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“Remember Spain and Mexico” Take no risks April 17, 2013

Posted by irishelectionliterature in Fine Gael, History.

From Cumann na nGaedhael in 1932 “Mr De Valera’s Policy All along has been Un-Irish and Un-Catholic…”


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1. WorldbyStorm - April 17, 2013

Spain and Mexico… hmmm…

2. Starkadder - April 17, 2013

The “outlawed armed revolt” bit is especially comical when you
remember CnG/FG’s stand toward the Spanish Nationalists
a few years later.

3. ejh - April 17, 2013

Talking of which, has anybody else here read The Spanish Holocaust?

CMK - April 17, 2013

Yes, read it about a month ago. Thought I had know a lot about the Spanish Civil War but I wasn’t prepared for the degree to which the Fascists had absolute contempt, murderous contempt, for the Spanish working class. Preston documents pretty closely nearly all of the major massacres perpetrated by both sides but is clear that once the Republic government got a hold of things in 1937 the massacres in republican territory largely stopped. But anywhere that fell to the Fascists the massacres were deliberately and publicly horrific.

The book itself can be hard going and I would recommend anyone who has anarchist sympathies as for Preston the FAI and CNT contributed nothing positive.

Can be hard going in places and Preston seems to get a bit to excited about the minutiae of the Republic’s politicking.

Two clear impressions from the book: the children and grandchildren of those who wreaked a holocaust on the Spanish Left are still in power and probably dominate the Spanish economy, I wonder if the current crisis in Spain will breakdown the agreed silence over the war in Spanish society; and, that FG’s predecessors were on the wrong side and attempts to whitewash support for Spanish Fascism by FG need to be resisted strongly.

ejh - April 17, 2013

Yes, Preston doesn’t like the anarchists much, and unless I mistake myself he also seemed to come close to considering justified an accusation of treason against the POUM. (On the other hand he’s no fan of the Communists, having just written a critical biography of Carrillo.) I’d forgive him the minutae because the difference btween something like Parracuellos and (say) something like Badajoz is how well documented the first of these is, which enables him to produce a much more detailed and accurate account of who was responsible for what than is possible for most of the rebel massacres. Often, with the latter, we don’t even know who was killed, let alone who did the killing.

It is hard going sometimes, being essentially a chronicle of massacres, though of course in the context of Spain the chronicling itself is the important thing. I was interested in how it read to other people, partly because I know many of the places involved, and I don’t really know whether that distracted me or made it more real.

I think one of the consequences of the present crisis in Spain is likely to be that the agreement to “forget” is over, unless the Right prevail. If they are defeated then nobody is going to be interested in their point of view any more. This was only possible during the period of consensus. It’s gone now.

CMK - April 17, 2013

Ah, just realised my comment was almost incoherent. But, yeah, a very interesting book. One useful element, I thought, was Preston’s enumerating of the massacres carried out by the respective sides in each Spanish province. The disparity was stark with the Fascists clearly pursuing a policy of extermination of the Left and liberals.

What was also interesting was to note that many places in Spain, which are viewed here solely as places for sun and sangria, i.e the Canaries, Balearics and the Costa Del Sol, witnessed mass killings not so long ago. I personally can’t see how the holocaust, a term Preston rightly uses, won’t intrude into contemporary Spanish politics as this crisis intensifies.

eamonncork - April 17, 2013

Isn’t it nice to know that their fears proved unfounded and De Valera proved to be as slavish a Catholic reactionary as they could have wished for.

ejh - April 17, 2013

Well, there’s also the fact that members of the present government are throwing around terms like “Nazism” and “totalitarianism” with respect to people protesting against them, which does rather encourage people to make comparisons.

Dr. X - April 18, 2013

In response to Eamonncork, the bould Dev was indeed a Catholic reactionary, but he could have been a lot worse than he actually was.

eamonncork - April 18, 2013

He could also have been a lot better Dr X.

Dr. X - April 18, 2013

In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.

eamonncork - April 18, 2013

In a democracy the MAJORITY of people get the government they deserve. How many of us here voted for Fine Gael?

Michael Carley - April 17, 2013

No, but I heard him speak on it last year at the Bath Literature Festival. The first four questions from the floor were all, more or less, `he wasn’t all bad really, surely?’ The shrift he gave them could not have been shorter.

ejh - April 17, 2013

Is “him” Preston and “he” Franco?

I think people have been under the impression for decades that Franco represented a softer fascism, one that was repressive all right but didn’t engage in mass murder. There’s no longer any excuse for believing this.

ejh - April 17, 2013

One curious error, by the way – Preston refers to Martov and Dan as Bolsheviks, which they surely weren’t.

Jim Monaghan - April 18, 2013

Both Menshevik leaders. Lenin was particularly fond of’ him. Dan’s son I think fought in Spain and was executed by the Stalinists.Martov.

Michael Carley - April 17, 2013

Yes, and yes. Preston made exactly that point in response to questions, and pointed out that whatever atrocities might have been carried out by the `left’ (whatever you mean by the term), they would not have happened if Franco had not kicked everything off.

During his talk proper, he showed little sympathy for the anarchists, and, apropos A Homage to Catalonia said that it was about as relevant to the historiography of the Spanish Civil War as Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall is to the historiography of the Second World War.

Starkadder - April 17, 2013

Post 1945, people like Albert Camus
and Harold Laski kept reminding people how brutal
Franco was and trying to raise awareness of the
plight of the Republican prisoners.

As for SCW historians, Stanley G. Payne
comes across as a strong conservative
of the “National Review” school- I recall
reading a review of his that complained
American Universities were dominated
by “Political Correctness”.

eamonncork - April 18, 2013

There’s tons of fascinating stuff in this series which I can remember when it was initially broadcast on ITV during the eighties. This is episode 1 of 6, the other five episodes are also available on Youtube.

Ed - April 18, 2013

That sounds a lot like someone who’s let himself get carried away in the search for a bon mot. I’ve never read ‘Adolf Hitler …’, but I don’t think Spike Milligan had any particular interpretation of the Second World War to advance, or had any personal experience of something as consequential as the May fighting in Barcelona or the repression of the POUM.

Orwell didn’t claim to be writing a comprehensive history of the SCW, it was a work of journalism written a few months (I think) after the events he was describing; but it does point towards one of the key debates on the Republican side about the best strategy for winning the war. Ronald Fraser had an essay (in a book edited by Preston himself) arguing a broadly POUM-ist case, from a historian’s perspective; Fernando Claudin (who had been one of the leaders of the Spanish CP before he was expelled in the 60s) had a similar angle in his history of the Comintern. I wonder would Preston sweep them aside so casually.

Jim Monaghan - April 18, 2013
4. eamonncork - April 18, 2013

This also might be of interest.

5. eamonncork - April 18, 2013

ALso this wonderful documentary from the seventies.

One of the best tv series ever made, it’s all up on the net as well.

6. eamonncork - April 18, 2013

And finally two more historical classics. Amazing you can’t get any of these on DVD and that they’re never shown on TV either anymore.

7. eamonncork - April 18, 2013

Has dated a bit but nice to see the two lads in action all the same.

Dr. X - April 18, 2013
eamonncork - April 18, 2013

That’s you that is Dr X.

8. eamonncork - April 18, 2013

In memory of the Baroness and her old buddy.

9. eamonncork - April 18, 2013

Ah why not.

yourcousin - April 18, 2013


10. eamonncork - April 18, 2013

On a lighter note ths was a great and award winning left-wing series which is probably why it’s never got a release either. Axed at its height because of the star’s criticism of US policy in Central America.

11. Dr. X - April 18, 2013

Canadian documentary on the October crisis of 1970:

eamonncork - April 18, 2013

This is a dinger allright Dr X. To my shame I’d never even heard of the aforesaid crisis before someone on this site mentioned the documentary before.

Dr. X - April 18, 2013

I think that someone may have been me. There’s quite a bit on it on the net, it was one of the defining moments of modern Canadian history. One of the interesting bits is that the crisis was used to harass the whole Canadian left.

eamonncork - April 18, 2013

You could give yourself a great left wing education watching everything that’s available on Youtube. I had a top 50 made out at one stage but felt that might be pushing it a bit given that this isn’t my site. Before I saw this particular doc I’d always thought of Canada as a repository of absolutely uneventful Scandanavian style politics and societal liberalism.

Dr. X - April 18, 2013

Have a look for Kanehsatake – 200 Years of Resistance. Doc about a famous “Free Derry” style incident in Ontario in 1990. Armed Indian (well, they’re called First Nations in Canada) groups held the state at bay for quite some time.

Dr. X - April 18, 2013

Oh, and it should be on the National Film Board of Canada website (as is a fascinating documentary about a very young Leonard Cohen).

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