Chapter 24: Sterile sacrifices

24

Sterile sacrifices

It is not our intention to exalt to the heavens the actions of courage and heroism carried out by the anonymous militiamen of the Spanish people and especially, the actions of the anarchists during the epic assaults against the reactionary forces of Franco, reinforced by the “volunteers” sent by the totalitarian States and Portugal, because this would only serve to bolster the war fever that was inoculated clumsily and with irresponsible stubbornness by the supermen of the CNT and the FAI into the ranks of the “anti-fascist” combatants.

There have already been many books published by writers of acknowledged intellectual prestige, and many more are on the way—with the visible signs of having surrendered to the dictates of profit—that contain a chronological and exuberant description of this disagreeable and heartrending aspect of the Spanish problem, and most of them are narratives, saccharine and sentimental, instead of polemical or critical works.

Despite this circumstance, it is our duty to sincerely render a just homage to record the valiant and self-sacrificing conduct of so many hundreds of thousands of anarchist militants who, led by their rebel spirit and spurred on by the noble and compassionate ideal of redemption that they expressed by their words and which beats in their proletarian hearts, faced the emissaries of Mars with bared breasts, in order to offer up their lives in sacrifice for the emancipation of the human species.

In the assaults on the Montana Barracks in Madrid and on the Atarazanas Barracks in Barcelona, at the international bridge in Irún, in San Sebastián, in the siege of Alcázar in Toledo, on the parapets of the Ciudad Universitaria, in Guadalajara, in the reconquest of Teruel, Belchite and Quinto, in the mountains of Asturias, in Gijón and Oviedo, in the generous deeds of the “suicide” battalions, in the epic resistance of Puigcerdá and finally, in all the regions of Spain, falling silent forever, cut down by the mercenaries’ machine guns, many good and valiant anarchist comrades died.

Our sense of honor also obliges us to acknowledge the enormous sacrifices and countless sufferings undergone by children, women and the elderly, who had to endure—during the dreadful inferno that thirty months of a harsh conflict meant for them—the shocking aerial bombardments, the roar of artillery and the lamentable scenes of pillage, arson and destruction that the viciousness and barbarism that possessed the hordes of Moors, Carlists, Nazis and fascists inflicted on them. We empathize with the pain of these innocent victims of the war in order to anathemize those who, out of crude ambitions for power, rapine and exploitation, unleashed, participated in and prolonged this crime against humanity, this hurricane of passions, which raged with an infernal fury, with hatred and the urge for vengeance.

However, with the same sincerity with which we render homage to the memory of the comrades immolated in that tragic conflict and as much as we are horrified by the Dantesque vision of the scenes of suffering, the vicissitudes of the struggle and massacres that the Spanish people experienced, we must also affirm that all those titanic efforts, the indelible deeds of heroism carried out by the anarchists, the lives that were lost, the via crucis endured by the elderly, women and children and, as a final sorrow, the heartrending tragedy experienced in the concentration camps of France, were all completely fruitless and sterile for the noble cause of emancipation of the Spanish people, because when the latter awakened from their torpor, clenched their fists and surged into the streets for revolutionary action, ready to destroy a regime of opprobrium and tyranny, they found themselves surrounded by traitors to the anarchist ideal and politicians, profiteers and reactionaries, who instead of crying, “Forward!”, assumed the task of pacifying the holy rebellion of the vengeful crowds and corralled them in the enclosure of treason with the accursed tentacles of political chicanery and authoritarianism.