Spain: with the dictator exhumed, we must bury the regime

There are many pending accounts with the Franco regime, whose legacy protects current policy and institutions. The body of Francisco Franco has been exhumed from the Valley of the Fallen to be transferred to the cemetery of Mingorrubio-El Pardo. The remains remained for 44 years in the only European monumental complex dedicated to a coup. Beyond complaints Franco´s family, Falangists, fascists, priests, leaders of the PP, VOX, Citizens and other followers of the right, it was an unsustainable shame.

There is no praise to Pedro Sánchez for making this happen, social democracy acts in this way to strengthen the weak government of the PSOE and try to win votes for 10N. With the remains of the leader of the coup against the Second Republic and murderer os thousands of Republicans exhumed, the same should be done with the remaining coup leaders and what to do with the Valley of the Fallen should be decided; for the fascist horror to never be forgotten, for the memory and knowledge of the past to strengthen the struggle against the resurgence of such expressions of barbarism.

The Valley of the Fallen is not a common cemetery, but a sinister monument. Its construction was defined by decree in 1940 after the counterrevolutionary triumph in the Civil War. It was raised with the labor of Republican prisoners, who were tortured and subjected to conditions similar to those of a Nazi concentration camp. Many lost their lives in that task. Corpses were moved there from 1958 to 1983. That is to say that the Transition, which some people call exemplary, perfectly assimilated the Francoist legacy. Of the 33,847 exhumed corpses, 12,410 are unidentified. An important part of them correspond to bodies of Republicans who were unearthed from other sites and transferred without the consent of their relatives. For the most part, the tombs of the Francoists are individualized. Near them, there is a mass grave with remains of unidentified Republicans.

The exhumation has a symbolic and concrete content at the same time, because it reopens a debate with origins in the past, but with present connotations. This is because accounts were never settled with the dictatorship, despite the decades that have passed since the end of the Civil War, World War II, the death of Franco and the Transition. We reject the exhumation being placed at the service of turning the page. With a boost to a supposed “reconciliation”, they intend to close the way to the possibility of advancing in judging Franco’s crimes, something that was only undertaken promptly in Argentina´s case. Crimes against humanity do not prescribe. Stopping fascism wherever it sticks its head out, whether in institutions or on the streets, is a present task.

We must go further, with the clarification of the crimes, the annulment of the trials, against the hundreds of thousands of people prosecuted criminally for their militancy, political or ideological inclination, like the former president of the Generalitat Lluís Companys, who was shot in 1940, with the return of stolen property, the location and recognition of the identity of those who were appropriated as children and the compensation by the Spanish State to the victims of the dictatorship or their direct descendants. The judicial system insists on preventing the knowledge of historical truth. Removing the mantle of impunity is something that can only be guaranteed by an Independent Investigative Commission, addressing tasks such as: declassifying secret files, rebuilding destroyed ones, investigating without obstacles and shedding light on the crimes against humanity of Francoism and its ties with Nazis and fascists

The coexistence between the mandates inherited from the dictatorship and bourgeois democracy has been maintained for decades. The institutions of the ’78 regime found a place of privilege for the reactionary legacy of Franco. Amnesty and Historical Memory laws are sometimes used to hide current reactionary features. The monarchical restoration, the privileges and power that the Catholic Church maintains, the oppression of Catalonia, the repression and the existence of independentist political prisoners with sentences of 9 to 13 years in prison, account for this.

The fact that the dictatorial regime did not fall as a product of workers’ and peoples´ mobilization, but because of Franco’s death, left intact many anti-democratic features forged during the long and tortuous de facto period. We are in the presence of a backwards and exhausted regime, which cannot provide progressive options to the political, social and economic problems of the great majority, living in Catalonia or anywhere else in the Spanish State, so we must mobilize to defeat it and fight for a Free and Sovereign Constituent Assembly, in which the people can debate and decide their own destiny.