[Marxism] thing to see in Barcelona

Nick Fredman n.fredman.11 at scu.edu.au
Sat Apr 18 06:26:28 MDT 2009

Joaquin Bustelo:

>>What I would do is read "Homage to Catalonia" by George Orwell. And then see
if there are any traces or remembrances of that Barcelona still about<<

While in Barcelona in December we stumbled into the Placa de George Orwell,
in the Gothic Quarter. I don't know if the square itself has any particular
connections to him. Also in the old city is the building of the pre-Franco
Generalitat, the Catalonian government, which evoked for me accounts of the
civil war (the regional government, as well as the suppressed language, was
revived post-Franco but is housed elsewhere), and I guess buildings like the
old telephone exchange where the Stalinists fought the anarchists and

We stayed in Gracia, a traditional liberal-republican-anarcho-bohemian sort
of area, also quieter and cheaper than the city centre, but handy to
everything if you're near a metro. The Lonely Planet city guide has a
suggested walk around the squares of the area, some of which relate to
various 19th century uprisings. On one street, maybe Calle de Montseny, we
saw a colourful building that from the hammer and sickle and worker-peasant
murals, Cuban flags and Catalunya Libre grafitti we guessed was a CP youth
headquarters, but it was closed the several times we went past.

For something more gruesome, near the Olympic site is the Castell de
Monjuic, where republicans including Catalonian president Companys were
tortured and executed. It has a museum of the war which pretty much seems to
be run by fascists. Great views though, and on the way up on a cable-car
thing you can get there, accessible via the double-decker Bus Turista which
is well worth it for general orientation and stops along the way.

There seemed plenty of political events on, with particularly the pedestrian
street next to Metro Fontana (near where we stayed in Gracia) plastered in
leftist posters. We missed the couple of things that we were on while we
were there unfortunately (it was my first experience travelling with kids -
very different!)

I'm also disappointed that we didn't arrange any political contacts
beforehand or think of Joaquin's suggestion. While we were there however FC
Barcelona beat Real Madrid so that was a bit like the civil war repeated
with a better outcome.

On the same trip I did feel quite a frisson in Dublin seeing all the
revolutionary statues and the post office, the site of the last stand of the
1916 uprising. I thought they'd be bullet holes though, like the museum in

You seem to have the music covered (heaps of that seemed to be on, we just
missed Asian Dub Foundation, dammit), also not directly political but good
for a socialist's soul are the Forest of the Faries (El Bosc de les Fades)
Café in the gothic quarter and the Museum of Chocolate.

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