[Bob spoke on the Friday evening, June 27th, 2008 - he formally launched the Commemorative Pamphlet - George Brown 1906-1937. CC.]
We are here today to honour George Brown and the many others from Ireland
and other countries who went to Spain to fight Fascism. As the last Irish soldier of the International Brigades, I am honoured to open this commemoration in his native county,
I was born in 1916 in the Dublin slums, and joined the IRA in my teens. In 1934 I left the IRA to join the Republican Congress set up by Peadar O'Donnell, Frank Ryan and Kit Conway. The time had come to support the fight of tenants against landlords, of workers against anti-union employers, and to take on the Blueshirts in the streets.We were still republicans but now we wer social revolutionaries too.
Had we stayed in the IRA as it was then, many of these employers and landlords would have still supported us and the IRA's purely nationalist policies. We had to form coalitions with with groups who might have differed from us in the past but now shared our campaigns for social justice and fighting the rising tide of Fascism.
In 1936 we realised that this struggle was being fought even more brutally elsewhere, especially in Spain. This is what led me and and my ex-IRA comrades to join the International Brigades. We were with volunteers from 53 countries who also saw that their fight was the same as the Spanish people's: our slogan was "Bombs on Madrid means bombs on London" and as I saw for myself, this slogan was proved all too true.
With the betrayal of the Spanish Republic by Britain's Tory government and their French and American allies of big business, Hitler, Mussolini and Franco won the war in Spain. Six months later the Second World War began, and bombs began to fall on cities everywhere, as they still do today.
Yet despite the Allied victory in 1945, we now find that Fascism, raw Capitalism, is thriving, and using spin doctors instead of racist speeches, while more powerful weapons are being developed supposedly to protect us, and our environment is in crisis. This crisis cannot be solved by Capitalism, because Capitalism is now its cause.
My generation's vision of a world without exploitation, where we live in harmony with our environment, seems as distant as ever, while Globalisation, which is the world wide triumph of money over organised workers, undermines our democracies. The fight today is as vital as it was in Spain, but remember we are fighting for an idea, and though we must at times defend ourselves, guns cannot impose an idea: the four weapons of victory today are - Education, Organisation, Civil Disobedience and Unity.
From my lifetime of struggles, these are the lessons which I have learnt. Take up the fight, and let us fight together, for the Liberation of Mankind. La lucha continua.
VIVA LA REPUBLICA !
George Brown Commemoration articles
A collection of articles by/about Bob Doyle.