Salute the Volunteers for Liberty

As part of its centenary programme the Communist Party is hosting a series of wreath laying events in honour of the International Brigade Volunteers for Liberty. These will be held on Saturday 17 October at 2.30pm (except for Newcastle, 11am). The events are listed below. We urge you to support the event nearest to you.

The four principal events have been agreed and carefully coordinated with the International Brigades Memorial Trust, who are calling on their members and supporters to share our platforms and attend in London, Manchester, Glasgow and Cardiff. Additional events have been arranged for Middlesborough, Newcastle and Cambridge, Oxford and Southampton.

Saturday 17 October is the anniversary of the 1938, passing-out parade of the International Brigades, which later in the month received a ticker tape send-off as they marched through the streets of Barcelona. 

Many of the young volunteers, including hundreds of our members, fell on the field of battle. They died fighting German and Italian fascist armies, which supported Spanish reaction led by Franco and those of British and French imperialism. They fell as victims of a policy of ’non-intervention’ and ‘appeasement’ – government strategies, designed to groom fascism and let it loose on the Soviet Union. The sacrifice of the Volunteers held the line for nigh-on three years, buying precious time for the forces opposed to fascism and war.

The Communist Party and Young Communist League call on members to do their very best to attend these events, respecting where appropriate, the COVID regulations applying in each locality.

We recall with pride the sacrifice. We know that in the Party today there remain the sons and daughters of Volunteers and we are all inspired by those who fought. Let us mark this day with a show of solidarity and remembrance and let’s “Hold our banners high!”.

  • CITY: Glasgow Venue: Pasionaria statue, Custom House Quay Contact name: Rab O’DonnellContact details:
  • CITY: Cardiff Venue: International Brigades Memorial, Alexandra Gardens, Cathay’s Park  Contact name: Will Barton Contact details:
  • CITY: Manchester Venue: Central Library with a short walk to the cenotaph to lay the wreaths. Contact name: Les Doherty Contact details:
  • CITY: Newcastle TIME 11amVenue: Civic Centre, Barras Bridge NE1 8PPContact name: Martin LevyContact details:
  • CITY: Middlesborough Venue: War Memorial  (ASSEMBLE: Dorman Museum, Linthorpe Rd, Middlesbrough TS5 6LA)Contact name: Martin LevyContact details:
  • CITY: London Venue: to be confirmed on 1 October. Contact name: Lynne Walsh Contact details: mark subject ’17 October wreath ceremony’
  • CITY: Cambridge Venue: Ronald Rolph Court CB5 8 PX Contact name: Gordy Cullum Contact details:

More on the International Brigades

Britain’s Communist Party played a leading role in facilitating and supporting the International Brigades. Three-quarters of the volunteers were CP or YCL members.”, writes Jim Jump our guest and Chair of the International Brigade Memorial Trust.

A rare viewing of an original badge especially struck for the volunteers who had served in the International Brigade. Very few such badges survive to this day. 

The original banner still exists. It was made by women textile workers of Barcelona and dedicated to the British Battalion as they were withdrawn from combat. On 17 October the banner was carried through the streets of the Catalan capital. Now it is on display at Marx Memorial Library & Workers School. Also to view the banner of today’s IBMT. The influence of the original is obvious!

Today the IBMT campaigns for recognition of the ‘volunteers for liberty’. The IBMT networks with similar organisations around the world, maintaining the spirit of the internationalism of the IB. Why not get involved.

Recently the IBMT commissioned Platform Films to make a number of short film documentaries about different aspects of the conflict, which you can view below.

Centenary free download

One of the remarkable characters who went to fight in Spain was Thora Silverthorne a Communist Party member who’s life recorded in our new publication Red Lives. Download and distribute this free poster.