Moscow’s fight against Trotskyism in Spain

Submitted by Matthew on 15 June, 2016 - 12:07 Author: Andrew Coates

Andrew Coates reviews Lions Led By Jackals, Stalinism in the International Brigades by Dale Street.

During Franco’s dictatorship “the defeated in Spain has no public right to historical memory” observed Paul Preston in The Spanish Holocaust (2012). The movement to recover these memories, beginning in the new millennium, continues to expose this past.

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The Stalinist campaign against the Spanish revolution

Submitted by Matthew on 6 January, 2016 - 11:10 Author: Gerry Bates

Tear down the Glasgow waterfront statue of Stalinist sycophant Dolores Ibarruri (“La Pasionaria”) and replace it by one of the Gorbals-born International Brigader Alexander Marcowich! This is the conclusion of a new Workers’ Liberty pamphlet: Lions Led by Jackals — Stalinism in the International Brigades.

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The Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution

Submitted by dalcassian on 2 January, 2014 - 1:05

D. A. Santillan has written a tragic, very significant book* to tell the “real role” of the F.A.I. (Anarchist Federation of Iberia), the “only influential mass organization that remained incorruptible in the face of new loves” and to place the blame for the victory of Franco where he thinks it really falls – at the door of the “democracies,” Russia and the Popular Front government of Spain.

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The Anarchists in the Spanish Revolution

Submitted by dalcassian on 2 January, 2014 - 1:05

M. Wilson

D. A. Santillan has written a tragic, very significant book* to tell the “real role” of the F.A.I. (Anarchist Federation of Iberia), the “only influential mass organization that remained incorruptible in the face of new loves” and to place the blame for the victory of Franco where he thinks it really falls – at the door of the “democracies,” Russia and the Popular Front government of Spain.

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The Fourth International was proclaimed 75 years ago, after a 15-year struggle against Stalinism.

Submitted by dalcassian on 21 November, 2013 - 6:42

Just as the main body of the
Communist International came
out of the Second International,
so the roots of the Fourth Inter-
national are to be traced to the
beginnings of the crisis in the
Fifteen years have elapsed
since the movement now organ-
ized under the banner of the
Fourth International first took
shape. It arose in the form of the
Opposition in the Russian Com-
munist Party, variously called the
"Moscow" or "1923" or "Trotsky-
ist" Opposition. Uniting the best

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Grandizo Munis: key ally of Trotsky in Spain Matthew Wed, 12/09/2012 - 10:33

Grandizo Munis (1912-1989) was one of the earliest Spanish Trotskyists.

Born Manuel Fernandez Grandizo in Larena, Estremadura, Munis joined Izquierda Comunista (ICE), the Spanish section of Trotsky’s International Left Opposition at its conference in Liege in Belgium in February 1930.

The majority in ICE, led by Andrés Nin, soon came into conflict with Trotsky over the section’s semi-detached relationship with the rest of the International Left Opposition (ILO) and its positive attitude towards the “Right Oppositionist” Workers’ and Peasants’ Bloc (BOC).

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The tragedy of Spanish Trotskyism

Submitted by Matthew on 25 April, 2012 - 9:54

Liam McNulty concludes his article on the Trotskyists in the Spanish revolution of 1936/7. The first part appeared in Solidarity 242.

In December 1936 the POUM was ejected from the Catalan Generalitat (provincial government) on the orders of the Soviet consul in Barcelona, Vladimir Antonov-Ovseyenko (the man who led the Bolsheviks’ assault on the Winter Palace in 1917).

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Trotskyism and the Spanish Workers' Movement

Submitted by cathy n on 10 April, 2012 - 8:23

'There is nothing so destructive as illusion, whereas nothing can be of greater use to the revolution than naked truth.' Rosa Luxemburg, The Spartacus Programme.


Submitted by guenter on Tue, 10/04/2012 - 13:09

This great and necessary article does, i think, correctly sum up anything about spain.
iam only not sure about a little sidenote on germany, where -as usual in all left publications- only the stalinists get blamed for having hindered the antifascist unity against hitler with their theory of social-fascism. my point is, that the SPD itself same as much wasnt interested in that antifascist unity, and i wonder, if they really had, if they had not been attacked as socialfascists.
in 1914 they agreed with the first imperialist worldwar, in 1929 they did forbid the traditional 1st of may demonstration with 33 workers shot to death by police and many injured, and in 1932 the socialdemocrats voted the rightwing militarist hindenburg as president, who made hitler the chancelor. and any leftwinger did know, as the CP spoke out: "who votes for hindenburg, does vote for hitler. and this means war". the trotskytes should not always forget, to blame the SPD same as much. only their behaviour made it possible 4 the CP, to distribute this "theory" of socialfascists among their members.

Submitted by LM on Wed, 11/04/2012 - 23:39

Hey Guenter,

Thanks for your comments. I take your point; the comment on the Third Period was only to provide a small bit of context and certainly it's a complex issue. As you say, the SPD had an absolutely terrible record in Germany, from the betrayal of 1914, their counter-revolutionary role in 1918-19 etc.

But of course, Trotsky never suggested for one moment that Communists should cease in their criticisms of the Noskes, Scheidemanns and Mullers, and their record. It was not to give cover to the treacherous leaders of German Social Democracy that the United Front was proposed- quite the opposite; it was to unite the the class as a whole against fascism, including Social Democratic workers, and to force their leadership to expose themselves. The one condition was that revolutionaries maintained their ideological and organisation independence.

The United Front is a tactical question and, however distasteful it might have been to German Communists given the recent historical experience, it was necessary to keep in sight the interests of the working class as a whole because it doesn't need to be said now what threat fascism posed to the very existence of the workers movement. To do anything else was sectarianism and whether revolutionaries liked it or not, many workers still supported the SPD and it was to ignore reality to pretend otherwise. As Trotsky put it in 1931:

"It is necessary to show by deeds a complete readiness to make a bloc with the Social Democrats against the fascists in all cases in which they will accept a bloc. To say to the Social Democratic workers: “Cast your leaders aside and join our “nonparty” united front” means to add just one more hollow phrase to a thousand others. We must understand how to tear the workers away from their leaders in reality. But reality today is-the struggle against fascism. There are and doubtless will be Social Democratic workers who are prepared to fight hand in hand with the Communist workers against the fascists, regardless of the desires or even against the desires of the Social Democratic organizations. With such progressive elements it is obviously necessary to establish the closest possible contact. At the present time, however, they are not great in number. The German worker has been raised in the spirit of organization and of discipline. This has its strong as well as its weak sides. The overwhelming majority of the Social Democratic workers will fight against the fascists, but – for the present at least – only together with their organizations. This stage cannot be skipped. We must help the Social Democratic workers in action – in this new and extraordinary situation – to test the value of their organizations and leaders at this time, when it is a matter of life and death for the working class."

But I'm sure you know all this and yes, without the treacherous conduct of the SPD it would have been more difficult for the Stalinized Comintern to feed the "social fascist" line to its sections. I would say, though, that the usual Trotskyist criticisms of the KPD's role in the rise of Hitler take for granted the treachery of the SPD; in the Stalinists' case, however, it was a betrayal by a party that was until then presumed to know better. That, too, was why 1933 was the turning-point at which the historical necessity for a Fourth International was demonstrated beyond all doubt.


Submitted by guenter on Thu, 12/04/2012 - 12:56

Liam, i agree fully with what trotsky said/wrote about germany 1933; i even consider this as the most excellent and most foreseeing of all his writings. my little point was only, that nowadays same trotskyte groups blame the stalinists alone for having hindered a united front against hitler, without blaming the hindenburg-voting SPD same as much. we can say, the socialdemocrats voted for hitler....

i also agree with u, that after 1933 was an absolute turning point which demonstrated the necessity of an new international. i dont belong to those, who blamed trotsky for havng "sectarian" founded the 4th international too early, instead of waiting till one or the other section was an massparty. in the shadow of the upcoming worldwar, the revolutionarees would have been without own organisation then and individually got lost till the end of the war. moreover, i think that trotsky did perhaps found the new parties too late- not too early. couldnt trotsky have had more followers, if he had called for new parties before 1927, before he lost any influence in USSR? the "democratic zentralists" argued for an new party since 1926. i think, they saw it earlier than him, that the stalinist parties couldnt be reformed no more. for me, it was a bit bizarre, that tortsky, for some years after he and his followers had been booted, still saw them as an faction of the party/the communist international. if one is out, how can he still act, as if he was in? in the moment he was epelled and brought abroad, this should have been more clear to him. what do u think?

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Marxists, Stalinists, Anarchists, Fascists and Workers in the Spanish Revolution of 1936-37

Submitted by dalcassian on 30 July, 2010 - 6:38 Author: W H Auden, Miriam Gould, M. Casanova, Hal Draper, Paul Hampden, Chris Hickey, Robert Martin, Sean Matgamna, John McNair, George Orwell, Martin Thomas, Leon Trotsky


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