Martha A. Ackelsberg

Models of Revolution

Rural Women and Anarchist Collectivization In Civil War Spain

This article explores revolutionary activities its rural Spain during the years of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), comparing two different (anarchist) perspectives on the nature of women's subordination and empowerment. One evident in the activities of the mainstream anarcho-syndicalist movement understood women's subordination to be rooted in her economic domination and, consequently, viewed economic participation as the route to empowerment. The second developed in the anarchist women's organization, Mujeres Libres understood women's subordination to have broader cultural roots, and, consequently, saw the need for a multifaceted program of education and empowerment as key to women's liberation. The article examines the agricultural collectivization sponsored by the CNT, as well as the activities of Mujeres Libres, comparing the successes and failures of each approach.