William Gallacher 1937

Answer the Call of the Spanish People

Source: International Press Correspondence, Volume 17, no 26, 19 June 1937. Scanned, prepared and annotated for the Marxist Internet Archive by Paul Flewers.

The callous ferocity of the Hitler fascists, as expressed in the bombardment of Almerķa, [1] has aroused the workers everywhere to a new understanding of the destructive violence that accompanies fascist aggression. At the same time it has created a feeling of apprehension amongst those of liberal views in the professional and middle-class sections of society.

It is with dread they see this continual expression of bestial ferocity, and they eagerly look around for some means of combating it.

Gladly would they associate with a unified working-class movement devoting itself to the defence of Spanish democracy and the defeat of fascism.

It was left to a Liberal, Mr Geoffrey Mander, [2] to declare in the House of Commons that, after the open breaches of the ‘non-intervention’ agreement by the Germans and Italians, the government of the Soviet Union, by its actions in October, which brought new support to the Spanish government, had not only served democracy in Spain, but actually saved democracy in Europe.

Provocation after provocation against the Spanish government in a desperate attempt to extricate Franco and themselves from the defeat that is threatening. Provocations that are screened and supported by the National Government [3] and the friends of Franco in this country and in France.

In this situation, where the fate of Europe is at stake, an effective answer must be made to the appeal sent out by the Socialists, Communists and trade unionists of Spain.

These, all of them, are fighting side by side to defeat fascism in Spain; to drive the fascists into the sea. But they know, as we know, and as the fascists know, that a defeat for Franco is defeat for Mussolini and for Hitler. To succeed in their great aim they must have the loyal support of the international working-class movement.

The Socialists, Communists and trade unionists of Spain call for aid, for the reinforcements that will bring victory; for unity of all Socialists, Communists and trade unionists in Britain and throughout the International, behind their epic struggle.

Surely everyone who hates fascism and who has the best interests of the people as a whole at heart will answer to this call.

Surely they will agree with the proposal of Dimitrov where he says:

In a situation as serious as this, it is absolutely clear that the Socialist. Communist and Trade Union Internationals ought to call a joint conference, to establish a permanent contact committee to indicate all the necessary measures and immediately proceed to put them into operation, to do what is being demanded by the Spanish Socialists, Communists and members of trade unions who are fighting side by side and shedding their blood in the struggle against the fascist violators.

The demand is urgent. The time is short. If we are to strengthen our comrades in Spain, if we are to end their present agony through early victory, we must act now. Unity must be achieved. In a situation so serious as this, an international conference of Socialists, Communists and trade unions is absolutely essential. It is the path to victory in Spain, it is the path to victory for the workers in all lands. Unite the forces and end for ever the brutal, bestial rule of fascism.


All notes have been provided by the MIA.

1. After Republican aeroplanes attacked the German warship Deutschland off Ibiza, causing 31 deaths, the Graf Spee and four destroyers bombarded the coastal town of Almerķa, destroying 35 buildings and killing 19 people.

2. Geoffrey Le Mesurier Mander (1882-1962) was Liberal MP for Wolverhampton during 1929-45, and a critic of the National Government’s policy towards Nazi Germany. He joined the Labour Party in 1948, and served on Staffordshire Country Council.

3. Britain was governed by a series of National Governments from 1931 to 1945. The first emerged from the collapse of the Labour Government in August 1931 through a deep Cabinet division in respect of public expenditure cuts following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, with the former Labour Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald at its head, leading to his expulsion from the Labour Party. A general election was held in October 1931, and although the Conservatives won a resounding victory, MacDonald remained Prime Minister. MacDonald resigned in June 1935, and the Conservative leader Stanley Baldwin took over. The Conservatives won another victory in the general election of November 1935, Baldwin remained Prime Minister, and was replaced in May 1937 by Neville Chamberlain, who was himself replaced by Winston Churchill in May 1940.