Here I am quoting Toussaint on the Barcelona band and Orwell on the French one… the fact of the matter is that it doesn’t matter.
Both are flawed, heroic individuals disowned by the armchair left for impurities in their revolutionary action. One exiled to death and the other merely shot in the neck. From the cozy homes of the present, they were later deemed apostates, unworthy of the cause, as it develops in the void of the mind, pure, impossible, and bloodless.
What if you didn’t know the names of your own heroes?
“In the Ramblas they halted us while a borrowed band played some revolutionary tune or other. Once again the conquering-hero stuff — shouting and enthusiasm, red flags and red and black flags everywhere, friendly crowds thronging the pavement to have a look at us, women waving from the windows.”
“How natural it all seemed then; how remote and improbable now! The train was packed so tight with men that there was barely room even on the floor, let alone on the seats. At the last moment Williams’s wife came rushing down the platform and gave us a bottle of wine and a foot of that bright red sausage which tastes of soap and gives you diarrhoea. The train crawled out of Catalonia and on to the plateau of Aragon at the normal wartime speed of something under twenty kilometres an hour.”
Homage to Catalonia – G. Orwell.