In the pacts of the right for governance after the municipal and regional elections of 28M, the PP delivers culture to Vox. It was already happening in Castilla y León and now it has delivered cultural management in the Valencian Community and in the Burgos City Council. While the negotiations for the distribution of political power continue in other communities and consistories, the PP candidate for the country’s presidency, Alberto Núñez Feijóo, has already announced that he will eliminate the Ministry of Culture if he wins the next 23J. The disdain of the popular for culture is very well received by the extreme right, which has found its recipe for growth in the so-called “culture wars”.
Feijóo defends his pacts with Vox: “Macho violence is obvious, it should not attract attention that it is not in the texts”
“The PP is going to assume the economic order and leave the cultural war to Vox. It is a new scenario”, explains Germán Cano, professor of Philosophy at the University of Alcalá de Henares and author of Weakness forces. New political grammars (2015), among other essays. “Vox has nothing to offer in economic matters against the PP, but it uses the cultural field to point out the PP as the ‘cowardly right’ in the cultural wars,” analyzes Ignacio Sánchez-Cuenca, author of intellectual audacity and professor at the Carlos III University of Madrid in the Department of Social Sciences. Culture has been the political capital of the far-right party, thanks to which they have achieved a minimum percentage of votes to be decisive in the governments of the popular. “The Vox culture is a cheap and efficient way to keep your distance from the PP and piss off the left,” adds Sánchez-Cuenca.
Why is Vox so interested in culture? “Because they believe that they will control the war of values that they intend to rebuild,” answers Clara Ramas, a professor of Philosophy at the Complutense University of Madrid and a former deputy for Más Madrid. She explains by phone that the ultra-right intends to return to moral frameworks on the family or the nation, for example, that society has overcome and no longer shares for decades. “So they try to artificially produce it from above, from the institutions, to impose it on a society that no longer agrees with those values,” says Ramas.
culture of resentment
The philosopher and author of the essay Capitalist fetish and mystification defines the cultural movement of the extreme right as an “artificial movement.” And it has worked for them. Because in their opinion they have been able to take advantage of the natural contradictions of the new frameworks and new social orders. “Vox feeds on the resentment of the loss of privileges. Resentment is political gasoline. However, now, from the institutions I believe that this explosive effect is going to dissolve. It will wear them down because they are unreal proposals”, predicts Ramas.
The extreme right has found a gold mine in the politics of symbolic coordinates, because it allows them to avoid the class struggle or divert interest towards sovereignty without having to expose their model of political and economic society. As several of the sources consulted tell us, the extreme right has read Antonio Gramsci (1891-1937). And they have learned from the Marxist philosopher that reconquering cultural hegemony is a necessary step to seize political power. It is a strategy that Vox has copied, for example, from that French National Front of Florian Philippot – vice president between 2012 and 2017 of the old FN –, who claimed as the basis of his movement the “reconquest of national sovereignty”.
This reconquest is the basis of Vox thought. They find no place in the present and turn to a past that they reconstruct to suit them. “In their reading of the past there is more of a reworking than a rescue, with a past filled with glories. This project of misrepresentation of history is enunciated from the rejection of experts and science. The interpretation of history is not made by historians, but by opinion-makers who are dedicated to magnifying the myth of Spanish imperial history and whitewashing the past based on their political interests. They have understood better than the left how important the battle for cultural hegemony is,” says historian Jesús Casquete, professor at the University of the Basque Country, professor of History of thought and social and political movements and author of Vox facing history. In this book Casquete shows how Vox has embarked on the rewriting of history until turning it into something unrecognizable.
emotion vs. reason
The workhorse of the extreme right is culture because from there they stir emotions. “Fundamentally, fear. Culture is a tool that Vox has used to reach the heart of the voter”, points out Jesús Casquete, who anticipates an electoral campaign in which we will see a struggle between reason and emotions. He doubts if reason will be enough for the victory of the left.
We know the historical extravagances that the deputies of the extreme right have defended in the Congress of Deputies. Francisco Contreras Peláez is one of the agitators of that historical fiction that they claim for the classrooms. The latest claim of his party, he has declared, is “to inform schoolchildren with balanced materials, neither chauvinistic nor legendary black”. While he was asking for a monument to Hernán Cortés in the Seville town of Castilleja de la Cuesta (where the invader lived his last years), he was proposing the idea of Hispanicity defended by the Francoist Ramiro de Maeztu. José Ramírez del Río, cultural spokesman for Vox and the most restrained of his colleagues, proposed celebrating the conquest of America to “show respect to this great figure of Spanish culture, while waiting for better and more civilized times.”
That is the essence of Vox’s cultural apparatus and its cultural intentions: to demand a return to the 16th century to rescue “better” and “more civilized” values, despite the massacre committed in the capture of Tenochtitlán, in 1521. The Historical data does not matter, the imperious doctrine of Santiago Abascal’s party understands that “nations that respect themselves celebrate their victories.” “Culture is not an exhibition or the premiere of a film, but a way to naturalize aberrant and archaic issues. The values they want to impose are repugnant to the majority of the Spanish population, they are indigestible even for the right itself,” says archaeologist Alfredo González Ruibal, author of back to the trenches and scorched earthamong others.
a question of identity
Vox uses academic controversies for its identity gains. Juan García-Gallardo, vice president of Castilla y León, appeared a few days ago to claim the new “cradle of Spanish” with a cry: “Burgos demands respect and future!”, As he published on the Twitter account of he. “We are going to locate the center of the origins of Spanish in the city of Burgos,” he added. And he discovered that the reason for this claim was “collective self-esteem”. He assured in the act that we have a “cultural legacy to be proud of”, for which he proposed “to promote all those issues that serve to reinforce our collective identity”.
“Potentiate” is the verb that knows no limits. Because he used it to relocate the origin of the Spanish language in a political act. If until now the academic consensus has located the cradle of Spanish in San Millán de la Cogolla (La Rioja), with the Emilian Glosses, Gallardo transferred the origin to the Cartularios de Valpuesta, in the Monastery of Santa María de Valpuesta (Burgos). These Cartularios are a series of documents from the 12th century whose authenticity is disputed by some and claimed by others. In 2010 the Royal Spanish Academy endorsed them as the first documents in which words written in Spanish appear, prior to the Emilian Glosses. The difference is that in these a Romance grammatical structure is presented and in the Cartularios, loose Romance words. That is to say, the Glosses are the oldest Iberian Romance texts of which there is news. But in these discursive cracks, Vox unapologetically takes advantage of the version that benefits it the most.
As Germán Cano recounts, “through culture they introduce a retrograde agenda of a minority Spain.” It is a framework that breaks with the idea of progress defended by the culture of the transition until now. “The model that Vox proposes can no longer be executed because Spain has changed. That culture of the fifties is going to lead them to experience a mismatch that remains to be seen, for example, in Valencian language policy”, adds Cano.
The culture of the enemy of Spain
Vox tries to compose a postcard of Spain that no longer exists, but that it will try to build with culture. “They will do it by reviving zombie phenomena such as bullfighting or building an invented national history, as they do with the conquest of America. That is where this grotesque of what they call history comes from and with which they have had a popular success, ”says archaeologist González Ruibal.
Until now, culture has allowed Vox to simulate a certain “anti-system” air, with which they have presented themselves in public as defenders of the people and humble people, against the dangerous groups of historians, feminists, LGTBIQ, animalists or anti-racists. As the Italian philosopher Enzo Traverso explains, today in Europe Islamophobia structures the new European nationalisms, just as anti-Semitism did in the first half of the 20th century. The production of alterity, of the enemy of the Spanish nation, is Vox’s most profitable cultural creation since its emergence.
Culture has been the political capital of Vox, thanks to which they have reached the institutions with the agreement of the PP in city councils and autonomous communities. Now the 23J is pending and a possible victory of the bloc of the right. If this happens, will the PP change its intention to eliminate the Ministry of Culture to hand it over to Vox and forge the pact?