Ready for Revolution: The CNT Defense Committees in Barcelona, 1933-1938 by Agustín Guillamón
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There are very few books which really dispel most historical interpretation of an event and movement as much as this book. The level of organization and commitment of basic rank and file militants and their fierce connection to the labor movement and their local community is vital to understand.
According to Garcia Oliver, "The Revolution does not exist to satisfy some aesthetic appetite but to resolve a series of social questions".
This book takes you into the heart of things, from a literal play by play of the worker victory over the army uprising in Barcelona, to meeting minutes of the FAI, defense committees, and plenums discussing questions which few anarchists in the US have even given much thought: should we "go for broke" and seize power from the state and other left wing organizations, should we form an alliance of convenience, what should the defensive structures look like, what kind of autonomy do they have vis a vis the unions, revolutionary ward committees and the necessity of revolutionary committees to coordinate struggle (vs ad hoc involvement), what is the role of "intelligence" and "control patrols" (police), prisons, and others.....
This is not a primer book on the Spanish revolution, but definitely gives one an idea of the lengths in which the anarchist movement needs to actually go in terms of preparedness, depth of organizational capacity, and in terms of needed theoretical advancement. A must read for anyone serious about revolution.
View all my reviews