In 1936, at the apex of the Spanish Revolution, hundreds of Spanish villages, towns, neighborhoods and factories had organized themselves into collectives in which local residents made decisions about labor and the distribution of resources.
For a splendid few months, these workers’ and peasant assemblies and their committees took charge of nearly one third of Spain. They help to organize every aspect of political and social life: agricultural production, local administration, munitions and how to feed their people.
While each community had a great degree of autonomy, they also cooperated informally, sometimes holding general assemblies that covered more than 1,000 families across 15,000 square kilometers.
Like the French revolutionaries of the sectional assemblies of 1793 and the Paris Commune of 1871, which called for a nationwide Commune of Communes, the fiercely democratic anarchists of Spain understood that to maintain their autonomy, any decision-making body had to be directly accountable to the communities from which they derived their power.