Collectives in the Spanish Revolution [Gaston Leval, Vernon Richards, Pedro García-Guirao] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Gaston. Gaston Leval • Translation and Foreword by Vernon Richards A unique account of worker-run collectives in Revolutionary Spain combining eyewitness. Collectives in the Spanish Revolution has 8 ratings and 0 reviews: Published by Freedom Press, London, pages, Paperback.
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A Documentary History of Libertarian Ideas. We have said and repeated that the fascist attack created a favourable situation for the libertarian sector to take over an important part of the general situation and of almost the whole economy.
Nevertheless the repercussions were only favourable, for negative and positive consequences were about equally balanced. On the one hand many militants, often the best, were, because of the war, mobilised and many died at the front.
It was also the best who were missing from the Syndicates, in the Collectives, in the villages where they exercised a salutary influence. And on the other hand, the number of those who became a part of the government bureaucracy were also numerous enough for their absence to be felt.
One of the dominant characteristics which impresses whoever studies the Spanish Revolution is its many sidedness. This revolution was guided by certain very clear and very definite principles, which involved the general expropriation of the holders of social I wealth, the seizure by the workers of the organisational structures of production and distribution, the direct administration of public services, the establishment of the libertarian communist principle.
In a very short time, in the agrarian regions and especially in Aragon, a new organism appeared: Nobody had spoken about it before.
Some foreshadowed-and this writer was among them-that a new and complementary organism could and should appear, especially in the countryside, seeing that the Syndicate had not assumed the importance it had in the towns, and the kind of life, of work and production, did not fit into an organic monolithic structure which was contrary to the spanush of daily life. We have seen how that Collective was born with characteristics of its own. It collectoves not the Syndicate, for it encompasses all those who wish to join it whether they are producers in the classic economic sense gastin not.
Then it brings them together at the complete human individual level and not just at a craft level. Within it, from the first moment, the rights and duties are the same for everybody; there are no longer professional categories in mutual opposition making the producers into privileged consumers compared with those, such as housewives, who are not producers in the classical vollectives of the word.
Neither is the Collective the municipal Council or what is called the Commune, the municipality. For it parts company with the political party traditions on which the commune is normally based. It encompasses at the same time the Syndicate and lwval functions. Each of its activities is organised within its organism, and the whole population takes part in its management, whether it is a question of a policy for agriculture, for the creation of new industries, leva, social solidarity, medical service or public education.
In this general revokution the Collective brings each and everybody to an awareness of life in the round, and everyone to the practical necessity of mutual understanding. Compared with the Collective the Syndicate has simply a secondary or subordinate role. It is striking to observe how in the agricultural districts, it was more often than not spontaneously relegated, almost forgotten, in spite of the efforts that the libertarian syndicalists and the anarcho-syndicalists, had previously made.
The Collective replaced them. The word itself was born spontaneously and spread into all the regions of Spain where the agrarian revolution had been brought about. Collecttives question of euphony perhaps, and of a breadth of views, of humanism: The need for syndicates no longer exists peval there are no more employers. If we pass from Aragon to the Levante we see Collectives emerging there too but not as such a spontaneous, one might almost say instant, creation. It was the agricultural and sometimes the non-agricultural, syndicates which were there at the beginning, not to found other Syndicates, and this is most significant, but to found Collectives.
And those who joined these Collectives, Often without belonging to the Syndicates, were also collectivists and acted and behaved as well as anybody else. Let us hasten to add that the groups of organisers often consisted of men who had until then been active in the Syndicates or even in libertarian groups.
But there were some cases where the Commune fulfilled the role revvolution the Collective. Among the examples we have given one especially recalls Granollers, Hospitalet, Fraga, Binefar, and many places in Castile. We also find municipalities which had been reconstructed to conform with governmental decisions January and spanisu, as a result, played a more or less important, more or less subordinate, role; and in the Levante the Syndicate and the Collective in the end linked their activities.
Collectives in the Spanish Revolution
But in that region the role of the Syndicate was often to become more important, both through direct participation and as inspirer and guide, which it was not in Aragon. This plasticity, this variety of ways of acting allowed for the creation of true socialism, in each place according to the situation, circumstances of time and place, and for the resolution of a great number of problems which an authoritarian concept, too rigid, too bureaucratic would have only made more complicated with, in the end, a dictatorship reducing everything to a uniform pattern.
The variety of methods used reflected the variety of the facets of life. Often in the same region, villages with similar forms of production, with a somewhat similar social history, would start by socialising the local industries and end with agriculture, while others would start with the socialisation of agriculture and end with that of local industries.
In some cases, in the Levante for instance, we have seen it start with distribution then proceed towards socialisation of production, which was the opposite procedure to most other places. But it is remarkable that this diversity of organisational structures did not prevent membership of the same regional federations nor, through them, national coordination, practical solidarity, whether it concerned our Collectives, mixed Syndical Collectives or communities at different stages of municipalisation.
Gaston Leval: The Achievements of the Spanish Revolution | Robert Graham’s Anarchism Weblog
The general law was universal solidarity. We have underlined, in passing, that the Charters or Statutes in which the principles were defined and from which stemmed the practical attitude of each and all, made no mention of the rights and liberty of the individual.
Not that the Collectives had ignored these rights, but simply because the respect of these rights went without saying, and that they were already recognized by the standard of life guaranteed to everybody, in their access to consumer goods, to well-being and culture, to the attention, consideration and human responsibilities of which each one, as a member of the Collective, was assured.
It leeval known, so why mention it? In return, for this to be possible, everyone had to carry out his duty, do his work like the other comrades, show solidarity according to the ethic of a universal mutual aid.
One was the guarantee of the other. It is for this reason we so often read that same sentence collcetives the Baston though there had been no previous discussion between Collectives hundreds of kilometres apart: Going deeply into these matters it could perhaps be said that they thee developing a new concept of liberty.
In the village Collectives in their natural state, and in the small towns where everybody knew one another and were interdependent, liberty did not consist in being a parasite, and not interesting oneself in anything.
Liberty only existed as a function of practical activity. To be is to do, Bakunin wrote. A negative liberty is not liberty: This concept of liberty gave rise to a new morality-unless it was this new ethic that gave rise to kn concept of liberty. No, they were no longer thinking of liberty in the way workers in s;anish factories or day workers on the land of the owner-employer think.
On this subject we would like to make an observation to which we attach great philosophical and practical importance. The theoreticians and partisans of the liberal economy affirm that competition stimulates initiative and, consequently, the creative spirit and invention without which it remains dormant. Numerous collectlves made by the writer in the Collectives, factories and socialised workshops permit him to take quite the opposite view.
For in a Collective, in a grouping where each individual is stimulated by the wish to be of service to his fellow beings, research, the desire for technical perfection and so on are also stimulated. But they also have as a consequence that other individuals join those who were the first to get together.
Furthermore when, in present society, an individualist inventor discovers something, it is used only by the capitalist or spanidh individual employing him, whereas in the case of an inventor living in a community not only is his discovery taken up and developed by others, but is immediately applied for the common good.
I am convinced that this superiority would very soon manifest itself in a socialised society. RSS feed for comments on this post. You are commenting using your WordPress.
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Collectives in the Spanish Revolution: Gaston Leval, V. Richards: : Books
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