Subject: Spanish Civil War meeting at Red Shed
Thirty six people packed into the Red Shed meeting room in Wakefield last Saturday (11 March) to discuss the Spanish Civil War and to remember those who so bravely fought against fascism.
The first speaker was the author and campaigner Granville Williams. Granville noted that the Soviet Union, through the Comintern, was urging young workers to go to Spain. However between 1936 and 1938 there were massive purges in the Soviet Union. This "terror in the Soviet Union was projected into Spain" with the "persecution and extermination of Trotskyists."
Granville paid particular tribute to POUM which had "brilliant leaders" and activists who had led struggles including mass strikes.
The second speaker was Bob Mitchell, a former councillor and former Mayor of Wakefield. He said the "democrats of Spain were defending an elected Government" and "defending reforms against a fascist and military coup." All wars generated poetry, he said, but the Spanish Civil War in particular spawned an "immense body of work." Bob then read a moving selection of poetry by John Cornford, Frank Ryan, Frank Edwards and others.
The final speaker was the environmental campaigner Tim Padmore. Tim spoke in particular about a new production of the play, "Dare Devil Rides to Jamara", which tells the story of two volunteers Clem Beckett and Chris Caldwell who went to fight with the International Brigades in Spain.
The event was organised by the Wakefield Socialist History Group. The Group's next event is on Saturday 1 April 1pm, again at the Red Shed, when Dr Martin Crick and Paul Bennett will speak at a meeting on "British Socialism and World War One." Fraternally
Convenor, Wakefield Socialist History Group