Postfascism in Spain: the struggle for Catalonia

Bernat, Ignasi and Whyte, David ORCID: 0000-0002-9732-7944
(2019) Postfascism in Spain: the struggle for Catalonia. Critical Sociology.

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The thousands of Spanish National Police and Guardia Civil sent to Barcelona in order to prevent the referendum legislated by the Catalan Parliament on 6 and 7 September 2017 raised major questions about the fragility of Spanish democracy. The subsequent display of police violence on 1 October and the imprisonment and criminalisation of political opponents for the archaic offences of ‘rebellion’ and ‘sedition’ looked even less ‘democratic’. Indeed, those events in Catalonia constitute a remarkable moment in recent European history. This article uses the literature on ‘postfascism’ (developed in this journal and elsewhere) to analyse this remarkable moment and develop its social connections to the parallel re-emergence of fascist violence on the streets and the appearance of fascist symbolism in mainstream politics in Spain. The literature on postfascism identifies contemporary fascism as a specifically cultural phenomenon, but generally fails to identify how the conditions that sustain the far right originate inside the state. In order to capture this historical turn more concretely as a process in which state institutions and processes of statecraft are intimately involved, we argue that the Spanish state is postfascist. The article offers a brief critique of the way the concept of postfascism has been deployed, and, through an empirical reading of the historical development of Spanish state institutions, it proposes a modified frame that can be used to understand the situation in Catalonia.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Catalonia, democracy, far-right, political repression, postfascism, Spain, state power
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 10 Jul 2019 08:13
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2021 11:49
DOI: 10.1177/0896920519867132
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