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George.
02-12-2008, 07:08 AM
I just finished Anthony Beever's masterly book about the Spanish Civil War. For those who enjoy well-researched and well-written history, I highly recommend it, along with his previous books on Stalingrad and Berlin.

Anyway, if you need any more reasons to feel disgusted by the Communist Party (yes, singular - there really is only one, with tightly run franchises in individual countries) and by the Catholic Church establishment (as opposed to many individual Catholics, including priests), there are plenty there. Small wonder most people in Spain today have little patience for either one. The fascists, of course, are hors concours.

It is a source of wonder and dismay to me that to this day, both religious institutions and the Communists are still broadly accepted in politics, including in Brasil. They deserve at least as much suspicion as the various neo-fascist groups, but seem to get a free pass from people who know history only superficially.

George.
02-12-2008, 01:44 PM
I should have titled this "Hillary, Communists, and the Church." It would have floated better... :D

GregW
02-12-2008, 03:26 PM
Indeed and excellent book. If anyone doubts that religious institutions are not reactionary, should give the book a read. Like any other institution, religions or otherwise, when backed up against a wall things get nasty, the catholic church does not come off blemish free from its role during the war.

PatCox
02-12-2008, 03:50 PM
Who wrote the original version of the following phrase: "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need." a. Karl Marx b. Saint Mark c. Saint Luke d. Saint Mathew


Answer: c. Saint Luke

Ian McColgin
02-12-2008, 04:20 PM
It's interesting how two so often corrupt institutions can attract such loyalty. Compare our hero in Darkness at Noon with almost any of Graham Green's whiskey priests.

I have known two of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, quite a few '30's era former Commies, and a very important influence in my youth was an aging Menshovic. From this slender anecdotal awareness, it seems that CPUSA was always a bit heretical in the eyes of the International, always a bit ill-disciplined, and did not have the European talent for terror, betrayal and manufactured sacrifice. Certainly the ALB guys were disgusted at the Party's ability to put other leftists in the way of getting killed. And of the Church's despicable enabling of Franco . . .

stevebaby
02-12-2008, 06:50 PM
I've never forgiven the Bolsheviks for shooting the sailors of Kronstadt.
Baaaarstards!

peb
02-12-2008, 07:00 PM
Franco at least understood the extent of the evil that he was fighting. Spain should be thankful that communism never took over. It wasn't pretty when the communist won. The Church did not enable Franco. It definitely supported him once he started his rebellion. What choice did it have, the Republican side had been persecuting the Church since the early 30s.

Flame retardant on :)

GregW
02-12-2008, 07:28 PM
Franco at least understood the extent of the evil that he was fighting. Spain should be thankful that communism never took over. It wasn't pretty when the communist won. The Church did not enable Franco. It definitely supported him once he started his rebellion. What choice did it have, the Republican side had been persecuting the Church since the early 30s.

Flame retardant on :)

I'm sure you've heard that you're judged by the company you keep, Hitler, Mussolini and Franco don't make good company, however it's the company the Catholic Church decided to keep during the Spanish Civil war.
The Nationalist side, like the Republican side was not a nonolith, there were factions, some more radical than others, fact is that no matter how blood thirsty you were the Catholic Church was right there with you, blessing the troops etc. It's one thing not supporting a side, i.e. the Republicans, and quite another sanctioning winning at any cost.

skuthorp
02-12-2008, 08:15 PM
Both organisations have in common that the survival of the organisation is paramount. People replace themselves so are not important in the scheme of things. The survival of the political body is supreme, and interestingly both practiced 'excommunication' of those that strayed from percieved orthodoxy, and sometimes in both cases the resuls were fatal.

George.
02-13-2008, 07:56 AM
Franco at least understood the extent of the evil that he was fighting. Spain should be thankful that communism never took over. ..., the Republican side had been persecuting the Church since the early 30s.


Actually, what Franco did was try to overthrow a democratic regime, so comitted to democracy that it never blinked before supressing an attempted communist revolution in Asturias by brute force - two years before the Civil War started.

Two years after the Civil War had started, it was indeed Franco or Communism, as the Communists had taken advantage of the chaos, the military weakness of the Republic, and the fact that only Stalin provided it with weapons while the democracies balked, to empower themselves and organize a takeover, which was planned for right after the victory that never came.

Franco's brutal attack caused the rise of the Communists, and then swatted them down. If he had stayed in his barracks it would have never happened.

As for the Church - the Republican government never persecuted it. What it did do was stop subisdizing it and introduce freedom of religion to Spain for the first time since the Inquisition. There were attacks on churches and priests by individuals and fringe groups, mostly after the war started and the Church supported the fascists. But if you look at the Church's role in Spanish politics over the century before that, you'll see they had it coming.

tattooed john
02-14-2008, 06:44 AM
Come the revolution George.....

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-14-2008, 07:17 AM
Personally, I find the history of Spain from the abdication of Charles V to the coronation of Juan Carlos to be five hundred - odd years of misery and disaster.

Here is what is generally considered to be one of the masterpieces of western art - Velasquez' "Las Meninas", painted in 1656:



http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a4/Velazquez-Meninas.jpg/526px-Velazquez-Meninas.jpg

Now glance at the biography of the man reflected in the mirror...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_IV_of_Spain

And that was one of the good bits!

It only got worse, never better.

The Hapsburgs intermarried themselves into extinction (Philip's son and sucessor, Charles 11, was descended 14 times from Joanna the Mad - enough said - and the dynasty ended with him, deformed, feeble minded and infertile) and when Louis XIV of France put a Bourbon on the throne, throwing Europe into the War of the Spanish Sucession, things did not improve much...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferdinand_VII_of_Spain

and so it went on, and on, and on, down to the Civil War.

Ghastly!

George.
02-14-2008, 10:40 AM
As you said, Andrew, it only got worse ...

http://eeweems.com/goya/_imagery/family_charles_500.jpg


Eventually leading to things like this:


http://homepage.mac.com/ruitavares/.Pictures/aux/goyael3.jpg


But Franco's regime was both culmination and nadir.

http://marcus-mayer.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/08/guernica_picasso.jpg

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-14-2008, 10:57 AM
We might well say...

http://www.artchive.com/artchive/g/goya/goya_sleep_of_reason.jpg

which would certainly apply to the subject at hand!

Keith Wilson
02-14-2008, 11:06 AM
"The sleep of reason produces monsters"

One has to give them credit, though; Spain's transition to democracy and prosperity has been smoother and quicker than anyone could have imagined fifty years ago.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-14-2008, 11:16 AM
Yes. People of my age still find it hard to credit.

However, we need to be a little careful - the Spanish economy is hugely over-extended - far more so than we Anglo-Saxons - and the smash which is now under way may throw up some throw backs.

I personally hope not - I date the recovery of Europe not so much from the fall of the Berlin Wall as from King Juan Carlos's facing down of the coup.

George.
02-14-2008, 11:19 AM
Spain is a good example of a country held back not by culture or geography, but by bad governance. It took them five centuries to get rid of the dominance of the Church and the big landowners. After that, it took them only two decades to go from one of Europe's poorest nations to one of the richest. They just passed Italy in per capita income, and may soon be passing France.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-14-2008, 11:57 AM
As an Englishman, I was brought up to believe in the "black legend" and my wife was brought up in a country that preserved unhappy memories of its status as one of Spain's last colonies.

Spanish bad governance was really quite something - it still blights large tracts of the globe!

The whole catastrophe goes back to 1492 - the union of Castille and Aragon, the final defeat of the (far more civilised) Moors and the start of the rape of the New World.

Great wealth achieved without effort always corrupts a body politic, be it the oil wealth of the Islamic world or the torrent of silver, bought with the blood of hundreds of thousands, that poured into Spain and produced...what?

Nothing.

A few great paintings, some second rate architecture, and the continuation, for decades of the wars of religion in the Netherlands and Germany, ending in defeat for Spain and Holy Mother Church. :(

Oh, and the Inquisition.:(

Keith Wilson
02-14-2008, 12:11 PM
Great wealth achieved without effort always corrupts a body politic . . . Excellent point. On can make a pretty good case that the revulsion against the wars of the religion was a cause of the beginning of religious tolerance and the Enlightenment, but those are unintended consequences of the most ironic type.

(We're in danger of waking up Sam, who will tell us that the Inquisition wasn't really that bad by the standards of the time.)

George.
02-14-2008, 12:21 PM
And then he'll tell us that Franco really wasn't a fascist mass murderer, and the Church didn't really support him because it wasn't priests pulling the trigger...

Keith Wilson
02-14-2008, 12:29 PM
Or at least he wasn't as bad as Stalin, and what about the bombing of Dresden, anyway? :D

George.
02-14-2008, 12:42 PM
Whatever you do, don't mention the Vendee... :D

Keith Wilson
02-14-2008, 12:49 PM
Or the Albig . . . Mmmph ghmmrp nnfffrg! (stuffs jacket sleeve in his own mouth) :D:D

George.
02-14-2008, 01:23 PM
But seriously, being of 50% Navarro extraction, I knew about the Church's role in Spain's history - hell, my nieces go to an Opus Dei school, even thought their mother my cousin is a Godless naturalist like me, and I heartily support it. What was news to me in Anthony Beevor's book is the full extent of the filth underneath the Communist Party's role in the Spanish Civil War.

Beevor had access to the ex-USSR's archives, and revealed a history of Commie conspiracy and Stalinist manipulation that is beyond even what I and most people in Spain already knew or suspected. If anyone needs further reason to realize that the only good Communist is an impotent one, please read this book.

As for the Catholic Church - I truly believe it behaved no worse than any other religious faction would if faced with the loss of long-held power, and perhaps better than many. And there was no shortage of Catholic priests (not to mention Catholic laypeople) who were true to their faith and philosophy, and therefore anti-Franco - and who paid for it with their lives. I have personally heard of more than one, just in the little corner of the universe that my aunts and uncles lived in, in remote reactionary Navarra.

Oh, well, the Granache wines, the chorizo, and the hearts of lettuce are still the best in the world... :D

Keith Wilson
02-14-2008, 01:27 PM
I think I'll have to read the book; thanks for the recommendation.

I once made the mistake of reading the list of ingredients on a package of Mexican chorizo. :eek:

George.
02-14-2008, 01:51 PM
I once made the mistake of reading the list of ingredients on a package of Mexican chorizo. :eek:

One thing I like about most Spanish signature pork products (not all) is that they are made from free-range pigs. This was once a sign of Spain's backwardness, backyard stockraising while the rest of the "developed" world did it industrially. Now they can charge a premium for natural, lean, additive-free, hormone and antibiotic-free, torture-free, succulent bloody animal flesh. :D

Some of the pigs, like the ones involved in making bellotas ham, have downright luxurious lives until they see the butcher's knife. Since I will not eat the flesh of animals that have been tortured, this is pretty much the only pork I eat nowadays.

PS: don't even start on bullfights...

PSS: if you haven't tasted chorizo Pamplonica, you haven't lived... :D

George.
02-14-2008, 01:53 PM
I once made the mistake of reading the list of ingredients on a package of Mexican chorizo. :eek:

One thing I like about most Spanish signature pork products (not all) is that they are made from free-range pigs. This was once a sign of Spain's backwardness, backyard stockraising while the rest of the "developed" world did it industrially. Now they can charge a premium for natural, lean, additive-free, hormone and antibiotic-free, torture-free, succulent bloody animal flesh. :D

Some of the pigs, like the ones involved in making bellotas ham, have downright luxurious lives until they see the butcher's knife. Since I will not eat the flesh of animals that have been tortured, this is pretty much the only pork I eat nowadays.

PS: don't even start on bullfights...

PSS: if you haven't tasted chorizo pamplonica, you haven't lived... :D

Keith Wilson
02-14-2008, 02:11 PM
If you haven't tasted chorizo pamplonica, you haven't lived . . I haven't. The Mexican version is pretty good with eggs and chiles if you don't think about it too hard.

George.
02-14-2008, 02:34 PM
The pamplonica version is very good in tortillas, pintxos, and by itself. Indispensable in certain paellas, also.

If you want to enjoy sausages without thinking too hard about how they are made, a la Clausewitz, try mocilla de Burgos - Franco's capital before he won all of Spain, no less. Appropriately, it is made of blood, but with plenty of oats and lots of flavor. :D

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-14-2008, 03:12 PM
I believe that it was Bismarck, rather than Clausewitz, who made the sausage remark.

Keith Wilson
02-14-2008, 03:12 PM
a la Clausewitz . . . Appropriately, it is made of blood . . LOL! :D :D High in iron too, no doubt.

Is Pinxto a Basque word? Whenever I see a word from Spain that looks like it descended from Martian, I suspect Basque.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
02-14-2008, 03:25 PM
Thanks for the recommendation, George.

You just reminded me of something - I went to the bookshelf and pulled out Animal Farm.

The current Penguin edition contains both Orwell's proposed preface to the English edition and his actual preface to the Ukrainian edition, as appendices. Both are very well worth reading for the light they throw on the attempted suppression of the book by the British Ministry of Information and for an account of his experiences in the Spanish Civil War at the hands of the Communists - it was these experiences which enabled him to see Communism rather more clearly than almost all his contemporaries.

PeterSibley
02-14-2008, 11:44 PM
Since I will not eat the flesh of animals that have been tortured, this is pretty much the only pork I eat nowadays.


Well put .

GregW
02-15-2008, 07:01 AM
George, if you enjoy Beevor's books, I highly recommend his book "Paris After The Liberation 1944-1949".

It was interesting to read how the Communist tried legitimately take power after the war by claiming that they were the resistance, or as one french wag put it, "The communist claimed that out of the 35,000 Frenchmen killed during the resistance 70,000 were communist!":)

Osborne Russell
02-15-2008, 11:15 AM
Ministry of Information


That's got a commie ring to it.

George.
02-15-2008, 11:41 AM
So does Homeland Security.

Keith Wilson
02-15-2008, 11:46 AM
Nah, the Bushes prefer language with Fascist echoes - "New World Order", "Homeland Security" . The Nazis were very fond of talking about the "Heimat" , which is as close to "homeland" as a translation gets.

Osborne Russell
02-16-2008, 10:05 AM
Commie, Nazi, the way I figure, they were such bitter enemies because they were such close rivals, each fighting to become the successor to MEM.