19 or 18 July 1936 ?

The libertarian movement was the only one -from 1936 to 1939- to celebrate this day (on which the trade unions and popular forces pushed the military putschists away from Barcelona, Bilbao, Madrid, Valencia, etc.). The other republican organisations preferred to glorify the victory of the Popular Front (February 1936) or the advent of the fisrt Republic (1931). The communists chose 18 July (the day of the military uprising)...like Franco, who declared 18 July a public holiday.

If 19 July was to be glorified by libertarians through to the end of the conflict, the way the different posters (texts and graphic composition) addressed the subject depended on the particular context of each one. As such, one same artist would address different themes depending on the period during which he designed the posters:

  • Summer- automn of 1936, the proletariat had defeated the military. Victorious, man is upright (on a barricade) and brandishing his trophy: a gun. There is no need for a slogan as his smile and confidence say it all.

  • Winter of 1936-1937, the mobilisation. A character takes up most of the space, he (the anarchist organisations) is a barricade; he is not alone, the people are behind him : is he still a militiaman or already a soldier ? To whom is the slogan addressed: to the fascists or the government and the stalinist party which had just opened secret jail (the checas) ?

  • 1938, defeat is likely, the heroes (soldiers) and last defences must be exalted.