The Part Played by the Anarchists and Syndicalists in the Spanish Revolution, October 1934.
This report has not been written with the intention of allocating the blame for the failure of the October revolution, but to make clear to the International the equivocal position of syndicalist and anarchist elements in regard to the rising and the preparations for it.
Since its foundation at the beginning of this century, the Lerroux Party, which called itself Republican Radical, has had friendly relations with the Anarchists. Alejandro Lerroux' political career began with the defence of the Anarchists who were imprisoned in the Montjuich fortress near Barcelona, and the most prominent of his colleagues in the Radical Party had been anarchists in their youth, for example, Guerra del Rio, Martinez Barrio, the brothers Ulled, Emiliano Iglesias, to mention only the best-known. Many of them had, like Lerroux, defended the anarchists, who had thus been provided with a definite point of support within the Radical Party, particularly in their fight against the Socialist Party and the National Trade Union Centre (UGT). But the activities of the syndicalists and anarchists since the foundation of the republic are most deserving of attention.
It is undesirable that our views on syndicalism and anarchism should be made known outside Spain.
The Spanish Anarchist Federation (Federacion anarquista iberica, FAI) consists of small groups of anarchists who are scattered over the whole of Spain and number altogether from 8,000 to 10,000. Among these are many anti-social elements without a trade, who are not used to steady wage-earning employment and whose means of subsistence is not known but is thought to be dishonest. Another section consists of idealists who take the standpoint of Bakunin, but who are not active, and finally there are the active elements who are in control and have often carried on their murderous work by means of the bomb and pistol. Up till recently the "Confederacion nacional del Trabajo", which consists of individual Trade Unions, was under the control of sympathisers with the FAI who however did not submit to its leadership.
The FAI then expelled the "moderate" anarcho-syndicalists, as we shall call them, and got control of the CNT, which had little organic power, although it still enjoyed considerable influence over the workers in Barcelona, Saragossa, and in parts of Galicia and Andalucia.
It is asserted that the CNT has more than a million members, but it is impossible to check this figure, for, as has been mentioned, this organisation is a very loose one and sympathisers are included in this figure of a million.
The CNT and the FAI took no direct part in founding the Republic because of the mistrust of the Socialists.
As far back as before the founding of the republic, the anarchists often wisely exercised the better part of valour in refraining from action as long as a reactionary government, which deprived the workers of all their rights and liberties, was in power, only taking up an offensive position when a liberal government took the helm. For example, in the four years of Primo de Rivera's dictatorship, they took no action at all, but as soon as the Republic was set up, they started with strikes and incitement of the workers to prepare for the social revolution. In conjunction with the Right, they accentuated their campaign of vilification of the Republican government and directed it particularly against the Socialist Party and the Trade Union Centre. Many risings occurred in the early period of the Republic; particular mention should be made of a rising which broke out in many parts of Spain in January 1933. The Republican Government had to suppress