PRIVATE AND CONFIDENTIAL.
August 27, 1936
NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LABOUR.
LABOUR AND FASCISM.
The military rebellion in Spain which has raged with increasing fury for the last six weeks emphasises once more the grave dangers arising from the growth of Fascism. Organised Labour pays homage to the steadfast courage and sacrifice of the Spanish people, who have cemented with their blood the foundations of liberty and democracy.
The struggle has been brought about by Spanish officers who have broken an oath of loyalty to the Republican Government which they had recently renewed, have seduced Spanish soldiers from their duty, and have organised an invasion of their own country by foreign mercenary troops. The workers, peasants and youth of Spain, unarmed, unorganised for warfare, have rallied to the defence of the people's rights with a bravery, unanimity and energy without parallel in the history of popular revolutions. Events have shown that the spirit of the Spanish nation cannot be broken by any dictator.
Spain's agony is in the sequence of the convulsion of violence, bloodshed and terror which have marked the destruction of free citzenship in Italy, Germany, Austria, Portugal, and other European countries. Fascism stands revealed again as the deadliest enemy of mankind. It is much more than a reactionary movement in politics; it aims at the complete dictatorship of capital over the wage-earning class. It therefore aims at the abolition of parliamentary government, of democratic party organisations, free elections, and free discussion of public questions.
Fascism has wiped out, in the countries it controls, the independent, legally-constituted Trade Unions which have resisted such dictatorship in the past. Trade Union funds have been misapplied by Fascist functionaries. The system of regulating conditions of employment by collective bargaining and voluntary agreements has been rooted up. Wages have been driven down to the level of bare subsistence. Hours of labour have been lengthened. Compulsory labour for many State purposes has been exacted, especially from the youth of these countries, under conditions exactly similar to the system of forced labour in mediaeval times.
Not only are the hard-won rights of democracy, and the workers' safeguards in industry, destroyed by Fascism: it is destructive also of the peace of nations. Evidence has accumulated of Fascist intrigues in many countries, leading to disorder, racial persecution, defiance of law, brutal violence at public meetings, incitements to lawlessness and appeals to class hatred by corrupt newspapers. Fascism has made use of these methods in those countries in order to create the situation in which fascist terrorism and dictatorship can replace the police powers of established