‘Name Madrid square after anti-fascist Jack Jones, not after Thatcher’

This video from Britain says about itself:

Jack Jones freedom fighter and British socialist leader has died

21 April 2009

One of the 20th century’s greatest freedom fighters and socialist leaders and an inspirational figure in the British labour and trade union movement. History does not just happen, it is made, by men like Jack Jones.

By Luke James:

Put a real hero on the square

Saturday 21st February 2015

More than 100 trade unionists swoop into Plaza de Margaret Thatcher to call for a name change

BRITISH socialists swooped on controversial site Plaza de Margaret Thatcher in Madrid last night, staging a snap protest to demand that International Brigades hero Jack Jones is honoured instead.

More than 100 trade unionists and anti-fascist activists descended on the square in posh Salamanca district.

They symbolically renamed the square by covering street signs bearing the hated Tory’s name with their “Plaza de Jack Jones” banner.

The stunt was the latest protest since the square was opened last September by politicians from the right-wing Popular Partyfounded by a minister in dictator General Franco’s government.

Just 24 hours after its unveiling, street signs were plastered with Hillsborough Justice Campaign stickers by angry British visitors.

The Liverpool Echo in Britain wrote about this:

Margaret Thatcher Square sign in Madrid given a new look by Hillsborough campaigners

20:15, 17 September 2014

By Mark Johnson

Don’t Buy The Sun‘ stickers placed over new Margaret Thatcher sign

A brand-new sign dedicated to the memory of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher has been given a new look in Spain.

A ‘Don’t Buy The Sun sticker’ and a number of Hillsborough Justice Campaign stickers have been used to cover the ‘Plaza de Margaret Thatcher’ sign in Madrid.

The stickers – which were placed over the sign as a protest against The Sun’s support for Mrs Thatcher during the 1980s and against the national newspaper’s coverage over the 1989 Hillsborough disaster – were placed on it a few hours after it was unveiled at an official ceremony on Monday.

Sheila Coleman, Hillsborough Justice Campaign spokeswoman, said: “I think that most of us will be shocked that there is a square in Madrid named after Margaret Thatcher.

“The fact that people have chosen to put stickers about Hillsborough on the name plate, is a comment on those in Madrid who decided to name it after her.

“It shows the loathing of Margaret Thatcher and how people can react when they see her name.

“If the good people of Madrid realised the role that Margaret Thatcher played in the demonisation of the good people of Liverpool then they would understood the feeling towards her.”

The ex-Tory leader is remembered in the Spanish capital alongside sculptures by Pablo Picasso and a statue to Christopher Columbus.

It is the first city square outside Britain to honour her. …

The idea to name the square after her met with opposition from left-wing opposition parties on Madrid’s city council.

The Luke James article continues:

Unemployed Spanish youths, who joined in, replaced the signs with new ones saying “Plaza de la Juventud Exiliada” (Exiled Youth.)

This 24 September 2014 video from Spain is called Juventud SIN Futuro rebautiza la Plaza Margaret Thatcher.

This video is also about that re-naming.

Now campaigners are calling for Thatcher’s name to be scrubbed off Madrid’s street map permanently.

They want the square to be re-named Plaza de Jack Jones to remember the famed trade unionist and his fellow British socialists who fought Franco’s fascists in the 1936 Spanish civil war.

The Liverpool-born docker was seriously wounded while serving with the International Brigade, and went on to become the general secretary of the Transport and General Workers’ Union in 1968.

Terry Craven, who took part in the protest, said: “Jack Jones is a name we’re proud to remember. Thatcher is one we’d like to forget, frankly.”

Mr Craven is a member of the Unite union’s Casa community branch, a centre established in Liverpool to celebrate British volunteers of the brigade.

“Jack was a true working-class hero,” added Mr Craven.

“He worked all his life to help the underdog, fighting against poverty, unemployment, inequality and repression. Thatcher did none of those things.”

Socialists and trade union members living in Madrid were among the group that seized the square last night.

Most travelled from Britain to take part in the International Brigade’s Memorial Trust’s annual commemoration of the battle of Jarama.

The bloody clash, which began on February 11 1937, saw 150 British volunteers killed.

The heroics of the International Brigade stopped Franco’s 40,000-strong force surrounding Madrid in the early days of the civil war.

IBMT secretary Jim Jump called on Madrid politicians to honour the men who defended their city by renaming Plaza de Margaret Thatcher.

He told the Star: “It’s very insensitive of the Madrid authorities to name a square after someone who was an admirer of General Pinochet.

“He modelled himself on Spanish dictator General Franco, whose military coup and brutal dictatorship was responsible for the death, murder and execution of tens of thousands of Spaniards.

“The Madrid authorities should remember the heroism of the International Brigades rather than someone who was a friend of Franco.”

Margaret Thatcher: A new book explores the Iron Lady’s religious faith, and reveals how she modelled herself on Joan Crawford: here.

6 thoughts on “‘Name Madrid square after anti-fascist Jack Jones, not after Thatcher’

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