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Thread: Military challenges for Anarchists during Spanish Civil War

  1. #1 Military challenges for Anarchists during Spanish Civil War 
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    I know very little about the Spanish Civil War, but maybe someone here can add insightful comments

    Ive heard that the Anarchist's military efforts may have been uneven, because people were comming and going from units and/or the front as they felt like it, and might have suffered from lack of coordination, while the nationalists on the other side were apparently more structured like a regular army with one commander and a relatively rigid hiearchy. I dont know how much of this is circumstancial/anecdotal or if theres something to it?

    Is there an alternative to free-for-all anarchy on one end and typical military hierarchy on the other, some type of organization that is more organized and allows better coordination that the anarchy model yet less strict hierarchy or more decentralized or democratic or voluntary than a typical military hierarchy?


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    The anarchists were a small part of the loyalist army. The largest group was probably the communists. The rebels advantages included a large part of the regular army and major support from Germany and Italy, while the loyalists had outside help only from the Soviet Union, which was inadequate.


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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    Is there an alternative to free-for-all anarchy on one end and typical military hierarchy on the other
    The whole point of anarchy is that you would activly remove tyrannical institutions to prevent them from becoming illegitimate, meanwhile applying the same standards you do to others as you apply to yourself. As history has shown, tyranny is difficult to remove without killing the source. I don't think what you are talking about is possible. If the military part of your structure became illegitimate, it would be very difficult for the peaceful part to dismantle it without violence, thus starting the cycle over again.

    If we are talking about a rationalistic anarchist society, you could maybe get away with temporary acts of violence with Immanuel Kant's philosophy of "the ends justifies the means," although that would open pandora's box.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mathman
    The anarchists were a small part of the loyalist army. The largest group was probably the communists. The rebels advantages included a large part of the regular army and major support from Germany and Italy, while the loyalists had outside help only from the Soviet Union, which was inadequate.
    Vice versa is true. The Communists did not become big until very very late when they crushed POUM and CNT. Furthermore, the term "loyalist" is misleading, since it actually refer to the Monarchists that allied themselves with Franco. The correct historical term is Republican, but the Anarchists weren't technically part of them either. The Anarchists were men and women strife to tear down tyranny and gave birth to new age where freedom and social justice goes hand in hand. Unfortunately, they lost - thanks partly due to the Communists backstabbing.
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    The Republican side had trouble organizing properly because they were essentially a coalition of everyone who wasn't with the Nationalists/Fascists under Franco. That included Basque nationalist, communist, republican democrats, anarchist, democratic socialist, etc. You can just imagine how difficult that was to get anything done with. Then of course there is the fact that Franco received much greater political support.
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    Note to deathrhapsody:

    "Loyalist" as understood at the time meant loyal to the (Republican) government. The monarchists supported Franco and thus were "rebels".
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  8. #7  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard icewendigo's Avatar
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    But how would you setup an anarchist-and-freedom army so as to balance the need for planning with organized and coordinated action, with the least amount top-down hierachic authority and institutional behavior?

    Could you have an army mostly composed of temporary volunteers, that once part of a unit elect their commanding officer among those with more experience (that acts like a unit advisor and coordinator), the commanding officers elect wich of them becomes their superior coordinating officer?
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    Forum Bachelors Degree 15uliane's Avatar
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    In the spanish civil war they were dominated by the other factions, divided, and altogether an ineffective fighting force. They weren't organized.

    Not knowing that much about anarchy, I wouldn't know how to organize an army of them.
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  10. #9  
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    Quote Originally Posted by icewendigo
    But how would you setup an anarchist-and-freedom army so as to balance the need for planning with organized and coordinated action, with the least amount top-down hierachic authority and institutional behavior?

    Could you have an army mostly composed of temporary volunteers, that once part of a unit elect their commanding officer among those with more experience (that acts like a unit advisor and coordinator), the commanding officers elect wich of them becomes their superior coordinating officer?
    Supposedly, in the pirate culture, captain was elected by crew and judged on his ability to procure loot. If he failed in this task or was otherwise judged unfit to lead, new captain was chosen. Operating ship is not unlike other military missions, it is possible that other mercenary units behave similarly. Consider Machiavelli's Prince if you do not believe this one. 8)
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  11. #10  
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    During Confederate Rebellion in USA, Confederate states had problems with members seceding from CSA, reasoning that if states could defect en masse from Union, these same states could do whatever the hell else they wanted besides too.

    Lasting legacy of this is of course, separate state of W. Virginia.

    Anecdotally, Key West in Florida remained Union Territory.
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