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Full text of "Justice triumphs in Spain! : a letter about the trial of the P.O.U.M."

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LETTER ABOUT THE 
TRIAL OF THE P.O.U.M. 



JUSTICE 

TRIUMPHS 

IN SPAIN! 



Sr. D. Ramon Gonzalez Peiia, 
Minister of Justice, 
Barcelona, Spain. 



December 15, 1938 

it 



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 

81 4921 



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 
workers* democracy. 

* * * 

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- 
erant revolutionists." 

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 

"Undying Solidarity" 
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 
emancipation. 

"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 
efforts. 

!fc 9{S 

Ultimate Victory 

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 ! 

NORMAN THOMAS 
National Chairman of the 
Socialist Party, U. S. A. 
DEVERE ALLEN 

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, 
N. Y. 



INTERNATIONAL LABOR SOLIDARITY 



SPAIN! 

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 
of starvation? 

Spain awaits your answer! 



REFUGEES! 

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 



Name . 
Address 



City and State