Spanish courts step up campaign to legitimize Franco’s fascist dictatorship
Political developments in Spain are moving in an increasingly dangerous direction. Eighty-five years after the fascist coup of 1936 led by Generalissimo Francisco Franco sparked the three-year Spanish Civil War, during which the victory of Franco’s forces backed by Hitler and Mussolini set up a dictatorship that lasted until 1978, the Spanish courts aggressively rehabilitate Francoism. .
They issued a series of reactionary decisions, such as absolving him from anti-Semitic statements by a fascist leader and opposing the change of street names in honor of fascist units and military leaders. It comes after the Supreme Court approved Franco’s coup in 1936 and the Constitutional Court ruled that Franco did not commit crimes against humanity during the war or his 40-year dictatorship.
International workers and youth need to be warned. If the crimes of fascism are rehabilitated, it is because powerful sections of the ruling class are preparing to use ruthless and criminal methods against mass opposition to the policies of social inequality, austerity and “immunity”. collective “murderous.
Two weeks ago, a judge ruled that a fascist Phalanx leader Isabel Peralta did not “incite hatred” against Jews in a public speech earlier this year, widely condemned on social media , in honor of the blue division. It was an infantry division of 45,000 fascist volunteers sent by Franco during World War II to support Nazi Germany’s war of extermination against the Soviet Union.
Peralta, using the language that led to the extermination of European Jews in the 1930s and 1940s, mentionned, “[t]he enemy will always be the same although wearing different masks: the Jew. She added: “Because there is nothing truer than this statement: the Jew is to blame, the Jew is to blame, and the Blue Division fought for it.” She hysterically denounced Marxism as “a Jewish invention to pit workers against each other”.
The judge defended Peralta and the fascist parties present at the rally, saying that “no group which endorses the publication of the mentioned speech will commit any act of hostility or reflect their growing hatred or contempt for the Jewish people.”
Last week, the General Judicial Council approved a resolution against the law passed by the Socialist Party (PSOE) -Podemos government to ban Francoist foundations, such as the Francisco Franco National Foundation. According to the report, the apologetics of Francoism “constitute the expression of ideas which, although contrary to the values proclaimed by the Constitution, are protected by freedom of expression”.
As socialists oppose the outlawing of fascist organizations by the state – aware, as the twentieth century has shown, that such state powers are then turned against the working class – the attempts of the General Judicial Council to portray itself as a bastion of “free speech” are ludicrous. Its courts routinely persecute singers and artists on charges of terrorism or “insults against the monarchy.” Stalinist rapper Pablo Hasél remains in prison for tweets and songs against the king and the police.
The decision is clearly aimed at preventing any limitation to the rehabilitation of fascism and its policy of mass murder and repression. This goes hand in hand with the intervention of the courts to prevent street name changes in honor of fascism in Madrid. Fallen of the Blue Division Street and General Millan Astray Street, named after one of Franco’s main henchmen and founder of the Spanish Legion, must remain.
The judge said it was “non-compliant” that the previous pseudo-left city council led by Podemos wanted to change the street in honor of the fascist general, as it cannot “unequivocally deduce that Millán Astray was involved in the military uprising, neither took part in it. in military actions during the civil war, nor in the repression of the dictatorship. Regarding the blue division, the court declared that it “was formed in 1941, two years later the end of the civil war, it therefore does not enter the period of exaltation of the military uprising, nor of the civil war “.
Shortly after the decision, the Madrid council, led by the right-wing Popular Party and backed by the fascist Vox party, announced that it would install a 20-ton, six-meter statue in honor of the Spanish Legion .
Spain’s fascist crimes, both abroad and against the working class at home, are unquestionably established and well known internationally. Despite its attempts to impose collective amnesia for its crimes, the Spanish ruling class, under the current Franco and post-Franco regime, has had to face the fact that its crimes have been recorded in countless ways – in dozens of thousands of books, movies, songs and works of art.
Astray’s criminal record before, during and after the civil war is well known. Astray was known as the “glorious cripple” for his disfigured body injured during the Spanish colonial wars in northern Morocco. He lost his left arm and his right eye.
He founded the Spanish Legion, which regularly beheaded forces opposed to colonial rule in Morocco and used to bayonet the heads of their enemies. On the eve of the Spanish Civil War, the Legion carried out the brutal repression of the Asturian municipality in 1934, executing more than 2,000 workers. During the war he carried out the Badajoz massacre, where up to 4,000 workers and left sympathizers were executed.
In 1936, Astray returned from a tour of Argentina and joined Franco, as director of the Bureau of Radio, Press and Propaganda. He is best known for shouting “Death to the intellectuals” at the University of Salamanca against the right-wing intellectual Miguel de Unamuno, who publicly criticized the fascist extrajudicial killings. This scene is perfectly captured in Alejandro Amenábar’s 2019 film, During the war, seen by millions of viewers, where Astray is portrayed as what he was: a brutal fascist thug.
The Blue Division’s decision ignores the fact, recognized even in textbooks, that the Blue Division was part of Franco’s revenge on Hitler for his support during the Spanish Civil War. It takes place a few weeks before the 80th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941 which left nearly 27 million Soviet people dead. This is another affront to Moscow, aimed at inciting militarism and war, amid growing NATO threats against nuclear-weaponized Russia and China.
The fact that Spanish justice feels emboldened to rehabilitate Francoism indicates enormous dangers facing the working class. That says a lot about what the Spanish ruling elite passes off as the “left” – primarily, the petty-bourgeois Podemos party. The courts know that Podemos will not mobilize any opposition to its decisions, because it is a tool of the ruling class, including its re-legitimization of Francoism.
For more than six months, the PSOE-Podemos has covered the stench of nascent fascism in the military night and day, after groups of Francoist officers began writing letters to the king asking him to support them against the government. elected last December. In WhatsApp conversations leaked to the press, these officers hailed Franco’s coup and called for the murder of “26 million people”, their estimate of the number of left-wing voters and their families in Spain.
The then general secretary of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, responded by saying: “What these gentlemen say, at their age and already retired, in a conversation with a few too many drinks, poses no threat.”
The rehabilitation of fascism in Spain is an urgent warning to the working class internationally. As working class strikes and protests erupt against austerity and profits, and bailouts take priority over human life during the pandemic, talks of fascist coups and massacres are in the air. agenda, especially after former US President Donald Trump attempted a coup in January. 6 to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s electoral victory.
In Germany, far-right professor Jörg Baberowski is taken to German universities to promote revisionist historiography, blaming the USSR for Nazi crimes and publicly rehabilitating Hitler as “not vicious”. Neo-Nazi networks are rampant in the police and the military, known to have put together lists of politicians to be executed by far-right death squads.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron hailed the fascist dictator and Nazi collaborator Philippe Pétain as a “great soldier” amid the “yellow vests” protests against social inequalities. Now letters are being signed by retired generals and active-duty servicemen calling for a coup to launch a mass crackdown on Muslims and working-class suburbs of France.
Opposing the ruling class’s rehabilitation of fascism requires mobilizing the working class in the political struggle, regardless of the forces that claim to be “left”, be it Podemos, the Left Party in Germany or the La Party. France Insoumise. All over Europe there is strong working class opposition to fascism. In Spain, it is well in the living memory of the Spanish population.
This historically entrenched opposition to fascism must, however, find expression in an elaborate perspective to oppose the push of the ruling class towards war and fascist rule. It requires building a movement in the working class. He underlines the urgency of building sections of the ICFI in Spain and in the world, to link the growth of workers’ struggles to a socialist, internationalist and anti-imperialist political movement aimed at transferring state power to the working class.