By Chris Ealham
This is a study of social protest and repression in one of the twentieth century’s most important revolutionary hotspots. It explains why Barcelona became the undisputed capital of the European anarchist movement and explores the sources of anarchist power in the city. It also places Barcelona at the centre of Spain’s economic, social, cultural and political life between 1898 and 1937. During this period, a range of social groups, movements and institutions competed with one another to impose their own political and urban projects on the city: the central authorities struggled to retain control of Spain’s most unruly city; nationalist groups hoped to create the capital of Catalonia; local industrialists attempted to erect a modern industrial city; the urban middle classes planned to democratise the city; and meanwhile, the anarchists sought to liberate the city’s workers from oppression and exploitation. This resulted in a myriad of frequently violent conflicts for control of the city, both before and during the civil war. This is a work of great importance in the field of contemporary Spanish history and fills a significant gap in the current literature.