Council of Foodstuffs Branch

Submitted by Juan Conatz on December 22, 2010

The foodstuff industries are made up of the Syndicates which produce and distribute comestibles from the factory to the home. Anywhere from ten to thirty thousand workers are engaged in this industry in each of the more important cities.

According to the statistical Year Book for 1930 there were, in 1929, 1,524 canneries, 726 sugar factories, 1,511 chocolate factories, 25,152 flour and rice establishments, 7,487 oil refineries, 7,008 beverage plants and 36 coffee and chicory plants. These official figures for the whole of Spain do not give the complete survey of all the foodstuff industries, but a fair representation on the basis of taxes paid to the government.

Let us take as an example the flour mills. There are some that still function with the old primitive grindstone; the greater number, however, have modern installations of motor power furnished by water, steam, gas, and electrical horsepower. In each of these establishments the workers would appoint an administrative and technical council; these councils would form a syndicate and the syndicates would be coordinated in the council of the foodstuffs branch. In the same way all the establishments would proceed from the simple to the complex, from the factory council to the syndicate; from the syndicate to the branch council; from the branch council to the local federation, and from the latter to the regional, and ultimately to the national council.

The cooks and waiters would form an important part of the foodstuffs branch since there would be great saving of time and energy in the collective kitchens, doing away as much as possible with the home kitchens. Overnight, by reason of a better distribution even without an average increase in production, there would be no one starving and no one suffering from overeating. This would be the first step of the Revolution in the foodstuffs industry.

Until the necessary means of increasing supplies has been developed, the average ration will be the same for all. This would be controlled by an adequate statistical service under the council of credit and exchange. The foodstuffs council would see to it that in every locality each inhabitant gets a fair ration, either in the collective kitchen, which would do away with the drudgery of housework, or in the houses where individuals would still persist in maintaining the family kitchen. As an example, in Barcelona there is a daily consumption of four to five thousand chickens but whereas today, only those who have a good income can eat them, tomorrow, after taking care of the needs of the sick and convalescent, the rest would be distributed in turn, so that at least once a week or once a month every inhabitant would have his or her fowl.

The same thing can be said for all products not plentiful enough to meet the total demand. It is not necessary to go into further details; suffice it to say that the organs of the Revolution can regulate the function of the whole structure of the foodstuffs industry, without in any way depending on middlemen or merchants. All syndicates of producers will have to extend their activities to reach the consumer, in conjunction with other syndicates similar in function. The present class of merchants would be absorbed in the syndical organism along with all other separate functions.

Of course, a great number of combinations is possible. The Council of the fishing industry could control the fisheries alone. But they might extend their activities to cover also the canneries, as well as distribution of their products down to the smallest hamlet. In the solution of these problems, necessity and convenience would have the last word. The essential point is that no function remain outside of the general organism of production, distribution and consumption.

A number of edibles and Spanish beverages have a favourable market in other countries, i.e., wines, olive oil, oranges, tinned goods. Such would be a sure basis of income for commercial exchange of products which we have not got in our own land, such as machinery, chemical products, cotton, and even wheat in sufficient quantity. However, we cannot take the index of export as an index of superabundance. Our supply of oranges, oil, fish and wines would hardly be enough for internal consumption; as at present the average consumption is very low and the Revolution should aim to raise same considerably. We do not wish to export the food of the people, as was done with Russian and Romanian wheat.

The consumption of meat in Spain represents an average of thirty kilos per head; in France sixty-two kilos per head; in England, 72; in Buenos Aires, 101. These figures are sufficient to show that of modern nations, the Spanish population consumes per inhabitant less than any other country in Europe. The Revolution, by better livestock administration and a more equitable distribution, would at least afford a minimum consumption to the worker and do away with the special privilege now exercised by the moneyed class.

Finally, the regional and national federation would coordinate the entire process of the foodstuff industries and create special institutes for ever more perfect means of production and distribution throughout the country.