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Militarism and maternalism: anarchist eugenics in Halma Angelico's Ak y la humanidad.

Halma Angelico, also known as Maria Francisca Clar Margarit or Ana Ryus, was the only woman to publish a dramatic work during the Spanish Civil War (1) with her play Ak y la humanidad, performed in 1938 and 1939. Angelico had already established herself as a dramatist with her plays Los caminos de la vida (1920), Berta (1922), La nieta de Fiedra (1929), Entre la cruz y el diablo (1932), and Al margen de la ciudad (1934). By the time the war started, Angelico was not only a veteran dramatist but also a long-time feminist and radical anarchist in her role as vice president of La Asociacion Nacional de Mujeres Espanolas in 1936 and her membership in the anarcho-syndicalist Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) (2) (Domenech Rico 13-14). Ak y la humanidad was first performed in Madrid in August 1938 at the Espanol and aroused great controversy, as the CNT accused Angelico of plagiarism and ended up suspending the play after its performance in Barcelona in January 1939. (3) The day after this suspension Angelico resigned from the CNT and never wrote again.

Angelico based Ak y la humanidad on the futuristic short story of Russian revolutionary Jefim Sosulia, one of the most acclaimed short story writers of early twentieth-century Russia. His short story "Ak y la humanidad" was published by Zeus in Spain in a 1930 collection of short stories. Angelico had read the short story soon after its publication in Spain and again at the start of the war, and each time she said that the story made an intense impression on her (Catalan Garcia 205). In both the short story and the play, there is an emphasis on eugenics, (4) however, only Angelicos play employs the idealized mother as an antidote to the militaristic aspects of eugenics. This article aims to identify the use of the discourse of eugenics in Angelicos Ak y la humanidad as it relates to the anarchist eugenics movement in Spain in the early twentieth century. The article will trace Ak y la humanidad's progression from eugenics based on militarism to eugenics based on maternalism in the context of early twentieth-century Spanish anarchist thought on eugenics and the role of women during the Spanish Civil War. In order to familiarize the reader with Ak y la humanidad, the article begins with a basic plot summary of the play that highlights the progression from militaristic eugenics to maternal eugenics. The study continues with information about the origins and characteristics of the Spanish anarchist eugenics movement and their influences on the play as well as Spanish anarchist views of women and how they are depicted in the play. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of Angelicos use of the dichotomy of militarism and maternalism and her overstated elevation of the mother to produce an underlying critique of maternalism's role in the anarchist movement before and during the Spanish Civil War.

Ak y la humanidad is set in a futuristic time and place and begins with citizens looking at posters declaring that a "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" will condemn to death those citizens it deems unworthy of continuing to live, mostly due to their idleness and their selfishness. While fleeing their homes in a state of panic, the citizens are horrified at the prospect of being exterminated and lament that they themselves have elected who will soon be their executioners. As they leave their homes, they meet the militaristic presence of those in charge of the "Colegio de la Depuracion Externa": "Llega la fuerza, obligandolos a retroceder; les cierra el paso, les golpea. Cortan el paso a los que huyen pegandoles, amenazandoles con estacas, punos y piedras; muerden, gritan, amenazan, hasta que la masa retrocede, cayendo en tanto algunos muertos y heridos" (68).

At the beginning of Act II, Ak is introduced as the leader of the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema," sometimes called the "Colegio de la Resolucion Extrema," that consists of a team of psychologists and doctors who determine each citizen's worth. The "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" does not refer to any of the people it judges by name, instead preferring to call them "superfluo numero" and a 5-digit number, with the exception of two characters named Boss and Almena. Those condemned to death can either commit suicide within twenty-four hours or be executed by the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema." After Ak has condemned many citizens, he begins to question the overly bureaucratic nature of the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" and the parasitic and robot-like nature of his comrades. At the same time, he starts to hear the voice of his mother who had been killed earlier under the decree of the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" and whose death was not mentioned earlier in the play. Ak's mother appears at the same time every day for three consecutive days and assures him that she as his mother is his most loyal advocate. At the end of Act II, Ak realizes that his system of extermination cannot work and becomes crazed and suicidal.

At the beginning of Act III, Ak is crawling on all fours, climbing trees, and eating grass as he contemplates a resolution. He ends up creating the "Colegio de la Ternura Extrema" which espouses every citizens pursuit of happiness. In Act IV, three "miembros" and four "ciudadanos" complain about how people remain indifferent even under the "Colegio de la Ternura Extrema." Ak is also disappointed with the way that his subordinates are obeying exactly the same way that they did under the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema." Act V begins with Ak's critique of the idea of superfluous people and his mother's declaration that human beings are not flawed or unnecessary as long as people grow up with nurturing mothers. The play ends with the exaltation of the trinity of the mother, family, and home and its key role in the development of desirable citizens, a form of maternal eugenics.

Angelico would have learned about the discourse of eugenics that Charles Darwin's nephew Francis Galton first described in his books Hereditary Genius (1869) and Human Faculty (1883) and in his articles published in Revista Europa in 1874 and 1876 (Cleminson 2000 81). Galton had replaced his uncle's principles of natural selection with those of social selection, resulting in the merging of scientific theory with political and social ideologies (Pichot 171, 35). In Galton's 1909 Essays in Eugenics, he defined eugenics as the "science which deals with all the influences that improve the inborn qualities of a race" (Llobera 82, Kevles 4). He describes the most desirable individuals in terms of their health, friendliness, energy, and ability. Gabon heralded eugenics as a way to rescue humankind from its current low state of evolution, and implementation of eugenic thought included abortion, sterilization, marriage limits, sexual segregation, and immigration restriction and varied from country to country as nations adapted the "international Galtonian gospel to suit local scientific, cultural, institutional, and political conditions" (Kevles 92 and Adams quoted in Cleminson 1995 66).

Mark Adams' study on the development of eugenics in Europe, The Wellborn Science, identifies eugenics movements in over 30 countries between 1890 and 1930 (Cleminson 66). Spain, in fact, was one of the 30 countries in which eugenic policy prospered, especially during the 1920s and 1930s when the following publications appeared: Amor, conveniencia y eugenesia (1929) by Gregorio Maranon, Moral, eugenesia y derecho (1930) by Joaquin Noguera, Un siglo de civilizacion bajo la influencia eugenesica and Pedagogia y eugenesia, cultivo de la especie humana (1932) by Enrique Madrazo, Eugenesia y matrimonio (1932) by Francisco de Haro, and Eugenesia de la hispanidad y regeneracion de la raza (1937) by Vallejo Nagera (Cleminson 2000 84-88 and Alvarez Pelaez 203).

In Ak y la humanidad Ak's assistant Bernard makes a eugenic statement about the need to establish criteria for humanity's improvement: "Es preciso que cada uno de estos documentos sea un tomo de comprobacion y de consulta para la nueva humanidad que preparamos ... " (73). These words are similar to those of the anarchist journal Eugenia, which declared in its first issue of 1921

that it would attempt to constitute a new voice which will contribute to the vital, physical and moral perfection of humanity ... there is the need for a group which imposes morality and altruism on all human activities, as a necessary step towards social perfection ... (quoted in Cleminson 1994 733)

In an act reminiscent of this emphasis on selflessness, one of the citizens in Ak y la humanidad proves his worth and right to live by citing his self-sacrifice on a ship that sank:
   Yo soy una buena persona!, !una buena persona, si! Ya sabra usted
   que me toco la china en un naufragio, en el cual veinte pasajeros
   se refugiaron en un bote de salvamento. El bote no podia soportar
   tan excesiva carga; la muerte amenazaba a todos. Cinco tenian que
   saltar por la borda para que otros quince se salvasen. Yo fui uno
   de esos cinco ... ?eh? ... me parece ... ?eh? ... ?que tal? ...
   !Ese soy yo! ?Que ... ?, ?me dejaran vivir ... ? (65-66)

The play never reveals the fate of this man, but later Ak condemns another man for admitting that he is idle and that he only cares about himself and his family. Ak declares his extermination an act of "justicia cientifica," (80) thus validating eugenics as an unquestionable science.

Before the Spanish Civil War, anarchist doctors had published articles that confirmed eugenics' status as a science. In 1928, David Diaz's essay in Psiquis, a science and philosophy review, stated that if people lived in accordance with Nature's laws then they could "live a positive eugenic life and die a natural euthanasic death" (Cleminson 1994 734). In his 1930 article, "El malthusianismo no es el eugenismo" published in the anarchist journal Estudios, Dr. Luis Huerta Naves, author of Educacion sexual del nino y del adolescente, distinguished Neo-Malthusian and eugenic thought, insisting that eugenics focused on improving the traits of the children and not just the number of children who were born. In another 1934 edition of Estudios, Dr. Roberto Remartinez entitled his article "Consejos eugenicos" and offered advice on the best ways of conceiving a child (Cleminson 1994 736). Dr. Isaac Puente fought for the dissemination of medical knowledge, especially as it related to sexual education and procreation, and he also advocated sterilization and the isolation of "defectives" in sanatoria (Cleminson 1995 161).

In 1934, the anarchist scholar F. de Campollano wrote an article in Estudios entitled "La esterilizacion eugenica y los legofilos" in which he criticized Hitler's sterilization of people with schizophrenia, hereditary epilepsy, hereditary blindness, and innate mental deficiency as "penal and vindictive" (Cleminson 1995 161). Many anarchists had advocated sterilization, but in 1936, after reassessing Hitler's 1933 laws of sterilization, the anarchist movement rejected sterilization and began to concentrate on the establishment of Clinics for the Psychosexual Orientation of Youth and the Institute of Sexual Science (Cleminson 1995 163). In a 1937 issue of Estudios, the influential anarchist doctor Felix Marti Ibanez recognized the eugenic tide of revolutionary thought: "Catalonia, which in these moments represents the North point on the compass of the Spanish Revolution, shows, as it introduces its eugenic reform, that above any material interest there exists the supreme desire to create a new, vigorous free generation of workers" (quoted in Cleminson 1994 738). The anarchists' transition from the 1928 sentiment of Diaz's survival-of-the-fittest approach to Marti Ibanez's declaration that eugenics should work toward creating a generation of free workers illustrates the movement from eugenics focused on race regeneration and sterilization to a seemingly more harmless eugenics based on social reform and education. In Aky la humanidad Angelico enacts this transition by demonstrating that intentions to better society can go from a veritable holocaust to the exaltation of maternity and the domestic space. Ak's "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" and the "Colegio de la Ternura Extrema," inspired by his mother, represent these two strains of eugenic thought, one based on the extermination of undesirables (militarism) to one based on betterment of the citizenry through the focus on the mother and the family (maternalism).

The fact that Ak and his cohorts rely on a psychologist and a medical doctor for their decisions about who should be put to death recalls the Spanish anarchists' reliance on medical doctors to define their eugenic movement. The psychologist in Aky la humanidad particularly criticizes the phlegmatic, sanguine, and passive elements of the man marked for death, saying that his levels of passivity surpass those of even a woman. His pronouncement of death indicates the concept of extermination of those deemed superfluous based on the principles of eugenics: "En nombre del Colegio de la Resolucion Extrema: con objeto de limpiar de la vida superfluas escorias humanas y existencias indiferentes, que son un obstaculo para el progreso, le ordenamos a usted, ciudadano Boss, tambien a su mujer, quitarse la vida en el termino de veinticuatro horas" (78). When Ak's decision is questioned, Alt responds by declaring again the supremacy and infallibility of science: "Yo apoyo la justicia que dicta la ciencia moderna. Y la ciencia es la verdad exacta" (80). The fact that this man and his wife are "obstacles to progress" and must kill themselves due to a mandate based on science reiterates the militaristic form of eugenics in Ak y la humanidad.

Ak y la humanidad's "Colegio de la Depuracion Exrema" s version of genocide in the name of human improvement does not base itself on race or religion, but on productivity, often linked to gender-appropriate behavior. The man mentioned above has unacceptably high levels of passivity associated with that of a woman, and the woman condemned before him is criticized for reading la novela rosa, not having children, and being stingy and jealous. The man before her is condemned for rejecting work and indulging in tea and dancing at the Ritz. At the end of the statements of judgment against him, his class is categorized as "vile (infima)" and his heart as "weak (debil)" (70). It becomes clear that Ak y la humanidad's "Colegio de la Depuracion" wants to perfect humanity by letting only hardworking, collective-minded, and gender-conforming-appropriate people live.

In 1930s Spain gender roles varied according to particular political agendas, but almost all political parties, including the anarchists, endorsed compulsory work for men as well as women. In 1937, Pilar Grangel, a schoolteacher and member of the anarchist womens organization Mujeres Libres, gave a speech entitled "En vez de critica, soluciones" in which she issued a statement about the absolute need for all women to work:

As a living being the first duty of a woman is work. Let it be clear that there cannot be any exceptions to this principle. It is an indispensable condition, the fulfillment of the biological condition of the human being. Work is the law of human progress, and [s/he] who refuses to carry out this law is a subversive element, a parasite, and, like all parasites, a burden on everybody else, (quoted in Nash 126)

In the beginning of Ak y la humanidad, Ak denigrates his fellow citizen Boss for his role in supporting the parasites of the war and the revolution: "!!!~Y luchar para esta despreciable multitud!!! ... !Para estos parasitos de la guerra y la revolucion! ... " (75). Starting in June 1937, the Generalitat of Catalonia required all citizens to carry an identity card that provided details about their job status, wages, and profession (Nash 126). The anarchists' work mandate probably resulted from the fact that the Republicans received less streamlined international support than their more cohesive Nationalist opponents. The Republicans also had less ability to provide the basic needs for their troops and subsequently they struggled with their troops' demoralization. In addition, Republicans faced the problem that many of their followers, including officers and other leaders of the Republic, joined their collectives more for personal than ideological reasons. They also encountered the difficulties of desertion, pillaging, and overall indifference to the war efforts of labor and militarism. (5) Angelico represents this lack of commitment to the collective in Ak y la humanidad when a citizen confesses his idleness and lack of attention to the revolution, a revolution that is never specifically defined in Ak y la humanidad: "Antes era industrial, pequeno industrial. Pero durante la revolucion me reduje a la vida casera; la mujer, el hijo, la partidita para matar el tiempo ... !Tantas horas de inactividad!" (74).

In Ak y la humanidad Angelico illustrates how seemingly cohesive revolutionary movements can be plagued by extremism, indifference, and egocentrism and how absolute control and judgment of human beings can escalate to genocidal action. For example, at the beginning of Ak y la humanidad, even one of the doctors who makes decisions about who is fit to live declares that he cannot believe that he and others elected the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" that was going to exterminate human beings it judged useless: "Nuestra es la culpa; pero nosotros' queriamos mejorar la vida. ?Quien hubiera pensado que el Colegio iba a solucionarlo de este modo? !A solucionar la cuestion con una espantosa sencillez!" (65). Early in the play in Act II, Ak himself is disgusted by the overly bureaucratic nature of the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema," as he exclaims to his subordinates: "Crece cada dia el celo por depurar, y alrededor de este celo crece y se mantiene demasiada burocracia." (73). As his conscience starts to bother him toward the end of Act II, Ak complains that the members of the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" are nothing more than robots in their endless quest to condemn people to death, exclaiming to his assistant Ojeda: "Fias notado que algo me pasa o me pesa" (87). From here until the end of the play, the weight of Ak's conscience causes him to abhor the members of the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema": "Lo que pasa es que cada dia odio mas a esos hombres, a los que me rodean. Los odio por serviles y crueles, y sanguinarios ... o estupidos. !Mendigos! !Mendigos! !Mendigos!" (87). Ak wants to create a new humanity, but he realizes that even with the supposedly unessential humans exterminated, the remaining men and women are still undesirable according to the strict code of the "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" (89). Ak recognizes that even his own mother did not pass the test to live because of her sole allegiance to her family: "[Mi madre] tenia una ficha de superfluidad aterradora e irritante; no habia tenido ningun interes por nada que no fuera su casa, sus hijos, su propiedad" (89).

Ak's mother's primary role as a homemaker and mother coincides with the lack of women's emancipation during the Spanish Civil War, as militarism relied on traditional gender roles to exert control over women, lessen chaos on the battleground, and foster eugenic thought by encouraging only fit women to become mothers. Women had begun to advance in Spanish society just before the Spanish Civil War, with their first vote in 1933 (6) and the creation of many organizations and books geared toward educating and helping women. However, some of these organizations and publications, such as the Centro de Cultura Superior Femenina and Los deberes actuales a una muchacha que quiere ser social by Arboleya Martinez, as well as the efforts of Maria Martinez Sierra, Pilar Velasco, and Victoria Priego, reinforced women's traditional roles as mother, spiritual role model, social worker, and teacher (Scanlon 286). In 1930, women were only 12.65% of the total labor force in Spain, and this trend continued as more and more women acted primarily as mothers, wives, and community volunteers during the war (Nash 32). Angelico communicates this same excessive attention to women's conventional roles as Ak condemns to death a woman who has wasted her maternal instincts on making money and developing her intellect: "La que se lucro con todas las posiciones. La arribista de todas las convicciones. La ultra-intelectualizada que mira al pueblo con desprecio y vive explotando su causa" (72).

According to the ideology of anarchist maternal eugenics, women who contributed their gifts as mothers both to their families and to their communities ensured the advancement of humanity with the worthy sacrifice of their personal development and desires. Anarchist organizations before the war had repeatedly emphasized the womans primary role as mother and nurturer, and anarchist women such as Matilde Piller reinforced this idea in their writings (Ackelsburg 89). La Casa de Maternidad, run by anarchist women, educated women about contraception, but its principal focus was on maternal love (Cleminson 1995 163). Aurea Cuadrado, the director of La Casa de Maternidad, wanted women there to "develop their capacity for maternal love, raise their moral level, and generate a feeling of social solidarity" (quoted in Cleminson 1995 163). Anarchists further reiterated the woman's primary role as mother in the 1938 founding of two schools dedicated to prepare women to be mothers: Escuela de la Madre and Escuela del Hogar (Scanlon 308).

In Ak y la humanidad, it seems that self-sacrificing women who exist solely for their husbands and families would be safe from extermination, but "El Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" condemns both mothers and childless women. If women are only mothers, they have spent too much energy on their own children and not enough on revolutionary enterprises, and if they are not mothers, they have wasted too much time on self-improvement and not enough time on becoming mothers and working for revolutionary progress. During the war, the anarchist feminist organization Mujeres Libres communicated this same idea that women must be attentive mothers as well as key figures in the community working for revolutionary change in their slogan: "No es mejor madre lo que mas aprieta al hijo contra su pecho que la que ayuda a labrar para el un mundo nuevo" (quoted in Nash 58, 203). According to some anarchist feminists, women were expected to take on the role of the mother both at home and in their communities. In Ak y la humanidad Angelico echoes this same sentiment in an exaggerated way by highlighting Ak's dead mothers contribution to Ak's new voice of reason and reflects how Spanish feminism focused on women's rights based on gender difference and maternalism rather than equality with men (Nash 35). (7)

Historian Mary Nash believes that "the social projection of motherhood and maternalism constituted an important characteristic of women's historical experience during the war" (58). The idealization of motherhood defined female participation in the war as evidenced by women being addressed as mothers by political organizations (Nash 54), women's images as combative mothers and home front heroines (Nash 58), women's war roles as spiritual and supportive and not in direct combat (Nash 107), and women's jobs as "madrinas de guerra" who corresponded with soldiers at the fronts (Nash 117). In November 1936 anarchist Federica Montseny became the first female minister of Health and Social Assistance and her main job was to project women's roles as wives and mothers into the public arena through social welfare (Nash 146, 149). Spanish women penetrated the public arena in the same capacity from which they had worked in the private realm--they graduated only from housewife to community nurturer (Nash 149). In his 1937 article in Estudios, anarchist doctor Felix Marti Ibanez advocated for the idealized role of the mother as "an eternal spiritual link with [children], to later make [them] into healthy, conscious and learned workers" (8) (quoted in Cleminson 1995 163).

Ak puts his own mother to death because she did not extend her mothering role to the community; Ak does not even consider her role as an independently functioning woman whose identity could be detached from mothering. Throughout the play, Ak's mother does not have a name and is only referred to as "Mujer," "Voz" or "Madre" when Ak is addressing her. Angelicos exaggerated representation of the woman as a mother in Ak y la humanidad acts as a veiled critique of the woman's obligation to maternity that compromises her individuality. Pilar Nieva de la Paz cites Angelicos conflict with women's limited roles: "[Angelico] manifesto su preocupacion por la situacion de la mujer en la vida social y familiar, denunciando hipocresias morales o lacras historicas en el terreno educativo y laboral y reclamando la solidaridad entre mujeres como unico modo de mejorar la condicion femenina en la epoca" (434). The anarchist values of the defense of the individual, free love, and faith in the natural goodness of human beings inform much of Angelicos feminism (Etienvre 172), and coincide with Angelicos use of the exaggerated idealization of the mother figure in Ak y la humanidad as a critique of women's limited roles. Angelico had imagined the woman as a defining member of society in another article of Mujer in 1931:

Nunca como ahora haria falta que la mujer se adentrase en los miles de problemasque perturban y amenazan el mundo, para emprender medidas de defensatenazmente, con un alto ideal de amplio criterio y amor, capaz de traspasar fronteras hasta hallar el remedio que amortigue y extirpe de raiz odios de nacionalidad, desquite de atropellos, injustas indiferencias y privilegios de clase, casta o de raza ... (quoted in Etienvre 173).

Frantcoise Etienvre contends that Angelicos overall philosophy can be explained by her difficulty of reconciling her anarchist support of individualism and her Christian belief in altruism (175). (9) Angelicos idealization of the mother in Ak y la humanidad confirms maternalism as the counterpart to militarism, and Angelico recognizes this troubling dichotomy as a defining factor in the anarchist eugenic agenda. Furthermore, Angelicos exaggerated representation of the supremacy of the mother in Ak y la humanidad acts as a satiric illustration of the overstated and ultimately undesirable elevation of the mother by anarchists.

While Angelicos Ak y la humanidad profiled the inflated elevation of the maternal figure by many anarchists, anarchist writer and poet Lucia Sanchez Saornil directly denounced women's subjugation in her declaration of 1938 that women needed a revolution separate from the social one: "Se me ocurre pensar que despues de la Revolucion social, tendremos que hacer las mujeres nuestra revolucion' ... En Espana, que esta realizando y viviendo ya su Revolucion social, las mujeres se hallan ya tan sometidas al hombre como en cualquier pais burgues" (quoted in Scanlon 314). Saornil had recognized the need for women's liberation before the war when she exclaimed in frustration that women were still enslaved in a life of "nacer, gestar, morir" and that this thought was antithetical to true anarchical thought which always dictated that the man came before the worker just as the woman should come before the mother according to the anarchist ethos of individualism (Ackelsburg 98). Other women's publications of the time also proved quite revolutionary, such as "La Novela Libre" and "La Novela Ideal," two serial novels started in 1931 by the anarchist journal La Revista Blanca, whose heroines exemplified economic independence, free love, and active participation in "la lucha social" (287). In 1931 Emiliana Morin published an article in the anarchist journal Solidaridad Obrera in which she urged her fellow women anarchists to stop being "esclavas de la casa" and to start demanding that they fight "no ya con un abanico, sino con iguales armas que nuestros companeros" (quoted in Scanlon 287). During the Spanish Civil War, however, concerns about personal survival and allegiance to a political party superseded women's issues. Angelico demonstrates this lack of attention to women's rights in Ak y la humanidad, as the life or death situation of extermination of undesirables prevails and can only be curbed by idealized maternalism. The militarism of the Spanish Civil War dictated strict loyalty to the traditional precepts of masculinity: aggression, productivity, and hatred and violent pursuit of the enemy.

Many Republican men, including anarchists, remained adamant that women should not participate in battle and that they should confine themselves to work suitable to women such as washing, cleaning, and taking care of the home (Seidman 141-142). Unions and collectives supported job training for women insofar as this training was "biologically suitable" and did not contribute to the "degeneration of the race" (Seidman 139). In Ak y la humanidad Angelico reinforces the idea of the woman as synonymous with the idealized mother when Ak's mother announces that Ak may have put her to death, but that her spirit has survived because "[l]as madres no mueren]," and she declares "soy.... aquella. La que te hizo hombre. Y nadie mas fiel que yo para advertirte ... para aconsejar, para escucharte ..." (89-90). This overstated sentiment about the mother's pivotal role in her son's development echoes that of liberal anarchist doctor Gregorio Maranon: "[L]a madre [es] el verdadero crisol donde se forja no solo el cuerpo sino el alma del ser futuro" (104). Angelicos hyperbolic elevation of the role of the mother in Ak y la humanidad demonstrates anarchist eugenic discourse's shift from an emphasis on sterilization associated with force and militarism to an emphasis on reproduction, education, and the importance of the mother as the main nurturer of the intact family. Militarism and maternalism also significantly characterized the Spanish Civil War and represent a dichotomy generated from the fundamental binary of male and female. Like all wars, the Spanish Civil War encouraged the division of women and men in the name of victory, survival, and post-war progress. Men's primary job was to fight the enemy, and women's principal function was to maintain a semblance of order in the home and off the battleground. In Ak y la humanidad, Angelico brings the essential elements of militarism and maternalism into focus and links them to the extermination of undesirables and the procreation of the fit, ideas that are tied to hereditary and maternal eugenic thought of Spanish anarchists.

Ak realizes halfway through the play that his condemnation to death of unproductive citizens might not necessarily be the correct way to obtain the eugenic utopia he seeks. He begins to question his agenda to promote a "nueva humanidad" when Almena, a man about to be killed, affirms his ability to contribute to human progress with his powers of reason despite his weak and decrepit body:
   !Dejadme ya! !Matadme de una vez! Pero si, puedo engendrar hijos
   mas fuerte que los de vuestra sangre y vuestra fuerza muscular ...
   Hijos inmortales, que nazcan de la fuerza de mi genio; hijos que, a
   su vez, sean sementales de ideas, como mi cerebro, no sementales de
   hombres, bestias de guerra o de yugo. (82)

A few pages later in Act II, Ale's mother reiterates the mind's supremacy over the body when she explains to Ak in a dream how "El Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" declared her superfluous because she had not lived in any other role besides that of mother, but how Ak and his commission of eugenic thinkers could not destroy the undying spirit of its victims:
   Yo naci madre y no supe ni pensar en ser otra cosa ... Una carga,
   en realidad, cuando los hijos ya estan criados. Y eso es lo que no
   comprendi antes, lo que no supe hacer: transformarme. Segui siendo
   madre indefinidamente, sin evolucion a otra actividad. Despues de
   cumplida una mision hay que elegir otra. Por eso fui superflua y se
   me suprimio ... Pero Ak, Ak, piensa que no mateis los espiritus;
   contra Estos no podeis nada; la esencia de lo que nos hizo ser
   queda ... (90)

At this point Ak y la humanidad begins to make the shift from eugenics based on militarism to eugenics based on maternalism. Ak's mother's elevation of the spiritual inspires Ak to look for the redeeming qualities of humanity based on a new plan that his mother proposes: "Piensa, rectifica, dicta nuevas normas, da ordenes nuevas, y cuando veas que la humanidad se comporta de modo distinto a cuantos eliminaste, sabras si los existentes son dignos de vivir ..." (91). Ak decides that only tenderness can save his population and makes a written declaration of widespread kindness to advance humanity. Two workers hang up giant pink posters with capital letters that read:

The giant pink posters in addition to the exaggerated ethos of maternalism in the form of extreme tenderness due solely to Ak's mother's influence communicate a dramatic irony that Angelico employs to reinforce the constraining dichotomy of militarism and maternalism inherent in the anarchist philosophy.

Ak's mother's major influence on her son's behavior pervades the end of Ak y la humanidad, as Ak's mother praises his choice of compassion and urges him to continue to foster the advancement of society with encouragement and not with force:
   No desnaturalices ese proposito de su fin: mejorar la Humanidad,
   pero no destruirla. Neutralizar al imbecil sin crear el loco ... En
   tu razon y en tu mano esta el dictar. Impon. Pero no destruyas.
   Todo es aprovechable cuando tuya es la fuerza ... No olvides que la
   ley obliga; las acciones nobles convencen. Con estas dos fuerzas, y
   solo con Estas, quieran o no, avanza la Humanidad. (110)

Ak's mother acts as a transcendental and inspirational figure for her son that recalls Dr. Gregorio Maranon's declaration at the end of his essay "Maternidad y Feminismo" in Tres ensayos sobre la vida sexual (1934): "La mujer tiene reservado el destino, aun mas transcendental: el de hacer al Hombre, padre de la Historia" (144). Maranon laments that more women do not understand the transcendental nature of motherhood: [Y]o digo que la mayoria de las mujeres [...] van a la maternidad, y la practican luego, henchidas del mas puro y entranable instinto materno, pero en un grado insolito de desconocimiento de la trascendencia de su mision" (89). Ak's mother succeeds in exercising transcendental power over Ak and propels him to adopt the pacifism and creative power associated with maternalism instead of the brutal force and death associated with militarism. Through the excessive glorification of Ak's mother, Angelico presents maternalism's tenderness as an overly easy antidote to militarism's destruction in Ak y la humanidad. Ak's mother's role as the catalyst of Ak's change of heart does not figure at all in Jefim Sosulia's short story upon which Angelico based Ak y la humanidad, and is the only difference between the plot of the short story and the plot of the play. Angelicos injection of this decisive maternal voice in the narrative reflects not only anarchists' elevation of the mother during the Spanish Civil War but that of the general medical and social discourse of Spain at this time. (10)

Ak's mother exemplifies the characteristics of the ideal mother and inspires Ak and his followers to shout hysterically: "Mujer, Familia, Hogar," once again perpetuating the association of the woman with her role as mother and housekeeper, feeding the vicious and never ending cycle of the male/female binary and the idea that love and procreation act as counterparts to violence and war (Cooper et al. 11). According to Helen M. Cooper, Adrienne Auslander Munich and Susan Merrill Squier's Arms and the Woman: War, Gender, and Literary Representation, war resides below society in its denial of life, and mandated procreation resides above society in its idealized affirmation of life, but neither resides truly within society, where individual choice can flourish (20). Eugenicists believed that the women's movement's latest and most complete phase was that of an enlightened culture of motherhood (Ellis quoted in Kevles 87). Angelico ends Ak y la humanidad With excessively dramatic exclamations that the creation of the family advances humanity: "!La Familia! !Nuevo hogar, transmisor perenne para la marcha ascendente de la Humanidad!" (111). Sadly, anarchists' focus on maternalism did not vary much from the Nationalist ideology governed by Franco's viewpoint that mothers were extremely vital to the fatherland in their role as procreators and nurturers of offspring who would remedy declining birthrates and prevent Spain's decadence (Nash 183).

At the end of Ak y la humanidad, the masses become euphoric as they contemplate a future dictated by the values of family and home. In their blissful state, they deny the inevitable political divisions among and between families. The strident maternalism that defines the end of the play reinforces anarchists' support of the importance of the woman's defining role as a mother. Angelicos emphasis on maternalism as the resolution to extermination also demonstrates the extent of anarchists' denial of women's individualism by showing how women ultimately bear the burden of advancing eugenic thought that is not based on militarism, in a system in which maternalism and militarism are two sides of the same coin. In Ak y la humanidad, Angelico uses these two elements of eugenics to reveal how the seemingly benign solution of "Mujer, Familia, Hogar" to avoid war-like violence merely bolsters women's enslavement to idealized motherhood in the name of science and the progress of humanity.

The final performance of Ak y la humanidad in Barcelona occurred on January 26, 1939, five months before the fall of Barcelona to the Nationalists. As a stronghold of anarchist eugenic thought, Barcelona represented the place where the anarchist eugenics movement had evolved from negative eugenics based on heredity to a supposedly positive eugenics defined by maternalism. Ak y la humanidad identifies the anarchists' final brand of eugenic thought with the proclamation that widespread procreation is the answer to what had been extermination. Angelico shows how anarchists are able to subvert the discourse of war and holocaust only by introducing the equally constraining discourse of idealized maternity and pro-natalism. This transition from eugenics based on militarism to eugenics based on maternalism in Ak y la humanidad echoes that of Angelicos fellow anarchists who replaced their earlier eugenic practices of sterilization with maternal eugenics.

Angelicos hyperbolic portrayal of maternalism as the counterpart to militarism on the continuum of eugenics in Ak y la humanidad most likely threatened the CNT and contributed to the play's suspension. Ak y la humanidad's main premise is the improvement of humanity, first through the extermination of undesirables and then by emphasis on the pivotal role of the mother and the family. The "Colegio de la Depuracion Extrema" that transforms into the "Colegio de la Ternura Extrema" corresponds to the primary binary of militarism and maternalism that marks the eugenic agenda of Ak y la humanidad. The attendant binaries of birth and death, creation and extermination, love and war, and Eros and Thanatos pervade Ak y la humanidad, and the discourse of eugenics cannot escape this dichotomous thought. At the beginning oi Ak y la humanidad Angelico illustrates the most advanced form of eugenics, euthanasia, which will always haunt eugenics' basic quest for population improvement. Ultimately, however, in Ak y la humanidad Angelico shows how the anarchist solution of eugenics defined by maternalism ends up residing on the same continuum as eugenics based on militarism and emphasizing women's limited roles as mothers in the anarchist movement before and during the Spanish Civil War.

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Elizabeth Smith Rousselle

Xavier University of Louisiana


(1) In Marrast 85

(2) Cleminson's "Anarchists for Health: ..." (1995) says that by May 1936 the CNT represented over 550,000 workers in 982 union branches. The anarchist movement in Spain had started in the 1860s when French anarchists visited Spain as the emissaries of Russian Michael Bakunin, one of the main theoreticians of anarchism.

(3) For detailed analyses of the CNT's reception of Ak y la humanidad, see "Ak y la humanidad: una obra bajo sospecha," 2 by Sarah Wright, in Mujer, literatura y esfera publica: Espana, 1900-1940. Although the present article and Wright's article share similar titles and themes, the present article focuses on eugenics, feminism, and maternalism before and during the Spanish Civil War and their relation to Ak y la humanidad while Wright's article focuses on the reasons for Angelicos banishment from the CNT and from the Spanish literary canon.

(4) Eugenics is defined as "the science of improving the qualities of a breed or species, especially the human race, by the careful selection of parents" in The Random House Dictionary of the English Language (455).

(5) All of these reasons for the Republicans' defeat come from Michael Seidman's Republic of Egos ... which traces the Republican defeat to the Republicans' inability to curb their rampant individualism. Seidman cites how even the Republican leadership was wracked with individualism: Of the Republican army officers, 40-45% were opportunists, 35-40% were competent and committed, and 10-15% were enemies of the Republic (88).

(6) However, many Spanish feminists such as Margarita Nelken actually spoke out against the female vote because they believed that Spanish women did not have the proper education or independent thinking skills to make an informed vote. In fact, the first vote of Spanish women in 1933 put the right in power and confirmed women's conventional roles of wife and mother (Scanlon 279).

(7) In Defying Male Civilization Nash hypothesizes that this occurred because of the weakness of liberal and democratic systems in Spain as well as the domesticity ideology and social construction of gender roles there (35).

(8) Marti Ibanez went on to become a Professor and Director of the Department of the History of Medicine at the New York Medical College. In his Ariel ..., he posited similar thoughts about the link between women and spirituality (see 230-231). Marti Ibanez's exaggerated sentiments about women's spiritual difference echo those of Angelico in Ak y la humanidad, but Angelicos ironic and satiric juxtaposition of exaggerated forms of militarism and maternalism questions and critiques this limited view of women.

(9) Etienvre explains the contrast of individualism and altruism that she believes pervades Angelicos work: "[E]lle ne resout pas les contradictions qui traversent ses pieces, mais elle donne toute sa profondeur a une oeuvre originale, qui demontre toutes les difficultes a concevoir la creation comme un reflet des doutes et des tensions politiques et spirituelles de l'humain" (175).

(10) Nerea Aresti traces the extent to which Spanish society emphasized the role of the woman as a mother in the early twentieth century in her book Medicos.... Aresti points out how medical discourse of the early twentieth century conveyed the "idea que en la mujer predominaba el tipo de la especie mientras que en el hombre destacaba su individualidad" (58). Aresti explains the significance of the role of wife and mother for the Spanish woman after World War I (see 176). Aresti cites Dr. Enrique Madrazo's declaration of the woman's destiny as a mother in El destino de la mujer. Cartas entre mujeres of 1930: "Fracasa la vida de la mujer que no cumple con la maternidad. En este destino estan sus anhelos y su alma, y fuera de el pierde el caracter humano, para confundirse con los demas animales" (185).
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Title Annotation:articulo en ingles
Author:Smith Rousselle, Elizabeth
Publication:Confluencia: Revista Hispanica de Cultura y Literatura
Article Type:Ensayo critico
Date:Mar 22, 2014
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