This introduction originally written in 1995 points out that the new generation of young workers and youth should learn the lessons of history. The tragedy of the Spanish revolution is a painful lesson of cynical betrayal. We must learn from the defeats as well as the victories of working people to prepare ourselves for the future.

On the 80th anniversary of the Asturian Commune we are publishing an article originally written ten years ago. During the Commune the mining and industrial region of Asturias in Spain witnessed one of the most fascinating revolutions in the history of the 20th century. During the course of 15 days men and women fought to establish a new society free of exploitation and ruled by the principles of workers’ democracy. This was the beginning of the Asturian Commune.

Women have traditionally been regarded as a backward layer of society and a bulwark of the Church and reaction. This "backward" character, however, is not something innate to women, as the bourgeoisie would like us to believe. The explanation for this is not to be found in any biological differences, but in the double exploitation that women suffer under capitalism. As Bebel succinctly put it, "The female sex suffers doubly: on the one hand suffering under the social dependence on men... and on the other hand, through the economic dependence to which they are all subject, as women in general, and as proletarian women in particular; in the same way as proletarian men." (A. Bebel, Women and Socialism, - an abridged version of this work is available at http//www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/bebel/index.htm).

In 1973, as the situation in Spain moved towards revolution and final overthrow of the hated Franco regime, Ted Grant wrote this document drawing all the lessons from those tumultuous events.