Chapter 8: The Attitude of the Communist Party in Spain

Submitted by libcom on September 8, 2005

During the first three months of the great struggle for freedom, when Russia was not bothering herself about Spain at all, the social revolution pursued its course with elemental fury and spread from Catalonia to all the other sections of the country which were not in the possession of the enemy. The peasants made themselves masters of the land, and the city workers, of the industries, and themselves set about the socialization of production without waiting for the decrees of political parties. They set to work with innate devotion and a painful sense of responsibility to build up a new Spain and end, once for all, the bloody peril of Fascism. While the element that was capable of fighting was hastening to the front, the workers and peasants left behind were trying to set up a new social order and so to pave the way for socialism. This state of affairs changed, if not all at once, yet rapidly, when Russia appeared on the scene and dispatched her official representatives to Madrid and Barcelona to begin their underground burrowing in the interest of England and France. Since Spain was from the beginning prevented by the famous neutrality pact from any considerable importation of arms from abroad and consequently had to avail herself of any slight assistance she could find, the Russian agents had a relatively easy job forcing their conditions on the government in Madrid and Valencia. This was the easier for them because the bourgeois Republicans and the right wing of the Socialist Party were not very well disposed toward the efforts of the workers and peasants at socialization anyway, and had put up with them only because they couldn't help themselves.

The Communists, however, under orders from Moscow, at once lined up with the right. They, who previously had never been able to speak contemptuously enough of the C.N.T. and the Anarchists because of their "petty bourgeois" tendencies, suddenly turned defenders not only of the petty bourgeoisie, but of the Spanish big bourgeoisie, against the demands of the workers. Immediately after thc occurrences of July, 1936, the Communist Party had proclaimed the slogan: For the Democratic Republic! Against Socialism! As early as August 8th of last year the Communist Deputy, Hernandez, had violently attacked the C.N.T. in Madrid because of the taking over of the industrial plants by the workers' syndicates, and in that connection had declared that after Franco had been beaten they would soon bring the Anarchists to their senses."

But they were telling the Communist workers abroad that their comrades in Spain were not participating in the socializing of the land by the workers simply because they had to win the war before they could think of the realization of socialism. In reality the Communist Party in Spain is only carrying out the orders from Moscow and, under those orders, has postponed the realization of socialism to an undetermined date because it simply does not accord with the imperialist plans of Stalin's allies. Anyone who is still in doubt about this will have his eves opened fully by the following words of Santiago Carillo, one of the most prominent members of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Spain:

"We are fighting today for the democratic republic, and we are not ashamed of it. We are fighting against Fascism, against foreign intruders, but we are not today fighting for a socialist revolution. There are people who tell us that we must come out for a social revolution and there are those who proclaim that our fight for the democratic republic is only a pretext to conceal our real purposes. No, we are not carrying out any tactical maneuver, nor have we any kind of concealed intentions against the Spanish government and world democracy. We are fighting with complete sincerity for the democratic republic, because at present we are not making any drive for social revolution, and this will still hold true for a long time after the victory orer Fascism. Any other attitude would not only favor the victory of the Fascist intruders, it would even contribute to the transplanting of Fascism into the remaining bourgeois-democratic states. For the Fascists have declared that they will under no circumstances tolerate a dictatorship of the proletariat in our country."

The same people who today devote themselves with such suspicious zeal to the safeguarding of the bourgeois-democratic world against Fascism and who cannot find enough hypocritical words with which to assure the so-called world- democracy of the honesty of their intentions, had not cared a damn when their methods plunged Hungary, Germany, and other countries into ruin and smoothed the road for Fascism in them. If they pursue another course in Spain today it is because the national interests of the Russian state are today closely linked with the imperialist ambitions of England and France. To maintain this alliance the holders of power in Russia lend themselves to the most contemptible betrayal of the Spanish workers and peasants.

For this noble end the agents of Russian Soviet diplomacy are now working at high pressure and with all the revolting hypocrisy of a thoroughly Machiavellian policy, which came to fullest bloom in Russia under the sign of the dictatorship and later served as a model tor Hitler and Mussolini. For there is no form of government so favorable to the complete disintegration of every moral principle in a people as dictatorship, which supresses with brute force any honest criticism of public evils and transforms entire peoples into herds of dull-witted slaves. Under such a condition, maintained by fear, falsehood, deceit, political murder, and an infamous system of espionage which makes a public virtue of betrayal and infects even the intimate family circle, the innate trust of man in man is undermined and all moral responsibility toward one's fellows is smothered at its birth.

Until the July events of last year the Communist Party scarcely played any part in Spain. It counted altogether about three thousand members. Its objectives were alien to the general character of the people and had no prospect at all of permeating the great masses of the workers and peasants. In Spain the trade-unions, not the political parties, had from the first played the most important part in the labor movement. Thus, the Socialist Party was for decades unable to strike root at all outside of Madrid and was known in colloquial speech only as "the microscopic party" (el partido microscopico), until by the organization of the U.G.T. ("Union General de los Trabajadores," General Labor Union) it little by little succeeded in gaining a foothold in the great industrial districts of the north and in a few rural districts in Andalusia and Estramadura.

Therefore the Spanish Stalinists now endeavored by the work of secret cells to win in the political and trade-union organizations of the Socialist Party a field which they would never have been able to conquer under their own flag. They succeeded in this way in capturing a few U.G.T. trade-unions in Madrid, Valencia, Malaga, and a few other places, but even with these successes they could not think of instituting any action of their own, as they had no influence worth mentioning over the great majority of the U.G.T. workers, while the local organizations of the powerful C.N.T. were completely closed to them.

In Catalonia, where the Socialists and their trade-union subsidiary, the U.G.T. before the Fascist uprising played no part whatever, the Stalinists, using the catchword of the United Front, succeeded in tricking the Socialist Party and in calling into being the so-called P.S.U.C. ("Partido Socialista Unido de Catalu-a," United Socialist Party of Catalonia), which soon joined the Third International, and despite its Socialist coat of arms is just an instrument of Moscow. With the arrival of the official representatives of Russia this underground boring very notably increased. What the Spanish Stalinists had to learn in this respect was soon taught them by Se-ors Rosenberg in Madrld and Antonov-Ovséenko in Barcelona.

In every country in Europe and America there exist hundreds of so-called "neutral" organizations which serve only the purpose of disguising the game which the wire-pullers in Moscow are playing behind the scenes; there are even a whole lot of well-known periodicals on both continents, which can look back on many years of liberal tradition and which have today come completely under the influence of Moscow. The same contemptible game is being repeated in Spain. Russian insinuations found willing ears in bourgeois and right Socialist circles and were making themselves heard more and more clearly among the Catalonian Nationalists as well, and deep in the ranks of Caballero's government in Valencia.