International Red Aid

International Red Aid

International Red Aid was an international social service organization connected to the Communist International. The organization was founded in 1922 to function as an 'international political Red Cross'.] The organization conducted campaigns in support for communist prisoners and gather material and humanitarian support in specific situations.

The organization was led by Clara Zetkin, Elena Stasova and Tina Modotti.

National affiliates

By 1924 the organization had national affiliates in 19 countries. During its period of existence, the national affiliates of the International Red Aid included:
*Austria: Austrian Red Aid ("Österreichische Rote Hilfe")
*Britain: International Class War Prisoners Aid
*Bulgaria: Organization for Support to the Victims of the Capitalist Dictatorship
*Finland: Red Aid of Finland ("Suomen Punainen Apu")
*France: International Red Aid ("Secours Rouge International")
*Germany: Red Aid of Germany ("Rote Hilfe Deutschlands")
*Mexico: League for Support of Persecuted Fighters ("Liga Pro Luchadores Perseguidos")
*Netherlands: Red Aid of Holland ("Roode Hulp Holland")
*Norway: Red Aid of Norway ("Norges Roede Hjelp")
*Poland: "Czerwona Pomoc w Polsce"
*Soviet Union: International Red Aid to Fighters of the Revolution ("Международная организация помощи борцам революции")
*Spain: International Red Aid ("Socorro Rojo Internacional")
*Sweden: International Red Aid - Swedish Section ("Internationella röda hjälpen – svenska sektionen")
*USA: International Labor Defense [ [ Spartacist materials on revolutionary defense policy: What Defense Policy for Revolutionaries? ] ] [] [ fuentes ] ] [* Universiteit Maastricht (bibliotheek) - results/illegal ] ] [ Suomen Punainen Apu] (Kansan Arkisto)]

In Spain

The International Red Aid made its first appearance in Spain as a charity organization during the workers’ revolt of October 1934 in Asturias. It provided aid to those imprisoned for their role in the rebellion, and organize amnesty campaigns for prisoners that were to be executed.

The organization, which included many artists and writers, was later re-formed and expanded in Barcelona in January 1936, with the aim of opposing fascism on multiple fronts.

Activities during the Spanish Civil War

During the Spanish Civil War, the writer Joaquín Arderíus served as the organization’s president before exiling himself to France and then Mexico. The SRI created soup kitchens and refugee camps throughout the territory controlled by the Republicans, and also provided libraries for Republican soldiers, but many of their programs –as well as the food and aid that it collected- were focused on providing aid for children. [] For example, the SRI founded the "Escuela Nacional para Niños Anormales" (National School for Mentally Disabled Children) in Madrid, with 150 students. It also founded a Children's Park on the outskirts of Madrid, providing shelter to an additional 150 children.

Other activities included:
*The building of transportation networks between hospitals and the front.
*The transformation of various buildings (convents, churches, palaces) into makeshift hospitals, clinics, blood banks, orphanages, and schools.

Medical contributions included the establishment of 275 hospitals, ambulance services, the establishment of the Orthodontics Clinic and College, dental hygiene campaigns, the mobilization of dentists to the front.

POUM, a minor Marxist party in Spain at the time, organized a parallel Socorro Rojo in opposition to the International Red Aid. [ [ ALBA - Articles - "Shouts from the wall." USF Magazine. 4(Fall) 1997. pp. 24-27 ] ]

Military Activities

The ranks of the Fifth Regiment (dissolved January 21, 1937), established by the Communist Party of Spain at the outbreak of the Civil War, were also swelled by members of the SRI. The Fifth Regiment, based on the Soviet Red Army, included Juan Modesto and Enrique Lister amongst its leaders, and fought primarily in the battles in and around Madrid throughout 1936. The SRI also helped Communist sympathizers in Nationalist Spain make their way to friendly territory.

The insignia of the SRI consisted of an "S" (for Socorro) behind the bars of a prison.

In the Netherlands

The Dutch section of IRA held its first congress in 1926. [ [ Lijst Van Geraadpleegde Literatuur ] ] The same year it began publishing "Rode Hulp".

In Finland

The Red Aid of Finland was active during the 1930s, led by the Communist Party of Finland. It gave assistance to revolutionary prisoners in Finnish jails. Women connected to Red Aid would make handicraft works and organized bazaars, in order to finance the activities of the organization. The organization also tried to mobilize public opinion against ill-treatment of the prisoners. The Red Aid of Finland published "Vankien Toveri".

In Latin America

Towards the ends of the 1920s, Farabundo Martí became the leader of the International Red Aid in Latin America. [ [ ALBA .:Alternativa Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América - Content - BIOGRAFÍA ] ] Julio Antonio Mella, the Cuban communist leader exiled in Mexico since 1926, was a leading figure in the Mexican section of the organization.

In the Soviet Union

Largest section of IRA was its Soviet branch, which accounted for about 10 million of the total 14 million membership of IRA.Fact|date=February 2007 MOPR organized numerous lotteries and fundraising drives.

In Korea

Yi Donghwi was a prominent IRA organizer. [ [ 이동휘 (李東輝 ; 1873~1928) ] ]

In Madagascar

A IRA branch was formed in Madagascar in 1933. [Busky, Donald F.. "Communism in history and theory. Asia, Africa, and the Americas". Westport: Praeger, 2002. p. 128]


External sources

[ The Fifth Regiment]

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