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Post"Coalicion Canaria"; Origins of Spain's Popular Party (PP) (Carmen Negrin, France, 05/04/19 4:17 am)
In response to José Ignacio Soler's comment of May 2nd on my post of the day earlier, and completing the information given on the Spanish elections of April 28th, I would like to specify two points, one, which was pointed out by a friend and ex-colleague of mine who happens to be a WAIS member but has been far too discreet, and the second point concerning José Ignacio's post on his concerns about PM Pedro Sánchez and about my description of Spain's right wing(s).
So first, when I underlined the rise of "independentista" parties, I should have been more specific. In reality, I used the adjective "independentista" in a much too broad sense. Thus it isn't really correct, in particular since the Coalición Canaria (CC) isn't really "independentista"; I should have said: Independentistas (like the Basques and mainly the Catalan), regional, nationalists--but not separatists--and autonomist parties (like the Coalición Canaria and a few others). Answering John, there are several separatist Canarian parties, which are not really relevant, some have joined CC and others have not, for instance the President of the Cabildo of Gran Canarias is from one of the later: Nueva Canarias. Canarian nationalism started as far back as the 19th century, mainly originated from the left. The first main historic party was created in reaction to what was perhaps rightly perceived as colonialism and the last major one, was in reaction to Franco's dictatorship. These were respectively led by Secundino Delagado and Antonio de León Cubillo Ferreira. The latter has disappeared but others have now integrated into the CC, which is more right-wing then left and which is mainly concerned with the interests of the Islands (getting financial aid from the mainland, keeping privileges such as conserving the tax-free zone, cheaper flights for locals, etc.). I have often wondered why these local parties have been allowed to participate in national elections, just like I have also wondered why there is a PSC (Catalan Socialist Party) since it seems by essence contradictory, but that is certainly part of Spain's multifaceted charms. For more on Canarias' nationalism, I refer you to: https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nacionalismo_canario .
Concerning José Ignacio's comments on my left-wing bias about the origins of Spain's right-wing parties, I will just remind him that (a) even though I might have thought it, I didn't say that they are all Fachas, simply because many of them are too young to really know what it means, and (b) José Ignacio surely knows that the Alianza Popular was founded in 1976, by the so-called "Siete magníficos," regrouping seven parties that existed under Franco. The leader was Manuel Fraga, who among other things was Franco's Minister of Interior, with six other colleagues. On the inauguration day, the crowd shouted Franco's name. The other co-founders were: Cruz Martínez Esteruelas, chief national-delegate of the legal council of the General Secretariat of the Movimiento and Minister of Education and Sciences under Franco (from the Unión del Pueblo Español), Federico Silva Muñoz, Minister of Public Works under Franco (from Acción Democrática Española), Laureano López Rodó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and éminence grise of Carrero Blanco under Franco (from Acción Regional), Enrique Thomas de Carranza, Director of the National Radio of Spain (ANEPA) under Franco, Gonzalo Fernández de la Mora, diplomat and Minister of Spanish Public Works under Franco (from Unión Nacional Española), and Licinio de la Fuente, Minister of Employment under Franco (from Democracia Social). It is not for nothing that Franco would brag that he left it all "atado y bien atado": even dead, others took over. As for the Partido Popular, it was a re-foundation of the AP, by... Manuel Fraga after having added a pinch of liberalism and of (if possible!) Catholicism. I don't think I have to get into the creation of Ciudadanos, who little by little is clarifying its political position, which as mentioned previously is to take over the PP. It has the advantage of not being directly linked to Franco's men nor to their corruption. New skin but similar ideas, perhaps a bit more "liberal" in the Anglo-Saxon terminology, and, so far, no corruption. At long last: Vox, which is openly the renaissance of its master's voice: Arriba España at sun break and at sunset.
Perhaps this is only one of the many reasons why the right wing doesn't want to be bothered with the Memoria histórica. If not uncomfortable, it can be embarrassing.
Last but not least, as for Zapatero, I would like to remind everyone of the economic situation in Spain at the time: there was the world crisis, started in... was it the US? And the so-called crisis of the ladrillo (the brick), carried out by... was the Gürtel part of it? Too many construction projects by...? You name it.
I hope José Ignacio will not accuse me of saying that the PP was the only corrupt party. No, indeed not. But, again, corruption was part of normal life under Franco. It was a means of survival. Comparable to the situation in Eastern Europe. And it will take years to unlearn.
I hope at least that José Ignacio will admit that most of the fundamental changes carried out in Spain after Franco's death were carried out by the Socialist party (with the help of the Germans in great part), and I don't think that anyone can pretend that the country became a communist gulag!
JE comments: I teach my students (when they're listening!) that Spain's PP is roughly the equivalent of the US Republicans, and the PSOE is no more socialist than our Democrats. Of course, the analogy is imperfect because of Spain's minor and regional parties. I bring this up because the US Republicans were founded as the "radical" party. One cannot compare 1854 with 1976, but here's my question: is it still relevant to label the PP "franquista" after 44 years? Is any of the Old Guard still left?
(Carmen: a WAISer who's too silent? Please ask him/her to speak out!)
Partido Popular: Franco's Lasting Legacy
(Carmen Negrin, France
05/05/19 6:06 AM)
John E (4 May) asked if today's Partido Popular can still be fairly called a Francoist party. Obviously Spain has changed and the PP like everything else has evolved. Spain has a constitution which is similar to that of most democratic countries.
But there are many reflexes that come back from time to time. Aznar, Aguirre, Abascal... are the modern version of the Franquistas.
Spanish Fascism, national-Catholicism, however you may call it, has never really been officially condemned (nor have they explained why it should be) or forbidden. Franco is still glorified, certain names of streets have not been changed in spite of a specific law that has no consequence if not applied, thousands of murdered Republicans are still in the "cunetas" or in mass graves, and as Ciudadanos put it: this is not a priority. I guess it depends for whom. People are rarely authorized to rebury their family members when they do end up finding them.
The Spanish war is like an incision in the school curriculum but somehow most kids never get to that chapter.
You might learn that Franco modernized Spain but you will never hear that prior to that he brought it back to the Middle Ages and had to modernize a minimum in order to join the UN and the rest of Europe. So basically, their conclusion is Franco only did good and Made Spain Great Again!
Young people don't know much about their past. It can be seen as a good thing, but I consider it's like living with Alzheimer!
JE comments: One of Prof. Hilton's favorite topics was comparative (by nation) school curricula. Carmen, what can you tell us about how the Civil War is taught? You suggest above that curiously, Spanish history ends for kids at...1898? 1808? 1700?
Teaching and Learning about Franco
(Carmen Negrin, France
05/06/19 5:22 AM)
John E asked about how the Franco era is covered in Spanish schools. The linked official bulletin explains on p. 9, Bloque 9, how the Republic and Civil War are meant to be taught. Note that it is very vague but that there is a special point concerning 1934, which is what, according to the Francoists, justified if not caused the war.
You can compare with the contents of the rest of the history of Spain and especially see how it is really left in the hands of whoever teaches it. But the main problem is what really comes out of it. A relatively recent poll showed that a majority of youngsters have no idea who Franco was.
JE comments: This Boletín cannot be accused of a lack of detail. It specifies that 20% of the history curriculum should be devoted to the "crisis" and the Civil War, with an additional 15% for the Franco era. Note also (p. 2) that exams should contain a minimum of two and a maximum of fifteen questions.
This is a good reminder of how much academic freedom I have.
- Teaching and Learning about Franco (Carmen Negrin, France 05/06/19 5:22 AM)