Welsh Communists mark 85th anniversary of Spanish Civil War and legacy of International Brigaders

A range of speakers contributed to the event at at the Welsh International Brigades Memorial earlier this month (21 July 2021) in Cathays Park Cardiff including Will Barton, secretary of the Cardiff branch of the Communist Party (whose speech is published in full below), Robert Griffiths General Secretary of Communist Party and Marc Bilbao Asensio from the Communist Party of Spain. There were revolutionary songs from Cor Cochian Caerdydd and a poem and reading from International Brigades Cymru. Keeping alive the memory of the Welsh international brigaders: Yn cadw’r cof am y brigadwyr rhyngwladol o gymru yn fyw.

YCL100: ‘The Defence of Madrid’ by Phil Gillan (1937)

Phil Gillan, a Young Communist League member from Glasgow, was the first of 549 volunteers from Scotland to join the Spanish Civil War. Fresh from the battlefield, he writes about his time training in the Tom Mann Centuria before serving within the Thälmann Battalion, and the realities of war against the fascists. After miraculously surviving a serious injury inflicted by German Nazis, he returned home where he told his story, and helped to recruit many others to join in the united fight for freedom.

Poetry Corner: December 1936, Spain by Clive Branson

December 1936, Spain by Clive Branson, 16 June 1939

Clive Branson was born in 1907. He became a skilled painter and studied at the Slade School of Art. At the age of 23 he exhibited paintings at the Royal Academy. He joined the ILP around 1927 but moved to the Communist Party in 1932.

Clive was active in the fight against the British Union of Fascists in London and played a leading role in the local Aid to Spain campaign, so naturally he enthusiastically volunteered for the International Brigades.

Here we feature his poem December 1936, Spain, an exhortation for aid and solidarity to Spain, highlighting the common cause of all people’s in the struggle against fascism.

Poetry Corner: Victory at Guernica by Paul Éluard

Victory at Guernica by Paul Éluard, 1937

Paul Éluard is well known as one of the founders of the Surrealist movement and he was also politically and artistically dedicated to the French Communist Party.

The poem  La Victoire de Guernica, was written in condemnation of the infamous fascist bombing of the Basque town during the Spanish Civil War, immortalised in the Picasso painting of the same name.

Poetry Corner: [To Margot Heinemann] by John Cornford

[To Margot Heinemann] by John Cornford

John Cornford from a relatively privileged families and attended Cambridge University. It was at Cambridge that he met and fell in love with Margot Heinemann and where they both joined the Communist Party. John’s mother, Frances Crofts Cornford, was a poet, and he himself was already writing poems at school.

After gaining a BA first-class honours in History, he became the first Englishman to enlist against Franco in the Spanish Civil War and was killed in battle on the Andujar and Cordoba Front on 27 or 28 December 1936.

Cornford wrote just a few poems in Spain, including A Letter from Aragon, Full Moon at Tierz: Before The Storming of Huesca and the poem featured here [To Margot Heinemann].

Remembering Dolores Ibárruri – la Pasionaria

Today marks the 125th anniversary of the birth of Dolores Ibárruri – La Pasionaria – the Spanish Republican and communist politician of the Spanish Civil War, known for her now famous slogan ¡No Pasarán! (“They shall not pass”) during the Battle for Madrid in November 1936. Here we reproduce a short biography of her life and contribution to the struggle.

Poetry Corner: Full Moon at Tierz – Before The Storming of Huesca by John Cornford

Full Moon at Tierz: Before The Storming of Huesca by John Cornford.

John Cornford from a relatively privileged families and attended Cambridge University. It was at Cambridge that he met and fell in love with Margot Heinemann and where they both joined the Communist Party. John’s mother, Frances Crofts Cornford, was a poet, and he himself was already writing poems at school.

After gaining a BA first-class honours in History, he became the first Englishman to enlist against Franco in the Spanish Civil War and was killed in battle on the Andujar and Cordoba Front on 27 or 28 December 1936.

Cornford wrote just a few poems in Spain, including A Letter from Aragon and the poem featured here Full Moon at Tierz: Before The Storming of Huesca.

Communist Party centenary events announced for September – December 2020

The August meeting of the Communist Party executive agreed a schedule of events to step-up commemoration of its centenary. These include major online meetings and conferences: Cable street forever! (4 October), Salute the Volunteers for Liberty in Spain (17 October), Launch of Communist Party history (Mid-November) and a conference on The Future of Work (5 December).