National Movement

National Movement
   The Movimiento Nacional, more often known simply as the Movimiento, was the amalgam of political forces which supported the Spanish dictatorship from 1939 to 1975. It was designed, in the propaganda of the regime, to be the institutional and political embodiment of Franco's victory in the Civil War. The roots of the regime's political organization (as well as the dictatorship's economic and cultural policies) can be traced back to the political and social crisis of the 1930s. It was to be composed of those organizations and social groups which opposed, both overtly and covertly, the democratic Second Republic, proclaimed in 1931. The most significant of these were the ultra-monarchist catholics of Action Española and the Comunión Tradicionalista, members of the fascist Falange, and diverse groups of rebellious army officers, clerics, economic élites, and largely middle class or lower middle class Catholics. The most significant move to unite these groups forcibly from above was Franco's wartime unification decree of April 1937, the main effect of which was to unite the Carlist tradicionalistas formally with the Falange. In essence, Franco's Movimiento was the body to which one had to adhere in order to participate in the narrowly confined arena of official "politics" during the dictatorship. However, the use of the term "Movimiento" came to be interchangeable both with the name of the state party itself, Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (FET y de las JONS —Traditionalist Spanish Phalanx and Committees of the National Syndicalist Offensive), and with the regime in a general sense. This ambiguity was typical of the overlapping structures of Francoism; it permitted a grandiose falsifying terminology to be employed, for example, when the so-called Law of the Fundamental Principles of the Movement was proclaimed in 1958. In reality, the National Movement was always distanced from economic and political decision-making.
   The absorption of previously distinct political organizations and tendencies continued to define the place of the Movimiento within the Francoist state. While the war was still being fought a considerable influx of members into the state party began. This was to become a flood in the post-war years as people affiliated to the party in order both to demonstrate their adherence to the new regime and to seek employment within the state bureaucracy, run by the Movement. Indeed, the Movimiento increasingly developed into a bureaucratic entity rather than a political one. The state unions, or vertical syndicates (sindicatos verticales), were officially under the control of the secretariat of the Movimiento until the "Organic Law" of 1966. This had guaranteed the appearance of Falange influence over labour policy, although, in reality, employers dealt directly with the Ministry of Labour and increasingly with "clandestine", unofficial bodies of workers. Nevertheless, the Movement continued to exist. It was supposedly a symbol of national unity and progress, and, although it was drained of political significance, it had appropriated for itself a huge budget employed, usually in a very corrupt fashion, in the areas of state welfare, housing, and local administration. In the process it had also acquired substantial properties, originally forcibly expropriated from the democratic unions of the Republic, and dispersed again within the state bureaucracy when the Movimiento was finally abolished in 1977 as part of Spain's transition to democracy.
   Further reading
   - Ellwood, S. (1987) Spanish Fascism in the Franco Era, London: MacMillan (the only book to date which deals with the institutions of the regime).
   MICHAEL RICHARDS

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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