Chapter 14: The opportunism of the admirers

14

The opportunism of the admirers

International opportunism was never offered such ideal opportunities amidst the thick undergrowth of labels—anarcho-dictators, faquistas, syndicalists, aliancistas, “anti-fascists” and other “isms”—than those that were afforded, by the handful, to the men who held positions of responsibility in the CNT and the FAI.

And not only did they provide evidence of their obsequiousness with the example of their activities during the entire period of the civil war in Spain, but, with stubbornness worthy of a better cause, initiated a radio, journalistic and telegraphic offensive with the suicidal goal of spreading the contagion of their “circumstantial” operational strategies and concepts to those environments of the international workers movement that were yet uncontaminated by the confusionist virus and promising their solidarity and association for those who are always ready to imitate their capriciousness with words or a gestures.

Let us take a look at some of the concepts they transmitted, the fruit of their circumstantial offensive:

“We must achieve, regardless of the cost, unity of opinion in anti-fascist struggles, and the coordination of all efforts. We must achieve these goals, circumventing, if necessary, any number of blind, obstinate, unconscious or criminal elements, who are opposed to these goals and place obstacles in our path,” we are told by Federica Montseny.

“The former enemies of the fatherland have now become its defenders…. We accept militarization and with it we set aside, we demote to a secondary matter, our struggle against military discipline. We have recognized the authority of the State, temporarily suspending our old struggle against all state institutions. We have participated in the government and we are collaborating with it, in the tasks related to winning the war against fascism”, writes A. Souchy.

“We are getting closer to reality. And we are moving away a little, although only a little, from the venerable beards…. They have already fulfilled their mission. We now have to fulfill ours. And if they were to return, they would accuse us of incompetence, sectarianism, stupidity, if we were to have remained rigidly stuck in the past, regardless of how much circumstances have changed,” proclaimed, in his capacity as Secretary General of the CNT, Mariano R. Vázquez.

“The CNT did not want to become separated from reality. Without renouncing its final goals, it adapted its tactics to the demands of the time”, Manuel Villar tells us.

“For the first time in the history of the social movement, we, the anarchists, have joined a government with all the responsibilities inherent to that function. But this is not because we have forgotten our fundamental postulates”, Diego Abad de Santillán expostulated.

“Therefore, welcome to the cenetista ministers!”, Luis Heredia told them, in the journal La Protesta of Chile. “Our fatherland, the fatherland of all the workers, is the patrimony that we hold in our hands today.” “The fatherland is in danger,” the Minister of “Justice”, Juan García Oliver said in one of his public addresses. “Fortunately, the action of the Spanish anarchists has had a profound influence on the people of this country…. The fact that Largo Caballero has adopted a revolutionary position by acknowledging the desires of the vast multitudes, who are tired of, and disappointed with, parliamentarism, and with bourgeois legality, signifies one of the greatest victories for the position of the CNT and the FAI”, as one of the faquistas of Argentina put it in Acción Libertaria.

“The anarchists have changed nothing, absolutely nothing; neither with regard to theory nor with regard to practice…. The CNT joined the government under the compulsion of a special situation and circumstances created by a revolution that was not entirely in its hands….”, stated the Uruguayan opportunists via their organ, the journal Esfuerzo.

“Anarchism—not the old masters, but contemporary anarchism—lacks a historical vision and cultivates an abstract ideology that must always be sterile. The solemn declamation of eternal principles which cannot be altered at all, does not make the world change…. We have to study the possibility of escaping, in many countries, sectarian isolation….”, H. Rudiger blurted out.

“I have both faith and hope in the CNT and the FAI and their militants when I say that once the war is over, Spain, despite the fact that the confederal organization intervened in the official management of the government, in order to save the country from the invasion of world fascism, will continue to be the cradle of anarchism and anarchosyndicalism”, said Mascarell.

“We, the anarchists, still have our representatives in this provisional government, in order to diplomatically represent outside of Spain the right of self-defense, of independence and freedom….”, argues Cultura Proletaria of New York.

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Many other messages and proclamations of the same or similar kind were scattered to the four winds and the opportunists applauded loudly. And that was not all.

The incompetent and treasonous activity of the cenetistas and faístas in the various bureaucratic positions in the Spanish government caused them to grow up; their entire “innovative”, capricious, confusionist and whimsical past was officially vindicated. They can go on with their hobnobbing and associating, more openly, “incorporating valuable revolutionary tactics”, even without the presence of the “special circumstance”, with all the right wing or left wing politicians. In Spain, with republicans, socialists, communists. In Argentina, with the radicals, conservatives, etc. And here, in Uruguay, with battlistas, blancos, frugonianos and Bolsheviks. With all those who will speak of “democracy”. To extend the “anti-fascist” front across every ocean.

This explains the unanimity of the applause, in defense and justification, that arose from the opportunist ranks, for the cenetistas and the faístas. This was the voice of their consciousness that broke out in joyful celebration upon confirming that one more “ism” can be added to long list of “isms”: “anarcho-governmentalism”.

It was the realization of their prophetic ideas. The cracking of the old “principlist” eggshell, which opened up new horizons for the overwhelming “unionist” unrest.

With the reinforcement of such variegated and plentiful “circumstantial” conceptions, opportunism was rejuvenated in body and soul to attempt to carry out new incursions into the camp of the working class, in the meantime hoping to reincorporate those who had gone to Spain and to prove the goodness and the efficacy of their “tactics” and their ideological interpretations.

Fortunately, after some initial outbreaks of confusion, the working class and anarchist milieus have witnessed a rapid and salutary reaction which has made it very difficult for the new tactics and new operational methods transmitted from the Iberian Peninsula to prosper, after the setback they experienced.