¡No Pasaran!

They shall not pass!

This is my new motto, borrowed from Nadia (Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, now Nadya) of the Russian fem-punk band Pussy Riot, who borrowed it from Dolores Ibarruri, a popular anti-fascist icon of Spanish Civil War fame.

Dolores gave a famous radio speech in July of 1936 that ended with the statement, “The fascists shall not pass! No pasaran!” It became the motto of the Spanish anti-fascist Republican, and this song was used in their campaigns:

Ahí van marchando los milicianos
Van para el frente con gran valor.
A dar sus vidas se van cantando
Antes que triunfe Franco el traidor.
En el espacio van los fascistas
Bombas aéreas destrozarán
La bella urbe capitalina
Pero a Madrid . . . ¡No PASARÁN!
Matan mujeres, niños, y ancianos
Que por las calles suelen andar.
Esta es la hazaña de los fascistas
Que allá en la historia se ha de grabar
Si sangre de héroes regó los campos
Bellas simientes resurgirán
El cañón ruje, tiembla la tierra
Pero a Madrid . . . ¡NO PASARÁN!
There march the militiamen
With great valor to the front.
They go singing to give their lives
Lest Franco, the traitor. triumph.
The fascists are in the skies
Their aerial bombs may destroy
Our beautiful capital city
But to Madrid . . . They Shall Not Pass!
They kill women, children, and the elderly
Who are out and about on the streets
This is the deed of the fascists
Which will be inscribed in history.
Where heroes’ blood watered the fields
Beautiful seedlings will flourish.
The cannon roars, the earth trembles
But to Madrid . . . They Shall Not Pass!

= from  Women in World History, Primary Sources



Nadya and her fellow Rioter, Maria Alyokhina, have recently been speaking out on the American fascist tendencies revealed in the Trump campaign – particularly since Trump has been expressing admiration for their arch-nemisis Vladimir Putin – and warning the American people of what may happen.  “Here, all who are in opposition to Putin are in the security services’ sights. Our mail is read, our phones tapped and we are watched. And that is not the limit — some of us have been killed,” Alyokhina said in an interview, referencing the murder of former deputy prime minister Boris Nemstov, who was killed last year.

Nadya released a potent graphic last month aimed at the Trump campaign:


[Nadya’s comments indicate that this is an electric chair!]

Alyokhina also made this amazing statement, which seems to speak so directly to our situation: “Artists should make more powerful statements than politicians. We must change the world and its ways so that politics breathlessly runs after art.”

Maybe we are in the post-political period. Maybe politics are truly meaningless, just an anachronistic facade in America now. Maybe that’s why I feel so depressed and unable to relate to the whole thing in a positive way.

Maybe that’s why my strongest feelings are !No pasaran!

13 thoughts on “¡No Pasaran!

  1. Donald Trump’s achilles heel is that he is truly un-American

    Another for u my dear, don’t worry he won’t win

  2. And by the way the UK is worried about trotskyism invading the labour party. Politics gone mad!

    • John Eden says:

      Wow, that’s another great Guardian article! Maybe people will begin to realize the truth of that idea… and no, I don’t believe he can win. But it’s frightening that there are so many authoritarians ready to vote for him. — I always admired Trotsky. Things would have gone better for Russia with him rather than Lenin and Stalin! Maybe…?

      • Now there’s a thought. Careful though, too many comments like that on line and you’ll be attracting the wrong sort of attention!

      • John Eden says:

        You think? I do try to be careful, else I’d say more. It’s just that all this eagerness here to fall lifeless into the hands of the latest boffo bonehead proposing to make it all wonderful has me a bit — buggered! Is that a good British expression for it? Ha! Love hearing from you! Hope you’re doing well!

      • Not really I hope, although I have been told it’s ok to be extreme right wing in the USA but not the opposite. They teach us so much prejudice who knows? I understand where u are coming from ( can’t believe I said that ) did u Google the b word ? Important to understand it’s orgins.
        Amused me anyway. The joys of language. Oh and I’m fine ty, hope u r too. ( I’m learning to text!)

      • John Eden says:

        OOPS! No, hadn’t Googled the b-word! Just hear it from our British friends, Dee says, “oh, buggah!” – never knew it’s true meaning! (Sorry if it was offensive!) Certainly not that. Just that I’m annoyed and peevish, how’s that? You’re pretty much right about it being okay in the US to go to extremes on the right but not the left. It’s kinda what the Donald appeals to. It’s that authoritarianism that runs deep in our population. America would really love to have a King, you know, just be done with all this pesky democracy and trying to be responsible.

      • It’s ok not at all offended, in fact you made me smile. It’s just that the context wasn’t quite right & I suspected you didn’t realise where it came from. I do understand how you are feeling though. More or less how I felt about Brexit. Feeling better about that at the moment even though there is gloomy economic news on a daily basis; companies cutting staff, planning to leave the UK, £ and interest rates at lowest ever.
        Meanwhile the Duke of Westminster dies suddenly age 64 leaving everything (£9 bn) in trust to his 25 yr old son (who has 2 older sisters ). The Trust means no inheritance tax will be paid (normally 40%). Still want a monarchy? I’d be knitting under the guillotine myself!

      • John Eden says:

        Ha! I’m still chuckling over that one! Knitting under the guillotine! You’re a trip, as we old hippies still say… I do enjoy our exchanges… thanks for helping me thru all this! No, I’m not a fan of authoritarian regimes… I fall somewhere out there toward the anarchist end of the spectrum, probably anarcho-syndicalism or something… I don’t really know. But these ruling elites tend to alienate my affections. I look back with nostalgia on the tribal organizational level! 🙂 Perhaps we humans are not emotionally equipped to deal with so many of us and such complexity in our technological development – at least that’s the anthropological point of view on it.

      • Knitting is very fashionable apparently. Our granddaughters are being taught to knit at school. Perhaps they are being groomed for revolution?
        Got a busy few days coming up. So not much internet time for a while. Keep cheerful!

      • John Eden says:

        Madame LaFarge, was it? Interesting thought! Just yesterday I heard some celebrity actress – don’t remember who – talking about kitting on set to stay calm… Well, hope things go well. I’m busy as well, writing sports! The things we do to stay alive…

      • Close! Madame Defarge is a fictional character from Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities. The real women were known as tricoteuses apparently.
        Here’s another Guardian article to cheer you up!
        If its true its uncannily similar to Boris Johnson who supposedly only led the Brexit campaign to enhance his profile with the aim of eventually becoming Prime Minister.

      • John Eden says:

        Yes, I know the character, but didn’t know there were real women counterparts! How interesting! Have to look that one up! — Yes, just read the Michael Moore article, Medium Daily Digest just put it up this morning. My friend Neill, a very astute political observer, has been saying something similar for the past month or so… let us hope he’ll bail, tho the replacement could be in some ways worse. There’s no happy outcome here. Except perhaps helping people to realize we must be active locally and create progressive change from the ground up.

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