Courtesy Reuters

Mass Movements in Spain

SPAIN has been widely pictured as in the grip of communist mobs engaged in arson, murder and plunder. Yet if we look closely at the forces of mass revolution on the march there we see that as yet the Moscow variety of communism is merely a detail on the canvas. To this particular observer at any rate, the cause of democracy has seemed to be on a firmer footing since Azaña became Prime Minister a few days after the elections of February 16 than when he first took office after the Republican revolution of April 14, 1931. However, in Spain the tides of political action have a way of veering suddenly in the night; and so it remains to be seen what will be the effect of Azaña's translation to the presidency on May 11.

Immediately after the declaration of the Republic in 1931 a violent antagonism asserted itself between the revolutionary masses (except the Socialists) and the government. If one looks back at the news reports of the first two years one reads about wave upon wave of revolutionary outbreak. Finally, even the Socialists abandoned the government. The 1936 Azaña ministry, however, came into power on the basis not only of a binding agreement with a number of "proletarian" parties but of a certain toleration by other revolutionary groups. Moreover, when the new government took hold it showed that it was cognizant of those past errors which made its predecessors distrusted. So far the parties have shown a loyal disposition to abide by the terms of the pact. The resulting stability is a fact, notwithstanding the scattered incidents of mob action which in their global aspect are somewhat appalling. This gives grounds for hope that the government, by adopting a realistic attitude toward the disorders, by refusing to be incited to undue acts of retaliation and repression, and by an understanding attitude toward the needs of labor, may avert the prophesied red doomsday.

As to the long list of church and convent burnings

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