A few days ago, in a television program, a seasoned journalist asked me why I believed that there was no way to reach agreements with the PP, unlike what happened with the UCD during the Transition. 15 years ago I wrote an article, with the same title, explaining why the right – the PP – was so tense, so radical and even then there was no way to agree on anything, even on State issues.
It was the time of “Spain is broken”, the president – then Zapatero – “sold to ETA”, the elections of March 14, 2004 “he has won with bad arts”, and so on. He came to the conclusion that a version of the Spanish right had never, historically speaking, gotten along with democracy. They had not disgusted the Primo de Rivera dictatorship and, almost without exception, they had supported the military coup of 1936. Furthermore, for many years, actively or passively, they had collaborated with the Franco dictatorship.
It is true that from the 1960s onwards, minority sectors with a centrist tendency began to manifest themselves: liberal monarchists, Christian Democrats, social liberals or right-wing nationalists who began to loosen ties with the Regime and, in their own way, to adopt oppositional attitudes. to the dictatorship. A concrete expression of this activity was the meeting, in the German city of Munich in June 1962, in full mining strikes in Asturias. In that meeting of the democratic opposition from the interior and exile -with the exclusion of the PCE-, personalities who later would play an important role in the transition to democracy participated. The dictatorship and its coriphees branded it a “conspiracy”, and its most representative figures were exiled to the island of Fuerteventura. Later, several of them would contribute to forming what would become the Union of the Democratic Center, with Suárez at the head. A UCD that represented the alliance between the reformist sectors of the dictatorial regime and people of democratic convictions with ties to the most powerful and dynamic sectors of Spanish and international capitalism.
Now, significantly, the sectors most closely related to the dictatorship, led by Fraga Iribarne, did not join the UCD and founded Alianza Popular, with Silva Muñoz, Licinio de la Fuente, López Rodó, Fernández de la Mora, etc; the so-called “magnificent seven”, all of them Franco’s ministers. Some of them would vote against the Constitution, others would abstain and Fraga would support it, although not its title VIII, which refers to the territorial system. Consequently, the UCD represented the center, in favor of a policy of pacts and consensus with the left and the nationalists, who did not like the hard and backward sectors of the Spanish bourgeoisie, the direct heir to Francoism. The proof of this is that, as a result of the first democratic elections, the sum of the UCD and the AP enjoyed a majority and, nevertheless, the Suárez government did not agree on the essence of the Constitution with the AP, but with the left that represented the PSOE and, to a lesser extent, the PCE and the nationalists. From there, the attacks against the UCD from economic, media and ultras sectors, with the support of some opportunist left, were furious. Suárez and the UCD had to be done away with, and they finished with him and her. A story that remains to be told but that reflects that their positions, in national and international politics, were no longer consistent with the wishes and aspirations of the dominant sectors of Spanish capitalism.
Subsequent attempts by Suárez and others to revive a politics of the center in the CDS (Social Democratic Center) failed, since no one in the economic or media field had any interest in supporting it. The right, after the overwhelming victory of the PSOE in the 1982 elections, had to go through its long journey through the desert, but no longer on the back of the UCD or CDS, but of the Popular Alliance of Fraga. However, the latter had a ceiling due to excess ties with the dictatorship and it was necessary to give way to younger people, although no less conservative, and to change the brand as of 1989. With the leadership of Aznar – who had not voted for the Constitution of 1978- and its interminable “trip to the center”, the already called Popular Party managed to agglutinate the substance of the center vote, orphan of representation, and to maintain within it the totality of the ultra vote of the so-called “sociological Francoism”.
Many wondered how it was possible that, in a country like Spain, with its ultramontane tradition, there was no far-right party like in France, Italy or Germany. The truth is that there was, but embedded in the bosom of the PP and as long as it remained in power or its surroundings, the magnet of the power manger would do its job. It was evident, in any case, that this PP was not the heir to the virtues of the transition, of the centrist UCD with its tendencies to pact and consensus, but rather that it represented a much tougher right, whose social base is connected with the sectors most backward, economically and ideologically, of our bourgeoisies.
It is interesting to observe how from the governments of the PP, first Aznar, then Rajoy, a gradual process of deindustrialization of the country begins, an abandonment of pretensions in the field of R + D + i and a vertiginous growth of low productivity sectors, but with fast profitability, sometimes speculative, such as real estate, leisure, banking, etc. The Aznar government’s strategic commitment to the construction sector – all land is buildable – is at the origin of the real estate boom, the financial flow to that sector and the divestment in industrial innovation sectors. This drift from Spanish capitalism says a lot about the evolution and current position of the PP. For example, it is interesting to note that in two of the most important Spanish communities in industrial development -Catalonia and Euskadi-, the PP has almost no representation. It is obvious that this fact has been influenced by the nationalist factor, but that does not explain everything, since Ciudadanos – a center party – became the first party in Catalonia, a position that the PP never reached, nor was it able to collect the vote lost in abundance by the orange formation in the last Catalan autonomous regions.
Thus, from the moment in which VOX breaks away from the PP with force, which in Catalonia is credited with its irrelevance and the parties of the Catalan bourgeoisie are thrown into the mountains, the PP had two options: or turn to the center in order to recover the Citizens’ vote and try to reach a solution on the Catalan issue, or turn even further to the right, compete with VOX and regroup all the rights. He chooses this second option not because it is, from a democratic political perspective, the most logical and beneficial for Spain, but because in his opinion it is the one that best responds to the evolution of Spanish capitalism, as the result of Mrs. Ayuso in Madrid.
Because, apart from the gross mistakes made by a part of the left, the composition of the productive fabric and employment in the capital of Spain should not be forgotten, with an industry that represents less than 9% of wealth, a construction around the 7% and services that are 84%. And a job in which, between commerce, hospitality and transport add 1,071,704 employees, of the 2,840,000 who occupy services. From this brief sociological map, it is better understood why the simplistic message of the Madrid PP was so successful in the conditions of the pandemic.
Unfortunately, the majority of the left did not understand the new situation. It was not true that there was no contradiction between saving lives or keeping businesses / jobs, at least in the short term. And the capital PP chose the second, especially because those who died were the old, who neither work nor maintain business, except for exceptions. Faced with the brutality of the option, it had to be dressed in some way, and the most false, populist and demagogic, but effective, was chosen: “freedom”, as other times the “homeland” is chosen. “Freedom from socialism … then communism.” That is to say, the concept of freedom reduced to its most pedestrian and elemental version: being able to drink beer and go for drinks, the “bottle culture”, moving around and consuming, as if all this could not be done the same in a dictatorship. Beware of the sense of freedom / liberalism that is making its way in Spain and elsewhere. A true regression to the old adage of “letting go, letting go, the world walks by itself”, the origin of all the disasters of the last decades. The “don’t tell me what to do,” isn’t it wrong either to smoke or to take drugs or not to get vaccinated? Or lower taxes like any political program, because “money is better in people’s pockets”, even if this means that most people do not have a penny in their pocket to enjoy a decent health, education or pension, Unless they are provided by the State via taxes.
A toxic liberalism that consists of being able to exploit the producer to the maximum, make money in the branch, increase inequality to infamy and, logically, constrain the power of the unions, which put obstacles to “freedom of enterprise”. The Pepero / Ayusista Madrid, which is presented as an example of the future – a “Trumpism” in the traditional style – is the autonomous community that has had the most deaths from Covid-19; where inequalities are most pronounced; in which less is invested in health and education per inhabitant; where rental prices have increased the most; in which jobs are more precarious and industries have been wiped out. How is it that in Madrid the right wing is so successful and for so long? It is not the first time this has happened in history.
Because when ignorance and misinformation are allowed to reign; things are not explained well; The left is divided or distracted by “collateral” issues that the suffering personnel don’t give a damn about, or forgets what their social base is really interested in, the postmodern version of “Long live the caenas” prevails. Isn’t it convenient to think why the poorest neighborhoods of the capital vote less than the wealthiest ones? That is why it is so decisive, if we do not want Madrid to be repeated throughout Spain, that we focus on the essentials, without distractions or jeremiads. This is to end the pandemic effectively, vaccinating without hesitation everything that moves, and using European funds with the utmost diligence and probity, to turn our economy around, making it industrial, productive, innovative, scientific, digital and environmental. . It is the only way to overcome once and for all the crap of a substantial part of our capitalism, the base and sustenance of the worst of our right-hand homeland. Because if anyone believes that with capitalism that reigns in too many places we are going to have a modern European right, they are wrong.