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Labor Action, 16 January 1950


Wilebaldo Solano

Spanish Labor’s Appeal: Stop U.S. Aid to Franco

(30 December 1949)


From Labor Action, Vol. 14 No. 3, 16 January 1950, p. 1.
Transcribed & marked up by Einde O’Callaghan for ETOL.


PARIS, Dec. 30 – The founding conference of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions at London took up the Spanish question, as is customary in all international working-class bodies.

On the initiative of the General Union of Workers of Spain [illegal republican trade-union federation] the new world trade-union organization explicitly came out against all economic aid by the capitalist powers to the Franco regime and especially against any attempt to bring the Spanish totalitarian tyranny into what is sometimes called “the union of the free peoples.”

Those who were in London reported that its condemnation of Francoism was one of the most emotional scenes at the conference. We do not intend to cast doubt on this. It is a well-known fact that emotion has never been lacking at international workers’ congresses whenever the tragedy of the Spanish working class is brought up.

But more than five months ago the Spanish workers demanded from our class brothers of the entire world something more tangible and effective than emotional gestures and resolutions on paper. We asked for action – positive, concrete and effective action.

This time, something which is of great significance under the present circumstances took place in London. The representatives of three great U.S. labor organizations – CIO, AFL and the miners’ union – denounced and condemned the plans of the Yankee capitalist and military circles who want to come to the aid of the dying Spanish dictatorship.

Until now, mere words – resounding words which tempered, to a certain degree, the legitimate skepticism of not a few Spanish workers. But the situation demands much more, rapidly, without delay.

Franco has no hope of salvation except the assistance of U.S. finance capital. He begs for it anxiously. To get it he offers everything from strategic raw materials to the blood of Spanish youth.

The recent parade to Madrid of Yankee generals, admirals and government representatives proves that Franco relies on active and devoted allies in various U.S. circles. Under such circumstances, before the international situation develops further, it is no exaggeration to say that the immediate fate of the Spanish people is in the hands of the labor movement of the U.S.

By using all of their immense resources, the powerful labor organizations of the U.S. can easily prevent Wall Street and Washington from actively helping to save the Franco regime from disaster.

Time to Act!

The time has come for the CIO, the AFL and the United Mine Workers to translate the London labor congress’s declarations into deeds.

At his December 14 press conference in Washington, Secretary of State Acheson declared that the United States feels that the admission of Spain into certain special bodies of the UN can perhaps be prepared. Acheson added that, once this takes place, results would accrue on both sides which would permit Spain’s reconciliation with some of her European neighbors.

A few days later Republican leader Vandenberg called for the sending of an ambassador to Madrid and the inclusion of the “Spanish bastion” in the organization of Atlantic strategy. The same thing has just been asked, in truly scandalous phrases, by Democratic Senator Connally.

The Franco press, as usual, is ringing bells in jubilation. Its rejoicing is premature. But it is not our job to minimize the dangers which face us.

Leon Blum [French socialist leader] wrote some time ago that in 1945 “a single gesture” of the great powers would have been enough to end the Franco tyranny. Indalecio Prieto [Spanish socialist leader] wrote a few weeks ago that the Spanish workers grumble about why Franco has not been overthrown by those who can do it with “a single puff.”

At the beginning of 1950 no one expects the “gesture” of Blum or the “puff” of Prieto. But all of the Spanish workers swallow their bitterness and still hope that the labor movement of the United States will not be found failing in militant solidarity in these ominous times.

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