Make your front popular

Mark Perryman

Seventy years ago in 1936 the Spanish Republic were joined by the International Brigade, thousands anti-fascist volunteers from around the world, in the battle for land and freedom. Their foe, Franco and his Fascists were backed by Hitler and Mussolini while the British and other governments shamefully hid behind so-called 'Non aggression' to starve the Republicans of supplies and munitions.

The battle cry of the Republic was No Pasaran , 'They shall not pass', the heroism, solidarity and sacrifice in the face of Franco's overwhelming force has inspired anti-fascists ever since.

To mark the 70th anniversary Philosophy Football, the self-styled 'sporting outfitters of distinction', have produced a celebratory range of T-shirts inspired by the banners of the Republic and their allies. For too many on the left this episode of extraordinary bravery has been the subject of bitter point-scoring which is both tiresome and disrespectful. Whatever our views and loyalties from the comfort of today, these people gave their lives in the fight against fascism.

The four shirts depict different forces united in Spain's battle. The flag of the Left Party of Catalonia (pictured), the Catalonians like the Galicians and Basques recognised the need to unite behind the Republic against Franco. The banner of the Tom Mann Centuria, formed by British volunteers in Barcelona this unit went on to become the basis of the British Battalion of the International Brigade. Tom Mann was a militant trade unionist and founder of the Communist Party of Great Britain. The banner of the POUM militia, the unit with which George Orwell famously served. And the banner of the anarcho-syndicalist CNT-FAI, critics of the Popular Front government but allies in the fight against fascism.

Superb designs, inspirational, to be worn with pride. 

September 2006

> > home page > >