Nostromo | 14.03.2012 00:31 | Anti-racism | Social Struggles | Workers' Movements
So far so good. The problem occurs however when Sam King states that, referring to the democratically elected Republican government that was overthrown by General Franco's Fascist uprising, "Preston makes it clear that the Anarchist CNT" (the Confederación Nacional del Trabajo, which is still active today) "were as anti the Republic as the Fascists, viewing it as a bourgeoisie government". Whether this claim is one made by Paul Preston, or is a claim rehashed and not checked by Hope Not Hate, it's still false. Certainly elements within the Anarchist movement opposed alliances with Communist and liberal Republicans, preferring instead to pursue immediate and decisive social revolution, and arguably that did "destabilise the Republic" and "played right into the hands of the right wing", however brutal Communist oppression of Anarchists also played into the hands of the Fascists, with equally catastrophic results. Differences of historical interpretation aside however, the CNT helped form a Republican government in 1931, and even after the revolution of 1936, the CNT worked with other Republican groups, with Anarchist Federica Montseny becoming Minister of Health (and in fact Spain's first woman cabinet Minister), Anarchist Joan Peiró becoming Minister of Industry, Anarchist Segundo Blanco becoming Minister of Education, and militant Anarchist Juan García Oliver becoming Minister of Justice, in the very same Republican government the Hope Not Hate review says the CNT opposed.
This response is written to remind Searchlight / Hope Not Hate that their intermittent smear campaigns against Anarchists aren't appreciated and won't go unchallenged, and to remind them that if they want to create an atmosphere of trust within the Anti-Fascist movement they need to stick to telling the truth. This response is not written from the point-of-view that Anarchist mistakes should go unchallenged however - it is for instance fashionable in Anarchist circles to lionise strong-arm men like militia leader Buenaventura Durruti, but somewhat less fashionable to admit that part of the reason the CNT was the largest and most successful Anarchist organisation EVER was because it contained strategically sophisticated pragmatists who were willing and able to pursue their ideals within the context of (relatively speaking) mainstream politics.