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Alternatives to Capitalism: 1936 – Rise and Fall of the Spanish Revolution

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1936 - 4 smallerIn this edition of the Education Series we look at one of the greatest experiments with an alternative to capitalism: the 1936 Spanish Revolution. People today seeking a democratic socialist and egalitarian society can draw lessons from both its successes and failures.

The Spanish Revolution occurred in the context of a civil war, but even so for a short period of time social relations changed – bosses were fired; workers practiced direct democracy in the fields and factories; greater gender equality was won; and socialism from below looked like a possibility.

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Fueling the Fire

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Protest in Freedom Park, south of Johannesburg on 8 May. Photo by: Jonathan Payn (ZACF)

Wave after wave of community protests have been taking place in South Africa. People are angry that after twenty years of so-called freedom they are still confined to living in shacks, having to defecate in communal toilets, and having essential services terminated when they can’t afford to pay.

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Land, law and decades of devastating douchebaggery: On corruption, ‘violent’ protest and the probably quite unexceptional case of Freedom Park

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Photo: Lekhetho Mtetwa (ZACF)

The struggle of the black working class majority of Freedom Park, South Africa, is not just for land on which to build housing – although that is obviously a central issue and key demand; nor is it just against the accompanying political and police violence and intimidation. It is a struggle against the injustice, violence and corruption of a system that puts the power, privileges and profits of a few before the lives and wellbeing of the majority.

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