In this poster, a foot
clad in an espardenya, the Catalan sandal-is
poised to stamp on a concrete swastika, a symbol of Fascism. The
message is clear: although the Spanish worker appears vulnerable,
he possesses the necessary strength to defeat the enemy. The cobblestone
background evokes the streets of Barcelona where, in the first days
of the conflict, the people's militias successfully resisted the
military insurrectionists' attempt to take control of the city.
This was regarded as a first blow against Fascism. While the poster
recognizes this-observe the cracks already evident in the swastika-it
now urges the worker to continue the struggle and "smash"
the enemy completely.
Although often attributed
to Pere Catalá Roca, this poster is in fact the work of that
artist's father, Pere Catalá-Pic (1889-1971). Catalá-Pic,
an avant-garde photographer, experimented with photomontage techniques
before the war and wrote a number of essays on the use of photography
in propaganda. During the war he took an active role in the Catalan
government's propaganda department (Comisaria de Propaganda),
which was established on October 6, 1936. The Australian surrealist
poet, Mary Low, recalled seeing Catalá-Pic's poster while
in Barcelona in 1936. She wrote: "We stood outside the columned
portico, in front of us a poster flapped in the rain-a foot in a
Catalan sandal crushing a swastika with negligent, unquestioned