Chapter 18: Exported slogans and practices


Exported slogans and practices

We have already said elsewhere in this book that the CNT pressured the International Workingmen’s Association to accept the “circumstantial” governmental operational practices tested in Spain and to transmit them to the rest of the international workers movement.

We possess perfect proof of what we are claiming in the resolution approved by the IWA at the Extraordinary Congress held in December 1937, insofar as it called for “unity of action” with the reformist international in order to jointly adopt measures of defense in favor of the Spanish people.

Fortunately, the initiative—“transcending all the ideological differences that separate our movement from the International of the reformist trade unions” according to the Secretariat of the IWA—experienced the most resounding fiasco because the reformists refused to comply with the requested unity program, but the ridicule that consequently attached to the IWA, thanks to the obvious pressure of the CNT, is worth noting.

Another slogan that was supposed to be translated into practice, at the insistence of the CNT, was that of “unifying the efforts” of the FOR of Argentina with the FACA, a specificist institution whose members are declared enemies of the FORist workers movement and who are active in the trade unions of the yellow trade union federation of Argentina, the CGT, and in the independent trade unions, instilling them with the anti-FORist orientation wherever they attain prominence.

Also, in Montevideo, some anarchists who have withdrawn from militant activity—perhaps with sincerity and in good faith, we shall not presume to judge them—initiated negotiations to unify the FORU with the group of anarcho-dictators who organized and still call themselves the Unión Sindical Uruguaya, negotiations that did not succeed because it was understood that those who split from the mother entity of the Uruguayan proletariat do not identify with the practices and goals of the FORist movement.

But that is now a thing of the past. What remains is the disseminating of frankly authoritarian slogans and practices throughout the World of Labor, a crop that is now ripe for harvest. It was logical to assume that the “ministerialists” of the CNT and the FAI would have to find, in addition to enthusiastic panegyrists, many advanced disciples ready to honor or even surpass their masters and to prescribe as infallible the “anti-fascist” panaceas that were tested with so much tenacity and stubbornness by their “ministerialist” masters, and the text that we shall now read, from El Andamio, of Chile, proves what we said above.

Mariano Vázquez claimed that we must not “bury ourselves in dogmatism” and that we should “operate in every country, in accordance with the circumstances, psychology, possibilities and characteristics”. But his words were not heeded, and the cenetista and faísta modes of operation tend to be generalized, and to be translated into the local idiom. In any event, opportunism has long practice them.

Let us see what Juan Pinto D. says in his recent article that appeared in El Andamio on May 26, 1939:

“DISCIPLINE IN THE LIBERTARIAN MOVEMENT. The various theories and doctrines that seek to solve the economic, political and social problems that are affecting humanity have over the last few years undergone such profound changes of position that in some cases—the Bolshevik movement—they have signified an overwhelming negation of their past. The libertarian movement—anarchosyndicalist and anarchist—has also felt the effects of the confrontation with reality. Spain has been the scene of experimentation where the FAI and the CNT found themselves facing the unavoidable necessity of going beyond sacred principles once held to be invariable. It is clear that the position of these institutions has been criticized by a minority of militants and supported by a majority.

“So: we do not want to engage in an in-depth analysis of the international problem, we shall restrict our attention to our own problems.

“In Chile there have been several libertarian federations; these have organized heterogeneous masses and small groups of militants, their revolutionary activity has been restricted to sporadic actions that have not benefited from a process of preparation and training of their own forces.

“Their interventions, then, in the political and social affairs of the country have not influenced the broader course of events. They have not been influential nor do I think they will have an impact in the future if they continue to operate in the same way they have for the last fifteen years. The revolutionary process is complex and requires the intervention of the militants not only on the restricted plane upon which the trade union operates, but in every aspect that is presented.

“A revolutionary movement that wants to have a decisive impact on events, needs a specific organization that has support throughout the entire country, one that presents a single face, which has DISCIPLINE, and above all one that is not afraid of words and the NEW MODALITIES, especially the ones that represented such an innovation in Spain.

“A specific organization. The political apparatus of the revolution; this is the overwhelming necessity in our movement and to satisfy it we must mobilize the enthusiasm of all those who do not want to see the emancipatory hope of humanity symbolized in the anarchosyndicalist movement disappear.”