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Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne

Winston, Colin M., 1955-
Carlist worker groups in Catalonia, 1900-1923,   pp. [1]-14

Page 7

Carlist Worker Groups in Catalonia, 1900-1923 
named to head the National Council of Catholic Worker Corporations in Madrid
the radicals 
asked "do you believe that [under Comillas], when the moment of struggle
between capital 
and labor arrives, Catholic workers will have sufficient guarantees that
the private interests of 
an owner or a company director will not run roughshod over the defense of
worker interests, 
which being those of labor are necessarily contrary to [those of capital]?"22
The Emergence of the Sindicatos Libres 
Radical Carlism steered clear of union organizing until October 1919, when
a group of about 
100 militants met at Barcelona's Ateneo Obrero Legitimista to found the Sindicatos
Several reasons account for the relatively late debut of radical worker Carlism
on Barcelona's 
syndical scene. Until the ASP's collapse in 1916 and the rout of the city's
Catholic unions, 
the Carlists were inhibited by a reluctance to compete directly with the
Church. Moreover, 
the emergence in Navarre and the Basque Country of the Free Catholic Unions-less
low than Father Palau's syndicates-gave Barcelona's Carlist workers a union
model dis- 
tinct from both the ASP and the anarchosyndicalist-dominated Confederacion
Nacional de 
Trabajo (CNT). The previously mentioned Carlist-controlled Catholic union
in Igualada, 
for example, joined the Free Catholic structure in 1918, and the movement's
founders, Fathers Gerard and Gafo, frequented Barcelona's Carlist worker
centers between 
1914 and 1918. The Congress of Young Traditionalists of Catalonia, which
met in 1917-18 
and was heavily influenced by the party's radical current, explicitly recognized
the need for 
"purely professional unions" and chided the Carlist leadership
for too long ignoring worker 
The main impetus to the formation of the Libres, however, was the growth
and radi- 
calization of the CNT. By late 1919 the CNT was coming under the control
of anarchosyn- 
dicalist elements involved in the violence and coercion that would earn Barcelona
the epithet 
Chicago of the Mediterranean. Ever since the massive general strike called
by CNT radicals 
in March and April of that year, discontent had been growing among the city's
Carlist work- 
ers, who feared that moderate syndicalists such as Salvador Segul had lost
out to hotheads 
and that the Confederation was planning to launch the revolution. The attendees
at the 
Areneo Obrero Legitimista meeting were mostly CNT members as well as Carlists.
cited three major reasons for breaking with the Federation: its ideological
radicalization and 
attempts to impose libertarian communism on the membership; the grip that
the pistoleros 
(gunmen) of the Confederation's "action groups" were acquiring
over the organization; 
and the practical futility of CNT maximalism, which polarized labor relations
in Barcelona, 
rendering even the most basic bread-and-butter improvements unobtainable.
Thus the Sindicatos Libres first emerged as a minor schism provoked by traditionalist
workers within the CNT. Initially, the union was aided by elements of both
the radical and 
the moderate wings of Catalan Carlism. This support extended to the party's
highest levels, 

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