International Brigade 80th Anniversary

Scottish veterans at the unveiling of the international brigade memorial statue in 1985:

Spectacle was present in 1985 when the International Brigade memorial statue was erected and Scottish veterans gave their views about the war is the video shown above.  Thirty one years later, the 2nd of July marked the 80th anniversary of the start of the Spanish civil war. People gathered at the memorial at South Bank to pay their respects to the international brigade, 2100 of which were British, who fought against the nationalists during the civil war from 1936-39. The Nationalists were controlled by Franco’s government, who were fascists, and they had the support of Germany and Italy. The International Brigade was on the side of the second spanish republic and they were made up of volunteers from over 50 nations, there was an estimated 35, 000 of them. The International Brigade was made up of many different people such as communists, socialists, anarchists, jews, but they all had one thing in common and that is that they were anti-fascist. Their goal was to stop a fascist dictatorship from happening in Spain as it could have easily spread to other european countries that weren’t already controlled by fascists, such as France. Although the nationalists ultimately won and Franco continued to rule for a further 36 years it is clear that the work of the International Brigade is still valued to this day.

During the memorial held at Jubilee Gardens wreaths were laid for the 526 british volunteers who lost their lives to the cause and there was a minutes silence. Those present at the memorial included representatives from the spanish embassy, trade union veterans and the president of the madrid Association of Friends of the International Brigade. There was also performances from various artists and actors including songs from the upcoming play about the international brigade.

In the turbulent times we live in now is it possible we will need another International Brigade in the future and what form would it take?

Photos from the 80th anniversary:

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Watch our interview with John ‘Bosco’ Jones about being a member of the International Brigade.

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Imagining Utopias

It’s often been said that this is not only a socio-economic crisis of systemic proportions, but also a crisis of the imagination. And how could this be otherwise? Decades of being told There Is No Alternative, that liberal capitalism is the only rational way of organizing society, has atrophied our ability to imagine social forms of life that defy the bottom line. Yet positive affirmations of another world do exist here and there, in neighbourhood assemblies, community organizations, art collectives and collective practices, the Occupy camps… It is only difficult to tell what exactly the notion of progress is that ties these disparate small-is-beautiful alternatives together: What type of utopias can we imagine today?

With his theories of radical libertarianism Murray Bookchin, among many others, has offered up a vision of utopia incorporating a strong emphasis on cooperation, equality, mutual aid, feminism, liberation, and ecological wisdom. His work has influenced the the writing of literary utopianists like Ursula le Guin (The Dispossessed), who along with others, most notably Marge Piercy (Woman on the Edge of Time), and Sally Miller Gaerhart (Wanderground) have dared to imagine specific versions of utopianism.

Banned from “mature” politics, the task of representing utopia has generally been women’s work. As feminists distanced themselves from the ’68 macho revolutionary culture (be it party politics or guerilla tactics), they turned to the politics of everyday life. Whether in literature or in intentional communities and affinity groups, women risked the cardinal sin of politics – being unrealistic and impractical, by building utopias from the ground up around activities they were told did not have a proper place in politics: eating, cleaning, housing, care and education. If the material foundation of capitalist domination was to be found in the home, utopia would also have to start at home, from the basic activities that reproduce the body in all its difference and social relationality.

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Last day!

“An anarchist society, far from being a remote ideal, has become a precondition for the practice of ecological principles,” Murray Bookchin (‘Ecology and Revolutionary Thought’, 1963)

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2 days to go!

“The notion that man must dominate nature emerges directly from the domination of man by man”, Murray Bookchin (‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism, 1971).

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3 days to go! Bookchin on Bookchin

“Humanity has passed through a long history of one-sidedness and of a social condition that has always contained the potential of destruction, despite its creative achievements in technology”, Murray Bookchin (‘The Ecology of Freedom’, 1982)

 

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Bookchin on Bookchin 4 days to go!

“And as long as hierarchy persists (…) the project of dominating nature will continue to exist and inevitably lead our planet to ecological extinction”, Murray Bookchin (‘Toward an Ecological Society’, 1974)

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5 days to go!

“The old substance of exploitative society reappears in new forms, draped in a red flag, decorated by portraits of Mao (or Castro or Che) and adorned with the little ‘Red Book’ and other sacred litanies”, Murray Bookchin (‘Listen, Marxist’ in ‘Post-Scarcity Anarchism’ 1971)

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6 days to go!

“Capitalism is a social cancer. It has always been a social cancer. It is the disease of society. It is the malignancy of society.”, Murray Bookchin.

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11 days to go!

“Partial ‘solutions’ serve merely as cosmetics to conceal the deep seated nature of the ecological crisis”, Murray Bookchin (‘The Ecology of Freedom’, 1982).

 

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12 days to go!

“Capitalism can no more be ‘persuaded’ to limit growth than a human being can be ‘persuaded’ to stop breathing“, Murray Bookchin (‘Remaking Society’, 1990).

 

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