Grandizo Munis Archive

Grandizo Munis


Source: Revolutionary History, Vol.2 No.2, Summer 1989. Used with permission.

We are sad to have to announce the death of Grandizo Munis on 4 February this year.

Manuel Fernandez Grandizo was born at Larena in Estremadura, and joined the Spanish section of the International Left Opposition at its conference abroad in Liege in Belgium in February 1930, where he supported Francisco Garcia Lavid in his disagreements with Andres Nin inside that organisation. He also supported Trotsky’s policy of the entry of the Spanish section into the youth of the Socialist Party, which he joined in 1935, and opposed the liquidation of the Spanish Trotskyists into the POUM. He left Spain for a brief while to join his family in Cuba, returning on the first boat on hearing of the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

On his arrival he reconstituted the Section of the Left Opposition as the Spanish Bolshevik-Leninists, who published the first issue of their paper La Voz Leninista on 5 April 1937 after their exclusion from the POUM. They took part with the Friends of Durruti in the defence of the revolution against Stalinist provocation during the Barcelona ‘May Days’ in 1937, but their small group of comrades was penetrated by a GPU spy, Leon Narvitch, and, after he had been killed by a POUM action squad revenging the death of Nin, Munis and his group were arrested on 12 February 1938. They were accused of killing Narvitch and of planning the assassinations of Prieto, Comorera, Negrin, La Pasionara and Diaz. After much torture, including a simulated execution of Munis, their trial was fixed for 29 January 1939 but, three days before this, France’s troops entered Barcelona, and both prisoners and jailers made off. Munis escaped to France, and then managed to get out to Mexico, where he led the Spanish Trotskyists in exile and was a close collaborator of Natalia Trotsky.

During the Second World War Munis objected to the terms of the defence of the SWP leaders during the Minneapolis trial in October 1941. (G. Munis and J.P. Cannon, Defence Policy in the Minneapolis Trial, June 1942) which he regarded as making concessions to Defencism and Social Patriotism. Together with Natalia Trotsky, he also denounced the SWP’s support for the actions of the Red Army as it passed through Eastern Europe in 1944-45 and later the support of the International Secretariat for Tito and Mao Zedong. His group left the post-war Fourth International, whose 1948 Second World Congress delegate elections they believed to be rigged, also having deepening political differences. In 1951, although a marked man, he returned to Spain to take part in the Barcelona strike, was arrested by the Francoist authorities, and given another term in prison. His group, the Fomenta Obrero Revolucionara, developed ultra-leftist positions on the trade unions and in 1975 Munis published a state capitalist analysis of the Soviet Union, Parti-Etat, Stalinismo, Revolution. His account of the Spanish Civil War is to be found in Jalones de Derrota: Promesa de Victoria (Mexico 1947) and his differences with the Trotskyist movement after the Second World War in Les Revolutionnaires devant la Russie et le Stalinisme mondiale (Mexico, 1947) and Analyse d’un Vide: Cinquante Ans apres le Trotskysme (Paris, May 1982). Although his path diverged substantially from Trotskyism in his later life, Munis was a courageous militant, a sincere supporter of the struggle of the working class, and a man of sturdy independence of mind.

Editors of RH


Last updated on 25.9.2004