Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne
Getman-Eraso, Jordi W.
Pragmatism unveiled : the meanings of revolutionary rhetoric in Spanish anarchosyndicalism, pp. 31-50
Pragmatism Unveiled argue that there existed a practical use for revolutionary rhetoric that both rank-and-file and militants acknowledged. Revolutionary language served the much more nuanced and complex purpose of intraorganizational communication among cenetistas. The interactive dependency of the militancy and the membership tailored a language that both could agree on but which was also flexible enough to allow each group to insert a meaning that would best represent its interests and objectives, whether revolutionary or pragmatic in nature. Revolutionary Language as Identifying Idiom That anti-statism was the conceptual cornerstone of the anarchosyndicalist movement im- plied a total rejection of the established state and, ultimately, its destruction. The outright refutation of the state set the CNT apart from all other organizations, even other leftist organizations that were at least nominally revolutionary. Because revolutionary language was the most visible expression of the movement's anti-statist stance, it became an identify- ing idiom of the anarchosyndicalist movement. First and foremost, the use of revolutionary language within CNT circles was a prerequisite to being accepted as a true cenetista, no mat- ter whether one was a radical revolutionary or a moderate syndicalist. Maintaining a clearly separate position from the establishment was critical to the credibility of the CNT as the only major political outsider, not only metaphorically, but also physically detached from the political process. Revolutionary rhetoric served as a type of organizational carnet (identifica- tion card) that identified one as a member of the union and a follower of the movement. From organizational congresses to barroom debates, using the rhetoric was equivalent to the displaying of the carnet necessary to enter into discussions about organizational business.39 All CNT factions at least nominally supported the revolution as the syndicate's ulti- mate objective. Militants did not have to agree on their definition of the revolution, but they had to agree that they rejected the state and sought its ultimate destruction through the revolution, whatever form that might take. Just as radical anarchists referenced the revolu- tion, so too did moderate elements, including the much maligned treintistas, who in their impacting 1931 manifesto directly referred to the revolution as their long-term objective.' Not including revolutionary rhetoric in one's dialogue quickly placed one outside of the CNT's inner circles and dangerously close to the "political" world. As such, everyone within the CNT was required to pay homage to the revolutionary dogma. Those who did not do so risked being expelled from the CNT and the anarchosyndicalist movement. It happened to Communists Joaquin Maurin and Andres Nin in the early 1920s, to treintista moder- ates Joan Peir6 and Angel Pestafia in late 1931, and to large sections of the Catalan CNT regional in 1932.41 Tied so closely to the CNT's raison d'etre, the "revolution" became a large umbrella term used to justify the logic of actions undertaken by the many factions operating within the CNT or in its name. Interpreting actions through the lens of the CNT's larger revolu- 37
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