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News: 23-F, 30 years since a “night of long knives” March 14, 2011

Posted by cristobalgomez in Uncategorized.
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The extreme right created blacklists of people who should be retaliated against in the case of a successful military coup.

We are at an anniversary. The thirtieth anniversary since the attempt at a coup d’état. The media will once again repeat the same speech as always. The bravery of Suárez and Gutiérrez Mellado physically confronting Tejero’s men. The exemplary and model behavior of the king. The night of the transistors… blah, blah, blah. An event, however, scarcely cited in the adundant bibliography available on 23-F is the creation of blacklists by extremist groups. Relatives of leftists and people of democratic ideology who should be retaliated against in the event of a successful coup.

The best-known blacklist of 23-F, and that which had the widest circulation after the failed military uprising, was paradoxically made in October 1980, and published in August 1982 by the periodical Actual. Its authorship corresponded to the so-called Milicias Patrióticas Populares (People’s Patriotic Militias), an unknown ultra group formed from split elements of “Fuerza Nueva,” “Frente de la Juventud,” “Fuerza Joven,” “Falange de la Primera Línea,” and the “Juventudes Nacionalistas Revolucionarias.”

On the list, for the first time, there appeared the names of artists and intellectuals clearly associated with the leftist world, Manuel Vázquez Montalbán, Rafael Alberti, Antonio Gades, Pepa Flores, Raimón, Lluis Llach, Paco Ibañez or José Sacristán, and various others who it is unclear what they were doing on such a list, which included the names of actors Tony Leblanc and Concha Velasco. A second section listed, province to province (including Ceuta and Melilla), the names of different local “reds” who should be “taken for a walk” the day after the coup.

In total some 3,000 people. Associated with a small Madrid-based group, it is conceivable that the information given out by the ultras was taken from the 1979 electoral lists, as well as the old archives of the extinct Brigada Político Social, something not impossible taking into account the multiple contacts between the extreme right and the State security forces. Journalist Mariano Sánchez Soler mentioned in his book “The bloody transition” the existence of fascist groups in Valladolid, Madrid, and Barcelona coordinated with the so-called Operación Cuchillo.

The objective of this operation was to take advantage of the coup situation to selectively eliminate the leaders and key personalities of the Spanish left. Plans such as this formed part of the conspiratorial cultural atmosphere which in the late 1980s pervaded the spheres of the civilian and military extreme right. A coup climate conveniently heated by the extreme right press, devoted itself body and soul to encouraging this military intervention that would save the country from the evils that afflicted it. The newspaper El Alcazar and El Imparcial, along with other publications, El Heraldo Español, Fuerza Nueva, Ejército, El Imparcial, Reconquista, became a sounding board for anti-democratic sectors, which as political scientist Jesús de Andrés pointed out, desperate after another failure in the 1979 elections, would bet on “«the tension strategy» in the face of the disorganization once the electoral reversal was recognized.

The night of 23-F would be, in addition to the night of the transistors, the night of the fascist covens and blacklists. In anticipation of the success of the coup d’ètat, informal groups of the extreme right met of their own accord to create lists of people who should be handed over to the new military authorities. In Asturias, for example, we have eyewitness accounts of a list in Oviedo and another in Grado, traditionl “red” parts of the region. There probably existed many more. In Galicia we know of similar lists from write Manuel Rivas, who himself was among the people listed.

After the failure of 23-F, the lists would continue to float around for some time in the galaxy of ultra projects. Slightly before the elections in which Felipe González would triumph, in 1982, intelligence services aborted a new coup conspiracy planned for October 27, the day of reflection proceeding the general elections. The so-called Operación Halcón y Marte would be the civil complement to the military coup. According to Cambio, 16,200 right extremists would be involved in this sinister operation. While the military would collapse Madrid and take control of the strategic points in the Spanish capital, groups of civilians coordinated with the coup would assassinate leftist leaders and personalities in Madrid and Barcelona.

The regression projects made little sense. Since 23-F, the claims of the left had been even more moderate, and there was a general context of reflux of social movements that had animated the early moments of the democratic process perfectly compatible with the capitalist status quo. After the attempt in Febrary, the process for autonomy slowed down, the monarchy was consolidated, Spain accelerated its entrance in NATO, and the unions signed an new agreement with employers. If anything was reaffirmed on 23-F, it was not the Spanish democratic process, as the only story of the transition tells us. Rather, just the opposite, its guarded nature.

 

Diagonal.

Diego Díaz (Redacción Asturies)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011. No. 144

 

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