By Juan Antonio Llopart Senent, translated by Fernando Garrayo, originally posted elsewhere in 2012.
Talking nowadays about the National-Syndicalism and about its founder, Ramiro Ledesma Ramos, is at least difficult. It is basically because 37 years after Franco’s death (he died 20th November 1975), the official historians, the media and the most rancorous peoples – whether of the right or the left wings –, without historical rigour, still mistakenly linking, falsely and sometimes intentionally, National-Syndicalism (NS henceforward) with the regime of Franco.
Since 19th April 1937, with the approval of the Decree of Unification with what Franco and Serrano Suñer created that hybrid called FET and of the JONS, resounded at the life of the Spaniards that slogan “For God, Spain and its National-Syndicalist Revolution”, and though indeed, there was a lot of “For God” and a lot of “ITS” Spain, there was not nothing of National-Syndicalist Revolution. The Spanish people lived for almost 40 years wrapped in the National-Syndicalist trappings, but without its essence, the National-Syndicalist spirit and ideology, everything what was presented as such, it was distorted by the elements of the rising regime: technocrats of the Opus Dei, monarchists and reactionary right-wingers, covered all by the Catholic Church and the Army.
Meanwhile, the authentic National-syndicalists were condemned to silence. Manuel Hedilla, 2nd National Chief of FE of the JONS, Ruiz Castillejos, de los Santos, Chamarro, were condemned to death. Félix Gómez and Ángel Alcázar de Velasco, to penal servitude for life. Others, to some years of imprisonment… their crime: to go against the Decree of Unification and the falsification of the NS.
Some National-Syndicalists thought that by going inside the regime of the general Franco they could achieve influence on it. Others, the most decided in the action and in the compromise, opted for the clandestine fight, and the most, accepted the Unification. This attitude was comprehensible in a organisation that was exaggeratedly incremented by elements coming from right-wing and reactionary parties, which pretended to use the NS as political springboard, as well as to turn it in to the truncheon guard of the bourgeoisie´s interests.
It is doubtless that if Ramiro Ledesma had been comprehended when he accussed FE of the JONS of acquiescent with the right wing, if José Antonio Primo de Rivera (founder of Falange, FE) had accepted the criticisms of Ramiro and had not took so long to comprehend them, that the fate of the NS would have been something else. Both died assassinated by the Government of the People’s Front, but both were murdered day after day by the regime of Franco and after this, by all those who, with their blue shirts, their beltings and their hair fixed, made of flashiness, bullying and rightism their found of action, attitude that nothing must envy of what 40 years ago had in Salamanca guys as Dávila, Aznar or Garcerán.
Ramiro Ledesma Ramos, a National-Bolshevik?
If, as I have pointed at former occasions, the National-bolshevism (hereafter NB) is the harmonic union between the most radical conceptions of the national and the social, evidently we can assert that Ramiro Ledesma was a National-Bolshevik. “There are here two words: one, the national idea, the Homeland as historical enterprise and as guarantee of historical existence of all the Spaniards; the other, the social idea, the socialist economy, as guarantee of the bread and economic welfare of all the people” says roundly Ramiro.
Since the beginnings, Ramiro and his Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional Sindicalista (JONS), aspired to attract all the workers to the national cause, as the jonsists wanted “acquire a broad proletarian base”. This inquietude was a faithful reflex of their social extraction: proletarians, peasants and radical cutting intellectuals, vehemently against the bourgeois order. One of the constant fears of Ramiro, one of his most painful worries was that jonsism were confused “with a frivolous and futile task of young gentlemen”.
With the JONS was born in Spain, in words of Ramiro, “a political movement, of national core deep and great social perspectives, rather, socialist ones”. Ramiro has very clear the role of the rights, and he does not hesitate in accuse them as one of the greatest evils that pinch their people, while he does not hesitate either in denouncing the operetta patriotism, “we well know a long time ago what to expect about the rightist patriotism, specially those of the forces more directly clerical and linked to the sacristies. Every day is more evident for us the suspicious that the national weakness of Spain is due, in great part, to “the inoperative patriotism, false and without warm” that till now has ruled, incubated and oriented the right wing”.
In Ramiro, the fate of the community always goes linked to a just distribution of the riches: “The submission of the riches to the national advisabilities, that is to say, to the pushfulness of Spain and the prosperity of the people”. Always there were in the jonsists social and economic consigns. “With we, then the workers; to nationalise the parasitic banking, to nationalise the transports, to cut off the action of the speculating piracy and to exterminate to the great profiteers of products”. The jonsist NS had very clear what had to be the basic aspirations of the community: “The JONS ask and want the nationalisation of the transports, as notorious public service, the control of the financial speculations of the high banking, democratic guarantee of the people´s economy; the regulation of the interest or income produced by the money used in exploitations of national utility; the democratisation of the credit, the benefit of the unions, communal groups and small business; abolition of the forced unemployment, making of the work a right of all the Spaniards, as guarantee against starvation and misery, equality before the State of all the elements that intervene in the production (capital, workers and technicians), and rigorous justice in the responsible for disciplining the national economy organisms; abolition of the abusive privileges and instauration of a hierarchy of the State that reach and be nourished by all the Spanish classes”. These were then the consigns of the JONS. Does anyone doubt of its rotundity and its people´s and revolutionary spirit?
Ramiro, as other National-Bolshevik thinkers of that time, does not hesitate in criticise the fascism when this turns to the right. He says about it: “ …has crushed, in effect, the political institutions of the bourgeoisie and it has given to the proletarians a new moral and a political optimism… but Has it crushed or weaken the great fortresses of the financial capital, the high industrial bourgeoisie and the landowners in benefit the general economy of all the people? And, furthermore, is it actually making possible the elimination of the capitalist system and basing increasingly the regime at the economic interests of the great masses? Without any doubt, with such statements, it is comprehensible and logical that Ramiro were silenced and marginalised by the regime of Franco, inasmuch as it is known by everyone, this was supported to settle on the power, accurately on these great fortresses of the financial capita to which Ramiro refers.
For Ramiro and his JONS, the fascisms of operetta were totally condemnable, “groups without deep dimension, artificial, that import the fascist phenomenon as someone imports any fashion gender”. He shows hard, very hard with these fascist movements of importation when he states that. “Mosley is there out, with his shirts, his fascist party and his mussolinian dreams; as here Primo de Rivera, with a similar team… they have a leader, an aristocrat Duce, millionaire, who spends his money organising the party. Just like that, Mosley, the Englishman, who is Sir, multimillionaire and flamboyant. So is Primo de Rivera, the Spaniard, millionaire and superfine. So is Starhemberg, who is prince and everything else. All of them are soft, doughy, cottony, with good manners, that pretend to implant a Corporate State… They are characterised also for their notorious tendency to disown all people´s angish then they are incubated in privileged social classes and they are linked to all the reactionary forms of the society”.
Ramiro also acquires a revolutionary compromise with the Spanish country. Its words are dialectic bullets against the rural capitalism: “Spanish countrymen: the land is the nation. The peasant who cultivates the land has got the right to its usufruct. The regime of the agrarian property hitherto has been a consented theft and carried out by the Monarchy and its feudal hordes. Countrymen: 147 great landowners have got in their hands more than a million hectares of land. All the land is yours. Demand its nationalization”
These affirmations will affront the sanctimonius minds of the right-wing. A lot of these proposals are totally left by the traditional parties of the left-wing, and even by the most radical leftists.
“Up with the new world! Up with the Spain that we will do!”. These were the jonsist consigns and shouts. They were, without any doubt, new proclamations, shouts of hope, but over all, shouts of revolution. Yes, of revolution, because they were fed-up men of a rotten world, plenty of injustices, of exploited men and exploiters. There was an imperative, popular and revolutionary: to subvert the bourgeois order. And in this task, the JONS fought. Ramiro managed print that spirit between his comrades, who understood the need to distance from the bourgeois vulgarity, to shun from all the old and from all the deciduous.
So the first task of the NS “was to link those two separate ingredients: the national and the social, the Homeland an the Work. That nobody think that the adoption of the term both charming and polemic, of the national-proletarian revolution, were in the founders work of reflexive and cautious tactic, but immediate consequence from living in a deep and endearing manner the history of our time”. These words from Pedro Laín Entralgo newly approximate us to the jonsist aspiration of the social and the national.
The National-Bolsheviks preferred an alliance or rapprochement with the Soviet Russia to an alliance with the occidental democracies, as the Great Britain, fact that differentiate them clearly from the Hitler´s approachs… And in this context, newly we appeal to Pedro Laín Entralgo when he affirms: “As Ramiro Ledesma remarks with dowser sight, the Soviet communism is becoming more and more in a national-communism. Stalin is doing the turn from the world proletarian revolution of Lenin to a national Russian revolution”. These words can seem exaggerated, but Ramiro in some times does similar affirmations: “Russia, with its national-communist regime, with war moral, overarmed, in full experiment of gigantic social subversions, is not yet, of course, the revolutionary country that conspires everyday for the world revolution”. Or when he affirms: “It is the rotund efficacy of the Soviet state, that offers to the Russian people, in a coactive and questionless manner, the possibility of taking august national discipline. Nowadays Stalin guarantee his economic plan brandishing the nationalist Russian fury”.
It is clear that Ramiro was not at all communist, and he himself explain us why: “Against the communism, with its charge of reasons and efficacies, we put on a national idea, that it do not accepts, and that represents for us the beginning of every human enterprise of jaunty range. This national idea contains a culture and some historical values that we recognize as our highest patrimony”.
Go on to part 2, translated by L. Y. Tsang.