Having lived in Spain for a couple of years, I’ve been deeply moved by the history of the Spanish Civil War, especially the experience of Catalunya during that war.  For a moment, the anarchists actually ran Barcelona (such as anarchists can run anything at the scale of a city) and tried to create a vision of something different.  Something not capitalist, not communist, but uniquely libratory.  That vision was squashed between the Fascists of Franco and the Communists in their own ranks, both groups afraid of the challenge to their own political structures that the anarchists’ alternative vision posed.  The world ignored the eradication of the anarchists, the West excusing their inaction in the name of halting the advance of communism.

While the parallels are weak, at best, I feel some sort of odd parallel between anarchist Barcelona and contemporary Misrata.  In the fears that the Libyan rebels might be worse than Gaddafi are the echoes of those who feared the anarchists more than Fascism.  The journalists like Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros share something of a kinship with Orwell and his fellow fighters on the side of the anarchists, the ones who carried the story of Catalunya out of Barcelona as it fell, and never let the story die.

I wonder how history is going to judge our half-assed engagement in Libya.