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OLSON, Joel. "The Revolutionary Spirit: Hannah Arendt and the Anarchists of the Spanish Civil War"
Article published on 2 September 2008

by ps

Polity, Vol. 29, No. 4. (Summer, 1997), pp. 461-488

Author’s Abstract

Hannah Arendt argued that the only way to keep a revolution from
degenerating into an authoritarian regime no more hospitable to
freedom and equality than the regime it overthrew is to create a
republic of broad-based councils to institutionalize wide participation
in public affairs. Yet Arendt ’s claim is incomplete because it rests on
an analysis assuming that revolution involves a simple two-sided
conflict between old and new and neglects the social aspects of
postrevolutionary life. The complications arking from multisided
conflict and the importance of the social foundations of participation
can be better understood by examining carefully the experiences of
Spankh anarchist collectives in the 1930s. Their experience fleshes out
the practical aspects of establishing and maintaining the federated
council system capable of maintaining a highly participatory and
hence truly democratic society.