Circular from the MLE Exiles Commission in England [1940]

Image(s) of document JLS.990/1.1/ Circular issued to the comrades from the Commission of the Spanish Libertarian Movement Exiled in England, dealing with economic issues and the current situation in France]

London, 6 February 1940

Dear comrades:

On the 1st of this month we received the sum of £10 from SIA England, forwarded to this body by our comrade Emma Goldman and intended for the Spanish comrades from our movement living in England.

We had thought, initially, to divide this sum among all of us here, which would have resulted in each comrade’s receiving around 2/6; a sum that would not only not have rescued anyone from difficulty, but which would even have been frittered away on delivery charges. In the light of which we felt it more appropriate to hold on to that sum in order to attend to the more urgent needs of comrades in need who have no other means of accessing it: circumstances such as illness, medical costs or other unavoidable and, for the time being, unaffordable outlay, unless we have some small fund enabling us to do so.

The sum is not a very large one and therefore great things cannot be achieved with it, but the entire sum is at the disposal of the comrades who may at any time need it and who can submit a reasoned and timely request.

We would remind all comrades that they should get in touch with us should they find employment, and also fill us in on the conditions of same, etc., as well as when they leave that employment, so that unemployed comrades may be kept fully informed and, should the opportunity arise, apply for the vacancy. Let us also remind them to abide by the accord passed at the meeting on 1 December last regarding the weekly dues of one shilling payable by those comrades who are in employment, if this had not yet been done; as well as abiding by the accord, this should be done from the first of the current year so that we can begin our bookkeeping from that date.

We have not taken our eye off events in Spain and in this regard we can inform you that our Movement has reorganized over there, underground, with all of its Regionals up and running again according to our information, as is the National Committee in a certain city and with every passing day the situation in the interior is less able to bear the squabbling between all the would be “commanders”. All manner of rumours are in circulation regarding this and they will surely have reached your ears – stuff such as the restoration of the monarchy and other matters of that sort. But it is our belief that none of this signifies anything beyond the monarchists’ keeping their irons hot in the current situation when discontent among every class in society is unanimously against the “established regime” (The latter being real and effective.) The repression has been stepped up to an incalculable extent, affecting every social class, including those that reckoned they were going to be liberated from the “red hordes”, with the numbers of those held in the prisons and concentration camps amounting to a million individuals, ensuring that the discontent is continually on the increase. It also seems to be the case that, even though the number of death sentences handed down is very high, these have been [only] formally carried out [i.e. commuted] to an undue extent thus far, although murder remains the order of the day under the supervision of the Falange. [ie the Falange seems to have been particularly keen to carry them out.]

It is not our intention to raise hopes on the basis of all of the above, nor to shatter illusions, but, rather, to give some idea of what is going on over there and to monitor all events, of whatever sort, that many come to pass. Which is all for now, yours fraternally as ever,

J. G. Barbera

[The division of the ten old pounds suggests the Commission of the Spanish Libertarian Movement Exiled in England was responsible for 80 anarchist exiles in Britain. KSL]

The Archivo General offers this summary of the institutional Record:

“Initially, once the Civil War ended, there was a Delegation of the MLE-CNT General Council in Great Britain, but, due to differences with the Council, the bulk of the British exiles set up a Provisional ML Liaison Commission which opposed the General Council’s line, accusing the latter of tail-ending the Negrin government. From 1945 on, a new name was adopted – “MLE-CNT. British Committee”, at the insistence of the General Council in France. The ensuing split saw the creation of a CNT Delegation that looked to the National Committee inside Spain.”

Translated by: Paul Sharkey.