Revisiting 1936: The rise and fall of the Spanish Revolution
In this edition of the Education Series we look at one of the greatest experiments with an alternative to capital
ism: the 1936 Spanish Revolution. People today seeking a democratic socialist and egalitarian society can draw lessons from both its successes and failures.
The Spanish Revolution occurred in the context of a civil war, but even so for a short period of time social relations changed – bosses were fired; workers practiced direct democracy in the fields and factories; greater gender equality was won; and socialism from below looked like a possibility.
But the Revolution never ran its full course. The situation in Spain during the Revolution and linked Civil War - was complicated. During the height of the Revolution workers in many parts of Spain, like Barcelona, controlled the factories in two thirds of the country – although the state continued to exist and one third of Spain was controlled by fascists. The main reason the Revolution stalled is that the state – controlled by the Stalinists and Socialist Party – was not overthrown by the working class.