Since the beginning of the coalition government between PSOE and Unidas Podemos in 2019, the country is focused on the problems derived from the pandemic, both health and economic. There is some disappointment on part of the left about the validity of some laws of the previous government, especially the Citizen Security Law (known as the Gag Law), which affects the citizen protests and that continue to pose a problem for social movements. The main police organizations, along with the right and the extreme right, refuse to change this law. The right continues to try to promote the conflict with Catalonia and its sovereign demands, recently attacking teaching in Catalan in public education and other language normalization policies, both in Catalonia and in other territories with their own language (València, Euskadi, Galicia, Balearic Islands or Asturias). In regional parliaments where the right governs with the support of the extreme right, they try to repeal gender equality policies. In Castilla y León, the far-right Vox party has been part of the regional government since April.
Regarding the economy, the recent labor reform promoted by the government has put a stop to the high temporary nature of contracts and reduced unemployment, but the economic consequences of the war in Ukraine are beginning to be felt with the increase in fuel prices, which caused work stoppages during weeks in the transport sector, and other essential goods. The main concerns and challenges facing the population are economic problems derived from the pandemic; job insecurity, the price of energy (historical increases in the price of electricity); the increase in the price of housing and evictions; the precariousness of public services.
The Spanish border with Morocco has recently been a point of conflict used by the Moroccan dictator to pressure Spain, using migrants as pressure against the reception of a leader of the Saharawi Polisario Front for humanitarian reasons. With the rest of the border countries (Portugal and France), there is currently no conflict and relations are normal.
The southern border that is Spain is one of the black spots where numerous human rights violations take place. Within the country, there are also prisons for migrants in an irregular situation (CIE), and anti-racist groups regularly report numerous cases of discrimination in access to work, housing or on the streets, with police controls based on racial profiling. The gender and equality laws approved by this government have represented a new offensive by the right and Catholic fundamentalism. Also, Spanish nationalism against the different cultures of the State continues to be one of the hallmarks of the right-wing, but it is also defended by some groups on the left, contrary to diversity.
Status of the far-right in the country
The violent actions of the extreme right in Spain are currently limited to attacks against left and local political headquarters of social organizations (bookstores, NGOs, social centres, etc …). The most serious was the attack with explosives against the Podemos headquarters in Cartagena, for which two people linked to neo-Nazi groups were arrested. There have been several attacks on LGTB people, migrants and anti-fascists in several cities.
In addition to the main far-right party (VOX), there are small organizations at the local level that carry out campaigns and various events from time to time. VOX has managed to normalize these speeches, but it has also removed customers from these organizations, many of which existed before this party’s irruption in the institutions.
The main fascist and far-right actors are the following:
- Far right parliamentarian: Vox.
- Extra-parliamentary far right:
- Partidos políticos registrados: Democracia Nacional, España2000, Plataforma Respeto, Alianza Nacional, Falange Española de las JONS, La Falange, Coalición ADÑ, Identitarios, NOSOTROS – Partido de la Regeneración Social.
- Grupos y organizaciones de extrema derecha: Hogar Social Madrid (Madrid), Hacer Nación (ámbito estatal), Iberia Cruor (Jaén), El Galeón Espacio No Conforme (Elda, Alicante), Valentia Forum (Valencia), Acción Juvenil Valencia (Valencia), Acción Social (Cádiz), Acción Social (Asturias), Málaga 1487 (Málaga), Asociación Cultural Alfonso I (Cantabria), Centro Social y Nacional Salamanca –CSYN– (Salamanca), Asociación Rodrigo de Bastidas (Sevilla), Asociación Cultural In Memoriam Juan Ignacio (ACIMJI) (Madrid y Valencia), Bastión Frontal (Madrid y Sevilla), Legio VII (León), Almería Inconforme (Almería), Getafe Nacional Revolucionario (Getafe, Madrid), Alcalá 1247 (Alcalá de Guadaira, Sevilla), Red Sociocultural DESPERTA (Zaragoza), Comunidad política Vértice (Almería), Devenir Europeo (Barcelona), Fundación Nacional Francisco Franco (national).
The main groups of victims of extreme right violence have historically been leftist groups, feminist groups, and racialized or LGTBI people. In recent years, parties in the Government such as Unidas Podemos (left) have also suffered repeated attacks from the extreme right, both parliamentary (Vox) and extra-parliamentary groups.
There are problems between the parliamentary far-right and non-parliamentary far-right groups. Especially in economic matters and in relations with Israel (VOX is openly pro-Israel). Within the extreme right groups that are not in parliament, there are conflicts between them over the hegemony of the movement and the leadership.
Status of antifascists in the country
Anti-fascism in the country is for the most part organized at the local level in neighbourhood assemblies or platforms. Its level of activity varies depending on the city of the State we are talking about. In the main capitals such as Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia the level of organization and activity is higher. Its main activity is the organization of conferences, talks and events, acts and dissemination campaigns as well as mobilizations in the streets. There are some territories in Spain with no presence or notable activity of far-right organizations, such as Basque Country, Galicia or Canary Islands, but they also have their own antifascist platforms.
The main concerns of the antifascists are the rise of the extreme right and its visualization, the amplification of its speech. The dissemination of the speech of the extreme right, previously reduced to more marginal spaces, is now reproduced in Parliament and has much more space and repercussion because of the media. This leads to the arguments and ideologies of the extreme right being considered as topics to be discussed and the groups themselves as valid operators within the political debate. Thus, moving the axis of the debates and social problems to the field of the extreme right.
There are debates about the response to be given to neo-Nazi groups, the actions that are most effective, as well as the use of violence and self-defence. Also on participation in state institutions and political parties. The main risks facing the antifascist movement are state repression (fines, arrests and jail), as well as physical risks of aggression.
As historical elements of confrontation between antifascists and fascists, we have mainly the Civil War (1936-1939) and the coup that led to the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. The transition from dictatorship to democracy is also a matter of confrontation, as well as the figure of the King who was appointed by Franco. This together with the Amnesty Laws first, and the later ones of Historical Memory have been recurrent subjects of confrontation. As well as the elimination of streets and squares with names of fascists and references to the dictatorship, as well as monuments, and also decorations and official recognitions to members of the dictatorship.
The extreme right at the institutional level is carrying out a racist discourse against immigration, sexist and against LGTBI rights. At the legal level, it is trying to repeal laws that grant rights to these groups and to increase the repression of left-wing groups. As for the neo-Nazi street groups, they are carrying out actions against collectives, acts, demonstrations and social movements, attacking the headquarters of associations or left-wing groups. There is also an increase in reports of attacks on racialized or LGTBI people, and of hate crimes.
The most controversial issues are immigration (as Spain is the southern border of Europe and place of arrival of migrants), the economic crisis, opposition to the rights of women and LGTBI groups, Spanish nationalism and the unity of Spain, attack on the left both parliamentary and extra-parliamentary.
The Zapatero government (PSOE) brings a radicalization and a campaign of harassment from the extreme right. And a particularly key more recent moment was the entry of Vox into Parliament.
The different extra-parliamentary extreme right groups or collectives have connections with other similar groups in European countries. For example, groups such as Hogar Social were related to Italian neo-Nazi groups such as CasaPound and Blocco Studantesco, as is now Frontal Bastion. It is common for these groups to bring Nazi members from other countries to give talks or events.The ultra-Catholic organization Hazte Oír, for its part, was at least originally linked to the Mexican sect El Yunque, according to a report commissioned by the Episcopal Conference in 2019.
VOX has been key for the PP governments in several autonomous communities and municipalities since 2018. They have been accepted as a government partner, granting them some of their demands against equality policies. Also its presence has normalized in the media. There is no sanitary cordon against the extreme right in Spain. Since April 2022, Vox is part of the regional governemt of Castilla y León.
VOX is constantly in the news for its habitual attacks on equality and human rights laws, through inflammatory speeches and a communication strategy based on misinformation and provocation.
Regarding the percentages obtained by the extreme right and extreme right in the parliamentary and EU elections:
VOX: 15.09% in the national elections (2019) and 6.20% in the European elections (2019)
Some activists of neo-Nazi and fascist groups have ended up being part of Vox, both as militants or supporters and in its structures as advisers, as is the case of Jordi de la Fuente, a former member of the MSR (neo-fascist party) who is currently an advisor to Ignacio Garriga, Vox deputy in Catalonia.
They seek to condition the governments of the right that they support (without becoming part of them so as not to wear themselves out) and to be constantly the focus of attention in the media.
The main political agendas of the extreme right in the country are that the right apply part of its program wherever its support is essential for these governments, and always condition the public debate around its proposals.
The extreme right in this country has, first of all, a series of newspapers and digital media for the dissemination of its ideas and messages. The main media in the country are conservative in ideology. But in addition, these groups and parties have invested in the purchase and creation of new digitals as a political strategy, as well as in the founding of television channels, YouTube channels, and other streaming media and social networks that are popular with young people.
The key narratives are those of always the extreme right, a racist argument where immigration and Muslim people is blamed, and within this, unaccompanied minors are responsible first for the lack of work, and then for crime and sexual assaults in the country. Also, a continuous attack on the rights of women and the advances of feminism, as well as those of LGTBI groups. In addition, since the arrival to power of the progressive coalition government, they have begun continuous harassment of its members with daily news, fake news, as a method of discrediting, both personal and political.
The media do not usually give publicity to the people or groups that are dedicated to analyzing or denouncing these extreme right-wing groups. There is normally no information about them, and when there is it is in a sensational way that ends up whitewashing these groups and further normalizing their speech and presence.
Non-parliamentary far-right groups have different financing methods, from the most basic ones such as concerts, membership fees and sale of material, to shops, foundations, music groups, etc. They also carry out crowdfunding campaigns, lottery sales or request for donations.
The parliamentary extreme right, such as the Vox party, was financed through donations, lobbies and foundations and later the financing for its creation was made public through an Iranian group considered terrorist by the US and the European Union. At present, by being part of the Institutions, it receives subsidies from public funds. This party also draws on different Foundations and Lobbies and Thinktanks, as well as law firms.