Catalonia, the ‘Norwegian way’ and Lenin

November 3, 2017 at 10:09 am (civil rights, class, history, internationalism, Lenin, Marxism, national liberation, nationalism, posted by JD, solidarity, spain)

Catalonia general strike

By Martin Thomas (this article also appears on the Workers Liberty website)

“It is the bounden duty”, wrote Lenin, “of class-conscious workers to conduct systematic propaganda and prepare the ground for the settlement of conflicts that may arise over the secession of nations, not in the ‘Russian way’, but only in the way they were settled in 1905 between Norway and Sweden.

“This is exactly what is meant by the demand in the program for the recognition of the right of nations to self-determination”.

The “Russian way” meant the way national conflicts were settled under the Tsar (and would be settled again under Stalin). Oppressed nations were told to shut up and submit.

Lenin argued that capitalism simultaneously generated democratic impulses and openings, and tended to undermine them, empty them out, block them. Socialists could and should take up battles for democracy even within capitalism; we could win them; that would be of value even within capitalism.

This was the Norway-Sweden model which Lenin cited: Read the rest of this entry »

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Catalonia: right to choose, yes! New borders, no!

October 12, 2017 at 1:34 pm (AWL, democracy, elections, nationalism, populism, posted by JD, spain)

By Martin Thomas and Tony Holmes (also published in the present issue of Solidarity and at the Workers Liberty website); slightly amended by JD to take account of latest developments:

Charles Puigdemont, the president of Catalonia, has announced his cautious response to the referendum on independence in Catalonia his government called on 1 October.

The Spanish government declared the referendum illegal, and deployed heavy Spanish police force to try to stop it, but it largely went ahead. 92% voted yes, on a 43% turnout. A series of opinion polls carried out by the Catalan government since 2011 has in recent years shown a slight majority against independence, most recently 49%-41% in July this year.

Puigdemont asked the Catalan parliament, where he leads a coalition government, for a mandate to declare Catalonia an independent state. He proposed “suspending the effect” of the independence declaration “for a few weeks” and seeking talks with the Spanish government and exploring international mediation. The Spanish government had warned that it would suspend Catalonia’s autonomy and impose direct rule from Madrid if Puigdemont went for independence. It may still do so, though the immediate call by EU chief Donald Tusk for Madrid to negotiate makes that less likely.

Judging from the failure of the Spanish police to stop the 1 October referendum, such an attempt by Madrid could not go smoothly, and might lead to a low-level civil war between Spanish and Catalan police. The European Union and neighbouring France have said that a Catalonia which declared itself independent could not expect to be admitted to the European Union, implying that it would face a degree of economic blockade, with serious trade barriers surrounding it. It is conceivable that the stand-off could be resolved by the reintroduction of a 2006 law ceding more autonomy to Catalonia, which was approved at the time both by a referendum in Catalonia and by a vote in the Spanish parliament, led at that time by the social-democratic PSOE.

The current People’s Party (conservative) government in Madrid got that law annulled by Spain’s constitutional court in 2010, starting a process towards the current crisis. Democratic principle mandates concessions by Madrid to Catalonia.

The people of Catalonia have the right to a proper referendum on separation, and to be allowed to separate without sabotage or disruption if they vote for separation. It is, however, good that Puigdemont called for negotiations rather than immediate separation. To denounce restraint as a sell-out would be wrong for three reasons.

Firstly, there is no solid evidence of a majority for separation. That 40% of the electorate voted yes on 1 October is not solid evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Against Spanish nationalism *and* the Catalan independence movement!

October 8, 2017 at 8:04 pm (Andrew Coates, democracy, internationalism, national liberation, nationalism, protest, spain)

Andrew Coates (at Tendance Coatesy) writes:

https://ep02.epimg.net/politica/imagenes/2017/09/08/actualidad/1504872254_629045_1507455934_noticia_fotograma.jpg
The left should not pit one national flag against another.

Against Catalan Nationalism.

The “nation” should have the “right” to self-determination. But who is that “nation” and who has the authority and the “right” to speak for the “nation” and express its will? How can we find out what the “nation” actually wants?”

Rosa Luxemburg. The National Question.

The Catalan referendum has burst on the European scene without, apparent, warning. That this is not in fact true can be seen in an informative article in the Socialist Workers Party journal, International Socialism, which concludes by putting the issue of Catalonia centre stage ( Héctor Sierra Podemos, Catalonia and the workers’ movement in the Spanish state  Issue: 155) That it has been at the heart of Catalan politics for some time is well known; that there is a long history failed negotiation over recognition of the Catalan nation, and, perhaps, more pressing, calls for greater financial and political powers for the Generalitat, failing to recognise the laws that they passed, has become common knowledge in the last week. That the Rajoy government was prepared to act, brutally, on its threats against voting on independence, has stirred deep emotions, far beyond the Iberian Peninsula.

But perhaps a sign of the lack of urgency the issue recently evoked in Spain itself can be seen in the exchange between a leading figure in Podemos, Iñigo Errejón and member of the country’s right-wing government, José María Lassalle on the latter’s Contra el populismo (2017) in El País (9.9.17 and 16.9.17) at the beginning of September.

In this erudite discussion, the Minister of State cites Laclau, Gramsci and Stuart Hall in support of his view that the affective and political “people” has not been broken, and that the “institucionalidad democrática” remains open to the “admirado Errejón”. In Lassalle’s recognition of democratic dysfunctions, alongside a eulogy of European social peace, there is no mention of Catalonia, or of any method of dealing with those his boss considers less “admirable”.

National Popular.

It takes, nevertheless, little imagination to see how many of the ideas circulating in Podemos, of the People, of the National Popular, taken from Laclau, and used, as Lassalle suggests, as a kind of political “cartography”, would become important during the Catalan crisis. Within Podemos the current, Anticapitalistas, “Podemos en Movimiento” (13% at the February 2017 Congress), have long criticised the “populism” of its leadership, which seeks to ‘federate the people” of Spain against the ruling political ‘Casta”. A central charge it that they, both the Errejón tendency (Recuperar la Illusion, bring back the Hope), 34%) and the leader Pablo Iglesias’ grouping, (Podemos para Todas, 51%), have failed to recognise that there are effectively many “peoples” in Spain. (1)

In dialogue with Chantal Mouffe Errejón, has called for a “new democratic national-popular identity”. ”The issue in Spain is whether it’s possible to build a national narrative at the service of subaltern majorities that is also respectful of pluri-nationality and the right to decide.” (2) Translated into the present, this has involved the, entirely reasonable, attempt to open dialogue between the pro-independence forces in the Assemblea Nacional de Catalunya (ANC) and the central government. What this clearly does not do is encourage people to separate, to form a distinct “us” in Catalonia, aside from the wider struggle for an “emancipatory and radically democratic project” and “popular sovereignty”.

It would be interesting to trace how supporters of Catalan’s own path to “popular sovereignty”, or as it would better be described, ‘sovereigntistism’ the belief that the major political social and economic problems of the day be solved by getting one’s hands on the sovereign powers of a state, could perhaps defend some of the original axioms of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe’s ‘post-Marxism’. That is, the idea that the working class is not the dominant political subject of emancipatory politics, but only one element in the “plurality of agents” brought together by “relations of equivalence” constituting democratic movements and demands, making up the figure of these Peoples pitted against the Spanish State. Some may radicalise the later Mouffe. That the Catalan partisan collective will has overflowed the boundaries of one state, created its own “relations of exclusion” against the institutions of ‘Madrid’. It would be free to create its own agonistic site where, it can create its own “agonistic democracy”, and let the fight against neo-liberalism begin on a new terrain (3)

Collective Will.

But in fact we now have a free for all for those wishing to build a “collective will” against the said administrative structure. Appealing for international support for their cause some Catalan enthusiasts have not hesitated to describe the Spanish state as ‘fascist’ ‘Francoist’, full of loathing for ‘Madrid’, no doubt hinting that one of George Orwell’s most celebrated books was Homage to Catalonian Independence. Perhaps they trust to at least some of their audience’s ignorance of the Siege of Madrid, which fell some months after Barcelona.

Others, apparently more reasonable, have wheeled out the view that Catalan nationalism is welcoming, “Catalan national feeling is like Scottish in that it is “civic”, non-violent, opening impatiently to the new global world. It’s unlike Scotland – and more “ethnic” – in its passionate emphasis on Catalan language, history and culture.” It will not be source of exclusion, but will find its way back to “intimate” ties with Spain. (Neil Ascherson. Catalans are not alone. Across the world, people yearn to govern themselves .Observer. 24.9.17)

Laclau’s study On Populist Reason (2005) deals with the “nature and logics “ of collective identities. He envisaged the possibility of a People out of a plurality of ‘ethnic identities’, as well as its opposite, “ethno nationalism”. Podemos would not be untrue to this way of thinking to attempt the former. (4)

But those on the left pushing the Catalan separatists have other fish to fry. The SWP argues first and foremost for the dissolution of the Spanish state, as a potential springboard for a wider anti-capitalist struggle.

The damage to the Spanish ruling class that the loss of Catalonia would cause is unimaginable; Catalonia makes a large contribution to the state’s revenues, with 18.8 percent of national GDP. The centrality of national unity to the dominant ideology of the ruling class would also turn the event into a political earthquake. A victory for independence would thus precipitate a crisis of unforeseeable consequences, throwing into chaos not only the PP but Spanish capitalism as a whole.

Socialism can only be achieved internationally, but by opening new prospects for the left in Catalonia and by breaking the consensus imposed by fascism in the transition to democracy, Catalan independence would advance the cause of the entire working class. And, if a triumph of the Catalan left would be a positive development for workers in the rest of the state, what would the consequences of its defeat be?

Héctor Sierra Podemos, Catalonia and the workers’ movement in the Spanish state  Issue: 155

The Fourth Intentional, reproducing an argument familiar to those who have heard the radical Scottish nationalist refrain of the Break up of Britain are vaguer though equally optimistic for the future of the left, and keen for, as they put it, “the democratic rupture throughout the State”.

In a lyrical vein the FI states,

It is more than a mere historical anecdote that the Catalan independence flag is directly inspired by the flag of the Cuban revolutionaries who defeated the Spanish colonial army on the island in the late 19th century, a defeat that would decisively contribute to the ruin of the first Bourbon restoration. The struggle in Catalonia has certainly hurt the second and a republican victory would allow us to imagine a new rise of the popular movement and an update of the anti-capitalist and eco-socialist perspective in Catalonia, the Spanish state and throughout Europe.

Let us support the struggle of the Catalan people

These aspirations are no doubt of comfort to those who, after what El Periodico commentators have repeatedly called a new May 68 – complete with vote – now confront potential economic chaos. Aware of these difficulties the nationalist bourgeois politicians who are running the independence show are divided on their immediate tasks, although the President of the Generalitat, Carles Puigdemont, looks determined to press ahead with a declaration of independence. Sacrifices to achieve that end are to be made in the name of a possible, not yet visible, anti-capitalism, or more broadly the eternal right to self-determination or, in their own eyes, for Catalunya. What is more precious than national independence and sovereignty? 

Many will without hesitation support the wish for negotiations with these demands, hard though the first two may be to put into any specific form. We can be sceptical about Iglesias’ efforts to capture the ‘floating signifier’ of the Patria for the projects of Podemos, yet see in their stand some hopes for compromise. Equally, on some things on which no agreement can be reached: one should do more than just oppose Rajoy and his clampdown, one can moblise against it.

No Sleeping with the Enemy!

But nobody has yet to explain convincingly why the world in general, and the left-wingers in particular, should stand behind the cause of a prosperous region of Spain, led by a coalition of right and left, to ‘take control’ in the name of the People. Rosa Luxemburg reminds us that the ‘right’ to declare this a separate entity rests on the political parties who backed the referendum,  Junts pel Sí​, held together a coalition of right and left, while the Podemos inspired grouping Catalunya Sí que es Pot  abstained, and the other opposition parties opposed it. 

This, if carried through, will be an act that immediately divides the Spanish people, gives full rein to populist ressentiment on all sides, and obscures the issues of the different class and political interests behind the pro-independence bloc (not to mention the ingrained corruption of some of its elements). To put it simply, no left worthy of its name enters into systematic long-term coalitions with right wing nationalists. They are, to use a term often cited by Chantal Mouffe, taken from Carl Schmitt, the enemy.  (5)

LibérationVerified account @libe 6h               

******

(1) A useful account of Podemos, which underlines that Laclau and Mouffe are far from the only intellectual influences on the party is in Chapter 10 La Gauche du 21e Siècle, Christophe Aguiton. La Découverte. 2017.

(2) Page 148 –9. Podemos in the Name of the People. Iñigo Errejón and Chantal Mouffe. Lawrence and Wishart. 2016.

(3) See Agonistics. Chantal Mouffe. Verso 2013.

(4) Page 198. On Populist Reason. Ernesto Laclau Verso. 2005.

(5) For all our sympathy for the Podemos attempt at rational dialogue, the concepts of the People, and the National Popular function in this crisis as signs that confuse debate. See. Debating Catalonia Izquierda Unida MP Alberto Garzón debates the Catalan independence referendum with the CUPs Pau Llonch. This is a concrete example of how ‘left wing populism’ sliding around on the Catalan national issue obscures a left strategy that gives priority to building a left. Which leads us to reject the strategy of ‘people’ versus “oligarchy”, the ‘us’ and the ‘them’ and the Mouffe-Laclau problematic: See: Populisme le grand ressentiment. Éric Fassin. Textuel. 2017.

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Call to the democratic Left on the events in Catalonia

October 5, 2017 at 5:07 pm (Civil liberties, class collaboration, democracy, Europe, Human rights, nationalism, populism, posted by JD, spain)

From Open Democracy

A group of social scientists working at various universities and citizens in Spain and abroad

4 October 2017

Join us in raising a collective voice from the left, against the abuse of democracy both by the Catalan government and the Spanish government.

Protesters gather in front of the Spanish National Police headquarters during a general strike in Catalonia (03 October 2017)
Above: Barcelona protest at Guardia Civil and Policia National violence

The appalling scenes of police violence that took place on 1 October in Catalonia along with the most baffling disrespect for democratic procedures and democratic substance that preceded them a month ago in the Catalan Parliament urges us to raise a collective voice.

This voice belongs to the democratic, non-aligned left, a left whose expression we have been longing for. While this voice unequivocally and strongly condemns the authoritarian violence endorsed by the central government, it sternly and democratically resists nationalistic discourse. We refuse to accept this binary as the choice we must face. Pluralism and debate cannot be eliminated in the name of democracy for the following reasons:

1) Europe has gone through enough nationalistic wars and has, we hope, learned enough from the oppression it has variously exerted inside and outside the continent, to be able to resist the appeals of the nationalistic siren calls of the XXI century. Masking the rejection of income redistribution and the neglect of social injustice, as well as the erasure of the diverse origins and languages on Catalan territory, with ethno-nationalist colours will not do.

2) The Catalan independence movement is, mostly, a middle-class movement whose leaders, across all the spectrum of the right-wing led alliance, are far from being oppressed. Their voice is not subaltern and has been loudly heard while neglecting, obliterating and silencing all kinds of dissent including from the left. We should not let their cries prevent other voices.

3) The self-cancellation of democracy – announcing the possibility of a unilateral declaration of independence without a majority, as was done today by the leader of the Catalan nationalistic movement – is not only a matter of legality but of downright illegitimacy. No matter how strong a movement is, no matter how loud, as long as it is a minority, it is not a majority. The mocking of democratic procedures is not a game that comes at a small price; it will not do.

We write this because we stand with all those defending civil and political rights, and with subaltern grassroots movements opposed to the advances of neo-liberalism in all its forms. We do not condemn civil disobedience when all democratic possibilities have been exhausted. Nor do we oppose referendums provided that conditions of legitimacy are respected. But we are not prepared to accept this referendum as part of a democratic struggle against oppression.

Join us in raising a collective voice from the left, against the abuse of democracy both by the Catalan government and the Spanish government.

—-

Nathalie Karagiannis, Peter Wagner, Marie Angueira Cebria, Johann Arnason, Caroline Brew, Selene Camargo Correa, Rebeca Carpi Martín, Gerard Delanty, Jean de Munck, Juan Carlos Gavara de Cara, Lola Diaz, Juan Diez Medrano, Luisa Fernandez, Johan Heilbron, Oliver Hochadel, Andreas Kalyvas, Yannis Karagiannis, Dimitris Leontzakos, Manuel Lisandro Castillo, Elia Marzal Yetano, Lourdes Mèndez, U.B. Morgan, Claus Offe, Rommy Morales Olivares, William Outhwaite, Susana Narotzky, Montserrat Pareja Eastaway, Carlos Pérez González, Ana Pérez Pérez, Rosa Pérez Pérez, Rosa María Pérez Pérez, Angelo Pichierri, José Maria Mateo Rello, Ana Maria Rodríguez López, Arturo Rodriguez Morató, Samuel Sadian, Will Shank, Eugenia Siapera, Bo Stråth, Leonor Valencia, Carlos Valera, Daniela Vicherat Mattar, Myrsini Zorba

H/t: Tendance Coatesy

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Against Madrid’s repression; against a middle class Catalan breakaway state

October 1, 2017 at 9:02 am (Andrew Coates, capitulation, class collaboration, democracy, elections, internationalism, nationalism, populism, spain)

By Andrew Coates (at Tendance Coatesy)


Catalan independence supporters oversee polling

(Grupos de activistas pro referéndum toman las escuelas para garantizar su apertura el domingo)

From the Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International (Northite).

Rarely do we agree with this group, but here they say some important truths which most of the English speaking left seems unable to articulate.

We would add that it is astonishing that anybody who claims to be socialist or left, in the case of the Catalan ERC  Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC; IPA:  and the smaller  pro-nationalist ‘radical’ left outside, can justify an alliance of the Catalan nationalist left with a corruption riddled (and much larger) pro-business party, the Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català, PDeCAT), also known as the Catalan Democratic Party (CatalanPartit Demòcrata Català). It was founded in Barcelona on 10 July 2016, as the successor to  the now-defunct Democratic Convergence of Catalonia. Why the name change from its former incarnation, the Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya? There is one family name that sums the reasons up, Jordi Pujol, a byword for sleaze and insider backhander, something that marks out modern Catalan nationalism.

The strategy of this alliance, which won 47% of the regional vote in 2015,and 71 out of 135 seats in the devolved parliament, has been to blame ‘Madrid’ – with overtones of the profligate, lazy ‘Southerners’- for all their economic and political problems.

Appararently this is ‘civic nationalism’.

But then there are people who can convince themselves that the SNP is ‘left-wing’.

30 September 2011

Oppose the state crackdown on the Catalan independence referendum!

For working class unity! No to separatism in Spain!

Catalonia is Spain’s richest region, representing a fifth of the country’s GDP. The separatist parties aim to create a new mini-state, through which they can claw back taxes presently paid to central government, while establishing direct relations with the global banks, transnational corporations and the European Union. They hope to transform Catalonia into a low tax, free trade area based on stepped-up exploitation of the working class.
The Catalan nationalists and their pseudo-left backers dress themselves up as progressives. However, nothing fundamental distinguishes Catalan separatism from similar separatist formations across Europe—the Scottish Nationalist Party in the UK, or those of an explicitly right-wing character such as Italy’s Northern League and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang. In all these instances, separatism has emerged in regions enjoying some economic advantage over the rest of the country, which the local bourgeoisie seeks to exploit to its own benefit.

An “independent” Catalan republic, were it established, would be nothing of the sort. It would be even more dependent on the major powers, in Europe and internationally. In alliance with the EU, it would continue the policies the Catalan separatist parties pursued in their alliance with Madrid: brutal austerity, slashing funding for education, health care and other social needs and using police to smash strikes and protests. It would be a dead end for workers.

 

Against capitalist Spain and the creation of a capitalist Catalonia, the ICFI calls for building the United Socialist States of Europe!

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Spanish radical left tolerates anti-Semitism

March 10, 2016 at 7:49 pm (anti-semitism, apologists and collaborators, conspiracy theories, Cross-post, Europe, populism, posted by JD, Racism, reactionay "anti-imperialism", spain)

Above: Podemos leader Pablo Iglasias

Yves Coleman of Ni patrie ni frontières discusses how Podemos, Izquierda Unida and the Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (CUP) as well as representatives of the Spanish “cultural world”, defend the “freedom of expression”of the anti-Semitic magazine El Jueves.1 This article also appears on the Workers Liberty website and the current issue of Solidarity.


El Jueves has no inhibition in proclaiming its hatred of Jews as the magazine stated in 2009: “So says El Jueves, a coarse and anti-Semitic publication…”.2 With such a motto, so proudly sported, its readers can indulge in vile jokes about the “gazpacho3” or “judias” 4(meaning white beans, but also Jewish women in Spanish, that provoke gas (i.e. flatulences, but also an allusion to the gas chambers).

Not only does El Jueves not censor these kind of lousy “jokes” on its website, but it wants to be congratulated for publishing them. Therefore it’s not surprising that El Jueves, in 2011, found it “funny” to say about John Galiano’s pro-Hitler declarations: “The revolutionary ideas of a misunderstood genius.”5 Or to be ironic about a “ghost writer” who supposedly helps Woody Allen to write his scenarios, in an article entitled “Here is the nigger who wrote Woody Allen’s films” (“negro” is the Spanish word for “ghost writer”), “not only are you are not a nigger but you ain’t even Jewish!”

El Jueves likes to play with the stereotypes of the Jew as a schemer, swindler and liar. These disgusting “jokes” are apparently appreciated by the Spanish left. Following the publication of anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic cartoons in El Jueves on 10 February 2016, Pablo Iglesias (general secretary of Podemos) and David Fernandez, former member of the CUP in the Catalan Parliament, have, along with other personalities of the “political and cultural world”6, signed a petition protesting against any possible complaint which could be filed against the antisemitic drawings published by El Jueves.7

These distinguished members of the Spanish left have signed a petition against any attempt to “criminalize the freedom of expression” of El Jueves! Yet these kitsch left intellectuals-and-politicians know very well that this “satirical” magazine regularly denounces what it calls the “Jewish lobbies”.8 Indeed under the title “Eating white beans is considered an anti-Semitic attitude”, we read that “Jewish lobbies” are “small but well positioned”.9

Anti-Semitic comments from readers figure prominently under this article and have not been erased since they were written… in 2009. The drawings which El Jueves published in February 2016 (but my criticism applies also to the previous years)10 on the question of Israel and Palestine represent all Jews with a hooked nose, which is a century-old anti-Semitic stereotype.

Jews represented in the magazine wear either payots, long beards, a wide-brimmed hat and a black coat or an IDF military uniform. This image is exactly the one presented by the French anti-Semitic press and media since the nineteenth century.11 Of course the designers of El Jueves don’t forget to draw a Palestinian in the guise of a Christ who is beaten up by Israeli soldiers, etc. The leftist El Jueves does not hesitate to perpetuate the myth of the Jewish deicide, a dogma officially abandoned by the Catholic Church since… 1965.

If you type entries like “Jews” or “Israel” on the website of this anti-Semitic rag appreciated by part of the Spanish left and intelligentsia, you will come across a plethora of anti-Semitic materials as a drawing below which the magazine says hypocritically: “This content is the work of one of our readers. If it offends you, criticise its author, not us; and, if it pleases you, all the credit should go to us who have published it.”12

It’s difficult to reveal more clearly the role El Jueves intends to play: it wants to enable its readers to freely express their anti-Semitism, while it refuses to accept any financial consequences (it does not want to lose any shocked readers) but it accepts all the compliments which it can gain through such antisemitic drawings and comments. In short, El Jueves uses the same marketing recipe as all the scavengers who officiate in the press and media today.

But the “journalists” of this magazine do not always hide cowardly behind their readers’ letters or drawings. They also know how to attack the “chosen people”13 by supporting the initiative of a soccer player from the Seville team (the Muslim Franco-Malian Frederic Kanoute) who wears a T-shirt: “Pueblo elegido? Tu puta madre” (The chosen people? Fuck yourselves). If you still have doubts, you can finally read that other text which combines vulgarity of expression and emptiness of thought with phrases like “we have been fucked by Israel” for sixty years, because they want to force us to “lick the kosher asses of its fascist leaders”, etc.14

People sometimes ask naively why Spain is one of the European countries where anti-Semitic views are most widespread, although very few Jews live in this beautiful country. However, just as in France, it should not be too surprising since the so-called “radical left” considers that the anti-Jewish and anti-Semitic propaganda is part of the “freedom of expression” and that it must defend anti-Semites’ rights to pollute the media and social networks with their racist propaganda.

References

• The links to the website of “El Jueves”, contained in the notes of this article, are for information only. We do not condone their content.

1. Izquierda Unida (United Left) is an electoral front mainly based on the Spanish Communist Party. Candidatura d’Unitat Popular is a so-called Left Catalanist independentist formation.

2. http://www.eljueves.es/2009/01/12/ gaza_conflicto_una_reunion_vecinos.html

3. http://www.eljueves.es/2010/06/07/ israel_pasa_tres_pueblos.html ; “ “gazpacho” is a typical Spanish cold soup.

4. In this article of 2009 “A white Jewish woman (a white bean) infiltrated Schindler’s list”, El Jueves tries to make jokes about “judias blancas” and “judias verdes”, White Jewish women (white beans) and green beans (green Jewish women).

5. http://www.eljueves.es/2011/03/03/ john_galliano_yo_soy_nazi_que_hago_revivals. html

6. Izquierda Unida’s MP Alberto Garzón, Podemos’ EMP Miguel Urbán, Izquierda Unida’s EMPs Javier Couso and Marina Albiol, and ex-CUP MP David Fernández ; Maruja Torres and Rosa Regás (novelists), Alberto San Juan (actor), Silvio Rodríguez (Cuban songwriter and playwriter), Fermín Muguruza (singer), Santiago Alba Rico (philosopher) and dozens of cartoonists like Albert Monteys, Pedro Vera, Miguel Brieva and Carlos Latuff, second price in 2006 of the International Holocaust Cartoon Competition, organised by Iran. Most signators support BDS campaigns on a regular or occasional basis. The Spanish CGT (anarcho-syndicalist trade union with 80,000 members) has recently added its signature to this “Manifesto”, denouncing the “Jewish lobby” (note, the article does not refer to the “Zionist lobby”) http://rojoynegro.info/articulo/ sin-fronteras/manifiesto-denunciando-el-lobby-jud%C3%ADo-amenaza-el-jueves-criticar-el-abuso-del.

7. http://www.cuartopoder.es/deidayvuelta/ 2016/02/14/el-mundo-de-la-cultura-firma-un-manifiesto-de-apoyo-a-el-jueves-ante-las-presiones-del-lobby-judio/6550 One can read the 50 tweets written by Xavier Torrens to answer to El Jueves lies and fantasies : twitter.com/ xavier_torrens/status/699319201123717122 8. http://www.eljueves.es/2009/01/29/ comer_judias_considera_actitud_antisemita.html

9. In Spanish “judias” means both “Jewish women” and “white beans”.

10. For example, one can look at this cartoon of Sharon represented as a pig with a swastika (at the end of this article http://www.libertaddigital.com /espana/2016-02-11/el-jueves-publica-un-escandaloso-libelo-antisemita-sobre-israel- 1276567581/). Let’s recall first that, in the Muslim tradition, Jews are considered as descendants of “pigs, apes and other animals”, and that El Jueves admitted it did not to publish any caricature of Muhammad because it “scared the shit out of them” http://www.escolar.net/MT/archives/ 2006/02/mahoma_y_el_jue.html to do it. A way of admitting that Jew-bashing is a profitable and non risky business.

11. In his sketch, Dieudonné, the French antisemitic standup comedian, wore both payot and a battle dress, combining both of the stereotypes used by his disciples of El Jueves in 2016.

12. http://www.eljueves.es/2010/06/02/israel.html 13. http://www.eljueves.es/2009/01/08/ ponen_moda_las_camisetas_contra_israel.html which could be translated by “Chosen people, all sons of a bitch”. Such a slogan is in fact an “Islamophobic” blasphemy because Abraham (Ibrahim, according to the Quran, “one of our believing servants” “who do good”), Mary (Maryam, whom “God has chosen above all the women of the world”), and her son Jesus (Issa, “a servant of God who appointed me as a Prophet”), all Jews, are mentioned with great respect in the Qur’an, a book supposedly dictated by Allah to the founder of Islam. But Frédéric Kanouté — who brags about his religion (he saved a mosque in Seville from closing by sending a big check) — and the journalists of El Jueves are unaware of the spiritual foundations of Islam — which is not really a surprise. The same ignorance explains why El Jueves shows IDF soldiers checking if Palestinians are circumcised to discover if they are Jewish, ignoring the fact that most Muslims are also circumcised!

14. http://www.eljueves.es/2010/06/02/ bienvenidos_israel_anos_dando_por_culo_defensa_propia.html)

Downplaying accusations of anti-semitism

By Marie Berger, No Gods no Masters, Barcelona

Julio Serrano’s antisemitic cartoons1 benefit from the support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, who rehabilitate them into the “world of politics, journalism and culture”,2 a more presentable label for those who promote the cultural and academic boycott of anything which can be linked, in one way or another, to “Zionism” — which may in turn be a Jew (religious or not) or an Israeli. [Unadikum, a so-called “pro-Palestinian” association which actively supports BDS campaigns in Spain has downplayed the criticisms of the cartoons as anti-Semitic in an article entitled “Israel attacks El Jueves”.]

They condemn the indignation expressed by the Jewish community of Madrid, which they also call the “Jewish lobby” or “Israel”. This confusion of terms is perhaps what gives them so little credibility, especially when some of them deny being anti-Semitic, and makes them so effective for others because they only have to denounce the “instrumentalisation of the Holocaust” so they don’t need to debate. It is a shame that the Spanish people who have so much to do in recognition of their rich revolutionary past, and the condemnation of the crimes of Francoism are not more interested in the work of memory by Jews (religious or not) in the world. Their thoughts and self-criticism, their feedback, would probably be useful, to start with on questions of method of work and education. All anti-Zionists are not anti-Semites, they say. We could start to believe them, if only they refrained from digging in this antisemitic substrate, so abundant in their ranks: “The expulsion of the Jews is what Spain did best in its history”, tweeted Ana María C., supporter of Unadikum. A comment among many of the same kind emanating from those circles. We can’t imagine what these people would write if they did not belong to these leftish milieux!

1. Cartoonist working for El Jueves and author of the antisemitic cartoons published in February 2016.

2. http://www.cuartopoder.es/deidayvuelta/2016/02/14/el-mundo-de-la-cultura-firma-un-manifiesto-de-apoyo-a-el-jueves-ante-las-presiones-del-lobby-judio/6550

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A reaction to Socialist Worker on ISIS: “among the most odious pieces I have come across in over 30 years of reading the far left press”

August 27, 2014 at 7:57 pm (Andrew Coates, fascism, iraq, islamism, posted by JD, reactionay "anti-imperialism", relativism, spain, SWP, Syria)

The media have tried to whip up panic about British Muslims

Above: SW says it’s combatting a media campaign to whip up anti-Muslim panic

There’s a fascinating debate going on at Facebook, sparked by this evasive and historically ignorant Socialist Worker article, and Comrade Coatesy’s reaction (republished in full below). Dave Osler initiated the discussion, thus:

‘Parallels have been drawn between young British Muslims who volunteer for ISIS and socialist/communist young men who joined the International Brigades that fought in Spain in the 1930s. Is the analogy valid?’

Later, Dave (a non-aligned socialist not prone to hyperbole) posted the following comment:

David Osler: ‘Actually, Andrew Coates puts his finger on what is wrong with that Socialist Worker article. It doesn’t just ‘blur the distinction’ between ISIS and the International Brigades, it effectively equates them. This ranks it among the most odious pieces I have come across in over 30 years of reading the far left press. Disgusting is the only word for it.

Tendance Coatesy’s coverage:

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The UN has just made this announcement,

The Syrian government and Islamic State insurgents are both committing war crimes and crimes against humanity in their war against each other, U.N. investigators said on Wednesday.

Islamic State forces in northern Syria are waging a campaign to instill fear, including amputations, public executions and whippings, they said.

Reuters

This follows a story in the Guardian on Monday,

Isis accused of ethnic cleansing as story of Shia prison massacre emerges

As many as 670 prisoners thought killed in Mosul with other abuses reported in Iraq amounting to ‘crimes against humanity’

A few days ago, in what can only be called one of the vilest exercises in whataboutery Socialist Worker published this week this apology for the racist genociders of ISIS/Islamic State:

There is resistance to this frenzy of Islamophobia by Hassan Mahamdallie, co-director of the Muslim Institute.

Mahamdallie begins by making a string of unsavoury comparisons.

The beheading of US journalist James Foley by the Islamic State, formerly known as Isis, was horrific. But is the Nigerian military slitting the throats of 16 young men and boys any less horrific?

Or last week’s Israeli air strike that blew to smithereens the wife and seven month old son of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif? Surely that was horrific and disturbing too?

One atrocity was carried out by a murderer who calls himself Muslim. The second was sanctioned by a head of state who calls himself Christian. And the last was executed by an entity that defines itself as an exclusively Jewish state.

That is to ignore the widespread revulsion at the religious and ethnic cleansing by the genociders of ISIS/Islamic State.

That is, the suffering of the hundreds of thousands of Yazidis, Christians, Kurds and Turkomans massacred, tortured and driven from their homes in Iraq. The same gang is carrying out these actions in Syria.

One might imagine a few words on this topic.

But the eminently self-righteous Mahamdallie remains fixed to the Foley murder.

He comments that,

Yet only one triggered convulsions of outrage, with calls from the establishment in Britain and the US to take action. Madness descended yet again.

Continuing in this vein he comments on the condemnation of the Foley decapitation (though he is too polite to use this word) made by former Labour foreign minister Kim Howells and makes this observation that he should look into his own past and see how people are motivated to fight in wars. That is, one fight in particular, the defence of the Spanish Republic against the Franco-Led armies.

In the 1930s radicalised young men from the same mining communities illegally made their way into Spain to take up arms against general Franco’s fascist army.

He then takes time, a long long time,  to pass smug comments ridiculing British Muslims who have denounced the genociders – for a variety of reasons. Apparently Muslims should not be asked their opinion on Muslim groups and Muslim religious authorities should not have to speak about those  who declare themselves the only true Muslims.

The (present/former?) Senior Officer, Diversity, Arts Council England  concludes that he prefers this response from the leader of the Lewisham Mosque,

The press asked him to condemn a tweet from a woman “Jihadi” in Syria who might have once attended the mosque.

He retorted, “The young woman’s desire to travel to Syria has nothing to do with the Centre. Unfortunately, the Muslim community are being subjected to a burden of proof based on a ‘guilty by association’ standard”.

Not a word of condemnation for the religious and ethnic cleansing.

But instead this,  “It was good to see someone refusing to bow to the frenzy, a spark of resistance in a very dark week.”

No doubt Socialist Worker will applaud a  “spark of resistance” to the “frenzy” of the  UN announcement.

Update: Amongst Comments on Facebook about the Socialist Worker article,

“It doesn’t just ‘blur the distinction’ between ISIS and the International Brigades, it effectively equates them. This ranks it among the most odious pieces I have come across in over 30 years of reading the far left press. Disgusting is the only word for it” – David Osler.

 

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Non-intervention, 75 years ago

August 3, 2011 at 12:10 am (anti-fascism, apologists and collaborators, democracy, history, Human rights, Johnny Lewis, spain)

From Wikipedia:

Neville Chamberlain in recording studio

 
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Two influential figures in non-intervention: the British Neville Chamberlain (top) and the French Léon Blum (below).

During the Spanish Civil War, several countries followed a principle of non-intervention, which would result in the signing of the Non-Intervention Agreement in August 1936 .

Non-intervention had been proposed in a joint diplomatic initiative by the governments of France and the United Kingdom. It was part of a policy of appeasement, aimed at preventing a proxy war, and escalation of the war into a major pan-European conflict.

On 3 August 1936, Charles de Chambrun presented the French government’s non-intervention plan; Galeazzo Ciano promised to study it. The British, however, accepted the plan in principle immediately. The following day, it was put to Nazi Germany by André François-Poncet. The German position was that such a declaration wasn’t needed. A similar approach was made to Russia. On 6 August, Ciano confirmed Italian support in principle. The Soviet government similarly agreed in principle, so long as Portugal was included, and that Germany and Italy stop aid immediately. On 7 August, France unilaterally declared non-intervention. Draft declarations had been put to German and Italian governments. Such a declaration had already been accepted by Britain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Poland, Czechoslovakia and Russia, renouncing all traffic in war material, direct or indirect. The Portuguese Foreign Minister, Armindo Monteiro, was also asked to accept, but held his hand. On 9 August, French exports were suspended.[6][7] Portugal accepted the pact on 13 August, unless her border was threatened by the war.[8]

On 15 August, the United Kingdom banned exports of war material to Spain.[9] Italy agreed to the pact,[9] signing on 21 August.[5] Although a surprising reversal of views, it has been put down to the growing belief that countries could not abide by the agreement anyway.[9] On the 24th, Germany signed.[10][11] The Soviet Union was keen not to be left out. On 23 August, it agreed to the Non-Intervention Agreement,[12] and this was followed by a decree from Stalin banning exports of war material to Spain, thereby bringing the USSR into line with the Western Powers.[10]

Non-Intervention Committee

It was at this point that the Non-Intervention Committee was created to uphold the agreement, but the double-dealing of the USSR and Germany had already become apparent.[13] The ostensible purpose of the committee was to prevent personnel and matériel reaching the warring parties of the Spanish Civil War, as with the Non-Intervention Agreement.[1] The Committee first met in London on 9 September 1936.[14][nb 2] It was chaired by the British W. S. Morrison. Charles Corbin represented the French, Italy by Dino Grandi, and the Soviets by Ivan Maisky. Germany was represented by Ribbentrop; Portugal, whose presence had been a Soviet requirement, was not represented.[15] The second meeting took place on 14 September.[16] It established a subcommittee to be attended by representatives of Belgium, Britain, Czechoslovakia, France, Germany, Italy, the Soviet Union, Sweden, to deal with the day-to-day running of non-intervention. Among them, though, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Italy dominated, perhaps worryingly so. Soviet non-military aid was revived, but not military aid.[17] Meanwhile, the 1936 meeting of the League of Nations began. There, Anthony Eden convinced Monteiro to have Portugal join the Non-Intervention Committee.[18] Álvarez del Vayo spoke out against the Non-Intervention Agreement, claiming it put the rebel Nationalists on the same footing as the Republican government.[19]0    The Earl of Plymouth replaced W.S. Morrison as British representative.[20][21]  Conservative, he often adjourned meetings – to the benefit of the Italians and Germans – and the Committee was accused of an anti-Soviet bias.[21]

On 12 November, plans to post observers to Spanish frontiers and ports to prevent breaches of the agreement were ratified. France and Britain became split on whether to recognise Franco’s forces as a belligerent as the British wanted, or to fail to do as the French wanted.[22]This was subsumed by the news that the Italian and German governments had recognised the Nationalists as the true government of Spain.[22] The League of Nations condemned intervention, urged its council’s members to support non-intervention, and commended mediation.[23] It then closed discussion on Spain, leaving it to the Committee.[24] A mediation plan, however, was soon dropped.[23]

The Soviets met the request to ban volunteers on 27 December, Portugal on 5 January, and Germany and Italy on 7 January.[25] On 20 January, Italy put a moratorium on volunteers believing that supplies to the Nationalists were now sufficient. Non-intervention would have left both sides with the possibility of defeat, which Germany, Italy and Russia in particular were keen to avoid.[26]

Control plan

Observers were posted to Spanish ports and borders, and both Ribbentrop and Grandi were told to agree to the plan, significant shipments already having taken place.[27] Portugal would not accept observers, although it did agree to personnel attached to the British Embassy in Lisbon. Zones of patrol were assigned to each of the four nations; an International Board was set up to administer the scheme. There were Italian assurances that Italy would not break up non-intervention.[28]

In May, the Committee noted two attacks on the patrol’s ships by Republican aircraft.[29] It reiterated calls for the withdrawal of volunteers from Spain, condemned the bombing of open towns, and showed approval of humanitarian work.[30] Germany and Italy said they would withdrawn from the Committee, and from the patrols, unless it could be guaranteed there would be no further attacks.[29][31] Early June saw the return of Germany and Italy to the committee and patrols.[32] Following attacks on the German cruiser Leipzig on 15 and 18 June, Germany and Italy once again withdrew from patrols, but not from the Committee.[33][34] This prompted the Portuguese government to remove British observers on the Spain–Portugal border.[35] Britain and France offered to replace Germany and Italy, but the latter powers believed these patrols would be too partial.[36] Germany and Italy requested that land controls be kept, and belligerent rights be given to the Nationalists, so that rights of search could be used by both the Republicans and Nationalists to replace naval patrols.[36][37] A British plan suggested that naval patrols would be replaced by observers in ports and ships, land control measures would be resumed.[38][39] Belligerent rights would only be granted when substantial progress was made on volunteer withdrawal.[39]

It culminated in a period during 1937 when all the powers where prepared to give up on non-intervention. By the end of July, the Committee was in deadlock, and the aims of a successful outcome to the Spanish Civil War was looking unlikely.[40] Unrestricted Italian submarine warfare began on 12 August.[40] The British Admiralty believed that a significant control effort was the best solution to attacks on British shipping.[41] It was decided by the Committee that naval patrols did not justify their expense and would be replaced with observers at ports.[42]

The Conference of Nyon was arranged for all parties with a Mediterranean coastline by the British, despite appeals by Italy and Germany that the Committee handle the piracy and other issues the conference was to discuss.[43] It decided that French and British fleets patrol the areas of sea west of Malta, and attack any suspicious submarines.[44] Warships that attacked neutral shipping would be attacked.[45] Eden claimed that non-intervention had stopped European war. The League of Nations did report on the Spanish situation, noting the ‘failure of non-intervention’.[45] On 6 November, the plan to recognise the Nationalists as belligerents once significant progress had been made was finally accepted.[46] The Nationalists accepted on 20 November, the Republicans on 1 December. On 27 June, Maisky agreed to the sending of two commissions to Spain, to enumerate foreign volunteer forces, and to bring about their withdrawal. The Nationalists wished to prevent the fall of the favourable Chamberlain government in the United Kingdom, and so were seen to accept the plan.

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Remind you of anything?

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Spanish Civil War: British volunteers lists available for the first time

June 29, 2011 at 1:08 am (anti-fascism, democracy, history, internationalism, Jim D, socialism, spain, thuggery, workers)

An important new resource

Above: Anglo-American Lincoln Brigade volunteers

Introduction

The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was a brutal conflict in which more than 500,000 people lost their lives. It was in many respects a dress rehearsal for the far larger confrontation which was to envelop the world soon afterwards. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the military uprising which started the war. Despite the British government’s official policy of non-intervention, thousands of British and Irish volunteers travelled to Spain to join the International Brigades which were formed in defence of the elected government of the Spanish Second Republic. The brigades were involved in some of the war’s most critical engagements, including the Battle of Jarama in February 1937, but were eventually sent home in October of the following year. General Francisco Franco, with the support of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, eventually led the Nationalist forces to victory and remained leader of Spain until his death in 1975.  Journalists and writers such as George Orwell brought news of the conflict to the outside world and, partly as a result of books like Orwell’s Homage to Catalonia, the International Brigaders have lived on in the popular imagination.  The surviving veterans have since been conferred with honorary Spanish citizenship.

What are the Spanish Civil War British volunteers lists?

The British Security Service, sometimes known as MI5, was interested in which British volunteers were fighting in Spain, particularly as many of them were also members of the Communist Party. KV5/112 contains an alphabetical list of more than 4,000 British and Irish International Brigaders compiled by the Security Service between January 1936 and December 1954. The file also contains a roll of honour (incomplete*) of those killed in action while fighting in Spain. A selection of index cards(KV5/117-131) relating to some of the more prominent volunteers has also been digitised.

*The file was closed in 1954 and was not updated to take new information into account.  A more complete list of those killed is available through the International Brigade Memorial Trust website.

Searching the records

You may wish to browse details of the whole collection.

Using quick search

The quick search box is near the top left of the page. To search by catalogue reference type the complete catalogue reference into the quick search box. Remember to leave a space between ‘KV’ and the numeric reference, for example, KV 5/125.

Searching within a download

The names in these records have not been individually indexed,  and the lists of names are not in alphabetical order under each letter index, so you will need to scroll through the pdfs to locate the name you are interested in.

What could these records help me to discover?

Browsing the collection may help you to discover or confirm whether one of your ancestors fought with the International Brigades in Spain. The files will also be useful for researchers and academics seeking primary source material from the era and may act as a signpost to further records in our collection. KV5/112 contains basic information collected by the Security Service on men and women it believed to be travelling to Spain to fight with the International Brigades, including the date and place of departure, the brigade to which they were attached, and the date of their return to the UK. Other files in the KV5 series provide further details of their activities in support of the International Brigades.

What do the records look like?

The documents are scanned images of pages copied from records kept by the Security Service (KV). They include a complete list of names and dates of British International Brigade volunteers arranged alphabetically (KV5/112) as well as selected copies of index cards on individuals deemed to be of interest. These list names, dates and places of birth, addresses, occupations and dates of departure and arrival in Spain, as well as some information about their post-war activities.

Index cards

A selection of index cards (KV5/117-131) relating to some of the more prominent volunteers has also been digitised. See the list below for what is available.

Valentine Ackland KV5/117

Valentine Ackland was an author whose work saw a resurgence of interest in the 1980s. It is understood that she volunteered for the Red Cross during the Spanish Civil War, although the Security Service note that her time in Spain was limited to ten days.

Eric Blair (aka George Orwell) KV5/118

Eric Blair is better known as George Orwell, author and journalist. Orwell’s work includes 1984, Animal Farm and Homage to Catalonia, his personal account of his experiences during the Spanish Civil War.

Clive Branson KV5/118

Clive Branson was an English artist and poet  best known for his paintings depicting life during the Blitz. Branson began by recruiting for the International Brigade before taking up the fight himself. He was captured in April 1938 and was held as a prisoner of war until he was repatriated that November. His wife Noreen shares an index card with him.

Paddy Cochrane KV5/119

Dublin–born Patrick Vincent Cochrane, who died on 31 March 2011, volunteered to join the International Brigades as an ambulance driver. He was badly wounded at the Battle of Belchite in September 1937 and on his return from Spain he set himself up in London as a toolmaker and spectacle frame designer. He returned to Belchite in 2007 and was granted Spanish citizenship two years later.

Sidney Cole KV5/119

Sidney Cole was a film and television producer. He was involved in making documentary films about the Spanish Civil War including Behind The Spanish Lines (1938) and Spanish ABC (1938).

Fred Copeman KV5/119

Frederick Bayes Copeman, OBE, started his career in the Royal Navy but was laid off during the reductions in 1931. He joined the International Brigades and became the Commander of the British Battalion. He was wounded in December 1937 and returned to England the following April. During the Second World War he helped to co–ordinate air raid protection in London, for which he received the OBE.

John Cornford KV5/119

John Cornford was a Cambridge–educated poet. He fought initially with the Partido Obrero de Unificación Marxista (POUM) and saw action at Perdiguera and Aragon in 1936 before falling ill and returning to England. He quickly returned, having recruited several friends, to join the English Battalion of the International Brigades, and was badly wounded at the Battle of Madrid in November 1936. He was killed at the battle of Lopera on 27 December 1936, shortly after returning to the front.

Robert ‘Bob’ Doyle KV5/120

Bob Doyle was an Irish member of the International Brigades. He was captured in 1938 at Calaceite, near the Aragon front, along with Irish Brigade leader Frank Ryan. After spending 11 months in a concentration camp he was among those exchanged for Italian prisoners of war. He died at the age of 92 on 22 January 2009.

John ‘Jack’ Edwards KV5/121

Liverpudlian Jack Edwards died in 2011 at the age of 97. He was a veteran of the Battles of Jarama, Teruel and Ebro and later joined the RAF during the Second World War.

Les Gibson KV5/123

Les Gibson, who fought with the International Brigades and served as a stretcher bearer at the Battle of Ebro, died in 2009 at the age of 96.

Bernard Knox KV5/125

The Cambridge–educated classicist Bernard Knox was wounded while fighting with the International Brigades. A respected author, Knox went on to take American citizenship and fought with the US Army in the Second World War. He died in July 2010 at the age of 95.

John Langdon–Davies KV5/126

Journalist John Langdon–Davies covered the Spanish Civil War for the News Chronicle. He went on to write several books about the war and was founder of the international children’s charity, Plan.

Mannassah ‘Sam’ Lesser KV5/126

Sam Lesser was one of the first group of British volunteers to travel to Spain and was one of the last surviving veterans of the Spanish Civil War when he died in 2010. He was wounded in action and when he was unable to return to the front, he began a career in journalism as a correspondent for the Daily Worker.

Wogan Philipps KV5/129

Wogan Philipps, the 2nd Baron Milford, was an ambulance driver for the Republican side during the war. He later became the only member of the Communist Party to sit in the House of Lords.

Frank Ryan KV5/130

Frank Ryan, a prominent member of the IRA, led a group of Irish volunteers to fight with the International Brigades in Spain. He fought at the Battle of Jarama and was seriously wounded in March 1937. He was later captured and imprisoned by Nationalist forces before being released to the Germans in 1940.

Further research

KV5/113-116 The International Brigade Association and Friends of Republican Spain: list of persons who fought in Spain, 1936-1939, by nationality. 1934 Jan 01 – 1954 Dec 31.

KV5/117-131 The International Brigade Association and Friends of Republican Spain: list of persons who fought in Spain; card index of members and supporters of the International Brigade who came to MI5’s notice; Reconstituted from the microfilm of a card index. Each card generally gives name, date / place of birth, address and occupation as well as dates of departure to Spain and return 1934 Jan 01 – 1954 Dec 31

Access the full archive here

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The limits of Spanish protest

May 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm (capitalist crisis, democracy, Europe, James Bloodworth, socialism, spain, workers, youth)

By James Bloodworth (crossposted from Obliged to Offend)

.
The Genuine  Democracy Now movement began in Spain two weeks ago as a public outcry
against political corruption and unemployment that has soared to unprecedented
levels. Spain has a 21.3% unemployment rate – the highest in the EU – and many
of the unemployed are young people. Some Spaniards who do have jobs are going
months without pay due to their employees hanging the threat of unemployment
over their heads. Protesters have come together against what they see as an
outrageous carve-up between bankers and politicians, who are making ordinary
people pay for the financial crisis of the rich.
.
Ironically perhaps, on   the back of the protests it is the socialist party (PSOE), one of Europe’s more
economically progressive governments, that has suffered one of its worst results
in recent history. The PSOE lost around 2 million votes while the People’s
Party, an economically right-wing party, obtained unprecedented support from the
electorate in many key provinces of the state.While the protesters say
they wish to see radical changes to the Spanish political model, their lack of
concrete demands appear to be harming the movement as a whole. Ignacio Molina,
associate professor in the department of politics and international relations at
the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, believes that the movement is too limited
and narrow in focus.
.
“In other words, protesters are naive enough to think
that changing the political model on institutional issues such as the republican
form of government, participatory democracy or the proportional electoral system
can help resolve the crisis and improve the life prospects of young people or
the unemployed,” he said.

This highlights the harm be-all-and-end-all
adherence to “autonomy” and “spontaneity” is doing to mass-movements right
across Europe. Because there is no alternative program to be argued for,
movements are struggling to win the majority over to ideas different to that of
the status quo. The manifesto of the protesters fails for example to make any
concrete proposals regarding the Spanish economy – the root cause of much of the
disenfranchisement felt by ordinary people..

When the protesters do
return to their homes, whether in the next few days or several weeks from now,
there are no organisational structures in place nor transitional demands for
people to take home with them. As we saw with the British student movement, when
this happens a movement can quickly lose much of its momentum and force. As one
Spanish commentator remarked, “the saddest thing about the Spanish revolts is
that, in the end, most of these youngster’s parents and elders turned out to
vote for the People’s Party instead of joining the protesters.”

That  being said, with no end to the economic crisis in sight there is a chance this
protest will not simply fizzle out – there is the potential for this to be the
start of something much bigger. What is required, though, is a bridging of the
gap between undirected discontent and ideas about a different sort of society, a
society where people really would exercise democratic control over their
economic lives.

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