Ronald Fraser, _Blood 
of Spain_, p. 349]). The social revolution began anyway,
from below, but without the key political aspect (abolition 
of the state) and so was fatally compromised from the beginning.

As Stuart Christie argues:

"The higher committees of the CNT-FAI-FIJL in Catalonia saw
themselves caught on the horns of a dilemma: social revolution,
fascism or bourgeois democracy. Either they committed themselves
to the solutions offered by social revolution, regardless of the
difficulties involved in fighting both fascism and international
capitalism, or, through fear of fascism . . . they sacrificed
their anarchist principles and revolutionary objectives to
bolster, to become part of the bourgeois state . . . Faced with
an imperfect state of affairs and preferring defeat to a possibly
Pyrrhic victory, Catalan anarchist leadership renounced anarchism
in the name of expediency and removed the social transformation
of Spain from their agenda.

"But what the CNT-FAI leaders failed to grasp was that the
decision whether or not to implement Libertarian Communism
was not theirs to make. Anarchism was not something which
could be transformed from theory to practice by organisational
decree. . .

"What the CNT-FAI leadership had failed to take on board was
the fact that the spontaneous defensive movement of 19 July 
had developed a political direction of its own. On their own
initiative, without any intervention by the leadership of
the unions or political parties, the rank and file militants
of the CNT, representing the dominant force within the
Barcelona working class, together with other union militants
had, with the collapse of State power, . . . been welded . . .
into genuinely popular non-partisan revolutionary committees
. . . in their respective neighbourhoods. They were the 
natural organisms of the revolution itself and direct
expression of popular power." [Op. Cit., p. 88]

In other words, the bulk of the CNT-FAI membership acted in
an anarchist way while the higher committees compromised their
politics and achievements in the name of anti-fascist unity.
In this the membership followed years of anarchist practice
and theory. It was fear of fascism which made many of the
leading militants of the CNT abandon anarchist politics and
instead embrace "anti-fascist unity" and compromise with the
bourgeois republic. To claim that July 1936 indicated the
failure of anarchism means to ignore the constructive work
of millions of CNT members in their workplaces, communities
and militias and instead concentrate on a few militants who
made the terrible mistake of ignoring their political ideas
in an extremely difficult situation. As we said above, this
may explain the decision but it does not justify it.

Therefore, it is clear that the experiences of the CNT and FAI
in 1936 indicate a failure of anarchists to apply their politics
rather than the failure of those politics. The examples of the
Makhnovists, the revolts in Spain between 1932 and 1934 as
well as the Council of Aragon show beyond doubt that this is 
the case. Rather than act as anarchists in July 1936, the 
militants of the Catalan CNT and FAI ignored their basic ideas
(not lightly, we stress, but in response to real dangers). They
later justified their decisions by putting their options in a 
Marxist light -- "either we impose libertarian communism, and 
so become an anarchist dictatorship, or we collaborate with the 
democratic government." As Vernon Richards makes clear:

"Such alternatives are contrary to the most elementary principles
of anarchism and revolutionary syndicalism. In the first place,
an 'anarchist dictatorship' is a contradiction in terms (in
the same way as the 'dictatorship of the proletariat' is), for
the moment anarchists impose their social ideas on the people
by force, they cease being anarchists . . . the arms of the
CNT-FAI held could be no use for imposing libertarian communism
. . . The power of the people in arms can only be used in the
defence of the revolution and the freedoms won by their militancy
and their sacrificed. "We do not for one moment assume that all 
social revolutions are necessarily anarchist. But whatever form 
the revolution against authority takes, the role of anarchists is 
clear: that of inciting the people to abolish capitalistic property
and the institutions through which it exercises its power
for the exploitation of the majority by a minority. . . the role
of anarchists [is] to support, to incite and encourage the 
development of the social revolution and to frustrate any
attempts by the bourgeois capitalist state to reorganise itself,
which it would seek to do." [Op. Cit., pp. 43-6]

Their compromise in the name of anti-fascist unity contained
the rest of their mistakes. Joining the "Central Committee of 
Anti-Fascist Militias" was the second mistake as at no time 
could it be considered as the embryo of a new workers'
power. It was, rather, an organisation like the pre-war
UGT "Workers' Alliances" -- an attempt to create links
between the top-level of other unions and parties. Such 
an organisation, as the CNT recognised before the war
(see section 5), could not be a means of creating a 
revolutionary federation of workers' associations and 
communes and, in fact, a hindrance to such a development,
if not its chief impediment.

Given that the CNT had rejected the call for revolution in
favour of anti-fascist unit on July 20th, such a development 
does not reflect the CNT's pre-war program. Rather it was a 
reversion to Felix Morrow's Trotskyist position of joining the 
UGT's "Workers' Alliance" in spite of its non-revolutionary 
nature (see section 5). 

The CNT did not carry out its program (and so apply anarchist
politics) and so did not replace the Generalitat (Catalan State) 
with a Defence Council in which only union/workplace assemblies 
(not political parties) were represented. To start the process 
of creating libertarian communism all the CNT would have had do 
was to call a Regional Congress of unions and invite the UGT, 
independent unions and unorganised workplaces to send delegates. 
It could also have invited the various neighbourhood and 
village defence committees that had either sprung up 
spontaneously or were already organised before the war as
part of the CNT. Unlike the other revolts it took part in the 
1930s, the CNT did not apply anarchist politics. However,
to judge anarchism by this single failure means to ignore
the whole history of anarchism and its successful applications
elsewhere, including by the CNT and FAI during numerous
revolts in Spain during the 1930s and in Aragon in 1936.

Ironically enough, Kropotkin had attacked the official CNT
line of not mentioning Libertarian Communism "until such time 
as we had captured that part of Spain that was in the hands of 
the rebels." In analysing the Paris Commune Kropotkin had 
lambasted those who had argued "Let us first make sure of 
victory, and then see what can be done." His comments are worth
quoting at length:

"Make sure of victory! As if there were any way of forming a free 
commune without laying hands upon property! As if there were any 
way of conquering the foe while the great mass of the people is 
not directly interested in the triumph of the revolution, by 
seeing that it will bring material, moral and intellectual 
well-being to everybody.

"The same thing happened with regard to the principle of government. 
By proclaiming the free Commune, the people of Paris proclaimed an 
essential anarchist principle, which was the breakdown of the state.

"And yet, if we admit that a central government to regulate the 
relations of communes between themselves is quite needless, why 
should we admit its necessity to regulate the mutual relations 
of the groups which make up each commune? . . .  There is no more 
reason for a government inside the commune than for a government 
outside." [_The Commune of Paris_]

Kropotkin's argument was sound, as the CNT discovered. By waiting
until victory in the war they were defeated. Kropotkin also 
indicated the inevitable effects of the CNT's actions in 
co-operating with the state and joining representative bodies. 
In his words:

"Paris sent her devoted sons to the town hall. There, shelved in the 
midst of files of old papers, obliged to rule when their instincts 
prompted them to be and to act among the people, obliged to discuss 
when it was needful to act, to compromise when no compromise was the 
best policy, and, finally, losing the inspiration which only comes 
from continual contact with the masses, they saw themselves reduced 
to impotence. Being paralysed by their separation from the people -- 
the revolutionary centre of light and heat -- they themselves paralysed 
the popular initiative." [Op. Cit.]

Which, in a nutshell, was what happened to the leading militants of 
the CNT who collaborated with the state. As an anarchist turned Minister
admitted after the war, "[w]e were in the government, but the streets
were slipping away from us. We had lost the workers' trust and the
movement's unity had been whittled away." [_No Gods, No Masters_,
vol. 2, p. 274] The actions of the CNT-FAI higher committees and
Ministers helped paralyse and defeat the May Days revolt of 1937.
The CNT committees and leaders become increasingly isolated from 
the people, they compromised again and again and, ultimately, 
became an impotent force. Kropotkin was proved correct. Which 
means that far from refuting anarchist politics or analysis, the 
experience of the CNT-FAI in the Spanish Revolution *confirms* it. 

In summary, therefore, the Spanish Revolution of 1936 indicates 
the failure of anarchists rather than the failure of anarchism.

One last point, it could be argued that anarchist theory 
allowed the leadership of the CNT and FAI to paint their
collaboration with the state as a libertarian policy. That
is, of course, correct. Anarchism is against the so-called
"dictatorship of the proletariat" just as much as it is
against the actual dictatorship of the bourgeoisie (i.e.
the existing system and its off-shoots such as fascism).
This allowed the CNT and FAI leaders to argue that they were 
following anarchist theory by not destroying the state
completely in July 1936. Of course, such a position cannot
be used to discredit anarchism simply because such a
revision meant that it can never be libertarian to abolish
government and the state. In other words, the use made of
anarchist theory by the leaders of the CNT and FAI in this
case presents nothing else than a betrayal of that theory
rather than its legitimate use.

Also, and more importantly, while anarchist theory was corrupted
to justify working with other parties and unions in a democratic
state, *Marxist* theory was used to justify the brutal one-party 
dictatorship of the Bolsheviks, first under Lenin and the Stalin.
That, we feel, sums up the difference between anarchism and Leninism
quite well.