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Inevitable dictatorship PDF

By Muriel Pilkington

The Local Voice

  The News, 15 September 2010


With 20-20 hindsight, we can now see that whichever side had won the Spanish Civil War, there would have been a dictatorship. You only have to look at the politically correct Left of today and the constant efforts to put us all in straight jackets to understand that.

The current myth is that if the Republicans had won, they would have automatically ushered in paradise on earth. But how can paradise be built on so much blood shed in anger at centuries of injustice and class hatred, especially the latter. Too many people today know little about the years that led up to the war so they are under the impression that Franco and his fellow generals simply got up one day and decided to overturn the Second Republic.

In fact, political assassinations had become a daily occurrence in the months before the war as Right and Left tried to get the upper hand. The left-wing of the Socialist Party, the anarchists and the communists wanted a revolution while the moderate Socialists and other Republicans wanted far-reaching reforms. On the Right – the very rich landowners and industrialists, the Church and the backward-looking elements in the military – were determined to stop the revolution. It got to the point where what both sides called a bloodletting was not only inevitable but necessary.

Another myth that must be dispelled is that the Republicans acted and fought like gentlemen. When news of the military uprising spread, self-appointed Republican militias took it upon themselves to get rid of the “class enemies” – priests, businessmen, landowners, schoolteachers or anyone else belonging to the bourgeoisie. Here in Coin, 83 such people were executed by these militias. Then along came the Nationalist forces to do their own bit of social cleansing. The 160 people they executed were all known members of “undesirable” political parties – socialists, communists, anarchists – or trade unionists plus a few others who were suspected of sympathising with the Republic. This scenario was repeated throughout the country, and with a vengeance here in Andalucia, where the masses had suffered grinding poverty for centuries thanks to a totally unfair distribution of land.

One of the reasons given for the time it took for Franco to win the war is that he was held up by this social cleansing. In fact, Franco was convinced that the only way to save Spain was to get rid of the “rojos” (Reds). If they survived the war, it would mean endless trouble for him in the future.

What today’s Left refuses to acknowledge is that something similar was happening on the other side, as  George Orwell described in “Homage to Catalonia” and Arturo Barea in the trilogy “The Forging of a Rebel” - they were just two of several authors who witnessed Republican atrocities.

And no-one could know better than Juan Negrin, the last president of the Second Republic. Towards the end of the war, Negrin realised it would be impossible to unite the two major political forces on the Republican side – the Socialists and the Communists. He openly admitted that the Popular Front – the alliance of the left-wing parties that was in power when the war started in July 1936 – was torn by inter-party struggles and believed that the Socialist Party would be absorbed by the Communist Party at the end of the war. He told a meeting of the Republican government on December 10th, 1938, that what was needed was “an organisation that would unify all that is best in all of the parties and organisations” which would be a fundamental support of the future Republican government. He then stated quite categorically that “there is no returning to the old parliamentarian system – it will be impossible to allow the ‘free play’ of parties as it existed earlier, because in this case the Right might once again force its way into power. This means that either a unified political organisation or a military dictatorship is necessary.” (The Battle for Spain, Antony Beevor, pg 412.)

At that time, Negrin was very much under the influence of the Soviet advisers sent by Stalin to protect his “investment” (in arms) in the war so it would be logical to assume that if the Republic had won, it would have installed a Soviet-style government. Any remaining Franco sympathisers would have been “mopped up” – something the Russians were very good at – and the estimated half a million who chose exile at the end of the war would have been Francoists not Republicans. Franco would have fled the country while the going was good – as did most of the members of the Republican government – and would probably have found refuge in Germany or Italy or even Morocco. But he won and we’ll start looking at what he did – and not what they say he did – next week.

© Muriel Pilkington