A practical proposal for implementing anarchosyndicalism in Spain in 1936.
After the Revolution: Economic Reconstruction in Spain - Diego Abad de Santillán
D.A. de Santillan was a leading figure amongst the anarchist revolutionaries during the Spanish Revolution 1936-1939.This traveler, journalist, editor and economist, who suffered imprisonment for fighting the old regime, was asked by the CNT at the height of Spain's revolutionary fervor to help outline and flesh out the new world being built.
This popular economic manifesto outlines a practical programme for an anarcho-syndicalist society, tailored to the needs of the Spanish people in 1936-1937. The economic analysis is interspersed and enriched by his philosophical reflections upon the nature and place of anarchism in the modern world. For anyone interested in anarchism during the Spanish Civil War and the historical development of anarcho-syndicalist theory, Santillan's book is a lucid and extremely important historical/philosophical document.
Part 1: A General Survey
The Essential Factors of Production
THE principle of all economy consists in obtaining the relative maximum result from the least relative effort.
This economic law should be sufficient in itself to combat and reject the present order of capitalism because, quite contrary to obtaining the maximum result from a minimum effort, the waste is enormous, the utilisation of natural resources and technical facilities and science is negligible. We do not live as we could live -- as we should live!
What are the factors of production?
First: Nature, which furnishes man with raw material and certain natural forces.
Second: Human Labor, manual and intellectual, which elaborates and utilises the raw material.
Third: the Machinery which multiplies the power and the intensity of human labour. (Some economists call this Capital.)
Capitalism does not avail itself even of the possible resources of the first factor (Nature), as is manifest in the great extensions of uncultivated land, idle water power and unutilized raw material. As far as human labour is concerned, intellectual or manual, it is unnecessary to demonstrate that not even 50% of its capacity is utilised by the existing economic regime. There are in the world today tens of millions of workers without jobs. Professional men and scientists are vegetating and wandering about in the midst of privation, without means of realising their studies and their experiments. Only a very minor number of professional men and scientists succeed in selling their services to the potentates of the capitalist regime.
It is also quite evident that the third factor, machinery, is working very much below its capacity. There have been prodigious inventions even greater ones will appear -- but they are employed hardly more than a few hours a day or several days during the week. It has been calculated that industry in the U.S.A. working full force would be able to supply the industrial products required by the whole world. The capitalist economists, the men of State, the conferences of experts all the forces of social and political conservatism have been trying to find a way out of this without success. On the contrary, the situation has become more and more aggravated.
The only thing that can be prophesied without fear of error, is that the industrial paralysation will be still greater in the years to come and the situation of the workers from year to year will become more and more intolerable. For this reason the capitalistic system is no longer workable since it is no longer capable of extracting the maximum yield out of the three factors of production. If for purely economic reasons there is no defence of the present order, what possible justification can be made for it on the basis of human and social principles?
The capitalist enterprise, for example, in the field of agriculture, involves the following factors:
1: Rent of the land.
2: Interest on the capital.
5: Government defence of private property.
There is a tax on the loaf of bread which you purchase, part of which the proprietor of the land takes, with another part corresponding to the interest on the capital invested, another part with the wages of the workers, and still another with a profit for the owner and finally, with that of government defence of private property and the rest of the political machinery involved in preserving so-called public order.
We have seen above that only three factors of production are necessary -- land, human labour, and machinery. A socialised economy has consideration for, only these three factors and under a socialised economy,; the same loaf of bread will be taxed only for the part representing the human labour necessary to produce it and the part corresponding to the use of mechanical devices. The rent of the proprietor, the interest of capital, the profit of the owner and the government defence all disappear.
It may be said that money, the great deity of present economy, is a productive factor. No one can prove that profit, as such, is a necessary force of production. No one would say that wheat would not grow in fields well cultivated without land titles and police. Imagine what a new economy would be like, in which all the parasitic factors interposed by the regime of private property were suppressed, in which the producers themselves would be entitled to the benefits (plus those categories of consumers which have a natural right to existence, that is, the child, the aged and the sick).
J. Stuart Mills has written: "I do not consider just a state of society in which there exists a class which does not work, in which exist human beings who, without having acquired any right to leisure by previous work, are excused from taking part in the labour encumbent on the human species." Stuart Mill is right. We believe that such a society has no right to existence and we desire its total transformation. We want a socialised economy in which the land, the factories, the homes, the means of transport cease to be the monopoly of private ownership and become the collective property of the entire community.
This change of regime requires an entirely distinct structure of economic life. Today the direction of industry is in the hands of private enterprise, namely, the capitalists. Technically, they are inferior to the engineers and the workers. The entrepreneurs are in turn dominated by the large financial institutions, and in the last analysis, the bankers are the ones who directly control the economic life of our day. And the bankers are interested exclusively in the quotations on the stock exchange.
The new socialised economy will be in the hands of the workers and the technicians, and will have no other motive, no other finality, than the satisfaction of the needs of the people. The consumer will not simply signify a market, he will not be created to purchase the products but the products will be elaborated to satisfy his wants.
The pecuniary evaluation of things will be removed and with it, the monstrous absorbing and entirely parasitic power of finance, public debts, and other unproductive charges of money. With it will disappear the slavery of wages, interest, rent and profit. We will return at last to an economy of common sense, by which all the wealth will be produced through the medium of the coordination of the three essential factors of economy -- land and its natural forces, human labour, and the machine.
On the maximum consolidation of these factors will depend the standard of life in the future, which means that it will be in our hands and in our will to realise the welfare and the happiness of this world.
Work and Bread for Everybody
DURING many centuries of exploitation of man by man, the producer of all wealth has consumed barely the minimum indispensable for existence. With the development of education and popular culture, the slogan, "He who would eat, must work" has emerged as the expression of justice and freedom. All economic and social development which does not take this maxim as a basis and ideal, is only a new deception, a new sabotage of revolutionary action. For us, the realisation of this formula is primordial. All men who believe that man should live by work, really form one party and should present a single front of action.
We will explain our concept of work. Adam Smith considered only so-called manual labour as productive. But the process of labour is the combination of intellectual and physical forces which, in the artisan, may be expressed in a single individual; but in modern economy is manifest as a coordination of highly specialised functions. "There is no reason for maintaining that productive work has not been performed by the engineer, the office worker, the shop foreman; but that only the manual workers have made the product and consequently are alone to be considered." 1
The work of modern society is the conjunction of technical and manual forces, all the more, when the technician can simplify physical forces and transfer to the machine strenuous human labour.
The scientist in his laboratory or in the lecture room, the technician and the worker are all forces of labour, socially useful and necessary. But will someone tell us what is produced by capitalists, private owners, shareholders and intermediaries of the present system? The work of these elements is, in the words of Proudhon, "A fiction of ancient feudal rights which has passed over to modern political economy and constitutes an almost free gift of the worker to the speculative capitalist -- the last vestige of exploitation of man by man...In reality only physical and intellectual labor is productive."
Not as a Proudhonian socialist but simply as a sincere devotee of the truth, German Bernacer, a Spanish author, in his book, "Interest of Capital," maintains that the only origin of income should be productive labor. The interest of capital can be eliminated even in a regime of individual production. This idea compares with the modern conception of the American technocrats.
We want something similar: the suppression of illegitimate incomes which are those not produced by physical or intellectual labor, not socially useful. This means a deep economic transformation. The placing in the centre of all economy, not speculation and profit, but work and goods for the welfare of all.
Nature imposes work on man for his existence. We must produce grain, cultivate plants for textile fibres, extract fuel and metal from the bowels of the earth, manufacture tools, apparatus, for the ever growing needs of an ever increasing population.
Only a few years ago an automobile was a rarity which provoked the astonishment and the envy of the people. Today it is almost a proletarian vehicle, indispensable as a daily necessity and, as such, should be within the reach of all the inhabitants of a country. We do not want to deprive ourselves of any of the conveniences that modern technique has made available. On the contrary, if possible, we want to increase or multiply these conveniences, and we do not doubt this possibility. If under capitalism so many wonders have been achieved, the more reason why they should be realised in a regime of socialization and freedom. "Only in the pure air of liberty can the gigantic flight of technical progress advance." (H. Deitzel.)
To conserve and increase the benefits of civilisation, multiply the productivity of the soil, and reduce the brutality of physical labor, we must work. But no one has said that only a single category should constitute the workers, -- those traditionally enslaved, the proletariat. No educator still maintains the old principles of class or caste. In other times, laws had to be decreed to declare the trade of the tailor or the shoemaker as not degrading. Today, we aim at decrees to make idleness and parasitism degrading.
Today, half of the people of Spain dress raggedly and depend for food on a piece of black bread; for half of Spain, fruit, in this land of fruit, is a luxury; half of the inhabitants of cities live in slums, and on the land, in caves and hovels. But this is a commonplace and so well known that one is led to believe in divine origin and to say with Mohammedan fatalism, "There have always been poor and rich, and this condition will always have to prevail."
Under capitalism there is nothing unusual in this state of affairs because capital is incapable of utilising all the resources of nature, science and human labor. Half of Spain is dressed in rags and textile workers cannot find anyone to employ their skill and competence, while factories close and machinery rusts.
In a socialised economy, this spectacle would be impossible because production would not follow the needs of a market, independent of the real needs of the people, but would be in line with these needs; and so long as a single Spaniard did not have sufficient clothing, there would be no reason to close a single textile factory, or to make idle a single worker.
The same can be said of any other industry. The building trades do not work within 40% of their capacity. Unemployment is slowly delivering a large number of these workers to tuberculosis; while half of the Spanish population live in conditions often inferior to animals.
But capitalism is not capable of remedying these deficiencies. Capitalists are only interested in utilising an infinitesimal part of the social resources of human labor, of technical inventions, of scientific discovery, of natural forces, because capitalism is interested exclusively in profit. It does not respond to the real demands of our standard of culture, and consequently is an obstacle to progress and even to the very maintenance of life.
In order to obtain the maximum of welfare of which our society is capable, it would be necessary only to suppress parasitism, to organise life in such a way that he who does not work finds no means of living by other people's toil. Naturally, children, the aged and the sick are not considered parasites. The children will be productive when they grow up. The aged have already made their contribution to social wealth and the sick are only temporarily unproductive.
Under a social economy, counting only the forces of labor of mature age, the quantity of human effort would at least be doubled. It is easy to get an idea of what this extra capacity would mean in the lessening of work as well as in the increase of wealth. Besides, a socialised economy is a regime of liberation for technicians and scientists, a free access to work in every branch. From the moral point of view, socialization, by imposing the principle of "He who would eat must work," would give an impulse of unlimited development in the life of the people; because labor and genius would not be shut out by artificial barriers and would finally be able to convert into fact the old dream of an earthly paradise.
We are guided by the vision of a society of free producers and distributors in which no power exists to remove from them the possession of the productive apparatus. In the Russian example, the State has taken away from workers' associations and peasants the free decision over everything relating to the instruments of labor, production and distribution. The producers there have changed their masters. They do not even own the means of production nor the goods they produce, and the wage earner, who is subjected to as many inequalities or more than in the capitalistic society, is living under an economic order of dependency, servitude and slavery.
One might object, from a social point of view, that in the economic organization proposed by us, the consumers, as such, play a small part, if any, inasmuch as they are not assigned any distinct organization. Undoubtedly, man is not only a producer but also a consumer, a social being who, outside of the factory or shop, possesses cultural affinities, social aspirations, political and religious motives. These currents of opinion must create their own organs of expression and social influence through the press, by assembly, and other methods to which free initiative can have full recourse and possibility of realisation. This is an aspect into which we are not entering just now -- nor shall we dwell on the defence of the Revolution. Concretely, we wish to outline the general trend of the economic mechanism already latent in the actual syndicates, and in the popular, almost instinctive tendencies.
The soviets were a fact before becoming a theory, and as a first step in the Revolution we are concerned with the taking possession of the whole economic structure and its direct administration by the producers themselves, in order to assure the satisfaction of the fundamental necessities of the people.
The rest can be left for later spontaneous solution, being matters more of individual sentiment which common interests and political necessities will determine.
- 1Kleinwaechter: Political Economy, Pages 100-101.
The Population of Spain and its Distribution
It is important to know the population of Spain, because the problems of reconstruction depend essentially on the number of inhabitants. The Spanish population can be calculated as twenty-four million inhabitants. In 1930 the birth rate was calculated as 28.8 per thousand, the death rate 17.8, the annual increase of the Spanish population, therefore, being 0.61% in the period 1800 to 1810, 0.52%o from 1870 to 1910, and 0.65% from 1910 to 1930.
The natural resources of the land are limited. If anything, there is a great need for their development, which cannot come, as in the past, by the conquest of new territories but by intensifying the cultivation of the old territory. Also industry and science must supply that which natural resources do not furnish.
The index of the development of the country is not measured by its agricultural population but by its industrial population. In fertile countries easy to cultivate, such as Canada, a tenth of the total population would be sufficient to supply their necessities. In Spain a minimum of 20% of the total population would be necessary.
With this number, work in the fields, which is today a curse through ignorance, taxes, and property rights, would be converted to one of the most healthy and productive occupations.
Spain is relatively backward in agricultural industry and transportation. The Revolution must accomplish in a few years a prodigious advance. It must construct all the technical devices which it lacks, modernise the methods of cultivation, build roads, replant the forests and utilise every available drop of water from the rivers, to transform the arid wastes of steppes into productive soil.
The population is sufficiently numerous to achieve these aims in a few years. If all the armed forces and government employees alone were set to work on reforestation, construction of canals and waterworks, the present arid territories of Spain would become a potent source of agricultural wealth. This could be done by the three hundred and fifty thousand men employed merely to defend the wealth of the privileged classes.
But the parasitism in Spain is infinitely greater. A tendency to live without working, very human in a way, is noticeable throughout the history of Spain; a tendency which has been put in relief excessively by superficial observers and, as a result, has created a special fame for laziness to attach to the Spaniard. But this tendency is characteristic of the privileged classes only.
The workers and peasants are excessively laborious and in comparison with other countries, they are in no way inferior in skill, resistance and constancy on their jobs. Spanish workers are to be found in the most modern factories of the United States, in the Argentine pampas and in all places of the world. If they distinguish themselves at all it is perhaps in their stronger sense of independence and in their greater propensity for rebellion. That is why in some places the door has been shut for them, but never for any inferiority in their working capacity.
In the census taken by Campemanes in 1787 only a fifth of the population was employed in useful economic functions. On the other hand, there were 481,000 noblemen, 189,000 churchmen, and 280,000 servants. Subsequent reports may have modified the nomenclature, but we will always find a part of the population avoiding all obligation to earn their daily bread with the sweat of their own brows and so long as the social and economic system does not undergo a radical change, there is no use of dreaming that this parasitism will disappear.
In 1915, in the 49 capitals of the provinces of Spain and in 40 cities of more than 30,000 inhabitants there was a total of 4,645,633 people, that is 23% of the population. This percentage has undoubtedly increased but the agricultural population is still superior to that in the cities.
To illustrate the significance of the distribution of inhabitants, let us take the figures in France. In 1789 its rural population was 26,363,000; and urban 5,709,270. For every five inhabitants in the country there was only one in the city. In 1921 the rural and urban populations were equal. In 1926 the agricultural population represented only 31% of the total. From 1921 to 1926 the French agricultural regions lost almost a million peasants who migrated to city industries.
The lack of equilibrium between the growth of large cities and their corresponding regions, is most pronounced in Catalonia. In 1920 the total population of Catalonia was 2,244,719, and Barcelona alone had 721,869. In 1930 the figures were 2,791,292 and 1,005,565 respectively. In 1934, according to best available data, the population of the region was 2,969,921 and of Barcelona 1,148,129.
In 1919 406,000 Spaniards were dedicated to commerce and trade. In 1920 this figure reached 644,000. In this same year, the percentage allotted to industry and mines was 31%, very much below that of practically all European countries.
The population in Spain is divided in 46,082 units, from cities of a million inhabitants to communities of a dozen or two people. There are 284 cities, 4,669 municipalities, 16,300 towns, 13,211 villages, and 11,618 hamlets.
Another distribution worthy of consideration is as follows: Spain is divided in 527 judicial sectors, in 12,340 city districts and 9,260 municipalities. Even though the future structure will have a more economic basis than a political geographic one, the present situation should be known.
Comparing the census of 1910 with the present one we calculate 10,000,000 people of working age, 18 to 50. Of this figure there are not actually 5,000,000 employed in socially useful work in the fields and industries, including those now unemployed and the families of the peasants.
According to the census of 1920, the 9,260 municipalities referred to above had the following population:
25 municipalities - up to 100 inhabitants;
1325 " " between 100 and 300;
1079 " " 300 and 500;
2243 " " 500 and 1,000;
1697 " " 1,000 and 2,000;
749 " " 2,000 and 3,000;
700 " " 3,000 and 5,000;
523 " " 5,000 and 10,000;
284 " " over 10,000, of which only nine contain over 100,000.
The average of 43 inhabitants per square kilometre is too high for an agricultural country and too low for an industrial one.
In resume, the Spanish population under capitalism is excessive. The alleviation afforded by the valve of emigration cannot be depended upon in the future; consequently, the population will increase in spite of the ravages of penury and tuberculosis. Under the present regime there are only the perspectives of increasing privations, further oppression and slavery for the workers.
In a socialised economy there will be no unproductive individuals; everyone will have a job which can be chosen within ample limits. The four or five million men who today break their backs for a crust of bread and maintain in ease and comfort the functionaries of state, the lords of industry and the idle rich, will automatically see their number doubled and by this fact alone relief, will make itself felt immediately. If all eat, it is only just that all work. Besides, this relief will be increased from year to year by public works of irrigation, communication and transportation, by the increase of mineral production and general intensification of industry. With the present methods of production and the present state of economy in Spain, the food capacity, according to Fisher, would suffice for 27,000,000 people. But this limit could be extended considerably by the transformations which the Revolution would bring.
A Society of Producers and Consumers
THE idea of the suppression of economic and political parasitism is or should be sufficiently ripe in the minds of the people, for its immediate realisation. Those who work cannot be very happy to see the best part of their production deviated, and if it were not for the armed forces of the State, surely the slogan of justice, "he who does not work should not eat," would be instantly realised. But the workers of the factories and the land still live subjected to a regime of oppression and servitude. The only difference is that modern wage-earners in the so-called democracies have the freedom to choose their masters, a very relative freedom to say the least.
Out of ten million persons able to work in Spain, only 4 1/2 to 5 million are actually employed in productive labor. The Revolution would suppress this parasitism and by this fact alone, its mission would be justified. With the disappearance of parasitism would be eliminated abundance alongside of privation, ostentation of great luxury alongside of penury. If there were not enough of any particular product to satisfy the needs of all, it would be rationed so that no one remained without his share, on the basis of equitable distribution. Clothing, housing and education would be attended to in the general interest. For the first time in the history of the world there would be no brains or muscles on forced strike.
We do not believe that there would be any real resistance to work, even on the part of the class known as the idle rich. There would be the natural initial difficulties in the adequate proportioning of a large population in respective trades and industries. The chief difficulty, however, would be in the eventuality of an international blockade.
Spain lacks cotton and without this raw material about 200,000 workers would be left jobless. Without petroleum transportation would be seriously affected. Even paper is lacking and the deficiency of same would result in the unemployment of thousands of printers, journalists and writers. The Revolution must therefore concern itself, right from the beginning, in assuring supplies of cotton; it must solve the problem of a synthetic petroleum by the distillation of mineral coals. There are no insuperable technical difficulties which science could not conquer and if the Revolution would not bring society to lower standards, but on the contrary, elevate the general well-being, it must produce sufficient commodities to take care of the general requirements. Of course, these problems would be less urgent if the world blockade would not take place and Spain could obtain petroleum from Russia and cotton from America in exchange for copper and iron ore.
Of the large amount of ore extracted in the mines only a very small part is refined. The greatest part is exported and returns to Spain in the form of machinery, instruments, etc. The Revolution should make of the metallurgical industries a reality and increase the foundries, plants, and substitute motor traction for horsepower. It should electrify railroads and factories, utilise natural resources of water power for irrigation and electricity, replant the forests and prepare new territory for agriculture. In a word, the Revolution should realise in a few years what capitalism is already impotent to create: a Spain capable of feeding, clothing and housing a population which will not take long in arriving at the figure of 30,000,000 inhabitants.1
We don't need a postulate of God to build up our society of workers. Nor do we need the hypothesis of a State. We don't wish everyone to dance to the same step; we even admit the possibility of different organisms, some more and some less revolutionary, some more and some less friendly to the new situation. The important thing is, that all Spaniards have a minimum of necessities which must be satisfied and to which we must contribute through the process of production. The same as we work today and consider our comrades more as good-working companions regardless of their political ideas; so tomorrow we will rub elbows with people who will not think as we do and who may be even hostile to our ideology. These we must conquer by the example of our labor and by the efficacy of our plans. There are different workers' organizations in Spain; all should contribute to the economic reconstruction and to all should be given a place. The Revolution does not reject any contribution in this respect.
Afterwards, outside of the equitable distribution of production -- the work of all and for all each one can adopt the form of social life most pleasing to him. Nor will we deny the right of religious faith to those who wish to practice same. We would not deny the expression of other social concepts; nor their defense and practice; always with the condition that these are not aggressive and respect the same right for us. Otherwise there would be hostility and civil war.
We can even foresee that the friends of the Russian system might institute their own experiments and the political socialists could have their parliament and continue making speeches. We will not be the least affected and will be content with the prevention of any manifest aggression of one faction against another and maintain the productive and distributive apparatus in the hands of the producers and distributors themselves.
In other words, we wish absolute liberty in the political order of things; coordination of all the forces in the economic order. What objection can there be to a society organised in this way? We believe that such a Revolution would harm no one and benefit all. What does it matter if a lot of people who are enjoying too many privileges have to forego them and learn a little of what it means to earn their crust of bread? For them, the change will be a moral and physical benefit. But the middle class and the proletariat have nothing to lose and a whole world to gain in fraternal productive cooperation, thanks to which everyone will be able to obtain a secure standard of living. There will be no worries for tomorrow and no more of the continual tragedies of unemployment of people who yesterday had relative comfort and today are plunged in utter misery. All this will disappear because work will be available for all without any other aim than the satisfaction of social necessities.
Timid people suppose that the Revolution is inspired by vengeance. This is an error. On the contrary it is to be feared that a triumphant Revolution might sin by excessive generosity. The Spanish workers are not revengeful. Quite the contrary, on the day they take possession of the social wealth, they will have forgotten their long Calvary.
We need not have any illusions about the men and women who are not used to work. It will be necessary to adapt their parasitic generation to the less important tasks. But on the other hand a number of small industrialists and even capitalists who began on the same level with workers will have a valuable and sure place as technicians and experts in their respective branches of industry. They will not be the masters, but they will be indispensable members of the new social structure and they will be able to develop much more freely and much more completely all their initiative of enterprise and plans for general improvements.
We could go through all the categories of society and demonstrate that no one should have any fear of the inevitable social change. There will be no royal gentries, there will be no people bursting with excessive wealth, sick with the gout and boredom through vicious living. There are less than a 100,000 homes in Spain which would feel their situation lowered by the revolutionary process. We refer to the 100,000 persons whose wealth is secure from all risk of depletion. On the other hand for the 23 or 24 million other Spaniards the Revolution will be liberating and will bring an incomparably higher standard of living than they have known under capitalism.
- 1Lucas MaDada has said "The Spanish workers in relation to workers of the rest of Europe of the same social condition are poorest dressed, fed and housed."
Social and Economic Iniquity
WHAT do we observe in the structure of society under the direction of capitalism? A formidable apparatus developed to a degree of undreamed of possibilities by technique and science, unable to function due to the inherent contradiction in a system of speculation, whose productive power depends on markets rather than consumption.
Every labourer in the U.S.A. has at his disposal 3,000 slaves of energy in the form of 300 mechanical horsepower. Could a magnate of Greek, Roman or Egyptian times have dreamed of so much power at his disposal? In other countries the technical development is less but, nevertheless, all modern producers can utilise a great amount of mechanical power, which can still be increased enormously.
We ask ourselves, has human welfare benefited by these possibilities? Is there a justification for the way we live as compared with how we might live? The steel production of the United States in 1930 was 509 less than the maximum attained previously. The same occurred in England and Germany, and in France the reduction was 33%. The descent has not been stopped and the world trade shows an equally enormous drop. In some industries as much as 70% and 80%o of the personnel finds itself in unemployment.
Agricultural countries must see their grain rot in the fields or stocked up in warehouses for the lack of buyers; while industrial centres are choked with merchandise which is unsaleable as unemployment steadily increases. In the industrial countries of Europe and America there are over 50,000,000 workers without a job, and no matter what public projects are initiated on ever rising government loans, the situation of these jobless men cannot improve under the present regime.
Our present society which allows for a maximum capacity of production alongside of an equally extraordinary poverty, can have no defenders. There is security only for the few and if we do not find more militants against an organization which degrades and ruins us, the reason is to be found in the lethargy of the masses.
Let us examine the case of Germany. Out of 65 million inhabitants, 32.5% are considered as productive; of this number, 29 million earn less than 200 marks a month. F. Fried, in his book "The End of Capitalism," tells us further "that out of 29 and a half million workers 16 million earn less than 100 marks; 6 million earn between 100 and 125, and 7 and a half million between 125 and 200 marks. This signifies that half of the productive population of Germany do not receive even the minimum salary recognised officially as indispensable. Going on with our figures, we find that three and a half million earn 450 marks a month and 30,000 men between 12 and thirteen thousand marks. Totally, about 100,000 men in Germany are living in complete economic security."
Is there any justification for so many sacrifices of the people to preserve a capitalist regime which liberates only an insignificant number of inhabitants from economic insecurity? Hitlerism, one of the most horrible manifestations of the return to barbarism, has surged to the surface and exists only in defense of these 100,000 privileged rich. What is true for Germany is, on general lines, equally so for any other country.
We will, however, not lose any more time in criticising the capitalist system which has arrived at the point of its own complete breakdown. The moment has come to offer solutions and we offer ours, without party lines, without preconceived notions. Facing objectively the situation, we will try to find the most direct approach towards human salvation, the assurance of the right to life and work.
Property should pass out of private hands to collective ownership. We should not get confused with State ownership, which is nothing more than State capitalism. A communist economy is neither a heresy nor an impossibility. The Catholic Church itself, at a time when it was still influenced by Christian motives, that is, before its submission to the Caesars of Rome, defended communism with ardour and enthusiasm. Its greatest apostles have continued defending communism throughout the centuries.
St. Crisostomo said, "Crime, war and lawsuits originated at the time when the frozen words, 'Thine' and 'Mine' arose. Even though you have inherited your wealth from your father, who in turn inherited it from his grandfathers, no matter how far back you will go through your ancestors, you will trip up infallibly on the criminal, that is, the origin of all property is in robbery."
St. Ambrose sustained that land is the common property of all (like the air) and that private property has its origin in usurpation. We take the following phrase from St. Basilio, "A perfect society is that which excludes all private property. This was the primitive good which was overturned by the sin of our first fathers." St. Ambrose the Great affirmed that land, from which we all are born, belongs to all. Private property is, according to the Fathers of the Church, a sin, and according to St. Jeronimo, a rich man is an iniquity or the heir of an iniquity.
But not only is private property immoral but an insurmountable obstacle in the way of economic readjustment of the world. Around it flourishes the monstrous commercial, bureaucratic political and social parasites. Around it arises unemployment, the slavery of man before man.
Fermin Galan, the hero of Jaca, had for a moment the balance of the history of Spain in his hand. If he had been as good a strategist as a revolutionist, he would have triumphed and have realised his project of a new creation. Inspired by the forces of our organised movement of the workers and by libertarian ideas, the passionately creative spirit of Galan made the mistake of recognising property as a usufruct. He considered the biological and historical instinct of individual egoism too strongly opposed to the suppression of property, and believed that over an initial period, private property, untransferable and unaccumulative, should prevail -- until a better solution be found. He sustained that an equal part of social wealth to all satisfies the social and not the individual instinct, and rejected, in consequence, the two formulas of socialism; "To every one according to his capacity" and "From every one according to his ability and to every one according to his needs." Galan proposes, "To all and to everyone according to his ability and his physical effort."
We cannot ignore the part of truth which is to be found in the position of Galan, and it is very likely that the revolution will have to give in, in part, to individual instinct of peasant ownership. This will involve the coexistence of totally socialised property and private property, in simple usufruct.
On the other hand, we must not forget the precedents of communal property, deeply instituted in Spain, of which Joaquin Costa, in his "Agrarian Collectivism" and Rafael Altamira, in his history of "Communal Property" gives so many examples. The latter, referring to communalising of property, tells us, "Our peninsula abounds in small valleys, mountains, and places where large agricultural developments are impossible; also places where the climatic and geological conditions do not favour either extensive or intensive cultivation." I believe that these localities of communal property bear the aspects of the tradition of communism which frightens no one. They show the need of proceeding in unison towards the new economic and social order, and at the same time, demonstrate practically that this is not a panacea but a reality already established and with a psychological background in a good part of Spain.
Besides, the Spanish peasants live so miserably, even with their property, that nothing would be lost by giving it over to society in exchange for a better exploitation of the land and a more adequate distribution of labor and goods. Out of 13,530 taxpayers in the Province of Avila, 11,452 are subsisting with an income less than 1 peseta per day; 1,758 with an income less than five pesetas per day; and 155 with incomes between five and eight pesetas. These figures hold as an average for the whole country, and it can be said safely that 90% of landowners in Spain earn less than industrial workers without property. Out of a total of 1,026,412 landowners, 847,548 earn less than 1 peseta per day, which gives us "A class of proletarian landowners who differ in no way from peasant proletarians or workers of the land in their absolute dependency on the markets of wages." 1
These peasants, in some parts, might demand the retention of their land ownership in the conditions proposed by Fermin Galan and thus obtain a concession from the liberating revolution, but would not take long in learning their lesson by experience and see their error, and the injustice for themselves by their egoism.
The torment of Tantalus is no phantasy. We have it as a symbol of capitalist society; man is thirsty and cannot drink because the rule of privilege prevents him, he is hungry and must succumb before elevators full of grain and bursting warehouses. Can anyone imagine a greater contradiction than that abundance should be the principal source of misery? Such is the reality of the world. Tantalus is the unprivileged citizen of any modern country.
In the new society if we have raw material, land, tools and brawn in great quantity, or at least in necessary proportion to assure a superior standard of life for all, we must break the artificial barriers which prevent the use of all these resources. Later, if we obtain abundance in some goods, nobody will go without them; if there is scarcity in others at first, an equitable division will be made of what there is, among the population. It is no problem of differential calculus but a simple operation of common sense.
It is not only just, but it is also more practical and beneficial that abundance should signify enjoyment by all and not penury for the great majority. To arrive at this simple result, it is necessary to socialise property, put the land in the hands of those who work it, the machines under the control of the workers, the laboratories under the direction of scientists, etc. Some late prophets of individualist economy, Manchesterian night owls, such as F. S. Nitti, are irritated by the very idea of a communist economy. However, an equilibrium can be found only in a communist form of economy or, at least, with a definite tendency to communism through the means of regulating and coordinating plans of all productive and distributive forces of a country or of a group of countries.
The modern projects of planned economy, whatever they may be, always presuppose improvements on individualist economy. But we would shorten the road if the new planned economy would emanate from the productive masses directly and not from the bureaucracy of a State converted into supreme judge.
We have already had experience of totalitarian communism. We know the structure of communism under the empire of the Incas and of Egyptian communism. In Egypt there existed common forced labor. Revillout, the explorer of Egyptian lore, described conditions there as a species of "State Socialism." It is the kind of Pharaohism which might have come to be Russian communism; but this modality does not correspond to contemporary conscience, regardless of what the diplomacy of state, supposedly proletarian, might do.
The capitalist machine of production has developed so fantastically that not even the capitalists themselves understand it, and those who say they do are impotent to dominate and direct it. That is the origin of all the contradictions and difficulties. The capitalists themselves in their hunger for speculation and profit, have unchained the spirits of rebellion and now do not know how to silence them. They have forgotten the magic word and they themselves have become the playthings of their own creation.
Something similar has occurred with the modern State; it has grown so much, it has become so complicated, and its machinery so strong, that the statesman who in old times was master of things, today is the slave of the machine. That is why we do not want to occupy, in our fighting positions, the places of the present supposed leaders. We could not do more than they, nor differently from them, being perforce docile instruments of the entire mechanism, the persistence of which is incompatible with the right to live.
From our deductions of the study of modern economy, the evolution of feasible developments for all is to be found in the sphere of coordination and unity. Work is an obligation, more or less conscious, something which would be avoided if it were possible. However, if we have to work to live, it is preferable to do so with the least effort possible, not with the greatest effort. The individual like of the producer has less weight in modern economy than of the artisan; we might say that it does not carry any weight, since the producer performs generally a single motion in an endless conglomeration of functions towards a final result. He may not even know what his particular function leads to in the end. This is not good but that is what happens in modern industry.
To revindicate a modality of work which would return us a little to the artisan, would be like preaching in the air and make us appear eccentric. Economic life tends to scientific coordination not only because it is the most economic method of production but because the population has increased out of proportion as against the times of the artisan.
William Morris has executed precious works of ebony, but his system could not supply humanity with the furniture needed and his products would not enter under social necessity. Anyone desiring such work would have to confine it outside of the hours necessary to satisfy the general needs. The interest of the moment would be t o assure all human beings with a minimum for existence indispensable in feeding, clothing, housing, and so forth. Once this minimum is assured, new horizons will open, when other principles less unified will be applied, at least outside of the general economic mechanism. Also after the working hours socially established for every industry there would remain a sufficient margin for individual labor for the gratification and satisfaction of personal likes.
Just as it is impossible to return to transportation by ox carts, so in all things, in all spheres of economy, it is necessary to adopt the most progressive ideas and then adopt all possible innovations towards a greater perfection of production (the greatest utility with the least effort). We say this even though we would prefer personally a little more work at the expense of less production but more in harmony with the multiformity of methods. However, the multiplicity of methods will be reduced daily in the interest of greater results and the least effort. Secondly, because the populations, already so numerous in all countries and their necessities at times superfluous, but nevertheless there, have increased by hundredfold in relation to populations of fifty, one hundred or two hundred years ago. Today, we demand a thousand things which our ancestors centuries ago did not dream of as even possible. We are much more numerous and it is necessary that the production of one man of today be superior 10, 20 and 50 times to that of l the ancient Greek or Roman citizen. For this reason, at least during the first part of the revolution, we see no other way, than the precept of modern economy; unified coordination in everything possible.
- 1S. Madariaga; "Spain," 1930, Page 14.
Part 2: The New Structure
Organisation of Work
PERHAPS, inspired by irony, the parliament of the second Spanish Republic proclaimed in the preamble of the Constitution "The Spanish Republic of Workers." Many have held this an absurdity and added that a more just title would be "Spain, a republic of police, or workers -- in jail." A Republic of Workers is not created in parliament not even by decree of State. It has to be made by the Workers, in their working places and not outside of them.
We will sketch here the economic organism of the Revolution and give the general lines of the new economic structure. We don't pretend to erect new tablets of law but it goes without saying, a Republic of Workers should have as its fundamental basis work, eliminating private owners and middlemen. A Republic of Workers must take possession of all social wealth and undertake all administration by the producers themselves. In the past number of years a good deal of constructive socialist literature has been contributed by the anarchists. More important still has been the popular faith in the possibility of a change in the economic and political conditions in order to assure all human beings a minimum of existence through the work of every individual.
We realise that the road to reconstruction of the world is not free from obstacles, errors and cross-roads. No human being is infallible, much less an institution, no matter how revolutionary or proletarian he may be. What is important as a first step is to create the organism which will have to solve the daily and immediate problems of the Revolution. This organism we believe can be no other than organised labor, without intervention of State and without intermediaries and parasites.
We cannot return to an economic primitivism; we must aspire to a regime of production and distribution by the producers and the consumers themselves, realising the maximum coordination of all the productive factors. Contrary to the essence of capitalistic economy which has been unable to avoid the terrible waste and suicidal localist economy, we would proceed more on a national coordinated scale of maximum and widest possibilities. We agree with Cornelissen that the nucleus of production is each establishment and not the trade.
In a single modern establishment the workers of various trades and crafts can work together and prepare the local, national or international organization of all the establishments in the respective branches of industry.
Naturally it is necessary to preserve the liberty of the individual within the group, that of the group within the syndicate, of the syndicate in the branch council, of the latter in the local council, etc. At the same time, multiple exceptions would have to be allowed for. Consequently there must be created a general inclusive organism of economy which we will try to outline.
It is not our dream of the future which we will try to define, but what is actually feasible with the given human material in the present world conditions. We can go beyond the regime of private capitalism without going over to state capitalism. We will give to those who work, the means of becoming the real owners of production and distribution. If our project does not fulfil the aspiration of the more exigent, and we are among them, it is nevertheless something alive which doesn't shut the door on hope and the possibility of future perfection.
Work will be a right, and at the same time, an obligation.
Economic life cannot be interrupted; on the contrary, the Revolution must stimulate it powerfully and we must know now on what basis to educate ourselves in order to continue producing, distributing and consuming during and after the Revolution not only by the partisans of the Revolution but also by those contrary to it. It is feared that in a free society those indisposed to productive labor will easily elude their obligations. However in a system of organised labor it is very difficult to live on the margin of production. Excesses of coercion and rigour are more to be feared than the loosening of 0 the ties of productive cohesion. That is why we say that the next Revolution in which the anarchists will give all their enthusiasm, all their fighting spirit, all their sacrifice will be a Revolution behind which resistance to force has no place. We foresee a long and fecund libertarian labor after the crushing of capitalism, because centuries of education under privilege and for privilege cannot be wiped out by a single stroke.
In place of the capitalist, private owner and entrepreneur, after the Revolution we will have factory, shop or industrial Councils, constituted of workers, executives, and technicians in representation of the personnel of the enterprise, who will have the right to moderate and revoke their delegates. No one knows better than the workers themselves the capacity of each one in a determined establishment. There, where everybody knows everybody, the practice of democracy is possible. The factory Council in representation of the personnel in the same place of work will coordinate and cohere the work in their establishment and combine same with similar activities of other establishments or productive groups. In the disposition and regulation of their work, no outside factor intervenes. There is complete autonomy without any intent of caprice in production, because the same has to respond to the necessities and possibilities in line with the exact knowledge of the conditions of each establishment and the needs and demands of the population.
The factory Councils will be combined by functional relation and form the syndicates of producers of similar goods, syndicates of trade or of industry These new institutions have no proper authority in the internal structure of local establishments. They will provide for the modernising of implements; attend to the fusion and coordination of factories, suppression of unproductive establishments, etc. The Syndicates are the representative organisms of local production and not only do they care for its preservation, but condition the future; creating schools of apprenticeship, research institutes, and experimental laboratories in accordance with their means and initiative. The Syndicates are co-leagued in accordance with the basic functions of economy, which we divide into eighteen sectors or general branches of activity necessary for the progressive march of a modern society. They are the following:
1. Council of Foodstuffs Branch
2. Council of Construction Industries
3. Council of the Clothing Industries
4. Council of Agriculture
5. Council of Livestock Production
6. Council of Forestry
7. Council of Mining and Fishing Industries
8. Council of Public Utilities Industries
9. Council of Transport Industry
10. Council of Communications
11. Council of Chemical Industries
12. Council of Sanitation
13. Council of Metallurgical Industries
14. Local Council of Economy
15. Regional Councils of Economy
16. Federal Council of Economy
17. Council of Credit and Exchange
18. Council of Publishing and Cultural Activities
Council of Foodstuffs Branch
The foodstuff industries are made up of the Syndicates which produce and distribute comestibles from the factory to the home. Anywhere from ten to thirty thousand workers are engaged in this industry in each of the more important cities.
According to the statistical Year Book for 1930 there were, in 1929, 1,524 canneries, 726 sugar factories, 1,511 chocolate factories, 25,152 flour and rice establishments, 7,487 oil refineries, 7,008 beverage plants and 36 coffee and chicory plants. These official figures for the whole of Spain do not give the complete survey of all the foodstuff industries, but a fair representation on the basis of taxes paid to the government.
Let us take as an example the flour mills. There are some that still function with the old primitive grindstone; the greater number, however, have modern installations of motor power furnished by water, steam, gas, and electrical horsepower. In each of these establishments the workers would appoint an administrative and technical council; these councils would form a syndicate and the syndicates would be coordinated in the council of the foodstuffs branch. In the same way all the establishments would proceed from the simple to the complex, from the factory council to the syndicate; from the syndicate to the branch council; from the branch council to the local federation, and from the latter to the regional, and ultimately to the national council.
The cooks and waiters would form an important part of the foodstuffs branch since there would be great saving of time and energy in the collective kitchens, doing away as much as possible with the home kitchens. Overnight, by reason of a better distribution even without an average increase in production, there would be no one starving and no one suffering from overeating. This would be the first step of the Revolution in the foodstuffs industry.
Until the necessary means of increasing supplies has been developed, the average ration will be the same for all. This would be controlled by an adequate statistical service under the council of credit and exchange. The foodstuffs council would see to it that in every locality each inhabitant gets a fair ration, either in the collective kitchen, which would do away with the drudgery of housework, or in the houses where individuals would still persist in maintaining the family kitchen. As an example, in Barcelona there is a daily consumption of four to five thousand chickens but whereas today, only those who have a good income can eat them, tomorrow, after taking care of the needs of the sick and convalescent, the rest would be distributed in turn, so that at least once a week or once a month every inhabitant would have his or her fowl.
The same thing can be said for all products not plentiful enough to meet the total demand. It is not necessary to go into further details; suffice it to say that the organs of the Revolution can regulate the function of the whole structure of the foodstuffs industry, without in any way depending on middlemen or merchants. All syndicates of producers will have to extend their activities to reach the consumer, in conjunction with other syndicates similar in function. The present class of merchants would be absorbed in the syndical organism along with all other separate functions.
Of course, a great number of combinations is possible. The Council of the fishing industry could control the fisheries alone. But they might extend their activities to cover also the canneries, as well as distribution of their products down to the smallest hamlet. In the solution of these problems, necessity and convenience would have the last word. The essential point is that no function remain outside of the general organism of production, distribution and consumption.
A number of edibles and Spanish beverages have a favourable market in other countries, i.e., wines, olive oil, oranges, tinned goods. Such would be a sure basis of income for commercial exchange of products which we have not got in our own land, such as machinery, chemical products, cotton, and even wheat in sufficient quantity. However, we cannot take the index of export as an index of superabundance. Our supply of oranges, oil, fish and wines would hardly be enough for internal consumption; as at present the average consumption is very low and the Revolution should aim to raise same considerably. We do not wish to export the food of the people, as was done with Russian and Romanian wheat.
The consumption of meat in Spain represents an average of thirty kilos per head; in France sixty-two kilos per head; in England, 72; in Buenos Aires, 101. These figures are sufficient to show that of modern nations, the Spanish population consumes per inhabitant less than any other country in Europe. The Revolution, by better livestock administration and a more equitable distribution, would at least afford a minimum consumption to the worker and do away with the special privilege now exercised by the moneyed class.
Finally, the regional and national federation would coordinate the entire process of the foodstuff industries and create special institutes for ever more perfect means of production and distribution throughout the country.
Council of Construction Industries
In foreign literature on Spain, abound descriptions of the tragedy of the Spanish home. A great number of the population still live like troglodytes or in places not fit to be mentioned as homes. 1 If raw material were lacking this situation might be in a way explained. But there is no scarcity of building material nor of architects and builders. Relative scarcity of wood is easily made up for to advantage by the modern use of metal; also the supply of stone and bricks is more than abundant. It is, moreover, a striking fact that precisely in the Syndicates of the construction industries, exist the greatest number of unemployed.
In 1910 there was a total of 3,644,483 dwelling houses; other buildings were in the number of 800,179; unoccupied buildings numbered 442,931. Of this total 1,738,557 were mere huts of one-story; 2,355,227 of two-stories and 793,809 of over two-stories. Since 1910 there has been more building but on the other hand a good many houses have been torn down as well as crumbled by time. The result is that a considerable number of inhabitants live in conditions completely deficient in hygiene and exposed to illness through humidity, faulty ventilation and filth.
In the big cities the sight of the so-called populous districts causes horror. The Ghettos of Madrid and the "barrio chino" of Barcelona are outstanding examples. In Madrid, official inspection has listed 28,000 homes as inadequate, of which 10,000 were declared uninhabitable. But the working population day after day must still live in them. This is not all; in December 1933 the total of dwelling places available was 205,835. The census of heads of families reached 215,842.
Not alone are the living conditions bad and scarce but also dear. In Madrid, rents of 50 to 7S pesetas per month number only 60,000. Consequently, the proletarians have to spend an excessive part of their earnings for rent.
In the beginning of 1935 the Cement Manufacturers' Association complained of the low consumption of its products. Up to 100,000 workers of this trade were jobless and the factories, erected for large scale production of a material which is more than abundant, were unable to function profitably.
The capacity production of the cement works is calculated at 2,600,000 tons per year, i.e., 509 more than has been consumed in the last five years. We can see, therefore, that there are enough cement factories capable of satisfying the needs in Spain, to the extent that not a single worker in the building trades should remain without a job. There is plenty of iron, plenty of space in the cities, and adequate technical requirements. Nothing is lacking towards the initiation of a radical transformation of dwelling places in Spain, in accordance with all the needs of hygiene and comfort.
Naturally, the Revolution cannot supply what is not there. In the beginning it would be a great improvement to distribute equitably the houses monopolised by small families in the rich quarters of the cities, among the homeless families of the workers.
But it must not stop there: the Revolution from the very beginning must direct its attention to the construction of modern dwellings in the cities and countries, in sufficient number to house comfortably all the inhabitants. If there is anything to fear in the post-revolutionary period, it is the possible lack of sufficient personnel necessary for the immediate industrial and technical renovation. This, in conspicuous contrast with the present situation where 40 to 60 per cent of the building trades are jobless.
In the organization of the construction industry, the same principle of factory and shop Councils, syndicates and federations, as in the foodstuffs industries, would be instituted. The workers, administrators, and technicians of each shop or factory would be guided and coordinated by the function of the syndicates, in which each establishment would be represented by its elected delegates. Sections of architects, builders, carpenters, electricians, plasterers, etc., could be formed and coordinated under the local federation. 2 Here again, the electricians, for example, might belong to the local Council of the electrical industries. These are questions of convenience and would not create any friction. The same would hold for transportation. All of which goes to show the impossibility of a rigid classification, and the necessity of leaving detailed organization to practical and spontaneous solutions.
The important thing is to maintain the individuality of each worker in the factory, of each factory committee in its syndicate, of each syndicate in the local branch Council. The painters and architects in turn could hold their assemblies and permanent committees as well as establish professional schools. All the activities, however, should be resolved by the productive and distributive organs emanating from the administrative Council of each locality; to be finally connected through the syndicate, branch and local council, to the federal council of economy.
An important function would be rendered by neighbourhood committees, which in representing the residents, would propose improvements, reforms and other necessities. This would give the population in general due expression of their needs and would afford them the opportunity of solving their own problems.
When necessary, the regional councils would create special schools for architects, engineers, technicians and specialised workers. These research centres would constitute in turn their administrative committees with delegations throughout the branch. All the elements contributing to the construction of dwellings would thus be coordinated locally, regionally and nationally, on an equal basis, with equal rights for all and by all.
- 1Tens of thousands of Spaniards live in caves and one whole city, Guadix, consists 60% of caves. In the southeast, Aragon and Castilla and other provinces, our impressions of these horrible human ant-hills are unforgettable. Gonzalo de Reparaz, "Misery and Backwardness of Spain", page 49.
- 2In Sweden, in defence against unemployment and against the possible boycott of reformists, there have been formed construction guilds by the Syndicalists of the S.A.C. These have demonstrated, even within the present system of private property and money value of labor, the vitality of syndicalist action.
Council of the Clothing Industries
In 1922 the official figures for production in Spain were as follows:
Mineral Production .. 1,070,237,191 pesetas
Agricultural Production .. 9,201,300,131 pesetas
Industrial Production .. 6,500,000,000 pesetas
Under industrial production the first place is held by the textile industry, with 2,150,000,000 pesetas. The number of workers employed in this industry totals 300,000. There are 2,300,000 cotton spinners of which 2,000,000 are in Catalonia. The cotton industry employs 170,000 workers and consumes 430,000 bales of cotton. The wool industry has in Catalonia 244,624 spinners and 6,270 weavers, with 30,200 workers whose production annually totals ten million kilos.
There are entire cities in Catalonia devoted to the textile industry, such as Sabadell, which in 1917 counted with 285 wool factories? 292 cotton factories, 11,693 workers, 188,400 spinners, 4,100 mechanical weavers, using in all 16,000 horsepower. There has been much improvement since then but there is still in use machinery built about fifty years ago.
As we have suggested, the textile industry is largely confined to Catalonia where the most important factories of silks, cottons, woollens and felts are developing on an ever increasing scale. For silk there were, in 1920, twenty factories which were supplied by one thousand tons of cocoons. There are thirty schools of sericulture throughout the provinces of the country. The textile industry in Spain can very well supply the total needs of the Spanish population. There is a lack of raw material, principally cotton and wool, but cotton can be raised in the peninsula as well as in Morocco in the necessary proportion to meet the requirements.
The organisation of factory councils, syndicates and branch councils follows the procedure outlined in previous chapters. The capitalists, as such, would be eliminated, and only if they have technical capacities would they be integrated in their respective functions. As there are many small shops in this industry, there would probably be a strong regrouping of shops and factories which could be done quite easily since competition would no longer exist between different establishments.
Apprenticeship schools, research institutions, statistics, and information centres would be important parts of the textile structure. The coordination of industry would correspond to the local, regional and national Council of Economy.
Under the present capitalist system, the textile industry is undergoing an endless crisis. There are increasing numbers of unemployed alongside a rugged population. In the new economy, so long as sufficient raw materials can be obtained, there will be no paralysation of the factories until the internal consumption needs of the people have been thoroughly saturated.
The textile industries will include also the allied industries of the manufacture of felts, hats, shoes, etc. The textile groups proper will encompass the greatest number of workers and because of their importance will be a stronghold of the new social economic structure.
Council of Agriculture
The Revolution is often associated with a sense of catastrophe as a natural result of the fear of the privileged few -- the minority that expropriates the toil of others. But -- serious as the damage of a Civil war would be the harm would never be so great as the misery wrought in a normal, perfectly peaceful yearÑunder capitalism. We have seen how the socialization of the ownership of housing, clothing and foodstuffs would reduce sensibly the happy time of those who live today in overabundance. But we have seen on the other hand how the laborious producers would improve their conditions by a more equitable distribution of goods.
What about the land? The transition from private monopoly to collective ownership or socialization will not in any way affect the land itself. It will still be there -- only that instead of representing continued slavery for the poor peasant, in behalf of the landlords, this same land will be a fountain of wealth for the benefit of all.
The territory of Spain covers 50,521,002 hectares, of which about 20,000,000 hectares are cultivated, 25,000,000 are wild plains and mountains, and 5,000,000 urban centres, roads, rivers and railroads.
The possibility of extending productive areas is still great. Just as in Holland whole regions of ocean lands have been gained, so in Spain, entire provinces of half desert and bare landscape can be made fertile. 1
The following is the approximate distribution of the 20 million cultivated hectares:2
Cereals and Vegetables ...................... 14,800,000 Hectares
Olive Trees ...................... 1,720,000
Industrial Plants...................... 650,000
Roots, Tubercles and Bulbs...................... 480,000
Fruit Trees...................... 450,000
Artificial Plains...................... 465,000
Special Cultivation...................... 7,000
Of the cereals, wheat covers 4,200,000 hectares, oats 1,600,000, rye 740,000, hay 600,000, corn 480,000, and rice 43,000. The wheat area is as follows, on the basis of quintales metricos in 1929:
Old Castillia ..................... 9,383,200
New Castillia .................... 12,663,000
Aragon and Rioja ................ 2,123,000
Andalusia ....................... 8,543,750
Catalonia ........ 1,841,000
Levante ......... 1,542,750
Galicia and Asturias ...... 381,650
Adjacent Isles ...... 886,250
The orange area occupies about 60,000 hectares plus 500,000 trees distributed elsewhere.
We need not go into further details on the Spanish agricultural production. If the Revolution does not succeed at first in raising the agricultural production, it will not diminish it. It will at least assure a real distribution of the products to nourish the millions of workers on the land who have been living more like beasts of burden, ignorant of any human happiness.
There are numerous agricultural schools and model farms throughout the country. There are factories producing agricultural machines and tools. There are not enough of either but they provide a good basis for unlimited development.
With the increase of human needs, all the development of modern technical processes of production must be utilised. At the same time, specialisation will supplant the individual peasant, just as the modern industrial worker has taken the place of the artisan. The modern peasant must produce for society in the same way as does the factory worker. This evolution does not imply necessarily, concentration in agriculture. It may well be realised through specialisation of both the large and small agricultural enterprises.
A general plan is, however, advisable. Councils of agricultural production in each locality would combine s and constitute the agricultural syndicate of the area. The vine growers, olive growers, sugar beet growers, etc., would form their separate syndicates, and, altogether, would constitute the branch council for a given zone.
This branch Council would look after the experimental schools, coordinate the problems of internal nature and the growing needs of industrialisation of agriculture. The branch Councils would unite with similar Councils of other industries, such as transportation, sanitation, motor power, etc. and form economic Councils with the geographic unit taken as a basis. In union then with the regional and federal councils of economy, and in direct line with all the other agricultural councils of the country, the coordination of the factors of production would be assured.
In the process of distribution of agricultural products, the Councils of credit and exchange in their respective localities would maintain complete statistics of production and consumption, as well as of the land, machinery, and labor available. It is through the medium of the council of credit and exchange (which takes the place of the banking system under capitalism) that the products are bartered for machines, tools, clothing, food, etc., in accordance with the requirements and needs of producers and consumers.
- 1Spain has steppes ranging over 75,000 kilometres, 1/7 of its territory, These bare landscapes are mostly arid and would require much transformation to make them fertile. The rivers in Spain carry off enormous quantities of fertile soil and minerals, impoverishing dangerously great tracts of land. There is immediate necessity for the construction of water dams and strategic defences where most needed. (Geofilo -- Problems of Spain -- "Tiempos Nuevos" -- April 1936, Barcelona.)
We need not entertain too many illusions about the soil of Spain. The geologist Lucas Mallada has tabulated its agricultural capacities as follows:
Bare Rocky Land -- 10%
Areas of Small Productivity -- 35%
Areas of Fair Productivity -- 45%
Areas of Exceptional Productivity -- 10%
- 2A hectare contains 100 acres.
Council of Livestock Production
We have referred in a previous chapter to the inadequacy of meat consumption in Spain. In 1921 the record of livestock was as follows:
Horses .............722,183 head
Mules ..............1,294,912 head
Cows ...............3,718,189 head
Sheep ...............20,521,677 head
Goats ..............4,298,059 head
Pigs ...............5,151,988 head
Fowls ............15,102,973 head
In 1933 the figures were approximately the same. The average consumption of close to 30 kilos per head should be at least doubled to reach the average of meat consumed in France. We might include in our record the raising of bees. In 1920 there were 689,210 beehives producing 2,815,363 kilos of honey and 748,086 of wax.
There is much room for the improvement and selection of livestock, in which veterinaries, stockbreeders, and shepherds, through their respective Councils, can all cooperate towards the desirable end of adequate production in this branch.
Council of Forestry
Lumber is not plentiful in Spain. Woods have been: disgracefully thinned without any thought of the future. This has given Spain an almost desolate aspect and has seriously affected the humidity of the soil, fountain of its agricultural wealth. For a considerable period of years reforestation will be an important task for the new economy.
There are 2,380,000 acres of high mountain land, 4,500,000 of slopes and pasture land. Under proper care this total acreage should supply the necessary lumber for building and fuel. The timber is not only to be considered for its industrial utility, but also as a beneficial agent for the land, producing microorganisms to fertilise the soil and form the humus, which in the course of years will reduce the aridity and desolation of the Spanish land.
It can be calculated that the reforestation of the 14 million present desert acres would produce yearly more than twenty million cubic feet of lumber, plus the other direct and indirect benefits of an extensive and profuse area of woods.
In Segovia there are great tracts of plains with their important production of resin and by-products. Extremadura and Andalusia abound in cork trees which have been very important in the maintenance of the cork industry in Spain. As a matter of fact, the production of cork in Spain and Portugal represents 70% of the world output. This industry has now spread to other countries and only through a thorough modernisation of productive technique can the cork industry in Spain gain its past prestige in the World.
St. John's bread grows more in Spain than in any other Mediterranean zone. Eight million trees occupy 192,793 acres; to which must be added further three million trees disseminated through rocky lands and gulleys. The seed of these trees converted into flour makes a nutritious feed for livestock. There is also another by-product, "vaina" which can be used in the production of alcohol. There are besides other medicinal and chemical byproducts of these trees.
Almond trees are also much cultivated in Spain and their product has a big market in the interior as well as abroad.
What is necessary is a corps of technicians, botanists, engineers, and laborers to develop plantations and forest beds. An adequate number of forest guards for the conservation of the woods is also required. The Council of forest production should be constituted in every geographical zone with the object of encouraging the cultivation of trees, planting of forests, the production of fruit trees and the distribution of lumber and fuel for the use of the population. They will also care for textile fibres and other industrial substances extracted from the trees.
All the immediate work would be under the organic supervision of this Council leaving the ulterior processes of industrialisation to other Councils. For example, the forest council would collect the oil from the olive trees but the refining of the oil and bottling of the olives would be administered by the foodstuffs Council. In the same way, the elaboration of resin and the roots from the pines would come under the Council of Chemical Industries.
Council of Mining and Fishing Industries
(Libcom contributor: There are 3 footnotes in this section, that were not available in the source material, nor could be found on the internet at the time.)
Spain is relatively rich in mines, and can produce all the minerals necessary for her economic independence. Mercury, lead, potash and pyrites are more than abundant in the peninsula and can be exported to advantage. The Moroccan zone produces chiefly iron, copper, sulphur and antimony.
Spain is one of the richest countries in iron pyrite -- with a productive capacity of five million tons per year. These pyrites are very important for the production of sulphuric acid, fertilisers, etc. There has been little use of pyrite in Spain; consequently its export would be of considerable value.
In 1920, the total number employed in the mines was 125,000, of whom close to 40,000 were in Asturias. 18,000 were lads between 16 and 18 years, and there were over 2,000 girls and women.
In 1927, the total mineral coal production was 6,690,076 tons
In 1928 the total iron mineral production was 5,571,207
the total copper pyrite production was 3,619,691
the total potash production was 243,233
the total zinc production was 122,141
the total lead production was 177,059
In 1920, the factories of minerals and their by-products numbered 417, employing 31,599 workers (of whom 959 were aged 14 to 16 years, and 2,635 aged 16 to 18 years).
In 1928, there was a total of 5,474 machines in operation with a capacity of 361,084 horsepower.
There is a special school for mining engineers in Madrid and a number of minor schools in the cities of Cartagena, Almaden, Mieres, Linares, Vera, Huelva and Bilbao. There is a specialised laboratory for essays and analysis of minerals in Madrid.
The organization of the branch would follow the general line in the respective mining zones and factories. Under the national Council there would be the mining schools, geological institutes, mineral museums and tool factories.
The products would go to the local and central supply depots from which the industries would be supplied through the medium of the Credit and Exchange Councils.
It is necessary to mention that the mining industries are owned largely by English, French and Belgian companies, which would lead to some inconveniences on account of inevitable international claims. [l]
The first great advantage which the socialization of the mining industry would bring is the reduction of work to four or a maximum of five hours and provision 4 for the highest possible security for the personnel. 
Capitalist owners concerned only in profit would never make these indispensable reformsÑthe international market would not permit it.
Due to its extensive coasts on the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean, Spain is relatively privileged in the abundance of fish.
About 180,000 men and their families are engaged in the fishing industry, producing annually about 400,000 tons of fish. There were in 1920, 29,955 skiffs and rowboats and 1,549 motor trawlers.
In what way will the revolution benefit the fishermen?  First, by improving the boats and second by reducing the hoursÑwhich automatically would provide more employment. The average consumption of 20 kilos per inhabitant could be increased considerably.
Council of Public Utilities Industries
In these times the economic capacity of a country is measured more by the electrical energy it consumes than by the number of its workers and the extent of its territories. According to the statistics of the Federal Power Commission of the United States, the hydroelectrical reserve power of Spain amounts to four million horsepower, of which only a fourth part is exploited. In partial confirmation of this, the statistical year book of Spain for 1930 lists 1,064,272 horsepower consumed. There are big plants, such as Riegos y Fuerzas del Ebro, la Energia electrica de cataluna, la Hidroelectrica espanola, la Union electrica madrilena, la Hidroelectrica iberica, etc., etc., mostly owned by American companies. But there is plenty of room for greater development, as the country's resources of electrical energy are far from being utilised to even an appreciable degree.
The engineer Pereira Carballo, in an article published in 'Revista Electricidad" and reprinted in the "Sol," Madrid, January 7, 1936, considers possible the production of over twelve million horsepower distributed as follows:
Rio Ebro ........................3,150,000
Rio Duero ....................... 2,080,000
Rio Tajo ......................... 1,865,000
Rio Mino ........................ 743,000
Rio Jucar ........................511,000
Rio Segura .......................346,000
Other streams and rivers ............ 990,000
Translating this hydroelectric power or white fuel into black fuel, we would have the equivalent of 75,000,000 tons of coal with enormous saving in the cost of production.
There are a number of projects for electrification, water dams and the utilisation of hydraulic energy for motor power as well as for droughts. There is nothing in the way of the realisation of these plans besides pecuniary obstacles. The engineers capable of executing these developments, the manual labor and material are not lacking. Besides hydroelectrical energy which would be cheapest in Spain, there can be thermoelectrical energy obtained from coal. In this field magnificent innovations have been realised. The first turbine ever mounted in a central station, in 1903, consumed 6.88 lbs. of carbon per kilowatt hour. In 1913, the consumption of carbon per kilowatt hour in the central station of the United States dropped to 2.87 lbs. and in 1929 the average was 1.2. In 1933 less than a pound per kilowatt hour was consumed.
There still remain the fountains of energy which may be drawn from the air, which the Dutch have utilised so well with their windmills and which is now thought of as a possible source of electrical energy.
A large amount of electrical material is now being produced in Spain. Underground cables of 6,000, 11,000, 30,000 and 50,000 voltage are manufactured for the centrals of Madrid, Malaga, Bilbao, Barcelona and Valencia; also telephone cables and wires for the urban and interurban lines, cables for the mines, motors for industry, machinery and electrical apparatus for the Navy and the Army, electric meters, lamps, filaments, etc.
In 1921 there were 118 establishments manufacturing electrical material, 515 producing gas and electricity, and 101 water works, without counting the private enterprises which exist in large numbers in Spain. These latter predominate in almost every field, which creates great complexity for the Spanish capitalists in their efforts to concert their interests and enterprises.
We combine the figures for the production of light, motor power and water works for the cities and irrigation for the fields because all of these function closely together. The organization of the public utilities industries is the same as the others from the bottom up, from the individual establishment to the syndicate, from the syndicate to the branch council, from the branch council to the local council of economy, etc. But, as in transport, the public utilities must be integrated on a national scale. This is indispensable and will afford the greatest possibilities of development. There is even today talk of the electrical unification of the whole European continent so that not a single kilowatt may remain unused or wasted.
This proposed council of the public utilities will play a very important role in cementing the future of the country because all the plans for increasing production, decreasing labor, and furthering culture will be sterile so long as all the forces which the country has to offer are not utilised by the new economic regime.
Council of Transport Industry
The Council of the transport industry will be one of the most important in the new economy. Its coordination must be perfect and we believe will be more easily achieved through the suppression of private enterprise based on conflicting competitive interests.
Spain has 16,000 kilometres of railroad, according to statistics in 1930, and employs 150,000 railway men and employees. The principal lines are the M.Z.A. (Madrid, Zaragoza, Alicante) and the Norte. The national roads constructed cover 52,000 kilometres. There are besides 7,000 kilometres of provincial roads and 10,000 kilometres of local roads. However, almost half of the towns in Spain are still isolated and out of contact with the modern arteries of life.
In 1935 Spain possessed a merchant fleet of 1,265,321 long tons. Of this number, close to 300,000 tons are not in operation, with the result that in Vizcaya alone close to 15,000 seamen are unemployed. Not being an important exporting country, Spain does not find itself with the necessity of competing with the maritime transport of other nations. It possesses a sufficient tonnage to take care of the country's local and foreign trade. There are, however, excellent shipbuilding yards in Spain, capable of producing commercial and war ships, with exclusively national material. In 1921 such construction amounted to 37,023 tons and in 1931 the figure of 48,117 tons was reached.
Commercial aviation is also on the increase. 1920 registered 3,215 hours of flying covering 468,040 kilometres. In 1930 the hours of flying numbered 4,070 and the distance covered 603,035 kilometres, for 31,965 kilos of merchandise and 6,300 passengers. There are schools for military pilots in Madrid, Cartagena and Sevilla. There are also adequate schools for mechanics and technicians, as well as an aerodynamic laboratory in Madrid.
After the Revolution nothing of all this will be suppressed, but a greater benefit for all will be obtained by a better coordination of all available resources. Development would go on towards obtaining greater velocity, comfort, and economy of material and labor, towards the ever increasing perfection of the transport service.
There will be the natural problems of bureaucratic organization and the opposition of small to large scale operation. We believe, however, that the rationalisation of the transport industry with the gradual elimination of small establishments is the more desirable. There is the danger of abuse, waste and neglect of the collective interest; but the large scale method is certainly the more efficient and we are confident that the watchfulness and interest of the workers themselves will safeguard the proper functioning of the organism. Particularly in the automobile industry, certainly a model of the Ford organization in Detroit should be substituted for the small automobile factories in Barcelona.
The national Council of the transport industry in Spain will comprise no less than 400,000 workers, mechanics and technicians, and its task will be highly constructive and beneficial to the entire economic structure.
Council of Communications
The post office and telegraph service in Spain is administered by the State. The telephone service belongs to a private enterprise with foreign capital. There is no doubt that the services performed by technicians and their aids would be much more efficient by the elimination of political and private intervention.
The personnel of the post office totals 31,760. The number of offices in all of Spain totals about 12,000. Complementary to the post office there are about 4,000 telegraph offices, with 20,000 employees. In 1931 there were about 3,000 telephone exchanges and about 250,000 telephones. Totally the number of 100,000 to 150,000 persons are required for the adequate function of the post office, telegraph and telephone services.
Communications in a country are like the nervous system of the living organism -- they must be specially cared for. The revolution must develop this service to the greatest possible perfection, assimilating working elements, oversupplied in other branches. There is an official school of telegraphy for operators, technicians and engineers. There is a national school for personnel of the post office. These schools can be developed to include radio and all other modern developments in means of communication. Eliminating the purely political and bureaucratic directors of the present system, the personnel of the post office, telegraph and telephone services would organize themselves in local, regional and federal councils towards the maximum efficiency and responsibility.
Council of Chemical Industries
Just as the textile industry faces the urgent necessity of adequate supplies of cotton, in order to meet the requirements of the textile factories, so the chemical industry faces the immediate necessity of:
1. Obtaining petroleum and its by-products through the distillation of coal, lignites and bituminous slate by the process of hydrolysis.
In Germany, England, France and other countries there have been experiments in the distillation of coals to produce petroleum. In Germany, the plants already established produce almost a million tons of gasoline which, added to other combustibles, benzol and alcohol, represent more than half the total consumption. If in England and the United States the progress has not been so great, it is because of the hostility and opposition of the oil companies which see in this brand new industry a dangerous competitor.
2. Producing pastes for the manufacture of paper.
There is a possibility as well of producing a national combustible with alcohol as a base. In solving the problem of the supply of paper, which depends very much on reforestation, the council of the publishing industry would have to cooperate with the council of the chemical industries. A coordination of all these forces would be the task of the socialising revolution, which would close down unproductive establishments, combine others, erect new factories and localise the various industries in the regions most suitable to each.
Every chemical factory will name a council or committee which will coordinate and regulate all the activities in the various sections of the establishment. The factory councils will form syndicates according to function, i.e., a syndicate of varnish and paint factories, a syndicate of alcohol factories, etc. These syndicates will unite in turn in a local council of the branch industry.
The branch council will form part of the local council of economy and will associate itself with other branch councils of the region to constitute the national council of the chemical industries. This national organism will direct the chemical schools, laboratories, research institutes, libraries, etc.
Just as in the metallurgical and other basic industries, so in the chemical industry the personnel cannot be unskilled. Therefore, from the very commencement of the factory councils and the branch councils, there must be special preparation for the training of an adequate number of technicians and specialised workers in order to assure maximum efficiency from the start.
Council of Sanitation
Spain is backward not only in industry but also in matters of sanitation. There is an excessive mortality due to ignorance, improper hygiene, inadequate medical aid, and inanition. About 50,000 T.B.'s die annually due to lack of sanatoriums and proper medical care. In all of Spain there are only about 35 sanatoriums and dispensaries for tuberculosis patients.
About 3,000 to 4,000 women die in childbed and about 17,000 babies die at birth. These excessive figures are due to medical and social failings. Medical science has made real progress in Spain and can be considered on the same level with the most advanced countries. It is only, however, in the new economy where its benefits and resources would be available. At present, the vast majority of the Spanish population are too poor to have access to the advances and progress in medicine.
Even leprosy has spread more in our country than we imagine. In 1921 there were 426 lepers in the hospitals and over a number of provinces; 356 small towns were invaded by this horrible disease.
While half of Spain has practically no sanitary service, a great number of doctors are out of work. The Revolution must remedy all this and will not only employ doctors, dentists, nurses, and internes, but will increase and perfect all the medical service required to insure the best possible health of the population. There will be no private doctors, since the entire profession will be at the service of all. They will be incorporated, however, along with dentists, pharmacists, etc., in respective Councils and form similar organisations as in other branches. The Council of Sanitation will create schools and research institutions, and will also take care of the public health in the cities and in the country.
Council of Metallurgical Industries
Spain is not an industrialised country. It is necessary to accelerate industrialization reconciling man with the machine. This has been impossible under capitalism, whereby the machine, capable of producing abundance, actually deprives the greatest number of the bare essentials of life.
A shoemaker in ancient Rome made a pair of shoes in a week; a worker in a modern factory produces 500 pairs in a week. Undoubtedly many went barefoot in the time of Caesar. Is there a real justification for such a condition today?
In Spain in 1860 there were about 150,000 industrial workers, about 26,000 miners, alongside of 600,000 artisans. Today an artisan is nowhere to be found.
Among plants producing machinery are the very important factories of locomotives and railroad material in Barcelona, Bilbao and Zaragoza. There are automobile and motor factories in Barcelona and throughout the provinces; there are numerous plants producing machinery and tools. There is the "Siderurgica del Mediterraneo" in Sagunto, employing 4,000 menone of the most modern and important in Spainwith 200 kilometres of its own railroad, its own port, and Martin Siemens foundries of 80ton and 90-ton capacity, able to produce 900 tons of steel daily.
In 1923 in Barcelona alone, there were 30,000 metal workers. Totally there must be about 120,000 in Spain.
The average production of steel products in Spain is 19 kilos per inhabitant as against 200 in Germany and 150 in Belgium. Resources of iron, estimated at 600 million tons, should enable the development of an important metallurgical industry in Spain.
Local Council of Economy
There are three practicable schools of economy: (a) Private Capitalism, (b) State Capitalism, (c) Socialised Economy or Communism.
We know the conditions and disastrous results of private capitalism, and we have pointed out our objections to State Capitalism as practiced in Russia. Our solution is the Socialised Economy not only because it is more just but because it is the only means of overcoming the monstrous contradiction of competitive production based on profit.
To facilitate exchange of products, there are two means: (1) The monetary system, (2) the social control of consumption in accordance with available stocks. We choose, naturally, the second method by which we would establish the unit of production and the unit of consumption in accordance with the necessities of society.
After organising production and distribution in every branch of work similar to a great cooperative, in which all have the same equal rights and obligations and in which nobody lives by the exploitation of his fellow workers, it is necessary to associate these diverse branches in an organ of coordination to be called the Local Council of Economy.
It will substitute the actual political organisms, such as municipalities, assemblies, etc. In cases of emergency or danger of a counterrevolution, this local Council of Economy will assume the mission of defence and raise voluntary corps for guard duty and if need be, for combat.
The Local Council of Economy will also act as a clearing house for relations with other localities. The necessities of the various guilds and of the consumers will be determined through these Local Councils of Economy, which will increase and reduce and even suppress production in accordance with needs.
In our brief exposition of the organs of the new economy, we have seen that the new mechanism is not one of class and does not admit oppression or exploitation of anyone. There is no distinction between men and women of working age. But work in the new economy must be a social obligation; if it is not fulfilled voluntarily, one is excluded arbitrarily from the benefits of a productive and free community. We cannot say that with the new economy, coercion or authoritarianism will be impossible. The organisms of the new economy can be good or bad. They can be the guarantees of freedom, and they can also be the instruments of force. This is the essential difference from the bourgeois or state apparatus whose institutions are necessarily authoritarian and cannot be anything else. To pretend that the capitalist state is not such and to hope that it will interpret as well the interests of the workers for whose oppression it has been created, is absurd. On the other hand, the new economy, which is not a class economy and fights only against parasitism and special privilege, has no need of coercion, once parasitism and special privilege are abolished.
Regional Councils of Economy
Up till now we have referred to the organization of industry and agriculture in a local sense. We have mentioned however that in modern economy there is no place for localism and emphasised the need for a competent inter-relation of all coordinated factors of production, distribution and consumption.
In Spain there are a number of regions with their own peculiar characteristics of dialect, history and geography. These regions will be the organised economic centres of the future. Local councils of economy in the city; and the municipal councils of districts and country combine to form regional councils of economy, with the same functions on a more extensive scale. Thus you will have the council of the Balearic Islands, the council of Catalonia, the council of the Basque Navarre, the Galician and other regional councils of economy. Every region will have perfect administrative autonomy and thus the statutes of autonomy, asked for in vain of the central capitalist government, will at last be realised. Autonomy however does not mean insolidarity or independence, because all regions in Spain are necessarily inter-dependent.
The advantage of a regional economy resides in the fact that the men of the region know better the problems of their own territory and would consecrate their efforts with greater interest and enthusiasm in their development. Culture would also stand to gain in values and significance. Kropotkin was right in exalting for example the arts in the free cities of the Middle Ages. You must not forget however that the results will be more fecund depending on the temperament, intelligence and regional spirit, not through isolation but through a mature and permanent contact with other regions and the outside world.
The regional council of economy through the medium of its council of credit and exchange will attend to the statistics of production, consumption, labor and raw material available. It will administrate public works on a large scale; it will create, in cooperation with all the federated local councils, research and scientific institutes. It will stimulate production and improve the modern methods of labor, intensify agriculture and redeem large arid areas and rocky land by irrigation, etc.
No other economic or political regime would respect so much the regional life, customs, language and peculiarities, as we propose to do. Under our plan the greatest coordination is based on the perfect autonomy of each federated member, beginning with the individual and going through to the local councils of economy.
The regional councils of economy would call assemblies periodically to elect or reelect their members, and with free initiative and opinion construct the programs to be realised.
The regional councils will constitute by delegations or through assemblies the federal council of economy, the highest organ of economic coordination in the country. The latter would be a permanent national unification and would counteract any possible regional localistic tendency.
Parallel to this structure is the national federation of branch councils whose mission is limited to the due coordination of all the branch industrial and agricultural activities of the country. Whereas the latter is organised on an economic guild basis, the federal council of economy would act as a social counterweight, which, in case of need, would restrict the corporative trade unionism which might manifest itself to excess, and vice versa. A mutual collaboration of information and initiative would be highly fruitful.
Nevertheless in the case of need of evaluating labor, and fixing a medium of exchange, it will be the local, regional and federal councils of economy which will have to resolve the norms to be followed. In this way will be avoided a possible overestimation of either the individual branches or the national federations of same with regard to their own activities.
Exchange of products will also be part of the mission of. the councils of economy and not of the national or local councils of industrial and agricultural branches.
Federal Council of Economy
We began with the primary cell, the worker, the peasant, the miner, the fisherman. We passed on to the first structure of cells united by similar functions in the same working establishment, the factory council, the mine council, the collective farm. We then developed associations of these first working colonies into syndicates and subsequently in branch councils where the productive efforts are concentrated as a complete economic function. We have seen how these branch councils are federated in local councils of economy on one hand, and on the other, are leagued into a national federation of branch councils. Through the medium of the local councils of economy, work attains unity and organization first on a local basis; second, through the regional council of economy, on a regional basis; and finally, through the federal council of economy integrated by delegations from the regional councils, on a national basis.
In all this mechanism of noncapitalist workers' organization no element, as such, of the principle of force is inherent. The structure is adaptable to the modern conception of the world and responds to the intense desire of combining the liberty of the individual with his obligation to work in behalf of the whole of society. Our conception of economy as a unit is inevitable. Whether it is through revolutionary or reactionary resources, the economic structure of the world must develop into a definite unity. Economic individualism and localism are definitely out of perspective in the actual order of things. Economy must be planned in order to avoid individual waste or abuse. The eternal aspiration for individual differentiation will however find expression in a thousand ways and will not be submerged by any levelling process. We do not believe that the contribution of the individual to the social common effort would in any way be levelling. Even outside of standardised methods of economy there will be plenty of opportunity in the worker's hours of leisure to develop individual avocations.
Once for all we must realise that we are not any longer rocking in the cradle of a little utopian world. We must take cognisance of the vast revolution realised in the productive processes. For an economy socialised, directed or planned, no matter what you call it, it is imperative to follow the evolution of the modern economic world.
The federal council of economy made up of all the nuclei of labor from the simple to the complex, from the bottom up, binds the whole economy of the country and is the resultant organism of an infinitely complex system of forces all converging towards the same end: increased production and better distribution.
If socialism and its variations would have conceded from the very beginning the necessity of substituting the outworn political and economic capitalism, by adequate organisms of practical economy, our conditions in the world today would be quite other than they are. In reality the substitution proposed contained the nefast thought of a state apparatus with its attributes of power and command to decree the new tablets of the law.
On the other hand, the revolutionary part in fierce struggle against the common adversary had little time to think of the constructive part of a new society. The whole history of revolutionary tendency has been one of heroism and unlimited sacrifice. Therefore, in facing the problem of social transformation, the Revolution cannot consider the state as a medium, but must depend on the organization of producers.
We have followed this norm and we find no need for the hypothesis of a superior power to organised labor, in order to establish a new order of things. We would thank anyone to point out to us what function, if any, the State can have in an economic organization, where private property has been abolished and in which parasitism and special privilege have no place. The suppression of the State cannot be a languid affair; it must be the task of the Revolution to finish with the State. Either the Revolution gives social wealth to the producers in which case the producers organise themselves for due collective distribution and the State has nothing to do; or the Revolution does not give social wealth to the producers, in which case the Revolution has been a lie and the State would continue.
Our federal council of economy is not a political power but an economic and administrative regulating power. It receives its orientation from below and operates in accordance with the resolutions of the regional and national assemblies. It is a liaison corps and nothing else.
The federal council of economy will have an important part to play in propagandising the new norms, in furthering the interrelations of the regions, in the formenting of a national solidarity. On the basis of the total statistics which it will receive from all sources of economic and social activities, it will know in a given moment the specific economic situation. It will know; where the deficiencies and where the excesses of production are, it will know the requirements of transport and communications, and the needs for new roads, new cultivations, new factories. And where the regions do not have sufficient resources, it will provide national assistance for public works of recognised need.
It will have no need of gendarmerie to enforce its suggestions and proposals. In bourgeois parliaments, laws are decreed which no one but those interested understand, and for their execution, they require a police force. In the federal council of economy, where the supreme authority resides in numbers and statistical data, coercion, besides being impossible in itself, would produce contrary and sterile results.
For the kingdom of parliamentary orators will be substituted statistical facts, which are infinitely more eloquent and in consonance with the living reality.
Council of Credit and Exchange
In the Council of Credit and Exchange are summed up all the cumulative economic functions and interrelations. Under the new economy in which credit will be a social function and not a private speculation or usury, it will have an important mission to fulfil as a vital means towards prosperity and progress. Credit will be based on the economic possibilities of society and not on interests or profit. Its mechanism will consist of exact statistics on production and consumption. The personnel would be selected out of the present banking institutions.
The exchange of products will come under the control of the currency. Based on statistics the Council will regulate the distribution of products, transmit orders and fulfil generally the function of the present commercial establishments. The Council will not have to occupy itself generally with the distribution of products, since the branch councils of industry and agriculture are adequately organised to take care of all operations, from the production of raw material to the delivery of the manufactured product to the consumer. The Council's mission would be to serve as the centre of demand and supply.
Should it be necessary, as it probably will, to create a symbol of exchange in response to the necessities of circulation and exchange of products, the Council will create a unit for this purpose exclusively as a facility and not as a money power.
The Council would be organised on the same basis as the other branches, but will function as a liaison of all the Councils and thus establish a perfect solidarity in the new economy. The local Councils of the economy will be a part of the Council of Credit and Exchange. Together with all other regional councils would be formed the National Council of Credit and Exchange which would regulate the foreign trade and the international financial relations in conjunction with the federal Council of Economy.
For a few years there will not be abundance and consequently, the control of production and distribution would have to be strictly maintained. Individualism as practiced in the capitalist regime would lead to abuse and inequality in consumption, as well as to insecurity in production. That is why the essential condition of the new economy is of a social character, the special function of which is to assure at least a minimum standard of existence to the population. When production is more abundant, when technical progress has made possible the maximum benefit, then above the minimum of existence for all, we will be able to satisfy individual desires.
The Council of Credit and Exchange will be like a thermometer of the products and needs of the country. The producing guilds will know through the Council what goods they must produce and their destination. The bureaus of statistical records, which under the present system perform only a decorative function, would be the central axis of the council of Credit and Exchange and would proportion all the necessary data for the competent administration of the new economy.
Council of Publishing and Cultural Activities
We have already mentioned in a previous chapter the scarcity of raw material for an adequate supply of paper, and have suggested the means of remedying the default through reforestation. In 1928, discounting newspapers and magazines, there were published 2,830 books and 3,578 pamphlets and brochures.
The organization of the paper factories could include the preparation of pastes and pulp. The printers would form a syndicate of graphic arts. In the same way every nucleus of writers, journalists and scientists would form its respective council. Altogether they would constitute the syndicate of writers and journalists.
Together with the council of transportation, communication and credit and exchange, the council of the publishing industries belongs also to the kind of social nervous system which combines the diverse parts of the entire social organism. The mission of journalists and editors in the new economy is of a special significance. Science, literature, art, and the service of rendering information will be available in their purest form to the whole of the community. There will be no bastard interest to exploit publications for private lucre. The light will come to all as freely and purely as the sun, without guise of caste and without the taint of factions.
We are not the first to suppose that the role of public instruction in the capitalist regime fulfils much more the necessity in modern life for workers who can read, write, and add, than the sincere desire for culture and progress for the people themselves. In any event, culture under capitalism attains its end through perversion and falsification in the interest of the dominating class. The public schools, the university, the cinema, the theatre, sports, etc., are all used as means towards providing a legal, moral and material foundation for the privileges of a few and the slavery of the vast majority.
"Capital" says Ferdinand Fried, "places so low an esteem on science that it considers universities only as professional schools for the creation of better forces." 1
The new economy, representing the contribution and effort of all, must develop a true culture without any other end than that of progress and the elevation of man to a higher standard. Culture, properly speaking, might not be included in the economic structure of the new order; but our free society which considers not merely the worker, but man, is not nourished by bread alone but by knowledge.
The organism of culture related closely to all the other organisms of production and distribution is constituted also as an organic entity, from the school with its administrative council made up of teachers, parents and pupils, up to the syndicate of teachers and local council formed by the various syndicates. The universities, however, will have a different structure. For example, the faculty of chemistry would pass over to the council of the chemical industries, and the faculties of engineering would depend on their respective branch council, and so forth.
Theatres operated today exclusively for private profit will in the future be instruments of culture. Cinemas, sports, etc., will all be integrated in the culture council and for the first time fulfil their real purpose. In the same way, art, today a privilege of select and rich minorities, will be available to all and ennoble and beautify the lives of everybody capable of appreciating it. Not only will illiteracy be exiled but every child will be equipped with real adequate knowledge and a technical preparation for industry and agriculture.
The revolution needs capable workers, peasants with initiative, men of solid preparation, which the new school and research faculties will have as its special mission to supply. Spain will then be in a position to fulfil the most romantic hopes of its most exalted patriots.
Capitalism cannot sustain the present apparatus of public education. Its largest budget must be reserved for public order, the army and the navy. The schoolteacher is a poor, forgotten functionary living in misery. The new economy needs thousands of new schools, thousands of new teachers, and hundreds of specialised schools of trades and agriculture.
- 1"The End of Capitalism"; ed. Grassei, Pans, p. 122.
Part 3: The Revolution of Liberty
Economy and Liberty
ANARCHISM, meaning Liberty, is compatible with the most diverse economic conditions, on the premise that these cannot imply, as under capitalist monopoly, the negation of liberty. Anarchism is an attitude of the spirit towards life and in any and all economic situations not monopolistic, man can be master of himself and should exercise the control of his own will) rejecting imposition from without.
The negation of the principle of authority of man over man is not bound up with the realisation of a predetermined economic level. It is opposed to Marxism, which desires to attain a system, as a corollary of capitalist evolution.
To be an anarchist, one has to attain a certain level of culture, consciousness of power and capacity for selfgovernment. Idiots cannot become anarchists; they must be cared for by society, along with the weak and the incapacitated.
We are cognisant of the fact that the grade of economic development and material conditions of life influence powerfully human psychology. Faced with starvation, the individual becomes an egoist; with abundance he may become generous, friendly and socially disposed. All periods of privation and penury produce brutality, moral regression and a fierce struggle of all against all, for daily bread. Consequently, it is plain that economics influences seriously the spiritual life of the individual and his social relations. That is precisely why we are aiming to establish the best possible economic conditions, which will act as a guarantee of equal and solid relationships among men. We will not stop being anarchists, on an empty stomach, but we do not exactly like to have empty stomachs.
We wish an economic regime in which abundance, wellbeing and enjoyment will be available to all. This aspiration does not distinguish us as revolutionaries. The ideal of wellbeing is shared by all social movements. What distinguishes us is our condition as anarchists, which we place even before wellbeing. At least as individuals, we prefer freedom with hunger to satiation alongside of slavery and subjection.
If we are in favour of communism, it is not because this system is identical with anarchism. Communism can be realised in a multiformity of economic arrangements, individual and collective. Proudhon advocated mutualism; Bakunin, collectivism; Kropotkin, communism. Malatesta has conceived the possibility of mixed agreements, especially during the first period. Tarrida del Marmol y Mella advocated pure anarchism without any economic qualifications, which supposes the freedom of experimenting or establishing on trial, that which every period and locality judges most convenient.
What we can say is that we must aim for an economic system of equal rights and justice, in which abundance will be possible. That is, the proper satisfaction of material needs, which alone will create a favourable social disposition and thus constitute a solid guarantee of liberty and solidarity. Man pitted against man is a wolf and he can never become a real brother to man, unless he has material security.
If anarchism for the anarchists can exist with abundance as well as with misery, communism must have as its basis, abundance. In communism there is a certain generosity, and this generosity in a time of want is replaced little by little by egoism, distrust, competition; in a word, the struggle for bread. We repeat, therefore: abundance is indispensable to assure a progressive collective life.
We face, therefore, economic reorganisation of the future, free from any preconceived notions, fixed system or dogma. Communism will be the natural result of abundance, without which it will remain only an ideal. In each locality the degree of communism, collectivism or mutualism will depend on the conditions prevailing. Why dictate rules? We who make freedom our banner, cannot deny it in economy. Therefore there must be free experimentation, free show of initiative and suggestions, as well as the freedom of organization.
To make possible this freedom, we must insist on the prerequisite of abundance which we can attain by the thorough use of industrial technique, modern agriculture and scientific development. But modern industry as well as modern agriculture has its own limits and possesses its own rhythm. The human rhythm does not make its mark on the machine; it is the rhythm of the machine which determines human progress.
With the Revolution, private property is suppressed; but the factory must go on and follow the same methods and development of production. What changes, is the distribution of the product; which, instead of obeying the laws of interest and profit, must satisfy the general needs on an equitable basis. The factory is not an isolated organism, nor can it function independently. It is part of a complicated network, spreading throughout the locality, region and nation, and beyond all frontiers.
The writer knew economic localism in his own native town, a little hidden valley out of all contact with civilisation, only thirty years ago. The wool was spun from sheep, shoes were made from wood, the wheat was cultivated and made into bread; the herbs of the surrounding hills made the import of medicines from the outside unnecessary. We knew that somewhere beyond our valley there was some kind of superior power, which sent out tax collectors and police forces. This little town, thirty or forty years ago, lived autonomously. But today everything is changed, fortunately. The townsfolk wear clothes woven in Barcelona or Lancashire, made from Argentine or Australian wool, or from Indian or American cotton. They have radios manufactured in England or France, they drink coffee from Brazil. Would it be desirable to return to economic localism? No one would consent to it voluntarily; everyone wishes to enjoy all the good that intelligence and labor have produced. It is plain: a thousand ties unite the most insignificant locality with national and world economy.
We are not interested how the workers, employees and technicians of a factory will organise themselves. That is their affair. But what is fundamental is that from the first moment of Revolution there exist a proper cohesion of all the productive and distributive forces. This means that the producers of every locality must come to an understanding with all other localities of the province and country, which must have an international direct entente between the producers of the world. This cohesion is imperious and indispensable for the very function of all the factors of production. The interdependence of the factory and the electrical plant; the foundries in Bilbao and the production of the mines; the railroads, agriculture, building and a thousand and one trades and activities, all make for an inevitable highest maximum coordination of production and distribution.
We believe there is a little confusion in some libertarian circles between social conviviality, group affinities and the economic function. Visions of happy Arcadias or free communes were imagined by the poets: of the past; for the future, conditions appear quite different. In the factory we do not seek the affinity of friendship but the affinity of work. It is not an affinity; of character, except on the basis of professional capacity and quality of work, which is the basis of conviviality in the factory. The "free commune" is the logical product of the concept of group affinity, but there are n o such free communes in economy, because that would presuppose independence, and there are no independent communes.One thing is the free commune from the political or social standpoint and quite another, from an economic point of view. In the latter, our ideal is the federated commune, integrated in the economic total network of the country or countries in revolution.
Economic communism is also a relic of old juristic concepts of communal property and we who advocate the suppression of all private property do not wish that, in the place of the old individual owner, should appear a new proprietor with many heads. Our work on the land and in the factory does not make of us individual or collective proprietors of the land or of the factory; but it makes of us contributors to the general welfare. Everything belongs to everybody and the product of all labor must be distributed as equitably as the human efforts themselves.
We cannot realise our economic revolution in a local sense; for economy on a localist basis, can only cause collective privation and scarcity of goods. Economy is today, a vast organism and all isolation must prove detrimental. Only with the suppression of specialised labor can we imagine the free commune as an economic ideal. This, needless to add, is quite impossible. We must work with a social criterion, considering the interests of the whole country and if possible, of the whole world.
The Libertarian Revolution
WE have said that anarchism is the expression of our will for a free life. We have affirmed that anarchism can exist in penury or in abundance, under one or another form of economy. We will now dwell on another phase of libertarian thought.
Our chief distinction as individuals and as a movement is represented in our position on the principle of authority, in our perennial affirmation of respect for the liberty of all and of each. Apart from the method, we can coincide in economic solutions with other social forces. In the political solution, we substitute for the principle of authority and its maximum incarnation, the State and its oppressive institutions, the free accord of social groups. In this position, we anarchists are more isolated, and even in a victorious revolution we would still be set off by ourselves. We believe that a great number of people are not with us through ignorance; but the majority have been influenced negatively by their systematic education. Besides, they do not understand our aspirations, not having the same sensitiveness, nor a sufficient development of the sense of liberty, in, dependence and justice.
The revolution may awake in many men the forces of liberation, held in lethargy by daily routine and by a hostile environment. But it cannot by art or magic convert the anarchist minority into an absolute social majority. And even if tomorrow we were to become a majority, there would still remain a dissident minority which would suspect and oppose our innovations, fearing our experimental audacity.
However, if today we do not renounce violence in order to fight enslaving forces, in the new economic and social order of things we can follow only the line of persuasion and practical experience. We can oppose with force those who try to subjugate us in behalf of their interests or concepts, but we cannot resort to force against those who do not share our points of view, and who do not desire to live as we attempt to. Here, our respect for liberty must encompass the liberty of our adversaries to live their own life, always on the condition that they are not aggressive and do not deny the freedom of others.
If, in the social revolution, in spite of all the obstacles, we were to become a majority, the practical work of economic reconstruction would be enormously facilitated, because we could immediately count on the good will and support of the great masses. But even so, we would have to respect the experiments of different minorities, and reach an understanding with them in the exchange of products and services. Surely, as an historical minority, we anarchists have the right of revindicating this same liberty of experimentation and to defend it with all our might against any individual party or class which would attempt to crush it. Any totalitarian solution is of fascist tailoring, even though it may be defended in the | name of the proletariat and the revolution. The new mode of life is a social hypothesis, which only practical experience should evaluate.
We are convinced that right and justice are on our side, although at the same time we recognise the rights of other social tendencies, methods and aspirations. We believe that the truth is nearer our concepts but we do not consider ourselves infallible, nor do we deny the sincerity and good faith of other doctrines. Which is to be the method to prove these or other social hypotheses: our own or some other revolutionary program?
In the Middle Ages, one inclined to the judgment of God. Later men would resolve their dispute by a duel. The one who crushed the head of the other would be the victor of justice and truth. Do we wish in our day, in place of the judgment of God, to accept force as the sole means of resolving the truth between different revolutionary tendencies? We reflect back to anarchism in Russia: has its practical extermination by the new dictatorship proved that it had no right to exist? If we condemn this procedure in demonstrating the superiority of a given revolutionary party, we do not do so because it was practiced in Russia, but we would have to condemn it even were it attempted in Spain by ourselves. We want, first of all, to recognise the right of free experimentation for all social tendencies in our revolution; for this reason, it will not be a new tyranny, but the entrance into a reign of freedom and well being, in which all forces can show themselves, all initiative be tried out and all progress be put in practice.
Violence is justified in the destruction of the old world of violence, but it is counterrevolutionary and antisocial when it is employed as a reconstructive method.
In Asturias, during the October revolution, two well-defined tendencies came into relief -- in some localities a socialist republic was proclaimed and in others, libertarian communism. If the revolution had had a different outcome, what would have been the consequence? Unfortunately the respect for free experimentation would have had to depend on the force our tendency had at its disposal, in defence against contrary pretensions of a totalitarian regime. The anarchists would have had no objection to the innovation in Oviedo of the methods of labor and distribution proposed by the Socialists, while in Gijon and La Felguera, libertarian communism was put into practice. Perhaps the Socialist and Communist tendencies not being identical, on the day following the triumph over the bourgeoisie and the State, a Civil War might have broken out, to determine whether the future would be social, democratic, bolshevist or libertarian, a war between brothers, which would have annihilated the spirit and the promises of the revolution.
We do not know if our friends in Asturias would have been able to defend their right of existence against a socialist or communist totalitarianism. Perhaps there, they would have found themselves in minority. But in the rest of Spain, in the event of a revolution, we would have been an indisputable majority, as manifested in Aragon, Rioja and Navarre, in Andalusia, in Catalonia and in Levante. Imagine the disaster and the death of the revolution, were we to affirm the same totalitarian criterion maintained by socialists and bolshevists.
In the political aspect, naturally, we must renounce; the hegemony of a committee, of a party, of a given tendency; that is, we must renounce the State as an institution which demands obedience from all with or without their consent. Without this renunciation of a State dictating the law for all, there can be no true revolution or social wellbeing, because the maintenance of the State is the maintenance of the largest source of exploitation of human labor.
This does not imply that the economic order would exclude solidarity, mutual aid and agreement. On the contrary, where economic localism is impossible, libertarian communist Gijon needs socialist Oviedo. Just as in the question of economic organization, what is most important is reciprocal good will between the parties to a pact. Assuming this good will, agreement must follow, notwithstanding political and social divergences, which might separate the interested parties. In this way, it is possible to organise a magnificent network of relations and exchanges, on an entire national scale, without the precondition of a sole regime regulating life and production on a monopolistic basis.
For over half a century, Marxism has produced division in the ranks of the workers by its dogmatic embrace of the totalitarian state concept. We aim for the unity of the workers; for, without unity, they will continue to serve as cannon fodder, or as beasts of burden, for the benefit of the privileged class in power. But we want this unity to emerge from the common interests of all and to guarantee the freedom of the individual within the collective organism. There is a common basis of accord, and it is the sincere recognition of differences of character, temperament and education, and the solemn promise of mutual understanding, through mutual respect, in our common aspiration: the suppression of capitalism and the totalitarian state, towards the triumph of the Revolution.
Spain and the Revolution
WE are living in a crisis, in a universal decomposition of values, institutions and systems. Unfortunately, the people have not been prepared for so great a demoralisation, either psychologically or materially. That is why, surrounded with misery, they have not been able to throw off the old fetishes. And so, they fall from one idolatry to another, from one serfdom to another; instead of gathering in their forces and gaining confidence in themselves and in their capacity for a better life.
It is deplorable to look at the spectacle of whole nations bending down on their knees in subjection imploring for a chief, a leader, or remaining subordinated to those, who promise to strengthen the chains of slavery. Germany is satisfied with her Fuhrer, Italy has faith in the Duce, Russia confides in Stalin. The opinion of minorities, in opposition, does not count. We believe that it isn't all the result of violence, oppression and savagery; to our mind, this situation is explained by voluntary servitude. The people have no confidence in themselves through no fault of their own but due to the centuries of perverted education. The seeds of mental slavery yield their fruit, and only the anarchists, against all currents, have been able to maintain their incorruptible faith in themselves.
Never in the history of the world has there been a more favourable situation for a change of regime. The old institutions, the old moral, political, social and economic interpretations are in plain disruption. All that is needed is the final impetus, to throw all the decrepitude over the precipice, so that the people may at last assume the responsibility for their own destiny. But the years pass on, the privileged classes grope in the dark for solutions, applying panaceas; and although they go from failure to failure, the game goes on, at the expense of those who labor and suffer. And the most notable thing is, instead of fortifying the revolutionary battlefront, the world panorama offers us a contrary picture: we see the reactionary front fortified towards the restoration of the old powers, intensified.
Insecurity and discontent are general. The bourgeoisie and the magnates of industry, commerce and agriculture are also very unhappy. They vegetate in the high spheres under a continuous strain of shocks. The crash of 1929 in New York threw thousands and thousands from lordly comfort to the depths of despair. It seemed at first a temporary crisis, which needed only some readjustments; but the years passed on and we see that it is not a crisis but a definite bankruptcy of the entire system of capitalism. A new economy is necessary. Everybody agrees to this and still solutions are being sought on the basis of privilege and the exclusion of the productive masses from the direction of their work and destiny.
The totalitarian state appears as a solution. The direction of economy, having failed under private capitalism, will in the future rest upon the power of the state. This is all the intelligence of the bourgeoisie, seconded by the Marxist tendency, has known how to propose. It is said a totalitarian state will eliminate the contradictions of rival capitalist groups, suppress the friction of the struggle of classes and convert the economic apparatus of an entire country into a single power, responding to a single will.
Undoubtedly an economic coordination is necessary, but when attained by the State, the remedy is worse than: the illness, because it is achieved at the cost of exterminating all the values, initiatives, etc., which have no origin in the State.
Moreover, the totalitarian state represents authority raised to the maximum degree. It must fortify its institutions, maintain an army, police force and bureaucracy, which increases enormously the burden of taxation. This sole fact is the best argument to ordain its failure. The modern state is insupportable not only because of its tyranny but because it is excessively expensive and because its essential functions are obstacles to social development. The totalitarian state increases parasitism in great magnitude, as is evidenced in the countries, where it has been put into practice. Under these conditions, the crisis of a system is not remedied. On the contrary, the economic disruption is made worse. The suppression of the cry of pain and protest does not imply the suppression of the pain itself, nor of the right of protest. As a logical complement of the totalitarian state appears the doctrine of nationalism, of racism, of anything which suppresses the personality before a more powerful divinity. And nationalism is war. And war is the cause of new calamities, the harbinger of new degradations of feelings and of human thought.
The modern state, having failed in its liberal dressings and in its democratic aspects, has left only the alternative of a totalitarian state, with omnipotent power in economy, and no restraint or moral scruple of any kind, when defending its existence.
We have to choose once for all. On the one side we have the state, that is, capitalism, which means war, which means unemployment and the crushing of producers by heavy taxation, and the persecution of free thought. On the other side, we have the socialization of economy, the direct understanding between producers, to regulate production and distribution according to necessities, without economic, political or social parasitism. We wish to point out again to those who still have illusions as to a proletarian government, that the capitalism of the state does not suppress capitalism, but conduces to a temporary revival of capitalism; that the government of the proletariat is like any other government, only worse, because it ties the workers spiritually to its institutions, in the hope of impossible solutions.
There is another way, our way, that of socialization and the entente of all the producers as such, and all the consumers, on the basis of their possession of the product of their labor. Religious, political and social ideas need not enter into this accord. What does it matter if people believe in God or the devil, if they are religious or atheists, Catholics or Protestants, conservatives or Socialists? We are interested simply in realising the ideal of all who work, which ideal is the possession of the integral product of labor, possible only in a socialised economy. The workers' organisations have already in Spain the framework of an immediate economic coordination, through the network of syndical and cooperative organisations. Neither capitalism nor the state has an economic basis of action, as complete as our workers' organisations. For them, it would be relatively easy even now to take over the production and distribution on the basis of the principle of the satisfaction of necessities. This would benefit even the parasites who by birth, education or inherent conditions, find themselves on the margin of productive activity, performing a function, which is perhaps secretly repugnant to them, of being simply watchdogs of the wealth of the privileged classes.
The revolution of 1917 in Russia awakened millions and millions of slaves to the consciousness of a new life. The fall of the Czar and the intervention of the proletariat in the direction of their destinies was greeted with an indescribable joy. Russia became the symbol for all the revolutionary proletarian forces. We were not the last but among the first to be on the side of Russia when it was the great hope of the oppressed.
Politics of the state have killed the socialist spirit and in a few years that great country left off being a symbol of liberty to become the ideal of bureaucrats. Today it is an imperialistic power among other powers, preparing for war just like all the other nations and having as little to do with socialism and the ideals of the proletariat, as any other state. This development might astonish and surprise many, but not the anarchists, who have pointed out the danger by their constant criticism.
Once more history confirms the certitude of our predictions. The politics of State and Socialism harmonise as little as water with fire. If one triumphs, the other must succumb, and vice versa. Socialism can be created only in the measure that the State is destroyed and popular institutions are erected to take over a direct control of production and distribution. With a disappearance of the symbol of the Orient (the myth of Russia as Berkman defined it), there has risen for the revolting slaves of the world a new symbol, the symbol of Spain. Today, Spain represents the last standard bearer of the spirit of liberty, the last hope of resurrection in this dark age.
We are not patriots, we do not glorify nationalism, our Fatherland doesn't exist where there is in place of justice only misery and slavery. In the concert of capitalist nations, our country can only represent an insignificant link, a semicolony in which only a minority of privileged rich can enjoy and bless life at the expense of the sweat and the privations of the great mass of Spanish workers and peasants. In the capitalist regime, Spain can represent only an extremely subordinate role on account of her industrial backwardness and the ignorance of her laborious masses. If the Spanish panorama is to be modified under the capitalist regime, it will be the work and initiative of foreign capital, due to the lower mentality and insignificant spirit of enterprise of native capitalists, which would imply forcibly the further dependency of the country.
But if the Spanish people should break their chains and proceed to build up a new order based on work and solidarity, then Spain would rise from the lowest rungs of the scale of modern nations to the supreme head of progressive humanity and serve as an example and stimulus, as the great living symbol of the future for the entire world.
We have seen in other countries how progressive movements have fallen under the crushing weight of regressive hordes. To save Spain from such a destiny, we are ready to suffer the greatest of sacrifices. We aim for a libertarian regime without laws and authoritarians, which we would replace by free federations and solidarity for a common cause. We know and are able to live in accord with our tenets, and we feel that even those most poisoned by the virus of authoritarianism will adapt themselves happily to a regime of life and work of mutual help, which we advocate. We entertain the firm conviction that the world will be happy only when it is free, when it will have exterminated from its institutions and activities and ideas; -- the domination and exploitation of man by man.
The situation is grave. The enemy has shut itself up in fortresses and menaces the total extermination of all the progressive movements. We may be the first to fall, but we will not be the last, as in Italy, as in Germany and other lands. There is talk of defensive alliances, of popular fronts. We have always favoured and worked, to the point of fatigue, for the consolidation of all progressive tendencies, to oppose the imminent retrocession in the direction of fascism. We have warned the liberal and left political parties that all attempts to break down the power of the CNT must of necessity redound to themselves. Our experience has shown us that the change of rudders and ideologies, without removing the State, only aggravates the economic, social and moral evils. That is why we cannot participate in alliances which are concerned more with the aim to divide the spoils in the new State, or simply with the limited objective of opposing a determined form of fascism, a specific type of tyranny, or a special kind of capitalism.
We repeat: we are ready to sacrifice many of ourselves, but it must be for an alliance rising from the heart of the proletariat, and from the centres of production. It must be for a united front of the producers to assure all who work the full mastery of their product. This unity can come only on the terrain of liberty, agreement and mutual respect for the present and future. This is not possible under the premise of a conquered State, which would necessarily afford the force of law to personal ambitions, and thus again become the natural enemy of the people.
To deny the reactionary, antisocial and antiproletarian significance of the State would be equivalent to suicide. The state can no more fraternise with liberty than water with fire; nor can it in any way fulfil the fundamental demand "he who does not work should not eat." How easy would it be for the workers to agree, without the meddling of ambitious opportunists seeking power in the political parties!
The Spanish people possess an immense creative capacity. Spain has traditions of free life, material resources together with brawn and brain. In Spain, everything remains to be done in industry, agriculture, forestry, the means of communication, and culture. The work to be realised is immense in all domains. A revolution cannot do miracles. But it would liberate energies paralysed by the present system and direct all efforts to social utility. In a few years, Spain could clothe, house and feed her population decently. At the same time Spain would become a guiding power of first order, and her word would be heard universally. Her example would not take long in being seconded by other countries, and at last the fatuous edifice of authoritarianism would crumble to the ground together with all its pestilence and human burdens. And while Russia is preparing her million soldiers to fight alongside of capitalist France in the next war, Spain could at last lift her voice and proclaim peace to the world in reply to the mad race of modern states towards degeneration and disaster.
This little peninsula could be the cradle of a new era; and it might be the tomb of a great hope. The future, not very distant, will pronounce the final word.