After the revolution (première partie)

Diego Abad de Santillan
mercredi 17 décembre 2008
par  René Berthier
popularité : 8%

Published 1937 by Greenberg Publisher
Published 1996 by Jura Media, Sydney, Australia


by Diego Abad de Santillan

Published 1937 by Greenberg Publisher

[|1996 by Jura Media, Sydney, Australia|]

Part 1 : A General Survey

* The Essential Factors of Production

* Work and Bread for Everybody

* The Population of Spain and its Disribution

* A Society of Producers and Consumers

* Social and Economic Iniquity

Part 2 : The New Structure

* Organisation of Work

* Council of Foodstuffs Branch

* Council of Construction Industries

* Council of the Clothing Industries

* Council of Agriculture

* Council of Livestock Production

* Council of Forestry

* Council of Mining and Fishing Industries

* Council of Public Utilities Industries

* Council of Transport Industry

* Council of Communications

* Council of Chemical Industries

* Council of Sanitation

* Council of Metallurgical Industries

* Local Council of Economy

* Regional Councils of Economy

* Federal Council of Economy

* Council of Credit and Exchange

* Council of Publishing and Cultural Activities

Part 3 : The Revolution of Liberty

* Economy and Liberty

* The Libertarian Revolution

* Spain and the Revolution


The Essential Factors of Production

THE principle of all economy consists in obtaining the relative maximum result from the least relative effort.

This economic law should be sufficient in itself to combat and reject the present order of capitalism because, quite contrary to obtaining the maximum result from a minimum effort, the waste is enormous, the utilisation of natural resources and technical facilities and science is negligible. We do not live as we could live — as we should live !

What are the factors of production ?

First : Nature, which furnishes man with raw material and certain natural forces.

Second : Human Labor, manual and intellectual, which elaborates and utilises the raw material.

Third : the Machinery which multiplies the power and the intensity of human labour. (Some economists call this Capital.)

Capitalism does not avail itself even of the possible resources of the first factor (Nature), as is manifest in the great extensions of uncultivated land, idle water power and unutilized raw material. As far as human labour is concerned, intellectual or manual, it is unnecessary to demonstrate that not even 50% of its capacity is utilised by the existing economic regime. There are in the world today tens of millions of workers without jobs. Professional men and scientists are vegetating and wandering about in the midst of privation, without means of realising their studies and their experiments. Only a very minor number of professional men and scientists succeed in selling their services to the potentates of the capitalist regime.

It is also quite evident that the third factor, machinery, is working very much below its capacity. There have been prodigious inventions even greater ones will appear — but they are employed hardly more than a few hours a day or several days during the week. It has been calculated that industry in the U.S.A. working full force would be able to supply the industrial products required by the whole world. The capitalist economists, the men of State, the conferences of experts all the forces of social and political conservatism have been trying to find a way out of this without success. On the contrary, the situation has become more and more aggravated.

The only thing that can be prophesied without fear of error, is that the industrial paralysation will be still greater in the years to come and the situation of the workers from year to year will become more and more intolerable. For this reason the capitalistic system is no longer workable since it is no longer capable of extracting the maximum yield out of the three factors of production. If for purely economic reasons there is no defence of the present order, what possible justification can be made for it on the basis of human and social principles ?

The capitalist enterprise, for example, in the field of agriculture, involves the following factors :

* 1 : Rent of the land.

* 2 : Interest on the capital.

* 3 : Wages.

* 4 : Profits.

* 5 : Government defence of private property.

There is a tax on the loaf of bread which you purchase, part of which the proprietor of the land takes, with another part corresponding to the interest on the capital invested, another part with the wages of the workers, and still another with a profit for the owner and finally, with that of government defence of private property and the rest of the political machinery involved in preserving so-called public order.

We have seen above that only three factors of production are necessary — land, human labour, and machinery. A socialised economy has consideration for, only these three factors and under a socialised economy, ; the same loaf of bread will be taxed only for the part representing the human labour necessary to produce it and the part corresponding to the use of mechanical devices. The rent of the proprietor, the interest of capital, the profit of the owner and the government defence all disappear.

It may be said that money, the great deity of present economy, is a productive factor. No one can prove that profit, as such, is a necessary force of production. No one would say that wheat would not grow in fields well cultivated without land titles and police. Imagine what a new economy would be like, in which all the parasitic factors interposed by the regime of private property were suppressed, in which the producers themselves would be entitled to the benefits (plus those categories of consumers which have a natural right to existence, that is, the child, the aged and the sick).

J. Stuart Mills has written : "I do not consider just a state of society in which there exists a class which does not work, in which exist human beings who, without having acquired any right to leisure by previous work, are excused from taking part in the labour encumbent on the human species." Stuart Mill is right. We believe that such a society has no right to existence and we desire its total transformation. We want a socialised economy in which the land, the factories, the homes, the means of transport cease to be the monopoly of private ownership and become the collective property of the entire community.

This change of regime requires an entirely distinct structure of economic life. Today the direction of industry is in the hands of private enterprise, namely, the capitalists. Technically, they are inferior to the engineers and the workers. The entrepreneurs are in turn dominated by the large financial institutions, and in the last analysis, the bankers are the ones who directly control the economic life of our day. And the bankers are interested exclusively in the quotations on the stock exchange.

The new socialised economy will be in the hands of the workers and the technicians, and will have no other motive, no other finality, than the satisfaction of the needs of the people. The consumer will not simply signify a market, he will not be created to purchase the products but the products will be elaborated to satisfy his wants.

The pecuniary evaluation of things will be removed and with it, the monstrous absorbing and entirely parasitic power of finance, public debts, and other unproductive charges of money. With it will disappear the slavery of wages, interest, rent and profit. We will return at last to an economy of common sense, by which all the wealth will be produced through the medium of the coordination of the three essential factors of economy — land and its natural forces, human labour, and the machine.

On the maximum consolidation of these factors will depend the standard of life in the future, which means that it will be in our hands and in our will to realise the welfare and the happiness of this world.

Work and Bread for Everybody

DURING many centuries of exploitation of man by man, the producer of all wealth has consumed barely the minimum indispensable for existence. With the development of education and popular culture, the slogan, "He who would eat, must work" has emerged as the expression of justice and freedom. All economic and social development which does not take this maxim as a basis and ideal, is only a new deception, a new sabotage of revolutionary action. For us, the realisation of this formula is primordial. All men who believe that man should live by work, really form one party and should present a single front of action.

We will explain our concept of work. Adam Smith considered only so-called manual labour as productive. But the process of labour is the combination of intellectual and physical forces which, in the artisan, may be expressed in a single individual ; but in modern economy is manifest as a coordination of highly specialised functions. "There is no reason for maintaining that productive work has not been performed by the engineer, the office worker, the shop foreman ; but that only the manual workers have made the product and consequently are alone to be considered." [1] [1]

The work of modern society is the conjunction of technical and manual forces, all the more, when the technician can simplify physical forces and transfer to the machine strenuous human labour.

The scientist in his laboratory or in the lecture room, the technician and the worker are all forces of labour, socially useful and necessary. But will someone tell us what is produced by capitalists, private owners, shareholders and intermediaries of the present system ? The work of these elements is, in the words of Proudhon, "A fiction of ancient feudal rights which has passed over to modern political economy and constitutes an almost free gift of the worker to the speculative capitalist — the last vestige of exploitation of man by man...In reality only physical and intellectual labor is productive."

Not as a Proudhonian socialist but simply as a sincere devotee of the truth, German Bernacer, a Spanish author, in his book, "Interest of Capital," maintains that the only origin of income should be productive labor. The interest of capital can be eliminated even in a regime of individual production. This idea compares with the modern conception of the American technocrats.

We want something similar : the suppression of illegitimate incomes which are those not produced by physical or intellectual labor, not socially useful. This means a deep economic transformation. The placing in the centre of all economy, not speculation and profit, but work and goods for the welfare of all.

Nature imposes work on man for his existence. We must produce grain, cultivate plants for textile fibres, extract fuel and metal from the bowels of the earth, manufacture tools, apparatus, for the ever growing needs of an ever increasing population.

Only a few years ago an automobile was a rarity which provoked the astonishment and the envy of the people. Today it is almost a proletarian vehicle, indispensable as a daily necessity and, as such, should be within the reach of all the inhabitants of a country. We do not want to deprive ourselves of any of the conveniences that modern technique has made available. On the contrary, if possible, we want to increase or multiply these conveniences, and we do not doubt this possibility. If under capitalism so many wonders have been achieved, the more reason why they should be realised in a regime of socialization and freedom. "Only in the pure air of liberty can the gigantic flight of technical progress advance." (H. Deitzel.)

To conserve and increase the benefits of civilisation, multiply the productivity of the soil, and reduce the brutality of physical labor, we must work. But no one has said that only a single category should constitute the workers, — those traditionally enslaved, the proletariat. No educator still maintains the old principles of class or caste. In other times, laws had to be decreed to declare the trade of the tailor or the shoemaker as not degrading. Today, we aim at decrees to make idleness and parasitism degrading.

Today, half of the people of Spain dress raggedly and depend for food on a piece of black bread ; for half of Spain, fruit, in this land of fruit, is a luxury ; half of the inhabitants of cities live in slums, and on the land, in caves and hovels. But this is a commonplace and so well known that one is led to believe in divine origin and to say with Mohammedan fatalism, "There have always been poor and rich, and this condition will always have to prevail."

Under capitalism there is nothing unusual in this state of affairs because capital is incapable of utilising all the resources of nature, science and human labor. Half of Spain is dressed in rags and textile workers cannot find anyone to employ their skill and competence, while factories close and machinery rusts.

In a socialised economy, this spectacle would be impossible because production would not follow the needs of a market, independent of the real needs of the people, but would be in line with these needs ; and so long as a single Spaniard did not have sufficient clothing, there would be no reason to close a single textile factory, or to make idle a single worker.

The same can be said of any other industry. The building trades do not work within 40% of their capacity. Unemployment is slowly delivering a large number of these workers to tuberculosis ; while half of the Spanish population live in conditions often inferior to animals.

But capitalism is not capable of remedying these deficiencies. Capitalists are only interested in utilising an infinitesimal part of the social resources of human labor, of technical inventions, of scientific discovery, of natural forces, because capitalism is interested exclusively in profit. It does not respond to the real demands of our standard of culture, and consequently is an obstacle to progress and even to the very maintenance of life.

In order to obtain the maximum of welfare of which our society is capable, it would be necessary only to suppress parasitism, to organise life in such a way that he who does not work finds no means of living by other people’s toil. Naturally, children, the aged and the sick are not considered parasites. The children will be productive when they grow up. The aged have already made their contribution to social wealth and the sick are only temporarily unproductive.

Under a social economy, counting only the forces of labor of mature age, the quantity of human effort would at least be doubled. It is easy to get an idea of what this extra capacity would mean in the lessening of work as well as in the increase of wealth. Besides, a socialised economy is a regime of liberation for technicians and scientists, a free access to work in every branch. From the moral point of view, socialization, by imposing the principle of "He who would eat must work," would give an impulse of unlimited development in the life of the people ; because labor and genius would not be shut out by artificial barriers and would finally be able to convert into fact the old dream of an earthly paradise.

We are guided by the vision of a society of free producers and distributors in which no power exists to remove from them the possession of the productive apparatus. In the Russian example, the State has taken away from workers’ associations and peasants the free decision over everything relating to the instruments of labor, production and distribution. The producers there have changed their masters. They do not even own the means of production nor the goods they produce, and the wage earner, who is subjected to as many inequalities or more than in the capitalistic society, is living under an economic order of dependency, servitude and slavery.

One might object, from a social point of view, that in the economic organization proposed by us, the consumers, as such, play a small part, if any, inasmuch as they are not assigned any distinct organization. Undoubtedly, man is not only a producer but also a consumer, a social being who, outside of the factory or shop, possesses cultural affinities, social aspirations, political and religious motives. These currents of opinion must create their own organs of expression and social influence through the press, by assembly, and other methods to which free initiative can have full recourse and possibility of realisation. This is an aspect into which we are not entering just now — nor shall we dwell on the defence of the Revolution. Concretely, we wish to outline the general trend of the economic mechanism already latent in the actual syndicates, and in the popular, almost instinctive tendencies.

The soviets were a fact before becoming a theory, and as a first step in the Revolution we are concerned with the taking possession of the whole economic structure and its direct administration by the producers themselves, in order to assure the satisfaction of the fundamental necessities of the people.

The rest can be left for later spontaneous solution, being matters more of individual sentiment which common interests and political necessities will determine.

The Population of Spain and its Distribution

IT is important to know the population of Spain, because the problems of reconstruction depend essentially on the number of inhabitants. The Spanish population can be calculated as twenty-four million inhabitants. In 1930 the birth rate was calculated as 28.8 per thousand, the death rate 17.8, the annual increase of the Spanish population, therefore, being 0.61% in the period 1800 to 1810, 0.52%o from 1870 to 1910, and 0.65% from 1910 to 1930.

The natural resources of the land are limited. If anything, there is a great need for their development, which cannot come, as in the past, by the conquest of new territories but by intensifying the cultivation of the old territory. Also industry and science must supply that which natural resources do not furnish.

The index of the development of the country is not measured by its agricultural population but by its industrial population. In fertile countries easy to cultivate, such as Canada, a tenth of the total population would be sufficient to supply their necessities. In Spain a minimum of 20% of the total population would be necessary.

With this number, work in the fields, which is today a curse through ignorance, taxes, and property rights, would be converted to one of the most healthy and productive occupations.

Spain is relatively backward in agricultural industry and transportation. The Revolution must accomplish in a few years a prodigious advance. It must construct all the technical devices which it lacks, modernise the methods of cultivation, build roads, replant the forests and utilise every available drop of water from the rivers, to transform the arid wastes of steppes into productive soil.

The population is sufficiently numerous to achieve these aims in a few years. If all the armed forces and government employees alone were set to work on reforestation, construction of canals and waterworks, the present arid territories of Spain would become a potent source of agricultural wealth. This could be done by the three hundred and fifty thousand men employed merely to defend the wealth of the privileged classes.

But the parasitism in Spain is infinitely greater. A tendency to live without working, very human in a way, is noticeable throughout the history of Spain ; a tendency which has been put in relief excessively by superficial observers and, as a result, has created a special fame for laziness to attach to the Spaniard. But this tendency is characteristic of the privileged classes only.

The workers and peasants are excessively laborious and in comparison with other countries, they are in no way inferior in skill, resistance and constancy on their jobs. Spanish workers are to be found in the most modern factories of the United States, in the Argentine pampas and in all places of the world. If they distinguish themselves at all it is perhaps in their stronger sense of independence and in their greater propensity for rebellion. That is why in some places the door has been shut for them, but never for any inferiority in their working capacity.

In the census taken by Campemanes in 1787 only a fifth of the population was employed in useful economic functions. On the other hand, there were 481,000 noblemen, 189,000 churchmen, and 280,000 servants. Subsequent reports may have modified the nomenclature, but we will always find a part of the population avoiding all obligation to earn their daily bread with the sweat of their own brows and so long as the social and economic system does not undergo a radical change, there is no use of dreaming that this parasitism will disappear.

In 1915, in the 49 capitals of the provinces of Spain and in 40 cities of more than 30,000 inhabitants there was a total of 4,645,633 people, that is 23% of the population. This percentage has undoubtedly increased but the agricultural population is still superior to that in the cities.

To illustrate the significance of the distribution of inhabitants, let us take the figures in France. In 1789 its rural population was 26,363,000 ; and urban 5,709,270. For every five inhabitants in the country there was only one in the city. In 1921 the rural and urban populations were equal. In 1926 the agricultural population represented only 31% of the total. From 1921 to 1926 the French agricultural regions lost almost a million peasants who migrated to city industries.

The lack of equilibrium between the growth of large cities and their corresponding regions, is most pronounced in Catalonia. In 1920 the total population of Catalonia was 2,244,719, and Barcelona alone had 721,869. In 1930 the figures were 2,791,292 and 1,005,565 respectively. In 1934, according to best available data, the population of the region was 2,969,921 and of Barcelona 1,148,129.

In 1919 406,000 Spaniards were dedicated to commerce and trade. In 1920 this figure reached 644,000. In this same year, the percentage allotted to industry and mines was 31%, very much below that of practically all European countries.

The population in Spain is divided in 46,082 units, from cities of a million inhabitants to communities of a dozen or two people. There are 284 cities, 4,669 municipalities, 16,300 towns, 13,211 villages, and 11,618 hamlets.

Another distribution worthy of consideration is as follows : Spain is divided in 527 judicial sectors, in 12,340 city districts and 9,260 municipalities. Even though the future structure will have a more economic basis than a political geographic one, the present situation should be known.

Comparing the census of 1910 with the present one we calculate 10,000,000 people of working age, 18 to 50. Of this figure there are not actually 5,000,000 employed in socially useful work in the fields and industries, including those now unemployed and the families of the peasants.

According to the census of 1920, the 9,260 municipalities referred to above had the following population :

25 municipalities - up to 100 inhabitants ;

1325 " " between 100 and 300 ;

1079 " " 300 and 500 ;

2243 " " 500 and 1,000 ;

1697 " " 1,000 and 2,000 ;

749 " " 2,000 and 3,000 ;

700 " " 3,000 and 5,000 ;

523 " " 5,000 and 10,000 ;

284 " " over 10,000, of which only nine contain over 100,000.

The average of 43 inhabitants per square kilometre is too high for an agricultural country and too low for an industrial one.

In resume, the Spanish population under capitalism is excessive. The alleviation afforded by the valve of emigration cannot be depended upon in the future ; consequently, the population will increase in spite of the ravages of penury and tuberculosis. Under the present regime there are only the perspectives of increasing privations, further oppression and slavery for the workers.

In a socialised economy there will be no unproductive individuals ; everyone will have a job which can be chosen within ample limits. The four or five million men who today break their backs for a crust of bread and maintain in ease and comfort the functionaries of state, the lords of industry and the idle rich, will automatically see their number doubled and by this fact alone relief, will make itself felt immediately. If all eat, it is only just that all work. Besides, this relief will be increased from year to year by public works of irrigation, communication and transportation, by the increase of mineral production and general intensification of industry. With the present methods of production and the present state of economy in Spain, the food capacity, according to Fisher, would suffice for 27,000,000 people. But this limit could be extended considerably by the transformations which the Revolution would bring.

A Society of Producers and Consumers

THE idea of the suppression of economic and political parasitism is or should be sufficiently ripe in the minds of the people, for its immediate realisation. Those who work cannot be very happy to see the best part of their production deviated, and if it were not for the armed forces of the State, surely the slogan of justice, "he who does not work should not eat," would be instantly realised. But the workers of the factories and the land still live subjected to a regime of oppression and servitude. The only difference is that modern wage-earners in the so-called democracies have the freedom to choose their masters, a very relative freedom to say the least.

Out of ten million persons able to work in Spain, only 4 1/2 to 5 million are actually employed in productive labor. The Revolution would suppress this parasitism and by this fact alone, its mission would be justified. With the disappearance of parasitism would be eliminated abundance alongside of privation, ostentation of great luxury alongside of penury. If there were not enough of any particular product to satisfy the needs of all, it would be rationed so that no one remained without his share, on the basis of equitable distribution. Clothing, housing and education would be attended to in the general interest. For the first time in the history of the world there would be no brains or muscles on forced strike.

We do not believe that there would be any real resistance to work, even on the part of the class known as the idle rich. There would be the natural initial difficulties in the adequate proportioning of a large population in respective trades and industries. The chief difficulty, however, would be in the eventuality of an international blockade.

Spain lacks cotton and without this raw material about 200,000 workers would be left jobless. Without petroleum transportation would be seriously affected. Even paper is lacking and the deficiency of same would result in the unemployment of thousands of printers, journalists and writers. The Revolution must therefore concern itself, right from the beginning, in assuring supplies of cotton ; it must solve the problem of a synthetic petroleum by the distillation of mineral coals. There are no insuperable technical difficulties which science could not conquer and if the Revolution would not bring society to lower standards, but on the contrary, elevate the general well-being, it must produce sufficient commodities to take care of the general requirements. Of course, these problems would be less urgent if the world blockade would not take place and Spain could obtain petroleum from Russia and cotton from America in exchange for copper and iron ore.

Of the large amount of ore extracted in the mines only a very small part is refined. The greatest part is exported and returns to Spain in the form of machinery, instruments, etc. The Revolution should make of the metallurgical industries a reality and increase the foundries, plants, and substitute motor traction for horsepower. It should electrify railroads and factories, utilise natural resources of water power for irrigation and electricity, replant the forests and prepare new territory for agriculture. In a word, the Revolution should realise in a few years what capitalism is already impotent to create : a Spain capable of feeding, clothing and housing a population which will not take long in arriving at the figure of 30,000,000 inhabitants. [1] [2]

We don’t need a postulate of God to build up our society of workers. Nor do we need the hypothesis of a State. We don’t wish everyone to dance to the same step ; we even admit the possibility of different organisms, some more and some less revolutionary, some more and some less friendly to the new situation. The important thing is, that all Spaniards have a minimum of necessities which must be satisfied and to which we must contribute through the process of production. The same as we work today and consider our comrades more as good-working companions regardless of their political ideas ; so tomorrow we will rub elbows with people who will not think as we do and who may be even hostile to our ideology. These we must conquer by the example of our labor and by the efficacy of our plans. There are different workers’ organizations in Spain ; all should contribute to the economic reconstruction and to all should be given a place. The Revolution does not reject any contribution in this respect.

Afterwards, outside of the equitable distribution of production — the work of all and for all each one can adopt the form of social life most pleasing to him. Nor will we deny the right of religious faith to those who wish to practice same. We would not deny the expression of other social concepts ; nor their defense and practice ; always with the condition that these are not aggressive and respect the same right for us. Otherwise there would be hostility and civil war.

We can even foresee that the friends of the Russian system might institute their own experiments and the political socialists could have their parliament and continue making speeches. We will not be the least affected and will be content with the prevention of any manifest aggression of one faction against another and maintain the productive and distributive apparatus in the hands of the producers and distributors themselves.

In other words, we wish absolute liberty in the political order of things ; coordination of all the forces in the economic order. What objection can there be to a society organised in this way ? We believe that such a Revolution would harm no one and benefit all. What does it matter if a lot of people who are enjoying too many privileges have to forego them and learn a little of what it means to earn their crust of bread ? For them, the change will be a moral and physical benefit. But the middle class and the proletariat have nothing to lose and a whole world to gain in fraternal productive cooperation, thanks to which everyone will be able to obtain a secure standard of living. There will be no worries for tomorrow and no more of the continual tragedies of unemployment of people who yesterday had relative comfort and today are plunged in utter misery. All this will disappear because work will be available for all without any other aim than the satisfaction of social necessities.

Timid people suppose that the Revolution is inspired by vengeance. This is an error. On the contrary it is to be feared that a triumphant Revolution might sin by excessive generosity. The Spanish workers are not revengeful. Quite the contrary, on the day they take possession of the social wealth, they will have forgotten their long Calvary.

We need not have any illusions about the men and women who are not used to work. It will be necessary to adapt their parasitic generation to the less important tasks. But on the other hand a number of small industrialists and even capitalists who began on the same level with workers will have a valuable and sure place as technicians and experts in their respective branches of industry. They will not be the masters, but they will be indispensable members of the new social structure and they will be able to develop much more freely and much more completely all their initiative of enterprise and plans for general improvements.

We could go through all the categories of society and demonstrate that no one should have any fear of the inevitable social change. There will be no royal gentries, there will be no people bursting with excessive wealth, sick with the gout and boredom through vicious living. There are less than a 100,000 homes in Spain which would feel their situation lowered by the revolutionary process. We refer to the 100,000 persons whose wealth is secure from all risk of depletion. On the other hand for the 23 or 24 million other Spaniards the Revolution will be liberating and will bring an incomparably higher standard of living than they have known under capitalism.

Social and Economic Iniquity

WHAT do we observe in the structure of society under the direction of capitalism ? A formidable apparatus developed to a degree of undreamed of possibilities by technique and science, unable to function due to the inherent contradiction in a system of speculation, whose productive power depends on markets rather than consumption.

Every labourer in the U.S.A. has at his disposal 3,000 slaves of energy in the form of 300 mechanical horsepower. Could a magnate of Greek, Roman or Egyptian times have dreamed of so much power at his disposal ? In other countries the technical development is less but, nevertheless, all modern producers can utilise a great amount of mechanical power, which can still be increased enormously.

We ask ourselves, has human welfare benefited by these possibilities ? Is there a justification for the way we live as compared with how we might live ? The steel production of the United States in 1930 was 509 less than the maximum attained previously. The same occurred in England and Germany, and in France the reduction was 33%. The descent has not been stopped and the world trade shows an equally enormous drop. In some industries as much as 70% and 80%o of the personnel finds itself in unemployment.

Agricultural countries must see their grain rot in the fields or stocked up in warehouses for the lack of buyers ; while industrial centres are choked with merchandise which is unsaleable as unemployment steadily increases. In the industrial countries of Europe and America there are over 50,000,000 workers without a job, and no matter what public projects are initiated on ever rising government loans, the situation of these jobless men cannot improve under the present regime.

Our present society which allows for a maximum capacity of production alongside of an equally extraordinary poverty, can have no defenders. There is security only for the few and if we do not find more militants against an organization which degrades and ruins us, the reason is to be found in the lethargy of the masses.

Let us examine the case of Germany. Out of 65 million inhabitants, 32.5% are considered as productive ; of this number, 29 million earn less than 200 marks a month. F. Fried, in his book "The End of Capitalism," tells us further "that out of 29 and a half million workers 16 million earn less than 100 marks ; 6 million earn between 100 and 125, and 7 and a half million between 125 and 200 marks. This signifies that half of the productive population of Germany do not receive even the minimum salary recognised officially as indispensable. Going on with our figures, we find that three and a half million earn 450 marks a month and 30,000 men between 12 and thirteen thousand marks. Totally, about 100,000 men in Germany are living in complete economic security."

Is there any justification for so many sacrifices of the people to preserve a capitalist regime which liberates only an insignificant number of inhabitants from economic insecurity ? Hitlerism, one of the most horrible manifestations of the return to barbarism, has surged to the surface and exists only in defense of these 100,000 privileged rich. What is true for Germany is, on general lines, equally so for any other country.

We will, however, not lose any more time in criticising the capitalist system which has arrived at the point of its own complete breakdown. The moment has come to offer solutions and we offer ours, without party lines, without preconceived notions. Facing objectively the situation, we will try to find the most direct approach towards human salvation, the assurance of the right to life and work.

Property should pass out of private hands to collective ownership. We should not get confused with State ownership, which is nothing more than State capitalism. A communist economy is neither a heresy nor an impossibility. The Catholic Church itself, at a time when it was still influenced by Christian motives, that is, before its submission to the Caesars of Rome, defended communism with ardour and enthusiasm. Its greatest apostles have continued defending communism throughout the centuries.

St. Crisostomo said, "Crime, war and lawsuits originated at the time when the frozen words, ’Thine’ and ’Mine’ arose. Even though you have inherited your wealth from your father, who in turn inherited it from his grandfathers, no matter how far back you will go through your ancestors, you will trip up infallibly on the criminal, that is, the origin of all property is in robbery."

St. Ambrose sustained that land is the common property of all (like the air) and that private property has its origin in usurpation. We take the following phrase from St. Basilio, "A perfect society is that which excludes all private property. This was the primitive good which was overturned by the sin of our first fathers." St. Ambrose the Great affirmed that land, from which we all are born, belongs to all. Private property is, according to the Fathers of the Church, a sin, and according to St. Jeronimo, a rich man is an iniquity or the heir of an iniquity.

But not only is private property immoral but an insurmountable obstacle in the way of economic readjustment of the world. Around it flourishes the monstrous commercial, bureaucratic political and social parasites. Around it arises unemployment, the slavery of man before man.

Fermin Galan, the hero of Jaca, had for a moment the balance of the history of Spain in his hand. If he had been as good a strategist as a revolutionist, he would have triumphed and have realised his project of a new creation. Inspired by the forces of our organised movement of the workers and by libertarian ideas, the passionately creative spirit of Galan made the mistake of recognising property as a usufruct. He considered the biological and historical instinct of individual egoism too strongly opposed to the suppression of property, and believed that over an initial period, private property, untransferable and unaccumulative, should prevail — until a better solution be found. He sustained that an equal part of social wealth to all satisfies the social and not the individual instinct, and rejected, in consequence, the two formulas of socialism ; "To every one according to his capacity" and "From every one according to his ability and to every one according to his needs." Galan proposes, "To all and to everyone according to his ability and his physical effort."

We cannot ignore the part of truth which is to be found in the position of Galan, and it is very likely that the revolution will have to give in, in part, to individual instinct of peasant ownership. This will involve the coexistence of totally socialised property and private property, in simple usufruct.

On the other hand, we must not forget the precedents of communal property, deeply instituted in Spain, of which Joaquin Costa, in his "Agrarian Collectivism" and Rafael Altamira, in his history of "Communal Property" gives so many examples. The latter, referring to communalising of property, tells us, "Our peninsula abounds in small valleys, mountains, and places where large agricultural developments are impossible ; also places where the climatic and geological conditions do not favour either extensive or intensive cultivation." I believe that these localities of communal property bear the aspects of the tradition of communism which frightens no one. They show the need of proceeding in unison towards the new economic and social order, and at the same time, demonstrate practically that this is not a panacea but a reality already established and with a psychological background in a good part of Spain.

Besides, the Spanish peasants live so miserably, even with their property, that nothing would be lost by giving it over to society in exchange for a better exploitation of the land and a more adequate distribution of labor and goods. Out of 13,530 taxpayers in the Province of Avila, 11,452 are subsisting with an income less than 1 peseta per day ; 1,758 with an income less than five pesetas per day ; and 155 with incomes between five and eight pesetas. These figures hold as an average for the whole country, and it can be said safely that 90% of landowners in Spain earn less than industrial workers without property. Out of a total of 1,026,412 landowners, 847,548 earn less than 1 peseta per day, which gives us "A class of proletarian landowners who differ in no way from peasant proletarians or workers of the land in their absolute dependency on the markets of wages." [3]

These peasants, in some parts, might demand the retention of their land ownership in the conditions proposed by Fermin Galan and thus obtain a concession from the liberating revolution, but would not take long in learning their lesson by experience and see their error, and the injustice for themselves by their egoism.

The torment of Tantalus is no phantasy. We have it as a symbol of capitalist society ; man is thirsty and cannot drink because the rule of privilege prevents him, he is hungry and must succumb before elevators full of grain and bursting warehouses. Can anyone imagine a greater contradiction than that abundance should be the principal source of misery ? Such is the reality of the world. Tantalus is the unprivileged citizen of any modern country.

In the new society if we have raw material, land, tools and brawn in great quantity, or at least in necessary proportion to assure a superior standard of life for all, we must break the artificial barriers which prevent the use of all these resources. Later, if we obtain abundance in some goods, nobody will go without them ; if there is scarcity in others at first, an equitable division will be made of what there is, among the population. It is no problem of differential calculus but a simple operation of common sense.

It is not only just, but it is also more practical and beneficial that abundance should signify enjoyment by all and not penury for the great majority. To arrive at this simple result, it is necessary to socialise property, put the land in the hands of those who work it, the machines under the control of the workers, the laboratories under the direction of scientists, etc. Some late prophets of individualist economy, Manchesterian night owls, such as F. S. Nitti, are irritated by the very idea of a communist economy. However, an equilibrium can be found only in a communist form of economy or, at least, with a definite tendency to communism through the means of regulating and coordinating plans of all productive and distributive forces of a country or of a group of countries.

The modern projects of planned economy, whatever they may be, always presuppose improvements on individualist economy. But we would shorten the road if the new planned economy would emanate from the productive masses directly and not from the bureaucracy of a State converted into supreme judge.

We have already had experience of totalitarian communism. We know the structure of communism under the empire of the Incas and of Egyptian communism. In Egypt there existed common forced labor. Revillout, the explorer of Egyptian lore, described conditions there as a species of "State Socialism." It is the kind of Pharaohism which might have come to be Russian communism ; but this modality does not correspond to contemporary conscience, regardless of what the diplomacy of state, supposedly proletarian, might do.

The capitalist machine of production has developed so fantastically that not even the capitalists themselves understand it, and those who say they do are impotent to dominate and direct it. That is the origin of all the contradictions and difficulties. The capitalists themselves in their hunger for speculation and profit, have unchained the spirits of rebellion and now do not know how to silence them. They have forgotten the magic word and they themselves have become the playthings of their own creation. Something similar has occurred with the modern State ; it has grown so much, it has become so complicated, and its machinery so strong, that the statesman who in old times was master of things, today is the slave of the machine. That is why we do not want to occupy, in our fighting positions, the places of the present supposed leaders. We could not do more than they, nor differently from them, being perforce docile instruments of the entire mechanism, the persistence of which is incompatible with the right to live.

From our deductions of the study of modern economy, the evolution of feasible developments for all is to be found in the sphere of coordination and unity. Work is an obligation, more or less conscious, something which would be avoided if it were possible. However, if we have to work to live, it is preferable to do so with the least effort possible, not with the greatest effort. The individual like of the producer has less weight in modern economy than of the artisan ; we might say that it does not carry any weight, since the producer performs generally a single motion in an endless conglomeration of functions towards a final result. He may not even know what his particular function leads to in the end. This is not good but that is what happens in modern industry.

To revindicate a modality of work which would return us a little to the artisan, would be like preaching in the air and make us appear eccentric. Economic life tends to scientific coordination not only because it is the most economic method of production but because the population has increased out of proportion as against the times of the artisan.

William Morris has executed precious works of ebony, but his system could not supply humanity with the furniture needed and his products would not enter under social necessity. Anyone desiring such work would have to confine it outside of the hours necessary to satisfy the general needs. The interest of the moment would be t o assure all human beings with a minimum for existence indispensable in feeding, clothing, housing, and so forth. Once this minimum is assured, new horizons will open, when other principles less unified will be applied, at least outside of the general economic mechanism. Also after the working hours socially established for every industry there would remain a sufficient margin for individual labor for the gratification and satisfaction of personal likes.

Just as it is impossible to return to transportation by ox carts, so in all things, in all spheres of economy, it is necessary to adopt the most progressive ideas and then adopt all possible innovations towards a greater perfection of production (the greatest utility with the least effort). We say this even though we would prefer personally a little more work at the expense of less production but more in harmony with the multiformity of methods. However, the multiplicity of methods will be reduced daily in the interest of greater results and the least effort. Secondly, because the populations, already so numerous in all countries and their necessities at times superfluous, but nevertheless there, have increased by hundredfold in relation to populations of fifty, one hundred or two hundred years ago. Today, we demand a thousand things which our ancestors centuries ago did not dream of as even possible. We are much more numerous and it is necessary that the production of one man of today be superior 10, 20 and 50 times to that of l the ancient Greek or Roman citizen. For this reason, at least during the first part of the revolution, we see no other way, than the precept of modern economy ; unified coordination in everything possible.


Organisation of Work

PERHAPS, inspired by irony, the parliament of the second Spanish Republic proclaimed in the preamble of the Constitution "The Spanish Republic of Workers." Many have held this an absurdity and added that a more just title would be "Spain, a republic of police, or workers — in jail." A Republic of Workers is not created in parliament not even by decree of State. It has to be made by the Workers, in their working places and not outside of them.

We will sketch here the economic organism of the Revolution and give the general lines of the new economic structure. We don’t pretend to erect new tablets of law but it goes without saying, a Republic of Workers should have as its fundamental basis work, eliminating private owners and middlemen. A Republic of Workers must take possession of all social wealth and undertake all administration by the producers themselves. In the past number of years a good deal of constructive socialist literature has been contributed by the anarchists. More important still has been the popular faith in the possibility of a change in the economic and political conditions in order to assure all human beings a minimum of existence through the work of every individual.

We realise that the road to reconstruction of the world is not free from obstacles, errors and cross-roads. No human being is infallible, much less an institution, no matter how revolutionary or proletarian he may be. What is important as a first step is to create the organism which will have to solve the daily and immediate problems of the Revolution. This organism we believe can be no other than organised labor, without intervention of State and without intermediaries and parasites.

We cannot return to an economic primitivism ; we must aspire to a regime of production and distribution by the producers and the consumers themselves, realising the maximum coordination of all the productive factors. Contrary to the essence of capitalistic economy which has been unable to avoid the terrible waste and suicidal localist economy, we would proceed more on a national coordinated scale of maximum and widest possibilities. We agree with Cornelissen that the nucleus of production is each establishment and not the trade.

In a single modern establishment the workers of various trades and crafts can work together and prepare the local, national or international organization of all the establishments in the respective branches of industry.

Naturally it is necessary to preserve the liberty of the individual within the group, that of the group within the syndicate, of the syndicate in the branch council, of the latter in the local council, etc. At the same time, multiple exceptions would have to be allowed for. Consequently there must be created a general inclusive organism of economy which we will try to outline.

It is not our dream of the future which we will try to define, but what is actually feasible with the given human material in the present world conditions. We can go beyond the regime of private capitalism without going over to state capitalism. We will give to those who work, the means of becoming the real owners of production and distribution. If our project does not fulfil the aspiration of the more exigent, and we are among them, it is nevertheless something alive which doesn’t shut the door on hope and the possibility of future perfection.

Work will be a right, and at the same time, an obligation.

Economic life cannot be interrupted ; on the contrary, the Revolution must stimulate it powerfully and we must know now on what basis to educate ourselves in order to continue producing, distributing and consuming during and after the Revolution not only by the partisans of the Revolution but also by those contrary to it. It is feared that in a free society those indisposed to productive labor will easily elude their obligations. However in a system of organised labor it is very difficult to live on the margin of production. Excesses of coercion and rigour are more to be feared than the loosening of 0 the ties of productive cohesion. That is why we say that the next Revolution in which the anarchists will give all their enthusiasm, all their fighting spirit, all their sacrifice will be a Revolution behind which resistance to force has no place. We foresee a long and fecund libertarian labor after the crushing of capitalism, because centuries of education under privilege and for privilege cannot be wiped out by a single stroke.

In place of the capitalist, private owner and entrepreneur, after the Revolution we will have factory, shop or industrial Councils, constituted of workers, executives, and technicians in representation of the personnel of the enterprise, who will have the right to moderate and revoke their delegates. No one knows better than the workers themselves the capacity of each one in a determined establishment. There, where everybody knows everybody, the practice of democracy is possible. The factory Council in representation of the personnel in the same place of work will coordinate and cohere the work in their establishment and combine same with similar activities of other establishments or productive groups. In the disposition and regulation of their work, no outside factor intervenes. There is complete autonomy without any intent of caprice in production, because the same has to respond to the necessities and possibilities in line with the exact knowledge of the conditions of each establishment and the needs and demands of the population.

The factory Councils will be combined by functional relation and form the syndicates of producers of similar goods, syndicates of trade or of industry These new institutions have no proper authority in the internal structure of local establishments. They will provide for the modernising of implements ; attend to the fusion and coordination of factories, suppression of unproductive establishments, etc. The Syndicates are the representative organisms of local production and not only do they care for its preservation, but condition the future ; creating schools of apprenticeship, research institutes, and experimental laboratories in accordance with their means and initiative. The Syndicates are co-leagued in accordance with the basic functions of economy, which we divide into eighteen sectors or general branches of activity necessary for the progressive march of a modern society. They are the following :

1. Council of Foodstuffs Branch

2. Council of Construction Industries

3. Council of the Clothing Industries

4. Council of Agriculture

5. Council of Livestock Production

6. Council of Forestry

7. Council of Mining and Fishing Industries

8. Council of Public Utilities Industries

9. Council of Transport Industry

10. Council of Communications

11. Council of Chemical Industries

12. Council of Sanitation

13. Council of Metallurgical Industries

14. Local Council of Economy

15. Regional Councils of Economy

16. Federal Council of Economy

17. Council of Credit and Exchange

18. Council of Publishing and Cultural Activities

Council of Foodstuffs Branch

THE foodstuff industries are made up of the Syndicates which produce and distribute comestibles from the factory to the home. Anywhere from ten to thirty thousand workers are engaged in this industry in each of the more important cities.

According to the statistical Year Book for 1930 there were, in 1929, 1,524 canneries, 726 sugar factories, 1,511 chocolate factories, 25,152 flour and rice establishments, 7,487 oil refineries, 7,008 beverage plants and 36 coffee and chicory plants. These official figures for the whole of Spain do not give the complete survey of all the foodstuff industries, but a fair representation on the basis of taxes paid to the government.

Let us take as an example the flour mills. There are some that still function with the old primitive grindstone ; the greater number, however, have modern installations of motor power furnished by water, steam, gas, and electrical horsepower. In each of these establishments the workers would appoint an administrative and technical council ; these councils would form a syndicate and the syndicates would be coordinated in the council of the foodstuffs branch. In the same way all the establishments would proceed from the simple to the complex, from the factory council to the syndicate ; from the syndicate to the branch council ; from the branch council to the local federation, and from the latter to the regional, and ultimately to the national council.

The cooks and waiters would form an important part of the foodstuffs branch since there would be great saving of time and energy in the collective kitchens, doing away as much as possible with the home kitchens. Overnight, by reason of a better distribution even without an average increase in production, there would be no one starving and no one suffering from overeating. This would be the first step of the Revolution in the foodstuffs industry.

Until the necessary means of increasing supplies has been developed, the average ration will be the same for all. This would be controlled by an adequate statistical service under the council of credit and exchange. The foodstuffs council would see to it that in every locality each inhabitant gets a fair ration, either in the collective kitchen, which would do away with the drudgery of housework, or in the houses where individuals would still persist in maintaining the family kitchen. As an example, in Barcelona there is a daily consumption of four to five thousand chickens but whereas today, only those who have a good income can eat them, tomorrow, after taking care of the needs of the sick and convalescent, the rest would be distributed in turn, so that at least once a week or once a month every inhabitant would have his or her fowl.

The same thing can be said for all products not plentiful enough to meet the total demand. It is not necessary to go into further details ; suffice it to say that the organs of the Revolution can regulate the function of the whole structure of the foodstuffs industry, without in any way depending on middlemen or merchants. All syndicates of producers will have to extend their activities to reach the consumer, in conjunction with other syndicates similar in function. The present class of merchants would be absorbed in the syndical organism along with all other separate functions.

Of course, a great number of combinations is possible. The Council of the fishing industry could control the fisheries alone. But they might extend their activities to cover also the canneries, as well as distribution of their products down to the smallest hamlet. In the solution of these problems, necessity and convenience would have the last word. The essential point is that no function remain outside of the general organism of production, distribution and consumption.

A number of edibles and Spanish beverages have a favourable market in other countries, i.e., wines, olive oil, oranges, tinned goods. Such would be a sure basis of income for commercial exchange of products which we have not got in our own land, such as machinery, chemical products, cotton, and even wheat in sufficient quantity. However, we cannot take the index of export as an index of superabundance. Our supply of oranges, oil, fish and wines would hardly be enough for internal consumption ; as at present the average consumption is very low and the Revolution should aim to raise same considerably. We do not wish to export the food of the people, as was done with Russian and Romanian wheat.

The consumption of meat in Spain represents an average of thirty kilos per head ; in France sixty-two kilos per head ; in England, 72 ; in Buenos Aires, 101. These figures are sufficient to show that of modern nations, the Spanish population consumes per inhabitant less than any other country in Europe. The Revolution, by better livestock administration and a more equitable distribution, would at least afford a minimum consumption to the worker and do away with the special privilege now exercised by the moneyed class.

Finally, the regional and national federation would coordinate the entire process of the foodstuff industries and create special institutes for ever more perfect means of production and distribution throughout the country.

Council of Construction Industries

IN foreign literature on Spain, abound descriptions of the tragedy of the Spanish home. A great number of the population still live like troglodytes or in places not fit to be mentioned as homes. [Tens of thousands of Spaniards live in caves and one whole city, Guadix, consists 60% of caves. In the southeast, Aragon and Castilla and other provinces, our impressions of these horrible human ant-hills are unforgettable. Gonzalo de Reparaz, "Misery and Backwardness of Spain", page 49.] If raw material were lacking this situation might be in a way explained. But there is no scarcity of building material nor of architects and builders. Relative scarcity of wood is easily made up for to advantage by the modern use of metal ; also the supply of stone and bricks is more than abundant. It is, moreover, a striking fact that precisely in the Syndicates of the construction industries, exist the greatest number of unemployed.

In 1910 there was a total of 3,644,483 dwelling houses ; other buildings were in the number of 800,179 ; unoccupied buildings numbered 442,931. Of this total 1,738,557 were mere huts of one-story ; 2,355,227 of two-stories and 793,809 of over two-stories. Since 1910 there has been more building but on the other hand a good many houses have been torn down as well as crumbled by time. The result is that a considerable number of inhabitants live in conditions completely deficient in hygiene and exposed to illness through humidity, faulty ventilation and filth.

In the big cities the sight of the so-called populous districts causes horror. The Ghettos of Madrid and the "barrio chino" of Barcelona are outstanding examples. In Madrid, official inspection has listed 28,000 homes as inadequate, of which 10,000 were declared uninhabitable. But the working population day after day must still live in them. This is not all ; in December 1933 the total of dwelling places available was 205,835. The census of heads of families reached 215,842.

Not alone are the living conditions bad and scarce but also dear. In Madrid, rents of 50 to 7S pesetas per month number only 60,000. Consequently, the proletarians have to spend an excessive part of their earnings for rent.

In the beginning of 1935 the Cement Manufacturers’ Association complained of the low consumption of its products. Up to 100,000 workers of this trade were jobless and the factories, erected for large scale production of a material which is more than abundant, were unable to function profitably.

The capacity production of the cement works is calculated at 2,600,000 tons per year, i.e., 509 more than has been consumed in the last five years. We can see, therefore, that there are enough cement factories capable of satisfying the needs in Spain, to the extent that not a single worker in the building trades should remain without a job. There is plenty of iron, plenty of space in the cities, and adequate technical requirements. Nothing is lacking towards the initiation of a radical transformation of dwelling places in Spain, in accordance with all the needs of hygiene and comfort.

Naturally, the Revolution cannot supply what is not there. In the beginning it would be a great improvement to distribute equitably the houses monopolised by small families in the rich quarters of the cities, among the homeless families of the workers.

But it must not stop there : the Revolution from the very beginning must direct its attention to the construction of modern dwellings in the cities and countries, in sufficient number to house comfortably all the inhabitants. If there is anything to fear in the post-revolutionary period, it is the possible lack of sufficient personnel necessary for the immediate industrial and technical renovation. This, in conspicuous contrast with the present situation where 40 to 60 per cent of the building trades are jobless.

In the organization of the construction industry, the same principle of factory and shop Councils, syndicates and federations, as in the foodstuffs industries, would be instituted. The workers, administrators, and technicians of each shop or factory would be guided and coordinated by the function of the syndicates, in which each establishment would be represented by its elected delegates. Sections of architects, builders, carpenters, electricians, plasterers, etc., could be formed and coordinated under the local federation. [4] Here again, the electricians, for example, might belong to the local Council of the electrical industries. These are questions of convenience and would not create any friction. The same would hold for transportation. All of which goes to show the impossibility of a rigid classification, and the necessity of leaving detailed organization to practical and spontaneous solutions.

The important thing is to maintain the individuality of each worker in the factory, of each factory committee in its syndicate, of each syndicate in the local branch Council. The painters and architects in turn could hold their assemblies and permanent committees as well as establish professional schools. All the activities, however, should be resolved by the productive and distributive organs emanating from the administrative Council of each locality ; to be finally connected through the syndicate, branch and local council, to the federal council of economy.

An important function would be rendered by neighbourhood committees, which in representing the residents, would propose improvements, reforms and other necessities. This would give the population in general due expression of their needs and would afford them the opportunity of solving their own problems.

When necessary, the regional councils would create special schools for architects, engineers, technicians and specialised workers. These research centres would constitute in turn their administrative committees with delegations throughout the branch. All the elements contributing to the construction of dwellings would thus be coordinated locally, regionally and nationally, on an equal basis, with equal rights for all and by all. [5]

[1Kleinwaechter : Political Economy, Pages 100-101.

[2Lucas MaDada has said "The Spanish workers in relation to workers of the rest of Europe of the same social condition are poorest dressed, fed and housed."

[3S. Madariaga ; "Spain," 1930, Page 14.

[4In Sweden, in defence against unemployment and against the possible boycott of reformists, there have been formed construction guilds by the Syndicalists of the S.A.C. These have demonstrated, even within the present system of private property and money value of labor, the vitality of syndicalist action.

[5A hectare contains 100 acres.