The Grand Camouflage: The Communist Conspiracy in the Spanish Civil War

By Burnett Bolloten | Go to book overview

12
Anarchism and Government

T HE efforts of the Commuruists from the outset of the Civil War to gain the support of Britain and France and to ensure the continued recognition first of the Giral and later of the Caballero government as the legally constituted authority could not but have an important effect on the course of the revolution. If these two countries were to be influenced even in the smallest measure, it was obvious that the government would have to re-construct the shattered machinery of state not upon revolutionary lines but in the image of the deceased Republic. Moreover, if the Caballero administration were to be a government in essence rather than in name, it would have to assume control of all the elements of state power appropriated by the revolutionary committees in the first days of the Civil War.1 On this point all members of the Cabinet were of one mind, and there can be little doubt that they would have been so irrespective of the need to impress foreign opinion.

But the work of reconstructing the state power could not be achieved or, at least, would be extremely difficult of achievement without the participation in the government of the extreme left wing of the revolution, the powerful Anarchosyndicalist or Libertarian movement, as it was more frequently called, represented by the CNT (the National Confederation of Labour) and by the FAI (the Iberian Anarchist Federation), its ideological guide, whose mission it was to protect the CNT from deviationist tendencies 2 and to lead the trade union federa-

____________________
1
See pp. 37-8, 42, above.
2
See, for example, Tierra y Libertad, October 29, 1938; Horacio Prieto, Marxismo y socialismo libertario, pp. 62-4. The FAI accomplished its directive mission by virtue of the fact that its members, with few exceptions, belonged to the CNT and held many positions of trust. Furthermore, it was an established principle that any person belonging to a political party should not occupy any official position in the trade union organization. (See CNT Memoria del congreso extraordinario celebrado en Madrid los dias 11 al 16 de junio de 1931, p .38.) Finally, it should be pointed out that the FAI kept a close and constant supervision over the unions of the CNT, often threatening to use force when argument failed in order to prevent deviationist tendencies. This domination by the FAI, to be sure, was not openly acknowledged by the Anarchosyndicalists, and indeed was emphatically denied (see, for example, Solidaridad Obrera, April 18, May 8, 1937) but it was nevertheless very real and was frankly admitted to the author by Victor Zaragoza, secretary of the National Committee of the CNT National Transport Federation.

-147-

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