Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

Intensificar la reproducción es hacer obra revolucionaria

[Intensifying reproduction is revolutionary work]. . Consejo economía agricultura y ganadería. Editado por la delegación de Propaganda y prensa. Cartelistas C.N.T., A.I.T. Lit.: Felix Martínez. Valencia. Control C.N.T. U.G.T. Lithograph, 4 colors; 100 x 68 cm.

This poster, which depicts a highly prolific rooster and hen, was published in Valencia by the Confederación Nacional de Trabajo and the Unión General de Trabajadores through their jointly-controlled Economic Council of Agriculture and Livestock. It was released in the winter of 1937, during a campaign called the Batalla del Huevo (the Battle of the Egg) that was designed to increase egg production within the Republican zone. In this image the rooster and hen hold their heads high and stick out their chests, manifesting their pride. They act as if they realize that producing so many chicks will directly contribute to the sustenance of the Republic, and thereby feed the revolution. By making each one of the chicks a carbon copy of the other, the artist subtly reaffirms the importance of reproduction. The artist's use of reds, blues, and yellows ensured that the poster would be eye-catching and draw attention to the campaign.

On January 25, 1937, the Consell d'Economía de Cataluyna (Catalan Economic Council) launched a campaign called the Batalla de l'Ou (Battle of the Egg), designed to alleviate the scarcity of eggs in the region. The fact that this poster was published in Valencia suggests that the Catalan Council's counterpart in Valencia, the Economic Council of Agriculture and Livestock, ran a concurrent campaign in that area. As the Spanish Civil War progressed, the campaigns proved foolhardy. A paradoxical situation developed as families that had the money to pay for hens (at highly elevated prices) found that the grain shortage prevented them from providing for their animals, and ultimately, forced them to eat their chickens.

Four days after the war began, the Republican zone consisted of just over sixty per- cent of the total surface of Spain, including the highly developed industrial areas of the north, northwest, and east. However, the Republican zone included few grain-growing regions or grazing land. In addition, constant hostilities disrupted the distribution of food and created higher densities of people due to refugees. The regular lines of distribution were disrupted in the summer of 1936 and important foodstuffs like meat and eggs were not available unless obtained through the black market. Much of the problem stemmed from price-gouging and hoarding. For example, though prices were set at 17.50 pesetas for a dozen eggs in 1937, the actual street value was 110.00 pesetas. In addition, many farmers did not turn over their products to rationing agencies. People were forced to eat orange peels, peanut shells, beet roots, and burrs to survive. The continued constriction of the Republic zone forced people to eat not only their livestock, but also their pets. As the war progressed it was not uncommon for people to lose 35-45 pounds and risk serious avitaminosis, dehydration, and even death.

 
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