Anarchist geopolitics of the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939): Gonzalo de Reparaz and the "Iberian Tragedy"

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This paper addresses an early case in critical and anarchist geopolitics by analysing a body of work from Spanish geographer Gonzalo de Reparaz Rodríguez-Báez (1860–1939). After reconstructing the complex and contradictory figure of Reparaz, a scholar and activist who oscillated between very different political positions in his especially long and productive career, we focus on the geostrategic writings he produced for the anarchist journals, CNT, Fragua Social and Solidaridad Obrera during the Spanish Civil War of 1936–1939. Our argument is twofold. First, in the ideological wanderings of Reparaz, it is possible to identify some elements of coherence around the principles of Iberism, Federalism and Africanism as produced by the Spanish culture of that time. Second, the works he produced for the anarchist press in the last part of his life can provide important insights for present-day scholarship on critical, radical and anarchist geopolitics, especially on what an ‘anarchist geopolitics’ might look like and which ways it can contribute to the largely debated problem of exiting the ‘territorial trap’. The case we present contributes to these debates by showing that an anarchist engagement with ‘geopolitics’, a term that Reparaz used some times at the end of his career, might draw on challenging clashes of civilization and ‘pure’ identities, on questioning statist and administrative frameworks of analysis and on focusing more on grassroots activism than on providing advice for state strategies.
Reparaz, Spanish Africanism, Iberism, Federalism, Anarchist Geopolitics
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Geopolitics, Vol. 24, N.4 (2019), pp. 944-968