International Brigade Memorial Trust

Lynda Walker, of the International Brigade Commemoration Committee reports on the recent IBMT AGM in Manchester, Oct. 14th 2006.

In Manchester last week over 230 people, including a few from Belfast and Dublin, gathered to commemorate the 70th anniversary of anti-fascist war in Spain. In the Town Hall there was a rededication of the memorial plaque and special guests included Sam Russell, former Morning Star journalist, Jack Larkin Jones and Manchester brigader, Bernard McKenna, as well as friends and relatives of former helpers and anti-fascist fighters from England, Scotland, Ireland, & Wales. The gathering was addressed by some of these people as well as the Lord Mayor and Tony Lloyd M.P. This public session was completed with the singing of the International led by Manus O'Riordan. The event was part of the AGM of the IBMT that took place in the afternoon. There were some great poster and photo displays one such was done by Derek Clarke and his son, (others also helped). Singers, dancers and poetry reading at an evening concert entertained visitors.

On the Sunday participants had the opportunity to visit the People's History Museum in Manchester where a great display of banners, posters and other items are on show. Also to be seen there is an amazing short film about 1937 May Day in London, the film shows row after row of people on the march all carrying Communist banners, alongside brilliant picture banners that depict people and class struggles, the Levellers, Tollpuddle Martyrs, Chartist, James Connolly & Padraig Pearse, Terence McSweeney, Harry Pollitt, Willie Gallagher, and on and on it went, a massive show of communist support, masses of people on the roadside with clenched fist, no wonder the British Government did not support the republicans in Spain, when you saw the massive strength of the left in Britain at that time.

The weekend events were organised by the Manchester section of the IBMT.