by the Franco-Spanish Group of The Friends of Durruti


It is necessary that the militants, the revolutionaries of the workers' organisations, who have suffered the cruel experience of military defeat and refugee humiliation, give serious and concentrated attention to the lessons of the Spanish war and revolution, for which they have paid so dearly with their blood, the blood of their best comrades.

 Breaking the silence which was imposed on us by the tyranny of the Stalinists and counter-revolutionaries, we shall speak here with the same clarity as was expected in the organ of our group "The Friend Of The People". Our group, which is under the symbol of Durruti, has occupied an important place in the Spanish Revolution. This was so in the bloody days of Nay, 193?, when we raised the standard of revolt against the counter-revolutionaries (the C.P., Republican Government, etc) as also against the reformism of the directors of the CNT-FAI.

 We had predicted that the line pursued after July, of dissociating the war from the revolution, must inevitably lead to disaster. Our thesis has been confirmed by the facts. The Revolution was lost in Nay, 1937, AND WITH IT THE WAR. Gradually the zones of economic importance were lost, and the culmination was the fall of Aragon, a great defeat of the Levant, finishing with the rout of Catalonia and by the surrender of Madrid and the rest of the other zones without conditions.

 The causes of the defeat were evident. From the moment that the revolutionary spirit of the militias was undermined by replacing them with an army lacking in the previous enthusiasm and dynamism, there was forged the first link in the chain which has now bound them to defeat.

 The multiple attacks and disfigurations of the Revolutionary work of July, 1936, were the seeds of the tragic harvest which has led us to bloody exile, an exile which cannot be understood except when we comprehend the first moves of treason, incapacity, stabbing in the back and immorality which took place.


 Two eminent periods presented themselves in the Spanish revolution: July, 1936, and Nay, 1937. On these two occasions, the same error was committed. The leaders of the CNT-FAI did not impose the power of our organisations, which were supported by the masses in the street, factory, field and workshop. These leaders were thus most responsible for the disaster which has taken place - the loss of the revolution, the military defeat in the war and the bloody retreat into France. They were afraid of foreign intervention. They did not want to take over the country and direct it economically and politically for fear of angering the "dictators".

But in not leading the revolution, they did not leave it alone; they began to defeat it. Their fear was responsible for the counter-revolution, for the Stalinists took over the land from the peasants and workers, and this was the greatest factor in breaking the revolutionary unity of the masses.

 The CNT-FAI leaders did not desire to impose a dictatorship on anti-working class parties, yet they became the assistants of the bourgeois liberals, of the petty bourgeoisie of international Capitalism, which, under the mask of democracy, served fascism, thus defeating the Spanish revolution.

 The end of the war has been catastrophic Everything was lost, nothing gained. Much could have been saved and used to stave off the terrible defeat Negrin and all his lackies had placed all money and gold in foreign banks. They certainly made a job of the massacre of the Spanish people.

 The army of the workers did not know what they were fighting for. The soldiers at the 11/2ont were not disposed to fight because they knew that whilst they were fighting and being massacred on the Ebro, in the rear, the bureaucrats of the Republic were playing about with beautiful women and having a grand debauch.

 The people were working and dying of hunger. In the bread queues the women and population generally were full of hate for Negrin and his crowd of adulators. The workers and their families had no bread, whilst in the homes and residences of the government and C.P. officials etc white bread was eaten. The whole world has some idea of the morale of the people of Barcelona. It was the workers of Barcelona who suffered the aerial bombardments. There was no refuge for them. The high functionaries and bureaucrats were always well sheltered and their families were always hidden away in distant villages.


 The government did not represent the people (workers) and defended interests decidedly opposed to them. Those who should have heard the demands of the Spanish working class, who were called upon to defend They, were the leaders of the CNT-FAI, who betrayed them. This we have affirmed, clearly and without subtlety, and we will always continue to repeat our indictments.

 "The Friends Of Durruti" were called Fascists and provocateurs. Twice attempts were made to expel us from the ONT-FAI. But the workers rejected this order of exclusion, which came from the reformist section.

 We have left Spain with our heads held high; we have entered foreign countries without a halfpenny. We have suffered hunger and cold in the concentration camps. But several of the reformists who demanded our expulsion are well cared for. We do not speak of Negrin and his communist murderers, who persecuted and imprisoned us. These people possess scandalous sums of money, but one day they will be made to pay for their treachery.

 Events have proved us right. The same problems which we posed in our secret newspaper can be posed today, as also tomorrow. We are not beaten, and although this is a tragedy, we must stick to our principles and our criticisms. The reformism of the ONT-FAI has led us to defeat.

The leadership had an influential part in the giving up of Madrid, without any conditions, to Franco. The Stalinists, by their protests against the giving up of Madrid, have been able to pose as revolutionaries. But they did not deceive the workers, for they have always hated them, long before the initiative of Casado against them. They have hated them from the very early times of the revolution, particularly in the Nay days of 1937.

 The lesson has been hard; and the immense importance and power of the Spanish revolution can be judged by the revolutionary effect it had on European affairs.

 If the Spanish revolution had succeeded, Fascism would have been defeated, with the important consequence of the beginning of an international proletarian offensive. There is no doubt, the proletariat and capitalism have showed themselves to be permanently involved in a life and death struggle. Capitalism has triumphed, but we know the reasons.

 Democracy defeated the Spanish people, not Fascism, Franco would never have won without the Communist Party and Negrin. But the international proletariat are also responsible; or rather, the leaders, who have become bulwarks for the capitalist class. But, if, instead of speaking in jargon and confused language, we had been frank and definite, who knows, perhaps we would have reached the workers of the entire world.


 From the catastrophe we must extract precious lessons. As anarchists we must rectify a series of tactical points and positions which prevent the success of revolutionary action. A revolution necessitates force to be used against the opposition. It is also clear that when one possesses such a proletarian fighting force, it is necessary to know how to use it and how to preserve it.

We are enemies of class collaboration with the capitalist class and with the middle class. Workers' administration necessitates workers' control. A revolution requires the absolute domination of the workers' organisations as was the case in July, 1936, when the CNT-FAI were masters. There are many aspects of the situation and it would be necessary to study them in detail, but what must not be forgotten is that the workers' movement must be reconstructed on a new basis, on a new morale, and with the banishment of the leaders responsible for the disaster.

 We incline to the view that it is necessary to form a Revolutionary Alliance; a Workers' Front; where no one would be allowed to enter and take their place except on a revolutionary basis, completely prohibiting reformists, communist party, republican democrats, and also those militants in the Spanish affair who had a hand in the disaster.

 At the beginning of this emigration from our country, which began after 30 months of fighting, the "Friends Of Durruti" continue to defend the interests of the proletariat with the same energy and honesty as during the course of the Spanish revolution.

 (June-July 1939)


Part Three, The Second World War

Back to the Introduction to Part Two


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