Encyclopedia of Trotskyism On-Line: Revolutionary History


In accordance with a decision we took some months ago, this second issue of our magazine is devoted to a single theme: the history of the Spanish Civil War. In spite of the attempts of Communist Party apologists to draw a distinction between purges, torture and show trials on the one side and the Popular Front policy on the other, the evidence of the time is clearly against them. Nowhere is it more evident than in Spain that the defence of (capitalist) ‘democracy’ against an insurgent working class involves the use of intrigue and terror against its institutions and the slaughter of its finest militants.

The evidence collected here plainly shows the direction, stages and scale of this operation-how it began with political blackmail and moved through provocation to full-scale state repression and finally to torture, assassination and a thinly disguised police state.

The Stalinists have not yet extended glasnost to Spain, and the exact fate of many of those thus disposed of by the GPU is still not known, but there is a strong suspicion that the most notable victims were transported back to the USSR to be dealt with at the highest level of the state apparatus. But in the meantime the conflict between domestic and Russian patriotism has consigned some of those responsible to a well-merited obscurity – Santiago Carrillo himself to a small sect and Bill Alexander, veteran International Brigade leader, to expulsion from the increasingly middle class CPGB.

There is an important debate still taking place among historians about the precise meaning of the events in Spain. We publish this issue of our journal as a necessary contribution to this debate.

In the publicity material that preceded the appearance of our magazine, subscribers will recall that we promised our readers 32 pages but in the end gave only 28. We have attempted to make good this shortfall by increasing the number of pages in this issue. We hope that you will agree with us that the value of the items we offer more than compensates for the shortcomings of our first efforts. But the additional expense has by no means been light and we welcome with more than ordinary warmth any donations sent.

Revolutionary History

Updated by ETOL: 1.7.2003