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SPAIN'S INDEPENDENCE

 

Intervention by foreign powers in the Spanish scene has brought into focus the etemal dilemma in which our country has always found itself.

Since the XVIth century Spain's political life has been a lien of foreign powers. Two dynasties - one Austrian the other Bourbon, not to mention the short reign of Amadeo of Savoy - kept the people of Spain in subjetion up to April 14, 1931.

Spainís independence has always been a fiction. The Foreign Office and the Quai díOrsay have played a most important role in our decisions. Remember the pardoning of Sanjurjo after his rebellion in August 1932, granted only after pressure from the French govemment?

The Spanish economy, a pre-eminently agrarian one, has kept us tied to the apron strings of the big industrial powers. In order to export our produce we have been obliged to buy machinery we could have made at home. And in retum for London taking our oranges, we are urged to buy English coal, with the inevitable result that the working day in our coal mines is reduced because of the slump in production at home.

We export iron, copper and other minerals in order to buy the finished machinery, built by the very country that bought its raw materials from us.

Our sub-soil is extremely rich, but foreign capital owns it. Our country is gripped by the tentacles of intemational finance which devours the people's wealth. Spanish workers have always sweated in order to satisfy the dividends and substantial profits of foreign stock-holders and financiers.

From the dawn of our history, a spirit of independence has been evident in Spaniards. Invasions have been numerous, but they never managed to extinguish the sacred flame of independence.

When we come to the current invasion, it is clearly of a nature that contrasts with the earlier ones in that in the case of the Iberians, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs or French, there was no social dimension.

During the Napoleonic invasion, liberals and absolutists stood shoulder to shoulder in the fray. El Empecinado found Father Merino at his side, though only through force of circumstance.

During the expedition of the Duke of Angouleme, authorised by the Holy Alliance from Vienna, opinion in the Peninsula was noticeably divided. Father Merino sided with the invaders. El Empecinado, for his part, resisted the entry of the foreign forces.

What is happening today is a re-enactment of what happened in the reign of Ferdinand Vll. Once again in Vienna there has been a conference of fascist dictators for the purpose of organising their invasion of Spain. And the workers in arms have taken up the mantle of El Empecinado.

Germany and Italy need raw materials. They need iron, copper, lead and mercury. But these Spanish mineral deposits are the preserve of France and England. Yet even though Spain faces subjection, England does not protest. On the contrary-in a vile manoeuvre, she tries to negotiate with Franco.

Since the war began, she has helped blockade ports held by us. Fascist shipping unload war materials at fascist-controlled ports ... and take on ore, livestock oil.... International fascism needs food for its machine. Hitlerís slogan - more guns, less butlers - and Mussoliniís autarchy lead them to sack the agricultural regions under the iron rule of the rebel generals.

In economic matters, we have always been dependent on other countries. Commercial treaties and the balance of payments have never operated in our favour. This trend has been a nightmare for our economy.

Spain's problem is a colonial one. Capitalism, having extinguished feudalism in its awn territory, finds itself in the incongruous position of having to bolster feudal regimes in the countries it seeks to exploit. This goes for Spain as it does likewise for China.

It is up to the working class to ensure Spainís independence. Native capitalism will not do it, since intemational capital crosses all frontiers. This is Spainís current predicament. It is up to us workers to root out the foreign capitalists. Patriotism does not enter into it. It is a matter of class interests.

As the intemational intrigues go on, it is safe to assume that England will manage to settle the Spanish question on the basis of en ignominious status quo. Will she make economic concessions to Germany and Italy? Will partial rights to our sub-soil resources be hived off to foreign powers? Will Spain be partitioned?

England is interested in our mineral wealth. Such is the colossal pressure of a fascism spread throughout the world and party to the famous Anti-Comintem Pact, that, at best, perfidious Albion will yield; always provided that there is no threat to the free passage of her shipping through the Mare Nostrum.

It is hard to guess what will happen. We must put no trust in the League of Nations, nor in the host of committees and sub-committees, nor in Conferences whose only purpose, like the Nyon Conference, is to waste time on the matter. But it is worth noting that the English Conservatives have recalled Lord Halifax, the author of the massacres in India.

There can be only one question for us; will France be ready to place in the balance not only her maritime, but also her territorial security ? Will France keep to the non-intervention policy hammered out by Leon Blum? Is she prepared to renounce her colonial army?

Let us trust no-one. Salvation lies in our own hands. Foreign powers incline to the lesser evil, to the cabal. And the working class Wil find a way to prevent Spain being made subject to an intemational arrangement, like Tangiers, Danzig or the Saar.

Victory or death, comrades. That is the choice at the present moment.

 


 

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