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During the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, British arms were supplied to the fascist General Franco through the Strait of Gibraltar to help defend British interests in the region against the workers councils and anarchists. What ‘particularly pleased’ Churchill, wrote Noam Chomsky in his essay ‘Objectivity and Liberal Scholarship,’ ‘was the forceful repression of the anarchists and the militarization of the Republic.’ Illustrating further the integrity of the Great Powers, the late Chris Harman adds that ‘the rulers of Western “democracies” were content for Hitler and Mussolini to flout a “non-interventionist” pact, since Franco was no danger to their empires.’ In fact, along with Franco, Churchill also defended Stalin during Cabinet meetings, with the actions of both dictators qualifying them to be the prime minister's ‘kind of guys,’ in Obama-speak. On August 14th 1938, Churchill said in an interview that ‘Franco has all the right on his side because he loves his country. Also Franco is defending Europe against the Communist danger – if you wish to put it in those terms. But I, I am English, and I prefer the triumph of the wrong cause. I prefer that the other side wins, because Franco could be an upset or a threat of British interests, and the others no.’ The proud Englishman had also told his Cabinet friends in 1914 (reported years later in the press, with any offending phrases omitted): We are not a young people with an innocent record and a scanty inheritance. We have engrossed to ourselves an altogether disproportionate share of the wealth and traffic of the world. We have got all we want in territory, and our claim to be left in the unmolested enjoyment of vast and splendid possessions, mainly acquired by violence, largely maintained by force, often seems less reasonable to others than to us. The Spanish libertarian and anarchist movements during the civil war were based on the assumption of collective ownership of land, with work, enterprise and innovation encouraged through means of free association between individuals. This form of anarcho-syndicalism (which Lenin, not without irony, had earlier denounced in The State and Revolution as ‘merely the twin brother of opportunism’) was, to Marshall Shatz, ‘the most concerted effort the anarchists made to adapt their principles to the structure of modern industry. It sought to achieve the libertarian society by means of trade-union organizations, through which the producers themselves would take over the direction of the economy and replace the coercive machinery of capitalism and the state. The trade union was to be the nucleus of the new society and at the same time, with its weapon of the general strike, the revolutionary agency that would achieve it.’ Here is Daniel Guérin’s assessment of the anarchist structure of the Spanish collectives: Everything was put into the common pool with the exception of clothing, furniture, personal savings, small domestic animals, garden plots, and poultry kept for family use. Artisans, hairdressers, shoemakers, etc., were grouped in collectives; the sheep belonging to the community were divided into flocks of several hundreds, put in the charge of shepherds, and methodically distributed in the mountain pastures. ... It appears that the units which applied the collectivist principle of day wages were more solid than the comparatively few which tried to establish complete communism too quickly, taking no account of the egoism still deeply rooted in human nature, especially among the women. In some villages where currency had been suppressed and the population helped itself from the common pool, producing and consuming within the narrow limits of the collectives, the disadvantages of this paralyzing self-sufficiency made themselves felt, and individualism soon returned to the fore, causing the breakup of the community by the withdrawal of many former small farmers who had joined but did not have a really communist way of thinking.
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