“Do not fall under the yoke of someone else with the unbelievers,
for what is the fellowship of righteousness with iniquity?
What does light have to do with darkness? "
2 Corinthians 6:14
for what is the fellowship of righteousness with iniquity?
What does light have to do with darkness? "
2 Corinthians 6:14
The civil war in Spain. Until now, it is the most unknown European war. And to this day.
But why is it so? And what was there that caused this to happen?
Struggle among the left
But is it not because it so happened that during the civil war in Spain there was a struggle not only of fascism and anti-fascism, but also among the left too?
Because during the war in Spain, it was clearly indicated to all leftist forces that revolutionary movements, wherever they were, could only be controlled from Moscow. Any other initiative is a "deviation" with all the ensuing consequences.
And, of course, it was necessary to follow the dogma adopted by Moscow that social fascism (read traditional socialist parties) is more dangerous than real fascism, and one cannot block with it. Well, everyone who has an excellent opinion is an enemy, and, of course, is subject to destruction.
Then there will be Budapest in 1956, and Prague in 1968, and even the war between the two socialist countries China and Vietnam in 1979. But it all started with Spain ...
It was only in words that Marxism was a living and developing teaching. In fact, he just got bronze, being cast in the Kremlin dogmas.
The independent left posed a threat: what if they do better than the Kremlin's henchmen? Therefore, various measures began to be applied against them. So, weapon and only parts controlled by the Communist Party received ammunition. Because of this, many sectors of the front, such as the Aragon Front, where anarchists and POUM played the main role, could not conduct active hostilities due to a lack of weapons and ammunition. At the same time, control over the Spanish comrades was carried out both through military supplies and with the help of Soviet military specialists and special services.
People's militia in a single impulse!
And the question is, after all this, could the USSR be considered a socialist state if its leadership pursued a similar policy?
Here we come to the classical postulate of Stalinism "about the possibility of building socialism in a single country", which fundamentally contradicted the teachings of Karl Marx. That is, he believed that this was impossible. Lenin, and then Stalin, argued that it was precisely here that Marx was mistaken, or rather, he did not take into account the realities of the twentieth century, since he did not know them. But the Kremlin leader, who had never been outside Russia and knew about life abroad only from the reports of his agents, newspapers and books, did not take them fully into account either, which was clearly not enough in the extremely difficult new conditions.
In the meantime, it turned out that, according to the new doctrine, all socialist parties that had a huge influence on the working class in the world were cut off from the struggle for socialism and, accordingly, from the support of the USSR on the world stage, since they were declared "social fascists", and the whole stake was done only on the Communist Party and that part of the working class that they controlled. They received money through the Comintern, their leaders rested in the USSR at government dachas, but they did not succeed in mass, powerful pressure on capitalism. Roughly speaking, the communists had to carry all the chestnuts out of the fire alone.
One of the POUM formations is sent to the front
As for the POUM itself, it was formed on September 29, 1935 in Barcelona as a result of the merger of the Workers 'and Peasants' Bloc (BOC) and the Communist Left of Spain (ICE) party. At the same time, its name was chosen as an imitation of the sound of a rifle shot.
Both parties and before the merger took clear anti-Stalinist positions. The only difference was that the "Workers 'and Peasants' Bloc" supported Bukharin and the "Right Opposition" in the CPSU (b), and the "Communist Left of Spain" supported the "Left Opposition".
It is interesting that L. D. Trotsky himself wrote in 1940 that neither the Social Democrats, nor the Stalinists, nor the anarchists, including the POUM, could understand the situation in Spain and draw the correct conclusions. All these parties and forces "each pulled the blanket over themselves." As a result, they helped Franco more than they acted against him ("The Agony of Capitalism and the Tasks of the Fourth International").
At that time, they even declared their party affiliation in Spain ...
The leaders of the new party were Andre Nin, Joaquin Maurin, Julian Gorkin and Vilebaldo Solano, as well as some others. The POUM was distinguished by strong anti-Stalinist sentiments, while it opposed the bureaucratization of the Soviet party and state apparatus and the political trials that began at that time over the "enemies of the people." The POUM had many supporters in Catalonia and Valencia. More than even the CPI and the United Socialist Party of Catalonia.
One of the POUM committees
Outside Spain, she also had supporters.
In particular, Willy Brandt, later chairman of the SPD, went to the POUM, and from Great Britain many members of the ILP (Independent Labor Party), including the writer George Orwell, who later described his stay in the ranks of the POUM militia in the book "In Memory of Catalonia", where he is in great detail also considered the political conflicts and disagreements that existed there.
The POUM began its struggle against the revision of Marx in the USSR with the first Moscow show trial, held in August 1936 (where Zinoviev and Kamenev were convicted). She regarded the destruction of the "old Bolshevik guard" by Stalin as a betrayal of socialism and demanded that Trotsky be given asylum in Catalonia.
It is interesting that the POOMists associated the only chance of the Spanish revolution for victory with the international solidarity of the workers' movement. This was their tragedy. Because all this struggle took place against the backdrop of a civil war. The fact that they opposed the "general line of Stalin" could not bring any particular harm to either Stalin himself or the USSR. Words, they are words. But the demonstration that they are "against" here in Spain, was only in the hands of Franco, because this position caused a split in the ranks of the Republicans themselves. There was a war, weapons were needed, but they came from the USSR, and it made no sense to anger Stalin under these conditions. We could have postponed their scores with him until victory, but for now just keep quiet, but ... The Pomovites could not understand this.
But this book is directly on stories POUM
As a result, representatives of the POUM were withdrawn from the Catalan government and lost a lot on this. A press campaign began to discredit the POUM, the tone of which was set by the leadership of the Comintern.
Well, it all ended with the fact that at the end of December 1936 the POUM was declared a "Trotskyist-fascist organization." Prior to that, in the "Review of Politics, Economics and Labor Movement" (organ of the Comintern in Spain) there was not a single article about the Spanish "Trotskyists", that is, the Pomovites. But now from issue to issue "Review ..." began to write about their imaginary "subversive activities in favor of Franco."
Accordingly, the press of the parties - members of the Comintern - immediately supported the "main source of all blessings", and was absolutely right in this, no matter how cynical it may sound. Because in politics, one should not please dead theoreticians, but living leaders who send money, Tanks, cannons, airplanes and rifles, which the same Pomovites constantly lacked.
Working people! POUM is waiting for you! POUM propaganda poster, 1936
Nevertheless, the POUM militias actively participated in the battles of the civil war, fighting for the republic, but due to political disagreements with the Stalinist communists, their actions did not have the proper effectiveness.
True, at first they were supported by the Anarchist National Confederation of Labor, which in Spain enjoyed great influence among the workers. However, even the most radical part of the leadership of the National Confederation of Labor showed wise caution in relations with the central government: it did not "pull the sleeping tiger by the mustache" and, depriving the POUM of support, left it in complete isolation. Andre Nina was kidnapped and killed by agents of the NKVD, headed by A. Orlov, a resident of the foreign department of the NKVD.
"Win or die!" POUM poster, 1936
And then, already in 1937-1938, repressions began against the POUM, and its members were declared fascist agents. The same George Orwell was then forced to spend the night in the cemetery so as not to be arrested and not go to prison, although he was wounded fighting with the Francoists, and by no means on their side.
After the defeat of the republic, attempts were made to create this party in exile. And in 1975, after Franco's death - even in Spain itself, but none of this happened.
True, the POUM was part of the International Bureau of Revolutionary Socialist Unity, known as the London Bureau (which included political organizations that simultaneously rejected both the bourgeois reformism of the Socialist Workers' International and the pro-Soviet orientation of the Comintern), and one of its leaders was Julian Gorkin in 1939-1940 served as a secretary in it.
But this about POUM was written by the famous Sudoplatov, taking advantage of the fact that the books of the same Orwell and other "Spaniards" were not published in the USSR. Well, yes, God will judge him ...
As for the POUM program, it contained a demand for a "democratic socialist" revolution, that is, in fact, it had a utopian character.
The fact is that the Spanish bourgeoisie could not solve the problem of the bourgeois revolution. The proletariat, on the other hand, realized its democratic tasks and immediately began its own, already socialist. The POUM initiated a united front against fascism since 1934, actively criticized the anarchists for their sectarianism, the socialists for opportunism, but at the same time criticized the VKP (b). She demanded the creation of a new International, defended Trotsky from Stalinist slander, but she also polemized with him so sharply that this led to the end of their relationship.
The fact that in the communist press this party was called "Trotskyist" is completely wrong, it was not even a member of the Fourth International. And it was the POUM that Trotsky criticized very strongly and even wrote that the POUMists by their actions pour water on Franco's mill.
They did not understand that the prestige of the Spanish Communist Party was raised by the Soviet Union, which since the fall of 1936 was the only country (except poor Mexico) that supplied the republic with weapons. They did not understand that idealism has no place in the political struggle, and that many of the provisions of Marxist theory in practice become their opposite.
This is evidenced, for example, by André Nin's statement about the dictatorship of the proletariat, taken from his speech published in the newspaper La Batalla, Nr. 32, 8. 9. 1936:
“In our understanding, the dictatorship of the proletariat is the dictatorship of the entire working class ... but no organization, whether trade union or political, has the right to exercise its dictatorship over other organizations in the interests of the revolution ... The dictatorship of the proletariat is a workers' democracy, which is carried out by all workers without no exceptions ... Our party must resolutely ... fight against every attempt to transform the dictatorship of the proletariat into the dictatorship of one party or one person. "
Pure idealism, isn't it?
But on this idealistic vision of Marxist theory and practice, as we see, a whole party was created, it was able to captivate many honest and decent people, and as a result turned their fates into tragedies.