When the current situation in Barcelona and Catalonia burst back onto our social media pages ( not our main stream media) I was drawn back into reading George Orwell’s classic personal account of volunteering for the International Brigades in support of opposing the fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War, Homage to Catalonia. When you re-read a book like that you get a sense of its current relevance today. What struck me were the details about the daily life in Barcelona and the way people were challenging basic concepts like tipping or the way people in public service jobs like public transport were treated.Mutual respect for everyones role in the ‘struggle’ really stands out on the book.People were really trying to create a different society in the middle of a civil war and it was awe-inspiring.
Despite that the book is also complex and there is a bewildering explanation of the relationships, or lack of, between the socialists, the communists and the anarchists all fighting under different flags for the same cause. The descriptions of ‘bored’ warfare on top of hillsides with different factions taking potshots at each other whilst waiting for more bullets being supplied and the next ‘offensive’.
The International Brigades saw people of principle from Scotland go and fight in Spain with Barcelona the as the main launchpad. Americans too, but by far the most came from France which had a large Communist Party and also had Communist exiles from Italy and Germany who knew about fighting Fascism.
The second world war had not quite started but Spain was the rehearsal ground in more ways than one. Stalin supported the International Brigades as part of the Comintern and the Russians provided logistics, arms and military advisers to the fledging Spanish Republic. At the same time Portugal,Italy and Germany provided the Spanish Fascists with support of all kinds, including being a testing ground for Hitlers weapons of war prior to the Polish invasions and beyond.
A large number of Jewish people also offered themselves having seen the writing on the wall in Germany. Those opposed to Stalin who wanted to fight formed separate divisions, one famously called the POUM which Orwell and other foreigners served in. There were also anarchists from Italy forming the famous Durritti Column and the CNT.
All of these people were volunteers who somehow managed to get themselves across road, rail and sea to support their fellow human beings in Spain threatened by fascism.
George Orwell was a writer who has entered our consciousness with novels like 1984, a book about what totalitarianism might look like in the future. Its already here but just a few years out George! Animal Farm– all animals are created equal but some are more equal than others.
Now Labour in the UK, not the Scottish branch office, is telling us they are ‘for the many not the few’ as they make their pitch for government should Theresa May fall as she is likely to do.
One thing is very clear Jeremy Corbyn is a Unionist and will oppose the self determination of the Scottish people.
Like all Labour so called ‘radicals’ they are on a career path to Westminster and the House of Lords. They will always lie to us in order to protect the Union as they did in 2014. Alistair Darling is a classic example. Jeremy Corbyn is no different.
Sadly though the biggest hypocrite is in fact Jeremy Corbyn. He has had a career of being on the left of his party and has courted controversy down the years over links with countless international crisis situations; El Salvador: Nicaragua; Ireland, yet when push comes to shove this week on the lead up to his party conference the biggest democratic crisis facing the world has unfolded in Catalonia, Spain.
On the streets of Barcelona written about so eloquently by the Labour left hero George Orwell ,we have witnessed ballot papers and election materials confiscated.Local government officials responsible for elections have been arrested and imprisoned, now released. Police have been ordered to close off access to polling stations and the Guardia Civil, the Spanish State Police have positioned themselves in two ships in the docklands near Barcelona to basically prevent the democratic vote taking place.
If this had happened in Central Africa I would bet Corbyn and his pals would feel free to criticise an African state, but why are they silent about a European state?
Why are you so afraid Jeremy? Do you not oppose fascism anymore? Are you scared to upset the UKIP voters your party needs to take from the Tories?
Why does someone with such a principled history stay silent about so many attacks on democratic rights of people just across the water, so close that Scottish,English and Welsh people went to fight with them to support democracy?
So where is the left wing guardian now? Planning on serving as Prime Minister and teaching the left of Europe how to be more left wing- well thats what I got when I googled Jeremy’s comments on Catalonia, nothing else.
Silence, total silence on abuses of Spain towards the people of Catalonia.
Now this evening we have had in Scotland a Labour Party Political Broadcast talking about Labour being for the many not the few.Well those words ring hollow when we recall the last Labour opposition either abstaining or indeed voting for the austerity cuts we are now facing in Scotland. Typical Labour behaviours- they make a mess , blame it on someone else and when a solution comes along they take credit for it. Hollow arguments by hollow men and women quoting slogans that mean nothing when the push comes to shove.
By ignoring democratic rights in Barcelona you have shown yourself up to being a complete ‘sell out’ Jeremy.
Do not come here to Scotland to peddle your fake socialism here. You bring shame to the families who sent people to Barcelona first time around. We will not be fooled again.