Ernesto Giménez Caballero and Catalan totalitarianism

It’s a commonplace that essential similarities exist between the programmes of the Catalan left and the Spanish extreme right (I’m thinking in particular of ERC and the various Falangist splinters): an apparently psychotic obsession with the nation and its symbols, a determination to impose an all-powerful state, and a willingness (nay, a desire) to use unconstitutional means to achieve political ends. They also share other, more bizarre goals–independence for the Western Sahara is one–but their historical links are generally less well-known. Writes Geoffrey Jensen in Dangerous Neutrality: Spain, the Great War, and Modern Catalan Nationalism (World War I and the Cultures of Modernity, ed Douglas P Mackaman):

As Enric Ucelay da Cal pointed out in an important but too-often overlooked article [I think he’s referring to Wilson i no Lenin: l’esquerra catalana i l’any 1917 – I’ve exceeded my search limit for the book], the relationship in general between Catalanism and Spanish fascism was far greater than usually assumed, and the leading exponent of Spanish fascism, Ernesto Giménez Caballero, appropriated aspects of radical Catalanist thought. The nationalist sentiment directed at [military adventurer and Catalan separatist, Francesc] Macià–whom Giménez Caballero called “our caudillo” and “our Duce”–could in the eyes of some intellectuals represent that “attractive Catalan combination of cultural vanguard and political populism,” as Ucelay de Cal writes. Although Giménez Caballero, as a quasi-official representative of the Franco dictatorship during the Civil War and thereafter, soon associated himself more with traditionalist, Castile-based nati0nalism, initially he perceived a leading role for Catalonia in the modern, national revolution he envisaged for Spain. With Giménez Caballero, it seems, Cambó’s vision of Catalonia regenerating Spain through liberal, democratic principles of Wilsonian optimism took a fascist turn: Catalonia was now to lead all of Spain not merely in its modernization, but in the sort of national revolution typically promoted by the radical right.

Some might say that Giménez Caballero captures the essence of the modern Catalan nationalist-socialist third way in this para from his 1933 essay, El sentido social del fascismo (Fascism’s social sense):

Today Europe–and the world–are divided into three camps: the Communist camp, which with its oriental, barbarian avalanche seeks to devastate in its entirety a secular civilisation created amid tears, heroism and blood; the Liberal Social-Democrat camp, which with its antiquated organs of Government (Parliament, universal suffrage) seeks on the one hand uselessly to contain the cataclysm and, on the other, to create an illusory equilibrium of social forces, based on the myth of individual liberty; and, finally, the Fascist camp, which, accepting the social masses and methods of direct action characteristic of Communism, retains a certain degree of individual autonomy, retains imponderable essences of European civilisation, and organises the world afresh in a well-balanced peace, in a harmony of Capital and Labour, in a corporate sense of State.

Passing over (or not) his complimentary remarks concerning Lenin, music and cats and his eulogy for socialist icon Joaquín Costa, check his 1931 essay Valor superrealista y poético de los guardias de seguridad (The super-realist and poetic value of security guards), in which he lays out his peculiar vision of Catalonia and its role in Spain:

The evils–romantic, superrealist, diabolical, passionate and separatist–of our country came always from Catalonia, from Aribau’s Ode to Steam to the glorification of excrement by Salvador Dalí… [And in the green corner:] Andalusia! The only tabernacle of Spain’s ancient and calm soul! … An Andalusian-Catalan marriage is always perfect. They complement one another exactly.

If the ethnos is to be glorified, then surely better by a messianic loon than the dull-eyed reptile currently guarding us from all pluralist evil.

Originals:

  1. Hoy Europa –y el mundo– están divididos en tres campos de lucha: el «campo comunista», que desea arrasar con su avalancha, oriental y bárbara, toda una civilización secular, hecha entre lágrimas, heroísmos y sangre; el «campo liberal socialdemócrata», que con sus anticuados órganos de Gobierno (Parlamento, sufragio universal) quiere por un lado contener inútilmente el cataclismo, y por otro, instaurar un iluso equilibrio de fuerzas sociales, a base del mito de «la libertad individual». Y por último, el «campo fascista», que aceptando las masas sociales y los procedimientos de acción directa propios del comunismo, salva con ellos cierta autonomía individual, salva esencias imponderables de la civilización europea, y organiza de nuevo el mundo en una paz equilibrada, en una armonía de Capital y de Trabajo, en un sentido corporativo del Estado.
  2. Hoy Europa –y el mundo– están divididos en tres campos de lucha: el «campo comunista», que desea arrasar con su avalancha, oriental y bárbara, toda una civilización secular, hecha entre lágrimas, heroísmos y sangre; el «campo liberal socialdemócrata», que con sus anticuados órganos de Gobierno (Parlamento, sufragio universal) quiere por un lado contener inútilmente el cataclismo, y por otro, instaurar un iluso equilibrio de fuerzas sociales, a base del mito de «la libertad individual». Y por último, el «campo fascista», que aceptando las masas sociales y los procedimientos de acción directa propios del comunismo, salva con ellos cierta autonomía individual, salva esencias imponderables de la civilización europea, y organiza de nuevo el mundo en una paz equilibrada, en una armonía de Capital y de Trabajo, en un sentido corporativo del Estado.
  3. Los males románticos, superrealistas, diabólicos, pasionales y separatistas de nuestro país, siempre vinieron de Cataluña, desde la Oda al Vapor, de Aribau, hasta la glorificación de la mierda por Salvador Dalí… ¡Andalucía! El único sagrario de alma antigua y serena de España! … Un matrimonio andaluz-catalán es siempre perfecto. Se complementa exactamente.

Similar posts


Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *