Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Spain's Eurocommunists lose out to pro-Soviets

A split between hard-line pro-Soviets and a majority of Eurocommunists in Spain's Communist Party has delivered yet another blow to Eurocommunism. By a vote of 424 to 359, the Catalan branch of the Communist Party, numerically the country's most important branch, elected to suppress the term "Eurocommunism." The result was a watering-down in the party resolutions of all references to the Soviet Union.

Although only five of the 37 members on the Spanish Central Committee are resolutely pro-Soviet, the virtual collapse of detente and a massive decline in the Communist membership in Spain because of internal bickering have paved the way for the hard-liners' comeback. The stand by the Catalan Communists, better known as the PSUC or Partido Socialista Unificado de Cataluna, represents yet another weakening of Eurocommunism.

About these ads

The movement, which has been running out of steam in recent years, is an attempt by Western European communist leaders to work within the democratic parliamentary system and to act more independently from Moscow.

The struggle between hard-liners and Eurocommunists became even more apparent in Western Europe last year.

Georges Marchais, secretary general of the French Communist Party, switched tracks and joined the pro-Soviet camp, backing Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. Also, Enrico Berlinguer, the head of the Italian Communist Party and Santiago Carrillo, secretary general of the Spanish Communist Party both visited China. Mr. Berlinguer threatened to break off relations with Russia in the case of a major development in Poland.

The struggle repeated itself in Spain. In 1977 the Asturias branch of the party in north- west Spain voted out its Eurocommunists executive. Then, halfway through last year there was a wrangle between hard-liners and Eurocommunists over which group should direct Mundo Obrero, the Communist party daily newspaper.

Adding to Carrillo's troubles were disputes between Leninists and non-Leninists and between old-time Communist veterans who fought during the Spanish civil war and a younger generation of intellectuals.

The Spanish Communist Party also saw itself excluded from power late in 1978 with the breakdown in consensus politics between Communists, Socialists, and the ruling Democratic Center Union party. More importantly, there was a breakdown in the unity of Spain's left-wing parties and unions when the socialist union reached a two-year pact with Spanish employers early last year. The larger communist union, the Confederation of Workers Commissions, were left out in the cold.

Against this background, the struggle between hard-liners and Eurocummunists in Spain is not over yet.

About these ads

Mr. Carrillo called an emergency meeting of Communist leaders in Madrid over the weekened in an attempt to iron out the differences. But this proved fruitless. The PSUC is determin ed not to budge from its pro-Soviet line.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.