Cultural Policy in the Franco Dictatorship (and II)

«Azorin» meets Franco (1952)

Elías de Tejada summed up very well the emptiness of the Francoist cultural atmosphere, despised and left in the hands of the usual «orthodox» liberals. The illustrious legitimist from Extremadura (1973) said: «The coincidence in the criteria is so great that I cannot resist transcribing a criticism by Evola (*) of fascist cultural policy, so that Spanish readers can see our situation portrayed and can explain to themselves how it was possible for Franco to have lost the war intellectual [in reality he did not lose it, because nobody loses a battle that from the beginning they have not even wanted to undertake] despite having won the battles of armed war. What Evola writes about Benito Mussolini in the 1930s is true to the letter for the Spain that was born –and culturally aborted– [after] July 18: «But in the field of culture, in the proper sense, the ‘revolution’ was a joke. In order to represent the ‘fascist culture’, the essential thing was to be registered in the Party and pay a formal and conformist tribute to il Duce. The rest was more or less indifferent… Instead of starting from ground zero, instead of not respecting fame and made names, instead of subjecting everything to a radical revision, fascism had the ambition of a provincial and the ‘parvenu’ of reaping around himself the ‘exponents of the existing bourgeois culture’, as long as they had paid the contribution of that formal and irrelevant adherence to the regime, as I have said. And so there was the bleak spectacle of an Italian Academy whose members were largely agnostic and anti-fascist in internal orientation; this is true even for many worthy men in the institutes of fascist culture and in the major press. Thus, it is not surprising that many of these gentlemen who have changed their jackets are reunited in the democratic and anti-fascist Italy of the second post-war period».

In the «Spanish» case, the Francoist culture was essentially handled by the Falangist family, with Ortega, Unamuno and other liberal intellectuals of the so-called Generation of ’98 as the main cultural figures. Against this official situation of the regime, there was at the end of the forties and the beginning of the fifties a timid cultural reaction (the self-styled Generation of 48)  from a branch of the aforementioned technocratic family, but using authors of Catholicist ultramontanism, group or sector of the right revolutionary that is functional both to the new «law» and to the liberal anti-dynasty.

Even so, these ultramontane authors, who did not serve for a genuinely counterrevolutionary cultural opposition, nor did they take root or even reach the minds of the new generations of Francoism, gave rise to the objectively disconsolate situation described by José Antonio García de Cortázar –Formal director of the meritorious Catholic culture Magazine Verbo between 1968 and his death in 1988– in a letter of his from 1957: «Twenty years into our war, we have lost it. It is not that the youth I know are communists or anarchists; only that he is not interested in our war or our ideas, and we ourselves are anachronistic beings like the megatherium or the diplodocus… Talking about Menéndez and Pelayo is arousing laughter; regarding Balmes it was officially told here, in Alcoy, that he was «a poor right-wing journalist»; of Donoso, that he was a charlatan. And of Maurras, Bainville, etc., they don’t even know them. All this is the work of the regime, which has had enough of extolling Ortega, Unamuno, etc. They tell me that these thoughts predominate in the university en masse». «Total, that it is necessary to prepare for the one that comes. I do not believe in a communist or anarchist revolution, but I do believe in a skeptical future regime, without vitality, full of spite and resentment. And then we will have to occupy the trenches of Christianity, so bleakly abandoned in recent years… It is necessary to rise up and go back into battle and be prepared for when this intellectual battle arises. It will arise, because today’s intellectual thought is adverse to us, and skeptical thought is today stronger than Catholic thought. And many who appear to us now as Catholic will soon take off their mask, when the reins of the State are left a little more free. Now then, for this fight you have to be prepared. With the background of our traditional Catholic thought […]; you have to write in the same magical style as the others, those from the opposition, those immersed in current European culture».

Although it is not their main or essential mission, the Spanish legitimists have been the only ones who have presented –and continue to present– this cultural battle, then and now, since they are entrenched and based on the only legal and sociopolitical truth of Spain, which they defend.

Written by, Félix M.ª Martín Antoniano.

Translated by Alfz M. ScullinCírculo Carlista Camino Real de Tejas

Editor’s Note: We do not want the reader of this excellent article to be deceived about Julius Evola, who is accurately quoted by Elías de Tejada.

Elías de Tejada dedicated a provocative article to the Gnostic and Satanist Evola in which he apparently praised some of his attitudes, while denouncing the poison of his ideas. Here, he talks about a right judgment of Evola, alien to his usual Gnosticism, when Evola refers to the fascist cultural policy.