The Durruti Column poster

The Durruti Column poster

by Josh MacPhee and Just Seeds

In July, 1936, soon after General Franco's fascist troops revolted against the Spanish Republic, Buenaventura Durruti led a military column made up of 2,000 Anarchist workers to fight the fascists. Not a typical military unit, the column was organized by the soldiers themselves, with rank holding only minimal importance, and officers being elected by their units. In Zaragossa, the column defeated the much better equipped fascist troops. Near the end of 1936, Madrid was under bombing attacks by the Germans and Italians, and the now 4,000 soldier column moved there to join the fight. On November 20th, Durruti was killed. The column continued to fight until the end of the war.

The role the Durruti column played in supporting the social revolution happening across the Spanish countryside was as important as their military victories. They assisted in the establishment of agricultural collectives along their route and helped set up the directly democratic council of Aragon. Local political party bosses and rich landowners fled in a panic. They also upset the authoritarian Communist and Socialist parties, who believed the social revolution had to wait until after the war was won.

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