Some notes on Franco’s military justice system, the consejos de guerra sumarísimos

Until 1964 Franco’s political prisoners were dealt with by special military courts, ‘consejos de guerra’. The most active of these was the ‘Special Tribunal for the Represion of Freemasonry and Communism’ (Tribunal Especial para la Represión de la Masonería y el Comunismo) established on 1 March 1940. Between that date and 1953, the Tribunal heard 27,085 cases and passed sentence on 8,918 prisoners in 940 secret trials. According to the Army Board (Alto Estado Mayor) sentencing figures for 1954 were 1,266; 1955, 902; 1957, 723; 1958, 717. Its victims included those arrested in the reviving labour movement and the industrial unrest of the 1950s, including the strikes of 1951, ’53, ’57-’58, and of course the wave of student activism of 1956. According to the official figures issued by the Ministry of Justice for 1959 there were 14,957 prisoners in the regime’s jails. Of these 816 were sentenced for crimes against state security and 385 for ‘Banditry and Terrorism”. At the same time, New York Times reporter Bernjamin Welles reported that these figures didn’t include 35 women, 15 freemasons and 470 other individuals convicted of ‘common law’ crimes, but who were, in fact, political prisoners, making a total of 1,721 political prisoners held by the regime.*

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THE SPANISH CIVIL WAR: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Burnett Bolloten. eBook £1.50/€2.00 (see eBookshelf)

BollotenSCWBWsmallThe Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution, Burnett Bolloten.  

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The final, revised, edition of Burnett Bolloten’s exhaustive and indispensable, 50-year-long scholarly study of Republican/revolutionary politics in the Spanish Civil War (“The Grand Camouflage:, 1961; “The Spanish Revolution”, 1979; “The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution”, 1986), covers the entire period of the war from 1936 to 1939. Welsh-born Bolloten, initially a Communist Party fellow-traveller, was a war correspondent for United Press who witnessed at first hand the rise to power of the Stalin- and bourgeois liberal-backed Spanish Communist Party and how it successfully subverted and repressed the popular revolutionary process that resulted from the failed military-clerical-fascist pronunciamento of July 1936.

“Burnett Bolloten’s The Spanish Civil War: Revolution and Counterrevolution is a monument of dedicated scholarship that is not likely to be replaced. The best study of the subject in any language, it merits a place beside Gerald Brenan’s The Spanish Labyrinth and Raymond Carr’s Spain, 1808-1939 as a classic in the historiography of modern Spain.” Paul Avrich, Queens College, City University of New York

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BRITONS IN SPAIN The History of The British Battalion of the XVth International Brigade by William Rust. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

BritonsinSpainCoverBRITONS IN SPAIN The History of The British Battalion of the XVth International Brigade by William Rust*  

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William Charles Rust (24 April 1903 – 3 February 1949), a London journalist and member of the Communist Party of Great Britain, was the first editor of the Daily Worker, a party organiser in Lancashire, and the Daily Worker correspondent with the International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War. On his return to the UK he resumed as DW editor until his death in 1949. To help put the Comintern’s (Communist [3rd] International established by the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1919) role into context we recommend the following title, also available as an eBook: The International Brigades and the Comintern in the Spanish Civil War by Stuart Christie

 

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THE INTERNATIONAL BRIGADES and the COMINTERN in the Spanish Civil War by Stuart Christie. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf tab)

IBBookCoverThe International Brigades and the Comintern in the Spanish Civil War by Stuart Christie.   READ INSIDE!  ¡LEER EL INTERIOR!

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” … With the UK’s Foreign Recruitment Act making enlistment in a foreign army illegal, the British authorities became increasingly rigorous in their attempts to enforce non-intervention and implement the law, so Brigaders were recruited discretely through the Communist Party network by local cadres and ‘Spanish Aid Committee‘ organisers who took it on themselves to vet all volunteers, especially non-party members. Politically, around sixty per cent of the Scottish IB volunteers were paid-up CPGB members with twenty per cent or so drawn from the Labour Party, with, perhaps, a scattering of ILP, Scottish Socialist Party or Scottish Workers‘ Republican Party members. The remaining twenty per cent claimed to have no formal political allegiances. These figures were more or less the same for the whole of the British Battalion the the XVth International Brigade, although it’s impossible to say how many of the 110 Labour Party members were also — as Lewis Clive was — covert CP members. The British Battalion appears to have had at least seven ILP volunteers which to me was unusual given that the ILP line was close to that of the CNT defence committees: that the social revolution was inseparable from the war. It was for this reason that most of the 175 ILPers who fought in Spain did so with the anarcho-syndicalist militias or, like George Orwell, with the anti-Stalinist Marxist POUM. Few British workers had passports in those days so the usual practice was for the volunteers to make their way across the Channel on special weekend returns — which didn’t require passports — and then travel down to Spain with the help of the efficient and well-disciplined French Communist Party— and the French authorities mostly turning a blind eye. The first batch of foreign volunteers to arrive in Spain in the autumn of I936 were obliged to surrender their passports to the ‘Foreigners’ Bureau of the Catalan Communist Party, the PSUC, then controlled by the NKVD, Stalin‘s secret police. Later the International Brigade established its own ‘Control and Security Service’ headed by Alexander Orlov, chief of NKVD operations in Spain. Their passports were never returned and were used in covert NKVD and GRU clandestine operations. There was also an IB ‘Cadre Commission‘ set up in Albacete in February 1937 to monitor and assess the ‘trustworthiness’ of volunteers and to expose ‘fascist’ spies and ‘Trotskyist-anarchist provocateurs. A cadre report on the British Battalion, for example, listed 363 British volunteers, half of them CPers, and described forty-one them as ‘cadres’, 142 as reliable, and I33 — of whom forty were Party members — as ‘weak or bad’…”

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SANTIAGO CARRILLO – or history falsified by Fernando Gómez Peláez. eBook £1.50 (see eBookshelf)

GomezPelaez2Santiago Carrillo – or history falsified by Fernando Gómez Peláez

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With the death last year (18 September 2012) of Santiago Carrillo, the former General Secretary of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE) (1960-1982), we can expect a few biographies of the ‘father of Eurocommunism’ over the coming year or so. As a matter of record and in the interests of, as they say, ‘balance’, we have republished an extensive review — by ‘Frente Libertario’ editor, Fernando Gómez Peláez — of ‘Dialogue on Spain. Santiago Carrillo in interview with Regis Debray and Max Gallo’ (Lawrence & Wishart, London 1976). The review appeared, originally, in the Cienfuegos Press Anarchist Review (No, 4, Sanday, Orkney, 1978). Further information on Santiago Carrillo’s role in the Spanish Civil War— and subsequently — is available here:

–  La venganza mortífera sobre camaradas de partido:
http://blocs.tinet.cat/lt/blog/victor-garcia-g.-estanillo-el-brasileno/p

– Exiliados y maquis asesinados por el PCE:
http://angelmanuel-gonzalezfernandez.blogspot.com.es/2010/11/exiliados-y

– El protagonismo de Santiago Carrillo en la “Operación Reconquista de España”:
http://www.panzertruppen.org/heer/infanteria/armas/matadero.html

– La entrega de Julián Grimau a la policía:
http://www.elotropais.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=184&

– Desbancamiento de Fernando Claudín y Jorge Semprún en la lucha por el poder en el partido:
http://www.intereconomia.com/noticias-gaceta/opinion/cuando-carrillo-pur

Desaparición gubernamental de sumarios judiliales que ponían en evidencia la política de Santiago Carrillo:
http://www.lasprovincias.es/valencia/20090215/valenciana/gobierno-hizo-d

Check also
http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santiago_Carrillo
http://www.izquierdareaccionaria.com/2011/05/por-fin-el-libro-sobre-carrillo/

Constructive reviews of Paul Preston’s new biography of Carrillo — El Zorro Rojo. La vida de Santiago Carrillo

EL PAIS ; LA VANGUARDIA ; EL CONFIDENCIAL