Letter from ALBA: The Relevance of a Legacy

May 19, 2022

Dear friends,

As this issue goes to press, ALBA is wrapping up a busy, program-filled spring. A highlight, no doubt, was our online gala on April 30, which included the ALBA/Puffin Award for Life After Hate, along with stirring music and thought-provoking conversations about the relevance today of the legacy embodied by the International Brigades. (See the report here and a video recording of the entire event here.)

How their legacy applies to current events—including the Russian invasion of Ukraine—is an important question about which our community has engaged in a productive debate, of which we provide a sampling here.

Beyond diverging views on issues like these, however, we can agree on one thing: In a world that’s facing war and destruction, ruthless imperialism, and a newly emboldened far-right that seems determined to walk back a century’s worth of progress—from academic freedom to abortion rights—it is more important than ever to honor, study, and discuss the Brigades’ steadfast commitment to antifascism and progressive internationalism.

This is the core of ALBA’s mission. It guides everything we do: from our work with teachers (read about our latest five-week institute here) and the Perry Rosenstein Cultural Series (with four workshops so far in 2022), to the essay contest named in honor of Lincoln vet George Watt, who was also highlighted in April in a moving production based on the correspondence from Spain with his wife Ruth.

In this issue, we feature a touching portrait of volunteer Al Chakin, interesting new research on the music broadcast on the radio in Republican Spain, and a piece by our teaching partner, Rich Cairn, on Massachusetts’ exciting new educational standards on genocide. This issue also features a special section dedicated to my co-editor, Peter N. Carroll, to acknowledge his pioneering work as a historian of the American volunteers in Spain and his many decades of service to ALBA.

All of us at ALBA share the deep conviction that our work—teaching history, inspiring activism, and upholding human rights—is as necessary and important as it ever was. Yet all of us also know that the only reason we can continue to do it is thanks to your generous, steadfast support. From all of us, we send you a heartfelt gracias.


Sebastiaan Faber


PS: Keep an eye out in the coming months for our Summer Appeal, which will include a special offer. And remember to support our teaching programs.