Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

Votad al frente Popular. Amnistí

[Vote for the Popular Front. Amnesty.]. . G.R.S.A. Poster, 4 colors; 101 x 69 cm.

In the 1930s, the Comintern began focusing on the growing threat of fascism in Western Europe. As part of a strategy to check the spread of fascism, the Comintern supported the formation of unified political parties with any other leftist political groups committed to opposing fascism. In Spain, the Popular Front (Frente Popular) brought together various parties on the political left in January 1936 to focus on winning the upcoming national elections. The strategy was successful as the Popular Front secured 34.3% of the vote and a majority of seats in the Cortes. Short after taking power, the Popular Front leaders began taking bold political steps, to the dismay of many moderates and political conservatives, such as freeing of leftist political prisoners from jail without any due process of law, giving back to Cataluña much of its previous political and administrative autonomy, and taking more initiative on agricultural reforms. As part of their political strategy, the Popular Front sought to dominate the Spanish government and push out all political conservatives. This agenda was dramatically made clear when Manuel Azaña, a prominent member of the Popular Front, took presidency away from the moderately conservative Niceto Alcalá-Zamora. In this political assault on conservatives, many Spanish Army officers began considering a plan to restore a more conservative Spanish government. Within months, the plan became a reality as General Franco and several other disaffected Spanish officers attempted the coup d'etat that eventually became the Spanish Civil War on July 17, 1936.

In the poster, a poor woman and her child gaze up at a prisoner as she castes her ballot into a voting box. The message of the poster is straightforward: "Vote for the Popular Front." The image seems to be a reference to Popular Front's aims to grant amnesty to all political prisoners and to release them from prison. As we know, the Popular Front achieved this goal after winning a political majority in the elections in February of 1936. In the bottom left corner, a businessman, identified by his top hat, watches the scene while a conspicuous outline of the crown floats next to the businessman's top hat. The proximity of these two icons - the top hat and the crown - may be the artists attempt to underline the association between conservative political parties and business interests. This association helps to emphasize the Popular Front's desire to be represented as a party of the laborer and the working class. The term "amnesty" is a clear reference to the Popular Front's plan of freeing political prisoners. One of the benefactors of this policy was Lluis Companys, the President of the Generalitat of Cataluña, who had been jailed in 1934 over a dispute regarding the autonomy of the Catalonian government.

A group with initials, G.R.S.A., produced this poster. It is unknown what these initials stand for or who is the artist of the image.

 
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