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3. The CNT in Barcelona

The CNT possessed a dual role in Barcelona. First, in the context of economic backwardness and political repression, it was a revolutionary organization at its inception and—unlike the French CGT—remained revolutionary during the 1930s. Second, the CNT was a union that, like others, defended the everyday demands of its members. An examination of the two roles is indispensable for understanding the political and social situation that eventually led to revolution in 1936.

The Confederación nacional de trabajo was born in Barcelona in 1910, its birth an indication that many anarchists who continued to reject political parties had temporarily put aside terrorist tactics to accept the union as the basis for the libertarian revolution. At its origin and throughout most of its history, the CNT had a very loose and antibureaucratic structure.[1] It first built the organization around the Catalan regional Confederación and later included other regional confederations, coordinated by a national committee. The individual unions kept a great deal of autonomy, since the anarchosyndicalist CNT had a horror of overcentralization and consciously tried to avoid bureaucracy. The union had very few paid officials and minimal strike funds.

The main weapon of the CNT was to be the insurrectional general strike, the day when workers would put down their tools and take control of the means of production from a government and bourgeoisie in disarray. It supplemented this goal with other forms of anarchosyndicalist direct action—sabotage, boycotts, a virulent antiparliamentarism, and antipolitical propaganda.[2] From its birth the Confederación was frequently declared illegal as the government reacted to strikes, acts of terrorism, or other forms of direct action.

After the First World War, persecution of the revolutionary CNT often contrasted with official tolerance of the reformist UGT. The Spanish government and, to a lesser extent, capitalist elites were willing to accept and sometimes even encourage the existence of this union, which was linked to the Socialist party and which generally advocated parliamentarism and cooperation with the state and political parties. Even the CNT was, at moments, willing to ally with its less revolutionary rival. In August 1917 the CNT supported a strike initiated by Socialists and the UGT to bring about a republic. Pro-anarchist historians have characterized its demands:

The strike proved to be entirely political, its demands influenced not by Anarchist ideas but by those of the Socialists. The CNT program in Barcelona…went no further politically than a demand for a republic, a militia to replace the professional army, the right of labor unions to veto (not enact) laws, divorce legislation, the separation of church and state.[3]

Certain of these demands went well beyond the standard Republican platform and frightened reformist elites. The Spanish state and the Catalan bourgeoisie were unable to enact even the moderate parts of the CNT program and thereby helped to push a large part of the organized working-class movement into a more revolutionary and antipolitical direction.[4]

Such inaction and timidity of the state and Spanish elites obstructed reformism in Barcelona and revealed “the weakness of the bourgeoisie as a revolutionary force.”[5] Historians have viewed the failed revolution of 1917 as another example of the collapse of the “bourgeois-liberal revolution” in Spain. The Catalan bourgeoisie, they have argued, wanted a democratic revolution that would de-Africanize Spain and render it European. The Socialists and, significantly, moderate sectors of the CNT wanted to assist the liberal bourgeois revolution; however, when working-class organizations called a general strike to usher in a republic, the Catalan elite became frightened and consequently abandoned the fight to democratize Spain. In 1936, only when the CNT and other working-class organizations took nearly total power—political, economic, military, and police—did they secure a republic and the separation of Church from state and military from civilian government, basic features of what was known in the rest of Western Europe as the bourgeois revolution.

According to anarchist historians, the Confederación suffered brutal repression following the First World War and the failed revolution.[6] From 1919 to 1923, anarchosyndicalist militants were tortured, assassinated, and imprisoned. Police falsely charged that “hundreds” of activists had died “attempting to escape.” The cenetistas retaliated by assassinating “intransigent bosses, policemen…the president of the government…the archbishop.” According to employers, in Barcelona from approximately 1911 to 1921, there were 848 victims of class violence, of whom 230 died and 618 were injured; another 400 were assaulted.[7] Most of the victims were workers. In 1919–1920 the social climate deteriorated further because of a shortage of raw materials and food. In an inflationary economic climate, workers began demanding a guaranteed minimum salary and striking more frequently. According to industrialists, the CNT gained support through boycotts and threats to force workers to join the union and through payments extorted from businessmen. By the end of March 1919, a general strike had shut down Barcelona, and a new state of war had been declared. As we have seen, the employers demanded from the authorities an energetic campaign to eliminate the CNT and initiated a lockout. In addition, the Fomento recommended that Catalan employers adopt a variety of repressive techniques—blacklists, strikebreakers, armed guards, and mutual aid against boycotts.

Syndicalist moderates in the CNT, such as Salvador Seguí and Angel Pestaña, who were willing to compromise with the state and the UGT and who relegated the realization of libertarian communism to a relatively distant future, could not bring moderation to prevail in an atmosphere of terrorism, repression, and economic stagnation. Although the moderates remained a minority in the 1920s, they did not disappear; in response to them in 1927 the Federación anarquista ibérica was formed to ensure that the revolutionary virtues of the CNT were not diluted by syndicalists and reformists. The FAI’s membership included the most famous anarchist activists and theorists: Diego Abad de Santillán, Juan García Oliver, the Ascaso brothers, and the legendary Buenaventura Durruti. In its quest for revolutionary purity the FAI exhibited a tendency toward centralism. Thus, the Federación resembled Lenin’s Bolshevik party in very significant ways. Like the Bolsheviks, the FAI fought against “trade-union consciousness” among the working class and sought to keep revolutionary ideals alive. In fact, a historian has labeled one current within the FAI “anarchobolshevik.” Juan García Oliver, one of the most important anarchobolsheviks, argued for the “conquest of power,” a kind of anarchist dictatorship.[8] Like many Leninists, the FAI considered itself the “elite,” the “vanguard,” or the “consciousness” of the CNT and the working class. If in the end the faístas were successful in keeping a significant part of the organized working class on a revolutionary path, they were aided immeasurably by a state and a bourgeoisie that assassinated or jailed moderates in the CNT.

Like the CNT, the FAI did not always maintain its revolutionary purity and sometimes negotiated with political parties in violation of its own principles. These deals and negotiations were important because they prefigured the participation by both CNT and FAI in the Republican government during the Revolution. They also revealed that anarchist and anarchosyndicalist antiparliamentarism and antistatism were often abstractions. During the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, anarchists who were exiled in France agreed to cooperate with antimonarchist political parties.[9] Unofficially, radical and moderate sectors of the CNT collaborated with Catalan nationalists even though the organization condemned Catalan separatism.[10] The FAI even played a role in the creation of the Second Republic:

The FAI did not always behave as a pure flame of Anarchist consistency; on the contrary, it was ready to bend its antiparliamentary principles almost to the breaking point when crucial situations arose. Thus, in the municipal elections of 1931, faísta delegates joined their moderate opponents in supporting a Republican-Socialist coalition.[11]

The electoral victory of the Left in the large towns convinced King Alfonso XIII to abdicate.

One historian has attributed these contradictions between anarchist ideology and practice to the personality of the faístas and has argued that in 1930 their impulsiveness led them to abandon doctrinal purity to collaborate with politicians.[12] Paradoxically, in 1931 the same impulsiveness induced them to invoke doctrinal purity to avoid reformism. However, such an important separation of theory from practice cannot be attributed merely to the “always impulsive” character of the faísta. On the contrary, these contradictions revealed the bankruptcy of anarchosyndicalist apoliticism.

The revolts of 1932 and 1933 demonstrated this contradiction. In January 1932 the FAI, which largely controlled the CNT at this time, attempted to incite a social revolution and proclaimed libertarian communism in the Catalan mining districts of the Alto Llobregat and Cardoner. In a number of towns, the rebels confiscated the weapons of the Somaten, Catalan police auxiliaries.[13] In Sallent, syndicalists seized the powder kegs and dynamite of the potash factory and raised the red flag on the town hall. The revolutionaries took control of the telephones and the roads. After guardias had been fired on and injured, the governor sent the military “to intimidate the disobedient villages.”

In February other Catalan towns were affected by the movement:

In all the localities where libertarians dominated the situation temporarily and tried to make the social revolution, they found themselves forced to constitute executive committees charged with maintaining order and guarding the disgruntled and opponents. Even if they wished to abolish laws, install a society without authority or compulsion, and permit freedom for the creative spontaneity of the masses, they imposed their domination by force through decrees they modestly called proclamations. Far from realizing “anarchy,” the revolutionary leaders, armed and possessing dynamite, established what could be called the “dictatorship of the proletariat” without taking into account the opinion of the peasants and the petty bourgeoisie.[14]

A left-wing communist has noted that the insurrectionaries of January “did not behave apolitically but politically.”[15] The first act of the victorious revolutionaries was to take political power and rule through an executive committee.

The failed revolts also revealed the tendency of the libertarian militants to plan in secret rather than democratically consult with the rank and file. Both the CNT and the FAI alternated between a kind of Blanquist belief in the conspiracy of the few to bring about the revolution and a counterfaith in the revolutionary spontaneity of the masses. The revolt of January 1933 demonstrated the failure of both the conspiratorial and spontaneous ideologies: a strike of CNT railwaymen had been planned for the beginning of January 1933, despite the fact that the UGT largely controlled this sector and that many CNT railway workers were reluctant to strike.[16] Elements of the FAI, led by García Oliver and other anarchists, nonetheless disregarded the lukewarm revolutionary sentiment among the workers and prepared to launch an insurrection. On 8 January 1933, CNT bands in Barcelona attacked military barracks; in several villages and towns throughout Catalonia libertarian communism was proclaimed. Money, private property, and exploitation were abolished—until government troops arrived to suppress the revolt. The lesson of the January revolt was not that the FAI lacked realism, since the social situation during the Second Republic was such that even a small group of conspirators could frequently spark revolts in Catalonia and throughout Spain. What was at issue here was the contradiction between democratic theory and conspiratorial practice, a contradiction that reemerged during the Revolution.

Responding to the government’s repression of anarchists, peasants, and workers after the failed revolts of 1932 and 1933 and acknowledging the government’s inability to realize reform, the CNT enthusiastically propagated its antipolitical ideology and advocated abstention from the elections of November 1933. Durruti told seventy-five thousand workers in the Barcelona bullring, “Workers, you who voted yesterday [i.e., in previous elections] without considering the consequences: if they told you that the Republic was going to jail nine thousand laborers, would you have voted?”[17] It is hard to determine how widely workers followed the CNT’s call not to vote, but in the province of Barcelona abstentions reached almost 40 percent, compared to 30 percent in the rest of the country.[18] Perhaps popular apathy was responsible, or commitment to anarchosyndicalist positions may have explained the high percentage of abstentions in the Catalan capital.

After the electoral victory of the Right, the CNT attempted yet another revolutionary takeover in December 1933.

To the people: The CNT and the FAI summon you to armed insurrection.…We are going to achieve libertarian communism.…The women in their homes. The worker at his job.…

Private property is abolished and all wealth is at the disposition of the collective. The factories, shops, and the entire means of production will be taken over by organized proletarians and put under the control and administration of the factory committee, which will try to maintain the current dimensions and characteristics of production.…The CNT and the FAI will be represented by red and black colors.…Any other flag must be considered counterrevolutionary.…You must be ready to give your lives in defense of the revolution that offers all of you the two most stable means of life: economic independence and liberty.[19]

Although this revolt, limited to Aragon, failed as disastrously as its predecessors, the point here is not so much to criticize the CNT’s and FAI’s tactics (although they were certainly ill-conceived) but to show the nature of the Confederación’s revolutionary practice. First, the proclamation announced the advent of libertarian communism and liberty in general, but this new social organization demanded absolute obedience to the CNT and the FAI (“any other flag will be considered counterrevolutionary”). Second, the decree ordered the revolutionary worker to stay on the job and his wife to stay at home. As anarchosyndicalist theorists had noted, in libertarian communism the factory committee would not change the nature of production or, in this case, the sexual division of labor. In fact, the FAI and the CNT declared that the size and dimensions of production would be preserved, at least momentarily. Prefiguring the post-July 1936 period, only the control of the productive forces, not production itself, would change. In the social revolution the worker would labor for the factory council.

With the Right bolstered by its electoral victory and the subsequent failure of the CNT insurrection at the end of 1933, Socialists feared that fascism could soon take power in Spain as it had recently done in Germany and Austria. The Socialist cry became Better Vienna than Berlin; the armed resistance of the Viennese workers was preferable to the passive submission of the German working class. The Socialists began to seek partners for an antifascist alliance. In addition, sections of the Socialist rank and file, particularly rural workers, were becoming increasingly radicalized because of ineffective governmental land reform projects and difficult conditions in the countryside. Disappointed with the results of his collaboration during the first two years of the Second Republic, Largo Caballero adopted a more radical position and proposed a “revolutionary” alliance with the CNT; but many CNT militants remained understandably skeptical. After all, the Confederación had sometimes obtained less than expected from its compromises with the Socialists and the UGT. As has been seen, in 1917 the coalition had even failed to bring about a republic, and anarchosyndicalist militants remembered how Largo Caballero had profited from his position as Primo’s state counselor to win adherents to the legal UGT and undermine the banned CNT.

In the 1930s the rivalry continued. In 1930–1931 the libertarians’ contacts with other left-wing parties and unions had aided the formation of the Second Republic, and workers flocked into the Confederación’s unions. In Barcelona and other regions neither the repression of the dictatorship nor its incomplete modernization had eradicated the social base of the CNT.[20] The anarchosyndicalists’ militancy and successful struggle to reestablish their organizations provoked countermeasures by the Socialist-backed government, which again attempted to suppress the CNT and jailed many of its activists. The UGT used its influence in Madrid to attack the CNT’s power base in the port of Barcelona.

Despite the coolness of most of the Confederación to an alliance with the Socialists and the UGT, certain anarchosyndicalists were ready for a revolutionary coalition. In February 1934 a widely distributed essay by Valeriano Orobón Fernández was published, urging a revolutionary alliance between the CNT, Socialists, and the tiny Communist party:

In order to defeat an enemy who is gaining ground on the proletariat, a granite-like block of working-class forces is indispensable.…

The alliance is going to occur on the revolutionary terrain that the CNT has always occupied, terrain which the Socialists now approach after the resounding failure of their experiences with bourgeois democracy.

Platform of the alliance:…Revolutionary working-class democracy is direct social action by the proletariat.…

The present theoretical position of the Socialist and Communist parties bestows excessive importance on the role of the political instrument in the revolutionary process. This attitude is odd in the official parties of historical materialism, which ought to see in the influence of the economy the touchstone of all real social transformation. We [anarchosyndicalists], despite the label of utopians which we are given, believe that the security of the revolution depends above all on the rapid and rational articulation of the economy. And so the mere slogan of political order is insufficient to embrace the fundamental problems of a revolution. What…is essential is the socialization of the means of production and extensive labor coordination and organization, which the construction of a new economy entails. And this cannot be the work of a central political power but of unions and communes which, as immediate and direct representatives of the producers, are in their respective areas the natural pillars of the new order.[21]

Orobón’s article prefigured, however imperfectly, the CNT’s alliance with other working-class organizations, particularly the increasingly radicalized UGT, during the civil war. He also stressed the economic basis of the workers’ alliance. The anarchosyndicalist militant realized that the common ground between the CNT and Marxist revolutionaries was their vision of the economic future. Both tendencies agreed on the need to socialize production, to “reintegrate the unemployed into the productive process, to orient the economy toward an intensification of output and to raise the standard of living.…Work is, henceforth, an activity open to all and from it emanate all rights.”[22]

Orobón’s appeal for a revolutionary alliance with Socialists and Communists had only a limited influence within the CNT because the Catalan section, by far the most important branch, rejected such a coalition. The relative influence of Catalan anarchosyndicalism had increased at the expense of the rural sections of Andalusia, after the First World War.[23] Furthermore, the Catalans did not have to contend with a strong Socialist or Communist party in their region. In the eyes of CNT militants, Catalan Socialists had discredited themselves by allying with the Catalan nationalists of the Esquerra.

Many CNT militants came to regard the nationalists as enemies of the Confederación and considered them petty bourgeois. The atmosphere of collaboration that had existed between some sectors of the libertarian movement and Catalan nationalists quickly disappeared during the opening months of the Second Republic when the Esquerra joined with the forces of order to “save” the Catalan economy from strikes and agitation promoted by “irresponsible” elements in the CNT.[24] In return, the Confederación accused the nationalists of profiting from CNT votes and then betraying the libertarian movement.[25] As its name indicated, the CNT made its main priority to create a national workers’ organization, not to strengthen Catalan nationalism. Catalan nationalists, particularly the right-wing Estat català, persecuted and outlawed the CNT even as the Confederación was being legalized in other regions of Spain.[26] The CNT would ally with the Socialists and the UGT only if they would clearly break with the Catalan nationalists and firmly declare their revolutionary intentions.

Although the Catalan CNT was resistant to Orobón’s proposal, the Asturian section of the Confederación was more receptive to a working-class alliance. In contrast to its organization in Catalonia, the CNT was a minority union in Asturias; its local leadership understood that it could participate in the revolution only by cooperating with its rivals.[27] The coalition prepared the way for the Asturias revolt, which was to be ignited by the political events of 1934. In October of that year, the CEDA (Confederación española de derechas autónomas) entered the government. The CEDA was a right-wing Catholic party that many on the Left feared would acquiesce in a “fascist” coup d’état in Spain. Even the moderate—and Catholic—president of the republic, Niceto Alcalá Zamora, doubted that the leader of the CEDA, Gil Robles, would be loyal to the republic and was reluctant to call him to form a government. Nevertheless, on 4 October Alcalá Zamora permitted the formation of a government that included three ministers from the CEDA. The following day in Asturias the coal miners, who had been increasingly politicized by what they viewed as the failure of the republic and radicalized by deteriorating working conditions, began the famous Asturias insurrection, the prelude to the civil war that was to erupt two years later. It is not necessary for our purposes to describe in detail the bloody repression of the revolt by the elite Foreign Legion and the Moorish troops of General Franco. It is important to note, however, that local committees composed usually of Socialists, Communists, and—depending on the town—anarchosyndicalists, attempted to put their plans for social revolution into practice; in various towns and villages of the region, the means of production and distribution were collectivized.

In Catalonia, at the time of the Asturias revolt, the “Catalan state within the Federal Spanish Republic” was declared by Lluis Companys, the leader of the Catalan nationalists grouped in the Esquerra. This attempt at Catalan independence failed miserably. It clearly demonstrated the limits of Catalan nationalism, whose social base was too weak and narrow to form an independent nation. As we have seen, the Catalan bourgeoisie had long made its peace with Madrid and the traditionalist elements of central and southern Spain; it lacked the strength to overcome their influence and the dynamism to dominate the entire nation economically and politically. Thus, radical Catalan nationalism could not count on the support of a large part of the upper bourgeoisie that depended for protection and favors on Madrid. Lacking the support of the upper class and the CNT, radical Catalan nationalism in the 1930s was the province of what for lack of a better name we call the petty bourgeoisie—technicians, shopkeepers, funcionarios, clerks, artisans, and sharecroppers. Their nationalism was not only political but cultural and involved as well a renaissance of Catalan as a spoken and written language. The economic possibilities of a nationalism that called for a separate Catalan state were severely restricted, because the feeble Catalan industries depended both on protection granted by Madrid and on the impoverished markets in the rest of the peninsula. Catalan nationalism might mean a desirable political and cultural independence from a bureaucratic and centralized Spanish state, but many Catalans of varying social origins realized that, given the condition of regional industries, a separate nation might well lead to their economic destruction.

The failed insurrections in Catalonia and Asturias generated rather severe repression of the Left by the right-wing government. Various estimates placed the number of political prisoners in Spanish jails between twenty thousand and thirty thousand individuals. In Catalonia the number of prisoners has been estimated at four thousand, most of whom were Catalan nationalist, not working-class, militants.[28] Throughout 1935 the Left feared a continued crackdown and repression by the Right. On 14 April 1935, the fourth anniversary of the Second Republic’s founding, the military officers who defeated the October revolution in Catalonia and Asturias received medals in a public ceremony in the center of Madrid.[29] The government desired to create—perhaps as the French had done after the Paris Commune of 1871—a republic of order that could protect private property and the Church. The effort was, of course, unsuccessful. Republican stability proved difficult to achieve in a country whose rural population was thirsting for land and whose working-class militants were often enrolled in revolutionary organizations.

The Left drew together to end the Right’s repression. In January 1936 the Socialists, republicans, POUM, UGT, Catalan nationalists, dissident syndicalists (Partido sindicalista), and the Communists signed the program of the Popular Front. It was basically an electoral coalition designed to preserve republican institutions and offered only vague solutions to socioeconomic problems. In fact, the French Popular Front, which was hardly a revolutionary alliance, was much bolder than its Spanish counterpart when it demanded nationalization of defense industries. In Spain, paradoxically, where many fundamental social and economic problems were yet unsolved and where land reform and economic modernization were needed to develop agriculture and industry, the unity of the Popular Front remained almost exclusively electoral. The representatives of the moderate republican parties who signed the program made it clear that they rejected the three major proposals of the Socialists—nationalization of land and its distribution to the peasantry, nationalization of banks, and “workers’ control.”[30] Although some rightists were favorably impressed by the moderation of the program of the Popular Front, the failure of the Left to agree on some of the most important social and economic issues anticipated the tensions and ruptures that would recur during the Revolution.

The Catalan Left also forged its own Popular Front—or more precisely, Front d’Esquerres—which included Communists, Socialists, poumistas, rabassaires (smaller Catalan tenants), and a variety of Catalan nationalists who supported the Second Republic. Its program demanded the restoration of regional self-government guaranteed by Catalan statute, which the right-wing government had suspended after the failed revolution of October 1934. In addition, the Catalan leftist coalition called for preservation of the “social advances of the Republic” and for application of the repressive Law on Vagabonds of August 1933 against “those who are really vagabonds,” not against unemployed workers. Although the entire Left, including anarchosyndicalists, agreed on the need to eliminate “parasites,” the CNT and some rank-and-file poumistas considered the content of the program of the Catalan and Spanish Popular Fronts insufficiently radical.

The CNT had reasons of its own to fear continuation of the bienio negro, or the government of the Right, since many of its militants had been jailed, and some were facing the death penalty, which had been restored in 1934. During April 1934 in Zaragoza the Confederación had embarked on a two-month general strike, of which one goal was the liberation of jailed militants. The Popular Front did offer amnesty for the prisoners; in return, the CNT toned down its campaign for abstention. Although some unions and leaders reiterated the official position against political participation, others—such as the influential Construction Union—deviated from the classic anarchist position.[31] This policy, of “the negation of the negation,” gave the green light to the rank and file to vote for the Popular Front.[32] Even the famous faísta Durruti openly advocated that CNT members go to the polls.[33]

As might be expected, the electoral campaign aroused passions all over the country and especially in Barcelona, where the electorate became increasingly polarized. The Right was divided, and its more moderate elements isolated. The abstentionism urged by the Unió democràtica de Catalunya, which represented Catalan Christian democrats, was condemned by more extremist Catholics as a “desertion and betrayal of the homeland and a flagrant disobedience of the principles that the Holy See and the Spanish episcopate have recently affirmed.”[34] In February 1936 the Popular Front won an important victory. Nationwide, it captured from 47 to 51.9 percent of the votes, compared to the 43 to 45.6 percent for the Right. In Catalonia, 59 percent voted for the Left, 41 percent for the Right.[35] To an unknown extent, the CNT contributed to the victory by covertly recommending against abstention (“we must free twenty thousand workers still jailed and obtain amnesty”).[36] In Barcelona and Zaragoza, where anarchism was influential, the number of abstentions fell to 27 percent and 31 percent respectively, as opposed to 40 percent and 38 percent in 1933. Even allowing for the CNT’s exaggeration of its own importance, the increase in the number of voters was indisputable; according to another estimate, abstentions fell in the city of Barcelona from 38 percent in 1933 to 31 percent in 1936.[37] Even in 1936, however, popular apathy continued to cause many abstentions.

The victory of the Left heightened the fears of the Right that the Popular Front would violently secure the separation of Church from state, reduce the power of the military, encourage regional nationalisms, and perhaps put land reform into practice. In addition, the failed revolts of 1932, 1933, and 1934 raised the specter that it would not be the moderate republicans such as Manuel Azaña or Martínez Barrio who would secure certain features of the unfinished bourgeois-liberal revolution but rather, as in Russia in 1917, working-class revolutionaries who had no respect for private property. CNT militants, leftists in the Socialist party and the UGT, poumistas, and Communists might not only institute lay and civilian rule; they might also nationalize or collectivize the means of production.

Throughout the Second Republic military officers dealt with threats to the traditional order and “separatisms” of the periphery by plotting against the republic, but those in uniform were not solely responsible for the lack of social peace. Workers continually pressed their demands through strikes, many of which the CNT led. The CNT’s ideology and political activity have already been examined, but its day-to-day functions as a union, representing its membership and strengthening its organization, have not. An investigation of the CNT’s role as a union that demanded less work, job security, better benefits, and higher pay for its male and female membership is necessary in order to understand the character of the CNT from 1931 to 1936 and the demands of the Barcelonan working class. When the Revolution erupted in July 1936, the CNT would find itself having to combat desires it had encouraged during the Second Republic.

With the advent of the republic, many CNT unions experienced a massive influx of new members, estimated at over 100,000 in Catalonia.[38] In 1931, CNT members were 58 percent of the working class from the city of Barcelona and 30 to 35 percent from the province.[39] Barcelona’s workers followed their previously established pattern of disregarding ideology and switching to the union that they thought would best protect them. As in 1922, after the repressive Generals Martínez Anido and Arleguí had been transferred, workers abandoned the right-wing Sindicato libre and joined the reopened anarchosyndicalist unions.[40] In 1931 the Metallurgical Union of Barcelona reported that its membership had jumped in several months from 18,500 to 29,000 and that it had exhausted its supply of union cards.[41] The Construction Union issued 42,000 cards in a brief period. Workers joined the Confederación in large numbers but, complained CNT officials in Barcelona, did not pay their dues or attend meetings. “Many adherents are not up to date with their dues. All membership cards must be checked, and we must make everyone who is behind realize the necessity of being up to date. In case someone refuses, he must not be permitted to work.”[42]

If reluctant to pay dues, workers were not hesitant to strike. In 1931 the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona described the situation immediately after the establishment of the republic:

The petitions for new working conditions, and the strikes that the workers launch when the employers refuse to accept these [conditions] coincide with violent demonstrations by groups of the unemployed. The tactic that is followed is to present new demands only to a small number of firms and then to call on other firms if these demands are accepted or, if not, to call a partial strike.[43]

A Catalan republican criticized the workers for wanting to satisfy all their desires immediately after the proclamation of the Second Republic.[44] At the end of May and the beginning of June 1931, agitation continued unabated. The CNT admitted that it could not control the strikes that erupted in the summer of 1931. The government felt forced to take measures to guarantee the right to work. In July the governor, Carlos Esplá, and military authorities led by General López Ochoa threatened to replace striking electricians and other workers with military personnel.

A wide variety of issues provoked strikes; prominent among them were disputes over piecework. A number of unions demanded the “total elimination of piecework and incentives.”[45] This demand had been voiced as early as the founding congress of the CNT in 1910 in Barcelona and would continue to be popular among the city’s workers even during the civil war and Revolution. Other persistent desires were a slower pace of work and a reduction of the workweek. In 1912 a right-wing French observer remarked that Spanish workers were not fond of laboring quickly and often engaged in slowdowns.[46] During World War I Gaston Leval, the anarchosyndicalist militant who worked at various jobs in both France and Spain, was pleasantly surprised at the much slower rhythms of production, more frequent breaks, and the relative absence of overtime and piecework in Barcelona compared to Paris.[47] In the 1920s an engineer of the Maquinista, who introduced pay incentives based on a system of “scientific” organization of work, feared workers’ “laziness” and “tricks…to deceive” the time-measurement monitors.[48]

Historians have correctly asserted that the numerous strikes and demands for a shorter workweek were responses to the increasing number of unemployed in Barcelona in the 1930s. As has been seen, unemployment insurance was practically nonexistent in Barcelona, which made workers’ solidarity with the jobless critical. Various CNT unions proposed schedules to share the limited amount of work equitably among all workers. In addition to solidarity with the jobless, Barcelona workers wanted to diminish the workweek simply to work less. As will be seen, a reduced work schedule was only one method—and not necessarily the most efficient—of decreasing the number of jobless. When the forty-eight hour workweek was reimposed in November 1934 during the bienio negro, strikes erupted, and workers refused to labor more than forty-four hours.[49]

This bienio negro (1934–1935) was a period in which the labor movement found it difficult to protect its gains. In 1934 workers went on strike less frequently than previously and lost labor conflicts more often than in 1933.[50] Following the victory of the Popular Front in 1936, the forty-four-hour week was reestablished, and both CNT and UGT metallurgists demanded reimbursement for the extra four hours’ work per week that had been required during 1935. The Generalitat mediated this dispute and resolved it by a wage increase. Many metallurgists remained dissatisfied with the settlement, however, and embarked on work slow-downs, which cut production in half. In various political and social climates throughout the Second Republic, Barcelona’s workers fought hard over bread-and-butter issues. From 1931 to 1936, although the unions’ attempts to win a six-hour day were unsuccessful and the goal of a thirty-six-hour week went unfulfilled, a forty-two-hour week was established in several important sectors of Catalan industry.

In order to avoid work, workers in the CNT and other unions even injured themselves. The Maquinista reported that during a bridge construction project in Seville, workers provoked minor infections by cutting themselves to take advantage of sick pay. As a result, the Maquinista was dropped by its insurance company.[51] Employers feared that if they had to shoulder the entire burden of accident insurance and indemnities, counterproductive consequences could be expected:

Protection for the worker could encourage desires to obtain a permanent disability.…This is a fact verified by the broad experience of insurance companies and mutual associations. To receive indemnities for a longer period of time, treatment for many accidents has been prolonged beyond any real need through the use of caustic and corrosive agents (cáusticos y corrosivos), even at the risk to one’s health.[52]

The struggle for a shortened workweek assumed another dimension: though highly dechristianized and often anticlerical, Catalan workers nevertheless defended the traditional fiestas with vigor. In 1912 a French Catholic described such an occasion:

the strength of popular feeling, the need for rest and amusement…were so urgent that, in spite of their abolition, the Spanish people spontaneously celebrated the customary work stoppages of Saint John on Monday and Saint Paul the following Saturday. Disregarding the employers, they deserted all the workshops. Republican anticlericals gave into the [popular] pressure by organizing balls and operettas.[53]

The CNT Textile Union protested against the suppression of twenty-three paid, interweekly holidays.[54] Barcelonan workers were ready to invoke “tradition” in order to struggle against working time. In 1927 the Fomento noted that the employers who attempted to make their workers make up or recover feast days that were not Sundays could expect trouble.[55] Indeed, strikes lasting a considerable number of days to protest the schedule did occur in the spring and summer of 1927, in 1929, and in 1931.[56] In addition, workers would sometimes skip the day before or after a holiday, traditional or not; legislation was formulated to restrict this custom.

Working women, who composed 57.3 percent of the work force in the Barcelonan textile industry, seem to have been particularly combative about the work schedule and other issues that directly concerned them, such as maternity insurance.[57] Women wanted the prohibition on night work to apply to the hours of 11 P.M. to 5 A.M. instead of 10 P.M. to 4 A.M., since they did not wish to rise one hour earlier. When a law prohibiting night work for women was altered, the change of schedule “was not welcomed by the workers,” who then went on strike.[58] Women laboring at a textile factory in Badalona refused management’s proposal for a split workweek, half the women to work three days and the other half to labor the three remaining days; the women favored a workweek of the same three days for everyone.[59] The CNT Textile Union demanded that pregnant women receive four months of maternity leave.[60]

Judgments concerning women’s militancy must be mixed. Many Spanish women were less likely than men to join and lead unions because they considered their employment to be temporary. In 1930, the 1,109,800 working women constituted 12.6 percent of the total work force and 9.16 percent of the female population.[61] Only 43,000 to 45,000 joined unions; of these, 34,880 to 36,380 belonged to the Catholic trade-union movement. Some began to labor at age twelve or fourteen and quit immediately after they were married, usually between the ages of twenty-five and thirty. If widowed, some returned to the labor market. In 1922, Barcelonan industrialists asserted that most women workers left their jobs to get married and that very few labored until retirement age.[62] In 1930, 65.6 percent of working women were single, 19.29 were married, and 14.26 were widowed.[63] In Barcelona, 65 percent of the active female population worked in industry.

In many families that sought to acquire a small business or a piece of land, women controlled the family budget and may have hesitated at the loss if they or their husbands were to join walkouts. Some female workers, who labored for a wage that complemented the earnings of other family members, were also reluctant regarding strike action. Women from the impoverished middle classes, who worked to keep up appearances, may have resisted participation in militant movements. In July 1931, 560 employees—mainly office personnel and repair workers—struck against the telephone company.[64] Young women seem to have been among the first to return to work. During the conflict three male strikers, who were probably members of a CNT affiliate that claimed to represent 8,500 workers in this branch, were stopped by police for trailing three non-striking young women. The strike ended in failure, perhaps because it generally lacked the support of working women, who were much less likely to strike than their male fellow-workers but who often received half the mens’ wages.[65] Militancy, though, should not be exclusively identified with strikes or union membership, and as has been seen, women were capable of defending what they considered to be their own interests against those of entrepreneurs.

Conflicts arose not only between employers and workers—male or female—but also, significantly, between employers and their foremen, who also refused to work during fiestas.[66] On 8 and 24 September 1932, foremen skipped work, and their employers denied them their wages. The industrialists claimed that if foremen were absent, even though workers were present, the day would be totally wasted. The employers asked for the state’s help in persuading the supervisory personnel to fulfill their duties. The government mediated the dispute, and it established that the foremen’s union, El Radium, had petitioned the employers’ federation several times for retirement and health insurance without receiving a response. In October 1932 the authorities concluded that foremen must come to work during interweekly holidays but that insurance for sickness must also be established. The civil governor insisted that foremen abide by the recognized work schedule.

These tensions between the foremen and their employers showed that the industrialists had stubborn adversaries even among the supervisory personnel of their own factories. In fact, class conflict between foremen and employers was frequently as intense as were struggles between workers and bosses. In contrast, during the same period in France foremen were the sergeants of industry, generally committed to the success of their enterprise and to industrial discipline. Indeed, supervisory personnel often exceeded their employers in concern for the smooth functioning of the firms. Yet in Catalonia the foremen seriously contested the authority of their bosses and occasionally even held them hostage during strikes. At times, the supervisors detonated explosives and destroyed property.[67] The 1934 foremen’s strike took on “a violent character with bombs, acts of sabotage, and the entire repertory of extremism,” which the entrepreneurs thought was “inappropriate” for this category of personnel: “Although it might seem strange, the foremen, who should be models of equanimity, serenity, and reflection during social troubles, forgot their role and adopted a rebellious attitude that matched the most extreme working-class organizations.”[68] Even non-CNT foremen of certain textile factories committed acts of violence. These members of the so-called workers’ aristocracy were involved in assassination attempts against “scabs” and sometimes planted bombs in factories that continued to operate during the strike. Their acts demonstrated the incapacity of the entrepreneurs to impose or implant what might be called capitalist hegemony upon a group whose allegiance was absolutely necessary to industry’s effective functioning.

Throughout the 1930s, workers staged violent strikes to protest layoffs and firings. In September 1930, firings provoked a widespread strike in construction.[69] In the same year, another strike in metallurgy demonstrated how workers’ power obstructed dismissals. On 2 October, 760 workers walked out of a foreign-owned metalworking factory that employed 1,100 workers in Badalona.[70] Two days later, police arrested and jailed two workers for violation of the right to work. The authorities then detained four women, whose militancy and solidarity with strikers had provoked their brutal treatment from the Guardia civil. Metallurgical workers protested the arrests and charged that police, who were engaging in loading and unloading goods for the factory, were acting as strikebreakers. On 24 October, the Unión patronal de Badalona agreed to reinstate the dismissed workers but affirmed the employers’ right to discharge personnel for “justified motives.” Furthermore, the bosses prohibited union delegates from acting inside the factory but pledged not to dismiss workers who had a year of seniority. Workers were to return to work the following Monday. Without notifying the authorities, they continued their illegal strike.

Tensions increased on 29 October, when strikers disobeyed a summons to disperse given by mounted police armed with sabres. The guardia arrested five men and four women who were carrying stones. The next day, 250 “scabs,” in the governor’s words, entered the factory. When a truck accompanied by policemen left the firm, strikers, “presumably from the Sindicato único (CNT),” attacked the vehicle with small arms. Those in the truck, perhaps guardias themselves, fired back and killed two strikers. The day after, the governor responded to the workers’ deaths by jailing the presidents of the transportation and construction unions of Badalona. During the funeral of the strikers, the Guardia civil “was forced to charge” the crowd of three to four thousand persons. Little wonder that both workers and bosses who wanted to encourage a moderate and nonrevolutionary trade unionism of the northern European variety were unsuccessful in Barcelona. Such close collaboration between private industry and the state, which seems to have acted not only to ensure the right to work but as an armed strikebreaker, also reinforced anarchosyndicalist ideology in Barcelona.

Strikes over firings continued during the Second Republic. Catalan workers had long memories, and workers and civil servants who had been “unfairly” dismissed during the general strike of 1917 demanded compensation.[71] Large metalworking factories, such as the Casa Girona, also found it difficult to discharge workers without suffering a strike.[72] Until the bienio negro Catalan employers found it very hard to lay off personnel; even during 1934–1935, dismissals led to strikes. From April 1935 to January 1936 out of thirteen strikes only four or five were caused by salary demands. The majority were provoked by the discharge of a comrade or the desire to share more equally the limited number of jobs.[73] With the victory of the Popular Front, employers were pressured to rehire and indemnify workers who had been dismissed for subversive activities. Wage earners and foremen in transportation, textiles, and dyeing and finishing—workers who had been associated with acts of sabotage—returned to their posts. Those who had been discharged for nonpolitical reasons were also able to return to the payroll. In June 1936, rural proprietors joined urban industrialists who voiced fears that they would no longer be able to fire workers.

The violent atmosphere in Barcelona sprang not only from conflict between classes but also from rivalry between unions. During the 1930s the struggles of the CNT and the UGT produced bloodshed, particularly in the port of Barcelona where the CNT dominated. The UGT posed a threat to anarchosyndicalist control there since, in addition to a reformist ideology that attracted some workers during Primo’s dictatorship and the early years of the Second Republic, the Socialist union was able to use its influence in the government to win benefits for its members. In 1930 the government backed the UGT and the Sindicato libre against the “communist and anarchosyndicalist” Sindicato único.[74] In November and December of that year, the CNT seemed to have successfully resisted the drive of its rivals, who had acquired the reputation of strikebreakers, to control hiring on the docks. One can only speculate whether the CNT remained a potent force in Barcelona despite or perhaps because of its largely illegal status until the opening years of the Second Republic. What is certain is that Primo’s repression and modernization did not eliminate the Confederación. When the UGT leader, Largo Caballero, became Minister of Labor in 1931, violent conflicts continued in the port. In this dangerous atmosphere, workers had to be cautious and shrewd enough to choose the “correct” union, that is, the one that could protect their persons and their employment.

In 1933 the conflict resumed.[75] In April the CNT called a strike, and several workers who continued to labor were killed. According to the employers, the struggle between the two organizations prolonged the strike in March 1934 by gas and electrical workers. When one union achieved its demands, the other would attempt to outbid it and initiate a new walkout. In October 1934, the UGT-influenced Alianza obrera attempted to show—with some success, according to one observer—that it could initiate a general strike without CNT approval.[76] The rivalry between the unions was further aggravated by the desire of each to place its members in the limited number of available jobs. After a strike, workers would flock into the victorious union—whether CNT or UGT.[77]

There was however another, less dramatic, side to the relation between the two unions. The CNT and the UGT also collaborated during the Second Republic, and their oscillation between conflict and cooperation would continue throughout the Revolution. The united front of the unions in 1936 again stimulated the long memory of Barcelonan wage earners. After the victory of the Popular Front, metallurgical workers demanded and received compensation for working a forty-eight-hour week during 1935 and the first few months of 1936.[78] Both unions supported wage earners’ demands for back pay for those workers who had struck in October 1934. In March the CNT and the UGT demanded the rehiring and indemnification of telephone workers fired during the strike of 1931.[79] In May the number of strikes, particularly those protesting dismissals of employees, increased rapidly.[80] Even the Generalitat’s Minister of Labor, who was sympathetic to the labor movement, began to complain of “endemic” walkouts that threatened to destroy the Catalan economy. Unity of action between the two major Barcelonan working-class organizations produced a wave of work stoppages that, if less violent than those in 1931 and 1934, was more powerful. As could be expected, the capitalist elite repeated its hoary warning that “the reigning anarchy” might destroy its firms. The power of unions—especially of the CNT—increased on the shop floor as rank-and-file workers sought admission to the Confederación.[81]

During the Second Republic, the Barcelonan working class managed to maintain its standard of living. More than 35 percent of the workers obtained the forty-four-hour week, that is, a 9 percent reduction of the working day. Approximately 55 percent won wage increases of various kinds. About 33 percent achieved both wage increases and reduction of the working day. These gains were considerable since the price index was stable in Barcelona from 1931 to 1936. It might be added that the forty-four-hour week in metalworking was attained over the strident protests of the major Barcelonan manufacturers, who declared that no other region had reduced the workweek.[82] Thus, in a period of political instability, worldwide economic depression, and high unemployment, Barcelona’s working class demonstrated a remarkable ability to win somewhat higher wages, a shorter working week, and, occasionally, an end to piecework. The CNT and, to a lesser degree, the UGT were instrumental in many of the workers’ victories. Yet there were two sides to the prewar CNT, which was not only a union fighting for the immediate gains of its constituency but also a revolutionary organization struggling for control of the means of production. During the Revolution these two functions of the Confederación would come into conflict because the Barcelonan working class would continue to fight, under even more unfavorable circumstances, for less work and more pay.


1. Murray Bookchin, The Spanish Anarchists: The Heroic Years, 1868–1936 (New York, 1978), p. 160; see also César M. Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles y el poder 1868–1969 (Paris, 1972), p. 37 and Juan Gómez Casas, Historia del anarcosindicalismo español (Madrid, 1973), p. 94; Antonio Bar Cendón, “La confederación nacional del trabajo frente a la II República,” in Estudios sobre la II República española, ed. Manuel Ramírez (Madrid, 1975), p. 222. [BACK]

2. Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles, p. 33. On the definition of direct action, see Ricardo Sanz, El sindicalismo y la política: Los solidarios y nosotros (Toulouse, 1966), p. 43, who argues that many workers misinterpreted direct action to mean a systematic use of force to solve labor disputes; Sanz defines direct action as face-to-face bargaining between labor and capital. [BACK]

3. Bookchin, The Spanish Anarchists, p. 168; see also Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles, p. 43; Gerald Meaker, The Revolutionary Left in Spain, 1914–1923 (Stanford, 1974), p. 63. [BACK]

4. José Peirats, La CNT en la revolución española (Paris, 1971), 1:26. On the weakness and compromises of Spanish anticlericals, see Raymond Carr, Spain 1808–1975 (Oxford, 1982), pp. 490–94. [BACK]

5. Paul Preston, “The Origins of the Socialist Schism in Spain, 1917–1931,” Journal of Contemporary History 12, no. 1 (January 1977): 125. [BACK]

6. Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles, pp. 35–36. [BACK]

7. Fomento de trabajo nacional, Memoria, 1921–1922. [BACK]

8. Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles, p. 50. [BACK]

9. John Brademas, Anarcosindicalismo y revolución en España (1930–1937), trans. Joaquín Romero Maura (Barcelona, 1974), p. 31. [BACK]

10. Enric Ucelay Da Cal, “Estat català: Strategies of Separation and Revolution of Catalan Radical Nationalism (1919–1933)” (Ph.D. diss., Columbia University, 1979), pp. 266–68. On cooperation between the Confederación and Catalan nationalists, see also Sanz, Sindicalismo, pp. 129, 184. [BACK]

11. Bookchin, The Spanish Anarchists, pp. 217–18; see also Brademas, Anarcosindicalismo y revolución, p. 31; Susanna Tavera, “La CNT i la ‘República catalana,’ ” L’Avenç, no. 13 (February 1979): 46. [BACK]

12. Brademas, Anarcosindicalismo y revolución, p. 50. [BACK]

13. The remainder of this paragraph is based on Telegrama oficial, 21 January 1932, gobernador a ministro, caja 2412, AGA. [BACK]

14. Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles, p. 57. [BACK]

15. G. Munis, Jalones de derrota: Promesa de victoria, España 1930–1939 (Mexico City, 1948), p. 92. [BACK]

16. Brademas, Anarcosindicalismo y revolución, pp. 98–103; Bookchin, The Spanish Anarchists, p. 245; Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles, p. 58; Gómez, Historia del anarcosindicalismo, p. 169. [BACK]

17. Durruti, quoted in Bookchin, The Spanish Anarchists, p. 250; see also Brademas, Anarcosindicalismo y revolución, p. 108. [BACK]

18. Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles, p. 61; José A. González Casanova, Elecciones en Barcelona (1931–1936) (Madrid, 1969), p. 26. [BACK]

19. CNT, 9 December 1933, quoted in Brademas, Anarcosindicalismo y revolución, pp. 114–15. [BACK]

20. Susanna Tavera, “Els anarcosindicalistes catalans i la dictadura,” L’Avenç, no. 72 (July 1984): 65; Sanz, Sindicalismo, p. 123; for the growth of the CNT in Asturias at the end of Primo’s dictatorship and the beginning of the Second Republic, see Adrian Shubert, Hacia la revolución: Orígenes sociales del movimiento obrero en Asturias, 1860–1934, trans. Agueda Palacios Honorato (Barcelona, 1984), pp. 178–79. [BACK]

21. Cited in Peirats, La CNT, 1:83–87; italics added. [BACK]

22. Ibid., p. 88. [BACK]

23. Edward E. Malefakis, Agrarian Reform and Peasant Revolution in Spain (New Haven, 1970), pp. 301–2. [BACK]

24. Francisco Madrid, Ocho meses y un día en el gobierno civil de Barcelona: Confesiones y testimonios (Barcelona, 1932), p. 198. [BACK]

25. Ibid., p. 238; Jordi Sabater, Anarquisme i catalanisme: La CNT i el fet nacional català durant la guerra civil (Barcelona, 1986), pp. 31–37. [BACK]

26. Brademas, Anarcosindicalismo y revolución, p. 133. The CNT’s daily newspaper, Solidaridad Obrera, was banned. See Peirats, La CNT, 1:101; see also Alberto Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social en Cataluña de 1930 a 1936 (Barcelona, 1971), p. 179. [BACK]

27. Shubert, Hacia, p. 202. [BACK]

28. Ricard Vinyes, “Sis octubre: Repressió i represaliats,” L’Avenç, no. 30 (September 1980); Sanz, Sindicalismo, p. 260. [BACK]

29. Circular 17, 14 April 1935, 2416, AGA. [BACK]

30. For the manifesto, Javier Tusell Gómez, Las elecciones del frente popular en España (Madrid, 1971), 2:352–58. It is also reproduced in Santos Juliá, Orígenes del frente popular en España, 1934–1936 (Madrid, 1979), pp. 216–23. [BACK]

31. Tusell, Las elecciones, 1:222; Santos Juliá, Orígenes, p. 131. [BACK]

32. Brademas, Anarcosindicalismo y revolución, p. 163. [BACK]

33. Lorenzo, Los anarquistas españoles, p. 72. [BACK]

34. Acció catòlica quoted in Tusell, Las elecciones, 1:114–15. [BACK]

35. Elena Posa, “El front d’esquerres de Catalunya,” L’Avenç, no. 1 (April 1977): 52. [BACK]

36. Bar Cendón, “La confederación,” p. 247, attributes the victory of the Popular Front to the CNT. [BACK]

37. González Casanova, Elecciones, pp. 26, 67. The effect of the CNT’s abstentionist campaign is still a subject of dispute; see Mercedes Vilanova, “El abstencionismo electoral y su relación con las fuerzas políticas en la provincia de Gerona durante la Segunda República: Un ejemplo, La Escala,” in Homenaje a Dr. D. Juan Reglà Campistol (Valencia, 1975), 2:500–503; Vilanova concludes that the CNT’s antipolitical position had little influence on its sympathizers. [BACK]

38. Bar Cendón, “La confederación,” p. 232; see also A. Cucó Giner, “Contribución a un estudio cuantitativo de la CNT,” Saitabi 20 (1970). [BACK]

39. Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, p. 12. [BACK]

40. Fomento de trabajo nacional, Actas de la junta directiva, 24 November 1922. [BACK]

41. Sindicato único de la metalurgia, Informe sobre su reorganización y desenvolvimiento (Barcelona, 1931), p. 19; Sanz, Sindicalismo, p. 194. [BACK]

42. Actas, pleno de juntas, federación local de sindicatos únicos de Barcelona, 31 December 1931, 501, AS. [BACK]

43. Quoted in Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, pp. 201–2. [BACK]

44. Madrid, Ocho meses, p. 154. [BACK]

45. Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, p. 203; Anna Monjo and Carme Vega, Els treballadors i la guerra civil (Barcelona, 1986), p. 14. [BACK]

46. Valdour, L’ouvrier espagnol, 1:45, 329. [BACK]

47. Gaston Leval, El prófugo (Valencia, 1935), p. 142. [BACK]

48. Antido Layret Foix, Organización de una oficina para el cálculo de los tiempos de fabricación (Barcelona, 1931), pp. 16, 42. [BACK]

49. Fomento, Memoria, 1934. In France the issue was a workweek of forty hours, not of forty-four hours. [BACK]

50. Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, pp. 220–24; Alberto del Castillo, La Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima: Personaje histórico (1855–1955) (Barcelona, 1955), pp. 460–61. [BACK]

51. Castillo, La Maquinista Terrestre y Marítima, pp. 464–65. [BACK]

52. Fomento, Memoria, 1932. [BACK]

53. Valdour, L’ouvrier espagnol, 1:52. On dechristianization, see the brief remarks in Josep Massot i Muntaner, Aproximació a la història religiosa de la Catalunya contemporània (Barcelona, 1973), pp. 119–24. [BACK]

54. G. Blanco Santamaría and E. Ciordia Pérez, La industria textil catalana (Madrid, 1933), p. 36. [BACK]

55. Fomento, Actas, 14 February 1927. [BACK]

56. Federación de fabricantes de hilados y tejidos de Cataluña, Memoria (Barcelona, 1930); Fomento, Memoria, 1932. [BACK]

57. Figures in Rosa María Capel Muñoz, La mujer española en el mundo del trabajo, 1900–1930 (Madrid, 1980), p. 32. [BACK]

58. Fomento, Memoria, 1928. [BACK]

59. Gobernador a ministro, 10 August 1931, Leg. 7A, no. 1, AHN. [BACK]

60. Madrid, Ocho meses, p. 194. [BACK]

61. Rosa María Capel Martínez, ed., Mujer y sociedad en España, 1700–1975 (Madrid, 1982), p. 213. [BACK]

62. Fomento, Actas, 2 June 1922. [BACK]

63. Capel, Mujer y sociedad, p. 214. There is also evidence that married women continued as wage earners (Cristina Borderías Mondéjar, “La evolución de la división sexual del trabajo en Barcelona, 1924–1980: Aproximación desde una empresa del sector servicios—La Compañía Telefónica Nacional de España” [Ph.D. diss., University of Barcelona, 1984], pp. 379–80). The figures for men were 39.13 percent single, 52.65 married, and 4.86 percent widowed. [BACK]

64. 6, 9, and 15 July 1931, Leg. 7A, no. 1, AHN; 4,300 female workers were employed in the communications sectors—telephone, telegram, and post office—in 1930. In 1933 almost 40 percent of telephone workers were women. [BACK]

65. Capel, Mujer y sociedad, p. 236; Mary Nash, Mujer, familia y trabajo en España, 1875–1936 (Barcelona, 1983), p. 53. [BACK]

66. The following paragraph is based on Federación de fabricantes, Memoria (Barcelona, 1933). [BACK]

67. Fomento, Actas, 16 July 1934; Fomento, Memoria, 1934; Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, pp. 223–24. [BACK]

68. Fomento, Memoria, 1934. [BACK]

69. Gobernador civil a ministro, Leg. 40A, no. 2, AHN. [BACK]

70. The following paragraphs are based on telegrams, October 1930, Leg. 40A, no. 2, AHN. [BACK]

71. Telegram, 20 April 1931 and Gobierno civil de Barcelona, Leg. 7A, no. 1, AHN. [BACK]

72. Gobernador civil a ministro, 19 November 1931, Leg. 7A, no. 1, AHN; 23 August 1932, Leg. 6A, no. 35, AHN. See also Manuel Ramírez Jiménez, “Las huelgas durante la Segunda República,” Anales de sociología (1966): 81. [BACK]

73. Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, p. 227. [BACK]

74. See series of telegrams in Leg. 7A, no. 1 and Leg. 40A, no. 2, AHN. [BACK]

75. Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, p. 207. [BACK]

76. Adolfo Bueso, Recuerdos de un cenetista (Barcelona, 1978), 2:93. [BACK]

77. Ibid., p. 135; Fomento, Memoria, 1934; Mercedes Cabrera, La patronal ante la II República: Organizaciones y estrategia, 1931–1936 (Madrid, 1983), p. 101. [BACK]

78. Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, p. 230. [BACK]

79. 20 March 1936, 147, AS. [BACK]

80. The following is derived from Balcells, Crisis económica y agitación social, pp. 231–88. [BACK]

81. Acta de la reunión, CNT caldereros, 12 May 1936, 1428, AS; Asamblea, CNT cargadores, 29 May 1936, 1404, AS; 14 January 1937, 182, AS. [BACK]

82. Fomento, Memoria, 1934. [BACK]

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