Letter from ALBA: Setting the Record Straight

August 23, 2018

Dear Friends and Comrades:

We are going to press on the 80th anniversary of the Battle of the Ebro, the longest, most extensive, and bloodiest battle of the Spanish Civil War. In spite of Franco’s superiority in manpower and equipment, the Republicans sought to thwart the Fascist offensive on Valencia and to gain time in the hope that the Western democracies would finally come to their aid. In September 1938, as we know, the Munich agreement sealed the fate of the Republic and made World War II all but inevitable.

As this issue of The Volunteer illustrates, the tragic events of 1938 led to long-lasting hardship, mostly for the people of Spain, but also for the surviving international volunteers. As Paul Preston reminds us in his prologue to Ramón Sender’s A Death in Zamora, the fascist victory led to the systematic persecution of antifascists with particular ferocity directed against women while “premature antifascists” like Del Berg were harassed for years by the FBI.

The harsh treatment French authorities perpetrated on Spanish Republican refugees continues to echo in the policies currently pursued by our own government: indiscriminate deportations, the separation of children from their parents, and ICE raids and intimidation. Sarah Lazare points out how the deceptive attempts by US authorities today to distinguish between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” refugees date back to the post-World War II Red Scare.

As we know, as long as there is oppression and exploitation there will be those who support the struggle for a just world and, in the process, as Paul Preston and Francisco Ferrándiz point out, set the historical record straight so that we may hold Fascists accountable for their crimes.

At ALBA, we will highlight the connections between the struggles of the past and those of the present at our forthcoming teachers’ workshops in Ohio, New York, and New Jersey. On September 21, 22, and 23, our annual Human Rights Film Festival will feature more than a dozen new documentaries about those struggles as well.

All this is not possible without your continued support. Thanks, as always, for your generosity.