Split the Army in Portugal and Spain I

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25; No. 80 ~$X'S23 10 October 1975 Ranks vs. Officers Split the Army in Portugal and Spain I ,.,,-,-, ,,~ [':'' , ~' .f'.:.~~~~.-.'* Generalissimo Francisco Franco with Henry Kissinger. Basque Strikes
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25; No. 80 ~$X'S23 10 October 1975 Ranks vs. Officers Split the Army in Portugal and Spain I ,.,,-,-, ,,~ [':'' , ~' .f'.:.~~~~.-.'* Generalissimo Francisco Franco with Henry Kissinger. Basque Strikes Rock Franco Regime Leftists demonstrate in front of Ministry of Information in Lisbon last week protesting government occupation of radio stations. Program for Workers Power in P,ortugal OCTOBER 6-As Generalissimo Francisco Franco's fragile regime is battered by repeated waves of social unrest, its manifest incapacity to impose public tranquility and serenity has given rise to protest on both the left and right. The working class is so imbued with determination to be rid of the senile hangman and his entourage of sadistic torturers that renewed repression only generates more massive and more militant opposition. The fascist butchers, well knowing what their fate would be once the strait jacket of the corporatist state is removed, fight against the slightest opening of the dictatorship. Reactions to last week's execution of five leftist militants spread rapidly across Spain as three Madrid policemen were fatally shot and the entire Basque region erupted in a general strike. The ETA (Basque nationalist) appeal for a deadstill region succeeded in halting all economic activity. particularly in the Bilbao and Algorta industrial lones. The 48-hour strike was highlighted by a protest funeral procession. numbering in the thousands, in the native village of one of the ETA martyrs, Juan Paredes. Meanwhile, stung by denunciations from Common Market governments and strikes against Iberia Airlines in many European cities, Franco addressed a large Madrid rally where his vapid denunciations of a leftist Masonic conspiracy in conjunction with Communist terrorist subversions were hailed with the traditional fascist salute. The regime's dt'ath throes have also spurred increased activity by the fascist Falange and the ultrarightist death squads, the Guerrilleros del Cristo Rey (Warriors of Christ the King). At a recent burial of a slain policeman, Franco's premier, Carlos Arias Navarro, was jeered by reactionaries who denounce the liberalism of the present cabinet and call for a complete military takeover. Carnations and Monocles But the fascists are not the only ones looking to the army. Ever since the April 25 Revolution of the Carnations last year. the example of Portugal has loomed large in the minds of its Iberian neighbors. The Madrid press has closely followed developments in Lisbon, and in particular the role of the Armed Forces Movement (MFA). The liberal reputation of the Spanish defense minister and (continued on page 10) OCTOBER 7-During the past week there have been rumors of possible putsch attempts by both right-wing and left-wing officers in Portugal. On Wednesday the Socialist Party claimed to have discovered a plot by the leftist Lisbon Light Artillery Regiment (RAllS, formerly RAL-l). RAllS countercharged that the moderate commander of the northern region was preparing to rain bombs on their unit, which guards the capital's airport, the road to Spain and approaches from the north. Then yesterday the Supreme Revolutionary Council, leading body of the Armed Forces Movement (MFA), reportedly decided to undertake the disarming of civilian leftist groups. The situation in Lisbon is balanced on a razor's edge. The program of the Sixth Provisional Government~a popular front of the M FA leadership. the bourgeois Popular Democrats. and the two largest reformist workers parties (Socialist and Communist)~has been stated in no uncertain terms by Premier Azevedo: to put an end to the escalating prerevolutionary situation by forcibly reimposing military discipline, dissolving the soldiers councils and workers militias, imposing strict censorship of news, and breaking the backs of the workers commissions. But although the moderate officers were able to impose their views within the MFA-the officer corps of the bourgeois military-the regime has been unable to gather sufficient strength to enforce its will on the soldiers and workers. Its decree on news censorship had to be withdrawn under fire from the entire press; the occupation of the radio stations was largely a failure due to fraternization by troops and workers; and soldiers committees continue to spread. While the right wing of the MFA has had great difficulty finding secure army units to follow its orders, and objective conditions for successful working-class resistance against its plans for repression exist, it would be a grave error to think that the bourgeois state could be toppled simply by administering a deft blow from left-wing sectors of the military. The officer corps remains intact, although rent with divisions. Thus the regime resulting from a left-wing coup would still rest on the core of the capitalist state. A (continued on page 10) 16 September 1975 Dear WORKERS VANGUARD, Please enter my subscription. Really, your paper is far and away the most articulate and most sophisticated organ on the left. I attended a forum sponsored by IS on the events in Portugal tonight and outside was re-introduced to WV. I had been working loosely with IS for the past several weeks, trying to convince myself that there was some real potential for the organization and its voice, WORKERS POWER. But compared to WV, WORK ERS POWER seems limp indeed, little more than pepping and rallying. It is a relief to see that there is an organization whose writers know how to think. On the other hand the weaknesses of your organization were also apparent this evening. One of the distributors of WV engaged me in conversation, and as soon as I began to contribute some criticism of Spartacist he became bitterly defensive. H is tactics were reversed by a more mature member of your organization. But still your main problem so far as personal propaganda and especially polemics is concerned remains arrogance, impetuosity, impatience~in short, idealism: engaging in ideological struggle without sensitivity as to the particular opinions of particular individuals in particular situations. Being right is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for winning over potential recruits. There is a self-destructive aspect in your members' propaganda. It is the bourgeois intellectualist pride of beating instead of winning over. This is the result of insecurity not overconfidence. You recruit largely from the intelligentsia. It s about time you took it upon yourselves to eradicate this amateurism, this snobbishness, this self-righteousness only thinly disguised as the courage of your convictions. Your strategy seems to me to be thoughtful and deliberate. and not at all pretentious. You say what you are, no more. and even verge on self-effacement. Your contribution at this stage must be basically programmatic and polemical. Excellent. You cannot help but grow. I would only make two main suggestions. First. advanced workers are not necessarily as advanced in intellectual skills as in outlook. You must try harder to use a vocabulary and grammatical structure which is not as intimidating, which is not as elitist. Your writers must rub their hands at their own brilliance (and much of your writing is brilliant!) a little less often and concentrate more on the enormously difficult problems of popularizing social science. Put definitions in parentheses, annotate common formulae, inhibit the usage of the less familiar word (even if it is somewhat less exact). etc. Though this may appear as the contradiction between exactness and comprehensibility I think this is often deceptive. Popularization as often means clarification as simplification. A more important suggestion has to do with your program, the basis of your propaganda. Though you identify yourselves as a propaganda organization you base yourselves on an agitational program, the Transitional Program. You do not say what you want if you came to power. You do not express your maximum program in any detail. In fact. the communist movement has not produced a maximum program since the A BCs of Communism! I believe that such a document is the most pressing theoretical task of our movement, a statement of the political, economic and social aims of a workers' state; an explanation and defense of the proletarian dictatorship. of economic and political internationalism. I have spent the last eight years among the proletariat, most of them as an open communist. (Now I am working in a... with an independent union and am its vice-president.) Most of my discussions with workers center around the maximum program, what is socialism, how would it solve the problems of capitalism. and so on. It is true that during a mass upsurge it is necessary to pose demands which expose the inability of capitalism to fulfill the objective needs of the workers. Thus the Transitional Program. But during present times the workers do not want to discuss fair but impossible demands upon the capitalists. They want to hear formulated a solid alternative. It is not as important to expose capitalism as to counterpose to it the socialist future. Especially the political future. Given the examples of the USSR and China, what is popularly needed is not so much an attack on capitalism but a defense of socialism. Congratulations on becoming a weekly. I am glad to begin reading your paper regularly again. Sincerely, David S. Workers Vangyard replies: WV enjoys publishing informative or controversial political letters. This thoughtful critical contribution from a SLA: From Heroic Guerrillas to Police Plot Workers League Bitten By Seven-Headed Cobra The uproar over recent assassination attempts against Gerald Ford together with the capture of Patricia Hearst and the remnants of the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) has spotlighted the chronic inability of ostensibly socialist organizations to analyze social phenomena and events from a Marxist viewpoint. The Spartacist League has been unique in consistently maintaining that the SLA is not part of the left but an irrational and cultist expression of lumpen-proletarian rage having nothing in common with the struggle of the working class for socialism (WVNo April 1974). Quite a different line is presented by the fake-trotskyist Workers League (WL), which asserts that. This fantastic tale [Patricia Hearst's 'amnesia'] is being whipped up as a smokescreen to cover up the fact that the SLA was a police operation from beginning to end (Bulletin, 26 September). This is at least consistent with its cop-plot theories at the time the SLA kidnapping of Hearst first hit the headlines: according to a 19 February 1974 Bulletin editorial, The SLA has all the characteristics of a CIA or FBI creation. However, between then and now the WL said something entirely opposite. Shortly after Patricia Hearst announced her conversion to the SLA, Melody Farrow wrote in the Bulletin (19 April 1974): There can be no question of the courage and dedication of the SLA members who are willing to risk their lives to fight capitalism. They must be unconditionally defended against the plans of the government to massacre them. Thus with consummate fake- dialectics the SLA was transformed from a group with all the characteristics of a CIA or FBI creation into a band of courageous and dedicated anti-capitalist fighters. And with a wave of the Healyite magic wand-presto!-the SLA again becomes a police creation from start to finish, without a word of explanation. 2 The explanation is, however, selfevident to those who know the Workers League: discovering that Patricia Hearst and the SLA evoked sympathy from various petty-bourgeois radicals, the WL decided to appeal to these strata by transmogrifying their heros from cops into revolutionaries. Nor is this something new for these practised political bandits. Under the leadership of Tim Wohlforth the WL gained widespread notoriety for its political dishonesty, its subordination of political principle to pursuit.of organizational opportunities. A truly gross instance was Wohlforth's hailing of Black Panther Party leader Huey Newton for turning to dialectics just weeks before Newton turned to the church and the Democratic Party. In the same issue of the Bulletin, Wohlforth also called for allout labor support to the strike of New York City cops! W ohlforth is gone, reduced to spending his time sniffing around the socialdemocratic Socialist Workers Party (SWP) and the unsavory, ethereal sectlet of Michel Varga, the International League Rebuilding the Fourth International (LIRQI). But his fabled method remains. Under its new lackluster manager, Fred Mazelis, the WL is every bit as unprincipled and dishonest. (See page 8 on the Bulletin's recent flipflops over Portugal.) In addition to the timehonored technique of the Big Lie, one of its favorite modes of argumentation is the amalgam. Thus the 30 September Bulletin attempts to lump the Spartacist League together with the snivelling reformists of the SWP, claiming the SL has been driven into a frenzy by the bourgeoisie's antiterrorism campaign. Mere facts are of little importance to the WL, but for anyone else there is an obvious difference between the SWP's condemnation of assassination attempts on Ford as part of the violence, hatred and irrationality which seem to poison American society today, and the SL's forthright statement: We wept no tears over the death of John Kennedy, and. class-conscious workers are not concerned to protect the physical safety of the chief imperialist warmonger, Gerald Ford (WV No. 78, 26 September). The Bulletin writer is particularly upset that we could say: That a disturbed crackpot like Lyn Marcus, for instance, can gain a following of hundreds of youth (some of whom want to see a socialist society) is an expression of the extreme weakness of the U.S. left and the present quietism of its misled and racially torn working class. Aha! cries the Bulletin. Here in its purest form, is the enormous cynicism and despair of the American middle class. It continues: The exact opposite is the case. The use of provocations by the ruling class expresses its enormous weakness when confronted by the labor movement.... The key issue is not that the working class lacks sufficient strength to defend its rights, but that it is not conscious of its strength. The task of making it conscious is the central responsibility of the revolutionary party. The Workers League specializes in the preposterous (ruism, first presenting false premises, then obscuring the issues and conveniently missing the point. Yes, we said the U.S. left is weak, the working class is quietist, i.e., not conscious of its strength and unaware of its true interests. Why? Because it is misled, by confusionists and opportunists. Given the WL's penchant for changing its line as casually as most people change their underwear, it is evident that Mazelis and Co. offer no alternative but only more of the same. The construction of a truly revolutionary, Trotskyist party in the U.S. will have as one of its byproducts the political destruction of such pettifogging snake oil peddlers. YOUNG SPARTACUS Current Issue- Milton Friedman and Chicago Boys Implicated in Chilean.Repression: Protest Barbaric Junta's Collaborators! Pat Swinton Acquitted: Abolish A Conspiracy Laws! SWP/ySA Pushes New Civil Rights Movement : Ex-Trotskyists Tail Uncle Toms Banker Barons Slam New York City! Portuguese Workers Must Take Power! SUBSCRIBE NOW! $2/11 issues Name Address ~ City State/Zip Make payable/mail to: Spartacus Youth Publishing Co. Box 825, Canal Street P.O. New York, New York WIJRItERS NI 'RI) Marxist Working-Class Weekly of the Spartacist League of the U.S. EDITOR: Jan Norden PRODUCTION MANAGER: Karen Allen CIRCULATION MANAGER: Anne Kelley EDITORIAL BOARD: Liz Gordon (Chairman). Chris Knox (Labor), James Robertson (Advisory), Charles Burroughs (Editorial Staff). Joseph Seymour (Midwest), George Foster.(West Coast) Published weekly, except bi-weekly in August and December. by the Spartacist Publishing Co West Broadway. New York. N.Y Telephone: (Editorial), 9~-5665 (Business). Address all correspondence to: Box G.p.a.. New York, N.Y Domestic subscriptions: $5.00 per year. Application to mail at second class postage rates is pending at New York, N.Y. Opinions expressed in signed articles or letters do not necessarily express the editorial viewpoint. 80 WORKERS VANGUARD reader expresses a conception of press which if systematized is at variance to the party-building press policy of the Spartacist League. The characterization of elitism is not a point of style but a political characterization, which seems to be based on WV's angular polemical edge and its meticulous attention to political preciseness and correctness. I n the IS milieu, the charge of elitism is generally a jargonistic shorthand to conceal a social-democratic revulsion against seriousness, professionalism and our insistence on aiming WVat an audience of advanced workers already interested in a perspective of basic social.change. The IS, like other ostensible Marxists, chooses instead to produce a fake-popular press which talks down to the radical petty bourgeoisie's stereotype of the working class. The function of Workers' Power is to pretend to mass influence, not to build cadres and lead militants on the basis of program. More important, WV is not simply a newspaper; it is a weapon in the class struggle and a means' toward the construction of a hard revolutionary organi~ zation. Independent radicals, who do not accept the centrality of the fundamental Leninist proposition of the need for a party, tend to see press policy as static rather than as reflecting the specific needs of the embryonic vanguard formation in a particular period. WV's present main function is not to attempt to convince broad masses of the general desirability and feasibility of a socialist solution to the evils of capitalism. It is rather to regroup those most conscious and committed class-struggle militants and SUbjective revolutionaries around the authentic Trotskyist program, as part of winning them to active participation in the fight to build the Bolshevik organization. Explanation of socialists' general longrange goals is an important aspect of our work, and is certainly not absent from the activities of WV supporters in the working class. Nor is it absent from WV propaganda. We disagree with the writer's implication that presentation and. argumentation of a concrete programmatic orientation toward specific situations is an ineffective means for illuminating what the socialist world of the future will be like. Over particular issues, for example recently in discussing the protectionist anti-soviet grain boycott, WV has printed articles and resolutions explaining concretely why workers must solidarize with the historic gains of the October Revolution. Perhaps out of disagreement with the Trotskyist program of unconditional defense of the deformed workers states, the writer may overlook the way in which such articles present the basic Marxist arguments for the abolition of private ownership of the means of production, the inherent advantages of a rational division of labor in a worldwide planned economy, the potential for human freedom which would be unlocked by the demise of oppressive bourgeois institutions such as the nuclear family, etc. Similarly, in explaining the counterrevolutionary role of the Stalinist bureaucracies, such articles present the need to place political power in the hands of workers soviets through political revolution. WV believes that the presentation of the Marxist world view as elucidated in the treatment of concrete issues links the fundamental solution of the burning problems of mankind to the central issue of our epoch-the crisis of revolutionary leadership. To proceed otherwise implies abstract propagandism in the manner o
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