Skip to Content


Backwaters of History No. 10 - Barcelona 1937

Just before three o'clock on the afternoon of May 3rd, 1937, three lorries were threading their way through the streets of Barcelona, heading for the huge Plaza Cataluña in the centre of the city. They emerged into the Plaza, pulled up outside the Telephone Building and a body of police guards climbed out. Their leader, Rodriguez Salas, Commissioner of Public Order, went into the building, accompanied by a few guards. As he climbed to the first floor of the ten-storey building shots were fired from the windows of the upper storeys. Reinforcements of police were rushed up and a cordon was thrown round the building; thousands of people gathered in the Plaza whilst excitement ran through the streets to all corners of the city. The tension that had gripped Barcelona during the past few weeks now broke out into street fighting.


The workers of Catalonia and of the industrial city of Barcelona have risen in revolt against their oppressors—and have been crushed. A shady mining concern with international capitalist interests involved had been established in the territory of the Riff tribes of Morocco, close by the town of Melilla, which is occupied by the Spaniards. The natives, suspecting that this forbode them no good, took steps to turn out the invaders, the representatives of the modern enslavers, the international capitalists. As a consequence the Spanish workers were called upon to turn out and, at the risk of life and limb, protect their masters property—were ordered to go to Africa and massacre a foreign people with who they have no quarrel.

Syndicate content