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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 8

reaching the pretender, Don Jaime, himself. Shortly after the Libres' foundation,
the union's 
President Ram6n Sales traveled to Paris and obtained an audience with Don
Jaime, making 
him an honorary member of the new organization--one of the few cases of a
royal trade 
unionist on record. Don Jaime was enthusiastic about the project and encouraged
Apparently the two established a correspondence which lasted for several
years, the would- 
be king bolstering Sales' spirits and urging him to keep up the good work.25
Despite the heavy Carlist influence, it is wrong to define the Libres as
simply a Carlist 
union. The role of the Carlist establishment in the union's creation was
successfully hushed 
up, and most prominent party figures kept their distance from the Libres
and seldom inter- 
vened in their operation. Many of the radical Carlists most active in the
union-such as the 
editorial staff of La Trinchera, which joined en masse-were themselves workers
or lower 
middle-class shop assistants. They recognized that an explicitly Carlist
union would at best 
only appeal to the several thousand habitues of the city's Carlist worker
centers. Indeed, dur- 
ing the first phase of the Libres' existence (1919-1920), the union enrolled
no more than 
10,000 members, mostly derived from these same circles. Maintaining a distance
from the 
Carlist party, however, enabled the Libres to mushroom to some 150,000 members
the second phase (1921-1922), when it benefited from the repression of the
CNT under the 
harsh rule of Barcelona's civil governor, General Martinez Anido. 
Moreover, there was virtually no institutional continuity between Barcelona's
efforts at Catholic syndicalism-primarily the ASP's unions, backed by the
Catalan Carlist 
establishment-and the Libres. There is only one clear case of such a transition:
the ASP- 
affiliated Catholic union in Igualada that switched loyalty to Father Gafo's
Free Catholic 
organization and finally joined the Libres in 1921. In addition, only nine
out of a sample of 
over 1,200 members of the juntas directivas of individual Libre unions served
previously in 
any leadership capacity in the ASP unions, and none of the Libres' chief
leaders played any 
role in Father Palau's failed undertaking.26 
A heterogeneous leadership also diluted the Libres' Carlist identity. After
1921 many 
non-Carlists acquired positions of considerable responsibility within the
movement. One of 
the most notable was Augusto Lagunas, liaison secretary from 1922 to 1924.
Both anticleri- 
cal and anti-Catholic, Lagunas was a former Communist who preached a Nietzsche-inspired
voluntarism totally distinct from the Catholic mysticism characteristic of
some Libre intellec- 
tuals.27 Another indication of the lack of homogeneity within the Libre leadership
was that 
only ten of the thirty-three "martyrs" (victims of labor terrorism)
claimed by the Libres can 
be identified through the press as Carlists. The proportion of identifiable
party members in 
the sample of over 1,200 Libre leaders is even smaller: only 52 are indisputably
The development of Sindicalismo Libre is a complex and murky topic that exceeds
scope of this paper. The union sparred with the CNT for syndical predominance
in Catalonia 
from 1919-1923 and extended its radius of action to the national level in
1924. During the 
Primo de Rivera dictatorship, the Libres boasted nearly 200,000 members throughout

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