By Jose Peirats
An account of the Spanish Revolution by means of a lifelong member of the CNT.
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Additional info for Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution
31 The urge to engage with the new in modernism could involve the production of new meanings and forms of representation which both spoke to the new circumstances and expressed a desire to break free from them. Innovation and novelty of form became the hallmark of this modernist urge to not just engage but reconﬁgure the new, often generating bizarre compounds of seemingly paradoxical elements. Modernism, Bradbury and McFarlane wrote, searches out ‘new juxtapositions, new wholes’, as in Strindberg’s desperate ‘attention to alchemy, that unique fusion of reason and unreason, science and magic’, or Yeats’s ‘evolutionary cosmology, with its search for unity between time and the timeless, the dancer and the dance’.
The economic model based on Manchester school free market economics that had held sway since the advent of the ‘First Industrial Revolution’ was malfunctioning and appeared to have arrived at the terminus of a long era of domination. Even as it neared its apparent end, the competitive model of wealth production continued to emit those stark extremes of afﬂuence and poverty that were endemic to the system. 7 We should also throw into the mix that corresponding retreat of Victorianism in other ﬁelds.
Indeed, British socialism was one of the principal ‘revitalisation’ movements of the ﬁn de siècle which addressed the deep crisis in spiritual and cultural values thought to be afﬂicting Victorian Britain as it edged towards the century’s close. Many socialist activists believed that they were engaged in a mission to achieve a break with the decadent old world of Victorian materialism, positivism and possessive individualism. They hoped to usher in a new age that would be characterised not just by socio-economic justice but by a heightened sense of spiritual awareness which once attained would bring sublime insight into the organic unity of all and generate a corresponding love for one’s fellows.
Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution by Jose Peirats