The MLE had continued to advance toward the formation of the DI with a view to preparing itself "so that, faced with any contingency, with elements in exile and the interior tightly coordinated, we would be able to have the situation under control and act cohesively as a decisive force1. In late 1961, fund-raising commissions for the DI were formed, while the "Confederal defence groups" were reconstituted in most of the large Local Federations in exile.
The fall of the National Committee and the breaking up of the organizational structure (established with such difficulty and effort the year before) confirmed the belief in the futility of efforts at reorganization in the interior as long as the MLE did not have a really active and effective instrument of struggle.
The persistence of the causes of popular discontent and the labour conflicts maintained a climate of waiting and optimism even in the most passive sectors of the Opposition.
The Church took a stand at the beginning of the year by denouncing social inequalities. Catholic working-class militants developed an active campaign through the HOAC Bulletin and the newspaper Juventud Obrera, contributing to stirring up working class discontent and bringing about the closing of the latter publication in late January.
In February, while working class tensions hardened in the heat of a certain number of important strikes, the Francoist government officially began taking steps to "examine the eventual association" of Spain and the European Economic Community.
Only the anarchists and a few other groups considered to be "extremist" denounced the harmful consequences for the anti-Francoist cause that would follow from this "opening onto Europe", supported by the technocrats of Opus Dei.
At the beginning of the year, after a series of consultations and meetings, the seven comrades who were to integrate and start up the DI section were designated.
Members of the DI could only be known to the Secretaries of the three branches and the Coordinating Secretary of the CNT, but given the internal situation of the movement, their names began to be disclosed among the militants2. In these circumstances, the designation of the DI could only satisfy the criterion of the greatest possible militant representativeness, with a view to consolidating the internal unity of the movement. The criterion of "technical" effectiveness was not good for much after twenty-odd years of exile. The designated comrades represented the most important tendencies of the movement, just as by their revolutionary past they constituted a solid guarantee of the seriousness of the specific tasks that the DI would undertake.
The DI was composed3 of four exiled militants in Europe, two in America and one in Africa.
The first meeting of the DI with the defence organization occurred in early March, with all of its members present, except for one of the two American residents who sent his point of view in writing concerning the general theory that would govern the actions of the so-called conspiratorial section. During this meeting, the individual situations of the libertarian movement in exile and in Spain were studied in depth, and the strategic report of the absent delegate was unanimously approved. In brief, the following position was adopted:
"1. Considering that, while posing a problem of conscience for certain democratic or "socialist" states, the Francoist regime has unquestionably succeeded in being internationally recognized, which removed any possibility of change by external pressure,
2. Considering that Francoism did not depend on any popular base, and that the revolutionary potential of the working class expressed itself in successive strike movements, aided by much of the youth,
3. Considering that the Church, which was one of the pillars of the regime, found itself in an inconvenient and contradictory position in Spain after the Vatican's "aggiornamento" and that because of this, it can be made to swing to an oppositional position,
4. Considering that MLE, given its revolutionary anti-statist position, could only count on its own strength and the limited cooperation of the international anarchist movement,
5. Considering, finally, that it was only by radicalizing popular protests and working class struggles that the regime could be put in serious difficulty, both in the interior of the country and at the international level, by forcing it to reveal its dictatorial appearance more openly (...)4".
As a result, the DI had to serve as a dynamic instrument of this radicalization, while it had to simultaneously organize active support and solidarity to face the repressive excesses of the regime. In later meetings, the DI began to structure itself according to the directives included in the Report that determined its formation, and according to the human and material possibilities that the movement could offer it.
Meanwhile, in Spain, the trade union Congress took place in a relatively strained atmosphere. The General Secretary, Jimenez Torres, who intended to change its structure by increasing working class representation, was forced to resign.
In early April, during a soccer game, serious public disturbances occurred in the Canaries after the distribution of many flyers by a separatist organization. In Madrid and Barcelona, university tensions increased as a result of the acceptance of Opus Dei' s university in Navarre as a university of the Church and its official recognition by the State. Demonstrations, strikes and many arrests followed.
In Paris, the first conference of the youth organizations of the democratic opposition took place, organized by the Spanish Movement 59, which the communists had greatly infiltrated since its creation in Mexico in 1959. On April 15 in Rome, the International Conference for the Freedom of the Spanish People began, in the presence of important personalities from all over the world. Despite the participation of exiled socialist, republican and libertarian organizations, the conference was notably influenced by communist slogans, which, as with the Paris conference, had as their sole objective to substantiate the idea that the CP was the leader of the anti-Francoist opposition.
The spring of 1962 was characterized by the upsurge of strike movements in the minefields, and Spain experienced a period of intense political and social agitation, which affected all international anti-fascist public opinion. At the beginning, the State left it alone, because it could not force the mine bosses to respect collective agreements, and because it was not convenient for it to repress the working class with brutality as it had in the past, at a time when Francoist Spain was soliciting an opening of negociations for its entry into the Common Market. Another fact deserves to be emphasized, in order to understand the rapid spread and long duration of this movement; the intense activity deployed on behalf of the strikers by the HOAC and the JOC, Catholic organizations with a working class rank and file, and by most of the priests of the mining pits, although the high ecclesiastic hierarchy always sided with the government and Order. Faced with the example of the Spanish working class' combativeness, the exiled organizations went through periods of intense euphoria and excitement. But each political organization strived to "make grist for its mill", making its own individual actions on behalf of the strikers stand out, or exploiting them as a basis for their political theses. We shall cite the celebrated "silent demonstration of women" at Puerta del Sol in Madrid, in solidarity with the strikers and for amnesty, where seventy women were arrested, among them the wives of well-known communist intellectuals.
Meanwhile, in Barcelona and Madrid, the students began to demonstrate their dissatisfaction and their solidarity with the strike movement to cries of: "Opus no! Miners yes!".
The governmental reaction, which at first limited itself to declaring a state of emergency in the provinces of Asturias, Biscaya and Giupuzcoa (May 4), and proceeding to make a few arrests, was increasingly violent as the demonstrations of solidarity, and especially the strikes, spread to other regions. Moreover, this violence only accentuated the politicization of the protest movement. Thus, in some places, the brutal intervention of the police transformed peaceful demonstrations of support for the strikers into violent clashes and demonstrations of definite loathing for the Regime.
At the beginning of June, the General Directorate of Security published the following memorandum:
"The characteristics and circumstances of past working-class disturbances, followed by activity of a political nature contrary to public order led to investigations, during which it was discovered that they originated with slogans emanating from communist organizations, through a certain Frente de Liberacion Popular, several of whose leaders have been arrested in various localities (...) A series of violent acts that this organization was preparing were avoided, although on June 5, a device exploded in the Vicariato General Castrense, and two others on the same day at dawn, in front of a bank in the via Alcala, also in Madrid, without wounding anyone."(ABC, June 10, 1962).
If the authorities presented the FLP as the instigator of the "working class disturbances", in reality, the repressive measures -- carried out with special zeal by the Social Brigade in Madrid, Barcelona and the Basque country -- were directed against all the opposition groups that mobilized with a view to politicizing the movement. As far as the government was concerned, it was a matter of taking advantage of the occasion to break up the clandestine cadres, who, swept along by an outburst of solidarity and a desire to propagandize, appeared "too publicly", while it substantiated the idea of "international conspiracy".
Invited by the Federal Council of the European Movement, which was due to hold its Fourth Congress on June 7 and 8, a hundred and eighteen Spanish delegates, personally invited and arriving from Spain5 or from exile, met in Munich two days before.
First of all there were several incidents "of propriety"; thus Gil Robles energetically refused to discuss and draw up a single document with the exiled Spaniards, maintaining "that it was for the Spaniards of the interior to outline the political thought of those who wanted a peaceful evolution in Spain, the only basis upon which the exiled elements could join, if they considered it useful." Finally, after having divided itself into two commissions, according to the motion of the Secretary, Van Schendel (one chaired by Gil Robles and the other by Madariaga), a joint text was unanimously approved, which would be submitted on June 8 to the General Assembly of the European Movement6.
"The Congress of the European Movement, assembled in Munich on June 7 and 8, 1962, considers that integration, in the form of membership and association of all countries into Europe, requires democratic institutions from every one of them (...) The Congress hopes that evolution, in agreement with the preceding points, will permit Spain's incorporation into Europe, of which it is an essential element; it notes that all of the Spanish delegates present at this Congress, expressing their firm belief that the vast majority of Spaniards want this evolution to be accomplished according to the norms of political prudence, at a rate as rapid as circumstances permit, with sincerity on everyone's part and by committing itself to renouncing any active or passive violence before, during and after the evolutionary process."
Aside from the ingenuous illusions of a few exiled leaders (Madariaga, Llopis, Maldonado, etc.) concerning the good intentions of the European democracies, in Munich it was only a matter of affirming (while at the same time renewing certain hopes) a renunciation of violent action against the Francoist regime.
Apart from Llopis, who officially represented the Socialist Party, and a few other individuals representing the marginal political groups of the interior's "tolerated opposition" (Dionisio Ridruejo, among others) or the Republican worthies in exile (Salvador de Madariaga, etc.), the others represented only themselves. The Popular Liberation Front, which at the beginning was mentioned in the journalists' accounts as one of the forces representing the younger generations present at the meeting, declared itself "totally opposed to the aforementioned meeting."
On the other hand, the Communist Party, which had been conspicuously left aside, had no misgivings about proclaiming the importance of the five conditions that "could form the fundamental basis of a political accord between left and right-wing opposition forces."7
At a time when the people began to lose their fear and show an exemplary combativeness, all of the "forces" that represented the liberal bourgeoisie, even the communists, who tried to make an ally of it, offered to "guarantee Spaniards' civil peace by an agreement of coexistence" with right-wing forces.
In condemning violence, the participants of the Munich Congress had the anarchists in mind; in fact, they knew that the cenetistas had adopted, at the same time as their participation in the trade-union alliance, very clearly-defined agreements of struggle, in which resorting to violence was not excluded, and was even considered the only effective means of fighting the dictatorship.
In early May, the DI sent one of its members on a delegated mission to Morocco and Portugal. It was a matter of "more officially" exploring, and if possible putting in concrete form certain Moroccan offers, with a view to installing a clandestine transmitter in the vicinity of Tangiers8, as well as establishing closer and more "regular" contacts with the Portuguese opposition; particularly with the partisans of General Delgado's position.9
Besides a series of conversations with various Moroccan personalities and the head of the royal Cabinet, this mission obtained only promises, both on the right to asylum for anti-Francoists and the possibility of "tolerating" the installation of a clandestine transmitter, which "was still being studied". On the other hand, contacts with the opposition to the Salazar dictatorship were positive ones."
At a Plenary meeting in late May, the DI decide to start harassing actions against the Francoist regime:
"We think that the situation in Spain demands it, and that the external evolution of the Spanish problem could accelerate favourably by radicalizing the struggle against the Regime (...) We must try to change the elements of the problem in order to make a solution favourable to the cause of anti-fascism possible. For that, there is only one way: creating a truly subversive situation."10
More than two years had passed since the bombs set by a DRIL commando (in March, 1960) when, once again, anti-Francoist protest violently asserted itself:
In June, in Madrid and Barcelona, bombs exploded in the buildings of the Nunciature and of organizations of Opus Dei and the Falange.
On July 14 in Rome, a bomb exploded in St. Peter's ...
"(...) It is possible that the Spanish anarchists were responsible for the explosion, and not an insane person, as people believed at first, people say today in informed circles. It was also revealed that a person placed the bomb at the foot of a monument to Pope Clement XII, leaving a note that the Vatican guards found."(El Universal)
Bombs exploded on July 15 and 20, in Valencia and Barcelona.
"(...) a mimeographed sheet was sent to certain representatives of the foreign press in Madrid, bearing the seal of "Interior Defence", indicating that the bomb that exploded this Sunday in Valencia was thrown from the main balcony of the Ayuntamiento building, from the same place that General Franco spoke recently. The sheet said:"We are on your trail ...", and ended with this slogan: "Down with Franco, Opus Dei, the Falange and Fascism. Long live libertarian Spain."(El Universal)
On July 23,
"(...) an act of sabotage attributed to the CNT, a clandestine union federation of the anarcho-syndicalist tendency, took place during the night in the Catalan region. Three explosive charges exploded next to electrical posts, cutting the current between the industrial towns of Manresa and Sabadell."(La Republica)
On August 12,
"(...) a bomb exploded near the Escorial, at the mausoleum for the civil war dead, or the basilica of la Santa Cruz del Valle de los Caidos. The bomb exploded behind the altar, shortly after the end of the mass."(La Dépêche) "(...) In a mimeographed note received by press agencies in Madrid, the bombing (...) is claimed by a Committee for Interior Defence, and ends with these words: "Franco: even in your grave we won't leave you in peace."(Ultimas Noticias)
On August 19 in San Sebastian,
"(...) a bomb exploded in a garden situated a short distance from the summer residence of General Franco. The Head of State was absent, but Mme. Franco was already living in this palace (...)"(La Dépêche)
The same day,
"(...) low-powered bombs exploded at the editorial offices of Madrid newspapers Ya and Pueblo, as well as the building of the newspaper La Vanguardia in Barcelona." (ABC) "(...) Thus, in less than forty-eight hours, four bombs exploded in Spain."(L'Indépendent)
On October 19, the Spanish press published a memorandum from the Jefatura Superior de Policia, which announced the arrests of Jorge Conill Valls, Marcelino Jiménez Cubas and Antonio Mur Peiron, "who must have set the bombs that exploded at dawn on June 30."
On August 23, as the Minister of Information had promised, the press published a "big report" on their front pages to "justify" the numerous arrests of young people accused of being the authors of the explosions, and through which the police claimed to have "broken up the terrorist organization":
Using all of its means of agitation, the clandestine organization of the Communist Party, strongly aided from outside the country, has organized and carried out, during the spring and summer, acts of terrorism whose prime objective was to shake public morale, slow the development of our economy and diminish the prestige of our country in other countries in order to discourage tourism, cooperation and the investment of foreign capital (...) The campaign of terrorism was launched against churches, religious institutions, offices of public administration and other organizations, with the intention of alarming the entire country. The individuals chosen to carry out these attacks received training at the terrorist school in Toulouse, at 40 rue Point (...) The whole terrorist organization was uncovered with the arrests of two female couriers: Yvette Marthe Henriette Parent, a French woman, and Francisca Roman Aguilera, a Spaniard (...)"(ABC)
The Spanish press, which had been so sober in its reporting of the elections, unleashed a new campaign of insults against the "traditional enemies of the fatherland", trying, furthermore, to incite the French authorities to intervene by reviving the story of "the terrorism school" in Toulouse.
Although a communique of the General Directorate of Security announced, on June 10, the arrests of "a few leaders of the FLP in several localities", who were accused, among other things, of the recent explosions in Madrid, three months later the same General Directorate of Security accused young libertarians of all of the violent actions that had occurred during the spring and summer.
As it did every time the internal situation became explosive, the Regime prepared to face the situation by hardening and widening the repression. Thus, to the hundred prisoners of the FLP was added, on the 14th of the same month, a group of communists arrested in Biscaya and also accused of "subversive activities whose goal was to change this country's government by violence." Among them was Ramon Ormazabal, a member of the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party, poet Vidal de Nicolas, art critic Antonio Pericas and painter Agustin Ibarrola. Immediately, the CP launched an international campaign on their behalf, in order to present itself as the decisive force within anti-Francoism:
"(...) To obtain for the Communist Party responsibility for the large-scale strikes that occurred recently in Euzkadi and throughout Spain, and personally assume full responsibility for the activities of the Euzkadi communists tending to achieve the aforementioned objectives ..."12
On July 10, Franco proceeded to reorganize the Ministries.
"(...) The most important act of these changes is the creation of the post of Vice-President of the Council of Ministers, assigned to a military man: General Muñoz Grande (...) By appointing him to this position, the Caudillo strikes two birds with one stone: he appoints his successor and satisfies the Falange (...) The army is the winner of the operation. If one considers that Rear Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, the Under-Secretary to the Presidency, General Jorge Vigon of the Ministry of Public Works and General Camilo Alonso Vega of the Ministry of the Interior have kept their posts, that makes seven generals who are included in the new Cabinet. The change doesn't call into question the economic policy managed by Ullastres. Opus Dei is improving its position, but on the other hand, Mr. Solis Ruiz remains in his place, which means a victory for the syndicalist clan (...)"(Le Monde, 11-7-1962)
Fraga Iribarne, one of the new Ministers who prided himself the most on his liberalism and openness to democratic Europe, was made responsible for defining, upon taking his seat, what the new governmental team meant by "liberalization":
The post that I am going to occupy corresponds perfectly to the present moment, and perfectly to current social problems (...) The role of information is very important. One must know where, how and why liberalism is the grand trajectory of traditionalism ... We will stay on our guard facing our enemies (...)"
Actually, from this moment on, "information" would play a very important role ... It had to serve and did serve to give a certain veracity and an appearance of liberalism. The whole policy of the new Cabinet was established around one objective: keeping the situation as it was by pretending to lay the foundations of a new stage, both because the new requirements of the Regime's "Europeist" propaganda demanded it, and because the working class, by appearing for the first time as such, had, in a way, changed the internal panorama.
Having changed neither the Regime's essence nor its objectives, there was only one solution left for Francoism: persuading people to believe in the "liberalization" of the system. The events prove the opposite.
On August 16, the Asturian miners went on strike again. In a few days, more than 16,000 men stopped working. On this occasion, the government's tactic was the lock-out. But with the movement persisting and the authorities fearing that it would spread to other provinces, new arrests of strikers followed.
Indeed, throughout the months of September, October and November, a series of sumarisimo court-martials showed in an exemplary way the "right track" that the Regime intended to follow.
On September 21, in the military court, the court-martial met to judge Ramon Ormazabal, Grégorio Rodriguez, Agustin Ibarrola, Maria Francisca Dapena, Gonzalo José Villate, Vidal de Nicolas, Antonio Jimenez Pericas, Andrés Pérez Salazar, Jose Maria Ibarrola and Enrique Mujica:
"(...) In a public hearing, the court-martial judged them according to the laws that defend Spanish society against terrorism and subversion. Ormazabal was sentenced to twenty years' imprisonment, and the others to sentences ranging from twelve to four years; less than those in the prosecutor's indictment. (ABC, 22-9-1962)
The same day, in Barcelona, in the court of justice of the military Government, the court investigation passed sentence, in sumarisimo, on Jorge Conill Valls, Marcelino Jiménez Cubas and Antonio Mur Peiron:
"(...) The prosecutor accused them of the crime of terrorism, and asked for the death penalty for Jorge Conill, as the organizer and author of these bombings, and twenty-five years' imprisonment for the other two defendants (...)"(Pueblo, 24-9-1962)
On October 8, in Madrid, a court-martial judged Julio Moreno Viedma:
"This September, the authors of the bombings in Barcelona were also judged under military jurisdiction: Jorge Conill Valls, Antonio Mur Peiron and Marcelino Jiménez Cubas. Now, the Supreme Council of military justice has reviewed the court investigation in an appeals court, and has confirmed the prison sentences ... These trials and sentences have instigated a movement on the prisoners' behalf outside the country, a movement whose most serious expression occurred in Milan, where students have involved the cardinal archbishop, Mgr. Monsini, in it."(ABC, 9-10-1962)
In fact, cardinal Montini had addressed the following telegram to Franco the day before:
"In the name of the Catholic students of Milan and in my own name, I beseech your Excellency to show mercy to the sentenced students and workers, to save human lives and prove that in a Catholic country, public order can be defended in a different way and with Christian principles."
On October 17, in Madrid, the court-martial met to judge José Ronco Pecina, Eliseo Antonio Bayo Poblador and Rafael Ruiz Boreo, living in Saragossa:
"(...) members of the Federation of Libertarian Youth, whose principal task was publishing the clandestine newspaper Juventud Libre, according to the instructions of Julio Moreno Viedma and other leaders of the organization. The defendants were aware of all plans for sabotage and terrorism carried out in Spain (...)"(La Vanguardia, 18-10-1962)
On October 20, also in Madrid, the trial of Francisco Sanchez Ruano, Ricardo Metola Amat, Helios Salas Martin, Alejandro Mateo Calvo, Antonio Astigarraga de la Puerta, Francisca Roman Aguilera, Nicolas Leon Estella, José Martinez Rodriguez, Rafael Asenjo Barranco, Lucio de la Nava Hernandez and Eugenio Cordero Regis took place:
"(...) The judicial investigation has inquired into the activities of the clandestine organization of the libertarian youth (the former FAI), which is in contact with the exterior, and which was based in Paris and Toulouse, from which it sent its couriers bearing orders to foment disturbances in the interior and distribute clandestine propaganda; among them, four experienced parachutists, with the cooperation of other elements, intended to seize, in flight and by armed force, a passenger airplane of the Iberia airline (...)" (ABC, 21-10-1962)
On November 23, seven members of the CNT were tried and sentenced by the special military court of Madrid, for the activity of reorganizing and distributing the clandestine press and clandestine propaganda. The sentences varied between three and eleven years' imprisonment.
In two months, the "liberalized" Francoist justice system had called six court-martials sumarisimos, and the total of the sentences rose to more than 360 years' imprisonment, not counting the death sentence handed down against the young Catalan student Jorge Conill.
It is quite likely that if the abduction of the honourary vice-consul of Spain in Milan had not occurred, the international repercussions of this wave of repression would not have gone beyond the habitual written protests of the anti-fascist groups that were most sensitive to the Spanish problem. In fact, during the arrest and trial of Ormazabal and his group, although the CP had tried to mobilize all of the propaganda potential of world communism in his defence, the international press and international public opinion remained indifferent.
The fact is that if a huge wave of protest arose throughout Europe13, as soon as the news of the demand for the death penalty for Jorge Conill was known, it was also due to the scandal caused by the abduction of the Spanish vice-consul in Milan by anti-Francoists.
For several days, the news relating to the fates of the vice-consul and the Catalan student filled the front pages of the international newspapers, informing people at the same time of the scope and brutality of Francoist repression.
Before releasing the vice-consul, the authors of the abduction made the following declaration to the press:
"(...) The abduction was organized by a group of members of the International Federation of Libertarian Youth. We took the Spanish vice-consul prisoner so that all the youth of the free world would be made aware of our goal by this very fact. Our goal was to draw the attention of world public opinion to the sad situation of the three young libertarians sentenced in Barcelona (...) We are returning Mr. Elias to his family, as we promised, to show that our methods are different from those used by Francoism (...)"
On October 5, the Associated Press agency distributed a dispatch from Madrid confirming that Jorge Conill had been condemned to death by the military court. The next day, at Cardinal Spellman's residence in New York, a bomb exploded, waking the "celebrated" American cardinal with a start; he was to go to Rome a few days later, to attend the Ecumenical Council. On October 8, the press made public the text of Cardinal Montini's telegram to Franco. The next day, the Spanish press reported that Jorge Conill and his group "had been tried on appeal by the Supreme Court of military justice, which confirmed the prison sentences that had been handed down against them." The same day, the Spanish press published the text of the telegram that Franco had sent through his Minister of Foreign Affairs to Cardinal Montini:
"His Excellency, the Head of State, who knew the text of your telegram in advance, as the press agencies had released it several hours earlier, has asked me to communicate to your very Reverend Eminence that your request for mercy is groundless, as no death penalty has been passed against the authors of the terrorist bombings (...) It is regrettable that a campaign of scandal, begun precisely in Milan by an unspeakable act, was able to surprise Your very Reverend Eminence, whom I always think of with admiration and affection. I respectfully kiss your sacred crimson vestments. Fernando Maria Castiella."
The Spanish press commented on the incident in more aggressive terms:
"With a truly southern, but quite un-Vatican-like vehemence, the illustrious and admirable Cardinal of Milan has allowed himself to be swept away by the wave of emotion of a scandalous propaganda that works for its own advantage, to the confusion of the present-day world (...)" (from the ABC editorial of 10-10-1962).
The incident took on the proportions of a veritable international scandal, for not only were relations with the Vatican affected, but even relations between Spain and Italy. To such an extent that in Spain, the Francoists organized noisy anti-Italian demonstrations, alongside a press campaign of the same kind, making itself the so-called echo of popular feeling ... This coincided with the spectacular reactualization of the anti-Francoist struggle, which revealed the existence of a new generation of libertarian fighters.
The arrests of the young Milanese who had kidnapped the vice-consul, and the preparation of their trial, which took place in the town of Varese on November 13 of the same year, gave a new vigour to the campaign of solidarity with the victims of Francoist repression.
The Italian press once again devoted entire pages to the affair, and to the many expressions of sympathy brought to the defendants and to anti-Francoist fighters imprisoned in Spain by important personalities, who came to the trial to testify about the abuses of Spanish fascism. The progress of the trial and the final outcome, of course, increased the anger of the authorities and the Francoist press:
"(...) Everything ended as anticipated, that is, with a light sentence and the immediate release of the six young people, who had been imprisoned for almost two months (...) They are very satisfied at the moment, as they have seen their enterprise not absolved, which they absolutely did not want, but punished with a sentence that is an exaltation of their crime." (La Vanguardia, 22-11-1962)
The fact is that the anti-Francoist struggle had been reactualized, and that only on rare occasions had anti-Francoism's fighting fervour attained such a degree of enthusiasm. Spanish anarchism had retaken, to general surprise, the leading place that it had always filled in the past in the struggle against Franco's fascist dictatorship, and from which many thought it had been definitively excluded.
In libertarian circles, not all the militants saw this progressive reactualization of anarchist activism with the same sympathy or the same enthusiasm. Moreover, it should be taken into account that the process of "Confederal reunification" continued to feed conflicts within the Spanish Libertarian Movement, between the groups who were fighting for the leadership of the Movement.
But beyond the pretended ideological divergences, it was obvious that the root cause of this new division between Spanish libertarians was the inevitable confrontation between two incompatible attitudes: revolutionary activism and advocates of the status quo in exile. Particularly when the DI had begun to act, posing a problem of conscience for each militant, for afterwards, a confrontation could not be avoided between the willingness to struggle, continually ratified by the Congresses, and the real tendency to personally assume the struggle. Until the end of 1962, partisans of the status quo were completely overwhelmed by the intensity of the activist effort and the development of the events themselves.
On the occasion of the VII Congress of the International Confederation of Free Trade Union Organizations (CIOSL), which took place in early July in Berlin, the Secretary of the SI of the CNT in exile was "invited on a fraternal basis and as an observer". The DI designated one of its members to be part of the Confederal delegation and to present, through the Spanish representatives to the aforementioned Congress, the need for material assistance to intensify the "active struggle" against the Francoist regime.
Faced with the attitude of the UGT delegation, determined not to address this question, the Confederal delegation could only present it to the Secretary of the CIOSL in Europe, without obtaining satisfaction.
Faced with the lack of fervour of the other sectors of anti-Francoism in exile14 in radicalizing the struggle in Spain, the DI decided to continue by itself, and speed up preparations for the action that was considered to be possibly decisive: the attack on Franco in San Sebastian. It was precisely during the preparations for this action (the transporting of material for radio-control) that the first basis of collaboration between the libertarians and the ETA were established. Although it failed, this bombing made the resolution of the DI and its capacity for carrying out major actions clear to both parties.
The reactualization of the anti-Francoist struggle permitted the triumph, at the XII Intercontinental Plenary Assembly of the groups of the CNT in Spain and in exile, of the Confederal current advocating unity and intensification of the struggle in Spain.
But that did not change the opposition of the partisans of the status quo, who had understood that the best way to paralyse action was to reduce the support needed to accomplish it. Their machinations were facilitated by a group of reformist militants in the interior, trying to take over organic representativeness after the fall of the National Committee at the end of the previous year.
Also, as far as the trade union alliance was concerned, the CNT and the UGT witnessed the appearance of a new Workers' Union Alliance (ASO) in Spain, guided by the socialists and marginal cenetistas, which not only fought with the former over the representativeness of the alliance in the interior, but also claimed to maintain direct relations with the big trade union internationals, again posing the false problem of the primacy of the interior over the exiles. All this increased the confusion and divisions within each organization, making things easier for those who waited for an opportunity to paralyse action and regain the official positions they had lost.
In early November, the Spanish press published a news item that would revive international indignation and hostility towards the Francoist regime:
"Yesterday afternoon, Julian Grimau was arrested by a functionary of the Madrid police (...) Knowing that he had been identified, he declared in writing that he was "a member of the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party, and that he was in Madrid to accomplish a mission". A few moments later, before being interrogated, he threw himself from the balcony of the office he was in -- in the mezzanine -- and fell into the alley of San Ricardo, inflicting serious injuries on himself (...)"(ABC, 9-11-1962).
For several days, the news was no more precise than this, but gradually the affair grew in importance, and the international press became interested in it. The CP began an immense campaign on behalf of Julian Grimau.
In early December, there were explosions in several Spanish cities, in the Portuguese capital and at the Spanish consulate in Amsterdam, which refuted the pretended "breakup of the terrorist network", and the police accusations made against the young libertarians tried by court-martial.
A communique, sent directly from Lisbon and Madrid to the correspondents of the foreign press by a coordinating organization of the struggle against the Franco and Salazar dictatorships, affirmed that:
Faced with the infamous and brutal campaigns of repression by the Francoist and Salazarist regimes against members of the Libertarian Youth and other youth organizations that struggle for the freedom of the Iberian peoples (...) the Iberian Liberation Council claims responsibility for all of the violent acts carried out against tyranny on Iberian soil -- attributed in a cowardly and unjust way to members of the Libertarian Youth who devoted and dedicated themselves solely to propaganda activities (...) As long as liberties and freedom of expression and assembly continue to be repressed by the force of bayonets, the rebellious and justice-dispensing explosion of bombs will remind the world of the survival of fascism in Iberia, and the thirst for freedom of our peoples."
1 Taken from a Report of the DI.
2 Which led to public comments that compromised the situation of the designated comrades, as well as the task that the DI had to accomplish.
3 After much insisting, the FIJL had obtained the inclusion of a delegate of the youth organization as the seventh member of the DI.
4 A report made by a member of the DI during a meeting of militants, shortly after its formation.
5 The Spanish delegation (from the interior) was headed by Gil Robles, the leader of "Christian Democracy", and an ex-Minister of the Francoist regime.
6 The European Movement, which served as a framework for what would be called the Munich Symposium, formed a supranational platform, created in 1948, "to encourage or foment European unification, based on the state of public opinion."
7 A declaration of the Executive Committee of the Spanish Communist Party, on 13-6-1962.
8 At the time, relations between the Spanish and Moroccan governments were not very cordial, because of the dispute over the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
9 General Delgado was able to enter Portugal -- on the occasion of the military revolt of Beja -- thanks to the aid of Portuguese and Spanish libertarians in exile in Morocco.
10 This verbal explanation was given during a "private news meeting", a few days after the failure of the assassination attempt against Franco in San Sebastian, on 19-8-1962.
11 As the French newspaper L'Indépendent, of August 20, said: "(...) From this, observers deduce that these explosions might simply have been intended to maintain a certain tension after the social agitation of the early summer, by damaging tourism, "the goose that laid the golden egg" of the Spanish economy, with the same blow. Moreover, it might be to limit the damage in this domain that the Spanish press limits its accounts of the explosions."
12Taken from the written declaration made by Ormazabal at the Jefatura Superior de Policía de Bilbao, on June 16, reproduced by Mundo Obrero, of 1-8-1962.
13 A similar intensity and scope were only gained on the occasion of Julian Grimau's trial, and more recently, on the occasion of the Burgos trial.
14The DI had undertaken various steps with the anti-fascist organizations of France and other countries to obtain funds and arms in order to intensify actions against Francoism. Steps which were constantly sabotaged by interference from the exiled political parties. A representative of the Government of the Republic in Exile offered to make a trip to Yugoslavia an personally present Tito with a request for aid.