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Post Francoist Historians, and Elections in France
Created by John Eipper on 03/30/17 3:56 AM

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Francoist Historians, and Elections in France (Carmen Negrin, France, 03/30/17 3:56 am)

I would fully agree with José Ignacio Soler (28 March), regarding the ideal and most theoretical objectivity of historians, be they right or left--if we were not talking about Spain, nor for this matter about a number of other countries as Ángel Viñas so rightly noted, and thanks to whom I will shorten my own reply.

Spain has been flooded by "fake news" to use modern terminology, for over 40 years.  I say "over" because the school textbooks went on merely, for quite a few years after Franco's death and, as opposed to Nazism, Francoism has never been officially questioned, especially not by Aznar or Rajoy, which is why one has to be aware of who is writing and their sources.

To be the son of a Minister of Franco to me is not necessarily proof of anything but, a priori, I would read very carefully between the lines anything that comes from or more particularly under him.

This skepticism comes directly from my own experience about my grandfather, whose politics and personality were totally reinvented (to put it mildly) by Francoist "historians." Fortunately his archive helped contradict many of these myths.

The problem in Spain is that even when facts are available, certain "historians" will not acknowledge them. Because in Spain, again as Ángel underlined, you do have Francoist "historians" whose goal is not history but propaganda.

One recent example of "(fake) news," which I might have already mentioned, and which will eventually be picked up by one of these historians, is that Franco supposedly told his wife that had he known that starting the war would have caused so many deaths, he would never had started it (quote from his grandson in El Mundo), note in passing that this contradicts the fact that many Francoists maintain that the war started in '34, not in '36 with the coup; I have no reason to question whether Franco actually said this or not, but in that case, I ask why did he go on killing after the war was over and won?

The only real message that the grandson was trying to convey, was that Franco was a great human being and that of course whatever he did was profoundly good. Extending this premise, the "great man" could only do what his heart told him to, thus, like Pinochet: "save the country at whatever cost," thus justifying the coup and mainly, the deaths/murders.

Regarding the 1936 elections, I would only ask why the King did not return if there was any doubt about the reality of the results or the slightest possibility for him to return? Isn't putting the results in doubt simply and also a way to legitimize Franco and his coup (which, if really legitimate, should have had as a consequence the immediate return of the king)?

As far as the rest of José Ignacio's comment on left versus right, this is a matter at the center of the present electoral campaign in France. Fillon (right) being quite close to Le Pen (extreme right) except for the European question (which is more of a left-wing concept although Europe is more right-wing than ever at this point, and nationalist right-wingers are the ones wanting to leave), Mélenchon (extreme left) also having some (superficial) points in common with Le Pen, Hamon (left) with some points in common with Mélenchon, and Macron supposedly in the centre, with points in common with the left of the right and the right of the left. And, last but not least, the ecologists who could be nor left nor right, or left and right, are neither on the left nor on the right, although more left than right.

However, even if I consider that it is almost impossible to say at this point what will be the outcome of these elections, it seems to me that it will be very difficult to go forward in the near future without a clear distinction between the progressive/left and the conservative/right. It seems to me that these two concepts are still very valid and distinct. Pretending that there is no difference is mere populism. Indeed capitalist wealth does not trickle down, unless you impose a redistribution through taxes and then it ceases to be pure capitalism, or unless you have a dictatorial government such as China's and even then it doesn't really trickle down. The demands are simply not the same ones: when you don't have a roof, private property is simply not a priority!

JE comments:  One of José Ignacio Soler's observations was that populism on the right and the left have many traits in common.  Carmen Negrín suggests the same thing about Mélenchon sharing some points with Le Pen.  (All four of the male presidential candidates end in '-on."  Bizarre.)

Carmen Negrín's family has been villainized by Francoist historians more than any other, so she knows of what she speaks.


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