40 years ago the nascent Spanish democracy murders the workers of Vitoria

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It is 40 years since the events that took place in the city of Vitoria, where, in 1976, in the context of falling wages due to the economic crisis there were important workers’ movements throughout the country, and in Vitoria there were increasingly massive General Assemblies which elected a committee of revocable delegates. It was when a General Assembly was taking place in the Church of San Francisco that police unleashed repression against the workers gathered there. The then government minister, Señor Fraga Iribarne, founder and president of the Partido Popular (the People’s Party) until his death, and honoured ‘democrat’, ordered the police to fire upon the workers, causing five deaths with many injured.

There was an overwhelming response by workers to these events, throughout the country there were solidarity demonstrations and massive assemblies. In Pamplona this ranged across the entire city. This expressed a mass struggle, united in demands and refusing to return to work until all their demands were met. The state had to partially concede.

In his first parliamentary speech on the occasion of the proposal of the investiture of Pedro Sánchez, Señor Iglesias (leader of Podemos) used this anniversary to endorse proposals for a “democratic renewal” and “social justice”. However, in 1976, workers were confronted by a post Franco government that was carrying out the democratic transition which was organised with the international help of the old democracies of the then US bloc (Germany and France), in order to contain the enormous discontent and struggles. A year later the Moncloa Pact showed the unity of the whole bourgeoisie in its attack upon the proletariat under the ideological cover of democratic reform.

If there is a relationship between Vitoria in 1976 and the massive assemblies of 15M in Spain in 2011, with the dynamic of mass struggle[1] (despite those of 2011 not having a clearly proletarian identity); there is none between these events and Iglesias’s party[2].

Before you read the article we would like to make some critical remarks about it. It was written when the ICC section in Spain had not yet been formed[3]. Inexperience and difficulties in assimilating our positions influence the article. Today, 40 years later, we think the following points are completely correct:

  • The denunciation of the great manoeuvre represented by the ‘establishing of democracy’ in Spain whose consequences we are still living through;
  • The unmasking of the coming together of all the political forces of the bourgeoisie, especially the self-proclaimed Left and extreme Left;
  • The defence of proletarian means of struggle, in particular, the assemblies and the unification of the struggles;
  • The defence of the communist perspective of the proletariat, the only alternative faced with the supposed reforms of a system dragging the great majority of humanity into poverty, war and barbarism

That said, the article has passages that reveal an overestimation of the immediate possibilities of the proletariat.

Thus, for example, it says “and, next time, the police stations, barracks, post offices and telephone exchanges”. This overestimation of the possibilities of the situation suggests an almost pre-revolutionary moment. The international situation of the proletariat did not justify such propositions since the struggle had strongly declined following the explosive events in France 1968, Italy 1969 and Poland 1970, something that is ignored when it says, on the contrary, that “Today, in all parts of the world the workers are striking against the conditions which the crisis is imposing on them and those strikes, even when suppressed, resurge with greater fighting spirit every time.” This sees things in a very formal way, the proletariat was very far from the levels of consciousness and the politicisation of its struggles necessary for the posing of such aims.

Furthermore it affirms that there was “the means to develop our unity, consciousness, and organisation through the experience of this period of struggle”. If it is true that there was an impressive unity and proliferation of assemblies, there was nevertheless much less of a clear conscious understanding of the necessity for the world proletarian revolution and the means for making this happen. But this same unity of the working class was not the same everywhere; there was a significant and powerful weight of sectoral, regional and other divisions. The assemblies had not taken on all the consequences and implications of their function in the class, and the committees of delegates were occupied and manipulated by the unions and forces of the extreme left of the bourgeoisie.

The inexperience and difficulties of the assimilation of class positions to which the young sections of the ICC clearly adhered, is seen in the article’s understanding of the October 1934 workers’ insurrection in Asturias as a “revolution”. Despite the enormous combativity displayed by the Asturian miners, the movement remained strictly within regional limits and was more the fruit of a provocation that forced the miners to insurrection than a conscious action they decided upon. At the same time, the world situation was an accumulation of physical and ideological defeats of the class, the triumphant counter-revolution, the preparation of the second imperialist slaughter which impeded the struggles taking up a revolutionary perspective. In reality, the Asturias insurrection has to be seen in the same light as the Austrian Social Democrats’ provocation of workers in that country in February 1934 which lead to a terrible defeat. Their Spanish colleagues, lead by Largo Caballero who had the nerve to present himself as the “Lenin of Spain” (when in the Primo de Rivera dictatorship he was a state councillor to the dictator), leading the workers into a trap and leaving them there by sabotaging all attempts at solidarity in Madrid and other places[4].

Rosa Luxemburg said that “self-criticism, cruel and relentless criticism that goes to the root of evil is life and breath for the proletariat”. The honest highlighting of these errors gives us clarity and conviction in the struggle.

Vitoria, the proletarian alternative

The bourgeoisie has not concealed its anxiety about the strength displayed by the working class during the first three months of this year. The language used by the press and the statements made by public personalities give us an idea of the extent of that anxiety. For the Primate Cardinal “. . . days of uncertainty for Spain are drawing near”; for Ricardo de la Cierva (a bourgeois commentator) “. . . the horizon is so black that I can’t see any more.Informaciones (a Spanish periodical), faced with the avalanche of strikes, asks itself: “Are we facing an attempt that is basically revolutionary?”

Our strikes have shaken the country: all its regions and all its branches of production. The cities of Salamanca and Zamora, where ‘nothing ever happens’, have witnessed strikes in the construction and metal industries; even the blind went on strike and demonstrated in the streets.

Not even before the war has there been such a general movement. In January alone there have been more strikes than in all of 1975. Such a gigantic generalisation must serve to make us aware of the strength which we have, make us see that in this strength lies the road leading to the end of capitalist exploitation, which every day grows more unbearable.

That is the first lesson to draw, a lesson that has been present, more or less clearly, in the recent struggles. The building workers and others in Pamplona, Vitoria, Elda, Vigo, and Barcelona organised the strikes through assemblies, which were unified through a committee of delegates together with a general city assembly; they looked for the solidarity of all workers on the streets and backed by that accumulated strength and their autonomous organisation, they occupied the city, closing bars, offices, banks, and public departments.

To speak of communism, to speak of working class emancipation, is no longer considered utopian. We know that the day of revolution is still far off, but we know that on our way there, we have something very solid on which to lean: the experience of our brothers in Vitoria, Pamplona, Vigo, and other cities. That experience contains the means to unite us, the means to confront bourgeois power, to destroy it and to liberate ourselves. This experience forms part of the real resurgence of the proletariat throughout the entire world and takes up the revolutionary torch which set fire to Europe through the years 1917-21, and whose zenith saw the creation of the soviets in 1917 in Russia and the workers’ councils in Germany in 1918.

It’s essential to deepen these experiences, to generalise them to all places, and to ensure that such experiences should have a conscious organisation forged by the workers themselves. Clearly, the means are:

  • the general strike
  • the occupation of the cities, closing and paralysing offices, bars, public departments and, for the first time, police stations, jails, postal and telephone offices
  • the autonomous organisation of our class in assemblies, unified in delegates’ committees and in a general congress of workers’ delegates
  • the defence of our assemblies and demonstrations against the attacks of the repressive bodies of the state.

The road is long and difficult, but we are not starting from scratch; we have the experience of two centuries of workers’ struggle behind us. Today, in all parts of the world the workers are striking against the conditions which the crisis is imposing on them and those strikes, even when suppressed, resurge with greater fighting spirit every time.

Murder and democracy: two sides of the same coin

If we have the means to develop our unity, consciousness, and organisation through the experience of this period of struggle, it is also true that the bourgeoisie is powerful and has many ways of defeating us, dividing us, and stopping our advance forward.

We have to have a very clear consciousness of the methods the bourgeoisie is going to use to defeat our struggle. We can sum them up under two headings: repression and democracy. In less than two weeks, the pre-democratic government of Fraga assassinated more workers than the fascist government of Carrero Blanco did in two years!

Faced with the uncontrollable strength of the workers’ struggles in Vitoria, Elda, Vigo, Pamplona, etc., there was no other response open to the capitalists than to resort to the most savage repression - and a fascist government would have done the same as a democratic one, or a ‘workers’ or ‘revolutionary’ one. Capitalism - under all its state forms - always speaks the same language. History provides us with too many examples: in 1918 the Social Democrat, Ebert, bloodily defeated the workers of Berlin, assassinating Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht; in 1921 the Bolshevik government used aerial bombardment to end the Kronstadt workers’ insurrection[5]; in 1931 the Swedish Conservative government killed nine workers in Adalen; in 1933 under the Spanish Republic, the progressive Azaña waded in blood at Casas Viejas while the fascist (today a democrat) Gil Robles drowned the workers’ revolution of the Asturias under the barbarity of the Spanish Foreign Legion. After the massacre of the Second World War, the killings continued: Italy in 1947 under the Christian Democrats; Berlin in 1953 and Hungary in 1956 under ‘Communist’ governments; Poland in 1970; twelve miners killed during a miners’ strike in South Africa in 1972; Argentina under the military regime, workers killed in Córdoba and Tucumán …

The crimes committed in Vitoria, Elda, etc are not the work of an ‘ultra’ faction of the bourgeoisie as OICE[6] says in Revolución number 7, but the conscious and necessary response that capitalism, under whatever form of government, makes and will go on making to the proletarian menace. Carillo would have done the same as Fraga!

But repression is not enough if the working class continues to advance through every struggle and learns from each defeat. The reform of the institutions of the bourgeois state is essential in order to contain the workers’ struggle, to divide it, and to imprison it within objectives which, far from destroying the system, consolidate and conserve it.

The events in Vitoria have not made the Government abandon its policy of reform.

They have not brought a crisis to the dreadful ‘bunker’[7]. The Council of Ministers made the following declaration:

In consequence, the government (after the events in Vitoria) is disposed to act not only with the object of firmly maintaining public order, but also to create the objective conditions which permit a real social peace . . . particularly distressing are events such as those in Vitoria which are clearly intended to delay the programme of reforms which the Spanish people want and which the government is not prepared to renounce.”

It is no contradiction to combine democracy with murder. Bloodbaths are not a monopoly of the fascists. All factions of capital use the same weapons against workers’ rebellions.

But although it is a necessity for the Spanish bourgeoisie to defeat in blood and fire all independent workers’ struggles, it must at the same time create the democratic political institutions it needs (like unions, parties, universal suffrage and other ‘liberties’) to avoid frontal confrontations like those at Vitoria by forcing the workers’ struggles against exploitation into meaningless channels.

The vote, the unions, and the parties have a function: to contain the class, to erode its initiative, to confine it within the factory and the nation, diverting the horizon of its struggle towards ‘socio-political’ reforms such as the self-determination of the people, self-management, and anti-fascism. These are all weapons which the politicians of capital use to prevent us from becoming conscious that the only solution possible for our problems is to finish with exploitation once and for all.

Faced with a government incapable of controlling the situation, and whose only real language is crime, detention and provocation, the Democratic Opposition of the Right (liberals, Christian Democrats and Social Democrats) got together with the Left and extreme Left in the same endeavour - to channel the strike movement towards democratic reforms.

In an article appearing in Mundo Diario (a Stalinist-backed paper) entitled ‘The Urgent Need for a Political Pact’, Solé Tura, mouthpiece of the Catalonian Communist Party, drew the following conclusions from the struggles in Vitoria, Pamplona, and Sabadell: “You have to be blind not to see that we are on the point of losing the big opportunity for establishing and stabilising a democracy in our country.” He ended with the following proposal for immediate action: “Either we quickly reach an accord which encompasses the opposition and the consistent reformists to bring into being a democratic alternative, or we will very quickly reach a limit, and beyond that limit things are going to turn out very difficult for all, that is to say for the country.”

What could be clearer? A party which pretends to be ‘proletarian’ and ‘communist’ measures struggles in terms of the interests of the ‘Nation’, which can only mean the owners of the ‘fatherland’: the capitalists.

The small groups to the left of the CP are more cautious, since they speak in the name of the ‘working class and the people’; but their intervention is still more criminal because they present the same reforms which the CP and the bourgeoisie defend, as ‘great victories for the working people’; at least the CP has the nerve to speak openly in the name of the bourgeoisie and the nation:

ORT, MCE and PTE[8] in a joint declaration, after much snivelling about the assassinated workers and shouting about how evil and fascist Juan Carlos is, conclude the necessity for: “. . . a real unity of the democratic forces to fight in a consistent way for democracy against fascism, against the disunity and bourgeois vacillations of the Junta and the Plataforma.”

Liga Communista[9] in their paper Combate number 40, criticise Ruiz Giménez and Tierno Galván (bourgeois radical democrats) for not going to the pro-amnesty demonstration in Madrid on January 20th, adding: “. . . the thousands of demonstrators didn’t need their presence to defend the amnesty, and other democratic aspirations of the masses which they (Giménez and Galván) don’t know how to defend consistently.”

Since the bourgeoisie don’t know how to fight for the democracy which they need, LC will attend to the matter by telling workers that they should help the bourgeoisie out.

For the ‘ultra-leftist’ OICE, the balance sheet of Vitoria reads as follows: they attribute the criminal acts to a phantasmal ‘ultra’ faction of the bourgeoisie, and end up considering the workers’ self-defence of their demonstrations and assemblies as provocations and adventurism; they consider the class as ‘immature’ for the ‘democratic rupture’ as for the ‘socialist rupture’; finally they seize the chance to advertise themselves as a ‘beacon’ for the workers, attributing to themselves the ‘honour’ of having directed the struggle.

This ‘anti-capitalist’ and ‘left communist’ organisation doesn’t say a word about the importance that this fight has for the advance of the workers’ movement; nor does it draw the lessons by pointing out successes and errors so that the class can prepare itself for future struggles; nor does it see the fight within the world situation and the general struggle of the class. Not one word of all this; its total obsession is to show that the OICE is ‘responsible’, and that it didn’t fall for any ‘provocations’.

The left of capital

If we have reviewed the reactions of the groups of the Right, Left and extreme Left to the events in Vitoria, this has not been to expose then, and once having done so offer our merchandise as the best.

All comrades who want to engage in a permanent collective and organised struggle against capital must regroup themselves into a political organisation where we will forge a clear communist programme and a coherent intervention in the class struggle.

The problem we have to consider is whether those organisations of the Left and extreme Left who put themselves forward as the ‘vanguard’ of the proletariat really are useful instruments in the fight for communism.

For us the answer is no. For neither in the programme, nor in the organisation, nor in the consciousness of these groups can we find anything of use to that fight. Their programmes are never about communism and the practical means for achieving the consciousness and organisation necessary to create it. On the contrary, they call for ‘liberties’ (some call them democratic, others political), for a ‘workers’ trade union, for self-management, for workers’ control . . . in other words a minimal programme for the reform of capitalism, when we know from historical experience and from the experience of the democratic countries that this programme is not a ‘step forward’ but a dead-end which weakens us, divides us, and leads us to defeat.

Their organisations are models of bureaucracy and hierarchy, where all political discussion by militants is curtailed with a thousand excuses: the need for ‘unity’, the danger of falling into ‘ultra-leftism’, ‘dogmatism’ or ‘purism’ … But their main danger lies in the recipes they serve up about how the workers should struggle. These recipes are always based on a division between economic struggle and political struggle. In effect, the Left in general and the extreme Left in even more confusing jargon have insisted that the recent struggles are economic (in January Camacho[10] never stopped repeating this everywhere). The funny thing is that they utilise the same logic as the Right, which says “. . . economic strikes, yes; political strikes, no” (because they are managed by Moscow . . . or by the French CGT). The Left rejects the ‘accusation of politicisation’ by separating, in the face of all reality, the economic from the political with the exactitude of a medieval scholastic. The Left does this because, according to them, the only politics the workers can have are the politics of the bourgeois opposition . . . and that’s the end of the discussion!

Who can believe, they ask themselves, that the class can struggle politically in an autonomous way? And the extreme Left too dusts down the poorest texts of Lenin in order to justify the same old counterrevolutionary idea that in the end the workers can only arrive through their struggles with a ‘trade union’ consciousness.

Nobody denies that consciousness has to make its own way, and that in the majority of cases strikes begin for economic reasons. What we absolutely insist is counterrevolutionary is the haughty denial that consciousness is enriched by action; the posing of unbridgeable barriers between economic and political consciousness when all evidence shows that these moments constitute a permanent and continuous progression.

“. . . when they try to take exact account of the strikes, of the co-ordination, and other forms by which proletarians make into reality before our eyes their organisation as a class, some are invaded by a real terror, others show a lofty scorn.”

“Do not say that the social movement excludes the political movement. There has never been a political movement which was not at the same time social.” (Both quotes from Marx, The Poverty of Philosophy)

The guilty ones of Vitoria

It has been said that the dead of Vitoria have to be blamed on the role of the ‘bunker’ which led the workers to slaughter by continually provoking them. The workers only wanted the re-instatement of the twenty two sacked men of Forjas; the challenging attitude of the police and their exacerbation of violence provoked the tragedy; it was all a shady manoeuvre by the bunker to block democratisation. In fact the Government followed the events step by step and the order to fire came from the Civil Governor of Alava, who previously consulted with the Government. In Zamaraga, where the tragedy happened, a conversation by radio transmitter was intercepted between the Chief of Police and the Governor in which the latter specifically said that the former need not have any fear of shooting.

The Governor of Alava doesn’t have any fame as an ultra-rightist; he is a man who has the complete confidence of Fraga and was appointed by him. Neither did the Civil Guard - the refuge of the ultras - poke their noses into the conflict at all.

Another cause which has been pointed out has been the intransigence of the Alava business men and their obstinacy in not negotiating with the workers. Forjas Alaves as and other isolated companies came to an agreement to concede a very substantial part of the demands, with the clear aim of dividing the workers and negotiating company by company. But the workers didn’t allow this manoeuvre to succeed. They demanded that they should be given an overall settlement without dismissals or detentions. This was a political decision in which they put the unity of the class before negotiation and rewards (which they could see as pretty insecure). In the assemblies there were some very heated discussions about this and in the end the position of ‘all or none’ triumphed. In Forjas Alavesas, the board conceded everything: the factory assembly decided to go back to work but the joint assembly asked them to reconsider their decision and to continue to strike. The workers of Forjas accepted this.

This is very important. It means putting class unity before negotiation, before possible economic gains within a factory; it means understanding the political nature of the struggle for our demands (direct confrontation against capital and its state); it means recognising the power of the joint assembly of factories in struggle, the expression of the general movement of the class.

When people talk about the ‘bunker’ or of the irresponsibility of the Alava businessmen, they are inventing scapegoats. They see the savagery of the fascist wing of capital, but they draw a veil over the savagery of its democratic wing. Finally, they are hiding the fact that our class interests clash directly with the whole of capitalist order and that faced with our struggles, any bourgeois regime will employ the same criminal methods.

Vitoria is an example of a conscious and organised struggle by the proletariat against bourgeois power. It shows that in Vitoria workers grasped that our demands couldn’t be satisfied within capitalist institutions (agreements, negotiations, unions …), so it is necessary to prepare ourselves to face the inevitable confrontation with capital and its state.

The creation of scapegoats has a purpose: to make us believe that a trade unionist, economist struggle is viable and disrupted only by a reactionary and bunkerite element against whom we have to direct all our forces. At the same time those who put forward this line try to hide the revolutionary content of the struggle in Vitoria and try to prevent us from facing reality. And this reality is that if we generalise our struggle and unify it autonomously in genuine class organs, the whole of the repression will fall upon us. It is therefore imperative to pose the issue of the organised and conscious defence of our assemblies and demonstrations.

Solidarity with Vitoria

Solidarity with Vitoria cannot be reduced to protest against the government’s crimes; we have to understand how we can become united with the struggle of the Vitoria workers in support of their conscious and autonomous confrontation with bourgeois power.

In some places like in Navarre and Tarragona, there was a class response, while in others - Euzkadi, Catalonia - the dead were made use of by the Left to defend their democratic-nationalist alternative, confining the struggle to whimpering about the crimes.

It can be said that Madrid was a case apart. The exhaustion of the recent general strike weighed heavily on the workers there. There were places where symbolic stoppages of five minutes were made, while in other concerns (Torrejón, Intelsa and Kelvinator in Getafe …) workers struck and went out onto the streets in an attempt to extend the fight, but without success.

In Navarre, the atmosphere was already combative when news arrived from Vitoria. That same Wednesday, May the 3rd, the textile industry was paralysed and 300 factories were on strike for the Collective Agreements of Navarre, a measure intended to favour workers in smaller enterprises. In this action the ‘Council of Workers’[11] (controlled by representatives of the Workers’ Commissions (CCOO)) found itself overtaken by the workers who had elected an assembly of factory delegates. That very Wednesday afternoon, after news from Vitoria had arrived, 160 factory delegates had been meeting, and they decided to propose a general strike to their assemblies. On Thursday morning, they began to close factories, particularly in the area of the Landaben Polygon industrial estate. The main decision, which was taken in almost all the assemblies, was to go out into the streets, to extend the strike, to paralyse the city.

Pickets and demonstrations, called particularly by the workers of the following factories: Superser, Torfinosa, Perfil en Frio, Immanesa, were bringing other factories out into the street and closing shops and bars. As in the general strike of 1973, they again sang:

Through the streets goes a song

Worker raise your fist,

Leave the machines, come out of the factory,

Go to the streets with a single cry: Revolution! Revolution!”

After building huge barricades and engaging in hard clashes with the cops, the workers reached the centre, where the commercial and banking employees joined them unanimously. The most repeated cries were “We are workers; join us!” “Solidarity with Vitoria!” “Brothers of Vitoria, we shall not forget you!” The workers’ districts were mobilised with everybody coming out into the streets. This happened especially in Rochapea, San Juan and Chantrea. The other Navarran towns were also united; Lesaca, where the workers of Laminaciónes, having paralysed the town, set off on the road to Irún (the border town with France), although the Civil Guard dispersed them with shots. In Estella, Tafalla and Tudela there were total strikes. The movement lasted until the end of the week. To curtail it, the management put forward new economic offers to be considered at the Collective Agreements. On the other hand, the ‘Council of Workers’ put forward their demand for the re-instatement of those sacked in the Potasas conflict of 1975, which the management - cornered by the situation - agreed to negotiate on.

These concessions shortened the struggle, in the same way as the mopping-up work of the Workers Commissions (controlled not by the CP, but by the ORT and the MCE) which stressed the need for, ‘conserving strength’ for the single day of struggle called for all Euzkadi (the Basque Country) to celebrate the 8th of March. That day there were hardly any strikes in Navarre.

In Tarragona: in the refinery plant employing 3,000 workers, workers put forward a class response. On Thursday, the atmosphere was effervescent, but nothing concrete came of it. However, on Friday, some workplaces started to come out, and drew people to them, everybody joining in less than an hour into an assembly where workers proposed making a march into the centre (around six miles away) to try to bring out all the factories in the industrial zone. There were opinions against this, but in the end two-thirds of the meeting decided to go forward. The attempt failed and very few factories joined them. There were groups of workers who asked the demonstrators to hold a meeting in the Ramblas which they could go to after coming out of work. Also many people from the Buenavista neighbourhood joined them. In the Ramblas there were intermittent clashes the whole evening and a Morrocan worker was killed by the police who used the maximum savagery possible.

The Tarragonan experience shows that things may not turn out well at the beginning, but that the only way to go forward is to begin to move. The factory with the highest level of consciousness must not concentrate its strength on struggle in that particular factory; its higher consciousness must lead it to take up the task of generalising and extending working class action. In almost all the zones there were examples of factories that were the motive force for the movement: Kelvinator in Getafe, Superser in Pamplona, Standard in Madrid, Duro-Felguera in Gijón, Caf in Beasíń.

The other solidarity

In Euzkadi, all the unions and political organisations joined in a call for a day of struggle for March 8th. It was followed by some 500,000 people. A success in numbers, but a failure from the point of view of the conscious struggle of the working class. How is it to be explained, for example, that a worker from Basauri was killed on Monday and nobody lifted a finger on the following day to protest against the crime?

One-day struggles mean a whole series of things for the workers’ movement which it is necessary to criticise and demystify.

1. In the first place, to stop for 24 hours and on the following day to return to work as if nothing had happened, serves to accustom the workers to the idea that their weapons of struggle (the strike, the demonstration) are means for pressuring the bourgeois state, not means for liberation which go on reinforcing our unity and weakening our enemy, until there is a violent confrontation.

2. In the second place, one-day struggles are demonstrations of force on the part of the parties of the Left against the state and other traditional factions of the bourgeoisie; they have the object of convincing the ruling factions that they should take note of the Left’s capacity for mobilisation and recognise that there is a role for the Left in the political game of the bourgeoisie. Although using methods different from parliamentary politics, they have the same end: to use the workers’ struggle in conflicts between one faction of capital and another.

The meaning of the one-day struggles held in the whole of Euzkadi was the same, with a propaganda which placed the emphasis on the fact that the dead were Basques, assassinated by Spanish centralism.

The Left of the whole country has made use of the dead to attempt to convince the population about the need for democracy. Thus, there were numerous funeral processions, protesting against the ‘violence of a government’, and demanding the coming of another - a ‘democratic’ one - which would ‘end all types of violence!’ 

March 1976

[1]. See our international leaflet ‘From Indignation to hope’ in WR 353 and at https://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201203/4766/statement-social-m...


[2]. See the article in this issue of WR and an earlier in Acción Proletaria (our territorial publication in Spain) on the Podemos hoax https://es.internationalism.org/ccionline/201406/4033/podemos-un-poder-d....


[3]. There was a nucleus formed by elements that came together in 1973 and who participated in a process of discussion that lead to the formation of the ICC in 1975. This nucleus separated itself from this process in 1974 due to activist and workerist differences. A new group of militants made contact with the ICC in 1975 and, after a series of discussions, was definitively integrated in September 1976.


[4]. See our book (in Spanish) 1936: Franco and the Republic massacre the proletariat. An online version can be found at https://es.internationalism.org/booktree/539


[5]. The crushing of the Kronstadt workers’ was indeed a decisive step in the transformation of the soviet state into an instrument of capitalism, but we don’t think this was the culminating point of the counter-revolutionary process that would make the Russian state fit without qualification into a list of capitalist states. See for example https://en.internationalism.org/internationalreview/200001/9646/1921-pro...


[6]. Organización de la Izquierda Comunista de Espańa, Revolución was its publication, was an organisation of the so-called extreme left, which, in reality, is the left of capital, and, while adopting some of the positions of the Communist Left, in reality, perverted them and used them in its role of containing the autonomous movements of the proletariat and leading it into a dead end. Proof of this was their position according to which there are other fractions of the democratic bourgeoisie under which capitalist exploitation would be tolerable.


[7]. With this expression the article refers to those years in which a part of the state tried to stay anchored in Francoism.


[8]. ORT, Organización Revolucionaria de Trabajadores; MCE Movimiento Comunista de Espańa; PTE, Partido de los Trabajadores de Espańa, were three leftist organisations.


[9]. A Spanish Mandelite Trotskyist group


[10]. Camacho (1918-2010) was the organiser of the diversion onto the union terrain with the initiative for Workers Commissions created in the struggles with the capitalist approach of a permanent organisation during the times of Franco. From here was born the CCOO union of which he was general secretary for many years.


[11]. An organ of the Francoist vertical union that was still active at that time





History of the class struggle