Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Catalonia nullifies Franco's "justice"

Companys in prison
Believe it or not, in Spain the illegal totalitarian actions of the Fascist dictatorship of Franco are still within the law. The Parliament of Catalonia, in the process of active secession from Spain, has been the first one to declare some of them null.

Specifically the Catalan Parliament declared yesterday all military trials under Franco to be null and void of any juridical effect. Better late than never, I guess. 

One of the most infamous such military trials was the one against Catalan President Lluis Companys (ERC), who was killed as result. 

In spite of some 40 years passing since the (way too peaceful) death of the tyrant, almost nothing has been done in Spain to counter the effects of the fascist tyranny. Only now, under the cover of a very limited Law of Historical Memory, local governments have begun to rename streets that were apologetic of fascism, remove statues of Franco and other fascist icons, unearth the remains of some of the victims of Fascist terror, scattered by the roadsides of the country, etc. However resistance is not trivial, mostly from the ranks of the ruling "Christian-Democratic" party PP and the Catholic Church (which in Spain is extremely conservative and has been losing adepts without remedy since decades ago).

Source: Nueva Tribuna[es].


  1. Correct me if I am mistaken: The Catalonian President left Spain to France as a refugee. But in those times French used to send back refugees to Spain or Franco secret services kidnapped him, the result was he was shot in Spain, being an elected president and with no charges against him but to have defended the legal government.
    That´s history..

    1. He was extradited by the Nazi occupation forces in Nantes. The Spanish Civil War was the prelude of WWII and the very fast occupation of France by Germany: Spanish, Catalan and Basque refugees (or should I use the term "exiles"?) in France either went clandestine (the mystified French Resistance was pretty much a "Spanish" thing) or were arrested and deported or, in many cases, sent to death camps like Matthausen. The lucky ones were the kids sent to the Soviet Union or Mexico, those were fine.

      He was not just shot at some random place by some random guy: he was held prisoner by the Franco national-catholic fascist regime and put to military trial for "treason". He was killed by a firing squad and his last words were "Per Catalunya!" ("for Catalonia!")

      In any case his case is just the tip of the iceberg: he was just one of hundreds of thousands murdered by Spanish Fascism just in the few years of the war and post-war. Brutal repression, military trials and firing squads remained until the 1970s, with the last victims being ETA (Txiki & Otaegi) and GRAPO fighters. To this day it is impossible to name plazas after those victims of fascism, as often the people does informally (there are many Txiki & Otaegi plazas in the Basque country, none of them legally so), while streets named after fascists are common all over Spain, fascist-catholic monuments remain in use and Spain is one of the few states in Europe where apology of Fascism or even Nazism is absolutely legal (but hardly of those who fought against them). This in spite of the population being one of the less fascist-leaning of all Europe.

      There are many stark contradictions between what is a post-fascist reformed "democracy" and a populace that is very much anti-fascist. This is because, like all other fascisms, Spanish fascism was engineered to serve Western Imperialism and therefore subtly supported by Britain and later the USA; remaining neutral in WWII and making deals with Eisenhower later, kept the regime alive and well-integrated within the NATOsphere.

      That's (part of) the tragedy of Spain, one that is taking way too long to be amended.

  2. Yesterday I read an article pointing that Franco didn´t go into war just because the British Government bought Franco´s government to stay away.
    That´s why finishing the war all the spaniards that raised their arms in the nazi way you can see in the early pictures in 1940, suddenly put their arms down and forgot the whole thing.

    1. That's an overly simplified version, IMO.

      First, it was Britain the main actor pushing in favor of the rise of fascism in Europe: they backed Mussolini first and then others, including Franco and Hitler. In the Spanish Civil War, Britain forced strict neutrality and even a blockade to both sides onto France (then ruled by a Popular Front similar to the one in Spain), while doing absolutely nothing to impede German and Italian support for Franco. Many of the troops in the Spanish war were actually Italian (70,000!) Fascism is only a harsh form of Capitalist rule and the British capitalists were perfectly OK with it, just as they were with Pinochet and the likes later on.

      Only when Hitler went overboard with his plans to rise Germany from the ashes by conquering Russia (to make it "the India" of the new German Empire), Britain decided to intervene, again pulling France along. This was not because they cared about the USSR, of course, but because that would have challenged their hegemony, and even that of the USA quite probably (US think tanks decided to go to war with Japan because they estimated they needed China to be one step ahead of Hitler's Reich, so large was the economic self-sufficiency of Europe and Russia gathered under Hitler's boot).

      So, well, Britain was the bad guy all the time and had all dictators more or less in good relation with them. Even the Germans would have signed peace at any time would the Brits have wanted it.

      Franco's regime was split at the height of the war, with many wanting to join Germany, conquer Gibraltar, etc. But others were more cautious and feared that Britain would take the Canary Islands and maybe land in some hard to keep areas like Galicia, where the maquis was strong. There are several versions on what exactly happened but one I find plausible is that they had agreed to join the war as soon as the Nazis conquered Suez, that way they would have secured all the Mediterranean with a quick takeover of Gibraltar, very easy to capture for Spain (as long as it's willing to risk all-out war with Britain).

      The fascists were rising their arms in the "Roman way" all the time until Franco died. They may have done it a bit less often but they did anyhow: it was part of the iconography of the regime. For a decade after WWII, Spain was subject of an international boycott (only broken by Argentina) but once Eisenhower made an opening to Franco, who allowed US bases in exchange, it was quickly reintegrated to the Western economic sphere, as were already so many other dictatorships in the rimlands of Eurasia, from Korea to Portugal, from Vietnam to Greece.

  3. Those Brits are damned shrew, they are always behind playing their own game. I agree with you that most of them, brits, french, austrian, hungerians,croatians were fascists at heart, the ideology that suits better to the grand sons of the steppe people.

    1. It's not that simple (again not):remember that we live under a dictatorship of the bourgeoisie, whatever the appearances, and governments are basically put by the oligarchs and their media, the so-called "free media" that is almost only a propaganda apparatus under the control of a handful of mega-rich guys (much more rarely women maybe). The (largely induced) complicity of the peoples on these matters mostly goes by the lines of ignorance and following the traditions, they are like passers-by to whom the criminal tells a tall tale and get them that way to aid them. Without almost any other influence (no cops, at least not good ones, in this real-life story) the passer-by is deceived by the criminal, and this happens once and again and again. Pretty much annoying but real like life itself.

      Also peoples change their attitudes. Once, in 1918, Hungarians were all for communism. Not anymore, now they are rather for fascism. Brits on the other hand are clearly scored nowadays to a much more active and promising kind of leftism (i.e. Corbyn, SNP) that is much weaker in most of the mainland. France also had its moments. Tito was a Croat and, anyhow, the WWII collapse of Yugoslavia under fascist control, was largely a produce of Greater-Serbianism in pre-war Yugoslavia anyhow (the good thing about Tito is that he saw that, unlike the chetniks, and tried to amend it, putting Yugoslavia very high in world history, even if it was just a relatively brief and ill-fated period).

      No people is "fascist at heart". Look at Jews for instance, if we judge on Israel, they'd be all genocide-loving Hitler's bastards, but then we have so many good Jews, like Marx, Spinoza, Trotsky or Luxemburg that we just cannot generalize (said that, sure: they were not religious nor ethnic nationalists). Take a less political example such as Albert Einstein, he still managed to keep his fame clean by, among other things, flatly rejecting an offer to become President of Israel. Right now the only decent presidential candidate in the USA is an ethnic Jew: Jill Stein. Many Jews have helped the Palestinians, etc.


    2. ...

      There's no such thing as a "fascist people", fascism is always a political and sociological issue, and in most cases it is not supported in elections: even Hitler, who had quite a large electoral support, had to rig them with terror and manipulations like the Reichstag Fire in order to actually win the key last one; on the other hand Mussolini and Franco only took power by means of coups and never even bothered running in elections. For all them it was critical the support of the "moderate right" and the active suppression of the left.

      I don't think there's anything genetic here, although there may be some cultural and (more recent) historical stuff going on. If it'd be as you, say the Russians would have never made a revolution, nor the Germans and Hungarians right after them; these two failed revolutions are often forgotten but 1918 was a year in which much of Europe seemed in the verge of going communist overnight, it was the Poles, under social-democratic leadership, who actually made it fail ultimately. If you'd have said Poles... maybe I would have given you some reason, they are also the main ones agitating in Eastern Europe nowadays, but even in that case there is an underlying logic: they fear a Russo-German alliance and they are about the most Catholic nation on Earth, with permission of Ivory Coast and the Philippines.

      This last thing, piled up on other religious revival in Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Soviet bloc, is clearly one of the big failures of the (post-)Leninist model: they were not able, often not willing even, to challenge religion seriously. Unlike in Albania or China (where Maoist youths were adamant in their "cultural revolution"), they took a very soft and even complicit approach to religion that was ultimately exploited by the ilks of Reagan and Wojtila, leading to many of the sad realities we see today over there.

      In Spain it was the opposite: the regime was so extremely utra-Catholic that respect for religion collapsed. I believe that something similar is happening in Iran nowadays. Of all causes of fascism, I'd say that religion is probably the main one, linking very well with the other ingredients of reaction: tradition and nation.

      The key issue however is that nothing in all those offers anything but illusionism: they are important emotional strings but they are not capable of producing working solutions. So fascism can cause many problems but hardly bring any sort of solution or stability, particularly nowadays, and that's their fundamental limitation.

      (Sorry for the rant, anyhow: probably too long).


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