“No Pasaran! The cry went out, the Fascists are about! “No Pasaran! And so the war began.”
That is the start of an early draft of what I hoped would be a rousting piece of rhyming poetry I wanted to write just these last couple of days. You can see by the syllabic construction of that phrase: “No pasaran” that it has a natural “beat” a rhythmic sequence like a marching foot-fall or the beat of a drum. Perhaps, if it were loud enough, the beat of a human heart. It is a natural for building on … almost like a Sousa march.
Credit for that (no pasaran) goes to the fiery Spanish Communist party leader Dolores Ibárruri (1895-1989), whose popular nickname was “La Pasionaria” (“The Passion Flower”).
On July 18, 1936, mutinous Spanish Army troops led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco invaded the Spanish mainland from Morocco, with the goal of overthrowing Spain’s elected Republican government. This was the beginning of the bloody Spanish Civil War.
The next day, July 19, 1936, Ibárruri made a brief but eloquent speech on Radio-Madrid.
She urged her fellow citizens to put aside their other political differences and join together to fight against Franco’s Fascist forces.
“Young men, prepare for combat!,” she said. “Women, fight alongside your men in order to defend the lives and freedom of your sons. All workers, all anti-fascists must now look upon each other as brothers in arms.”
It was to be built on the words spoken by that Spanish lady; “La Passionaria” … “No Pasaran!” (They shall not pass!) in the time of the Spanish civil war. But while I had the words almost down pat in my head, the rhythm kinda sorted and the rolling theme just about right. I could not put it down on paper. I started, but I bulked at the actual printing out what I had now questioned in my mind the veracity of the honesty of the poem.
Because of course, Franco did break through their barricades. He did “pass” their fighters and their walls with the help of the other fascista in Germany and Italy. Franco’s only hope, the fascist cowards only hope of success is to “gang-up on their opposition … they did break through the barricades and take control of the country … and they mocked and sneered at the cry of resistance of “No Pasaran!” The right wing still mock and sneer at what they disparagingly call “leftie rantings” … but they do not, cannot know the real meaning behind those words; “No Pasaran” … they do not have the depth of understanding the cultural collective of the working people of not just one country, but the entire world..the entire span of human recorded history. “No pasaran” strikes a deeper cord in the worker’s heart than just a cry of resistance with arms..it is a barricade against the attempted conquest of all vulnerable peoples, a cry of resistance to reject the tyrannical fascist/corporate mindset from the very heart of a people. It is a rejection of the selfish, oafish, cruel nature of exploitation that would set citizen against citizen, brother against sister, one ethnic group against another and use religion, that over-arching drug-of-least-resistance to enact violence and hatred against all.
No Pasaran!…They will not pass! They will never be part of our lives! They will never be accepted into our hearts!
But there now is a weakness in the wall … a blind-spot that the right-wing has found and is exploiting to entrap the more gullible and naive of the working class to trust them to lead the nation. The entrepreneurial middle class has taken a leaf out of Greek mythology and used a “Trojan Horse” to break through the innermost defence to plant their disease of divide and rule within the heart of the nation. It has used the stupid to attract the stupid, much like one uses a cut piece of bait from the one fish to attract and catch another of the same species. The right-wing has used those now familiar fools so clumsy in their knowledge of politics and social needs, but so rat-cunning in their use of phrasing of tongue so that it appeals to the most gullible … the almost incoherent imbecility as appealing to the most uneducated knowledgeable group as also to the most educated knowledgeable “don’t-want-to-see” group, one may be more savvy than the other, but in the end both as dangerous and as gullible as each other.
I penned an article calling for; “A Revolution against the Middle-Classes” in which I claimed that history has shown that once the Entrepreneurial/Speculative (mark that; The Entrepreneurial/Speculative ) middle-classes gained control of political governance, it spelt the beginning of the end for not only the economy of a nation, but of the nation itself! I do not demur from that claim..unfortunately, a few folk seemed to take such a accusation on a whole class as a personal attack upon themselves. Why? I can only presume some sort of personal interest in the claim, perhaps as a kind of “gate-keeper” of that philosophy. But whatever it was, it has cost me in blogging cred with some people. I expect no better with this article, and it tells me just how far the middle-class virus has penetrated into our everyday lives when a large section of the voting public will trust, without question, a lying, tax avoiding wealthy dilettante to rule the nation.
There was an interview with Richard Flannigan on ABC tele a while back. It traced his career as a struggling and now successful writer. I admire Richard Flannigan immensely. I like his honest approach to his art and also his social conscience that he infuses into his writing. He spoke in answer to a query on a career in writing; “if the writing out of his stories diminishes the writer inside?” He answered in the affirmative, quoting F.Scott Fitzgerald in his piece called “The Crack-up”, who reiterated his thoughts, but there is another angle to that “emptying of the spirit” … there is another “breaking of the heart” of anyone who creates art from their heart.
There is a moment in the creation of art, where the artist, of whatever skill or ethnic group, of whatever genre, must ask themselves ; “For whom am I creating this?” they must ask themselves that or they might as well keep the image or process to themselves and go their way (for the “true artist”, the “honest artist” creates their art for their fellow peoples; “everything comes from without, not within”), leaving the vacuum to be filled by some other nature. Of course, the problem for the creative artist is that driving urge to create that forces one to go to the workshop and produce that piece just to stop it rolling around inside the head like a ball-bearing in a tin-can … to, as Henry Lawson once said; “I had to write it down or burst!”
For myself, an amateur at best, a scribbler at worst, many times I have asked that question of myself … which brings me back to the start of this piece where I stated (and I have to say that there have been many times lately) where I have not wanted to put down created characters and incidents..not wanted to share those experiences with my fellow citizens. And when I have pushed myself to do that, I have felt a great disappointment in “exposing” the characters that I do love (even when at times fictional) and the situations that I do treasure. I have felt I have let them down or used them in a most venal way. I feel “dirtied” by the experience. Quite disappointing.
But, of course, there are many others who must feel the same way. I would call them friends and I would willingly, gladly share experiences with them … for they too, would, I suspect like myself, hold true to their hearts that universal cry of revolution that has rung down the ages, despite many attempts to be smothered by a suffocating “mummyism” of middle-class servility.
“So raise the Scarlet Standard high
within its shade we live and die
though cowards flinch and traitors sneer
we’ll keep the red flag flying here.”