Dolores Ibárruri

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Dolores Ibárruri with Nicolae Ceaușescu during a visit to Bucharest, 1972

Isidora Dolores Ibárruri Gómez (9 December 1895 — 12 November 1989) — known as "La Pasionaria" — was a Spanish Republican leader of the Spanish Civil War and communist politician of Basque origin.



June 16, 1936 (Madrid).

Excerpt of the reply given in Parliament to Gil-Robles and to José Calvo Sotelo. This rebuttal by Dolores Ibárruri in the parliamentary debate moved by the two foremost exponents of the Spanish Right is highly significant because it occurred less than one month before the assassination of Calvo Sotelo on July 13 and the start of the Spanish Civil War five days later.

Gentlemen of the Right! You come here outraged to rend your vestments and to dab ash on your foreheads even while, as colleague De Francisco has said, someone whom you know and whom we are not unacquainted with as well [probably José Antonio Primo de Rivera], orders the making of Civil Guard uniforms with intentions known to you and not unknown to us, and while in addition across the Navarre border—Mr. Calvo-Sotelo!—enter firearms and munitions wrapped in the Spanish flag with less noise, with less outrage than the provocation orchestrated by the miserable assassin Martinez Anido in Vera del Bidasoa [a township of the Basque country] with whom the Honourable Member collaborated; and to the shame of the Spanish Republic justice has not been meted out either to him or to the Honorable Member who colluded. As I say, the facts are more telling than the words. I shall mention not only those that have taken place since the sixteenth of February but also those from a little earlier because the gales of today are the consequence of the winds of yesterday.

What happened since the truly republican constituents and the Socialists relinquished power? What happened from the time when men who, varnished with a deceptive republicanism, under the pretext of wishing to broaden the popular base of the republic, joined you, anti-republicans, and the government of Spain? This is what happened: The expropriations in the countryside were carried out collectively, the city halls of the Basque country were persecuted, the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia was curtailed, all the democratic freedoms were assailed and crushed, all the labour codes were ignored, the Law of Municipal Boundaries was revoked [this law forbad an employer the hiring of workers living outside his circumscription]—as colleague De Francisco was saying—the workers were mistreated, and all this kept storing up an enormous amount of hatred which necessarily had to climax in something, and that something was the glorious October [1934], the October which makes us proud, all Spanish citizens who have political discernment, who have dignity, who have a sense of responsibility about Spain's destiny in the face of scheming Fascism.

And all these actions carried out in Spain during the period aptly dubbed "The Black Biennial" were executed—Mr. Gil Robles!—by resorting not only to the police, to the coercive apparatus of the state, but to the underworld, to those criminal elements that every capitalist society harbours, men without roots, the cross of the proletariat, who were hired, given arms and immunity to kill, and who murdered the workers who stood out in the struggle and also men of the Left: Canales, Socialist; Joaquin de Grado, Juanita Rico, Manuel Andres and so many others who fell victim to these gangs of gunmen organized—Mr. Calvo Sotelo!—by a lady [a reference to Pilar Primo de Rivera the sister of Falange's founder] whose name if cited stokes the hatred of Spanish workers for the shame and ruin it has brought to Spain and by pretentious dandies who dream of the victories and blood-soaked glories of Hitler or Mussolini.[1]

July 19, 1936 (Madrid).

Excerpt of the rallying radio address from the Ministry of the Interior the day following the start of the Spanish Civil War.

Workers! Farmers! Antifascists! Patriotic Spaniards! Everyone rise to defend the Republic against the Fascist military uprising, to defend the common freedoms and the democratic triumphs of the people!

The country realizes the gravity of the current situation through the bulletins being issued by the government and the Popular Front. In Morocco and in the Canary Islands the workers are fighting beside the Armed Forces loyal to the Republic against the military rebels and Fascists.

To the cry of "Fascism shall not pass! The executioners of October shall not pass!" the workers and farmers of the various provinces of Spain are joining the fight against the enemies of the Republic declared in armed rebellion. Communists, Socialists, Anarchists, Republican democrats, the soldiers and services loyal to the Republic have inflicted the first defeats on the insurgents, who drag through the quagmire of Treason the military honour they have boasted about so much.

The whole country roils with fury at those savages who want to plunge democratic and the people's Spain into a hell of terror and death.

But they shall not pass![2]

September 8, 1936 (Paris).

Conclusion of the speech delivered to a Convention of Solidarity organized in Paris as part of an official mission by the Popular Front to the French government asking for the lifting of the arms embargo against the Spanish Republic.

Our people exude heroism, but a heroic spirit is not enough. The armament of the rebels must be confronted with rifles, airplanes, field guns. We defend the cause of freedom and peace. We need planes and guns to fight, to defend ourselves, our freedom, to prevent the insurgents bombing our open cities, murdering our women and our children. We need arms to defend freedom and peace!

Don't you forget—and let no one forget—that if today it falls to us to resist Fascist aggression the struggle does not end with Spain. Today it is our turn, but if the Spanish people are allowed to succumb, it will be your turn—all of Europe will be compelled to face up to aggression and war.

Help us to forestall the defeat of democracy because the consequence of such a defeat would be a new World War, which we are all interested in avoiding but whose first battles are being fought in our country already. For our children and yours! For the sake of peace and to oppose war demand that the border be opened! Demand that the French government fulfill its obligations with the Spanish Republican government! Help us obtain the arms we need to defend ourselves with! Fascism shall not pass! It shall not pass! It shall not pass![2]

March 5, 1937 (Valencia).

Opening address at the plenum of the central committee of the PCE. Significantly her appeal discloses that by this time the Republican side had splintered into quarrelling factions.

Stand up, people of Spain!

Women! Defend the life of your children, defend the liberty of your men! [Endure] Every conceivable sacrifice rather than grant the victory of the forces which represent a past of oppression, a past of tyranny.

Everybody against the Reaction! Everyone against Fascism! One front only! One faction united shoulder to shoulder until the enemy is defeated!

Down with the rebel generals! Down with the counter-revolutionary elements! Long live the brave popular militias! Long live the loyal Forces that fight alongside the workers!

Long live the Republic. Long live democracy. Down with Fascism. Down with the Reaction.[3]

November 1, 1938 (Barcelona).

Please listen to the transcript of Ibárruri's farewell address to the International Brigades read in English by Maxine Peake by clicking on the hyperlink provided with Note...[4]

The International Brigades were honoured twice by the losing Republican side, first on October 25, 1938, at Les Masies (Tarragona) where General Chief of Staff Vicente Rojo Lluch presided and the legendary Republican commanders Enrique Líster and Juan Modesto attended[5] and seven days later in Barcelona where La Pasionaria bid them farewell as they paraded down April The Fourteenth Avenue to the cheers of more than 250,000 people.[6]


Autobiography: El Unico Camino.

The 1905 Russian Revolution, which evoked the solidarity of the Spanish proletariat, also had its song amid the workers of our country and I learned it from the miners of my region when I was a little girl.

Do not cave in, Russian people,
Keep fighting steadfast.
For the International cleaves itself
To your revolution.
A reprisal we ask
For that autocratic rabble.
Let autocratic blood
Flow through the streets unceasingly.

On those days when the workers were allowed to place the red flags of their organizations on the windows of the Workers' Centre the district bustled with life. Even to those not affiliated with the Centre the red flag said something which escaped their conscious understanding yet shook them to the depths of their soul.[7]

September 28, 1973.

About the repression in Pinochet's Chile. Radio España Independiente.

Two names that are quite a symbol go together in death in this tough and very cruel fight that the Chilean people are called upon to wage for their own life and for the freedom of their homeland: Salvador Allende and Pablo Neruda, Socialist one, Communist the other, who will live forever in the grateful memory of their people and of all peoples. The Reaction passes away, but the people endure. And after this bloodbath with which the Chilean Reaction at the service of the Imperialists has wanted to bury for all time the democratic regime headed by President Salvador Allende, who enters History immortalized by his life and by his death, Chilean democracy, enriched with the blood of so many heroes fallen in the beastly repression, will be reborn and the Chilean people will rebuild that democracy in whose defense fell the noble and heroic President Salvador Allende and so many other anonymous heroes of the Chilean people, victims of the criminal Fascist military aggression—of the vile agents of North American imperialism who as our comrade Luis Corbalán denounced in a speech given in March of this year were plotting against the Chilean democracy.[8]

November 20, 1975.

Reaction over Radio España Independiente to General Franco's death.

Dawn is breaking over Spain, and that dawn, scattering the darkness of the past, is the dawning of a Spain where the people will be the leading actor, where once more the rights of men and of the peoples who make up our multi-national and multi-regional country will be respected.

And in these moments of great emotion my first concern is for our imprisoned, all the political prisoners, who must be set free immediately; and this must be the paramount concern of everyone who fights for and desires the re-establishment of democracy in Spain.[9]

December 14, 1983 (Madrid).

Message to the 11th Congress of the PCE.

I have always defended a policy of unity around the principles of Marxism, of scientific socialism and of workmen's rights. Everything moves, everything changes; we must know how to adapt our theory, our politics and our struggle to the specific circumstances in which we live. As Lenin taught us, it is necessary to stride forward toward the future, getting rid of everything that divides us, everything that life has discarded, advancing toward our chosen goal, socialism and peace.[10]


Biography by Andrés Sorel: Dolores Ibárruri, Pasionaria. Memoria humana.

I shall die on my feet here on this sixth floor of Santisima Trinidad Street [her private office at PCE headquarters], watching the stars. It will be night. Silence will break out for a few moments. That arresting silence of the universe. I know that the stars when I vanish will remain pegged way up there, fixed, immutable, gazing on the absurd hustle and bustle of men, small and ridiculous, striving with each other during the sole second of life allotted them to learn and to know about themselves, wasting it stupidly, killing one another, the ones fighting to avert exploitation by the others.[11]

Quotes about Dolores Ibárruri

  • According to traditional Marxist theory housewives were problematical as to their class consciousness; they often were unreliable allies of radical men. They were usually grouped with peasants and intellectuals as a potentially conservative drag line on the forward march of proletarian men. Women's equality was a stated goal of all Marxist movements, but the way women's issues were treated, one got the clear message that what women did was marginal to the struggle, unless they excelled at doing it the way men did. The great and celebrated heroines-La Pasionaria, Mother Bloor, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, Clara Lemlich did not organize housewives; they organized female factory workers, women's auxiliaries or men.
    • Gerda Lerner, ’’Fireweed: A Political Autobiography’’ (2002)


Wikipedia has an article about:
Wikisource has original text related to:
  1. Dolores Ibárruri: "Discurso de La Pasionaria en las Cortes el 16 de junio de 1936 (en el debate promovido por Calvo Sotelo y Gil Robles)." Lorenzo Peña. España Roja.
  2. a b Dolores Ibárruri: "¡No pasarán! Llamamiento pronunciado por la Pasionaria en nombre del Partido Comunista ante los micrófonos del Ministerio de Gobernación, el 19 de julio de 1936." Lorenzo Peña. España Roja.
  3. 1937—Discurso de Pasionaria on YouTube .
  4. Maxine Peake: "Dolores Ibárruri (Farewell to the International Brigades)" on YouTube .
  5. Brigadas Internacionales.
  6. Despedida de las Brigadas Internacionales (Disbandment of the International Brigades) on YouTube .
  7. Dolores Ibárruri, María Carmen García-Nieto París, María José Capellín Corrada. El único camino. Madrid: Editorial Castalia, 1992.
  8. Dolores Ibárruri: " Sobre la represión en Chile; Allende-Neruda." Audio: Discursos de Dolores Ibárruri, Pasionaria. La Conquista de la Civilización Socialista. Blogchevique.
  9. Dolores Ibárruri. Me faltaba España, 1939-1977. Barcelona: Editorial Planeta, 1984.
  10. Charo Nogueira and Mariano Guindal. Gerardo Iglesias reafirma la existencia del PCE para la estabilidad democrática. La Vanguardia Española. December 15, 1983, p. 9.
  11. Dolores Ibárruri, as quoted from the book by Andres Sorel, Dolores Ibárruri, Pasionaria. Memoria humana, in El último camino. El País. November 13, 1989.