Comrade W.G.Spiekman Amsterdam
I am glad to reply to your letter of the 9th inst. I guess what you want to know, and I will give you a short report on the situation.
On 4 October a revolutionary general strike was embarked upon as a protest against the inclusion in the Government of three ministers belonging to the CEDA (a reactionary party of catholic fascist tendencies, on Dollfuss lines). The movement was only weakly supported in the greater part of the country, on account of its lack of organisation. Too much confidence was reposed in the automatic action of the working class masses. Although they have had, and still have, unsuspected and enormous revolutionary vigour, they needed preparation and revolutionary organisation, and above all arms. So it happened that in the greater part of Spain the proletariat hardly moved, for lack of guidance and direction (many leaders of all parties and all tendencies undoubtedly betrayed the movement); and within a few hours, in some cases, and two or three days in others, the working class masses returned to work, completely abandoned, without guidance and without control.
Everything was concentrated in Madrid, Asturias and Catalonia. In Madrid the movement was confined to keeping the strike going, with an occasional violent episode or other, but the mass of the workers was very badly armed and worse led (it was not possible to arm more than 14 per cent of the workers), so that it was necessary to concentrate on keeping up the stoppage, which was maintained with absolute unanimity for eight days, until the order to return to work was given. It was barely possible to arm 400 workers, and that very badly, and they had to face up to 13,000 men of the public forces (Guardia de Asalto, Guardia de Seguridad, Guardia Civil and Police). Under these conditions it was not possible for the insurrection to be successful. If there had been an adequate supply of arms the movement would have been a complete success, as the mass of the workers was prepared for anything, and during the first four days the Government and the public forces were demoralized.
In Barcelona on the first day the Generalitat (the Government of Autonomous Catalonia, constituted by petty bourgeois