Investigating the Economics of Change: Essay 3 The Spanish Civil War


April 18, 2020

My Dear Reader,

To wrap up our series on economics and radical movements, I’d like to finish off my argument on the Iberian peninsula. I believe this will give us better insight into the consequences of an economic crisis on a polarized nation.  To set the stage, we will ask one of the greatest writers in American history to guide us through the Spanish Civil War. This war was fought between the Communist/Anarchist left wing known as the republicans and the Fascist wing known as the Nationalists.  Hemingway recalls he fighting in this piece by writer Steve Newman:

“[Hemmingway] was as aware (more so than some) as anyone serving in Spain in 1937 that the Civil War was a dress-rehearsal for something much bigger. What he was not — unlike Gelhhorn — was driven by his beliefs. He was, first and foremost, a novelist, whereas Gellhorn was what we would today call an investigative journalist with an agenda. Hemingway hated, and distrusted agendas, especially other people’s. He was an intuitive journalist who undoubtedly kept the best bits for his fiction. And who can blame him either? It was his fiction in the end (and he was the one in the ditch under fire), and he could do whatever he wished with the information he gleaned. How many George Orwells does any war need?”

Though he was a supporter of the republican cause, Hemingway was simply more anti-war than anything else, mostly due to his experiences during the First World War. I bring this up only to remind us that there is no unbiased source here, but that dramatic polarization will typically have this conclusion after a shock event, such as an economic collapse.  The causes of the Spanish civil war were seeded throughout the 1920s, as both the right and left viewed the government as slow, ineffective and unable to cope with the beliefs of either side. Years before the actual conflict started, both the left and right detested each other.

It’s not too much of a stretch to see where I am going on this one.  With the rise of Antifa and other radical groups, the left wing in the United States has clearly become more and more radical. The United States is politically polarized right now. Political writer Tim Young tweeted “The New York Times is blaming coronavirus on Trump now … when they should be blaming themselves for the outbreak of Trump Derangement Syndrome,” the reason I bring this up is because a pandemic should be a unifying force in which we all come together and support one another. But instead it has been used as a political weapon by the media.  This is dangerous and could be the catalyst for something much worse. With the number of unemployed on the rise, this could be the shock event that changes our circumstances, and with our historical look this week, I believe this point is incontestable.