Mark Bray on Anarchist Revolution In Spain & Lessons for Today

  • Posted on: 1 August 2019
  • By: thecollective

From It's Going Down

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

In this episode of the It’s Going Down podcast, we speak again with historian Mark Bray about the anarchist movement in Spain as well as the Spanish Civil War and Revolution that broke out in 1936 against a fascist coup. We discuss how the movement grew, in all its complexities, and Bray describes the discussions and tensions over tactics and methods of struggle contemporary anarchists with find many similarities with. We then discuss what was achieved during the period of the revolution, from the taking over of industry in some cities, to the communization of land and agriculture in rural areas, to attacks on patriarchy and class society within everyday life.

We also discuss the betrayal of both the revolution and the antifascist resistance to Franco, not only by the major world powers in the face of a fascist coup by general Franco which was supported by Hitler and Mussolini, but also by the Stalinist forces who destroyed the revolution and literally attacked the anarchists.

We also talk about the various groups, tendencies, and formations that existed throughout the Spanish anarchist movement, from the labor union the CNT, the insurrectionary anarchist federation, the FAI, the Libertarian Youth movement, the role of anarchist infrastructure and press, and the anarcha-feminist group, Mujeres Libres.

Beyond just a blow by blow of the revolution, we spend a lot of our time talking about how the Spanish anarchists organized and built a counter-society that existed and in many cases still does, for generations.

More Info: Mark Bray on Twitter, Anarchism in the City, The Anarchist Collectives


This person is annoyingly good at what they do. For those of you who haven't yet had the pleasure, watch mark dance rhetorical circles around the grumpy old priest of lukewarm mainstream leftism, Chris Hedges.

Both the IGD dude and Bray say “you know” and “kinda” and “sorta” and “like” way too often. I know it’s American colloquial, but these fillers are super annoying during interviews. In addition, saying “kinda” and “sorta” and “like” diminish the importance of whatever comes next. It’s as if the entire conversation were based not on fact but opinion. Whatever analysis manages to peek out from behind these unconscious disclaimers is undercut by their constant usage. Please work on that shit

WTF Chomsky looks like Robin Williams with every last drop of humor drained out of him, a hollow clown talking the same old stuff about domination and freedom its JUST SO BORING, the whole mumbling pompous elitist revolutionary rhetoric over and over, on and on. JUST DO IT!!!

Still not getting used to the poserous affectionate intro leader with the over the top backing vocals. IT'S GOING DOWWWWWN -- OUWA-AA-AAA

These academic Reds know what they're doing. They keep diluting whatever anarchy used to be shallow concepts used at almost every sentence without ever defining what it's about. Talking in endless rhetorical loops because they're good at it, but maybe also the only things they're good at in life. Forever babbling, then posturing, then referencing other authors coz you know it's academia, and on and on... then they restart the next day because they're fucking paid for this in the first place.

So uh … you seem well adjusted and totally not a hysterical anti-commie lunatic.

i listened to this yesterday on my morning commute.

oh well.

cannot see people coming together to 'fight' for whatever cause. There is an exception of course and these folk understand the magnitude of sticking together: they meet at Davos for example. Yes, these folk understand solidarity and forsake their 'precious individualism', amorality and so on, for a greater cause. Maybe Flowerbomb (for example) needs to understand group solidarity? The offshore wealthy are getting more and more powerful (in the real sense of the word) year on year and they achieve this by sticking together@ solidarity for them; individualism for you. The Spanish understood solidarity, and so did Stalin, Franco and the others. Thatcher and Reagan understood the power of solidarity and sold you the power(lessness) of individualism and now Aragorn! (and the post-leftists) have joined in trying to undermine the solidarity of anarchists too.

"Given the level of "Oh, but I'm an individual" I cannot see people coming together to 'fight' for whatever cause."

That's likely due to you being part of this over-civilized mindset where "fighting for yourself" doesn't even exist. Like you're waiting for a #MeToo type of movement in order to be vindicated for the direct abuses against you, or have to call the cops or snitch to some State-backed agency?

Individualism is all about your own dignity and autonomy; of self-possession; of being able to think for yourself and make decisions for yourself, because nobody else knows you better than you (as opposed to the widespread pretense among marxists, of them knowing you better than yourself, maybe coz you're a prole, a women, a Black, an "LGBTQ+" or whatever other hand-picked social identity).

Individualism is neither opposed to solidarity. A Union of Egoists totally means another wording for "anarchist solidarity"; a more or less temporary bond of collective support that arises when needed, as of course individuals are not almighty yet stronger when united for the defense of their mutual individual dignity and liberty (to some extent what the ACLU has been doing, no matter how they're liberal and statist).

What better undermines solidarity is that kind of gangsterism where only your Friends deserve that solidarity, because they're in the in-crowd. Which is straight up a feudal regime, like mafias and other types of "families". The individual tends to be left over by such *authoritarian* network, gang, or group except when it comes to collective copping, as their dynamics of group cohesion tends toward an erasing of the individual needs in favor of the imperatives of the herd.

You appear to be making the same semantic mistake that socialists do all the time.. confusing individuation (or atomization) for individualism, where they are in fact pretty much opposed notions.

They exist because of the functional consequences of finance capital and nation state. There is no greater cause for them unless it's something like DiCaprio and environmentalism. If you have a world of usury, fossil fuels and machinological society you will have inequality plain and simple.

Oh, so the super rich could be considered a union of egoists? These people live in 'Moneyland' (read Oliver Bullough) and beyond any state. This is where egoists and unions end up: not my kind of 'solidarity.'

whether the individuals that make up the group are really good at being ruthless to outsiders or decent to each other, always the sum of its parts. Ever heard that story about stirner's egoist milk distro? got taken over by some christians who supposedly made it work because all it needed was a little bit of jesus?

or maybe those christians were just more practical people.

Well Stirner wasn't a great businessman that's for sure. If he'd live today he'd likely be one of those hippies who start up weirdo suicidal business with high expenses and uncertain income. Ice cream parlors would be more suitable as a mobile Hakim Beyan venture... oh well, old joke I knows.

Oh no he'd be benevolent dictator of the world it would be the most creative human era ever in the history of Earth, and the environment would be pristine and there wouldn't be an overpopulation problem, no rent, no taxes, no laws, just total potential to go, do, say anything, a whole lotta fun!

Add new comment