Don't forget your revolution
Last week (19 July) was the 75th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution. Between 1936 and 1939, more than eight million workers and peasants participated in a revolution that turned anarchist ideals into a reality in their factories, farms and schools.
Factories were run through worker committees, agrarian areas
were collectivised and run as libertarian communes. Hotels, barber
shops, and restaurants were collectivised and managed by their workers.
Free healthcare and education were organised. Women formed autonomous
groups to fight for their rights.
The workers and peasants raised barricades in the streets and took up
arms in voluntary militias in order to defend their collectivised areas
from the fascist military forces of Franco (directly supported by Hitler
and Mussolini). They died by their thousands for the ideal of 'libertarian communism'.
This revolution was spearheaded by rank-and-file anarchist militants. The CNT was an anarchist union that numbered over 700,000;
the FAI was an anarchist political organisation that coordinated the
struggle. There were hundreds of anarchist papers, with a readership of
hundreds of thousands, and hundreds of workers' centres where people
would meet to learn and debate politics. This community had a strong
sense of solidarity and a well-developed culture and ethics. These anarchists informed their spontaneity with theory, structured organisation and purposeful activity.
So why do we hear so little about the Spanish Revolution? Then
and now, both liberals and Stalinists have acted in shameless complicity
to conceal the facts about this inspiring upsurge. For them, it's a
terrifying spectre: workers in control of their own revolution fighting
for libertarian socialism. The Stalinists undermined the revolution from
the rear, while the liberal 'democracies' stood by while Hitler and
Mussolini gave arms, soldiers and resources to Franco.
Today, capitalist culture churns out representations of anti-fascist
struggle where the liberals are the heroes, and the revolutionaries are
authoritarian failures (usually Russian). Che is on t-shirts and selling
beer, but the Spanish Revolution remains impossible to commodify.
But does anyone remember?
In 2011 Spain, millions have been protesting around the demand, 'real democracy now!'
This movement demands radical change in Spanish politics: they reject
mainstream political parties along with banks and the capitalist
financial system. They fight for 'basic rights' - home, work, culture,
health and education. Tens of thousands camped out in Madrid's main
square, in an explicit echo of the Arab Spring. Placards read 'Welcome
to Revolution 2.0' and 'Nobody expected the Spanish Revolution either'.
The Spanish Revolution of 1936 is still alive. It is not someone else's revolution, to be consigned to history. It belongs to the current generation of revolutionaries all around the world. It is our revolution.
The Spanish anarchists grappled with issues that are still pressing
today: How to respond to State power? How to organise democratically
among workers and non-workers? How to put anarchism into practice?
The Spanish Revolution is well worth learning about. There are dozens of
books in the Jura bookshop and library and even more information
online. You could start with this short article in Wikipedia, which is
An even better way to learn about the Spanish Revolution is to talk about it with fellow activists.
Come along to a discussion, organised by Jura and the Sydney Chomsky
Forum. We are reading Chomsky's classic article on the Spanish
Revolution, 'Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship' available online here:
You'll get more out of the afternoon if you read the article, but if you
don't, come along anyway - Sid Parissi will give short talk on the
Spanish Revolution to get the discussion started.
-> Spanish Revolution reading group and discussion, 3pm, Sat 6 August, at Jura.
A group of activists from Jura, Mutiny Zine, Cross Border Collective,
and the Workers Solidarity Network have come together to organise the
'Sydney Chomsky Forum'. This will be a series of reading groups, forums, stalls and film screenings, in the lead up to Chomsky's visit to Sydney in November.
We aim to put on over a dozen events in total - at Jura and also at
unis and schools. We're also going to do loads of posters, leaflets,
stencils and more. Come to the next planning meeting - all welcome.
-> Sydney Chomsky Forum planning meeting, 2pm, Sat 6 August, at Jura.
Juracoustic is on this Friday, featuring wonderful sounds from our friends Kang Gang (bassy percussive acoustix), and Hugo Yap (international student blues). Bring a friend, donate a couple of bucks if you can, eat some soup, listen and play a song. http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=137730849643804
-> Juracoustic, 7pm Fri 29 July.
Also this Friday, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be speaking at an exclusive (ie very expensive) function.
Stop the War Coalition is organising a mock trial of Blair for his
crimes, including: murder of 1,000,000 Iraqis; use of weapons of mass
destruction such as 'depleted' uranium munitions; mass murder of an
unknown number of Afghans; obtaining employment under false pretences -
as an 'impartial' mediator in the Israel/Palestine conflict; and more.
Blair's appearance is to promote his book in which he whitewashes his
crimes, while deriving financial gain.
-> Come along to put Tony Blair on trial! Between 11.45am and 1pm, Fri 29 July at the Sydney Convention Centre (Darling Harbour), Friday, 29 July.
Abreact (VIC) are playing this Sunday at Jura, along with other punks, Darkhorse, Agonhymn (VIC), and Lomera. $5 donation.
-> Abreact gig, 2pm-4pm, Sun 31 July.
Jura is publishing again. Want to write? Want to edit? Jura, in
collaboration with the Melbourne Anarchist club, and Adelaide's
Organise collective, are getting together writings from interested
individuals to produce a paper of sorts. We are very much interested in
anarchist related writings from our community. We would love
submissions. Don't worry if you are not too comfortable writing, we can
assist in the editing process if you require it. Just get your thoughts
down on paper. If you have any queries please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Come along to a Jura working bee or collective meeting to
help Jura be a better space. We're always in need of volunteers to keep
the place going and start up new projects. Without you it won't happen!
The library is looking heaps better after our sort of hundreds of
publications from our archives. But we need your help to finish off this
process. The organic food buyer's co-op is still going, but always
needs more members and more publicity - please let people know who might
-> Library working bee, 12-5pm, Sat 20 August. All welcome.
-> Jura Collective meeting, 2.30pm, Sun 21 August. All welcome.
-> Food buyer's co-op - boxes of fresh, organic fruit and vegies at Jura. http://www.jura.org.au/foodcoop
Thanks again to everyone who donated to the Jura solar project. Our
collectively-owned solar-power system is going great, generating clean
renewable energy. And thanks to Maurice from Glow Worm electric bikes,
who helped us install a cut-off switch on our hot-water system, which
should greatly reduce our energy consumption. We have just sent out
thank-you packs to people who donated $50 or more to the solar project.
If you don't receive yours in the next week or two please let us know.
There are now 1,108 people on this Jura email announcement list, and 677
fans on facebook. Please keep spreading the word - let's aim for
700,000 like the Spanish CNT in the 1930s!
Love and rage from the Jura Collective.
Wednesday 1 - 6pm
Thursday 2 - 7pm
Friday 2 - 7pm
Saturday 12 - 5pm
Sunday 12 - 5pm