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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
(2008)

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


Page 5

Carlist Worker Groups in Catalonia, 1900-1923 
Worker Carlism was also much more ready than the domesticated party elite
to use vi- 
olence. It took some time, however, to adopt new tactics appropriate to the
shift from a rural 
to an urban battleground. As late as 1904 Carlists were still training within
the constraints of 
their rural guerrilla heritage. A rout at the hands of the Young Barbarians
(the street toughs 
of Radical party leader Alejandro Lerroux) at a party rally at the Arenas
bullring in 1906, 
and, more importantly, the massive shock of the Tragic Week disturbances
of 1909, galva- 
nized the party into organizing urban paramilitary units. Known as Requets,
they were often 
composed of workers, probably recent migrants to the city for whom Carlism's
violent rural 
traditions were a living reality. These traditions were nurtured and transformed
through 
target practice at the party workers' circles and at the La Trinchera "combat
center." In fact, 
a regular cult of weapons developed among radical Barcelona Carlists, who
never tired of 
singing the praises of "the club and the Browning [pistol], the two
indispensable compan- 
ions of Carlist youth."'3 The radicals put their weapons to good use.
From 1911 to 1918, 
street scuffling and shootouts between the Requetes and the Young Barbarians
were part of 
the Barcelona scene. One of the more notorious incidents came in 1912, when
fifteen armed 
Carlist worker Requetes from Barcelona disrupted a republican rally in Granollers
by firing 
on the crowd. One Requete was killed, the remainder imprisoned, and numerous
bystanders 
were wounded. 
The party's mainstream deplored such conduct. After the Granollers incident,
the 
Duque de Solferino nearly expelled a number of young hotheads, lamenting
that their vio- 
lence compromised Carlism's reputation as "a party of order.'14 The
party's radical workers 
were not, in fact, much concerned with maintaining order. They saw themselves
as the shock 
troops of the Carlist counterrevolution, more concerned with the pursuit
of the traditionalist 
millennium than with the electoral politics advocated by the party's hierarchy.
They found 
Carlism's electoral alliance with the Lliga Regionalista odious in the extreme.
One of their 
slogans was "Down with the traitors!" directed not against the
left or the Alfonsines but 
against the Lliga, many of whose leaders (such as Francesc Camb6 and Joan
Estelrich) came 
from Carlist families.'5 
Radical Carlism felt that the party's leaders were selling out to the Lliga,
which was 
merely using the party "as a barricade against the revolutionaries.'6
Carlist youth and work- 
ers wanted to overcome the purely defensive, passive conservatism which they
felt was un- 
dermining the party's character and vitality. Moreover, radical Carlism had
a positive, in- 
novative program which, although presented as a return to a medieval past,
would have 
brought about sweeping transformations. At times the radicals even dropped
their usual 
counterrevolutionary guise, revealing a Carlist potential to evolve toward
explicitly right- 
revolutionary positions. 
The clearest example came in 1912 when Dalmacio Iglesias, a Cortes deputy
from 
Girona, suggested that Carlism ally with the revolutionary republicans to
overthrow the 
Alfonsine system. As an electoral tactic, the proposal was unexceptional.
Catalan Carlists had 


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