It should be noted that French statistics were taken in the summer and Spanish statistics in the winter, perhaps exaggerating the differences between the two agricultures. Jordi Nadal and Gabriel Tortella Barcelona, , p. Nadal, El fracaso, pp. Frances M. Borras Cubells Madrid, , p. Eva Palmai Cambridge, , p.
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Broder, G. Chastagnaret, and E. Gaston Leval, a French anarchist who worked in both countries, observed that the division of labor in Spain remained primitive in comparison to French industry. Jordi Nadal et al. Barcelona, , p. Fomento, Memoria, — Homenaje tributado por las fuerzas vivas y autoridades de Barcelona al General de Brigada Excmo.
Colin M. Winston Workers and the Right in Spain, — [Princeton, ], p. Fomento, Memoria, Graell, Ensayo, p. Graell, Ensayo, pp. Carlo Cipolla Glasgow, , El Trabajo nacional, September Josep M. Telegram, Gobernador civil a ministro, 13 November , Leg. Annuaire statistique de la France, , p. Sintes Olives and F.
Barcelona, , pp. The weakness of the Catalan bourgeoisie and the consequent economic and social situation in Barcelona favored the growth and tenacity of anarchosyndicalism. Analyses of this ideology—which I broadly define as including those anarchists who believed that the union would be the basis of the future society, those anarchists who merely accepted the sindicato as one organization among several that would participate in the revolution, and also revolutionary syndicalists, most of whom were influenced by anarchist theoreticians—have often been clouded by misunderstandings and polemics.
The simplicity of the village vision has dominated it totally. For our anarchists, the only problem to resolve is that of the prison and the Guardia civil.
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This is the essential. The rest remains in a nebulous and incoherent state. The sociological explanation, however, with its characterization of anarchosyndicalism as anti-industrial and backward-looking, deforms the nature of this ideology and misrepresents the actions of the Catalan workers. While some laborers from Andalusia were involved in violent incidents against the Guardia civil and foremen, others accepted work at wages below the union scale and acted as strikebreakers.
In Barcelona during the s, only approximately one-third of the workers were non-Catalans. Not all of these non-Catalans were peasants from Andalusia or elsewhere;  many were experienced industrial workers from other urban areas of Spain. Other working classes—the French or the German, for example—were partially composed of former peasants, but their sociological composition cannot explain French anarchosyndicalism or, for that matter, the lack of anarchosyndicalism in Germany.
Anarchosyndicalism had firm roots in Barcelona, not because of the supposed non-Catalan origins of Barcelonan workers nor because of its alleged anti-industrialism, but because it articulated the desires of an important minority of discontented workers who were frustrated by social, economic, and political conditions in their country and city. Thus it was not millenarianism that underlay anarchosyndicalism but, on the contrary, a rational reaction to the relative poverty and misery of Spanish workers.
This rational response constituted both the strength and, as we shall see, the weakness of anarchosyndicalism.
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In Spain in general and Barcelona in particular, salaries, health, and education were often below Western European norms. Even though 65 percent of its budget was spent on food, a Barcelonan working-class family in the s ate little meat or butter.
By comparison, in the family of an employed working-class Parisian spent 55 percent of its income on food and that of an unemployed worker spent 64 pecent of its budget on food. Sanitary conditions still left much to be desired, even though Spanish public health improved considerably during the first third of the century. In , per 1, Spanish children, compared to 72 per 1, in France, died before they reached their first birthday. In the mortality rate in Paris for these diseases was.
Deaths from scarlet fever and measles were proportionally almost four times higher in Spain. Again, in proportion to population, Barcelona reported twice as many deaths from measles as Paris. Much higher mortality caused by measles is characteristic, even today, of underdeveloped nations. In the early s typhoid fever, which was linked to a contaminated water supply and poor hygiene, was almost four times more lethal in Spain than in France.
In Barcelona declared 17 typhoid deaths per , inhabitants compared to 2 per , in Paris. Only cancer and tuberculosis were consistently more prevalent in France and in Paris.
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In a French woman could expect to live 59 years and a French man Spaniards had one of the lowest life expectancies in either Eastern or Western Europe. Accident and unemployment insurance were less available in Barcelona than in Paris during the s. In France, with an active population approximately 2.
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In December both the partial and complete unemployment in Spain totaled , Spanish joblessness during the Second Republic usually reflected structural, not momentary, economic difficulties, and many of the jobless were farm or construction workers. Unemployment increased throughout the s in Spain in part because the possibilities of emigration, a safety valve for the poor of certain regions, were reduced.
The more advanced nations, such as France, which were adversely affected by the depression, discouraged new immigration and encouraged foreigners to return home. The Spanish and Catalan economy had difficulty providing jobs for returning nationals. With numerically unimportant exceptions, education for workers was either lacking or controlled by the Catholic church until the advent of the Second Republic. Guillermo Graell, the head of the Fomento, wrote in that 60 percent of the Spanish population could not read or write, although in Barcelona the percentage was 41 percent.
Many working-class children were unable to attend classes because they had to work at an early age; others were discouraged by prohibitive costs, because the state gave little support to education.
Spain spent 1. In contrast, France was training 40, technical students in The higher illiteracy, lower health standards, and weak economy must be taken into account in any evaluation of revolutionary ideologies in Catalonia. Within the Second Republic, Socialists occupied important ministries during the first bienio — and after the victory of the Popular Front. As we have seen, the bourgeoisie in Spain and Barcelona was less frequently the progressive elite that it was in France. Therefore, anarchist and anarchosyndicalist strength among groups of Spanish and Barcelonan workers should not be seen as a result of the immaturity of workers or their nostalgia for a rural utopia but as a revolutionary response to a society where repression and direct recourse to military rule were frequent.
Until recently, historians have stressed the antistatist character and the political thought of anarchosyndicalism and have therefore ignored its economic doctrines. Although many anarchosyndicalists wished to abolish the state or radically reduce its functions, they were not opposed to economic organization and coordination. In fact, they favored a strong union as the basis of both the revolution and the future society.
If anarchosyndicalists desired democratic control of the factories by the workers themselves, they by no means opposed industry, science, or progress in general.
Indeed, few were more fervent believers in progress and production than Spanish anarchosyndicalists; they criticized their bourgeoisie because of its inability to develop the productive forces. By glorifying labor as emancipatory, the dominant forms of anarchism and, later, anarchosyndicalism led not only to the acceptance of industrialization but also to its active promotion. In the textile industry, where women often received half the wages of men, the Barcelonan union advocated equal pay for equal work and elimination of the double exploitation of women at home and at the workplace. Anarchosyndicalism called on workers in their unions to take over the means of production and, just as important, to develop them.
The French thinker Georges Sorel articulated certain ideas common to European and Spanish anarchosyndicalism. The free producer in a progressive workshop must never evaluate his own efforts by any external standard; he ought to consider the models given him as inferior and strive to surpass everything that has been done before.
Thus, the constant improvement of the quantity and quality of production will always be assured; the idea of continual progress will be realized in a workshop of this kind. Sorel also criticized the French bourgeoisie for what he considered its failure to develop the productive forces, and he faithfully expressed the productivism that was common to both anarchosyndicalist intellectuals and militants.
The only practical way to dispense with the middlemen, the employers, who are between the producers and consumers, is first to participate in your union in order to be able, later, without striking a blow, to take over the means of modern production. Jamin was not the only French anarchosyndicalist to endorse scientific organization at work. Even such a harsh critic of Taylorism as Emile Pouget, a CGT leader, approved the principle of scientific organization of the factory. In addition, the Gilbreths, unlike Taylor, accepted labor unions.
Whereas in France anarchosyndicalism gradually faded in the first two decades of the twentieth century, in Spain anarchosyndicalism grew even after World War I. During the war the Catalan bourgeoisie refused to break its alliance with conservative and traditionalist politicians, and the attempt to make a democratic revolution and establish a republic in failed miserably. In addition, wartime inflation and the immediate postwar economic crisis fueled working-class discontent throughout Spain, particularly in Barcelona, where violent strikes brought brutal state repression.
An atmosphere of class hatred reigned in the Catalan capital, and syndicalist terrorism battled counterterrorism by the state and employers, resulting in major felonies delitos sociales between and Within the working-class movement, those anarchists who believed that the union would be the basis of the future society of libertarian communism gained ground over other anarchists who held a more individualist position or who considered that the building blocks of the new society would be the municipalities or the communes of the countryside.
He also shifted from being a zealous critic of capitalist technology and organization of work to being their enthusiastic supporter. In the great rationalized factories the individual is nothing, the machine is everything. Those of us who love freedom are not only enemies of statist fascism but also of economic fascism.