The Marx Memorial Library is home to over 2,500 photographs documenting the Spanish Civil War 1936-39, the Aid Spain Movement, and campaigns against the Franco dictatorship into the 1960s and 1970s. Bound and carefully annotated by volunteers – many of whom had direct family connections to the Civil War – this collection of photographs, which forms part of the MML’s Spanish Collection, is a treasure trove.
The prints have been accumulated over decades since the International Brigade Association first donated a tranche of their papers to the MML in 1975. Many were taken by International brigaders themselves – the volunteers who went to defend democratically elected Republican government in Spain following the far-right military coup in 1936. There are also plenty of press photographs. They record the devastation of aerial bombardment on Spanish cities wrought by the Luftwaffe and the enormous human cost. Casualties – mainly women and children – are pictured.
The photographs, too, record the shockwaves this conflict sent across the globe. Prints showing demonstrations calling for ‘arms for Spain’, in response to Britain’s policy of non-intervention in the civil war - and collections for milk, food and medical supplies. Later, in the 1960s, Franco’s brutal dictatorship, victorious in 1939, continued. Photographs show displays of solidarity with political prisoners outside the Spanish Embassy in London. Flowers were laid when Julian Grimau, politician and member of the Communist Party of Spain was executed in 1963. The inexperienced firing squad fired 27 bullets before he was killed.
Into the 1980s and 1990s, the images track how the Spanish Civil War and the brave men and women who went to fight fascism over 80 years ago have been remembered. Hundreds of photographs of memorials, funerals and reunions show how this inspiring yet tragic story has been re-told over the decades.
These unique images are now – thanks to funds from the National Archives Cataloguing Grants Scheme – being catalogued online, digitised and re-packaged. The catalogue will be launched this Spring. Keep your eyes peeled for this exciting new online resource.
The Marx Memorial Library will be closed from 14 December, re-opening on Monday 8 January
Apologies for any incovenience - this is to allow for much needed stocktaking
Marx Memorial Library celebrates Marx's 200th birthday on 2018 with a Major International Conference
On 5 May we will celebrate Marx’s work and explore the significance of Marxism in the world today.
At SOAS, University of London.
John McDonnell MP, the Shadow Chancellor
Sarah Mosoeta (professor of sociology at the National Institute for the Humanities & Social Sciences, Johannesburg)
Isabel Monal (editor of the Cuban theoretical journal Marx Ahora)
David McLellan (visiting professor of political theory at Goldsmith College, University of London)
Ben Fine (professor of economics at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London)
John O’Neill (professor of political economy at Manchester University)
Ian Gough (visiting professor at the London School of Economics)
Sitaram Yechury, Leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxism)
Speakers from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences and the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, a thinktank of the left-wing party Die Linke, based in Berlin.
Plenary sessions will examine Marx’s contribution to:
• political economy and its relevance today – why Marx was right
• philosophy and human development – Marxism and the battle of ideas
• the international role of the working-class movement – Marxism as a force for change
Break-out sessions will address a broad range of themes including:
o class, race and gender
o neoliberalism and austerity
o Marxism and the environment
o nationalism and populism
o artificial intelligence and social media
o Marxism and culture
o state power and the power of the state
o Marxism and the present as history
Tickets for the event will be available from the MML website from January.
Celebrate 100 years since the October Revolution with the Marx Memorial Library & Workers’ School.
The Bolshevik Revolution transformed Russia from one of the world’s most backward countries in just 44 years to become the first society capable of manned space flight. This socialist revolution in science, technology, medicine, mathematics, mass education and culture was driven by the Bolsheviks’ mass literacy program – the greatest the world had ever seen.
Celebrate with a Marx Memorial Library limited edition, 100% cotton, Fair Trade, Unisex T-shirt designed by Phil Katz, printed with trade union labour.
Sometimes, History Needs A Push:
The front pays tribute to the Bolshevik literacy program with a nod to the revolutionary constructivism unleashed by Russian artists and designers.
Peace, Bread and Land!
The back echoes the Bolsheviks’ historic slogan that united Russian workers and peasants demanding an end to the imperialist slaughter of World War 1.
Time for Change:
The sleeve shows the pocketwatch used by the Petrograd Military Revolutionary Committee to set the time of the assault on the Winter Palace ordered by Lenin on the night of 7 November 1917.
As Marx pointed out, fair exchange is no robbery. These classy Unisex T-shirts available in M, L or XL sizes are in great demand, but limited supply.