Joaquín Maurín

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Joaquín Maurín Juliá (or Joaquim Maurín in Catalan; January 12, 1896—November 5, 1973) was a Spanish Communist politician and revolutionary, leader of the Workers and Peasants Bloc (BOC) and of the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM). He was active mainly in Catalonia.

CNT and Profintern[edit]

Born in Bonansa, Huesca (Aragon), Maurín engaged in revolutionary politics from early youth, standing trial on several occasions. After law studies, he practiced in Lleida (Catalonia), where he became affiliated with the Anarchist trade union Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT). In 1920, Joaquín Maurín was elected local secretary for the CNT, as well as the editor of its weekly Lucha Social. In 1921, he represented the movement at the Profintern Congress in Moscow, the capital of Bolshevist Russia. Upon his return, he was elected general secretary of the CNT, shortly before being arrested and detained (February 1922). After his release, Joaquín Maurín founded the Comités Sindicalistas Revolucionarios ("Revolutionary Trade Union Committees") as a Bolshevik group within the CNT. He also gave the Committees their own press tribune, La Batalla (in December).

In the Communist Party[edit]

In 1924, he led his La Batalla into a merger with the Communist Party of Spain, taking charge of organizing the latter's local wing, the Catalan-Balearic Communist Federation (FCCB). During the crackdown on opposition parties ordered by dictator Miguel Primo de Rivera, Maurín was arrested and jailed (January 1925). He was released in 1927, opting to leave Spain for Paris. However, he returned to Barcelona in 1930, and worked for the reanimation of La Batalla in the months before the proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic (early 1931). He became opposed to Stalinist policies in the Soviet Union, taking a stand which saw him grouped with the emergent international Right Opposition. He split with the Spanish Communist Party, leading the FCCB into independent politics (the wing’s place in the Stalinist body was quickly taken over by the Communist Party of Catalonia).

BOC and POUM[edit]

On March 1, 1931, the FCCB joined with the Catalan Communist Party and, in 1933, became the Iberian Communist Federation (declaring its goal to occupy a place on the national stage). The unified body of the FCCB and the Catalan Communist group became the mass front BOC, having Maurín for its general secretary. The party was to reach a dominant position in Catalonia.

During the riots provoked by the centrist stance of the Alejandro Lerroux government in 1934, Maurín advocated the forming of United Front-type Alianzas Obreras ("Workers’ Alliances") throughout Spain (following a pattern that was proving its force in the Asturias). With the indecisive end of the movements, his party opened itself to an alliance with Andreu Nin’s Trotskyist Communist Left of Spain. The merger was carried out in September 1935, when the two groups formed the POUM – Maurín was elected its general secretary.

In line with his views on unified workers’ action, the POUM joined the Spanish Popular Front in the run up for the elections of February 1936. Joaquín Maurín was elected to the Spanish Congress of Deputies on Popular Front lists.

Capture and exile[edit]

With Francisco Franco’s coup d'état in July of the same year and the start of the Spanish Civil War, Maurín found himself in Francoist Galicia. Attempting to escape through Aragon, he was captured in Jaca and detained until 1944. A witness to both the rise of the Francoist dictatorship and the crushing of the POUM by Stalinist forces, he took exile to the United States together with his close family, creating his own press agency and publishing his writings. Maurín died in New York City.

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