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The Politics of Revenge: Fascism and the Military in 20th-century Spain

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Abstract

The role of the Spanish Right in the course of the twentieth-century has been a neglected area of academic study. The Politics of Revenge redresses this providing a succinct and disturbing account.
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The economics of the authoritarian regime of Francisco Franco in Spain are often narrowed to a bespoke form of fascism. This paper suggests that this regime’s rather inchoate economic regimes were in fact a series of experiments that blended varieties of statism and liberalism. Thus, a form of import-substitution industrialization colored by Italian fascist features (1939-1959) lasted fifteen years longer in Spain than in the country of importation. In contrast, a local version of French developmentalism (1964-1975) was largely in sync with what was being tried in France at the time. However, this French developmentalist template imbued with fiscal Keynesianism was layered with liberal economic projects, particularly in the monetary policy arena. But while fascist import substitution (the so called “autarky”) collapsed mostly due to its internal problems, Spain’s translation of French developmentalism was associated with economic growth and was only extensively damaged by the crisis of the global capitalist core ushered by the 1973 oil shock. Critically, while in the symbolic terrain of Spanish politics the liberal economic projects that accompanied the local translation of French developmentalism were always associated with reformist and even “dissident” elite circles, the stigma of developmentalism’ association with the core elites of authoritarianism removed developmentalism as a source of alternatives to the liberal economic reforms ushered by Spain’s transition to liberal democracy in the late 1970s and early 1980s.
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This chapter focuses on four case studies of political violence and examines the practice of self-censorship with regard to the historical narratives of these cases. The cases represent major examples of four types of political violence: (1) colonialism, the French-Algerian relations; (2) dictatorship (including intrastate conflict), the 1936–1939 civil war in Spain and the subsequent Franco regime; (3) genocide, the Turkish-Armenian case; and (4) interstate conflict, the Japan–Korea relationships.
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Focusing on literary texts produced from 2000 to 2009, Lorraine Ryan examines the imbrication between the preservation of Republican memory and the transformations of Spanish public space during the period from 1931 to 2005. Accordingly, Ryan analyzes the spatial empowerment and disempowerment of Republican memory and identity in Dulce Chacãn's Cielos de barro, ãngeles Lãpez's Martina, la rosa nãmero trece, Alberto Méndez's 'Los girasoles ciegos,' Carlos Ruiz Zafãnâs La sombra del viento, Emili Teixidor's Pan negro, Bernardo Atxaga's El hijo del acordeonista, and José Marãa Merino's La sima. The interrelationship between Republican subalternity and space is redefined by these writers as tense and constantly in flux, undermined by its inexorable relationality, which leads to subjects endeavoring to instill into space their own values. Subjects erode the hegemonic power of the public space by articulating in an often surreptitious form their sense of belonging to a prohibited Republican memory culture. In the democratic period, they seek a categorical reinstatement of same on the public terrain. Ryan also considers the motivation underlying this coterie of authors' commitment to the issue of historical memory, an analysis which serves to amplify the ambits of existing scholarship that tends to ascribe it solely to postmemory.
Article
Comparing the political cultures of Spain and Greece before and during the dictatorships, the article seeks to explain the different outcomes of the regimes’ self-transformation attempts, the one that succeeded (Spain) and the other that failed (Greece, the little-known “Markezinis experiment”). Its position is that the abandoning of hard-line ideological stances that have been called “absolute politics”, which was the main contributor to the Spanish Reforma’s success, did not work in Greece due to the persistence of the post-civil war and pre-dictatorial cleavages in both elites and civil society, thus rendering the mellowing of confrontation lines and the consensual politics necessary for the negotiations and mutual concessions between elites and counter-elites unfeasible. The result was, in contrast to the Spanish reforma Pactada, a reverse to authoritarianism perpetrated by the hard-line officers, prolonging the regime for eight crucial months.
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On September 28, 1937, millions of Germans listened to the Italian Duce Mussolini when he declared at a mass rally in Berlin: “Comrades!… The rallies which have been held for my reception have deeply moved me.… I have not only come to you as head of the Italian government but also as leader of a national revolution who would like to give evidence of the overt and firm bonds [I have with] your revolution. Though the development of the two revolutions might have been different, the aim that we wish to achieve is the same: the unity and greatness of the people. Fascism and National Socialism are expressions of the sameness of the historical processes in the lives of our nations, which have achieved unity in the same century and as a result of the same events.… Tomorrow’s Europe will be Fascist as a result of the logical successions of events, not as a result of our propaganda.… Germany has woken up. The Third Reich has emerged. I do not know when Europe will wake up It is important, however, that our two great peoples, which encompass a vast and growing mass of 115 million people, are united in unshakable determination. Today’s gigantic rally conveys this to the world.”1 Although he had by no means abandoned his claims of Italian superiority in the alliance with Germany, Mussolini clearly conceived Fascism as a political challenge that was to transcend national borders.2
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What is the relationship between civic associations and authoritarian regimes? While Tocquevillian theories have concentrated mostly on the connection between civic associationism and democracy, this article develops a Gramscian approach, suggesting that a strong associational sphere can facilitate the development of authoritarian parties and hegemonic authoritarian regimes. Two countries are used for comparison, Italy from 1870 to 1926 and Spain from 1876 to 1926. The argument here is that the strength of the associational sphere in north-central Italy provided organizational resources to the fascist movement and then party. In turn, the formation of the party was a key reason why the Italian regime developed as a hegemonic authoritarian regime. The absence of a strong associational sphere in Spain explains why that regime developed as an economic corporate dictatorship, despite many similarities between the two cases.
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Is there a link between Rome and Barcelona's past and their Olympic legacies? This article sheds further light on the two cities' urban renewals through the Olympics on the basis of a historical and comparative analysis, as well as through the lenses of regime theory. It argues that Rome's modest outcome and Barcelona's success can be linked to their capacity to deal with their controversial past. The article shows that this capacity played a major role in shaping the composition and equilibrium of the two cities' informal networks of local elected officials, bureaucrats and entrepreneurs who planned and implemented the Games (‘growth regimes’). The difficulties of Rome in coping with the Fascist experience resulted in a growth regime in which weak and divided public actors – split along the Fascist/anti-Fascist and Communist/anti-Communist lines – were unable to counterbalance private agents' interests. In contrast, Barcelona's ability to reconcile itself with the past – facilitated by the Spanish entry in the European Economic Community and by the end of the Cold War – eased the Francoist/anti-Francoist and the centralist/Catalan divides, hence allowing the public actors to promote a coalition around a project of ‘democratic restoration’ of the city which involved planners, local businessmen and citizens.
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The question of the integration of ‘political families’ in the New State, and its position at the various centres of decision making, is essential in understanding Francoism, not so much its nature (how ‘fascist’ it was), as its shifting policies. In order to explain the relationship between the regime and these families, this paper addresses the following four aspects: 1. The birth of the regime from a historical perspective and how the different forces of the Francoist coalition integrated themselves into the new institutions; 2. How the dictator articulated his power in the nascent New State and his relations to those political families; 3. The composition, functions, means and political power of the single party, the Falange, during the ‘Fascist’ period of 1939–1945; and finally, 4. The permanent organizational arrangement, both formal and informal, which shaped the dictatorship’s mechanisms for decision making.
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In this paper, I seek to document and substantiate the notion of the production of socio-natures by elaborating how Spain's modernization process after the Civil War became a deeply and very specific scalar geographical project, articulated through the production of a specific technonatural hydraulic edifice. I shall focus on the momentous transformation of the hydraulic environment during the Franco period (1939–1975) and seek to reformulate Spain's socio-hydraulic reconstruction in the context of a double and partly contradictory ‘scalar’ politics. Two theoretically interrelated arguments guide this endeavour. On the one hand, Franco's ideological-political mission was predicated upon national territorial integration, the eradication of regionalist or autonomist aspirations, and a concerted discursive and physical process of cultural and material national(ist) homogenization and modernization. On the other, the production of the technonatural material infrastructures of this modernizing programme was predicated upon re-scaling the ‘networks of interest’ on which Franco's power rested from a national visionary to an internationalist geo-economic and geo-political imagination, articulated through Spain's integration in the US-led Western Alliance.
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Contrary to the experience of other countries with memories of clandestine violence and "missing persons", where the mobilisation of the (civil) society towards "truth recovery" was immediate and pivotal, the societies of Cyprus and Spain remained silent for a remarkably long period of time. This article aspires to explain the reasons why both Cypriot communities and the Spanish society did not manage, until recently, to comprehensively address--not to mention resolve--the problem of "missing persons". The recent emergence of the "politics of exhumations" in these two countries, which highlight issues related to truth recovery and collective memory, renders the attempt to respond to the question of why these processes are taking place only today even more stimulating.
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