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Opening Speech of the Communist Party of the Workers of Spain

May 14, 2024

Historical conclusions on the tactics of anti-fascist fronts. The contemporary struggle of communists against fascism.

Contribution of the Communist Party of the Workers of Spain (PCTE)

(Madrid, May 11, 2024)


Dear comrades,

On behalf of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Workers of Spain and its entire membership, we welcome the delegations of the Communist and Workers’ parties of the European Communist Action to Madrid and we warmly greet the delegations that participate in this meeting from their countries.

For the PCTE it is an honour to host this important meeting organized to discuss an issue that, unfortunately, has become topical again: the struggle against fascism and the strategy of the Communist Parties.

Almost 88 years ago, the city in which we are holding this meeting became the world capital of the anti-fascist struggle. Thousands of communist militants stood at the forefront of the anti-fascist working class and, with them, thousands of men and women from different countriesresponded to the call of the Communist International and joined the International Brigade, leaving behind everything they had.

The Communist Party of the Workers of Spain wants to take advantage of this meeting to pay a solemn tribute to the "volunteers for freedom", protagonists of one of the most heroic examples of proletarian internationalism that History has known.


The current debate on fascism.

The current conditions of the class struggle demand that Communist and Workers' Parties be able to draw conclusions from the anti-fascist struggle. The tribute and recognition of the heroic communist struggle against fascism are not incompatible with the critical analysis of our historical experience.

For the PCTE there is no greater tribute to the anti-fascist fighters of yesterday than drawing the necessary conclusions to fight today more effectivelyagainst the advance of the reaction.

Our analysis is based on the proven Leninist thesis that imperialism, the highest stage of capitalism, tends towards reaction in all fields. As our parties have denounced, the danger of a generalization of the imperialist war is growing, spurred by the cyclical crises of capitalism and by the beginning of a new phase in the inter-imperialist dispute.

The bourgeoisie of each country re-arms itself and establishes its international alliances with the aim of improving the position of its monopolies in the struggle for political and economic exploitation of the world, for control of export markets, for sources of raw materials, spheres of influence and capital investment, and for control of commodity transport routes.

This dispute also manifests itself on political and ideological levels. The bourgeoisie of each country seeks to rally the working class to the imperialist side to which it belongs. Everywhere, nationalism and chauvinism, racism, and xenophobia are growing. And in all imperialist countries and interstate unions, new mechanisms of control and repression are being tested, employing the most sophisticated technologies and the latest advances in artificial intelligence.

The reaction is not only manifested in the attempt to subordinate the working class to its respective bourgeoisie within the framework of the imperialist war. Within each country, the bourgeoisie also tries to discipline the working class.

In this general framework, all types of reactionary and openly fascist organizations emerge, also fueled by the impoverishment and radicalization of sectors of the petty bourgeoisie, which express and connect with the interests of sectors of the bourgeoisie that support them through their media tools, amplifying the reproduction of reactionary and bourgeois ideology within the working class. Meanwhile, hand in hand with official anti-communism, they are preparing shock forces to attack the workers’ movement in the face of a foreseeable intensification of the class struggle.

After almost 80 years of the Great Antifascist Victory of the Peoples, the facts confirm that the Communist and Workers’Parties are obliged to prepare for new and harsher scenarios in the class struggle. Nazi-fascism was defeated 79 years ago, but not the capitalist system that gave rise to it and from which it is completely inseparable.


The characterization of fascism and the tactics of popular fronts.

The conditions that the International Communist Movement had to face after World War II prevented a rigorous debate on the experience of the anti-fascist struggle.

The dissolution of the Communist International, the policies of imperialist encirclement of the Soviet Union and the countries that were building socialism, and the development and deepening of the crisis of the International Communist Movement prevented, in our opinion, reaching some conclusions that cannot be postponed today.

Within the International Communist Movement, the characterization of fascism approved by the 7thCongress of the International and the tactics of the anti-fascist fronts or popular fronts fossilized. Communist parties that mutated into social-democrats after the triumph of the counterrevolution, today dust off the old manuals and subordinate the working class to the bourgeoisie.

Faced with the advance of the reaction and the resurgence of fascism, they call on the working class to anti-fascist unity and to form broad fronts with sectors of the so-called democratic bourgeoisie with whom, in many cases, and as is the case in Spain, they collaborate in an imperialist government that defends the European Union and NATO, who does not hesitate to intensify the exploitation suffered by the workers and repress their struggle with the forcefulness that the employers require at all times.

In Spain this position is defended, to one degree or another, by Podemos, Sumar, United Left, the PCE and the PSOE. They appeal to the anti-fascist memory of the working class and the people to strengthen their subordination to bourgeois politics, while all of them have managed or manage the interests of the bourgeoisie from the Spanish government.

Successfully facing these plans, in defence of the organizational, political and ideological independence of the working class, requires that the Communist and Workers’Parties deepen today into a series of debates that our Party summarizes as follows:

- The characterization of fascism approved by the 7th Congress of the Communist International. Our party considers it wrong to separate the bourgeoisie into two sections, one reactionary and the other democratic, hiding the role that the bourgeoisie plays as the dominant class within the capitalist social formation. In this regard, it is worth keeping in mind that over the years the Communist International used different characterizations of fascism.

- As a consequence of the abovementioned, our party considers that the tactics of the popular or anti-fascist fronts meant, in many cases, a renunciation of the question of power, which subsequently influenced the orientation of the communist parties and led to a strengthening of opportunism and social democracy.

The PCTE has made an effort to analyze the history of the communist struggle in Spain that the fraternal parties know and whose conclusions we have conveyed in various meetings of the International Communist Movement and which, to a large extent, are incorporated into our Manifesto-Program.


The Popular Front in Spain and the conclusions of the PCTE.

The proclamation of the Second Republic, on April 14, 1931, marked a change in the form of capitalist domination. The most dynamic sectors of the bourgeoisie undertook a modernizing drive aimed at reorganizing bourgeois power, trying to align Spanish capitalism with the most advanced countries.

The sectors of the ruling class whose interests collided with the reforms undertaken, once the period known as the “Two Black Years” (November 1933 to February 1936) ended, responded to the electoral victory of the Popular Front, in February 1936, by embracing the fascist solution. They had the explicit support of the Nazi-fascist powers and the complicity of the democratic capitalist powers, fearful of the strength demonstrated by the working class, which had already attempted to seize power in October 1934.

The national revolutionary war of the working class and the Spanish people against fascism and foreign intervention was the first battle of World War II. It was an imperialist war whose outbreak had been foreseen by the Communist International after the great crisis of overproduction and capital accumulation that, beginning after the stock market crash of 1929, developed during the first half of the 1930s. As had happened in World War I, the different governments continued their monopolistic policies through a new plundering war that would result in a new division of the world.

Just as would happen years later with other Communist and Workers' parties, the PCE and the Communist International were unable to formulate a strategy that correctly linked the armed struggle against fascism with the question of power.

The main issue to be resolved after the coup d'état of July 18, 1936, was not the preferable type of capitalist domination for the working class – democratic or fascist – but the class character of power. In Republican Spain, a revolutionary situation was experienced, but the bourgeoisie, through the Republican parties, the PNV, ERC and the PSOE, managed to maintain power under war conditions.

The so-called “democratic bourgeoisie”, like the democratic capitalist powers, were clear from the outset of the war about their class character. This was demonstrated by the various governments of Great Britain, France and the rest of the countries that sealed the criminal “non-intervention pact”. Also, the Basque and Catalan governments, which negotiated with other capitalist powers to reach a “separate peace”, and even the President of the Republic.

Isolated by the bourgeoisie,which had the close collaboration of social democrats, Trotskyists, and anarchists within the workers' movement, the PCE's determination to resist to the last consequences and the risk of a revolutionary outcome in the final stages of the war ultimately led to the coup d'état of Casado, which ended almost three years of heroic struggle.

The Party had not prepared itself to continue the struggle under clandestine conditions. Despite the efforts made by the Communist International, no conclusions were drawn from the Spanish experience after the defeat in the national revolutionary war to continue and guide the struggle for power of the parties that faced fascism.

The anti-fascist struggle was separated from the struggle for socialism-communism, under the pretext of forging an alliance with the “democratic” sectors of the bourgeoisie. This strategic error would have serious consequences for those Communist Parties in whose countries the anti-fascist victory did not have the direct participation of the Red Army.


Some aspects of the contemporary struggle of communists against fascism.

Based on our analysis, our party proposes that European Communist Action deepen in the following issues:

▪ The intrinsic relationship between monopoly capitalism and fascism. It is necessary for our parties to deepen the joint study of our history and correctly characterize the phenomenon of reaction and fascism, one of whose specific manifestations is anti-communism.

▪ The need to strengthen the organizational, political and ideological independence of the working class. We consider that this effort involves communist opposition to participation in bourgeois governments, to the participation of our countries in the different imperialist alliances (European Union, NATO, etc.); not choosing sides in the imperialist war and for strengthening the class analysis of the war; and not reaching compromises with the different factions of the bourgeoisie under the pretext of anti-fascist unity.

▪ The need to growCommunist Parties through their implantation among the working class, particularly among the industrial working class, and their organization in productive areas. Only by recomposing the workers' organization can we project a proletarian hegemony that confronts and neutralizes all risks of extension and promotion of reactionary and fascist tendencies at the social level.

▪ The need to strengthen the unity of the working class by defining a specific policy towards the migrant working class, strengthening the fight against racism and against organizations and currents that try to promote division using different pretexts.

▪ The need to prepare our parties for new and more difficult conditions in the class struggle. We consider it essential to join forces to overcome the crisis that the International Communist Movement is going through. We must unite efforts to enhance proletarian internationalism and solidarity among peoples.

For the PCTE, the anti-fascist struggle is inseparable from the struggle for the revolutionary overthrow of capitalism and must be connected, at all times and places, with the need to build socialism-communism. Only then will the fascist threat end. Only in this way can we guarantee that they shall not pass!