The financial crisis of 2008 left Europe’s middle-class in chaos. As a direct consequence, far-right social movements and political parties started to appear in most European countries. Trying to take advantage of disillusioned workers, these movements have been spreading nationalist and xenophobic sentiments across the Western world with their populist rhetoric.
France, Austria, Greece, the US, even Germany. They are everywhere. No country is safe from these hate-mongering political leeches. Not even former fascist countries.
One would think that after 36 years of Francisco Franco’s dictatorship Spaniards would have learnt their lesson. Corruption, censorship, political persecution, xenophobia, homophobia, misogyny. Who would want to go back to those times?
More people than the reader might think. As a Spaniard, countless times I have heard older gentlemen – never women – mutter: “If Franco was still alive…” as if a dictatorship were the best solution to a long-lasting problem.
These brain-washed grandpas taught their children their anachronistic values once the Constitution was written. That way Francoism would last forever. Nothing much has changed since then. Manuel Fraga, one of Franco’s main Ministers, founded the right-wing party Popular Alliance, giving birth to Francoism 2.0.
The extreme-right have always had a party to support in Spain, the Popular Party, formerly known as Popular Alliance. It’s considered to be a centre-right party, but – according to an article in POLITICO– among its supporters one can find approximately 80 per cent of Spain’s fascist voters.
Unlike other countries, fascists were never judged in Spain. This normalised the extremist ideals Franco supporters held and still hold, to the point where some politicians are openly francoists. There is no taboo with being a fascist in modern Spain.
The Popular Party, currently in government, is known for its extreme conservativism. We are talking about a party that tried to abolish abortion saying that it was unconstitutional. A party that tried to get rid of gay marriage in one of the most LGBT-friendly countries in the world because it “damaged the institution of marriage.”
Not only that. In his six years mandate, Mariano Rajoy and his lackeys have approved a number of measures that would make Donald Trump supporters green with envy.
Let’s start with Ceuta’s and Melilla’s beautiful walls. Made to keep our southern neighbours out. In fairness, he didn’t build them. But he did expand them.
Freedom of expression is crucial to any healthy democracy. But for our friendly neighbours, the fascists, it’s a liability. Thus, the so-called gag law was introduced in 2015. Widely criticised by the European Union, this law allows public institutions to sue journalists for publishing images of the police and limits demonstrators’ rights when protesting.
Police brutality is a big issue in Spain and laws like this one only perpetuate the problem. Besides, policemen, in reality, have way more power than the Constitution entrusted them with. Friends of mine have been searched with no probable cause. Some of them have even been hit after accusing the police of abusing their power. “I am the authority here,” and a slap in the face seems to be their favourite answer.
Refugees have no rights or place in Spain. Spain has taken less than half the refugees they were supposed to. The European Union has warned Rajoy’s government, which seems completely uninterested in helping these people.
Popular Party voters might disagree with me. The fact that extremist voters tend to side with the party does not make the party radical itself. The party’s politicians, or at least most of them, defend the need of a moderate right due to Spain’s history with extremism. On top of that, all measures implemented by the Popular Party, no matter how controversial, have been constitutional.
They are right, the Popular Party is technically a moderate one. However, having politicians that defend fascism within the party’s ranks is simply unacceptable.
Esperanza Ona, the president of the small city of Fuengirola can be used as an example. She once claimed, looking proud and confident, that her party was not “the right, but the far-right.”
Juan Antonio Morales, MP, was recently honoured by the Franco Foundation. Yes, there is a Franco Foundation that’s not only legal but also partly publicly financed.
The local government of Alicante has refused on multiple occasions to demolish dictatorship-era monuments. A monument of Spain’s first fascist dictator, Primo de Rivera, still stands after two years of protests.
The Popular Party, helped by recently-founded right-wing party Ciudadanos, recently named a street after an infamous neo-fascist bar owner.
The Popular Party has no regards for the judicial system. They have even criticised it a couple times, Trump-style, accusing prosecutors of making up charges against them.
So far they have limited the press’ ability to report, people’s right to demonstrate, and have questioned the judicial system’s impartiality. They haven’t condemned Franco’s dictatorship. Some of their politicians are openly fascists and most of Spain’s extremist voters chose to be represented by them.
But the party itself is moderate. That’s how the logic of Francoism 2.0 works.