An analysis of the end of the Salazar and Franco regimes and the transition crises that marked " the last major working class upsurges in the West in the era of the big factory".
Queequeg Publications PO Box 441597 West Somerville MA 02144
ISBN 0-970-03080- 0
PART ONE: CLASS STRUGGLE AND THE MODERNIZATION OF CAPITAL IN PORTUGAL, 1974-1975
Preface: 1975 and the End of the Era of the "Progressive" State Civil Servant p.4
1. The Beginning of a New Era of Global Revolution p. 14
2. Archaic Corporatism and Its Modern Protagonists p. 16
3. Historical Development of Salazarism, 1945-74 p. 21
4. Dissolution of Salazarist Hegemony and Left-Wing Regroupment, 1961- 74 p. 25
5. The Revolution of Illusions p. 27
6. The International Impasse of Stalinism p. 30
7. The Nature of the MFA and Its Factional Situation p.37
8. The Demise of Spinola p. 40
9. Neo-Corporatist Restructuring or Socialist Revolution: Autogestao vs. Soviets p. 43
10. Three Documents Against the Revolution p. 46
11. The Fall of Vasco Goncalves and the PCP p. 48
12. The Left, the Extreme Left and the Political Crisis of the MFA p. 50
13. The Denouement of the Revolutionary Crisis p. 54
14. In the Aftermath of Nov. 25 p. 58
15. Assessment and Limits of the Revolutionary Crisis p. 60
16. Generality and Specificity in the Constitution of the Class-for-Itself p. 62
PART TWO: FORMAL AND REAL DOMINATION OF CAPITAL IN SPANISH WORKING-CLASS HISTORY; FROM CLANDESTINE CORPORATISM TO THE MONCLOA PACTS, 1939-1977
I. Introduction p. 67
II The Suppressed Past: Proto-Renaissance Bourgeois Culture and Its Extension in the Millenarian Dimension of Spanish Working-Class History p. 72
III. The Subterranean Relationship Between Spanish and Russian Working-Class History p. 76
IV. Formal and Real Domination of Capital In Spanish Economic Development p.84
V. Anarcho-Syndicalism and the Transition to the Real Domination of Capital in Spanish Working-Class History p. 90
VI. The Drift to Clandestine Corporatism: the Road to Moncloa, 1939-1977 p.97
VII: Conclusion: Toward a Non-Statist Working-Class Realignment? p. 107
Preface: 1975 and the End of the Era of the "Progressive" State Civil Servant
Who, today, cares about the mid-1970's transitions in Portugal and Spain? And why, in the year 2000, publish two texts, each written shortly after the events they describe, that is (in terms of the practical demands of the new "globalized" conjuncture) in what seem like antediluvian times, and moreover with little revision or attention to subsequent developments? The text on Portugal (1976) was written as an immediate contribution to revolutionary strategy and tactics, with a wildly over-optimistic assessment of impending working-class prospects, at least in southern Europe. The text on Spain (1983) was written just after Felipe Gonzalez and the PSOE took power with an absolute parliamentary majority, in the flush of the "Euro-socialist Renaissance" (Mitterand in France, Papandreou in Greece); over the next 13 years, it often seemed they had done so with the express purpose of demonstrating -- once again -- the inanity of the (mainly Trotskyist) characterization of contemporary Social Democracies as "workers' parties".
The text on Portugal, rather foolishly, calls the events of 1974-75, (at the very onset of the longest period of rollback in international working-class history), the "beginning of a new era of global revolution". The formulation was, to be fair, half right. It was the beginning of a new era. The end of the Salazar and Franco regimes on the Iberian peninsula was, in fact, a key moment in the beginning of a period in which literally dozens of dictatorships disappeared, a period in which the soft cop took over from the tough cop, and democracy, world-wide, sold austerity. Jeffrey Sachs and the Eastern bloc "dissidents" looked to post-Franco Spain, long before their hour struck in 1989, as the model for the transition out of dictatorship and autarchy, though they will be waiting a while for the kind of massive foreign investment (in the 1960's and early 1970's) which made Spain, for a time, the 10th industrial power in the world. In 1975, most of Latin America was under some form of military dictatorship, and by the end of the "lost decade" of the 1980's, most of these countries as well had had their democratic transition. The IMF teams seemed always to arrive on the same plane with the returning democratic exiles (the former had, of course, hardly been unwelcome with the earlier authoritarian regimes), and Western banks are still pestering Russia about Tsarist-era debts. After Iberia and Latin America, it was the turn of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. In Asia, in the 80's and 90's, Taiwan, South Korea, and even Indonesia saw the end of dictatorships. The individual and collective Ubus of the post-World War II era -- Salazar, Franco, Trujillo, Duvalier, Somoza, the Argentine junta, Pinochet, Stroessner, the Brazilian generals, South African apartheid, Mobutu, Idi Amin, Haile Selassie, Stalin, Ceauscescu, the Shah of Iran, Suharto, Mao, Pol Pot, Chiang kai-shek, Park chung hee -- have mainly disappeared, and slick teams of faceless neo-liberal technicians, chattering about "civil society", have mainly replaced them, including (long ago) in Portugal and Spain.
It is equally important to recall the world political conjuncture of the years 1973-1975, to understand how Portugal, a country of 10 million people, could, for a few months, become the lightning rod of global superpower rivalry. The postwar expansion -- the fastest era of growth, on a world scale, in capitalist history -- was ending, in runaway inflation, the oil crisis, and the deepest world recession since the 1930's. World accumulation was changing gears. Military dictatorship had checkmated the working class in Brazil, Chile and Uruguay (and was about to do so in Argentina), Israel won the Yom Kippur war, and the subsequent quadrupling of oil prices in the fall of 1973 had dealt a body blow to the oil-importing countries of the Third World, accelerating the debt crisis which has only deepened since.
But these realities faded, at least momentarily, into the backdrop of what seemed to be a series of grave setbacks for U.S. world hegemony: the threat of revolution in Portugal and Spain, the humiliating military debacle in Indochina, the imminent triumph of "anti-imperialist" national liberation fronts in the Portuguese ex-colonies (and the impact of that development on apartheid South Africa), the advance of "Euro-communism" in western Europe, and a pro-Soviet coup in Ethiopia and the subsequent crisis in the Horn of Africa. Civil war broke out in Lebanon. The U.S.-backed Greek junta was overthrown, and Greece and Turkey, both members of NATO, threatened to go to war over Cyprus. More diffusely, but also increasing the atmosphere of U.S. disarray in the midst of Watergate, was the emergence of the Third World "Group of 77" at the United Nations, pushing for debt, oil and food relief. Indira Ghandi imposed martial law in India and moved closer to the Soviet camp, and the Shah of Iran, beneficiary of decades of U.S. military aid, lectured the West about its decadent affluence. Nixon capitulated to Congress, Heath fell to the British miners' strike, Willy Brandt fell to the Guillaume spy scandal, and some fifteen other major countries, within a few months, changed governments in what seemed to many as a fatal disarray of Western world hegemony. Everywhere, including Iberia, state bureaucrats, mainly of Stalinist and Third Worldist hue, seemed to be on the march.
By the late 1970's, a sea change had occurred, routing the currents that seemed ascendant only a few years before, perhaps best embodied by the virtual military alliance between the U.S. and China against the Soviet Union and its allies. It was not merely a reversal of the statist trends of the post-World War II period; it was the end of the era of the 1875 Gotha Program of the German SPD, its "people's state" (Volkstaat), and its 20th century progeny, welfare-statist, Stalinist, or Third Worldist. It was, in a word, the end of the era of Ferdinand Lassalle, the (little-remembered) shadow of all "progressive" state bureaucrats of the 20th century. Not only were all the fires of 1975 put out, but the U.S.- centered counter-offensive did not stop short of the liquidation of the Soviet bloc, and an elaborate "engagement" over the terms of China's full-blown entry into the world market. A workers' movement with a heavy dose of clerical nationalism ruined Stalinism in Poland; Islamic fundamentalism replaced "socialism with an Islamic face" as the main form of "anti-imperialism" throughout the Moslem world; the right-wing populist revolt in the Anglo-American world produced Thatcher and Reagan, and 20 years later, the world working class is still attempting to regroup and return to the offensive.
The transition crises in Portugal and Spain were, further, the last major working class upsurges in the West in the era of the big factory. But their history, 25 years later, is also useful as a benchmark from which to better grasp the break represented by the subsequent period. In Portugal, in particular, the "disconnect" between all "working class political parties" and self-appointed vanguards, Social Democratic, Stalinist, Maoist or Trotskyist, and the social movement of the working class (both industrial and agrarian) and peasants was, by the late summer of 1975, total. This was itself was a new phenomenon of the first order. It is hardly the aim of these texts to herald the Iberian transitions as the first expressions of the loathsome "post-modern" ideology of "new social movements" that took hold in the post-1975 world Thermidor. But they do show the crisis of the "political" that opened the door to such ideologies. One must never forget the romance of the New Left middle classes in Berkeley, Paris, Berlin and Milan (and Lisbon and Madrid) in 1968 with Che, Mao, Ho and and countless lesser Third World "anti-imperialist" guerrillas and their bureaucratic-peasant state formations; only then can one fully grasp the depth of disillusionment that set in by 1978 when the front-line "anti-imperialists" -- the Soviet Union, China, Vietnam and Cambodia -- were all about to go to war...with each other.
The mid-1970's upsurges in Portugal and Spain were also the last worker revolts in the West which could be understood, and understood themselves, in terms of what might be called "Eurocentric" Marxism. Such a term, used advisedly, has nothing to do with the stupid idea, widely current today (above all in the U.S.), that because Karl Marx was a "white European male", his thought was necessarily "Eurocentric". Marx's own evolution was complex, and in particular the recent unearthing of the true "late Marx" of his final decade (not the sclerotic "scientific" phantom conjured up by Althusser) who became fascinated with the Russian peasant commune and who studied various "peoples without the state" lays to rest any question of his alleged "Eurocentrism".
The term "Eurocentrism" applies rather to the world hegemony, from 1875 to 1975, of the "Lassallean" "people's state", the national-populist bureaucratic development regime of progressive state civil servants that first consolidated itself in Bismarckian Germany and which was generalized to the world in different welfare statist, Stalinist and Third World nationalist regimes over the next century. It was in the German SPD, which co-evolved with and ultimately integrated itself into the German state, that the work of Marx was first transformed into an ideology of backward development regimes, recapitulating the linear progressive world outlook of the bourgeois Enlightenment of the 18th century, to promote industrialization in largely agrarian societies. These German beginnings were taken over and further refined by the early Russian "Marxists" (whom Marx himself attacked as apologists for capitalism), passed into the origins of Bolshevism, and acquired a world dimension through the triumph and defeat of the Russian Revolution after 1917. From Lassalle to Lenin to Stalin to Mao to Pol Pot there is degeneration, but also continuity.
The following two texts, therefore, are somewhat in contradiction with one another, because I only began to understand the thrust of the preceding paragraph in the early 1980's. There is, so to speak, an "epistemological break" between the Portugal and the Spain texts, which I have not taken the trouble to conceal or correct. This break can be summarized concisely as the reconceptualization of capitalist history, and hence of the workers' movement, in terms of the "extensive" and "intensive" phases of accumulation, based on the famous "Unpublished Sixth Chapter" of vol. 1 of Marx's Capital. When I wrote the text on Portugal, I had only partially broken with certain elements of Trotskyism, inherited from my Schactmanite beginnings, although I was already influenced by Luxemburg, Bordiga, council communism, the Situationists, and the French "neo-Bordigist" (and other) ultra-left currents: Camatte, Barrot-Dauvé, the early Castoriadis, the Negation group, and the International Communist Current. (I was, neverthless, unfortunately largely ignorant at the time of the Portuguese group Contra a Corriente and its newspaper Combate.) I felt (and feel) that the Portugal text suffered little or nothing from its willful bracketing of the question of whether the Soviet Union was a degenerated workers' state, state capitalist, bureaucratic collectivist, simply capitalist (in Bordiga's sense) or, (last but not least), Ticktin's Unnamable Object, none of the above.
The question here is obviously not the evolution of one individual's outlook. Useful as it may be for readers today (particularly those of a later generation who did not live through the period) to see the terms in which these questions were fought out in the mid-1970's, many people encountering this text may consider it odd to find an argument, at the culmination of the Portuguese crisis, for the application, more or less unvarnished, of a close approximation of Trotsky's "united front from below" strategy, aimed at superceding the left wing of the Socialist Party, the base of the Communist Party, and the extreme left groupings into soviet formations independent of, and against, the Armed Forces Movement (MFA) and the state. From a purely empirical viewpoint, had a civil war in fact erupted, these three forces would have found themselves on the same side, although hardly disentangled from the left MFA. Twenty five years later, with the benefit of hindsight and awareness of all that has happened, I still don't think it was a bad perspective for the time. No one in Portugal, to my knowledge, advocated it, because the virtual entirety of the "extreme left" (as the following text shows), including the Mandelite LCI (the most openly "Trotskyist" group active there), was in fact politically aligned with the Carvalho-COPCON wing of the MFA, and never dared openly question the populist demagogy of the "MFA-People" alliance. The only coherent ultra-left group on the scene, Contra a Corriente, which had no such illusions, would undoubtedly have considered such an intervention far too focused on the political sphere and far too "Bolshevik" for their tastes.
I am hardly so presumptuous to think that I, writing from some Olympian heights in the U.S., had the "right answer", "if only" it had been applied. An "answer", i.e. a strategy, no matter how appropriate, that does not emerge from the deep necessities of a real movement, is a meaningless formalism. The fact that such a perspective did not emerge in Portugal is a benchmark from which to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the movement there, nothing more or less. But the complex of questions raised here are, properly reformulated for today, hardly "ancient history". Since the mid-1970's, reality has nowhere tested any revolutionary current in a real mass movement moving rapidly leftward toward confrontation with the state, but that hardly means that such a test, and the strategic questions of how such a current relates to the broader movement, are permanently passé.
What does it means to say that the old schema of Social Democrat- Communist- Trotskyist- ultra-left , as used, in different ways, in the following texts, are rooted in "Eurocentric" Marxism, particularly since, in the mid-1970's, there were Communists, Maoists and Trotskyists throughout the Third World?
What is means is exactly that all these currents, however much they disagreed amonst themselves, were trapped, almost without exception, in a historical "timetable" fixed by, above all, the Russian Revolution, and therefore an "ontology" ultimately anchored in the early German SPD and the Bismarckian state, i.e. an ideology of Enlightened state civil servants industrializing backward sectors of the world economy.
Bordiga said somewhere that "just because one part of the world (by which he meant of course the West-LG) "has arrived at the next-to-the-last-stage does not mean that what goes on elsewhere is of no interest." By this he hardly meant that there was something "new" in China, North Korea, or North Vietnam, which he considered just as capitalist as the Soviet Union. All of these societies (or, by extension, at the extreme limit, Pol Pot's Cambodia in 1975) were on the same "timetable" and in the same "ontology" of completing the bourgeois revolution, and above all the agrarian revolution, within the framework of the nation-state.
The full ramifications of the "epistemological grid" shared by 99% of all would-be revolutionaries in 1975, in Portugal or anywhere else, cannot be dealt with seriously here. But what all such people (myself included) had in common was a belief that the "philosopher's stone" of world history was to be found in the events of the German-Polish-Russian corridor in the decade after World War I, however interpreted by Social Democrats, Stalinists, Trotskyists and ultra-leftists. World revolution had seemed possible then, and, in 1968-1977, world revolution seemed possible again. And perhaps, in both cases, it was in fact possible, within that part of the world then subsumed by capitalism. But almost no one, in the revolutionary milieu of 1975, gave much thought to the possibility that it would fail, as it had failed in 1917-1927, at least in part because capitalism still had large swaths of the world into which to expand, and because (in the latter case) "le capitalisme sauvage" (as the French call it), unbridled capitalism of the "Dickensian" variety, was about to expand into virtually every part of the world ruled in 1975 by "bureaucracy", whether Social Democratic, Stalinist, Maoist or Third World-Bonapartist. Almost no one in the revolutionary milieu in 1975 imagined, or would have considered possible, China growing through the 1990's, with market mechanisms, at 10-11% per year for years on end, South Korea and Taiwan emerging as mature industrial capitalisms, or other fallout from the "Asian miracle", before the crisis of 1997-98, seriously transforming Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, or finally the 1990's emergence of India and China as serious forces in the world software market. One part of the world had come to the next-to-the-last stage, and what happened elsewhere was (in that sense) of no particular interest. Virtually everyone, locked into the historical timetable of the Russian Revolution and therefore the modernizing "ontology" of the early SPD, however explicitly hostile to Social Democratic, Stalinist, or Third World-Bonapartist "bureaucracy", believed this "bureaucracy" to be something "beyond" private capitalism, whereas events after 1975 have shown it to be mainly something "before" private capitalism. A good swath of the extreme left or ultra-left, however anti-Stalinist, and trapped in fatuous variants of the "state capitalist" analysis of the Soviet phenomenon, thought that the Soviet Union held up the mirror, however primitive and distorted, to the future of capitalism as a whole ("the main tendency in capitalism today is toward state capitalism", as was so widely believed at the time) much as Britain had in the 19th century.
The underdeveloped countries accounted for 5% of world manufacture in 1963, and nearly 20% by 1994. Quite understandably, almost everyone in the revolutionary milieu, including myself (particularly in the 1973-75 atmosphere of world crisis) saw world accumulation, as it affected the Third World, much more in terms of what it had been 1963 than anything like what it would actually be in 1994, or later. It was almost universal common coin that the capitalist world market could never develop any part of the Third World, even if (as some believed) autarchic "state capitalism" could.
That, in sum, was the "Eurocentric" dimension of almost all Marxism, in 1975. We know, today, in contrast to all "Lassallean" statisms, that Enlightened state bureaucrats "laying the foundations of socialism" (i.e. developing the productive forces and abolishing pre-capitalist agriculture) are exactly involved in the tasks of capitalism and the bourgeois revolution. No one will ever write again, as Trotsky wrote in 1936, "that socialism confronts capitalism today in tons of steel and concrete", or, more up to date, of silicon chips and genetically-modified foods. Going beyond "Eurocentric" theories of statist modernization, or even the "anti-bureaucratic" soviets and workers' councils that nonetheless accepted the same historical "timetable" and "ontology", means reconnecting with the "material human community" (Gemeinwesen) that Marx sought in his studies of the Russian agrarian commune or of the Iroquois. In sum, we know today that productivism is not communism.
Obviously, I cannot settle the question here whether or not the post-1975 spread of capitalism, particularly in Asia, represents "merely" a long recomposition of the old capitalist deck of cards, as the remaining exponents of "the epoch of imperialist decay" would have it, or is in fact a new phase of real expansion of the world productive forces. I merely refer to that debate as the inevitable framework through which we look back at the last two working-class upsurges that took place when almost no one foresaw such a development. Whatever happens from now on, the Western working class, such as it existed in 1975 or as it exists today, is being "conjugated" with new working classes in different parts of the world that barely existed, or did not exist, 25 years ago. The Soviet bloc has collapsed, the former mass Stalinist parties in the West have shrunk to little more than large sects, and the large Social Democratic parties which benefited from their demise have, in France, Spain, and Italy come and gone from power without eliciting a yawn from any capitalist, anywhere. The capitalist state is still in place, and still consumes 40% or more of GDP, but it is generally much more involved in privatizing than in nationalizing.
Working-class revolution, obviously, was always conceived of in an internationalist framework. But Social Democracy and Stalinism, the two dominant deformations of worker emancipation in the 20th century, were strictly bound by the nation state. No ferment of the kind that occurred in Portugal and Spain in the mid-1970's will ever recur in a situation in which revolutionaries have to think about anything like the "united from from below" as presented in the Portugal text that follows. Social Democracy and Stalinism are dead as forces capable of mobilizing any working class, anywhere. Looking back to the end of the era in which, particularly in the case of Stalinism, they still seemed capable of doing so, allows us to take the measure of the continuities and discontinuities of where we are today.
One final word on the Spanish text. There was no "Winter Palace"-like situation in Spain (in contrast to mootings thereof in the more "classical" Portuguese crisis and quasi-dual power situation, at least in Lisbon). The transition from Franco to Felipe Gonzalez was more protracted and more diffuse, though hardly less explosive than the Portuguese transition. There is not the same "narrative", from early moderate euphoria to a polarized confrontation to defeat and regroupment. For that reason, and to deepen the conceptual formulation of the new world context discussed above, the Spain text, (unlike the Portugal text's nearly exclusive focus on 1974-75) takes a much longer view of the evolution of the Spanish working-class movement.
PART ONE: CLASS STRUGGLE AND THE MODERNIZATION OF CAPITAL IN PORTUGAL, 1974-1975
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
PCP Partido Comunista Portugues (Portuguese Communist Party)
MFA Movimento das Forcas Armadas (Armed Forces Movement)
CIA Central Intelligence Agency
MPLA Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola
PAICG Independence Party of Guinea and Cape Verde
FRELIMO Frente de Liberacao de Mozambique
OECD Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development
PSP Partido Socialista Portugues
CDS Centro Democratico Social
TAP Transportes Aeronaves Portugues
PRP-BR Partido Revolucionario do Proletariado-Brigadas Revolucionarias
MES Movivento da Esquerda Socialista
ELP Ejercito da Liberacao Portugues
PIDE-DGS International State Defense Police (renamed 1969: General Security Department)
LUAR Liga de Uniao de Accao Revolucionaria
NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization
EEC European Economic Community
IMF International Monetary Fund
CGT Confederation Generale du Travail
PCI Partito Communista Italiano
CGIL Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro
FUR Frente Unido Revolucionario
PSU Parti Socialiste Unifie
COPCON Continental Operations Command
PCF Parti Communiste Francais
MDP-CDE Movimento Democratico Portugues
CRTSM Revolutionary Workers , Soldiers and Sailors Councils
MRPP Movimento Reorganizativo do Partido do Proletariado
CUF Companhia Uniao Fabril
LCI Liga Communista Internacionalista
FSP Frente Socialista Popular
SPD Sozialistische Partei Deutschlands
AOC Alianca Operario-Camponesa
UDP Uniao Denocratica Popular
SUV Soldiers United for Victory
PPD Partido Popular Democratico
Extreme-Left Maoists Official Left Center-Right Extreme-Right
PRP-BR MRPP PCP PPD CDS ELP
MES AOC PSP
LUAR UDP MDP-CDE
1. The Beginning of a New Era of Global Revolution
What occured in Portugal between April, 1974, and November, 1975, was a cycle of revolutionary confrontation, aborted and intermittently resumed in the subsequent period, which is rich in lessons for the international revolutionary movement. A certain wing of the Portuguese bourgeoisie played the card of reformism, and found itself quickly standing over the abyss of proletarian revolution. A group of military officers, heavily influenced by the widely-debated "Peruvian model" of capitalist modernization, was the major vehicle for this reform effort, and itself later split between different versions of a military-technocratic modernization of capital and an important group which was committed to the Stalinist model of integral bureaucratic consolidation. But everyone making their calculations in the heady atmosphere of April, 1974, had omitted one factor which in turn destroyed the careful plans of the reformist bourgeoisie, forced the military to decisively re-define itself several times, and finally dealt Stalinism its hardest blow in the West since May 1968 in France. This factor was the revolutionary movement of the Portuguese working class. When, in November, 1975, a center-right coalition of the military had definitively mastered the situation, although not without passing through some harrowing moments, there was not a significant force in world politics which had not received an important foretaste of developments looming throughout the advanced capitalist sector for the duration of the decade.
It has become a banality to say it: what happened in Portugal in this nineteen-month period was a modern movement, in which every archaism from fascism to Third Period Stalinism reared its head and was then dispelled against the balance of forces of a new period of class struggle. This is not to say that fascism and Stalinism did not appear as potent forces in the course of the crisis, but merely that they, like all forces committed to preserving some aspect of existing reality, were constantly obliged to rush after that reality in order to master its new contours.
That an unashamedly Stalinist party -- the last in Western Europe -- could have passed through the metamorphoses undergone by the PCP between April, 1974 and November, 1975, already indicates that an era has passed. In that time, the PCP a) established itself as a legal party after 48 years of underground existence and moved into the offices of the Ministry of Labor, b) consolidated its organizational hegemony in the working class in the first months following the coup, c) revealed itself from the first moment as a party of strikebreakers policing the working class for the Armed Forces Movement (MFA) in the name of "national reconstruction", d) revived a vintage Third Period demagogy which horrified all but the most stoic inhabitants of the Kremlin and the headquarters of the Western European CPs, e) was forced to accept a united front with an array of extreme-left formations threatening to outflank it in the working class itself (without which threat such a united front, the first ever concluded with an extreme-left formation in Stalinist history, would have been unthinkable), f) was excluded from that same united front 72 hours later, g) constituted itself, after the fall of the last Vasco Goncalves government, simultaneously as a minor government party and as the aspiring leader of the opposition to the government, h) permitted its spokesmen to call for an armed insurrection at 5:00 P.M. on Nov. 25, and i) issued a call urging everyone to return home at 10:00 P.M the same day. Taken by themselves, the elements which came into play in the revolutionary cycle in Portugal constituted nothing which had not emerged in different moments of the return of the revolutionary proletarian movement in the previous decade: May 1968 in France, the "hot autumn" of 1969 in Italy, the more dispersed but more ruthless eruptions of class warfare in Spain. What was new, however, was the configuration of these elements in their historical movement, and the fact that a pro-revolutionary current in the working class to the left of the PCP could emerge for a brief moment before the eyes of the entire world as the true gravedigger of capitalism in Portugal, ripping away in an instant the pretensions of the PCP and its international fellow travellers to lead this movement. It is true that the entirety of the organized extreme-left in Portugal succumbed to the game of opportunism, most notably in its abject capitulation to the left-Bonapartist Gen. Otelo Sareiva de Carvalho, and that in its desire to outflank the PCP it came close to falling into even worse illusions. But the ebb and flow of the fortunes of these organizations, far more attuned than the PCP to the realities of the social movement (even as they failed miserably to criticize the inadequacies of that movement) was far lighter on the scales of the counter-revolution than the maneuvers of the PCP as it attempted similtaneously to ingratiate itself with the pro-bureaucratic wing of the MFA and to propitiate its own pro-revolutionary base in the working class and in the agricultural proletariat. If, in the tense hours of Nov. 25-26, the extreme left and the working class currents from which it drew its support could be dispersed without a shot, revealing a certain moment of its earlier rhetoric to have been nothing but bluster and demagogy, the PCP committed far worse crimes, meeting that very night with elements of the MFA to negotiate the details of the repression that would follow, and to ensure that any bloodbath would fall on the extreme-left and not its own members. What Portugal proved to the international revolutionary movement is that the bureaucratic apparatuses of the official "Communist" parties could never again reconstitute themselves as the hegemonic force of pro-revolutionary sentiment in the working class. And that was already its historical achievement.
2. Archaic Corporatism and Its Modern Protagonists
The Portuguese capitalism in which this movement arose was distinguished, aside from the lowest living standards in Europe, only by the particularly decrepit corporatist state and ideology which oversaw its stagnation. Unlike the Franquist regime in Spain, Salazar's government had never seriously come to terms with the demands of "modernization" imposed by contemporary reality, and had allowed a disproportionate political and economic power within Portuguese society to be exercised by a reactionary group of latifundistas with no idea whatsoever of the necessities of running a modern capitalist economy, no matter how primitive. The government bureaucracy and statist economic mechanisms, combined with the unified power of landed interests and the banking oligopoly, kept the country in a state of lingering decay, increasingly colonized by foreign capital and squeezed by an enormous military budget necessary for the colonial wars in Africa. During the same period Spain, using the technocratic forces largely stalemated in Portugal, emerged as the tenth industrial power in the world. If the fascist demagogy and religious facade of the Salazarist regime at times was echoed by the zealots of Francoism across the border, that regime was nonetheless differentiated by a certain literalism of its neo-medieval or corporatist idyll which in Spain found its more realistic and contemporary outlet in the Catholic technocratic grouping Opus Dei. But there were, of course, in the real forces at work which permitted Salazarism an extended period of domination, forces which were ultimately working to destroy that insular state of affairs. The Portuguese economy was subsidized in no small way by invisibles: the remittances of the 1,000,000 Portuguese in emigration, both in flight from the particularly virulent conscription law (48 months required service) and in search of employment in the industrial zones of northern Europe. In addition, there was the cultivation of the small but highly lucrative tourist trade, focused in the south in the Algarve region and specialized, unlike the Spanish Costa Brava and Costa del Sol, in a more elite clientele. It has been noted in the past that if the Spanish revolution erupts once again in the month of July, it will find one to two million tourists present in the country, and similarly in the Portuguese revolution, tourism played its role in the drama. On the side of the counter-revolution, it was expressed in the flight of thousands of unsettled Germans, Britons and Swedes from the normally tranquil Algarve coast; and on the side of the revolutionary surge of the summer of 1975, in the presence of thousands of leftists of all sauces throughout the country, who at times constituted a force in their own right within various mass demonstrations.
In the global hierarchy of exploitation, Portugal was in 1974 a semi-developed country in an intermediary position between the Third World and the advanced capitalist sector, a colonial power itself a semi-colony. Precisely because of this intermediate position, the Portuguese crisis was from the beginning an international one. The country was the volatile mediation of the various contending forces of global power politics: its links to the advanced sector were expressed in the weight of Western European and American capital, NATO, the CIA and in the presence of 1,000,000 Portuguese workers in Northern Europe; the revolt of the colonized peoples of Angola, Mozambique and Guinea Bissau made the links to the Third World as a whole. A working class revolution in Portugal, combined with the triumph of the MPIA, PAIGC and FRELIMO in the former colonies would have had potentially explosive effects on the world balance of power, and even in the absence of such a revolution in Portugal, southern Africa was transformed in the space of a few months into a nexus of superpower confrontation.
The relative poverty of Portuguese capitalism, its position as an intermediary country in the international capitalist division of labor, is underlined by a few revealing statistics. It was the sole member country of the OECD whose population actually declined between 1962-72, due to the massive emigration of labor. With roughly one-third of the work force employed in each of the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors, Portugal's expenditure of labor power in agriculture was exceeded only by Greece and Yugoslavia among European countries. Private consumption per capita of $580 in 1971 was also among the lowest on the continent.
This tripartite division of the working population of Portugal had an immediate perceptible influence on political alignments. It is indispensable to note, for clarification of the denouement of the political crisis, that two-thirds of the Portuguese population lived in the northern part of the country, in which a large, impoverished peasantry eked out an existence on tiny plots of privately-owned land. It was in this priest-ridden, illiterate portion of the population, to which the revolutionary movement made no serious programmatic overtures, that the counter-revolution, led by the Church and the right and center parties and at moments assisted by the pathetic Maoists (who saw in this Papist regroupment a "peasant resistance to social fascism") recruited its most stable shock troops.
By contrast, it was in the very concentrated industrial zones -- the suburban belt of Lisbon, in Setubal, and to a lesser extent in the northern city of Porto, that the Communist Party and the extreme left had their base of support. To this must be added the agricultural proletariat of the Alentejo region, in an area where the small landed property of the North was almost non-existent , where most cultivation was conducted on large latifundias., and where the apparatus of the PCP exercised hegemony well before 1974. It was no accident that well after Nov. 25, the center-right government made no effort to attack the seizures of the Alentejo latifundias or to dismantle on the agricultural cooperatives which were operating them.
If the Portuguese proletariat, concentrated essentially in two or three urban industrial areas of importance, was dominated in the first year of the crisis by the hegemonic PCP and the extreme-left, the important urban service sector was a far more complex and divided stratum. It was here, among shopkeepers, civil servants, white-collar workers and technicians that the PSP of Mario Soares and the right-wing PPD and CDS found their base of support, to the extent that they were not relying exclusively on Catholic and peasant sentiment. Even within this petty-bourgeois urban base of the PSP (by no means a uniform current of reaction, containing a number of white-collar trade unionists and employees of specialized, capital-intensive modern industries who were in fact pro-socialist) easy generalizations go astray. But in the last instance, excepting certain modern industrial sectors such as the TAP (the nationalized airlines in which the PRP and the MES had effective sway among employees, and which were the scene of important strikes) the real forces of revolution were the industrial working class and the agricultural workers of the Alentejo. It was they, above all, who carried out the land seizures, the factory occupations and the housing seizures without which nothing else of consequence would have occurred. It was additionally a result of this alignment of forces that the revolutionary left, above all concentrated in the Lisbon region, was systematically out of touch with the northern peasantry, who with a program for the cancellation of a heavy farm indebtedness and the transmission of cheap fertilizers could have possibly been won away from the Church hierarchy. Hence the revolutionary currents tended to mistake the balance of forces in Lisbon and the immediate surrounding regions for the balance of forces in the country as a whole, leading to certain periods of misguided euphoria and, at the decisive moment, a grave miscalculation which brought the movement to within an inch of a bloodbath.
Finally, as a demographically significant force which was not at all in evidence in the early months of the revolutionary process, one must cite the infamous retornados from Angola and Mozambique, who began arriving in serious numbers in the fall of 1975 with the impending independence of Angola on Nov. 11. There were, by the spring of 1976, roughly 500,000 retornados in Portugal, the vast majority of them forced onto the heavily burdened government dole, occupying in cramped conditions every available hotel room in Lisbon and producing a severe housing shortage in a country where such accommodations were already in short supply. The retornados, almost all of whom manifested the typical outlook of a dispossessed colon population, weighed heavily on the scales of reaction and made up the bulk of recruits to the underground fascist army, ELP, which was being supplied and directed in liaison with former PIDE elements and other reactionary groups operating across the border in Spain. The retornados whiled away their time on the vast Rossio plaza in the heart of downtown Lisbon, a volatile social force deeply antipathetic to the "forces of revolution" (in which most of them included the PSP of Mario Soares) which they felt had betrayed the ex-colonies. There was some evidence that certain elements of the retornados were being maintained on the dole with funds directly furnished by the U.S. government, which undoubtedly felt the need to maintain a reserve army of fascist cannon fodder.
There was, of course, a sensuous everyday side to the various forces which had shaped postwar Portuguese society and made it what it was, expressed in a thousand small realities which, as in every social process, make the movement of history visible in individual lives and give each movement its unmistakeable and inimitable popular quality. There were experiences engraved in thousands of working-class memories of cold and lonely treks through the Pyrenees with special guides hired, at outrageous fees, for the purpose of slipping them illegally into France, where they made the trip to a job contracted illegally at a Parisian suburban factory or construction site; there was the dramatic passage of the Portuguese border itself, rigorously patrolled by the notorious PIDE-DGS, crossed over the years by revolutionaries, intellectuals, draft dodgers and simply adventurers who found no room for themselves in the slumber of Portugal; finally, within the country itself, the activities of the hated PIDE-DGS, which was estimated to have had 200,000 Portuguese in its service at its height (this in a metropolitan population of 10 million) created a permanent ambiance in the streets, the cafes, and working class neighborhoods where every May 1 the revolutionary movement would attempt some furtive nocturnal manifestation of its presence and where the PIDE would just as ruthlessly swoop down to rip up posters and efface wall slogans before daybreak.
If ever modern history has presented a society in crisis in which all the repressed struggles of fifty years resurfaced under the sign of revolution, it was Portugal. For the first time since the French Communist Party's 1925 campaign against the Rif War, a Western European working class arrived at the rendez-vous with a colonial population in revolt, not under the senile "anti-imperialist" ideology bequeathed by forty years of Popular Frontism and Stalino-pacifist confusionism, but with the lucid intention of overthrowing the entire capitalist edifice. In its simultaneous call for the immediate, unconditional liquidation of the doddering Portuguese empire through the liquidation of capitalism in the metropolis, the Portuguese working class demonstrated the sensuous link between the revolutions of the advanced sector and the movements of the Third World, overturning at a stroke the masochistic and guilt-ridden ideologies of "support" to Third World peasant-bureaucratic formations which had warmed leftist hearts in Western Europe and the U.S. for the previous two decades. But it was not only the resurfacing of a real and not merely spectacular solidarity between sectors of the global movement which revealed the advance of the revolution in the Portuguese crisis. Within the array of capitalist currents themselves, a whole set of options was put into play and shown to be bankrupt. There was of course the archaism of the Salazarist regime, still surrounded by the "ultras" who, after denouncing Caetano for six years for betraying the spirit of the ancien regime , followed him just as quickly into oblivion. Then came various modernizers, their hour struck at last, who hoped to use the military, and later the mass movement, to push through in Portugal what more perspicacious groups such as Opus Dei had developed in Spain over fifteen years under Franquist sponsorship: a modern, technocratic dirigism under joint military control, which could finally propel Portugal into the EEC and win it the respectability which Salazarism could never achieve. Often of rather leftist persuasion, these individuals, having no base of their own, cropped up around the Melo Autunes "Group of the Nine", and were, like their European counter-parts, by no means hostile to trade unions, nationalizations or workers' councils, seeing them quite rightly as the sine qua non of a modern capitalism capable of containing the sole real threat of proletarian revolution. These people, from within the government planning agencies and the nationalized banks, consulting their well-thumbed studies of the Peruvian colonels' movement, understood perhaps better than anyone in the bourgeois camp how much would have to be jettisoned to save the essential, and that lucidity permitted them to play a role all out of proportion to their numbers and social base in the final denouement of the crisis. While this group could in no sense be confused with the Spinolists, they constituted the extreme left of a spectrum of opinion of which Spinola constituted the extreme right, but which agreed on the essential: modernize capital, or disappear.
Counter-revolutions undergo their own combined and uneven development; in the case of Portugal, an indispensable moment of the retooling of capitalism was the creation of a viable bureaucratic stratum within the working class capable of replacing the discredited corporatist unions bequeathed by the old regime. To this end, Socialists and Communists rushed home from exile to take their places. By the spring of 1975, and under the sponsorship of the military, the Stalinists had control of a unified trade union apparatus, the Intersindical, whose creation by military fiat had the Western press weeping for the demise of the corporatist hacks, a demise they had hailed mere months before. The entire left and extreme-left supported the creation of Intersindical precisely to liquidate the old Salazarist burlesque; the complete monopoly of its apparatus by the Stalinists later gave the extreme left pause. But by June, 1975, the whole question had been forgotten, as had Intersindical, for it was henceforth in the tidal wave of workers' councils which sprang up through the industrial belts of the country that everything was being decided.
3. Historical Development of Salazarism, 1945-1974
The stage, of course, had been set for this cast of characters by an entire previous epoch. It was really only from ignorance and the marginal role of Portugal international affairs throughout the postwar era that Salazarism could appear from the outside as a stable monolith; in fact, it had tottered a number of times throughout its existence, and had been obliged, with the exception of its brief halcyon period of l939-1945, between the end of the civil war in Spain and the defeat of the Axis in Europe, to conduct a ruthless repression of an opposition which, however inept and trapped in a backwater, continually regrouped for new assaults on the regime. 1934, 1945, 1958 and l96l-62 all marked periods of upheaval in which the future of the regime was by no means certain, and particularly in the last three cases, it was probably the international situation more than anything else which saved Salazarism.
What was the nature of this regime which ruled Portugal for 48 years? As the second fascist regime to establish itself in Europe in the interwar period (following that of Mussolini in 1922), Salazarism nonetheless, for the first thirty years of its existence, was in reality more an elaboration of interwar corporatism, developing infrastructure (like the Primo de Rivera dictatorship in Spain) and preparing statist forms of management while exercising political hegemony and animated by a vision of a static medieval idyll almost lyrical in its absurdity. Unlike the more streamlined, industrial and expansionist qualities which characterized Italian fascism and German Nazism, the corporatist regime of Salazar was able to hold sway in this mode until the 1960's, when it was forced by converging circumstances, accelerated by the beginning of the colonial wars in 1961, to attempt a certain modernization and to open the door to foreign capital. Prior to 1960, Salazar managed the Portuguese economy with an eye to semi-autarchic industrial development, with retrograde consequences for the Portuguese working class and peasantry, to say nothing of the colonized populations. Salazar avoided the blustering demagogy of a Mussolini, often reiterating that "Portugal is a poor country and will remain so", while carefully maintaining a balanced budget and refusing to engage in any deficit spending or permit serious trade imbalances. He might have pursued a different policy if he had known that the most significant result of his efforts, following his demise, would be to place roughly $3.2 billion in reserves at the disposal of a government in rapid leftward motion, which made possible a remarkable stability of the escudo well into the revolutionary crisis and bankrolled to a certain extent the long political deadlock which, in addition to world economic pressures, seriously contracted production for more than a year.
The l958-6l period constituted the definitive turning point for Salazarism. In the early phase of the Cold War, Salazar had remained loyal to a variant of the old fascist internationalism, refusing to participate in the Marshall Plan, (for which he was reviled by the democratic opposition at home and abroad). But the 1958-61 period presented Salazarism with a series of rude humiliations and setbacks. First, in 1958, the presidential campaign of the popular General Delgado engendered a wave of enthusiasm and mass demonstrations of support which took aback even the PIDE, which had every reason to believe itself well-informed on the contempt in which the regime was held by the populace, unlike the reclusive Salazar himself. May, 1959, saw the biggest illegal May Day demonstrations since the war. Then, in 1961, a series of episodes revealed the depths of the weakness of the regime: in January, the world was treated to the spectacle of the Santa Maria episode, in which a group of adventurers around one Captain Henrique Galvao seized a luxury liner and diverted it toward Brazil, using the incident to draw international attention to the ongoing existence of Salazarist rule in Portugal. This "Operation Dulcinea" of course had no immediate internal effects on the regime, but it achieved its publicity aims and was experienced by Salazar as another humiliation. But it was only the beginning. In March, the beginning of armed conflict in Angola noticeably increased the temperature. This was followed almost immediately by an attempted coup d'etat led by the then-Minister of Defense Botelho Moniz. In November, the limited legal opposition for elections to the powerless parliament timidly raised the issue of de-colonization for the first time. Finally, India overran the tiny colony of Goa without serious resistance, and on the last day of the year, another military coup was attempted in the town of Beja. Salazarism was shaken from its inward-looking stance by the pressures of the outside world, and it entered the web of entanglements, epitomized by the futile military effort in Angola, Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, from which it was never to extricate itself.
In the same 1958-61 period, the Portuguese economy entered the phase of attempted adaptation to the new historical circumstances, and began to acquire the contradictory appearances which characterized it at the time of the April 1974 coup. This process was undoubtedly accelerated by the necessity of financing the colonial wars, but it was in motion before they erupted. An initial five-year plan had been pushed through for 1953-58, concentrating on public investments in certain industrial infrastructure; a second five-year plan emphasized an expansion of private industry, particularly in the industrial belt across the Tagus from Lisbon and Setubal. Probably the most significant achievement of this combined state and private sponsorship was the creation of the world-class Lisnave and Setubal shipyards, which by 1973, because of their excellent geographic location at the entrance to the Mediterranean and low labor costs, became an important source of foreign revenue for the regime. The other notable achievement of these programs is summarized in a single, striking statistic: from 1900-1950, the Portuguese working class, as a percentage of the population, grew by 1/2%; from 1950-74, it expanded by 18%. For the first time, foreign capital and currency, long shunned because of bad memories of English domination of the Portuguese economy through the nineteenth century, were actively sought out, and names like IBM, Phillips, GM, ITT, Unilever and Nestle began to make their appearance in the industrial suburban belts of Lisbon, Porto and Setubal. Tourism, equally shunned by the regime as a corrosive moral influence that might upset the equilibrium of repression in which sensuality was confined for the populace, was finally recognized through the Spanish experience as the lucrative source of currency it was, and between 1961 and 1965 this alienation as well was introduced to the residents of the Algarve, although in a restricted fashion aimed above all at an elite stratum of tourists. The regime did not fail to accompany these major policy shifts with its usual brio: in 1965, for example, the walls of the country were plastered with a poster reminding the population that in spite of the ignominious collapse of British and French colonialism, Portugal was continuing its civilizing mission abroad. This quality of incongruity and archaism in the realm of ideology was a serious weakness of the Salazar regime throughout the period, and was one very clear sign of its brittle character; after 1974, propaganda shorts from the period were shown for comic relief between main features in movie theatres, to the universal derision of the audiences. It was also in 1958 that the Portuguese economy began the serious export of a new commodity: labor power, which meant that by 1974 no less than 1,000,000 Portuguese, the majority of them recruited from the countryside, were at work in Western Europe and North America, an extremely important source of remittances for the regime which covered the Portuguese trade deficit and helped to finance the African wars. The structural crisis of Portuguese capitalism in the last years of Salazar and under Caetano expressed the growing importance of the industrial sector of the economy at the expense of agriculture, and the complete inadequacy of the dominant institutional arrangements to accomodate that change. The deadlock between the industrial and latifundista bourgeoisie, which had been maintained in favor of the latter until roughly 1960, began to be broken thereafter in favor of intensified industrial development. The split between industry and agriculture in the metropolitan economy was reflected in a similar split, within the banking structure, in the financing of the two sectors. Hence the agrarian reform pushed through by the MFA in 1974-75, which destroyed the latifundista class and created havoc among the agricultural banks financing it, was greeted with equanimity, not to say promoted by the industrial bourgeoisie and the banks associated with it. It was generally recognized, particularly after 1973 and the shrinkage of export outlets for Portuguese goods, that a restructuring of agriculture to create an important domestic market for machinery would necessarily mean the liquidation of the archaisms of that sector. This restructuring, by increasing output, would also reverse the trend of the previous decade toward import dependency in foodstuffs.
The decline of the agricultural sector, due to the persistence of outmoded methods and social relations at a time of mass emigration and industrial development, meant that while still employing nearly one-third of the work force, agriculture was accounting for less than 20% of the gross domestic product. At the same time, due to the flight from the land, wages in agriculture had by 1970 risen 121.5% above their1963 levels, compared with a 75.6% rise in industry.
This drag on the economy by the primary sector also complicated the country's viability in the world market. By the early 1970's, Portugal became a net importer of foodstuffs for the first time, adding to its chronic deficit in industrial goods and becoming a real burden under the impact of world inflation after 1972. Whereas agricultural produce, along with woods and corks,had constituted 25 and 22% respectively of Portuguese exports in 1960-61, this had fallen off to l8 and 10% by 1969-70. Hence the industrial bourgeoisie and the banking sectors linked to it, which wanted to adapt the Portuguese economy to the realities of the world market, saw the writing on the wall by 1973.
This consciousness could only have been sharpened by the October, 1973 increase in oil prices. There was a growing recognition that the liquidation of the colonial wars, the imminent return of the emigre workers from Western Europe in the wake of deepening recession, increased import costs and reduced export possibilities (greatly enhanced by the imminent loss of the Escudo area made up of the various colonies) would all combine to destroy the balance of payments surpluses which had been possible in an earlier era. The only solution was an expansion of the internal market, and thus agricultural reform, combined with increased state ownership, seemed the only way forward. When, in late 1974, the EEC imposed tariff barriers on textile imports to the Common Market area, the Portuguese economy was dealt another blow in a sector that constituted 26.3% of all exports by 1970. At the end of a year in which production had already fallen 20%, and in which investment was down 17.5% from its 1973 level, the world production collapse of November l974-March 1975 can almost certainly be seen as the backdrop to the structural reform, of a state capitalist nature, which were pushed through in the wake of the events of March 11.
4. Dissolution of Salazarist Hegemony and Left-Wing Regroupment, 1961-74
The serious insertion of the Portuguese economy, occurring in tandem with the growing burden of the African wars , into contemporary capitalism did not fail to have its repercussions among the liberal and leftist opposition to the regime. It was in the direct confrontation with the realities of Portuguese Africa that many people, and not the least of them certain strata of junior officers, began to assess the world-historical situation of Portugal in a new light. The French solution to the crisis of de-colonization, the creation of a streamlined neo-colonial sphere based on "cooperation" projects and a privileged trade relation, and where possible ongoing direct investment, was too much for Salazarism to either conceive or carry out, and it required 13 years of warfare before a tepid version of this solution could be publicly advocated in the metropolis in the book of Antonio Spinola which appeared shortly before the coup, Portugal and the Future. This disaffection of important parts of the professional military, to say nothing of the working class and peasant youth subjected to 48 months of compulsory service, drove an important wedge between the army and the regime for the first time since the army offered power to Salazar in 1926. Similarly, in 1962, with the ferment ensuing from the events of the previous year, and furthered by the important strike of the agricultural workers in the Alentejo region organized by the Communist Party, along with large student demonstrations at the University of Lisbon, the splintering process which was manifesting itself internationally in the "Communist" movement surfaced in Portugal in the first in a series of breakaways from the PCP. While the Sino-Soviet rift was internationally the pretext for these splits, the groups breaking away from the "revisionist" CP were above all animated by a desire for "direct action" against the regime and a break with the underground variety of Popular Frontism which the CP had been practicing since 1934. In the conditions of Salazarism, this generally correct appreciation of the bankruptcy of the CP (although, as articulated, often from equally bankrupt position, such as Maoism) led in the main, for the groups active within the country, to terrorism, the only imaginable "direct action" under police state conditions. These tactics, however sterile in advancing the real movement and invariably conducted in the name of the "people" with a rhetoric that has since come to characterize the terrorist formation of the advanced sector (Weathermen, the Japanese Red Army, or the RAF in West Germany) produced some spectacular bank robberies and other attacks on the regime. The Revolutionary Brigades, formed in 1971, managed in 1973 to steal the strategic plans of the Portuguese High Command for operations in Guinea-Bissau and present them to the liberation movement in that country. While these actions may have had a certain publicity effect in demonstrating the inability of the PIDE to snuff out underground activity in the country (an ability similarly underlined by the escape from prison of Alvaro Cunhal in 1961 or the escape from a Lisbon hospital of the political prisoner Herminio da Palma Inacio in 1969), the ideology in whose name they were carried out, with its inevitable "serve the people" thrust, was a noxious one, and one which in the forms it acquired after legal activity became possible in 1974, showed itself to be reactionary. Nonetheless, around the pseudo-issue of direct action, important groups of pro-revolutionary elements broke out of the corpus of the PCP and created the basis for the extreme left which was to haunt the parent body throughout the revolutionary crisis.
Three further events with ominous portents for the regime occurred in early 1974. The first was the appearance of Spinola's work calling for a neo-colonialist liquidation of the African wars, which immediately became the focus of widespread discussion. The second was an attempted coup carried out on March 16, by officers not immediately involved in the MFA, which foundered for various reasons of coordination and support. On April 9, the Revolutionary Brigades succeeded in blowing up a military transport ship in the Tagus, and the stage was set for the disappearance of Caetano's government.
One further development of interest, with certain implications for the question of the origins of the Armed Forces Movement, received little attention outside of Portugal. On April 24, a large fleet of NATO ships, en route to maneuvers, was anchored in Lisbon harbor. The ships sailed at dawn on April 25, and for those who enjoy such speculation, their timely departure was seen as an explicit refusal to defend the Caetano government and a "go-ahead" signal to at least the immediate group around Spinola. Speculations that NATO, and hence the US government and the CIA, were informed of the coup in advance, were stated most forcefully by a right-wing Spanish newspaper, the Gaceta Illustrada, which complained that NATO was losing confidence in the abilities of the Iberian "ultras" to successfully rule their respective countries, and even went as far as to link the coup in Portugal with the assassination of Spanish Prime Minister Carrero Blanco in December, 1973. It would in fact hardly be surprising that a coup carried out by the highest levels of the Portuguese military, which had had extensive contact with NATO and the CIA through the African wars, would have had the prior approval, or even promotion, of those organizations. The activities of Spinola after being forced into exile in March 1975 confirm that he was the center of a fascist regroupment. But these links in no way clarify the far more obscure connections and motives of the MFA figures who emerged later, particularly Melo Antunes, Vasco Goncalves and Otelo Sareiva de Carvahlo, who played decisive roles in a much more extreme phase of the movement.
5. The Revolution of Illusions
The revolutionary process in Portugal passed through four principal phases: April 25-September 28, 1974, the period of the "revolution of the roses"; September 28, l974-March 1975, in which the masks of cameraderie fell away in the wake of the aborted Spinola coup and in conjunction with international developments; March 11-August 27,1975, characterized simultaneously by the drive for power by the PCP and the pro-CP faction of the MFA around Goncalves, and the offensive of the working class itself; August 27-November 25, 1975 in which the country polarized into a virtual civil war situation until the stalemate was broken by a center-right military coup which broke the back of the revolutionary working class movement without, however, resorting to the anticipated bloodbath. In each period, it was the leftward movement of the proletariat which determined everyone's attitude. After Nov.25, 1975, the situation in Portugal was characterized by the ongoing stagnation of the official left and the extreme-left, with the offensive passing definitively to the center and even more to the right, and a slow but concerted rollback of the gains, such as they were, of the pre-Nov. 25 period. The parliamentary elections of April 25 and the presidential elections of June 27 merely confirmed that the political balance of forces which had already been established in the streets and in the factories in November. Each of these four major periods was characterized by an important shift in the balance of forces between the major contenders for power: the four principal factions of the MFA, the PCP, the PSP, the principal right wing parties PPD and CDS and the various Maoist groups on one side; certain extreme-left currents closer to the realities of the movement (most notably the PRP-BR, the MES and the LUAR), a pro-revolutionary CP rank-and-file, and the autonomous organizations thrown up by the working class on the other.
The atmosphere which was created in the immediate aftermath of the coup was the familiar one which initiates every revolutionary process: the euphoria of illusions. The energies released by the fall of Caetano exploded into the transient "revolution of the roses" where crowds celebrated in the streets, children rode about astride military vehicles on patrol, and where only the rapid intervention of the MFA and the PCP prevented the lampposts of Lisbon from being decorated with the hated scum of the PIDE. The first week of euphoria culminated in the May Day celebrations, the largest in Europe, which were joined by thousands of revolutionaries returned from exile and from across the border in Spain. All but the most compromised "ultras" of Salazarism emerged to proclaim their devotion to democracy and to expound upon their long-felt (if previously unvoiced) hatred for the fallen dictatorship, but few could surpass the costume change of General Antonio Spinola, veteran of the Spanish counter-revolution and the Portuguese volunteer brigades which fought in Hitler's armies on the Eastern front, and who now appeared before the world as the resolute champion of democracy and perhaps even of "socialist revolution". Somewhat in the same genre was the recasting of General Costa Gomes, Commander-in-Chief of the Portuguese forces in Africa, who three weeks earlier had publicly praised the head of the PIDE in Angola, and who throughout the duration of the crisis acquired the nickname of "The Cork" because of his inexplicable survival in power and his ability to ride the most extreme shifts of political tides intact. But in this orgy of praise for democracy, freedom, revolution and socialism from those who understood the uses of such rhetoric, the forces of the real confrontations of tomorrow were already aligning themselves. The newly legalized Communist and Socialist parties and press set up a chorus of acclamation for the Armed Forces Movement and for its alliance with the "People" that would not be disabused by a year's events. The working class, which had already engaged in an impressive wave of strikes in the last five years of Caetano's rule, ran off the last of the bureaucrats from the corporatist unions and launched a new strike wave in May and June which aimed at, and in many cases achieved, an immediate 100% wage increase.
Capitalists large and small, in the face of this offensive, responded with the appropriate price increases, and the Communist Party, at the behest of the MFA, immediately dropped its long-standing call for a minimum monthly wage of $240 a month for a $132 level more in keeping with the exigencies of "national reconstruction"
The May-June strike wave was the explosion of a working class denied legal forms of struggle for five decades, (and undergoing 25% inflation in the year preceding the coup), to make up long-denied wage gains. The lightning quality of the strikes, plus a certain tendency by the MFA to view them with a certain favor after just having begun moves to create a more modern system of labor arbitration, made possible some significant short-term wage increases. It also brought to the fore the personnel of certain enterprises -- TAP, Lisnave, Siderurgia, Messa, Timex and C.T.T. -- who were to figure prominently in the eighteen months to come.
The official working class parties, for their part, returned from exile in triumph and immediately took up key posts in the cabinet, with the PCP occupying, as mentioned above, the key Ministry of Labor. They would serve it well. Soares and Cunhal, heads of the PSP and PCP respectively, appeared in public together on numerous occasions, warning against "another Chile" precisely as they began to implement the policies which had led directly to the Chilean massacre. It is also important to note that in this period, the PSP was permitting itself a wild-eyed left-wing rhetoric in order to stand it in good stead with the working-class base it sorely needed to win over. In an atmosphere which allowed Antonio Spinola to talk of "socialism" and "revolution", a Mario Soares could only excel at demagogy and revolutionary phrase-mongering.
Thus in the very first weeks of the rule of the MFA, the working class received an object lesson in the balance of forces between itself, the official working class parties who ostensibly "represented" it in the halls of power, and the military. The PCP in particular, took a page from the speeches of Maurice Thorez and Jacques Duclos from the 1944-47 period, put forward the PCP as the "party of the resistance", did not hesitate to denounce strikers as fascists, and called on the working class to join in with other "progressive forces", up to and including Antonio Spinola, to "rebuild the nation". This demagogy, which once again had the virulent ring of a certain strident Popular Front rhetoric that everyone presumed happily buried some thirty years before, was an almost universal language of the early phase of the movement, one to which even the extreme-left groups fell victim. Where Karl Marx some 120 years earlier had lucidly remarked that "when I hear the word 'people' I ask myself what the bourgeoisie is trying to put over on the proletariat" the virtual totality of the left and extreme-left forces in Portugal drowned the working class in this morass of populist sentimentality. The first phase of the revolutionary process, then, from April 25 through September 28, 1974, was characterized by the first head-on collision between the emerging tidal wave of working-class strikes and activity, and the large edifice of mystification which the military, the official left and most of the extreme-left (the shadow of the official left) had prepared for it. The shouting had barely died down from the May Day celebration when the PCP began denouncing strikers for "sabotaging the people's (sic) alliance with the MFA"
It was in this period, then, beyond the smokescreens of revolutionary rhetoric and posturing from the strangest quarters, that everyone began to jockey for position. Within the working class, the Communist Party had a virtual open field in the initial months. As a party which on April 25 had numbered roughly 3,000, it nonetheless had won a deserved reputation over the years as the one organized force which had maintained itself throughout the underground period in the face of a merciless repression. Its Central Committee had spent much of its collective adult life in the prisons of the PIDE, and its clandestine organizations, in the working class suburbs of Lisbon and in the agricultural proletariat of the Alentejo region, gave it an immense advantage over particularly the Socialist Party, which was by comparison a party of lawyers founded only in 1973 and just returned from Parisian and Swedish exile.
6. The International Impasse of Stalinism
The unique conditions of existence of the PCP over decades had produced a party whose monolithism, whose fierce allegiance to the finest vintage of Stalinism and whose tenacity had undergone the buffetings of the postwar era in relative isolation from the forces which had produced Marchais or a Berlinguer. This peculiarity of development, combined with the fact that the virtual entirety of the extreme-left tendencies and individuals in Portugal in 1974 had passed through the puberty rites of the PCP, created a situation in which few individuals or groups were capable of seeing their way clear to an autonomous, revolutionary perspective outside its shadow. The Maoists, of course, achieved this only by the virulent inversion of reality which their entire non-analysis of the degeneration of the international bureaucratic monolith implied, and the primacy of the struggle against "social fascism" and "social imperialism" led them directly into open alliances with right-wing formations. But they, in addition to following the letter of the immediate needs of Beijing's foreign policy, only denounced the Stalinism of the PCP from another Stalinist viewooint. There is precisely nothing in the arsenal of epithets hurled by Maoism at the Soviet Union and the pro-Soviet Communist Parties, which was not an accurate description of the Chinese regime itself and the foreign policy atrocities (Indonesia '65, Ceylon '71, Bangladesh '71, Angola '75, to cite only the most glaring) it had committed over the previous decade. As for the historical rupture which the Maoists wish to hallucinate in the death of Stalin, after which the Soviet regime ostensibly broke with his revolutionary policies, there is little that the current Soviet or Chinese regimes have done in the post-1953 period which Stalin himself did not do over the three decades prior to 1953. To the extent that the fortunes of world working class movement were debated in the terms of the Sino-Soviet conflict, the working class itself was buried in a barrage of abuse in which the indispensable question of bureaucracv, and its origins in the Stalinist counter-revolution set in motion in 1924, is carefully passed over in silence or attributed merely to one pseudo-origin or another. It is the entire edifice of this ideology, in its pro-Soviet or pro-Chinese versions, which had to be jettisoned before the revolutionary movement could recapture its historical consciousness, and hence its future perspective. One of the first signs of the weakness of the Portuguese movement was precisely that it could tolerate the posing of the debate in these terms for as long as it did.
The analysis, most commonly proliferated by contemporary Trotskyism, that insisted on seeing the Communist parties in the advanced capitalist sector as merely "reformist" parties in the style of the old Social Democracies was nothing but a fantasy, and one which had already cost the lives of thousands of revolutionaries wearing the blindfold of Trotskyism in Vietnam, Greece, Czeckoslavakia and elsewhere. There was nothing whatsoever about these parties which keeps them wedded, as is the case of Social Democratic parties, to the existence of private capitalism. Their ideologies and their configuration were predicated on the existence of the bureaucratic stratum which rules the so-called socialist countries, and given the opportunity, the leading strata of these parties would have been perfectly capable of moving to create such a power for themselves.
The maintenance of the guise of "proletarian internationalism" by these parties historically meant nothing other than their subordination to the foreign policy interests of the Soviet ruling stratum, either as a submissive prop or as a militant lever in Soviet negotiations with the Western bourgeoisie. To counterpose the post-1934 Popular Front phase of the international Stalinist parties to the heroic, or vestigially heroic "class against class" demagogy of the so-called Third Period (1928-1934) and to see the turn to the Popular Front as the definitive passage of these organizations to reformism is to ignore the reality that both in that in both full-blown Third Period super-militancy or as docile reformism these political parties represented national fractions of bureaucrats maneuvering for a form of political power separate from and antagonistic to working-class rule. Without going into the details and ambiguities of the early (1919-24) years of the Comintern, we can say without hesitation that after 1924 at the latest, no foreign policy maneuver of either the ruling bureaucracy in the Soviet Union, or of its aspirant fellow-travellers in the potential ruling bureaucracies of the official "Comimmist" parties of the West, had ever coincided with anything except the interests of these strata, however the bureaucracy chose to drape itself in the rhetoric of the working class movement and socialist revolution. The notion of a genuine working-class revolution, whether in the pseudo-socialist bloc or in Western Europe, haunted the international policy of the respective national "Communist" parties like a spectre. In the volatile social atmospheres of Italy, France, Spain and Portugal in the l968-76 period, in particular, these parties have had ample occasion to prove their utility in heading off any independent activity by the working class.
It is clear, as it had been clear for fifty years, that these "Communist" parties could never come to power at the head of a genuine working-class revolution. Their very foundations, and conception of socialism as a bureaucratic rule over the working class, was a negation of the necessary content of such a revolution. The true communization of social relations and power, as briefly realized in the Russian soviets (1905, 1917-21) and in certain moments of the failed German revolution of the 1918-21 period, is simultaneously a negation of the bureaucratic vision which animated the CPs of Western Europe, the ruling strata of Eastern Europe and the rest of the so-called socialist bloc. More importantly, insofar as modern capitalism created the conditions for the merciless proliferation of bureacratism in every aspect of social life, the struggles of the working class to affirm itself as the social power necessarily run. up against bureaucratism within the working-class movement itself, as one of the first enemies to be laid to rest. The May, 1968 revolt in France, the "hot autumn" of 1969 in Italy, the often exemplary wildcat general strikes occurring in Spain in 1974-76, and finally the broad movement of the Portuguese working class in 1974-75 demonstrated again and again that whatever the official representation which the working class tolerates in periods of ebb and inactivity, the creation of class-wide, non-bureaucratic institutions of power is the first order of business which arises when a real struggle erupts. And, moreover, the official representatives of the working class (political parties, unions, or, in the case of Spain, the CP-dominated clandestine workers' commissions) reveal themselves as the first rampart of order against which the struggle has to defend itself. In May, 1968, in France, it was the Communist Party and its trade-union wing the CGT which alone, by the most systematic strike-breaking in history, was able to impose the pitiful Grenelle Accords on the working class and enforce, after a general strike of nearly six weeks, a resumption of production. In Italy, it was the PCI and the CGIL which had to break the backs of the FIAT strike committees. In strike after strike in Spain after 1968, but most notably after 1974, the most exemplary classwide actions, under the most difficult conditions of generalized repression, occurred with the creation of democratically elected strike coninittees and excellent organization, without and often against the clandestine CP and Socialist organizations. At best, these organizations were able to muster their forces only after the struggle, to claim credit for its victory or to lament its defeat (to which, often enough, their abstention or machinations contributed), to once again refurbish their image as the real representatives of working-class power in whatever milieus of governmental or industrial influence they were attempting to ingratiate themselves.
The historical significance of Portugal was multiple in that it revealed new variations in these relationships. These appeared first in the undeniable attempt of the PCP, through its monopoly of the trade union movement, its special relationship to the MFA (in which it could claim a certain real influence) and its systematic takeover of the channels of social power (civil service, mass media, police) to seize power between roughly March and August 1975. Secondly, and parallel but not in tandem to this unprecedented action by a Western European CP, there were constituted in the main industrial zones, and in certain agricultural regions such as the Alentejo, incipient organs of a potential working class power in which the CP was as often as not pushed aside or which it was forced to tolerate as some "new form of popular power", patiently awaiting the moment in which these formations could themselves be definitively contained or reduced to their proper "consultative" role. Finally, the CP was forced to publicly recognize this new balance of forces in the working class by concluding a united front, the first in history by a Stalinist party, with a number of extreme-left groups to defend the fallen Fifth Government on Aug.25, 1975. The Portuguese experience simultaneously showed both the potential of a Western European CP to move seriously for power, and the difficulties it encountered in so doing as the working class itself also moved seriously for power. For a brief but illuminating period, the Portuguese crisis appeared as a contest between the Communist Party, at times apparently congruent but in reality radically opposed to one another, to abolish private capitalism in that country.When, on Nov. 25, 1975, this struggle between the left and the extreme left for two different kinds of social power was revealed to be only a moment of a confrontation with the mounting forces of traditional counter-revolution, the CP and the pro-revolutionary currents once again revealed, in their respective responses to the threat of a right-wing coup, their divergent aims and methods. Whereas the historical experience of Portugal had allowed the PCP to maintain, as if in a forgotten time capsule, many of the markings of its decisive formation in the Stalinist era itself, the movement of modern history had brought the Western European CPs to a virtual impasse. These other, more "modern" currents, moreover, have not failed to surface within the PCP itself, particularly since November, 1975. In Italy, and later in France and in Spain, the Communist Parties were forced to confront the fact that the worldwide disintegration of the old bureaucratic monolith, combined with a new era of class struggle, meant that the Soviet model of socialism simply could not be marketed in the advanced capitalist sector. While these currents of opinion which have fractured the old bureaucratic mold have certain elements which situate them to the "right" of the old Stalinism, namely a virtual recapitulation of Social Democratic reformism, they in fact reflected a double movement within society and within the international working class movement itself: on one hand, the creation of a large "left Social Democratic" current, whether within Socialist or Communist Parties, in which anti-bureaucratic moments of critique mix inextricably with abjectly reformist and parliamentary illusions, attaching themselves to Social Democratic formations because of a certain room the latter permit for internal democracy which, as is well known, was harder to come by within the Stalinist parties; on the other hand, the creation, in every Western European country, of a vague "extreme left", both of"groupuscules" and a much larger current of unorganized sentiment which could nonetheless crystallize in a crisis, as happened in Portugal, to the left of the Communist Party. This double movement to the "right" and to the "left" of the traditional CPs reflected an irreversible historical process: the dissolution of the old ideological hegemony of Stalinism within the world movement, and most importantly, the drawing of actual lessons of the previous (1968-76) eight years of class struggle in Western Europe. Hence, when a Georges Marchais was forced to denounce the Soviet Union for the existence of forced labor camps, it was an entire era which had ended, and a new one which has opened, most notably an era in which the very rank-and-file of the Western European CPs could no longer swallow the grotesqueries of the bureaucratic pseudo-socialist bloc.
If various Trotskyist and other extreme-left currents in Portugal and elsewhere failed to grasp the dynamic of the PCP, the CIA, NATO and the frightened heads of state of Western Europe and the U.S. did not fail to do so. Particularly after March, 1975, with the nationalization of the Por'tuguese banking and insurance sector and the beginning of the massive flight abroad of elements of the financial, industrial and latifundista bourgeoisies, the utterances of Kissinger and Schlesinger (US Secretaries of State and Defense, respectively) on the subject of Portugal left no doubt that the U.S. would respond to an attempted CP takeover in Portugal with all means at its disposal, including a possible nuclear strike against the Soviet Union itself. This imperialist saber-rattling, which served the purpose of confusing working-class revolution in various countries with "CP takeovers", was not something indulged in lightly, but it did served to rechannel the boundaries of class warfare into the pseudo-categories of the Cold War era and preserve the reactionary equation of socialism and Stalinism.
The Western European CPs, for their part, experienced this loss of hegemony in the working class movement as an insoluble dilemma, one whose perameters were brought home by the Portuguese experience. The CPs, by the appeal of parliamentary "successes" tied to participation in capitalist austerity governments such as the one then seemingly in gestation in the Italian crisis, were pulled into a certain "de-Stalinization" of their rhetoric and their overt adaptation in ideology to what was already, for forty years with short exceptions, the established pattern in practice of constituting themselves as the "progressive" wing of a reforming capitalism. On the other hand, their working class base, in exchange for submitting to such a policy, demanded results in the short or medium term, and periodically (May 1968, Fall 1969) has gone into action in its own right to obtain them, coming up against the aspirations of the CPs and their unions to make them acceptable candidates for power. Hence the CPs of Western Europe labored under the fear of the great "debordement" (roughly, "outflanking") by the working class in motion, a fear confirmed again and again by real struggles through that period. Capable of re-establishing themselves as the "hegemonic" tendency in the class after the struggle has subsided (and usually ended in defeat) the CPs necessarily saw their credibility in the working class frayed by each successful "containment" of an explosion. The PCP realized through the summer and fall of 1975 that it was losing control of the Portuguese working class, and were that loss to become manifest, its credibility with the wing of the MFA whose sponsorship it enjoyed would plummet to zero. Thus, throughout the period of the Soares "Noske turn" in the PSP in the offensive against the Fifth (Vasco Goncalves) Government, the PCP had to keep a constant vigil on its left, where it had already lost effective control of the vast movement in the factories and in the rank-and-file of the armed forces, and simultaneously continue its role as a party of the government. This zig-zag policy was accentuated by the expulsion of the PCP from the important government posts in August, 1975, when it began a new phase as a minor government party and the ostensible leader of the opposition. It was at the juncture between the Fifth and Sixth Government, between Aug.25 and 28, that the PCP momentarily accepted the humiliation of turning to six extreme-left groups to constitute the FUR, or Revolutionary United Front, whose sole program consisted of a return to the fallen Fifth Government, despite occasional pretensions to more ambitious aims by the extreme-left groups. Nonetheless, when it was revealed that the PCP was in secret negotiations with the Sixth Government in a new corridor maneuver for ministerial influence, the extreme left expelled the PCP from the FUR.
The Western European CPs, and particularly those of France, Italy and Spain, could not escape this dilemma. To the extent that they participated only in the Italian variety of "historical compromise", they were condemned to unmask themselves before the working class as partners of capitalist austerity. To the extent that they eschewed such a role and attempted to seize power in the style of Cunhal and the PCP in the March-August 1975 period, they were obliged to conjure up forces in the working class itself which consistently revealed themselves inimical to their own bureaucratic vision of power.
There were important strategic lessons for revolutionaries to draw from this situation. Contrary to Trotskyist and other orthodoxy, it was madness for revolutionaries to relate to the Western European CPs as though they were merely "reformist" Social Democracies who could be "unmasked" before the working class by their refusals to "seize power". This in no way implies that revolutionaries should not offer such united fronts to CPs, and to denounce them before their rank-and-file memberships when such fronts are refused. Similarly, situations will inevitably arise in which, on the eve of a civil war situation, revolutionary currents and the Communist Parties might form military alliances. (This is not to be confused with the patchwork attempt of the Portuguese extreme left in the FUR to ally with the CP if the latter agreed to give up its ministerial portfolios.) The extreme significance of the Portuguese crisis was that it presented a pre-revolutionary situation in which the hegemony of the CP in the working class began to crack, and in which the CP was forced to take account of that fact by a recognition of the extreme-left groups which in prior months it had been denouncing as fascists and wreckers. But through all of this, it was an extremely grave error for revolutionaries to commit themselves to a policy of "exposing" the CP as merely reformist by calling upon it to do precisely what, in certain circumstances, it was perfectly capable of doing, i.e. take over the state apparatus. The failure to understand the dual nature of the CPs as both prone to Popular Front reformism and to bureaucratic power-plays when conditions permit, as direct rivals of the revolutionary left and the working class organized in soviet formations, could only have catastrophic results for revolutionaries. Had the CP succeeded in seizing such bureaucratic power for itself, its first target, as in numerous cases in the past, would be precisely the revolutionary left which embodies the consciousness it must root out at all costs, the consciousness of the distinction between separate political power for a stratum of bureaucrats and the direct power of the working class organized in its own institutions of classwide power and democracy, the soviets.
The revolutionary current must therefore negotiate this perilous course between its constitution as the left-cover of Stalinist bureaucratism and a sterile abstentionism in which the real clash between the official CPs and private capital is regarded as a mere spectacular antagonism between "two wings of the bourgeoisie", with the CP as the embryo of a "state capitalist bourgeoisie" with whom all alliances or appeals to the rank-and-file place one on the terrain of counter-revolution.
7. The Nature of the MFA and Its Factional Situation
Contrary to the beliefs of the international Communist parties and the vast bulk of extreme leftists in Portugal and abroad who saw a "progressive force" in at least certain factions of the MFA, the movement was in no way qualitatively distinct from a whole array of similar military formations spawned by the twentieth century. Peronism in Argentina, the Young Turk movement, the "Islamic Socialism" of the Ba'ath Parties or Boumedienne's Algeria, the Peruvian colonels' movement, or finally the military junta which seized power in Ethiopia in 1974, were without exception, whatever their secondary distinctions and whatever phraseology they used to present themselves, movements whose aim was the modernization of capitalism, usually relying heavily on statist modes of gestion and in fact presenting the social formation closest to an actual state capitalism. These regimes, which have never hesitated to carry out repression against their indigenous working class and peasantry, substitute themselves for weak or non-existent national bourgeoisies and can even, in certain limited fashion (such as Nasser during his more militant "anti-imperialist" phase) escape the direct control of the Western bloc. But they cannot escape the control of the world market, and it is all the force of the world market which they impose upon the labor power at their disposal. For revolutionaries to have any illusions about such formations is to offer the working class nothing other than the prospect of supporting "its" local capitalist state in the "anti-imperialist" struggle for "national reconstruction" or similar formulations.
Modernizing military elites in the under-developed or semi-developed sector are contemporary capitalism's response to the crisis of bourgeois perspective outlined in Trotsky's theories of permanent revolution and combined and uneven development. In the decadent phase of capitalism, and even before the system had globally entered the phase of decadence, it was and is impossible for any national capital not already at a certain stage of development to advance without putting itself in the tow of the advanced capitalist sector, or risking working class revolution in the process. But it is possible to modify this problem by the creation of a Bonapartist state apparatus which, in the name of a nationalist ideology liberally served up with "socialism" (i.e. nationalization) can maneuver on the world market and, through unashamed labor-intensive development of the economy, finance a certain technological advance. In global terms, given the potential for such development through the socialist revolution which such regimes inevitably combat at home and abroad, these formations are thoroughly reactionary, imposing upon their respective working populations the burden of economic backwardness defined within the isolated national context.
While perfectly understandable after forty-eight years of the most retrograde of fascisms, the enthusiasm of the Portuguese left and an important part of the international left for the MFA in the first months after the April 25 coup was almost boundless. It is true that the MFA distinguished itself, at least in certain factions, by a certain commitment to the "moderate" path to national reconstruction, and in the case of at least figures such as Melo Antunes, Vasco Goncalves and Carvalho understood the need to enlist the working class in this process, but the equation of such a paternalism with "socialism" was an ideological inversion of the first order. There is nothing socialist about a standing bourgeois army, whose dissolution and replacement by armed working class militias was the first task of every genuine socialist revolution of 20th century. While the PCP probably hoped to use its ties to the important Goncalves faction of the MFA to negotiate its way to power somewhat in the style by which the Cuban Communist Party eased itself into Castro's government, the tailing of the military by the virtual entirety of the extreme left throughout the crisis was a primary weakness of the existing political organizations on the scene, and ultimately of the movement as a whole. It was only in the final months of confrontation, leading up to the fiasco of Nov. 25, that a serious process of dissolution of the army as a whole began to occur, and that certain advanced strata of workers began to denounce the MFA en bloc as a capitalist formation. But even after Nov. 25, groups such as the PRP-BR, which in other domains had lucidly denounced the machinations of various political groups in the mass working class organizations, tailed after Gen. Carvalho and the military police, COPCON.
The MFA, which was never a homogeneous formation, underwent a serious transformation during the period April 1974-November 1975. It was composed of 130 officers in an army of 300,000 men and 10,000 officers. One decisive factor in the Portuguese situation that must always be kept in mind when attempting to generalize its lessons was that, in the 1961-74 period, virtually the entire male population of the country between the ages of 20-40 during the revolutionary crisis received military training and fought in the African wars. Thus, as the country approached a civil war situation in Fall 1975, one very serious consideration in the minds of the center and the right was the unusually high military capacities of the forces in the working class and from the agricultural proletariat of Alentejo who would constitute the bulk of the armed forces of the left and extreme left. This factor completely distinguished Portugal from a country such as Spain, either in 1936-39 or in the mid-1970's.
The MFA, which initially claimed to be above all political parties, began and remained, as elaborated above, a group of officers ranging from the Spinolists to the pro-CP faction of Vasco Goncalves, who were convinced of the necessity of liquidating Salazarism, ending the massive drain on the Portuguese economy constituted by the brush wars in Africa, and modernizing the metropolitan economy for entry into the Common Market sphere. Many of them felt this required some kind of "socialism", in every case a variant of state capitalism. They were unanimous in seeing the military as the main vehicle for this transformation, and all of them were knowledgeable about and impressed by the Peruvian experience. If the masses had never emerged in their own name on the historical arena, the Portuguese military would have inevitably guided the country in that direction. But they had not really reckoned with two decisive factors: the world economic crisis, which was not present for the early phase of the Peruvian development, and the rapidity with which the working class and the agricultural proletariat intervened, often unconsciously, but always in a way that forced the MFA further than it had planned to go.
The MFA was composed of four basic factions by the time of the culmination of the revolutionary process in November, 1975: the Azevedo-Fabiao right wing, or "classical right": roughly Christian Democratic, willing to tinker with parliamentary democracy if it could work in guiding the "modernization" process, desiring a definitive but careful break with Salazarism. This group, which was also distinguished by the absence of any serious leader, was the least effective of the four factions in the public arena. Its importance was mainly, as events came to a head, when all three center-left and left factions were on the verge of losing control of the situation in a swing of the pendulum to the right, one which could easily sweep aside the MFA as a whole and re-open the way for the mass of politically less adept but definitely proto-fascist and fascist military people who wanted a bloodbath in the style of Pinochet. It was the Azevedo faction which emerged on top on Nov. 25.
The second faction of the MFA was the Melo Antunes faction, associated with the so-called "Group of the Nine", whose manifesto in mid-summer 1975 became the rallying point for the counter-revolution attempting to reverse the inexorable move leftward in the military and the society as a whole. Melo Antunes himself was in no sense a figure of the right, but his current, and the solution it proposed (an unashamed technocratic "socialism" with mass participation in the Peruvian mode, i.e. mass participation in austerity) became pivotal because the center and the right seized onto it as the only real force, short of a new fascism, which could stop the left and the extreme left. If Melo Antunes, through the summer of 1975, appeared a likely candidate for a Noske-Scheidemann role in Portugal, this was a content his faction acquired due to the stop-gap role assigned it by others. Melo Antunes was a left Social Democrat, far and away the most theoretically formed and politically astute of the members of the MFA, and whose two most decisive political influences were the Rocard faction of the French PSU (technocratic state capitalism) and the Peruvian colonels (neo-corporatism). In the mid-1970's historical conjuncture, such currents seemed perfectly capable of merging into a streamlined kind of fascism, but Me1o Antunes distinguished himself markedly from such a perspective, and was decisive in preventing a bloodbath against the CP and the extreme left in November 1975.
The third faction of the MFA was the Vasco Goncalves faction, in power through the period from March to August 1975, and essentially associated with the PCP. It was this faction which the hegemonic Me1o Antunes faction took seriously through the crisis of summer and fall 1975. Vasco Goncalves was by formation an engineer, generally considered intellectually and strategically competent but not on the same level as Melo Antunes.
The fourth and final faction, which was considered within the MFA to be a phantom faction, arising very late with no real secondary leadership, was that of Gen. Otelo Sareivo de Carvalho, COPCON, and their allies in the extreme-left formations such as the PRP and the MES. Carvalho's faction, which contained no other officer of significance in the movement, was viewed by the forces of order through the crisis of summer and fall 1975 as a problem to be settled in a few hours of military confrontation, in contrast to the Vasco Goncalves faction. This analysis proved to be amply correct in the events of Nov.25 and thereafter, when the Carvaiho faction and the extreme left associated with him were immobilized in a matter of hours.
The factional situation inside the MFA was accelerated by each mass intervention into the social process going on in Portugal. When the "political truce" of the MFA was declared ended in March, 1975, the de facto situation was merely institutionalized: the Melo Antunes group, though having no formal ties to any party, became the main hope of the PSP, and the Vasco Gencalves group aligned itself with the PCP. It was only at this time that Gen. Carvalho, (a personally honest figure who nonetheless had only a shallow political formation and whose first political alignment, after April 1974, appeared to be the PPD) began to emerge, in tandem with certain extreme-left currents.
8. The Demise of Spinola
The strike wave of May-June 1974, while subsiding somewhat during the summer, confirmed the worst fears of the Spinolist faction of the MFA and of the more timid factions of the financial and industrial bourgeoisie about the ability of the MFA and the official left parties to adequately contain the working class. Already a certain mass ferment had forced the regime to recognize the immediate and unconditional independence of Guinea-Bissau and was threatening to do the same for the much richer Angola and Mozambique. The neo-colonial system envisioned in Spinola's Portugal and the Future had already, after less than three months of MFA rule, been consigned to the past.
This deteriorating situation, undoubtedly spurred by the militancy of the strikes by employees of the TAP (the CP having sat silently by in late August when the government had passed a strike law outlawing factory occupations and providing a 30-day cooling off period) and of Lisnave, led the capitalist factions around Spinola to launch the first of two desperate coup attempts on Sept.28. The immediate response of the working class and the agricultural proletariat, who were already perfectly aware of the limits of the existing military government, was a mobilization that closed down bridges, roads and railways throughout the country and paralyzed any possible concerted troop movement. In the wake of this, Spinola was forced to resign as president, and retreated to "private" life where he set about plotting, together with a number of right-wing officers similarly purged from the army, the more dramatic coup attempt which spilled the movement into the revolutionary crisis after March 11.
While the atmosphere was heating up in Portugal through late fall, 1974, with the first rumblings of dissension between the PSP and the PCP, the next real increase in the temperature occurred in early January, 1975 when the MFA, together with the PCP and supported by the extreme left and the working class, announced the creation of the single trade union Intersindical as the supercession of the old corporatist unions. This move was supported by a mass demonstration of 100,000 workers in Lisbon, and for the first time, the international bourgeoisie and its press began to raise the specter of a "Prague coup" in Portugal. The passage of the trade union law creating Intersindical meant different things to different people. To the MFA and the PCP, it meant the installation of precisely the modern kind of trade union apparatus which would be the sine qua non of the "period of sacrifice" necessary for the Portuguese economy. To the extreme left, still very much in the shadow of the PCP and usually denouncing it solely for its hesitations in pushing through its own plans for consolidation, it signified the definitive rout of the hated Salazarist unions. By supporting a concept of trade union pluralism which would retain certain of these old corporatist structures as a bulwark against PCP hegemony, the PSP began to show itself, as it had increasingly since October, in its true colors as a Second International party of American and EEC capitalism. Nonetheless, the PCP had other reasons for pushing this law, and not the least of them being a wave of shop steward elections in which militants from the Socialist Party and from various extreme-left groups, including various Maoists, were winning on the basis of their refusal to knuckle under to the overall strike-breaking policy of the PCP. Whatever the political connections and lack of revolutionary perspectives of these militants, they were responding to, and drawing on the shop-floor resistance of the working class to the labor discipline of the MFA, the PCP and its Ministry of Labor, and the PCP's use of the MFA to snuff them out (and in certain cases, to annul or ignore the results of various factory elections) had, to put it mildly, nothing revolutionary about it. The extreme left, for its part, in the face of this development, later drew back from its uncritical support for Intersindical, although by that time the entire question had been superceded in the creation of workers' councils and other formations throughout the country.
The second Spinola coup, occurring on March 11, was even more pathetic and poorly organized than the first, and the working-class response to it even more overwhelming. Once again, nothing moved through the country without the clearance of roadblocks manned by industrial and agricultural workers. On March 12, the employees of all Portuguese banks occupied those institutions and demanded their immediate nationalization, which the MFA carried out. The reform strategy of the private factions of finance and industrial capital was apparently at a dead end, and the initiative strictly in the hands of the statist, military and technocratic forces. Their last board meetings broken up by units of the armed forces, the Espiritu Santos and Champalimauds began their trek to the Lisbon airport, where they grabbed the flights to Rio, in the hurried departure of important parts of the Portuguese capitalist class.
The radicalization of the situation between September, 1974 and March 1975, which set the stage for the revolutionary crisis of the next eight months, had immediate international repercussions and influences. In France, in October, 1974, the PCF and the Socialist Party all but tore up their electoral alliance, and the PCF leadership embarked on the beginnings of a new "hardline" period in which the Common Program, which had been the source of such euphoria earlier in the year, was renounced in all but name. The onset of the capitalist economic crisis, signaled by the severe inflation of the previous year and the quadrupling of oil prices in October, 1973, was finally beginning to make itself felt in the political alignments of the Western European official working class parties, and the reluctance of the PCF to "administer the crisis", and an additional faction fight with the Western European CPs on this question, forced a hardening of lines on all sides that was accelerated by the decomposition of the PCP-PSP swan song in Portugal. This situation, in which the internationalization of the Portuguese crisis, and behind it the crisis of succession in southern Africa, would ultimately involve a polarization of every major world and national political faction over the following period until November, 1975.
The first reaction of the international bourgeoisie and its press to the developments in Portugal after the aborted Spinola coup of March 11 was a double one. On one hand, it let forth a universal wail of tears for the failure of "democracy" among the "politically immature" Portuguese people. On the other hand, and more subtly, it carefully masked the important divergences which were beginning to manifest themselves between the rank-and-file movement and its various political "representatives" throughout the country. What was presented in the international press an an imminent "Prague coup" in the style of l948 was in fact the beginning of a double movement toward power by the PCP and the Goncalves faction of the MFA on one hand, and the open phase of a potentially proletarian movement on the other.
It was not, however, until the summer months that this divergence was admitted on the international level. It was also after March 11 that the factory occupations, often merely defensive responses to the bankruptcy of small firms forced to the wall or to the hasty departure abroad of an hysterical entrepreneur, began in earnest, together with the seizure of land and empty housing by various local committees. This phenomenon, called into being by no one and least of all by the MFA and the PCP, in turn began to force the hand of the various factions of the military and to accelerate the alignment which would last until the showdown in November.
9. Neo-Corporatist Restructuring or Socialist Revolution: Autogestao vs. Soviets
The true extent and detailed history of the social movement of the Portuguese masses, while being an all-determining force through the March-November 1975 period, is the most difficult to write and the most nebulous aspect of this social process. Since l968 and throughout Western Europe, every major socia1 confrontation has brought to the fore contradictory and often purely recuperated forms of working class struggle, (although in the 1968-76 period the general direction had clearly been away from innovative forms of action by the working class and toward the channeling of that action into "democratic forms" perfectly acceptable to the capitalist class). This is only another way of saying that what was put on the scene in wildcat fashion in the 1960's had become managerial wisdom by the 1970's. There is no question that the concept of the factory council, marketed under the various names of Mitbestimmung, participation, autogestion (autogestao in Portuguese) and so forth were anything but a self-management of austerity, the working class manifestation of a new corporatism. But these forms of working-class containment were called into operation to confront an initial conception of the working-class control of production which stood at the center of the revolutionary upheavals of the 20th century and which resurfaced, particularly since 1960, with a vehemence in class conflict around the globe. Stalinism and Social Democracy each in their own way have laid to rest forever the old myth of socialism as the mere nationalization of industry combined with bureaucratic planning, and from the factories of British Leyland to the shipyards of Gdansk and Gdynia, the idea of the working class running the totality of production, not in isolated units but as a class-for-itself organized at the level of society as a whole, returned to haunt bureaucrats and managers everywhere. The Soviets developed in Russia in 1905 and in 1917-21 were nothing else than such class-for-itself institutions, as were the most advanced council formations developed during the successive revolutionary crises in Germany in l917-21 or in Spain in 1936-37. The bourgeoisie has not remained blind to these developments, and has discovered that a modified form of this "control", limited to the reactionary capitalist unit of a single enterprise, can actually increase productivity and profitability while smoothing over labor relations. Hence, after the first revolutionary storm signals of l968-69, and after a decade of bitter class warfare on the shop floors of Britain, the European bourgeoisie was in advance of even the unions in decentralizing every conceivable power to the employees of this or that enterprise. The Peruvian colonels' movement, which had explicit ideological origins in the corporatism of Mussolini, had similar success in creating this reactionary "community of labor" in Latin America. There is nothing that, failing to call into question the hegemony of value production over social reproduction, which cannot be integrated into capitalism.
Hence it was no surprise to see, after the floodgates of the mass movement of factory, land and housing occupations and the constitution of a multitude of workers', soldiers', sailors' and neighborhood councils had been opened by the mass mobilization of March 11, a similar flood of calls for precisely this kind of "autogestao" being circulated by everyone from Melo Antunes and the Group of the Nine, on one side, to the head of Security Forces (COPCON), Gen. Otelo Sareiva de Carvaiho on the other. It was more surprising, though only slightly, to see the bulk of the extreme-left groups being dragged into this mystification. Only the CP, which had no place in its scheme for this method of recuperation and hardly about to counterpose the constitution of genuine soviets to this populist potpourri, stood aloof. As protagonists of an older model of bureaucratic containment, the modernist smell of "autogestao" was too much for them. This is not to say that there was no consciousness of this problem among the extreme-left tendencies in Portugal. The CRTSMs (Councils of Revolutionary Workers, Soldiers and Sailors) held an initial congress on April 19, 1975, and were able to mobilize 40,000 workers for a demonstration in Lisbon on June 17, in which the national coordination of these councils was put forward as a strategy. But it was never clear that the CRTSMs ever represented anything but the creations and periphery of the PRP-BR which, while not opposed to a soviet conception of working class power, was all too vulnerable, both in its tailing of Gen. Carvalho and in its celebration of various other local forms of popular power, to a blurring of the distinction. There is also no question that the prospect of such a dual power formation in Portugal haunted the minds of every faction jockeying for power within the bourgeois state, and if Carvalho and COPCON were able to present themselves credibly through the late summer and into the fall as the protagonists of a "direct democratic" control of production (in tandem with the MFA, of course), it was because the movement forced them to do so.
An interesting example of how the international media attempted to twist the significance of what was occurring in Portugal was the whole spectacle of the Republica affair. Beginning in May, 1975. the attempt of a workers' council, well to the left of the PCP, to exercise editorial control over the paper's contents was opposed by the publisher, PSP member Raul Rego, and branded in Portugal and in the international media as a machination of the Communist Party. This public relations coup was maintained well into mid-summer, and constituted the usual method of falsification by which the actions of unaffiliated groups of workers were passed off as PCP interventions. The question of whether or not the staff of a newspaper should have the ultimate power of a newspaper's contents is one which is subject to discussion, but it is a discussion clearly posed in terms different from the situation presented to the readers of the international press.
It was similarly in May-June 1975, confronted with the imminent loss of control of the situation in Portugal and the irrepressible growth of mass intervention into every aspect of social life, that Kissinger, Schlesinger and the U.S. government began brandishing the specter of "Communism" in saber-rattling threats against the Eastern bloc. It was, however, not official Communism but working-class revolution which terrified them the most. Simultaneously, the PSP went into action, using the pretext of the Republica affair and the July occupation of the Papist Radio Renascensa to resign from the government on July 10, and to launch a general mobilization against the PCP, Goncalves and the proletariat as a whole. The rhetoric of a year earlier, which had on occasion caused a Cunhal to blush at the histrionic excesses of the charlatan Soares, had completely given way to an almost open appeal to the proto-fascist regroupments that constituted the rank-and-file of the PPD and the CDS. The PPD followed Soares' lead and resigned from the government on July 17.
10. Three Documents Against the Revolution
With a wave of occupations manifesting itself throughout industry and indeed in every sphere of social life, and beginning to undermine discipline within the army, a de facto situation of dual power began to emerge in Portuguese society. It was a de facto situation because, aside from embryonic and for the most part stillborn attempts by marginal formations to create this power as a self-conscious force capable of confronting and replacing the bourgeois state and its armed forces, the vast majority of these popular institutions remained only dimly conscious of this necessity. It was thus, in the July-August power struggle, as the situation approached that point of no return in which alternative institutions of social power must either destroy the existing state or disappear, that the various factions of the MFA, with the respective political parties which supported them rallying behind, began to introduce various proposals for a long-term solution to the crisis. The most significant of these attempts at capitalist regroupment was the so-called Melo Antunes document, published by the Group of the Nine, and the COPCON document, published under the sponsorship of General Otelo Saraiva de Carvalho and drafted within the context of his peculiar relationship to the PRP-BR. Confronted with the possibility of a triumph of the Goncalves-PCP alliance and a definitive bureaucratic solution to the problem of the integration of the working class, which would situate itself internationally in an orientation, to whatever extent possible, to the Soviet bloc, the Melo Antunes and Carvalho factions of the military, backed by the PSP and the extreme left respectively, attempted to introduce "independent" alternatives. What they introduced in reality were the "right" and "left" versions of the same Bonapartist solution. It was above all the Melo Antunes document which became the rallying point for the counter-revolution, and the PSP recognized in the astute Melo Antunes its major hope, even if Melo Antunes did not fully reciprocate this enthusiasm.
Thus by mid-August, the three major factions of the MFA had aligned themselves with the three major contending perspectives in Portuguese society as a whole, none of them in any way congruent with revolution. The Melo Antunes "Group of the Nine", a melange of military and civilian technocrats, proposed in its document a statist-technocratic development of the Portuguese economy, a sort of middle way between Peruvian neo-corporatist development and a dirigist Social Democracy; the Vasco Goncalves faction, whatever its utterances, was understood to represent the integral bureaucratic (or Stalinist) solution, in tandem with the PCP; finally, the volatile if not negligeable forces around the figure of Gen. Otelo Sareiva de Carvalho, the Security Force COPCON, and certain extreme-left tendencies, of which the PRP-BR was the most important, favored the implementation of a "direct democratic" rule of the working class, unfortunately still in tandem with the "progressive wing of the MFA" and organized far more along corporatist and local lines of autogestao than anything that could be called soviet rule. The Carvalho tendency, which realized that if Portugal were to avoid relative submersion into one of the two major world power blocs proposed by Melo Antunes and Vasco Goncalves respectively, a certain amount of footwork would be required, and hence it conjured up the specter of Portugal maneuvering in the world market in alliance with various unnamed "progressive forces of the Third World".
It was also in the Carvalho-extreme-left tendency that another, seamy neo-corporatist current was furthered. This was the so-called "apartidista" or "a-party" attitude, which the MFA as a whole had fostered in the first year of its rule and had abandoned in March 1975, when its absurdity became patent. At the rank-and-file level of the organization of "popular power", the anti-party attitude expressed two inseparable moments. On one hand, it expressed a revulsion at the attempts of the PCP and the PSP to use these formations for their own party ends in the government. On the other hand, it expressed a widespread anarcho-syndicalist illusion that the question of the political control of the state as such was irrelevant or secondary. The capitulation of the extreme-left groups, notably the PRP-BR and the LUAR, to such thinking was a complete abdication, and particularly in the case of the anarcho-Guevarist PRP, a fundamental masking of its own party proclivities. These groups, by tailing Carvalho's "left" Peruvian solution, failed the movement twice: in the realm of politics, to raise the question of the liquidation of the bourgeois state and its armed forces, and in the realm of the mass rank-and-file organizations, to raise the question of their status as the mass base of a Bonapartist or neo-corporatist restructuring of capital.
In reality, above and beyond the political arrangements that would oversee the process, all three factions of the MFA were proposing national plans for an intensified state capitalist development of the Portuguese economy, at least in the short and medium term. Of course, given the impossibility of the abolition of the capitalist market in one country, a revolutionary working class movement in power would be obliged, for a certain period, to oversee a kind of "state capitalism" as well. The fundamental question, and the one suppressed by all three contending factions, was that of the political control of the state by the working class. It is too often overlooked that, even prior to April 25, all of the major sectors of Portuguese industry were already controlled by the state through majority shareholdings , with the exception of metallurgy and the maritime transport industries. The accelerated statification of the economy, brought on the by revolutionary crisis and by the international depression, in fact realized structural reforms long sought by certain enlightened bourgeois elements but above all by the stifled technocracy. In addition to this neo-corporatist orgy of rationalization, the intensification of unpaid labor for "national reconstruction" began to surface as an important option. None other than Gen. Otelo Sareiva do Carvalho, in an interview at the end of 1974, called for an expanded use of the armed forces, as well as a civilian job corps, to precisely such ends.
11. The Fall of Vasco Goncalves and the PCP
By mid-August, the government had been brought to total paralysis. The campaign of the PSP, beginning in June, had intersected -- and appealed to -- a groundswell of proto-fascist and overly fascist ferment from the two major right-wing parties, the PPD and the CDS. The destruction of PCP and extreme-left offices in a number of small northern towns, physical attacks on PCP members in the same areas, and a wave of forest fires which broke out throughout the North signaled a counter-revolutionary offensive of considerable proportion. By the time of the fall of the Fifth Government at the end of August, Soares was acting in an open alliance with this right-wing attack on the PCP and the extreme left.
Throughout the same period, the international capitalist community, alerted by the rapid leftward motion of March 1975 and thereafter, mobilized every means at its disposal short of direct military intervention (and such an intervention was, of course, never ruled out) to crush the Portuguese proletariat. The EEC made it clear that Portuguese membership in the Community depended on the establishment of "democracy"; foreign investment, which in 1971-74 had made up 30-40% of all investment in Portugal, dropped to zero. There were machinations with remittances being sent home from abroad by Portuguese emigres, and banks throughout Western Europe connived to help right-wing refugees get their money out of the country and generally to sabotage the escudo. The rapid spread of unemployment in France and Germany, finally, provoked the layoffs of tens of thousands of Portuguese workers, who returned home over the summer months with nothing to do but make the revolution; hence the invisibles which had kept Portugal's trade deficit under control through the last years of Caetano were seriously undercut.
Under these pressures and under the impact of day-to-day developments in the country as a whole, the Portuguese economy was descending into chaos. Unemployment passed the 10% mark, new investment was down 71% from 1974; the constant political mobilization of the working population, the flight abroad of managers and technicians, the shortage of essential materials and the bankruptcies of hundreds of small and middle-sized firms forced to the wall in the crisis had the cumulative effect of shrinking production by nearly l0%.
On August 27, the center-right coalition of Soares and the PSP with the PPD and the CDS, aligned within the MFA with the "classical right" of Azevedo and the Group of the Nine, forced the resignation of the Goncalves government and opened the period in which civil war seemed almost inevitable. In dislodging the Vasco Goncalves government, the forces of the center and right had achieved a tactical victory within the political sphere, but they had by no means achieved the essential, which was the demobilization of the mass movement in the streets, barracks and factories, to which the unknown factor of the PCP, for all intents and purposes out of the government for the first time since April, 1974, had been added. The PCP was given one ministerial portfolio of no consequence in the Sixth Government, and began its role as a pressure group with the goal of restoring the fallen Fifth. Similarly, on Aug. 25, the PCP concluded the short-lived "Revolutionary United Front" (FUR) with six extreme-left groups (the PRP-BR, MES, LUAR, LCI, FSP and MDP-CDE) whose essential program was also the return of the Fifth Government. The PCP, however, was unceremoniously expelled from the FUR on Aug. 28, after one joint demonstration, when it was revealed that it had engaged in closed-door negotiations for a better position in the new government. Throughout the month of August, Cunhal had even endorsed an Azevedo government as the best solution to prevent the situation from slipping to the right. The FUR, which never permitted itself this indiscretion, continued to exist through the denouement of the crisis in Nbvember, but really constituted nothing more than the collective constituencies of the six groups composing it.
12. The Left, the Extreme Left and the Political Crisis of the MFA
The revolutionary strategy appropriate to a situation such as that traversed in Portugal between March and November, 1975, was a united front policy aiming at the constitution of the class-for-itself in soviet formations, unifying the left-wing rank-and-file of Social Democracy, the rank-and- file of the Stalinist CP, and the viable forces of the extreme left.
After roughly l928, but particularly after the Second World War, the Social Democratic parties which revolutionaries abandoned in droves in 1917-21 periodically become poles of attraction for certain strata of pro-socialist, but anti-Stalinist workers and intellectuals who sought, and in certain periods found room for maneuver within these parties which was not possible within the Stalinist formations. After the defeat of the Left Opposition in Russia and in the Comintern as a whole, but particularly after the debacle of Stalinist policy in Germany in 1933, Trotskyists and other extreme-left currents saw an orientation to these left-wing Social Democrats as an indispensable bridge to the splitting of Social Democracy in those countries where it was a preponderant force.
The PSP represented an interesting example of this problem. There is no question that the 38% of the vote obtained by the PSP in the April, 1975 elections included an important center-right force which saw the PSP as the major bulwark against revolution, Stalinist or otherwise. Because of its complete lack of organizational structure in April, 1974, (in contrast to the effective machine built up by the PCP over decades) the PSP had virtually no support in the industrial working class, which remained throughout the crisis the domain of the PCP and the extreme left. Nonetheless, certain white-collar trade unionists and other working class elements of the tertiary sector co-existed within the PSP rank-and-file with all of the petty-bourgeois riffraff who were the genuine social base of the Soares leadership. More importantly, between October 1974 and August 1975, the behaviour of the PCP, in its rapid and skillful self-insertion into the state apparatus, under the sole sponsorship of the military (and, when the lines were drawn, all out of proportion to its mass strength) drove large numbers of people into the arms of Soares, who was presenting himself in increasingly shrill terms as the guardian of "democracy". This behaviour by the PCP, complete with a resurrection of the old "Social Fascist" theme applied in blanket fashion to the PSP membership, gave Soares a base and a credibility which he would otherwise have been hard put to win on his own.
The "social fascist" analysis of Social Democracy is a classic of the hypostasis of the mind reified by Stalinist ideology. It takes the dynamic truth of a process confirmed again and again by historical experience and converts it into a static falsification. It is a banality that in a period of pre-revolutionary crisis, Social Democracy is the handmaiden of fascism through its political demobilization of the working class in the name of "anti-fascism" (as if the PCP had not made abundant use of the mystified "anti-fascist" rhetoric) up to the point when actual fascism can, with the appropriate small gratitude and contempt, sweep Social Democracy aside and institute its generalized solution to the social crisis. Nonetheless, to conclude from this historical caretaker role of the Noskes, Blums and Allendes spawned like the plague by the counter-revolution of the 20th century, that Social Democrats themselves are fascists is nothing but an enormous strategic and tactical blunder which, when implemented seriously as in Germany (1928-1933) or in a lesser fashion in Portugal, has had nothing but catastrophic consequences. And its most devastating consequences in situations like Portugal in this period. was preciselv its deliverv of left Social Democrats to the conscious organizers of capitalist stabilization, the Soareses and the Noskes. In a situation such as that which pertained in Portugal from roughly December 1974, but particularly from March through November 1975, where a Stalinist party is playing a role similar to that of the PCP and where a large Social Democracy, under a leadership well to the right of an important part of the rank-and-file, is emerging as the main rallying point of the counter-revolution, it is absolutely indispensable for revolutionaries to address themselves to that rank-and-file to force a split which can separate itself from the pro-capitalist leadership of such parties. Such a current must say quite plainly that it can defend the right to organize of such Social Democrats against Stalinist attacks only to the extent that a break is made with the people who tomorrow will be the gravediggers of the revolutionary process.
From August until November, 1975, it appeared likely that a civil war would have opposed both the Communist Party and the extreme-left to the rest of the Portuguese body politic. Such a development, given the inevitable military aid which NATO, the CIA and the Spanish government would have placed at the disposal of the PSP-PPD-CDS coalition, would have inevitably meant a massacre of the industrial and agricultural proletariat in relatively short order. Hence the "left Social Democratic" orientation of a revolutionary current in the pre-August period was an indispensable moment of a regroupment strategy.
There was, furthermore, no lack of basis for such a tactic. By October, 1975, the substantial left-wing base of the PSP could no longer be mobilized for Soares' more and more openly proto-fascist offensive, because large parts of it were in the street in the mass demonstrations of the PCP and the extreme-left.
Rank-and-file discontent with the Soares leadership in late summer and fall was no less vehement than the similar, virtually majoritarian left opposition to Allende which developed within the Chilean Socialist Party in the late summer of 1973. The Social Democratic-Communist-extreme left united front strategy does not aim at the occupation of the ministries of the bourgeois state by these currents. It is a strategy based on the constitution of the working class as a class-for-itself, organized programmatically around a perspective for the expanded reproduction of society, a perspective whose realization is possible only through the liquidation of commodity production and the constitution of a government of soviets. It is purely a regroupment strategy in the streets and factories, for use in a leftward-veering situation in which the working class is still nominally enlisted in Social Democratic or Stalinist parties. It is further a perspective which is possible only with the arming of the working class and the dissolution of the bourgeois state.
A program for the expanded reproduction of society is, from a revolutionary point of view, the only raison d'etre of such a formation. The very constitution of a government of soviets is the de facto dissolution of Social Democracy and Stalinism as political currents aiming at control of any separate state, and revolutionaries can have no illusions that such a formation could be realized with the current leaderships of the Western European Social Democracies or Communist Parties still in a position of power. Were this to be the case, then these united fronts could only be parliamentary farces in essence no different from a Popular Front coalition with the "progressive" wing of the bourgeoisie, a short-lived overseer government soon to be swept aside by right-wing or fascist rule, as was the result of the parliamentarv application of the united front strategy in Germany (in the state governments of Saxony and Thuringia) in Fall 1923. It was the extreme poverty of the bulk of the currents to the left of the PCP in Portugal in 1974-75 that such a policy, tied to a call for the formation of soviets to supercede the multitude of local organs of control, was never elaborated, let alone implemented. Of course, this absence only expressed the deep limits of the movement in Portugal, and its practical options in the crisis. What unified the virtual entirety of the extreme-left in Portugal was a false analysis of the Stalinist phenomenon (as well as of the related "MFA-People" alliance), and hence a total impotence in dealing with it practically. We need hardly mention in passing the majority of Maoists (typified at their worst in the proto-fascist MRPP and AOC, but true in less virulent forms of the edulcorated Maoism of the UDP or certain "Marxist-Leninist" factions) who saw the PCP as a "social fascist" agent of "Soviet imperialism" and in many cases as the "main enemy" to be combated in the context of allegedly rising Soviet world hegemony. This fairy tale of an ideology, which was nothing but the most transparent cover for the foreign policy needs of the Chinese bureaucracy in its mid-1970's rapprochement with U.S. imperialism (expressed, in its most extreme form, by support for NATO and the EEC against "social imperialism" and calls for the strengthening of Western European armies for "the legitimate self-defense of the fatherland by the people"!!!) was also nothing but a cover for an alliance with fascism, which materialized in Portugal in the open collaboration of the MRPP and the AOC with the PPD and the CDS. The soft-core, or disabused Maoism of the UDP, which attracted certain real working-class support in the industrial suburban belt of Lisbon because of militant discontent with the PCP role under the first five governments, was a diluted version of the same fantasy, at bottom nothing but a rehash of Popular Frontist "anti-fascist" ideology.
A more serious extreme left Portugal was constituted by those groups which formed the FUR at the end of August, 1975. These groups included the Fourth International pro-Mandel "Trotskyist" LCI, the broadly left-Social Democratic MES, the spontaneo-Guevarist PRP-BR and the anarcho-Marxist LUAR. These groups, which had at least the merit of recognizing Maoism as merely one more variant of Stalinism, were hence in a better position to realistically assess the aim of the PCP at the establishment, not of "social fascism" but of the bureaucratic mode of rule which has characterized Stalinist regimes, pro-Russian or pro-Chinese, since the consolidation of Stalinist hegemony in the 1924-28 period. While most of these groups erred in seeing only the "reformist" activity of the PCP, the ostensible "Popular Front" which it maintained through the fall of the Fifth Government, and not its perfectly serious pursuit of bureaucratic state power, their ability to see the PCP more realistically in its relationship to the other forces on the scene at least posed the question of a united front strategy, if only to lead to other illusions.
Unfortunately, the short-lived "united front", when it occurred, had nothing to do with the strategy outlined above. The FUR (Frente Unido Revolucionario) was nothing but a desperation measure by the PCP as an additional lobby for a more adequate distribution of ministerial portfolios in the Sixth Government, whose program, whatever its rhetoric, constituted nothing more or less than a call for the reconstitution of the (Fifth) Vasco Goncalves government. The COPCON document, which the PCP had to tolerate as the manifesto of the FUR, explicitly called for the joint rule of the military with various institutions of "popular power", a sort of institutionalized dual power conception, again, strongly echoing its Peruvian inspiration. The reality of the situation, of course, did exceed the phrases of the COPCON document, since the first task of the MFA, once it had ousted Vasco Goncalves, was the destruction of the embryonic dual power situation in the streets, factories, and in the countryside. Nonetheless, the specter of a new Vasco Goncalves government would lurk just beneath the mobilizations of the extreme left through Nov.25, rendering it nothing more than a militant lobby in the streets for an untenable status quo ante and once again sowing illusions about the "left" MFA in the working class.
Portugal was therefore one more object lesson to the international revolutionary movement that the extreme left, or would-be revolutionary organizations to the left of the official Communist parties, cannot constitute themselves as mere shadows of those parties and define their policies in relationship to the presence or absence of such a party in the cabinet of the moment.
The extreme left's weight on the scales of counter-revolution throughout 1974 and 1975 in Portugal was precisely this valorization of the PCP, egging it on to do precisely what it was capable of doing, in order to "unmask" it, and more importantly and more criminally, the valorization of the MFA as a "progressive force" which could be pressured into making a socialist revolution and not merely modernizing the structure of exploitation, which is precisely what it accomplished. The disabusing of working-class consciousness about the MFA as a whole only emerged in the last weeks of the crisis, when it was already far too late, and even after Nov.25 one could still read in the publications of the "extreme-left" PRP references to the "progressive" military and unashamed groveling before the populist demagogue Otelo Sareiva de Carvalho, former head of Psychological Warfare in Africa.
13. The Denouement of the Revolutionary Crisis
The political impasse which was institutionalized in the departure of the PSP and the PPD from the fifth government on July 10 and July 17, respectively, lasted for six interminable weeks of meetings of the Council of the Revolution, in which the "moderate" Melo Antunes faction had gained the ascendancy with the support of the right-wing group around Fabiao and Azevedo. By the end of August, it was clear that Goncalves was finished as Prime Minister, and in the course of a week-long meeting from Aug.29 through September 5, his departure was made definitive. Admiral Pinheiro de Azevedo replaced him as Prime Minister, and Goncalves was transferred to the post of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, only to be forced out of that position as well. The center-right factions of the MFA had won contemporary control of the state. They were nonetheless confronted with a far more formidable task: to subdue the mass movement in the streets, factories and within the armed forces. The Goncalves-PCP government had tried ruling the country alone in the face of a large proto-fascist counter-offensive led by Soares and his friends; the Sixth Government now had to see if it could avoid the same isolation in the heights of power.
The strategy of the PCP, seeing its hopes of edging into power under military sponsorship destroyed, was now to force a rerun of the very Goncalves government which had collapsed beneath it over the summer. The use of the mass movement in the streets to this end, walking a careful line between an attempt to make itself respectable to the PSP-dominated cabinet and simultaneously to run with the mass movement in the streets, which was beginning to go seriously beyond such paltry maneuvers, characterized the actions of the PCP from the end of August. through Nov.25.
If the "anarchism and populism that inevitably lead to the catastrophic dissolution of the state", which was the looming specter behind the Melo Antunes document, had been a problem for the Fifth Government in its final weeks, it was all the moreso throughout the first months of the Sixth. The PCP, returned to an oppositional role for the first time since April, 1974, the extreme left, and the multitude of factory, military and neighborhood councils expanded their activities to unprecedented levels that made the country virtually ungovernable. On Sept.16, the PCP led 20,000 people through downtown Lisbon in a demonstration calling for a return to the Goncalves government. It was also at this time that the SUV, or Soldiers United for Victory, made its appearance in the North, and began to spread to the Lisbon region. This formation was never clearly tied to either the PCP or the extreme-left, and everyone on occasion praised its actions. But it marked the beginning of an actual dissolution of the standing bourgeois army and the first mooting of a formation of armed workers' militias which would have been an indispensable threshold for any revolutionary movement worthy of the name. In its best moments, it is unlikely that the PCP or the extreme-left in any case "controlled" the SUV; on Sept.26, Gen. CarvaIho was compelled to state that "however well intentioned they may be ... (the soldiers' committees) appear as a counter-revolutionary activity. I watch with a certain preoccupation the appearance of such organizations which...increasingly disintegrate the armed forces." This reservation about the formations for whom he remained a mystified hero seemed nonetheless to be lost on Carvalho's camp followers in the PRP-BR and elsewhere. On the 29th, Carvalho ordered COPCON to take over Radio Renascensa in Lisbon, where it had been placed under workers' control by the staff in June; perhaps for the first time, he was booed in a demonstration in front of the Ministry of Information. In response to this order, the workers of Setnave, the Setubal shipyards, called for a general strike, and despite a PCP directive to stay home, thousands of workers entered Lisbon to participate in a mass demonstration for the radio station.
The situation which unfolded in Portugal through the three months leading to Nov.25 was one in which the extreme-left began to seriously undermine the base of the PCP in all the major social institutions. The zig-zag course of the party, torn between its ministerial aspirations and the revolutionary aspirations of its rank-and-file, disgusted increasing numbers of workers. In numerous cases, actions were initiated by CP members against the explicit orders of the party, and in certain cases, PCPers actually approached the extreme-left groups to ask them undertake such actions. This osmotic process of interplay between the PCP and the extreme-left was fought out above all in the industrial belt of Lisbon, where perhaps 50,000 workers moved back and forth between the two poles with the rhythm of developments. The PCP was so afraid of losing its base to forces to its left that it actually staged a demonstration on Sept. 18 posing as the FUR. Despite appearances, the obvious predominance of PCP slogans calling solely for the ouster of the PPD from the government (the relapse to a sub-Popular Frontism, in which the PSP ceased to be a "social fascist" formation and rejoined the panoply of "progressive forces" now completed) was a giveaway to the 50,000 people who attended. In this atmosphere, the revelation of Soares' CIA connection passed almost unnoticed.
Throughout October and into early November, the dissolution of power on every side, in the industrial and urban regions, continued apace. This dissolution was focused in three major arenas of confrontation. First, the activities of the SUV led repeatedly to mass demonstrations in Oporto, to the ousting of politically suspect officers and the occupation of a base just outside of Oporto demanding the reinstatement of the ousted leftist regional commander. Second, the Radio Renascensa affair prompted a march of 100,000 to the broadcasting tower outside of Lisbon where the defending troops gave in to the crowd and permitted the station to resume broadcasting. In the first week of November, a second government seizure was carried out by a commando unit which settled the question definitively by blowing up the transmitter. On Nov. 9, the CP-dominated construction workers' union struck in Lisbon, demanding a 40% wage increase; by the 14th, they, together with 100,000 demonstrators, had sequestered the Constituent Assembly and Prime Minister Azevedo in the government buildings. The 40% increase was granted. Nonetheless, once again Gen. Carvalho was booed by a crowd of workers, and forced to "choose sides" by leading a march on a government ministry. The next confrontation with the Azevedo government occurred precisely in response to its attempt to strip Carvalho of his COPCON command and to dissolve the unit, which had been functioning more or less on its own for months. Twenty five units in the Lisbon region immediately denounced this maneuver and declared their solidarity with Carvalho. A similar response met the call of the Azevedo regime for the return of some 30,000 firearms presumed to be in the hands of non-military personnel; the deadline date came and passed, with only a few slingshots being submitted in a few of the more remote villages.
On Nov.18, a monster demonstration of 200,000 people, called by the PCP with the participation of the FUR, marched through downtown Lisbon. It was eerily reminiscent of the similar mobilization of 150,000 people in Santiago one week before the overthrow of Allende in 1973. Nonetheless, even here the growing schism between the rank-and-file and the PCP leadership could not be masked, leading to the spectacle of PCPers on the platform attempting to lead the singing of the Portuguese national anthem from the platform while the crowd drowned them out in the singing of the Internationale.
The pressure point was reached on the morning of Nov. 25. Several divisions of paratroopers, under CP commanders, seized four air force bases in the Lisbon region . Thus began two to three days of tension in which the first shots of a civil war, and then merely a direct military repression, were awaited. In fact, the entire uprising was over by the evening of the 25th; all that remained was the state of emergency, including a complete blackout of media, which was in force for several days afterwards as air force jets buzzed Lisbon and Porto and as naval destroyers took up positions in Lisbon harbor. The paratroopers surrendered to a unit of commandos under the particularly reactionary Col. Jaime Neves, after it was clear that several other key units in the Lisbon region were not going to come out in support of their action. The action itself showed a very low level of organization, as dozens of air force pilots had been able to run to their planes and fly them to non-rebel bases in the North. There is no question that the PCP was involved in the first phase of the seizure of the bases. Its strategy was ostensibly to force a return to a Goncalves or some similar government; the aims of the extreme leftists who involved themselves in the early phase of the action were more far-reaching. At 5:00 PM on the 25th, an official of the PCP-dominated steelworkers' union went on Lisbon radio and called for an armed insurrection; by 10:00 PM, PCP leaders were back on the air asking everyone to return home.
What had happened in the period between the seizure of the bases in the morning of Nov.25 and the demobilization order of the same evening is of course by no means undisputed. What seems clear is that the PCP leadership had made its calculations and realized that on a national level, they were militarily in no position to win, even with their limited objectives. The left and extreme-left forces had a military hegemony in the Lisbon region on the 25th, and could, with coordination, have won an immediate showdown there, but during the 25th a number of regiments known to be loyal to the government were brought to within the outer periphery of Lisbon awaiting further orders. They were never needed: it is likely that during the crucial hours of decision, large numbers of people in the streets did not know they were there. The CP, with its national intelligence apparatus, almost certainly did. Simultaneously, there is certain evidence that the PCP in the course of the day had entered secret negotiations with the Revolutionary Council and had secured the conditions of a graceful surrender, with any further repression to fall upon the extreme-left groups and their base of support in the Lisbon industrial belt. In any case, the surrender of the paratroopers and the decision of the PCP to demobilize its considerable national network (which had been put on alert and was prepared to blow up bridges and roads throughout the country to prevent troop movement into the Lisbon region), probably reflected an accurate reading of the immediate military balance of forces in Portugal, to say nothing of the international level. Nonetheless, the cynicism with which the CP had used the mass movement to which it still had access for such a ministerial maneuver was not lost on thousands of militants, and in the following days Cunhal and his friends had to face the catcalls of "treason" in many working-class milieus. If the PCP in addition did meet secretly with the Revolutionary Council to negotiation the repression, its criminal role was already established by its overt actions in launching the revolt and leaving the extreme left and the working class open to the bloodbath which might have occurred.
On the following day, forces on every side were treated to a few lessons in the reality' of the situation. Melo Antunes, the figure previously cut out for the Noske-Scheidemann role in Portugal, appeared on television and announced that the PCP had an indispensable role to play in the reconstruction of Portugal. It had, after all, performed creditably under five governments as the front-line police force of the MFA; now, under the sixth, it had shown itself willing to limit itself to the aspirations of a return to the cabinet, even if it had permitted itself a few flirtations with adventurism in attempting to be that kind of pressure group. Even more revealing, however, was the televised speech of Costa Gomes, still in the position of influence he assumed with the demise of Spinola in September, 1974, Costa Gomes, as everyone expected, denounced the coup attempt in no uncertain terms; what surprised a few, and not least of all the PRP, was the appearance at his side of Gen. Otelo Sareiva de Carvalho throughout the speech. This remarkable event did not prevent CarvaIho from being demoted to Major and placed under house arrest in short order. Nor did it sully the adulation he continued to receive from certain "extreme-left" quarters.
14. In the Aftermath of Nov. 25
In early September, the center-right military faction had captured the state; on Nov. 25, it extended its hegemony, still fragile, to Portuguese society as a whole. The PCP and the extreme-left forces in the working class had been isolated and defeated strategically; what remained to be implemented was a process of attrition by which the still untouched "gains" of the previous nineteen months could be rolled back in anticipation of the tasks of "national reconstruction", so long delayed. Hundreds of CP and extreme-left officers were purged from the military; and the process, already underway prior to Nov.25, of wholesale demobilization of unreliable regiments and the careful political screening of new draftees was accelerated. Many of these demobilized officers were arrested and imprisoned, where many remained until February or March, 1976. Some of the last street actions of the movement were emotional marches to the Cascias and Custoes prisons in Lisbon and Oporto respectively, and it was at the latter on Dec. 31 that the National Republican Guard fired on the crowd, killing three people and wounding dozens. The factory committees, now definitively trapped in the self-management of capitalism, began to disappear unevenly as the mass ferment which had animated them subsided. The working class, without a semblance of a political current which had not discredited itself in one fashion or another prior to Nov. 25, was very vulnerable to the renewed attack on its living standards, which became the first priority of the regime. Many entrepreneurs and managers who had fled their factories in the previous year, sensing the change in the wind, returned for their pound of flesh.
Only in the Alentejo, where the land seizure of large latifundias remained untouched, did the government adopt a circumspect attitude. Increasingly shrill cries from expropriated landowners and industrialists for "compensation" began to be heard, and tolerated, for the first time, and the rightward drift of the government could be measured in its increasing willingness to negotiate with these people. Meanwhile, the nationalizations remained for the most part intact. As was discussed above, they were in no way inimical to the enlightened perspectives of a wing of Portuguese capital. In a sense, the initial aims of the MFA, having opened the Pandora's box of proletarian revolution, were being implemented. The vast paralysis of the Portuguese economy throughout the crisis of 1975 had to be paid for, and a wave of price increases and new consumer taxes announced the first phase of the gouging of working-class living standards.
In the midst of the political mop-up operation being carried out by the government, the new constitution was issued in early April 1976. While it was still "progressive" in tone, no one had any illusions that it represented anything but a crystallization of forces in which the working class, the left and the extreme-left had clearly lost out. The insistence of the Revolutionary Council of the military, in the final days before the issuing of the constitution, on the right of the army to dissolve it at any time was an adequate sign of this reality. The elections merely consolidated the balance of forces which had been decided in the streets in November, and the populist demagogy of Carvalho in his presidential campaign (which won 17% of the vote, against 7.5% for the PCP candidate Octavio Pato) could hardly cover that up. That such a figure could still be prominent in the "extreme-left" milieu after his dubious role in the events of November was one more measure of the limits of the Portuguese movement, and of its ability to draw lessons from a provisional defeat.
15. Assessment and Limits of the Revolutionary Crisis
It can be said with some certainty that there was never a revolutionary situation as such in Portugal. Such a situation would have required not merely the virtual dissolution of bourgeois institutions, which occurred up to a point , but also the relative dispersion of the mass base of the counter-revolutionary forces. As the situation reached its climax, however, it was virtually the opposite that occurred. During the crucial week of August 29-Sept. 5, during the final deliberations for the forming of the Sixth Government, or in the two weeks preceding Nov. 25, which saw mass support for the construction workers' strike, the mobilization for Radio Renascensa and finally the failed putsch of the paratroopers, there was no question that the forces of the left and extreme-left possessed an immediate tactical advantage in Lisbon, in Setubal and in the Alentejo, with an important base of support in Oporto. But beyond that, the strength of the combined forces of the pro-government regiments outside of Lisbon, the underground army of retornados and the unreconstructed fascists in the ELP, and important rank-and-file segments of the PSP, PPD and CDS, to say nothing of the immediate armed backing these forces would have received from the US, NATO and perhaps most immediately from Spain, was formidable. Even the ease with which the commandos of Col. Jaime Neves disarmed the isolated rebel units in the Lisbon region did not speak well for the organization of the left and extreme left. If, in the final showdown, the country was polarized between the forces of the PCP, the extreme left and the breakaway rank-and-file on one side, and the right wing of the PSP, the PPD, the CDS and the ELP on the other, a coordinated uprising might have succeeded in Lisbon, Setubal and in the Alentejo. The proto-fascist peasant base of the North, and the important petty bourgeois strata of Oporto and the small towns, would have almost certainly delivered the rest of the country to the counter-revolution.
But the situation had evolved, by August 1975, to a point where even such an alignment of forces for a revolutionary seizure of power had been precluded. It had been precluded first of all by the actions of the PCP-MFA alignment, which had pushed certain strata, by no means proto-fascist or anti-socialist, into the arms of the PSP; it had been precluded by the orientation of the extreme left in its tailing of the PCP-MFA machinations of the March-August period, on one hand refusing to distinguish itself from these bureaucratic- military maneuvers by counter-posing a government of soviets to the state, and on the other hand by falling into the trap of the Carvalho-COPCON faction and its scheme for a "direct democratic" underwriting of military rule. By failing to grasp and denounce both the statist-bureaucratic machinations of the PCP-Goncalves faction and, at other moments, tailing submissively after the attempts of the Goncalves and Carvalho factions to come to terms with the PSP, the PPD and the center-right military, the extreme left offered nothing to the working-class currents which were tending, at certain moments, to break out of that double bind.
Such a strategy of course presupposes two things that were completely lacking in the Portuguese crisis: revolutionary program and a revolutionary organization. It was clear, throughout the crisis and particularly during Nov.25 and its aftermath, that the PCP was the only force in the country, aside from the military and the Catholic church, which possessed an apparatus for immediate, effective national mobilization. The PCP had correctly read the situation on the national level, and realized that it could not win (leaving aside, for the moment, the question of what it was seeking to win); the extreme-left, on the contrary, generally mistaking the immediate tactical superiority of the left and extreme-left in Lisbon for the situation throughout Portugal, was more prone to being dragged into putchist adventure. According to one story circulating in Lisbon after Nov. 25, the PRP, whose members had been guarding the largest armory in Lisbon in the days before Nov. 25, which had been the most vociferous advocates of immediate armed struggle and insurrection, and which had promised arms to any and all who would fight, managed to send a total of seven rifles to the Alentejo and one rifle to the Algarve in the midst of the Nov. 25 crisis. Those who had the apparatus to coordinate a revolutionary seizure of power on a national level were not revolutionary, and those who were vaguely pro-revolutionary, though lost in a swamp of illusions about the "left" MFA and Gen. Carvalho, did not have the semblance of national coordination on a meaningful level. If the working class did not allow itself to be drawn into a massacre on Nov.25, it was undoubtedly because it sensed this organizational vacuum of the extreme-left forces. But the question of organization is a pure formalism without the question of program. And this the extreme left lacked even more. The immediate economic and military state of siege with which the Western powers would have reacted to such a revolution meant that its first exigency would have been its extension, and first of all to Spain, in order to have any hope of survival. But beyond this banality, which everyone recognized, stood the whole question of the economic strategy of the revolution in power. A trade orientation to the Eastern European bloc or to various Third World countries (beginning with the FRELIMO government in Mozambique and the MPLA-dominated government in Angola which was to take power in early 1976) would have provided short-term relief, but would have only served to reinforce the currents which were moving for a bureaucratic integration of the economy. (The example of the fate of the proto-soviet forms of the Spanish revolution of 1936-1937 under the impact of Soviet "aid" is instructive here.)
The impasse of the Portuguese working class in the fall of 1975, aside from this lack of an organized force on the scene simultaneously capable of galvanizing the disparate forces dissolving the capitalist institutions into an alternate mode of power, liquidating the remnants of the state and standing army, taking the economic measures necessary to resume production and expand trade, was its entrapment in the national framework of Portugal itself. This, again, at however unconscious a level in the minds of people weighing the possibilities of revolution, was a powerful factor of discouragement.
16. Generality and Specificitv in the Constitution of the Class-for-Itself
Three inseparable strands stood forth in all their indispensable importance in the Portuguese experience. They were the three moments of the social movement, the anonymous tidal wave of mass intervention into history, the product of long decades of subterranean erosion and social development, the necessary but not sufficient condition for any truly revolutionary movement; the moment of revolutionary political organization, or the necessity of a communist organization which can express the social movement in its confrontation with the bourgeois state, and which can lead that movement to the destruction of the state and the creation of a new, transitional workers' state; and finally, on the most detailed daily level of strategy and tactics, the military question of the seizure of power by the armed working class and its allies. Portugal, while never reaching the heights of the Russian, German or Spanish revolutionary experiences, nonetheless provided one new object lesson in the tremendous power of the "anonymous social movement" cast up by history, and simultaneously, the specificity the condensed nature and indispensability of a political leadership which can give that movement its coherence, its self-consciousness and its military striking force . Every revolutionary process of the 20th century from 1905 to the present has seen the richness and incredible power of the tidal wave of the masses in motion; every one of these processes has been characterized at its origins by the apparent triviality of the incident which sparked it, and the tremendous historical burdens which in a matter of days, or hours, have been swept away by the "old mole"; every one of these processes has, finally, been decided by the presence or absence of an organized force, which has in the decisive situation been able to provide the political and military cohesion to that tidal wave. Portugal was no less a demonstration of this social law, even if at a lower level.
What is this "law"? It is precisely that history, and the communist revolution produced by the historical struggle of concrete men and women, is simultaneously a deep, anonymous process that works a society from within, and a process of specificity, of historical individuals with names and faces, who are thrown up by history and who, for however brief a moment, mold historical processes in a decisive way. These individuals, who come from the revolutionary intelligentsia and from the most advanced strata of workers, are a tiny minority of capitalist society under pre-revolutionary conditions, and may well remain a tiny minority in the immediate, political-military confrontation with the capitalist state. The tidal wave of the social movement can sweep away decades of dead historical weight (not the least of which includes the claims of the officIal working-class organizations to "represent" the class), but it can never, without this conscious intervention, in preparation well before the actual confrontation, destroy capitalist society.
This law has been banalized and trivialized by the reductionism of contemporary Trotskyism, for example, which maintains the mythology that the major obstacle to working class consciousness through a whole series of working-class defeats has been the "misleadership" of various reformist and Stalinist elements. The falsehood of such a voluntaristic and idealist theory of history is the mythology of "pure" working class consciousness constantly being "misled" into false solutions, as if, during long periods of ebb and counter-revolution, the large majority of workers did not "agree" with the bourgeois ideology of their "leadership". And how could it be otherwise, since the working class, in a special way but like everyone else in capitalist society, is immersed in the day-to-day social relations in which false consciousness is an integrated product of its alienated activity?
In such periods, the class-for-itself is reduced to the appearance of a mere "principle", a mere "idea" of the unity of the working class against the capitalist state, and this it remains until the working class, by the dynamic of the system, is compelled to act differently than it has ever acted before. It is only in periods of mass strike upsurge that such consciousness becomes a tangible force, immediately accessible to large masses of workers in motion. And it is then that the truth of the above-cited Trotskyist dictum on leadership is revealed in its dialectical form.
Again and again, from May 1974 through November l975, the mass of Portuguese workers intervened in their own name, of necessity. It was these workers who occupied and ran individual factories; it was these workers who seized first state-owned and later private housing, distributed the space to needy families and established the neighborhood councils; it was they, finally, who distributed arms throughout important layers of the class (the Lisnave shipyard workers, the Alentejo agricultural workers) and who, for a few weeks in September and October, 1975, seemed on the verge of achieving the virtual dissolution of discipline in the standing army. Many of these workers and their allies were members, or supporters of political parties, and mostly the PCP. (Later, this came to include members and sympathizers of the extreme-left groups.) They did all this more often than not without, and against, the directives of the party leadership. They did it for the most part in a fragmented and localized fashion, hence leaving "coordination" to the machinations of political parties attempting to use these councils for their own ends. There was a heavy dose of "local control" capitalist ideology in these formations, and attempts at national coordination were miscarriages (cf. above). There was, as previously noted, a significant "Peruvian" influence in the movement, expressing itself in an "anti-party" or "a-party" (apartidario) mentality that was simultaneously a legitimate critique of the machinations of particularly the Communist Party within various councils, but also a deadly anti-political attitude capitalized upon by the whole ideology of the "progressive military" ,the "non-party " alignment of the MFA, and the Carvalho-COPCON faction and its extreme-left allies. The working class, acting in May-June 1974 under the pressure of lagging wages, and later in January-February 1975 under similar economic pressure and finally, after March 1975, under the pressure of political developments, did all these things, but it did nothing more, and on Nov. 25, 1975, it was defeated virtually without a fight. Here, as in Chile and everywhere else, the political struggle within and for the state, and its resolution, was decisive. This primacy of politics in the short run, and its dialectical relationship to the deeper, socio-economic moments of the class struggle, is the truth of the assertion of the need for a political vanguard. And it is politics, not some vaguer idea of a social movement or worse, the mythology of "autonomous" (and almost always local) struggle, which is the proper term. It has a strategic, and a tactical moment which are in the short run decisive.
This inter-relationship of the specific, organized political expression of the revolutionary movement with the indispensable social movement is not difficult to illustrate. The last six months of the Allende regime in Chile marked a deep radicalization of the class struggle in that country. Land seizures, the copper miners' strike of May, l973, and most importantly the formation of soviet institutions, the cordones conimunales, were aspects of this radicalization. A week before Allende was overthrown, a monster demonstration, as mentioned above, of 150,000 people with red flags chanting anti-fascist slogans took place in Santiago, expressing its resolve that any fascist coup attempt would be defeated. And days later that coup occurred with only the most minimal resistance, more or less spontaneous and localized. All of this ferment, all of this movement, all the "autonomy" of workers managing this or that factory, or even whole regions, or mobilizing mass demonstrations of good intentions under the Popular Front slogans of "anti-fascism" and other incense, amounted to exactly nothing when the terrain was lost in the political and military arena; the failure of the revolutionary left, such as it was, to discredit the SP and CP leadership and subsequently, inevitably, its inability to seriously resist a right-wing coup.
In Portugal, the defeat was less dramatic, the forces who inflicted it less intent on a major bloodbath against the working class, and the social base of the center still more intact than was the case by September, 1973, in Chile. But the same fundamental lessons were once again repeated.
The Scylla and Charybdis of the modern revolutionary organization are the formal pretensions of the self-appointed "vanguard formations" and an impotent capitulation before the spontaneity of mass movements and forms of struggle evolved by such movements. The poverty of such organizations resides in the underestimation of the importance of the social movement, and the endless tendency to substitute themselves for such a movement, to pretend that a political party is or could constitute the social movement in its entirety. The failure of such an organization is that it does not recognize itself as a product of the movement it simultaneously shapes. Its criminal role, through such substitutionist illusions, is its tendency to distort the self-articulation of the movement and to force that movement onto an anti-political, anti-organizational terrain. This was clearly the role of the PCP in Portugal, by which we hardly mean to imply that the PCP was in any sense a revolutionary organization. The "apartidista" ideology which was so catastrophic, and which induced organizations which might have known better -- were they not so intent on mass appeal at any cost -- to capitulate before it was nothing but the inverse anarcho-syndicalist side of the machinations of the PCP within the state and within the various mass forms of organization.
The task of the revolutionary organization is to articulate the necessity which confronts a social movement, but in doing so to demonstrate the immanence of this necessity within the self-unfolding of the movement. This was the sense that Marx intended when he wrote to Ruge in 1843: "We do not present ourselves to the world as doctrinaires with a new principle; here is the truth.' down on your knees: We bring to the world the principles which the world itself has engendered. We do not say to it: cease your struggles, they are futile, we will give you real marching orders. We merely show the world why it struggles in this fashion, and knowledge of itself is something the world must acquire, even if it does not want to". To articulate what a social movement must become, "what it must possess in consciousness in order to possess in reality", may at times have the appearance of "bringing consciousness to the masses", in the impoverished 1902 formulation of Lenin. Revolutionaries do not shrink from the tasks of attacking the "apolitical" or reactionary illusions of the movements in which they intervene; would that a handful of revolutionaies had had the courage to denounce Carvalho and the MFA in the final months of the Portuguese crisis. What distinguishes a revolutionary organization from a mini-bureaucracy which is either sabotaging the development of a movement or preparing itself for future bureaucratic power over such a movement is precisely the absence of pretension of "bringing" to the movement that which is not alreadv there, if only there in the movement's immanent grasp of necessity. The revolutionary organization is not a pedagogical institution for the enlightenment of the masses in the historical truth; it is not a general staff aiming at the control of a separate state apparatus and viewing the mass movement as a legion of shock troops into which "it" injects consciousness. The revolutionary organization is that which articulates the historical truth as the necessities confronting the movement, and ruthlessly combats the failures of the movement to implement these necessities, nothing more or less. The revolutionary movement sees itself above all as the future hegemonic tendency within a government of soviets. For historical truth, as we have referred to it above, is not a mere set of "principles" or "ideas"; it is not a retrospective gloss of current or past events held up for the appropriate edification of the masses; is, least of all, "embodied" in some separate political organization. Historical truth is nothing more or less than the fluid, self-reflexive and strategic consciousness of the entirety of the revolutionary working class and its allies in confrontation with the state; the self-conscious activity of a social class which acts in an entirely new way in a struggle for new social relations, whose goals, forms of organization and activities are themselves new social relations, and whose actions flow not from choice or a moral vocation, but because the totality of its historical circumstances compel it to act.
If, in the course of our exposition, we have shown the virtual entirety of the organized movement styling itself revolutionary, in Portugal and elsewhere, as inadequate to these realities, we have done so only because the Portuguese crisis itself has already exposed that movement far more ruthlessly than we ever could. If it is true that the "proletarian revolutions constantly interrupt themselves in their own course, come back to what seems to have been accomplished... (and)...scorn the half-measures, the weaknesses and meanesses of their first attempts", then we can be sure that the further development of the revolutionary working class will only advance over the bulk of the organized movement that now claims to speak in its name. If the Portuguese working class had done nothing else, its contribution to that clarification is already assured. And that will not have been the least of its achievements.
This essay is, first of all, an analysis of the Spanish working class in two phases of its development, those of the periods 1898-1939 and 1939-1977, ending with the "normalization" of labor relations in Spain in the October 1977
"Moncloa Pacts", Spain's variant on late-1970's social contracts for economic austerity. While, for purposes of focus, we will investigate the latter period in greatest detail, we will precede this analysis with a survey of 20th-century Spanish working-class history, within the larger context of Spanish history, in order to bring out the general significance of the later period. We will conclude with a short postface on the 1977-1982 period leading up to the e1ectoral triumph of the PSOE in October 1982.
When I set out (in 1983) to write this, it occurred to me how differently I would have written it ten years earlier. It is true that the process it describes -- the integration of the Spanish working class into a new set of labor relations within the framework of Spanish capitalism and a fragile bourgeois democracy -- was hardly complete or foreseeable in 1973. But that is, in fact, a secondary matter. What happened in Spain in the subsequent decade is part of an international process, in which the local question of the disappearance of the dictatorship appears in retrospect to be subordinate to a set of general phenomena: the decline and crisis of the Western European Communist Parties and the rise of the new Social Democracies of Spain, France and Greece; the virtual disappearance of the wave of working-class militancy which gave the 1968-1973 period the feel of a vaguely pre-revolutionary situation; the deep passivity and despair of the international working class in the face of a decade of world economic crisis, now threatening to turn into a full-blown depression; the virtual collapse of the Soviet Union as a model for emulation, for anyone, in the construction of socialism; the entry of China into the U.S. military orbit; the complete disappearance of the Western European and North American "New Left" or "extreme left" nipping at the heels of the hegemonic Social Democratic and Communist parties of various countries; the rise to world economic significance of different blocs of Third World countries. The idea, a decade ago, that the Spanish Communist Party, which at the beginning of 1973 was, despite factional bruisings from Maoist, Trotskyist and other extreme-left opponents in the conditions of clandestinity, still the political organization of the Spanish working class, comparable to the PCF in France with the additional advantage of having no Social Democratic rival to speak of, would receive only 3.5% of the vote in a democratic election would have seemed little less than astounding. Even more astounding would have been the idea that the Spanish Socialist Party, the Partido Socialista Obrero Espanol (PSOE), which in 1973 was a tiny group of cadres in training at the SPD's Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Frankfurt, would have received 45% of the vote in the same election. In the first (1977) legislative elections in Spain, the small parties of the extreme left (whose counterparts two years earlier had made serious inroads into the Portuguese Communist Party's base in the final months of the Portuguese crisis) looked likely to receive 3.5% of the vote; today, they have all but disappeared, and the PCE increasingly looks like an isolated sect relative to the PSOE. Remarkable as all this is, it occurred within a single decade.
In 1973, before the Mideast War and the OPEC boycott ushered in the world economic crisis that had been the little-noticed groundswell in the background of the 1968-1973 social crises of the OECD countries, a number of political issues seemed of decisive importance which, today, seem almost irrelevant. Ten years ago, writing about the position of the PCE in any potential bourgeois democracy it would have seemed of decisive importance to underline the role of the party in the May 1937 crushing of the Spanish revolution. Before the world economic crisis had dented the consciousness of the militants of the "New Left" (of whose number this writer confesses to have been) it seemed of the greatest importance to uncover the "crime" upon which the hegemony of the dominant Social Democratic or Stalinist political party in a specific country was founded, whether it was the German SPD's role in the crushing of the Spartakusbund in 1918-1919 or the French Communist Party's role in enforcing the Yalta agreement in 1944-1947. Insofar as most individuals formed by the 1968-1973 period were oblivious (and they were hardly alone in this) to the incipient world economic crisis, it seemed highly relevant to denounce the general trend the general trend toward technocracy (as in France), "consumer terror" (in Germany and other countries influenced by the Frankfurt School) and other evils which, whatever their reality then or now, have a vaguely antediluvian ring. With the war in Southeast Asia still undecided, it seemed of paramount importance to show the reluctance of the major Stalinist powers, the Soviet Union and China, to fully support Vietnam.
All this, once again, has a vaguely surreal hue after a decade that saw the Chinese hail the Pinochet coup in Chile, send arms to the U.S.-backed forces in Angola, entertain a series of right-wing European politicians in Peking for talks on China-NATO and China-EEC relations, and after U.S. Defense Secretary Schlesinger reviewed the troops on China's Soviet border. To return more directly to Spain, the transformation of strategy in the Social Democratic and Communist camps after the failure of the "Chilean road to socialism", which issued two years later in the Madrid-Rome-Paris "Euro-communist axis" (however short lived) was yet another event opaque to nearly all observers in 1973.
Along with these directly social, economic and political realities, one might recall the less precise but equally pervasive cultural mood of Western Europe in 1973, where the impact of the events of l968-l969 and the international counter-culture of the later 1960's were still sorting themselves out. In the same way that it seemed of decisive importance to unearth, in every country, the treachery of the dominant "working-class" political parties, it also seemed crucial, for the critique both of the vestiges of "social realist" criteria in art and for the critique of mass culture, to resurrect the various avant-gardes of the post-1918 period, particularly with the relevant revolutionary movement, and bookstores in every country filled up with books on expressionism, Dada, Italian futurism, surrealism, Russian constructivism , the Bauhaus and their political expressions.
All this was, in retrospect, the false consciousness of an era about to end. I say this with neither any particular rancor or self-justification, having never been a protagonist of Social Democracy, Stalinism , the Chilean road to socialism, the Viet Cong, Pol Pot, and still less of the counter-culture. It is not the fact that my views have been qualified by the events of the past decade; it is the much more disconcerting fact that most of what I assumed to be the answers in 1973 had become questions by 1983. Even after the outbreak of the economic crisis in 1973-1974, an event which like its predecessor in 1929-1933 posed no "paradigm crisis" to someone within the Marxian tradition (however much it discredited various late 1960's variants of Marxism) an additional four years of upsurge and economic stasis sustained the extreme left which had come into existence through the experience of 1968-1969. Much was written in Spain, and in foreign commentaries on what was happening in Spain, in the 1975-1977 period that essentially postulated the impossibility of establishing a bourgeois democracy there; either there would be proletarian revolution and civil war or a new military dictatorship. This literature today has a purely archival interest. The "crises of the dictatorships3 in Greece, Spain and Portugal seemed to many (including myself) to be the beginning of a new period of international working-class upsurge; in fact, they were the special local extensions of the ferment that had ended in most countries in 1973, with special local tasks of liquidation to accomplish.
In retrospect, it seems that 1977 was, for virtually every Western European country, more decisive in a political and social sense than 1973. It was the year in which the post-1968 extreme- left died. It was the year of the massive crackdown on the Baader-Meinhof group in Germany, wherein the non-terrorist radical left was tarred with the epithet of "sympathizers" by the state and media, and was incapable of any effective response. It was the year of the collapse of the the five-year flirtation of the French Communist and Socialist Parties in the Union de la Gauche, preface to the electoral debacle of 1978 and postponing by three years the already dubious "triumph of 1968" at the polls. It was the year of the March 1977 actions of the autonomi at the University of Rome and the mass meeting of the extreme left in defiance of the PCI in Bologna; a year later, these currents were largely dispersed in the process of "germanizazzione" after the Moro kidnapping. In Spain, finally, the 10,000 militants who met in a Barcelona stadium to discuss possible further strategy were in reality attending a wake for the era of underground struggle which had just ended. What had seemed a remarkable, if totally ephemeral, event in postwar European history, the alliance with the extreme-left which events had imposed on the Portuguese Communist Party in August 1975, lasted only a few days, and was of no significance. It may well be the case that the complex of ideas associated with these movements will re-emerge in coming years, but it seems highly unlikely, not to say impossible, that they will re-emerge as the left contenders of the official Social Democratic and Communist parties that controlled the working classes of France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Germany and Britain (to say nothing of Chile) in 1973. The reason for this is simple: that official left has also collapsed, or been drastically transformed.
What occurred in the decade after 1973, in every part of the world, was a vast deflation of the appeal and power of the bureaucratic, largely pro-Soviet working-class political parties that issued from the Third International, and their replacement by diffuse "Social Democratic Parties of a new type", barely distinguishable in their real policies from the Democratic Party in the U.S.
In close counterpoint to this discrediting of the bureaucratic-statist model of "socialism", however, what seemed the evident alternative in the l968-1973 period, namely "workers' control of production", or "self-management", was almost as completely forgotten. We do not refer here, obviously, to the various corporatist schemes of "autogestion", "Mitbestimmung" and so forth picked up or developed after l968-1969 by the political parties and trade unions in response to the growing demand for rank-and-file democracy, the actual revolutionary tradition of soviets and councils associated with the Russian, German and Spanish revolutions in 1917-1921 and 1936-1937. The mass of books and pamphlets produced on these subjects, each successively claiming to find the "bureaucratic kernel" in the previous formulation and to rescue the real revolutionaries of the case in question from historical oblivion, is another body of "literature" which today seems somehow quaint. Against Social Democratic and Stalinist bureaucracy, counterposed democracy. The most lucid elements did realize at the time that this battle over forms gave the entire discussion a heavy dose of formalism, and the "workers' control" ideology of 1968-1973 has more than once been characterized as a syndicalist utopia. This is yet another, and perhaps the most significant, aspect of the 1968-1973 "discussion" which the onset of the economic crisis and de-industrialization in the U.S. Britain and France seemed to have closed for the duration.
The preceding serves as a preface to a study of Spanish working-class history because, as stated at the outset, a decade of events seriously called into question virtually every category which I would have used in such an analysis in 1973. Spain is a prima facie case of the demise of a large, hegemonic pro-Soviet party before the onslaught of a slick new "Social Democracy" that 10 years ago had virtually no militants in Spain, in contrast to the PCE's well-organized and seasoned thousands of members. In the closing days of 1975, immediately after Franco's death, the cadre of the still-illegal PSOE were allowed by the government to travel about Spain in order to establish some kind of working-class and trade union presence in competition with the PCE and its trade-union wing, the Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO). In major factories in Barcelona, the PCE had to contend primarily with extreme-left militants who wanted, or who seemed to want, to go well beyond the "democratic convergence" of the PCE's strategy. These militants were, inside and outside the extreme-left groups, in rupture with the organizational proclivities of the PCE and CC.OO, representing currents which today have almost invariably disappeared. At the time that the PSOE assumed control of the government in December 1982, there was an official rate of 16% in Spain, and documented cases of starvation in Andalucia. The peseta, which in 1979 still stood at 58 to the dollar, was at 115, and a devaluation lowered this rate to 130. This is only the Spanish case of the general collapse of the left and extreme left of 1973 years ago in the face of conditions which then would have seemed to many like some fantasy of "vulgar Marxism". If these is today a "crisis of Marxism", it cannot be in the "analytic-scientific" side of Marx's prognosis of capitalist breakdown crisis, wherein current developments appear as a page out of vol. III of Capital. It must be, in contrast even to the politically-ignominious thirties, a crisis of the working-class movement itself, and of the working class's sense, still relatively strong in the 1930's, that it is the class of the future. The twin hydra-heads of Social Democracy and Stalinism have for 60 years transformed the "socialist alternative" to capitalism into statist-bureaucratic austerity regimes and regimes of generalized repression and sloth. And while there were currents which, like the Trotskyists, the German council communists and the Bordigists, (with differing degrees of lucidity) denounced and detailed the steps in this process 75 years ago, the sad truth of the matter is that even those currents which emerged largely or totally confirmed in their prognoses for Social Democracy and Stalinism have fallen victim to the formalist fashion alluded to above, to the atrophy of the "programmatic imagination" of the working-class movement. In a period of general revulsion against the bureaucratic state, the century-long association of "socialism" and the state has cut the ground from beneath even those who disassociated themselves from such an aberration at the earliest possible moment , just before or after World War I. It was to answer some of the questions as to how this came about, and to seek to overcome these problems, that I began to study the history of the Spanish working-class movement, which because of its anarchist past seemed closer to an unequivocally anti-statist tradition, however utopian, and that in the pejorative sense of the word as well. What follows are the tentative results.
II.The Suppressed Past: Proto-Renaissance Bourgeois Culture and the Extension of the Millenarian Dimension of Spanish Working-Class History
Spanish capitalism for most of its history has been a poor relative of world capitalism, a country which, in Marx's phrase, suffered more from the absence of capitalism than from its presence. It is nonetheless indisputable that the country played a central role in the early stages of capitalist development: Barcelona, in the 13th and 14th centuries, was a commercia1 rival of the great Italian city-states; the monarchy which unified the country in the 15th century played a central role in European political developments for more than a hundred years, and was of course deeply involved in the mercantalist appropriation of the New WorId. But after the apogee of Spanish development in the 16th century, and the irreversible decay that gripped the country in the early 17th century, Spain was gradually relegated to a secondary position in the development of the world capitalist system. The great expansion of the 16th century, the massive importations of gold -- the cornerstones of early European mercantilism -- had little impact in developing an actual productive base for a real capitalist expansion, as occurred in northern Europe. In the 17th century, when England and France were using statist methods to implement an entire infrastructure and capitalist agriculture, to reduce the power of the nobility and promote an increase of trade, Spain languished under the weight of an enormous, non-productive rentier population, whose material situation was provided by an overtaxed peasantry wing a severely backward agriculture. Although modest measures were taken by the monarchy in the 18th century to adapt the country to the methods of Enlightened despotism, and small commercial and proto-industrial centers developed in the Basque region and in Cataluna, the country was poorly prepared for the revolutionary era which opened in 1789 or the British-dominated North Atlantic world which emerged from the Napoleonic Wars.
It was the Napoleonic invasion of the country, and the 1808 uprising against it, which introduced Spain to the political and social history of modern capitalist development, but created as many problems as it solved in reinforcing the hold of the Church over the peasant masses, and, after l815, leaving completely unresolved the question of the capitalization of Church lands which in every country in one form or another, was a sine qua non of the integral transition to an economy based on commodity relations. The country simply lacked the elementary institutions for organizing a serious entry into capitalism: the small banking system was essentially used to finance the state debt, and absolutely nothing guaranteed that the country's small savings would be funneled into industrial development. The liberal revolutions from 1820 to 1856, culminating in the later, protracted crisis of 1868-1873, resolved nothing, particularly after the 1840's when the entry of the urban masses into politics and the beginnings of working-class agitation frightened the timid liberals into conciliation with the forces of conservatism: the Church, the state, the army and the landed nobility, finally producing the Canovite system of caciquismo which ruled from 1874 to 1898. The long deflation of 1873-1896 -- the real economic backdrop to the political realignments in every country in the final quarter of the 19th century -- forced Spain to protect its fledgling industry behind high tariff walls, and neither significant amounts of foreign capital nor the small domestic accumulation accomplished any serious industrial development, aside from the mining activities in Asturias, the small industrial nucleus built around the Hornos de Viscaya in the Basque country, and the textile-centered taller capitalism of Catalunya.
The marginality of the real development of capitalism, even in the period when Spain was the most powerful nation in Europe, marked the emergence of bourgeois culture and bourgeois society in Spain with extremely peculiar characteristics, characteristics which in turn gave a special stamp to the emerging Spanish working-class movement. It was significant that as late as 1910, when mass socialist working-class parties had appeared in most of Europe, the radical republican Lerroux could still be the dominant figure in Barcelona working-class politics, and at the same time in Andalucia, rural agrarian labor embraced anarchism.
It is perhaps a commonplace that the character of the bourgeois revolution in every major European country defined the parameters for the emergence of the working-class movement in each country's working class in the last century. If one traces the eastward line of development of both capitalism and of the political expression of the social forces it engendered, beginning with the English Revolution of the 17th century, through the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars of the 1789-1815 period, the European-wide "springtime of peoples" in 1848-1849 to the Central and Eastern European mass strikes and revolutions of 1905-1921, a fairly clear pattern of development emerges. The later the entry into full-blown capitalist development, the weaker the national bourgeoisie tends to be relative to the world market and its own ancien regime, and the more aggressive and receptive to socialist ideas the working class. Is it not possible to trace a fairly clear line of continuity from the political culture set down in the English Revolutions of 1640-1649 and 1688 to the moderation and "interest group" mentality of the British trade unions after the defeat of Chartism? From the Jacobinism of the French Revolution to the statist obsession of the French socialist movement under Guesde and, after 1920, of the Communist Party? From the enlightened despotism of 18th century Prussia to the mercantilism of the largely Lassallean German Social Democracy?
How does this logic of bourgeois revolution/working-class movement apply to Spain? The unusual response to this question is that the "birthmarks" of Spain's political culture, to which important aspects of 19th and 20th century social history must be traced, are located not in the 17th, 18th or l9th century movements of emancipatory capitalist optimism, but in the late medieval period and in the particularly deadly role of the 16th century Habsburg state in snuffing out what was in fact the high moment of Spanish cultural history: the brilliant intermeshing of the classical Islamic culture of Al-Andalus, of Spanish Jewry and, to a lesser extent, their Christian emulators in the latter centuries of the so-called "Reconquest", a cultural flowering that was the direct prelude to the better known 16th century Siglo de Oro. When confronted by a modern European country in which five languages, one which is non-Indo-European (Basque) and one, calÃ³, spoken by some gypies, is most closely related to Sankskrit, one begins to see that the bureaucratic creation of the Spanish nation state in the 15th and particularly the 16th centuries was juxtaposed onto a culture or cultures of great diversity, and, when one consider, the significnce of the works such as Ibn Arabi, Averroes, Avicebron, Maimonides, Isaac Luria, Abulafia and Raymond Lull for late medieval and Renaissance culture in the rest ef Europe, one of great power.
There is, moreover, probably no country in Europe in which the regional question is as enmeshed with the history of the working-class movement as in Spain. Although there is undoubtedly much folklore in the regional revivals which occurred in Spain in the l960s and 1970s, (as they occurred throughout Europe), it is equally undeniable that the specific character of capitalist development, at different times and rhythms, in Catalonia and the Basque provinces, and later in Castile, Aragon, Andalucia and Galicia, marked the specific character of the working-c1ass movement in each of these regions, and that timing is ultimately traceable to the way in which the region was subsumed by the Habsburg state in the 16th century.
All this is not to deny the importance of the more visible, and more typical, Enlightenment and liberal currents that developed in Spain in the course of the late 18th and the 19th centuries. Nevertheless, the fact that, to take one example, the minor German philosopher Kraus could become major influence on 19th century liberal thought in Spain, indicates to what extent, as of the 17th century decline, Spain's involvement with contemporary European political and social developments was enfeebled. When compared to Italy, the European country which Spain most resembles, one immediately sees the difference between Spanish backwardness and the Italian traditions of late 18th and early 19th century illuminismo which, first, infused the movement for national unification and then, by transposition, laid the basis for a late l9th century Marxist culture in Italy second only to the German, one preceding by some 60 years the emergence of a comparable culture in a France overwhelmed by its own Jacobin tradition. Clearly, nothing of the sort occurred in Spain. There was no Spanish Labriola or even Croce; there was, later, no Spanish Gramsci or Bordiga. In the comparable period, Spain produced only the regenerationist movement of 1898, whose political program, sooner or later, could be traced to the 19th century jurist Joaquin Costa's call for an "iron surgeon" to pull Spain out of backwardness, a program amply realized by Maura, Primo de Rivera and Franco. The two regions which most closely resembled a European-type capitalist development, the Basque provinces and Catalonia, attempted within the constraining framework of the Castilian state to emulate mainstream European bourgeois culture, with mild success. But in the much rawer parts of the country, such as Andalucia, social relations remained in the hold of a latifundista society which could be traced, ultimately, to Roman times. Consequently, as Diaz del Moral argues in his famous book, the continuity with the millenarian revolts of tbe 10th and llth century Cordoba califate are direct..
What we are attempting to establish, for an analysis of 20th century Spanish working-class history, is the presence, in the very structures of the Spanish state and capitalism (if, indeed, prior to the 19th century, it could be called capitalism) a continuity with a millenarian tradition of social revolt that preceded, rather than followed, the consolidation of the more modern emancipatory-liberal bourgeois cultures of England, France, Italy or Germany and which, through Andalucia, was bequeathed to the working-class movement during its late 19th and early 20th century emergence. In subsequent chapters, we will explore certain subterranean aspects of these traditions in a more international context.
III. The Subterranean Relationship Between Spanish and Russian Working-Class History
In l847, two Europeans from the peripheries of the continent, the Spanish reactionary Donoso Cortes and the Russian populist aristocrat Alexander Herzen visited Paris on the eve of the l848 revolution. At opposite ends of the European political spectrum of the time, unknown to one another, they left the city with a remarkably similar intuition: that the European era of history was over, and that the impulse of European bourgeois civilization had spent itself. Analyses of this kind were not totally original; Goethe and Hegel, late in their lives, had similar intuitions of the end of Europe; Toqueville is only the best known of the thinkers who predicted the rise of the United States and Russia as world powers and the subsequent eclipse of Europe. But Donoso Cortes and Herzen were touching on something deeper than mere power-political relations between nation states; they sensed, coming from two peripheral countries with significant "non-European" components in their histories, that even the forces for the regeneration of the world shaped by the course of history since the Renaissance would henceforth come from the peripheries of that world.
Karl Marx, a third observer of European events from Paris and Brussels in the l845-47 period, disagreed. He saw in the industrial working-classes then coming into existence in England, France and Germany grave-diggers of bourgeois society, even if, in his assessment of the 1848-1850 revolutionary cycle in Europe, he posited a "revolution in permanence" led by the workers in the "weak link" of the capitalism of the time, Germany.
We cite the curious coincidence in the "conspiracy of universal reason" between the intuitions of Donoso Cortes and Herzen because, after more than 150 years of failure by the European proletariat in the fulfillment of its historical mission, and because of certain lesser-known developments in the thought of Marx in the last decade of his life, they point to a little-noted subterranean linkage in European working-class history and, for that matter, in European history generally, the link between Spain and Russia. One historian put this succinctly, in a passage worth excerpting at length:
"...The peculiarites of Muscovite civilization as it took finished shape under Ivan IV, invite comparisons not only with Eastern despots and Western state builders but also with two seemingly remote civilizations: imperial Spain and ancient Israel.
Like Spain, Muscovy absorbed for Christendom the shock of alien invaders and found its national identity in the fight to expel them. As with Spain, the military cause became a religious one for Russia. Political and religious authority were intertwined; and the resultant fanaticism led both countries to become particularly intense spokesmen for their respective divisions of Christianity... The Russian and Spanish hierarchies were the most adamant with the Eastern and Western churches respectively in opposing the reconciliation of the churches at Florence in 1437-1439... Thus began the Russian fascination with, and partial imitation of, the Spanish Inquisition...A strange love-hate relationship continued to exist between these two proud, passionate and superstitious peoples -- each ruled by an improbable folklore of military heroism; each animated by strong traditions of veneration for local saints; each preserving down to modern times a rich musical tradition of primitive atonal folk lament; each destined to be a breeding ground for revolutionary anarchism and the site of a civil war with profound international implications in the twentieth century....
Ortega y Gasset, one of the most perceptive of modern Spaniards, saw a strange affinity between 'Russia and Spain, the two extremities of the great diagonal of Europe...alike in being the two 'pueblo' races, races where the common people predominate.' In Spain no less than Russia the cultivated minority 'trembles' before the people...Spain was equally frustrated in its quest for political liberty; and "the two extremities" of Europe developed dreams of total liberation, which drove the cultivated minority to poetry, anarchy and revolution."
In the sphere of specifically working-class history, we note remarkable Russian influences at decisive junctures in the development of the Spanish working class. The best known is perhaps the 1868 visit of Fanelli, the Bakuninst delegate from the First International who, in clandestine meetings in Barcelona and Madrid, won the vanguard of Spanish labor at that time to Bakunin's faction in the International, and established an anarchist hegemony in key strata of Spanish labor that lasted until 1939. Unpopular and losing foreign wars (the Russian-Japanese war of 1904-05, the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the Moroccan intervention of 1909) touched off ferment and working-class revolts in both countries: the Russian Revolution of 1905 and the Spanish "Tragic Week" in Barcelona in 1909. The Russian Revolution of 1917, above all, struck a chord in the Spanish working class and peasantry like no foreign event before or since: it was the spark that set off the incendiary internal situation of the country in the years of the "Bolshevik exaltation", expressed in mass strikes and peasant uprisings that began with the mere arrival of news of the events in Russia.
When the worldwide insurrectionary period 1917-1920 had run its course, isolating the Russian Revolution and preparing its imminent, massive degeneration into Stalinism, Spain remained in the grip of the postwar ferment for several more years, finally spending itself in the pistolerismo of the early l920's until the Primo de Rivera coup of 1923. But the Russian Revolution had recast the lines of the working-class movement everywhere, and Russia's influence in Spain now took the form of the fledgling Spanish Communist Party (PCE) founded in the international split of 1920 from the left wing of the PSOE and certain anarchist and syndicalist elements that broke away from the CNT during the Spanish Civil War and probably the most distinguished working-class leader of the interwar period in Spain. The PCE, as we shall see subsequently, remained a marginal sect in Spanish political and working-class life until, under greatly changed circumstances and leadership it became a mass party, and not primarily of workers, in 1936-1939.
The next phase of the Spanish-Russian osmosis was, of course, the Spanish revolution and civil war of 1936-1939, the only other European revolution of the 20th century besides the Russian that came remotely close to consolidating itself. The role of the PCE, the GPU and Stalin's foreign policy in Spain is all too well-known and documented The Spanish CP, as Burnett Bolleton in particular has shown, grew from a sect to a mass party in the closing months of 1936 with the prestige bestowed on it by Soviet aid and arms, and above all with its implicit, sometimes explicit call to roll back the workers' councils and peasant communes which had appeared in Catalonia and Aragon in July 1936, an emergence in which the PCE, of course, had played no role whatever.
Finally, it was the PCE that was at the center of Spanish working-class life in the 1939-1975 period of clandestinity, as shall be discussed at length.
We have included a section on the special Spanish-Russian relationtionship in working-class history and history generally for specific reasons. It might well be argued, at first approach, that there is nothing peculiar about the centrality of the "Russian question" in Spanish and European working-class politics after 1917; a similar centrality can be shown in virtually every country of significance. Our first reply to this argument is, as we have shown, that "Russian" influence in Spanish working-class history began, in contrast to all of northern Europe, in 1868 and not in 1917. But we have other reasons as well. Just as, in the previous chapter, we were concerned with a "suppressed past" linking modern Spanish culture and the working-class tradition there to 10th and 11th century millenarianism in Al-Andalus, we find in Marxism itself a "suppressed past" full of imp1ications for an interpretation of the Spanish-Russian relationship. In the last decade of Marx's life, the "Russian question" increasingly came to dominate Marx's attention, as indeeded the epicenter of European revolution was increasingly displaced to the German-Polish-Russian corridor. Marx's attention focused on two, interrelated aspects of Russian life, the question of the Asiatic mode of production and the peasant commune, the mir, which, given the survival of rural communal traditions in Spain and the relationship of Islamic Spain to Oriental despotism were not without importance for Spain as well. What we want to establish here, however, is that the Marxist influences which came into Spain through the PSOE and then through the PCE was a "Marxism" itself resting upon a suppressed past: Marx's views on the Russian peasant commune, as expressed in his 1878-1881 relations with the Russian populists, and the views of capitalist development explicit in this indisputably "late Marx".
Much to Marx's consternation, the first translation of Vol. I of Capital appeared, not in a Western European language as he anticipated, but in Russian. Almost immediately, Marx's most attentive readers and partisans, aside from the German Social Democrats, were to be found in the Russian revolutionary intelligentsia, at the time still deeply involved with the Populist perspective of agrarian revolution. The Populists contacted Marx in the late 1870's, and there ensued a fascinating correspondence around the Populists' question: can Russia have a revolution without passing through the inferno of capitalist industrialization? Marx's reply to the Populists, stated at greatest length in three letters to Vera Zasulich written (and never mailed) in 1879, constitute the first Marxist statement on the social side of the "Russian question". (Marx had written a great deal about the "gendarme of Europe" in his journalistic geopolitical analyses.) Marx's reply would have amazed his epigones in the German Social Democracy and later in the Second International. One of the most famous passages occurs in an earlier (1877) letter to a Russan journal which had favorably commented on Marx's work and had applied his analysis of primitive accumulation to Russian conditions.
Commenting on the direction of Russian society since the emancipation of the serfs, a prelude to full commodity production in the sphere of agriculture, Marx writes:
"If Russia continues on the road on which it embarked in 1861, it will lose the greatest chance which history has ever offered a people, and instead will have to pass through all the fateful vicissitudes of the capitalist regime."
Whereas, in Social Democratic circles, a Bebe1 in the early 1890's could already say that he favored anything that advanced the development of capitalism (hastening as it would the coming of socialism) Marx in his letters to Zasulich and other Populists argues that Russia, on the basis of the pre-capitalist agrarian commune could, if the revolution occurred before the full penetration of agriculture by commodity relations, skip entirely the capitalist phase of development and pass directly to communism. Marx even entertained the possibility of a Russian revolution without simultaneous revolution in the West.
The significance of this for Spain is, as we indicated above, the multi-faceted view of the virtues of capitalist civilisation clearly present in Marx's approach to Russia were completely lost in the 1890's, when the early Russian Marxists, in their polemic against the final, degenerate phase of Populism, imported into Russia the one-sided, linear, progressivist view of history already developed by German Social Democracy. At the hands of Bebel, Kautsky, Plekhanov and Lenin, Marx's theory was transformed into a unilateral glorification of capitalist development and a veritable eulogy to the productive forces. Further, through the Lassallean tradition in German Social Democracy and later through the practice of the Russian state, this productivism was fused with a mercantilist-statist doctrine of industrialization of underdeveloped countries. In the person of Largo Caballero and his relationship to the Spanish state, this discourse strangely merged with Joaquin Costa's late 19th century call for an "iron surgeon" to modernize Spain. Thus the local Spanish variant of what was called Marxism, from the 1898-1909 period until the 1960's, was a variant generated within the labor movement of the call to transform Spain into a modern capitalist country. As will be shown, through the PSOE and then the PCE, successively under Maura, Primo de Rivera and Franco, it accomplished that task admirably. In Spain, and obviously not only in Spain, Marxism of the German and later Russian variety was an ideology for the transition to what we will analyze in the following chapter as the "real domination of capital". What is different in Spain, relative to the rest of Western Europe, is that the unusually long hegemony of the earlier, anti- statist and millenarian tradition, right up to the civil war, and then the total impossibility of its reconstitution with the dissolution of Francoism, presents a two-fold lesson: on one hand, that anarchism, revolutionary syndicalism and syndicalism, in various countries, were working-class ideologies possible only in the phase of the formal domination of capital, but also that they hold up the mirror, in a distorted way, to the more "successful" statist-mercantilist and productivist ideologies of early Social Democracy and then Communism which apparently defeated them, when the latter's dissolution at the end of the process shows us clearly their real historical role. The battle of anarchism against Marxism, both in 1890-1914 and, on the level of folklore, more recently, is a hopeless one, but, as we have tried to show, "Marxist" truth was hardly only on one side of the debate in that earlier period. When statism and productivism have exhausted themselves, as they have today, it is Marx's perspective of the constitution of the material human community, as the negation and supercession of the state, the perspective informing his dialogue with Russian Populism, which returns as the truth of a movement totally defeated.
Marx, in the final decade of his life, became obsessed with the Russian question. This was not only because of his unexpected audience in the Russian Populists, but also, if Wittfogel is right, because he had begun to intuit the possibility of an "Asiatic restoration" through a revolution in Russia, a restoration eerily prescient of the specter which Lenin, in his last speeches, was attempting to exorcise. On one level, the interest of the Russian question was a transposition of the earlier theory of permanent revolution, developed in 1848-50 to describe the role of the German working class relative to the "weak link" of German capitalism to the new "weak link" that was emerging in the German-Russian zone of development. But there was something more at work: it was Marx's sense that the triumphal eastward march of capita1ism from 17th century England and across the continent in the 18th and l9th century revolutions might either run up against barriers to development he had not anticipated in his earlier work, or that it might lead to the situation anticipated in a letter to Engels, not without relevance today:
"For us, this is the difficult question: on the continent revolution is imminent and will immediately assume a socialist character; but will it not of necessity be snuffed out in this little corner of the world, because, on a larger terrain, the mo'ement of bourgeois society is still on the ascendant?"
Marx had arrived at the intuition of Donoso Cortes and Herzen: that the future of capitalist civilisation would not be decided, as he himself often stated in his better-known writings, in the heartland of capitalist development, in the England "which holds up the mirror of the future to the other capitalist countries", in France or in Germany, but precisely where capitalist relations had only begun to penetrate or where they had not even been constituted.
Marx's unknown writings on the Russian commune and related matters obviously did not influence the socialist discussion of these matters in the century that followed. Of pre-1914 European socialists, only Rosa Luxemburg and Anton Pannekoek found the question of the economic development of the colonies, and the social movements that arose there, worthy of interest. Yet, with hindsight, after the experience of Stalinism, and the extremely fragile character of capitalist development almost everywhere outside the zones in which it was dominant 120 years ago the Marx-Zasu1ich correspondence and Marx's late preoccupation with Russia and the non-Western world seems almost prophetic. It further casts light on the nature of the history of the Spanish working class, and allows us to assess more closely the peculiar character of Spanish capitalism analyzed in Ch. II.
In 1933, there appeared in Madrid a work by Carlos and Pedro Caba entitled Andalucia: su communismo y su cante jondo. While this book is primarily devoted to a study of the history and content of flamenco, it echoes in remarkable fashion many of the ideas of Billington on the parallels between Spain and Russia. It points to the long millenarian tradition in Andalucia, beginning with the Sufi-led peasant insurrections of the l0th and 11th centuries against the Cordoba califate; it traces the reverberations of these movements in the various, marginal currents of thought, culture and social ferment in Spain into the 15th and 16th centuries, currents forced underground by the Habsburg monarchy, as we alluded to previously.
The Cabas cite one element which Billington omitted: that the atonal folk lament common to both countries had a common source: the gypsies, who arrived in Spain in the late 15th century after their centuries-long migration from India, which had brought them to southern Russia in the 11th and 12th centuries.
What is curious about the gypsies, as various commentators on the history of flamenco have noted, is that they themselves have no music; in most European countries where they settled in the Renaissance period, the gypsies are amusical. In two countries, and only two, their arrival served as a leaven to an indigenous popular music, a music which, at least in the case of Spain, was linked to millenarian peasant rebellion. These two countries are, of course, Spain and the zone ef southern Russia, extending into the Balkans.
We cannot of course deal at length with flamenco here, to say nothing of the history of the gypsies. But can one dismiss as a mere coincidence the fact that the two westernmost provinces ef Andalucia, the area around Jerez, from which the cante jondo subsequently established its influence throughout Andalucia (flamenco being an Andalucian and not, as is often believed outside Spain, a Spanish music) are the very provinces from which anarchism in the l890's extended its influence to become the dominant current in Spanish labor into the 1930's? Our point, for purposes of this essay, is precisely what we attempted to develop in Section II on the legacy of Spanish bourgeois development for the subsequent labor movement: the Spanish working class and peasant movements, particularly in Andalucia and in Andalucia-influenced Barcelona, was the heir to the millenarian communal revolutionarv tradition that reached backed to the 10th and 11th centuries. Spain, like Russia, had a decisive "non-Western" component in its history, and it was, like Russia, a country that remained somewhat impervious to the expanding concentric circles of capitalist development centered, initially, in 17th century England. Finally, Spain, like Russia, experienced a more than average dose of mid-20th century barbarism.
If this analysis is right, then the millenarian traditions of pre-capitalist revolt, such as one finds them in Spanish and Russian history, are more important for the formation of the working class and socialist movements than have previously been recognized, and in view of the fact that Spain and Russia, alone in the 20th century, had anything resembling a socialist revolution, all the more so. The Russian peasant mir, the Andalucian millennium of a "primitive communism" of the land, and vestiges of a communal tradition in Aragon (which re-emerged in force during the Civil War) all Survived in Russia and Spain into the 20th century, and played significant roles in the Russian and Spanish revolutions.
The socialist movements that issued from the Second and Third Internationals, on the other hand, both rejected the significance of these traditions and embraced, as we argued, a unilateral affirmation of capitalist industrialization closer to Smith and Ricardo than to Marx. The Spanish socialist movement associated with Marxism, first in the PSOE and later in the rise to hegemony of the PCE after 1936, was totally subsumed by the latter view, a Marxism that was in fact more the ideology of a substitute bourgeois revolution than a perspective for communism. In Ch. V, we will trace the absorption of this statist-mercantilist discourse by the PSOE and then the PCE. But to understand why this occurred, we must understand the specific nature of the mutation of capitalism in which these parties assisted, to whose analysis we now turn.
IV. Formal and Real Domination of Capital in Spanish Economic Development
"Because money is itself the community, it cannot tolerate any other standing over and against it." Marx, Grundrisse (1857)
The argument developed thus far runs along the following lines. We first attempted to show how, after 1973, the unraveling of the world economy has substantially reformulated the very categories with which we approach working-class militancy, in Spain or anywhere else, for the period of the late 1960's and early 1970's. In particular, the international working class movement, and thus of course the Spanish movement, was locked, by the hegemony of the Western European Communist Parties into the "universe of discourse" set down in the 1917-1921 upsurge associated with the Russian Revolution, and much more so, the failure of that revolution. We then tried to show that it was a peculiarity of Spanish history, in contrast to more mainstream European countries, that a decisive part of its political culture was set down, not in the emancipatory period of bourgeois revolutions, but in the high Middle Ages, and in a bureaucratic state consolidation that effectively enfeebled Spain's participation in those revolutions, decisively marking the later liberal and then working-class movements. This "millenarian" legacy of both pre-Renaissance high culture and traditions of peasant revolt in Andalucia gave Spain a special affinity with another "semi-European" country at the other end of the continent, Russia, a country which after 1890, and particularly 1917, was the point of reference for the world working class movement, for better and, later, for worse. This affinity gave Spanish working-class history "Russian" overtones going far back into the l9th century, in contrast to northern European labor movements, where the Russian Revolution and the formation of the Third International intersected working classes emerging from Enlightenment and post-Enlightenment political traditions, and effectively fused with left wings of indigenous Social Democracies, precisely the current that was notable by its absence in Spain.
The purpose of this exposition, as stated in Ch. III, is to show the role of the labor movement itself in propelling Spanish capitalism into a higher stage of development. In order, however, to demonstrate how an ideology and a practice mesh with something, it is necessary to show what it meshed with. This requires a look at the development of Spanish capitalism itself.
Capitalism, or at least direct involvement in 19th century European industrialization, came to Spain in the 1850's and l860's boom in railroad construction, financed by British and even more by French banks. As indicated in previous sections, Catalonia and the Basque country, by their closer links to northern Europe, underwent forms of development roughly analogous to northern Italy, though constantly held back by the stagnant, more backward parts of the country, their tariff demands, and the state bureaucracy in Madrid. Catalonia developed a vigorous textile industry as early as the 1820's, and the Basque country produced steel, ships and coal for the world market by the 1880's. Nevertheless, these were local pockets of economic progress within a larger society that was still largely agrarian, one moreover thrown into crisis by the world depression of 1873 and the long decades of deflation, particularly of agricultural prices, that affected the politics of every country and which put an end to the era of liberalism through variations on the "iron and rye" coalition that pushed through Germany's grain tariff in 1879. Liberalism, as indicated, was never particularly aggressive in Spain to begin with. These forces had had their moments from 1808 onward but, by the 1840's, the liberals, like their counterparts in other European countries, were becoming frightened by the increasing independence of the urban working classes and peasantry and tended more and more to seek an understanding with the powerful strata of the ancien regime , the landed interests, church, the aristocracy and the state bureaucracy. The final hour of this kind of 19th century liberalism was in the revolution of 1868 and subsequent crisis, until the 1873-1874 social struggles set down the outlines of the Canovite restoration which ruled the country through a system of local caciques until it was discredited in the regenerationist crisis of 1898. Interestingly, as a result of the world depressions and deflation of the 1873-1896 period, which drove Spanish capita1ists to come to terms with the landed interests on tariff policy, the actual structure of the active population in Spain remained almost unaltered over a 35-year period, changing only from 11 to 16% employed in industry and from 70 to 66% employed in agriculture between 1877 and 1910.
This was a social and economic process which was worldwide. The effect of the entry into the world market of the highly-productive new agricultural sectors of Australia, Argentina, the U.S. and Russia, along with greatly reduced shipping costs, was not merely an agricultural or even economic event. Its social effect was to throw into crisis the agrarian sectors of all the weakest producers, displacing millions of peasants throughout Europe, a displacement which accelerated the emigration of these peasants to North and South America. Such emigration was, for Spain in this period, a social safety valve of the first order. On a world scale, this drastic cheapening of the cost of food had the additional effect of cheapening the cost of reproducing labor power. In many countries, working-class living standards rose even as nominal wages fell.
This overall cheapening of the basic reproductive components of the working-class wage bill announced a new period of accumulation then only in its infancy in advanced countries such as the U.S. or Germany, where the technical intensification of production, as opposed to the lengthening of the working day, made it possible to significantly increase the material content of working-class consumption even as the working-class share of the total social product remained steady or declined This was the threshold of the transition between two phases of capitalist accumulation, its "extensive" and "intensive" forms, or what Marx called the "formal" and "real" domination of capital over labor.
The transition between these two epochs was a long and painful process, running from the 1873-1896 "great deflation" to the consolidation of U.S. world hegemony in 1945. Germany and the U.S., in the 1933-1945 period, were the first two countries to revamp their domestic institutions to fully accomplish this phase. And although real domination did not come to Spain until the 1958-1973 liberalization under Franco, it, like all other weakly-developed capitalist countries after 1873, also had to adapt its institutions to the new international regime.
If one were for a moment to step back from concrete history and draw up abstract characterisations ef formal and real domination, it would be as follows:
Formal Domination Real Domination (Extensive Accumulation) (Intensive Accumulation) 1. trade unions combatted 1. trade unions tolerated, promoted 2. parliamentarism 2. state bureaucracy 3. non-militarist 3. militarist 4. colonialism 4. imperialism 5. liberal professions 5. technical professions 6. peasants into workers 6. expansion of tertiary sector 7. state as minimal consumer (as % of GNP) 7. state as major consumer 8. laissez-faire capitalism 8. concentration, regulation 9. secondary role of finance capital 9. hegemony of finance capital 10. low financial interelations ratio (FIRO) 10. high FIRO 11. gold standard (Ricardo) 11. fiat money (Keynes, Schacht) 12. working class as pariah class 12. "community of labor" 13. urbanization 13. suburbanization 14. absolute surplus value 14. relative surplus value 15. primitive accumulation off internal petty producers15. primitive accumulation by wage gouging 16. labor retains craft aspects 16. Taylorism 17. labor struggles to shorten the working day 17. technical intensifiscation of the labor process
Precisely because capitalist accumulation is a world system, we would be surprised to find all of these characteristics present in any single country, or any single break in a country's history that marked the transition from one to the other. Once again, we might periodize the transition for the major capitalist countries as follows:
What is immediately striking in this schematization is that it sets off the three countries, the U.S., Britain and Germany, which were the major industrial powers in 1900 from those countries which still had large peasant smallholder populations in 1945, (or, in the case of Spain, peasants and rural laborers) which could still serve as a pool of cheap labor for industrial development. We note, further, that the second group includes exclusively countries which protected their peasants behind high tariff barriers in 1873-1896, whereas the first group either had modern agricultures at the onset of the crisis or effectively modernized through the crisis. But, and perhaps most significantly, we note that the three countries which went through the longer transition from an early 20th century position of industrial strength were precisely those characterized by "non-ideological" Social Democratic working-class organizations after 1945-1952, whereas the three countries of the later transition were characterized by mass Communist Parties, parties which, in keeping with the overall analysis, entered crisis precisely as the transition to real domination was completed.
Many reflections of an economic and historical nature are possible here; our summary treatment of this problem in effect raises more questions than it answers. Spain, as indicated earlier, was so backward relative to the advanced industrial and agricultural producers in 1873-1896 that it accomplished little, prior to World War I, beyond joining the worldwide movement to high tariff walls for its industry and agriculture. The boom visited upon non-belligerent Spain in 1914-1919 propelled the country forward, but also set off a social crisis beginning in 1917 that was resolved by a military coup only in 1923. Thereafter, Primo de Rivera, along with Salazar and Mussolini, undertook the kinds of infrastructural developments that were the forte of fascist and corporatist regimes of the interwar period.. Indeed, fascist-corporatist infrastructure development, and the revamping of state economic institutions that accompanied it, seem to have been the direct prelude the full integration of these countries in the new phase of accumulation that opened in 1945. Spain's state holding company, the Instituto Nacional de Industria (INI) was founded in 1941 on the Italian model of Musso1ini's IRI. Spain in the l939-l958 period retained the statist institutions of fascist interwar autarchy, which brought the country to the edge of bankruptcy in l956-58. Insofar as the latter year was decisive for the transition under discussion in France, Belgium, Italy and Spain, it might be useful to elaborate its significance.
Franco himself apparently believed that, to root anarchism out of Spain, it was necessary to solve the problem of rural labor in Andalucia. To bring the account of Spanish economic development into line with previous and subsequent chapters, one must see that the migration of Andalucian labor, first internally and then, after 1958, to northern Europe, was the decisive demographic reality of Spanish life after the Civil War. The internationalization of the world economy after 1945 created a situation which increasingly dissolved the separate national paths of economic development up to the crisis of 1929-1945; the Spanish countryside was depopulated as much by the demand for labor in Frankfurt and Paris as by a similar demand in the suburbs of Barcelona. Whereas Britain, the U.S. and Germany were able to shift accumulation to the kind of "Dept. II" consumer durables for the working-class, central to the conception of real domination in tandem with an internal solution to their national agricultural sectors, the possibilities opened up for the export of labor power to external labor markets after 1958 made it possible for countries like Spain (and also Italy) to move into the new phase of accumulation while leaving large archaic agrarian structures intact, at the same time that the countryside was seriously depopulated, at least of adult males. In 1970, 35%.o'f Spain's gross domestic product came from industry and 50% from services; by 1980, these figures had increased to 36% and 56% respectively. In terms of the structure of the active population, this translated into a decline of the agricultural population from 50.5% of the total in 1940 to 22.9% in 1975, with industry increasing its share from 22.1 to 36.8, and services from 27.4 to 40.3%.
In sum, Maura and the regenerationists of 1898-1909, and Primo de Rivera in the infrastructural development of 1923-31, were able only to lay the foundations for the integral transition accomplished by Franco in 1958-1973, and that in a far more internationalized economy than ever existed before World War II. But to understand the impact of these developments on the various currents of Spanish labor, i.e. to understand that the program of the PCE and the PSOE after 1977 was the fulfillment of the program of Primo de Rivera of 1923-31, it is necessary to see the role of Spanish labor in the transition to real domination.
V. Anarcho-Syndicalism and the Transition to the Real Domination of Capital in Spanish Working History
With the visit of the Italian anarchist Fanelli to Barcelona and Madrid in l868, a significant vanguard of Spanish working-class organizers were won over to the Bakuninist faction of the First International. Within the international context of the time, this success is situated in a broader sphere of anarchist allegiance which had a lasting impact not only in Spain, but also in France, Italy, Russia and Latin America.
Anarchism was not the only working-class current which made inroads in Spain in this period. Marxism also arrived with Paul Lafargue, sent in 1871 to find co-factioneers for the battle within the International against Bakunin, who had less success than Fanelli but who established a socialist hegemony in Madrid and the Basque country which were to become Marxist bastions as firmly as Andalucia and Catalonia were won over to anarchism. There are undoubtedly historical reasons for these regional alignments, which will not be explored here. The Partido Socialist Obrero Espanol (PSOE) founded in 1879; the Union General de Trabajo (UGT), in 1882. Anarchist currents were not able to found the Confederacion Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) until 1911, and the Federacion Anarchista Iberica (FAI), the "political" or insurrectional expression of anarchism, was founded only in clandestinity in 1927.
Despite the violence of the class struggle both in the countryside and in Barcelona in the late l9th and early 20th century, neither the PSOE-UGT nor, later, the CNT-FAI could be described as powerful organizations in this early period in the same way that the German SPD and its unions, by 1910, were powerful. As indicated earlier, as late as the 1909 Tragic Week, insurrection in Barcelona, radical republicanism was still a potent force within the Spanish working class and urban artisans, the latter an important category for Catalonia. Because the anarchists specifically eschewed politics, the violence of the strikes and potential insurrections of 1909 and 1917-1923 deeply frightened the Spanish bourgeoisie and landed interests, but did not directly threaten state power in the way that, for example, the 1905 or 1917 revolutions in Russia did.
Spain was hardly the sole country in which anarchism vied with a socialist party affiliated with the Second International prior to World War I. Anarchism, anarcho-syndicalism and revolutionary syndicalism arose and played important roles in almost every country except the Central European heartland (Germany, Austria -Hungary) where the "crown jewel' of Second International parties, the German SPD, exercised hegemony. One need only remember the 1906 Amiens Charter of the French CGT, a militant English, Scottish and Irish syndicalism inspired by the American Marxist Daniel DeLeon, Italian anarcho-syndicalism, and Russian anarchism, which developed as an important working-class current right up to 1920-21.In a broader context, one must include the anarcho-syndicalism prevalent in the working classes of Mexico, Brazil and Argentina. (What is curious about Spain in this context is the majoritarian quality of the anarchist movement, which sets it off from every European country.) Throughout the capitalist world, from 1905 until the denouement of the classical workers' movement in the "annus mirabilis' 1919, anarchism could appear to many people, on both sides of the class line, as just as serious a threat to the capitalist system as Marxian socialism.
The turning point in the history of anarchism and revolutionary syndicalism was the First World War, which put it, like all other working-class currents, to a trial by fire from which it never recovered. This was obviously not the case in non-combatant Spain, which enjoyed from 1914 to 1919 an a1most frenzied economic boom based on the world demand for war materiel, a boom also creating conditions, through inflation and a high demand for labor, which by 1917 set off the long period of strikes and working-class ferment which ended only with the military coup of Primo de Rivera in 1923. The CNT enjoyed its finest hours prior to 1936 in this ferment, until disarray and internal factionalization within the movement itself, aided by a fair number of provocateurs, led to the wave of assassinations of both employers and of rival factional figures inside the CNT of Barcelona pistolerismo in the early 1920s.
But even more was impinging on prewar anarchism and revolutionary syndicalism in the 1914-1920 period, in Spain and internationally, than the question of World War I. The war itself had taken a serious toll, perhaps best exemplified in the July 1914 conversion of the French revolutionary syndicalist Gustave Herve, editor of the working-class newspaper La Guerre Seciale, to the tricolore. Most revolutionary syndicalists in France, who weeks before had been preaching revolutionary pacifism in the face of the war and vaunting the merits of the general strike to prevent it, followed his example. The non-belligerent status of Spain probably saved the CNT from at least a major split on this question. What pulled Spanish and international anarcho-syndicalism toward its historical day of reckoning, above and beyond this unexpected bout of patriotism, was the Russian Revolution, the formation of the new Communist International out of that revolution and, more subtly but probably in the long run more fatefully, the transformations of the capitalist state and economy which the war brought about. The sudden need, in 1914, in every belligerent country, to win the allegiance (or more precisely to cement, insofar as this allegiance was readily offered) of the right and center currents of the working-class political parties and trade unions in most cases brought the unions from their previous untouchable status to positions within governments. The rapid creation of war administrations brought trade union officials onto state labor boards for the first time in history. It cannot be an accident that Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Maynard Keynes, Jean Monnet, Hjalmar Schacht and Walter Rathenau, five figures intimately associated with the mutation of the capitalist state after World War I, all spent the years 1914-1918 in the employ of the war administrative boards of their respective countries. It was World War I which brought to a head all of the corporatist currents implicit in prewar Social Democratic, Labour and mutualist working-class ideologies. When, by 1924, the revolutionary wave had ebbed in Europe, there were to be found in countries as different in their regimes as Russia, Italy, and Mexico state bureaucracies in whose creation former anaroho-syndicalists had played no small role.
In Spain, the situation was different. Spanish anarchism was neither put to the test of participation in the war, nor was the Spanish state revamped for large-scale labor participation. In Spain's neutral status, and all that it implied politically for the labor movement -- the PSOE, for its part, was definitely pro-Ally and had an important interventionist current -- we have perhaps the first approximation of the postwar anomaly that in Spain, alone, by 1924, anarchism and revolutionary syndicalism had not disappeared as a mass phenomenon.
But there is a further ingredient in this process, and one which shows the same anomalous character of Spain. That was, in 1919-1920, the large-scale entry of anarchists and revolutionary syndicalists throughout the world into the newly-formed Communist Parties of the Third International. Lenin and Trotsky in these early years encouraged a policy of fusion with the "best of the anarchists", and the relationship between Bolshevism and anarchism, in the years 1919-1921, indeed remained fluid enough that some anarchists in Petrograd could be mobilized for the assault on Kronstadt in March 1921. The IWW in the U.S., the revolutionary syndicalists in Britain, Scotland and France, the German-Dutch "u1tra-1eft" around Pannekoek and Gorter which formed in the underground resistance to World War I, and important elements of the CNT flocked into the early Third International. If they had any doubts about working with the Bolsheviks, the appearance of Lenin's State and Revolution assuaged many. In Spain, in particular, the young Andre Nin, who came out of the CNT, helped found the new Spanish Communist Party, and, after the Stalinization of the Comintern, left to become a leader of the left-centrist POUM until his assassination by the GPU in 1937.
In the backdrop of these developments in Spain, one must keep in mind the phenomenon of the "Bolshevik exaltation" which hit the country with the news of the two Russian Revolutions in 1917, described by Diaz del Moral. Coming at the outbreak of the six-year period of labor unrest, the news of the Russian Revolution was sufficient to spark peasant uprisings in Amdalucia. We are here in the thick of the Spanish-Russian connection described in Ch. III, because at no time in history did the decades of Russian influence in the Spanish working-class tradition come as close to millenarian expectation and insurrectionary activity as in 1917-1920.
Yet, in spite of this, and for the same complex of reasons that spared the Spanish labor movement the test of World War I, the Spanish Communist Party (PCE), from 1920 to 1936, was little more than a sect, with a membership as low as several thousand by 1931. A left wing broke out of the PSOE because of the pro-Allied stance of the majority and the comportment of the leadership in the internal crisis beginning in 1917, fusing with the currents which, like Nin, deserted the CNT. (The CNT itself actually briefly affiliated with the Cominform, the Third International's trade union organization.)
To see the relationship between these developments and the argument developed in earlier sections about the statist vocation of the mainstream labor movement, we must now turn our attention to Spanish anarchism's rival, the PSOE. It is necessary to show, both purposes of the period under consideration and for developments after 1939, that the Social Democratic and later Communist currents of Spanish labor (like labor everywhere else in the advanced capitalist world) were the underside, sometimes subterranean, sometimes explicit, of the development of the modern capitalist state, the state which is the political expression of the mutation we have called the "real domination of capital".
The PSOE, from its founding in 1879 to the time of the Primo de Rivera dictatorship in 1923 was, like other Social Democracies in the Spanish-speaking world (Chile and Argentina being the best examples) really little more than a left-parliamentary organization in its political conception, difficult to distinguish from Freemasonry (and Freemasons were prominent members of such parties). This parliamentarism probably had an important role in limiting the appeal of the PSOE to the Spanish workers' drawn to anarchism, much as the parliamentarism of the SFI0 in France pushed many French workers toward the "'direct action"' of the CGT. What was curious about the PSOE was its peculiarly pronounced statist appetites. In 1908, the young Largo Caballero, who later led the party, under both Primo de Rivera and into the Second Republic and Civil War, headed the Institute for Social Reform, an institute which had a semi-official relationship to the state and whose activities consisted in both the study of working-class conditions and to the drafting of labor legislation. It was, in the Europe of its day, the most advanced institute of its kind, in some sense in advance even of the Webbs in England. With the Primo de Rivera coup in 1923, the Institute for Secial Reform was absorbed directly into the Ministry of Labor.
What ensued was one of the most curious chapters in Spanish working-class history, one with many implications for a grasp of the post-1939 and particularly the 1958-1973 period. Maura's attempts, during his tenure as Prime Minister in l906-l909, at the creation of a modern capitalist state, had little concrete effect, and similarly the legislation proposed by the Institute for Social Reform (some of which, concerning working conditions and hours, was actually made into law) remained essentially a dead letter. Politicians like Cambo, with more of a sense than Maura's of the need to work with labor, never gained effective power. But after the temporary measures of the 1914-1918 period, Primo de Rivera after 1923 was in a position to move more forcefully in the directions only outlined by Maura. Primo de Rivera's economic policy was essentially modeled on that of Mussolini, who had seized power in Italy in 1922. The activities of the Spanish state in the 1923-1931 period are analogous to those of the Italian state and the Portuguese state under Salazar after 1926: the development of infrastructure. None of these regimes were notable, in this period, for their success in promoting industrial development directly, but, like Mussolini and Salazar, Primo de Rivera's government did involve the Spanish state in road improvement, dam construction, revamping of the railroads, electrification and other preconditions for modern industrial growth. The natural gas industry was nationalized. What, however, distinguished Primo de Rivera from his Portuguese and Italian counterparts, was a serious attempt to involve the PSOE in a semi-official relationship with the regime To this end, the Spanish government, through the newly-incorporated Institute for Social Reform, promulgated corporatist labor legislation, the most significant of which was the creation of factory councils, anticipations of post-World War II Mitbestimmung and autogestion.
This close relationship between Primo de Rivera and Largo Caballero was, among the European dictatorships that came into existence in the early 1920's, probably unique, perhaps most closely paralleled by the relationship between Pilsudski and the Polish trade unions. It created deep bitterness in the CNT, the PCE and the left wing of the PSOE, many of whose militants were forced underground or into exile in this period. After the collapse of the dictatorship and the monarchy in 1931, the PSOE was obliged to follow the social ferment leftward, and Largo Caballero enjoyed a brief period in1936-37 as a candidate for the "Spanish Lenin", though little came of it. The point is that, after the very elementary groping toward a labor policy of this type in the 1898-1909 period, corporatism of an explicit kind came to Spain in 1923-1931.
Resuming the earlier narrative of the history of the revolutionary currents in Spanish labor, what is significant for the overall arc of 20th-century working-class history, for the confluence of these statist currents which in 1909 and 1923-1931 were minoritarian, with the mainstream of Spanish working-class organizations in the period of the Second Republic (1931-1939). The agency for this convergence was the PCE, which after its ultra-left and sect-like status for most of 1920-1936, grew almost overnight into a mass party, in vastly changed conditions, in 1936-1937.
What is significant in this development is that, after the revolutionary rupture of 1917-192l which produced the early Communist Parties out of the fusion, in every country, of left-wing Socialists and revolutionary syndicalists or anarchists, the post-l921 ebb relegated the parties of the Comintern to a long period of marginalization and, far worse, degeneration. The "Bolshevization" and "Zinovievization" of every Western European party after 1922, particularly, drove out the very revolutionary syndicalist elements which had rallied to the CPs in 1919-1920. Nin in Spain, and Monatte and Rosmer in France, are the best-known examples of this phenomenon. Not accidentally, whether in 1923-1924 or with the final defeat of the international left opposition in the Comintern in 1928, these elements went on to become the nucleus of the Trotskyist movement. For figures such as Monatte, the futility of their efforts to reconstitute pre-1914 revolutionary syndicalism only underlined the fundamental change which had remade the conditions of working-class struggle from top to bottom.
The story is not complete, however, until the era of the Popular Front, the Resistance movements of World War II and the governments of "national reconstruction" after 1945, when the marginal Communist Parties of the infamous "Third Period" (the Third Period of the Comintern's errors, as Trotsky called it) in 1928-1934 grew into mass parties in the context of an "anti-fascist" alliance with the "progressive wing of the bourgeoisie". It is here, in different phases in different countries but everywhere, essentially in identical fashion, that the circle is closed in the involvement of the Socialist and Communist Parties, and their trade unions, in the transformation of the capitalist state for the new phase of accumulation, beginning after 1945, which we have characterized as the real domination of capital. What was merely hinted in the 1898-1909 period of Spanish po1itics, what was implemented as corporatism in the curious Primo de Rivera-Largo Caballero relationship in 1923-1931, become in 1935-1947 the character of the mass Social Democratic and Communist Parties in Western Europe. If the economic analysis presented in the previous section is correct, the advanced conditions of real domination prevailing in the more industrialized countries such as Germany, Britain and the U.S. prescribed a more "Social Democratic" form of corporatist involvement with the state; in the countries, such as Italy, France and Spain which a arrived at the phase of real domination only in the 1950's, and particularly after the revamping of Europe for the Common Market and large-scale U.S. investment after 1958, this mutation took a "Communist" form. But an honest appraisal, one which casts a disabused look on the practice of the parties of the Socialist International, in the supposedly heroic period prior to 1914, one cannot, whether the case in Germany or Spain, deny important antecedents to this practice in the heyday of the classical workers' movement.
It may seem strange, in a text on the history of the 20th century Spanish working class, to devote so little space to the experience of the Civil War. It was obviously here that Spanish anarchism, in particular, was subjected, with two decades delay, to the trial by fire which international anarchism and syndicalism generally failed in 1914. The debacle of the CNT-FAI's participation in the 1936-1937 Republican government in well-known; the murderous role of the PCE against other working-class currents, mention of which might have aroused controversy 50 years ,ago, is today acknowledged by the PCE itself. The purpose of this section is not to go, once again, over the well-tread ground of Stalinist "betrayal" and counter-revolution which was, rightly, the subject of the best works on the revolution and civil war, but to trace the statist ambitions which first appeared in the PSOE prior to World War I, and follow their trajectory into the period of the Popular Front, when the Spanish Communist Party itself took over this tradition integrally. The total defeat and destruction of the Spanish labor movement in 1936-1939 previously spelled the end of anarchism as a real force in the Spanish working class. The stage was set, for the period after 1939, for complete PCE hegemony in the long underground struggle against Francoism. But the entire argument brought to bear thus far, one confirmed by the later period, is precisely that anarchism disappeared as a serious force in Spanish and international working-class history not for the ultimately contingent reasons of Stalinist reaction or military defeat, to say nothing of the confusion of the anarchists themselves in l936-1937. The argument, in 1975-1977, of many nostalgics for the CNT, that the PCE had survived and anarchism had not, after 1939, due to the PCE's authoritarian structure, which allowed it to survive underground, does not stand up to the reality that the PSOE, with virtually no party structure in Spain in 1975, became overnight a mass party (albeit with the open support of the monarchy and northern European Social Democracy), while the CNT's return to Spain, aside from some isolated pockets of students and intellectuals, was, after 1975 largely a failure, characterized by rancor arid splits over control of union funds. The civil war, for all the destruction it wrought, becomes in retrospect merely the extreme, Spaniah variant of the demise of working-class currents of the anarchist and syndicalist type, which elsewhere occurred in 1914-1924. What history also shows, however, when one comes out the other end of the 1939-1975 period, is that the hegemony of the Stalinists was only a prelude to their own demise. For once the transition to real domination was complete in Spain, a transition which, both in the Second Republic and, as shall shortly be seen, under Franco after 1958, the PSOE played a key role, the party's own statist aspirations were its undoing. For, as the working classes of France, Spain and, in a different way, Italy came to see in 1970's, if "socialism" is reduced to a corporatist participation in capitalist planning agencies, why not throw one's lot in with a slick group of bright young technocrats who will get more results than the barely de-Stalinized remnants of an earlier era? Partisans of a harder, earlier version of bureaucratic control of the state, the Longos, Leroys, the little-mourned Duclos, or General Lister, can wring their hands over "Euro-opportunism", but they cannot deny that, in 1935-1947, (excepting the brief 1939-41 interlude of the Stalin-Hitler pact) a more virulent version of the same thing was the woof and warp of "proletarian internationalism", and those who opposed it, the Trotskyist and ultra-left remnants of the early Comintern, nothing but the paid agents of Franco, Hitler and the Mikado.
VI. The Drift to Clandestine Corporatism and the Road to Moncloa, 1939-1977
The military defeat of the Republic and the severe repression carried out against the Spanish working class in 1939 paralyzed the class struggle in Spain until the late 1950's. With over one million people forced into exile, hundreds of thousands of workers dead in the civil war, and thousands more executed or held in concentration camps (in many cases until the late l940's) the large and powerful Spanish working-class parties and trade unions of the pre-1936 period were effectively annihilated on the peninsula and condemned to thirty-five years of exile and clandestine activity. The anarchists, in particular, staged heroic but futile guerrilla raids from across the French border until approximately 1950, but in general nothing was left of the pre-war organizations of Spanish labor except the dispersed underground cells of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE), a small remnant of the CNT operating clandestinely in Barcelona, and some weak Socialist links to the former PSOE-UGT stronghold among the miners of Asturias.
Despite the emnities engendered during the civil war within the civil war which had crushed the left opposition to the Republican Popular Front in Barcelona in 1937, the remnants of the PSOE, PCE and CNT regrouped in a broad democratic front during World War II, with illusions that the U.S. and its allies would sweep away the Franco regime once the Axis powers had been defeated. Franco, however, eminently aware of the same possibility from the beginning of the war, pursued a fairly rigorous neutrality from 1940, much to the dismay of his former backer Hitler. Although officially an international pariah, (Spain's major ally until 1953 was Peron's Argentina) Franco pursued a deft foreign policy aimed above all at the deep anti-Communism of Great Britain. By 1944, this had paid off in contacts with Churchill; by 1951, despite Spain's exclusion from the Marshall Plan, the country was receiving military and financial aid from the U.S.. In 1955, with the Republican government-in-exile still awaiting its moment in Mexico City, Franquist Spain was admitted officIally to the free world and the U.N.
After the military victory, the regime had moved quickly to enlist the working class in state-controlled "vertical" trade unions grouped in the Confederacion Nacional-Sindicalista (CNS)), organized along the lines of the syndicates of Mussolini's Italy or the work fronts of Nazi Germany. The organization and control of the vertical unions was entrusted to the members of the FE-JONS (Falange Espanola- Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista) which was the actually fascist component of Franco's 1936 political alliance of the army, church, landowners and bourgeoisie. The Falange, which, like Italian fascism and German National Socialism, had made propagandistic overtures to the working class prior to 1936, had given Franco's regime its ideology and demagogy, but little else, and had actually been excluded from the inner circles of the regime in 1943. As a consolation, the Falange was allowed to "organize" the working class for the next three decades. The "verticalistas" collected union dues, enforced shop floor discIpline, and organized annual banquets for factory owners and workers to demonstrate that classes had disappeared in Franquist Spain.
The economic conditions in Spain were extremely harsh, not dissimilar in most respects to Chile under the junta after 1973. Working-class incomes were depressed to more than 40% below 1936 levels. Because Spain, like Portugal, did not participate in the international economic arrangements framed at the end ef World War II, the regime retained the basic economic controls and institutions of the autarchic fascist regimes of the 1930's right up to 1958, leaving Spain completely on the margins of the economic reconstruction of Europe in the 1945-1958 period. With the exception of the 1947 general strike in Vizcaya and the dramatic Barcelona tramway strike of 1951, the working class remained dispersed and atomized under the control of the employers, the Guardia Civil and the vertical unions.
In 1956-58, however, Spanish and world economic conjunctures arrived at a threshold in the postwar economic cycle. The autarchic economic policies which the regime had pursued since 1939 had brought Spain to the brink of bankruptcy and collapse in a world long since converted to Keynesianism. Spain's foreign reserves were almost depleted, the peseta absurdly overvalued, the balance of payments in deep deficit, foreign investment minimal, and serious inflation was eroding the small gains in productivity and output exacted from the working class. Strike activity in the Basque country and in Asturias raised the specter of a labor insurgency if the situation escaped the control of the regime, and Spain veered toward a massive policy change that inaugurated the economic liberalization of 1958.This change was, in a word, the completion of the transition to real domination of capital.
The liberalization policies were advocated most forcefully by a group of technocrats, bankers and industrialists associated with the Catholic order Opus Dei. Opus was fiercely resisted by the backward Falange economists whose autarchy policies had brought the economy to the brink of collapse, and also by the CNS verticalistas who understood that economic liberalization might quickly lead to collective bargaining on the Western European model. (Opus itself had no such intentions, but other factions of the Spanish bourgeoisie were moving toward such a perspective.) Nonetheless, in 1957, Franco undertook a major shakeup of his cabinet in which members of Opus Dei were given seven posts and a free hand in policy. In 1958 Madrid received in quick succession the visits of U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower, Chase Manhattan president David Rockefeller, a team from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and top economic advisers from the newly-formed government of Charles DeGaulle. The economic ministries were remodeled on the lines of the French state technocracy In the course of that year, Spain devalued the peseta by 50%, opened the economy to foreign investment and tourism, got substantial public and private loans from abroad and began an extended boom which ended only with the oil crisis of 1973. A new phase of the class struggle had begun.
These moves amounted to the retooling of the Western European economies for a new phase of accumulation, one which would propel France, Italy and Spain into the era of the real domination of capital. In 1957-1958, the U.S. economy had experienced its steepest recession since World War II; the physical reconstruction of Europe had been completed, and the Continent was dismantling the last of the economic controls of the first phase of postwar reconstruction. From 1958 to 1969, capital flowed to Western Europe in unprecedented amounts, seeking investment outlets more profitable than those available in the U.S. The establishment of the Common Market alerted Spanish capital to the necessity of its eventual integration into Europe if it were not to be left out of the second phase of the postwar boom, an integration which would require a serious liberalization of the country. At the same time, northern Europe was beginning to experience a serious labor shortage and was looking to its southern periphery for a source of immigrant workers. Spain, with the ongoing depopulation of its impoverished countryside and the permanent underemployment in Andalucia, was a prime potential exporter of labor power. In the 1958-1962 period, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy and Belgium all undertook significant reorganization of their economies for the new period, and all of them were in turn rocked by the first important strikes since the immediate postwar stabilization.
The boom that began in Spain in 1961-1962, following the implementation of the liberalization plan (a boom paid for in part by a serious depression of wages in 1959-1960) and the large-scale emigration of workers to the north changed the balance of forces within the country in favor of the working class for the first time since 1939. In 1962, a wildcat strike broke out in an Asturian mining town, and hundreds of miners sacked the local police commisariat singing the Internationale . The modern Spanish working-class movement surfaced to national prominence. From 1956, workers in the major industrial centers (Asturias, the Basque Provinces, Madrid and Catalonia) had organized clandestinely in the so-called Comisiones Obreras (CC.OO) which began to function effectively as the real union on the shop floor level, pushed aside the hated verticalist bureaucrats. The workers' commission were heavily influenced by the Spanish Communist Party. Moreover, because of the severe repression, the Communist organizers were routinely obliged to resort to "direct action" tactics reminiscent of the pre-Civil War anarchists. In Barcelona, in particular, the cadre of the Catalan Communist Party were outflanked by anti-Stalinist, extreme-left opponents in the CC.OO by the mid-1960's. In the same period, moreover, the CC.OO ruled the shop floor in much of Spanish industry, reducing the official vertical unions to complete impotence in policing the work force, or infiltrating and neutralizing them from within.
By 1958, and increasingly through the early 1960s, a significant group of Spanish industrialists and factory managers had become convinced of the need to implement a modern, Western European-type system of collective bargaining , if discipline were to be restored on the shop floor. The Catalan bourgeoisie in particular, with its historical orientation to northern Europe, and with all its major factories controlled de facto by the CC.OO, came to this view quite early. A significant group of Catalan priests, involved in the legal Juventud Obrera Catolica (JOC) were of the same opinion. In secret meetings held in chapels provided by leftist priests, and in other unlikely locations, workers and student activists from extreme-left organizations such as the FOC (Front Obrer de Catalunya), the mid-1960's factional battles of the revived European workers' movement were fought out in Spain as well.
The movement, moreover, had reached a level of mobilization and power in the factories that required the employers and the state to tolerate it semi-officially. In 1966, hundreds of CC.OO militants presented themselves as candidates in the upcoming CNS elections, in a PCE-backed move to subvert the vertical unions from within (a similar strategy was tried with success in Salazarist Portugal). When a startled policeman happened upon a mass meeting of the CC.O0 in a Barcelona suburb in preparation for the elections, he was told by his superiors to let the meeting proceed. In October 1966, CC.OO candidates all over Spain won posts in the unions, and ballot-box stuffing had prevented more victories. During this same period, a major Catalan factory manager, Duran Farell, (later a candidate for chairman of the Spanish employers' association), held a press conference, denounced the vertical unions and stated that shop-floor discipline would be restored in Spain only with the official recognition of the CC.OO and other unions.
This far-sighted view on the part of a wing of the Spanish bourgeoisie -- one which paid off a decade later in the Moncloa Accords -- and the grudging acceptance which the struggles of the commissions won in the more industrial zones of the country, should in no way obscure the tremendous repression which befell working-class leaders and members of the left-wing political organizations operating clandestinely. The verticalistas, the police and state apparatus arrested, tortured and imprisoned thousands of such people. In 1963, a leading member of the PCE was arrested on a Madrid street, jailed, and died under interrogation. Mere possession of a mimeographed leaflet was punishable by lengthy prison terms.
Further, the revival of the Spanish working class and the general resumption of significant class struggle in industry cannot be seen in isolation from a whole social and political dynamic. Between 1940 and 1970, Spain underwent one of the fastest processes of urbanization in the history of capitalism. The working class, newly arrived from the rural south and lodged in hastily constructed, expensive and substandard high-rise towers in the industrial suburbs, waged extensive "luchas de barrio" (struggles in the residential zones and neighborhoods) where month-long showdowns with the police were often fought for the installation of electricity, a traffic light or a bus line. The Spanish student movement similarly went into action, and in Madrid and Barcelona worked closely with the CC.OO. In the Basque provinces, the revival of political activity brought about a renewal of Basque separatism which was extremely influential in the working class. In 1969, Spain was placed under a state of emergency as a wave of repression swept the country, with hundreds of leftists and working-class militants arrested, jailed, conscripted into the army and forced into exile. This repression momentarily stopped the rising ferment -- a national moment of the 1968-1969 worldwide upsurge -- but in November 1970, Spain was on a virtual war footing as a military tribunal in Burgos sat in judgement on a group of Basque nationalist militants facing the death penalty. Their subsequent reduced sentences constituted in many ways the government's first retreat before the revived illegal opposition since the end of the civil war. In 1970, international capitalism was aware that, despite the absence of legal trade unions or even the right to strike, the Spanish working class was among the most combative in Europe. (A significant group of Spanish employers, as we indicated above, thought that this combativity was because of the absence of legal trade unions, and events since 1977 have not proved them wrong.) Spain's attractiveness for international investment began to fade, but the country continued to attract large foreign capital inflows right up to the outbreak of the inter-national economic crisis in 1973-1974.
With this general overview of the renewal of working-class activity on the shop floor and in the streets from the end of the Civil War to the rise of the worker' commissions in the 1956-1966 period, we can now turn to the complex process of the "post-Franco" transition, which in fact began years before Franco's death. The PCE in particular, which had by far the strongest working-class implantation, through this period was seeking a dialogue with the forces that it characterized as the "civilized right" in Spain, in anticipation of a broad "democratic front" to liquidate Francoism. This long, quixotic search for the mirage of a civilized right that cared to dialogue with the PCE was generally an extension of the Popular Front strategy first adopted by the Western European Communist Parties in 1934-35, and from which, with brief exceptions, they had deviated little since. The PCE followed this strategy from its underground and exile position just as faithfully as the PCF or the PCI did in more democratic circumstances. Until the 1958-1966 period, of course, they found precious few takers, something which made it more difficult to sell this strategy to the party's militants and periphery. In the 1960's, it became rather difficult to argue that it was necessary to unite with the "progressive wing of the bourgeoisie" to help them root out "pre-capitalist" elements in Spain's social structure -- an argument with a familiar, and worn, ring -- so the PCE adopted the slicker "state monopoly capitalism" variant of the same basic strategy (in this case, a people's "anti-monopoly" coalition including, naturally, enlightened capitalists) which was becoming fashionable in the PCF and elsewhere. But from 1966 onward, under the pressure of the shopfloor movement and the internal dissidents who bolted from the party over strategy and tactics, the PCE suffered in the CC.OO's. In Barcelona, where the extreme-left pressure on the PCE-linked Catalan Communist Party (or PSUC, Partido Socialista Unificado Catalan) was the strongest, the FOC and other groups, in the 1966-1969 period, made real inroads into the party's base. The Maoist breakaways and the split in the PCI between the future Eurocommunist Santiago Carrillo and hardliner Gen. Enrique Lister further undermined PCE-PSUC domination of the commissions. At one juncture in 1967 internal faction fights took 80% of the PSUC's organizers out of action in Catalonia, although many drifted back later. In January 1969 the FOC took a sharp left turn with the aim of establishing soviets in Catalonia; it dissolved within a year. The extreme-left challenge to the PCE generally subsided under the blows of the state of emergency and subsequent repression, but primarily because the real movement in the class also subsided. In 1970, the CC.OO, though still illegal and still underground, were, in the tow of the PCE and the PSUC, launched on the road of a "clandestine corporatist" orientation to "national reconciliation" with the enlightened wing of Spanish capitalism, a road that led straight to the Moncloa Pacts of 1977, however tortuous the interceding years of struggle while this was fought out.
The Spanish bourgeoisie was itself badly split in the late 1960's as all classes in society prepared for Franco's demise. The struggle was fought out in Franco' s cabinet between the so-called "bunker" of hard-line Falangists and the liberalizers of Opus Dei who advocated the policy of "transition without rupture" toward a constitutional monarchy. The forces of the bunker had the upper hand until December 1973, grouped around Admiral Carrero Blanco. With the assassination in that month of Carrero Blanco by the Basque separatist group ETA (Euskadi ta Askataguna), the Opus Dei faction took the offensive and set out to guide the liberalization. The PCE, for its part, was waging an extensive campaign for legal recognition, even to the point of accepting the monarchy.
The period following the 1969 state of emergency was one of relative ebb, but a revival of overt conflict was signaled in October 1971 by the pitched battle fought between workers and mounted police at the Barcelona SEAT plant. In 1972, general strikes rocked the Galician cities of Vigo and El Ferrol, where previously there had been little working-class activity of any kind. In 1973, a general strike followed in Pamplona, and in the next year in Baix Loibregat, a major working-class district of Barcelona. The post-1969 ebb was over. With the death of Carrero Blanco, the pressure of this mounting renewal of working-class activity tipped the government in the direction of liberalization. With the April 1974 military coup in Portugal, which opened the 1974-1975 transition crisis in that country, the Spanish bourgeoisie had a front-row seat at the dress rehearsal for its own liquidation of Francoism and an opportunity to learn from others' mistakes. The early 1975 takeover of the Portuguese trade union federation Intersindical by the Portuguese Communist Party alerted the Spanish bourgeoisie to the dangers of a consolidation of the verticalist CNS along similar lines, given the hegemony of the CC.OO; as a result, "trade union pluralism" became the battle cry. At the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Frankfurt, (the German SPD's "think tank" and conduit for CIA funding) the cadre of the PSOE and the UGT, with no effective base of militants in Spain (except in the UGT's worker base in Asturias), prepared its return with the creditable performance of Mario Soares as the model for outflanking Communist political and trade-union influence. (They in fact far outstripped their Portuguese counterparts.) While the Portuguese experience made it clear that a moderate Social Democracy with suitably radical rhetoric in the very early phase of liberalization could outpoll a Comnunist Party with the prestige of decades of underground struggle, it was, on the eve of Franco's death, by no means clear that the PSOE-UGT could beat the PCE-CC.OO on the terrain that counted more immediately (especially given that no elections were in sight): in the ability to turn working-class militancy on and off as political objectives required. Even the PCE's remarkable adhesion to the November 1975 "Euro-communist" declaration of the Rome-Paris-Madrid" axis -- a manifesto in no small way motivated by a desire to take distance with respect to the uncomfortably tough talk emanating from PCP leader Alvaro Cunhal -- did not convince anyone. The officials of the PSOE and the UGT, as mentioned earlier, were given a free hand to travel about Spain and establish themselves while still illegal, Franco died just as the Portuguese military was consolidating the defeat of the Portuguese working-class upsurge of 1974-75, and the Spanish bourgeoisie with a far larger and more experienced working class, was not at all sure of its capacity to prevent an explosion. It had only the PSOE and the PCE, which seemed prepared to make any concession in exchange for legality, to contain the working class, which seemed an unknown quantity of the first order.
From January to March 1976, the worst fears of all the forces of the "democratic convergence" seemed confirmed: the working class exploded. On few occasions has Tocqueville's maxim that the most dangerous moment for a repressive state is when it begins to reform itself been verified in such a compact interaction between working-class activity and developments in the political sphere. It may be true that January-March 1976 in Spain did not reach the breadth of either the French May 1968 or the Italian hot autumn. Yet the differences with those movements were such that the tension generated about what might happen was arguably greater than in either of the other cases. In France and Italy, 1968-1969 marked the return of the working-class as a patently "non-integrated" force in society; in Spain, no one had ever had any illusions about that, and the working class, as detailed above, had shown its combativity from 1962 onward. In Spain, four decades of a military and police encampment of the working class were ending, not at the height of the postwar boom , as in France and Italy, but in the trough of the worst recession since 1945, with the scare of the surge to prominence of the PCP in Portugal barely off the front page. There were few people on either side of the class line in Spain in early 1976 who did not expect a major showdown, and almost no one foresaw the ease with which, in 1977-1979, the transition to constitutional monarchy was carried out.
In January 1976 the Madrid metro workers went out on strike, and had to be militarized. In March, in Vitoria and Sabadell, general strikes followed, and similar "ciudad muerta" tactics closed down cities and towns throughout the Basque provinces, usually linked to nationalist demands. In Vitoria, the "asembleista" character of the movement -- which ended only with a massacre in which four people were machine-gunned -- asserted itself to some extent independently of the political parties and trade unions; in Sabadell, those organizations tended simply to follow the movement.
The strikes of January-March 1976 signalled the final defeat for the Fascist "bunker" faction of the government, which in the person of Prime Minister Arias Navarro was attempting to carry out the transition. Arias fell in July 1976, and was replaced by ex-Franquist Christian Democrat Adolpho Suarez. Suarez, in contrast to Arias, understood clearly that the PCE had to be legalized witheut unnecessary delay, and in the following month, the government and the PCE played a cat-and-mouse game leading to the party's legalization in time to participate in the June 1977 parliamentary elections. The PCE had accepted the monarchy; it had accepted the Franquist flag; it had accepted Franco's protege Juan Carlos after initially backing his more liberal father Don Juan. Of course, it was happy to accept legalization while the various extreme-left Trotskyist, Maoist and anarchist groups, as well as their small but not negligeable trade-union organizations, remained illegal. But the PCE was committed to the "ruptura democratica" which it counterposed to the Christian Democracy's "transicion sin ruptura", whereas the extreme left was mobilizing for "ruptura" pure and simple. It was the PCE which could deliver the working class for such a transition, and deliver them it did, playing alternately on its ability to call strikes and its even more useful ability to end or obstruct them to muscle its way into the political arena. The PCE's mere 8% of the vote in the 1977 national elections, against the PSOE's 26%, was no more indicative of its overall power in the working class than the Portuguese CP's
1975 electoral losses to the PSP. Without the cooperation of the PCE, PSUC and CC.OO up to the signing of the Moncoa Pacts -- Spain's "social contract" -- in October 1977, the post-Franco transition would have been far more problematic.
The extreme left, meanwhile, prepared for the explosion which never came. The e1ectoral platform anticipated for the 1977 elections never materialized; as of October 1977, when the PCE, the PSOE and their unions lost any interest in using strikes for political ends, strike activity in Spain fell off to almost nothing. There were many reasons for this, and political maneuvers were only one. In 1974, with the onset of the world recession, Spain's export of labor power through emigration turned sharply negative, putting pressure on a labor market in which unemployment was already at 8%. As in Portugal, the high levels of working-class combativity, which in l974-l977 seemed to promise something well beyond the actual results, were in fact subordinate to certain political tasks of the transition, a transition in turn necessitated by the outbreak of the world economic crisis. If capitalism in Spain could no longer, as in 1958-1973, offer the working class more or less steadily rising incomes and high levels of employment, it could offer them political democracy and trade unions instead. And, to the surprise of many, within Spain and abroad, who for years had expected that Spain's political structure would be too weak to contain a particularly militant workers' movement, that was enough. The PCE, the PSOE and the unions played their roles in tilting the scales toward moderation and appeasement, even where a willingness to concessions was forthcoming; but in the last analysis, it must be stated quite clearly that they were successful in this because the working class did not want the revolutionary rupture which the radical left advocated. Even the most militant expressions, such as the Vitoria strike, showed that while the workers were ready, in concrete situations, to outrun the political parties and the trade unions, establish proto-soviet "asembleas" organized on the strictest democratic lines, they were not ready to go any further, and in the last instance, in their great majority, allowed themselves to be enlisted, if only passively, by the PCE-CC.OO and the PSOE-UGT.
When, in October 1977, representatives of the CC.OO and the UGT met with the Spanish employers to sign the Moncloa Pacts, the era of labor relations which started in 1939 came to an end. In exchange for a tentative normalization of labor relations, (though not yet fully translated into labor law), the two major unions of the Spanish working class agreed to the usual types of wage restraint and austerity measures that were becoming the norm for these European-type "social contracts". The Moncloa Pacts seemed on the whole to acquire their real content only in the restraint of the unions, as unemployment rose, between 1977 and 1982, from 8 to 16%, strikes virtually disappeared outside the special case of the Basque provinces (where they reflected the mobilization for national autonomy) and real wages levelled off or fell. In 1981, the employers themselves walked away from the substance of the Moncloa agreements, finding even their minimal concessions of 1977 too expensive.
VII. Conclusion: Toward a Non-Statist Working-Class Realignment?
When one looks back to the crucial transition years 1975-1977 in Spain, it is difficult not to feel surprise at the relatively painless transition to an approximation of bourgeois democracy that was achieved in those years and after. In putting matters in this light, we hardly mean to underemphasize the fragility of the status quo in that country. Despite the fact that the PSOE and the PCE control, since the April 1979 municipal elections, a majority of Spanish cities, and despite the absolute majority of seats in the Cortes won by the PSOE in October 1982, the state bureaucracy, army and police in Spain remain substantially in the hands of Francoist appointees and civil servants. The tradeoff for a smooth transition to legality for the PSOE and the PCE was paid for in part by a promise not to touch these sinecures. This analysis, furthermore, has said nothing about the Basque question, which remained a problem of the highest priority for the Gonzalez government, which must seek to defuse the support for the underground ETA-militar and its political arm, Herri Batasuna, at the same time that it appeases the Spanish army. The latter institution, it is well known, was involved in a serious coup attempt in February 1981, provoked in no small way by the government's paralysis in dealing with Basque nationalist and separatist demands, at a time when ETA was assassinating military and police personnel almost weekly. But the Basque question, as was emphasized in a recent book on this subject, is almost no longer a "Spanish" question, at least in the sense that the social ferment in the Basque provinces and in the Basque working class had almost no reverberations in the broader Spanish population, except in growing revulsion at what is perceived as a needless provocation of the army in a delicate situation. The solidarity of the broader Spanish left with the Basque nationalist cause, which was axiomatic in the period up to 1975, has virtually disappeared, but this also reflects the disappearance of the militant extreme left in the general enthusiasm for democracy and for Juan Carlos.
What was striking, in the post-1977 period in Spain, and in Western Europe generally, was the gap between the depth of the economic crisis and the successive coming to power, in Spain, France and Greece, of "left" governments of' Social Democrats, in an atmosphere of calm and "business as usual". It suffices to recall, for historical perspective, the election of the Popular Front governments in Spain and France in 1936. In both cases, the victory of the Socialist-Communist blocs, with the support of the left Radicals in France (critical to giving the Popular Front its appropriate appearance of moderation) touched off social orises. In France, the working class immediately seized the factories and only the full mobilization of particularly the cadres of the PCF gained acceptance, among the workers, of the Matignon agreements. In Spain, the Popular Front victory of the spring of 1936 led, after months of unrest, polarization and street battles between extreme left and extreme right groups, to Franco's military coup and the social revolution that was the working-class response, followed by three years of civil war.
Looking at the situation of the early 1980's, the contrast with 1936, of the orderly assumption of power by the French and Spanish Socialist Parties, could not be more total. Whereas, on the eve of both the French and Spanish elections, there remained a serious question of Communist participation in the governments (the PSOE and the PCE had in fact constituted a coalition government in Galicia), the electoral demise of both these parties made any such coalition unnecessary. The decline of the PCE, which had received 8% of the vote in 1977 and 10% in 1979, to a mere 3.5%, was merely the culmination of years of internal rancor and splits to the left and to the right. At the other end of the political spectrum, the far-right party of Blas Pinar, the unreconstructed party of Franooism, received barely 1% of the vote.
The Spanish economy, in the early 1980's as in 1936, was in a shambles. Unemployment, as mentioned earlier, was officially at 16%, and in reality probably closer to 20%. Only the return of large numbers of Andalucian workers to tile south, where they still return to to families earning subsistence livings in agriculture, had prevented hunger riots, and there have been documented cases of starvation in Andalucia. The peseta as previously indicated, fell to 130 to the dollar, a devaluation of 115% since Franco's death.
What characterizes the situation in Spain is the virtual vacuum of ideas in any current of the official left, for overcoming the economic crisis. This vacuum is hardly limited to Spain. The acceptance of the inalterability of the world crisis, even within the context of "new industrial policies",as proposed in France, aimed at improving a country's competitive position, is universal. It is quite true that no single country can opt out of the world economy without incurring the even greater austerity which would be imposed by autarchy. Thus, ten years into the crisis, the official left in Western Europe tended to prefer, along with other major political forces, drift and managed crisis to any specific national course.
Meanwhile, the extreme-left of the 1968-1973 and 1973-1977 periods, which in Spain as in all other countries became a problem to contend with for mainstream Social Democratic and Communist Parties, all but disappeared, and with it the panacea of soviet or council democracy that seemed, in conditions of full employment amd relative prosperity, the obvious answer to the top-heavy bureaucracies of the working-class parties and trade unions. The counterposition of "bureaucracy-democracy" ceased to be telling in conditions of mass unemployment, when most workers were happy to be have a job, even in "bureaucratic" circumstances.
It is obviously not the task of this text to outline either the causes or the solution to the world economic crisis, but it is obvious that both diagnosis and cure must be global from the beginning. Above and beyond the differences in social structure, and therefore political alignments, between the Spain, France and Western Europe of today and of 65 years earlier, the most casual assessment of the current world economic situation must take note of the vast increase of the significance of the Third World since the 1929-1938 depression. Precisely because most of Africa and Asia still remained, in that period, colonies of Britain and France, Europe as a whole remained the center of world history, even if the main thing that was being fought out, in retrospect, was the terms of its demise. Thus the Spanish Civil War could become, in short order, a dress rehearsal for World War II, much as most wars in the Third World after 1945 became, and usually began, as proxy wars between the major blocs. The "economic miracle" of Spain between l958 and 1973 was bounded precisely by the period of large U.S. capital flows to Western Europe, which ended not merely because of the oil crisis of 1973 but also because of the shift of international investment priorities to different parts of the Third World. If Spanish industry in the early 1980's was on the whole too new, and too much in foreign hands, to be susceptible to "de-industrialization" by an export of Spanish capital as such, the foreign investment boom in Spain ended long before, and the older industries such as Basque steel and shipbuilding, which most closely resemble northern European industry in age and competitiveness, succumbed to almost complete crisis. Spain under the PSOE could opt for some "high technology" restructuring, but such a strategy, because of the poverty of Spanish technical resources, could only be a poor relative of its international counterpart.
To conclude. In a period of total economic crisis, the international left of the advanced industrial countries, and thus necessarily of Spain, lived through the collapse of the older, "hard" bureaucracies whose most significant representatives in post-1945 Europe were the French, Italian and Spanish Communist Parties, repeating a process that had occurred somewhat earlier, and over a somewhat longer period, in the transformation of the northern European Social Democracies. This dissolution was heralded by many, on both sides of the class line,as a "crisis of Marxism". While we can only find it strange to speak of a "crisis of Marxism" where the world economic conjuncture is concerned, it does seem, as stated in Section I, that the "crisis of Marxism" indeed seems to capture a mood of aimlessness and drift by the international working class in face of the crisis. Decades of bureaucracy and statism have completely obscured the "emancipatory" idea of what a supercession of capitalism is or could be. The fortunes of the extreme left of the 1968-1977 period, largely Trotskyist and Maoist, rose and fell with the fortunes of the large working-class parties and particularly Communist parties: the crisis of the CPs, on which they seemed to thrive, in the long run turned out to be their crisis as well. And that for the simple reason that, on a continuum with the Social Democratic and Commiunist conceptions of organization and of socialism formed in the 1890-1920 period , however much they may have wished to distance themselves from "actually existing socialism", the latter, in or out of power, could not help but tar them as well. Whether Social Democratic, Stalinist, Maoist or Trotskyist, the acceptance of the "Social Democratic logic" developed by the successive Internationals after 1890 left them ultimately in the same camp.
The socialist movement, internationally, developed in three world-historical waves of revolution: the 1789-1815 period of the French Revolution, which saw in Babeuf and the Conspiracy of Equals the first, crude vision of "communism", and which issued, for the period up to 1840, in the various utopian socialisms; the 1848-1850 period, which saw the first real class war in Europe in the Parisian June Days of 1848, and the emergence of Marxism; and finally, the 1890-1920 period of the classical workers' movement of mass parties and trade unions, and revolutions or near-revolutions. This cycle culminated in the 1905 and 1917-1920 insurrectionary periods in the German-Polish-Russian corridor and in the Russian Revolution properly speaking, a cycle which set down for half a century the terms of international socialist factions and debate. Only in the social crises of 1968-1973 did this latter historical manifold begin to unravel, expressed first of all in the European-wide discussion of "Leninism" in that period and subsequently
It was argued in Section III that, in Spain and in Russia, a tradition existed in the working-class movements that survived into the l890-l920 period, and in the case of Spain, beyond it, which ultimately derived from revolutionary or communal traditions of revolt traceable to the dawn of capitalism, if not earlier. It was this affinity between the two countries' history that made the Spanish working class so receptive to "Russian" influences, from the 1868 adhesion to the Bakuninist wing of the First International, continuing through the 1919-1920 "Bolshevik exaltation" to the 1936-l939 emergence of the PCE as the party of the Spanish working class, to the 1939-1975 underground phase of the struggle against Franco. Thus it seems plausible that the decline of the "Russian" phase of Spanish working-class history, expressed in the precipitous decline of the PCE since 1975, in the context of the crisis of the Western European Communist Parties, heralds a new phase in the history of the working-class movement, and not merely the Spanish. The rise of the Social Democratic productivist discourse in the 1890-l914 period, which in Russia took the form of Lenin's polemic against the Populists, involved a "suppression" of a whole side of Marx's earlier perspectives for that country, centered on the potentials of the agrarian peasant commune. In the same way that the dissolution of Francoism reposed the "buried questions" of Spain's history, and specifically of the glorification of 16th century Habsburg absolutism, opening up the past of the high medieval, largely Judeo-Islamic culture suppressed by the Habsburgs and by the Inquisition, the dissolution of Social Democratic statism and its progeny opens up for us the suppressed past of Marxism itself.
What characterized the three worldwide upsurges of the formation of the modern revolutionary tradition, the 1789-1840 pre-history, 1848-1850 and 1917-1921 is a certain relationship between what it has become fashionable to call the "center" and the "periphery". Marx, in analyzing the role of the German workers in the 1848-1849 revolution, briefly posited the possibility of a "revolution in permanence" in which the working class would fill the role of Germany's weak and vacillating bourgeoisie to push through the bourgeois revolution and go beyond it. Luxemburg and Trotsky revived this idea in the 1905-1917 period to analyze the Russian Revolution and its potential, against all the received, linear-evolutionary ideas of the Second International. But, if our discussion in Section III and subsequently is correct, even they remained within the framework of the Second and Third International "suppression" (unconsciousneas would be a better word) of Marx's views on the Russian commune. Similarly, in Spain, the steady ascendancy of the statist (Social Democratic and then Communist) political parties of the working class, at the expense of the anarchists -- an ascendancy which the total incoherence of the anarchists themselves only abetted -- involved a similar loss of connection with that tradition. But the Spanish case was rather more local, insofar as it was the "Russian model", and not the "Spanish model", that was generalized to the world for two generations as "socialism".
Spain today is, like every other advanced capitalist country, locked into a new international division of labor which, more than monetary crises, the problem of the dollar, OPEC or Third World indebtedness seems to be the intractable basis of the world economic crisis. That crisis cannot be overcome until international investment, wages and prices are readjusted to take account of a vastly more developed and far-flung international economy than the current international institutions were designed to manage, and particularly where the gap between wage levels of OECD and Third World workers are concerned, that problem seems insuperable, under capitalism, within an open world market, and hardly to be remedied by a retreat, on the part of the CECD countries individually or collectively, into protectionist autarchy. Once again, the structural ramifications, in terms of a theory of the economic crisis, of this problem cannot be dealt with here. This is only a backdrop for a conclusion that situates the 1980's social and economic situation in Spain, and in the other countries then under the sway of the "Euro-socialist Renaissance" in the proper world context, and show the highly circumscribed options they faced.
If the preceding analysis is correct, however, the striking gap between the depths of the crisis and the paralysis of the official international left in confronting it, heralded as the "crisis of Marxism", is only the crisis of the last -- "Russian" -- manifold of the socialist movement, which gave both Social Democracy and Communism their stamp for subsequent decades. The triple dissolution of the Western European CPs, of the Soviet model of economic development, and of its mercantilist emulators in the Third World -- the Nkrumahs, Sukarnos, Nehrus and Nassers -- in a general revulsion against state bureaucracy is the historical context which today makes it possible to see the anti-statist pole of the early labor movement in a new way, and first of all in countries like Spain or Russia, where actual 20th century revolutions occurred. It is also the same context that makes it possible for us to "read" Marx, or the lesser known and unknown parts of Marx's work, where he dealt precisely with these problems as they could be studied a 125 years ago. Finally, in a broader framework, this crisis of statism makes possible a broader revaluation of the role of Spain in early capitalist history, as part of a general recovery of the repressed Renaissance traditions upon which it was built.
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