Collective Labor in the Various Sectors of the Economy
Two Confiscation Proclamations from the Catalonian Railroads—How our comrades seized the railroads and how they organized the transportation services—The Port of Barcelona—The Compañia Transátlantica—The work of the CNT has improved trolley service in Barcelona.
PROCLAMATION OF THE CONFISCATION OF THE RAILROADS OF CATALONIA
In the town of Manresa, on July twenty-fourth of the year nineteen hundred thirty-six, at a meeting of the trade union organizations of the National Federation of the Railroad Industry, affiliated with the National Confederation of Labor, and the National Railroad Trade Union, affiliated with the General Workers Union, which have hereby agreed, in the name of and representing the personnel of the Compañia General de Ferrocarriles Catalanes, for the Barcelona-Manresa, Martorell-Igualada, Manresa-Suria and Bordeta a Puerto lines, to unanimously ratify the decision to proceed to the practical and official confiscation of all the services and departments of the lines mentioned above, therefore assuming, immediately, complete responsibility for the administration, direction and normal operation of the services of the above-cited lines.
The parties hereto also agree to notify the Public Relations Committee of the FNIF and the Executive Committee of the 9th Zone of the SNF, as well as the Regional Anti-fascist Revolutionary Committee and the Government of the Generalitat, of all subsequent actions undertaken with regard to this matter.
(This is a copy of the original, which is duly signed and sealed by the respective organizations.)
THE CATALONIAN RAILROADS
To All Personnel
For the knowledge and satisfaction of all the comrades, we are pleased to reproduce below, in its entirety, the document which, for the purpose of confirming the confiscation of the former Compañia General de Ferrocarriles Catalanes, with the greatest guarantees of a legal nature, was signed and issued by us and by the Generalitat of Catalonia on July 27, 1936.
In the City of Barcelona, on the twenty-eighth of July in the year nineteen hundred thirty-six, the National Federation of the Railroad Industry, affiliated with the National Confederation of Labor, and the National Railroad Trade Union, affiliated with the General Workers Union, having confiscated all the equipment necessary for the operation of the lines of the Compañia General de Ferrocarriles Catalanes, i.e., the Barcelona, Martorell and Manresa line; the Manresa, Olván and Guardiola line; the Martorell to Igualada line; and the Manresa to Suria and Bordeta-Port line, as well as having assumed control over the provision of the corresponding services, with regard to both the technical as well as the administrative and commercial aspects, hereby notifies the Generalitat of Catalonia, which, upon having been notified, has no objection and accepts the fact of the confiscation on the following conditions:
A. An inventory will be drawn up for the equipment, both mobile as well as other kinds, that is necessary for the operation of the services mentioned above, and will be completed and formally presented within no more than ten days.
B. A financial accounting of the confiscated enterprise will be formulated showing its status as of the moment of confiscation, which will include all hard cash in safes and all additional items.
C. Everything that constitutes the assets of the lines mentioned above which is not included in the previous sections will be itemized in detail in a supplemental addendum.
D. The Generalitat of Catalonia, by accepting this confiscation, reserves the right to intervene in the confiscated enterprise in the following way:
The Generalitat of Catalonia will nominate a delegate from the Generalitat, whose mission will consist exclusively in inspecting the operations and the revenues which are obtained in any and all ways from said operations, for the essential purpose of assuring that said revenues are devoted to the maintenance of the wages of the personnel and the improvement of their working conditions, as well as to meet all the corresponding expenditures relating to operations and amortization, in the explicit understanding that among the latter the obligations corresponding to the former rights of the stockholders and creditors are nullified.
E. At the same time, the Generalitat of Catalonia recognizes the right of above mentioned trade union organizations to organize all the services, both technical and industrial as well as bureaucratic, in the way they deem most expedient, for the purpose of more efficient operations, and will have the right to eliminate or create jobs as they see fit, regardless of the category or level.
F. The Generalitat will furthermore, in order to contribute to the more efficient operation of the confiscated services, contribute such advice and counsel that it deems fitting with regard to the technical aspect, when its help is solicited.
And the record will show that this proclamation was made in triplicate, and was signed by the Honorable Minister of the Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia and by other representatives of the National Railroad Trade Union and by the National Federation of the Railroad Industry on the date first recited “ut supra”.
FOR THE GENERALITAT OF CATALONIA: The Minister of the Government, José María España—FOR THE NATIONAL FEDERATION OF THE RAILROAD INDUSTRY: Emiliano Martínez, Antonio Casanovas, Pedro Rius, José Pericas and Eduardo Casals—FOR THE NATIONAL RAILROAD TRADE UNION: Miguel Salvador, Isidro Medina, Pedro Corrons, Miguel Canals and Julio Guardiola.
Barcelona, July 31, 1936—The Directive Committee.
How our comrades took over the railroads and how they organized the rail services.
On Monday, July 21, the workers took over the lines of the M.Z.A. and the North; they formed Revolutionary Committees and organized the defense of the rail stations with guards armed with rifles and machine guns. In the M.Z.A. the comrades of the CNT-affiliated trade union were the first to arrive and confront the task of reorganizing the rail service. Nonetheless, the composition of the Revolutionary Committee of the station was equally divided between the CNT trade union and the UGT-affiliated trade union.
In the North as well it was the CNT-affiliated trade union that took the initiative to occupy the station, and later allotted the UGT-affiliated trade union equal representation on the Revolutionary Committee formed on that line. In the North they proceeded as follows:
By means of the railroad telegraph a message was sent to all the stations notifying them that the CNT trade union had taken over the enterprise. This notice was received everywhere with satisfaction. A CNT Station Committee was elected, and the Police and all other staff members put themselves at its service.
On Tuesday the UGT members arrived, and assumed their positions on the Committee, which was composed of six comrades, three from each organization, and two liaison members, one for each trade union.
They proceeded to nominate by means of a circular, ratifying the orders transmitted during the first few hours, revolutionary Subcommittees in the most important stations: Sabadell, Tarrasa, Manresa, Granollers, Vich and Ripoll. Relations were established with Lerida, where the comrades had formed a Committee.
The Revolutionary Station Committee directly assumed responsibility for organizing labor and administrating the enterprise. The fires of the Civil War were raging in Spain, and the first measure that was adopted with regard to labor organization was to armor two engines and two cars in the workshops of San Andrés. The workers labored with enormous celerity. The workers gave a demonstration of their enthusiasm, and two days later this job was finished. These two engines, with their two cars, were used by the first column to leave for the Aragon front. Both engines remained in the service of the column that is operating near Huesca. The initiative for and the implementation of this achievement was entirely due to the efforts of the CNT.
All the managers of the service departments were dismissed, and were informed that they should not show up for work until further notice.
On the San Juan line a small reconnaissance train was dispatched from Vich to Ripoll and another from Vich to La Franquesa.
At the request of the Committee of Militias a hospital train was organized with boxcars, in which electrical equipment was installed and on which large red crosses were emblazoned. Operating rooms were built inside the boxcars. In the other cars, four beds were installed in each car. The train was composed of seven cars. A huge Red Cross was painted on the front of the train. The medical personnel who were assigned to the train were so satisfied that they delayed the departure of the train until government representatives arrived, who were summoned for the purpose of making them appreciate the voluntary labor of the workers.
The following Service Committees were formed:
Committee for Fuel and Engines.
Committee of Train Personnel.
Tracks and Repair Committee.
These Service Committees held daily meetings attended by one delegate from each Committee and one delegate from the Revolutionary Committee.
A Control Commission was elected, which investigated the official and private papers of the managerial staff. In accordance with the results of this investigation, the managerial staff was dismissed from the services. Meanwhile, many of them offered to collaborate as technical advisors with the Service Committees.
One of the responsibilities of the Revolutionary Station Committee was to organize a unit of guards for the protection and surveillance of the station. This task was scrupulously and cautiously carried out, and the station was renovated and a kitchen for the guard unit was installed. An important and urgent task was to examine the goods that had piled up in the boxcars that had been detained because of the fascist revolt and the general strike. Those goods that were perishable or subject to rust or damage were taken out of the boxcars and placed under the control of the Supply Committee.
After having attended to these urgent services, in compliance with the resolution of the confederal organization to return to normal, partial service was restored. First Barcelona-Manresa, which was then extended to Lerida.
Rigorous control was exercised over travelers, who were not allowed to travel with more than 200 pesetas in their possession.
Later, service was partially restored to the Barcelona-San Juan de las Abadesas line. Gradually, service was extended until the trains ran normally within the territory where the fascist insurrection had been defeated. Outside this territory the trains did not run. Trains carrying people and goods ran to Tardienta, that is, to the point where the antifascist columns are posted. The financial situation of the enterprise can be considered to be generally good, despite the hardly propitious situation for normal rail traffic. However, it is not possible at the present time to concretely ascertain the precise time of arrivals and departures. Proposals for immediate and future implementation will be studied by the assemblies of the respective trade union organizations. Meanwhile, the same level of wages and the same hours are maintained as were current before the Civil War.
The morale of the personnel could not be better for the prospect of undertaking collectivized economic reconstruction.
THE PORT OF BARCELONA
The new working conditions that resulted from the recent events that transformed the City of Barcelona have also affected the operations of the Port. Middlemen, who constituted a parasitic plague that grew fat on the toil of the workers, have been suppressed. These middlemen contracted the loading and unloading of ships, reserving for themselves, naturally, the lion’s share of the money received from the ship-owners, the shipping agents and the consignees. The middlemen organized teams of workers. To provide some idea of the profits made by this useless pest, one need only note that in the cotton and egg markets, commodities that pay the highest rates for longshoremen, their profits reached 200 pesetas per day per team. The team included eleven men on board and five on shore. In some ships, four or five of these teams were organized. This means that, on these occasions, the profit they pocketed, without any other work than that of contracting the personnel, approached one thousand pesetas per day.
This is the parasitic category that has just been eliminated from the Port of Barcelona in order to clear the way for a direct contract between the ship-owners, shipping agents and consignees. Nor should the recognition of the rights of the latter be considered as a concession to capitalism, but rather as a result of the material impossibility for the trade union to deal directly with the export firms that have their offices in other cities in Spain and other nations. The consignee, for example, is the representative in the Port of Barcelona of foreign enterprises and one must come to an understanding with him. Now, however, it is the trade union that contracts the labor rather than the middlemen who made this contract the instrument of a veritable act of highway robbery.
The Administrative Committee will establish the charges for loading and unloading in accordance with the prevailing rates, organize the teams of workers and pay them their wages. The ship-owners, shipping agents and consignees do not recognize any other institution than that of the Transport Union of the CNT. As a result, the Confederation, besides participating in a major leap forward towards the socialization of wealth, imposes its control in an absolute manner.
In the contract entered into by the representatives of the ship-owners and the consignees with the Trade Union, the following points are set forth among others:
1. The ship-owners, shipping agents and consignees who sign below undertake that, in effecting every kind of operation related to loading, unloading, packing and unpacking of ships, as well as the delivery of the commodities to the receiver and the reception of the same for their shipment, they will recognize exclusively and solely the workers of the Transport Workers Union, of the Port Section, Onboard Subsection, in accordance with the wage rates that currently prevail, approved by the Chamber of Trade and Shipping, including in the expressed rates the quantities that make reference to Articles 4 and 9 below.
2. First, an Administrative Committee will be elected, which will be responsible for examining and inspecting the final accounting of the cargo, precisely at the conclusion of each operation, which each consignee will obliged to send to the Committee.
3. Before beginning work onboard or any other kind of operation, the consignee will be obliged to send to the Administrative Committee a copy of the consignment certificate or cargo manifest, and in the latter case an itemized list of the cargo.
4. It is agreed that for the purposes of providing for a fund for disability and accident insurance for the workers, fifty centímos per ton will be assessed for all categories of commodities and every kind of cargo.
5. With regard to the payments stipulated for unemployment insurance, they will continue to be collected at the rate of forty and seventy-five centímos per ton, depending on the type of goods, in accordance with the agreement of July 7, 1936.
The document contains 19 long Articles. Among other things, a working day of seven hours is established, extending from eight a.m. to noon and then from two p.m. to five p.m. Overtime is not authorized.
This collective contract will make it easy to assess the traffic in the Port of Barcelona: entry and departure of ships, the weight and kinds of goods, etc., since control is now entirely in the hands of the Transport Trade Union.
THE COMPAÑÍA TRANSATLÁNTICA
The Compañía Transatlántica, which was once one of the most powerful shipping companies in Spain and the world, has over the last few years lost its dominant position in maritime shipping, because the government had cut back on its subsidies, reducing them to a minimum. The precarious situation in which the company found itself on July 18 encouraged its workers to take over the services of its Barcelona branch. On July 27 the employees of the maritime agencies affiliated with the UGT arrived at the company offices and notified the Generalitat that they were confiscating the company.
The major economic difficulties encountered by the workers led them to conceive of the benefits that would accrue to them if the confiscation was transformed into control, when the comrades of the CNT arrived to participate in the Committees.
The Central Committee was formed in the following manner: three comrades from the CNT (sailors, machinists and assistants); two from the UGT (maritime agencies); one assistant from the UGT, and two delegates from the Generalitat, one from Madrid and one from Barcelona.
The Committee is responsible for organization and administration (excluding the official delegates) and is in charge of the overall direction of the enterprise.
Once the funds were counted, they found 63,000 pesetas in safes and other small quantities in the form of foreign currencies.
In the local banks the company had a balance of one million eight hundred thousand pesetas, of which approximately one million had already been withdrawn to pay current and future payroll obligations to subcontractors, such as Vulcano and Maquinista. There is also a remainder, also in the banks, of 1,700,000 pesetas, deposited at a fixed rate of interest, whose terms vary from one to three months.
The company currently has six ships in active service, with a total tonnage of approximately 100,000 tons. None of these ships have been seized by the fascist forces.
At the time when the organization agreed to return to work, the Committees were busy trying to bring the operations of the company back to normal. For this purpose, they prepared the “Comillas” for a voyage to Central America and the “Habana” for a voyage to New York.
Later, the Committee of Militias agreed to equip the “Comillas” as a hospital ship. Once the necessary renovations had been completed, the ship set sail on the 8th for Mahon in order to transport medical personnel and stand ready to take casualties from the attack on Mallorca, when it takes place.
The Compañía Transatlántica never excluded from its ships either the clergy or religious displays. It was ready, immediately after it was confiscated, to clear its ships of all priests, whose wages were paid up to the 18th, and then fired; this agreement was accomplished with the mediation of the ships’ captains.
Among the personnel who had ceased to perform services for the company were the following: Monturiol, who earned 47,700 pesetas a year, managing administrator; Ferrer, who made 32,850 pesetas a year, assistant administrator; Galilea, making 13,500 pesetas a year, secretary; Serra, earning 16,875 pesetas a year, accountant; García Luis, 13,500 pesetas a year, vice-secretary; Pérez Carpio, 5,040 pesetas a year, secretary for Güell, who never showed up for work.
In addition to the proposal to fire the entire Administrative Council, there was also the Commission composed of members of this Council, who had large incomes from salaries and commissions. The total amount of money saved up to the present day is 262,300 pesetas a year.
The rest of the employees have stayed on the job at their previous pay rates and conditions of work, except for the managerial role, which has become that of the technical advisor, without any other executive power besides what he implements on behalf of the Committees. As is the case in the other confiscated or controlled enterprises, the technical personnel has without exception offered to collaborate with the workers who have risen to become the rulers of the economy.
Because 400,000 pesetas must be raised this month in order to pay maritime insurance on the ships, the Central Committee has requested financial assistance from Madrid. The Director of the Department of Maritime Trade has responded with evasive answers to the repeated requests of the committees and, finally, has notified the committees, in order to assert his power, that the offices of the shipping companies in the capital of the Republic must be placed under the control of the Alliance of Maritime Federations. Furthermore, the Government has appointed a socialist deputy as director of the Company. The Committee deliberated concerning a proposal to send a commission to Valencia (to represent it) for the purpose of seeking a satisfactory solution to this problem, which prevents the normal operation of the shipping operations, since, according to claims made by a comrade of the Committee, they will not dare to allow the departure of a ship without first paying the insurance premium, since in case of accident they would not be able to pay off the pensions to the families of the victims that the sinking of one of their ships might cause, and that they would not dare to run the risk of assuming this responsibility.
As much as possible given the situation, since the civil war requires the Committee to transfer some of its ships to war service, such as the “Uruguay” and the “Argentina” as prison ships, and the “Comillas” as a hospital ship, etc., the workers of Transatlántica will seek to normalize the shipping operations as soon as possible.
The personnel dismissed by the company as a result of the social conflict are returning to the extent that the services require them, as well as those personnel who, due to their incompatibility with the directive Councils, had been fired.
Between 70 and 80 percent of the workers employed by the company belong to our CNT. The old onboard committees will continue to perform their functions as technical committees, subordinated to the Central Committee. There is a proposal to hold a general assembly in order to vote on referendums or change the composition of the Committees.
The monthly payroll rose to approximately 450,000 pesetas. An exact figure cannot be provided, since the captains of the ships have budgets that rise or fall according to the ports of call and how long they must stay in each port.
Next month they must attend to the results of the examination that will be carried out in Madrid by the commission that we have mentioned, for the purpose of requesting the assistance of the Government and the Alliance of Maritime Federations.
One of the tasks that has been undertaken and which will take a great deal of work, especially metallurgical and carpentry work, is that of sanitizing the crews’ living compartments, which up to this time has not been completed despite all the protests and strikes of the workers.
The hours of labor in the Port of Barcelona have been reduced to 40 hours a week. This is not true of the hours worked on the ships, where the personnel have not wanted to reduce it and by unanimous consent work 48 hours a week. So, too, has a study concerning wage increases been put on hold, and the workers have not received a wage increase, not even the 15 percent promised them by the decree of the Generalitat.
THE WORK OF THE CNT HAS IMPROVED TROLLEY SERVICE IN BARCELONA
With arms in hand
On the morning of July 24, when the people defended their most cherished ideals in the streets of Barcelona with arms in hand, various comrades of the CNT temporarily abandoned their front line posts, in obedience to an order issued by the Organization, and travelled in an armored truck to the offices of the Streetcar Company, where they confiscated the industry in compliance with a resolution of the Transport Workers Trade Union.
Gunfire was still echoing in the streets, as the prelude to a dawn of liberty, when our comrades, who were unaware of what kind of people and how many of them they would find in the building harboring the offices of the company, arrived at the company headquarters. There they found a corporal of the Civil Guard and four privates, for whom it sufficed to demonstrate a serious and unanimous attitude on the part of our comrades in order to cause them to discretely withdraw from the building.
Minutes later, on the ground floor of the building, with the sumptuous offices of the now-fugitive Administrative Council, the workers of the CNT encountered the arena where they could develop their intelligence and their initiatives at the service of a revolution that had just begun.
An act of humanity
Upon searching the offices our comrades found a fascist lawyer in one of them, the only remaining member of the former Administrative Council. More dead than alive, this unhappy attorney maintained that he was unaware of the whereabouts of the other members of the Council. Stuttering with fear he could barely say that they had left him alone and without any orders of any kind, and then our comrades, possessing that humanity and decency that was later repaid with the barbaric brutality of soulless officers, authorized him to leave, although the profession of lawyer has been one of the most harmful to the cause of the working class.
There is no money—High salaries and slush funds
Once the confiscation committee had arrived at the Accounting Department, it found that there was no money there. Why not? This was easy to discover. A few days before the enterprise was confiscated the magnates who presided over the company’s operations had made off with amounts of money that they thought were sufficient. One named Nadal, 32,000 pesetas; one named Veiga, 28,000; Victor Mesa, the president of the Administrative Council, 35,000…. And so on in an endless list that was found in the account books. Other account books and many documents later presented obvious proofs that this unscrupulous gang that made up the Directive Council had given themselves unbelievable salaries. The director earned 11,000 pesetas a month, and his henchmen were not far behind. All of them supplemented their salaries with constant withdrawals from the fund for secret expenditures.
In the documentation pertaining to this account they found entries for lavish banquets, notations of amounts paid to police and informers to imprison and assassinate workers and other details that evinced the extensive immorality that guided the actions of the former directors.
Broken equipment, the cause of serious accidents
All of our readers will remember, of course. The condition of the rails in that period was, quite simply, lamentable. Many of them were broken, so that one cannot understand how serious catastrophes did not occur on a daily basis. The General Repair Shops had been stripped of all their best machinery; the streetcars were often inoperable and many of them did not even have motors, and the spare parts to repair them were of such low quality that a brief examination was capable of discovering the cause of so many accidents and crashes that took place every day. There was only one bright spot: the offices of the executives, in which fantastic luxury made it obvious that these departments were used more for relaxation and recreation than practical work.
The CNT begins to take action—Difficulties overcome
This mess had to be fixed and streetcar service had to resume. In addition to the equipment problems there was the fact that the revolution had raised numerous barricades on the streets of Barcelona, which rendered the railways unusable and had also knocked down many of the poles supporting the elevated power lines. It also appeared that these lines had been cut in various places throughout the city.
The workers of the CNT, however, were not at all daunted by the prospect of such intensive hard work. They put their faith in their ideals and set their minds on the achievement of this goal, and began to spontaneously volunteer every day to repair the damage. There were no set hours of work, or fixed roles, or specific job descriptions. All the workers laboring together uninterruptedly demonstrated in just a few hours to the people of Barcelona, Spain and the whole world, that the workers are capable of running their own affairs without despotic bosses or club-wielding foremen.
Only three days after its confiscation by the workers, the people of Barcelona expressed their gratitude to the workers when they saw the first streetcars running through the city.
Improved service and fare reductions
“And today,” we asked a comrade from the Control Committee, “has the service improved?”
“The service,” he told us, “has improved by 25%.”
“And have you been able to reduce fares for some of the routes?”
“On lines 37 and 38 the fares have been reduced by 40%. And the night surcharge has been abolished, which increased the price of a ticket by five centimes, and a study is currently being conducted regarding a general fare reduction that would allow the creation of a discount ticket for workers, valid from four to eight in the morning, and from six to eight in the evening. A study is also underway on the possibility of a standard ticket price or a 40% reduction in the ordinary fare.”
The wages of the workers of the collectivized enterprise
We continued to gather information, thanks to the friendly assistance of our comrade from the Control Committee.
“Have the wages of the workers been increased?”
“The wages of the lowest-paid workers have risen by 35%, and for the workers in the higher income brackets, their wages have been increased by 20%, 15% and 10%.”
“Has there been an increase in income for the streetcar enterprise?”
“Income has increased by 25%, and production has increased by 200%.”
“What future projects are planned?”
“We are currently engaged in the complete renovation of all the rails that are in bad condition. Furthermore, because our work never ends, since there are new horizons opening on the job, plans are currently being reviewed to expand the urban streetcar network, to the benefit of the railways, the organization and the people in general. We are also studying—and this will be the cornerstone of our work, for now—the implementation of a standard fare in the city. We are counting on major advantages for the realization of our plans, one of which—the most important one—is that all the workers of the collective are conscious of the transformation that is underway and are willing to work as hard as they can, because they know that it will benefit them. The mission of the Control Committee is the provision of efficient service and the lowest possible fares, and to do so in the most practical way possible.”
“What about the kinds of cars you are using?”
“Now there are eight different kinds on the routes; but we want to use just one. To do this it has been necessary to overcome difficulties with regard to the importation of foreign equipment. Before, we imported 85% of our equipment, but now, because we have discovered Spanish sources for these materials, we only import 10% or 15% of our equipment.”
“Has there been an increase in the numbers of workers employed on the streetcars?”
“When we seized the industry, there were 3,100 workers; today, there are 3,800. These 700 new co-workers have the same rights and the same duties as the other workers.”
“What about the administrative apparatus?”
“It has been streamlined, and we are now obtaining the maximum efficiency of labor from the technical and office personnel thanks to this streamlining, now that the bureaucratic luxury has disappeared. No one has been fired. When we took over the industry, we called a meeting of the entire technical and administrative staff and told them that anything they were willing to do to assist us in our work would be received with open arms and that they could retain their former jobs. All of them responded admirably to our appeal, and today,” our informant concluded, “without any obstacles or clouds on the horizon, we advance towards the realization of our aspirations, which are those of the organization and therefore those of the people.”
2. THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY
The structure of the textile industry—Report of the Textile Trade Union of Barcelona—The structure of the collective organizations in the textile industry. Three patterns—La España Industrial: Report on the activity of the Central Committees in the factories.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY
REPORT OF THE TEXTILE TRADE UNION OF BARCELONA
One of the most important industries in Catalonia, most heavily concentrated in Sabadell and Tarrasa, is the textile industry. The trade union mentioned above has 40,000 CNT workers in Barcelona alone.
The two major trade union federations together have 230,000 workers in the industry, 170,000 of whom are members of our Confederation. The current proportions among the unionized workers are approximately 70% in the CNT, and 30% in the UGT.
The workers in the Dry Cleaning section, before July, earned a weekly wage of 68 pesetas. Today they receive 78.20 pesetas, or 15% more than they did before the revolution. They receive the same wage as the workers in the Washing section.
This subdivision used to be paid by the piece, obtaining, prior to July 19, weekly wages of up to 175 pesetas, working on “Cotton” (men) and working an average of 10 hours per day. Today they receive 135 pesetas a week, and work forty hours a week for an hourly wage.
The workers who work on “Standard”, who received between 60 and 70 pesetas a week prior to July, and were also formerly paid by the piece, now receive a fixed wage of 65 pesetas a week.
Industrial technicians, before July, made anywhere from 250 to 350 pesetas; today, they make between 200 and 250 pesetas a week.
Foremen, before July, made 125 pesetas; today, they make between 125 and 150 pesetas a week.
It might very well appear, from the figures provided above, that wages have declined, but in reality this is an advantage for the worker, since he receives a fixed and steady wage, piecework having been eliminated. Another factor that must be taken into account is the number of hours the worker currently works and those he worked before the revolution; before July 19, the workers who worked on “Cotton” and “Standard”, in order to make the wages we just enumerated above, would have had to work 80 hours a week; today, in the factories where the short week has not been introduced (as a result of the shortage of raw materials), they work only 40 hours. If we divide the weekly wage by the number of hours worked, we find that the worker is making more money per hour than he did under the bourgeois regime.
Militiamen to the front
A very large number of CNT members from the manufacturing and textile industries have left their jobs in the factories and workshops operated by our Confederation in order to go to the front, and we may say that at the present time this sector of industry has undergone a major reduction in the number of workers it employs. From the City of Barcelona, between 20,000 and 25,000 workers who are members of the CNT have left for the front as volunteers. Of those who have volunteered from Barcelona, only about 3,000 are members of the UGT.
The elimination of rebel elements and fugitives. The bourgeois element.
The following numbers will give us an idea of the approximate position of this element in the present situation. Of the total numbers of bourgeoisie, who in Catalonia number about 20,000 persons, whose most concentrated focus is in Barcelona (5,000), about 10% have remained in their factories, working and participating like simple workers: this was achieved by the collectivization process; about 40% have been eliminated from the social arena, and approximately 50% have fled to foreign countries, gone into hiding, etc.
Up to 30 factory or workshop foremen have been eliminated due to their anti-revolutionary ideas and actions (SUFT-CNT). Between 12 and 14 workers have suffered the same fate for identical reasons.
Donations for the victims of fascism
The SUFT has to date delivered to the Committee to Aid the Victims of Fascism 2,500,000 pesetas. Due to the reductions in the working week due to a shortage of raw materials, the weekly collections, which once averaged about 110,000 pesetas, have been reduced to about 55,000 pesetas. Here is a detailed list of the amounts contributed to the Militia Committee by each affiliate of the CNT, from the Water, Manufacturing and Textile Industries:
The Water Industry: each worker gives 5 pesetas each week for aid to victims of fascism and to the militias.
Manufacturing and Textiles: 5% of the wages of the workers who are working short weeks; 10% of the wages of the workers on full time weeks, and 15% of the wages of the workers who earn more than 100 pesetas a week.
Almost the entire textile and manufacturing industry of Catalonia is collectivized.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE COLLECTIVE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY
Once the enterprises are fully collectivized, the Control Committees will become Technical-Administrative Committees. These Committees will be elected by the workers in each factory, meeting in a general assembly, and the latter will be convoked by the trade union Factory Committee and by the Federation’s industrial section.
The Committees will consist of a minimum of three and a maximum of nine comrades, and it will be a matter of importance at all times to seek to ensure that both technical as well as manual workers should be represented on these Committees. All the different industrial departments of the factory will also be represented on these Committees, and once they are formed they will include the following departments:
1. Internal Department.
3. Economics and Finance.
The mission of the Internal Department:
a) Maintain the machinery in good working order and assure that it meets prevailing standards of safety.
b) Maintain the working areas and locker rooms and make sure they meet modern standards of hygiene.
c) Allocate labor by sections and conduct all business of a technical order that was previously handled by the directors.
The mission of the Statistics Department:
a) Raw materials needed on a monthly and annual basis.
b) Machinery, its types and output.
c) The number of manual and technical workers categorized by their specialties.
d) All kinds of accessory details not covered by the questionnaire that could serve to improve the operations of the industry.
Mission of the Department of Economics and Finance:
a) Oversee the financial situation of the factory. Disburse wages.
b) Payment of wages to all manual and technical workers.
c) Payments for all kinds of operations, such as repair of the machinery, building maintenance, etc.
d) Cost-cutting for the collective with regard to all those aspects of the old regime that were superfluous and useless.
e) Establish prices for costs and manufacture.
f) Provide precise statistics regarding days of work lost and injuries, whether as a result of illness or accident.
Mission of the Department of Liaison:
a) This Department will be the Secretariat of the Committee.
b) It will maintain direct relations with the local Committee of Industry, as well as with the Factory Committee, with regard to all those matters that affect the trade union order.
c) It will assume responsibility for all the orders that must be transmitted from one Committee to another.
Additional Note—In the factories where, due to their small workforces, only between three and five comrades need to be elected to the Committee, these comrades will divide the responsibilities for the above Departments among themselves, even if this means that one person might have to be responsible for two Departments.
A town that only has one or two factories does not have to have a Local Committee, as this function will be assumed by the Regional or District Committee, which implies that the Department of Liaison of the factory or factories will be in close contact with said Committee, since the latter will have the obligation to facilitate whatever is necessary for the efficient operation of the factory.
LOCAL COMMITTEES OF INDUSTRY
All the different industrial sectors that exist in a locality will be represented on these committees. These committees will be divided into sections or departments and each department, in accordance with the directives of the Trade Union of the Industry, will be able to avail itself of the services of all the necessary technical and bureaucratic personnel.
2. Economics and Finance.
5. Labor allocation.
6. Private and individual initiatives.
This Committee will be elected by all the technical-administrative committees of the local factories subject to the ratification of the general assembly of the Trade Union of the entire industry.
The General Secretariat will be formed by the Department of Liaison. This Secretariat will convoke the plenary meetings.
These plenary meetings will take place as often as the Secretariat deems necessary or else by request of the Central Committee of the Trade Union of the Industry.
The representative or representatives of the Trade Union may attend these meetings, with the right to address the meeting, deliberate and vote.
The General Secretariat of the Local Committee will be obliged to deliver to the Central Committees of the Trade Unions all production statistics, as well as statistics for expenses and income and any observations that would be of use to the collective.
Department of Liaison
a) Receive all the reports of the Local and Trade Union Committee of the Economy.
b) Maintain permanent contact with all the Factory Committees or Technical-Administrative Committees.
c) Safeguard the well being of all the workers in the industry, as well as seeking to establish the most perfect harmony between the Factory Committees and the workers.
d) Attend all the meetings of the workers of the factories of the industry.
e) Meet at least once a month with all the Technical-Administrative Committees for the purpose of establishing the necessary solidarity.
f) Receive from the District Committee all the requests for the manufacture of particular goods.
Department of Economics and Finance
a) Monitoring of expenses and income generally.
b) Draft summaries on Thursday of each week depicting the weekly total balance sheet of revenues and withdrawals from the Industry’s General Fund.
c) Register all those payments made for insurance claims in general, in the form of actual insurance claims or in any other forms that may arise.
d) Register all the goods produced and their cost of production.
e) Register all the varieties of goods produced and delivered to the District Committee and all the raw materials that the industry received.
Department of Statistics
a) Inventory of the machinery of each industrial process and its production capacity, as well as its value in pesetas or other types of valuation that may be adopted.
b) Monthly and annual requirements for raw materials.
c) Types of production, and monthly and annual quantities.
d) Personnel employed in the local industry and their specialties.
e) Monthly and annual ratios of expenses to income, as well as receipt and shipment of raw materials and manufactured or finished products.
f) The precise accounting of all days of work lost and injuries due to accidents or illness and the total number of hours of work they represent.
g) Determine the cost of the goods produced, based on the summary of the monthly or quarterly inventories that may be conducted.
a) Collect all the raw materials and manufactured products in a warehouse or warehouses.
b) Ship these raw materials to the factories and keep track of the manufactured products.
c) Request from the District Committee all the necessary raw materials and deliver to it the products that the District Committee requests; in order to accomplish this, this Department will have access to the necessary means of transport.
Department of Labor Allocation
a) Receive from the Liaison Department notifications of the quantities and specifications for articles to manufacture.
b) Allocate this labor in accordance with the conditions of the quality and capacity of each center of production or factory.
c) Advise the Local Committee of the Economy and the Trade Union concerning the process of manufacture and the exact number of hours necessary for production, following instructions received from the District Committee.
d) Be open to new ideas for the improvement of the production process, and facilitate the practical implementation of the new ideas.
Department of Initiative
a) This Department will be staffed by the most knowledgeable industrial technicians and by expert manual workers.
b) Foster improvements of industry in all its aspects.
c) Be open to all the viable initiatives that are presented to it, studying them carefully, and provide facilities for the possible realization of the new initiative.
d) To fulfill its mission it will be in constant contact with the Department of Labor Allocation, the General Secretariat of the Economy and the Committees of each Section of the Trade Union.
Catalonia, with respect to the textile and manufacturing industries, will be divided into Districts that will be established in accordance with the map of industrial sites and then on the basis of a detailed technical and scientific study.
In each District an Industrial Committee will be created, which will be the institution responsible for facilitating relations with the different localities in the District.
These Committees will be composed of representatives of all the industrial sectors that exist in the District and will be subdivided into the following Departments:
• Economy and Finance.
• Labor Allocation.
• Warehouse and Distribution.
Department of Statistics
a) Ascertain the total production of the District and provide details regarding types of goods and their qualities.
b) Produce an inventory of machinery. The type of machine and its output.
c) Required raw materials and types of raw materials.
d) Number of factories in each locality and the production capacity of each factory.
e) Total number of manual and technical workers employed and unemployed, by factories and localities.
f) All kinds of supplementary details not foreseen in this questionnaire.
Department of Economy and Finance
a) Oversight over the financial situation of the District.
b) Disbursement, to the localities, of weekly wages and social assistance.
c) Pay for raw materials.
d) Provide a precise accounting for the wages of each locality.
e) All kinds of purchases or expenditures will be the responsibility of this Department.
f) Ascertaining the cost price and the price of manufacture.
Department of Labor Allocation
a) Allocation of labor in accordance with the technical characteristics of each locality.
b) Receive requests for goods.
c) Progressive labor relations, seeking to carry out the work in the most practical and best way.
d) This Department will be responsible for the replacement or repair of machinery and its adaptation to the needs of production orders.
e) When one locality has too many or too few workers, whether manual or technical workers, this Department, after previous agreement with the Trade Union or the Labor Center (since no Department may act without the approval of the latter), will solve the problem in the best way possible.
Department of Liaison
a) Maintain contact with the Regional Committee of Industry with regard to all the above tasks, whether involving raw materials, exchange and or any other kind of operations concerning which the other Departments have notified it.
b) Maintain contact with the Trade Unions, whether agricultural or metallurgical, with respect to every kind of problem that may arise within the textile industry.
c) This Department, always with the agreement of the Trade Unions or Regional Committees and in conjunction with them, will seek the most harmonious possible solutions for all the conflicts of a moral order that may affect the workers of the industry which cannot be resolved by the localities.
d) All the operations that may affect the day to day progress of the industry, whether related to exchange, purchase of machinery, requests for raw materials, movement of funds, shortage of cash, or anything that has an impact on the general order of production, will have to proceed via this Department to the knowledge of the Regional Committee, without whose endorsement no operation on this scale would be possible.
e) All business, whether relating to Economy, Warehouse, Labor Allocation or Statistics, which requires consultations with other institutions, whether or not involving those already referred to above, will pass through the Department of Liaison, which will be responsible for implementing it, as well as for maintaining constant contact with the localities that compose the District.
Department of Warehouses and Distribution
a) Process requests for and oversee distribution of raw materials.
b) Receipt, storage and distribution in accordance with requests of finished goods.
c) Produce a catalog of samples of every kind of product manufactured in the District.
d) This Department will receive all proposals for exchange and will transmit them to the Department of Liaison for conveyance to the Regional Committee.
These committees will be elected at the Local Plenums of each District and these Plenums will be convoked by the National Liaison Committee of the Manufacturing and Textile Industry of Spain, and will be composed of the number of comrades that the Plenum deems necessary for the dignified fulfillment of the mission with which they are entrusted.
The criterion of residence will also determine who attends the Plenum, always taking into account the fact that some areas will have more favorable transportation facilities than others.
This Committee will have the right to appoint the technical and bureaucratic personnel required to comply with its mandate.
THE REGIONAL COMMITTEE OF THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY
This Committee will be structured according to the following norms:
It will be divided into two parts: the technical-administrative part and the executive part.
The technical-administrative part will be composed of those comrades who will be elected at the District Plenums and who reside in the same District where the Committee is located.
The executive part will be composed of one representative of each manufacturing District, elected by the Districts as mentioned above, and will also be a member of the Liaison Department of the District Committee of the District he represents.
The Regional Committee will be divided like the others into Departments.
These Departments will be as follows:
a) Department of Statistics.
b) Economy and Finance.
c) Allocation of Labor.
e) Purchase, sales and exchanges.
f) Technical and Initiative.
Department of Statistics
a) Ascertain the total production of the region, providing details of types and qualities of the products.
b) Machinery. Types of machinery and output.
c) Necessary raw materials and their types.
d) Determine the number of factories in each District and the production capacity of each factory.
e) Determine the total number of workers employed in each District and the total number of unemployed workers in the region.
f) All other such statistical details that can facilitate the smooth operation of the manufacturing industry.
Department of Economy and Finance
a) Oversee the financial situation of the entire region.
b) All kinds of payments and income.
c) Precise accounting for the wages paid in each District.
d) Establishment of cost, manufacturing and sales prices.
e) Send an itemized account of the weekly output of the workers to each District, always accompanied by the requisite documentation, which will always bear the signatures of the responsible members of the District Committees.
f) Study the proposals to economize as much as necessary for the benefit of the collective.
Department of Labor Allocation
a) Receive from the Liaison Department the orders for the quantities and the specifications of the articles to manufacture.
b) Allocate this work in accordance with the conditions of quality and capacity of each production District.
c) Advise the Committee of Regional Economy and the corresponding District and Trade Union Committees of the manufacturing process and the precise number of hours required for production, in accordance with the orders received from the Regional Council of the Economy and form the Regional Supply Committee.
d) Draw up economic plans that apply the most advanced organic-industrial technology to certain production Districts or to all of them.
e) Diligently collect all new ideas for the improvement of production, facilitating all possible applications of the new ideas, and seeking to obtain international patents on them.
a) This Department will form the Secretariat of the Regional Committee, and will be responsible for implementing all the resolutions of the Committee, as well as those of the Plenums, whose number will be determined by the needs of industry.
b) This Department will also maintain contact with all the other institutions, whether trade union or economic in nature.
c) This Department will also have the right to appoint as many comrades as it will deem necessary to carry out inspections, whether at the District, local or factory level, and they will be responsible for seeing to it that the resolutions of the Plenums and Assemblies are complied with.
Department of Purchases, Sales and Exchanges
a) Import all kinds of raw materials, whether from domestic or foreign suppliers, and distribute them in accordance with the requests from each District.
b) Produce a sample catalog of all products manufactured in the region and store those products in warehouses.
c) Coordinate, in accordance with the Council of the Economy and the Supply Committee, every kind of domestic and foreign exchange.
d) This Department will have in each District a delegate authorized to coordinate sales and exchanges for the purpose of avoiding the shifting of buyers towards the center and to facilitate the distribution of the products.
e) Precise oversight over all sales in the region.
Department of Technical Affairs and Initiative
a) This Department will be composed of the most knowledgeable technicians of the industry and expert manual workers.
b) The mission of this Department will be to safeguard the industrial and commercial advancement of the industry.
c) Collect all the new initiatives for the improvement of the industry, carefully studying them, and providing facilities for the implementation of the new ideas.
d) This Department will be in direct contact with the technical departments of the production Districts.
e) Study all foreign patents and report on their advantages and their drawbacks.
THE POWER OF THE CONFEDERAL ORGANIZATION WITH RESPECT TO THE COLLECTIVIZATION OF THE TEXTILE INDUSTRY
The confederal organization will have its direct representatives in every factory of the industry; these representatives, who may be members of the Factory Committee of the Trade Union, will exercise control over every aspect of the conduct of the Technical-Administrative Committees, and in the case that abnormalities in their conduct should arise, these representatives will expose the abnormalities to the Industry Committee, so that the latter may convoke an Assembly of all the personnel of the factory to resolve the conflict or apply the sanctions that they believe to be appropriate.
The confederal organization will have two representatives in the local Industrial Committee, who will be workers from the industry, and they will remain in very close contact with the Industry Committee, and will always be prepared to denounce anything that would imply a step backwards in the revolutionary order.
In the case of immorality or something else that is not within the normal purview of the local Industrial Committee, the Industry Committee will have the right to convoke an Assembly of Committees to express its complaints, and if it is thought to be advisable, this Assembly of Committees will have the right to convoke the general assembly of all the workers in the industry so that the latter can issue their ruling. The same thing applies to the District Committee, and the latter will be under the control of the regional Committee, and the latter will have the right to call a meeting of all the factory Committees of the region in case of anomalies. The Regional Committee of industry will be under the control of the Regional Committee of the CNT and in case of abnormalities such as discussed above, the Regional Committee of the CNT will have the right to convoke Plenums of local and regional factory Committees, and, if it is considered to be necessary, even a Trade Union Plenum, in order to resolve any such problems that may be encountered.
Report on the activities of the Central Committee of Industry (October 25, 1936)
Once it had assumed its responsibilities, the first thing the first Committee elected by the Assembly did was to admit into its ranks, as it had been ordered, the two representatives from the comrades of the Barcelona office, who had previously been unanimously elected at a meeting of the personnel of their Department, the comrades Rabadá and Segura. At the first session of this Committee, it was noted that one delegation had undoubtedly been overlooked, that of the factory of Sabadell, which was completely integrated with the factory at Sans. Individuals from the recently formed Committee, elected as delegates by the Plenum of the Committee, went to Sabadell and, after verifying the duly conducted negotiations held by the comrades in the factory there, with some difficulties at first as a result of some misunderstandings, quite expected in such cases, but fortunately overcome with absolute unanimity, in an Assembly of all the comrades of that factory, the comrades Bernat and Vilará were elected as representatives of the entire factory, who have attended all the ordinary Plenums held by the Central Committee.
Internal Organization of the Committee. Its Activities.
Once these first difficulties had been taken care of, and now that the Committee was definitively fully established, the Committee was perfectly aware of the immense scale of the task that it had to accomplish, and considering that it would merely obstruct the Committee’s normal operations if it had to debate every matter with its 19 members, it was agreed to divide into special commissions, each of which would be responsible for various specific aspects of the task at hand, with the right to independently resolve all the minor issues itself and to approve resolutions that it thought proper, after studying each matter, in order to then transmit them to the Plenums of the Committee where final decisions would be made. Some of these commissions have subdivided into sub-commissions, in order to more effectively carry out their responsibilities.
The Committee Plenum, from the very first week, has met every Saturday morning at the Barcelona office, and its 19 members have all attended almost every meeting.
The various commissions meet on a certain day each week, sometimes during working hours and sometimes after work.
We have the satisfaction of being able to say that so far this organization has yielded good results, with regard to the allocation of the multiple tasks that we have to address.
Each week, different persons from the Committee are assigned the task of producing an account of the Committee’s funds.
This is the way the Committee has organized its work, and it has demonstrated before the Assembly that it has done so with all the power at its disposal required by the necessities of its tasks and with the intimate conviction that it is fulfilling the job with which it was entrusted by the first Assembly, and with the clear consciousness that the omissions, errors, failures of initiative, negligence, incorrect decisions and all the thousands of imperfections from which the Committee suffers are inevitable in all human works, which can always be improved by the same elements that are now attempting to execute them or by others.
The useful and necessary things that we have not carried out are as obvious to the Committee as they are to you. With regard to this question the only thing you need to know is that, for our part, it is impossible for us to get a clear picture of the moral and material benefits that have been obtained during the time that you have entrusted us with the responsibility for “España Industrial”, but you must always take into account the fact that all of us are only harvesting the fruits of those who, with arms in hand, have risked death, and with their hearts open to a future in which there are only the arms of labor, science and the arts, and fraternity and love prevail, they fight in not-so-distant lands to conquer human rights, to preserve what has already been won, to prevent other men from seizing from us the smallest moral and material improvements that the fighters for progress have with so many sacrifices been able to obtain. We point this out, since we have spoken of benefits that undoubtedly exist in fact and in law, but if the events that flow from the current circumstances cause us to have to make material sacrifices, we would only be so many fools if it was only upon these facts we were to make an unfavorable commentary, when this could have repercussions on the collective.
The financial situation
As the comrade from the accounting section reported in the last Assembly, the financial situation of “España Industrial” has only become critical recently. This is why the Committee approved emergency measures in response to the situation, in order to regulate, as far as possible under the current state of affairs, all available resources. One such resource and the most important one whose expenditure must be postponed, until the situation has more or less stabilized, is the payment of invoices for supplies received before July 28, the date when the activities of our enterprise were resumed, after the reprehensible fascist uprising; it must be understood that we are not saying that we shall renounce any of these commitments, but that we shall address them by making allowances for the available resources that we are acquiring in order to give preference to the new purchases of raw materials, facilities and wages, within the framework of the development of activities in the regime that has been imposed on us since that date. That is, those credits contracted for verified purchases since the date of confiscation of the enterprise shall have priority. While at this time we cannot be optimistic about being able to provide a complete and satisfying solution for this financial situation, we cannot say, as was stated in the last Assembly, that we are throwing in the towel, because we have not made any use of all the resources at the disposal of “España Industrial”, always keeping in mind the fact that we have always had to take them into account in order not to jeopardize in the least the commercial credit that our enterprise had enjoyed in the old bourgeois system.
For the information of the Assembly, we shall point out that the total wage bill paid since the last Assembly up until this date amounts to 1,162,336.90 pesetas, of which 1,038,008.85 correspond to the personnel of the Sans plant, 70,019.20 to the Sabadell plant, and 6,251.40 to Valencia, as well as 95,268 pesetas for the monthly salaries of the office employees in the factories and at the Barcelona headquarters. Another 24,581.10 pesetas were disbursed as subsidies to comrades who were unable to work because of illness.2
The nature and origin of some raw materials that are consumed in large amounts in our factories, among others those of such importance as cotton and artificial fibers, have also forced us to make significant payments, because they are only obtainable, depending on the case, with cash, and in some cases must be paid for even before they arrive at our warehouses. We have managed, nonetheless, to avail ourselves of the commercial credit mentioned above, in all those cases where it has been possible, and have always accommodated and made an effort to honor our commitments at the moment when they are due.
Therefore, we have completely ceased to pay dividends and stock premiums, which were suspended at the moment of confiscation, the labor of our Committee having been carried out without the stockholders’ and investors’ interference, since nothing else would have been acceptable to us, as this is how we have interpreted the mandate you have imposed upon us.
One of the first and most difficult problems that we have faced is that of marketing our various products. Unfortunately, due to the territorial reductions caused by the fascist rebellion that have limited our consumers market, on the one hand, and the increase in demand for certain kinds of products as opposed to others, on the other hand, our various products have accumulated in our inventory in the proportions approximately expressed below:
Pieces in stock on August 8, 1935 48,213
Pieces in stock now 50,321
Articles destined for the needs of the war
During this period it has been possible to shift the production of some articles to war use, although subject to such limitations that are imposed by the special structure of our industry and the scarcity of certain materials, which has temporarily given work to some of our productive workers making commodities that will generate cash in the short term. The sectors devoted to the production of other types of finished goods for the winter season, and all those articles called luxury goods, have suffered from all the consequences of their orders being cancelled.
Nonetheless, the Commission of Commercial Affairs whose members sit on this Committee, also from the very first moments and with a view based on reality, in consideration of the fact that, as long as the current limitations on consumption for the domestic market mentioned above persist, a normal development of commercial activities will not be possible, has elaborated a plan in which the situation is summarized and advises the study of the existing export commodities, a plan that deserves the approval of this Committee. To address the practical realities in accordance with this plan, it has been necessary that day after day, patiently, they examine an endless number of technical difficulties of every type, such as currencies, customs, trade agreements, quotas, etc., all of which are intimately connected with the rules and regulations in effect in the various countries where our products can be shipped. In order to bring all these deliberations to a good conclusion, it has been necessary to carry out a parallel project, following the norms and rules of the Council of the Economy, where, by the way, we have always encountered intelligent and cordial collaboration. Today we can say that, regarding the progress of these projects, we have solid hopes, since, after a preparatory labor carried out on previously chosen markets, our comrade Rabadá, fully authorized by this Central Committee and also with the authorization of the Council of the Economy, has journeyed to these markets where, by delegation of all of us, he is administering these previously planned sales operations.
Another serious problem and one that we must inform you about, is the imbalance between the current cost prices of our manufactures, increased by the rise of the cost of labor power and raw materials, the latter having resulted from the decline undergone by the value of our currency, taking into account the fact that a large proportion of our finished goods is of foreign origin, and the price of these finished goods must be set by the market, compelled by regulations that make it impossible for us to attenuate this imbalance. Not long ago, in relation to this problem, the Council of the Economy was presented with a document in which we informed it of this anomalous situation, and we are assured that this institution, once all the indispensable data has been compiled, will provide us all the guidelines to follow to redress this situation.
It has also been our special concern to expedite as effectively as possible the production of those articles destined for military use or to obtaining them as soon as possible, and as you shall see, in a proposal that we shall discuss below, our proposal is subordinated to this priority, not without first having consulted and studied the resolution of all technical difficulties.
Changing fashions in clothing
A very subtle point, but one that deserves the very close attention of the Commission of Commercial Affairs, is the fact often witnessed over the course of the history of major social convulsions, that the latter entail new esthetic conceptions, which also affect the arts of clothing and upholstery, all the elements of which comprise our specialties and as a result imply radical changes in the articles to be produced. The most basic precautions make it advisable for all technical or design personnel to keep these factors in mind for future reference, and these trends have resulted in a transformation of the labor process that has obliged the relocation of our comrades from the “Jacquards” section.
Difficulties in obtaining raw materials
We must emphasize and explain for your consideration the difficulties, every day more pronounced, with which the manufacturing and textile industry of Catalonia, and therefore our enterprise, has run up against in its attempt to acquire raw materials. We consumed most of the existing “stocks”, and facing all kinds of problems in restoring our supplies of stocks, such as the lack of foreign currency for foreign purchases and the inaccessibility of the domestic productive and extractive centers, despite the multiple labors and initiatives carried out by the Supply Committees and the Liaison Committees and the superior institutions, it has been necessary and indispensable to distribute the currently existing stocks of supplies and raw materials to those work processes or finished goods going to the comrades who are fighting on the front.
These shortages and the interventions that the various entities and organizations have had to carry out due to the abnormal current situation have rendered the processes of purchase and acquisition of many materials extremely difficult, which in the past could be accomplished with a simple phone call. All of us think that it is possible, and understandable, that many of our comrades present here, due to your various daily tasks, have no precise idea of these difficulties of every description that must be overcome, which is why we feel that it is indispensable to bring to your attention those elements of judgment necessary so that you may perceive these difficulties and express your views. When a truck full of raw materials passes through the gates of our factory, many of you, always accustomed to such a sight, only observe the last stage of a process, but not the whole process. One example out of many that we could cite is that of the acquisition of artificial fibers to replace the stocks of our factory in Sabadell, in which it took twenty-two days from the date when this Committee approved its purchase to the date the commodity entered our warehouses and obliged a necessary daily journey by various individuals from this Committee in order to obtain the purchase authorizations, foreign currency, permits, etc., something that in the past did not require more than filling out three or four simple forms. This explains the many trips you have seen the members of this Committee make, not only within the factory, but also in the offices.
This Committee has sought at all times to be informed of all the many resolutions that the workers organizations have approved and the goals these resolutions seek to achieve in order to instill their spirit into all our activities, as well as to adapt them to the regime of labor of all of us, and is therefore always available to speak with all their directive committees, having found the latter to be always cooperative and obliging.
The technical commission
This Committee having resolved to change the electric power supply network for one part of the Spinning section, just as it is not being used much in any other part of the section, whose reduction in electric power and lubrication we have decided is of importance; but we have made this modification conditional on an improvement of our financial situation, despite the good credit terms that have been offered to us by the comrades who are responsible for supplying and installing the equipment.
New machinery in Sabadell
Two machines have been shipped during this period to the factory at Sabadell, machines whose purchase contracts were already signed, and while we had to pay for them with cash, because they were imported from a foreign country, we can say that their need was essential for the normal function of the spinning of artificial fibers, which occupies a large part of the factory and whose normal function and efficiency of labor our comrades in that city have been able to note.
A combing machine owned by “España Industrial”, which had until now been stored by a manufacturer in Sabadell, on deposit, has been shipped to our factory, and this increased the productivity of our comrades.
Materials for war industries
This Committee, having been required by the Commissar of Defense to issue a declaration of materials useful for the war, and being aware of the existence of old machinery in the basement of our factory, previously inspected by technical personnel and after close examination determined to be totally unserviceable, proceeded to register it as utterly useless, in order to place the materials at the disposal of the needs of the war industry, this Committee is pleased to tell the Assembly that the arduous labor that this process implied was undertaken by volunteer labor on the part of the comrades employed in the water industry sections, whose presence was not urgently required in their respective sections, and were thereby made available for this task.
Commission for internal organization
As for the regime of labor and its remuneration, many and various resolutions have been approved by the corresponding section and ratified at the Committee’s plenums, many of which you are aware of and the most important of which we shall enumerate below so that everyone may be informed of their contents.
Full sick pay for comrades who are unable to work because of illness, first approved for Sans, has been extended to the workers of Sabadell, who, because they are insured by a Mutual Aid plan, will not be covered by the Sans statutes for the first three days because they are covered by their own Mutual Aid plan for that period.
The various work rules approved by the various trade union organizations have continued to be in force for all our comrades.
Another resolution of this Committee is the suppression of all kinds of bonuses that some of our technical, commercial and production comrades have been receiving, which has resulted in a saving of 118,075 pesetas.
We have also postponed the implementation of a resolution, in accordance with our interpretation of the desires expressed at the last Assembly, to increase the retirement allowances for the comrades, leaving the standard payment for all at 25 pesetas a week.
An exception was made for the money set aside for pensions for the widows of two workers from “España Industrial” who were killed during an attack carried out in 1921 in a street near the Sans factory, these being the only two pensions we have found that the former owners had to concede.
In compliance with the resolutions approved at the last Assembly, those individuals who did not come to work during the first moments of the revolution and then failed to come to work thereafter without any justifiable reason are definitively dismissed from employment at the plant.
Another measure this Committee deemed necessary is the evacuation of the apartments in the factory compound that were occupied by unauthorized personnel, with the exception, due to the special mission with which he is entrusted, of the Chief Porter, comrade Alvarez, in consideration of the fact that the residence corresponds to the functions he performs.
It is the opinion of the Committee, with regard to the question of the replacement or nomination of comrades to assume responsibility for sections or job allocations, that the comrades themselves, and only taking into account the abilities and knowledge of the job that has to be done, will be the ones who designate the people to whom these functions are delegated, without any increase in wages.
We must also report to all of our comrades that, from now on, in order to obtain the necessary workers for the plant, we shall send requests to the labor centers of the respective sections of the Trade Union, thus denying the requests made on behalf of family members of the current workers at the plant.
Hiring of new personnel
An exception to the last-mentioned rule will be made in the case of a brother of a Sabadell comrade killed at the front in the struggle for the consolidation of the proletarian demands, at the request of the family and of the Trade Union to which the unfortunate comrade belonged and with the agreement of the Committee and the other trade union organizations.
Due to an unfortunate automotive accident caused by one of our factory’s vehicles, we invited to join our staff a son of the victim, who is sixteen years old, taking into consideration the precarious state in which his family has been left after the accident. This Committee judged that, since the trade union organizations were previously consulted, this request was just, and relying in advance on the noble feelings of all the personnel of our factory, this young man is now working with us.
The Commission of Personnel and Internal Organization is responsible for the drawing up of Statutes that are in accordance with the new democratic regime of labor and the norms of freedom achieved by the proletariat.
The rulings that have been repeatedly promised, and not just by the Minister of the Economy, but also by other institutions, that were supposed to be issued shortly concerning the regulation and structure of the new system of labor, have caused the Committee to postpone any attempt on its own part to resolve at the present time the problem of regulations, which we consider, as all of you do also, to be of the greatest urgency, since the immediate need of having to adapt to this new expected regulatory system to which we have referred has caused us to delay their drafting for many days, until such a time as the promised rulings will be issued.
The Statistical Commission
The Statistical Commission has been, during this delay in our mandate, informing the plenum of the Committee of the variations in the cost of labor power and the output and efficiency of the producers’ efforts in the factory of Sans. We have implemented a very sensible change with respect to the extremes of the latter, concerning which, in order to study it in detail, information was requested of the delegates of the Committee with respect to the causes to which they could attribute these changes. This study led to the notice that you have seen posted at the gates of the factory and in various other locations.
The Sub-commission for Social Assistance
In order to facilitate the distribution of labor in the many varieties overseen by the comrades of the Personnel Committee, as we pointed out above, the Sub-commission of Social Assistance was created, whose first study dealt with the reorganization of the nursery and day-care services. To this end, as you have seen, their direction was entrusted to technical and specialized personnel.
This Committee thought that the nursery and day-care services required the care of specialists and that we should not be sparing of care for the little ones of today, who will be the men of tomorrow. For this reason the rules established by the current director of these services are being followed, in order to adapt all the suggestions to modernize and make more pleasant our young ones’ stay in these departments.
We need, we plead and hope that, all the suggestions, initiatives or requests concerning this special task that you will believe to be appropriate, you will bring to the Committee’s attention, without any hesitations, in the assurance that you should be most attentive to this Commission, since it is by means of your own efforts that we can obtain the maximum efficiency and improvement of these services.
The Commission for Internal Organization has recently ruled that at the entry to the factory, besides the usual door-wardens, there should also be a permanent armed guard. This measure, fully debated at the Committee Plenum, which, of course, is responsible for such matters, like all its other decisions, is undoubtedly considered to be a sensitive issue, and that is why we are now bringing it to your attention. Commissions of armed individuals have presented themselves at the factory gates on various occasions, intending to enter the factory with their weapons in hand, sometimes for the purpose of requisitioning transport vehicles and for other reasons on other occasions, sometimes successfully, without paying any attention to the requests of the unarmed door-wardens at the gates. This was considered intolerable, and that is why a permanent armed guard was established. This Committee, however, will as soon as possible seek to abolish this post, since it is the first to regret its necessity and accepts full responsibility for the bad impression this has made on those who are not acquainted with the true reasons for its ruling.
The report of the comrades of Sabadell
The comrades of Sabadell have delivered to us a report on that production center, which is summarized in the report you are reading now. We must note, however, one striking aspect of that report, and concerning which we are pleased to inform the Assembly, and this is that the work in that factory is being carried on perfectly normally, having registered, after confiscation, a decrease in the production cost of the goods, at the same time that we are also informed that the 124 workers, our comrades of Sabadell, identify wholly with the workers of Sans.
The need for further improvements and additional projects
We have received requests for further improvements and additional projects that are thought to be necessary. This Committee shares the good intentions that have motivated these requests, but it regrets that it has to announce that it has been unable to carry them out as was its intention, since, first of all, the requisite personnel are occupied with other improvements, and second of all, we cannot ourselves assume sole responsibility for carrying out projects whose costs are beyond our current economic possibilities. We, the workers, who, by being in contact with the consequences, have always had to regret the imperfections and defects of everything that affects the safety and hygiene of the personnel in the factories and workshops, now that we enjoy full powers to remedy them, are incapable of doing so to the full extent we would like.
This is, however, the situation of all revolutionary periods; but you know, comrades, just how important this question is for making man’s life in the factory as pleasant as we desire and we have this goal before our eyes.
How often the Assembly shall meet
This Assembly, as we see it, is convoked at what we could call reasonable intervals. It is true that there was no resolution at the last general meeting concerning the precise date when this Assembly should be held, nor does any current Statute set forth how often the Assembly shall meet. Flyers are currently being circulated concerning this issue; some call for monthly meetings, others quarterly meetings. We believe that, since the last meeting, nothing serious has taken place that would have justified the convocation of a general assembly. There is no doubt that today’s agenda contains certain issues of obvious importance, but even without such issues of importance we would have summoned the comrades from their homes, since we consider the time that has passed since the last meeting to be reasonable. It is no less true, however, that in a meeting of militants and Committees it was suggested or requested that an Assembly should be held soon.
This is the summary of the activities of this Committee that is submitted for the consideration of the Assembly; and we understand that if you find some omission in it, you should attribute it to forgetfulness or carelessness, or to our desire not to make this report endless, and we are here, as at every other moment, ready to provide any clarifications or explanations that may be requested of us.
The Central Committee
3. MISCELLANEOUS INDUSTRIES
Hispano-Suiza—The optical industry, born from the Revolution—The collectivized C.A.M.P.S.A. of Catalonia
The workshops of this important enterprise are working most intensely and with the greatest variety for the supply of the working class militias. The trade union organizations proceeded from the very beginning to confiscate the factory, and the workers have been entirely reorganized under the direction of the institutions created by the proletariat for that purpose, adapting the factory to the needs imposed by the civil war. Never before has a factory’s production been so completely transformed from peacetime to war production. All war production in the factories of the metal industry is subject to the control of the Committee of Militias, which acts through a direct delegate specially appointed for this task. The comrade who performs such a complicated and sensitive function is one of the most outstanding members of the Metal Workers Trade Union (CNT), whose offices are located in Hispano-Suiza. In this factory the direction of the war-related metal production is concentrated.
1,400 workers are employed in what has become a collectivized enterprise. The weekly payroll amounts to approximately 110,000 pesetas.
The internal direction of the factory is under the control of an Enterprise Committee, composed of a representative of each section, and one each for the technical staff, the clerks, engineers, etc.
The following special projects have been undertaken:
The manufacture of hand grenades.
Machine gun tripods.
Belts and rucksacks.
Planning is underway for the manufacture of tanks and artillery.
Among the things that were previously made at Hispano-Suiza, the manufacture of automobiles and airplane engines continues, some of which have been delivered to the airport at Prat and to the Madrid Government.
The spirit of the workers is admirable. All do their best to complete these projects, which are veritable front line outposts in the war against fascism. In the first seven days 15 trucks were armored with double layers of steel plate and cork padding, which is a true “record”. All these trucks have already been sent to the front in Aragon.
The production of hand grenades amounts to 500 per day, which, completely finished, are delivered for shipment. We need only add that they are well made and powerful.
At the present time it is not possible to compare current production figures with those of the past, due to the fact that the production process has been transformed and the complex situation created by the civil war renders all such calculations idle. We present below, however, an account of the progress of this factory, which will make its financial situation all the more interesting, since it is one of the most genuine expressions of the capabilities of the proletariat and of the new form of organization, which is born already concealing the seed of promise for the future.
THE OPTICAL INDUSTRY IS BORN FROM THE REVOLUTION
It seems impossible, but it is true. Prior to July 19, there was no optical industry in Spain, if by that term you understand one of the accepted meanings of the term, according to which industry is the sum and whole of the industries of one single industry or of various kinds of industries of a country or a region or part of a region.
The domestic bourgeoisie should have been capable of carrying out the work needed to raise the Spanish optical industry to the level of that of the other countries in which the faltering capitalist regime still prevails. This was not the case, however. Prior to July 19 the optical glass sector was distributed among sixty-five workshops, with the same number of owners, in which the very idea of consolidation had never even arisen.
Life therefore painfully evolved in this imitation of an industry, dominated by imported products. Nothing or almost nothing was manufactured in Spain, and only the grinding and polishing was done here, a simple enough activity if you take into account the numerous steps involved in the manufacture of optical glass.
Everyone is familiar with them. A photograph has made the rounds of the world of the proletariat and made them famous. Those binoculars that hang from the noble breast of our great Durruti were his most distinctive emblem. The glorious fighter, who still lives in our hearts, did not need to flaunt stars, epaulets or medals to convince himself and his subordinates that he was not only a leader, but one of the strongest pillars of the Revolution. His only distinguishing hallmark, the one that he was most fond of, were those binoculars hanging around his neck that were captured by the photographer and which, covering his generous and noble heart, extended the radius of his vision to the infinite.
These binoculars, together with more or less all of the optical equipment provided to the entire Durruti Column when it formed and left for the front, in the first days of the movement, were the products of the efforts of all the workers of the optical industry of Barcelona, who, taking over the most important workshops of the profession, worked tirelessly day and night to attend to the needs of their brothers who were marching to the front.
The first accords—Planting in familiar soil
When the struggle in the streets of Barcelona came to an end, a struggle in which all the workers of the industry took an active part, the latter met for the purpose of making some decisions about their industry. One of their first resolutions was to do everything necessary to carry out the collectivization of the industry and, as collectivization proceeded, to establish in each workshop a Control Committee that would prevent the employers from absconding with funds and goods.
Immediately thereafter a study was undertaken to determine how to reduce the expenses of the industry that was being born at that moment, and the standard family wage was established, in the hope that the Organization would issue general directives to that effect.
Today, the women who work in the optical glass workshops make the same salary as the men; that is, there are no separate categories or pay scales based on gender. Everyone earns the same amount. At the age of twenty-four the workers earn the four hundred pesetas per month that was established in the accord; but if, before reaching this age—at the age of eighteen, for example—they get married, they automatically become eligible to receive the four hundred pesetas, plus fifty pesetas for each dependent person who relies on their incomes. These dependents include their parents and anyone who lives under the worker’s roof, even if they are not members of his family.
The consolidated factory—The creation of the industry
Despite the obvious increase in the cost of living after the beginning of the movement, the comrades of the collectivized Optical section, affiliated with the Trade Union of the Glass Industry, did not increase the salaries that they chose to pay themselves at the beginning of the movement. All their efforts and all their desires converged on one idea: collectivization and with it the creation of a factory that embraces all the specialties of the industry.
The goals of the workers were achieved. The factory is in operation and the industry that did not exist before has been born there.
The study and the perseverance of the workers in this factory have resulted in the fabrication of scientific lenses and quality color crystal lenses that are as good as those produced in other countries, and among the most important sectors of the industry is the celluloid production sector, where every variety of film is produced; stamped aluminum cases; containers made of celluloid, leather and cardboard; assembly lines for the production of metal shielding and protective goggles for automobile drivers, aviators, and welders and other occupations.
As a complement to all these sectors, there is a mechanical sector that supplies the others with all their equipment and fabricates the small machines for independent optical firms.
A single warehouse for optical instruments
Just as the industry has organized itself by accumulating in one place all the equipment of the various small workshops, always inspired by collectivization and determined in their desire to reduce costs, the workers have concentrated all the warehouses into one warehouse. From this new warehouse the industry supplies all the retail outlets in Barcelona as well as the export trade.
There are sections for special orders, such as those for lenses, frames, film and cases.
In both the factory and the warehouse, the needs of modern life and the comforts that the workers deserve have been taken into account, and showers and all the other fixtures have been installed that are necessary for this purpose. Finally, an almost complete concentration has been achieved in the economy with regard to the optical glass industry, and we say “almost” because there is still as small fraction of unabsorbed workshops, which will eventually recognize the importance of the achievements of the workers.
The creation of a school of optics
The Optical Glass Sector is incubating many projects. Thanks to the hard work it has devoted to planning, very soon this Sector will be prepared to supply to the Council of War as many scientific instruments as it needs, besides binoculars, such as goniometers, goggles, rangefinders and, in short, everything required by war. Currently, despite the fact that the equipment for the construction of such instruments has not yet been adapted to the new system, all the damaged equipment that has been sent back from the front is being repaired.
But the most important project is that of the creation of the Technical School for the Industry. The intricate specialties of this industry do not allow for the easy training of operatives. The School will train workers by giving them hands-on experience in all manual and scientific aspects of the trade. This systematic approach is the product of the constructive spirit that animates the workers of the Optical Industry who are members of the CNT.
Foreign materials are no longer imported
The overall impression one gets from the work carried out by the comrades of the Optical Glass industry is that they have created an industry where none existed before, and which can today offer for the consideration of their brothers the fact that they have achieved total independence of foreign supplies in this industry. Previously, forty or fifty million pesetas in optical commodities were imported, and today this contribution to the capitalist enemies outside of Spain has been abolished and something even more important has also been abolished: the fifty and sometimes even sixty percent commission made on the sales price that previously went into the pockets of some unscrupulous capitalists who recommended certain products.
This is the extreme to which bourgeois immorality has come. These imports were especially intolerable. It reached the point where small industrialists, although all of them were entirely bourgeois, felt ashamed of these imports and attempted to carry out the cutting and polishing operations on a larger scale; but their own bourgeois colleagues suppressed them, utilizing every trick in the book; including the imposition of wholesale prices, which, once they saw that it was impossible for them to function under these circumstances, satisfied their desire for wealth by smuggling large quantities of lenses as contraband. Due to this criminal procedure, the lenses that arrived in Spain were much cheaper than any that could be produced here.
And this is, in conclusion, the work of a few determined men whose organization was weak before July 19 and who can today present themselves as a model of discipline and effort for the achievement of the ends sought by the collective.
THE COLLECTIVIZED “CAMPSA DE CATALUÑA”
This oil company, which up until now constituted a state monopoly, directed by an administrative council in which the government was directly represented by one delegate and four or five advisors, has been reorganized as a collectivized enterprise, run by the workers.
Of the previous council of bankers not one remains.
The personnel, meeting in a general assembly after the enterprise was confiscated, elected a Central Managerial Committee, composed of six comrades. This Committee operates with the advice and consultation of the Section Committees and assumes the responsibility for enterprise operations on behalf of the workers.
The Section Committees are each composed of two comrades, who share responsibility for the following tasks:
Shipping Section: loading, unloading and supply of ships.
Filling Section: fueling trucks, filling barrels and tanks.
Workshop Section: general repair of gas pumps and other operating equipment.
Supply Section: control and distribution of material.
Mobile Section: mobile brigade.
Technical and Administrative Section.
The Regional Trade Union of Oil Workers simultaneously confiscated the refineries in Barcelona, Badalona, Manresa and Vich. In all of these refineries Committees of Administration have been formed, which are responsible to the Barcelona Committee and which operate in a similar way.
The Barcelona refinery employs 180 men. Of the previous technical staff, the director has been excluded. All the other services work for the collectivized enterprise.
Working hours and wages
A six-hour working day has been established, with two shifts.
Wages have been increased as follows:
Skilled workers, 17.50; master workers, 18; assistants, 15.50. The previous pay scales were: 11.50, 12.65 14.95, 16.10 and 17.25.
Women’s wages were increased by six pesetas to 11.50.
These wages are established based on experience and are thus subject to modification.
With regard to shipments, permanent relations have been established with Madrid, where the Administrative Council of CAMPSA is located, for the purpose of coordinating this activity.
Motor fuel has been declared a strategic war material, and with regard to this product the Committee of Militias exercises control over CAMPSA.
Motor fuel supplies
As of August 3, motor fuel supplies, measured in Liters, were recorded as follows:
Automobile Gasoline 28,343,846
Binary Gasoline 1,987,000
Ternary Gasoline 43,777
Military Aviation Gasoline 88,386
Aviation Gasoline 75/77 427,291
Aviation Benzene 10,000
Automobile Benzene 7,000
Lubricating Oils 4,108,234
No. 1 Fuel Oil 300,000
No. 2 Fuel Oil 15,083,285
(Comparative data is lacking for average rates of consumption before and immediately following the July 19 and for the present.)
4. THE ORGANIZATION OF THE FOOD SUPPLY
“THE DANCE COMES FROM THE BELLY”
This refrain, which the gaunt farmers of Castile pass on from father to son, perhaps from the need to concentrate in one sentence the harsh experience of their days from sunrise to sunset, with little bread and hard work, is the one that is most applicable to the dramatic situation of Spain today. The bodies of Moors found in the vicinity of Madrid, bearing all the signs of starvation; the declarations of Hedilla, the leader of the Phalange, in which he expresses his sympathy for his fascists who march into battle with hardly anything to eat; and the “one meal days” imposed by Quepo de Llano on the impoverished people of Seville are perhaps—besides, of course, being reprehensible for other powerful reasons—the best evidence of the strategic failures of the scheming generals. The pronounced obsession of the rebel radio broadcasts, which constantly speak of our lack of food and how plentiful food is among the rebels, is nothing but a reflection of the nagging fear of malnutrition; the same concern expressed by the farmers of Castile, that is betrayed by the transmission from generation to generation of the refrain summarized by these lines.
For all these reasons the current importance of the Food Supply Trade Union of Barcelona will be obvious, in whose hands the organization of this sector is placed, which is the basis of our activity.
The comrade secretary, a man completely familiar with all the aspects of the problem, has placed himself at our disposal in order to provide us with the data presented below.
THE VARIOUS SECTIONS OF THE TRADE UNION—THE BASIC FOOD INDUSTRIES
“There are approximately thirty Sections of the Food Supply Trade Union,” the secretary tells us. “Strictly speaking, not all of these Sections are Food Supply Sections, since, for instance, the Trade Union of Domestic Servants also belongs to our organization. We are not producers, but rather the people who are responsible for adapting the raw material for the needs of the collectivity.”
“What are the basic industries of the Trade Union?”
“Flour and bakeries, sugar, meat and dairy, wines and liquors, poultry, eggs and game, and cafes and restaurants.”
THE BATTLE FOR WHEAT WAS FORESEEN BY THE CNT
“Five months ago we saw that we had to create a considerable ‘stockpile’ of wheat in Barcelona. For the main problem, as we understood quite well, is not the problem of bread: it is the problem of wheat.”
“It is simply the fact that, besides the war, which presupposes a lack of bread, there is also the problem of the lack of wheat by-products. The by-products and the wastes of wheat production are indispensable for many things, among others the feeding of livestock. This is why it is not flour that we have to buy from foreign suppliers, but wheat. When the time came we notified the organizations, the Supply Council and even the comrades at the front that, because our forces did not control the wheat producing regions—Extremadura and Castile—we predicted a shortage of wheat.”
“What was your proposal?”
“Importing wheat. It was the only solution, because there is not enough Aragonese and Catalonian wheat for our consumption needs.”
“And what response did you receive?”
“They alleged that there was no way that they could authorize the gold expenditure required, so the ‘stockpile’ we sought to create was never created.”
“Did you carry out a serious study of the problem?”
“As early as July we demonstrated that there was only enough wheat to last three months. Afterwards, on August 29, we completed a detailed report and submitted it to the Supply Council. This report stated—and documented this claim—that there was only a fifteen-day supply of wheat and flour in Barcelona. This will appear to be a lie to those who are unacquainted with the abilities of our workers; this report, however, a model of its kind and one that could have served, if it had been taken seriously into consideration, to avoid the serious danger that threatened us, was produced by workers from the loading docks. No one has more accurate knowledge of the time that a ‘stockpile’ can last in the various warehouses.”
“One only requires, however, just the slightest knowledge of the problem to understand that the secret lies not just in imports, but in overcoming certain kinds of resistance.”
“Of course, there is no other solution besides imports; but if all the wheat-producing regions set aside their mercantile spirit, the need to resort to imports would cause the least possible amount of damage.”
EDIBLE OILS, THE SECRET OF CERTAIN FASCIST MILITARY UNITS—THE PRICES OFFERED BY THE REBELS TO SOME FARMERS IN ANDALUSIA
The CNT has also addressed another problem of major importance in the food industry: the problem of edible oils.
“From our end, that is, with regard to the refining, bottling and all those other operations that have to be conducted in order to prepare the oil for its export and consumption, the problem has been resolved,” we are told. “The comrades of the CNT do not take any holidays nor do they work shorter hours when it is a matter of serving the people. But the problem is not on our end: the problem is in the countryside.”
“How much oil was consumed in Barcelona prior to July 19?”
“One million six hundred thousand kilograms per month.”
“Two million four hundred thousand kilograms. We therefore have an increase of eight hundred thousand kilograms per month in consumption—maybe even more, because the figure had increased since these statistics were compiled—and we will have to deal with this.”
“To what factor do you attribute this rise in the consumption figures?”
“There is no doubt that the wage increases for the workers, implemented during the first weeks of the movement, led to an increase in buying power for the people of Barcelona. We should not be surprised that oil, a product that is basic for life, should be purchased in larger quantities than before.”
“But Spain’s oil production is sufficient to cover this increase. Or else maybe the surplus that was previously devoted to export….”
“That is the problem. Spain is the number one exporter of olive oil in the world, and one of the top exporting regions in Spain is Catalonia. Thus we witness the picturesque case where our oils are being sent to Italy, France and Portugal, where they are bottled and shipped to America. This ‘affair’ was so scandalous that ever since the Dictatorship there has been a trend to attempt to certify the legitimacy of Spanish oil.”
“What remedy do you propose?”
“Simply, control the export trade. We have drafted a plan to regulate exports, since this cannot be done in a piecemeal and uncoordinated manner, because this would damage the economy in general. Control over oil is liquid gold; this is so much the case that the economic basis of the operations of the rebel military in Andalusia lies in the conquest of the olive crop.”
“Is the harvest a big one this year?”
“It is the biggest in many years, and it constitutes the secret of the rebel attacks in many Andalusian regions. One needs only a little acquaintance with this topic to understand the reason why the radio stations in the service of the traitorous generals are constantly broadcasting the news that they are paying 23.50 pesetas for oil, which is more than we are paying. The purpose of these offers is to encourage the peasants not to sell us oil. The peasants take the bait of a higher offer, they do not sell us their product, and then the mercenary troops come, conquer the region, seize the oil and shoot the peasants. The political objective is Madrid; but now they are attacking Madrid via Andalusia because this year’s crop is three times the size of the previous few years.”
“They can take our oil producing regions, but they will never be able to take advantage of the oil they find there. In Montoro and Bujalance there are likely harvests on the order of 550,000 and 1,100,000 bushels, respectively; but this will do them no good because the rebels do not have the labor power to harvest the olives.”
MILK CONSUMPTION HAS INCREASED AND ITS PRODUCTION HAS DECREASED
One of the Sections, in our opinion, which is of the utmost importance, is the milk Section. The distribution of this product has presented since the beginning of the war irregularities whose causes must be publicly exposed. It was concerning this topic that we now directed our questions to the comrades of the Trade Union Committee.
“The milk industry,” the comrade secretary informed us, “includes three Sections: cattlemen, dairymen and retailers. We collect the milk from the producer and transport it to Barcelona in specialized trucks.”
“Does Barcelona still receive the same amount of milk as before?”
“It receives sixty thousand liters less each day than before.”
“And the consumer demand?”
“It has considerably increased. The needs of the war, first, and then the wounded, the hospitalized, the refugees, the foreigners….”
“And to what factor do you attribute the decrease in production?”
“Besides the natural disturbances caused by the war, to the fact that in Puigcerdá and Seo d’Urgell a great quantity of condensed milk has been processed since the beginning of the conflict for shipment to the front.”
“And do you not see any solution for this shortage of the product in the capital?”
“Not a total solution, but I think that we will at least succeed in ameliorating the inconveniences in obtaining it. The entire industrial end of milk production has been collectivized. This is already a great advantage, because, by taking into our hands the pasteurization process, bottling and the derivative industries—butter, cheese, cream, etc.—we can successfully bring about a situation that approaches a normal condition with regard to distribution.”
“Do you have a plan in the works to achieve this objective?”
“Yes and it will soon be put into practice. The industry will be normalized and the ‘queues’ will disappear.”
SUGAR BY-PRODUCTS—“SUPERFLUOUS INDUSTRIES”
Another important Section in the Food Supply Trade Union is the Sugar Section.
This is one of the most important industries; but those that are derived from it are enumerated among those that are called “superfluous”. Pastries, sweets, bon-bons, caramels and everything that is not of pressing need for life, is now viewed with a certain suspicion, and this is natural; so natural that there is now a serious proposal to gradually abolish all these products.
“Can they not be abolished all at once and within a brief period of time?”
“This can be done; but it presents a serious problem: massive unemployment of all the workers who work in these industries. What do we do with them? They are men who also have the right to live. It is more sensible to allow other industries to absorb them, and by thus bringing about a situation where labor power is lacking for the production of superfluous goods, it is logical to think that the superfluous will die on its own, without the need to resort to murder. Nor can we forget that not all the sugar-related industries are slated for suppression. Cookies and chocolates, for example, are relatively useful and possess the advantage of serving as means of exchange for other products from other regions.”
“Do we have many sugar refineries?”
“There are few in the zones we occupy. There is one in Monzón and another in Puebla de Hijar, in which sugar is extracted from beets. In Barcelona we have one refinery, but it was shut down, because for the bourgeoisie it was more useful to produce sugar outside of the capital. We reopened this refinery on July 19.”
“Has sugar consumption risen since then?”
“To the same degree as other products, and this increasing demand is becoming problematic due to the inability of the refineries of Aragon to meet the needs of Catalonia and the rest of Spain.”
“Has sugar not been imported?”
“Recently, we received three hundred tons from Russia, and we are currently buying sugar from France; but these French purchases have something outrageous about them, because we are paying a price higher than the market price for other buyers. In a word, there is a special price for Spain. They know how much we need sugar and take advantage of this to carry out some ordinary exploitation on the commercial terrain.”
“And is this kind of relation with the French sugar producers unavoidable?”
“Unavoidable. The land conquered by our militias in Aragon contains beets in abundance; but nothing can do away with our need for exports, and with it the abuses of those who sell us sugar. Currently, the sugar refinery at Monzón is operating twenty-four hours a day, in three eight-hour shifts; but all this hard work cannot meet the increasing demand. We have to import!”
HOW THE FOOD SUPPLY TRADE UNION SUPPLIES BARCELONA WITH MEAT
When we address the topic of the meat industry, the first thing we learn is that 99% of the workers in this industry belong to the CNT. This makes the trade union’s work so much easier; the workers of our organization know how to fulfill the mission imposed upon them, and do not know the meaning of the word “rest” when it is a question of working for the people.
“With respect to meat,” we were told, “Barcelona relied particularly on Galicia, Extremadura and La Mancha. After the fall of the first two regions to the fascists, we have seen a precipitous decline in the number of livestock entering Barcelona. Therefore, only one producer’s market remains, La Mancha; but the herds of this region have been so reduced that there is only one recourse: importing meat.”
“And has a source been found?”
“Yes, our import program is very successful. We had to resort to obtaining frozen meat from Brazil, Buenos Aires and Uruguay. These meats, of course, are of an unsurpassable quality. Only one type of meat is certified for export; but it can be stated that it is carefully selected.”
“Can the food problem be solved with meat?”
“Certainly; but we must not forget the circumstances we are facing.”
“Will the ‘queues’ come to an end?”
“For meat, there should never be any ‘queues’. In Barcelona we saw ‘queues’ form five or six days after the beginning of the July movement, that is, when the ‘stockpiles’ of meat were still full and there was no reason to fear a shortage. The curious and perfectly well documented situation then prevailed in which, while the terrified residents were forming ‘queues’ and gave the impression that there was a shortage, the bullrings of Barcelona sacrificed more cattle than during the same season the previous year, and this increase in production can be maintained for many more months.”
THE SUPPORT PROVIDED BY THE FOOD SUPPLY TRADE UNION FOR THE WAR EFFORT
As soon as the first columns left for the Aragon front, the Food Supply Trade Union organized teams of butchers and slaughterhouse workers to oversee the construction of abattoirs near the front. Three slaughterhouses were built in Bujaraloz, Sástago and Barbastro. We also have also formed teams of bakers and cooks and, in cooperation with the quartermaster’s corps, we are attempting to manage the regular supply and rationing of all the forces at the front. Our contribution not only assures the complete provisioning of the militias, but also helps the economy. Previously it was the case that a militiaman had to have his own sheep. Since he was not acquainted with all the operations he needed to master in order to assure his complete provisioning, he failed to take advantage of all the by-products. Today this is prevented from happening by the teams sent to the front.
THE COLLECTIVIZED INDUSTRIES—ECONOMIC STRUCTURE—THE FOOD SUPPLY TRADE UNION ALSO HAS ITS HEROES
“Have you collectivized some of the industries?”
“Some wine and liquor industries. We are attempting to market all beer and vermouth products under a single label. We have also collectivized the factories that produce carbonated beverages—sodas, seltzer, etc. All of this represents a major step forward with respect to quality and economy in the costs of production.”
“In what direction do you think the Trade Union should go?”
“From the point of view of the new economic structure that inspires our organization, with a real sense of anarchosyndicalism. We shall centralize its economy, coordinate the accounting of all the enterprises, unify its funds and its labels, improve on the quality of its products and reduce the sales prices. In this work that is currently underway—and at the present time for the provisioning of our city—we have issued an appeal to the Aragon collectives. Having established direct contact with them, we have abolished the middlemen.”
“Your direct contribution to the fight against the military traitors has been favorably commented upon.”
“We would succumb to the fault of false modesty if we were to conceal this. On July 19, our comrades raised barricades, dug trenches, and delivered food to the outer neighborhoods at extreme risk to their lives…. Our comrade Benito Pasanau has been immortalized by his heroism—a street in Clot has been named after him—and so has our former president José Alcodorí, who died fighting on the Aragon front. On the roof of the ‘Damm’ Brewery the workers installed a machine gun. To summarize, the supply of the city was complete and normal during those days. Even while gunfire was heard in the streets, all the workers of the food industry were doing their duty. It was the spirit of the CNT that began to be manifested in that glorious dawn of July 19.”
5. PUBLIC SERVICES
Power and light—The transformation of the Barcelona Water Corporation into the Workers Water Supply Trade Union
POWER AND LIGHT
THE ROLE OF THE TRADE UNIONS IN THE WORKERS DIRECTION AND ADMINISTRATION OF THE COLLECTIVIZED INDUSTRIES
The Section Committee
Generally, during the pre-revolutionary period, we called it the Technical Commission; today, so that it is not confused with the Committee composed of technicians, in the new trade union structure we call it the Section Commission. Having cleared up that point, we shall also mention that since it is an industry composed of various specialized jobs, the latter are organized into fifteen-member units that elect from within their ranks three delegates to the Section Commission mentioned above; in those cases where the number of workers in a specialized job category is less than fifteen, they may join the nearest group that that is most closely related technically to their specialty, or they may officially form their own separate group, always taking into account the fact that wherever the job involves shift work, the corresponding sub-delegates will be named to temporarily replace the original delegates who have to work, to whom they will provide a report concerning the Committee’s latest deliberations. Naturally, there is a tendency for those who are designated as delegates to keep abreast of developments in their section in order to contribute to the progress of the latter, as well as to that of the norms of the trade union.
These delegates serve for a maximum term of six months.
Excerpts from a Section constitution
1. Assume responsibility for maintaining the output of the section at pre-revolutionary levels, based on comparative evaluation of production levels achieved by the same number of individuals and working hours.
2. With the agreement of the section, it will be proposed that the Plant and Building Committee should be consulted with regard to whether to increase or decrease production, since this Committee is responsible for the support of workers who have been idled.
3. When a vacant position involving a specialized job must be filled, with the agreement of the Section it is proposed to refer the choice of comrades to the Plant and Building Committee.
4. Since it is also its responsibility to ensure compliance with the internal work rules, it will strive to obtain the cooperation of the workers in coming to work on time, coming to work in a presentable condition, etc.; when, however, a worker engages in systematic efforts to undermine these rules to the detriment of production, or disrupting, with his moral or social defects, the harmony that should prevail in every job, with the agreement of the Section, it is proposed to recommend the dismissal of the worker to the Plant and Building Committee.
5. When a comrade worker has good reasons for absenting himself from his position, the Section delegate will inform his representative on the Plant and Building Committee.
6. It is the essential obligation of this Commission to oversee the safety of its comrades during the working week, and for this reason it will take such measures as are within its capacities, in order to prevent all kinds of accidents, and will demand, by means of a proposal to the Plant and Building Committee, health facilities, such as a emergency first aid cabinets and personnel trained to use them in those cases where these first aid facilities are located in the work areas.
7. As for hygiene, it must take steps in its Section, in every workplace, to submit requests for the installation of toilet facilities and when the needs of the job in question require it, showers as well, requests that will be transmitted to the Plant and Building Committee.
8. It will try to get all the individuals of its section to pay their union dues every week.
9. The Section will have regular meetings, and will report to the Plant and Building Committee regarding the initiatives suggested at these meetings, and the projects it has carried out for the defense of the worker on the job, so that work will be easier and more pleasant, and at the same time in order to foster his overall wellbeing.
10. When the Commission cannot resolve the problems it faces by means of its own resources, it will request the aid of the Plant and Building Committee.
11. At the end of each working day it will communicate to its representative on the Plant and Building Committee that its section has produced the requisite output in relation to the hours worked and the number of employees or, if this is not the case, it will explain the difficulties it encountered, as well as the variations in output caused by accidents or illness.
12. These statutes of the Section Committee and its delegates will be posted in the most visible location in the Section.
The Plant and Building Committee
The essential mission of this Committee is to assure harmony between the main types of work carried out in the Plant. In other words, it must oversee the regular functioning of the various components of the complex and delicate mechanism of the industry as a whole: manual, administrative and technical work.
These three forms of activity must be understood perfectly, or else the whole industry will suffer. The Committee must therefore be composed of competent workers from each of these categories. If necessary, delegates from the two trade union organizations will be added to the Committee. The comrades will be elected during the course of a meeting of the delegates of the different section committees. The election results will be submitted to the approval of the workers meeting in a General Assembly. These positions will have a maximum term of one year, with the right to be re-elected.
The mission of the comrade representing the manual workers
1. It is his mission to intervene, whenever he is capable of doing so, within the building or plant, in order to undertake whatever measures are necessary to resolve problems that affect two or more sections subject to his control (since, if these problems only affect one of the sections, the affected section has complete autonomy to resolve them by itself), and wherever the necessary means to do so are lacking, he is to request them from the Enterprise Committee.
2. He will transmit to the Enterprise Committee all those suggestions made by his sections with regard to filling vacancies for specialized jobs, as well as with regard to the expansion or the reduction of the workforce or measures intended to address infractions of work rules.
3. He will transmit all the communications from the Councils of Industry to his sections.
4. As long as factors outside the control of the worker justify the latter’s absence from his post, he will approve all permits granted by the Section Committee for absence from work.
5. On a daily and weekly basis, he will obtain from the Section Committees under his jurisdiction detailed reports on the status of operations during the week, with the quota obtained or the reasons that prevented this goal from being realized.
6. Based on the examination of the reports mentioned above, he will prepare a written summary, specifying what he objects to or challenges in these reports.
7. He will hold a weekly meeting of his respective Section Committees, at which each Section Committee will describe the initiatives it has taken for the purpose of improving the industry and the situation of the worker, as well as the trade union dimension of the organization, which he will then refer to the Enterprise Council.
8. His fulfillment of these duties, as a member of the Plant and Building Committee, does not exempt him from work except when absolutely necessary and when it can be fully justified.
The mission of the comrade administrator
In addition to the duties imposed upon the representative of the manual workers, the responsibilities of the representative of the administrative workers will also include: daily review and approval, involving the use of a stamp of certification, of the accredited documents of every kind of operation as set forth below:
Receipt and shipment of building or manufacturing materials, orders and supplies requested to meet the needs of the different sections, overall production and a breakdown of its current status according to its various aspects, raw materials in storage for the normal operation of the industry, payments and receipts, employees to hire and pay, current payroll, correspondence received and to be dispatched, increases or decreases in production due to loss or addition of personnel, as well as due to accidents or illness, etc.; every document will be subject to his review, since he will bear full responsibility for any irregularities with regard to these matters.
The mission of the technical comrade
Besides the responsibilities attributed to the representative of the manual workers, it is the duty of the comrade representing the technical workers to monitor the projects undertaken by his section and to determine whether they are directed towards the achievement of improvements of the equipment that would have a tendency to increase output and reduce human effort at the same time, for the benefit of the collectivity. He is also responsible for reviewing planning, the status of supply chains, and the provision of graphics and statistics depicting comparative figures for production, finished products, the analysis of these products, etc.
In addition to the regular responsibilities of these workers, which they are to carry out without any interference from their counterparts in the other sections, they will hold meetings among themselves for the purpose of an exchange of views concerning the various activities pursued within the building or the factory, and if these three aspects of the factor of production work together in unison in a regular and harmonic fashion, their overall perspective will be the constant improvement of the production process.
The Enterprise Council
If the experience of these three months of constant battle for the revolution in its constructive aspect, within the collectivized industries, has taught us that the workers who compose the Plant and Building Committee must possess indisputable abilities, it suffices to say that the selection of the comrades who are to form the Enterprise Council is an extremely delicate issue that must be carefully scrutinized. In order to be capable of carrying out the great responsibility that the direction of an industrial enterprise entails, special knowledge of all kinds relating to commercial and industrial techniques is required, in addition to a flair for organization, qualities that cannot be improvised or compensated for by either good intentions or mere devotion and hard work. It requires, like any large business, subordination to goals established in advance, goals that will not be achieved if the rules that must be applied are not followed. For this reason, aware of the responsibility that we take upon ourselves, we shall not overlook the factors of “social reliability and competence”. Our work can only be crowned with success, despite the difficulties that a revolution like ours must face, and we accept as the most precious of prizes the fact that we have participated in the forging of a new Humanity.
We all contribute to the consolidation of our victory by participating in the elections for organizational offices, suggesting structural changes, and taking part in the tasks of direction and execution in their trade union and industrial dimensions. The members of the Building and Plant Committee who have a record of competence and morality, indispensable norms for their election, will be convoked in accordance with the representative rule of one delegate per organization and per zone. These comrades will designate ten comrades at a regional plenum, five per organization, who will constitute the Enterprise Committee, and their election will be subject to ratification by the workers in their respective organizations. The position of delegate to the Enterprise Council will have a term of two years, subject to confirmation twice a year, and the persons who hold this position are eligible for reelection.
The mission of this Enterprise Council, which, as we shall never tire of repeating, is such a delicate one, is to organize in their various aspects the whole range of activities that take place within an industry, subdividing them into departments and specialties, such as: Production, Administration, Technical Services, Commercial Services, etc. The performance of the industry depends upon the dynamism and vitality that are instilled in these functions.
The Enterprise Council will be in permanent contact with the Building and Plant Committee in order to resolve and to harmonize those problems addressed by the latter to the Enterprise Council, and with the General Council of Industry, to submit to the latter any issue that surpasses its own jurisdiction and falls partly or completely within the purview of the General Council.
THE GENERAL COUNCIL OF WATER, GAS AND ELECTRIC POWER INDUSTRIES
This General Council of Industries is the unity of the Enterprise Councils and its members must therefore possess a sum of superior qualities that correspond to those of the Enterprise Councils, which is why its composition of eight comrades, four from each trade union organization, will be determined at the same Plenum and by the same means as that of the Enterprise Council.
These positions shall have a term of two years, subject to confirmation twice a year, and those persons who hold these positions are eligible for reelection.
The mission of the General Council of Industries, in close collaboration with the Enterprise Councils, is to monitor at all times and in all its aspects the real situation of the industry, always for the purpose of directing its activities towards the attainment of the closest interpenetration of the unified industries and to achieve the most optimal results.
Its task is especially significant in relation to the varying fortunes of marketing, both domestically and in foreign countries; the determination of the rate of production; the need to create, abolish or modify part of the industry; studies of tariffs and trade agreements; attempts to assure that materials for industrial consumption are always “domestic”, taking advantage of every opportunity; acquisition of equipment; prepare updates on the current situation of the industries with regard to banking, the stock exchange, loans, etc.; preparing statistics for consumption, utilization of pricing methods intended to prevent competition among the enterprises, to study the progress of similar industries within our country and in other countries, increase production when the necessities of the revolution require it; periodically draft a balance sheet depicting the benefits, both moral and material, that are gained with “unification”, etc., collaborating very closely with the Enterprise Councils in order to facilitate their work.
The comrades chosen to occupy these positions, will comply with the statutes of the organization, and will be responsible to report to the latter on a regular basis.
THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE BARCELONA WATER COMPANY INTO THE WATER SUPPLY WORKERS TRADE UNION
Thursday, January 14, 1937
The power of a trio of national financiers
The “Compañía General de Aguas de Barcelona” and the “Empresa concesionaria de aguas subterráneas del río Llobregat” together controlled, in the times before the Revolution, the “Compañía Española de Gas Lebón”—of which they were majority stockholders—the Málaga Lighting Company, the Murcia Electric Company, and the gas companies of Valencia, Santander, San Sebastián, San Fernando, Cádiz, Chiclana, Puerto de Santa María and Granada.
Almost all the capital of these enterprises belonged to the trio of financiers, Garí-Cambó-Ventosa. According to the balance sheets drafted by the workers of these companies when they confiscated them, the capital that the workers had to administer amounted to 271,382,296.02 pesetas, with an annual profit of 11,705,929.26 pesetas. This favorable balance allows for the implementation of numerous projects by the Workers Trade Union of the Water Supply for the benefit of the people of Barcelona.
Confiscation—The guarantee of good service
After the first few days of the battles in the streets of Barcelona, the workers of the Water Company who had defended their dignity with arms in hand convoked a meeting of the Employees Association of the company, its trade union body. One of the first resolutions adopted at the meeting was to change the name of the Employees Association to the Workers Trade Union, and immediately thereafter the assembly voted, by an overwhelming majority, in favor of a proposal that all the members of the Workers Trade Union should join the CNT.
With regard to Spanish capital, confiscation did not present major difficulties. The Generalitat of Catalonia approved the workers’ actions a few days later. The workers guaranteed the continuity of water service from the very start and undertook measures against any possible acts of sabotage. The workers were so thorough in the fulfillment of this pledge that there has not even been one interruption in this important service since the workers assumed responsibility for its operation. Reservoirs, tanks and pipelines are constantly guarded by militiamen who guarantee the normal operation of the water industry.
The Confiscation Committee is responsible for the technical-administrative direction of the water industry. In each section there is a technical committee with one delegate elected by each section.
“Has a resolution been passed on the question of wages?”, we asked the president of the Confiscation Committee.
“We are proceeding with the implementation of the basic terms that we presented to the former owners of the enterprise which they did not accept. The main demands were: a thirty-six hour week and a minimum wage of fourteen pesetas, with equal pay for men and women. The next thing we did was to implement a pension plan and sick pay.”
“And is the thirty-six hour week still in force?”
“The needs of the war have forced us to make some changes. Every section is working a longer week; there are cases of comrades who have worked forty-five hours to replace the comrades who have gone to the front.”
“Does the enterprise still have the same administrative personnel as before the Revolution?”
“We dispensed with the management—paid obscene salaries for which there was never any justification—of the entire head office of the Compañía Lebón and also of some technical personnel. Today, those who are indispensable remain, and are treated exactly the same as the other comrades.”
“And how are the workers treated?”
“Not only have there been no layoffs but, as a direct consequence of the reduction of the working week, we had to hire new comrades. This allowed us to hire the workers who comprised the category of permanent ‘casual’ laborers, one hundred twenty six workers who constituted the former pool of short-term contract workers for the enterprise. These workers—almost all of whom were construction workers by trade—worked for the enterprise before the Revolution as independent contractors, and were paid 10.80 pesetas per day for a five day week, as they did not work on Saturdays. Now they are members of the Trade Union and are paid 14 pesetas a day.”
The improvements obtained by the people of Barcelona as a result of the new organization
The city of Barcelona has obtained important improvements due to the new orientation that the workers of the CNT have brought to the former Water Company.
We asked the comrades of the Committee a few questions.
“The water rates,” they told us, “have been standardized. Now the standard charge is 0.40 pesetas. Before, there were zones that paid 0.70, 0.80 and even up to 1.50 pesetas.”
“Another advantage has accrued to renters. Now they do not have to pay for water as long as they do not consume more than the minimum set by the Regulations of the Municipal Health Department. If they use more, they are charged for the excess.”
“We no longer charge the customers based on meter readings; now we utilize the concept of amortization. The first resolution we adopted for this purpose consisted in raising the amount that had to be paid monthly for amortization so that, one year later, this amount will be paid off; but today we are studying ways to reduce the monthly payment and, as a result, extend the period of amortization.”
“Before, approximately one hundred forty million liters of water were used each day in Barcelona; now, about one hundred fifty million liters are used. But we have enough pumps, sources of fresh water and other means to double this quantity.”
“The Health Department’s decree will be observed, according to which every resident must use at least two hundred fifty liters of water a day. The resident who has a washing machine will use one hundred extra and those who have bathtubs will use another hundred as well. There are recent cases where households use no more than thirty liters a day and this fact is incompatible with public health standards.”
“The decree has not yet been published in the ‘Official Bulletin’. But it is nonetheless advisable to insist on compliance with it and on informing the public that the reforms we are initiating will respond to the new concept that prevails regarding the question of water.”
The consolidation of the water supply services—The problem of Tarrasa and Sabadell is resolved
“One of the problems we were most eager to resolve was that of the consolidation of the water supply services,” said the comrade we were interviewing. “In order to achieve this we made our experience and our technicians available to all of Catalonia.”
“Have your projects made much progress?”
“We hope to see them attain their goals shortly. Just today a resolution of extraordinary importance has been adopted: we are going to extend the municipal water service to Tarrasa and Sabadell. This first project of the consolidated service will constitute the fulfillment of the goal for which Tarrasa and Sabadell have striven for many years. Their aspirations to be connected to the municipal water service were always used for electoral intrigues. Every rookie deputy promised to grant the wishes of both towns. These wishes would come true only through the intervention of the workers. This is one more proof of the uselessness of politics.”
“And once the services are consolidated, will the people see improvements?”
“Undoubtedly. The rates will be simplified; residential service will be improved; public swimming pools will be built, etc. As of this date we have delivered 102,515.64 pesetas to the militias. We are not conceited about this; our obligation is to help our brothers and vanity must not be the reason why we do our duty; we only present this information for public consideration so that everyone may have the opportunity to compete with us in this respect. The only thing the bourgeois management knew how to do was stuff its bank accounts. Lebón made three million pesetas a year, which was distributed exclusively among its management.
5. THE COLLECTIVIZATION OF THE BARBERSHOPS UNDER THE AEGIS OF THE NATIONAL CONFEDERATION OF LABOR
The barbershops before July 19
On every street, on every corner, one right next to another, are the barbershops, and there are no regulations to restrict this abuse. The situation was made worse by the insolvency of many bold entrepreneurs who opened their shops under the onus of installment payments and thought they could live at the expense of the working class barber, who needs a job and who, hounded by necessity, worked under terrible conditions.
The barbershops that offered shaves at 0.30 pesetas without a tip were the answer to the wishes of the parasites accustomed to living off their fellow men. We shall speak of these persons in a separate section.
A shave for 0.15 pesetas and a haircut for 0.25 pesetas
A cheap mirror, a few towels and a bar of soap for every one hundred customers was the entire inventory of these establishments that called themselves “barbershops”. The work of the barber was carried out without any other remuneration besides a commission of fifty percent for his services. As a result, the impoverished customer (no one else would patronize these establishments) who came in for a shave, left with eczema, etc., and the barber himself, after having worked without pause and without counting the hours, was left with a daily income of three pesetas, which is not even enough to buy bread.
We have seen this variety of barbershop emerge, however, right in the middle of the Fifth District, we have seen them on busy downtown streets of the city, Nueva de la Rambla, in the Ramblas itself, Cortes, Aribau, Muntaner, etc. Not featuring shaves for 0.15 pesetas, but for 0.30 pesetas, without a tip. These barbershops have the same payment methods and working conditions as the others: the payment of commissions by percentage and similar sanitary conditions for the customer. This method of payment of his workers was very advantageous for the owner, and, quite recently, we have seen barbershops organized and operating on the same basis charging 0.40 and 0.50 pesetas.
The “better” barbershops
With regard to these barbershops we shall only discuss wages and hours, since the service was perfect.
Forty pesetas and twenty-five centímos for nine hours of work every day, was the weekly wage of the comrade barber who was fortunate enough to have a job. Over three hundred barbers were unemployed and large numbers of others made no more than twelve pesetas a week, all earned on one Saturday of work.
The strike last May, in which the eight-hour day was won along with a weekly wage of sixty pesetas, plus ten percent of the receipts, allowed the barber to earn a weekly wage of sixty-eight to seventy pesetas.
However, since the cost of these new working conditions and wages was paid for by a rise in the price of the barbershops’ services, this gave the employers the excuse, due to the decrease in the number of customers, to cut back on the work week and even reduce it to three days a week.
As a result, the strike that was won in May caused the worker to have only three days of work with a wage of thirty-six pesetas. And then, amidst such poverty and the crisis of our profession, came July 19.
The collectivization of the barbershops
When, last August, the Generalitat decreed the forty-hour week and a fifteen percent increase in wages, the employers were dealt a mortal blow.
A mortal blow, because the decree put an end to so much exploitation and to the pigsties of the barbershops that charged 0.15 and 0.30 pesetas.
The workers resolutely grappled with the problem of the barbershops in order to study the whole affair from a practical point of view and to solve the problem on the basis of an understanding of its cause. After fifteen days of study and discussion, a general assembly resolved to proceed to confiscate the barbershops and organize them by zones. This project was carried out with such determination that, after four weeks, we controlled all the barbershops of the city and its neighborhoods.
There were too many barbershops; the economic situation of our industry required the immediate closing of many of them. Nine hundred were closed, with a monthly savings of eight hundred thousand pesetas in rent payments.
Today we have no more than two hundred forty barbershops in all. Nor are they all of the most modern kind, but rather those that are most advantageously located. The building itself presents no problem, since the appurtenances of the barbershops that were closed were used to replace those of the antiquated or dilapidated establishments.
At the present time all the barbers have jobs; none are unemployed. Better yet, we have provided jobs for some three hundred fifty comrades who are refugees; these comrades have taken the places of those who have gone to fight at the front.
In the two hundred forty barbershops that still exist, work is carried out from eight in the morning to nine at night without interruption. Each barber works for six and a half hours, with two shifts over the thirteen-hour day, the day shift and the evening shift.
We have provided jobs for all barbers and a more complete service for the public. Each barbershop has two delegates, one for the day shift and one for the evening shift, who represent the collective and seek to improve service. They deliver daily reports to our central offices, and on Saturday they collect the weekly wages of the comrades of their barbershops, who are paid that evening.
This new structure allowed us to pay all the barbers without exception sixty pesetas a week during the first few weeks of collectivization; now we pay them seventy-five pesetas a week. We said all of them without exception because there are presently no unemployed workers in our trade union. When we refer to barbershop workers, we include under this common rubric the former owners and widows of owners of barbershops. The former owner is considered as just another comrade and as such he works and enjoys the same pay as the others. The widows of the former owners are also paid seventy-five pesetas for the services they render within our organization.
We seek to improve our barbershops and establish laboratories to discover chemical products that will benefit the public. We also seek to improve the situation of our comrades, because up until recently we have not been able to live. Today we have a total of three thousand one hundred members; this figure includes the former owners and widows of former owners who, as we have said, are considered to be comrades.
Collectivization has put into our hands establishments with a total value of some four million five hundred thousand pesetas, which we know we must manage for the good of the collective and for the benefit of a more just and equal society. If the former owners were to seek to re-open their old barbershops, this would prove to be totally impossible; many of them have nothing left but the walls and others only the name and the fact that their doors are still open to the public, since they are under new management.
This is the information that was provided to us at the offices of the Barbers Trade Union, located at Number 44 Carmen Street, the building that was once the headquarters of the ill-fated Lliga Catalana.
These offices have organized the barbers with great skill and competence; in them, most promising activities are underway in this new revolutionary era, under the aegis of the CNT.
EXCERPT FROM THE SPEECH DELIVERED BY COMRADE JUAN PAPIOL, OF THE BARBERS TRADE UNION, BROADCAST LIVE OVER RADIO E.C.N. 1—CNT-FAI
“Our industry had 1,100 establishments; and precisely because of this vast number, all of us were mired in the darkest miseries. One thousand one hundred establishments that represented 1,100 rent payments and so many other expenses such as lighting, which exacted an excessively heavy contribution from this industry. At the same time, we were the victims of all the suppliers of the materials indispensable for our industry, for which we always paid more than a three hundred percent markup. Naturally, this excessive number of establishments led to fierce competition, which had a repercussion not only to the detriment of the bourgeoisie, but also to that of the working class of this industry which was in no position to make economic demands; for the industry, due to its overdevelopment, did not yield enough economic profit.”
“After earning our meager weekly wage, we were obliged to spend about 100 pesetas on the tools of our trade, and then continue to spend about 1.50 pesetas a month on them, since the suppliers and the brokers, or some other middleman, have us at their mercy. Ours was a completely devalued industry, in which the bourgeoisie itself was completely incapacitated with regard to everything that had to do with the economic order. With regard to things relating to the moral order, its insolvency was unmatched. Therefore, given the form in which our economic and moral order had developed, the only solution was to collectivize all the tools and elements of labor for the equal benefit of those who worked in this industry; it must be pointed out, as well, that there are about a hundred owners, real exploiters, modern slave-drivers, who by means of their unbridled greed extract a profit of three hundred fifty to four hundred pesetas a week.”
“In agreement with the comrades of the National Confederation of Labor, we make the following proposal: reduce the number of barbershops from 1,100 to 200, which would save 100,000 pesetas a month in rent, plus 30,000 pesetas for lighting and a considerable reduction in the amount paid for property taxes. Collectivizing our industry would thus save approximately 150,000 pesetas each month due to the reduction of these costs. These 150,000 pesetas can be used to improve the conditions of the barbershop workers, and can not only resolve their desperate economic situation, but at the same time will provide us with a solution for one of the most important and difficult problems of our time: that of unemployment, which we have definitively and consistently resolved. There are no unemployed workers in our trade union; in the category of the barbershop workers there is not even one single worker idled due to a lack of work.”
“The 235 barbershops that remain employ all the barbers who are working as well as those who, due to a lack of work, are struggling in the grips of the tentacles of deadly poverty. Like every great project, ours, due to its ambitious scope, will inevitably come up against obstacles that naturally arise in such cases.”
“First of all, the organization of a supply system for the delivery of barbers equipment and materials, which is something that cannot be accomplished in twenty-four hours, but which can be improvised in order to buy time to design the perfect administrative system that must regulate our social, economic and moral life. We shall also have to face those who are unwilling, those who due to a lack of consciousness and social education and a lack of economic knowledge, as well as a deficiency of idealist spirit, were reluctant to identify themselves with us in this new system of labor that we have just established. In accordance with our basic principles, with the final goal of the National Confederation of Labor that consists in the suppression of the owning class, we have expropriated, in the most authentic way, the employers of our industry.”
“We have paid absolutely no indemnities; we have only recognized the right of all the owners to work. Buy incorporating them into the new system of labor, all that remains is the man, whose right to life we acknowledge.”
“The product of labor is divided with absolute equality. There are no categories among us; we all earn the same wages. In the moral order, as well, we all have the same rights and the same duties. This project was carried through by the majority of the workers. Despite some difficulties, the collective labor is being consolidated, and is highlighted by the most brilliant successes and the most hard-fought victories.”
“In the common labor of production, we have increased the weekly wage by 40 percent. In the moral order, the relations between all the workers have reached such an elevated level that one is capable of conceiving the hope that in such a short period of time the reality of our anarchist ideal has penetrated the hearts of all the workers.”
The Resolutions of the Plenary Assembly of the Agricultural Workers of Catalonia—Statutes of the Section of Collective Labor of the Trade Union of Valls—The organizational plan for the agricultural, livestock and industrial wealth of Sollana
RESOLUTIONS OF THE PLENARY ASSEMBLY OF THE AGRICULTURAL WORKERS OF CATALONIA
The Presentation, which provided a detailed study of the different characteristics that distinguish Catalonian agriculture, as well as a profound analysis of the psychology of the peasants of the region, allows us to summarize the following orientations, in the hope that they will serve or be capable of serving as a guide for the planning of the path that we must follow and that will lead us to the achievement of total collectivization of the land, a goal that is anchored in the principles of the CNT.
The characteristics of Catalonian minifundism originate in the spirit of independence that is so deeply rooted in our peasants, who, guided by their zeal to break free of wage slavery or the usury implied by sharecropping or leasing, embody this yearning in one idea and one goal: LAND! Their greatest aspiration was to own land.
And just like someone who is love-struck, burdened with passion mixed with ancestral egoism, the peasant engages in a frantic race to win or obtain his goal; he spares no effort, he works day and night, continuously and without rest, along with his entire family; he does not eat enough, he destroys his health and it can be said that he lives worse than his own beasts of burden.
Faced with this level of self-abnegation and sacrifice, we understand that if we were to attempt to carry out the immediate compulsory collectivization of all the land, even the land that has been acquired by these martyrs of hard work and of self-abnegation, we would come up against a series of obstacles that would obstruct the normal progress towards our goal.
The small landowner is so bound to the scrap of land that he has managed to acquire, that it represents to him a fragment of his own life, and we are convinced that he looks with suspicion on all those whom he believes are trying to snatch it from him, even if it was for the purpose of improving his well being.
And there is a series of reasons that justify his attitude of mistrust, because the peasant has learned from experience that so many people have promised to lighten his burdens but have done nothing but miserably deceive him in order to make a profit at his expense. The politicians have contributed to the formation of this egoistic mentality, one that is more typical of a petty bourgeois than of a proletarian, and to the moral condition of absolute mistrust suffered by the rural worker.
And for all the reasons set forth above, the Commission permits itself to propose to the Plenum, for its approval, the following resolution:
1. As we proceed to carry out the collectivization of the land, in order to prevent the small landowners from harboring any suspicions at all regarding our emancipatory action, and therefore in order to prevent them from becoming enemies, hindrances or saboteurs of our work, we shall respect in principle the rights of the small landowners, insofar as they cultivate only so much land as they can work themselves, subject to the condition that their cultivation does not obstruct or hinder the due development of the groups engaged in collectivization projects.
We are convinced that what we might be able to achieve by means of compulsion, we shall be able to obtain instead by the example provided by the collectivization of the land, by its transformation of the structure of cultivation, by means of the use of machinery, chemistry and technology, which with less effort will produce greater output and consequently will also give a new life to the worker, one that is more dignified, thus elevating the moral and intellectual condition of the peasants.
2. All the confiscated lands will be controlled and administered by the Trade Union, and as the Trade Union cultivates them collectively, this will have a direct beneficial repercussion on the trade unions and then on all the workers in general.
3. The Trade Union will also exercise control over all the production, as well as over the acquisition of materials, of the small landowners.
4. By means of the permanent contact with the other trade unions that the collectivized nuclei must maintain, the collectives will seek to match the peasants with available work, so that if one area has too many hands, they can be sent to work where land is abundant but hands are scarce, thereby putting into practice the principle of equality among the workers.
5. The Trade Unions of each town will seek to uphold and impose in their respective jurisdictions, seeking likewise to make them accepted by the other peasants of the town, the libertarian norms that serve as guides for the Trade Unions of the CNT, and will for this purpose submit to the following stipulations:
A) If there is a possibility of carrying out collectivization in a town, without any risk of encountering the problems we have mentioned above, they should proceed to do so immediately and totally.
B) If the majority of the peasants in the locality do not agree to join a collective, or if there are some who do not share this opinion, the Trade Unions will respect the right of the small landowners to cultivate the soil in accordance with the terms set forth above, and the Trade Unions will proceed to confiscate the large estates and the other property of the rebel elements, which will also be collectivized.
C) The Trade Unions are authorized, if the requirements of their towns render it advisable, to permit, for the shortest possible time that would be needed to prepare for the definitive establishment of collectivization, the small tenant farmers to cultivate their parcels in the same manner as stipulated for the small landowners, with the provision that these lands are always susceptible to being collectivized as soon as possible.
To complete the liberation of the peasants, collectivized farms will be established, where they will have at their disposal all the advantages that modern livestock breeding makes available to such bold experiments. Also, the electrification, urbanization and modernization of the sanitary facilities of the most isolated rural collectives; irrigation, grading and drainage systems; in short, a multitude of improvements that, contributing the greatest possibilities for success to all the new installations, will be the most exciting stimulus to lead the peasants, convincing them by the force of example, toward the most noble aspirations expressed in the principles of the CNT.
To conclude this report and in order to present a faithful interpretation of the broad-based federalism that the Confederation always advocates, we believe it would be fitting for this Presentation to proclaim the most extensive freedom for each peasant locality, with regard to the method employed and the time frame required to implement the resolutions set forth above.
STATUTES OF THE SECTION OF COLLECTIVE LABOR OF THE TRADE UNION OF VALLS
Article 1. In order to safeguard the general interest of the workers and to facilitate the progress of agricultural labor in common, which is so hard to apply to a land that is as thoroughly divided into small parcels as this one is, and for many other general reasons, this Section of Collective Labor is hereby created.
Article 2. These statutes will be valid for one agricultural year, from November 1 to October 31; after the latter date, or before that date if it is considered to be advisable, these statutes will be submitted for review to the General Assembly in order to ratify them or change any parts thereof that the General Assembly considers must be changed.
Article 3. Collective labor will commence on all confiscated lands (where such lands are not worked already by tenant farmers), in those that shall be incorporated into the collectives because they are not being cultivated, and in all those that the workers contribute when they join the Section.
Article 4. All peasants, upon joining the Section, must carry out an inventory of all the tools, carts, animals and land they are contributing, noting whether this property is rented or owned by them. This inventory will be rendered in duplicate; the original for the prospective member and the copy for the Trade Union Committee.
Article 5. Once the year’s crops have been harvested, any partner who wants to leave the collective will be given everything listed in the inventory made upon his joining the collective. This means that collective labor will be absolutely voluntary.
Article 6. The land will be worked by brigades. Depending on the characteristics of the agricultural labor assigned to each group, each brigade will be composed of a certain number of workers, animals and carts.
Article 7. Each brigade will have a delegate, and these delegates will compose the Committee that will be responsible for planning the collective labor. Any modifications in the work routine will have to be made with the consent of the majority of the members of the Section.
Article 8. This Section will establish a minimum and maximum family wage. The minimum wages will be set as follows:
First Category: Partners without children, or minor siblings, 32 pesetas a week, including sick time.
Second Category: Partners who have a child or minor sibling, 36 pesetas a week.
Third Category: Those who have more than one child or more than one minor sibling, 39 pesetas a week.
In those cases involving very large families or persons who are disabled and unable to work, the Committee will examine each case, and will be required to obtain the consent of the Section Assembly for its decision. In addition to this weekly wage, firewood will be provided to the partners.
The maximum wage will be defined as the standard wage established by the workers organizations. If the latter have not established a standard wage, the maximum wage will be understood to be 8 pesetas a day.
Article 9. In order to become a partner of this Section, one need only be a member of the Trade Union (Agricultural Branch). No member of the Trade Union may be denied the right to join this Section, as long as he or she meets the following requirements:
a) The applicant must be at least 14 years of age.
b) The applicant must deliver to the Section all the land, carts and tools that he possesses.
c) No applicant will be admitted to the Section if a member of his immediate family refuses to work in the collective.
Article 10. In case of the death of a partner, the other members of his or her family will continue to be paid the weekly wage of the decedent until the crops are harvested. After the harvest, the family will choose either to surrender the land the decedent contributed to the collective, or work that land on their own private account.
Article 11. Partners between the ages of 14 and 16 will earn half the established weekly wage. From 16 to 18, three quarters, and the full wage from 18 to 60. From 60 to 65, three quarters; and from 65 on, half. In case they do not qualify for disability pay, the difference will be made up for once every four months.
Article 12. The Section will also have an Administrative Committee formed in the same manner as the Collective Labor Planning Committee, with one delegate from each brigade; and depending on the kind of work it does, it may have a Secretary for administering the Section’s records.
Article 13. Each Section will also have a brigade of gardeners, whose mission will consist of maintaining a vegetable stand in the Market Plaza for the population in general as well as the partners; this brigade will seek to keep the sales prices of the vegetables they sell as low as possible.
Article 14. If, over the course of the first year an animal that has been contributed to the collective has died, if the animal is not replaced by another, a credit will be accounted to the contributor in the amount of half its market price, should the member who contributed the animal not want to continue to participate in the collective. The assessment of the value of the animal will be made with reference to its value at the time of its death.
Article 15. This Section will have a Savings and Loan Bank, where the partners may deposit their savings, upon which they will receive 3 percent interest.
Article 16. The lands that the partners of this Section have assumed control over as day laborers, will continue to be worked on the condition that they must deliver their wages to the Section. In those cases when, after the harvest, they want to withdraw from the collective, they may continue to cultivate these lands on their own private account.
Article 17. Once collective labor has begun, no one will be allowed to join the Section until the commencement of the next agricultural year. The period for signing up to join the Section will be the entire month of October; after the end of October the sign up period will be terminated, with the exception of those who are fighting at the front, since the latter, regardless of the time of year, will be able to join the Section with full rights in the collective, as long as they comply with these Statutes.
Article 18. All those who want to join with our collective labor, and, having joined our Section, still have some kind of paid job outside the collective, will be allowed to keep their jobs on the condition that they deliver their wages from those jobs to the collective, and will be limited to earning the amount stipulated in these Statutes for their category, with the exception of those militiamen who are serving at the front.
Article 19. If a partner does not work, the General Assembly will pronounce the pertinent sanctions against him. These sanctions can be applied to him only with the agreement of 75 percent of the partners attending the Assembly.
Supplementary Article. If difficulties arise with regard to the implementation of these Statutes, the partners, meeting in a General Assembly, may modify any terms of the Statutes that may constitute hindrances to the progress of the Collective Labor.
ORGANIZATIONAL PLAN FOR THE AGRICULTURAL, LIVESTOCK AND INDUSTRIAL WEALTH OF SOLLANA
Article 1. The trade union organizations of the CNT and the UGT of this locality express their commitment to organize production without favoring either one of the trade union organizations and to strictly comply with the accords set forth herein.
Article 2. As of this moment all confiscated land is declared to be socialized, together with all parcels of four acres [20 “hanegadas”] or more, if worked by a single producer, and five and a half acres [30 “hanegadas”] if worked by two or more producers.
Article 3. The comrades who do not want to take part in the collective, if the number of acres they work amounts to four or five and a half acres, depending on how many hands work on them, will have to cultivate the lands they currently possess, and will be barred from enjoying the benefits of the collective as long as they do not join it.
Subsection A) The labor carried out by these independent comrades will be controlled by the Council of Administration along with their products and harvests.
Article 4. An indispensable precondition for joining the collective is the delivery of all the tools, harvests, etc., owned by the applicant to the collective; the individual may retain personal possession of only his clothing and objects for personal use.
Subsection A) For the comrades who join the collective, the latter will take into account any money in bank accounts that the comrades reveal, and will record any favorable or negative balances.
Subsection B) The Collective will be responsible for attending to the needs of the disabled, the elderly and the sick family members of the comrades that join it.
Subsection C) The disabled, elderly and sick family members of those who do not join the Collective, will have no right to the care provided by the Collective, and will have to be taken care of by their own families.
Subsection D) The industrial comrades who want to join the Collective, will deliver to the latter all the tools, materials and manufactured goods of their trades, for which the Collective will assume responsibility, and the Collective will assess these tools, etc., and credit the applicant for all the materials that are registered. The independent industrial workers will be controlled by the Council of Administration. All the independent industrial workers will be forbidden to work the land or carry out any other business besides that of their trade, and will also be banned from employing wage workers and assistants who are not members of their families.
Article 6.3 For the provisioning of the Collective, the family voucher will be created, with the wage denomination of five pesetas and fifty centímos for a two-person household. Families with more than two members will receive fifty centímos for each member or producer; one peseta fifty centímos for each individual male producer and one peseta for each female producer. Those adults who are not members of a family household will receive, in a two-person household, three pesetas and fifty centímos for every extra member, and for each adult, one peseta extra. If the individual lives alone, he will receive two pesetas.
Article 7. The Council of Administration will create the type of currency that meets the requirements imposed by the circumstances.
Article 8. All the productive members of the families that form the Collective, have the duty to work wherever the Council of Administration appoints them.
Article 9. In order to prevent capital flight from the locality, the vouchers or coupons that are circulated within the Collective will be exchanged for the currency of the State in a quantity established for families that will be fixed by the Council of Administration.
Article 10. The Collective will draft, in a session of the Assembly of collectivists, Statutes in which the rights and duties of every collectivist will be set forth.
Regarding urban wealth
Article 11. All buildings will become property of the Collective. The independent comrades will have the use of houses that possess just what is necessary for them and their families, depending on the kind of jobs they do. The collectivist comrades will, in the most equitable manner possible, be distributed houses that have passed into the hands of the Collective.
Article 12. Industries will be divided or classified by sectors, and these sectors will be subdivided into sections, as follows:
Food: Sections of bakers, slaughterhouse workers, butchers and dairymen.
Construction: Bricklayers and laborers.
Woodworkers: Carpenters, sanders, cabinetmakers and cart-wrights.
Metallurgy: Mechanics, sheet-metal workers, blacksmiths, electricians.
Transport: Drivers, assistant drivers.
Leather: Shoemakers and leatherworkers.
Commercial: Typists, writers and office workers.
Clothing: Tailors, dressmakers, sandal-makers.
Health and Sanitation: Doctors, veterinarians, pharmacists, nurses, midwives, druggists, barbers.
Education and Culture: Teachers of both sexes.
Livestock and Poultry: Shepherds, cowherds and associated occupations.
Concerning the allocation of labor
Article 13. Labor will be allocated in the following manner: A) the Council of Administration, composed of the general secretary, secretary and office staff. B) The Agricultural Council, composed of various comrades who understand agriculture, who will be responsible for the proper cultivation of the land. C) The Agricultural Laborers will be divided into groups of between 10 and 15 persons, with one group leader, who will be responsible for ensuring that the group’s work is carried out in a responsible manner. D) The groups that are responsible for the care of horses will have one or two group leaders each, depending on how many horses must be tended. E) The Shoemakers, each with a group leader. F) The butchers, with their group leaders. G) Commerce and Supply groups with their group leaders. H) Group leaders for mechanics, blacksmiths and electricians. I) Group leaders for Construction.
Article 14. Supreme authority will be vested in the Council of Administration.
Article 15. The Agricultural Council will be vested with supreme authority with regard to agricultural labor, and the group leaders will receive orders from the Council and be responsible for their execution.
Article 16. The Supply Commission, together with the group leader for the Commerce section, will be responsible for ensuring that the town does not experience any shortages of provisions.
Article 17. The Council of Administration assumes all responsibility for the progress of the Collective in all its aspects.
- 1We took the liberty of inserting this subheading, in brackets, which did not appear in the previous editions of this work, for the purpose of making the structure of the text more clear. [Note from the Spanish edition of 1977]
- 2The numbers do not add up, but we cannot ascertain where the error lies [Note from the Spanish edition of 1977].
- 3The original text of 1937 omits either the entire text of or else fails to include the enumeration for Article 5. We believe that, in the latter case, Article 5 may correspond to the last two sentences of Subsection D of Article 4 [Note from the Spanish edition of 1977].