Lifelong Learning Programme (LLP)

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


The Asturian miner’s strike of 1934 was a rebellion that took place in October of 1934. It was caused by Asturian miners who went on strike against the entry of the Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Rights (CEDA) into the Spanish government. Miners were alarmed because they did not want the Republic to be controlled by the right as it was happening in other European countries.

This was to be supposed to be part of a general strike promoted by socialists in the whole country but it only succeeded in Asturias due to the support of the Anarchist party CNT. Together with the CNT, there were other socialist parties involved like UGT.  In some mining towns of Asturias, local unions started to keep weapons and were determined to go on strike. The strike started on October the 4th when the miners occupied several towns and attacked local and Civil Assault barracks. They organized a Red Army ( Ejército Rojo) made up of 30,000 soldiers, most of them workers and miners. Oviedo was taken by October the 6th. Then the miners went on to occupy other towns, especially the industrial area of La Felguera and the weapon factories of la Trubia and La Vega .In order to control the occupied areas, they organized revolutionary committees.

However, the uprising was harshly crushed by the government of Alejandro Lerroux, who appointed Franco to lead the army to put an end to the revolt. Franco was helped by the colonial troops from Spanish Morocco because the government did not want to lose peninsular young lives and the colonial troops were more experienced in violent combats. The troops were deployed in four fronts: The first advanced from the South through Puerto de Pajares; the second attacked in the North through the disembark of Gijón ; the third came from the West, from Galicia; finally, the fourth advanced from the East through Santander . Franco was convinced that the revolt had been planned by agents of Moscow and thought he should stop the uprising. As a result, 1,700 miners and workers died and 30,000 were arrested. On the other side, 230-260 members of the army forces were killed. The government closed most of the left’s newspapers as they thought they promoted the revolt.  They also suspended lots of town councils and many prisoners were tortured. 

There were lots of families affected by this revolt including my granparents’ family who lived in Asturias at that time. They had to run away from Asturias when the revolt started because they were scared of the violence.    

Despite having failed, the Asturian revolution became a myth for the European and Spanish socialist left and it was compared to the Paris Commune or the Petrograd Soviet of 1917 because it was the last social revolution of Western Europe.


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