Introduction

Visual Index (Entire Poster Collection)

Catalogue

Chronology of the War

Acknowledgements

Lists of References

Afterword: Herbert R. Southworth Collection


 

Sin un orden republicano no ganaremos la guerra, dice el Partido Comunista

[We will not win the war without a well ordered Republic, says the Communist Party]. . Comité Central de Partido Comunista S.E. de la 1. C. Lithograph, 2 colors; 80 x 62 cm.

This poster quotes the text of a statement from the Central Committee of the Spanish Communist Party (PCE). The sickle, hammer and red star - the symbols of communism - occupy a prominent place in the background. In fact, this poster has the same formatting as poster 10, which was also issued by the Central Committee. As with poster 10, this poster can probably be dated to the summer of fall of 1936, when the communist part in Spain tried to fashion itself as a moderate party, committed to the Republic and the respect of private property. The text reads:

In order to win the war, the republican order must be established. Establishing republican order means imposing on all citizens the respect of the Powers legally constituted, within a popular democratic system; [it] means breaking with the principle of formal acceptance of the organs of Power, at the same time [breaking with] that which hinders [you] from doing your labor or supplants you in the practice with party committees, syndicates or groups that work [for] your free will. Within the republican legality, the Government and the constituted Powers must possess the necessary coercive means in order to impose order and respect for democratic law, which it has freely given to the people, on all those who intend to leave and break from this abusive system of taking justice in hand, in time to apply democratic and revolutionary justice through the organs established by the law and from those that were created during the course of the civil war.

Although the communist party was relatively weak at the beginning of the Civil War, with only sixteen seats in the Cortes and a membership of 40,000, it achieved a position of prominence by the end of the war. In part, the communist party, taking its orders directly from Comintern (Communist International), came to prominence through its more moderate position during the war in which it start federations to support both peasants in the countryside and small business and industries in the urban centers of Republican Spain. Ideologically, many communists in Spain took the position that the social revolution occurring in Spain was a democratic bourgeois revolution and not a proletariat revolution. In addition, Stalin and the Comintern had adopted a more moderate position in order to improve relations with Western democracies and the keep the growing threat of Nazi Germany in check. Consequently, the move towards a more moderate stance was a calculated political move on the part of the Comintern. Within Spain, moderation allowed the communists to reach out the socialists and propose a joining of the two factions. Socialists expressed both interest and reservations about the joining of the two factions. Yet, with the rise in membership due to the success of the communist federations and agricultural programs, the communist party, as a political force, could not be ignored. As a result, the socialist President of Republican Spain, Largo Caballero, appointed some communists to important political positions. Just as the moderation of the Comintern was a calculated political move on the international scene, within Spain, the communist party's moderation was a calculated move in the sense that they hoped to eventually to take control over the apparatuses of the state government. So, the motivations were as pragmatic as they were ideological. Consequently, as part of the government, communist leaders pushed for state control of the police and army as well as the centralization and nationalization of agriculture and industry. Ultimately, the communists expanded from their small membership and initial foothold in the Republican government to a membership of several hundred thousand and the installation of Juan Negrín, an ally of the communists, as head of the government.

This genre of primarily text-based posters was popular during the civil war. With the sporadic communications services of radio and printing during the civil war, printing key points from speeches or government propaganda on posters would have been a fundamental means for communicating ideas and propositions to the public at large. Mandeville Special Collections also has a large collection of these text-based posters and broadsides.

 
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