Manuel Fernández-Grandizo y Martínez (18-4-1912 / 4-2-1989), known by the pseudonym “G. Munis”, was born in Torreón (Mexico) to a family originally from Extremadura, Spain. He started his political activities at a very early age. He took part in the peasant strikes of Llerena.
Having completed his military service, in early 1934 he was named representative of the (Trotskyist) Izquierda Comunista (“Communist Left”) in the Alianza Obrera (“Workers’ Alliance”) of Madrid. After the insurrection of October ‘34, he was imprisoned. He opposed the merger of the Izquierda Comunista with the Bloque Obrero y Campesino (“Workers and Peasants Bloc”), led by Maurin, to form the POUM.
In Barcelona in November 1936, he founded the pro-Fourth International Bolshevik-Leninist Section of Spain (SBLE), which published a newsletter starting in January 1937 and in April took the name La Voz Leninista (“The Leninist Voice”), which criticized the CNT and the POUM, their collaboration with the government of the republican bourgeoisie, while advocating the formation of a Frente Obrero Revolucionario (“Revolutionary Workers Front”) to take over power, bring about revolution, and lead the war.
In late April 1937, Munis and Benjamin Peret went to Paris to get in touch with the international organization. Munis returned in late May, probably accompanied by Erwin Wolf. During the uprising, known as the Hechos de Barcelona (“Barcelona May Days”) in May 1937, only the Agrupación de Los Amigos de Durruti (“Friends of Durruti Group”) and the SBLE put out leaflets calling for a continuation of the struggle and opposition to the cease-fire.
Munis and most of the SBLE militants were jailed on February 13, 1938. They spent a month in solitary confinement and were tortured in a Stalinist checa run by Julian Grimau. On March 11, 1938 he entered the Modelo Prison. The prosecutor requested the death penalty for Munis, Domenico Sedran (“Adolfo Carlini”) and Jaime Fernández. In mid-October, Munis testified at the trial against the POUM, thus taking the role of leader of the Trotskyists and relieving the POUM of that accusation.
Munis managed to flee to France as part of a group of political prisoners. In late 1939 and thanks to his Mexican nationality, he managed to travel to Mexico where he established a frequent personal relationship with Leon Trotsky and his wife Natalia Sedova. Trotsky put him in charge of running the Mexican section. In May 1940 he participated in the Emergency Conference of the Fourth International.
In August 1940, following the assassination of Trotsky (at whose funeral he spoke), he repeatedly intervened in the proceedings against his assassin (Mercader) on behalf of the prosecution.
In 1941 he joined the French Surrealist poet Benjamin Péret, also in exile in Mexico, and Natalia Sedova, in criticism of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP), the American Trotskyist organization, which sided with one side of the imperialist war (WWII), that is, the anti-fascist one, and still considered the USSR to be a degenerate “worker” state.
The discrepancies between the Spanish group and the direction of the Fourth International were increasingly wide and becoming insurmountable. The positions of Munis, Péret and Natalia Sedova found some support in a few sections of the Fourth International. They published several pamphlets in which they developed their theories on the nature of the Russian state, defined as state capitalism, on the imperialist war that the revolutionaries had to transform into revolutionary war against their own bourgeoisie, on the Spanish civil war and the counter-revolutionary role played by Stalinism, in addition to their criticism of the Fourth International.
Once Munis and Péret were established in France in 1948, there was a definitive break with Trotskyism at the Second Congress of the Fourth International.
In March 1951, during the general street car strike in Barcelona, the Internationalist Communist Group (ICG) led by Munis threw leaflets, in which they defended the spontaneous nature of the movement, unlike Franco’s propaganda that attributed it to the oft-repeated Masons and Stalinists paid by Moscow gold.
Because of these leaflets and the pamphlets denouncing the Stalinist counter-revolutionary policy in Spain, Munis and other members of ICG were arrested in December 1952. Munis received parole in June 1957. He went to France where he resumed his political activities. In 1958 he, along with the French poet Benjamin Péret, Jaime Fernandez, and other former comrades founded the group FOR (International Communist Current), which published Alarma. Benjamin Péret died in 1959.
In Milan, he wrote and published two of his most important theoretical texts: Los sindicatos contra la revolución in 1960 and Pro Segundo Manifiesto Comunista in 1961.
Between 1977 and 1981 and stemming from the democratic transition, there was a new revival of FOR in Spain. In April 1977, issue number 1 of the third installment of Alarma was published. Also in 1977 came Reafirmación, an epilogue to the new edition that the publisher Zero-Zyx released of his book on the Spanish Civil War: Jalones de derrota, promesa de victoria.
Dedicated to the organizational work of FOR, Munis never abandoned his theoretical work activism. At the time of his death, he left us a completed new book, previously unreleased, dedicated to the study of the State and the pressing need for its destruction in our time.
Munis died in Paris on February 4, 1989. We have seen the posthumous translation into French and Italian of his book Jalones de derrota, promesa de victoria, and an edition of his Collected Works is slated for publication.