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.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation

 

Your message: 

 


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:

triangleHackney & Islington Socialist Party: How can we boot out the Tories

triangleSpanish elections - new upheavals underline need for a revolutionary socialist alternative

triangleWirral Socialist Party: Ireland, Scotland & Spain - national rights and socialism

triangleMemorial to working-class fighters who fought fascism

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

Working class:

triangleSwansea Socialist Party: Class struggle and the role of the working class in changing society

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Labour - time for a new party for the working class

triangleLifting the lockdown: workers must not pay the price

triangleLessons from the Corbyn experience

War:

triangleAnniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

triangleCapitalism's 'vaccine war' shows need for socialist cooperation

triangleHow capitalist restoration led to war and 'ethnic cleansing' in the Balkans

Review:

triangleFrom slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

triangleTwo-metre rule under 'review' - Another case of profit before safety

Revolution:

triangleCuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo

Socialist:

triangleYoung Socialists and Socialist Students day of action

Ford:

triangleRatcliffe rats on Bridgend workers

Fascist:

triangleNewcastle anti-fascist demo

Stalinism:

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: The collapse of stalinism

Fascism:

triangleNottingham Socialist Party: The new right - are they heading towards fascism?

Reviews and comments

Reviews and comments

22/7/20

Cuba

Exciting Cuban spy thriller exposes US-sponsored terrorism

22/7/20

Letters

The Socialist inbox

22/7/20

Socialist Party

I joined the Socialist Party to fight back

15/7/20

Housing

TV: Ross Kemp - Living with Forced Out Families

15/7/20

Bolsheviks

Books that inspired me: The Mother

15/7/20

Black Lives Matter

How the FBI and Chicago police murdered a Black Panther

8/7/20

School

TV: The school that tried to end racism

8/7/20

Letters

The Socialist Inbox

8/7/20

Racism

Books that inspired me: The Fire Next Time

1/7/20

TV

From slavery to Black Lives Matter - racism and capitalist injustice exposed

1/7/20

US

Readers' opinion

1/7/20

Socialist Party

I left Labour and want to end capitalism - join us in Socialist Party

24/6/20

Letters

The Socialist inbox

24/6/20

Covid

A timely read about a pandemic that overwhelms society

17/6/20

Windrush

Tears and anger over the treatment of the Windrush generation

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: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020

2019

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999