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Government in Catalonia

Whatever happened to anarchy?

Immediately after the revolution, there was no state, no government, no one monopoly of force, but there were a multitude of local committees that exercised absolute power, sometimes benevolently, sometimes in a terrifying and brutal fashion.

Within hours after seizing power in Catalonia, the "anarchists" set up, in association with the bourgeois parties, the "worker patrols" in Barcelona: This was a cartel of force, a group of people with the special and exclusive privilege to use force in Barcelona.

Terror followed. This terror was in large part made possible by the immunity possessed by the members of the "worker patrols", some of them common non political criminals freshly recruited from prison cells.

It seems likely therefore that had people been free to resist, if every man and every group of men had possessed the equal right to repel injustice, and compel justice, for themselves, and for all who may be wronged, there would have been no terror in Barcelona.

Often in Catalonia, one such committee had desires that conflicted with another such committee. Such matters were resolved by higher committees, which led to the rapid consolidation of power in fewer and fewer committees, with greater and greater power. In the end a few insiders casually dismissed the local committees without consultation. Shortly thereafter, the anarchist leadership, in cheerful defiance of the democratic procedures described in the CNT constitution, officially recreated the state Catalonia rather than unofficially. The Generalitad was officially and formally a state. This happened well before the Stalinists took any real power, but it created the conditions that made it possible for the Stalinists to take power. (This deal was part of the price that the leaders paid to join the government in Madrid.)

Modern collectivist anarchists propose exactly that solution to the use of force, that force be used as "the people" direct, despite the disastrous outcome of this procedure in Catalonia.

Modern individualist anarchists propose a very different solution to this problem. Anarcho Capitalism.

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