This pamphlet was originally published in English and Yiddish by Freie Arbeiter Stimme, now sadly defunct. Rocker, a German. had learned Yiddish in order to participate in the London Jewish anarchist movement, editing Arbeiter Fraint. It is now republished to mark the 50th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution.

Rocker’s title is most apt, for the outcome of the Spanish Revolution was indeed tragic, a terrible defeat for the workers, not only of Spain but of the entire world. It must be said fearlessly and frankly, so that the whole world of toiling humanity hears, that the blame for this defeat rests upon the shoulders of the Soviet Stalinist bureaucracy. While the USSR, like Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, cynically used the Revolution as an opportunity to test its military equipment and tactics for the coming world war, the Stalinists, in accord with Soviet policy, opposed the Revolution, seeking to limit the struggle against fascism to a defence of bourgeois democracy. Their main enemies they saw not as the fascists but as the anti-Stalinist Left, in particular the CNT/FAI and the POUM.


Those who argued that the war against Franco was inseparable from the social revolution were falsely accused of sabotaging the war effort, of being Franco’s agents. A Stalinist cartoon depicted the POUM as a figure slipping off a mask marked with the hammer and sickle and revealing a hideous face marked with the swastika. From Russia and beyond came GPU murderers to silence the voice of freedom and social revolution in Santa Ursula and other Spanish gulags. Georg Scheyer, Moritz Bressler and Alfred Travaille were but a few of those at whose bloody hands thousands of militants were killed in cold blood. Hardly had the revolution been defeated when the USSR signed a pact with Nazi Germany under the terms of which anti-fascists were handed over to the Gestapo. And in the West, misguided fellow travellers and social democrats of the ilk of the Webbs hailed Stalin’s Russia as a new civilisation.

But the struggle for freedom against capitalism, fascism and Stalinism has continued and if this pamphlet helps speed the final triumph of that struggle then its publication will be more than worthwhile.