Better Stand Dying
Than Live Kneeling
September 3, 1936 — Mass Meeting, Winter Velodrome, Paris
People of democratic Spain, people who are fighting for the liberty and rights of man — the whole Spanish people — socialists, communists and anarchists alike — have taken up arms against the fascist revolt. Fascism shall not pass! Better die standing, than live kneeling!
But the enemies of the Republic were able to kindle revolt only because the Republic was too generous to them.
The fascist leaders entrenched themselves in posts in advance. Their preparations for armed action had been going on for a long time. The organization of the anti-republican elements had begun under Gil Robles. Thus the fascists had made ready the forts of Guadarrama near Madrid, and had prepared stores of arms and munitions. The same was true in Valladolid, Burgos and Valencia. That is why they were able to exterminate thousands of unarmed Spanish workers.
[She spoke of the incompetence and hypocrisy of the fascist generals, whom the Moroccan troops were able to defeat; yet now they were enlisting against the Spanish people these very same Moroccans by promises of plunder and permission to loot. They were using as their instruments the dregs of human society, the criminals and convicts of the foreign legion.]
Our unarmed people, whose only weapon is their heroism, are now fighting the fascists.
They slaughtered the whole population of Badajoz. Of the 500 inhabitants of Bailen they killed 270. In the villages they drenched the cottages with paraffin and burned women and children alive.
The raping of women is a common thing in places occupied by the rebels. General Queipo de Llano announced by radio that he would send his soldiers to the villages which are famed for their handsome women, since he wanted his soldiers to have beautiful females.
The Spanish people will win, for they are fighting for their ideal. But the Spanish people, who prize the sympathy and solidarity of the French people, have learned with bitterness that the government of the French Republic, the government of this country of liberty and revolution, will not come to the aid of the lawful government of Spain.
You must aid the Spanish people! They are fighting on the front of liberty and defending the cause of peace against fascism, the fomenters of war.
Beware! Today it is we, but tomorrow your turn will come! Help us, let your menfolk give us arms — heroism in our struggle is not enough. We need rifles, aeroplanes and guns to withstand the forces of the fascist rebels.
We are defending the cause of liberty and peace. We need guns and aeroplanes for our struggle! Guns and aeroplanes for Spain!
Source: Humanité ,September 13-14, 1936.
Also: La Pasionaria: Speeches and Articles (London: Foreign Languages Publishing House) 1938, pp. 18-21.