What really happened in Spain?

This is a summary of the debate between anarchists and James Donald on what happened during the Spanish Revolution of 1936 and 1937. Contained in this file is a summary of James Donald's many postings on the subject during that debate. This document exposes his lack of evidence and the weakness of his case (called James Donald's Reign of Error for reasons that soon become apparent). In addition, there are replies to the argument he presents on his web-page on the subject (called What really happened in Catalonia).

We will take each statement of his in turn:

First, his claims of "terror in Catalonia" are discussed here.

He then goes on to discuss that "Catalonia was not anarchist" and that it swiftly "ceased to be democratic." The first point is discussed here and the second, here.

Donald attempts to show that "As usual, Catalonia demonstrated once again the contradiction between liberty and socialism, with the usual rivers of blood that accompany such demonstrations" and claims that there was "capitalism in Catalonia." Ironically enough, his examples of "capitalism in action" come from the time of his "terror" examples, namely between July and November of 1936.

He then goes on to talk about serfdom in Catalonia and that charge is answered here. His account of "capitalism in Catalonia" is discussed here.

He even goes so far as to quote both Malatesta and Bakunin, without mentioning that they were both (in his terms) "anarcho-socialists" (or that anarchism has always been socialist, so that "anarcho-socialism" is redundant).

James then goes on to claim that the anarchists in Catalonia enforced "actually existing socialism" on the workers. He calls this "bait and switch in Catalonia" and this is discussed here.

Lastly, he claims that "in Catalonia there was no separation between executive and judiciary. Often the same person with whom you negotiated your pay also decided what the law was, who was guilty, and what the punishment would be. This made negotiations at best rather ominous." This is discussed here.

We do not expect to convince James Donald that he is wrong. What this web-page is is an attempt to indicate to interested parties that his version of what happened during the Spanish Revolution is false and that he is not interested in presenting anything like a truthful account.

The final judgment about what happened is up to you, the reader.

More writings from Anarcho