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September 23, 2012
September 23, 2012

Fascists march again on the streets of Madrid

Author: Tania Bozaninou Translator: Alexia Giakoubini
Source: To Vima  Categories: Antifascism, Dialogues
This article is also available in: fresel
Fascists march again on the streets of Madrid

Far right is once again rising in Spain. About a thousand neo-fascists marched in Madrid last Saturday shouting “Democracy is the crisis”. That was their dynamic reappearance after a long period of silence. Will the Spanish far right movement, as happened in the rest of Europe, surprise us in the following election? All the necessary ingredients are there: economic crisis, extremely high unemployment, immigrants and Franco enthusiasts ready to turn to racism and xenophobia which, even they do not deny it, is very popular nowadays.

The Spanish far right may have not yet managed to elect Parliamentary representatives but their local presence is undeniable. For example, Xavier Garcia Albiol, mayor of the second largest city of Catalonia, Badalona, has been elected, according to the press, “using the same agenda as Golden Dawn[1] did in Greece”.

Albiol does not belong to some small far right party but to the governing People’s Party (PP). Franco’s supporters, who have not been able to form their own party with presence in the Parliament, are part of the PP. This seems to be changing nowadays, starting from Catalonia.

Platform for Catalonia (PxC), formed in 2002 by the Franco enthusiast Josep Anglada, received 66,000 votes and elected 67 council members in the election last year – five times more than in the 2007 election. PxC is following the classic neo-fascist strategy establishing its power locally and gradually spreading nationally.

The circumstances are favouring them. Last Saturday, the far-right supporters, marching from the offices of PP to those of the Socialist Party, shouted “Madrid will be the cradle of fascism” paraphrasing the slogan used by the Left “Spain will be the tomb of fascism”. Their demo was one of the 1,900 organised in the Spanish capital in the past 7 months. It is now considered possible that this is the start of a wave of neo-fascism that will sweep Spain, just like it did in other European countries.

Interview

“I wouldn’t be surprised if the same thing that happened in France with Le Pen happened in Spain.”

“For many years, all those studying the Far Right in Europe, considered South Europe, –Spain, Greece, Portugal– a different case. That theory is now disproved.” says Antonis Ellinas, Professor of Political Science in University of Cyprus and author of the book “Media and the Far Right in Western Europe.”

He explains that these countries were considered different because “their recent dictatorship experiences were preventing the rise of far right parties. These societies (Greek, Spanish, Portuguese) had not reached the meta-materialistic point of the others, that is the point where there is a differentiation of beliefs and the creation of new poles –others than the classic Left/Right– related also to national identity issues”.

Professor Ellinas believes that in Greece there has been the perfect downfall to reinforce Far Right: “the economic crisis, combined with a pre-existing dissatisfaction towards the political system. Foreigners are an easy target but there is also a systemic aspect.”

Does that mean that the same thing will happen in Spain where there is a combination of economic crisis and immigration? Professor Ellinas argues that Spain is different because “there are autonomists –Basques, Catalans– and thus matters of national identity have a more peripheral dimension and the various national identities antagonise the Spanish one.”

Up until now, the Spanish Far Right has had little popularity in election. “In the national 2011 election, all the far right parties together gathered 0.3% of the votes”. PP, which is in power now, fosters all the right-wing trends.

“In Spain the phenomenon is still forming” concludes Professor Ellinas. “The necessary background is there, though, as shown by the latest polls indicating that xenophobia seems to be on the rise”. The far right parties do have the tendency to increase their power suddenly in elections, as happened with Le Pen’s National Front in France that received 10% in the 1984 EU election while previously they only got 0,3%. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this situation evolved into something much bigger, massive.” he finally adds.

Affinities

Will Mihaloliakos[2] “honour” Franco?

“There is no doubt that the far right is establishing itself in Spain.” says Angel Matos, a Spanish reporter. “Until now, far right representatives would receive low percentages in the election because they were divided. Most of them were Franco enthusiasts. Now, their rhetoric and methods are renewed”. Mr. Matos explains how during the last months, neo-fascists have been attacking migrants and communists. Some Spanish newspapers, not necessarily trustworthy, mention the possibility that the leader of the Greek Golden Dawn, Nikos Mihaloliakos, will travel to Spain next November, in the anniversary of Franco’s death, in order to reinforce the Spanish far right.

 

[1]. Golden dawn is the Greek neo-Nazi party. Even though it has existed since the 80s, it is the first time that they get parliamentary representation; after the June Election they hold 18 seats. Electoral candidates and members of Golden Dawn are also accused of crimes as serious as deadly assault and murder. They lead pogroms against immigrants, stabbing them and breaking their stores. Their fascist and racist activity continues and is escalating under the tolerance of the Greek government and the EU.

[2]. Nikolaos Michaloliakos: Leader of the neo-nazi party Golden Dawn. He has been convicted and jailed for two cinema bomb attacks in the 1970s.

 

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