Sunday, 30 October 2016

Fighting Fascism

Image result for international brigades + images

Stan Hilton died in Australia last week and at the ripe old age 98 he was the last surviving Briton who fought with the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War.

Stan's remarkable story is told in the link below which is taken from the International Brigades Memorial Trust.

Death of last British veteran of Spanish Civil War

Stan Hilton, the last surviving Briton who fought in the legendary International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, died today [Friday 21 October 2016] in Australia, aged 98.

Stan was a 19-year-old merchant seaman when he jumped ship in the port of Alicante in November 1937. ‘The Spanish people needed help,’ he later explained. ‘It was the right thing to do.’

He made his way to Albacete and enlisted with the British Battalion of the 15th International Brigade. He saw action that winter around Teruel. Then in the spring of 1938 the battalion was routed as General Franco’s forces, aided by troops sent by Mussolini and by Hitler’s Condor Legion, swept through Aragón and Catalonia.

‘It was every man for himself’, said Stan, who eventually reached Barcelona, where he caught a ship home.

Born in Newhaven, Sussex, on 31 December 1917, Stan Hilton went on to serve in the merchant navy throughout the Second World War. In 1956 he emigrated with his family to Australia, where he worked mostly as a tiler in the building trade. He died in a nursing home in Ocean Grove, near Melbourne.

Some 2,500 volunteers from the British Isles joined the International Brigades during the civil war of 1936-39, and 526 of them died in the bitter war that saw the elected government of the Spanish Republic toppled by a fascist-backed military rebellion.

Announcing the news, the London-based International Brigade Memorial Trust (IBMT) said the death of the last British International Brigade veteran marked the end of an era

IBMT secretary Jim Jump said Stan Hilton had helped write a proud chapter in British 20th century history.

He added: ‘While their own government looked the other way and refused to go to the aid of a fellow democracy, the men and women from Britain who joined the International Brigades did something to salvage their country’s honour and reputation.

‘Stan and the other volunteers will go down in history as the first British soldiers to confront Hitler and Mussolini on the battlefield. In doing so they also set an unequalled example of international solidarity and anti-fascism.’

Posted on 21 October 2016.

Fighting Fascism (01/10/14)

A range of commentators in the UK have, in the past, tried to provide intellectual cover to young men setting off to fight 'jihad' in the Middle East by comparing them to the International Brigades who fought to defend Spain from fascism during the Spanish civil war.

But instead of fighting fascism many of these young men are supporting a murderour new form is religious fascism which is embodied in an organisation like the un-Islamic State.

So I thought I would call upon Christopher Hitchens to help explain the links between historical fascism and the more recent phenomenon of Islamic fascism which he does below:

"The most obvious points of comparison would be these: Both movements are based on a cult of murderous violence that exalts death and destruction and despises the life of the mind. ("Death to the intellect! Long live death!" as Gen. Francisco Franco's sidekick Gonzalo Queipo de Llano so pithily phrased it.) 

"Both are hostile to modernity (except when it comes to the pursuit of weapons), and both are bitterly nostalgic for past empires and lost glories. Both are obsessed with real and imagined "humiliations" and thirsty for revenge. Both are chronically infected with the toxin of anti-Jewish paranoia (interestingly, also, with its milder cousin, anti-Freemason paranoia). Both are inclined to leader worship and to the exclusive stress on the power of one great book. 

"Both have a strong commitment to sexual repression —especially to the repression of any sexual "deviance"—and to its counterparts the subordination of the female and contempt for the feminine. Both despise art and literature as symptoms of degeneracy and decadence; both burn books and destroy museums and treasures."

Well said, sir. I take my hat off to you.