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Exhibition of Fascist Paraphernalia in Public School in Spain

One of the market stalls, where items displaying Francoist symbols can clearly be seen. Photo uploaded to Twitter by Julio no surname

One of the market stalls, where items displaying Francoist symbols can clearly be seen. Photo uploaded to Twitter by Julio no surname

The municipality of Quijorna (Madrid) and the ‘Hermandad de Regulares de Ceuta’ [a Spanish army veterans' organisation] organised the first “Day of Exhibition of Military and Defence Culture” on September 28, 2013. There was an exhibition and sale of items related to the military at the Príncipe de Asturias primary public school. Surprisingly, items displaying fascist symbols were amongst the merchandise for sale: pre-constitution Spanish flags, flags and uniforms of the Falange movement, paintings and photographs of dictator Francisco Franco, and José Antonio Primo de Rivera, banners with fascist slogans, and even flags displaying the swastika.

In a video broadcast by television channel La Sexta [es], a resident of Quijorna recounts her 10 year old son's experience:

Se acercó un militar y le dijo, «toma, te voy a dar esta pegatina para que la pongas en la ventana, pero a tu madre no se lo digas porque no te va a dejar ponerla».

A soldier came up to him and said “here, I'm going to give you this sticker to put on your window, but don't tell your mother because she won't let you put it up.”

The mayor of Quijorna, Mercedes García of the Partido Popular, denies having seen the fascist paraphernalia displayed on the market stalls, although she admits that she spent an hour at the exhibition. Some residents doubt her words, as Azucena Concejo, councillor and spokesperson for the opposition party Partido Socialista (PSM) explains in the same video:

Another market stall, with two large swastikas in the foreground. Photo uploaded to Twitter by alberto pérez ferré

Another market stall, with two large swastikas in the foreground. Photo uploaded to Twitter by Alberto Pérez Ferré

Era imposible, porque según entrabas en el recinto, a mano derecha, lo primero que te encontrabas eran dos banderas con la esvástica nazi.

That's impossible, because as soon as you entered the hall, on the right-hand side, the first things you could see were the two flags with the Nazi swastika.

Concejo has made a complaint to the Guardia Civil on the grounds that the event may contravene the Historical Memory Law. The Mayor apologised, stating that the town hall did not know which items would be displayed, and that if they had known, the exhibition would have been cancelled.

However, Mayor García, who according to the website of the public television channel rtve [es] describes herself as “a very democratic person,” participated the following day, as part of the same event, in a tribute to the fallen pro-Franco soldiers who died in the Civil War, placing a wreath in front of the monument in one of the town's squares. The plaque states:

«A los caídos por Dios y por España en la defensa de Quijorna del 6 al 8 de julio de 1937»

“To those who died for God and for Spain in the defence of Quijorna from 6th to 8th July 1937″

Internet users reacted strongly. The user nomerepresentan [es] recalled in the El País newspaper that various members of the new generations of the Partido Popular have allowed themselves to be photographed surrounded by fascist symbols [es] to the indifference of the party's leadership:

No sé de que se sorprende nadie ahora, en palabras de nuestro electo gobierno posar rodead@s de simbología fascista es una travesura…

I don't know why anybody is surprised about now, in the words of our elected government posing surrounded by fascist symbols is just mischief…

Qbertoll [sp] warned on 20minutos.es [sp] of the increase of fascist groups since the beginning of the crisis:

Por suerte, este tipo de actos y situaciones son minoritarios, de momento. Pero cuidado, porque las crisis vienen muy bien para los grupos radicales. Cuando la gente se deja llevar por las vísceras en vez de por la razón, es muy fácil manejarla y convencerla de que hay determinados chivos expiatorios (los que convengan) que tienen la culpa de su situación.

Luckily, this type of events and situations are the minority, for the moment. But be warned, because crises are good news for radical groups. When people let themselves be guided by their guts instead of their heads, it is very easy to manipulate them and convince them that there are certain scapegoats (whichever are most convenient) who are to blame for their situation.

On Twitter, users also stated their opinions:

Hi, @PPopular, have you kicked the mayor of Quijorna out of the party yet? And now? And now? And now? And now?

— Otis B. Driftwood (@obdriftwood) October 1, 2013

“Quijorna allows a pro-Franco event in a school”. In Germany they apologise, but here we celebrate having half the country buried in a ditch. — yonyi arenas (@YonyiArenas) October 1, 2013

Poster advertising the event. Image from the blog

Poster advertising the event. Image from the blog “We support our troops”

Quijorna, isolated in its nostalgia for national Catholicism, a model of Spanishness, unity, freedom and nobility http://t.co/UCUqYSSRLh — Echelon_43 (@Echelon_43) September 30, 2013

Mercedes García, mayor of Quijorna, says that fascism is culture. She probably thinks bullfighting is too.

— LOGAN´S RUN (@hijodeluniverso) October 2, 2013

The director of public prosecutions has just announced that the public prosecutor's office will investigate the case to determine whether it constitutes an infraction of democratic laws. The Partido Popular of Madrid has distanced itself from the events held in Quijorna, and as El País [es] reports, some of its leaders have reproached the mayor, although it does not appear that the party will take action against her:

Pese al “estupor” y “sorpresa” de distintas voces consultadas, no trascendió que se pidiera la dimisión de Mercedes García, que no puede ser cesada, y que para salir del cargo debe dimitir.

In spite of the “astonishment” and “surprise” of the various figures consulted, it did not appear that they would call for the resignation of Mercedes García, who cannot be removed from her post unless she resigns.

As it happens, only a few days ago it was reported that the prosecutors of the supreme court of justice have begun procedures to illegalise the far-right organisation Alianza Nacional [National Alliance] [es], some of whose members attacked the Catalan government's headquarters in Madrid on September 11th, while they were celebrating the Diada, the celebration of the Catalan community.

In Spain, far-right groups do not seem to carry great weight in comparison with other countries in the region, although some commentators attribute this to the fact that these groups may have camouflaged themselves in the more conservative sectors of the Partido Popular which is currently in power. According to Francisco Riaño Campos, an Izquierda Unida parliamentarian:

España es el único país que sufrió el fascismo y no lo ha condenado. En España, no se ha convertido en delito la apología del fascismo.

Durante la Transición, el Estado Español no depuró responsabilidades, solamente pasó página y aceptó como “demócratas de toda la vida” a los afectos al régimen, (…) y muchos continuaron propagando su ideario político entre los suyos, en realidad nunca se fueron.

Spain is the only country which suffered fascism and which has not condemned it. In Spain, the defense of fascism has not been designated a crime.

During the Transition, the Spanish State did not clarify responsibilities, it simply turned the page and accepted as “lifelong democrats” those who had been involved with the regime, (…) and many continued to spread their political ideology amongst their own people, in reality they never left.

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