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SPAIN: Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera

Christopher Jones writes: "While we have been discussing the life and death of Federico Garcia Lorca, I have been receiving a steady stream of information from the Plataforma 2003. This group has been set up to coordinate the centennial of the birth of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera by the Jose Antonio Foundation.

While some WAISers keep a picture of their favorite professor or historical figure as inspiration, on my desk I always keep a copy of the Obras Completas of this amazing thinker and friend of Lorca. On the orders of the Soviet ambassador, Jose Antonio was murdered by the Republicans after a farcical trial in Alicante. But his name lived on for many years although in a strange way. I always felt that the Franco regime was happy to have this charismatic young man out of the way (he was 33 when he died).

Jose Antonio was a revolutionary thinker, poet and founder of sindicalismo vertical. His ideas of "sintesis" are in my opinion still very valid and sorely lacking around the world -- in short a man way ahead of his time. WAIS has some extraordinarily qualified historians to render homage to this great Spaniard, and I hope that my posting will begin a discussion. JOSE ANTONIO : PRESENTE!"

While I lived in the Residencia de Estudiantes, even the leftists spoke with respect of Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera (1903-36) son of the dictator Primo de Rivera.

He studied law and was a national deputy, but that did not prevent his being executed. President Manuel Azana claimed he could not stop the execution, which was stupid and criminal. In The Spanish Civil War Hugh Thomas devotes considerable space to him, with an account (p. 352) of his dignified death, His complete works were published by the Instituto de Estudios Politicos in 1976.

The centennial of his birth is being celebrated this year, 2003. Perhaps John Healey in Madrid can tell us more about it. There seems to be a nostalgia for the Franco regime, but do many Spaniards think his political ideas have any validity today? From this great distance I have the impression that he is respected in Spain, but that there is no solid support for his ideas, which were related to fascism. If the Jose Antonio Foundation has a website, we could get a better idea of what is going on.

Ronald Hilton - 10.27.03