Even after Spain’s late 1970s transition to democracy, its political establishment maintained a tactful silence over the record of Franco’s dictatorship. But a bill advanced by the left-wing government insists on the need to acknowledge the dictator’s crimes — and identify the estimated 112,000 people lying in unmarked graves across Spain.
Eoghan Gilmartin is a writer, translator, and Jacobin contributor based in Madrid.
Spain’s First Communist Minister Since the 1930s: “The Right Can’t Accept a Party Like Ours in Government”
This January, a pact between the Socialists and Unidas Podemos gave Spain its first ruling left-wing coalition since the Civil War. One of two communist ministers, Alberto Garzón, spoke to Jacobin about the government’s survival in these times of crisis — and why the militant right still refuses to accept its legitimacy.
On Sunday night, Spain’s former king Juan Carlos fled the country in order to evade prosecution over mass-scale money laundering. Once hailed as a leader of the transition away from dictatorship, the monarch’s corrupt dealings show how Spain’s powerful business interests continue to stand above democratic scrutiny.
The anarchist bricklayer Lucio Urtubia made his name robbing banks in order to fund clandestine revolutionaries in Franco’s Spain. He insisted that there was nothing criminal about his expropriations of firms like Citibank — arguing that “he who robs a thief is a thousand times forgiven.”
Four decades since Spain’s transition to democracy, nostalgists for the Franco era are sharply resisting calls to topple its monuments and recognize its victims. Their fight to control historical memory isn’t just a “culture war” — it’s a bid to defend the power of businesses that profited from the fascist regime.
In one of Europe’s most unequal countries, Spain’s working class is particularly suffering during the pandemic. Unidas Podemos’s “COVID tax” on millionaires’ assets will help rebuild long-neglected public services — and end decades of bipartisan tax giveaways to the rich.
How the Chairman of Spain’s Real Madrid Football Club Presided Over a Coronavirus Catastrophe in Nursing Homes
For decades, oligarchs like Real Madrid chairman Florentino Pérez have made Spain’s old-age care sector a favored cash cow. Today, the coronavirus deaths caused by their penny-pinching are a grim monument to the failures of privatization.
Spain has announced it will take over private hospitals and pharmaceutical companies to fight coronavirus. Yet in the PSOE-Podemos coalition, some ministers are still defending fiscal austerity. Their neoliberal dogma could get people killed.
Today Alberto Garzón was sworn in as a minister in Spain’s new government — the first communist to take up such a role since the Civil War. He spoke to Jacobin about what it means to be a communist today and how Spain’s social movements can shape the next government’s agenda.
The new government coalition between the PSOE and Podemos is a historic opportunity for the Spanish left. After years of rising nationalist tensions, Podemos can turn the agenda back to the fight against austerity.
Podemos’s deal with the PSOE promises Spain’s first left-wing coalition government since the 1930s. Yet with European and corporate elites already throwing up obstacles, Podemos’s hopes of forcing through change rely on it building its power outside the institutions.
After a failed early election gambit, Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, has finally accepted Podemos into his government. It’s a huge achievement for the Left — and a way to free Spain of its sharpening nationalist tensions.
The exhumation of Francisco Franco was meant to help Spain get over four decades of fascist dictatorship. But as the country heads to general elections today, nationalist tensions are soaring — and the Franco-nostalgic Vox party is set to be the big winner.
Spain goes to the polls today after a general election campaign electrified by the jailing of Catalan leaders. But Podemos’s regional alliance is resisting the rival nationalisms — and showing what the Left can achieve in office.
The clashes in Barcelona reflect intense popular anger at the jailing of Catalan leaders. Since 2017’s disputed referendum, the conflict has appeared increasingly intractable — and as protests become more militant, the pro-independence parties are losing control of events.
The long prison sentences for the organizers of Catalunya’s outlawed independence referendum are just the latest sign of Spain’s repressive turn. The Catalan crisis has brought the state’s authoritarian impulses to the surface — and set a terrible precedent for criminalizing dissent.
Fifty years since British troops were deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland, the peace process is again in danger. The turmoil surrounding Brexit has raised hopes of Irish unity — but also risks a fresh descent into violence.
Spanish MPs voted down Pedro Sánchez’s investiture last Thursday, as Podemos refused his threadbare coalition deal. Yet it’s the radical left party whose strategy now hangs in the balance — and it may be forced into a humiliating climbdown.
By granting asylum to Julian Assange in 2012, Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa made clear his country would no longer bow to US diktats. The decision this spring to allow Assange’s arrest shows how far Ecuador’s challenge to empire has faded.
Pablo Iglesias has entered into talks with Pedro Sánchez’s Socialist Party. But if Podemos is to survive, it can’t just be a junior partner to the establishment center-left: it needs to revive its promise to transform Spanish democracy.