20 de November de 1936 - Las calles de Barcelona, relaciones entre el POUM y otros partidos (949)

Left Perpignan with the two Swiss comrades and a comrade from the POUM at 12.30 hours. The border control at the French border town of Cerbère took place on the train and went quite quickly without problems. The Spanish border town is Port-Bou, and you arrive there in a few minutes through a tunnel. The controls there are carried out predominantly by the CNT people and they are very thorough. Due to the presence of comrades from the POUM our control went through very quickly.

Left Port-Bou for Barcelona at about three o’clock. The train had been taken over by the CNT, and they carried out a very careful passport check on the way to Barcelona. The third class compartments of the train were very overcrowded. Everybody there was a worker, or at least was wearing workers’ clothes, or military people, etc. The atmosphere was lively, cheerful and confident. As we reached the outskirts of Barcelona the Internationale was being sung in several carriages. At the station there was a further baggage check.

The POUM comrade took us from the station to the Hotel Falcón in the Ramblas (the main street) where we were immediately billeted. From there the POUM comrade took us on to the Executive Committee of the POUM, where I met Arquer who had been at the Brussels conference. I also met Bonet, the treasurer of the Executive Committee. I told them the purpose of my visit and gave the treasurer $200 from the American CP(O). He told me that an official receipt would appear in La Batalla and in other POUM papers. In reply to my question Arquer told me that an international conference would take place in mid-January. The POUM regarded the Brussels conference as a failure. Arquer explained to me that he found it incomprehensible and contradictory that we should reject the politics of the Communist International but accept the internal politics of the Soviet Union. I tried to enlighten him as to our position in this matter, but I did not get the impression that I was successful. Arquer and Bonet belong to the Maurín wing of the POUM.

The former Trotskyists who are on the Executive Committee come fairly close to defending the Trotskyist position on the Soviet Union. The others make concessions to this Trotskyist position but do not adhere to it too closely. But it is quite clear from their official papers that the Maurín wing rejects our position on the Soviet Union. However, it must be added that, according to the statements of our German comrades, who are closely connected with the POUM membership, it would seem that some of the members are very critical of their Executive’s position on the Soviet Union. This is not an insignificant point. It stems mainly from a reaction to the change of line adopted by the Soviet Union in respect of delivery of weapons and food to Spain. However, the mood of the POUM members can be summed up like this: they want a good and friendly relationship with the Soviet Union and reject any anti-Bolshevik tendencies, but they are nevertheless determined to prevent any Soviet and Comintern influence on their policies in Spain or Catalonia.

The membership is quite convinced that it is they who should determine policy in Catalonia, and are therefore not interested in being dictated to by the representatives of the Comintern and the Soviet Union. This especially hits home as regards the policy of the Popular Front and their slogan, ‘For the Defence of Bourgeois Democracy’, which is expressed on a whole number of issues formulated by the party of the Comintern in Catalonia, the PSUC. There is sharp opposition to the PSUC. Every day there are vigorous polemics in the POUM and PSUC papers. The POUM’s attitude to the PSUC largely determines the attitude of the POUM membership to the politics of the Comintern.

The Ramblas is crowded with people until late at night. The cafés and bars are all full. The public appears thoroughly proletarian according to their clothes and so on. There are few bourgeois around. You get the impression that the town is thoroughly controlled by proletarian elements. The houses are plastered with posters from the CNT, FAI, POUM and PSUC. There are hardly any posters from the Esquerra to be seen anywhere. Along the Ramblas a row of large kiosks with newspapers, books and portraits have been set up by individual political parties. The proletarian appearance of the crowds makes the street scenes reminiscent of Moscow in the immediate post-revolutionary years. There are a lot of milicianos in leather or silk jackets, and countless workers’ patrols carrying weapons. It is rare to see the khaki of a regular soldier’s uniform. The only police are traffic police in blue uniforms and white pith helmets. These police no longer have the power of arrest.

Along the length of the Ramblas are countless loudspeakers bringing reports from the front and messages from abroad, and playing revolutionary and sometimes popular music. The crowds in the street seem lively, self confident and optimistic. There is not the vaguest glimmer of depression. The news broadcast over the loudspeakers is eagerly discussed by the masses. It would appear that, even in respect to the fate of Madrid,[The battle for Madrid began on 8 November 1936.] there is no nervousness. Unlike Moscow in the early years, the shops in the Ramblas are nearly all open for business.

I met some of our comrades right away in the Hotel Falcón. By coincidence comrade [Karl Heidenreich] happened to be there too, on leave from the front. Here too the mood was thoroughly confident.

, Notes on a stay in Catalonia (1936). Read on ()

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  • Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (43) La Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) es una unión confederal de sindicatos autónomos de ideología anarcosindicalista de España, que está adherida a la organización de carácter mundial Asociación Internacional de los Trabajadores (AIT).
  • España (250)
  • Estalinismo (29) Estalinismo o stalinismo es un término utilizado para referirse al estilo de gobernar de Iósif Stalin en la Unión Soviética.
  • Federación Anarquista Ibérica (28) La Federación Anarquista Ibérica (FAI) es una organización fundada en 1927 en Valencia, como continuación de tres organizaciones anarquistas, la portuguesa, União Anarquista Portuguesa y las española Federación Nacional de Grupos Anarquistas de España y Federación Nacional de Grupos Anarquistas de Lengua Española en el Exilio teniendo de esta forma un ámbito de actuación ibérico.
  • Frente Popular (España) (4) El Frente Popular fue una coalición electoral creada en enero de 1936 por los principales partidos de izquierda españoles.
  • Guerra Civil Española (91)
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  • Joaquín Maurín (4) Joaquín Maurín Juliá (Bonansa, Huesca, 12 de enero de 1896 - Nueva York, 5 de noviembre de 1973) fue un político español, dirigente sucesivamente de la Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT), la Federación Comunista Catalano-Balear, el Bloque Obrero y Campesino (BOC) y del Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM).
  • Jordi Arquer (3) Jordi Arquer i Saltor (Barcelona 1907 - Perpiñán 1981) fue un político y escritor español.
  • La Batalla (4) La Batalla fue una publicación política semanal en español, creada en 1922 y de cuyo núcleo surgieron primero los Comités Sindicalistas Revolucionarios y más tarde la Federación Comunista Catalano-Balear (FCCB), convirtiéndose en órgano oficial de expresión del partido.
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  • Unión Soviética (23) La Unión Soviética (en ruso: Советский Союз, romanización: Sovietsky Soyuz), oficialmente llamada Unión de Repúblicas Socialistas Soviéticas (URSS, en ruso, Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик tr.: Soyuz Sovétskij Sotsialistícheskij Respúblik; pronunciación ; abreviado СССР, SSSR) fue un Estado federal marxista-leninista que existió en Eurasia entre 1922 y 1991.

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