The GPU orders a Novel
Transcribed: Ted Crawford
HTML Markup: David Walters
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (marxists.org) 2005. You can freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit the Marxists Internet Archive as your source, include the url to this work, and note the transcribers & proofreaders above.
By André MALRAUX
511 pages New York. Random House. $3.
These omissions are supplemented by deliberate falsifications. The book opens in Madrid for one purpose: to give the reader the false impression that the fascists were first defeated here; the actual issue was first decided by the CNT workers in Barcelona July 19, 1936 when, refused arms by the government, the masses nevertheless by sheer numbers and heroism, conquered the revolting troops. Only then, with the workers triumphant and in power in Catalonia, did the government at Madrid agree to arm the workers. Malraux’s “poetic license” enables him in the first paragraph of his book to say that “the government had decided to arm the people”. When Malraux does turn to the Barcelona events, he has the effrontery to describe the fighting workers as “the forces of the Popular Front” (p.20); they were, of course, the CNT and POUM workers who were not dragged into the Popular Front by their leaders until months later and whose freedom from the Popular Front government enabled them to act independently and in spite of the Popular Front government in saving Catalonia on July 19.
It is a matter of historical record that the struggle in the Barcelona streets was entirely in the hands of the workers; the government leaders were nowhere to be seen; such police as remained loyal played an extremely minor role. But in Malraux’s book the historical record is perverted to justify the Stalinist subordination of the workers to the Popular Front government. Incredibly, the most famous event in the Barcelona fighting—the storming of the Atarazanas barracks by the masses under the leadership of the two most outstanding anarchist leaders, Ascaso and Durruti (Ascaso was killed in the battle)—receives one line in this book, and that in the form of a radio report, while pages are devoted to the exploits of the Barcelona police!
The completely fraudulent character of this book is revealed by this incident, among others:
Puig (anarchist leader) entered...
“Where can we be of the most use?” he asked. “I’ve a thousand men.”
“Nowhere; all’s well for the moment. But they’ll be trying to get out of the barracks—from Atarazana anyhow. You’d better stay around for half an hour; you men may come in very handy any moment.” (p.29.)