Spanish Civil War anniversary - Are we doing anything?

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Pilgrim
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Jan 11 2006 08:38
Spanish Civil War anniversary - Are we doing anything?

Maybe it's a little early to be thinking of Summer events, but I was wondering what (if anything) the AF would be doing to commemorate the start of the Spanish Civil War?

Anarchists played a major role in the Spanish Civil War, and I think it would be only fair to acknowledge the role played by foreign volunteers (and, of course, the Spanish workers themselves) in fighting the war.

I've just signed up as a member of the International Brigades Memorial Trust, so I would presume they will be doing things this Summer. I realise some may have issues with the International Brigades from an Anarchist standpoint seeing as the International Brigades were led by the Stalinists, but I feel that those who died in the fight against Fascism (irrespective of their political affiliation) are worthy of dignified and respectful remembrance, and are (or should be) above mere sectarianism.

It would be nice to see the AF, Class War and Solfed working together on this one.

Thoughts?

Opinions?

Steve
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Jan 11 2006 11:27

We’ve been talking about doing something in Preston. Our original idea was to have an exhibition in the Harris Museum public gallery but the bastards have closed it as part of cut backs so that’s out.

We are planning to have our annual Reclaim Mayday event (maybe working again with Lancaster anarchists) so we may use the Spanish Revolution as a theme for it and then just storm the Town Hall in July. tongue

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PaulMarsh
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Jan 11 2006 11:51
Pilgrim wrote:

It would be nice to see the AF, Class War and Solfed working together on this one.

Thoughts?

Opinions?

Indeed.

We did talk about doing a fund raising 70th anniversary calendar, and one of the reasons we did not was because we were pessimistic about the Anarchist movement working together on something where both money and politics was involved.

Would be nice to be proved wrong!

Con Carroll
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Jan 11 2006 13:46

pilgrim

it is good to know I am not the only one who has been thinking about this

if people whotellus that they are anti fascists anti racists who cant work together to commerate 70 anniversary of the Spanish civil war,

without their egos getting in the way.

then they should do us a favour and fuck off

Pilgrim
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Jan 11 2006 14:20
Con Carroll wrote:
pilgrim

it is good to know I am not the only one who has been thinking about this

if people whotellus that they are anti fascists anti racists who cant work together to commerate 70 anniversary of the Spanish civil war,

without their egos getting in the way.

then they should do us a favour and fuck off

It isn't as though they would have to work together for more than a few weeks at the most to get some local events going up and down the country.

This, I feel, is one of the reasons people write Anarchists off. They see little groups who are more interested in settling personal scores than doing some good.

For fucks sake, everybody!

Lets just, for the few weeks it would take to organsise some small commemorative events, take our heads out of our arses and actually make something happen for a change!

I'll be trying to arrange something locally, but if even that is impossible I'll be at the annual International Brigade Memorial Trust ceremony in London.

Lets have a little more unity and a bit less egomania and make this a dignified and respectful remembrance of our predecessors.

Please.

Con Carroll
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Jan 12 2006 13:09

should people keep in their minds Sat July 15?

the Internatinal brigades memorial trust are organising a event in London.

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the button
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Jan 12 2006 13:16

http://www.international-brigades.org.uk/events.htm

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rat
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Jan 13 2006 19:47

Hi,

I was just wondering…

Is it really sectarianism to also remember the role that Leninism, through the Comitern, had in disbanding and suppressing of revolutionaries in Spain?

Is this the only reference to anarchists on the Brigades' website?

“The first half of 1937 saw little action on the Aragon front leading some ILP volunteers, including Orwell, to consider joining the International Brigades in Madrid.

However, the involvement of the ILP contingent in the fighting in Barcelona in early May 1937, when they sided with the Anarchists and POUM against the government forces made this out of the question.

Instead, they returned to the front at Huesca, until the banning and suppression of the POUM in June meant that those with links to the organisation were in danger of arrest.”

I love the understated “the fighting in Barcelona in early May 1937” and “danger of arrest.”

This year let’s remember the working class uprisings in Spain and Hungry — also the repression that came from the Left.

For communist anarchy,

Dan.

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PaulMarsh
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Jan 13 2006 20:04
yearzero wrote:
Is this the only reference to anarchists on the Brigades' website?

“The first half of 1937 saw little action on the Aragon front leading some ILP volunteers, including Orwell, to consider joining the International Brigades in Madrid.

However, the involvement of the ILP contingent in the fighting in Barcelona in early May 1937, when they sided with the Anarchists and POUM against the government forces made this out of the question.

Instead, they returned to the front at Huesca, until the banning and suppression of the POUM in June meant that those with links to the organisation were in danger of arrest.”

I love the understated “the fighting in Barcelona in early May 1937” and “danger of arrest.”

This year let’s remember the working class uprisings in Spain and Hungry — also the repression that came from the Left.

For communist anarchy,

Dan.

Most (nearly all?) of the GB International Brigade veterans will be old tankies.

To get involved with such events, you may need to hold your nose.....

Pilgrim
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Jan 13 2006 20:57
PaulMarsh wrote:

Most (nearly all?) of the GB International Brigade veterans will be old tankies.

To get involved with such events, you may need to hold your nose.....

I'm aware of the tensions that exist between the tankies and us Anarchists, but I really feel that such an occasion is above petty sectariana.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 13 2006 21:43

Well but it probably isn't. The Spanish civil war was fought under conditions of quite spectacular sectarianism, with trots, anarchists, social democrats, liberals and stalinists killing each left right and centre, even as they battled the Franco forces.

For the veterans, the battles are not over. If you'd lost friends in a communist-controlled prison, you'd hardly want to commemorate their struggle in the company of people who were the commmunist enforcers, which is what the IBs were used as, on a regular basis.

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PaulMarsh
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Jan 13 2006 22:45
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
For the veterans, the battles are not over. If you'd lost friends in a communist-controlled prison, you'd hardly want to commemorate their struggle in the company of people who were the commmunist enforcers, which is what the IBs were used as, on a regular basis.

True, but are they ANY veterans in the UK that fall into this camp i.e. were victims, rather than either Communist footsoldiers or enforcers?

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 13 2006 22:47
PaulMarsh wrote:
True, but are they ANY veterans in the UK that fall into this camp?

Maybe very few from the 1930s, but a lot of people inherited that struggle. PLus the struggles between the factions of the Republic-in-exile continued right into the 1960s, then there were the fights over getting the property of the CNT and UGT after Franco died, etc etc. PLus most of the anarcho federations in the UK are linked to groups that grew out of that time....

Edit: apart from Class War, of course wink

Pilgrim
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Jan 13 2006 23:59

Interesting posts, glad of the feedback.

If the International Brigade memorial event could be considered inappropriate, and I fully accept that for some it will be, then surely that is an even better reason for Anarchists arranging memorials of our own?

Personally, I'd much rather arrange something locally, after all people from Plymouth went to Spain and were killed there, but I don't want to simply ignore an anniversary like this one either.

Surely the national feds could put their differences aside for just as long as it takes to commemorate this event, even if they then go back to sniping at each other.

I doubt very much those Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists who served and died in Spain would be impressed by such an important date being ignored because some egos happened to clash.

Lazlo_Woodbine
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Jan 14 2006 01:26
Pilgrim wrote:
If the International Brigade memorial event could be considered inappropriate, and I fully accept that for some it will be, then surely that is an even better reason for Anarchists arranging memorials of our own?

I doubt very much those Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists who served and died in Spain would be impressed by such an important date being ignored because some egos happened to clash.

I think you're right. Anarchists need to be organising events, and, maybe, turning up to the official/liberal/CP ones with banners and leaflets of our own.

This should be a priority for the Feds which are, mostly descended from organisations that were around at the times.

BTW, not so many anarchists went to fight in Spain, but there were quite a few refugees come over here after 1939, and support work was done for them. I wonder if anyone is left who was involved in that?

I'd also be very interested to see how tis is commemmorated in south america, by all the hispanic left regimes over there.

Pilgrim
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Jan 14 2006 01:44
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
Pilgrim wrote:
If the International Brigade memorial event could be considered inappropriate, and I fully accept that for some it will be, then surely that is an even better reason for Anarchists arranging memorials of our own?

I doubt very much those Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists who served and died in Spain would be impressed by such an important date being ignored because some egos happened to clash.

I think you're right. Anarchists need to be organising events, and, maybe, turning up to the official/liberal/CP ones with banners and leaflets of our own.

This should be a priority for the Feds which are, mostly descended from organisations that were around at the times.

BTW, not so many anarchists went to fight in Spain, but there were quite a few refugees come over here after 1939, and support work was done for them. I wonder if anyone is left who was involved in that?

I'd also be very interested to see how this is commemmorated in south america, by all the hispanic left regimes over there.

I was thinking as much of the foreign Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists from various countries, and of course the Spanish ones as well, as the British veterans. Personally, I feel this would be a good chance to show some international solidarity, maybe invite a Spanish delegation over here if they aren't too busy in Spain.

Whether a selection of local events around the country, or a single larger event in London would be a good chance to show our Spanish comrades that they aren't forgotten.

Steve
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Jan 14 2006 11:28
Lazlo_Woodbine wrote:
This should be a priority for the Feds which are, mostly descended from organisations that were around at the times.

Don't want to derail but this isn't true.

Steve
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Jan 14 2006 11:35

As I have already said we have been talking about this in Preston SolFed. For the past two years we have organised Reclaim Mayday events with Lancaster Anarchists. We have always invited other anarchists to take part and have never been taken up on this.

I know comrades from SolFed have been interviewing Spanish anarchist exiles in Lancashire but I'm not sure where they are up to.

I'm sure we'll be talking about this at our conference at some point.

Pilgrim
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Feb 9 2006 05:17

It wouldn't take too much effort to organise a simple memorial event and then maybe a social event afterwards. Maybe an afternoon film screening as well?

What about LARC or RampARTs or somewhere as a possible venue?

The anniversary of the start of the Spanish Civil War might well be ignored by even the Trots, given that the G8 is around the same time and the summit hoppers will either be there, getting ready to go or coming back. I can't see SWP/RESPECT or many of the rest of the Trot menagerie making much of an effort.

And, outside of Spain, the mainstream media won't even bother to feature it at all, I shouldn't think. There might be some local coverage if there are any local events arranged, but little else, I would have thought.

That's even more reason for Anarchists and Anarcho-Syndicalists to make this anniversary special. Not only are we seemingly the only people who care enough to arrange something, it is likely to be the last chance for many of those who were actually there to pay their respects.

Is it really so difficult for people to put their differences aside and work on something of genuine importance and mutual interest?

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Serge Forward
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Feb 9 2006 10:27

Yikes, it must have been 20 years ago!!!

The newly formed ACF did a 50th Anniversary event with the the Direct Action Movement (now SolFed) at Conway Hall.

We had talks, discussions, film shows and the hall was packed out with standing room only. There were CNT milicia veterans present and, if I'm not mistaken, one guy from the Friends of Durruti.

Memorable moments...

The old militia bloke sitting next to me in tears during the film. Leah, the old Makhnovist, ripping into some trot idiot who thought he could get away with denouncing the anarchists as 'petty bourgeois, fifth columnists, etc, and who needed to be swept away with an iron broom'... this was just before we swept him out of the hall! Really good talks and discussions. Very lively debates.

Ah, happy days!

By the way, it's not sectarian to have a go at the tankies. 'Sectarianism' assumes the stalinists are basically on the same side as us. They weren't in 1936 and they aren't now. The reason they're not rying to shoot, arrest and torture us these days is only because these bastards are firmly in the dustbin of history.

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888
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Feb 10 2006 04:39

Amazing! I would have loved to have been there...

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Feb 12 2006 01:43

On a trivial note…

Would a suitable commemoration of the working class revolutions in Spain ’36 (also Hungry ’56) be an anti-fascist ‘event’? Or could anarchists make arrangements to confront representatives of democratic-capitalism, such as any Labour Party member that Speaks at anti-war demos?

Let’s face it — it sounds like ‘C.W. stuntism’ — but giving those social-fascists, Labour M.P’s, a bit of agro would be fun.

I remember…yawn…in the ‘80s when Kinnock got up on the platform in Hyde Park on a C.N.D. do and a crowd of anarchists booed him off (clods of wet mud also helped).

Labour Party members should be being attacked on sight at the moment! There’s bound to be one or two who actually address Spain ’36 events!