An Anarchist’s Story

Spanish Civil War (1936-1939)Communication. Documentary filmsMacDONALD, Ethel (Motherwell, Scotland 24 February 1909 - 1 December 1960)Film/Vidéo en ligne

Film 1 16" 59 (English)

BBC Scotland

Pelicula Films Ltd., 2006

Prod. & Directed by Mark Littlewod

Produced and Researched by Alison Murphy

Scenarist: Christ Dolan

Narrator: David Hayman

Excutive Producer for Scottish : Carole Sheridan

Executive Producer for BBC: Ewan Angus

Interviews: Mike Gonzales, Noam Chomsky, Antonia
Fontanillas, Willy Maley, Maria Dolores Genovés

Ethel MacDonald was born in Bellshill, West of Scotland, in 1910 the free-spirited daughter of a large working class family â¿" but from such humble beginnings often come extraordinary stories. At the time of our story Ethel is 27 years old. She is determined - almost to the point of obsession. She is confident of her values and her abilities and is completely fearless.

As an Anarchist she is politically aware and has a burning desire for social justice. Ethel was dark-haired, small of stature, and mesmerising company. She was a classic Scottish auto-didact - everything she has learned has taken will-power, study and patience. She is a mercurial character - fast-talking, quick-witted, a workaholic. But she is also a constant friend. In ’An Anarchist’s Story’ - through her own words and via our reconstructions - one characteristic more than any other shines through: her deep, undying passion. During ten months in 1936 and 1937 some 3 million men, women and children were involved in one of the most profound social revolutions in world history. In the countryside surrounding Barcelona peasants formed communes on land confiscated from the old ruling elite.

Workers took over the factories and, for time, police were replaced with civilian self-defence forces. In Catalonia three-quarters of the economy was under anarchist control. Hotels, shops, barber shops and restaurants were collectivised and managed by their workers, often making them more efficient. In some communes money was entirely eliminated and replaced with vouchers and bartering schemes.

It was this setting that saw Ethel MacDonald play her part in the greatest ideological struggle of modern times Ethel MacDonald’s own intimate recollections are presented through a definitive mix of documentary and drama, re-visiting the Killing Fields that were the Spanish Civil War. Supporting commentary spoken by David Hayman paired with expert interviews, including Noam Chomsky, provides background knowledge of 1930’s European Politics and a further insight into the young Scot’s motives, actions and social situation. The film links her own personal drama to specific archive footage of Barcelona in disarray - an image Ethel MacDonald came to know so well