If you tolerate this…

“If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next” is one of my all time favourite songs written by Wales’ very own Manic Street Preachers. This song was inspired by the Spanish Civil War which was fought between Franco’s Nationalist army and the Spanish Republican army from 1936-39. Franco’s army eventually won taking Spain into a fascist dictatorship that would last until the death of Franco in 1975 and leave Spain severely wounded for years to come.

Franco’s Falangist army was supported by Hitler’s Germany and Mussolini’s Italy, and behind closed doors, British leaders who feared a communist revolution by the Republicans.  On the Republican side fought many foreigners who believed strongly enough in the cause to risk their lives on the battlefield.  The International Brigades were made up of non-Spaniards from all over the world.  Among these brave men were British authors George Orwell and Laurie Lee.

The song “If You Tolerate This, Then Your Children Will Be Next”, was written more specifically about the idealism of Welsh volunteers who joined the International Brigades to fight against Franco.  The song takes its name from a anti-fascist propaganda poster from the time, depicting a child being killed by Nationalist sky bombers.  The song also includes a quote from Orwell’s book “Homage to Catalonia” in which he gives an account of his experiences. “I’ve walked the Ramblas but without real intent”.

To me, this song has always been and always will be one that gives me goosebumps every time I hear it.  Although it was written and released 14 years ago and is based around the events of the Spanish Civil War, I can’t help but feel that its message is more pertinent now than ever. We are still fighting fascism, but a fascism more dangerous than ever. One that is hidden amongst news reports,  advertisements and “democratic” political parties. We are still being dictated and will still be dictated as long as we allow it.  Listen to the song and feel the lyrics. I hope it can inspire you.

The future teaches you to be alone
The present to be afraid and cold
So if I can shoot rabbits
Then I can shoot fascists

Bullets for your brain today
But we’ll forget it all again
Monuments put from pen to paper
Turns me into a gutless wonder

And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next

Gravity keeps my head down
Or is it maybe shame
At being so young and being so vain

Holes in your head today
But I’m a pacifist
I’ve walked La Ramblas
But not with real intent

And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next

And on the street tonight an old man plays
With newspaper cuttings of his glory days

And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
And if you tolerate this
Then your children will be next
Will be next
Will be next
Will be next

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2 Responses to If you tolerate this…

  1. Alejandro M says:

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! It was an interesting/musical way of introducing what happened in my country. Next time you should write that there was a fake transition in this country and we are still supporting and tolerating things from Franco dictatorship. For instance in the Popular party there were and are ex-members of that fascist goverment.

  2. Phillip John Hopkins says:

    A well written piece, and although I am not particularly a fan of the Manic Street Preachers, I can appreciate the meaning behind the words.

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