Izquierda Republicana. Defiende la pequeña propiedad. Pena de muerte al ladrón
[Republican Left. Defend small private property. Death penalty to the thief]. Signed: V. Petit Alandi. Junta Municipal. Delegación de Propaganda. Valencia. Lit.: S. Dura, Socializada U.G.T. C.N.T. Valencia. Lithograph, many colors; 160 x 108 cm.
S. Dura, a Valencian
lithography firm jointly collectivized by the CNT and the UGT, published
this poster for Izquierda Republicana (the Republican Left
Party), probably in the summer of 1937. At that time, the Republican
Left Party, led by Manuel Azaña, had become frustrated with
the problem of theft and joined others in the loyalist zone in calling
for more severe punishments against those who stole foodstuffs or
disrupted Republican trade. This scene portrays a Valencian peasant
or sharecropper holding a Republican flag and sounding an alarm
with a giant conch. The figure is essentially a vigilant sentry
who has spotted some undesirables (lower right) stealing armfuls
of grain. Upon sounding his alarm, other peasants or small landowners
(lower left) react violently as they impose their vigilante justice
on the thieves. The homes in the far center-left background of the
poster are barracas, rustic adobe lodgings common in the
province of Valencia.
The political party Izquierda
Republicana was formed in the fall of 1934, when Manuel Azaña
fused his Acción Republicana with other moderate parties
to create a large coalition of like-minded Republicans seeking to
regain political power. Izquierda Republicana was the driving
force behind the Popular Front coalition, which included the Socialists
and Communists, united to curb the advance of the "fascist"
right. The Popular Front was able to slimly defeat the conservative
coalition in the national elections of 1936, and Izquierda Republicana
secured 106 seats in Parliament, second only to the Socialists.
Theft of agrarian products,
among other valuables, was a significant problem at the beginning
of the Spanish Civil War, and the problem became worse as the war
progressed. The food scarcity was exacerbated by constant warfare,
and the rapid advances of the Nationalist army forced soldiers and
refugees to help themselves to farmland foods. One Valencian collective
sent the following complaint to the Minister of Agriculture on November
[Soldiers and refugees]
take whatever they want, break branches, strip our trees, break
into and disturb our plantations, etc. Our nut crop has disappeared
at their hands, the same is true of our pomegranates. They take
vegetables, olives, yank out potatoes from the earth without letting
them mature to a proper age and weight, and the oranges have disappeared
from trees. We have an anguishing, exhausting, and frustrating
situation on our hands.
Posters like this were
one way that the Republican left tried to deal with the thefts.