Tragic balance sheet : From April to April [1931-32]

Dedicated with my aching soul to all victims of repression

Every time that I found myself among comrades, we would talk indignantly and angrily of the authorities’ violent crackdown on the Spanish proletariat and whenever one of those present would ask, aghast “How high can they go?”, my usual answer was “You’ll know soon enough, comrades; as for myself, I give you my word that, at the year’s end , I’ll be publishing a full list of the death toll for during the current year.”

So here I am, keeping my pledge, albeit not unaware that the hateful ‘Doña Anastasia‘ (prior censorship) brazenly disguised as a law for the “defence” of the Republic, prevents me from calling a spade a spade, since (unfortunately for me) I was neither born nor educated among men of intelligence from whom I might have learnt how to express the thinking behind these notes without “falling” into the trap of the law, which, Cicero stated ” … is a spider-web that catches flies, though not kites“.

Clumsy, yes, because mine is the pen of a working man born into an unfair capitalist society that never bothered (far from it, indeed) to make the means of education accessible to those of us who have the misfortune to belong to a class which they contemptuously think of as the “lower class”!

Clumsy, yes, because mine is the pen of one of the exploited, one damned by an arbitrary regime to spend his life as a pariah, one of the oppressed and abused, a starveling .. in short, a slave, to become an instrument, a human machine useful only for churning out pleasures and ongoing well-being for its own tyrants, posturing as supreme arbiters over an outraged, downtrodden, aching, bleeding humanity …

Here it is, my proletarian pen, well tempered against men’s injustice and obliged to grapple with the eloquent pain of a list of dead human beings.

Here you are, people of Spain: you, who gave your all for a revolution that would put an end to hunger, wretchedness and injustice: here you have it, let me say again, you long-suffering people, the balance sheet of one year.

Pause a while a read it:

A Breakdown of those Killed by Government Repression between 14 April 1931 and 14 April 1932


Barcelona 2

Seville 2

Barcelona 1

Madrid 2

Córdoba 4

Pasajes 7

Bilbao 1

Málaga 5

Granada 1

Pamplona 1

Blanes 2

Cardona 1

Logroño 1

La Coruña 1

Asturias 1

Carcabuey 1

Seville 39

Barcelona 16

Zaragoza 1

Olivares 1

Malón 1

Corral d’Almaguer 5

Palacios Rubios 4

Seville 1

Chozas de Canales 1

Gilena 5

Melilla 1


Talavera 1

Granja Torrehermosa 1

Burgos 1

Parla 1

Bujalance 1

Almodóvar del Río 1

Zaragoza 1

Gijón 5

Tarrasa 1

Tineo 1

La Almarcha 1

Feria 1

Castilblanco 1

Zalamea de Serena 1

Épila 2

Jerasa 4

Calzada Calatrava 1

Puertollano 1

Arnedo 11

La Coruña 1

Málaga 1

Seville 1

Córdoba 1

Padul 2

Zaragoza 4

Huelva 1

Navalmoral de Mata 1

Badalona 1

Lora del Río 1

Orense 1

Antequera 1

Las Palmas 1

Chipiona 2

Pinos Puente 1

Osuna 1


* Note that we have counted only those deaths arising from social disputes: many others have perished at the hands of the republican crackdown for a variety of other reasons.

One hundred and sixty six lives cut down as a result of inhuman repression! One hunded and sixty six corpses, still warm (the second most recent being that of a girl of eleven years of age, whose mother was likewise very seriously wounded), the ingrained, loving and indignant recollection of which brings to mind the need to mount concerted action to facilitate a change of economic and social system, whereby justice may prevail and human brotherhood avert all this pain and anguish!

Pasajes! The María Luisa Park! Barcelona Police Headquarters! Arnedo! That damned ship ‘Malos Aires‘! Proletarian Spain in mourning!

Behold the funereal symbol of an age-old Spain, whose litany of suffering will conjure up a new Spain as a sublime prologue to a better world, one wherein the sun of Justice and Liberty may bathe all human beings equally, flooding consciences and hearts with love and brotherhood until it becomes impossible for men to exploit, hate and tear at one another like wild animals. … And not only that, but nor will we have to weep over the depressing balance sheet of a second 14 April, its anniversary maked by pretty contrived entertainment that the long-suffering Spanish people was unable to savour whilst mourning, grief and wretchedness ravaged the humble homes of those missing – one hundred and sixty six! – victims.

From: La Tierra, 18 April 1932. Translated by: Paul Sharkey.