International Council Correspondence, Volume 2 Number 11, October 1936
To obtain and adequate ideia of the present situation in Spain, one must take into account the previous development. Regarded from the capitalist standpoint, Spain has remained a backward country. The semi-feudal conditions still prevailing are due to a number of factors, among which might be mentioned: the geographical position which almost makes the peninsula rather a part of Africa than of Europe; the hot climate which hinders the development of agricultural productivity; and the mountainous character of the country which stands in the way of communication and has maintained provincialism. The final causes of the spanish backwardness, however, are to be found less in these natural impediments than in others of a social and political nature.
It would be necessary to go far back into the history of Spain in order to point out how the feudal property relations were capable of impeding her capitalist development. In spite of the wars by which the country was ravaged thru-out the centuries, the christian rulers, after the expulsion of the Moors, came into a rich inheritance. In the Middle Ages, christian-feudal Spain ranked as the wealthiest and most powerful country of Europe. This wealth was still further increased thru the colonial expeditions to Central and South America enabling the formation of a great parasitical ruler class whose luxurious living was not bound up with the development of the productive forces in Spain, but whose interests were rather best secured thru the supression of new upward-struggling classes which are formed thru the increasing social forces of production. The holding down of all progerssive forces in Spain by way of the feudal nobility and the Church constitutes one of the bloodiest chapters of human history.
The elements interested in a bourgeois revolution were unable to oppose sucessfully the vast power of feudalism, even when, with the development of capitalism in the rest of Europe, spanish pre-eminence was superseded and the economic and political decline set in. Central and South America freed themselves from spanish rule; finally the United States appropriated Cuba and the Philippines; and Spain was now left with only her home territory and sank to a second-rate power.
But the development of the productive forces can at most be restricted, not completely prevented. Feudalism itself must become “progressive” if it suppresses the progressive classes. The partial capitalization of Spain could be opposed only under pain of her disappearance as an independent nation; and so, in spite of the feudalistic political rule, Spain could not close herself off against the development of capitalism. But this capitalization, bearing the marks of feudal restrictions, brought with it a number of economic and political contradictions which signified for the great masses of the population an immoderate poverty, and which furthermore stood in the way of capitalist profitability and determined the revolutionary uprisings and class conflicts of the last hundred years. The weakness of Spanish capital forced upon it a policy of compromise with the landed proprietors and the Church: a condition by which Spain has been characterized down to the present time and which, altho it secured the exploiting society against the exploited people, at the same time formed the basis of continual social friction which more and more irresistibly presed for violent solutions.
For the last forty years the industrial bourdeoisie, with the development of its strength thus impeded, has been attempting in its own interest to drive back the feudal-conservative forces. Capital importation, by which more than ten percent of all spanish industry was brought into the hands of foreign capitalists, supported on the one hand the capitalist struggle against feudalism, while on the other it was prejudicial to the interests of spanish capital. This union of foreign capital to the trinitarian exploiting group of domestic origin brought further complications into the already highly complicated class and group interests. The country’s output, agricultural as well as industrial, continued far behind the demands of the exploiters. Tho it slowly increased, it did not suffice; and the struggle for the division of the surplus value was often conducted with great vigor, but had always ended, owing to the unbroken power of the spanish junkers, in new compromises marked by the tariff policy so that the spanish population became the most impoverished and thereby also the most unproductice of Western Europe. High custom duties on farm products assure their incomes to the landlords and dispense them from putting agriculture on a capitalist basis. The high prices of farm products make necessary, in turn, industrial tariffs in order just to maintain the profitability of capital. Both policies impede the development of the domestic market and, because of the slight productivity, preclude capacity to compete on the world market. In the long run, this state of affairs is untenable; still, the constellation of the class forces has hitherto not permitted anything other than this situation of general relative stagnation.
Spain has about 23 million inhabitants. The density of population is very slight. The contrast between poor and rich is incredibly great. Landed proprietora with enormous domains are offset by a mass of landpoor or quite propertyless peasants and farm workers. Tho more than half the population is engaged in farming, still the productivity is so slight that the importation of foodstuffs remains a necessity. Only 40 percent of the soil is cultivated, and even that is poorly utilized. The means of production are shockingly primitive, the wooden plow drawn by oxen being still the rule. The land owners lease the soil on terms which scarcely permit the tenants, notwithstanding the hardest labor, to eke out more than a bare existence. Under the prevailing conditions, the improvement of the productivity of the soil is neither desired nor possible. The shortness of the lease agreement and the hardness of the terms cannot produce in the tenants any initiative directed to increase of production. The proprietors themselves have no great interest in the promotion of productivity since it is only the scarcity of farm products by which their monopolistic position can be secured. They are most keenly interested in preventing the penetration of capitalist competition in agriculture, and foreign competition is warded off by means of the protective tariff policy. The independent farmers suffer from lack of land and capital; they are not in a position to equip themselves with modern means of production nor to employ them. For the most part, they are wretched self-providers to whom the market is of no concern and whose situation is not much better than that of the two millionn agricultural wage workers. Only a radical agrarian revolution could solve the problems of the agricultural elements, just as it would also provide the necessary impetus for the further capitalist development. But that requires more courage and strength than is yet possessed by the spanish bourgeoisie.
To the 20 to 30 thousand landed proprietors belong two-thirds of all the soil. Some of them are at the same time industrial owners, just as many industrialists, inversely, are at the same time large land owners: a circumstance which partially wipes out the distinctions between the bourgeois and the feudal interests. The Catholic Church is not only the largest land owner of Spain, but also has influence in industry and upon the banks; and this likewise weakens the position of the authentic modern bourgeoisie. The struggle against the Church in Spain is for this reason essentially a struggle against an owning and directly exploiting institution, and must be conducted the more bitterly as the Church has hitherto possessed a monopoly in the nursing of ideologies. Deducting further from the spanish account the part represented by foreign ownership, no more is required to explain the relative weakness of the progressive bourgeoisie with respect to the forces interested in the maintenance of the present conditions.
The difficulties which the feudal forces have set in the path of capitalist development, together with the relative backwardness of capital and the slow development of the domestic market, are manifested also in a general overproduction. An actual lack of capital and an actual shortage of industrial workers assumes in these bizarre conditions, just as in countries with overaccumulation, the form of a superfluity of capital and a great lack of employment. The world crisis, and here especially with reference to agriculture, has added still other difficulties to those of a purely domestic origin, and for the last five years has brought with it a permanent condition of political crisis. The thing that the bourgeoisie would have to do – namely, set aside the semi-feudal conditions – it cannot yet, and at the same time, no longer accomplish. Since the land-owning class is in control of the State and has in its hands the instruments of power, the bourgeoisie rinds itself in this respect algo dependent on the spanish junkers. It is only thru the complete setting aside of the present military apparatus of suppression – and that is possible only by revolutionary means – that the progressive bourgeoisie could impose its will upon the feudal nobility. Hitherto, the actions of the various governments have rather been determined by the army and the bureaucracy, the actual wielders of power, and the governments were hardly capable of viewing them as their own instrument. The large class of petty-bourgeoisie is in part bound up economically with the semi-feudal comditions; in smaller part it is progressively minded tho in the sense of safeguarding its bourgeois-capitalist interests against the feudal obstacles in their way. It is probably only under the pressure of the workers that the progressive wing of the petty bourgeoisie could be recondiled to more than mild reformist measures.
In addition to the feeble bourgeoisie, the vacillating and divided middle class, the land-hungry peasant mass and the farm workers, there is also directed against the present conditions the approximately two millions embraced in the industrial proletariat. The bourgeoisie does not dare, however, to make use of all these elements in a decisive thrust against feudalism. Like the impoverished farm workers, the industrial proletariat also is forced by its poverty to be revolutionary. In the matter of revolutionary initiative and insight into its real needs, the spanish proletariat is quite on a level with that of the other capitalist countries. It is true that, owing to spanish peculiarities, this working population has also its special characteristics and problems, but the general backwardness of the country has no more been able to prevent the development of a revolutionary proletariat than the establishment of modern industrial enterprises and capitalist methods of exploitation. The spanish industrial workers no longer see salvation in capitalism; the conscious part of them is looking for truly proletarian, communist solutions.
Thus the spanish bourgeoisie is faced with a dilemma: it fears the reaction as well as the revolution, and dreams of an improvement in the speed of its railway trains, which are the slowest in Europe. It is compeled to defend not only the interests of capitalism, but of property in general, and will oppose any movement which would be liable to forge beyond the ideals of the bourgeois-democratic exploitation society. The proletariat, which already has its own revolutionary goals, will perhaps, in case of a radical agrarian revolution occurring simultaneously, combine with the expropriation of the land-owners that of the capitalists. Hence also the fear of the agrarian revolution on the part of the bourgeoisie; its reforms in this particular were not so much intended to further that revolution as to hold it up. A workers’ and peasants’ revolution may lead to a state capitalism which will do away also with present-day private property. However necessary for the bourgeoisie the struggle against feudalism really is, the danger is equally great that such a struggle, if conducted seriously, would lead to a state capitalism of the russian type in which the old owners are displaced in the interest of a new, collective exploiting class in the guise of the State. In such circumstances, the sharing of the rulership with feudalism is for the bourgeoisie a lesser evil; but this “sharing” makes it necessary for the bourgeoisie to be drawn along in the wake of the large landed proprietorship which is its fortune and misfortune at the same time.
Even tho the parliamentary labor parties today renounce the struggle for state capitalism and content themselves with the government positions at the disposal of the bourgeoisie, the question already arises whether it will be possible for them to divert the workers’ and peasants’ revolution into a mere change of exploiters. Just as under the present conditions a movement aiming at the democratic republic is capable of ending up in the proletarian revolution, so it is also possible that the labor organizations which come out for the democratic republic or even for state capitalism will be overrun by the revolutionary masses. In such circumstances the borgeoisie is not inclined to fight feudalism unless the latter leaves it no choice, and is accordingly ever ready to break off the conflict with the most favorable compromise. In such conditions, the proletariat cannot take up for the interests of the bourgeoisie, or subordinate itself to bourgeois leadership, except under certain pain of being struck down later on.
The spanish class conflicts led, in 1931, to the fall of the monarchy and to the establishment of a bourgeois-democratic regime. The “agrarian reform” bound up with this political change was inadequate, and incapable of meeting the needs of the country population. The indemnities to be paid to the land-owners for relinquished domains were set so high that the burden upon the peasants was not at all mitigated. In many localities the peasants took possession of the large estates; but even tho these expropriations were in part later legalized by the government, still at the same time the peasants were subjected to new burdens which were no more bearable than the old lease obligations. The Zamora republic was not inclined to proceed against the interests of the land owners, as also in the political field it did not dare to suppress the reaction. The reactionary forces assembled again and organized further advances. The fascist “Accion Pupular” of Gil Robles unflded a far-flung propaganda which, by way of skillful demagogy, was able to win influence even among the impoverished and deluled peasants. In view of the continuing social unrest, brought about thru the isolated but ever recurring manifestations of the workers and of a part of the farm population, the bourgeoisie once more formed a closer union with the reactionary forces. The elections of 1933 had again put the reactionaries in charge of the government, which now proceeded more harshly against the workers and the rebellious peasants. The restless humor of the country was reflected in the rapid alternation of the governments: from Azana to Lerroux and Martinez Barrio, and then to Lerroux and Gil Robles. The uprising in Asturias in October 1934 formed the climax of the proletarian endeavors to make use of the revolutionary currents for proletarian ends and to strike the decisive blow at the reaction. The uprising remained isolated and was suppressed, tho the attempt to establish social peace was still by no means successful. The acutely revolutionary situation led to a number of government crises in conformity with the reorientations of the different classes and groups, and which pointed to new and greater conflicts to come. The elections at the beginning of this year witnessed a new coalition of the liberal bourgeoisie with the parliamentary labor parties and led to the forming of the “Popular Front Government”.
This new government promised to put thru a series of reforms, such as are advocated by liberalism in general, and a better agrarian reform with partial land distribution. Azana declared on February 20th that “the government wants to govern in accordance with the laws, desires no dangerous innovations and comes out as a government of the moderates in favor of social peace and order”. Even tho the parliamentary labor parties were in sympathy with this moderation, it was not very tasteful to the workers and peasants. These latter, taking their stand on the promise of the new government, wanted to put them into effect. The peasants arbitrarily expropriated some of the land; the strike struggles of the workers for higher wages and better working conditions no longer ceased; on the streets, workers and fascists engaged in bloody conflicts; the social peace and the capitalist order continued to be endangered.
The reaction was far from regarding itself as beaten by the electoral victory of the liberal forces. The less so as, notwithstanding the fact that the elections had given the popular-front parties most of the seats in Parliament, the majority of the votes had been cast for the rightist organizations. That is to say, that while the spanish electoral procedure had made it possible for the “leftists” to obtain 265 out of the 473 seats in Parliament, over against the 4.356,559 votes cast for them were the 5.051,955 of the rightists. The popular-front “government”, which of course was made up only of bourgeois-liberalistic elements, was unable to govern, as would have been necessary, either against the workers or against the reaction; for the state machinery had remained in the hands of the rightists. The workers attempted to broaden the movement against the reaction into one against exploitation in general: a situation which left the government no choice but to look for new compromise solutions, which, however, were neither able to restrain the workers nor to prevent the fascist movement from assembling its forces for a new thrust. Down to the fascist uprising of the army in July 1936, there was one workers’ strike after another.
The government was not in a position, even with the aid of the labor parties, to put and end to this movement. At the same time it did not dare to purge the administrative system and the military apparatus of the reactionary elements, for in the first place it might have to bring this apparatus into action against the workers, and secondly, it was afraid of offering the reaction any provocation. The procastination of the liberal bourgeoisie was at the same time the strengthening of the reactionary elements: fascism was making ready for the decisive blow. Shortly before the outbreak of the military uprising, La Batalla (Barcelona) wrote: “After three months of life, the present Cortes is done for. The Cortes continue to discuss juridical problems, pensions, trifles, while down below are hunger, want anxiety, intense uneasiness and the fewer of revolution. Our government is sterile and artificial. Sterile because it is incapable of producing anything useful, because it performs fancy tricks on a loose rope in its desire to avoid revolution, tho it owes its existence precisely to a revolutionary movement. The State apparatus does what it pleases. Its decisions are not determined in any way whatsoever by the government. The State machinery is in permanent insurrection against the government. The Popular Front, finds itself facing a revolt of the laboring masses, who categorically refuse its order to mark time at the moment when it is plainly necessary to move fast. And enfolding all is the formidable economic crisis, which is getting worse every day. The reactionary forces of the country have recovered their voices and are attacking energetically. They are attacking in the Parliament, on the streets, in the Councils of the Administration, in the pulpits, in the national and foreign press, in the very organization of the State.”
Shortly thereafter occurred, in alliance with the fascist formations and the Church, the uprising of the army against the government. The government’s fear of taking vigorous steps against the old governing apparatus, its efforts to hold back the workers, the restriction of its own actions to that of a moderate democratic-capitalist policy, and the support of this temporizing policy at the hands of the parliamentary labor parties – all that had provided the reactionaries with time and opportunity to prepare the rebellion thoroly. The condition of permanent social tension and the lack of clarity with respect to the actual constellation of the class forces was to be ended by way of the fascist dictatorship. All of which is an indication that the time for a well-ordered, nicely democratic, liberal and progressive capitalism is past. The incapacity of spanish capitalism to set up its own dictatorship and impose its own will upon the other classes, and, notwithstanding the aid of the parliamentary labor parties, its inability to guarantee that the masses would continue to submit to being suppressed and exploited; the danger that the bourgeoisie, in its own interest and for the sake of maintaining the exploitation society generally, would sacrifice, half willingly or from force of circumstances, a part of the feudal interests: these considerations furnished occasion for the reaction, even before the population had been subjected to an adequate dose of demagogy, to attempt to establish by force its “law and order”. Spanish capital was unable to being about this “order” quick enough for the reaction which took the temporizing as a sign of weakness. And if the government was not in a position to create order against the workers, it was also not in a position to proceed against the bringers of order on the side of the reaction. The fascist attack is a little directed against capitalism as capital was interested in the abolition of the land owners’ privileges. The reaction simply realized that any concession which the bourgeois government made to the workers had to be made at the expense of the reactionary elements. What was given to the poor peasants and to the workers had to be taken away from the land owners and the Church, if capital itself was not to be prejudiced. The reaction, however is of the opinion that neither the peasants nor the workers need to be given anything but hunger and bullets, and so it set about to create the necessary “order” for itself and for capitalism. It further acted by order of that part of capital which is more interested in the maintenance of the existing conditions than in a general progressive further development of capitalism. In Spain, also, a part of big capital is not disinclined to make common cause with the junkers against all other strata of the population and against smaller capitals. Anf if the feudal reaction makes “order” for the entire exploiting society, it can thereby also, within this order, reatin the preemience which it has hitherto enjoyed and which was already in danger of crumbling, or at least share the power with capital under much more favorable conditions for itself.
The liberalistic government was given no opportunity to capitulate. The fascist attack, by reason of its extent and fierceness, precluded any seeking after compromise solutions. It was not directed against Capital, but only against a governmental tendency and against a government which by its previous policy seemed liable to become the prisoner of the labor movement and which was left with no choice but to defend itself against the fascist opposition. The fascists, considering the weakness of the government, counted upon a quick victory; they under-estimated the power of resistance of the workers, who joined together for a decisive counter-attack.
The army, to which the fascist organizations were linked, rebelled in almost all parts of the peninsula, but with few exceptions was quickly supressed in those areas having a strong labor movement. From Morocco, the spanish Foreign Legion and the Moors were set in motion. In those areas which were not forthwith taken over by the fascists, the Shock Police and the Civil Guard remained in large part loyal to the government of Madrid. The legal government retained the loyalty also of the larger part of the fleet and of the air forces. The government was compelled to form a workers’ militia. In this connection it hesitated, and still for a long while sought to prevent the preeminence of the militia over the regular soldiery; but the initiative of the workers placed it before the accomplished fact that the militia had become the principal military formation. During the first few weeks of the struggle, the government, speculating upon further compromises, sought to restrict the workers as far as possible to bourgeois-military measures, and in those localities which were temporarily secured against fascism, it tried to continue the bourgeois order unchanged. This attitude, which was designed to prevent the defensive struggle from turning into a radical workers’ revolution, greatly impeded the anti-fascist counter-attack and promoted the military successes of the officer caste. It was not until all hopes of compromise were recognizes as an illusion, and the workers began to relax their union with the government as well as to get out more and more from under the control of the parliamentary labor parties – it was only then that the defense was pushed with greater vigor from the side of the government also.
As moderate as was the popular-front government prior to the uprising, with equal moderation it wanted the uprising suppressed. And the labor parties belonging to the Popular-Front declared themselves in sympathy with this moderation. The fighting workers, however, who felt all too keenly on their own bodies, the lack of moderation among the fascists, could not acquire much taste for this harmonistic “anti-fascism”. They were obliged, under pain of being struck dead, themselves to become immoderate. It is one thing to be shot, and another to issue directives from a distance. A news reporter of the Communist Party, engaged in glorying Azana, wrote in the Rundschau of August 13th: “Azana takes us to the windows of his private office. It is in the former royal palace. The chain of the Sierra Guadarrama stands forth blue in the distance. ‘There is the front’, he says and adds, laughing, ‘and one can often see from here the smoke of the cannon’.”
Even tho the popular-front parties were agreed that the policies should continue to be shaped by people who only see the smoke of the cannon in the distance, and for whom the workers are now to die just as previously they had worked for them, still the self-initiative of the workers sonn created a quite different situation and made of the political defensive struggle against fascism the beginning of a real social revolution.
Like the Social Democracy thruout the world, so also that of Spain is not interested in socialism. It is true that fascism means its death, but then, too, it would be strangled by communism. And so the social democrats are obliged either to restrict themselves to performing valet services for the democratic bourgeoisie, so long as this latter can afford democracy, or else to become bolshevists and take up for a king of state capitalism. Otherwise there only remains for them to go the way of Severing and Doriot. Still, in the present conditions, the spanish Social Democracy, even with the support of the spanish Stalinists, is lacking in strength and will to release and put over a movement having its goal in state capitalism. The reasons for this are of an international as well as national nature. It is questionable, for instance, whether the international bourgeoisie would not, thru intervention, help to put a speedy end to a spanish state capitalism, since the thoro state capitalism if bound up with complete expropriation of the present capitalists and so, even tho not for the workers, yet for the present bourgeoisie, is the same as communism. As things now stand in Spain, there is a possibility that, thru the self-initiative of the workers in the course of a revolution aiming at state capitalism, the expropriation of private capital will be thoroly accomplished. A state capitalism in the italian sense (which doesn’t really deserve the name), by which the interests of private property are not abolished but coordinated and which would be at the service of the economically strongest elements of Spain, is certainly aimed at by the fascists themselves; and here the Social Democracy, even with the best will in the world, would surely be left out of the competition. In view of the inner spanish situation, a state capitalism controlled by the Socialist-Stalinists in unlikely also for the simple reason that the anarcho-syndicalist labor movement would itself probably seize the power rather than bow to the social-democratic dictatorship. And so the Social Democracy remains true to its traditions and continues to restrict itself to forming the left wing of the bourgeoisie. Every step to the left which the socialists made later on was forced by the manifestations of the armed workers; the “parial socialization” which the socialists began, or which rather they did not date to prevent, were temporary concessions to the workers in order to avoid the crumbling of the front against fascism; for the striking down of fascism is also a condition precedent to the bare existence of the social democrats. And since a victorious fascism would out their throats as well, they will also, in case the workers should succeed in expropriating the whole of capital, be reconciled to a form of state capitalism, and later place themselves at the head of such a movement in order to make it as mild as possible. So long, however, as the workers refrain from taking up the expropriation of capital on their own initiative, the Social Democracy will stick to the maintenance of capitalist democracy, or perhaps even, in the interest of this democracy, undertake a pseudo-socialization, as was done by the german social democrats after the collapse of the empire and after the Kapp Putsch. If the fascists should fail to win the power, and if for any reason the capitalist intervention should not materialize, there is also the possibility that the Social Democracy, in the name of the spanish and of world capitalism and by means of the government power, if such should come into its hands, will itself create that “order” which today is the concern of the fascists.
The spanish Communist Party, which as late as 1934 had about 6.000 members but which in the meanwhile has multiplied somewhat, has given up every policy of its own, other than that of further attenuating the workers’ struggle. Like the Social Democracy, it wants nothing more than to defend capitalist democracy against fascism. On July 29, Dolores Ibarruri broadcast in Madrid for the Communist Party of Spain the declaration that “the struggle is only for a democratic, liberal and republican Spain. Spain is now passing thru her bourgeois-democratic revolution, and we communists are its vanguard.” The general secretary of the Communist Party, Jose Diaz, declared, as reported by the Rundschau of August 27: “It is not a question here of setting up the dictatorship of the proletariat and of the soviets. Anyone who thinks he sees the social revolution on every street corner is no revolutionist. A revolutionist must know what he is fighting for at the given historical moment.”
In Spain, as thruout the world, the weakness of the present-day labor movement is manifested among other things in its organizational and ideological fragmentation. Class unity and unity of action cannot be brought about merely by way of ideology, but only thru the force of circumstances, which drives the workers, regardless of all diversity of ideias and organizations, into a unified front against the common enemy. This is being conclusively demonstrated today in Spain. The fascist assailant does not and cannot make a distinction as to which of the existing labor organizations is the more radical, which of them is to be treated with greater regard or greater brutality, but he fights against the workers and their class aspirations from an instinctive realization that these latter, and not the policy of the separate organizations, are in the last instance determining. The workers, on their part, are compelled by their instinct of sel-preservation, in spite of all organizational and ideological differences, into a unified front against fascism as the direct and nearest enemy. Neither the groups of fascists nor those of the workers are allowed the time or opportunidy to go their own special ways, and it is idle to ask whether the spanish workers under the present conditions should fight against fascism and for bourgeois democracy or not. So far as the workers are concerned, regardless of the organization to which they belong or of their ideological position, regardless of whether they take up for bourgeois-democratic, state-capitalistc, anarcho-syndicalist ou communist goals, they are obliged to fight against fascism if they want not only to ward off the further worsening of their wretched position, but even to remain alive. The differences among the fascists also must be forced into the background until the common enemy, the workers and rebellious peasants, with their momentary bourgeois comrades of the coalition, are struck down. The circumstance that this unity is not a hundred-percent affair on either side does not affect the fact that it has nevertheless been brought about so far as possible in the present conditions. The force of circumstances has greater weight than the will of the various organizational talents; the general necessities overtop the specific. Still, after the close of the present struggle, no matter which side loses or wins, or even in case the civil war is long drawn out, the present unity will again fall apart. And even tho a fascist dictatorship in Spain may make unreal the fragmentation among the workers, yet in case of a victory of the leftists, the struggle of the various ideologies, with their material basis in the organizations, will come back upon the order of the day; unless – though this is not at all probable – in the course of the struggle against fascism, and thru the power of circumstances, the present labor organizations are broken up and give place to new class formations. This, the most favorable perspective, appears to be precluded by the power of tradition and the industrial backwardness, which permit at most of compromise solutions which later on may possibly constitute the basis for the formation of the unified class movement.
No doubt the struggle for the power in Spain is between three different tendencies; practically, however, the struggle has as yet been confined to the one between Fascism and Anti-Fascism, even tho there was no lack of endeavors to bring other factors into the reckoning. The reactionary forces taking up for Fascism are confronted by those of a bourgeois-democratic and social-reformist cast, tho at the same time by a movement aiming at socialism, so that each individual group is fighting against two tendencies: Fascism against Democracy “and Revolution, this Democracy” against Fascism and bourgeois democracy. In case the reaction should be struck down, then, as things now stand and unless prevented by the general exhaustion, the struggle of the bourgeois-democratic forces against those which are aiming to set aside the exploitation society must again come into the foreground. Even though the love-feast which would be a natural accompaniment of the general exhaustion and a victory of the leftists should postpone this conflict for a time, still this quarrel is bound to become once more the dominant note in spanish politics; for neither bourgeois society nor a spanish state capitalism is in the long run capable of any progressive improvement in the position of the workers. This situation is already antecipated in the frictions within the antifascist front, in the mutual sabotage of socialist stalinist and anarcho-syndicalist formations, and which must become the greater the longer the civil war is drawn out, since in such conditions the real socialization is bound to spread and the social-reformist forces challenged to greater resistance.
Even though the “left” bourgeoisie may already regret having risked the struggle against the reaction, it has as yet no possibility of correcting this “mistake”. It is the prisoner of a situation in which forces are operating which it is no longer capable of controlling. Even though the parliamentary labor parties may have the design of bringing the bourgeois exploitation society undamaged out of the present chaos, yet neither are they any longer capable of controlling adequately those forces whose strength has grown in the course of the struggle and which are striving for socialism. Even though the fascist assailant may prefer to spare the bourgeois interests to the full extent possible, still in order to win he is obliged to impair those interests more and more, both by reason of his own military and demagogical necessities and of what whis naturally implies: the radicalizing of the workers. Even though the catalonian anarchists may still drive forward their socialization, regardless of the bourgeois-democratic limitations which Madrid would like to impose upon them, still after all they are unable to leave the Madrid Government in the lurch. And, conversely, the Socialists and Stalinists are as yet not able to take vigorous steps against the anarchists without breaking their own necks. In short, nothing remains to do at the moment, regardless of all desires to the contrary, but to bring all anti-fascist forces into action against Fascism. This situation is not sought, however, but forced, and it points with all clarity to the fact that history is determined by class struggles, and not by certain organizations, special interests, leaders or ideas.
It is necessary to take a glance at the labor organizations in Spain in order to understand the frictions within the anti-fascist front. Among these anti-fascist organizations there is, first, the Social Democracy which ranks as the strongest political organization of workers. It has 65.000 members and, as in other countries, is divided into fractions. It has a right and a left wing and a so-called center; this latter, however, differs so little from the right wing that one can afford to disregard it and to speak of Right and Left. The right wing, under the leadership of Indlaecio Prieto, rules the organizational apparatus; the left wing and the youth organizations which have combined with the communist youth formations are led by Largo Caballero. The trade-union organization controlled by the Social Democracy, the U.G.T. (Union General de Trabajadores), sympathizes with the left wing and regards Caballero as its Lenin. The U.G.T. has about 1.400.000 members. The S.P. and its unions are no more revolutionary than is their leader. They are “leftists” only because a part of these organizations has gone so far to the right that their denomination as socialist is now nothing more than a joke. What has remained social-democratic in the pre-war sense rates today as “left”.
This “leftism” has become necessary to the Social Democracy in order to evade convulsions that might be brought about by real oppositions. The “left” character of the spanish Social Democracy is said to be manifested in the person of Caballero. Until rather recently, Caballero was nothing more nor less than a typical social-democratic trade-union bigwig. In the meanwhile, however, – to believe the current reports – he has been the seat of a miracle; the spirit of Marx and Lenin is thought to have seized him overnight with elemental force, so that he is now striving for radical solutions in the sense of the russian prototype. And attempt is being made to wipe out the man’s past, as well as the past of the social-democratic movement in general. It is sought to excuse hist activity as minister under Primo de Riviera and his pitiful role as minister of labor in the first republican government on the ground that as a victim of capitalist intrigues and in view of the sabotage of unfaithful subordinates he is not responsible for the pettinesses of his parliamentary, labor-fakerish past. As a matter of fact, it has become necessary, after the wretched collapse of Social Democracy in Germany and Austria, to overcome the oppositional sentiment in the socialist parties with a somewhat more radical phraseology. The new red color which the left wing has aplied to itself does not affect in the least the character and construction of these organizations, which, in spite of the more radical phrases, maintain the dictatorship of the bureaucratic apparatus over the members, and which, thru a refined system of sick benefits and insurance, tie the members of the trade unions to their bureaucrats, however corrupt these latter may be. Bureaucrats who even today can conceive of socialism only as a mastery over the workers by the State.
The pseudo-radicalism of the left S.P. is forced upon it. Caballero is not leading the masses to take more radical steps, but he is running about behind the workers in order not be left wuite out of the running. Just as that party of the bourgeoisie which found itself ready for a coalition policy with the labor parties has become the prisoner of the present situation, so the left Social Democracy is being forced to a more radical policy thru the circumstances of the struggle of the armed workers; but the Social Democracy, like the left bourgeoisie, is ready to march backward again at the first opportunity. Caballero and the S.P. are not fighting for socialism; they are attempting, with social-democratic demagogy, to maintain capitalist society in its present form, and in case this capitalist society nevertheless goes under, instead of a communist society to build up a state capitalism which would mean little more for the workers than the state capitalism of Stalin ir or Hitler.
The Communist Party of Spain (Third International) is no more than the tail-end of the S.P. It claims to have 50.000 members, which is certainly a gross exageration. The C.P. exercises its greatest influence in Madrid and Vizcaya. As in France, so also in Spain its policy is determined by the necessities of russian foreign policy. Structure and character are the same as in all other communist parties. Like the S.P., also the C.P. has endeavored their to prevent the manifestations of the workers or, where they were not preventible, to stifle them as quickly as possible. Azana’s liberal government was regarded by the C.P. as an ally of France, and since France was the ally of Russia, the spanish communists felt called upon, in the interest of the russian block policy for the coming war, to support the spanish government insofar as possible and to protect it against the dangers from right and left. The influence of the C.P. in Spain, however, is slight. With its subordination to the S.P., it can hardly receive consideration any more as a special organization.
The “right” and “left” oppositional groups which broke away some years ago from the official Communist Party, in order later to merge into the Partido Obrero de Unificacion Marxista (P.O.U.M.), and which are usually designated as “trotskists”, represent within the spanish movement the line of the “genuine” Bolshevik-Leninists. Their noise is greater than their influence; they have, according to their own data, about 8.000 members; their Lenins and Trotskys go by the names of Maurin and Andrade. The principal influence of the organization is in Barcelona, where it publishes two weekly papers: La Batalla in spanish language, and Front in the catalonian. The struggle of the “false” Leninists and their social-democratic allies against the P.O.U.M. has compelled the latter to draw closer to the anarcho-syndicalist movement than can commonly be expected of Leninists. This friendliness is, of course, truly Leninist and in practice extremely childish, carried on with the idea of bringing the anarcho-syndicalist movement under the influence of the P.O.U.M. Thus Juan Andrade writes in the September number of Plebs: “In Catalonia, which has always been a stronghold of anarchism, it begins to lose influence to the Marxist parties and especially to the P.O.U.M… The revolution can be victorious only if the Marxist parties are able to assimilate the numerous anarchist workers. This is the key to the future for Spain.” The fact that the P.O.U.M. still speaks of other “Marxist” organizations is a sufficient indication that is still today regards the S.P. and C.P. as revolutionary movements to which it feels more closely bound than to the anarcho-syndicalist workers. This is equivalent to saying that the P.O.U.M. also is rather to be set down in the camp of the bourgeois-democratic (or state-capitalist) elements than to be embraced among the workers struggling for socialism, however hazy may be their programs. It is true that the P.O.U.M. takes a position against the coalition policy of the popular-front parties; but it will not take a position against a spanish state capitalism after the russian model, just as it also still today understands by the dictatorship of the proletariat only that of the bolshevist party.
Over against these “marxist” organizations, which have nothing more in common with Marxism than the name, stands the anarcho-syndicalist movement, which, even though it has not the organizational strenght of the popular-front parties, can nevertheless be rated as their worthy adversary, capable of bringing into question the aspirations of the pseudo-marxist state capitalists.
Spanish anarchism has a long history. The labor organizations which were formed in 1869 and influenced by Bakunin soon won great influence both in the industrially more developed parts of the peninsula, mainly in Catalonia, as well as in the most backward parts among the farm workers of Andalusia. The socialist organizations arising later were never in a position to break the influence of the earlier anarchist movement. Later on, the anarchist organizations absorbed the ideas of the french syndicalists, and with the growing industrialization of Spain, which gave added importante to the struggle for day-to-day demands, the anarcho-syndicalist movement in Spain grew very rapidly. In 1911 the syndicalists organized the Confederation Nacional de Trabajo (C.N.T.), which first loosely combined the various trade unions and then the more recently formed industrial unions, the syndicatos unicos.
In 1914 the C.N.T. had 25.000 members; only four years later, 500.000; in 1923, a million; and in 1931, aproximately 1.500.000. Though the C.N.T. is under the influence of the anarchists, it nevertheless accepts all workers without regard to their ideological position. Thru the influence of the russian revolution, the anarchists lost temporarily, in 1919, the control over the C.N.T. which even decided to become a member of the Third International and to come out for the dictatorship of the proletariat in the russian sense. This led to embittered inner struggles, and finally the influence of the anarchists in the C.N.T. was again asserted. In the years of Primo de Riviera’s dictatorship – which, of course, did not strike the socialists so that they were enabled to grow at the expense of the anarchists – there arose the anarchist illegal organizations which in 1931, under the name of the Federacion Anarquista Iberica (F.A.I.) with a membership of about 20.000, obtained control over the C.N.T. In the fruitless uprisings of the years 1931-33 the anarchists sought to win the power in Spain. These rebellions, which were poorly organized and not very clear as to their aims, led to splits. A part of the unions left the C.N.T. and organized the “Libertarian Syndicalist Federation” which has a membership of about 40.000. In 1934 Angel Pestana began the formation of the Syndicalist Party, whose program is in large part copied from that of the parliamentary socialist labor movement.
Thru the defeats of the anarchists in the attempts at uprising and thru the resulting splits in the movement, as also by reason of the persecutions at the hands of the reaction as well as of liberalism and the reformist labor organizations connected with this latter, the anarchists lost further influence and their membership dwindled. Today the C.N.T. has a membership of about 600.000. During the October uprising (1934), the catalonian anarchists sabotaged the revolutionary movement. In Asturias, however, they fought together with the revolutionary workers, and in splendid manner. The attitude of the catalonian anarchists in October 1934, however much to be condemned, is explained by the fact that the “leftist” government of Catalonia had forced the C.N.T. to go underground, that it brutally persecuted the anarchists, that even upon the outbreak of the uprising which was supported by the catalonian government, it still failed to give up the struggle against the anarcho-syndicalists. The hatred which this “leftist” government and its following had aroused in the ranks of the anarchists furnished occasion for these latter to sabotage the uprising and so to share in the blame for the October defeat.
After the setting up of the popular-front government which of course had the partial support of the anarchists who participated in the elections for the sake of freeing the 30.000 political prisoners – it was left for the C.N.T. alone to carry on the struggle of the workers for the improvement of their position in life, since the coalition policy of the C.P. and S.P. made it impossible for these organizations to compromise, by way of workers’s demonstrations, the situation of the coalition partners. In May 1936 the C.N.T. addressed the U.G.T. with a proposal for the forming of “revolutionary alliances”, but continued to refuse all cooperation with the political labor parties. It soon found itself, by reason of its continuance of the struggle against the exploiters, in bitter opposition of the Popular Front. The hatred of the popular-front parties for the anarchists was recently still expressed after nearly a month of struggle against Fascism, in an interview with Deputy Juan Hernandez, editor of the communist-party Mundo-Obrero, as follows: “As for the anarchists, who prefer the rear guard to the line of fire, you must not attach too much importante to them. Their intentions are not clear, but the spanish people thru its official organisms will fix them. We do not want to know anything about those libertarian communists. They will be attended to the day after victory. Right now it is impossible to do anything against elements fighting at our side.”
Owing to the tardiness of the capitalist development in Spain, the predominance of small enterprises, the provincialism, and also to the prominence of the question of nationalities and the great cleft between the more developed parts of the peninsula and the rest of the country, the federal-autonomistic character of the spanish anarcho-syndicalist movement has been promoted and preserved. The centralism of the Social Democracy of both tendencies means at the same time, in Spain, centralistic control by way of Madrid, and was accordingly never able to find much response among the national minorities of Spain to whom Madrid is in poor repute. This is especially so in the stronghold of anarchism, in Catalonia. Isolated local manifestations were not only the product of a self-restricting philosophy, but the only form of action which for a long while has been pratically possible. The thing that in more highly developed countries would be a weakness of the movement was here in part a source of strenght. The state of disorganization of the rulling class did not require the central control and direction of the workers’ manifestations in such measure as is necessary in the capitalistically developed countries. The localizing of the workers manifestations was rather an inevitable product of the circumstance that only industrial cases existed in the feudal desert. At any rate, it was the spanish relations themselves, not the anarchist philosophy, which forms the secret of the development and preservation of the federal-syndicalist fighting methods and organizations. In the course of the further industrializing of Spain, this syndicalist movement likewise will be obliged, regardless of its previous attiude, to take up with more coordinated and centralized forms of organization, if is not to go under. Or, possibly, the centralistic control and coordination of all political and economic activity will be imposed overnight by a successful revolution; and in these circumstances the federalistic traditions would be of enormous value, since they would form the necessary counter-weight against the dangers of centralism. Not least important, the C.N.T. has hitherto been able to preserve its special character by reason of the social-reformist and anti-revolutionary attitude of the pseudo-marxist parties. In contrast to these organizations, the discipline in the C.N.T. is not a compulsory but a voluntary one, even though the conditions preclude from time to time the strict adherence to this principle. Anchored in this organization is the conception, however often it may have been violated, that the revolution can be made only from below, thru the spontaneous action and the self-initiative of the workers. Parliamentarism and labor-leader economy is looked upon as labor fakery, and state capitalism is set on the same plane with any other kind of exploitation society. In the course of the present civil war, anarcho-syndicalism has been the most forward-driving revolutionary element, endeavoring to convert the revolutionary phrase into reality.
The organizational and ideological fragmentation of the spanish proletariat, although a result of the previous development, beclouds the immediate future of Spain. it has weakened the striking power of the workers, and points rather – even from a purely national standpoint, without regard to the complications involved in the international field – to the hopelessness than to the success of a real revolution by which the workers would be liberated.
The proletarian revolution is necessarily international. It will have to begin in one country, but will be obliged to expire again unless it is propagated over a number of countries and develops forces capable of successfully withstanding a decisive struggle with international capital. Even a revolution which goes no farther than state capitalism can maintain itself nationally against the private-economy countries only in specially favorable circumstances. So long as the russian revolution, for example, failed to reveal clearly in which direction it was marching, the capitalist intervention tried to give it the bum’s rush. It was not until the establishment of a strong government and the unequivocal course to state capitalism that the international bourgeoisie became reconciled to the new russian conditions. That is to say that in addition to the war weariness in the capitalist countries and the rivalries between the imperialist powers, the compromise between world capital and russian state capitalism was based on the consideration that the state capitalism signifies no direct revolutionary danger to the other countries, since bargains could be made even with such a Russia.
As regards present-day Spain, however, the situation is different. The broad masses of the capitalist countries play, for the present, no role in its decisions; they are sufficiently prepared for a new world slaughter, and their oppositional possibilities are stifled. With or without Spain, the imperialist powers are arming for a new war; and even though individual nations may be interested in the further postponement of the war, still this new world-slaughter can break out at any time. Open capitalist intervention in Spain would at once conflict with the imperialist rivalries, insofar as they relate to the spanish territory, to Morocco and to the mediterranean interests. Unless it were carried through jointly by all the nations, it would issue directly in the new world war. The fronts of the imperialist groups of powers are, however, not yet clearly established. Particularly in Asia, with regard to China and a possible change in the asiatic policy of England, alterations of the situation are still possible which make a postponement of the world war and asset for Russia and France. The franco-russian war block, as well as England, is not interested in the immediate outbreak of the war; they are waiting for more favorable cirumstances and have need of still further arming and coordinating. The prevention of open intervention and the postponement of the otherwise seemingly iminent war was served by the non-intervention proposal of France with reference to the spanish civil war, a proposal which was also accepted by the imperialist rivals. The real meaning of the neutrality pact consists in breaking the back of the spanish revolution without, for the present, becoming involved in a new war.
The imperialist interests of England are closely bound up with all the proceedings in Spain. Gibraltar is not sufficient to protect adequately the ocean route to India; this ocean route might be endangered from Ceuta and the Balearic Islands. It is for this reason what with the beginning of the tension between Italy and England there began also the english fortification of those islands. If Spain should incline to Italy, England would have received the second slap in the face at the hands of Italy since the beggining of the abysinian conflict. The possibility that a spanish fascism would go along with Mussolini, a question with which Italy is obviously concerned, cannot be tolerated by England. That the discord between the english and italian interests is by no means laid aside becomes clear from the acceptance of Abyssinia into the League of Nations, as also from the english troop transports to Palestine. On the other hand, however, England has likewise no interest in a Spain subscribing to the franco-russian front, for the english interests in Asia still coincide with those of Japan, even though this union already begins to relax. Any support of Russia and Francce would be directed against Japan and Germany, and is not yet in conformity with the interests of England. The greater and empire, the greater the complications and difficulties, but the more cautious also the policy. And by the side of all the difficulties already mentioned, there also looms in the background the danger represented by America. And so the english interest in Spain is restricted to helping in bringing forth a policy there which is subordinated neither to Rome nor to Moscow. Hence the necessity of preventing open intervention on the part of the fascist powers, and at the same time strangling the revolution which might be put to use for franco-russian purposes. The french neutrality pact was agreeable to english policy, or at any rate left England with time and leisure for later decisions. To be sure, probably no one believed that german and italian fascism, even upon acceptance of the neutrality pact, would discontinue arming the spanish fascists, or that the italian and german imperialist interests in Spain and Morocco would be laid to sleep, but at any rate the neutrality pact was able to serve in postponing war in Europe. No doubt this postponement was accomplished at the expense of France and England; still, in plolitics also, the old saying holds true: Who laughs last, laughs best. The advantages won by Italy and Germany could also be looked upon as a sort of compensation for the slaughtering services rendered against the spanish revolution. Capitalist intervention had occurred without having occasioned war. The french neutrality pact, accepted by the democratic powers unreservedly, by the fascist ones with various reserves, was the licnce delivered to Fascism for striking down the spanish revolution without danger. This situation was regarded also by Russia, who accepted the neutrality pact, as the lesser evil with respect to a present war.
Even though the imperialist powers decided to accept the non-intervention proposal, still its carrying out is another matter. The situation is still capable of changing. A too far-going aggression on the part of Italy or Germany, speculating on the momentary unwillingness for war, and overstepping of the activities in Spain which have been tacitly assured them, can also cause those powers which are not yet willing to make war, to make a sudden reversal of their policy and thus, after all, still bring this war about.
If the spanish fascists should not succeed within a reasonable time in establishing “law and order”, the open capitalist intervention may still come about. If the workers’ revolution should become consolidated, and if it should strike down fascism as well as the Popular Front, there would still be the possibility that all the capitalist nations, or a special one at the order of all the others, would strike down the revolution while avoiding war between the imperialist rivals. It is also not absolutely precluded that the intervening powers would undertake a partition of Spain in accordance with the various imperialist spheres of interest, in which connection Catalonia as an “independent” power would possibly be placed under the protective rule of England and France, and the rest of the country would be left to the fascist states. It is even possible that a spanish fascism by which the country would be held together would subscribe, in spite of the german-italian support, to the interests of France and England. In short, the constellation of powers for the new war still admits of a great number of alterations by which Spain also is affected, and which may go so far as the apparently absurd combination of Germany and France, so that any speculation as to the immediate future in this respect seems out of order.
One thing, however, is clear: the international bourgeoisie shows by its actions to date with respect to Spain that it would not in any case leave the victory there to a workers’ revolution. There is nothing strange about that. Anyone who imagines what international capital would tolerate a workers’ revolution is ready for the madhouse. International capital has no illusions regarding the spanish situation. It knows that it is nonsense to speak of the “completion” of the bourgeois revolution, in which all the liberal-democratic powers thruout the world are said to be interested. What such a “completion” of the “bourgeois revolution” means in the most favorable case the russian revolution has sufficiently served to make clear. The nonsense of the struggle for “bourgeois democracy” is manifest today, when on after the other of the bourgeois democracies goes fascist. The socialist-liberal-communist watchwords in Spain are hokum. It is not a question there of democracy; even this “democracy” is fighting only to decide the question as to which particular social group is to exercise the dictatorship over the workers and the control over the other social groups. The exploitation societies of today are compelled to the greatest centralization and concentration of all economic and political power, if they want to asset themselves in the imperialist hurly-burly or even so much as to maintain order at home within the framework of the present economic conditions of the world. Like any other “democracy”, the spanish also would forthwith, or at least soon, be governing with fascist methods. Even where monopoly capital is weak, there is still no assurance for democracy, monopolization must, in that case, be artificially accelerated by the government in order that the exploitation society may be kept intact. It is only the workers who are still in a position to bring about a democratic state of affairs, though only within the framework of the communist economy. Neither Liberalism nor Fascism understands by the “completion of the bourgeois revolution” anything other than the concentration of all wealth and all power into the hands of fewer and fewer persons.
The bourgeoisie of the world has no illusions regarding the struggle in Spain. Thus the conservative London Times writes: “Should the revolt triumph, a fascist regime would be the result, against which rebellion would continue until drowned in blood. Should the sedition be suppressed, the Liberal Republic of 1931 must perish in the process. Two extremes are at each other’s throats. One must succumb. There is no central force strong enough to separate them… The die was cast. All thought of temporizing with the insurgents and the classes they represented was abandoned… ‘Comittees of workers’ have taken over the big railway companies. It seems only a question of time for this happen to the trams, the banks and other key establishments. A decree promulgated by the Government to take control of all industries in the interests of the State looks like a forlorn attempt to forestall these occupations.”
If the present socialist-communist popular-front government were still, after all, to succeed by means of the nationalization hokum in rescuing the bourgeois exploitation society, they will not be rescuing democracy, but they themselves will have to take over, with the victory over Fascism, the fascism functions; they will then be obliged once more to fulfill the tasks of Noske-Socialism.
Even though a number of the powers may continue to prefer a “liberal” dictatorship to the fascist one, and accordingly hope that the tide may turn in favor of the Popular Front, still as soon as the dictatorship of the proletariat is actually exercised, to there countries also the fascist dictatorship will appear as a lesser evil. Nor on this point will be frango-russian interests constitute an exception. A communist Spain would mean the carrying of the civil war to France. The spanish communist revolution must press over the spanish boundaries or else it cannot live. Even though, as things now stand, it is almost out of the question that the french workers will take an active part in the present civil war on the side of the spanish workers, still attempts of this sort, occasioned by the fairly long existence of a proletarian dictatorship in Spain, may lead to domestic disorders in Francec which would enormoulsy weaken the latter’s military potentialities and very largely depreciate her value as an ally of Russia. A spanish fascism, on the contrary, can strengthen the national-military power of France by way of the demagogic utilization of the danger by which she would then be menaced from the west as well as the east.
This situation is already antecipated in the endeavors of the Communist Party of France to make of the french Popular Front the National Front; it also finds expression in the hypocritical demand for the violation of the neutrality pact, a demand which is evidence at the same time that the Communist International is convinced that Fascism in Spain has already won. Even though the Cominstern has no objection to that, still this situation must be put to use for russian interests. Fascism in Spain, even if directed against France, and in spite of the eventual necessity of securing the french boundaries in the west as well as the east, is nevertheless a better guarantee for Russia and France than a communist Spain. Not only because the military forces of Spain are not very much of an asset to the adversaries of France and Russia, not only because England would thereby be driven more to the side of Russia and France, but quite as much so because the french unity would in this way be better secured, because the pact with Russia would seem less endangered. A spanish communism might, under certain circumstances, undermine the entire french Popular Front. It might carry the civil war to France, and, with a victory of the french fascists, mean a complete reorientation of french policy.
The financial and military aid received by spanish fascism at the hands of international capital is no secret. There is no doubt that the military successes of the fascists and the repulse of the workers is the direct result of the armament supplied by Germany and Italy. It is also clear that in view of the inner situation the spanish fascists alone would not have been able to break the power of the government and of the workers and force them to take the defensive and probably to suffer defeat. While the openly fascist part of the capitalist nations made no secret of its synpathies for the spanish fascists, that part which has the design of leading the workers into the new world slaughter under the slogan “For Democracy and Against Fascism” is compelled, in order to hold the workers in leash, to weep bitter crocodile tears for Spain. The “communists” are even compelled to make a show of opposition to the neutrality pact in order to obviate the danger that the workers may see thru their treacherous game. This opposition is not calculated to violate the neutrality, but to secute its further existence. The unrest among the french workers was already too great; the Communist Party was compelled to make a gesture in favor of the spanish revolution. The collections of money and foodstuffs, the protests of scholars and literary men were not sufficient; a new wave of strikes in France seemed also to be about to take note of the spanish situation. In order to prevent deeds, it was necessary to make phrases; this critical situation was to be overcome with the aid of demagogy. To be sure, it sank to the level of the peasant-catching stupidity of Moscow court proceedings, and there might be amusement if there were not at the same time so much that is sickening in observing the paid and unpaid communist Jesuits engaged in their endeavors to slobber themselves out of the fix into which the neutrality pact had gotten them.
At the time the non-intervention proposal was made by the Blum Government, the C.P. found not a word of criticism, but sought to make clear to the workers that the Blum policy was, after all, in harmony with the workers’ interests. To take one of a great number of examples, the New York Daily Worker wrote, on August 20: “There is more than the question of the Blum government’s assistance to a friendly government beset by Fascism. There is the question of a world war… True, neither Mussolini nor Hitler needs any pretext for their bloodthirsty deeds. Yet, the Blum government has to gauge its tactics to a threefold perspective: First, there are the inner relations with the Radical Socialists. The french Fascists are manoeuvering with the extreme Right of the Radical Socialists to create a government crisis. In France there is the threat of civil war at home… Second, British imperialism would be swung over to fascist Germany and Italy in the event of direct, open military aid to the Spanish government. Third, decisive aid might mean imminent world war… The Communist Party of France has roundly criticized Blum. But it does not take the stand that (because of its non-intervention policy) and open, splitting attack should be made to wreck the Blum government.” And this “criticism”, which aimed at nothing, was preceded by a vote of confidence in the french Chamber for the Blum government and its neutrality policy, a vote in which the communist party block joined. It was not until later that the party adopted a somewhat different tone, or at least expressed itself in a different sort of phraseology. Thus on August 28th, the same Daily Worker wrote: “Such ‘neutrality’ means giving aid to the victory of fascism in Spain. It means help for the victory of Hitler and Mussolini…” And the London Daily Worker of August 15th wrote: “The policy of neutrality is treason to democracy and peace, to the interests of the peoples of Spain, France and Britain, especially… It only helps the fascist murderers against the spanish people.” And still earlier, notwithstanding the later defense of Blum in the New York Daily Worker, we read in the Imprecor of August 8th: “A neutral policy of all democratic States… would be the policy most agreeable to the interests of Hitler and Mussolini.”
Nevertheless – the Soviet Union, the Fatherland of All Workers, the bulwark of peace, the stronghold against Fascism, accepted the neutrality pact and thereby, in the words of its own organs, joined up with those States which are helping Hitler and Mussolini, betraying the interests of the people and endangering the peace. And not only that; they betray, also, the national interests of France, as witness the french C.P. in the Rundschau of August 6th: “The victory of this splendid spanish people means the security of France in the Pyreness and in North Africa; the assured efectualness of the defense in the east and also the security of England. France could not tolerate a triumph of the spanish insurrectionists with aid from abroad. Against the betrayal! For France! For freedom and for peace! Frenchmen, let us unite!”
The Communist Party of France and the russian wielders of power have not, as might appear from these quotations, gone crazy. They are merely playing a double game. They see two eventualities and want to be set for both. On the one hand, they support the neutrality pact in order to postpone the war; on the other, they want to assure themselves of the masses in case the war, nevertheless, breaks out. The special repulsiveness of this Janus face is explained by the needs of russian foreign policy.
The Social Democrats and trade-union leaders, who are under no obligation to Russia, had and easier time of it. That is, they merely declared themselves in sympathy with the (fatal for Spain) non-intervention policy of the bourgeoisies. Though of course in view of their trade-mark “labor movement”, these worthy fellows saw themselves obligated to send bandaging materials and medical supplies for the dead spanish revolutionists.
And thus world capitalism, inclusive of the russian edition, endeavored to put an end to the spanish revolution, in part thru intervention, and in part thru non-intervention. In this endeavor, these various capitalisms have had the full support of the old labor movement. Thus the entire world is directing itself against a few hundred thousand spanish revolutionists, and these latter are thereby directing themselves against the entire world. An unequal struggle… But the spanish revolutionists have no choice; however unpromising their position, they have to continue flinging their dynamite against the world.
Upon the outbreak of the fascist uprising, the popular-front government forthwith lost its head. Prime Minister Quiroga, at the suggestion of Azana, resigned. Martinez Barrio was commissioned to form a new government. He made the proposal of entering into a compromise with the rebellious army, but it was turned down by Prieto and Caballero. The leaders of the labor movement realized that any compromise would mean nothing more than goinse over to fascism without a struggle, and thereby also to their end. They further knew that such a decision would have had no effect on the bloody settlement of the fascists with the workers. On July 19th, three governments were formed, one after the other, and the last combination decided in favor of arming the workers and creating the militia. This decision was, however, only the ratification of already accomplished facts. A large proportion of the workers had armed themselves without waiting for the governenment’s decision. Hey besieged the barracks of the insurrectionist troops and by their self-initiative secured for the government the cities of Malaga, Barcelona, Madrid, Toledo, Bilbao and San Sebastian. Without this action on the part of the workers, the popular-front government would have been swept away forthwith, since in addition to the army a part of the police and of the Guardia Civil joined the fascists, and even the loyal part was not very reliable.
With the consolidation of the anti-fascist forces, the popular-front government endeavored to take control of the streets out of the hands of the workers’ militia in order not to endanger the security of capitalist society. Mass pressure, however, forced it to make new concessions to the workers, and the successful advances of the fascist troops, which went so far as the occupation of Irun and San Sebastian, led to a new shake-up in the government, which now brought in the socialists and communists. Premiership and war were now under Caballero, navy and aviation under Prieto, education under Hernandez. The rest of the posts were divided among other socialists and left republicans.
After almost two months of embittered civil war, this “radical” government still summed up its tasks and designs, as reported by the communist Mundo Obrero of September 5th, as follows: “The present government has the enthusiastic support of forces of the country ranging from the nationalistic Catholics to the comrades of the C.N.T. It is the government of the people’s will. Around it are concentrated all the forces of democracy and of anti-fascism. It will attain victory because it will create a great popular army, unity the command and make rapid and appropriate use of all the armed elements of the people. It will bring into being comprehensive agrarian reform and will be of assistance to small ownership in industry and commerce, and to all production which serves the purposes of the nation. It will institute for the working people social insurance, maxium hours and minimum wages, relief of unemployment, illness and old age, and at the same time extend to the utmost limit the protection afforded to the labor of women and children. It is a government which will respect all religious convictions and the freedom of religion within the framework of the democratic republic in regard to all those who respect the popular will and the laws of the Republic. It will recognize the rights of the nations existing in Spain-Catalonia, the Basque Provinces and Galicia – and establish extensive democratic liberties for Morocco and the other colonies.”
But the will of this government, by the side of a better agrarian reform and a social-insurance law a la Roosevelt and Leon Blum, “to be of assistance to small ownership in industry and commerce and to all production which serves the purposes of the nations”, that is, the will of the government to protect capitalist property and to rescue bourgeois society, no longer meant very much, for this government had practically ceased to govern; the power was already in the hands of the armed workers. The government’s “social” program, which had in mind going “to the utmost limit”, as to the exact location of which the government itself was to be the judge, has the appearance of a bad joke in view of the hundred thousand among the workers who died under machine-gun fire. Whether the government’s will can still mean anything depends, as the New York Times of August 18th wrote, on whether “this army of ragged irregulars can be persuaded to surrender their arms.” In view of this situation, and in spite of all the kind words of the government, such wavering petty-bourgeois elements as had not already taken the step went over into the camp of fascism. At the same time, the popular-front government played a double game. Even though it did not dare to proceed generally and openly against the armed formations of workers under their own leadership and which were slipping from its control – though in localities where the socialists and the Guardia Civil had the upper hand, attempts were made at disarming the anarcho-syndicalist workers – still the government’s aversion to this militia greatly endangered the anti-fascist struggle. In fact, the government’s apprehension of a real workers’ rule went all the way to direct sabotage of the anti-fascist struggle. Catalonia, which is completely in the hands of the workers, proposed to proceed against the fascist-controlled Saragossa; it failed, however, to obtain the consent or support of the Madrid Government, since Saragossa has constantly been a center of anarchis, and the liberation of the revolutionary forces held captive there would have still further weakened the position of the Popular Front against the workers’ revolution. The otherwise “strictly neutral” France was, in this connection, even ready, in accordance with the request of the Madrid Government, to transport the anarchist troops of Barcelona across France to Irun in the hope that the power of the catalonian workers’ revolution would thereby be weakened.
In contrast to the popular-front government, the workers of the C.N.T. have comprehended that the struggle concerns other matters than the transfer of the Blum policy into spanish conditions. After the outbreak of the uprising, and anarchist conference which was held to take a position on the revolutionary situation, summed the matter up somewhat as follow: “…The common enemy, incarnated in the seditious militarism, must be crushed firsst of all. The anarchists must therefore continue to form part of the anti-fascist Committees, while at the same time striving to influence them in order that the struggle may not lose its virile and radical character, and so as to prevent them from entering into political combinations for which the people would subsequently have to pay the expenses. In view of the bankruptcy of bourgeois economy and democracy, the social problem requires news solutions. economy and democracy, the social problem requires news solutions. The workers’ organizations, particularly the C.N.T. and the anarchist movement, must materialize a complete work of economic reconstruction, from the collectivization to the socialization of the land, of the mines and of industry. In brief, the Plenun declares that the revolutionary work is not a mere matter of the violent collision with the reactionary forces of the bourgeoisie, but must be extended to the whole of modern life.”
And in another proclamation to the workers of the world, published in the information bulletin of the C.N.T. and F.A.I. of August 15, 1936, these organizations once more emphasize that “contrary to the contentions of the political party sections of the spanish workers’ movement, … it must be stated that the struggle depends, above all, on the heroism, the fighting spirit and the numerical strenght of the anarchist workers of Spain… We have desired to maintain the unity of the anti-fascist front above all, and we have confined ourselves to exerting our influence thruout the life of Catalonia by creating economic and shop councils for regulating the whole economic life of society, and which are the bases of the social organization of the future.”
With the arming of the workers in Catalonia, the influence of the popular-front government in that region had declined to zero. The workers organized themselves in centuries, elected their own soldiers’ councils, their own “officers”. The government occasionally called upon the workers to surrender their arms, “since of course the factory workers have no need of being armed”; yet the C.N.T. and F.A.I. gave out the word to keep the arms under all circumstances, as being the only reliable security – they even went so far as to call upon the workers to shoot anyone forthwith who sought to disarm them.
The spanish revolution receives from Barcelona its true character. If the miners of the Asturias succeed in getting out the claws of the fascists, the revolution will woll on to Madrid and create in Spain a wholly different situation. Then the spanish struggle will dispense with the last bourgeois phrases and come to light as a struggle between Capital and Labor.
Even though Prieto, as late as the middle of September, magnanimously proclaimed that “in these bloody weeks the masses have won the right to demand a new State organized for them”, the masses will probably after all fail to understand the enticement of nothing more than a new government as the only result of their huge sacrifices. Even in Madrid, though hindered in large measure at the hands of the parliamentary labor parties, the revolution has made progress. Goods and real estate belonging to fascist elements and refugee capitalists were expropriated. To prevent the “wild” expropriations from spreading, the government was forced to convert private property into state property. Hotels and club houses were transformed into hospitals, workers’ homes and schools. Property belonging to orders was confiscated; concessions made in relation to wages, working conditions and hours. Later a sort of workers’ control was introduced into the enterprises. The government is obliged to make more and more concessions in order not to be swept away, but its previous procrastination shows with all clarity that it has to be overthrown if the workers’ revolution is to proceed.
As late as September 18th, the Madrid Government rejects the proposals of the anarcho-syndicalists for the consolidation of the revolutionary front. The anarchist proposal to grant to the workers’ committees the right to participate in the establishment and carrying out of all economico-political and military measures is rejected at the hands of the socialist-communist government which “under no circumstances tolerates such a duality of power.” Rejected also are the proposals for the immediate socialization of the banks, railways and industry, and to proceed with the complete confiscation of church property. The demand that all public authority be conveyed to the workers’ militia is turned down, and likewise the demand for bringing all workers into the militia for the decisive struggle against fascism. The workers are not to govern; the government continues to hope that it will become master of the situation without conferring too much power upon the workers, the enemies of tomorrow. The politicians in power are apprehensive of a gigantic workers’ army, continue to busy themselves with patching together remains of the old amy to which they had managed to hold on, and to supplement it with the militia, preventing the combination from becoming anything more than the army of the government. The workers, however, have too long had the opportunity to feel on their own bodies the functions of the various government soldieries. They have no confidence in the government’s soldiers. They refuse to be taken into the strictly military formations. Their motto is: Militiamen, yes; combatants, yes; soldiers, never!
On August 19th, Catalonia declared its complete independence of Madrid. This separation from the central government, altho in the line of the leninist policy as to nationalities, and altho a revolutionary element in the one-sided sense that it weakened the position of the popular-front government, is nevertheless of a petty-bourgeois and capitalistic nature. The propaganda with which it was accompanied, for a “union of independent spanish socialist republics”, does not do away with the anti-revolutionary character of the demand for national independence. National problems behind which are concealed special interests of a material nature belong to exploitation society. The proletariat can make no concessions to nationalism without doing immense damage to its class interests.
Catalonia is the wealthiest of the spanish provinces and was accordingly always obliged to turn over in taxes to the Madrid government more than it received from Madrid in the way of concessions. It was obliged, that is, to make a contribution for the poorer provinces; a state of affairs from which it sought release. Later on, nationalism became the instrument of catalan industry for the purpose of extorting tariff concessions. The middle class is nationalistic because it wants to monopolize for itself the administrative and public offices. The parliamentary labor movement was unable to attack the nationalist ideology for fear of losing its influence among the workers, who likewise are under the sway of this ideology. The anarcho-syndicalist movement sought to make use of the separatist currents for revolutionary purposes. The splitting up of Spain has ever appeared to the anarchists merely as the shattering of the power of the central government; and since such separatism is not in direct contradiction to their federalistic philosophy, they saw in the furthering of it no hindrance to the materialization of their socialist ideas. Such a position on the subject is obviously nonsense and shows the unrealistic character of the anarcho-syndicalist movement as well as its naivete with respect to the laws of economic development. For the partition of Spain into small independent republics would render politically and economically impossible any attempt at socialization. A socialist Catalonia is impossible in a capitalist Spain. Socialism thruout the country, on the other hand, eliminates any basis for national independence, which would then form a needless economic impediment. An independent Catalonia under the present conditions means furthermore placing it under the protective rule of a strong imperialist power, whereby socialism where is obivously precluded. The cunning “Marxists” want to make use of the “national matter” for international purposes; which likewise is a practical impossibility, for the support of “national matters” is necessarily at the same time the prevention of the class struggle within the nation and thereby the strengthening of the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois elements. National elements are counter-revolutionary: that is a lesson which the spanish workers also will have to learn from experience, unless they turn their struggle against the bourgeoisie into a struggle also against the national nonsense.
The official, though at present powerless catalonian government of Companys and Casanovas is taking a quite passive attitude with respect to the workers by whom the power is exercised. This passivity is its rescue and preservation for later counter-revolutionary attacks. It is waiting for the first favorable opportunity to recover the lost power. After the suppression of the fascist uprising in Barcelona, the real power was taken over by the workers’ militia, in which the anarchists are the determining factor. Of course, this militia can govern only so long as it is able to prevent the development of new centers of power. The acts of the Companys government have shown with all clarity that it regards the present state of affairs as only temporary, and in this hope it is confirmed by the attiude of the friendly powers. France and Russia continue to deal not with the workers, but with the discarded government. The struggle against fascism postpones the decisive struggle between bourgeoisie and proletariat and allows both sides only half-way measures which not only hold up the progress of the revolution, but also the forming of the counter-revolutionary forces; and both these factors are at the same time prejudicial to the anti-fascist struggle. In order to remain “representative” in the altered situation, the government has taken pains to include representatives of labor. But the socialists and stalinists taken into the government were forced out by the anarcho-syndicalists. The governmental decrees, which in part were in conformity with the demands of the situation as well as those of the workers, were necessary in order to keep this reserve government from vanishing out of the picture. Its continued existence shows that, altho the workers represent the actual power, still they do not dare as yet to put it to full use.
It is true that the workers obtained for themselves the 40 – hour week and a 15 percent wage increase, as well as the recognition of and extensive powers for the workers’ councils in the enterprises; but still all this was for the present posited on the “cooperation of workers, enterprisers, trade unions and the government.” Then the development passed on to “worker control” in the smaller enterprises and to the nationalization of the large ones. Four weeks after the suppression of the fascist uprising, the workers of Barcelona had taken over the railways, the municipal transport services (buses, trams, subway), the petroleum companies, the automobile industries, the steamship companies, the hospitals, the public services (electricity, gas, water, etc.), the large stores, the building and contracting companies, the munition plants, the theaters and cinemas. Each enterprise is conducted by a workers’ council which is responsible for production. As a transitional measure, these workers’ councils are subordinated to a General Committee for the direction and control of all economic activity, which is made up of delegates of the various trade unions. A leveling up of wages is ordered. The salaries paid to directors in the concerns placed under control are to be reduced, and in the socialized enterprises the old boards of directors are to be completely suppressed. In preparation is the introduction of the 36-hour week, as well as publication of the financial situation of the concerns, together with a complete list of stock. Likewise, the setting up of a work program, particularly for the enterprises serving the military defense. To avoid international complications, foreign capital ownership has been left unmolested.
By the side of the production committee, another was formed to provide for subsistence. The rural syndicates of the C.N.T. and the collectives of the expropriated domains place foodstuffs at the disposal of the population. The C.N.T. syndicate for the workers in the foodstuffs branch has become the supply center of Barcelona. The distribution of the foodstuffs was in part effected by means of so-called bonds or tickets, whereby the bourgeoisie was automatically excluded. The circulation of money has, however, been maintained. In the further program of the revolution stands the design of going over to planned control of the ecnonomy in order to harmonize production and consumption. Also a state monopoly of foreign trade, nationalization of the banks and the complete collectivization of agriculture. So that we have here in the economic regard a condition and plans similar to those at the beginning of the russian revolution, and the slow transformation of private economy into state economy, interpenetrated with factors of so-called war communism. The measures adopted to date point rather in the direction of a state-capitalist than of a communist economy; even though this state-capitalist economy, in case it should come about, need not be a hundred-percent copy of the russian. Even though the turn to real communism, to the abolition of wagelabor and to direct control of all economic activity thru the workers is still not absolutely precluded, yet from the present transitional stage and the “parial socialization” we are rather justified in looking forward to an economy after the russian model, in case both possibilities are not eliminated thru a return to a fascist or democratic capitalism in which private property would be maintained under state coordination.
As yet the workers have nothing certain but the armed power. Since a communist society is possible only thru the continuance of the revolution, these workers will sooner or later have to resign their power to a special group, just as this power even today stands under the influence of the organizational interests of the C.N.T. and F.A.I. With the surrender of the power, the state capitalist perspective is probable, whereupon the bureaucracy necessary to it will be furnished either by the anarcho-syndicalist or the socialist-stalinist elements or by a combination of the two. If the spanish fascists win, they will then, unless this is prevented by the imperialist powers, slaughter the catalonian revolutionary movement, with the aid of the catalonian bourgeoisie, to which greater concessions will be made on the part of Madrid. If the Madrid Government wins, it will then, – possibly after a period of pseudo-socialism sufficing to make “democracy” also strong in opposition to the workers – in conjuction with the catalonian bourgeoisie and the sympathetic part of the labor movement, likewise strike down the anarcho-syndicalist workers and set aside the social accomplishments won to date. It will perhaps be forced to take up the struggle against the workers forthwith.
There is a large number of possibilities. The spanish struggle alters the situation continuously. Surprises are not precluded. For the present, all that is possible in the way of antecipation is to take into consideration the various eventualities, for the thousand interlinking elements of the social conflicts are not clearly observable from this distance. The taks of the proletariat, however, are clear. And clear also is the fact that the forces interested in the maintenance of capitalist exploitation society were in a position to hold up the full development of the struggle against fascism. Ostensibly is was desired, thru limitation of the struggle against the fascist form of State and its policy, to enlarge the anti-fascist front and secure its unity in order to aid in the victory of democracy as the lesser evil for the workers. In reality, this limitation leads to defeat. In this way the government was not in a position to bring into action against fascism the full weight of the mass of peasants because in order not to frighten away the bourgeois elements, it did not dare to award the peasants the complete expropriation of landed property, and because it did not dare to take up the complete expropriation of capital ownership for fear of losing the sympathies of the democratic powers as well as those of the petty bourgeois and of its own democratic bourgeoisie. The minimum program of the anti-fascists led so far that in the course of the struggle the fascist demagogy was enabled to develop a program which was more radical than that of the popular-front government. The Chicago Tribune could permit itself the malicious pleasure of remarking that “the ‘Reds’ spoke like Fascists, and the Fascists like Bolsheviks.”
What was intended to lend force to the anti-fascist struggle, weakened it. The workers can even now, when the fate of the spanish revolution still hangs in the balance, derive the lesson that the anti-fascist struggle is capable of winning only as a fight against capitalism; that it is only as such that it has meaning for the workers; that these latter are obliged, from the first day of the struggle against fascism onward, to attack also the capitalist property relations; that they can strengthen their own position only when, at the same time, they disrupt irrevocably the foundations of the capitalist order. It is false to belive that fascism was first to be struck down, after which the rest would come as a matter of course. The workers’ struggle must be directed not exclusively against fascism, but against Capital in all its forms and manifestations. Even tho such a policy may bring the whole capitalist world into action against the revolution at once, yet it os only such a policy which is capable of arousing in word and indeed the solidarity of the world’s working population.
War against a communist Spain would not be an ordinary war; it would be a war which, in certain circumstances, in view of the position of the working class, could become the international class war against the international bourgeoisie. It needs to be stated plainly that it is silly to believe that the democratic imperialism could rush to the aid of the spanish revolutionists. What would be needed is that the french workers should rush to the aid of the spanish revolutionists, but this at the same time would mean the revolution in France. And if the revolution fails to roll on in this manner, if it dies out, still its defeat is only a stage in the proletariat’s revolutionary onward march. The workers cannot shout, with the mendacious rabble of the old labor movement, for arming of the spanish popular-front government at the hands of the democratic countries. Such arming takes place only so long as bourgeois society is sure of its mastery and it would direct these arms also against the revolutionary proletariat. The revolutionary proletariat in Spain precludes arming of the popular-front government at the hands of other bourgeoisies. The proletariat can only arm itself. It was the task of the international proletariat, – particularly of the french workers who have already shown themselves capable of occupying the minitions factories for so little as an increase in wages – to seize arms and get them to Spain. But that would be not only the simultaneous revolution in France; it would also be the beginning of the imperialist war, which, however, would then pose the revolutionary question at its very beginning instead of leaving it in abeyance until the bloody end. The working population which failed to rusch to the aid of the spanish revolutionists, on its own initiative and against the will of its organizations, has betrayed the spanish revolution just as was done by the scurvy rabble of the two Internationals.
And these workers, who were unwilling to risk their lives for their spanish comrades, will perhaps after all be shoved tomorrow onto the battlefield. It the spanish question should after all serve as the occasion for the outbreak of the war between the fascist and the “democratic” capitalisms, then the workers will be persuaded, ostensibly in order to aid the spanish anti-fascists, to fight on the side of their bourgeoisie against the enemy fascist bourgeoisie. It must be said plainly, however, that even then the workers are not coming to the aid of the spanish comrades, but of the imperialistic interests of their bourgeoisie. The bourgeoisie never takes up for working-class interests; it may combat on fascism in favor of another, but it is never anti-fascist. What the workers of the world have to do in order to help themselves and thereby also the spanish comrades in only one thing: to take up the struggle against their own burgeoisie, and with the overthrow thereof to doom spanish fascism as well.
At the time when this article is brought to a close, the further course of the spanish civil war is still unforseeable. Regarded from the military point of view, the fascists seem to be gaining the upper hand. Toledo has fallen, the march upon Madrid continues. But this advance can still be held up: thru uprisings in the rear of the fascists, in spite of the terror which is being exercised, as well as thru a surpising shift in the situation on thefronts, thru a new exertion of effort by the workers. The anti-fascist front still has various possibilities. Altho it no longer controls more than a third of the country, nevertheless this portion contains important industrial centers which make it possible to continue the manufacture of arms and munitions. The problem of subsistence also is still for the present soluble. But the fascists too have adjusted everything, in the territory at their disposition, to the continuation of the war. They have, moreover, the military aid of Italy and Germany. But even with the fall of Madrid the struggle is still not necessarily decided, tho the panicky sentiment arising from a series of defeats may also bring the civil war to a quick end. This end would not diminish the sacrifices of the proletariat; the white terror of conquering fascism will far surpass all the previous bestialities. In view of this situation, the fighting workers will no doubt go all the way down the line. But even their defeat is powerless to affect the situation, which os objectively ripe for revolution. This defeat is also at the same time the beginning of a new series of workers’ struggle’s which will stand out far in advance of everything hitherto accomplished and which even today, before the beginning of the world war and the beginning of the new world-revolutionary wave, point to itscolossal impetus. The victims of the spanish revolution are already the first victims of the approaching world revolution, nor could a present-day victory of spanish fascism suffice to conjure the fact away. The verve and the enthusiasm of the spanish revolutionists of today is a guarantee of the victory of the new workers’ revolution tomorrow.
All transcriptions were done by Felipe Andrade. Did you find any mistakes? Suggestions? Send e-mail to: