After the Rising in Spain
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NATIONAL COUNCIL OF LABOUR AFTER THE RISING IN SPAIN By VINCENT AURIOL Socialist Member of the French Chamber of Deputies. A VISIT TO LARGO CABALLERO IN PRISON Spanish friends estimate that the number of Socialists and Trade Unionists at present in prison is between 25,000 and 30,000. Wholesale arrests have been made. In Andalusia, where the workers did not rise because they had been exhausted by a recent strike, the Government incarcerated our members simply because they are Socialists. In effect, there is a general charge of conspiracy against the Socialist Party and the General Union of Workers. There is one group of quiet villages, where there are more than 500 prisoners. The big trial concerns responsible members of the Executive, and especially Largo Caballero, General Secretary of the General Union of Workers and Chairman of the Socialist Party; Enrique de Francisco, Secretary of the Party; Pascual Tomas, Secretary of the Metal Workers' Union and member of the Executive of the Party and of the General Union of Workers; Wenceslao Carrillo, substitute member of the Executive of the International; and Ogier Preteceille, a member of the editorial staff of "El Socialista" and correspondent of "L'Europe Nouvelle." Others who are in prison include Comrades De Rosa, Manuel Cordero, substitute member of the Executive of the International, and Cabrero. Comrade Anastasio de Gracia, Chairman of the General Union of Workers, has been twice arrested and twice released. He is at liberty to-day with F. Azorin, De los Rios, Saborit, Besteiro, Enrique Santiago, etc. Our imprisoned comrades are at the Model Prison where, according to official figures, 1,700 members are detained. Some of the members of the Executive Committee who are at liberty, and some good Socialist friends of long standing, expressed a desire to accompany me on my visit to Caballero and to some of his prison companions. When we entered the room reserved for lawyers, I saw before me in another little room, behind a large, heavily-barred window, five lively and smiling faces. I recognised Caballero, Pascual Tomas, Enrique de Francisco, Wenceslao Carrillo and Ogier Preteceille. They were less upset than I. Covered with a big and heavy Basque beret, with his coat buttoned over a warm pullover, and appearing to suffer from the cold, Caballero gave me his hands through the bars and, with bright and sparkling eyes, showed his pleased surprise. I gave him and his friends the greetings of the International and explained the object of my mission. "Tell the International," he replied, "That the Party is not affected, and that it has nothing to fear. Nothing can legally be done against it. The workers' forces remain intact. From the news which has reached us from every quarter it appears that the Trade Unions are rapidly re-forming. This is the case with the Metal Workers' Union, which is absolutely intact. The men who have fallen or who are in prison have already been replaced in the leading positions by other men. Except in Asturias, in regard to which we have received little information, the political and Trade Union organisation of the workers is as strong as ever. Neither our faith, nor our hopes, have been imprisoned. "Our permanent enemies," continued Caballero, "are attempting to disorganise and destroy the Party. But there is nothing against us, no proof, no document. Not the slightest charge can be upheld against any of us. "It is true that for a long time past, for more than a year, we had warned the workers and the real Republicans. We showed them the approaching dangers of Fascism. We told them that one day the road would have to be closed to Fascism in order to save the Republic which was founded by our efforts and sacrifices. Every day we pointed out the development of the evil. "We carried on our campaign and gave salutary warnings publicly. People's minds were prepared. It was Lerroux' provocation, in raising enemies of the Republic to power, which started the insurrection.
|Archive collection||Archives of the Trades Union Congress|
|Archive folder||Spain : Political Situation 1934|
|Document title||After the Rising in Spain|
|Issuing organisation||National Council of Labour (Great Britain)|
|Author||Auriol, Vincent, 1884-1966|
|Document date||22 December 1934|
|Copyright status||Current copyright holder unknown.|