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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

The Life of Garcia Lorca and Fascist Spain

What is going on has been so dark, I thought I'd take a break from #Trumpenführer's effort to inject fascism into the USA. So what do I do? I start reading a bio of Federico Garcia Lorca, by Ian Gibson. If I wanted to ease my mind about Fascism, he was exactly the wrong person to read. Or maybe it was my destiny and the emergence of imminence that was speaking to me that "now is the time to finish reading him." Unfortunately, the book reveals parallels to current times.

Parallels between 30s Spain and What is Happening now

The parallels between 20s and 30s Spain (and Portugal) and what is going on here are disturbing. Ian Gibson recounts history as well as the Life of Garcia Lorca. His vignettes illustrate the slide into authoritarianism and how it was driven by hate and spite.

Hope and Change

Garcia Lorca was a poet, playwrite and savant. But he also was nearly openly gay and someone who had offended the Fascists in Spain. No creative voices is willing to still themselves in the face of hate and psychopathy. They'll try to divert that energy to something more productive, inclusive and joyful; to hope! In 1930 Spain had come to Republican Government. The government was trying to educate the masses, not just the upper and middle classes. In 1931 they had created "misiones pedagógicas", the "Barraca" to

“take the message of the new democratic Spain out to the underprivileged people of the country's lonely, isolated and often appallingly poor villages, putting on plays, performing concerts, helping the local teachers.”..etc...“among people who in many cases still lived almost in the Stone Age.” [page 319]

Spain had it's period of “hope and change” they dreamed of evolution. Fernando De Los Ríos became Minister of Justice & Manuel Azaña became Prime Minister. [page 319-320] They had hoped that the Church would engage in “some form of compromise”, that would allow the country to become Republican...“without excessive acrimony” It wasn't to be, but in 1931 there was hope that it might be. The left would reject compromise as “half measures”, the right would reject the very narrative that the church could ever do anything wrong and would ever apologize for anything, or need to change in a more liberal direction.

If the Republicans “were excited by the prospect of a students' theater...the proto-fascists of the extreme Right” took issue with it being “A State-subsidized venture.“ Accused it of being “little more than a cover for the dissemination of Marxist propaganda” and the product of that “Jewish Atheist” Rios. Hope And Change, as always is opposed by hate and defamation.

The Baracca

Lorca had joined that movement. It was called the "Baracca." He created a travelling theater. He put on plays and took them around the country. He started with Cervantes (appropriate); and his plays

The Cave in Salamanca, The Watchful Guard, The Two Talkers...and Life is a Dream

He caught hell for "life is a Dream" from both left and right. Still it took to the road. In 1932 he toured with it.

Fascism Blows up on Winds of Hate

Fascism blows up on winds of incitement and spreading hate. It is no accident that the kind of dark triad leaders who become Fascists use metaphors and terms like:

“stormtrooper”, “stormfront”, “The Daily Stormer”

The Winds of hate

When hate is in the air,
it feels like a windstorm.
Clouds gather, (metaphorical/figurative or literal),
winds blow,
The crackling of negative energy stands up the hair!
and people who once sounded reasonable,
start sounding off
about an angry and abusive mix of real, made up and imaginary, anecdotes and lurid tales.
Much of it pulled from thin air!

Escalating hate

People work themselves up into a fury of anger, to the point where they begin to take action. The air of unreality becomes full of gas. Some of it has the quality of ether, numbing the ones who inhale it. Like laughing gas reality separates from feeling. One laughs at pain. Giggles at the horrid. Life continues amidst the chaos. Some people reduce their psych to the minimum. They become zombified. Angry Zombies join crowds. Worker zombies continue to go to work, shop, do what people do. Til something triggers them!

Such is described in the bio of Fede Garcia Lorca.

Casas Viejas

In 1933 at Casas Viejas (now called Benalup De Sidonia) where labors laboring in sub-human condition, proclaimed “The libertarian Communist Revolution” They revolted, “surrounded the barracks of the hated Civil Guard and in the ensuing fray” killed a Sargeant and guard member. Instead of a measured investigation, the government under Azaña called for the rebels to be put down immediately:

“On 12 january a strong contingent of Civil Guard and Assault Guard [Constabulary] arrived in the village”[page 346]

Captain Manuel Rojas Feigespán arrived and came upon a group of these anarchist rebels who:

“had shut themselves into a cottage and; when they refused to surrender, Rojas ordered that the house be set on fire. Only two escaped the flames — and they were mown down by a hail of bullets”

Parallels between Casas Viejas And Janet Reno's Waco debacle

I was struck by the parallels to Janet Reno when I read that:

“Azaña had been mislead by the authorities”

I was struck by the parallels to how the right wing press treated Janet Reno. She too was misled by on the ground police authorities who told her their smoke grenades would not start fires and misled her about what they were doing at the Branch Davidian Complex. Like with Reno, Azaña was portrayed as blood thirsty. Azaña was depicted as giving the order to “shoot them in the belly!” Like with our Right Wing, slurs become malevolent rumour and malevolent rumor

“soon acquire[s] the status of historical fact”

The stories were untrue, but their heat and malevolence were sufficient to undermine the government.

And that is how fascists destroy Democracy

Bottom up Fascism

The investigation into this scandal, despite clearing Azaña of criminal intent, and demonstrating that the police authorities had misled him, the government lost credibility and the right used this failure as a propaganda against him. In truth, under normal circumstances, his inability to control his own police and law enforcement personnel was his fault. Like with Janet Reno, both bore some responsibility for not being able to control the “bottom up fascism” developing during their time.

The trouble is, fascists, are uncontrollable. The leaders of fascist movements are insatiable and power hungry. They may use the same words and expressions as the rest of us, but with a perverse meaning. The Fascists in Spain were outraged at "permissiveness", at people making fun of the Catholic Church, at homosexuals, and liberals and uppity working people. They wanted “law and order“ which for them meant imposing order on people different from them. Fascism bubbles up from authoritarian people seeking surety and turning to power hungry narcissists.

Blood Wedding

At the same time that the Government was engaged in an assault at Casa Viejas Garcia Lorca was producing a play known as "Blood Wedding", and Hitler was becoming Chancellor in Germany. It was part of his educational efforts with the "Baracca", he thought he could help people around the country by putting his plays on around the country. As an aficionado of the concept that theater and plays could educate people and open their minds, he was using his writing to teach.

Blood wedding is still taught as a lesson on gender roles:

“Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding is a tragedy focusing on a woman and the two men who love her. The play examines the societal norms that keep her from being with the man she loves. The power of desire is explored as the play unveils the consequences of gender roles and isolation.” []

The study lesson goes on to describe the play

“Blood Wedding is a tragedy about a young woman and two men fighting for her love. The Bride is in love with Leonardo, but their families do not get along, so Leonardo marries another woman. The Bride is also arranged to be married to another man, whom she doesn't love, but will marry to appease her family's wishes. Although Leonardo is married already, he confesses to the Bride that he is still in love with her. At first, she tells him to be silent, but then confesses that she still loves him, too.”[]

Naturally, the lovers follow their heart anyway, and that is what makes the story tragic. The play was a hit in Spain. But it was deeply anti-fascists. In the world of fascism lovers marry the person they are ordered to marry. Fascism is the reaction of a society engaged in too much change too fast, and this produces a kind of cognitive dissonance in some people leading them to want count-change, counter revolution. Fascism always aims to turn back the clock to some previous, usually mythical or impossible, time of glory. Usually depicted in abstract utopian terms.

The dark Triad of fascist Leaders Emerges

Emerging from the mobs of zombified masses. Out of the animal feeling of werewolf bullies, narcissistic, machiavellian types emerge from their normal shadowy corners to lead the emerging angry mobs and ride that anger. They then fan it, encourage it, glory in the rising tide of fury that they've encouraged. Their own psychopathy and that of their followers rises with each wave of anger, and the blowback feeds the next.

In 1933 the government of Fernando De Los Ríos and Manuel Azaña fell.

“The right formed an electoral coalition” composed of “The newly formed Catholic conservative Spanish Confederation of the Autonomous Right (Confederación Española de Derechas Autónomas or CEDA) won the election.”

They capitalised on disenchantment with the government among Catholics and other conservatives. CEDA campaigned on reversing the reforms that had been made under the Republic, and on freeing political prisoners. Most of the prisoners had been jailed due to violent and criminal behavior, not political behavior. They were let out.

From the 1933 til 1936 both the left and the right became more and more radicalized and less and less willing to work together. It was only a matter of time before they engaged in open war. Anyone interested in compromise was labeled an enemy.

The Death of Garcia Lorca...

When the proto-fascists won election. Lorca briefly left Spain for Argentina, and some time with Pablo Neruda. He then returned to Spain in 1936 on a rendevouz with death.


The Death of Garcia Lorca
Related to this is the

post "The Death of Antonio Primo De Rivera"


Summary Page
Falangist Fascism, Terror and Garcia Lorca
dt>These start with:
Parallels between Falangists and the American Right Wing
This post flows from the introduction in the post: The 26 Point Plank of the Falangist Party
Then I break down the subject into a number of posts:
  1. Right Wing Imperialism, & Myth Making
  2. Right Wing Explicit Authoritarianism and Totalitarianism
  3. Right Wing National Syndicalism and Corporatism
  4. Right Wing Land Reform and Privatization
  5. Right Wing Chauvinism and Indoctrination
  6. Right Wing Violent Revolution And Dictatorship
  7. Parallels between Falange fascists and US Fascists on Abortion

Sources and Further Reading
Blood wedding:
La Barraca:

Partial Translation:

“With the proclamation of the Second Republic in April 1931, Federico García Lorca began to collaborate enthusiastically in various cultural projects that aimed to promote a greater exchange between the culture of cities and that of the people [of the countryside].”
“....Federico García Lorca gave a series of lectures in different parts of the country. In Seville, Salamanca or Santiago de Compostela he talked about cante jondo and read the poems he had written in New York...”

[with the goal of]

“of founding committees in all the big cities; promote the exchange of ideas; inviting prominent speakers; trying to unite all those young intellectuals who share the love of the principles of freedom and social progress & to foster solidarity” [Federico García Lorca, vol. II, p. 172].

And for Lorca, the lecture or the reading of his poems was a way of forging what he called:

“a wonderful chain of spiritual solidarity."”
On Falangism (stub link for subsequent posts)

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