Preface to "Protest to the Libertarians"

This appeal[1] from an unknown anarchist militia, part of the famous "Iron Column," appears to be -- even to this day -- the truest and most beautiful text that the Spanish proletarian revolution left us. The contents of this revolution, its intentions and its practice are coldly and passionately summarized in it. The principal causes of its failure are denounced: those that proceeded from the constant counter-revolutionary action of the Stalinists relieved the disarmed bourgeois forces under the Republic, and the constant concessions of the leaders of the CNT-FAI (here bitterly evoked by the term "our own") from July 1936 to March 1937. Those who proudly claimed the title, then insulting, of incontrolado [uncontrollable] proved to have the greatest historical and strategic sense. One had made the revolution half-way, forgetting that time does not stand still. "Yesterday, we were the masters of everything; today, they are." At that time, the libertarians of the "Iron Column" could no longer "continue until the end," together. After having lived such a great moment, it was no longer possible to "to separate us, to leave each other, to no longer see each other again." But all the rest had been repudiated and squandered.

This text, mentioned in the work by Burnett Bolloten,[2] was published by Nosotros, an anarchist daily newspaper in Valencia, [in installments] on 12, 13, 15, 16 and 17 March 1937. On 21 March, the "Iron Curtain" was integrated into the "Popular Army" of the Republic under the name of the 83rd Brigade. On 3 May, the armed uprising of the workers in Barcelona was disavowed by its leaders, who succeeded in putting down it on 7 May. There would then remain two Statist powers of the counter-revolution, the strongest of which would win the Civil War.

Guy Debord

[1] Translator's note: Protest to the Libertarians of the present and the future about the capitulations of 1937, by an "Uncontrollable" in the Iron Column, was translated from the Spanish by "two aficionados without qualities," that is to say, Guy Debord and Alice Becker-Ho. It was published in French by Editions Gerard Lebovici in December 1979. Translated from the French by NOT BORED! June 2007.

[2] Translator's note: The Great Camouflage by Burnett Bolloten (1961), published in 1977 by Ruedo iberico under the title The Spanish Revolution, the Left and the Struggle for Power.

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