Joan Pau Fábregas (1893-1966) by Agustín Guillamón (Translated by Paul Sharkey)

FabregasCNT member and economist Joan Pau Fábregas Llauró[i] was born in Sant Martí de Provensals[ii] in 1893, the son of inn-keeper Pau Fabregas and Maria Llauro Espinas.

In 1909, aged 16, he was injured during the events of Barcelona’s Tragic Week (in which Francisco Ferrer Guardia was shot as the supposed ringleader of the disturbances).

He later emigrated to Argentina where he worked as a baker, then lived for a short while in the United States where he learned English. Returning to Spain he worked for a time in his father’s inn and as a baker, later a car salesman. His first venture into studying international economics came at the International Trade Centre in Barcelona, which he ran from No 12 Calle Fontanera in Barcelona. Here Fabregas studied the markets, acting as a business consultant and advising on exports and business reports. By the mid-1920s such theoretical and practical financial and economic activities had turned him into an expert consultant and advisor. He ran and published a subscription-based economic and trade review, entitled El Productor.

In 1930 he published A través del Pròxim Orient (Through the Near East), setting out his views of the countries of Europe and Asia which he had visited to compile a study of the markets there for a manufacturers’ group.

In the city elections in Barcelona on 12 April 1931, he stood as a candidate for the Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and around the same time joined the CNT’s Liberal Professions Union. In 1931 he founded the ICEC (Economic Sciences Institute of Catalonia) as an offshoot of the Ateneu Enciclopèdic Popular and was behind its economic bulletin. The ICEC can be regarded as Spain’s very first Faculty of Economic Sciences with this curious feature – that it was a workers’ body geared towards the education and emancipation of the proletariat.

His wife, Agustina Sala Regas died on 20 February 1932 at the early age of 28.

During the early years of the Republic he published a three volume Essay on Political Economy (1932, 1933 and 1934), condensing the courses offered by the ICEC over those years.

In December 1932 he delivered a course in Political Economy at the treintista-run Ateneu Sindicalista Llibertari in Barcelona. He also published The Economic Potential of an Independent Catalonia (1932) probing the financial relations between Catalonia and the rest of the Spanish state, plus Ireland and Catalonia. Politico-economic Parallels (1932) and The World Crisis and its Repercussions in Spain (1933) in which he analysed the crisis of 1929 from an anti-monetarist perspective.

He always signed his books, reports, decrees and even his official appointments as Joan P Fábregas[iii] and this led a number of slipshod historians to swallow the yarn that his real name was Joan Porqueras Fábregas, adding “very imaginatively” that the P in the signature Joan P did not stand for Pau but was a rather shame-faced cover-up of the surname Porqueras (which it was not).

By the outbreak of the civil war in July 1936 he became the representative of the CNT’s Education and Liberal Professions Union on the Committee of the New Unified School (CENU) set up on 27 July 1936, alongside Albert Carsi, Miguel Escorihuela Guitart and (committee chairman) Juan Puig Elias. The CENU commandeered religious schools and boosted the establishment of rationalist, non-confessional public schooling using the Catalan language and based upon the libertarian principles of the Modern chool founded by Ferrer Guardia.

On 11 August he represented the CNT on the Council of Economy[iv], along with Eusebio Carbó and Cosme Rofes, serving as Finance spokesman for the Council of Economy.

In September 1936 he accompanied Mariano Rodriguez Vázquez[v] to Madrid to lobby unsuccessfully for funding for Catalan industry.

On 24 September 1936 he took part in the Plenum of the Unions of Catalonia, focusing on the economic problems of the revolution. Joan Pau Fábregas sang the praises of the work done by Catalonia’s Council of Economy, which he deemed “an authentic product of the revolution we are living through”. He explained how, when Catalonia’s Council of Economy was launched “a squabble had erupted between the two trade union centrals” represented on it – the CNT and the UGT; whereas the CNT members campaigned for “a federalist, libertarian approach to socialization, the Marxists (from the PSUC and the POUM) championed centralism and nationalization.” In the end “the notion of collectivization carried the day as the most appropriate and practical option for the revolution”. The term ‘collectivisation’ had been of Fábregas’s own devising and appeared to satisfy Marxists and anarchists alike. Fábregas then was drawn into various remarks about trade union production and cooperative distribution and argued that they were respecting “individual and private initiative, whilst keeping these subject to the collective interest”.

He then turned to the subject of unemployment, pointing out that 65,000 workers in Catalonia had had no job on 19 July. And argued that they were stockpiling “enormous quantities of manufactured goods that we cannot export due to the war-time circumstances as well as to the tense relations that exist between Madrid and Barcelona.”

He cautioned that if revolutionary economic changes were to increase the existing unemployment figures, the work of the Council of Economy “would come to nothing.”

There was an over-riding need to set up new industries “that will make us independent of outsiders.” The revolutionary efforts within firms “the take-overs, industrial collectivisation, workers’ control, Trade Union involvement in every manifestation of production” were laying the groundwork for the society of the future; But at present the instruments of production were bourgeois in nature and they had no option but to avail of them “because of the war-time situation we find ourselves in.”

Winning the war was the priority. Once fascism had been routed, then “it would be time to go for comprehensive (totalitario[vi]) implementation of our programme and our ideas.”

He alluded to tricky relations with the Madrid government which had refused Catalonia “economic and financial help”, bringing about a “delicate and worrying” situation. All of the loans applied for, for the purpose of buying weapons and raw materials had been turned down, despite the assurances offered.

Joan Pau Fábregas went so far as to propose the establishment of an “autonomous money-lending Centre”. The government of the Republic was asked to relocate all or part of its gold reserves to Catalonia on account of the danger hanging over Madrid where they appeared ignorant of the fact that “whoever has the gold will win the war.”

After delving into other economic and financial matters, he concluded his address by expressing regret that, in view of the circumstances, the Council of Economy might not operate “as it needs to and as we should all like.”

Discussion turned to the item on the agenda relating to the prospects for introducing the standard wage (salario único). After lots of contributions and the most divergent and far-fetched suggestions ranging from the abolition of money to the introduction of the ‘producer’s card’ or quite simply the raising of the lowest wages and curtailment of the highest, it was determined that a working party should be appointed to draft a proposition.

In the end the Plenum of Unions moved on to the discussion of other business, notably the suggestion put forward by Printing Trades regarding the establishment of Industrial Unions.

On 26 September 1936, Joan Pau Fábregas was appointed councilor for Economy in the Generalitat government chaired by Josep Tarradellas and joined its standing commission.

On 1 October 1936, at a gathering of the higher committees, Joan Pau Fábregas spoke about the forthcoming decree on worker control and the socialization of industry. After a short exchange, it was agreed that an appeal should go out for a cessation of all the collectivization or expropriation procedures under way. “It is important that we appreciate the complexity of the present revolutionary situation and the genuine part played by Fábregas, a distinguished member of the higher committees, in favour of collaborationism and himself an anarcho-syndicalist councilor/minister on the Generalitat government, out to legalise the CNT’s revolutionary process begun in July, by means of arrangements and pacts with the rest of the antifascist forces and with the Generalitat government.” Fábregas was at the opposite end of the scale from the revolutionary committees in the barrios which, back in July, had embarked upon systematic expropriation of the bourgeoisie’s assets. Fábregas needs to be given his place as a proponent of a revolution that was becoming institutionalized and legalizing July’s “revolutionary gains.” At a juncture in history where Companys and Terradellas honestly regarded and proclaimed themselves as “revolutionaries”, the authentic revolutionary workers in the barrios were being hounded and slandered as “uncontrollables”.

That same day Diego Abad de Santillán penned a letter to the FAI Peninsular Committee tendering his resignation from the post he had been awarded on the Council of Economy, on the grounds of “disagreement with the procedures employed by comrade Fábregas”.

On 15 October, at the instigation of Joan Pau Fábregas, it was decreed that a Foreign Trade Council was being set up and use of the “Catalonia” trade mark[vii] being made obligatory.

On 24 October 1936, Joan Pau Fábregas signed off the Collectivisation and Worker Control Decree, the most significant legal ordinance issued during the civil war in respect of the economy. There seems to be no doubt but that the Council of Economy’s tremendous efforts and most especially the drafting of the Collectivisaion of Industry and Trade Decree were down to his tenacity. Even though it is beyond dount that Joan Pau Fábregas was the driving force behind and coordinator of that Decree, the wording of it was the work of Eusebio Carbó, insofar as any collective legal text, the product of negotiation and agreement, can be ascribed to any individual.

On 18 November 1936, within the Generaitat Council (cabinet), Joan Pau Fábregas stood up to Comorera’s and Companys’s criticisms of the CNT and the talk about social indiscipline, telling the president of the Generalitat that if the serving ministers were not up to the mark, the best option was to have others replace them and carry out a government reshuffle.

On 26 November 1936, the Unified Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSUC, Stalinists) formally triggered the crisis in the Generalitat government on the basis that its decrees were not being carried out and because it was a government that could not govern. It called for a workers’ or CNT-UGT union government, with a place for the Rabassaires. This was just a pretext on which to dump Andreu Nin and the POUM. Joan Pau Fábregas had by then already made himself an enemy in Santillán (CNT) and Comorera (the PSUC secretary) and Companys (the Generalitat president). Furthermore, there was an anonymous report circulating of alleged “evidence” against Joan Pau Fábregas’s integrity; despite its flimsiness, in that it appeared to relate to certain business dealings with rightwing clients during the days of the monarchy, this was enough to have him ousted from his post as Councillor of Economy, his place being awarded to none other than his enemy Santillán, whom lots of his CNT comrades described as inept.

On 5 and 6 December 1936, thousands of workers gathered outside the Montjuich Palace to listen to the speeches from Councillor of Economy Joan Pau Fábregas, from José Jiménez and from Ruiz Ponseti. The rally closed with a few words from the Generalitat president, Lluís Companys. Both sessions of the First New Economics Event laid out the Catalan economy’s brand new structures to the working people.

Joan Pau Fábregas stated that the Collectivisation Decree “was a means rather than an end, a first step for progress and civilization. That the proletariat needed to be alive to its transcendence, since it placed the source of the country’s wealth in the hands of proletarians, wealth that would thus be shared out equally between all producer citizens.”

He added that it ought to be applied with a spirit of sacrifice, concentrating on the concerted efforts of the various political and trade union forces. This was no time for impatience, but failure had to be patiently averted. The war would not be won if the battle for the economy was lost.

He closed with a quotation from Goethe: “Only the man who has earned and fought for them is deserving of life and liberty.” At the end as well as at intervals during his address, he received lively applause.

Irked and uncomfortable, an intruder and distant, Companys brought the rally to a conclusion with his familiar and customary ‘lemon’ metaphor: “Use me and once I am no longer needed, once all the juice has been squeezed out of me like a lemon, cast me aside”, but went on to float a brand new authoritarian watchword: “But in the meantime obey and abide by the orders of the Government, in which all antifascist forces are represented.” He too was well received. He closed his address with a few phrases in praise of the Catalan nation. And the audience, on its feet, gave him a standing ovation.

The First New Economics Event was not a revolutionary workers’ gathering to decide whether to support the Collectivisation and Worker Control Decree, but rather a mass rally-cum-plebiscite to explain and impose that decree, the chief fruit of the antifascist alliance. It was also the high point of the work achieved by Joan Pau Fábregas and by the Council of Economy.

On 15 December Joan Pau Fábregas informed the press that the crisis in the government was down to the frictions between the PSUC and the POUM and not, as El Noticiero Universal [viii]had reported the previous day, to the malaise found and skirmishing going on within the Generalidad Council. This diplomatic denial by Fabregas, who took great care not to name a single name, was not believable and it also offered no explanation of his own departure from government.

In the eighty days (27 September to 16 December 1936) that he served as Councillor of Economy, he gave lots of talks, many of which were broadcast, in order to popularize his thoughts on the economy. On an almost daily basis he dropped in at the Casa CNT-FAI to brief the committees on his activities.

Given that the central government had no policy in respect of exports and currency controls, Joan Pau Fábregas had been trying for the past several months to use the Foreign Trade Council of the Generalitat to establish a monopolistic centre for Catalonia’s foreign trade, setting up a network of delegates to encourage exports, pave the way for a resumption of production in Catalan factories and, at the same time. Secure the hard currency needed to buy abroad raw materials (that were nowhere to be found in Catalonia), food and arms.

Juan Pau Fábregas’s economic plan was very coherent and these were its three main pillars: 1 – Civilian mobilisation of workers in the rearguard so as to win the war by means of boosted productivity in the factories. 2 – Monopolisation of foreign trade through the establishment of an efficient network of covering the main markets abroad and encouraging import and exports. The securing of foreign markets would lead to a resurgence of production by Catalan factories, some of which had been brought to a standstill because of the loss of the Spanish domestic market. Centralised control of hard currency would allow exports to fund imports, primarily of the raw materials not found in Catalonia but crucial to lots of factories, as well as foodstuffs and armaments. That monopoly on foreign trade (and currency controls) would bring down retail prices, provide surety for loans and prevent speculation. 3 – The Collectivisations and Worker Control Decree would legalise the revolutionary gains of July 1936, with a significant knock-on impact on exports, thwarting seizures due to law suits by individuals, as occurred in the potash sector.

Joan Pau Fábregas had made himself a lot of enemies because in addition to the importance and coherence of his economic plan he was a gifted advocate taking on the various criticisms of the CNT made by the PSUC and ERC at Generalitat Council meetings. His justification of the revolutionary violence deployed against the Marists[ix] was the last straw and earned him a lot of hostility and undying resentment. His enemies on the Generalitat Council preferred to have him replaced by some more compliant, less irksome and less intelligent anarcho-syndicalist: Abad de Santillán. His own CNT comrades launched a campaign of slander against him, playing up his bourgeois links in the days back in 1920s and 1930s when he had acted as a business and financial consultant.

The sheer newsworthiness of the expulsion of Nin when the second Terradellas cabinet was put together on 17 December 1936 disguised the political importance in the departure of those CNT personnel who had had a hand in the Council of Economy – Antonio García Birlán and Joan Pau Fábregas – who were replaced by two members of the ‘Nervio’ anarchist group – Abad de Santillán and Pedro Herrera. In actual fact, this was the tiller being seized by the ‘Nervio’ group within the Organisation’s higher committees. There is also the theory that the dropping of Joan Pau Fábregas was also the result of pressure brought to bear on the higher CNT committees by Companys and Comorera to “facilitate” proceedings within the Generalitat Council.

Be that as it may, the implication of ouster of Joan Pau Fábregas was that the fleshing out of the Collectivisations Decree by means of orders, legal provisions and ancillary taxes and decrees designed to embed and implement it in practical terms would be handled by somebody different. The useless Santillán[x] was not about to fit that bill, which was taken over by Terradellas himself and in January 1937 Terradellas passed a battery of 58 financial and fiscal decrees designed to turn the workers’ collectives into trade union-run ventures overseen and directed by the Generalitat government.

Moreover, on 20 December 1936 the plan for a monopoly on foreign trade was promptly rejected by Comorera who plumped instead for a free market and the eradication of the barrio-level revolutionary committees. There was ample comment passed on the departure of Andreu Nin. But the telling departure of Joan Pau Fabregas passed unnoticed, the only comment being one made by Federico Urales in a minor, small circulation newspaper in the comarcas.

On 5 January 1937 Fábregas concluded his report on a trip he had made to Paris and London “acting on instructions from the Councillor for Economy, comrade Santillán, in accordance with the Regional Committee through its comrade secretary, Mas.” That trip began on 18 December, which is to say, the day after he was dropped from the Generalitat government, and it was concluded on 31 December. The aim of the trip had been to compile a report on “the bodies set up in France” during Fábregas’s tenure as Councillor for Economy. The aim was to assess the effectiveness of the agencies and firms set up “by the Foreign Trade Council attached to the Economy Department.” Upon returning from this trip, he returned to his role as Finance spokesman for the Council of Economy, a position he had held prior to his appointment as Councillor of Economy.

He had visited the tiny offices of the Compagnie Navale du Midi, set up at a total cost of 105,000 francs, which was to have amassed a capital of five million francs, inclusive of legal fees of 275,000 francs. The company’s financial and loan purposes consisted of handling all purchases that the CECI[xi] might require. Its primary aim was to “place the largest possible number of our vessels under the French flag”; whilst this might not save them from destruction at the hands of Francoist warships and those of Franco’s allies, it might at least offer the ship and its cargo some reassurance “because they fly a foreign flag.”

After detailing the many difficulties and problems there were, Joan Pau Fábregas went on to state that “if we are to guarantee regularity to Catalonia’s supply lines and exports, we would need to have at our disposal at least ten steamships and around twenty sailing ships […] if we are to pull this off.”

He also came up with ways of catering for all of the CECI’s purchasing missions; these required a considerable increase in capital expenditure and the cooperation of the Generalitat government.

The plan, as drafted by Joan Pau Fábregas, aimed to secure the operational wherewithal whereby “the CECI would exercise a monopoly over Catalonia’s foreign and domestic trade and have access to a truly impressive fund in foreign currency that would enable us to obtain the war materials, foodstuffs and raw materials needed to ensure that Catalonia’s supply needs are regularly met in times as critical as these.”

His work in Paris complete, Joan Pau Fábregas travelled to London where he looked into what had become of the “good ship ‘Beatse’ carrying its cargo of potash, which had been placed under an embargo by the British courts on foot of a suit brought by the private companies expropriated in July 1936. That embargo order was the outcome of an intense campaign of slander mounted by “the potash capitalist group living abroad.” In essence, the process boiled down simply to determining in a clear and precise fashion “if the Generalitat of Catalonia does or does not have the authority to market abroad the potash taken from the Catalan mines in Sallent, Cardona and Suria.” International law held that a lawful government did have the authority to seize assets that were essential to it meeting the pressing needs of the war effort.

Besides, the directors of the Potash Mines of Catalonia had abandoned control of the mines, leaving thousands of workers without employment and their families penniless, for which reason the Generalitat had been obliged to commandeer the mines.

This reasoning, as argued by the lawyer for the Catalans, were all that the British courts had any interest in. In addition, there was precedent in the cases won by the government of the USSR in the early days of the revolution there.

Fabregas pointed out that the legal issue was extraordinarily significant in that it might open the way to exports of all sorts under the Collectivisation Decree then in force in Catalonia.

The report set out Joan Pau Fábregas’s trips to Paris, Brussels and Antwerp, noting that in Europe there was “a rabid campaign being mounted in international financial quarters against our revolution’s achievements and spirit.” Whereas tis was predictable, some of it was down to “our negligence, which is to say, dereliction” in not having set up and organized, abroad, “a propaganda body” that would neutralize the fascists’ slander campaign.

The report closed by emphasising the need to establish such a propaganda agency and to organize funding efficiently, the aim being to conjure up “a financial fighting fund, without which it is going to be hard to overcome the huge difficulties we are running into.”

In late January 1937, the CNT unions opposed the 58 decrees of the so-called Terradellas Plan and insisted that they be repealed.

On 2 March 1937, at a sitting of the Extra-ordinary Congress of the CNT, regional secretary Valerio Mas explained that one of the reasons why he personally had come in for so much criticism was “related to the replacement of comrade Fábregas by comrade Santillán”, a switch that had been endorsed by all “the comrades specialising in economics”, like Leval, Santillán, García Birlán, Prat, Herrera and Carbó, who agreed that Joan P Fábregas had to be changed, not because of lack of ability, nor because of the “slander campaign against him by the political parties”, but simply because the aforementioned clique of comrades had so decided.

Joan Pau Fábregas who was present at that sitting of the Congress, had occasion to respond to two direct questions put by the Barcelona Weaving and Textile Union and by the Sallent Miners’ Union.

To the 200,00 textile workers, hard hit by the crisis, in that they had been reduced to working a three day week, Fabregas explained that their problems were due in part to the low level of demand in place even prior to 19 July, but then exacerbated by the subsequent loss of the domestic market, and, partly to problems obtaining sufficient hard currency to buy raw materials for their industry. The solution lay in evaluating the current holdings of the banks, a task in which he had been frustrated during his time as Councillor for Economy and one that the international banks inimical to republican interests would obstruct.

The Sallent miners, worried about the export of potash, of which there was a 15 million pesetas stockpile, were told that the problem was the embargos slapped on ships laden with potash cargo in foreign ports. There was a case before the courts that would assuredly be resolved in the favour of the republicans since international law had no option but to recognize the collectivisation decree. But in the meantime, it made no sense to carry on with exports that would be embargoed on arrival in the ports.

On Sunday 14 March 1937, Joan Pau Fábregas gave a talk at the Coliseum cinema; it had huge resonance and it was promptly issued in pamphlet form. In April his argument was expanded upon and published as a 170 page book, Economic Factors of the Revolution. His basis contention was that in order to win the war, the economic battle had to be won first.

In fact, the new 17 December 1936 Generalitat cabinet forced through the free market. This implied that the PSUC was winning over shopkeepers, businessmen, the petite bourgeoisie and whoever else was opposed to collectivisation with its programme for a strong state capable of enforcing its decrees and winning the war.

The free market for which Comorera was lobbying was a frontal assault upon the monopoly on foreign trade. In practice, it made it possible for ten or twelve traders in the cereals market in Paris to compete against one another in wheat purchases, forcing up prices and encouraging speculation, right from the outset. The queues for bread in Barcelona were the consequence of the failure to set up the Foreign Trade Council.

On 25 March 1937 Fábregas gave a talk on the revolution’s finances at the Libertad theatre in Valencia; it was interrupted by air raids. In July his talk was released in book form.

On 5 April 1937 he, along with Valerio Mas, Doménech and Manuel Escorza was part of the CNT delegation grappling with the Generalitat cabinet crisis. There was “a lively exchange” between Joan Pau Fábregas, Escorza and Companys which simply made the relations existing between them all worse. It appears that the incident was triggered by President Companys’s initially vetoing Joan Pau Fábregas and Aurelio Fernández as potential Generalitat councillors.

In June 1937 Fábregas, representing the Education and Liberal Professions Union, took part in the Plenum of CNT unions and signed off one of the resolutions put to the plenum. At meetings of the higher committees towards the end of June 1937 he aligned himself with those who wanted to turn down the three portfolios offered by Companys to the CNT, reckoning that three was too few.

After several months managing the International Export Company (CIE) launched by the CNT and as international economic consultant to the Economy Department run by Diego Abad de Santillán, Fábregas rejoined the CENU, but by early August 1937 he left once and for all to go into exile, living in France, in terror of the escalating anti-CNT repression mounted through the courts by the Generalitat government and of the PSUC’s chekist activities.

In September 1937 he published[xii] an account of his time in government. In the book he had achieved a monopoly on foreign trade. He insisted that, once set up, the Foreign Trade Council ought to have widened its brief until it had achieved a monopoly on foreign trade. Such a monopoly had been the keystone of his political activity but had been ignored in Generalitat cabinet[xiii] debates and it aimed to end the economic chaos of August and September 1936 as it affected foreign trade. The object was to centralise oversight of exports and imports under a single agency, dispensing with unnecessary intermediaries. The loss due to the falling of domestic markets into rebel hands was to be made good through the search for customers abroad. This would have the effect of reducing unemployment and bringing in hard currency. Such a monopoly would also facilitate imports of food arms and raw materials to keep industry running and ensure better pricing, averting the prevalent competition between a range of private wholesalers.

Every time that Fábregas at Generalitat Council meetings pressed for a monopoly on foreign trade, the PSUC’s response was that he was pursuing a separatist agenda.[xiv] Likewise, when he suggested reducing or abolishing the nonsensical levies on foodstuffs or raw materials that were in short supply in Catalonia, the retort was that this was a separatist agenda. As Fábregas himself remarked, the only measures that did not look like separatism to the PSUC were ones that left the Catalan people to go hungry.

The December 1936 Generalitat cabinet crisis was resolved through the removal of Nin and Fábregas, “two councilors who had taken the business of revolution seriously”[xv]. The counter-revolution had won its first battle, cutting short the political criticisms coming from the POUM and a coherent, appropriate implementation of the Collectivisations Decree by the trade unions and an economic policy rooted in monopoly upon foreign trade and added productivity by workers mobilized along civilian lines.

On 10 September 1938, by then in permanent exile, Fábregas failed to attend his mother’s funeral in Barcelona. The burial record registers the names of his brothers Miquel, Esteve, Lluís and sister Ángela, indicating that Joan Pau and his new wife, Narcisa Cardona, were not present.

Come the outbreak of the Second World War, Fábregas decided to move to London where he worked with the BBC and launched an export company.

He died in London, aged 73, in September 1966. In accordance with his last will and testament, his remains were taken to Barcelona. His funeral was held at the church of Santa Madrona. He was then buried in the Southwestern cemetery in the presence of his wife Narcisa Cardona, and of family and friends.

Agustín Guillamón

[i] Beginning with the proper identification of the subject’s name, this biography is indebted to the one that appears in Ignasi Cendra’s excellent book El Consell d’Economia de Catalunya (1935-1939) (Abadia de Montserrat, 2006)

[ii] An independent township that was absorbed by Barcelona in 1897.

[iii] Except for his apppointment to the CENU, recorded in the Official Generalitat of Catalonia Gazette on 2 July 1936, naming him as Joan P Fábregas Llauró.

[iv] We must differentiate between the Council of Economy (a body set up by the Central Antifascist Militias Committee) and the Councillorship/Department of Economy, part of the Generalitat government. Likewise a distinction must be made between the posts of member of the board of the Council of Economy and Councillor/Minister of Economy.

[v] At that point, the regional secretary of the CNT of Catalonia.

[vi] The term totalitario is used here in the sense of all-encompassing rather than implying any sort of dictatorship.

[vii] This derivation trade mark would be stamped on all Catalan exports.

[viii] It carried a photo-montage consisting of five portraits and a caption at the foot of it stated: “President Companys, his prime minister Terradellas and councillors Nin from the POUM, Comorera from the PSUC and Fábregas from the CNT, the differences between whom have triggered the crisis.”

[ix] At a 22 October 1936 gathering of the higher committees, he justified the Control Patrols’ shooting of 42 Marist clergy detained in Sant Elias. Aurelio Fernández seems to have been the man chiefly responsible for this.

[x] Abad de Santillán held many positions of importance within the Generaliad as well as within the CNT and in the views of various Argentinean and Spanish comrades he performed equally ineptly in them all.

[xi] The Centre d’Expansió Comerciale Internationale (International Trade Promotion Centre) was launched in Marseilles as a limited company. It had a capital of 25,000 francs split equally between its two directors, Herrera and Ausejo.

[xii] Joan P Fábregas 80 dies en el Govern de la Generalitat (Bosch, Barcelona 1937)

[xiii] The central government never even broached any such monopoly.

[xiv] The contention was that foreign trade fell under the remit of the Valencia government alone and that the Generalitat should keep clear of it. But equally, so did Defence, Public Order and many other areas in which it was happy to involve itself.

[xv] Thus was the view of Federico Urales as quoted by Fabregas in 80 dies en el Govern de la Generalitat (Bosch, Barcelona 1937), p. 196.