LA PASIONARIA (Dolores Ibarruri)
Madrid , 19 July 1936
Dolores Ibarruri (1895-1989), the daughter of a Basque miner, joined the Spanish Socialist Party in 1917 and worked as a journalist for the workers' press, using the pseudonym La Pasionaria (the passion flower). She helped to found the Spanish Communist Party in 1920. For millions of people, as her biographer Robert Low records, La Pasionaria was the personification of the Spanish Civil War, which polarised world opinion between 1936 and 1939 as the republicans fought Franco's fascists. A tall, dark woman, dressed in mourner's black, she was the republic's principal mouthpiece to the world. Her speeches were reproduced in a million leaflets. At the urging of José Diaz, general secretary of the Communist Party, La Pasionaria delivered this speech, broadcast on Radio Union from the Ministry of the Interior, on behalf of the Communists to boost the morale of the people.
Workers, anti-fascists, working people; everyone stands ready to defend the republic, popular liberties and the democratic conquests of the people. The seriousness of the situation is known by all through the bulletins of the government and the Popular Front. In Morocco and the Canaries the fight goes on with enthusiasm and courage, the workers united with forces loyal to the republic.
To the cry of 'Fascism will not pass, the hangmen of October [i.e. Asturias ] will not pass'! Communists, socialists, anarchists and republicans, soldiers and all those forces loyal to the will of the people are destroying the insurrectionary traitors who have dragged through the dirt and treason the military pride of which they have so often boasted. The whole country is shaking with indignation faced with these heartless men who, with fire and terror, want to plunge popular and democratic Spain into an inferno of terror. But they shall not pass [no pasaran]! The whole of Spain is on a war footing. In Madrid the people are the streets, warning the government with their decisiveness and spirit of combat so that the crushing of the reactionaries and fascists who have rebelled will be achieved.
Women, heroic women of the people, remember the heroism of the Asturian women! Fight alongside the men to defend the bread and security of your threatened children.
Soldier, sons of the people! Stand firm, as one man, beside the government, beside the workers, beside the Popular Front, your parents, your brothers and comrades. Fight for the Spain of the sixteenth of February, take it to triumph.
Workers of all persuasions; the government has placed in your hands the necessary means of defence so that we know how to honour our obligation to prevent in Spain the shame which a triumph of the bloody hangmen of the October revolution would imply.
Let nobody hesitate; let us be able to celebrate victory tomorrow. Everyone be ready for action. Every worker, every anti-fascist, should consider himself a soldier at arms.
People of Catalonia, Vasconia, Galicia, all Spaniards; defend the democratic republic; consolidate the victory won by the people on the sixteenth of February!
The Communist Party calls you all to the struggle. It calls on all workers to take a place in the combat to crush once and for all the enemies of the Republic and of popular liberties.
Long live the Popular Front!
Long live the union of ant-fascists!
Long live the republic and the people!
The phrase NO PASARAN spread swiftly through Spain and entered revolutionary folklore around the world. (It had been made famous twenty years earlier by the French general Pétain during the siege of Verdun in 1916.) La Pasionaria sought refuge in the Soviet Union after Franco took power in 1929, returned to Spain in 1977 after his death and re-entered the National Assembly when she was eighty-one .
From New Republican Forum Webpage