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Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT)

Eduardo Romanos

Subject History
Social Movements » Collective Behaviour

Place Europe » Western Europe
Iberia » Spain

Period 1000 - 1999 » 1900-1999

Key-Topics civil war, equality, revolution, socialism

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405184649.2009.00395.x


The CNT was an anarchosyndicalist trade union in Spain which became a major labor organization and the beacon of international anarchism in the 1930s. It played a significant role during the Spanish Civil War , when its membership reached almost 2 million and engaged in the organization of a social revolution in the form of industrial and agrarian collectivization. The CNT was founded at a congress organized in Barcelona between October 31 and November 1, 1910 by the Catalonian revolutionary syndicalist federation Solidaridad Obrera (Workers' Solidarity). The First Congress, held a year later in Barcelona, added local and provincial ( comarcal ) federations as well as regional confederations, expanding on the earlier idea of setting up national federations organized by craft, which probably indicated the influence of French syndicalist thinking on the need to form industrial unions. Soon after calling for a revolutionary general strike, the CNT was declared illegal, and the headquarters and unions were shut down, thus opening a period of underground activity that was to become normal throughout its history. The movement did not begin to reconstruct itself until 1915, but a truly national organization had been built by 1918. The massive enrolment of anarchists increased resources and radicalized the CNT, which was able to mobilize some major protests, especially among peasants ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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