85th Anniversary of the Spanish Revolution
Marking the 85th anniversary of the Spanish Revolution this month, a commemorative event was held in the city to honour those from the North West who travelled to fight.
Native born Catalan and union activist Omar Merino spoke on behalf of the Industrial Workers of the World.
Addressing those in attendance, he said "On this, the occasion of the Spanish Revolution, 85 years ago this month, when Franco's fascist troops attempted a military coup against the Left-wing government of the Spanish Republic, the Spanish working class responded by declaring a general strike, and almost overnight, workers seized factories and other workplaces; land was collectivized; workers' militias were formed throughout the country; established political institutions disintegrated or were replaced by workers' or village committees.
"By 1936, the two main unions, the anarcho-syndicalist CNT and the socialist UGT had a combined force of 3 million members. On July 19 the uprising reached Catalonia, where the workers taking up arms assaulted the barracks, erecting barricades and stopping the insurgents.
"This is the first time in history that the people is able to organise themselves and defeat a professional army.
"While the governments of Europe impose a non-intervention treaty, tens of thousands of international workers respond to the call of the Spanish people. While governments around the world declare the so-called Spanish Civil War to be an internal affair, international volunteers reject this narrative. They see the events taking place in Spain as a social war. A war between the Capitalist class and the workers.
"In a decade of cataclysmic worldwide depression and spreading fascism, the revolution in Spain signaled a message of renewed hope to the scattered forces of working-class emancipation throughout the globe: the war in Spain was Class war, and defeating the fascists meant not only defeating capitalism. It meant the chance to create a new way of life without exploiters, without bosses. It was a war to change everything."
Emmet O'Connor, celebrated labour historian and son of Waterford Brigadista Peter O'Connor, highlighted the list of those from the North West on the plaque. In his address he briefly outlined the many reasons and complexities of each who travelled from Derry, Donegal and Tyrone during that period.
As a bouquet of flowers in the colours of the Republic was left at the plaque, a minutes silence was observed. A number of local trade unionists and antifascist activists also attended.
Video link here: