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Power of Words - Dolores Ibárruri - July 2021

Every month I whizz into my Scribe Sisters' inboxes with bundles of motivational and inspirational bits and bobs that I hope reignite your passion for all things feminist, anti-racist, and anti-capitalist! And I'm sharing them as a blog post too...

Each post will highlight a woman who has used WORDS to change the world, because women's stories matter.

The passionate Spanish icon

You may not have heard of Dolores Ibárruri but this miner’s daughter from Bilbao became an icon when she urged people to stand up against fascism in an impassioned speech at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Speaking from the Ministry of the Interior and broadcast on Madrid Radio on July 19 1936, the mother of six – who grew up in poverty – asked the Spanish people to rise up to defend the democratic republic with the battle cry ‘They Shall Not Pass’ or ‘No Pasarán!’. Dolores took the phrase ‘No Pasarán!’, used in right-wing posters, and turned it into a battle cry for the struggle against General Franco’s nationalists, effectively turning her enemies’ words against them. She inspired people to join the Spanish Communist Party’s struggle to unite against fascism and eradicate the rebels. And she asked women to fight alongside men to defend their freedom and their children's future. After her ground-breaking speech, Dolores became known as La Pasionara – The Passion Flower.

An international inspiration

Dolores Ibárruri wasn’t wealthy or famous. She wasn’t privately educated or privileged. But her powerful words inspired people to support the anti-fascist movement and, ultimately, to change the world. Her passionate speech was ultimately the spark that lit the Labour movement in Britain and ‘No Pasarán!’ has become a rallying cry for those who stand up against the forces of authoritarianism and hate around the world.

You can inspire change

The patriarchy doesn’t want women to speak up or be bold but your words – just like those used by Dolores – have the power to make change happen. What YOU believe in and what YOU have to say is important and people need to hear it, so share your passions and tell your story with pride. Be authentically you when you write or speak and don’t try to emulate anyone else. Go beyond what people expect of you as you’re bloody brilliant and you’re made for more!

We’re stronger together

Who says that you can’t be a role model or a leader because you didn’t go to Eton? I quit my teaching job to pursue my love of writing and I’m now a Word Witch! I followed my passion for socialism and I became a Labour councillor who’s stood for Parliament – and so could you if that’s your dream. I even quoted Dolores Ibárruri in a recent speech against Priti Patel's Policing Bill (pic below courtesy of Fields Of Light Photography). By being our true selves, we can make connections, form movements and create a community that goes beyond our businesses or professional lives. If we stand together and support each other, we can pull each other up the ladder and – who knows – maybe we’ll smash the patriarchy one day. Who’s with me?

Keep your eyes peeled for more Power of Words blogs and upcoming stuff you'll love!


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