Anarchist history of Barcelona tour

barricades during the so-called Tragic week of the summer of 1909

The tour with Catherine Howley covers a wide range of topics and events that shape the history of Anarchism in Barcelona; depending on your interests before and after the tour I will send a personalised bibliography and documentary sources to complement the tour and for further learning. 

You may have done the Spanish Civil War tour with Nick or myself beforehand, the general purpose of this tour is to give an overview of the history of Spain, Catalunya and Barcelona between the 1830s and 1930s which lends a deeper understanding as to how and why the Anarchist revolution of 1936-37 took place in Barcelona.

As such, it deals with these major concepts and events:

  • The industrialisation of Barcelona
  • how the Raval became the first working-class neighbourhood in Spain.
  • Urbanisation and Cerdà plan – a utopian plan for the expansion of Barcelona which results in division. 
  • Conditions of the working class during the 19th century.
  • The beginning of working class actions as the result of unease 
  • The ‘arrival’ of anarchism to Barcelona. Anarchist theory versus reality. 
  • Propaganda by the deed and the bombing of the Liceu Opera House.
  • Palau Güell and the colonial interests and slave trade connections of Barcelona’s industrial class. 
  • The tendency towards Anarcho-syndicalism and the birth of Solidaridad Obrera.
  • ‘Tragic week’ of 1909. Anti-clerical riots and uprisings reflect the growing tensions across the country. 
  • The foundation of the CNT (National Confederation of Workers).  
  • WWI and how it impacts industrial Barcelona and the growth of the CNT. 
  • 1919 Canadenca strike, the most successful working class direct action in Spanish history and how it is a precursor to the Revolution of 1936-37. 
  • Anarchism during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1923-1930) – the Second Republic (1931) and the outbreak of the Civil War (1936). 


  • Meeting spot: Fuente de Canaletas, Las Ramblas – near the Catalunya metro stop at the top of Las Ramblas.
  • Time: 10 am
  • Date: April 20th 2023, More dates to come 
  • Duration: 3.5 hours. We’ll stop somewhere for coffee to reflect on the theory of Anarchism, and the arrival of Anarchism in Barcelona. 
  • End location: Museu Maritím, Drassanes. 
  • Cost: 30 euros per person 
  • Booking