The Generalitat of Catalonia, 1936-1938


catalonia

Between 1936 and 1938, Catalonia was embroiled not only by the Spanish Civil War, but by Social Revolution. Radical anarcho-syndicalists, who for decades had been a powerful force on the streets of Barcelona, abandoned their opposition to governmental participation and joined the government within Catalonia’s regional parliament, the Generalitat, which had previously been controlled by the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), a Left-Republican and pro-autonomy faction loyal to the Popular Front government in Madrid. Meanwhile, Catalonian workers and farmers rose up, seized many of the means of production, burned down their churches, and began operating many important economic sectors of Catalonia as collective enterprises. This new Generalitat, divided between itself and unlike any other legislative chamber known to history, found itself faced with many perhaps impossible tasks. Defending Catalonia’s increasingly precarious position from Franco’s armies. Maintaining Catalonian autonomy while co-ordinating both militarily and politically with the government in Madrid, a broad coalition ranging from liberal secular republicans to Stalinists with which the Generalitat did not always see eye-to-eye. Maintaining domestic order in the face of factional tensions, particularly between the Communist Party of Spain (PCE), and the syndicalists, anarchists, and trotskyists, all of whom had a strong presence in Catalonia and all of whom the PCE despised. Attracting international support while the most powerful source of aid was the USSR and the Moscow-aligned PCE was the anarchists’ deadly enemy. Resolving its questions of internal governance, and of how anarchists could ever operate as part of a government. And ensuring the welfare of the Catalonian people and the Catalonian economy during these unknown times. Delegates will become the Generalitat, or other factions’ special representatives thereto, in a tale dotted with peasant militants, internecine political operatives, patriotic Catalonians, poets, artists, philosophers, radical feminists, and romantic volunteers from across the globe.


BACKGROUND GUIDE