International Communist Party Against Capitalist Wars

Spain 1936
(Prometeo, 30 maggio 1937)

While the Popular Front goons massacre proletarians in the streets of Barcelona

Machine-Gun Strafing, Shelling, Repression – This is how the Popular Front responds to the Barcelona workers who dare fight back against the capitalist attack

While the Popular Front goons massacre proletarians in the streets of Barcelona

We take from the "Boletin de Informacion" of Barcelona (No. 255 of May 11), the following Manifesto that was published, in the aftermath of the massacres perpetuated in Barcelona on May 4, by the National Confederation of Labor, the Iberian Anarchist Federation and the Libertarian Youth (after the purge). On May 4, the Popular Front government of Valencia, in cahoots with Companys, carried out the first massacre heralded by the dispatch of the new police chief and his guarantee to “maintain order”. A real pogrom of which the “extremists” were the victims, that is the anarchists of the “Friends of Durruti”, the Libertarian Youth, the proletarians who tried to find their class way back. Berneri was murdered in real fascist fashion: they took him home and he was found, riddled with bullets, at the Morgue. In the streets of Barcelona, the members of the Libertarian Youth were shot down like rabid dogs. And the CNT-FAI, in the aftermath of these monstrous massacres, were quick to distance themselves from any responsibility with those massacred by the bourgeois hyena. They hasten to swear that they do not want to break with Valencia, that they do not want to break with Barcelona, that they continue to be faithful in the “anti-fascist front”, that is, the sacred union with the bourgeoisie. They glorify themselves for having acted as firemen: they prevented the armed forces controlled by them from intervening in the conflict, they sabotaged the general strike, they facilitated the arrival of the armed forces sent from Valencia to “re-establish order”. A “Warsaw order”. The crushing of the reaction of the proletariat against the ongoing treason of the joint forces of both old and new traitors. They authorized only a defensive; that is, the right of their adherents to defend their lives against armed aggression. But nothing more. For the anarchists of the CNT-FAI, the “only enemy” remains “fascism”. Even now that the “democracy” that is expressed in the “Popular Front”, has perpetrated this bloodbath. And here is the Manifesto, which we reproduce in its entirety, limiting ourselves to underlining a few passages that seem to us the most salient and that deserve to be considered.

To the workers and public opinion around the world

While the tragic events in Barcelona lasted, provoked by a few foolish people who infiltrated into the anti-fascist ranks, public opinion was very incompletely informed about what was happening in Spain. The same cowardly elements who had the intention of provoking the massacre in Barcelona, in the same bad faith spread false news abroad, misrepresenting what was happening.

It was said abroad that the CNT-FAI were the instigators of all the trouble; it was said that the anarchists were responsible for the fratricidal struggle that covered the streets of Barcelona in blood; it was also said that the anarchists had attacked the police, the Government of the General Assembly and other state and municipal institutions.

Nothing could be further from the truth, and whoever spreads it intentionally is nothing but a fascist in disguise.

Now that normality has been restored and all those responsible for the insurrection have been exterminated from public life, now that all workers have returned to work and Barcelona has resumed its normal appearance, the CNT-FAI intend to give an explicit explanation of what happened.

We are authorized to state that neither the CNT nor the FAI nor any other responsible body dependent on these two organizations have broken nor have had the slightest intention of breaking the anti-fascist front. They continue to collaborate, with full loyalty, as they have done until now, with all the political and trade union sectors that constitute the anti-fascist front.

This is proven by the fact that the CNT continues to collaborate with the Republican Government, with the Government of the Generalitat and also collaborates in all the municipalities.

When the conflict was provoked in Barcelona, both the Regional Confederation and the National Confederation provided every facility to the Government in order to resolve it as soon as possible. On the second day, the Secretary of the National Committee of the CNT arrived in Barcelona, as did the Minister of Justice, also an eminent member of the CNT, and both did everything humanly possible to put an end to the fratricidal struggle. In addition to the steps taken towards the responsible elements of the other political sectors, they addressed speeches to the people of Barcelona that everyone was able to hear and that were nothing but calls for peace, harmony, and the unity of the nation against the common enemy that is fascism.

The CNT secretary, Mariano Vasquez, in his speech at the microphone of the General Assembly on May 4, said, among other things: “We must put an end to what is happening as soon as possible. We need to put an end to it so that our comrades at the front know immediately that we have a realistic view of the moment that we’re going through and that they can look confidently toward the enemy instead of having to look back so that we can understand each other. Keep in mind the situation we are in; this unstable situation in the rear cannot be prolonged for a moment longer; fascism must not nurture this confidence. Cease fire, comrades!”

“But let no one, absolutely no one, intend to take advantage of it. We are gathered here, we must come to a solution; we must come to an agreement and all together, because it is necessary, because the instinct of preservation demands it, to find this point of coincidence between all the anti-fascist forces that make up the Government of the Generalitat of Catalonia. We here gathered, particularly the Executive Committee of the UGT and the National Committee of the CNT, have come together to confront the serious situation that Barcelona is going through and we are willing to facilitate the search for the point of coincidence that will allow us to put an end to a situation of which the exclusive beneficiary is our mutual enemy: fascism”.

Not only the National Committee, but also the Regional Committee did everything possible to facilitate the resolution of this conflict.

The CNT’s press in Catalonia launched several manifestos advocating social peace and inviting the population to return to work. The radio broadcasts to the unions, to the defense committees, to committees responsible for other matters, represented nothing but an invitation to social peace and appeasement of souls.

Further proof that the CNT did not seek to break nor did it break with the anti-fascist front is the fact that when the new government of Catalonia was formed on May 5th, the representatives of the CNT of Catalonia provided it with every facility and its Secretary became part of the Government.

We are also authorized to affirm that neither the CNT nor the FAI have ever attacked the public force, nor the institutions of the State, nor the Generalitat. The first shot was not fired from any point where a member of the CNT was responsible, nor from any point under its control.

The responsible members of the CNT who were at the head of the Council of Defense gave orders to all the forces that it lead not to intervene in the conflict. And everyone made sure that these orders were respected.

The comrades in charge of the Confederal Defense Committee ordered all the peripheral sectors of Barcelona not to move and not to respond to the provocation, and these orders were obeyed because no one went to the center from the barricades to react to the provocation.

The Regional Committee of the CNT-FAI gave categorical orders that in the whole of Catalonia no one should move and that order should not be disturbed in any way.

When it came to finding solutions to re-establish normality in Barcelona, the CNT-FAI were the first to offer their collaboration, they were the first to issue the ceasefire order, and they were the first to advocate pacification. When the central government decided to assume responsibility for public order, the CNT was one of the first to place all the forces it controlled at the disposal of the Public Order delegate.

When the central government decided to send armed forces to Barcelona to control the public forces that could not be controlled, the CNT ordered all the district sections to facilitate the passage of these forces to Barcelona and restore order.

From all of this, can anyone say that it was the CNT that provoked the insurrection? Can the CNT be blamed for the bloodshed in the streets of Barcelona?

The CNT-FAI have done nothing more than remain expectant and defensive. When the provocateur Rodriguez Sala sent two assault companies to occupy the Telefonica, the CNT comrades who were in that building defended themselves for four days in those positions. When groups of assault guards, as a result of the provocative work of Aiguadé and his accomplices, attacked the unions and other workers’ institutions in which CNT members were located, they defended themselves. When the same provocateurs attacked the Regional Committee, the militants simply repelled the assault and defended themselves.

The CNT-FAI. not only maintained a defensive position, but did everything possible to restore public order and expose the provocateurs. They pulled many strings, but the CNT remained firm in its position and did not allow itself to be provoked. It did not fall into the trap that had ramifications on a regional, national and international scale, and, maintaining its positions, it did everything necessary so that the provocateurs Rodriguez Sala and Aiguadé were removed from their positions of responsibility. Once this had been achieved, everything was normalized and today the CNT and the UGT, together with the other clearly anti-fascist forces, have constituted a commission that is investigating the events that took place and restoring normality.

Once the causes of the events have been clarified and those responsible for them identified, the people of Barcelona have gone back to work. Everyone, with greater tension and energy, is now devoting their efforts to fighting fascism, because it is the only enemy of the workers of Catalonia.

All the workers of Catalonia have returned to work with these watchwords:
     No more provocateurs in the rearguard!
     Unity between the CNT and the UGT!
     Death to fascism!

Barcelona, May 8, 1937.

Machine-Gun Strafing, Shelling, Repression – This is how the Popular Front responds to the Barcelona workers who dare fight back against the capitalist attack


On July 19, 1936, the proletarians of Barcelona, WIHTOUT WEAPONS, fought off the coup of Franco’s regiments, who were ARMED TO THE TEETH.

On May 4, 1937, these same proletarians EMPLOYED WITH WEAPONS left on the ground a much higher bodycount than they had lost in winning the victory against Franco, and it is the antifascist government, including anarchists and reconnected with the POUM, through many wheels of its apparatus, that has unleashed a wave of repressive forces against the workers.

On July 19, the proletarians of Barcelona were an invincible force. Their class struggle, independent of the bourgeois State, spilled over into the bosom of Franco’s regiments where it brought about a similar class independence of the soldiers against their generals: the strike nailed a safety spring of security in the guns and cannons of Franco who was thus defeated.

History knows only fleeting intervals during which the bodies of the proletariat can limit themselves to holding a position of simple autonomy towards the capitalist State; a few days after July 19, events came to the crossroads. Well, either the proletariat passed to the higher phase of its struggle for the destruction of the bourgeois State, or this State built the apparatus of its bloody oppression on the proletariat back up again. In this phase of the struggle in which instinct no longer suffices and consciousness becomes the decisive factor, the workers can only save themselves and win on the condition that they develop in all its breadth, the painful work matured over many years, the work they had done through the fractions in order to build the class party. The anguished tragedy of the proletariat of Spain is the price it has to pay because of its immaturity in creating the class party, the brain which, ALONE, can give life force to all the members of its social body.

In the course of the first days of the struggle, autonomous bodies of workers had grown out of the class ground where the proletariat stood and fought. In the second phase of the struggle, the dilemma posed itself in all its terrible significance: either to complete, through the political struggle against the capitalist State, the successes achieved in the economic and military order, or to see these successes dissolved in the organs of the capitalist State.

Classes fight each other with the means of struggle that are imposed on them by the situations and the degree of their tension. In the face of a class fire, capitalism could not even think of resorting to the classical methods of legality. What threatened it was the independence of the workers’ struggle, its powerful autonomous struggle, able to reach the other stage of the struggle for revolution. What capitalism needed here was to mend the ranks of its control over the exploited. These ranks, which once belonged to the judiciary, the police, the prisons, became, in the extreme situation of Barcelona, the Militia Committees, the socialized industries, the unions managing of the most important departments of the economy, the vigilance patrols.

These events repeated the dilemma that led the proletariat of Italy and Germany to disaster. The workers are simply preserving, for themselves, the organism that they conquered in the struggle against the enemy on the condition that they direct it against the State, the machine of bourgeois oppression. The workers simply fertilize their future executioner if they don’t have the strength to overcome the enemy who wants to draw them into its repressive apparatus. The proletarian militia of July 19 is a proletarian organism, the “proletarian” militia of the following week is a capitalist apparatus appropriate to the situation of the moment. In order to succeed in its cynical and bloody plan, the bourgeoisie had to recourse to the centrists, the socialists, the CNT-FAI, the POUM who made the workers believe that THE STATE CHANGED IN NATURE BECAUSE THE PERSONNEL WHO MANAGED IT HAD CHANGED IN COLOR. Capitalism, disguised under the red flag was again preparing to draw the sword of its repression and May 4th was prepared by all the forces that, on July 19th, broke the class back of the Spanish proletariat. The son of Noske and the Weimar Constituent is Hitler, the son of Giolitti and workers’ self-management is Mussolini and the son of the anarchists, socialists, centrists, Spanish POUM, socialization, “proletarian” militias, is the May 4th massacre in Barcelona.

Only the Russian proletariat responded to the fall of czarism properly with the October insurrection of 1917, because it alone had built a mature class party from the previous fraction work.


It was under the direction of a government supported by the Popular Front that Franco had meticulously prepared his attack. It was in the way of conciliation that Barrios sought, on July 19, to form a single ministry to direct the affairs of the domination of capitalism, a single ministry under the direction of Franco and under the mixed direction of his right and left staff, fraternally united. It was the workers’ revolt in Barcelona, Madrid, and Asturias that forced capitalism to split the ministry and to entrust the republican one and the military one with two functions intimately linked by an indissoluble complicity.

Wherever Franco had not arrived to obtain his immediate victory capitalism called you to follow him to fight fascism. A cruel trap that you have paid with thousands of dead. You believed the pied piper of the Popular Front and its appendages that, without fighting the republican and capitalist government under its direction, controlling it, you could crush the legitimate son of capitalism: fascism.

And you set out for the hills of Aragon, the mountains of Guadarrama, of Asturias for the victory of the anti-fascist war. Once again, as in 1914, it is on your corpses, on your lives, that history has carved out the terrible, fatal and bloody class opposition. The Military Fronts, a necessity imposed on the workers by the situation? No, a necessity for capitalism to encircle and crush you: May 4, 1937 luminously proved that the necessity for the proletariat was to fight against its republican enemy in the same way as against Franco. The Military Fronts were your cemeteries because they were the fronts of capitalism against the proletariat. To this war you could only oppose the uniform of the Russian proletariat, which consists in acting for the military defeat of the two governments: that of Franco and that of the Republic, in order to transform the war of capitalism against the proletariat in civil war of the working class fighting for the destruction of the two sections of the bourgeois State.

The Italian fraction alone, in a cruel isolation intended to stifle the only solidarity by the current of the League of Internationalist Communists of Belgium, which later founded the “Belgian fraction of the international communist left”, these two currents alone sounded the alarm while everywhere there was shouting about the need to safeguard “the conquests of the revolution”, to beat Franco in order to better fight Caballero afterwards, to wear the stripes of the revolution by leaving for the Military Fronts. The events of Barcelona have given a grim confirmation of our fundamental positions and it is with a cruelty equal to that of Franco that the Popular Front, integrating the anarchists and the POUM in itself, threw itself on the proletarian insurrectionaries of May 4, 1937!

The vicissitudes of the military battles were as many occasions for the Republican government to reinforce its control over the exploited. In the absence of a conscious and class-based policy for military defeat, the successes, like the military losses of the republican army, were employed by the enemy for the sole purpose of massacring the workers. In Badajoz, Irun, Toledo, St. Sebastian, the Republican defeat represented the Popular Front leaving behind disarmed proletarians to Franco who could thus exterminate them, while, by reflex, the Republican government profited from the defeat to weld the bonds of the Sacred Union under the pretext that a centralized and disciplined army was necessary to win the anti-fascist war. On the other hand, the victorious resistance of Madrid against Franco provided the occasion for Caballero and Companys for a provocation by the Popular Front that could get rid of its servant of yesterday, the POUM, and prepare the attack of May 4, 1937. The fall of Malaga once again welded the bloody ranks of the Sacred Union and it was the military victory of Guadalajara that opened the period that was to end with the carnage of Barcelona. Everywhere people were shouting about the Plan of Victory and it was in an atmosphere of intoxicated anti-fascist warfare that the attack of May 4th was prepared.

Meanwhile, in all countries, capitalism’s war against the proletariat in Spain was fueling the cruel repression against the workers. The fascist and anti-fascist dead of Spain bore in their graves the murdered of Moscow, the machine-gunned of Clichy, while by evoking the slaughter of the anti-fascist proletarians the traitors urged the workers of Brussels to form a bloc with capitalism in the elections of April 11, 1937.

“Arms for Spain”, such was the main watchword that the workers of all countries followed as led by their traitors. And these arms were used to gun down the workers of Barcelona! Russia, which had sent arms for the successes of the anti-fascist war, was the capitalist backbone for the recent massacre. At the orders of Stalin, who drooled over his anti-socialist rage on March 5, the PSUC of Catalonia took the initiative in the massacre. Once again, as in 1914, weapons served capitalism for the workers to kill their class brothers instead of serving the destruction of the regime of capitalist oppression.


On May 4, 1937, the workers of Barcelona resumed the path they had taken on July 19, from which capitalism had been able to dislodge them by relying on the Popular Front and all its appendages. They went on strike everywhere, even in those areas which were presented to them by the traitors as “conquests of the revolution”. They fought against the Republican government in the same way that they would have fought against Franco’s government. And the republican government responded with as much savagery as Franco did at Badajoz, Irun, while the Salamanca government did not at all take advantage of the weakening of the Aragon front to unleash a military attack because it felt that its leftist accomplice was doing admirably well in the service of executioner of the proletariat.

Exhausted by ten months of war, of class collaboration, whose architects had been the CNT-FAI and the POUM, the proletariat of Barcelona suffered a terrible defeat. But this defeat is also a stage in the victory of the proletariat, a moment of its emancipation because it marks the end of all the ideologies that had allowed capitalism to save its regime shaken by the gigantic proletarian uprising of July 19th.

The proletarians who fell on May 4th cannot be claimed by any of the organizations that, on July 19th, by allowing the extirpation of the proletariat from its class terrain, and throwing it into the opposite terrain of capitalism and anti-fascism, thus laid the groundwork for the massacre of May 4th 1937.

The fallen proletarians belong to the proletariat and only to it. These proletarians represent the membranes of the brain of the world working class, of the class party of the communist revolution.

The workers of the whole world lean over all the dead and raise their corpses against all the traitors: those of yesterday, as well as those of today. The world proletariat salutes, in Berneri, one of its own, and his immolation on the anarchist ideal, his corpse is a protest against a political school that collapsed in the course of the events of Spain: it is under a government with anarchist participation that the police repeated, on Berneri’s body, the deeds of Mussolini on Matteotti’s body.


The Barcelona massacre is merely a prelude for an even more violent repressions on the Spanish workers and of the whole world, but it is also the sign announcing social storms in other countries. Capitalism has had to use up, in only ten months, the capital it had in reserve in order to demolish the proletariat and to disrupt the work it does to found, through its class party, the weapon of its emancipation, of the construction of the communist society. Stalinism and anarchism have joined social democracy: they have, in Spain, reached the end of their evolution, like the Second International, which was reduced to the state of a corpse by the war of 1914.

An international battle, and on the capitalist front, took place in Spain: that of fascism and anti-fascism, a battle which, because it developed through the extreme form of arms, also reveals an extreme tension of class relations on an international scale.

The Barcelona deaths clear the ground for the construction of tomorrow’s party of the working class. All the political forces that have called the workers to fight to take away the struggle for revolution from a war of capitalism against the proletariat, are now ALL on the other side of the barricade and, before the workers of the world opens, bright, the horizon in which the dead of Barcelona have written, with their blood, a new page in addition to those written by the dead of 1914-18: the workers’ struggle is proletarian on the sole condition that it is directed against capitalism and its State; it serves the interests of the enemy if it is not directed against it, in all instances, in all fields, in all organisms that situations give rise to and that become instruments of the enemy if they do not remain in constant opposition against it.

The world proletariat will fight against capitalism even when it will turn to repression against its servants of yesterday. It is the working class and never its enemy who is in charge of settling the account of those who have expressed a phase of its evolution, a moment of the struggle for emancipation from the slavery of capitalism.

The international battle of capitalism against the proletariat taking place in Spain opens a new international chapter in the life of the Fractions in all countries. The world proletariat, which continues to fight against the builders of internationals, knows that it can only found these organizations when the situations determine an upheaval of class relations, thus opening the way to communist revolution. But, in the face of an international battle that announces the outbreak of revolutionary storms in other countries, the world proletariat feels that the time has come to proceed to the construction of the first international link of the fractions of the communist left.


Your class is invincible, it is the engine of historical evolution; the events in Spain prove it, because it is your class alone that has been the driving force behind events that have shaken the whole world.

It is not the defeat that can discourage you: from this defeat you will learn the lessons for tomorrow’s victory.

You will reconstitute your unity on a class basis, beyond the frontiers and against all the mystifications of the capitalist enemy!

To the attempts to compromise in order to end the war in the “social peace” of capitalist exploitation, respond with the fraternization of the exploited of the two armies, for the simultaneous struggle against capitalism!

Stand up for the revolutionary struggle in all countries!

Long live the proletarians of Barcelona who have turned, with their blood, a new page in the book of the Communist Revolution!

Forward for the establishment of the International Bureau of Left Fractions in all countries!

Let us raise the banner of the communist revolution, which the fascist and anti-fascist hangmen are incapable of destroying. Proletarians fall in all countries to pass it on to their brothers who continue the struggle. Capitalism has shredded the hundreds of hands that held it in Barcelona!

We are worthy of our fallen brothers!

Long live the world communist revolution!

The Belgian and the Italian Fraction of the International Communist Left