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New Left Review I/78, March-April 1973


Ronald Fraser

1936: Revolutionary Committees in Spain

Tajos is a small mountain village near Málaga; in 1936 it was one of the few socialist strongholds in a predominantly anarchist province. When, on 18 July 1936, the military rose to overthrow the Republic, a revolutionary committee was formed in Tajos as in every village and town not immediately captured by the Franquista forces. Under a variety of names—revolutionary, anti-fascist, workers’ defence—these committees were faced with the triple task of organizing militias to carry on the war, organizing the repression to destroy or intimidate the counter-revolutionary forces in their midst and organizing war production and food supplies. Their revolutionary élan was enormous, diverse and—ultimately—fragmented. The central government’s power was virtually nonexistent outside Madrid; but no working-class organization made a bid to seize power centrally.

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