Fascism Shall Not Pass
August 24, 1936 — Mass Meeting Organized by the People’s Front, Mestal Stadium, Valencia, Spain
Comrades, people of Valencia! You must not be surprised if at this deeply moving moment, when I see before me this huge mass of people filled with sacred enthusiasm and the determination to defend their national freedom, I may perhaps be unable to express the feelings that overwhelm me, that well up from the bottom, of my heart, and clothe them in simple and convincing words. This is an occasion when I should like more than ever to possess the eloquence to express the full force of my convictions, so as to prove to you how necessary it is to unite our ranks more closely than ever — for the danger today, too, is greater than ever.
I have come to you in these tragic and gloomy hours, when the fate of Spain and especially the future of the working masses is being decided. I have come to you, my mouth filled with the acrid taste of gunpowder, my mind filled with the impressions of the difficulties facing our comrades who are fighting on the summits and slopes of the Guadarramas, who realize the importance of our struggle and who are prepared to (lie rather than fall into the clutches of fascism. I have come to you from the field of battle, from that great fight which is assuming the character of a heroic epic, for we entered battle armed only with enthusiasm, self-sacrifice and supreme devotion to the cause of the people in order to fight an enemy furnished with all the means of warfare, which lie has stolen from the people. . .
If, when entering the firing line to fight the enemy who is threatening our national liberty, we have such enthusiasm in the rear, then I say to you, the working people of Valencia, what I said when I saw the weapons in the hands of the militia, when I saw the rifles in the hands of the troops loyal to the government:
FASCISM SHALL NOT PASS!
Fascism shall not pass because the wall of bodies with which we have barred its way is today strengthened by weapons of defence we have captured from the enemy — a cowardly enemy, because he has not the ideals which lead us into battle. The enemy therefore has no dash and impetuosity, whereas we are borne on the wings of our ideals, of our love, not for the Spain which is dying together with the enemy, but for the Spain we want to have — a democratic Spain. When we speak of Spain, we mean not only the name; we mean a democratic Spain, not the Spain which is clinging to her old traditions; we mean a Spain which will give the peasants land, which will socialize industry under the control of the workers, which will introduce social insurance so that the worker may not be condemned to a homeless old age; we mean a Spain which will completely and comprehensively, and in a revolutionary spirit, solve the economic problems that lie at the foundation of all revolutions.
On all fronts communists, anarchists, socialists and republicans are fighting shoulder to shoulder. We have also been joined by non-party people from town and country, because they too have realized what a victory for fascism would mean to Spain.
The struggle, started within the frontiers of our country, is already assuming an international character, because the working people of the whole world know that if fascism were to triumph in Spain, every democratic country in the world would be confronted with the fascist danger. The working people have realized this, as is borne out by the messages of solidarity we are constantly receiving from all parts of the world. International fascism, too, has realized the significance of the struggle of the Spanish people against the enemies who have violated their oath of loyalty to the country and to the country’s flag. These violators of their vows have broken their promises and have rebelled in vile alliance with seditionary priests and debauched sons of the, aristocracy, and are committing endless crimes in all the inhabited places through which they pass. One needs the brush of Goya and the eloquent pen of Blasco lbañez to depict the horrors and revolting, crimes committed by these elements led by arrogant fascist generals who have long ago revealed who they are and what they are capable of.
Dante’s Inferno is but a pale reflection of what happens in places I brough which these modern vandals pass. The slaughtered children and old people, the raped and hacked bodies of women, the demolished monuments of art. . .
Wherever they pass they sow death and desolation. And what is taking place in the districts captured by the fascists would have taken place all over Spain, if they had not been opposed by a people inspired by faith in its own strength.
[She says that the chief thing is to maintain and still further consolidate unity, to strengthen the People’s Front and to give greater assistance to the government, so as to enable it to crush the criminal revolt.]
We shall very soon achieve victory and return to our children . . .
Source: Mundo Obrero, August 24, 1936.
Also: La Pasionaria: Speeches and Articles (London: Foreign Languages Publishing House), 1938, p. 15-17.