News

The Path to Public Service at SEAS

News

Should Supreme Court Justices Have Term Limits? That ‘Would Be Fine,’ Breyer Says at Harvard IOP Forum

News

Harvard Right to Life Hosts Anti-Abortion Event With Students For Life President

News

Harvard Researchers Debunk Popular Sleep Myths in New Study

News

Journalists Discuss Trump’s Effect on the GOP at Harvard IOP Forum

Barcelona Students Protest Suppression

NO WRITER ATTRIBUTED

The CRIMSON received the following letter dated February 4 and supposedly from a Harrison Smith, Hotel Suizo, Barcelona. It was headed "Clandestine Sheet of the Students of the University of Barcelona," and contained a terse note from the students to the effect that "the senders address is ficticious."

The letter concerns events leading to the closing of the university by the government on January 15. The students had become involved in a city-wide protest against a government-authorized increase in public transportation fares and against inflation in general. Police were brought in, arrests were made, heavy detachments patrolled the streets for a fw days, and the university was shut down.

The government's explanation was that the students had uttered shouts of a "subversive nature," and that professional agitators were in their midst. The students' explanation follows.

The university has been closed since the 15th of January.

While the official press glorifies--shamefully using for its propaganda ends--the noble exploits of the Hungarian students against Russian totalitarianism, it has tried to suppress the voice of the students of Barcelona, who have attempted to express their desire for human dignity and liberty.

...Our university has been closed in an attempt to disperse us, to confuse us in our common cause.

On Monday, the 14th of January, the city of Barcelona answered unanimously to the call for a boycott of government-owned trolleys and buses. Without the slightest pressure or intimidation the city responded unanimously, showing its discontent with the present politico economic situation.

The students believe it was their duty to emphasize the political significance of this act on the part of the citizens of Barcelona.

Shouts of "an end to the SEU" (the only officially endorsed student organization) were unanimously chorused by the students of the university. This solidarity had a deep significance. It was a clear and definite sentence against a political structure which has claimed the representation of the nation and the university, when in reality it is only a bureaucracy based on force.

The guilty conscience of the governing elements, knowing themselves to be isolated from all popular support and in the midst of growing hostility, led them to suppress all attempts to express this sincere and general feeling. The order was given to put a quick end to the political manifestation springing from the student body. And the "forces of order," tommy guns in hand, entered the confines of the university, striking the students with the butts of their guns, forcing them to retreat into the classrooms (several students, fleeing the police, were able to take refuge in a class for foreign students where they felt fairly safe, knowing that the police would be hesitant to make an appearance in the face of so many foreign witnesses.) This outrageous violation of the university grounds was next day described cynically in the official press as follows: "The police penetrated only a few feet across the main gate of the university...."

On Tuesday the brutal action of the police was followed up by an attack on the university by a group of "young men, seemingly students" (so the official press reported) who in truth were members of "Franco's guard" (an elite Falangist force). They were armed with whips and pistols. Before they left they had seriously wounded six students, caused numerous minor injuries to many others, and arrested over 20 students. It is important to make clear that, despite the official accusation that the demonstration at the university, to our knowledge this was the only intrusion of any elements alien to our academic life.

This abuse of force served to weld the solidarity of students and faculty. Pictures of Franco and Jose Antonio (founder of the Falange) were destroyed.

We know that to achieve this we did not need a complex organization, we did not need secret plotting. The pitiful daily spectacle of the intellectual and moral poverty of our university, the narrowness of horizons of the present Spanish life, were enough to unite us, the young people of Spain, against a regime that is impotent and can offer no dignified future....

It is important that the facts be known and that the student body and the faculty be then guided by dictates of their conscience.

In a city which was virtually occupied by crushing police force (practically on every other block could be seen a pair of gray uniformed policemen with rifles on their shoulders--while on regu- lar duty they only carry revolvers) on the 17th of January members of "Franco's guard," pistol in hand, broke into the home of Bartolo Masolivar, a 4th year law student, forced him into a car, drove him to the country, and after stripping him, beat him and left him unconscious. Joaquin Jorda, 5th year law student, suffered the same fate....

The regime, now feeling itself isolated and abandoned, has reverted to its principle of a "dialetic of pistols and fists." It is a traditional expression well grounded in the Falangist ideologies.

We express our gratitude to the faculty for its courageous behavior during its Academic Council. While we deplore and condemn the position taken by professors: Lines, Sanmartin, Valdecasas, Sanmiguel, who acted against the interests of the University and the student body. We also condemn behavior of Mr. Tremosa, Director of the Technical School, who threatened with immediate police arrest the student delegation who came to request that he close the school.

In this decisive moment of our national life, all of us, students and faculty, must feel the pride and responsibility of our mission.... We must now scorn those who in their job as teachers, give us examples of cowardice. We must show solidarity in the face of all attempts to intimidate us. We must show dignity in our unmoveable rejection of the present regime

Want to keep up with breaking news? Subscribe to our email newsletter.

Tags