Vice News produced this report on the mass murders perpetrated by Francisco Franco during his 36 year fascist regime. He was so blatant in his crimes, so unabashedly unashamed of them, that many of the victims were buried within the communities where they lived. They were murdered, and their families forced to live with their relatives’ bodies under their own feet for fifty years.
And this video only deals with the mass graves of 100,000 bodies. It doesn’t touch on the estimated 300,000 stolen children, either victims of the dead or kidnapped by the catholic cult which was complicit in the regime’s crimes. “Civil war”? There was nothing civil about it.
Like many other countries, neofascism is on the rise in Spain. The “leader” of Spain’s fascist movement (in the video below) engages in historical revisionism, denying that the mass murdered victims even existed. But Spain has two key differences from most countries where ignorant and racist rightwing “populism” took hold: a popular and competent socialist government, and the republican families of the “disappeared”, millions who know about and remember the crimes of the regime.
Unlike Germany or the US where fascist extremism was hidden from view for decades, Spain’s fascists have still been there since the 1970s. The question is whether they can attract enough mainstream support, or whether Spain’s populace retains its long memory as the dead are being recovered and families may finally get answers and bury their relatives properly.
In Spain’s last general election in 2019, the far right achieved its best ever result. With 3.7 million votes (15 percent) and fifty-two seats, Vox became the third-largest party in the Congreso de los Diputados. And it hasn’t stopped advancing. Earlier this year, it joined the government in Castilla y León, Spain’s largest region. If a decade ago Vox didn’t exist, today its leaders appear on prime-time comedy shows — and with general elections slated for 2023, they could soon even be in cabinet.
All this has been a surprise to a certain mainstream mantra. For decades, it had painted Spain as an oasis of democracy, even the only country in Europe without a far right, just because it didn’t show up on election day. But recognizing these forces’ power today is also about facing up to reality. The Spanish far right isn’t just back: it never really went away. Vox is not its only name. That’s something committed anti-fascists have known for over three decades.