The hats of the proletarian brothers

First, from Weimar, from a strange but fascinating collection, via Kellie:

Robert Capa, Spanish Civil War, Barcelona 1936
Barcelona. August-September 1936. The boy is wearing a cap belonging to a member of the Steel Battalions, of the “Union de Hermanos Proletarios” (Union of Proletarian Brothers), an anarchist militia.

And more on the hats of the UHP:

Asturias, Octubre 1934-1937. Hoy como ayer el Socorro Rojo de España cuidará de vuestras familias[Asturias, October 1934-1937. Today, as yesterday, the Spanish Red Aid will take care of your families]. Signed: Tomás.. Socorro Rojo de España. Gráficas Valencia, Intervenido U.G.T. C.N.T. Lithograph, 3 colors; 100 x 69 cm.

In this poster, the image of a fighting miner emerges from behind a hill inscribed with the word “Asturias”. This refers to a region located along Spain’s northern coast, on the Bay of Biscay. The fighter carries a rifle on his shoulder and prepares to throw a stick of dynamite. Behind him a mother cares for her two young children. The green color of the sinuous mountains evokes the greenery of a region known for its abundant rainfall.

The message under the image refers to events that occurred in Asturias in 1934 and in 1937, and also to the organization issuing this poster, the Socorro Rojo de España, or Spanish Red Aid. The Red Aid was founded by the Comintern in 1921; its activities in Spain had begun before the war, assisting in the revolutionary strike that was held in many parts of the country in the fall of 1934. This strike was most successful in Asturias, where it was led by a united front of miners of socialist, communist and anarchist persuasion; thus the initials UHP in the cap worn by the miner in this poster, which stand for Unión de Hermanos Proletarios, or Union of Proletarian Brothers. After two weeks of revolution, the rebellion surrendered on October 18, 1934. The repression was conducted by military forces led by General Franco on orders from the Republican government. It is to these events that the inscription “October 1934″ in this poster refers. The second date on the poster, 1937, refers to the Civil War. In the late summer of that year, military forces, this time in rebellion against the Republic, were set to attack Asturias. The region prepared for its defense, which was much publicized throughout the country. After intense fighting, Asturias finally fell to the Nationalist army on October 21. This poster shows the mythic dimension that the Asturias revolution of 1934 had acquired in Spain immediately before and during the war. The defense of Asturias in 1937 by revolutionary miners like the one represented in this image immediately evoked the earlier events and provided an ideal opportunity to rouse the passion of the masses anew.

The author of this scene, Tomás, designed other posters during the war, but he is not otherwise known. This poster must have been designed and printed at the time of the events it commemorates, in October 1937, presumably before the fall of Asturias to the Nationalist army on October 21.

[See also]

Collectives in the Spanish Revolution – Gaston Leval

We have so many times said, for it is important to bear this in mind that the Spanish libertarian revolution was set in motion as a consequence of the Francoist attack which made it possible to put into action revolutionary forces which without it were condemned to new and sterile failures. And when we say “sterile failures” we are referring to the attempts made in January 1932, January and December 1933 (revolutionary and insurrectional attempts organised and manned by the C.N.T.-F.A.I.) to which one must add the Asturian miners’ insurrection in October 1934 in which socialist, U.G.T. and C.N.T. workers (in spite of the stupid opposition of the national Comité of the C.N.T.) and even Communists took part.  All these attempts were crushed by the more powerful forces of the State, supported by the non-revolutionary political parties which, for all that, were not fascist.

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Published in: on June 21, 2011 at 12:34 pm  Comments (7)  
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7 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. good to see gerda taro mentioned. there was an exhibition here in manhattan of her pictures some years back.
    http://libcom.org/forums/libcommunity/spanish-civil-war-photographer-gerda-taro-22092007 (with slideshow)

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