Bilan 36: The events of 19 July (1936)

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Bilan 36: The events of 19 July (1936)
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The discussion that follows was prompted by the article: Bilan 36: The events of 19 July (1936). The discussion was initiated by Fred.
Below is the discussion so far. Feel free to add your own comments!

the clever tricks of the bourgeoisie

If you think that Bilan is merely a source of " dry and dusty documents" as posters on redmarx always used to insist, then  you should read this dramatic account and analysis of how the cunning bourgeoisie first deceived then stifled workers'struggles in Spain in 1936.  The bourgeoisie used every trick  in the book from posing as outright commies themselves, from offering continual help and advice to their proletarian "comrades", from allowing workers to seize control and run their own exploitation in factories now "owned" by workers, to claiming, on behalf of the workers, that the proletarian revolution in Spain was a vast improvement on the one that took place in Russia in 1917 because better organized - better organized by the bourgeoisie that is!  They even had the cheek to talk about a sort of bourgeois communism in which capitalism, while remaining, would somehow take on the appearance if not the essence of communism itself, and thus be transformed into something new and good!   How many workers fell for this one I wonder? And then there was their constant insistence that their friends the working class, whose best interests were always in their hearts, and who they wished so much to help,  should be  brought to understand that what had to be defeated first was the new ogre of "fascism" now spreading its cancerous claws across  Europe.   First let's conquer  fascism, the socialist bourgeois advised, nay urged, and then move on to dispose  of capitalism.  This is the strategy.  This is the key to your, sorry our, success. 


It seems that the usually unplummetted depths of bourgeois creativity, reserved for profit making, know no limits when it comes to confusing, deceiving, derailing, and finally murdering  proletarian revolutionary attempts, and proletarian efforts to develop class consciousness.  That bourgeois creativity never finds better outlets and forms of expression than when confronted directly by it's class enemy, and when successfully leading that class towards certain defeat. Let us  be warned! 


And then of course there was "communist Russia" and their invaluable contribution to Spain and proletarian revolution. Bilan has this to say.


Bilan wrote:
 And on the same day that the militarization decree was passed, in Barcelona the Soviet ship Zanianine docked, symbolizing Russia’s turn towards Spain. Russia intervened with arms and technicians only after the consti­tution of Caballero’s regular army had clearly shown that what was going on was a bourgeois war. Let us not forget that at the beginning of these events, Russia had been busy with the murder of Zinoviev, Kamenev and all the others. Now it could pass directly on to the business of murdering the Spanish workers, for whom Russian tanks and planes would be a powerful argument in favour of their being incorporated into a bourgeois army, led by men well versed in the massacre of workers.  


Note Bilan's irony in the phrase "men well versed in the massacre of workers".  In fact, that  Bilan  had  sufficient communist consciousness  and communist insight to achieve this level of communist clarity, in a piece written at the height of the counter revolution,  is amazing in itself.  For it reads as if written about events that took place only yesterday,  so relevant is it to us now; and so good it is at exposing the immense collection of dirty tricks the bourgeoisie has at its disposal,  and the array of phony double-dealing "comrades" it has ready to field when needed. 

It's a warning. 


remarkable document

I agree with Fred that this is a truly remarkable document, which I have recently come back to in writing about the programmatic inadequacies of anarchism in Spain. It was published in August 1936, which is almost unbelievable given the enormous confusion surrounding the events and how difficult it must have been to obtain reliable information about what was happening in Spain at that moment. The capacity of Bilan to analyse and take a clear position on the July days in Spain, and to do it so rapidly, testifies to an underlying mastery of the marxist method which has rarely been matched by subsequent generations.