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The Anarchists Defend the Gains of the Spanish Revolution Against the ‘Communists’


This telling complaint was printed in Solidaridad Obrera, the chief daily of Spanish Anarchism, on 30 April 1937, p.12. It carefully avoids identifying the reasons for the Stalinist propaganda barrage as an operation on behalf of the Republican bourgeoisie in Spain and British and French imperialism abroad.

Why does the Confederal Press arouse such hostility? What is happening to the Anarchist and confederal press is inexplicable. It is persecuted and constantly abused just like in the good times of the monarchy. Incredible but true. At the moment, two of our dailies are suspended and we don’t even know the real motive for this. The papers are the CNT of the North of Bilbao, and Nosotros of Valencia. What are they trying to achieve by these suspensions? The behaviour of these two libertarian organs has been strictly revolutionary and anti-fascist. It couldn’t be otherwise. This being so why does the confederal press arouse such hostility?

We are forced to the conclusion that it arouses hostility precisely because it is revolutionary. It would be better if we were told this clearly so that we knew what attitude we should take with regard to the persecutions of anarcho-syndicalist periodicals.

What we know is that the persecution to which the confederation is being subjected, by capriciously suspending periodicals, is part of a plan and shows irresponsible hatred to those for whom a true revolutionary would have nothing but respect.

Everything has a purpose and so does the campaign to kill our press. But unless our press has full freedom to propagate and develop our ideas we will have to stop asking and start demanding. They are playing a dangerous game.

Consider the counter-revolutionary campaigns – to oppose the socialisation of industry is to wreck the revolutionary economy.

Opposition to the socialisation of industry is one of the counter-revolutionary defences of those who fight to destroy the workers’ gains, of those who prefer to be the left wing of imperialist capitalism rather than the right wing of a workers’ Spain.

This unthinking calculation attributes everything which is wrong in the rearguard to the attempts at socialisation. Any shortage, difficulty or mishap is included in the indictment against this idea, which after all is nothing less than the supreme aspiration of the working class which fascism tries to crush with the valuable help of our ‘comrades’. At a Communist meeting they spoke of the chaos of the Catalan economy produced solely and exclusively by premature attempts at socialisation; these words, spoken by one of the leading members of the Party which organised the meeting, are counterrevolutionary and aid the enemy who lies in wait.

Many arguments are used against the idea of socialisation; one of these – the most delightful – says that by socialising an industry we simply take it over and run it with the consequence that we have flourishing industries where the workers are privileged, and unfortunate industries where the workers get less benefits but have to work harder than workers elsewhere.

We will be generous and accept that such anomalies exist. There are differences between the workers in prosperous industries and those which barely survive. For example the workers in war industry are obliged by the circumstances they find themselves in, to work longer than the legal working day and get wages which are linked to the sacrifice of all working class Spain faced with the menace of reaction.

Such anomalies, which we don’t deny exist, are attributed to the attempts at socialisation. We firmly assert that the opposite is true; such anomalies are the logical result of the absence of socialisation.

The socialisation which we propose will resolve these problems which are used to attack it. Were Catalan industry socialised, everything would be organically linked – industry, agriculture, and the trade union organisations, in accordance with the council for the economy. They would become normalised, the working day would become more equal or what comes to the same thing, the differences between workers of different activities would end.

One of the measures which would do most to eliminate these inequalities would be the institution of a family wage. The workers would earn a just system of remuneration and we would see the disappearance of the remnants of barbarous feudal times which are seen today in the last intermediaries between the producer and consumer: all the industries would unite their forces for victory over the fascist hordes; commerce, socialised and controlled by the trade unions, would be freed from the abuses which the workers and peasants, the true heroes of the revolution, are subjected to, who put their face to the furrow to harvest the food for those who fight for the cause; they will be free of exploiters and of uncontrolled elements who grab the fruit, of their efforts.

Socialisation is – and let its detractors hear it – the genuine authentic organisation of the economy. Undoubtedly the economy has to be organised; but not according to the old methods, which are precisely those which we are destroying, but in accordance with new norms which will make our people become an example to the world proletariat.

The Spanish Left in its Own Words

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Last updated on 30.12.2002