The Programme of the Spanish Bolshevik-Leninists
The statement here following was put out on 19 July 1937 by the Bolshevik-Leninist Section of Spain, the small Spanish Trotskyist group led by Grandizo Munis. It is reproduced here from Fight, monthly paper of the Marxist Group of CLR James, vol.1, no.10, September 1937, pp.4-5.
The group, only eight people altogtlher, left after the entry of the Izquierda Communista into the POUM, put out La Voz Leninista and three issues of its journal. (During this period of demoralisation the Spanish Trotskyists had split, the other group putting out a paper called El Soviet.) The money for this actually came from Leon Narvitch, an agent of the GPU who had penetrated the Spanish Trotskyists after the work he had already done in informing on the POUM. After a POUM action squad had avenged the death of Andres Nin and Narvitch’s body was found at the start of February 1938 in the environs of Barcelona, practically the entire Spanish Trotskyist organisation was rounded up on 12 February and charged with killing him, spying for Franco, striking, sabotage, and organising the May Days insurrection. Just for good measure was added the accusation that they were planning to kill Negrin, Prieto, and Stalinists Comorera, La Pasionaria, and José Díaz.
After much pressure and torture the trial was fixed for 29 January 1939, but three days before it was to take place Franco’s troops entered Barcelona. Both jailers and prisoners scrambled to escape, and Munis and his comrade Carlini got across the French border. From there he proceeded to Mexico, from which he led the Spanish Trotskyists in exile, and became a close political ally of Trotsky’s widow, Natalia, in objecting to what they believed to be the rightward drift of the US SWP during the Second World War. They opposed the American Military Policy, the support for the actions of the Red Army in Eastern Europe, and later the support for Tito and Mao Tse-tung. Munis returned to Spain to take part in the Barcelona strike of 1951, and was picked up again the following year and given another 10 years in prison. After his release he retired to France where he led a small far-left organisation.
1. To defeat Fascism with the only effective weapon, the weapon of the proletarian revolution. To destroy Fascism and its roots, which flourish only in the rotten soil of capitalist democracy, by the expropriation of the exploiters and by the total destruction of the old state apparatus. During a transition period we wish to set up the dictatorship of the proletariat, directed solely against the remains of the bourgeoisie, who, with the aid of foreign capitalism, will try to re-establish private property and the bourgeois regime. The best example of attempts like this are the dishonest manoeuvres of the bourgeoisie at the present time, and above all of the PSUC. The dictatorship of the proletariat will be genuine working class democracy, because the privileges of money will have disappeared and the workers, freed from capitalist exploitation, will decide their fate for themselves.
2. So long as the proletariat is not in a position to take power, we shall defend the democratic rights of the workers within the framework of the capitalist transitory regime. That is why we have publicly, and without any sort of manoeuvre, demanded the United Front of Struggle, CNT-POUM-FAI; we shall never allow the class enemy to destroy workers’ organisations, even when it is a question of our political adversaries. Yesterday we demanded the protection of the POUM; today we protest against those who want to exclude the FAI from the popular tribunals; and tomorrow, with arms in hand, we shall defend the CNT. We have been and we remain partisans of proletarian democracy.
3. We stand for the formation of revolutionary councils of workers, peasants and soldiers. These councils should be democratically elected in each factory, village and company. It must be possible to recall the delegates at any moment if the majority so decide. Councils of this sort were formed during the July days. The true wish of the masses is allowed the freest possible play in them. These councils will have for their task the defence of the conquests of the revolution, the maintenance of public order, and the control of the economy and distribution. Each party will propose its solutions: the masses will decide.
4. We are against the so-called Popular Front Government, which is in reality a government in which the vast majority of the people is not represented. We are against class collaboration because it is a trap for the representatives of the working class. Compromises in such a government lead inevitably to treason. The only solution is to set up everywhere revolutionary councils, to convoke a congress of all the delegates of the councils, and to elect a Central Committee from the delegates of the workers’, soldiers’ and peasants’ councils, which will take in hand the management of the country. In such a revolutionary council there will be no treachery, and it will thus be able to bring the war to a victorious conclusion.
5. Our aim is the complete expropriation of the capitalists. So far the banks have not been touched, and the means of exchange are under the control of the bourgeois government. We categorically reject the ‘municipalisation’ feverishly demanded by the PSUC, which means in reality taking away the enterprises from the syndicates, and putting them under the control of the reactionary government. Our slogan is complete socialisation, and the establishment of a monopoly of foreign trade, under the direction of an economic committee of the revolutionary council.
6. We demand the nationalisation of the land: that is to say the abolition of private landlordism. The usurers shall no longer be able to take the land from the peasants. We stand for the collectivisation of agricultural enterprises only where the peasants consent to it without constraint. Distribution of the land must be made by the peasants’ councils according to the principle: ‘The land for those who work it’.
7. We are of the opinion that only a centralised army under a united command can ensure military victory. But it must be a revolutionary army in which each soldier enjoys political rights, in which the officers are elected and can be recalled by assemblies of soldiers. The same salary for everyone. The united command under control of a Council of War of the Revolutionary Council. In such an army, the enthusiasm of the soldiers and their revolutionary vigilance will counterbalance the lack of material and technique. It will be a victorious army.
8. We stand for the right of national minorities to dispose of themselves, and for the absolute freedom of the people of Morocco, including the right of separation, Morocco for the Moroccans; the moment that this slogan is publicly proclaimed it will foment insurrection among the oppressed masses of Morocco and cause disintegration in the mercenary fascist army. We stand for a Federation of Socialist Republics, because this corresponds best to the interests of the working class. It must be constituted without constraint by the free and fraternal unification of all the workers.
9. We fight the Stalinist bureaucracy which pretends to construct ‘socialism’ in Russia while sabotaging the socialist revolution in Spain and throughout the entire world. Our final aim is the world revolution and the establishment of socialism over the whole world, which is the only guarantee against the usurpation of the proletarian conquests by a bureaucratic layer like that of the Soviet Union. We are against non-intervention as practised by the Peoples’ Commissars of the Third International and by the bourgeois ministers of the Second International. We demand the revolutionary, intervention of the proletariat and the transformation of the Spanish revolution into European revolution.
10. The old organisations have led us into an impasse. Deeply convinced that victory against the fascist barbarians and the whole capitalist class depends entirely upon capable leadership, we shall concentrate our efforts on the creation during the struggle of a new revolutionary party, to be equal to that task. Its granite base will be the programme of scientific socialism, laid down by Marx and Engels, and continued by Lenin and Trotsky. Before the disgraceful treason of the Second and Third, Internationals we shall bring together again all consistent revolutionaries in the new, the Fourth International, which will be the world party of social revolution. Beneath its unsullied banner socialism will triumph! Comrades! We know that our first task is to put Franco’s bands to rout. But you, like us, know that military victory is inseparable from the social revolution. Openly and without manoeuvres we fight against a policy which seems to us disastrous. The deepening of the social revolution, far from weakening the united front in the trenches, will strengthen the fighting spirit of our militias. We wish to revive the spirit of July 1936.
With the enthusiasm of those days and the arms and experience of today, we shall celebrate July 1936 in a socialist Spain free from the capitalist yoke.
To all revolutionaries who feel that they are approaching us, we appeal; come and join our ranks! In friendly discussion we shall clear up points of disagreement and, united in struggle, we shall put to rout our common enemy!
Barcelona, 19 July 1937
Bolshevik-Leninist Section of Spain
The Spanish Left in its Own Words
Last updated on 30.12.2002