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Andrés Nin

Andrés Nin i Pérez
Born February 4, 1892(1892-02-04)
El Vendrell, Spain
Died June 20, 1937 (aged 45)
near Madrid
Nationality Spanish
Known for founding the Communist Party of Spain

Andrés Nin Pérez, (Catalan: Andreu Nin i Pérez; February 4, 1892, El Vendrell, TarragonaâJune 20, 1937, near Madrid) was a Spanish Communist revolutionary.

Contents

[edit] Early life

Born to a poor family (his father was a shoemaker and his mother was a peasant), Nin moved to Barcelona shortly before World War I; he taught briefly in a secular anarchist school, but soon became a journalist and activist. In 1917 he joined the Spanish Socialist Workers' Party (PSOE).

Nin became a leader of the Spanish workers' movement, and was among the founders of the Communist Party of Spain (PCE). He consequently worked for the Comintern and Red International of Labour Unions (RILU or Profintern) in the Soviet Union and was on the staff of Leon Trotsky for a period. While in Russia, he was won to the Left Opposition which confronted Joseph Stalin's ascending faction within the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

When he returned to Spain, Nin was instrumental in forming the Communist Left of Spain (ICE) the self-designated Leninist group affiliated to the International Left Opposition (ILO). However, the ICE was a small group and largely isolated. Nin had a number of disagreements with Trotsky in this period, specifically when Trotsky advised the ICE leader that entry into the Spanish Socialist Youth would augment the forces at their disposal, while Nin advocated forming of a united party with the Workers and Peasants Bloc (BOC), a group coming out of the communist movement but seen as being on its right wing.

[edit] POUM

Plaque honoring Andrés Nin at the historical site of the POUM headquarters on La Rambla, Barcelona

Eventually Nin broke with Trotsky and the ILO on this question, and the merger went ahead. He (along with Joaquín Maurín) formed the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (POUM) in 1935, as a Communist alternative to the Comintern-loyalist PCE.

After the Spanish region of Catalonia saw its regional government reinstated by the Spanish Republic in the opening phase of the Spanish Civil War, Nin joined the devolved government, Generalitat, in Catalonia, headed by Lluís Companys, as Councillor of Justice. As Spain's communists gained sway in the Republican government, they moved to purge ex-Communists and those independent of Moscow out of the government. Nin left office on December 16, 1936, concluding a controversial tenure.

Following the violent "May Days" of Barcelona, on June 16, 1937 the government, under further Communist sway, declared POUM illegal. Nin and most of the leadership of POUM were arrested and sent to a camp near Madrid. Andreu Nin was tortured and murdered, under the supervision of the NKVD. Some claim the Republican Government's secret police killed Nin on June 20, with the involvement of "Comandante Contreras" Vittorio Vidali, and Iosif Grigulevich.

One account suggests German members of the (Communist-run) International Brigades killed Nin in a fake Nazi "liberation," while others have suggested he was taken to Russia for execution. Regardless, Nin's fate was kept secret by those involved, resulting in a clandestine POUM campaign asking Juan Negrín's new government: Gobierno Negrín: â¿dónde est¡ Nin? ("To the government of Negrín: where is Nin?").

As an answer, the propaganda launched by the PCE proclaimed: En Salamanca o en Berlín ("Either in Salamanca [deep in the territory controlled by Francisco Franco's forces] or Berlin [in Nazi Germany]"), elaborating the slander campaign alleging that Nin was a fascist.

[edit] Ian Fleming reference

In the James Bond novel From Russia, with Love, Ian Fleming took advantage of the mystery surrounding the precise circumstances of Nin's death. According to Fleming's fictional account, Rosa Klebb - the book's main villainess - had been Nin's co-worker and mistress between 1935 and 1937, while in fact being an agent of the OGPU; it was she who murdered him, on orders from Moscow; and it was this coup which put her on the road to high power within the Soviet espionage apparatus.

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