Source: Revolutionary History, Vol.2 No.2, Summer 1989. Used with permission.
First published: La Lutte Ouvriere, 8 July 1937.
Translated in Fight, vol.1 no.9, August 1937.
The bloody insurrection of May in Barcelona gave fresh proof of the revolutionary energy and magnificent heroism of the Spanish working class. For several days the Catalonian government was at the mercy of the workers. In spite of this the struggle ended with a setback to the workers, because they carried it on without a plan, without leadership.
The Stalinist officials were on the other side of the barricades; the Anarchist leaders showed once more their reformist and conciliatory character; the POUM leadership was not even capable of an independent policy: it timidly clung to that of the CNT and slavishly repeated their defeatist slogans. The tragedy of the Spanish proletariat is always the same: it is without a revolutionary party which would be capable of leading it to victory.
But in spite of this lack the situation is not hopeless. Ten months of revolution are a long and rich experience. Today in every revolutionary party the best revolutionaries are organising fractions which approach – if only tentatively – the correct line. The Friends of Durruti – now expelled by the Anarchist bureaucracy are the most important among them. No doubt they are still imbued with Anarchist prejudices, but they are beginning to pose the problem of the seizure of power in a semi-Bolshevik sense. The ‘revolutionary Junta of workers, peasants and soldiers’, their principal slogan, is nothing else than the Soviets advocated by the Bolshevik-Leninists. One of the most important signs of the progressive character of the Friends of Durruti is that the slanders of the Stalinists against the Trotskyists have no effect on them: on the contrary they are ready to collaborate with us. In the Libertarian Youth an analogous wing is forming. In the POUM also, differentiation between the incorrigible centrists and consistent revolutionaries is making considerable progress. The violent campaign of the Executive Committee of the POUM against Trotskyism has not prevented the left wing from taking up our criticisms and to some extent our slogans. Its expulsion is only a question of time.
The speed with which all these fractions develop towards the political positions of the Fourth International depends, in the first place, on the effective activity of the Bolshevik-Leninists of Spain. The Friends of Durruti, like the other revolutionaries who have seen the Trotskyists by their side on the barricades during the May days, are ready to listen to them in discussion, to read their papers and leaflets, to think over what they propose.
The Bolshevik-Leninist organisation was rebuilt with enormous difficulty. When Nin and Andrade had betrayed the flag of the Fourth International, while they liquidated their own organisation and sowed confusion among the militants, the situation seemed without issue. In a period when thousands and tens of thousands of new members were flowing into the existing workers’ parties, it was not easy to muster a few reliable comrades faithful to Marxism and the Fourth International. In the months which have passed, the Trotskyists lacked the most convincing argument, that of force. Ideas alone are not enough.
Still today the Bolshevik-Leninists of Spain see before them enormous obstacles which they cannot surmount without international aid. In this country, in spite of the war, there is considerable unemployment, not to be under the protection of a party means not to be able to find work, and to be exposed to poverty, as in every other capitalist country. For many oppositionists, expulsion from their party means the loss of their livelihood. Many of our militiamen were sent back from the front for ‘Trotskyist activity’, that is to say for their revolutionary propaganda, and they lost their salary of 10 pesetas a day with which they were supporting their organisation. How are we to find the necessary means for the organisation, for printing and leaflets? We are forced to rely on the solidarity of all sections and groups of the Fourth International, and all sympathisers. With their aid we shall soon get over this critical period, which is only transitional.
We apply to all sister organisations and ask them to help us. In all countries make campaigns to help the Bolshevik-Leninists of Spain! In every Trotskyist paper an appeal for the Spanish organisation of the Fourth International; In every gathering and every public meeting a collection for the Trotskyists of the country of the revolution.
The Spanish Revolution is at stake. Victory is closely linked with the creation of a new party for the Fourth International. The effective solidarity of the whole international vanguard is necessary for victory.
Last updated on 25.9.2004