As you may read in an essay I wrote last year, during Spanish Civil War (1936-39) socialist and communist participated in a lot of episodes of religious persecution against Catholics. Some 6,832 religious were murdered between 1936 and 1939 – including 13 bishops and 4,184 priests. As many as 20,000 churches were destroyed, many of them before the war commenced.
The “Popular Front” – a coalition of left-wing parties including the Socialist Party (PSOE), Esquerra Republicana, and the Communist Party – took power in 1936, through election fraud according to historians Álvarez Tardío and Villa García. They provoked a serious situation of political instability that led to July 18 Francisco Franco’s military uprising.
However, spreading truths that are very distasteful for leftists that wanted to link Spain to Soviet Union could be a reason of legal persecution in a nearly future time. That may sound as a joke but the reality is that the Socialist Party -that has undergone a radicalization phase thanks to its leader Pedro Sánchez- has submitted a proposal to reform “Historical Memory” law.
What is about “Historical Memory” Law?
On October 31, 2017, the Congress of Deputies passed a bill submitted by Rodriguez Zapatero’s left-wing government based on a law “recognizes and broadens the rights and establishes measures in favor of those who suffered prosecution or violence during the Civil War and the Dictatorship”.
Among its main provisions we can find the removal of public symbols that could refer to Franco’s dictatorship, the prohibition of political events in The Valley of Fallen and the granting of Spanish nationality to surviving members of International Brigades (military units sent by Soviet Communist Party to assist and support “Popular Front”.
That law breaks the “Pact of Forgetting”, a decision made by left-wing and right-wing parties in 1970s, after the that dictator’s death, in order to forget any political discussion on Franco’s legacy. It should be noted that this agreement was a key element in the transition to democracy, for restoring liberal democracy and ensuring the reconciliation among Spaniards.
About Pedro Sánchez’s law reform
Last December, PSOE submitted a proposal to reform 2007 “Historical Memory” Law to be addressed this trimester in the Low Chamber. Probably it will be passed because none of the parties with representation opposes to the law -neither more centrist Ciudadanos and People’s party.
If the project were successful, a “Political Commission of Truth” would be created. The plan is to release a temporary non-juridical entity to analyze many aspects related to the period between the beginning of Civil War and the approval of 1978 Spanish Constitution. Besides it’d have to launch a final report.
Other provisions are related to the imposition of issues and standpoints into the educational system (curricula and academic research) and the press media (those that are State-owned or just received any public funding -for instance, institutional ads- could be forced to broadcast content related to the “Historical Memory”.
But not only that. In case of being a dissenting voice you could be either fined or imprisoned. For example, if you claim in favor of or justify by any reason Francoism, you could be sent to prison from 6 months to 2 years; in case of exhibition of elements against Historical Memory, a maximum of €2000 fine; and destruction of any critical content (books, and so on).
Revisionism against free speech
Nobody is going to defend and “glorify” any dictator or tyrant. Classical liberals, conservatives and libertarians ends must not consent any prosecution of dissenting voices and seeking of unique way of thinking. Franco did not respected the right to express freely any opinion against his regime.
However, it is true that leftist provoked a situation of unlawfulness what led to Civil War, that if Popular Front had won we would have had under the rule of communism -like in Central-Eastern Europe- and that in 1959s it was run an stabilization plan based on some economic liberalization measures apart from suffering a far lower fiscal burden.
Spanish radical left wants to split again Spaniards into good and evil people, according to their ideology, following French political spectrum. Sometimes it looks like they want to back 1936 (laicist and anti-clerical measures prove that as well) and win a war they lost. That is the reason of being so steady addressing that topic.
Anyway, that law could be considered unconstitutional provided that Section 20 of Spanish Constitution guarantees «the right to freely express and disseminate thoughts, ideas and opinions trough words, in writing or by any other means of communication» and stresses those rights must not be subject of any kind of censorship.
Once said that, we must see that project law as a revisionist project of censorship, to make official the leftist vision of the history. Socialist and communist have huge desires of silencing any dissident voice regarding every issue. Even serious and dramatic episodes of “Spanish Red Terror” could not be denounced by those who repudiate communism inhumanity.