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LETTER ABOUT THE
TRIAL OF THE P.O.U.M.
Sr. D. Ramon Gonzalez Peiia,
Minister of Justice,
December 15, 1938
Dear Comrade Pena:
As you know, the Socialist Patty of the United States,
through its officers and spokesmen,, I as on various occasions
made representations to the Spanish Republic concerning the
fate of those anti-fascist workers in Spain who have been
arrested and charged with acts of disloyalty to the Republic.
Although feeling no political kinship with the Workers' Party
of Marxist Unity (P.O.UM.), we have been especially con-
cerned with the arrest and trial of members of that Party's
Executive Committee. In the same sense, we have recently
made inquiries concerning the case of Russell Blackwell who,
to the best of our knowledge, is the only American anti-
fascist still in jail in Government Spain. It is our under-
standing that your Ministry is looking into this case and is
taking the necessary steps consistent with democratic justice.
[Since this letter was written, Blackwell has been released.]
In all this, we have constantly reiterated our belief
in and our support of the Loyalist cause. That we
Universe of "fexas
found it necessary to make representations cor^cSlrSng
the cases mentioned above was due to our great faith
that the denial of ordinary civil liberties to the people
could only weaken the Loyalist Government in its
battle against the fascist foe, and that no sound gov-
ernment can be built except on the basis of the fullest
* * *
The P.O.UM. Trial
WE HAVE therefore been interested in reading reports
of the recent trial of seven members of the P.O.U.M.
Our information is based primarily on stories which appeared
in the press of Government Spain, including Solidaridad
Obrera, official organ of the National Confederation of
Workers in Barcelona. ^
It is then with a genuine feeling of pleasure that we
congratulate the Republic on the administration of
justice as expressed in this trial. We especially con-
gratulate it because the trial and its outcome give the
lie to the frequently voiced assertion that the Com-
munists are the directing force within Loyalist Spain.
No such open and democratic trial could be conducted
by the "Red Jesuits" of the labor movement.
For the past eighteen months we have listened skeptically
to the Communist cry that the members of the P.O.U.M. were
military agents of Fascism, conscious traitors to the Loyalist
cause, using their position within the Republic to aid 1 1 it-
Fascist forces. It was our instinctive feeling that these mem
bers of the P.O.U.M. were, as our comrade Francisco LftfgO
Caballero said at the trial, "not Fascists, but extremely intol-
The conduct of the trial was especially heartening to
friends of Loyalist Spain in America, where we remember with
horror the war hysteria of 1917-1918 and the lynch madness
produced by that hysteria. At the trial the defendants were
represented by an able defense attorney; many witnesses,
including former and present high government officials,
testified as to the character of the defendants. Among these
witnesses were our comrades Caballero and Araquistain. We
note with especial satisfaction that it was the prosecution it-
self which recommended the absolution of the defendants
from the ridiculous charges of "Fifth Column" espionage.
For Unity Within Spain
W/ E LEARN that of the seven defendants on trial, two
were acquitted and five were found guilty only of the
overt act of participating in the May Days of Barcelona in
1937. We do not pretend here to assign responsibility for
those tragic events. Participation therein, freely admitted by
the accused, was the only charge that stood the test of
Republican justice. It is nevertheless our hope that the
Government will understand that amnesty granted to these
five prisoners will strengthen the faith of the international
labor movement in the cause of Republican Spain.
We feel confident that the trial will mark the definite end
of those irregularities in justice that unfortunately occurred
during a period of several months of the war. We know
that its outcome will do much to strengthen and reinforce
the unity so necessary to military victory — a unity which must
include all workers' forces in Spain.
We hope that the trial is the first step toward
guaranteeing the further unity of Spain by carrying
through, in the field of international diplomacy, a
policy which bases itself upon the independence and
integrity of Spain and upon the international soli-
darity of the workers of the world.
if* 5fS Jfc
A T THE National Convention of the Socialist Party of the
^United States, held in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on April 23,
1938, we passed the following resolution of solidarity with
the Loyalist cause, as our guide for work in the United Spain.
"At this time when the embattled workers and
farmers of Spain are facing the most critical moments
in their heroic struggle for freedom, the Socialist
Party of the United States greets them with a pledge
of its undying solidarity. The fight which is now
being carried on in Spain will live eternally in the
annals of working-class history as a beacon light to
all future generations of workers in their stuggle for
"The Spanish fighters have been confronted not only with
the combined forces of national and international Fascism
but also with the connivance and at times with the overt
opposition of the so-called democracies of capitalist Europe
and America. This reactionary unity of international capitalism
provides concrete proof of the consistent Socialist contention
that the only salvation of the Spanish workers lies in the
solidarity of the international working class.
"Such solidarity has begun to find expression in the im-
measurable valuable role played by the working-class fighters
from all over the world now fighting on behalf of the Spanish
workers. Especially do we hail the American comrades now
engaged in the fight in Spain. Now more than ever before,
it is essential to awaken the workers of the world to their
obligations to their Spanish brothers. To this end the
Socialist Party of the United States pledges its continued
JUST as the unity of the international labor movement is
essential Outside of Spain, so is the unity of all working-
class forces within Spain indispensable to the ultimate victory.
Consequently, the Socialist Party acclaims all efforts to achieve
that unity within Spain and gives its political support to all
forces in Spain working to that goal. Particularly do we greet
the Left Socialists of Spain, under the leadership of Comrade
Francisco Largo Caballero, for their heroic struggle on behalf
of militant Socialism and for working-class unity.
"Since no valid unity in Spain is possible as long as leading
anti-fascists are held in the jails of government Spain, the
Socialist Party demands once more that all anti-fascists be
immediately released from prison so that they may take
their places at the front in these crucial days. We condemn
the actions of the Communist International and the con-
servative political elements of Loyalist Spain in denying civil
rights to the left forces and intensifying the disunity wfrch
has been so harmful to the workers' cause.
"While the capitalist press of the world gleefully
proclaims the 'certain' victory of Franco and his
fascist allies, the Socialist Party of the United States
reaffirms its confidence in the ultimate victory of the
workers and farmers of Spain. The sacrifices of the
past 21 months will not be in vain. Long live the
unity of the Spanish working-class!"
* * *
Smash The Embargo!
IT IS in line with "these sentiments that we are calling for
the mobilization of all American Socialists and sympathizers
in a drive to force the President and Congress to lift the
pernicious embargo which has cost the lives of so many of
our comrades on the battlefields of Spain. We shall continue
to exert every effort to awaken the American people to
provide relief in the form of food and clothing for the heroic
Spanish people. We are as one with the workers of Spain
in their struggle for freedom from th Fascist pretenders and
invaders; we seek their victory because it will be a victory
for the international labor movement, for the world forces
for peace, democracy and Socialism,.
The workers of Spain are doing their job; we
shall do ours.
Saiud y Victoria !
National Chairman of the
Socialist Party, U. S. A.
Chairman, Committee for
International Labor Solidarity.
Copies of this pamphlet: $1.50 per 100. Write Socialist
Party, 549 Randolph St., Chicago, 111., or The Committee for
International Labor Solidarity, 348 Third Ave., New York,
INTERNATIONAL LABOR SOLIDARITY
Soldiers at the front go hungry !
The women and children in the
rear are starving.
But they do not complain.
To the Spanish people, the gaunt
spectre of hunger is but another
of the enemies they fight for free-
dom — starvation is part of their
great sacrifice for victory.
They do not complain. But . . .
CAN WE REMAIN SILENT?
Upon America's conscience lies
the blood of thousands of Spanish
heroes, victims of the infamous
embargo. Must we add to tnis
the lives of thousands more, dead
Spain awaits your answer!
Citizens of the world of to-
morrow, they have been forced to
flee their native land because of
political or religious belief.
They can know no peace, no
rest as pitiless officials shunt them
from city to city, border to border.
They are refused the right to a
job to provide for their families.
WE MUST HELP THEM!
Let America, founded as a land
of refuge, open its borders. Until
then, let Americans do their part
to provide for rehabilitation of
these refugees in other lands.
Exchange your dollars for lives !
CLIP AND MAIL THIS COUPON TODAY
Committee for International Labor Solidarity of the Socialist Party,
348 Third Avenue, New York, N. Y.
Enclosed please find $ to be used for
□ Food for Spain □ Political and religious refugees
City and State