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.
Read more: Revisiting 1936: The rise and fall of the Spanish Revolution
Expropriating land without compensation: shack-dwellers have their say
Nowongile Swebe left her rural village in the Eastern Cape in 1989 to settle in Cape Town. She was hoping for better living conditions and more economic opportunities.
She settled at what was then the Frankdale informal settlement on the periphery of the Visserhok landfill site, about 20km north of the city centre.
In June 2015 the City of Cape Town needed to expand the landfill site. The residents of Frankdale, including Swebe, were moved to Wolwerivier, about 5km further north and further away from the city centre. Wolwerivier falls under ward 104 which includes Dunoon.
Here, Swebe lives with her five children and seven grandchildren in a one-room house, she says. She has used a cupboard to divide the room.
Back home, she says, her father owns a big piece of rural land, which he shares with his three wives and children.
Even though she was looking for improved living conditions, her dreams of achieving this faded over the years as she still lives in an overcrowded home.
Swebe and other people shared their stories with several community leaders from Dunoon, Doornbach informal settlement and Wolwerivier on Saturday. They had gathered at the Dunoon Nasqshbandi Muhammadi Mosque where the Claremont Main Road Mosque was holding workshop on land expropriation without compensation, in conjunction with the Institute for Healing of Memories. The workshop follows a spate of land occupations in the area.
Read more: Expropriating land without compensation: shack-dwellers have their say