rotation, which in Spain took the form of Constitutionalists and Absolutionists
alternating in power (the clasico turno), collapsed beyond repair with a coup díetat
mounted in the capital of Catalonia by a drunken, cantankerous general, in the year 1923.
dictatorship of Primo de Rivera is the direct outcome of politics pursued amid
maladministration, monopolies, bureaucratic perks, rake-offs, concessions and a whole mass
of profiteering operated with the blessing of officialdom.
military reaction of 1923 was a direct result of one of the reasons why our country is
impoverished, one which has absorbed nearly the whole national budget.
colonial perwer spawned a rogueís gallery of adventurers, mercenarias, professional
politicians, and a cohort of dealers in cheap flesh.
long as the bureaucracy of the sabre and the captains of industry had plenty of scope to
plunder and loot in the overseas possessions, then Spain as such could go on her way more
or less unaffected. But colonial disaster held the key to the collapse of this situation,
which was maintained by en unscrupulous, ruthless minority.
the dose of the XIXth century the military were deprived of the spoils they craved. They
had no option but to retum to the peninsula, braid saturated in blood, bearing the shame
of beings inept even in their own profession-that of bearing arms.
that moment forward, the Spanish people have been confronted by a problem fraught with
difficulfies. Thousands of these proteges of a syphilific king retumed to devour the
natives of the mother country, since they no longer had the opportunity to go on
impoverishing the peoples of the colonias, who cursed Spainís representativas as thieves
and assassins in generalís sashes and chevrons.
public exchequer stood in need of en immediate outiet. The Algeciras conference laid the
borders of Morocco open to attack. The mines of the Rif, coveted by the Count of
Romanones, became an abyss demanding the blood and the money of the Spanish people.
pesetas the Moroccan venture has cost the nationís exchequer, plus many thousands of
fives sacrificad to the financial cartel representad by the farmer Count of Romanones.
most startling points in this Spanish slaughter, revolving around the iron deposits in the
tribal territory of Beni-Bu-lfrur, near the mountain of Af-Laten, are the tragedias of
Baranco del Lobo and Anual.
military have ever been a millstone about the neck of the working people. Look at the
Defence Juntas, of evil memory. The moving spirit behind them, Colonel Marquez, tried to
infuse them with a liberal outlook, but La Ciervaís patronage intrigues far outweighed
the transitory good will of a colonel who ended up persecuted and imprisoned in Monyuich.
Primo de Rivera was the incamation of this whole past we have mentioned. Thanks to the
strength of Lopez Ochoa - and with the passive help of the bourgeoisie, the latifundists,
the clergy, and the financiers - he brandished his sword from the lofty heights of power.
is written proof that this formar Captain General of Catalonia enterad the fray for the
purpose of cancelling out the Picasso inquiryís findings-in which Alfonso XIII and his
man of straw, Silvestre the general, were directly implicated. This interpretation of the
facts is undoutitedly well-founded; but what precipitated the militaryís move was
unquestionably the disquiet among the working class. Having had its fill of outrage and
systematic thievery, the working class was preparing to banish those responsible for its
misfortune from Spanish soil. The financial and industrial bourgeoisie placed afi their
resources at the disposal of the army. They restricted credit, sabotaged the economy,
applied the lock-out and provoked strikes. Great displays of rejoicing from the Catalan
bourgeoisie greeted the armyís Polish style dictatorship.
Primo de Rivera era must be categorised as an effort by the ruling class to weaken the
working class, who actions were to take on a more positiva form at a later date. This
reprisal was en upclated, more comprehensive re-enactment of the past, with the same moral
turpitude and eternal arrogance that have martyred the corpse of a Spain that is ever
noble in its rags.
philandering general was replaced by Berenguer who was himself supplanted by Aznar. And,
to top it all, it was the Count of Romanones-an agent of the intelligence service-who
supervisad the transfer of power from the Monarchy to his formar secretary, Don Niceto
Alcala Zamora. He along with the son of Maura and with the assistance of Maranon, the
palace physician (and also of the intelligence service), laid the foundations for a
Republic which was bound to end in the most frightful stench.
new Republic was completely unpopular. Instead of following socialist guidelines, forged
in the damour of the streets, the same parasites as in the days of the Bourbons, hold
sway. Power is in the hands of politicians who were good servants of the monarchy. Alcala
Zamora was a recalcitrant monarchist, a representativa of the clergy and latifundists.
Azana once belonged to the party of Melquiades Alvarez: Miguel Maura, another royalist;
Alejandro Lerroux, a man without honour ...
Spain took the path of betrayals, of useless secret meetings. Aprilís comedy was to be
paid for with torrents of blood.
the April Republic was to bring forth was catastrophe. Son of Ferrerís murderer, author
of 108 deaths, the minister who gave the order to fire "at will" tumed our
countryside into a network of funeral crosses.
their hopes violently, crushed, the working masses tumed angrily against the April fiasco.
Miguel Maura mobilised the armed forces of his brand-new Republic to crush and destroy the
workers. Pasajes Amedo, Castilblanco, Sevilla, Catalonia ... all describe the true nature
of the Republic that exiles the monarch but with his monies intact, and conveys him in a
ship of the line. Alfonso XIIIís family shook hands warmly with General Sanjurjo. In
August 1932, and again in July 1936. The general unleashed attacks on a people betrayed by
politicians who had given the general a free hand. He was en assassin with a royalist
background. According to reports, the Count of Romanones said in the station at El
Escorial: "Hasta muy pronto" (Until we meet again, very soon).
Republic prattied on in endless exchanges of views. The Constituent Cortes cama up with no
solution to any problem.
question of the army, which only execution pickets could resolve, tumed into farce. Azana
allowed the military to retire under such exceptional terms that the effect was an
enormous upsurge in the non-productive population whilst the barracks were handed over to
the monarchist officer class.
the religious issue was side-stepped. The Church should have been expropriated without
compensation, not to mention the provision for religion and clerics being eliminated from
the nationís budget. This was not done. Instead the refigious orders were legalised, and
the droves who seek refuge in 300 religious orders and 6000 conventos (male and female
convents) were given citizenship rights. There was no attempt to eradicate this cancer
that has eaten away at the Spanish soul for so many centuries. The Mendizabal
administration achieved more than this Republic even though the latter had the benefit of
en extra hundred yearsí experience. And they failed to confiscate the 5,000,000,000
pesetasíworth of Jesuit investment in the nationís economy. Not was a solution found
to the problem of finances. The debts and commitments of the monarchy were acknowledged.
The budget rocketed. Non-productive classes expanded and the bureaucracy underwerit
tremendous growth. The public debt, standing at 3,000,000,000 pesetas in 1814, grew
phenomenally with the colonial losses and the Moroccan disaster- experiencing a slight
defiafion at the time of Villaverde-reaching the astronomical sum of 22,000,000,000 in the
time of the April Republic.
14 brought protection to the rentier and oppression to the consumer. The tax on rent was
quite merciless. The policy being applied was plainly a bourgeois one, even if the
Socialists were in power. Monopolies remained the order of the day, with the smuggier,
March, evading jail as and when he pleased.
was the problem of the statutes any more satisfactorily resolved. There may be talk in one
of the articies of the Constitution, of a federal or federative Republic, but for all the
tak centralism still prevails.
agrarian problem ended in fiasco. The Institute for Agrarian Reform was a hotbed of
nepotism. 5000 peasants were to be settled each year. Some 5,000,000 needed land. With
this laughably optimistic policy of reform the end might have been in sight after a
carne to the labour question armed with a horrendous jargon. Workers control consisted of
such delegation of power as friendship and favouritism might allow.
colonial status became an issue with the Telefonica affair. So, in spite of all Prietoís
bravado and the fact that he labetted the Telefonica contract one-sided in a debate in the
Ateneo in Madrid and it was better the Telefonica workers be machine-gunned whenever they
took to the streets to demand to a just wage-rise rather than North American capital be
have lived through two biennia. The Red and the Black. During both the working ciass were
persecuted in dastardly fashion.
socialists operated as the lackeys of capitalism. The laws for the Defence of the Republic
for Public Order, and the Law of April 8th, are wholly repressive in their nature. The
Right uses them as it chooses. The workers reaction can be seen in the buming of the
conventos, in the events in Barcelona and Figols on January 8th and December 3rd.
Deportations to Bata and Villa Cisneros were still more steps towards surrendering the
Republic to the proletariatís eternal enemies.
biennia were filled with tragedy. Responsibility for the Rightís ocupying a dominant
position must be borne by the social democracy. And it is their fault if the revolution
has not been able to escape foreign intervention. In April 1931 the ltalian fascists had
not extricated themselves from the thom of Adona and the Hitlerites not yet managed to
erect a nationalistic, totalitarian state. Circumstances were favourable. But treachery by
the socialists and reformism from Pestana and his acolytes prevented the moment of truth,
(which was later to cost even more dearly), from arriving.
of this ill-assorted hotchpotch of situations surged October.
overture to July was bom in the Asturias. There the struggle was pursued with courage and
ferocity. Inside Catalonia, Dencas set himself the task of alienating the working class
from that revolt, which could have been crucial.
the Socialists wanted to do in October was to prevent Alcala Zamora from handing ovar to
the Right -in the same way as they had frightened him before with their strikes. Had they
desired revolution they would have exploited the peasant revolt of June 1934 or even timed
it to co-ordinate city with countryside. But the socialists were swept aside by the
Lerroux-Gil Robles govemment lasted two years; two black years of repression and
imprisonment culminating in the "free the prisoners" elections (elecciones
pro-presos) which bore fruit in the events of July.