Camacho Abad, Marcelino

Camacho Abad, Marcelino
b. 1918, Osma la Rasa (Soria)
   Trade union leader
   Camacho is generally considered the outstanding leader in the Spanish trade union movement of the last four decades. His name is closely associated with the struggle against the statecontrolled syndicates imposed on the working class by the Franco regime. After the dictator's death he played a central role in the reestablishment of free trade unions.
   Camacho joined the PCE (Spanish Communist Party) when he was seventeen and has been a party member ever since. He fought in the Civil War on the Republican side, and at the end of the war was condemned to twelve years in prison, but in 1943 he escaped from the African labour camp where he was serving part of his sentence. After some years in exile, he was allowed back into Spain in 1957, at a time of profound social and economic change. Employed as a turner by Perkins Hispania in Madrid, he immersed himself in clandestine trade union activities, becoming a major force in the creation of CC OO (Comisiones Obreras). He was imprisoned on numerous occasions, and was one of the accused in the renowned Proceso 1001 concluded on 23 December 1973, coincidentally the day Carrero Blanco was assassinated. Camacho received a twenty year sentence, later reduced to six years, and he was finally amnestied by the first post-Franco government. His political and trade union involvement continued, if anything more intensively, after Franco's death. In line with the policy of PCE and CC OO, he initially supported the idea of a ruptura or clean break with the dictatorial past, but soon accepted the inevitability of a legal transition towards democracy. In 1976 he was appointed secretary general of CC OO and as a communist candidate in Madrid he gained a parliamentary seat in the 1977 and 1979 general elections. He took part in the negotiations of the Moncloa Pacts, which led to his being accused of subordinating the workers" interests to those of the party. Camacho has always rejected such suggestions and to prove his point he gave up his parliamentary seat in 1981. Throughout the 1980s he was a vociferous opponent of the policies of successive socialist governments, and was involved in the anti-NATO campaign in 1986. At the 1987 congress of CC OO Camacho stepped down as secretary general. In recognition of his long career he was honoured with the post of union president. From that position he has exercised the patriarchal role of the retired charismatic leader.
   See also: political parties; politics
   Further reading
   - Camacho, M. (1976) Charlas en la prisión, Barcelona: Laia (autobiographical reflections).
   —— (1990) Confieso que he luchado, Barcelona: Temas de Hoy (autobiographical work).
   - Gil, F. (1989), Hay otro socialismo. Conversaciones con Marcelino Camacho, Madrid: C.C.G.L (a good summary of Camacho's views on politics and trade unionism).
   - Ruiz, D. (ed.) (1993), Historia de Comisiones Obreras (1958-1988), Madrid: Siglo XXI (provides a detailed background for some of Camacho's most active years).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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