The narrator asks the old man, “What politics have you?” The old man answers that he is "without politics.”
The narrator is a soldier and works as a scout for a group of soldiers who are fighting the fascists. His work entails monitoring the grounds to observe the movement of the approaching enemies. The non-fascist soldiers are friendly to the villagers and are helping to evacuate them to safer grounds. The mention of the fascists means that this is a political war. This could be the reason why the narrator wants to know the old man’s political affiliation. Perhaps, if the old man had been sympathetic to the fascists’ ideology, he might have had a small chance of survival. However, the old man does not have any political affiliations.
The old man’s age hampers his escape from the approaching fascists. He has already walked over twelve kilometers and cannot walk anymore. It is heartbreaking to observe the hopelessness of the old man’s situation. He sits by the roadside because he cannot walk any further. In fact, he does not even see the need to get to the trucks headed for Barcelona because he knows nobody in Barcelona; he has no living relations, except for his animals—the cat, goats, and pigeons. Thus, having lost all hope for his escape, he is left worrying about the animals that he has left behind in San Carlos. One wonders why none of the evacuees offers assistance to the elderly man.