With regard to the problem of the war, we back the idea of the army being under the absolute control of the working class. Officers with their origins in the capitalist regime do not deserve the slightest trust from us. Desertions have been numerous and most of the disasters we have encountered can be laid down to obvious betrayals by officers. As to the army, we want a revolutionary one led exclusively by workers, and, should any officer be retained, it must be under the strictest supervision.
We insist that the war be directed by the workers. We have grounds aplenty for this. The defeats at Toledo, Talavera, the loss of the North and Malaga point to incompetence and lack of integrity in the government circles, for the following reasons:
The North of Spain could have been saved if the war materials needed for resistance to the enemy had been obtained. The means were there. The Bank of Spain had enough gold to flood Spanish soil with weaponry. Why was it not done? There was time. We must remember that the non-intervention controls did not begin to make their presence felt until the war in Spain was already some months old.
Leadership in the conduct of the war has been disastrous. Largo Caballero's record is lamentable. That the Aragon Front has not been given the arms its so needs is his fault. His reluctance to arm the Aragonese sector has prevented Aragon from assuring her own redemption from the clutches of the fascists. At the same time this could have taken the pressure off the fronts around Madrid and the North. And it was Largo Caballero who expressed the sentiment that sending arms to the Aragon Front was like handing them over to the CNT.
We are opposed to collaboration with bourgeois groups. We do not believe that the class approach can be abandoned.
Revolutionary workers must not shoulder official posts, nor establish themselves in the ministries. For as long as the war lasts, collaboration is permissible - on the battlefield, in the trenches, on the parapets and in productive labour in the rearguard.
Our place is in the unions, in the work place, keeping alive that spirit of rebellion which will bloom on the earliest occasion that presents itself.
We must have no part of combinations devised by bourgeois politicians acting in concert with foreign chancellories. That would be tantamount to strengthening our enemies and tightening the noose of capitalism. No more portfolios. No more ministries. Let's get back to the unions and the nitty-gritty of work tools.
Let us campaign for unity among the proletariat. But on the understanding that this unity must be between workers, and not with bureaucrats or sinecurists.
At present, an agreement with the revolutionary wing of the UGT by the CNT is a feasible prospect. But we do not believe that an understanding is possible with the UGT of Catalonia, or with Prieto's followers.
Socialisation of the economy is crucial to victory in the war and progress in the revolution. The present drift cannot continue. Nor should anyone believe there is any advantage in the various centres of production operating to no co-ordinated pattem.
But it has to be the workers who see that this is done.
Nor should the business about religion come up for further discussion. The people have already delivered its final verdict on that issue. Nonetheless, a tendency aimed at re-opening the churches, has emerged. Implementation of the law of freedom of worship and celebration of masses lead us to the conclusion that those in Government have forgotten the days of the great burnings.
There must be strict rationing in the distribution of goods. That workers should go hungry while hoarders find food in restaurants controlled by the working class is intolerable.
Distribution must be socialised and accompanied by rationing.
Bureaucracy must go. The thousands of bureaucrats who have descended on Barcelona are one of the worst plagues ever visited on us. In place of a bureaucrat, there ought to be a worker. And by bureaucrat we mean any cafe layabout.
Absolute suppression of the bureaucracy.
Fabulous rates of pay must go immediately. It is scandalous that where militiamen are earning ten pesetas a day, the bureaucrats are taking home such huge wages. Azana and Companys are still drawing the same salary as before.
We want to see the introduction of the family wage. And an end, once and for all, to this galling inequality.
It must be the people who administer justice. We cannot countenance the false practice that has grown up in this regard. There has been a drift away from the early class tribunals to courts made up of career magistrates. And we are going back to the way things used to be. Now they are doing away with the juries.
Proletarian justice belongs to the workers alone.
There must be progress towards socialisation of the farming industry in Spain. The sabotaging of the collectives has harmed agriculture enormously and has favoured speculation. Contact between town and countryside will bring the peasants closer to the proletarian class. And the mentality of the farm worker used to tilling his own particular plot will be changed.
Like any other activity in the country that falls under the headings social, cultural or economic, cultural problems are the indisputable province of the workers. It was they who set the pattern of this new era.
Revolutionary order will be enforced by the workers. We insist that the uniformed corps, which are no guarantee of revolution, be dissolved. The unions must supply the men whose task it is to guard the new order we wish to implant.
As to foreign policy, we shall accept no armistice; and, when it comes to propagandising our revolution, we are of the view that that work must be done among the production centres abroad; not in any chancellories, let alone any cabals.
We must speak to the workers abroad in the language of revolution. So far the vocabulary of democracy has been employed. It has to be brought home to the workers' organisations, to everyone, that they must act: to sabotage fascist production: to refuse to load raw materials or war materials for the assassins of the Spanish people. And that they must demonstrate in the streets, to demand fair treatment by their governments for the cause we defend, which is the cause of the world's proletariat.
Revolutions cannot succeed if they have no guiding lights, no immediate objectives. That is what we find lacking in the July revolution. Although it had the strength, the CNT did not know how to mould and shape the activity that arose spontaneously in the street. The very leadership was startled by events which were, as far as they were concerned, totally unexpected.
They had no idea which course of action to pursue. There was no theory. Year after year we had spent speculating around abstractions. What is to be done? The leaders were asking themselves then. And they allowed the revolution to be lost.
Such exalted moments leave no time for hesitancy. Rather, one must know where one is headed. This is precisely the vacuum we seek to fill, since we feel that what happened in July and May must never happen again.
We are introducing a slight variation in anarchism into our programme. The establishment of a revolutionary Junta.
As we see it, the revolution needs organisms to oversee it, and repress, in an organised sense, hostile sectors. As current events have shown such sectors do not accept oblivion unless they are crushed.
There may be anarchist comrades who feel certain ideological misgivings, but the lesson of experience is enough to induce us to stop pussy-footing.
Unless we want a repetition of what is happening with the present revolution, we must proceed with the utmost energy against those who are not identified with the working class.
After this brief preamble, we shall now proceed to set out the items of our programme.
This body will be organised as follows: members of the revolutionary Junta will be elected by democratic vote in the union organisations. Account is to be taken of the number of comrades away at the front; these comrades must have the right to representation. The Junta will steer clear of economic affairs, which are the exclusive preserve of the unions.
The functions of the revolutionary Junta are as follows:
a) The management of the war
b) The supervision of revolutionary order
c) International affairs
d) Revolutionary propaganda.
Posts to come up regularly for re-allocation so as to prevent anyone growing attached to them. And the trade union assemblies will exercise control over the Junta's activities.
Since July the unions have supplied evidence of the great capacity for constructive labour. Had we not relegated them to a secondary position, they would have yielded a great return on the investment. It will be the unions that structure the proletarian economy.
An Economic Council may also be set up, taking into consideration the natures of the Industrial Unions and Industrial federations, to improve on the co-ordination of economic activities.
Prior to the coming of the foreign dynasties, municipal rights were defended with great tenacity in Spain. Such decentralisation precluded the erection of a new State system. And in this new Spain which the proletariat looks forward to, the charter of freedoms that went under at Villalar shall rise again. And the so-called Catalan and Basque problems . . . will be resolved.
The Municipality shall take charge of those functions of society that fall outside the preserve of the unions. And since the society we are going to build shall be composed exclusively of producers, it will be the unions, no less, that will provide sustenance for the municipalities. And, as there is no disparity of interests, there can be no conflict.
The Municipalities will be organised at the level of local, comarcal and peninsula federations. Unions and municipalities will maintain liaison at local, comarcal and national levels.
The demise of the July revolution has been rapid. None of the revolutions generally regarded as the archetypes of social revolution experienced such a giddy decline.
There can be no theorising about events following one another in stages, because revolution is not yet a fact. It is imperative that the inexhaustive genius of proletarian Spain be tapped once again. We must go out and make a new beginning.
Revolutions occur with great frequency in our country. Sometimes they are embarked upon with out the requisite conditions being present and with no possibility of success. One has to be able to divine the precise moment, psychologically and insurrectionally speaking. The outcome hangs on the correct choice.
Making forecasts is no easy task. Who can say when a new July or even a new May may be possible? We may assume, however, that in Spain the conditions will present themselves afresh.
If the war continues to take this unfavourable turn all the politicians looking for a way to arrive at an armistice and a fraternal embrace will have to be cast on to the dung-heap. Good evidence of this is the sabotaging of the war, the war industries and the whole gamut of supplies, as well as the inflated prices of food - an inflation fomented by those in power with an eye to creating a favourable atmosphere in which to execute their plans for strangling the revolution.
It may, perhaps, be that a negotiated settlement becomes a reality. Then the time will have come to resist it by force of arms. And should we win the war those problems that are posed in such poignant form today will be roused again on the return of our comrades from the fronts. What solutions will be found to them?
How will the industry of war be converted into an industry of peace? Will there be work for the fighting men? Will all the victims be looked after? Will the officer class resign itself to the loss of its sinecures? Can markets be won back again?
The three dates we have described each correspond to different positions. We cannot say which will apply. The problem, however, hinges on the preparation of a new rebellion so that the proletariat can assume control of the country in a definite way.
They cannot say we are over-reacting. The present moment has nothing revolutionary about it. The counter-revolution feels quite bold enough to mount all sorts of provocations. The jails are crammed with workers. The rights of the proletariat are openly denied. We revolutionary workers are treated like underlings. The language of the bureaucrats, in uniform and out of uniform, is intolerable. Not to mention the attacks on the unions.
A fresh revolution is the only course of action open. Let us set about its preparation. And at the height of a new stroke, we shall join the comrades who are today away fighting on the fronts, the comrades in the jails and the comrades who, even now, cherish the hope of a revolution that may bring justice to the working class; all in the streets together.
To the success of a fresh revolution that will bring the workers of town and country complete satisfaction. To the attainment of an anarchist society that will satisfy man's aspirations.