Country in focus: Spain
Sandra Cortés in Madrid gives an overview of the failures of the far right in Spain | October 2012
Despite Spain’s appalling economic, political and social situation the Spanish far right has done little beyond hold a demonstration of several hundred people in Madrid under the slogan ‘Against Democracy’.
Earlier efforts to infiltrate the trade union demonstration in València in May, and the half-a-million strong welcome of the march by striking coal miners in Madrid in July having failed miserably.
They try to ape the messages of the anti-austerity ‘Indignados’ but have not managed to climb aboard protests or, like the Golden Dawn nazis in Greece, exploit the crisis.
The creation of a National Revolutionary Action Network (ANR) in September to encourage nationalists and members of the various parties to attempt to take part in mass protests has not solved this problem.
Spain does not have far-right MPs in its parliament. This is because, after General Franco died in 1975, the Spanish extreme-right underwent a long fragmentation process.
Although post-Franco fascist murder gangs acted with security forces’ complicity during the 1980s, no group emerged to grasp Franco’s legacy. It was only in the mid-1990s that the extreme-right appeared in the shape of the National Democratic Party (DN). Since then, Spanish extremists have been trying to adopt the style of their European counterparts, avoiding references to the Franco dictatorship and posing as democrats. Nevertheless, the presence of nazi and fascist activists in their ranks haunts them.
Their weakness is attributable to the bitter rivalry between the leaders of Spanish far-right groups that leaves the fascist scene fragmented. While the main competitors to win those of an authoritarian, racist and anti-working class mindset in Madrid remain small like the Republican Social Movement (MSR), National Democracy (DN) or España2000, in Catalonia the picture is different. There, Plataforma per Catalunya (PxC), led by Francoist activist Josep Anglada, managed to win 67 council seats in regional elections.
With an Islamophobic, anti-immigration agenda, Anglada succeeded in recruiting former nazis and fascists. Some of these like Carles Francisoud, who attacked abortion clinics and left-wing and separatist organisations, have convictions for terrorism. Anglada has been personally involved in several incidents ranging from an assault on a youngster to an attack on his own son. In a 2002 TV programme Anglada confessed to being a fascist who would reintroduce the death penalty if he came to power.
España2000 and has councillors in València and in Alcalá de Henares near Madrid. The party is the personal property of businessman, José Luis Roberto, associated with the outlawed nazi group Radical Action. Roberto also is involved in the prostitution business through his association of brothel owners (ANELA) – a business generating huge sums of money – and owns a security company, Levantina, infamous for employing thugs.
The National Democratic Party is España2000’s rival and members have been involved in attacks on each other. Led by a former member of the nazi band División250, Manuel Canduela it has ties to Golden Dawn and the nazi Hungarian Jobbik party.
The Republican Social Movement (MSR) tends not to contest elections and has no elected representatives but belongs to the Alliance of European National Movements along with Nick Griffin’s BNP, and is linked to the Lega Nord in Italy. Several of its members were convicted of membership of the banned nazi Blood&Honour organisation in 2010. Its leader, Juan Antonio Llopart, runs the New Republic publishing firm which produces work by fascists and Holocaust-deniers.
Other important emerging elements of the extreme-right spectrum are ‘new’ media like Alerta Digital or Intereconomía, basing their message on Islamophobia and a revisionist version of Spanish history. Right-wing journalist Enrique de Diego launched a new party called Regeneration with a populist message last year met.
The crisis fuelling of aspirations for Catalan independence has caught the attention of Spain’s traditionally right-wing army which has threatened to intervene if the region declares independence.
In a chilling warning, serving army colonel Francisco Alaman declared to Alerta Digital: “Independence for Catalonia? Over my dead body...and those of many soldiers.”
Spain key facts
- Platform for Catalonia (PxC): Islamophobic and anti-immigration party launched by former New Force member Josep Anglada in 2002. In 2011, the PxC won 67 town council seats with almost 75,000 votes. Only established in Catalonia.
- España2000: Nationalist, xenophobic and Islamophobic party launched in València in 2002 by José Luís Roberto. In 2011, it won four council seats in three Valèncian towns and one in Alcalá de Henares. One of its Valèncian councillors is implicated in the Nazi armed group, the Anti-System Front.
- Republican Social Movement (MSR): A Nazi party founded in 1999. Led by Juan Antonio Llopart, owner of nazi publication New Republic. MSR members have been convicted for belonging to the illegal Blood&Honour organisation. A member of the AENM, it has no elected representatives.
- National Democracy (DN): Established 1996 and led by hate-music singer Manuel Canduela, a member of Radical Action, banned in 1995.
- Regeneration: A new populist ultra-liberal party, launched by fascist journalist Enrique de Diego in 2011.
- Falange Española de las JONS: Created in 1933 by fascist Primo de Rivera. An organisation responsible for numerous murders during the Civil War, Francoism and years of Transition (1975-1982). Stands in elections but got only 6,431 votes in 2011 parliamentary elections.
- National Alliance (AN): Nazi party established in 2006 and active in Madrid and Andalucia. Pedro Cuevas, the killer of anti-fascist Guillem Agulló, was an AN election candidate in 2008.
- Ultras Sur: Nazi hooligans from Real Madrid FC. Connected with Hammerskins and with Nazi splinter group Vieja Escuela Madrid.
- Acción Nacional Revolucionaria (National Revolutionary Action): Set up in 2012 by autonomous Nazis and fascists from all over Spain as a ‘third force’ against capitalism and the left.
- Fundación Francisco Franco: A foundation dedicated to praising and promoting the late fascist dictator. It receives money via ruling Popular Party.
- Manos Limpias (Clean Hands): A right-wing populist outfit dedicated to opposing progressive legal measures. This organisation helped prosecution of judge Baltasar Garzón investigating murders under Franco.
- Ricardo Sáez de Ynestrillas: Fascist son of a fascist general murdered by ETA. Involved in the killing of a leftist and Basque separatist MP. Jailed 2001 for attempted murder.
- Eduardo Clavero: Singer of the hate-music band Batallón de Castigo; ex-AN member convicted for murder in 1989. Awaiting trial for hate lyrics.
- José Luís Roberto: Leader of España2000, linked with banned nazi Acción Radical and with the fascist ‘union’ CONS.
- Yolanda Couceiro: Leader of España y Libertad, a nationalist and right-wing organisation, and wife of fascist Santiago Fontela founder of armed Falange Vasca group in 2002. Owns Minuto Digital online newspaper.
- Miguel Bernard: Leader of Manos Limpias, ex-member of fascist New Force Awarded Knighhood of Honour by the Francisco Franco National Endowment for “services in defence of the movement’s ideals”.
- Pedro Varela: Long-time Nazi publicist, bookseller and convicted Holocaust denier. Based in Barcelona, he headed the now-defunct nazi CEDADE. Facing trial for publishing Mein Kampf.
- Intereconomía: Right-wing TV station: anti-leftist and close to the conservative Popular Party.
- Minuto Digital: Online newspaper launched by Yolanda Couceiro.
- Alerta Digital: Radical nationalist, anti-Muslim and anti-leftist.