Socialism Under Stress: Repression, Radicalisation and the Popular Front

  • Paul Preston


In the widest perspective, the Spanish Left did not view the Asturian rising of 1934 as a defeat. The conviction that Gil Robles had intended to establish fascism in Spain coloured all later leftist judgements of the revolutionary movement. The overall balance, it was felt, had been positive in that Gil Robles had been shown that the peaceful establishment of fascism would not be permitted by the working class. For many on the Left, the words with which Belarmino Tomás had explained the need for surrender to the Asturian miners became symbolic. The surrender was merely ‘a halt on the road’.1 This attitude was adopted by the Trotskyists, the orthodox Communist Party (the PCE) and the FJS. Indeed, the PCE publicly claimed responsibility for Asturias and gained considerable kudos among the proletariat for doing so. The claim was largely false. The Communists had joined the Allanza Obrera in Asturias only at the last minute, deciding to do so on 11 September and actually securing entry into the revolutionary committee on 4 October. Nevertheless, with the PSOE reluctant to accept responsibility, the PCE’s network of clandestine press had some success with its claim.2


Socialist Organisation Political Prisoner Socialist Movement Socialist Leader Popular Front 
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© Paul Preston 1978

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  • Paul Preston

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