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
NATION AND CONFLICT IN MODERN SPAIN nizational crisis, they encouraged an introspective analysis of the organization's present and future.61 For Felipe Alaiz, editor of Solidaridad Obrera, the CNT's problem resided in its tendency toward premature and unorganized actions. The solution, he maintained, resided in increased patience and composure when faced with social conflicts.62 Interestingly, the language Alaiz used was remarkably similar to that used by treintista moderates in describing their interpretation of the revolutionary process.63 Discipline and structure were the strongest messages emerging from the CNT press. Revisiting the moderate viewpoints of the early Republican period, the CNT leadership admitted the need to rebuild the syndicate. Regional committees encouraged members to concentrate single-mindedly on pragmatic labor-related concerns and fortifying the organi- zation.64 This opinion became so prevalent among anarchosyndicalist militants in early 1934 that when the Socialist-led leftist worker alliance, Alianza Obrera, organized an insurrection months later in October, CNT syndicates with few exceptions refused to join the effort, pre- ferring to avoid unnecessary confrontation with government authorities. In fact, the direct rejection of violence became a major concern for the syndicate leadership. A directive issued by the Catalan regional committee argued without apprehension that, "Apart from being frankly monstrous, violence for violence's sake and terror for terror's sake are as sterile as art for art's sake. Violence, as an imperative necessity, yes. Violence, as principle, no. In no way. This does not bode well for anarchism.")65 As building political polarization and social strife broke down the Republic through the spring and early summer of 1936, the CNT had no intention of undermining the government, seeking instead to defend it from a potential rightist coup d'tat.66 At the national congress held in Zaragoza in early May, CNT delegates representing nearly half a million members throughout Spain approved a dictum that made official the moderate turn in strategy.67 In order to avoid ideological contradictions, the dictum was preceded by an introductory statement justifying the plethora of labor conflicts and "revolutionary actions" which had followed the founding of the Second Republic as a necessary channeling of "the people's. . . desire for vindication. . . against the first crimes of the nascent republican- bourgeois democracy.'"68 In addition, the third ocho was interpreted to have "[saved] the revolutionary dignity of the Confederation" and the lack of CNT support for the October 1934 revolt outside of Asturias was ascribed to the "confusion that reigned in the different regions" as well as the Socialists' "refusal to accept [the CNT's] proposals to intervene.'69 With the revolutionary reputation of the CNT preserved, the dictum went on to deal with the practical priorities of the moment. The first item on a list of changes necessary in the CNT was a direct order to end any and all "sporadic movements organized...without minimum control, without the circumstances that would indicate an appropriate moment for the revolution, and without the necessary preparation to impose itself. ., on the capi- talist system.7° It further denounced "conflicts of economic or other nature organized at either the local or national level to protest against determined measures passed by the gov- 42
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