Thursday, August 31, 2017
Canada's First Anti-Fascists
They went abroad to fight fascism. Half of them didn't live to come home. These were Canada's first Anti-Fa, the Mackenzie Papineau battalion of the International Brigade that fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.
The history of their ill-fated war against Franco and his German and Italian allies inspired Canadians at home. The Liberal government of the day would have happily thrown them in jail if it wasn't for the outpouring of support the MacPap veterans received on their return.
One Canadian who served the Republican cause was Dr. Norman Bethune of Gravenhurst.
Bethune went on to organize the first mobile bloodbank enabling Spanish Republican fighters to be treated in the field.