80 Years & Nothing's Changed ~ April 1, 2017
“Whether the British ruling class are wicked or merely stupid is one of the most difficult questions of our time.” ~ George Orwell, Looking Back on the Spanish War, 1942
ighty years ago, the Spanish Civil War raged on. Hollywood made a movie about it, from the Hemingway novel, For Whom the Bell Tolls, starring Ingrid Bergman and Gary Cooper. It was, in important ways, a prelude to World War II. Does this obscure little war, fought so long ago and far away, have anything to tell us?
The war in a nutshell. A lot of people who know anything about it have the impression that the Republicans were the rebels—our go-to idea is that the Left equals nice ideals that are hopelessly quixotic, and doomed to fail. In fact, the Left was the democratically elected government. The rebels were the fascists, led by General Franco, and backed by aristocrats and big business, and vigorously supported by Nazi Germany. The English, French, and Americans could easily have intervened, and even moderate intervention would have been successful. They didn’t, and the fascists won.
...the British ruling class did all they could do to hand Spain over to Franco and the Nazis. Why? Because they were pro-Fascist...
The big question, then—why, if helping a Western democracy survive would have seriously hindered Hitler, did the allies refuse to help? Here is the most reliable person on the subject, George Orwell, who risked his life on the Republican side: “The war was actually won for Franco by the Germans and Italians…one did not need to be a clairvoyant to foresee that war between Britain and Germany was coming…Yet, in the most mean, cowardly, hypocritical way the British ruling class did all they could do to hand Spain over to Franco and the Nazis. Why? Because they were pro-Fascist, was the obvious answer. Undoubtedly they were…”
So, here are the basic facts: 1- Spain elected a Left government, which was a coalition of Left parties, called the Popular Front, in January of 1936; 2- In July of 1936, the aristocrats formed a fascist rebellion to overthrow the Left government, led by General Franco; 3- Germany and Italy decisively supported Franco and the fascists, while the allies refused to support the democratically elected Republicans; 4- Franco won, and repaid Hitler by staying neutral during WWII. Imagine if Hitler had to deal with a strong, well-equipped Republican army in Spain. Taking Spain out of the equation emboldened Hitler.
Here’s the big take away: The Ruling Classes would rather risk destruction than allow ordinary people to have power. Orwell again, on why the supporters of Franco’s fascists did so: “They are all people with something to lose, or people who long for a hierarchal society and dread the prospect of a world of free and equal human beings.” (Emphasis added.)
Flash forward to the winter/spring of 2016. The DNC has two hot players—establishment dinosaur Hillary Clinton, darling of the “professional class,” and Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders, who wants single-payer healthcare for all Americans. The DNC makes it clear that it hates Bernie (big ego, pie-in-the-sky, crazy hair), and is mad for Hillary (realist, feminist, closer). They’ll destroy the party, they’ll lose a huge election, they’ll run the country off the rails, before they’ll allow Left-winger Bernie Sanders to win the party’s nomination. Leaked emails (they were leaked, not hacked, by the way) reveal a very dull and obvious fact—party insiders loathed Sanders and were looking for ways to beat him. Duh.
The one enduring characteristic of the Establishment in any age is its contempt for ordinary people. They might at times utter sweet nothings to the Unwashed, but at all costs they will keep them from power. After WWII, the Right in Europe, having lost all credibility, lost control, and multi-party democracy blossomed. Here in America, we retain our rusty, aristocratic two-party “system,” and with it minority control by the rich. The hatred and consistency with which the corporate press and the DNC harangued Senator Sanders exposed the reality of our politics, if only briefly. Defeating democracy is an old sport, one which never goes out of style.