Saturday, 5 July 2008

Fallacy No 2: Partido Popular is a democratic party

In the last few days, we have had another example, as if we needed more evidence, that the Spanish Partido Popular is not your run of the mill, right-wing, democratic party. In fact, the PP is a neo-Francoist, Spanish nationalist party.

Get this. After the Spanish Civil War and the overthrow of the democratically-elected Republican government, the Fascists took power. In many council halls, the new fascists administration awarded General Francisco Franco, Hitler’s ally, a medal known as “hijo adoptivo predilecto”. In the UK, a similar award would be the freedom of a city for example.

Since the end of Franco’s rule, in most Spanish councils, particularly in the Basque Country and Catalonia, but also in Andalucia and other areas where the PP is not in power, councils have been passing motions withdrawing such awards to the hero of Spanish Fascism.

Bizarrely, this medal-award is still in place in many cities and towns across Spain. One of these councils is the city of Alacant (Alicante in Spanish). A few days ago, the PSOE (Spanish Labour party) submitted a motion in a council meeting asking for this medal-award to the Fascist leader to be withdrawn. But the Partido Popular opposes the bill, and thus General Franco, Hitler’s ally, lest not forget, is still the “favourite adoptive son” of the city of Alicante.

So there you have it. The Spanish Partido Popular opposes withdrawing a city award to the man that led a coup d’etat against a democratically elected government, and imposed a fascist one-party state rule for 40 years, enforcing the use of Spanish and banning Catalan language from schools, universities, media, administration, etc. The PP refuses to condemn a regime that sent thousands of volunteer troops (División Azul) to help Hitler’s Nazi army.

Can you imagine something similar in Germany?

With this latest gesture, the Partido Popular has shown that it lacks the democratic credentials it so loudly claims to defend. If I was a MEP from a normal, democratic centre-right party, I would be ashamed and very concerned that these apologists of Fascism are in the same parliamentary grouping.

As I have written before, the PP is a threat to democracy and to social cohesion and cultural diversity within Spain.

If pro-independence Basque parties can be barred from the electoral process because of their refusal to condemn ETA’s violence, why is the PP allowed to participate in the electoral process when they refuse to condemn the fascist violence and repression of the Franco regime?

What the Financial Times thinks of the Partido Popular [here]
Articles in Público and Avui (use this translator is you can’t read Spanish or Catalan)


trebolín said...

So you agree that we should take down all the monuments to that notorious fascist militarist, Francesc Macià?

Rab said...

Not sure if this was Kalebul himself, or a troll impersonating the official revisionist "historian” of the expat blogsphere. In any case, it is the kind of remark that just shows how ignorant and prejudiced some people are.

A bit of history about the man:

Francesc Macià was forced to leave the Spanish Army after the events of 1905, in which a satirical magazine published in Barcelona was attacked by Spanish officers.
[déjà vu].

Realising that Spain would never accept Catalonia in its full political and cultural diversity, he became a federalist politician, if not full pro-independence until later in life.

He was hugely popular and an articulate speaker, winning almost every election he fought, but was forced into exile during the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera.

From the other side of the Pyrenees, he attempted an uprising against the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, a precursor of the Fascist dictators that would come out a few years later. By the way, Primo de Rivera also banned Catalan language from official use (schools, universities, administration, media, etc), and imposed a policy of centralisation, Spanish nationalism, and crushing of political dissent. See a pattern there?

The plot was aborted between the French Gerdarmerie and the Spanish army and Macià is forced into political exile in Belgium and then Argentine. Upon the overthrow of the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera, Macià returns to Catalonia.

His party Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, wins the 1931 municipal elections with overwhelming support. He attempted to proclaim the Catalan Republic within the Federal Republic of Spain, but the central government opposed such measure and he had to compromise and accept a reduced settlement for devolved power for Catalonia. It was this event that led him to become a full on pro-independence advocate late in life, after learning about the Irish separation from the British state.

So ignorant commenter whoever you are, read and learn:
1) Macià was not a “militarist": he left the Spanish Army to become a politician who won several elections.
2) He was not a fascist: he was persecuted and forced into exile by fascists. He led a party called “Republican Left of Catalonia” for goodness sake(!) a party that was suppressed by fascists in 1936!

He was a man who believed that it was in the best interests of Catalonia to secede (or to have a much self-government as possible, a federal structure) from Spain, and he attempted that by democratic means and with huge popular support in Catalonia.

And this is precisely why the Spanish nationalists and their cheerleaders and apologists hate him so much that they come up with stupid and lunatic comments like the one above.

Anonymous said...

Rab, don't get distracted by the anti-Catalan trolls: he made no comment about the Francoist roots and tendencies of the PP. This is the subject of the post.