[Pg. 2 continuation of Leval's account]

 

The assembly accepts, without unnecessary discussion, the changes recommended and nominates successors. Then the delegate for food supplies has his duties limited in one direction and extended in another.

Another question which is on the agenda: A fairly large group of members of the Collective have just recently withdrawn from it to return to individualist activities. But the Collective which has taken over non-agricultural local production possesses all the bakehouses for breadmaking and the individualists' group claims one.

Faces are serious, concentrated, tense. Women make their comments without raising their voices. A collectivist has the floor:

"We must lend them a bakehouse for a fortnight or a month to give them time to build one for themselves."

"No," replies another, "they should have remained with us. since they have left us, let them get on with it!"

A third declares that there are already too many bakehouses in the village and one must not build any more. many other members expressed themselves with that economy of words which is a characteristic of the Aragonese peasants. When nobody else wishes to speak then the chairman expresses his opinion.

In the first place there is the problem of the smooth running of the economy. To construct another bakehouse is to waste material needed for other uses; it will in due course involve an expense for wood and electricity, which must be avoided, for the repercussions of bad management do not rebound only on the individualists but also on the whole national economy. Now, we must show that we can do better than the capitalists. This is why, instead of increasing the number of bakehouses being used we must even reduce them. Let us therefore make the bread for ourselves and for the individualists. But they will supply us with the amount of flour required to make the amount of bread they need and there will be the same quality of bread for all of us. Besides, we must not refuse bread to the individualists for, in spite of their error they must be in a position to eat, and in a situation in which the present roles were to be reversed, we would be happy if our adversaries did not prevent the collectivists from feeding themselves.

The chairman has convinced the assembly, which, following the comments of some collectivists, approves without dissentients.

The next question concerns the pros and cons of rationing bread. The high family wages [these are wages determined by the size and needs of the worker's family, not by the number of hours worked or the type of work--editor] paid by by the Collective allows them to buy large quantities, which encourages some abuse, and even sometimes inequalities which the Revolution cannot permit. Consequently it is necessary to establish a top limit for consumption to ensure that every family can obtain the quantities it needs but without there being waste.

The assembly accepts rationing, but then a juridical problem is posed: who will apply the measures decided upon, the municipal Council or the Collective? The former covers the whole population; the individualists who represent an eighth, and the Collectivists. If the municipal Council takes charge, rationing will have to be established for everybody. If it's the Collective, the individualists will not consider themselves obliged to respect it. many views are put forward which allow for an assessment of the powers of the two organisations. And it is decided to ask that the municipal Council undertake the task. If it does not accept, the Collective will--at least within the limits of its possibilities.

But the withdrawal of the individualists has posed another problem. many of them have left their old parents on the hands of the Collective, while at the same time setting themselves up on the land which formerly belonged to the old folk they have now abandoned. Those dispossessed have been taken care of by the Collective because they are old and unable to work, but the behaviour of those individualists is unacceptable. What action can be taken?

The chairman, who has outlined the dispute, makes it quite clear from the start that there is no question of expelling the old folk. In any event they will be assisted, but their children must take back their parents or forfeit their land. such is his opinion.

[Continued here]

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