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Commentary :: Labor
Stalinist Spanish Civil War Artwork Vandalized in San Francisco
01 Aug 2008
Propaganda of the deed to commemorate the beginning of the Spanish Civil War...
July 19th was the anniversary of the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 -- the beginning of the last significant attempt at an anti-capitalist revolution in the period of revolutions that began in Mexico in 1915 and accelerated after the Russian Revolution of 1917. The revolutionary movement in Spain was combated and defeated by a pro-capitalist counter-revolution spearheaded by the Stalinist Soviet Union, its military and secret police apparatus and it's global public relations hacks. (See George Orwell's 'Homage to Catalonia' for the best brief introduction to the events surrounding the revolution and counter-revolution in Spain in 1936 - 1937.)

A public art work celebrating the role played by the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, the US pawns for the Stalinist counter-revolution in Spain, was dedicated this past May on San Francisco's Embarcadero, behind the fountain on Justin Herman Plaza, at the foot of Market Street.

Sometime during the week preceeding July 19th, some person or persons unknown gave this monument to the anti-fascist ideology of the Popular Front period an appropriate subversive makeover. The Stalinist art work was grafittied with the message, "Viva Durruti Y Orwell," in what appears to be red and black spray paint.

Photos of the graffiti, taken after the last two letters of Durruti's name have been removed by the clean-up crew, can be seen here: ... 518486.php

Any non-Stalinist study of the Spanish Civil War shows that the Abraham Lincoln Battalion was organized and run by the Moscow franchise CPUSA, and they acted on orders from the Moscow regime. Many of the US volunteers were hard-core Stalinist stooges. On the whole, the volunteers of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion were poorly trained and badly equiped, and they sustained a high casualty rate because their commanders were incompetent, frequently sending the men into World War One-style human-wave attacks against well-entrenched machine gun and artillery emplacements. As in other capitalist armies, poor treatment of the troops by their commanders led to widespread poor morale. One of the martyrs of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion, Oliver Law, was apparently fragged by his own men out of fear that his enthusiastic incompetence was going to get them killed. A number of members of the Abraham Lincoln Battalion were murdered by their own commanders for political deviation from the Stalinist political line. There is nothing to celebrate in this.

The role played by international Stalinism in the Spanish Civil War was to save capitalism, the state and the class power of the bourgeosie. This was successful. It was accomplished through police terror and large-scale murder of working class revolutionaries and has been accompanied by lies ever since. The monument on SF's Embarcadero is simply the latest embodiment of the Stalinist Big Lie about the Spanish Civil War, etched in stone.

Workers Memory Project

Anarchism and social revolution in Spain:

"...If only to make them cry, let us remind the retarded devotees of the anarchist-Marxist feud(6) that the CNT-FAI — with its dead weight of anarchist ideology, but also with its greater practice of liberatory imagination — was akin to the Marxist KAPD-AAUD (Communist Workers Party of Germany-General Workers Union of Germany) in its organizational arrangements. In the same way as the German Communist Workers Party, the Iberian Anarchist Federation saw itself as the political organization of the conscious Spanish workers, while its AAUD, the CNT, was supposed to take charge of the management of the future society. The FAI militants, the elite of the proletariat, propagated the anarchist idea among the masses; the CNT did the practical work of organizing the workers in its unions. There were two essential differences, however, the ideological one of which was to bear the fruit one could have expected of it. The first was that the FAI did not strive to take power, but contented itself with influencing the overall policies of the CNT. The second was that the CNT really represented the Spanish working class. Adopted on 1 May 1936 at the CNT congress at Saragossa, two months before the revolutionary explosion, one of the most beautiful programs ever proclaimed by a revolutionary organization was partially put into practice by the anarchosyndicalist masses, while their leaders foundered in ministerialism and class-collaboration. With the pimps of the masses, García Oliver, Secundo Blanco, etc., and the brothel-madam Montseny, the antistate libertarian movement, which had already tolerated the anarcho-trenchist Prince Kropotkin, finally attained the historical consummation of its ideological absolutism: government anarchists.(7)

"In the last historical battle it was to wage, anarchism was to see all the ideological sauce that comprised its being fall back into its face: State, Freedom, Individual, and other musty ingredients with capital letters; while the libertarian militias, workers and peasants were saving its honor, making the greatest practical contribution ever to the international proletarian movement, burning churches, fighting on all fronts against the bourgeoisie, fascism and Stalinism, and beginning to create a truly communist society..."

Rene Reisel, Preliminaries on Councils and Councilist Organization,"
taken here from 'The Situationist International Anthology,' at

"For Franco to be defeated, first Companys and Caballero had to be defeated. For fascism to be wiped out, first the bourgeoisie and its Stalinist and socialist allies had to be crushed. The capitalist State had to be destroyed from top to bottom, and workers' power based on rank-and-file committees be installed (...) Antifascist unity has just been submission to the bourgeoisie."

Communist Union Manifesto, Barcelona, June 1937
Quoted from 'When Insurrections Die,' by Gilles Dauve, at ... index.html


1. The left-liberal protest ghetto websites and have systematically censored posts in favor of the graffiti attack on the SF Embarcadero's Stalinist Artwork. Stalinism is now dead everywhere -- except in North Korea, a few pieces of easily-targeted public sculpture, and in the practical acts of some deceitful liberals at and

On the other hand, some intelligent and uncensored critical feedback on this be found at: ... 9224947226

2. And a point of clarification, for any cops and leftist snitches reading this:

The Workers Memory Project does not necessarily take credit for this act of revolutionary propaganda against one of the most prominent examples of Stalinist public art in the contemporary English-speaking world, a small act of solidarity with revolutionaries murdered by Stalinist butchers during the Spanish Civil War -- but we enthusiastically applaud this action.

And if we were going to do something like this, this is exactly what we would have done.

The Stalinist Embarcadero monument is in a perfect location for repeated revolutionary communist re-vandalization. It can be transformed into a living memory to the attempted social revolution in Spain and an ongoing reminder of the role played by the Stalinist counter-revolution in the bloody defeat of the authentic communist movement of the twentieth century.

Spray-paint graffiti tips:
The Embarcadero monument is three rows of stone panels in a single structure. The bottom two rows are invisible to cars driving by on the Embarcadero, for example police vehicles. The bottom two rows are more or less level with the gaze of most people who will walk past, and are the best place to post your message.

Any legal hassles that come one's way from doing what's right to the SF Embarcadero's Stalinist artwork will be the same if the person doing the graffiti does a good job or a bad one. So do it right. As soon as the paint begins to hit the surface, be calm, go slow; make the letters fat and dark. If you want to be a perfectionist, do the letters first in red, and then go over them again in black. The results will catch the eyes of passerbys much more effectively.

This work is in the public domain
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