Antifascism is needed !
Declaration of the participants of the International Annual Meeting
of the Association of Fighters and Friends of the Spanish Republic 1936-1939
Berlin, 29./30. September 2018
73 years after the liberation from fascism we are observing with great concern tendencies to the right not only in Germany and Europe, but worldwide. Racism, anti-Semitism, antiziganism, nationalism or chauvinism, authoritarianism, homophobia and marginalization of minorities of all kinds, for example of disabled – what science calls „group-focused misanthropy“ – is increasing everywhere and characterizing the recent development. „Right-wing populist“ or openly fascist parties are involved in governments in an increasing number of countries, especially in Europe.
That worries us. We, the Association of Fighters and Friends of the Spanish Republic 1936-1939 e.V., founded by former members of the International Brigades, their family members and friends, stand for the ideals that animated the International Brigades at that time. The Interbrigades supported the Spanish Republic threatened by a fascist military coup and its democratically elected government. The Interbrigadists, volunteers from all parts of the world, knew that if the Coup Generals will win, a second world war would be inevitable and fascism would be a concrete threat to the whole of Europe. The Interbrigadists were right – unfortunately. After Franco’s victory and the invasion of Hitler’s Germany into neighboring countries many of Interbrigadists fought in the resistance movements of the occupied countries or in the armies of the states of the anti-Hitler coalition, or they suffered and died in German concentration camps.
The legacy of the Interbrigadists obliges us to raise our voice in warning, wherever principles of humanity are disregarded or people are discriminated or persecuted because of their skin color, their origin, their religion or for other reasons. In the International Brigades, all men were equal; African Americans who served in the US Volunteer Unit, the „Lincoln Brigade,“ later reported that they had not been discriminated there for the first time in their lives.
We know the importance of asylum for Interbrigadists as well as for all others who had to flee Germany and Austria. If more countries had taken in refugees at that time, many more people would have escaped fascist persecution. For this reason alone, we are keenly opposed to any restrictions on asylum law. But even the fact that some European governments perceive refugees as a threat and prefer to let them drown in the Mediterranean See rather than to save them is completely unacceptable to us. Every human-being is worth of saving; every single person matters.
However, it is with comfort and satisfaction that Spain is one of the few countries in Europe where there is no emerging „right-wing populist“ or fascist movement (at least so far). On the contrary: Recently, hundreds of thousands demonstrated in Barcelona and called on the Spanish government to accept more refugees: Barcelona as an open port for refugees and as a role model for Germany and Europe. This example shows us: walking upright, human attitude, empathy and moral courage, paired with anti-fascist sentiments, are what Europe needs today. Let’s get involved in the spirit of the fighters and friends of the Spanish Republic 1936 to 1939!
Übersetzung: Herbert Grießig.