Think tanks. Bag of shite.
Here’s a photo from a think-tank meeting yesterday, I think.
Why, it’s John Bruton, bonce bowed in direction of the José María Aznar.
According to the FAES thinktank, which organised the forum, titled ‘Thinking about the economy’ (which is presumably why they have ‘Economic forum’ written up in big blue letters), it was about thinking about the economy.
Now, FAES is basically a vehicle for José María Aznar. It proclaims, oh, I can’t be bothered, you can probably figure it out for yourself. Liberty, Democracy, Rule of Law, Western Civilisation, Market Economy, Terrorism, Bestiality, Goose-Stepping and so on and so forth. The usual.
But! One thing hadn’t occurred to me about it until I read this chat with Santiago Carrillo, former Secretary General of the Spanish Communist Party, Civil War veteran, and most likely one of the most evil people on the planet according to the President and Patrons of FAES. Carrillo is in his mid 90s, and still smokes, I do believe.
He gets asked:
Do you think Aznar, with his declarations, is contributing anything to get this country out of the economic pit in which we are stuck?
and he replies:
I don’t know if Aznar is a young falangist or an old falangist. At any rate he’s a typical representative of neoconservatism. In the first legislature he didn’t show his claws because he had to make a pact [with Catalan, Basque and Canary Island nationalist parties, IIRC – HG]. But in the second he started to show them by joining with Bush to invade Iraq. Of late he has been the mentor of the most reactionary wing of the PP. The FAES, what does that suggest to you? To me, Falange Española. Aznar, who is not stupid, didn’t pick those letters by chance. He represents the Francoist past of this country a lot more than Fraga [Manuel, leader of Alianza Popular, the precursor of the Partido Popular, and former dashing young technocrat in Franco government]. Look: Fraga, when he was the head of AP, conducted an opposition to González [Felipe, former Socialist Party Prime Minister, preceded Aznar in the job] in the English style, constructive. It was when Aznar arrived that that type of opposition ended and the political situation began to flare, to create the atmosphere of division that now exists in the country, doing away with all the advances we were able to make in the Transition with regard to the coexistence of different political currents. Aznar is the mentor of Rajoy [Mariano, current PP leader, potentially next Prime Minister] and he is a very dangerous man.
Now, I think Carrillo’s line that there is an allusion in the name of the think tank FAES to Falange Española is pretty convincing. FAES in Spanish is pronounced ‘Fa – Es’, i.e. exactly the same sound as the first syllable of Falange and of Española, as my bold highlighting is intended to demonstrate, but I underline the matter here for clarity’s sake. However, there is another allusion worth pointing out.
José María Aznar, in his teenage years, was a member of an organisation called El Frente de Estudiantes Sindicalistas (FES). Even to my cloth ears, ‘FES’ sounds a lot like ‘FAES’ too.
FES was, according to this link, an organisation devoted to maintaining fidelity to the ideas of José Antonio Primo de Rivera, even to the point of adopting a certain oppositional position to Franco’s dictatorship, in so far as Franco’s dictatorship did not go far enough (Franco had mobilised the memory of José Antonio Primo de Rivera in official national propaganda, promoting him as a martyr figure, burying him in the Valle de los Caídos and so on.) Let’s recall what those ideas were:
First, it was time to put an end to:
electoral idolatry. The crowds are as fallible as individuals, and generally they make more mistakes. The truth is the truth (even if it only has 100 votes)
we do not struggle for a dictatorship that manages to patch up a sinking ship, that cures a seasonal ill and that involves a solution of continuity in the systems and practices of ruinous liberalism. On the contrary, we move for a permanent national organisation; a strong State; robustly Spanish, with an executive governing Power and a corporate Chamber which embodies the true national realities. We do not advocate the fleetingness of a dictatorship, but the establishment and permanence of a system.
id est, as I said the other day, the abolition of the democratic principle.
Now, it would appear that Aznar has undergone a partial conversion, in so far as he talks a lot about ‘democracy’; something an old-fashioned Falangist would dismiss as bourgeois and degenerate. And yet, his decision to hitch Spain to the invasion of Iraq was taken despite overwhelming opposition among the Spanish population: 91%, according to this Guardian report. And as Carrillo points out above, he has no particular truck with the to-and-fro of dialogical parliamentary opposition.
But then again, if talk about ‘democracy’ was just a means of installing the permanence of a particular system, i.e. unfettered capitalism driven on by the institutions of the nation-state, you can see how a young falangist might go in for it. One can even conceive of the revival of some common ground with a few old blueshirts.