This weekend I had the pleasure of reading George Orwell's "Homage To Catalonia". It was about Orwell's experience fighting with the POUM forces during the Spanish Civil War.
The POUM was an ex-Trotskyist militia, that Leon Trotsky had tactical disagreements with. Yet the POUM was thoroughly anti-Stalinist, and much too independant for the Republican leadership, allied with the Stalinist Communist Party.
The issues of the Spanish Civil war politically, are still dealt with today. Should one advocate socialism while fighting for a nation? Do you align yourself with liberal bourgeousie? Do you take part in parliment? What is anarchism? This is an excerpt of that great book.
It was the first time that I had ever been
in a town where the working class was in the saddle. Practically every building
of any size had been seized by the workers and was draped with red flags or with
the red and black flag of the Anarchists; every wall was scrawled with the
hammer and sickle and with the initials of the revolutionary parties; almost
every church had been gutted and its images burnt. Churches here and there were
being systematically demolished by gangs of workmen. Every shop and cafe had an
inscription saying that it had been collectivized; even the bootblacks had been
collectivized and their boxes painted red and black. Waiters and shop-walkers
looked you in the face and treated you as an equal. Servile and even ceremonial
forms of speech had temporarily disappeared. Nobody said 'Senior' or 'Don' or
even 'Usted'; everyone called everyone else 'Comrade' and 'Thou', and said
'Salud!' instead of 'Buenos dias'. Tipping was forbidden by law; almost my first
experience was receiving a lecture from a hotel manager for trying to tip a
lift-boy. There were no private motor-cars, they had all been commandeered, and
all the trams and taxis and much of the other transport were painted red and
black. The revolutionary posters were everywhere, flaming from the walls in
clean reds and blues that made the few remaining advertisements look like daubs
of mud. Down the Ramblas, the wide central artery of the town where crowds of
people streamed constantly to and fro, the loudspeakers were bellowing
revolutionary songs all day and far into the night. And it was the aspect of the
crowds that was the queerest thing of all. In outward appearance it was a town
in which the wealthy classes had practically ceased to exist. Except for a small
number of women and foreigners there were no 'well-dressed' people at all.
Practically everyone wore rough working-class clothes, or blue overalls, or some
variant of the militia uniform. All this was queer and moving. There was much in
it that I did not understand, in some ways I did not even like it, but I
recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for.