Position of Freemasons in the Popular Front
From Our Special Correspondent
News comes from Barcelona of serious dissensions amongst the various parties in control of the city, and of a new Catalonian Government being formed, in which Communists would be excluded. Whether this marks an attempt on the part of the Catalonians to shake off the yoke of Moscow or is but another camouflage whereby non-Communists are to screen the Communists directing behind the scenes, only the future will show.
That Communists Will not surrender Barcelona without a struggle is apparent from information published by Nachricluendienst upon the transfer of Komintern headquarters from Moscow. For a long time the bosses of international Communism had felt it imperative to establish headquarters outside the U.S.S.R., and this especially after the admission of Soviet Russia to the League of Nations, since an identification of the Komintern with the Government of the Soviet Union had become particularly embarrassing for both.
Moreover, it was always felt that Moscow was but the first stage on the way to world revolution and that, in order to intensify propaganda in Europe, another centre was desirable.
In turn Amsterdam, Antwerp, London, Paris and Prague were considered and rejected. Each of these places presented advantages but also drawbacks, the greatest of which was insecurity — no government, unless it were completely controlled by Communists. would for long tolerate on its territory such a centre of revolt and propaganda.
The Land of Opportunity
The revolution in Spain opened new possibilities, and Barcelona was selected for The Komintern's capital.
Rumours are current that Dimitrov is there to decide whether the transfer is feasible. As things stand, the possibility of an " independent " Catalonian Soviet Republic is still being contemplated, and the province is transformed into a Soviet military base.
The Treaty concerning the freedom of the Dardanelles, which so rejoiced League experts, gave Moscow the chance of transporting war material and men to Spain. The so-called " International Brigade " has developed into a whole army of the Communist International, ready to be used at any spot of Europe where the necessity might arise. As Mario Nicoletti, " political commissar of the International Brigade,"
has declared, " the Brigade is by its constitution and aims ... the Brigade of Europe's popular front."
Should a Catalonian Soviet republic be formed, naturally its independence would only be nominal, all real power being vested in Moscow. It is significant that the new Soviet constitution in Art. 14 foresees the " Admission of new Soviet republics to the U.S.S.R."—is Catalonia to be the first of these republics?
The same Nachrichtendienst points out the role played by freemasonry in Spain.
As a rule freemasons are reluctant to adver tise their activities, yet here they were compelled to reveal it. The majority of free
masons being wealthy and influential men, the Reds might mistake them for " bourgeoise" hence this public elucidation of the position of freemasonry in Spain.
Two declarations were made in the press. The first in A.B.C. (October 20), a paper now entirely under Communist control: " The Spanish freemasonry is completely, totally. and absolutely on the side of the Popular Front, on that of the lawful Government, and against Fascism."
The declaration then proceeds to explain that the above is proved by " innumerable freemasons fighting on all battle-fronts and occupying prominent positions in the defence, political, as well as in the Labour organisations; the numerous airmen, sailors and soldiers who belong to freemasonry and resolutely joined the Government at the outbreak of the Fascist revolution witness
to our present declaration. Those who failed to do this are traitors to freemasonry."
The Barcelona paper, El Dia Grafico (October 15) was even more explicit : " Thanks to the wise foresight of the freemasons a greater part of the Guardia civil ' and the ' Guardia de asalto ' were in the hands of trustworthy republicans already before August 18. It was due to freemasons that the greater part of the Navy joined the people's front and that their rebellious officers were arrested • . . The commanders on most of our army front are freemasons. Most of those who keep up the fire in the press, the tribune, and on the wireless are freemasons, also those who have prepared the victory by stages, and lastly those who abroad insist that neutrality should be given up."