Nobody talks about it, but what we are really betting on in these elections is the continuity of the covert process of regime change that threatens to subvert the current constitutional system step by step, putting an end to the monarchy, cracking the national unity that it represents and curtailing our freedoms. This Process, with capital letters, of which the Catalan revolt is only a chapter, weaves together decisions that seem to be disjointed. In this sense, the rescue of a dying ETA (the Basque nationalist terrorist group that killed nearly 900 men, women and children) and its institutional bleaching, the totalitarian law of Historical Memory that wants to impose an official “truth” about the history of Spain from 1931 to 1978, the green light given in its day to the unconstitutional Catalan Statute that fed the current rebellion, and the recent mandatory exhumation of Franco’s remains are different heads of the same hydra. PM Zapatero started it, PM Rajoy lazily kept it and Sánchez has accelerated it.
The nationalist pressure that for decades has undermined the foundations of Spain through violence or political subversion is the grossest and most evident part of the Process. More subtle, however, but equally lethal is the historical deconstruction that is done in parallel. Let us see how it works. The objective of the Process is to weaken the foundations of our Constitution, which is the offspring of the Transition period (from Franco’s dictatorship to full democracy, 1975-1978). To discredit the Transition, the Process needs to demonize Franco’s regime which started it and from which our democracy comes, smoothly “from law to law”. And in order to demonize Franco’s regime, the Process imperatively needs to sanctify the Second Republic, against which Franco’s rising took place. Hence, the primary objective of the Historical Memory Act is to describe the Republic as an exemplary democracy, as a heavenly garden of Eden, despite the fact that, after the elections of 1936, rigged by the Left, and the brutal murder of opposition leader Jose Calvo-Sotelo by the Republic’s police force and a few bodyguards of Socialist leader Indalecio Prieto, made with total impunity (an unprecedented event in European parliamentary history), in the Second Republic had nothing of a democracy and everything of a very violent and anarchic “Communist revolution in progress”, as described by Sir Winston Churchill.
Like any lie, this gross falsification of history needs to be imposed by force. For decades the tyranny of political correctness was enough to do the dirty work, but it has been weakened by historiographic and political weariness. For this reason, now it is intended to impose the official “truth” by law and in a coercive way, with current Socialist PM Sánchez proposing fines and jail time for those who do not defend this “Himalaya of falsehoods” (as the moderate socialist Julián Besteiro called it), destroying the freedom of expression, opinion and thought recognized in our Constitution. In his novel 1984, George Orwell painted a claustrophobic totalitarian regime in which a Ministry of Truth was dedicated to manipulating or destroying historical documents to ensure that the evidence of the past coincided with the official version of history, while a Ministry of Peace strove to maintain a conflict indefinitely. This is exactly what the Process aims to do.
Faced with a traumatic past (although no more than that of other countries), our democracy was founded on the spirit of reconciliation of the Transition. The Spaniards of 1975 had fought on opposing sides but had forgiven each other and made no Manichean distinctions between good and bad. In short, they declared that the confrontation had expired and refused either to claim inheritance to the Second Republic or to hide the full reality of the dictatorship. Contrary to what the fools repeat, it was not a question of forgetting, but precisely of not forgetting, so as not to repeat. It is true that at that time the incomprehensible lack of political freedoms, which surprisingly mattered relatively little to the citizenry (as the respected philosopher Julián Marías, jailed under Franco for a few months, famously pointed out), had been mitigated by the high degree of personal freedom of late Francoism, which was attested to by neutral observers such as Marías himself or the Nobel Prize winner Alexander Solzhenitsyn. It is also true that the relative popularity of the dictatorship contributed to the success of the Transition, thanks to the practical absence of corruption and, above all, to its undeniable economic success: from 1950 to 1974 Spain experienced the greatest economic progress in its history (6% GDP per capita annual growth), almost without unemployment or public debt and paying half the taxes we do today. According to surveys, in 1985 (already in democracy and under the absolute majority of the old, moderate Socialists) 70% of Spaniards who responded to the survey believed that Franco’s regime had been either clearly “positive for Spain” or a period “that had had good and bad things”, and as late as 1995 (still under the Socialists), 30% of Spaniards who responded thought that Franco had been “one of the best rulers Spain has had in this century”. But the most transcendental thing about the Transition was the prudence shared by all. For example, former Socialist PM Felipe González, from his unequalled absolute majority of 202 seats (out of 350), stated the following in 1985: “I have never had a vindictive attitude or grudges. There are people who have set out to make disappear the traces of 40 years of dictatorship history: to me that seems useless and stupid. I’ve always believed that if anyone thought it was a merit to pull Franco off the horse, he should have done it when he was alive”. And he ended by giving his opinion about the dictator: “Franco as a character is very difficult to judge, except for the negative judgment that we had 40 years of dictatorship”.
Compare this prudence, shown only ten years after the dictator’s death, with the incendiary resentment of current PM Sánchez (way less intelligent and successful than González) almost half a century later. In this sense, the most relevant part of the recent mandatory exhumation of Franco’s remains, carried out in the face of the displeasure of moderate socialism and the usual silly look of the (non-) opposition of the PP, has little to do with the deceased, nor even with the immorality of Sánchez, a radical without principles who was fond of that necrophilia exhibited by some leftist militiamen in the Civil War when they desecrated Catholic tombs with enormous rejoicing while taking pictures. What is relevant is that this is another battering ram blow of the Process to break the system. It is a doubly serious blow, by the way, because of the flattering ruling of the Supreme Court in favor of the government, which sanctions the defenselessness of the Spanish citizen, lacking any absolute rights, against the arbitrary will of political power, and which directly or indirectly legitimates that a government can pass an ad-hoc decree that is neither extraordinary nor urgent (the requisites demanded by our Constitution), an evidently disguised single-case law (again prohibited by our legal system), arbitrarily close a place of worship by preventing the free passage of its legitimate custodians (a community of Catholic monks), unbury a corpse against the will of his family members, bury it again where family members don’t want it to be buried, and forbid his relatives to put a national flag on his grandfather’s coffin while being treated as if they were criminals. That this bullying and this outrage have been blessed by the judiciary with a nihil obstat is a fact that nails the coffin of our rule of law a little more. “The laws exist so that the powerful cannot do everything it pleases” wrote Ovid two millennia ago. Not so in Spain, where there is no separation of powers.
Trivializing or shily covering with a mantle of silence what is happening is not only an indication of a lack of freedom of opinion, but also a serious error of judgment. Of course, Spain in 2019 has other challenges, other concerns. Of course, we are tired of being constantly burdened by the past. But on what foundations will we build the future if we do not unmask those who live in the mud of confrontation and hatred long time forgotten? The Basque and Catalonian separatists and this hating radical left are allies that aim to dynamite, from a bunch of lies, our freedom, our harmony and the unity of Spain. Since 2004, election after election, this is the most relevant question.
Addendum: France claimed the body of Napoleon twenty years after his death in exile to bury him in Paris, where his mausoleum still remains almost 200 years later. This is how his last will, was fulfilled: “I wish my ashes to rest on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of this French people whom I have loved so much”. No one thinks that France misses Napoleon’s dictatorship or empire or justifies the millions of lives that the Napoleonic wars cost throughout Europe, but simply that it respects its history.
In his own will, Franco did not say where he wanted to be buried, but he wrote the following: “I ask forgiveness of all, as I forgive with all my heart those who have declared themselves to be my enemies, without me having them as such. I believe and wish I had had no others than those who were from Spain, which I love until the last moment (…). Do not cease to achieve social justice and culture for all the men of Spain (…) and maintain the unity of the lands of Spain, exalting the rich multiplicity of its regions as the source of the strength of the unity of the homeland”. And Azaña, President of the Republic during the civil war, also wrote: “Peace, mercy and forgiveness”. Is it so difficult to understand?
Fernando del Pino Calvo-Sotelo