The Spanish Republic – Steve Freeman
Speech by Steve Freeman from Occupy London’s Real Democracy Working Group to the meeting held on 23 June 2012 outside St Pauls Cathedral, London, on the sight formerly held by the Occupy London camp.
“I think it is very important to remember that many people from this country went with the International Brigades to fight for the Spanish republic. And they would have seen this flag [pointing to the red, yellow and purple tricolor] in Spain themselves when they were part of that struggle.
So it is fantastic that that flag should today come back here, because there is a real historical connection between the people of England and the people of Spain. And that [pointing to the red, yellow and purple tricolor] is a big reminder of that historic connection.
And another way we have that connection is of course the 15M movement in Spain, the Occupy movement in Spain, of course, was great inspiration, spreading over to America [Occupy Wall Street] and to the Occupy movement that we have been involved in here in this country.
So it is really good that we in the Real Democracy Group have been able to make a contact with our Spanish friends and comrades, as it were, to be able to have them here to speak to us today and to remake that link.
Because republicanism is essentially about people governing themselves – it is about the power of the people. It means we do not believe in bureaucrats, in monarchies, in armed forces, in politicians ruling us. We believe in the rule of the people – that is the essence of republicanism.
And even though this [Spanish] republic was defeated and crushed, it is inevitable that when the people of Spain begin to struggle again, begin to search for democracy again, they will find their way back to their history and the struggles that have affected them in the past, bringing that history back.
The flag here of course [pointing to the red, violet and green tricolor] also connects with our history. Some of us have been promoting this idea of a flag that connects together our own democratic history – the history of the Levellers (Green -1648-9] who fought for a republic in English civil war – the Chartists [red and green] who [in the 19th century] fought for the right for people in this country, working class people, to have the vote – and the Suffragettes who fought in this country for the right for women to have the vote.
And that is part of our democratic tradition. So it is fantastic that we should see these two flags [Spanish and English republican flags] together, and that [pointing to the Spanish republican flag] really means such a lot for the people in this country who fought in Spain in the 1930s.
Thank you very much”
London, June 23th, 2012.