by 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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