Long Live the Spanish Socialist Republic

( From Class Struggle, Volume 6 Number 6, October 1936 )

Since our article on the Spanish Revolution in the last issue of the Class Struggle, immense changes have taken place which must be thoroughly analyzed by the working class throughout the world.

First and foremost is the fact that the old rotten Liberal government has gone out of existence and in its stead is a new regime in which the Socialists and Communists have a clear majority. This result has been due to the fact that the civil war is far more severe than had been originally conceived. It now involves the very life and death of Spain. In the course of the severe fighting all half-way measures have to go by the board. It has been found that the bourgeois Republicans in the government have sabotaged every inch of the way. They had aided the Fascists in their mobilizations before the outburst; they have hindered the defense of the important positions in the battle; they have refused to conscript wealth and the general population for the struggle; they have protected the Fascist and Monarchist prisoners as long as possible; they have thwarted the workers and toilers in accomplishing the social aims of the revolution.

As a result the Spanish people were being defeated in one decisive battle after another with great losses. The fall of Irun served notice another course would have to be pursued. The masses have seen that they would have to get rid of their treacherous bourgeois allies or they would be destroyed. It was not the action of the Socialists nor of the Stalinists that ousted the"People's Front" coalition, but the demands of the people themselves to use all the force at its disposal to crush the rebellion. It was not merely the fact that the workers refused to give up their lives for the abstractions of a bourgeois republic, but the practical realities of the civil war that showed that only the greatest development of the power of the people stifled by the bourgeois republican element of the "People's Front" could defeat the enemy.

Thus, now for the first time in the history of Spain the Socialists have a clear majority of the government. It is a sign not that they have fought for Socialism but that the workers are moving so strongly to the proletarian dictatorship as to take the Socialist politicians along with them. Together with the Communist Party, the Socialists, however, even now do not abandon their bourgeois friends but insist that they remain in the government as a minority. As we wrote last month long before the events:

"In the course of the struggle the Socialists headed by Largo Caballero, who is playing with the title of the Spanish Lenin will have to take over the government. Of course the Socialists will not want to transform the government into Soviets. Indeed, the Socialists will take over the government only in order to prevent the Soviets and the organization of the workers from dominating the scene and deciding events. Rather than allow Soviets to be formed the bourgeois republicans will turn parliament over to the Socialists. Once in power the Socialists may temporarily talk about nationalization of certain industries, but that will be only while the fighting is on. By no means will they countenance the taking over of the factories by the workers. But the workers will begin to do this anyway. Thus the very taking over of power by the Socialists will mean the rupture with the Republican bourgeois who will go over to the side of the reactionary enemy. This will result in an intensification of the civil war which in turn will make the compromising position of the Socialists utterly untenable and the Socialists, too, will be forced to quit the scene as a progressive force.

None of these words has to be modified today. Although the Socialists and the Stalinists are in office together, they make no demands for the change of government from parliaments to Soviets. We could expect this from the Socialists but should not of the Communist International under Lenin which declared: "Parliamentarianism cannot be a form of proletarian government during the transition period between the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie and that of the proletariat. At the moment when the accentuated class struggle turns into civil war, the proletariat must inevitably form its state organization as a fighting organization which cannot contain any representatives of the former ruling classes. All fictions of the "national will" are harmful to the proletariat at that time... The only form of proletarian dictatorship is a Republic of Soviets."?

However, the Stalinists have forgotten all they ever knew about Leninism or Marxism. They still shout about the People's Front in Spain although the People's Front has in fact disappeared. Not only is this true in the government but in the actual field of battle where as at San Sebastian we see the bourgeois Republic Basques treacherously give up this important city to the enemy without a fight; yet the Basque Nationalist representative is kept in the Cabinet of the new government, regardless. Not a word do we hear from the Socialists and Stalinists about the treacherous conduct of the President, Azana, last vestige or rather hostage of the People's Front, until reports in the capitalist press inform us that Azana has fled the government and has sought refuge in the Argentine legation, preparatory to leaving the country in an Argentine cruiser. This is no flight from Fascism, but rather a flight from the workers and toward Fascism. Azana now realizes that in spite of the support to the bourgeoisie offered by the Socialists and the Stalinists, neither party can control the masses and that the Socialist Republic is on the order of the day.

It is not only that neither Socialists nor Stalinists demand the abolition of the fake Constituent Assembly - - for now it is truly a shell, since all the reactionaries and most the bourgeois Liberals have fled and no longer participate in any deliberations - - and the institution of real bodies, Soviets; but far more significant is the fact that nowhere do these so-called revolutionary parties make the slightest effort to proceed to the socialization of industry, to workers control and the end of private property in the means of production.

Wherever this is being accomplished, it is being done by the workers themselves. In Catalonia it was found more convenient by the people for them to break from the Spanish government and set up their own autonomous region before socializing their industries. And it is precisely in Catalonia where the Socialists and Stalinists do not have the principal voice in proletarian affairs. The Stalinists, on the contrary, still ardently maintain that it is not a question of a social revolution, that the workers must not end capitalism but merely fight for the continuation of the "democratic" republic.

In Catalonia, from all reports, matters are proceeding rapidly towards the abolition of capitalism. Factories are being seized; food rationed; workers militia set up; the bourgeoisie shot down; the wealthy quarters turned over to the poor; the principal buildings appropriated by the revolutionary organizations, etc. From Catalonia military columns are being sent all over Spain, to Madrid, to Saragossa, to Huesco, and elsewhere to stiffen up the front. Everywhere these Red troops bring the hope of Communism to the people.

The Communist Party is now in the government but it behaves exactly the way Stalin wanted the Russian Party to behave before Lenin arrived in Russia in 1917, that is in close alliance with the Socialists, serving as coolies to them. These "Communists" have put no demands separate from the Socialists. Scandalous as it may seem, the Stalinists now in the government still make no effort to come for the independence of Morocco or appeal to the Moorish shock troops of the Fascists to fight for their own independence which will be aided from now on by the new workers government which has repudiated imperialism. Instead the Moors see no change from the attitude of the old Spanish imperialist government even though Socialists of the Left (not of the "Right" note) and so-called Communists are at the head.

The fact of the matter is that the "Left" Socialists and the Stalinists are desperately trying to maintain capitalism in Spain. The value of the new Socialist and Stalinist regime consists merely in the fact that these people dare not openly sabotage the UNCLEAR against the Fascists as the Azanas and the bourgeois Republicans have done. UNCLEAR their own heads are at stake, they must permit the forces of the people to be UNCLEAR further than ever. This eventually must spell the doom not only of the Fascist rebellion but of the "Left" Socialists and the Stalinists as well.

Now for the first time there has been introduced universal conscription of all who are not at work and of every able-bodied person, men and, in many cases, women. Facing such determination of the people it will be almost impossible for the Fascist troops to win, in spite of the great aid given them from abroad and the international isolation of the Left government. But the Spanish people have still enormous work out ahead of them. Up to now they still have not formed a real Red Army. They still operate haphazardly, without a plan and centralized direction. Thus, we have isolated campaigns in Malega, in Oviedo, in Bilbao, in Saragossa, in Mallorea, in Madrid, etc.

Such a policy can be fatal in the long run against an experienced enemy. It leads only tothe defensive never to the offensive. But by defensive fighting alone the people cannot win. And they cannot take the offensive unless they have a centralized force, discipline and plan.

Up to now the Anarchist tradition, with its loose guerilla warfare, has carried the day but it now must and is giving way. A Red Army is being formed. But such a Red Army cannot be organized without a genuine Communist Party. Up to now it is precisely this kind of a Party that has been lacking. If it is not formed the workers cause is lost. However, the germs of such a party are there in fact and the party must and will be formed in the course of the fight.

The issue is becoming more and more clear: Under the guise of supporting the government, the people are really moving to Socialism and the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and as they march in that direction they are bound to organize their own shop and land committees and Soviets with full power. The old government apparatus will crash to earth just as surely as the old army has now been blown to pieces. If they conscript men they will conscript property and they will proceed from equalitarianism as a policy to socialization of the means of production. This, in turn, will allow the masses for the first time to fight for the independence of the colonial peoples, to really address themselves to the poor Moorish colonial soldiers fighting against them and to win them for the cause of Socialism.

As the Stalinists have turned into filthy Liberal-Socialists, it is after all the Anarchists who are behaving like genuine Communists. They have retained the name Anarchists, but in fact many of them have lost their Anarchist theories almost entirely. They are now strongly supporting authoritarian action; they are on government bodies to carry on the struggle; they are forming centralized organizations; they are helping along the dictatorship of the proletariat. Ever since1934 and the lost Asturias revolt, Anarchism has been in a deep crisis in Spain. The old Anarchism has been killed. Only a small fraction of the revolutionary petty bourgeoisie and intelligentsia now adhere to the old type of Libertarian-Communism. The new Anarchists are taking the place to a considerable measure of the Stalinists who have betrayed the cause of Communism.

By no means does this mean that these new recruits to the cause of the proletarian revolution are trained Leninists. But in spite of the fact that they keep the name Anarchists they are far better Leninists in fact, with all their traditions and mistakes, then the stinking Stalinist Party with its "People's Front" and class collaboration. These revolutionary elements are truly following basically a correct line. They denounce the People's Front; they put no faith in the bourgeois Republicans; they oppose the present type of State: they fight reaction but they do not fight for bourgeois Republicanism. They push the faker politicians constantly to the Left; they inaugurate the most drastic acts of reprisals against the bourgeoisie and carry on constant Red terror against the enemy class within their ranks; they declare plainly that their task is not only to defeat Fascism but to institute the new social order.

In line with this hopeful sign is the fact that the Workers Party of Marxist Unity is also growing and increasing its might. It has been rumored that Maurin has been killed. This leaves really only Andreas Nin to head the Party. But Nin has had some training in the Internationalist Left Communist Movement. He is far better prepared ideologically than any other to take full advantage of the situation. It is significant that he refuses to become part of the government and while fighting reaction, denounces all the Stalinist-Socialist-bourgeois conditions and their"People's Fronts". Also Nin has been close to the Syndicalist movement and has its respect. Should there be a coalition of forces nationally under the direction of the former Internationalist Communist Left there is no doubt that the Spanish Revolution will take a still further step towards Socialism and the World Revolution.

The terrible influence of the Socialist-Stalinist-bourgeois "People's Front" is to be seen also in the international aspect of the Spanish Revolution. On the one side, the Italian and German Fascist States are helping with all their might. They have sent in large numbers of the most powerful bombers with full crews and plenty of equipment and bombs to destroy the Spanish people. They have helped materially in defeating the people's forces in the Islands of the Mediterranean, especially Mallorca. They have threatened to bombard Barcelona, the most important city of Spain. They have demanded repeated apologies from the Spanish Left government for daring to protect itself from the outrages committed by the foreign Fascists. They have used their embassies to pour in a stream of money and supplies to the Fascist forces of Spain.

On the Western side of Spain, Portugal now has begun a complete fascisation of its regime. Up to now there had been established a military dictatorship. But with the moving to the Left of the Spanish Revolution, this military dictatorship is now being buttressed by the arming of the active civil forces controlled by the aristocratic and capitalist elements. The Portuguese government has put down the mutiny in its naval forces with the most severe reprisals against the sailors. It has strengthened its reactionary supports on every side. It has openly taken sides against the Spanish Republic and for the rebels. It has become the greatest counter-revolutionary center against Spain on the entire continent, being the source for all the supplies for the rebels that are pouring in daily to aid their cause.

Certainly, this could not have been done without some acquiescence on the part of the British, the traditional friends of whom the Portuguese have been for a long time. The British-Portuguese alliance is of old standing and firmly cemented. Yet the British look on with on action on its part to prevent the formation of an Italian-German-Portuguese Bloc to crush the Spanish Republic.

In return, it is reported that the reactionists are willing to grant Portugal a portion of Spain directly to the North of her present borders. Spain will cede the Balearic Islands to the Italians and Portugal promises to give the Canaries to the Germans, the Germans to abandon all claims to the Portuguese sections of Africa in return. We do not know whether all these rumors are accurate but where there is smoke there is generally some fire and in this case the reports fit in well with the imperialist adventurous schemes of the large Fascist continental powers, Italy and Germany.

But even more scandalous than "democratic" British toleration of these moves is the position of the French "People's Front Government" and that of the Socialist Blum. While the forces of Fascism are bending all their might for the destruction of the Spanish People's movement, Blum does all he can to isolate the Spanish Republic and turn it over to the Monarchist hounds for destruction. In spite of the greatest pressure on the part of the French workers, in spite of repeated demonstrations and now even general strikes, the Socialist Blum remains adamant. And just as the British Trade Union Congress supports the position of its bourgeois government to remain "neutral" although the formal position of every government is to adopt a friendly attitude toward a government it considers friendly, so does the Socialist Blum insist on serving the interests of his own bourgeoisie by barring arms and munitions to Spain.

And yet it is ordinary capitalist courtesy to permit friendly governments to buy arms and munitions in their country while preventing rebels from doing so. Apparently it makes a great difference to the British Labor Leaders and to the French Socialists whether the government that wants to busy such arms and munitions is a Left government or not and whether the rebels are workers or bosses. If the rebels are bourgeois, then they are to be favored; if the government is being controlled by the workers, then the government must be barred from purchase of arms in that country. Such is the "neutrality" of the Socialists of France and the Labor Partyites and the Trade Union scoundrels in England.

Of course, what is bothering these people is that the Socialist Revolution cannot succeed in Spain without precipitating civil war in France and England. The workers there too will have to move for power and struggle against international Fascism with more than platonic phrases. What is bothering them acutely also is the fact that the Spanish people cannot win without establishing the independence of Morocco and calling for the freedom of all African colonies. This must inevitably mean civil war in French Morocco and the spreading of the entire war throughout the whole colonial world. The great British Empire and French colonial possessions are at stake. The British Trade Union leaders and the French Socialists mean to fight for the colonies of their masters to the end.

If we look at capitalist Europe as a whole, we see that it is burning at both ends. In the East there is the record of the Russian Revolution, in the West, the great Spanish Revolution which can spread to France and Belgium and throughout the world. Fascism must strike quickly if it is to extinguish these mighty flames.

There is this great difference between Russia and the West. Russia was under the domination of the Third International now destroyed by Stalinism. With its theory of Socialism in one country, Stalinism has played a role crushing the proletarian revolution elsewhere. The Spanish Revolution cannot turn to Stalinism. It must turn to the World Revolution and thus it must turn to the Fourth International. The victory of the Spanish Social Revolution is the end of Stalinism and the rise again of genuine revolutionary internationalism.

But in the meantime the Spanish Revolution moves gloriously forward. It is now well on the way to establishing the rule of the workers. LONG LIVE THE SPANISH SOCIALIST REPUBLIC! LONG LIVE THE FOURTH INTERNATIONAL.