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The Ex – 1936 the spanish revolution

Posted on: December 12, 2007

This is my (anti-) christmas posting, a fine release from The Ex combinated with a (photo-) book about the spanish revolution, released 1986 – the 50th anniversary of the revolution. The Ex is a band you already might know from another posting, the 1979 formed band released this recording originally as two seven inch vinyls, I took the 1997 re-release as two 3inch CDs to ripp the four tracks. The avantgarde punkrock band from the Netherlands took 4 songs from the spanish revolution and covered them, melting together the traditional folk songs with the energy of punk music. “The Ex create the perfect stimulating collision of art, pop and politics to date, musically subverting and visually building a forum of thought.”

The Ex – 1936 (reupped!)

The book, published with some basic informations in english and spanish from the point of view from the anarchists about the spanish civil war, the reasons for the revolution, the fights against the clerical-fascist Franco military, the worker collectives, the cultural efforts and the victory of the fascists, supported by fascist Italy and nationalsocialist Germany.

The photobook shows ~100 photos from the fights and efforts that capture the enormous outburst of enthusiasm of those days perfectly, the republic was under attack by the fascists, but the people who had been oppressed for centuries finally took things into their own hands and had one main goal: breaking with the past and control of their own lives. I scanned you some photographies from the book.

19th July 1936 – barricades in Barcelona

On the 17th of July 1936 the military revolted against the democratic voted leftist coalition government, that started several social and cultural changes since their election 1931, which ended the military dictatorship of Primo de Rivera. On the 19th of July the workers took up the weapons and went into the streets to defeat the young republic and to start the revolution. Todo para todos – the land, the factories, the streets. The churches – which were deeply involved with the fascist military, bishops and abbots were large landowners, feudal barons with their own form of justice – were plundered, the land taken for those who worked it and the industry under the control of worker commitees, men and women were finally equal. In Barcelona and the region aorund it the anarchist had a strong support, the anarchist union CNT had more than 1.000.000 members, several socialist and communist unions and organisations were also strong and ready to fight. They all not only wanted to defeat the republic, they wanted a social revolution.

women preparing for departure for the front

In Catalonia, the industrial center of Spain, most factories came directly into the hands of workers. In many cases the owners fled, sometimes they co-operated. The making of decisions by the workers in the factory itself meant that there was a great variety of approaches. Sometimes everybody received the same wages, sometimes there were different wages, here and there all the power was in the councils, on other places the councils only supervised. But the old hierarchy no longer existed, the factories, the workplaces and other means of production were taken over by the people.

The country-side was also collectivized, after centuries of exploitation the changes were more logical to the peasants and the workers than to many outsiders. Here too, many different forms of production and consumer co-operatives developed. Agriculture improved quickly, better irrigation, more machines, less hard work, more variety in production, reforesting…

The number of collectives grew steadily, after some time there were 400 collectives in Aragon, 900 in Levante, 300 in Castile. The control of the catholic church over education was ended and improved quickly.

“the book as feast” – the revolutionaries spend considerable attention on the provision of information through publications for everyone

Art and culture now belonged to the people, museums and libraries were thrown open to everyone, books, manuscripts and collections were protected as much as possible. The cloisters, once the fortresses of opression by the church and education for only a few, were closed or burnt down. The revolution also spontaneously developed a whole new wave of art. Popular poetry and music were revived during the revolution. Poets, musicians and actors joined the revolution en masse. Theatrical companies went into the country and many peasants saw theatre for first time in their lives.

But besides all this, there was the front and the army of Franco. The general had the disposal of soldiers, money and weapons from Germany and Italy, he recieved support from Portugal and the fascist Falange party supplied an enormous amount of money. The antifascist militias, formed by common men, were poorly armed and they couldn´t expect any support from France, Britain or governments of other countries. But Franco only advanced slowly, on and behind the front mass executions and political murders were the order of the day.

There were 1.400 cannons and 650 planes on the fascists´s side, against 120 cannons and 100 planes on the Popular Army´s side. Franco had the support of almost 90.000 italian troops and 35.000 german Nazis, including the “Legion Condor” – which bombed as an experiment Guernica off the earth and practiced town-bombing. In the second world war the Germans again used that kind of air bombing against several cities in Poland, France and England. They bombed them off the ground, but today the Germans keep whining about the bombardement of Dresden, but don´t want to hear one word about the german war crimes and who invented that sort of bombing.

This army of Franco simply couldn´t be stopped.


the leftist worker organisations forming militias for the front against the advancing fascists

In March 1938 Madrid, until that day defended by communist troops, was captured by the fascists, in April they pushed through to the Mediterranean. In January 1939 Barcelona fell and on the first of April Franco announced his victory. Thousands of peoples were taken prisoners or executed. The Netherlands, England and France were the first to recognize the new regime. The pope sent a telegram with congratulations, Franco thanked Hitler and Mussolini. Hundreds of thousands fled from Franco´s armies to France, were they were confined in camps.

Fascism reached another victory in Europe, the experiment of a social revolution was destroyed. September 1939 Germany started the World War Two, it took six years to beat the Nazis and to end the national-socialist barbarism. Franco died 1975 and ruled Spain until this day.

children in Barcelona

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1 Response to "The Ex – 1936 the spanish revolution"

Thanks for posting those pics. I’ll take the time to read the post soon.
Here in Switzerland, parliament has just toppled the biggest far-right cheese in the government, so something like “No pasarán” is right up my alley… 😉

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