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POUM Policy During the May Events


As soon as the attack on the Barcelona Telephonica (telephone exchange) brought the expected results – the insurrection of the Barcelona prolelariat – the central committee of the Communist-controlled UGT called for the suppression of the POUM. The central committee of the POUM replied with this resolution, published in La Batalla on 13 May 1937.

The enlarged central committee of the POUM meeting in Barcelona on 11 and 12 May, after examining the revolutionary events which occurred in Barcelona, studying the present situation, and the perspectives and experiences derived from them, unanimously adopted the following resolution:

  1. The constant provocations of the counter-revolution embodied in reformist parties of the PSUC and of the petty bourgeoisie, provocations that in the fields of the war, the economy and of public order tend to liquidate the revolutionary conquests gained by the working class on the 19 July, arms in hand, which culminated on the 3 May with the attempt to seize the telephone buildings, produced the working class’s armed protest.
  2. The POUM’s political position cannot be other than active solidarity with the workers who spontaneously declared a general strike, raised the barricades in Barcelona’s streets and with exemplary heroism knew how to defend the endangered revolutionary conquests.
  3. As the workers who fought in the streets lack concrete objectives and a responsible leadership, the POUM is unable to do more than order and organise a strategic retreat, persuading the revolutionary working class of the need for this and preventing a desperate action which could degenerate into a putsch and which would result in the total crushing of the most advanced part of the working class.
  4. The experience of the May Days demonstrates unequivocally that the only progressive way out of the present situation is for the working class to take power, and for this it is essential to coordinate the revolutionary action of the masses by the creation of a Workers’ Revolutionary Front that unites all the organisations which intend to fight for the total crushing of fascism which can be achieved only by a military victory on the fronts and by the victory of the revolution in the rear. The enlarged Central Committee considers that the political line followed by the party during the events has been entirely correct and it solidarises with the executive committee, convinced that it knew how to defend the interests of the revolution and of the mass of workers.

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Last updated on 30.12.2002