Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibit
Worker Antifascist Culture in US Spanish-language Periodicals
Sponsored by the grants-in-aid of the US Latino Digital Humanities (USLDH) program  

 "A new world of documentary material about the lives, desires and needs of ordinary people"

(Howard Zinn 1977). 

"Recovery considers how cultural heritage collections offer new, underrepresented materials" (Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Lorena Gauthereau, and Carolina Villarroel 2018). 

"We may not "dismantle the master's house" (in the words of Audre Lorde), but we can build a new home - however temporary and ephemeral - for fugitive scholars inside and outside the academy" (Maria Cotera 2018).

 

Mission

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibit intends to recover, preserve, and make available worker antifascist visual culture. As physical objects, images in US Spanish-language periodicals are fragile. This digital collection will document local and global networks of political protest and solidarity. Visual sources comprise but are not limited to three areas of research.

  • Extraordinary Communities: announcements and photographs of rallies and demonstrations, photographs and obituaries of demonstrators.

  • Antifascist Stage: announcements of cultural fundraisers and the antifascist plays, and photographs and obituaries of participants.

  • Cartoons: drawings, photographs, and obituaries of artists.

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibit intends to support antifascist researchers, descendants, and the general interested public in their efforts to:

  • recover information on victims of fascism and their allies,

  • rebuild broken family stories, 

  • uplift the victims' voices and perspectives.

      COMING SOON

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibit shows the visual elements recovered in the research conducted in Fighting Fascist Spain, the book. The Exhibit makes available the interlocking quality of antifascist activism and anarchist print culture. US Hispanic antifascists, particularly anarchists, believed in the free press as a means to engage the general public intellectually, politically, and culturally on the topic of antifascism through literature, theater, and cartoons. The Exhibit showcases the ongoing mutualist culture of Sociedades Hispanas Confederadas (SHC) that refuted the elitist representation of workers. The Exhibit does not merely recover evidence of workers’ antifascist visual culture but helps articulate how their politics shaped knowledge from below. Worker antifascism is honored by anti-elitist, anti-capitalist, and anti-patriarchal perspectives. The Exhibit visualizes workers' protest fashioned by the alternative intellectual, cultural, and political system of traditions and institutions: grassroots associations, the alternative press, and the comic and farcical theater that provided opportunities for anarchist practice and humorous antifascism. 

How to cite the project: 

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibit (2021). https://montsefeu.wixsite.com/montsefeu/ffs-the-exhibit. Accessed [DATE].

Photo Credits and Copyright permissions: #USLDH

EXTRAORDINARY COMMUNITIES. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, about two hundred US Hispanic cultural and mutual aid societies came together in what became known as the Sociedades Hispanas Confederadas (SHC). The SHC was devoted to its antifascist cause, particularly through its activism and the publication of Frente Popular (1936-1939), which changed its name to España Libre (1939-1977), until Francisco Franco died, and democratic elections were held again in Spain. España Libre (1939-1977) was the longest sustained antifascist bilingual periodical in the United States. Its documentation of transnational antifascist solidarity and culture for four decades is representative of the grassroots and cooperative efforts of anarchists in the USA.

Twentieth-century US Hispanic workers had a clear transnational consciousness: old migrants and new exiles from European fascism coalesced in overlapping communities across the United States and were linked to similar antifascist networks in other countries. In particular, the anarchist antifascist community ­– built on prefigurative politics – expressed itself through periodicals, which created a tight-knit community. Along with affiliated associations, theater groups, rallies, and demonstrations, these publications provided public spaces of protest and solidarity in the United States where antifascists could live their activism and culture.

 [Featured photo caption: España Libre, Feb. 16, 1962:1. Founders’ picture. From left to right: Jesús González Malo (11th first row); José Nieto Ruiz (4th second row​); Félix Martí Ibáñez (8th second row); Aurelio Pego (5th top row). Should readers identify people in photograph please email Montse Feu at mm017 (at) shsu (dot) edu. Thank you.]

How to cite the project: 

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibit (2021). https://montsefeu.wixsite.com/montsefeu/ffs-the-exhibit. Accessed [DATE].

Photo Credits and Copyright permissions: #USLDH

The ANTIFASCIST STAGE shows workers’ commitment to generating their own non-institutionalized and transnational modes of collective organization through fundraising events in the United States. In their cultural fundraisers, antifascist plays were performed, artists danced and sang, speeches were delivered, dinners were served, dance orchestras played, lotteries were held, and funds subsequently collected. Antifascist stage productions built on a tradition of the popular performance models of the 1920s and 1930s (vaudeville, comedies, light operas); marked by parodic self-representation, the popular dramaturgical genres used comedy and farce to ridicule fascist narratives. ​ As the announcements for cultural fundraisers demonstrate, women’s contributions as organizers and performers energized this ongoing antifascist fight.

How to cite the project: 

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibit (2021). https://montsefeu.wixsite.com/montsefeu/ffs-the-exhibit. Accessed [DATE].

Photo Credits and Copyright permissions: #USLDH

CARTOONS published in antifascist periodicals exposed the state of terror perpetrated by European fascist powers and perceptively counteracted their propaganda. As visual discursive spaces, editorial cartoons endorsed emotions brought forth by belonging to a transnational, antifascist, and proletarian community and asked periodical readers to think collectively about the need for solidarity and the protection of the working-class culture under attack by fascism.

Cartoons employed a rhetoric of playfulness to present possibilities of social change. Elegant and compassionate art reversed the dehumanization of fascism and sought to inspire ideas of interdependence and shared struggles among antifascist workers in the United States.

How to cite the project: 

Fighting Fascist Spain: The Exhibit (2021). https://montsefeu.wixsite.com/montsefeu/ffs-the-exhibit. Accessed [DATE].

Photo Credits and Copyright permissions: #USLDH

Contact us 
  • SHC
  • @montsefeu
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