The 75th anniversary of General Franco's fascist revolt
is a reminder both of the barbarism of reaction and the heroism of those progressives forces from Spain and across the world
who rushed to the defence of the democratic Spanish Republic. The coalition of democrats, republicans, leftists, socialists
and communists who fought fascism inspired a generation who joined them in the fight against fascism. While others downplayed
the threat from the fascists, or sought to come to an arrangement with them, the defenders of the Spanish Republic understood
the true nature of fascism. It could not be compromised with. They understood that it was the most vicious ideology the world
had ever seen, and that its victory would mean decades of murder, torture and oppression for the working class. They
understood that it was necessary to stand up and fight the alliance of Franco, Mussolini and Hitler before it was too late.
Among the many tragedies of the Spanish Civil War, not the least is the fact that the bourgeois democratic governments of
the UK, France and the US refused to join the Soviet Union in providing aid to the Republic.
Many of the best and the
brightest progressives from across the world went to Spain to serve in the International Brigades. Hundreds of Irish people
joined the Republican forces, many paying with their lives. We remember with pride those republicans and communists who went
to Spain, including our comrade Paddy McAllister, who shared his experience and his politics with later generations of members
of our Party. They fought on behalf of a common humanity and the vision of a brighter future. Their example remains an inspiration
today for those of us who seek to build a democratic, secular, socialist society in Ireland.
We remember too that
there were those who, inspired by the same poisonous mix of religion, nationalism and reaction as motivated the Spanish fascists,
went to serve Franco. We remember the bishops and the clergy, the nationalists and the anti-communists, who denounced the International
Brigades and who salivated for the destruction of the Spanish Republic, cheering the fascists on, raising money for them.
We remember too that the forces of religious division and vicious nationalism remain all too powerful in our society today.
In Spain the last remaining defence of capitalism was fascism. In Ireland today, capitalism has found a different way to violate
democracy and save itself at the expense of the working class. The need for class consciousness and for unity to defend the
democratic gains and rights of the people of Ireland, north and south, remains as strong today as it was in the 1930s.
Workers' Party of Ireland salutes those people from Spain and abroad who fought against fascism and barbarism in defence of
the Republic. Theirs was a titanic struggle in defence of great principles and of the workers of the world. There are those
who would like us to believe that the days for such struggle are gone; that there is no need for ideology any longer; that
there is no alternative. This is a lie. The struggle to build a better future future continues. It requires the same dedication
and commitment shown by the defenders of the Spanish Republic. Socialism is the alternative. We can, we must, build that alternative.