The earth is ours now, comrades.
July 17, 2010 1:26 AM   Subscribe

Land and Freedom, in its entirety. It's a film about a young English Communist who goes to fight the fascists amidst the Spanish Revolution as a member of the POUM militia. He sees both the reality of a people's revolution and the consequences of Stalinism. It's directed by Ken Loach, who also directed Bread and Roses and The Wind that Shakes the Barley. Subtitles will help a lot if you don't speak Spanish.
posted by cthuljew (29 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Or you could watch it via Ken Loach's You Tube Channel, as linked previously.
posted by GeckoDundee at 2:13 AM on July 17, 2010

Whoa, I somehow missed this, and only a couple months ago. Thanks, GeckoDundee.
posted by cthuljew at 2:21 AM on July 17, 2010

No worries, I'm pretty sure it wasn't one of the released films when jonesor posted before. (I seem to remember checking for it first).
posted by GeckoDundee at 2:31 AM on July 17, 2010

And a lot of the films mentioned in that post no longer seem to be up. Although, for what it's worth, the quality of the film on YouTube is a bit better than the one I found. :3
posted by cthuljew at 2:43 AM on July 17, 2010

For those of you not filmically inclined, I highly recommend the source material for this: Homage to Catalonia, by a Mister G. Orwell.

It seems like POUM was too badass to continue as a viable political force, but the CNT is still active in Spain, and their bookstore in Barcelona is stocked with all the Spanish anarchist material you could ever want.

If you can read Spanish, La revolución española en la práctica: Documentos del POUM is an amazing look at the inner workings of this almost forgotten group.
posted by Chichibio at 3:37 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Just found this, too, while searching around:
posted by cthuljew at 3:44 AM on July 17, 2010

Homage to Catalonia is a great read.
posted by Atreides at 5:14 AM on July 17, 2010

Nice one, cthuljew. I left out a link (no coffee yet) from a local English language mag that looks at anarchism in Barcelona today. Kinda fluffy, but a good intro.

Now for a slight derail, but since MF is a UScentric site, I have to ask: did any foreigner come over during the Civil War and sign up, fight, and live to write an engaging account of their experiences? All we ever hear is de Tocqueville de Tocqueville de Tocqueville, and he just wandered around talking to folks (that and he would have been 55 when the war started). Romantic political notions aside, it must have been a weird cultural experience for Orwell to get so deeply involved in a foreign conflict. Are there any more decent literary examples?
posted by Chichibio at 5:23 AM on July 17, 2010

I'm sure this will help:
posted by cthuljew at 5:49 AM on July 17, 2010

Heros von Borke came over from Prussia, rode with Jeb Stuart, and after the war, returned home and eventually wrote a memoir about his time in the Confederacy.
posted by Atreides at 6:31 AM on July 17, 2010

This was one of my faves as a 16 year-old Proudhon fanatic. Thanks!
posted by Beardman at 7:00 AM on July 17, 2010

Seeing your Homage to Catalonia and raising you a Down and Out in London and Paris. Orwell was a heckuva writer.
posted by msittig at 7:08 AM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

yep, he sure was a heckuva writer - bill shakespeare was pretty swell too.
posted by sgt.serenity at 7:35 AM on July 17, 2010

Or you could watch it via Ken Loach's You Tube Channel, as linked previously.

The YouTube channel is a little frustrating because many of the movies that were uploaded have been removed due to unforeseen copyright issues.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:00 AM on July 17, 2010

Chichibio, the Spanish Civil War served, in part, as a proxy war between communist forces and fascist interests, that's why people like Orwell went there. It was seen as an international conflict (many people see it as a precursor to WWII), whereas the US Civil War was much more local and smaller in scope.
posted by Omon Ra at 8:37 AM on July 17, 2010

Oh my. Thanks for linking this; I'm downloading it as we speak. I adored The Wind That Shakes the Barley but never got into the rest of Loach's oeuvre for some reason. I'm going to have to figure out the subtitles, but I can't imagine it won't be worth it.
posted by immlass at 8:53 AM on July 17, 2010

Thanks! I watched this in my history of anarchism class and really liked it. Nthing all the people talking about Homage to Catalonia. The last few pag-es where Orwell talks about the sleeping British public being awakened by bombs gives me shivers. I would also recommend The Spanish anarchists: The Heroic Years 1958-1936 by Murray Bookchin if you want to understand how the Spanish labor/peasant movement ended up where it was when Orwell arrived.
posted by nestor_makhno at 10:40 AM on July 17, 2010

Barcelona is bleeding.
Barcelona is bleeding.
Barcelona is bleeding... hot.
posted by salmacis at 11:46 AM on July 17, 2010

> US Civil War was much more local and smaller in scope.

Smaller in scope??
posted by languagehat at 12:07 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

fwiw, the nga recently had a series on Catalunya: Poetry of Place which included a screening of "Report on the Revolutionary Movement in Barcelona"
The first newsreel of the Civil War, shot entirely by anarchists, July 19 to 23, 1936, exposes the street fighting, the barricades, the ruined convents, and the damaged buildings. As the CNT (National Confederation of Labor) takes control, the Durruti Column, only days later, departs for the Aragón Front through the city's ravaged avenues. (1936, 35 mm, Spanish with subtitles, 20 mintues)
greencine liked this part: "This magnificent specimen of a libertarian guerrilla is keeping constant watch, like a young eagle, so as not to be caught unaware by fascism."
posted by kliuless at 12:12 PM on July 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Thanks for this, just watched on the YouTube channel and really enjoyed it. As a warning, there are very substantial bits of non-english dialogue that are unsubtitled (in fact while the wikipedia entry mentions selective subtitling, the version on Ken Loach's own YouTube channel has no subtitles at all, which I assume is his original intention). That said, the non-english dialogue is contextual to the scene so somehow it still works. Highly recommended.
posted by iivix at 3:45 PM on July 17, 2010

I have to ask: did any foreigner come over during the Civil War and sign up, fight, and live to write an engaging account of their experiences?

It seems certain that some must exist: over 200,000 Germans came over and served in the Civil War. (Fun Fact: by a ratio of 100 to 1 (or more), they chose to fight on the Union side.)

See: German-Americans in the Civil War

(The wiki article has references to a few accounts, but most seem to be in manuscript, or published in German.)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 8:20 PM on July 17, 2010

You guys aren't kidding about Loach's YouTube Channel. There''s hardly anything there now.
posted by GeckoDundee at 9:52 PM on July 17, 2010

yeap, languagehat, smaller in scope... the American Civil War only affected the US and, in the end, kept the status quo; the Spanish Civil War, by contrast, involved most of the european countries and left Spain with a dictatorship well into the 1970s. The American Civil War is such an iconic thing, especially because of the nobility and eloquence of Lincoln + Mathew Bradie's photos, that americans (I've found) often think it was the bloodiest Civil War in history. Mexico's revolution, a couple decades later, by contrast, had twice as many casualties and lasted twice as long, in a country with a smaller population (we just didn't have Ken Burns ;-)).
posted by Omon Ra at 7:49 PM on July 21, 2010

> kept the status quo

Uh, right. Come back to me when you know the first thing about the Civil War (whose effects lasted far longer, by the way, than those of the Spamish one).
posted by languagehat at 8:38 AM on July 22, 2010

Well the Union was preserved languagehat, that to me is keeping with the status quo. Granted the country was transformed, but for Spain, as well as for Russia, the Civil Was was apocalyptic. Come back to me when you have a less US centric approach to history.
posted by Omon Ra at 9:07 AM on July 22, 2010

And the Union was preserved in Spain as well. Hell, you've even got a king. So nothing has changed.

I did get a chuckle out of your accusing me of having a US-centric approach to history, though, so thanks for that. (Just so you know, I've read a fair amount on the Spanish Civil War, both history and fiction—I'm reading Javier Marías's wonderful Your Face Tomorrow 1: Fever and Spear now—so I'm not actually talking from a position of smug ignorance.)
posted by languagehat at 1:00 PM on July 22, 2010

Just so you know a) I've read my fair share of american history and studied in the states, and b) I'm not spanish.

My point in my original post was that the American Civil War, while dramatic, bloody, terrible, horrible, etc. was mostly a localized American affair while the Spanish one had a more international i.e. larger scope. Nazi Germany, the English, the French and the Soviet Union wanted to have a proxy war, test weapons (Guernica) and test alliances there. Given those parameters I don't see why that is such a controversial a statement to make. Culturally the American Civil was has had no echo outside of the US (aside from a few statues of Lincoln), whereas the Spanish Civil War affected not only Europe, but Latin America as a whole because of the waves of immigration. That's what I meant when I said it was larger in scope.

My second point was that, again, while tragic, I don't remember the American Civil war ending up in a dictatorship like the Russian or Spanish ones, or upending the country in armed struggle for 10 years like the Mexican one. So yes, In my humble opinion (although I would agree that this is a much more subjective point) the US Civil War was a lot less catastrophic than a lot of other similar conflicts.

I agree I was snippy with the US centric comment, but frankly you were kind of condescending with the "Come back to me when you know the first thing about the Civil War".
posted by Omon Ra at 2:22 PM on July 22, 2010 [1 favorite]

Well, let's just agree to disagree then. No need for either of us to continue along the snippy/condescending path.
posted by languagehat at 2:43 PM on July 22, 2010

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