Spain and the World. Vol. 1, no. 14
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SPAIN AND THE WORLD VOLUME 1, NUMBER 14. JUNE 11th, 1937. PRICE 2d. - U.S.A. 5 CENTS. Patriotism is an artificial and unreasonable sentiment. It is the cause of the worst evils that torment mankind. —Tolstoi. Barcelona After The Rising (By Our Correspondent In Barcelona) WHEN I arrived in Barcelona, order was already re-established. The town had recoverd its usual gaiety. Nevertheless the barricades still stood in the central district, the mattresses left in windows bore witness to the fierce struggles that had recently taken place. Everywhere in the streets were the uniforms of troops newly arrived in Barcelona. Black flags are still as numerous; they look a little faded, having waved in the breeze since July, but beside them is seen a large number of Red, yellow and purple flags of the generalitat new ones, they had just been brought out for the first victory. Fewer militia men with fancy caps with bobbles and F.A.I. in big letters. So I no longer find that unbounded confidence among our comrades that inspired them when I was in Barcelona in October. At that time the military situation was bad, munitions, arms, were scarce, but there was certainty of victory and the Revolution would triumph. Now there is still hope of beating Franco, but many think the Revolution has miscarried. The days which have just passed have been full of such horrors that our comrades are still stunned and disheartened by them. Stunned at seeing workers like those of the U.G.T. furiously opposing those of the C.N.T.. At seeing two youths killed, one for wearing Durruti's picture on his hat and the other for trying to defend his friend. Discouraged at being treated as counter revolutionaries when they had renounced so many principles, and had remained silent in face of so much provocation, to preserve unity. NO ATTACKS ON EITHER SIDE I got the comrades who took part in the fighting to tell me facts, each told me what had happened on the barricades in his own area, for communication had been impossible. The adversaries were entrenched in their positions and there were no attacks on either side. The course of events is known. Monday, May 3rd, at 2.30 p.m. some assault guards under orders from Valencia, tried to occupy the Central Telephone Building, they succeeded in taking the 2nd storey, but by that time our comrades had organised their defences and were successfully resisting. To disperse the crowd which had collected in front of the Telephonica. the assault guards threw several bombs. Some members of the Libertarian youth went back to their locals and gave the alarm. Elsewhere the P.S.U.C. and some of the guards began to disarm and shoot our comrades. It was then the F.A.I. gave orders to go down to the street, the C.N.T. did not give this order to the syndicate. The struggle continued terrible until Thursday. During Wednesday night the C.N.T. had already given orders to return to work, and thus promised a fairly calm day. The transport services were again working by the communists, and police of the Estat Catala surrounded the passengers and continued to fire occasional shots, so that at midday the fighting was again general. The following day, having obtained guarantees from Galarza that the troops coming from Valencia would not enter Barcelona before 9 o'clock, the C.N.T. again gave orders to return to work. The Anarchists' comrades carried out the order given, although if they had fought on for a few hours more everything would have been in their hands. But why did the C.N.T. so insist on ceasing fire? Doubtless it was afraid of playing into the communists' hands by continuing the struggle. They indeed would have starved Barcelona out, compromised the war and asked for intervention from France and England, rather than allow the anarchists to completely dominate Catalonia. The attitude of the western democracies to Libertarian Catalonia is easy to guess from articles in the Left Press—English as well as French. Everywhere a violent campaign was launched against the anarchists. "L'Oeuvre" spoke of a revision of treaties and of non-intervention. Let us now try to apportion the responsibility! The provocation came from the Valencian government. It was they who sent the Police Force to seize the Central Telephone Building and the government of the Generalitat gave it support. The U.G.T. which fought our comrades at the Telephone building, built barricades behind which, they tore up the membership cards of the C.N.T. and even shot the bearers of these cards. Their complicity in the assassination of Berneri and Barbieri is clear. It was they who threatened to shoot them down from the house opposite which belonged to them, if they dared come out. It was U.G.T. troopers who came to arrest them and the next day to reassure Barbieri's wife, telling her that Barbieri and Berneri had been liberated when they were found a few hours later at the clinic hospital. The complicity of the U.G.T. distresses us deeply, but does not surprise us, for we know that it always repulsed the advances of the C.N.T. Besides it was under the influence, especially in Barcelona, of the communists, and it now harbours in its bosom a large number of small bourgeois who have formed themselves into a syndicate for greater safety. THE ANARCHISTS' MISTAKES How is it that the anarchists who held everything after July 19th, have been almost pushed into the background? Doubtless it is partly their own fault, they should have taken a more vigorous stand and not let themselves be intimidated by the fact that they had some Ministers in the Government. These Ministers should have insisted in the dissolution of the assault guards and the cleaning up of the rear guards of the 5th column which during recent events, has ranged itself beside the communists against the Anarchists. They should have insisted on the dismissal of such ministers as Prieto and such police chiefs as Galarza. The communists saw their popularity increase from the day Russia sent arms, but instead of enthusiastic articles the Anarchist press should have made the people understand that if Russia sent arms, she was being well paid for them, and besides it was to be able at the right time to put her hand on internal politics in Spain. In short, it must not be forgotten that if we see the F.A.I. and C.N.T. weakened to-day, it is because they have had the greatest number of casualties during the long months of war. Armies were not sent to the Aragon front but our comrades went under fire in spite of that, without arms and paid dearly for their sacrifices. It is owing to their good faith, their respect for life and the liberty of others, that the anarchists find themselves in their present position in Spain. They will Triumph nevertheless! The Spanish People, All will fight Fascism! "The Social Revolution will not be made by the Capitalist State Machine" - FENNER BROCKWAY [At the Conway Hall Meeting) " . . . THE Chairman has mentioned tonight that the Anarchists and the I.L.P. did not agree in all respects. We are Marxists and the Anarchists are not. But we agree at least in this respect — that the Social Revolution will not be made by the Capitalist State machine, the workers must form their own organizations which must be the instrument of government when the Social Revolution takes place, and when during the course of the development in Barcelona power was transferred from the Economic Council of the Workers and the Military Council of the workers to the Capitalist State machine, at that moment the beginning of the counter-revolution took place in Catalonia. The next important development in the affairs in Barcelona arose when after three months, Soviet Russia decided to provide arms for Spain. I have heard from a member of the Catalonian Government at that moment the conditions which Soviet Russia, through the Spanish Communist Party, laid down. They were, first, that the Workers' Party of Marxist Unity should be excluded from the Government. Secondly, that the transference of military control should pass from the workers' militia and the workers' organizations to the State War Office; and thirdly, that the fight against Fascism should be separated from the Revolution; that its object should be not the social revolution but the defence of the Democratic Republic. I heard someone whisper "shame," but I think it is important that it should be clearly understood that these demands of the Russian Government are a logical sequence of the present foreign policy of the Russian Government. SOCIAL REVOLUTIONS AGAINST RUSSIAN POLICY Socialists in other countries must wake up to this fact — that Soviet Russia will not assist a social revolution in any single country of the world which will impede an alliance by Soviet Russia with other governments of the world democratic capitalist governments against Fascist Germany, and that the whole interpretation of Russian policy in Spain or elsewhere turns round that policy. A social revolution in Spain would deter Britain from becoming an ally of Russia. Therefore, there must be no Social revolution in Spain — and therefore the only development which we are prepared to support in Spain is the development of the retention of a Democratic Republic. When Russia made those demands upon the Catalonian Government they were at first resisted by the CNT/FAI. Finally it was agreed that the POUM should be excluded. The Communist Party was also excluded but through the U.G.T. the Communist members of the government remained. The CNT/FAI successfully resisted at that moment the demand for the ending of the workers' militia and the demands for the separation of the war from the Revolution. But when that stage had been reached, immediately the Communist Party began to prepare the psychology which would enable it to go further. It made a series of attacks upon the POUM of a character which it is almost impossible to define. They were the Fifth Column of General Franco! — despite the fact that on July 19th, side by side with the comrades of the CNT/FAI they had fought and fallen in the streets; despite the fact that their leader had deliberately gone into Fascist territory to raise a rebellion, had been caught and shot; despite the fact that thousands of them were at the front and hundreds of them had been killed. A report that on the field of battle they had deliberately and treacherously retired in order that a Fascist victory might take place; that they had been engaged in a conspiracy to assassinate Largo Caballero, then the idol of the Communist Party but since fallen into disgrace. Not one single fact, not one item of evidence was ever produced to substantiate these charges. But the necessary psychology had been prepared, then step by step action began to withdraw the rights which the workers had won. Workers' Councils suppressed; workers' committees in the factories and in the workshops obstructed; State officials put in charge. The workers militia to be suppressed. The workers' police to be suppressed and finally the demand that the workers should give up their arms. ..." SUPPORT "SPAIN and the WORLD" by sending your subscription! 13 issues 2/6, U.S.A. $0.60 post paid 26 " 4/6, U.S.A. $1.00 " "
|Archive collection||Publications from the archive of Henry Sara and Frank Maitland|
|Archive folder||Journal of the Anarcho-Syndicalist Union : Spain and the World|
|Document title||Spain and the World. Vol. 1, no. 14|
|Issuing organisation||Anarcho-Syndicalist-Union (Shepherd's Bush (London, England))|
|Author||Brockway, Fenner, 1888-1988|
|Document date||11 June 1937|
|Copyright status||Copyright expired. With the exception of the article by Augustin Souchy: current copyright holder unknown.|
|Contributors||Goldman, Emma, 1869-1940 ; Souchy, Agustín, 1892-|