Confidential Information for Members of the Executive about the Situation in Spain
PRECIS OF COMMUNICATIONS RECEIVED FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT IN MADRID
The first manifesto of the IFTU was received and submitted to the comrades of the Spanish National Trade Union Centre (UGT): and we think it had a very good effect. Everything in Madrid has been at a standstill for three days; a few trams driven by soldiers constitute the entire traffic. A state of siege was proclaimed yesterday evening. But, in spite of this, a terrible amount of shooting has been going on from nine o'clock last night until four this morning. There must by now be many dead and wounded, although no one is allowed to enter the hospitals or visit the sick.
It is impossible to find out exactly what is happening in the rest of Spain, as the only papers which are being published are two Fascist ones. There is a fierce fight in the Asturias. Apparently many police have been killed. The fight started in the night of Friday. In the morning, no one was working, or rather work ceased as soon as the pre-Fascist government had been formed by the robber and traitor Lerroux. Many comrades thought right up to the last minute that the President of the Republic would have avoided the war, but he deceived everyone with his fine words about the constitution and the republic, in which he himself did not believe at all. One day the veil must be stripped from Zamora, to show him as he really is, such a liar as is rarely found, arrogant and supported by a gang of assassins and forgers.
We have lost all contact with our friends. The number of comrades who have been arrested is very high, as is that of the victims. Such repression has never been seen before. As soon as night fell, the soldiers started shooting with artillery and rifles. They opened fire on anyone who was walking rather fast. In spite of everything, Lerroux and his people will not long be able to maintain their position. The masses here are against him, the great mass of the workers and also a great part of the middle classes and even the liberal bourgeois are all opposed to him. A campaign against Lerroux's people carried on abroad would be of great service. The Vatican must bear a great part of the blame for not bothering about anything except its Concordat.
I was not a convinced revolutionary. I had foreseen what is happening now, but the revolutionary psychology of the mass of the workers pushed on onwards. We have had to watch things happening which nothing in the world could have prevented. And to-day, after what has just occurred, I am more than ever convinced that the revolution has only just started. Since the elections in November, 1933, democracy has been nothing but a sham (systematic persecution of the Socialist press, all social laws violated and trodden under foot, the most shameful nepotism in the ministries, etc.). Within the space of a year, unemployment has increased by 170,000, and there is no unemployment relief here, so that it is easy to understand the state of mind of the mass of the workers. The strike was the reply to provocation, but it failed through lack of direction. Many mistakes have been made, but the present moment is not the time for criticism; we must act with energy to save those comrades who are in prison. Before the strike there were 12,000, now there are perhaps 50,000 in the whole of Spain. In Madrid alone they