The book was finally published in April 1938 but “made virtually no impact whatsoever and by the outbreak of war with Germany had sold only 900 copies (about twice as many as Cuomo).
I have talked today about Anarcho-Syndicalism and how we kicked Marxist butt from here to Barcelona. Well, here’s how it went down-
Throughout Catalonia many sectors of the economy fell under the control of the anarchist CNT and the socialist UGT trade unions, where worker’s self management was implemented. These included Railways, streetcars, buses, taxicabs, shipping, electric light and power companies, gasworks and waterworks, engineering and automobile assembly plants, mines, mills, factories, food-processing plants, theaters, newspapers, bars, hotels, restaurants, department stores, and thousands of dwellings previously owned by the upper classes. While the CNT was the leading organization in Catalonia, it often shared power with the UGT. For example, control of the Spanish National telephone company, was put under a joint CNT-UGT committee.
Trade union control also spread to small businesses of the middle class handicraft men and tradesmen. In Barcelona, the CNT collectivized the sale of fish and eggs, slaughterhouses, milk processing and the fruit and vegetable markets, suppressing all dealers and sellers that were not part of the collective. Many retailers joined the collectives but others refused, wanting higher wages than the workers. Throughout the region, the CNT committees replaced the middle class distributors and traders in many businesses including retailers and wholesalers, hotel, café, and bar owners, opticians and doctors, barbers and bakers. Though the CNT tried to persuade the members of the middle class and small bourgeoisie to join the revolution, they were generally unwelcoming to the revolutionary changes wanting more than just expropriation of their businesses under force or threat of force and a worker’s wage.
In response to these problems, the Generalitat of Catalonia, backed by the CNT approved a decree on “Collectivization and Workers’ Control” on 24 October 1936. Under this decree all firms with more than 100 workers were to be collectivized and those with less than 100 could be collectivized if a majority of workers agreed. All collectivized enterprises were to join general industrial councils, which would be represented in a central planning agency, the Economic Council of Catalonia. Representatives of the Generalitat would be appointed by the CNT to these regional councils. The goal of this new form of organization would be to allow central planning for civilian and military needs and stop the selfishness of more prosperous industries by using their profits to help others. However these plans for libertarian socialism based on trade unions was opposed by the socialists and communists who wanted a nationalized industry, as well as by unions which did not want to give up their profits to other businesses. Another problem faced by the CNT was that while many collectivized firms were bankrupt, they refused to use the banks because the financial institutions were under the control of the socialist UGT. As a result of this, many were forced to seek government aid, appealing to Juan Peiró, the CNT minister of industry. Socialists and Communists in the government however, prevented Peiró from making any move which promoted collectivization.
After the initial disruption, the unions soon began an overall reorganization of all trades, closing down hundreds of smaller plants and focusing on those few better equipped ones, improving working conditions. In the region of Catalonia, more than seventy foundries were closed down, and production concentrated around twenty four larger foundries. The CNT argued that the smaller plants were less efficient and secure. In Barcelona, 905 smaller beauty shops and barbershops were closed down, their equipment and workers being focused on 212 larger shops.
Another aspect of the revolution was the rise of an anarcho-feminist women’s movement, the Mujeres Libres (Liberated Women). The organization, with 30,000 members at its disposal, set up schools to educate women and worked to persuade prostitutes to give up their way of life. The anarcho-feminists argued that overthrow of patriarchal society was just as necessary for personal freedom, as the creation of a classless society. To demonstrate this new sexual equality, some women even fought at the front (no more than one thousand) and several more joined women’s battalions in the rear.
In the days following the fighting in Barcelona, various Communist newspapers engaged in a massive propaganda campaign against the anarchists and the POUM. Pravda and the American communist Daily Worker claimed that Trotskyists and Fascists were behind the uprising. The Spanish Communist party newspapers also viciously attacked the POUM, denouncing them as traitors and fascists. The Communists, supported by the centrist faction of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) under Indalecio Prieto now called for the POUM to be dissolved, but PM Largo Caballero resisted this move and the Communists along with their allies in the PSOE then left the government in protest. The following crisis led to the removal of Largo Caballero by President Manuel Azaña. Azaña then appointed Juan Negrín (a centrist socialist and ally of the Communists and the Kremlin) as the new premier. The new cabinet was dominated by the Communists, center socialists and republicans, the CNT and left wing of the PSOE were not represented. The Communist Party of Spain (PCE) had now come to the fore as the most influential force in the Republican government.
In Catalonia, now controlled by troops under the Command of Communist General Sebastián Pozas and newly appointed Barcelona chief of Police Ricardo Burillo, the CNT independent police patrols were dissolved and disarmed. Furthermore, the CNT were completely removed from their positions at the Franco-Spanish border posts. Another major blow to the CNT was the dissolution of countless revolutionary committees throughout Catalonia by the army and assault guards. When a new cabinet was formed by President Companys, the CNT decided not to participate. In the months that followed, the Communists carried out a campaign of arrests, tortures and assassinations against the CNT. The imprisonment of many Anarchists caused a wave of dissent in working class quarters. Meanwhile the Communists working with Soviet agents seized most the POUM leadership along with many of its members. The POUM secretary Andrés Nin was also arrested, send to a secret prison in Alcalá de Henares and eventually murdered. Nin’s disappearance and the repression of the POUM caused an international outcry from various left wing organizations and further deepened the divisions within the Republic.
I have little love for Stalinists, Nazis, and Facists.
Oh, so why would I be writing this if it didn’t have a hook to today?
Spain’s Corruption May Set Catalonia Free
By Leonid Bershidsky, Bloomberg View
Nov 5, 2014 8:02 AM EST
Catalonia’s determination to go ahead with a symbolic vote on independence from Spain on Sunday — despite being banned by the nation’s constitutional court — now has an additional layer of legitimacy. Spain’s ruling People’s Party, which scuppered the Catalan version of “devo-max” four years ago, has turned out to be so sickeningly corrupt that it has no right to tell anyone what to do.
Catalonia is no Somaliland, and nothing is extreme about its treatment by Spain. Yet Catalans could argue that their rights were first recognized and then trampled by Madrid. In 2006, both houses of the Spanish parliament — and the people of Catalonia in a referendum — voted for the region’s new Statute of Autonomy, and King Juan Carlos signed it. The document granted the wealthy region — which accounts for 16 percent of Spain’s population, 19 percent of its gross domestic product and 21 percent of research and development spending — broad self-government and fiscal powers not unlike those Scotland is about to get after its failed independence referendum.
Had those powers remained in place, there would probably be no question of secession now. Yet the People’s Party, in opposition at the time, challenged the document in the Constitutional Court. Four years later, the court struck down 14 articles of the statute and reinterpreted another 27. The ruling, in effect, said that Catalonia had no right to call itself a nation, just a “nationality” under the Spanish constitution. It declared Catalonia’s extended tax powers unconstitutional and told the region it had to stick with the Spanish scheme of administrative division.
Throughout the appeal process, it was the current prime minister, Mariano Rajoy, who led the People’s Party. After it returned to power in 2011, Rajoy went back to the Constitutional Court again and again, seeking and receiving rulings against continued Catalan attempts to get more independence from Madrid. And we now know that throughout all this, he presided over some of the most rampant corruption ever revealed in Spain.
The People’s Party’s former treasurer, Luis Barcenas, says Rajoy and a former economics minister, Rodrigo Rato, received illegal cash from a slush fund. Rato has also been accused of running up an enormous bill on a corporate credit card issued by Bankia, the bailed-out financial group he chaired between 2010 and 2012. Local party officials seem to have been caught taking kickbacks to award government contracts. Last week, 51 former and current officials, including some top People’s Party figures, were arrested.
Rajoy has apologized on behalf of his party “to all Spaniards for having appointed to positions for which they were not worthy those who would seem to have abused them.” The apology, however, will not be enough to explain to Spaniards why the leader of a party whose banners have “austerity” written all over them has not been able to impose it on his close co-workers and perhaps even on himself.