No government and corporations, free food and sex — Barcelona as a historical center for anarchism

At the moment I am living in Barcelona for around one month. The city and the region of Catalonia is one of my favorite parts of Europe, partly due to my interest in history and political ideas.

Barcelona is, for several reasons, as regarding values, programs, and institutions seen as among the more progressive and cosmopolitan European big cities. For example, the city conducts progressive ecological policies, helps refugees, and has a liberal law on cannabis usage.

The city has a history of anarchism as during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. If you are reading about the Spanish Civil War, you will read phrases such as “revolution within the revolution” and “civil war within the civil war”. By that, it is meant that anarchists, as anarcho-syndicalists, were not satisfied with Spain becoming a democratic constitutional republic and aspired to implement their ambitions of creating a society without government, public institutions, and capitalism.

For example, during the civil war, there were more than 100 000 anarchists in the city organized in syndicates as Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), meaning National Labour Confederation.

During the Spanish Civil war, in Barcelona, organizations as CNT transformed large parts of the city into their own commune and society. This also led to fights as between communists and anarchists in Catalonia because pro-Soviet communists, stalinists, and other authoritarian leftists disliked anarchism and its more libertarian and decentralized system of governance and society.

Organizations as CNT are still existing and are active in political life. Even today, there are traces of anarchism in Barcelona. For example, you can eat excellent food at Terra d’Escudella, which is a cooperative restaurant, and the waiter will welcome you with an anti-fascist t-shirt.

Suppose you want to learn more about Barcelona’s history regarding anarchism. In that case, I recommend you a guided tour with Nick Lloyd, who will give you entertaining and inspiring storytelling about the city during the Spanish Civil War. You can find Nick via Twitter and WhatsApp (+34 663 47 60 09).

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Vladan Lausevic

Vladan Lausevic

I am active as a social and policy entrepreneur. SEEDS ambassador. Motto: I have no identity, I have only identities.