Spanish versus Russian red terror

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Apr 30 2018 15:15
Spanish versus Russian red terror
admin: split from another thread From a quick comparison between the Spanish Red Terror with the first years of the Russian Civil War it seemed to me that there was a higher amount of extra-judicial killings in Spain (as I mentioned on another thread). Steven then, instead of trying to challenge this numbers-claim, went into defensive mode by arguing that in Spain the terror was spontaneous whereas in Russia it was centralised (which I countered, see my last post on the first page of that thread). Since it seems the Spanish anarchist terror has been given little attention, I again post two sources on this. In charge of the frontline milita and reargurad checas (yes, derived from the Russian) was the CNT-FAI Defence Committee headed by Eduardo Val Bescós and ran on a daily basis by Amor Nuno Perez. cf. The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain, 2012, Paul Preston. also cf. The 'Red Terror' and the Spanish Civil War (2014) Julius Ruiz Especially on the Provincial Committee of Public Investigation (Comité Provincial de Investigación Pública – CPIP), responsible for the Terror in Madrid: In statistical terms, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT-FAI made the greatest contribution to this network of terror. Of the 67 centres, 23 (34 per cent) belonged to the CNT-FAI ... the presence of Anarchist Youth indicates the extent to which Manuel Muñoz was determined to secure the participation of the anarcho-syndicalist movement in the CPIP: out of a management committee of 30 members, it secured nine places, courtesy of a decision to allocate 3 places each to the CNT, FAI, and the JL. This figure would increase to 12 if we include the three members of the political offshoot of the movement, the Sindicalist Party. By contrast, the PSOE-UGT only had 6 representatives, the same as Communists (PCE-JSU) and bourgeois Republican parties (IR and UR were given 3 each). Anarcho-syndicalist influence within the CPIP was also evident at the investigation group level. By October, there were 77 groups of five members each (including a ‘leader’). With the exception of two groups (including one based at the Higher Military Academy (Escuela Superior de Guerra) with the task of investigating the background of military officers), groups were not politically mixed. The anarcho-syndicalist movement (CNT-FAI-JJLL) dominated here too: it had 31 squads (40 per cent), whereas the Sindicalists had 5 (6.5 per cent). The Socialists (PSOE/UGT) and the Communists (PCE-UGT) had 15 (19.5 per cent) apiece, whereas barely 6 (8 per cent) and 5 (6.5 per cent) belonged to Izquierda Republicana and Unión Republicana, respectively.
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Apr 30 2018 15:53
Not sure what your point is here. The point I made was that anarchist involvement in the red terror in the Spanish war was qualitatively different from Bolshevik involvement in the Russian red terror. I never said that the CNT-FAI had no involvement in counterintelligence during the Spanish civil war, so the info you cite here isn't really relevant. In Russia, mass killings by the Cheka were directed by the Bolshevik party, which included mass killings and executions of other communists, revolutionary workers, anarchists etc. Do you deny this? Anthony Beevor's book, Battle to Spain, has a good overview of the Spanish red terror in chapter 8: https://libcom.org/history/battle-spain-spanish-civil-war-1936-1939-anthony-beevor In Spain, about 38,000 people were killed in the red terror. The bulk of these were at the very start of the conflict, and were not directed centrally by the CNT-FAI – they were done by rank-and-file militia and civilians. The CNT-FAI also never murdered or executed rival revolutionaries. As a couple of examples, the biggest mass killing in Madrid (i.e. where the socialist party, not the CNT was dominant) was a few days after the start of the civil war. Upon hearing of fascists executing 1200 Republicans, militia volunteers and civilians went to the prison and killed 2000 fascist prisoners – this was condemned by the Socialist Party, the leader of which threatened to resign. In Barcelona, a UGT union chief was assassinated by anarchists, as he had previously helped blacklist CNT members. The murder was condemned by the CNT-FAI, who said they would execute any of their members who were responsible or who killed anyone for any personal motives. Several FAI leaders were executed by their own organisation for taking part in revenge killings of police spies for example. In the latter part of the Spanish civil war, killings in the Republican zone were predominately organised by the Communist Party, not the anarchists.
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Apr 30 2018 19:18
Well let me also repost my comment on the thread I mentioned: Noa Rodman wrote:
Steven wrote:
Noa I'm quite disappointed with your terrible logic here.
Steven, I said the amounts of victims, which you haven't bothered to address. Quote:
Firstly, the Bolshevik terror was specifically ordered by the leadership of the Communist Party.
As a general policy of course, but local commanders could do their own thing. Quote:
or revolutionary workers and peasants taking revenge on class enemies: not acting on the orders of the CNT or FAI.
In charge of the frontline militia and reargurad checas (yes, derived from the Russian) was the CNT-FAI Defence Committee headed by Eduardo Val Bescós and ran on a daily basis by Amor Nuno Perez (mentioned in The Spanish Holocaust: Inquisition and Extermination in Twentieth-Century Spain, 2012, Paul Preston). I can't immediately find specific written orders for executions, if they were ever written down. Preston also mentions that many militias were launched by people who previously had not been members of the CNT-FAI, but they just faked membership card. These spontaneously started various outrages, mostly vying for local power, not really inspired revolutionaries. Quite similar to the Russian events actually, since many places at first almost had no bolshevik members (as Biggart tells for the city of Astrakhan, John Biggart, "The Astrakhan Rebellion: An Episode in the Career of Sergey Mironovich Kirov".), so to fix this, what happens immediately after/during the revolution is a huge influx of people into the party. If those new people (who are workers and peasants) abuse their power etc. then the Bolsheviks are blamed. (If the Bolsheviks then decide to purge the local party, you can accuse them of stifling democracy). Steven wrote:
but that is not comparable to the actions of, say, Lenin and Trotsky, who ordered others to massacre striking workers.
"Striking workers" makes it sound like just a modern wage dispute between workers and boss. At the time it was more about rationing supplies, and a strike during the civil war near the frontline did pose the immediate political question of power. In case of peasants, in Spain there were outrages committed against petty-owners of land, so there are similarities with suppression of Russian peasants.
Dannny
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Apr 30 2018 20:37
Noa I don't know if you're aware but the two sources you cite in the OP are mutually contradictory in terms of the points being made about the terror in the Republican rearguard during the civil war. Preston's aim is to show that the Republican state did not carry out systematic violence, and accordingly blames nearly all outrages on 'notorious' 'deranged' 'criminal' anarchists. Ruiz is inclined to dispute this and wants to show that the Republican state and its cross-party support base should be held responsible for acts of terror in the Republican zone. The specific case of Amor Nuño that you mention is interesting because Ruiz has gone to some lengths to dismantle Preston's portrayal of him (here if you read Spanish..) A couple of points on Steven's post: Quote:
As a couple of examples, the biggest mass killing in Madrid (i.e. where the socialist party, not the CNT was dominant) was a few days after the start of the civil war. Upon hearing of fascists executing 1200 Republicans, militia volunteers and civilians went to the prison and killed 2000 fascist prisoners – this was condemned by the Socialist Party, the leader of which threatened to resign. In Barcelona, a UGT union chief was assassinated by anarchists, as he had previously helped blacklist CNT members. The murder was condemned by the CNT-FAI, who said they would execute any of their members who were responsible or who killed anyone for any personal motives. Several FAI leaders were executed by their own organisation for taking part in revenge killings of police spies for example.
A minor point but the Socialist Party wasn't 'dominant' in Madrid - the CNT also had a good deal of support and significant power on the street and the Communists grew rapidly from early in the war. There weren't several executions of FAI 'leaders' and I wouldn't have thought that the killing of spies would have resulted in execution.. do you have a source for that? There are a couple of recorded cases of CNT members being shot for looting during the registering of property. The point that there is a clear difference between the terror directed against working class revolutionaries by the Bolsheviks and the terror conducted early in the war by revolutionaries in Spain is pretty indisputable I'd have thought. Where it gets murky is in the CNT's collaboration in the Republican state, which waged a repressive campaign against anarchists as the war progressed. Of course the CNT was not a leading protagonist in this but its leadership did to a certain extent consent to it or at least allow it to happen..
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Apr 30 2018 20:41
What "outrages" do you claim were carried out by the CNT-FAI against peasants? Also with your comments on massacring and executing striking workers, it looks like you are saying it's justified, if rather than striking for better wages, workers are striking for more rations? Either way your argument doesn't really hold up. Because the CNT-FAI didn't massacre or execute striking workers, unlike the Bolsheviks. You can argue that the Bolsheviks were justified in massacring strikers, but that is a different argument. Also the CNT-FAI never invaded any revolutionary areas and massacred their fellow revolutionaries who disagreed with them (à la Kronstadt). You claim that the Spanish and Russian events were quite similar, but that's complete nonsense. You admit you can't find evidence of orders for executions by the CNT-FAI (although I did give you evidence of some of these: orders by the CNT and FAI for executions of their own members who were involved in extrajudicial killings) However evidence of the Bolshevik leadership ordering "mass terror" and mass killings is well-known. For example in the letter Lenin wrote which we were discussing, he orders "mass terror", and for mass shootings and deportations. And of course Trotsky is well-known for ordering Kronstadt revolutionaries to be "shot like partridges". Good luck finding any quotes from Durruti saying anything like that…
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Apr 30 2018 23:31
You mean there's no edict from Durruti to massacre sex workers in Valencia? Honesty, Lenin wasn't so bad when it comes to terror isn't a particularly good hill to die on.
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May 1 2018 04:56
Steven wrote:
You claim that the Spanish and Russian events were quite similar, but that's complete nonsense.
I claim the death toll of red terror victims in Spain is higher than that of the first years of the Russian Civil War. I'm surprised that apparently you so easily accept that, and move to defensive arguments (which I engage with, for sake of argument, otherwise there'd be no debate with you and that's no fun). Quote:
And of course Trotsky is well-known for ordering Kronstadt revolutionaries to be "shot like partridges"
That's a myth about Trotsky fwiw.
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May 1 2018 05:02
Steven wrote:
Also the CNT-FAI never invaded any revolutionary areas and massacred their fellow revolutionaries who disagreed with them (à la Kronstadt).
What if the massacre was "spontaneously" carried out by ordinary (non-party member) soldiers as immediate revenge in the aftermath of the conquest? What if it's true that the Kronstadt sailors inflicted 10,000 deaths on the Bolshevik side (which would be 4x times as high as their own casualties)? Do you justify/support the "massacre" of 10,000 people (even though they were not anarchists)?
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May 1 2018 07:22
Noa Rodman wrote:
Steven wrote:
You claim that the Spanish and Russian events were quite similar, but that's complete nonsense.
I claim the death toll of red terror victims in Spain is higher than that of the first years of the Russian Civil War. I'm surprised that apparently you so easily accept that, and move to defensive arguments (which I engage with, for sake of argument, otherwise there'd be no debate with you and that's no fun). Quote:
And of course Trotsky is well-known for ordering Kronstadt revolutionaries to be "shot like partridges"
That's a myth about Trotsky fwiw.
The 'red terror' is a Francoist term used to justify subsequent repression. From the point of view of someone sympathetic to the Spanish revolution (or just trying to make sense of this violence) it makes no sense to lump all extrajudicial killings in the Republican zone together, since this would include everything from killings by mobs, targeted revenge killings by individuals, targeted killings by squads belonging to political groupings, summary execution of fascist snipers, execution by popular tribunals etc (ie what might be called revolutionary violence with all its justifications, excesses and outrages) to summary execution by bodies subordinate to the Republican state and the killing of anarchists by counterrevolutionaries in the Republican zone.
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May 1 2018 09:59
"What if it's true that the Kronstadt sailors inflicted 10,000 deaths on the Bolshevik side (which would be 4x times as high as their own casualties)? Do you justify/support the "massacre" of 10,000 people (even though they were not anarchists)?+ This is just sophistry. The Krionstadters didn't attack the Bolsheviks, they were acting in self-defence. Your statement is completely obscene and just makes you look like a clown.
Ragnar
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May 1 2018 10:25
the only red terror in the Spanish civil war in such a case is given by the Stalinists of the PCE-PSUC. And still it was minuscule. In the same way that the CNT-FAI had its selective deaths against agents of the reactionaries, as a rule they were imprisoned or moved to areas where they were released with control. However, the Francoist side had explicit orders in the advance to jail and shoot any "red" (republican, anarcho-syndicalist, anarchist, socialist, communist ...) and to rape women for heretics.
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May 1 2018 10:29
There were bolsheviks among the Kronstadt sailors too. Israel Getzler said about 3,000 in 1917, not sure how many stayed in the party. Kronstadt was the Bolshevik state and red army against bolshevik, SR and anarchist soldiers, it's a massive over-simplification to call it 'bolsheviks vs. anarchists'.
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May 1 2018 10:38
Also Noa Rodman fails to mention the 2,500 Kronstadters shot by the Bolsheviks after the crushing of the rising.
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May 1 2018 12:18
I actually was very careful to formulate my comparison, relating it only to the first years of the civil war (excluding 1921), considering that the duration of the Spanish events was not that long. Nobody has tried to dispute that more victims were made in Spain than in Russia at the hands of the reds. Quote:
Also Noa Rodman fails to mention the 2,500 Kronstadters shot by the Bolsheviks after the crushing of the rising.
I was assuming 2,500 death on the Kronstadt side in total. So let's say they inflicted 10,000 casualties on the Bolshevik side, and these bullets didn't fire themselves, then my "obscene" question is whether it was it worth to kill so many people in self-defence? Wouldn't it be better either to surrender (as was offered) or flee to Finland?
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May 1 2018 14:39
Noa Rodman wrote:
I was assuming 2,500 death on the Kronstadt side in total. So let's say they inflicted 10,000 casualties on the Bolshevik side, and these bullets didn't fire themselves, then my "obscene" question is whether it was it worth to kill so many people in self-defence? Wouldn't it be better either to surrender (as was offered) or flee to Finland?
Fucking lol. Incredible stuff. Steven. wrote:
For example in the letter Lenin wrote which we were discussing, he orders "mass terror", and for mass shootings and deportations. And of course Trotsky is well-known for ordering Kronstadt revolutionaries to be "shot like partridges". Good luck finding any quotes from Durruti saying anything like that…
Give Noa a few minutes, im sure they can find something thats been "mistranslated"...
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May 1 2018 14:58
Noa Rodman wrote:
Steven wrote:
You claim that the Spanish and Russian events were quite similar, but that's complete nonsense.
I claim the death toll of red terror victims in Spain is higher than that of the first years of the Russian Civil War.
if that's your only point, then I don't know why you are disagreeing with me. We are having this conversation because I made the point that anarchist involvement in the Spanish red terror was qualitatively different from Bolshevik involvement in the Russian red terror. You then disagreed with me, and have been arguing against me since. But none of your points actually address this argument of mine. You are scrambling around mentioning a bunch of irrelevant side issues completely unrelated to my central point. In terms of numbers of deaths, that may be correct (although death toll figures for the Russian civil war aren't particularly great, whereas they are much more accurate for Spain). However that is totally unrelated to my point. Quote:
Quote:
And of course Trotsky is well-known for ordering Kronstadt revolutionaries to be "shot like partridges"
That's a myth about Trotsky fwiw.
having searched for the original source, it appears to be a broadcast by the Petrograd Defence Committee to the Kronstadt rebels saying if they don't surrender they will be "shot like grouse" (https://www.marxists.org/history/ussr/events/kronstadt/izvestia/04.htm) that's not really much better…
Mike Harman
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May 1 2018 15:32
Yeah he just said in 1938, after nearly two decades to reflect on the mass murder of revolutionaries: "completely demoralised elements, men who wore elegant wide trousers and did their hair like pimps'. "
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May 1 2018 16:27
as a peripheral note, here's an excerpt from a review of Preston's "The Spanish Holocaust" (which doesn't only pertain to Preston, by the way): So while Preston is semi-supportive of 'power in the streets [being] assumed by the armed workers who had contributed to the defeat of the rising,' at the end of the same paragraph, he laments that 'in the chaos created by the disappearance of most of the conventional structures of law and order, there was also an element of sheer criminality,' which was 'born of the unleashing of the worst instincts [sic!] of those who took advantage of the removal of social restraints.' (221). Here we have the banal statist prejudices which posit that the first thing people (not just anarchists!) would do in the absence of police, courts, and jails would be to go on murderous rampages, rampages that are somehow kept to a minimum -- since they are certainly not prevented! -- by the supposedly deterrent presence of cops. Preston offers no discussion on the role of the patrols of armed workers keeping revolutionary order... Yet when faced with the actual evidence, Preston can only lamely say in the penultimate paragraph that 'The correlation between CNT-FAI strength and the nature of the extrajudicial repression is far from clear.' (258). It would be easier to take this statement, supported by Preston's own previous research, more seriously if he hadn't spent the entire chapter (almost 50 pages) trying to prove that there was a precise correlation, almost certainly having to do with the automatic depravity of those who called themselves anarchists. When someone's conclusions are not borne out -- or clearly contradicted -- by the facts they themselves have produced, the most generous way of referring to their research is 'flawed.' The less generous way to refer to the researcher is 'liar.'
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May 1 2018 16:59
Steven wrote:
In terms of numbers of deaths, that may be correct (although death toll figures for the Russian civil war aren't particularly great, whereas they are much more accurate for Spain). However that is totally unrelated to my point
I always thought, hearing so much about Bolshevik terror, that the figures in Spanish civil war, which e.g. the SPGB (along with liberals) found democratic enough to endorse, would be lower than in the Russian case. So I'm just surprised about it, that's all. I read the claim of 50,000 executions in the Spanish case, but you mentioned 38,000. So one already can minimize it by 12,000. Now you further imply that the executions in the Russian case may be higher than officially reported. So my point also may be incorrect, but you're not bothering with the proof for that, because it's apples and oranges anyway.
Ragnar
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May 1 2018 18:56
Where did you read this numbers?
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May 1 2018 19:43
Ragnar wrote:
Where did you read this numbers?
my figure is from Battle for Spain by Anthony Beevor
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May 1 2018 19:48
Dannny wrote:
A couple of points on Steven's post: Quote:
As a couple of examples, the biggest mass killing in Madrid (i.e. where the socialist party, not the CNT was dominant) was a few days after the start of the civil war. Upon hearing of fascists executing 1200 Republicans, militia volunteers and civilians went to the prison and killed 2000 fascist prisoners – this was condemned by the Socialist Party, the leader of which threatened to resign. In Barcelona, a UGT union chief was assassinated by anarchists, as he had previously helped blacklist CNT members. The murder was condemned by the CNT-FAI, who said they would execute any of their members who were responsible or who killed anyone for any personal motives. Several FAI leaders were executed by their own organisation for taking part in revenge killings of police spies for example.
A minor point but the Socialist Party wasn't 'dominant' in Madrid - the CNT also had a good deal of support and significant power on the street and the Communists grew rapidly from early in the war. There weren't several executions of FAI 'leaders' and I wouldn't have thought that the killing of spies would have resulted in execution.. do you have a source for that?
only just seen this. I cited my source, above, it was chapter 8 of Battle for Spain: Quote:
Several prominent anarchists, such as their building union leader, Josep Gardenyes, who had been freed from prison on 19 July, and Manuel Fernández, the head of the catering syndicate, were executed by their own comrades in the FAI for taking vengeance on police spies from the time of Primo’s dictatorship
that's on page 409 of the PDF
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May 1 2018 20:37
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Terror_(Spain)#Death_toll 38 000 Antony Beevor[45] 50 000 Stanley Payne[50] 60 000 Paweł Skibiński[53]Martín Rubio[54]Pio Moa[55] 72,344 Ramón Salas Larrazaba[56]Warren H. Carroll[56]Marek Jan Chodakiewicz[57]Julio de la Cueva[46] 110 905 César Vidal (I don't list tte 172,344 figure by Piotr Zychowicz[12] because that includes starvation) There also seems a new book (2017) researching this by Laia Balcells: Rivalry and Revenge: The Politics of Violence during Civil War. No pdf of it online it seems, except some earlier research article: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1468-2478.2010.00588.x
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May 1 2018 21:47
Noa, it might be helpful if you also included the political affiliations of each of those making such claims. This was also a problem with Preston's book; he never analyzed the origins of his new source material, and never called into question the partisan biases of the authors of those new sources. Much of the source material for "The Spanish Holocaust" comes from Francoist court records and the newly released memoirs of conservatives, right-wing socialists, and Catalanists. For him to repeat their allegations without commenting on their motivations for either exaggerating or diminishing numbers was irresponsible at best. For you, it's inexcusable. For example, Salas was a participant in the General's Rebellion against the Republic, was part of the Francoist Blue Division that fought on the Russian Front, and was the official historian of the CIvil Guard. As such, he and his numbers can hardly be said to be impartial. Similarly, Vidal is a Christian theologian and historian, whose interest in inflating the numbers of victims of the "Red Terror" have to do more with his skewed cosmology of Catholic martyrdom than it does with anything as secular as facts. Without considering the historian's personal perspective, all you're doing is repeating a bunch of statistics of questionable provenance and quality.
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May 1 2018 21:47
For those who like to play the competitive numbers game with human tragedy and counter-revolution, more numbers for whatever they're worth (dunno if these books are any good); Quote:
Given that the future USSR was in chaos in 1918 and that the work was done by the secret police, it is hard to find accurate figures of those who suffered during the Red Terror. If it was done to make people “tremble” then there is a chance that the figures were exaggerated simply to scare potential opponents into acquiescence. It is thought that between 10,000 to 15,000 people were summarily executed by the Cheka between September and October 1918 in areas under the formal control of the Bolsheviks – such figures were published in official journals and openly publicised. As there were no public trials, such figures cannot be verified. However, it is thought that the figures for summary executions in areas previously under the control of the Whites were far higher than 15,000. Lenin himself gave the order for the execution of 50,000 in the Crimea alone [can't find any source for this claim-RM] and some include these figures as part of the “Red Terror” as opposed to being the end result of the Russian Civil War. The Red Terror resulted in the execution of thousands of men classified as “bandits”. However, the term never had a legal definition and it seems very likely that it became a one-word fits all to explain the arrest and then execution of suspects. Those who harboured the thousands of deserters from the Red Army were arrested and punished as they were branded “bandits”. This meant that many families suffered as the result of just one member of it defying the law. ... https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/modern-world-history-1918-to-1980/russia-1900-to-1939/the-red-terror/
Quote:
Leonid Krasin, the [Bolshevik] People's Commissar for Transport, wrote to his wife about his disagreement with the Red Terror: "After the assassination of Uritsky and the attempt on Lenin we went through a period of so-called `Terror', one of the most disgusting acts of the neo-Bolsheviks. About 600 to 700 persons were shot in Moscow and Petrograd, nine-tenths of them having been arrested quite at random or merely on suspicion of belonging to the right wing of the Socialist Revolutionaries, or else of being counter-revolutionists. In the provinces this developed into a series of revolting incidents, such as arrests and mass executions." The Red Terror continued throughout the Russian Civil War. David Bullock, the author of The Russian Civil War (2008) has argued that about "200,000-400,000 died in prison or were executed as a result of the Red Terror" between 1918-1920. (23) However, the executions continued after that date. According to Maxim Gorky it was left-wing opponents of the Bolsheviks who were the main victims. http://spartacus-educational.com/RUSterror.htm
In the case of the Cheka – the enforcers of the Terror - making a distinction between judicial & extra-judicial killings is not that useful; Quote:
In an interview in the Bolshevik newspaper, Novaya Zhizn, Dzerzhinsky admitted: "We stand for organized terror - this should be frankly admitted. Terror is an absolute necessity during times of revolution. Our aim is to fight against the enemies of the Soviet Government and of the new order of life. We judge quickly. In most cases only a day passes between the apprehension of the criminal and his sentence. When confronted with evidence criminals in almost every case confess; and what argument can have greater weight than a criminal's own confession." http://spartacus-educational.com/RUSterror.htm
Many accounts of arrest, trials & interrogations, both from survivors and archives, show how most were already in practice condemned by the time they were arrested. Torture for quick confessions (some brave souls managed to resist and refused to name others) was commonplace and ‘trials’ generally a brief rubber-stamp bureaucratic formality with guilt already assumed or demanded by orders from higher Party officials. By the time of the 1930s Moscow show trials the Cheka had these tactics down to a fine art. So the main difference for the judicially accused was that your jailing or death was more likely to be bureaucratically recorded as part of your processing. Even then, many sent to the camps disappeared and were lost to an unknown fate, worked or beaten to death by a camp regime often not bothered with the effort of recording deaths. Were those deaths ‘judicial’ or ‘extra-judicial’? Also worth noting that in Spain the Red Terror of the Stalinists against anarchist & marxist revolutionaries – led by Noa’s beloved Lenin-era Russian Bolshevik veterans of high Party status – was very much extra-judicial with secret prisons and murderous disappearances common. This occurred at the very time the Moscow show trials – based on invented conspiracies & tortured confessions - were running. So two versions of Bolshevik ‘justice’ – ‘judicial’ & ‘extra-judicial’ – were operating at the same time.
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May 1 2018 21:56
Erich Mielke, later the head of the Stasi in East Germany, was stationed in Spain in the SIM secret police, away from the front, purging anarchists and poumistas from the international brigades. https://journals.iai.spk-berlin.de/index.php/iberoamericana/article/viewFile/1358/994 Also: https://libcom.org/library/soldier-returns-letter-durruti-column-american-fighter Quote:
Spain is a wonderful country. At present it reminds me of the stories I have read of the O.G.P.U. [secret police] in Russia. The jails of loyalist Spain are full of volunteers who have more than a single-track mind. I know one of them from Toronto, a member of the L.R.W.P. I wonder if they will bump him off. The Stalinists do not hesitate to kill any of those who do not blindly accept Stalin as a second Christ. One of the refugees who came over with me from Spain was a member of the O.G.P.U. in Spain, which, by the way, is controlled by Russia. Every volunteer in the Communist International Brigade is considered a potential enemy of Stalin. He is checked and double-checked, every damn one. If he utters a word other than commy phrases he is taken "for a ride." This chap (ex- O.G.P.U.) is like all the other commies coming out of Spain, absolutely anti-Stalin and anti-communist. He skipped the country by flashing his O.G.P.U. badge on the trains etc.
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May 1 2018 22:58
Red Marriott wrote:
For those who like to play the competitive numbers game with human tragedy and counter-revolution,
Well, it's not clear what number you're going with for the Russian case. I take the number of 50,000 for Spain. Here's another comparison: I think the number of victims of the counter-revolution under the SPD's Noske in 1918/9 is greater than that of the combined seven years under the Hitler regime (prior to the war).
Dannny
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May 2 2018 09:07
Steven. wrote:
only just seen this. I cited my source, above, it was chapter 8 of Battle for Spain: Quote:
Several prominent anarchists, such as their building union leader, Josep Gardenyes, who had been freed from prison on 19 July, and Manuel Fernández, the head of the catering syndicate, were executed by their own comrades in the FAI for taking vengeance on police spies from the time of Primo’s dictatorship
that's on page 409 of the PDF
Cheers Steven. These are the cases I was thinking of. I don't know if you are particularly bothered about this, but just in case: Beevor's source for this is Peirats. In the Peirats book he doesn't say explicitly why they were killed but the clear implication from the context is that it was for looting; this is corroborated by other sources such as García Oliver's autobiography and the Encyclopedia of Spanish anarchists. It seems like there's still some confusion as to the precise details of the case but I've not seen anything except for Beevor that suggests it was for killing police spies, and his source in any case does not back this up. Another notable CNT execution of one of their own during the civil war is the case of Lucio Ruano, who was a member of the Durruti Column's War Committee and briefly took on a leadership role with the part of the column that remained in Aragón when Durruti went to Madrid. It's another confusing one, as Guillamón reports that a specific CNT union branch agreed that he should be executed on the basis of excesses at the front (summary executions and looting) at the beginning of 1937. He was only murdered in the summer, however, after having played an important role in the May days, and the immediate cause of his execution was probably a plan to flee Spain with booty he had looted.
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Steven.
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May 2 2018 16:15
Noa Rodman wrote:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Terror_(Spain)#Death_toll 38 000 Antony Beevor[45] 50 000 Stanley Payne[50] 60 000 Paweł Skibiński[53]Martín Rubio[54]Pio Moa[55] 72,344 Ramón Salas Larrazaba[56]Warren H. Carroll[56]Marek Jan Chodakiewicz[57]Julio de la Cueva[46] 110 905 César Vidal (I don't list tte 172,344 figure by Piotr Zychowicz[12] because that includes starvation) There also seems a new book (2017) researching this by Laia Balcells: Rivalry and Revenge: The Politics of Violence during Civil War. No pdf of it online it seems, except some earlier research article: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdf/10.1111/j.1468-2478.2010.00588.x
it's quite funny really, in bringing up all of this information which is unrelated to the point I was making, Noa is actually helping my point. As a reminder, essentially my point was that the Bolsheviks themselves ordered mass killings in the Russian revolution, and these mass killings included revolutionary workers. And that in Spain, the CNT-FAI did not order mass killings, and did not murder those on their own side. As others have mentioned, the death toll in Spain was high (although of course not nearly as high as the White Terror by the fascists), but the majority of these killings were nothing to do with the CNT-FAI, and indeed the mass murders of fellow revolutionaries by the Republic were organised by none other than the Russian communist leaders Noa seems to think he is defending
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May 2 2018 20:02
Noa wrote:
it's quite funny really, in bringing up all of this information which is unrelated to the point I was making, Noa is actually helping my point.
It reminds me of when Noa spent four pages of comment thread trying to prove there was nothing about Nizhni-Novgorod that could possibly result in Lenin ordering the massacre of hundreds of prostitutes (as opposed to labelling political opponents prostitutes), until he found several sources pointing out that it was a well known centre for the sex industry in Tsarist Russia due to a regional fair which had been based there for decades. But I do appreciate the honesty in actually digging up the sources and posting them anyway.
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May 2 2018 20:03
As for Russian case, various numbers: Latsis (official cheka figure): 12,733, for 1917–1920, William Henry Chamberlin (1935 book): 50,000, during Civil War Leggett (1981): 140,000, Dec 1917–Feb 1922 Conquest (1971): as many as 400,000 , 1917–1923. Purely my guess would be something between the Latsis and Chamberlin figure. Even if it were 50,000 in Russian case, i.e. equal to my preferred number for Spain, it would be still relatively less (given the population size).