Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

Camarada! Desgraciadamente el ejemplo de soldados y labradores no es todo lo contagioso que fuera menester - tambien el egoismo tiene sus adeptos y la pereza partidarios. Trabaja más y mejor. El discurso de Dr. Negrín

[Comrade! Unfortunately the example set by the soldiers and farmers is not as contagious as it needs to be - selfishness also has its followers and idleness its partisans. Work more and better. Dr. Negrín's speech]. Signed: Henry. 38, D.A.G. U.G.T., editado por el comité nacional. Barcelona, Grafos. Lithograph, 5 colors; 95 x 66 cm.

On the surface, this poster, which quotes a February 1938 speech by the Republican Prime Minister Juan Negrín, is a call by the UGT for greater effort from the industrial worker. Underneath, however, it is an attack on the anarchist workers of Barcelona by the communist-dominated Negrín government. Note that on the side of the poster which contains the warning against idleness and selfishness, the anarchist colors red and black predominate, while on the other side of the poster, Negrín's hand of reason is colored red-a reference to the Communists. Note also that the two groups with which the industrial worker is being compared so unfavorably are pro-Communist; the small landowner supported the Communists because the party opposed the Anarchists' land collectivization program, while the Republican army, dominated by communist officers, was completely under party control.

The rationale behind the poster is not altogether clear. Are the Communists taking the opportunity to cajole the Anarchists into placing partisan politics aside, and into working single-mindedly for a Republican victory? Or are they merely scapegoating their rivals for the Republic's deteriorating fortunes? Given both the tone of the poster and the atmosphere of accusation and recrimination endemic in the Republican camp in the final months of the war, the second hypothesis would appear to be the more likely of the two.

Dr. Juan Negrín (1889-1956), who became prime minister of the Republic in May 1937, remains something of a controversial character. Negrín's apologists see him as the supreme pragmatist, a man forced by circumstances to toe the communist line. His detractors regard him as an opportunist, whose overweening ambition led him to turn a blind eye to communist excesses, including the many political assassinations carried out by the party in the final days of the conflict.

The poster was produced by the UGT whose national committee was, by 1938, controlled by the Communists and the pro-communist moderate Socialists. The artist who signs himself Henn[?] is not documented.

 
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