From Fourth International, vol.4 No.10, October 1943, pp.311-314.
Transcribed, marked up & formatted by Ted Crawford & David Walters in 2008 for ETOL.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following document presents the views of the Spanish comrades now residing in Mexico. On a number of points – notably its support of the slogan of a provisional government and its non-support of the slogan of a Constituent Assembly – it appears to the editors to be erroneous. Other comrades have indicated their intention to take up these questions in subsequent issues of Fourth International.
The world press has repeatedly printed dispatches and rumors on the coming reestablishment of the monarchy in Spain. Franco himself has been compelled, for the second time, to make known the official opinion of his dictatorship. At various intervals since the end of the civil war the restoration of the Bourbons has been widely discussed but with greater insistence since Archbishop Spellman, special envoy of Roosevelt, went through Spain on his trip to Rome. At the same time the enemies of the socialist revolution in the emigration are agitating and attempting to constitute republican governments and they aspire, with an insistence undaunted by the kicks they receive, to obtain the sanction and help of Washington and London.
The people of Spain, particularly the proletariat and the peasantry, overthrew the monarchy which was traditionally responsible for the backwardness, the misery and the political oppression in which the country lived. The republic, first remit of the popular ferment, showed itself absolutely incapable of solving any of the problems handed down by the monarchy, and of lifting the country out of misery, backwardness and oppression. The decade that the Spanish political crisis lasted showed that the basic evils, without whose suppression progress is impossible, flow from the system of private property, independently of the political form that it adopts. The opposition between bourgeois property and agrarian feudal property that in past centuries gave birth to the revolutions that assured the development of capitalism, making possible bourgeois-democratic regimes, has ceased to exist in modern times. The feudal property, where it has not been destroyed through revolution, has blended with capitalist property interweaving with it in a thousand ways. The opposition between feudal and capitalist property, from which the bourgeoisie in its time obtained one of its fundamental revolutionary characteristics, has disappeared, being converted into juxtaposition or fusion. Its other principal revolutionary characteristic – the perspective of technical progress based on capitalist property – has also gone. On the contrary, the system of property is an obstacle to technical progress, creates unemployment, misery, political oppression, the degradation of the people, lack of culture, and favors dictatorial regimes, fascist or military. The bourgeoisie is now, in every aspect a reactionary class which no progressive solution could tolerate. The world in general and Spain in particular will find a way out only through the socialist revolution. The efforts of our organization in Spain as well as in emigration should serve to prepare the taking of political power by the proletariat and the peasantry. To the task all the partial demands should be subordinated; this duty is the only one worthy of the revolutionary masses.
The republic succeeded the monarchy in Spain. During its existence the republic was attacked continually by the bourgeoisie (incessant attempts at coup d’etats, the attempt of the military in 1932, the military-fascist revolt of 1936), and by the proletariat and peasants (economical and political strikes, insurrection of 1934, insurrection of 1936, insurrection of May 1937, and socialist achievements of the first period of the civil war). Following the line of development marked by historical evolution, the revolutionary cycle which opened with the declaration of the republic persistently tended to turn into the socialist revolution. Because of the policies of the workers’ organizations, opposed to the revolution, this failed, but then there was left the extreme alternative of Franco. Historical events, all the more irrefutable the greater magnitude they possess, demonstrate that while the proletariat and the peasantry tend toward the socialist revolution, the bourgeois and other reactionary strata tend toward dictatorial regimes that assure them the free right of exploitation and oppression of the poor. The undecided struggle between the capitalist-reactionary and the proletarian-revolutionary extremes results, and can result again in the republic as a temporary by-product; not the democratic-bourgeois, but the bourgeois and pseudo-democratic republic. Yielding to the revolutionary pressure of the masses, the monarchy left the scene. On the terrain of the republic, the bourgeoisie and the proletariat fought. The bourgeoisie tried to replace the republic with a dictatorial regime when. ever it felt sufficiently strong; the proletariat, in spite of the opposition of most of its organizations, tried to institute socialism in place of the republic. And once the proletariat has armed itself, all of Spain was socialized. As the result of the anti-socialist politics of the leaders of the labor organizations in Spain, the proletariat was again thrown back during the civil war, disarmed, and the majority of its achievement suppressed. The road to socialism thus closed, the bourgeoisie represented by Franco triumphed.
But this triumph, in the midst of a Europe that is already shaking from one end to the other in search of revolution, did not give the desired tranquility and stability. Seeing itself facing difficulties anew, one part of the bourgeoisie clamors for a monarchy; another, composed largely of the old republican political parties, as well as the same socialists and Stalinists who closed the path to socialism, pray for the republic and place offerings on the altar of Roosevelt and Churchill. The proletariat should respond to both of them: No, Messrs. monarchists, your regime is a hated and opprobrious past, equal in the last analysis to that of Franco. But neither do we want you republicans, because your regime, besides being impotent to solve the great problems posed in Spain, has as its object the prevention of the truly effective solution. If we accept it, it would take US, through a round-about route, to another dictatorship. The proletariat has its own program, and its own system, the best for organizing the struggle of the masses against fascism and the only one that can offer a permanent solution – through the medium of a socialist state.
In effect, the plan to re-establish the monarchy represents, on the part of the Spanish reactionary classes, in addition to the generals and the clergy, a maneuver aimed to avoid the revolutionary fall of Francoism and of themselves. On the part of the United States and of England, who will support this maneuver in case it seems too cynical and too dangerous to uphold Franco, it signifies likewise a Jesuitical move against the socialist revolution. Whatever change may serve the convenience of the United States and England, it will be based on the same repressive apparatus that Franco utilized, not excluding the Falangists, baptized with another name. Yankee-British imperialism will appear throughout Europe as the ally and protector of the servants of fascism. The world has had colossal proof in the dirty game played in Africa and in Sicily.
This is the fundamental pattern marked out by the English speaking imperialists for all the countries now occupied by Hitler. The same will be done in Spain if it seems profitable to them financially-politically to make any changes. The monarchy would be as injurious to the interests and to the political liberty of the workers of Spain as the clerical-Falangism of Franco. It would be based exactly on the same social elements and it would employ, with unimportant changes in personnel, and identical system of repression. The Spanish militants of the Fourth International should declare themselves strongly against the re-establishment and denounce it as a dirty maneuver, actually or potentially patronized by the imperialists in London and Washington. No means of fighting it can be excluded. Our militants must be aware and explain to the people that in the coming period the United States and England will reveal themselves as the most reactionary powers on the planet. The United States will be even worse than England.
Another maneuver, of different character and origin, but with the same purpose of choking off the proletarian revolution in its formative stage, is being plotted by the exiled Stalinist, republican and socialist leaders. They will try to carry out the plot at a reunion of the deputies of the old Cortes. Its ex-president, Martinez Barrio, is trying to constitute a government under his direction, probably having him as president. The Negrin group, on its part, does not cease to be “the government” and asks recognition of its authority as a condition of any agreement with the other groups. The Stalinists don’t know for the moment whether to play along with Negrin, as in the past, or to change to Martinez Barrio. Prieto sounds out the dominating imperialists and finds they have no interest in supporting the republican moves; and announces himself favorable toward national unity, that is, toward unity against the class struggle. All the differences and rivalries of the groups have absolutely no value for the workers, Republicans, socialists and Stalinists – the same as to say three categories of bourgeois republicans – adopt as a common banner the reestablishment of the republic based on the constitution of 1931. They propose to give to Spain, as an ideal organization, the bourgeois republic.
The Spanish workers should not allow themselves to be deceived by these political horse-traders whose spines are so flexible when facing the imperialists. They speak of democracy and liberty because otherwise they could not even aspire to govern. If they by chance should once again arrive in power, they would administer it, as in the past, with the dictatorial law of the Defense of the Republic, administrative arrests, the state of alarm, press censorship, the repression of workers’ demonstrations, the suppression of workers’ meetings, and the suspension of revolutionary newspapers. The Spanish proletariat cannot expect more liberties or more rights than those it can conquer through the struggle against its class enemies. The language of national unity attempts now, in advance, to sabotage the fight of the proletariat and peasants against their exploiters.
The Stalinist, socialist and republican horse-traders seek also, like their monarchist competitors, the help of the English speaking imperialists. To show their complete harmlessness, to be more accurate, their basic anti-revolutionary nature, all the groups vie with each other in offering agreements to the bloody accomplices of Franco and the Falange. If Indalecio Prieto applies his genius to perfecting a Spanish version of “Christian order” dictated by the representatives of Wall Street, the Stalinists extend their collaboration toward the “honest” merchants jailed by Franco himself because of their scandalous speculations, appeal to the requetes, and give promise of attracting to themselves the generals stained with the blood of the workers. It is said that, on his part, Martinez Barrio, in preparatory discussions, proposes to annul – and this would be one of the first acts of the Cortes – all the legislation after 1935. The blow would be directed against the achievements that the workers attained in 1936 when they conquered the reactionary uprising.
Whatever their differences maybe today, all these scheming politicians will easily reach an agreement as soon as there is the slightest possibility of receiving the blessing of the Anglo-American bourgeoisie. The latter, for the moment, deals with Franco, but if it is convenient it will favor the ascent to power of the monarchy, which seems most probable after the Italian events ushered in a new epoch of proletarian offensives. And only when the revolution shows itself to be gravely threatening, will the Anglo-US rulers resort, in order to check it, to the farcical assembly of Stalinists, republicans, socialists. Then this “Cortes” would proceed to govern, leaving intact the majority of the bureaucracy created by fascism, its body of officials, and its repressive bodies, as well as its judiciary. With these as a base, the Stalinist-republican-socialist coalition, shouting for “national unity” would plunge the bayonet into the proletarian revolution.
The proletarian cannot expect anything from the monarchists or from the bourgeois republicans who call themselves “communists” or “socialists.” Today, even more imperiously than before, the proletarian revolution is the only possible salvation. The experience acquired from 1931 to 1939 should not be forgotten. The proletariat and the peasantry will not solve their problems or assure guarantees of liberty without prolonging the struggle against Franco and the Falange until the socialist revolution is reached. The republican program, which pretends to transform Spain into a “strong” republic, absolutely impracticable historically, will again prepare the road for future clerico-military dictatorships.
Spanish workers! The monarchists are the same Falangists with another name, who even now torture and oppress you. But the people of the republican program are the same ones that permitted the military revolt and facilitated its triumph, strangling the socialist revolution. One must be aware of this more than ever. Repulse and combat energetically the monarchists.
And to the republicans, who speak of democracy and of the fight against Franco, we must say: We have our own program, the social revolution through the taking of power by the proletariat. You propose unity under a bourgeois program which has repeatedly proven itself deceitful and impotent. In the future these characteristics will be more evident, exacerbated by the Anglo-American imperialists to whose subjection you are anxious to submit us. The power most interested in conquering Franco, and the largest in number, is the proletariat and the peasantry. Disciplining ourselves to your program, and undertaking to walk a false road leading to future defeats would considerably diminish our capacity to fight. The program of the social revolution is one that can mobilize the most energy among the masses and summon the greatest capacity for sacrifice. Your bourgeois program of unity, besides being a snare to the revolution, is the least able to crush the Falange. We, even though being the overwhelming majority, do not ask that you submit to a unity based on our socialist program.
The workers who remain in the Stalinist and socialist parties do not have a correct socialist program, inasmuch as their parties are totally anti-revolutionary. But the workers, who have observed the conduct of their parties during the civil war, have become more or less aware of this situation. To breakaway from the old parties they await only an opportunity. It is perfectly legitimate to speak generally of a socialist program of the workers.
Like Karl Liebknecht we reject all unity that has as its purpose the blocking of the road toward revolution; but we offer the challenge, seeing that you speak of conquering Franco. You think you will restore the republic as a durable regime; we are convinced, through the past experience of the republic, that only the proletarian revolution can give the radical solution and end the fascist peril. Franco’s falangist dictatorship is the first and principal obstacle in our path. We propose a common struggle to overthrow this common obstacle. If you do not accept anything except “uniting” in terms of your bourgeois program, it is evident that the fight against Franco interests you only conditionally – and the condition is to maintain the yoke of capitalism on the workers and the farmers. We do not impose any conditions for entering into the combat together on the following points:
- Amnesty for all political prisoners without restrictions or conditions.
- Return of jobs to all those discharged because of political reprisals.
- Freedom of speech, meetings, demonstrations and the press.
- Down with the Falangist assassins, down with Franco.
- For general municipal elections summoned by a provisional government.
The working class cannot tolerate that the elections be convoked by Franco, or any other of the elements connected with him, even if called monarchist. It would be a complete fraud. Equally must be rejected the remnants of the “legal” government, who may constitute themselves on the parliamentary basis of the ex-Popular Front. Their primary object would be to substitute for the revolutionary struggle against Franco and the Falange diplomatic maneuvers in the service of the United States and England. Whatever its make up, it would be a government of reconciliation with the accomplices of the Falange. For the workers and peasants it is not a matter of declaring and upholding the bourgeois republic but solely of sweeping away all Falangist authorities, creating the most democratic position possible that will permit the masses to use their own strength, their radicalism, and to act accordingly.
The demand for a provisional government should have a character complementary to the general municipal elections. It is simply a means of assuring greater liberty of expression in the voting. On our part we are convinced that the Spanish proletariat and peasants, as soon as they obtain their first serious triumph against fascism, will launch into the reestablishment of the various organs of proletarian democracy – the committees that appeared by the thousands after the victory of the l9th of July. The municipal elections, which undoubtedly would make a clean sweep of all the elements connected with Franco, would create a favorable situation for the birth and growth of the organs of proletarian democracy. The possibility of immediately demanding the power for the Committees exists and is left open. And if, for any reason, the masses pass through another pseudo-democratic parliamentary stage before putting themselves in a position to reclaim power, they would still be in the best possible position to go forward. The elections for deputies to the Cortes would have the maximum democratic expression possible under the limitations and false hoods of bourgeois democracy. But a revolutionary party cannot even promise to uphold the slogan of “a constitutional assembly.” The Spanish masses already have a great experience, and it is very probable that they would immediately pass from a triumph against Franco to creating their own organs of democracy. The obligation of all revolutionists is to facilitate a situation that will permit workers and farmers, soldiers and marines to form their committees and to prepare them for taking power.
All the anti-Falangist programs of a bourgeois-republican character are at least as anti-revolutionary as they are anti-Francoist.
Let us put an end to the maneuvers and the pseudo-democratic Demagogy which is directed, in the last analysis, against the proletariat.
- Long live the Spanish socialist revolution!
- Long live the European and world revolution!
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Last updated on 27.8.2008