“Order Prevails Throughout Spain”

Andres Nin, Leader of Spanish Left Opposition, Arrested and in Danger

(January 1931)

From The Militant, Vol. IV No. 1, 1 January 1931, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for the Marxists’ Internet Archive.

The Madrid coup d’état attempted by the bourgeois republicans, headed by the aviator Franco, has been crushed by the Berenguer dictatorship without much difficulty. In Jaca, the attempted uprising has met with a similar fate. The iron fist has descended upon the militant labor organizations, their headquarters raided, their leaders arrested and imprisoned, and the strikes which were assuming a distinctly political character have been suppressed by violence.

The republican bourgeoisie, failing and fearing to rely upon the masses who alone can overthrow the monarchy and lead the revolution to a decisive conclusion, has made a pitiful debacle. One camp, further visioned and fearful of the mass movement of the workers that would be aroused by a popular insurrection, has rallied to the decrepit monarchy of Alfonso and the brutal dictatorship of Berenguer. The other, equally contemptuous of the masses in whose name they pretend to speak, and whom they prefer to have act as soldiers obeying without thinking, has made the feeble and theatrical attempt to stage a novel revolt from the air which failed to inspire the masses to insurrection and was as ineffective as a spent rocket. The proletarian leadership of the revolution, which is still to be consolidated showed a fatal absence and unpreparedness.

An Unstable Dictatorship

The power of the Berenguer dictatorship, however, remains extremely tenuous. It was constituted on the pledge to restore those measures of “democracy” which the Primo de Rivera regime had so high-handedly abrogated. But the first step towards a loosening of the bonds, combined as it was with the accentuation of the economic crisis in the country, unleashed the dormant forces of the proletarian movement until acute strike struggles were raging from one end of the land to the other.

Harassed on one side by the republican movement, on an other by the Catalonian separatists, on the third by the revivified labor movement, and in general by the popular dislike of the monarchy and the dictatorship, the Berenguer regime immediately showed that it was distinguished from its predecessor only by more militant violence. In the first important test of arms it has issued the victor. But it will be of brief duration if the forces maturing for new skirmishes and insurrections come to a head.

In the work of suppressing the revolutionary movement, even at its initial stage of political strikes against the dictatorship, the Berenguer regime has been able to rely – and how could it be otherwise?! – upon the warm support of the social democrats and reformist trade union leaders of the General Union of Workers. Like their brethren everywhere, they are in favor of violent revolution only in one country – the Soviet Union – but vigorously opposed to an insurrection against their own bourgeoisie. In all the important strikes that broke out after the fall of Primo de Rivera the Reformists played the servile game of scabs by fighting against the extension of strike aims beyond the narrow limits of a trade union struggle. Their kin in the ranks of the anarcho-syndicalists have ardently supported the other section of the bourgeoisie, the republicans. There is no reason at all to believe that there will be any change on their part in the coming struggles

The revolutionary situation has not been liquidated. The economic crisis has not been solved. The fighting moods of the workers have not been entirely dampened. The official Communist Party, characteristically enough with all its talk of the “third period”, was caught entirely unawares by the events of recent weeks. It had been taught in recent months, under Manuilsky’s tutelage, that a “partial strike” is of vaster import than a revolution of what he called the “Spanish type”. The Left Opposition, however, has been very active in the struggle, particularly in the Barcelona working class where it has considerable influence. A number of our most active comrades, including Pedro Lavid and others, have already been sentenced to imprisonment.

Further, we read the following alarming report in the Barcelona correspondence by the well-informed Jules Sauerwein to the New York Times of December 23, 1930, who quotes Don Ignacio de Despujol captain-general of Catalonia.

“The result was an easy task when the disturbers began marching against the gendarmerie. There was no violence to speak of and we quickly arrested the ringleaders. Among them was a notorious disciple of Trotsky who spent a long time in Russia and is a Soviet agent here now.”

Nin In Danger!

The reference is unmistakably to comrade Andres Nin, leader of the Spanish Opposition, and one of the principal founders of the Communist Party in Spain. For years, he was secretary of the Red International of Labor Unions. A steadfast supporter of the Opposition, this irreproachable rebel was finally expelled from the Soviet Union’s borders a few months ago by the Stalinist apparatus. The bourgeois press has frequently reported concerning his activity in Barcelonia which he managed to reach after being expelled as a “counter-revolutionist” by the G.P.U. His arrest now means a serious blow to the whole labor and revolutionary movement. Every effort must be bent by the militants in all countries to force the release of comrade Nin, and the other rebels imprisoned by the Berenguer dictatorship.

The Spanish revolutionists need the support of the international working class. Let us raise our voices in protest against the murderous work of the Spanish bourgeoisie which has already occupied a number of districts with the notorious Foreign Legion, composed of janissary scum of three continents, for the purpose of suppressing the workers’ movement. The cause of Spanish labor is the cause of every worker.

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