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Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives - vol 197512 (Page 11)

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Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives - vol 197512
Franco's last days
Continued from page 1

that revealed the total moral isolation
of the Spanish dictatorship.
It has been reported that on oc-
casion, Franco has attained moments
of lucidity. One wonders what goes
through his mind, particularly as he
sees the rows of bottles of blood that
the machines deliver to his veins.
Does this vision recall the oceans of
blood that were spilled to bring him
to power or the thousands of gallons
of the blood of the best Spaniards
that he shed to keep the regime stable
during a "generation of peace."
As he is aware of his own decaying
flesh, does he think of the battered
bodies produced with macabre
regularity by his Guardia Civil and
the Brigada Social? Does he
remember his comrades-in-arms who
remained loyal to the Republic in
July of 1936 and who were shot by
his orders? Does he remember Julian
In the rooms in the El Pardo
Palace, where the long rites of
necrology have been played out,
there is a place for the colonels of the
Blue Division who stayed be-hind to
protect Hitler's Bunker in May of
1945. Before the coma set in, did
they discuss the glorious days when
Franco promised the Fuehrer one
million Spaniards? Or did his mind
turn to his later guardians, the
Americans whose B47s and B5Os
replaced the Heinkels and Junkers,
whose hydrogen bombs, based in
Spain proclaimed the benevolent
interest of the Eisenhower-Nixon
regime in the maintenance of Iberian
order, and a benign neglect of the
rights of 30 million Spaniards?
In the wings, waits the crown
prince Juan Carlos, and a Regency
Council and an odd assortment of
historical fossils, pledged to retain
the essence of Francoism under the
banner of the Bourbons. One can
imagine that the installation of the
King has been meticulously
prepared; that Henry Kissinger and
Harold Wilson, Willy Brandt,
Rockefeller and a galaxy of other
favorites of the American
"Intelligence Community" have
made their plans. The motif is an
orderly and peaceful transfer of
There is one disturbing element left
out of such a scenario: the Spanish
people and their institutions, formed
in the terrible gestation period 9f 35
years: the Junta Democratica,
representing a coalition of political
tendencies from Monarchist to
communist; the Convergencia
Democratica which unites Social
Democrats and Christian Democrats;
the Workers Commissions; the var-
ious regional alliances pledged to
autonomy in Catalonia, the Basque
Country and Galicia; FRAP, etc.
Furthermore, within the traditional
social formations of the Country,
Army, Church, Business
Community, there have emerged
powerful factions which have
publicly disowned the melancholy
past and asserted that the political
structure of the post-Franco Spain is
to be decided by the sovereign will of
the Spanish people, freely expressing
itself through political parties and
open vote.
It is also clear that there are heavily
armed ultra-Rightist groups who are
prepared to abort the third Republic
in the sanguinary fashion of the
Chilean Pinochet, the Greek Colonels
and the Brazilian Generals.
Yet, it is also clear that the im-
mediate future of Spain cannot be
forecast by references to the
Republic of 1931-1939. The agrarian
Spain that the volunteers knew, loved
and died for has vanished. Factories
have mushroomed in the once-empty
valleys of Castile and Aragon. Fiat,
Westinghouse, U.S. Steel, General
Motors, Gulf. , Union Carbide,
Volkswagen, Michelin, Pirelli, the
industrial giants of Europe and North
America have created an industrial
Spain and thus a proletarian Spain, a
bourgeois Spain. The technocrats, the
Opus Dei, are much concerned with
the fugitive links to the Common
Market. They are willing to pay a
price for that expected flow of
Capital and dividends - they will
probably grant the facade of a
constitutional order. Their grand-
fathers did as much.
The question is: will the Spanish
people settle for less than complete
control over the wealth of Spain and
complete control over the political
processes that shape the tone and
texture of daily life? It is most likely
that, after so much suffering and so
many gross betrayals, the working
men and women of Spain will not
appear as supplicants for their
freedom and dignity. They will
mobilize in the streets and take it!
As, I had the privilege of writing in
the introduction to Arthur Landis'
book, Spain: the Unfinished
Revolution: "The Revolution of the
Spanish people was crushed by
domestic and foreign counter
revolutionary force; but revolutions
arising from the historic experience
of an ancient people will reestablish
roots in the very earth that
temporarily serves as a shroud for the
entombed revolutionaries. Such now
is the Spanish earth."

November 15, 1975
Robert Colodny is a veteran of Spain and professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh. He has authored several
books on Spain, notably "The Struggle for Madrid" and "Spain: the Glory and Tragedy."

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