Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/941/25078

From The Socialist newspaper, 22 March 2017

Non-fiction review - 'Spain in our hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War'

Precise, visceral account of working class heroism

photo Spanish Revolution/CC

photo Spanish Revolution/CC   (Click to enlarge)

William Jarrett, Newcastle Socialist Party

Left-leaning academic Adam Hochschild's remarkable latest work collects the visceral stories of Americans and Canadians who fought fascism as part of the 'International Brigades' in Spain's 1936-9 civil war.

Hochschild also emphasises the integral role that US and European corporate interests played in tipping the scales in favour of the insurgent fascist dictator Francisco Franco.

Diaries of combatants and medical staff, archives, eyewitness testimonies, enemy intercepts, telegrams, clandestine service reports. Internal records from the Texaco oil company, and to lesser extents the Chrysler and Ford motor companies. All were forensically analysed by the author.

Like Henry Ford, who expressed fondness for Adolf Hitler, Texaco oil baron Torkild Rieber was apparently a fanatical acolyte of Franco.

Harrowing

Readers also learn about the soldiers of Spanish Morocco, long exploited by Spain's colonial masters. The revolution's official leaders failed to support them with assurances of national independence, which weakened the revolution's strength.

The familiar exploits of towering literary figures like George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway are eclipsed by the harrowing experiences of extraordinary working class and middle class fighters. Labourers, academics, taxi drivers, and World War One veterans get the same dutiful storytelling as more famous participants.

Hochschild documents Francoism's horrific barbarity with precision. The dates, locations, and methods of fascist atrocities range from mass executions to the first episodes of destruction of entire cities by aerial bombardment.

He revisits Stalinism's betrayal of the revolutionaries in Spain. The civil war occurred parallel to the purges and show trials in the Soviet Union.

Hochschild goes out of his way to illustrate the persecution faced by the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification (Poum). Poum's leaders came from a Trotskyist position - although also made fatal political errors, which this work does not deal with.

We're frequently reminded of the complete failure of US president Franklin D Roosevelt - and all the liberal capitalist democracies - to support the revolutionary Republic. They later abandoned or attacked the heroic International Brigade fighters.

The book elegantly concludes with thoughtful portrayals of these fighters struggling to reintegrate into their respective home nations, often persecuted. The twilight of their lives is a touching factor in Hochschild's tribute to the people who sacrificed so much for the cause of a socialist world.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 22 March 2017:


What we think

Tory splits brought to the surface - Corbyn must go on the attack


Socialist Party news and analysis

Tories scrap housing benefit for under-21s

Fight Tory attacks on women and children

Socialists demand reply to Livingstone's smear of Militant

Them & Us


International socialist news and analysis

Northern Ireland: divisive election a warning

Jobstown Not Guilty: defend the right to protest

Netherlands: Heavy defeat for austerity government

Yemen: families left to starve by multinationals


Workplace news and analysis

Merseyrail guard found not guilty of "endangering safety"

End the seven-year public sector pay cap!

Aslef offer: unity needed with the RMT

Battle steps up in Unite general secretary election

Derby TAs' strike suspended after new offer

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

March against racism: Refugee Rights has lively bloc

We'll fight to save our NHS!

Biggest ever protest by Orgreave campaigners

Join the march against NHS cuts and privatisation in Cumbria

Battle for Wallsend walk-in NHS service

East London demonstration against A&E closure

Salford: International Women's Day meeting


Socialist readers' comments and reviews

"After seeing the branch's effect in the community, I decided to join"

'I'm writing this to tell you about the plight of disabled people'

Precise, visceral account of working class heroism

The Socialist inbox


 

Home   |   The Socialist 22 March 2017   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate   |   Audio  |   PDF  |   ebook






Related links:

Spain:

triangleLibres y Combativas: striking for women's rights in the Spanish state

triangleSpain: Student general strike against sexist, capitalist 'justice' system

triangleCWI news in brief

triangleSpain: 'We don't want to be brave, we want to be free!'

triangleCatalonia: new Francoist coup - general strike now!

Working class:

triangleBrexit as a window on our times

triangleIn defence of socialist feminism

triangle1,000-strong rally in London this weekend

triangleEqual pay uprising shows power of working class

War:

triangle1918: revolution ends World War One

triangleCardiff Socialist Party: Tories Out - General Election Now!

triangleLeicester East Socialist Party: How revolution ended World War One

Review:

triangle'Lucas Plan' film tells story of workers who set out alternative to job losses

triangleEnthusiastic response to new podcast

Revolution:

triangleManchester Socialist Party: Reform or revolution?

Socialist:

triangleNorth West Socialist Party regional conference

Ford:

triangle'Made in Dagenham' Ford machinists pay strike 50 years on

Fascist:

triangleProtesters drive far right out of Liverpool

Stalinism:

triangle200 years of Karl Marx: Marxist ideas more relevant than ever

Fascism:

triangleCarlisle Socialist Party: The 1918 German Revolution

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

28/11/18

Trump

Trump is capricious and dangerous - but is he really in charge?

28/11/18

Theatre

Wonderful socialist play finds Edwardian poverty not in past

28/11/18

Poverty

End "poverty, ill health and despair":a benefits adviser speaks out against the cuts

21/11/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

21/11/18

Blairites

Nothing to offer from the Blairites

14/11/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

14/11/18

Theatre

Theatre: The Last Seam - a lasting tribute to Mary Jackson

14/11/18

Jeremy Corbyn

Engaging book about Corbyn's rise doesn't provide answers on how to change Labour

7/11/18

Film

Nae Pasaran: a film about working-class solidarity

7/11/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

31/10/18

Lucas Aerospace

'Lucas Plan' film tells story of workers who set out alternative to job losses

31/10/18

Letters

The Socialist inbox

24/10/18

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

17/10/18

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

10/10/18

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

triangleMore Reviews and comments articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


December 2018

November 2018

October 2018

September 2018

August 2018

July 2018

June 2018

May 2018

April 2018

March 2018

February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999