Friday A/V Club: Anarchists Take Over Film Industry, Make a Revolutionary Children's Musical

One of the odder artifacts of the Spanish Civil War


On the gooooooood ship an-ar-chy…
SIE Films

During the Spanish revolution of 1936, anarcho-syndicalists seized the movie studios and labs based in Barcelona and Madrid. In the ensuing years, they made radical documentaries, they made politically charged dramas, and, of course, they made a children's musical. Wait, what?

Yes, a children's musical. The anarcho-studios still needed to pay the bills, and that meant producing commercially viable entertainment along with the agitprop. Or, in this case, combining their commercially viable entertainment with their agitprop. In Nosotros somos asi, young Spaniards meet regularly for a sort of informal variety show at a boy's house, watching other kids sing, dance, recite a poem about a kitten, and even do a Busby Berkeley–style production number. These performances are intercut with scenes linked to the ongoing social revolution. There is talk of barricades. A boy's father is arrested, and then some children persuade an official to destroy the evidence against him. The rich kid sheds his class prejudices and develops a proletarian consciousness. Eventually the children have a big revolutionary meeting where the girls demand equal rights with the boys and a sign calls for less study time, more recess, and the abolition of arithmetic.

Unfortunately, the only subtitled version of the film that I could find was translated into French, not English. (The summary in the previous paragraph comes via my bad college Spanish, my worse high school French, and the judicious use of Google Translate.) But even if you can't understand a word of it, you should at least watch the introductory sequence, with children in different poses declaiming directly to the camera. And then, if you want to see the Busby Berkeley knockoff, you can skip to the 12:17 mark:

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)

NEXT: Boehner Endorses Sentencing Reform; Bill Clinton Apologizes for His Role in Mass Incarceration

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Who would captain the Good Ship Anarchy?

    1. We’d all take turns.

      1. We’ll have to obtain chin straps so that our Top Hats don’t blow away:…..ts_id=1444

    2. Whomever the ship’s owner says should captain the ship. But to these “anarchists”, who aren’t really anarchists, there would be no ship because no one has a right to own the fruits of their labor, preventing the ship from being built in the first place.


    Which seems to be a self-defeating proposition.

  3. “In Nosotros somos asi, young Spaniards meet regularly for a sort of informal variety show at a boy’s house, watching other kids sing, dance, recite a poem about a kitten, and even do a Busby Berkeley?style production number.”

    It’s their version of The Little Rascals”

  4. anarcho-syndicalists

    A group of anarchists who will tell you they’re the only real anarchists out there. They’ll also tell you that we need an institution with a monopolized ability to implement social justice, tax and otherwise redistribute private property. But this institution shan’t be called a “state” mind you because they’re anarchists after all.

    What’s a state? it is nor hand, nor foot,
    Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
    Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
    What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet;
    So a state would, were it not a state call’d,
    Retain that dear perfection which it owes
    Without that title. Statism, doff thy name,
    And for that name which is no part of thee
    Take all myself.

    1. A gov’t by any other name, would still smell like a turd.

    2. What’s a socialist wannabe without aspirations to socially-sanctioned violence? They mayn’t want to call it a State but, whatever they call it, it comes to the same end: an excuse to bring out the cudgels and hunt citizens through the streets.

      1. These are the same people who assert that anarcho-capitalists aren’t real anarchists because they don’t oppose ALL hierarchies like for instance a business where one employee has authority over another employee. That sort of analysis tells me that these “anarchists” don’t even know what anarchy means, nor have they produced any rational thoughts about social order and human nature. If we took their non-hierarchy stance to it’s logical conclusion then humanity would die out as all social bonds disintegrate, children would not be under the authority of their parents, and property owners would have no right to exclusive control to any of their property including their own body.

        1. Some people are terrified by the thought that, in a truly voluntary society, not everyone will do what they think everyone should do.

          1. Well these anarcho-syndicalists are a special breed of cognitively dissonant. It’d be like a progressive saying he opposes high taxes but favors instead a 90% “tithe” on all incomes. It’s just a rhetorical game they play to fool themselves into believing that they’ve actually thought this through.

        2. Etymologically, anarchy means absence of leaders, which is closer to their conception of it than yours.

          1. It means absence of “rulers“, and no the syndicalists would have institutions in place with the power to expropriate property and redistribute it as well as a monopoly of ultimate decision making. That is not anarchy, it is statism by another name.

            Anarcho-capitalist theory actually lacks political “rulers” and offers no leeway for the existence of legitimized expropriating social justice institutions, i.e. a state. You should actually read up not only on what these different ideologies offer in the way of theory, but if you want to do etymology, then actually read up on the word’s origin.

            Greek, from anarchos having no ruler, from an- + archos ruler ? more at arch-

    3. On the other hand, if you wanted to fight the fascists and didn’t want to join the Stalinists, they were the only game in town.

      1. You know who else was a syndicalist?

        1. George Orwell?

          1. More a fellow traveler than an out-and-out syndicalist.

    4. “and otherwise redistribute private property”

      My people must’ve been skipped over when they were distributing it the first time.

      1. When I grow a potato, the whole of humanity was passed over in it’s distribution. It becomes redistribution when my neighbor takes my potato at gun point and chucks it at a poor person’s head because of social justice.

  5. You have a political philosophy that hates private property and thinks unions should be the basic unit if societal organization.

    I am not sure I understand what this post is for beyond rhe weirdness if an iideological kids movie.

    1. It’s Friday and Jesse’s off the leash. You should see what he keeps in his bottom desk drawer.

  6. “We’re an Anarcho-syndacist commune. We take it in turns to be a sort of “executive officer” for the week.” – Dennis

  7. What the fuck is a “radical documentary”? Doesn’t sound very documentary to me.

  8. I just watched the French subtitled version. This film is creepier than even most movies of that kind.

  9. Ahh.. Is it just me or does that picture–accredited to SIE Films–look like Shirley Temple? If that actually is Shirley Temple, was she making films with SIE Films AND Fox at the same time? I did not think that would have been possible. Eh.. Maybe they just found a girl that looked like her to ride on her fame coat tails.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.