Harbingers of Revolution

SpanishCivilWarby Timothy Lane   1/16/15
Hugh Thomas, in his authoritative The Spanish Civil War, starts with a debate in the Cortes on June 16, 1936. Two of the nationalist speakers, Jose Maria Gil Robles (leader of the Catholic union) and Jose Calvo Sotelo (leader of the monarchists) made interesting speeches that reflected modern concerns.

Gil Robles talked about the violence afflicting Spain since the election of the Popular Front earlier that year, so it might be good to look at that first. There had been a number of church burnings, though many would claim that these were exaggerated, with every fire attack against a church listed as a church being burned down regardless of whether or not it really was. If so, some might see a foreshadowing of the alleged burning of black churches in the late 1990s. Those who wish to call themselves victims have many tools at their disposal.

Another problem Gil Robles cited was political murders, and this was indeed a major problem. Again, we can see similarities to the present era. For example, there was a modest riot at the funeral of a right-wing officer (Antonio de Los Reyes) earlier in the year in which the police (the Assault Guards, the pro-Republican paramilitary police) killed a right-winger. The officer who led the Assault Guards would himself be marked for death by the right and murdered in July — an event that seems very familiar today. (His friends responded by going after Gil Robles and Calvo Sotelo, murdering the latter.)

Discussing these events, Gil Robles made a wise observation: “A country can live under a monarchy or a republic, with a parliamentary or presidential system, under communism or fascism. But it cannot live in anarchy. Now, alas, we are in anarchy.” The events of recent months reveal a very similar situation here in many cities, and this could be made even worse if the jihadist dreams come true.

One might note that the Popular Front election had emboldened many Spanish leftists, thereby encouraging the violent chaos that Gil Robles was denouncing. Of course, much of it also reflected the backlash of the right. So far, since the Tea Party election of 2010 and especially the re-election of Obama, we have seen much the same emboldening of the radical (and anarchistic) Left, though not yet the violent backlash of the Right.

Calvo Sotelo later addressed the Prime Minister, Santiago Casares Quiroga, a liberal (leader of a party advocating autonomy for the region of Galicia) aligned with the far left (which provided most of their votes, as the far left dominates Democratic politics today) in the Popular Front. “My honorable friend will not be a Kerensky, since he is not unconscious of what he is doing. He possesses full knowledge of what he conceals, and what he thinks. God grant that he will never be compared with Karolyi, the conscious betrayer of a thousand-year tradition!” Of course, Kerensky was the man whose errors led to the rise of Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov aka Lenin in Russia, and Karolyi was the man whose errors led to the rise of Bela Kun in Hungary (which turned out to be temporary due to an invasion by Romania).

I think Calvo Sotelo’s argument is very relevant today. To me, the GOP leadership represents Kerensky, staring at disaster and failing (even refusing) to see it. The Democratic Party represents Karolyi (at least in Calvo Sotelo’s estimation of him); they know perfectly well what they are doing to America (but they also expect to fill the role of Bela Kun, which is why they happily behave this way). But in the end, both Kerensky and Karollyi led to disaster.

One might also note another relevant aspect to this debate and the political disputes leading upo to it (and then continuing to the rightist rising a month later that resulted in the Spanish Civil War). Spain had previously a mass party of the center, the (no longer accurately named) Radicals of Alejandro Lerroux, but they collapsed in the Popular Front election (the Radicals were embarrassed by a severe corruption scandal, and no other centrist group could replace them). This left Spain divided between two groups, Right and Left, neither of which would tolerate the other’s rule. So far the Right has not behaved that way in America, but the Left has done so for years, and eventually we are likely to see a conservative backlash.

Either America eventually is taken over by the radical Left, or there is some form of at least political civil war between hostile parties.

Timothy Lane writes from Louisville, Kentucky and publishes the FOSFAX fanzine.
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6 Responses to Harbingers of Revolution

  1. Anniel says:

    Timothy, I love it when you and Master Kung Fu give clear and concise history lessons. We so much need to understand the times we live in, but that knowledge comes only with a proper understanding of history.

  2. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    So far the Right has not behaved that way in America, but the Left has done so for years, and eventually we are likely to see a conservative backlash

    I believe the Left and MSM, oh I repeat myself, constantly beat the dishonest drums claiming the Teaparty is full of haters and potential terrorists, because the Left has no intention of slowing down its destruction of and eventual takeover of our society. They are confusing and obfuscating until the time comes when the right will have to hit back because of the tyranny the Left is pursuing. When this happens, the Left will squeal, “see, we told you they were terrorists!”

    Obama and his minions have learned the lessons of Lenin and Hitler. But Hitler’s example is more important for Obama and the Left as Hitler and the Nazi’s gained power legally, but over a number of years completely disemboweled the nascent democracy, which was trying to take root in the Weimar Republic.

    It is taking Obama and his henchmen a little longer, because American democratic traditions are more firmly rooted than those of 1932 Germany, but our traditions of orderliness and playing by the rules are working against honest, traditional Americans. Obama and his thugs are using another playbook.

    As an aside, please note that big business is going along with the Statist playbook just as they did with Hitler.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Yes, by 1932 even the more democratic Germans had given up on Weimar and favored some sort of authoritarian rule. I suspect the same thing is true today, given that it should be obvious what the Fascist Messiah has in mind. Hitler was a bit more than they wanted, but it was too late for them by the time they found out (I understand Fritz Thyssen’s postwar memoir was basically a mea culpa). The same thing is happening today.

  3. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    I want to go back even further to the roots of the modern revolutionary movements. People should understand that the French Revolution started out as a middle class movement. It was not a mob movement at all. The prolis usurped the middle class later in the 19th century, particularly after Marx came out with his Manifesto and Capital.

    It is important to understand being of the middle class did not depend upon wealth. In the Europe of that time, the aristocratic class consisted of a small number of people who had inherited their rank and status without having done anything for these. There was not a question of merit involved, by and large. They and the Church controlled most of the political levers in the country.

    The lower classes consisted of peasants and workers who scraped together a living as best they could with few rights and fewer political aspirations. They, like the aristocrats, went about their lives in much the same way as their grandparents and great-grandparents had before them.

    It was the middle class, with its ambition, creativity, aspirations and hard work which shook things up. The middle class had a different mental attitude than both the other classes and it was the middle class which brought about most scientific and material progress. It was the middle class which brought about political change over the long run. We are talking about doctors, lawyers, small businessmen, business magnates, inventors and the like.

    I mention this, because we are moving back to the old alignment whereby the aristocrats are gathering power back to themselves. The middle class is being marginalized and pushed down into the lower class. Historically speaking, this is the normal state of things. One of the reasons the USA has been so great is because we worked against this and expanded the middle class beyond anything anyone had ever dreamed possible. Even millionaire businessmen considered themselves middle class. We are losing this and must try our best to halt the slide.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I’ve pointed out many times that the liberal elites see themselves as medieval aristocrats, with the rest of us being the peasants. (Aristocrats disliked the bourgeoisie, so the distinction is irrelevant to them. Monarchs often worked with the bourgeoisie to check the power of the aristocrats.) But it should be noted that the French divided the aristocracy into the nobility of the robe (high-ranking officials) and the nobility of the sword (the heirs of traditional nobles). Ann Coulter pointed out in her book about liberal ochlocracy that whereas conservatives look to the American Revolution, liberals look to the French Revolution (which, of course, ended up with Bonapartism).

  4. Timothy Lane says:

    I just read the book review in the latest National Review of a biography of Franco by Stanley G. Payne (a noted student of Franco, Spain, and Fascism) and a Spanish historian, Jesus Palacios), which sounds very promising. The reviewer notes that one of the myths they debunk is the standard view of Franco — that he was “the general who led a Fascist coup d’état against a Democratic Republic.” They note that he was indeed a general, but his government really wasn’t fascist and the republic he overthrew really wasn’t democratic. This brings home the arguments made by Gil Robles and Calvo Sotelo that Spain faced revolution (and once the rising began, the choices ended up being between a communist or a nationalist dictatorship, with the latter being the lesser evil).

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