Where did the followers of Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Pétain, Pinochet, and so many others end up after their governments ceased to exist? Did they perhaps switch ideologies or did they go into hiding? Did they suddenly become humanists? It is unlikely. They probably went silent, sighing nostalgically amongst themselves and surreptitiously transmitting their way of thinking to the younger generations. Fascism never died. It has just been living out of sight for decades, building back up its strength and adapting to the times. What exactly does this ideology consist of? Both Umberto Eco and Norberto Bobbio agree that this movement is difficult to define, as it is erratic, unstable and assumes very different faces. The best we can do is to recognize common traits. These include the invention of an imaginary enemy as a strategy for cohesion, the use of propaganda that appeals not to reason but to primary emotions such as fear and the instinct for survival, and constant surveillance by the State. In the past few years we have witnessed a worrying resurgence of governments around the world exhibiting these traits. For this reason, the Revista de la Universidad de México decided to publish, by way of warning, an issue devoted to this subject. Our dossier opens with an interview by Carlos Bravo Regidor with Carlos Illades, a historian and specialist on the Mexican left, in order to try to better understand this ideology, to learn what distinguishes it from populism, and to find out about its current derivations. In her essay “The Semantic Battles: The Language of Fascism” Violeta Vázquez-Rojas sheds light on the expressions and the words within the fascist lexicon in order to help us identify them. “The Three Blows: What Freud Saw,” authored by the philosopher David Beytelmann recalls that in his writings about politics and mass psychology Freud anticipated what came later: manipulation, “illusion” or collective belief, which leaders capitalized on. Beytelmann also describes the strategies used by Goebbels and their evolution towards current control mechanisms like those used by Cambridge Analytica, a company that Christopher Wylie also discusses in his book Mindf*k, soon to be published in its Spanish translation. Amador Fernández-Savater takes up the topic of hate and explains how for centuries migrant groups have been made the world’s preeminent scapegoats, not for religious reasons but for escaping from the State. It is very likely that instead of satiating our readers’ curiosity these texts will serve to further provoke it. In case this comes to pass, on this occasion we included in our critique section a review that provides a panoramic overview of the fundamental books for knowing fascism in its different forms. How does fascism return to the places that it has abandoned or where it was bravely resisted? This is a question that hangs over the entire issue. Two testimonial texts illuminate our dossier from the most human and harrowing perspective. In the first, Alejandra Costamagna, the Chilean narrator, takes up Perec’s je me souviens device to establish a powerful comparison between Pinochet’s dictatorship and the repressive policies employed by Chile’s present-day police force — endorsed by Sebastián Piñera— which today rapes, tortures and attacks crowds with tear gas bombs. The second, by the Spanish writer Francisco Carrillo, describes post-Franco Spain, as well as the nostalgia for order and security that lingered within the dictator’s old followers. Spain, the author recalls, was the only country where no war criminals were put on trial, not even a symbolic gesture of reparation was made. The Amnesty Law of 1977 granted total impunity to a regime that killed thousands of republican and anarchist militants whose bodies remain unidentified in mass graves. From one day to the next, victims were forced to forgive the murderers in the interest of harmonious coexistence, as though nothing had happened. But even in the unlikely event that those victims were able to forgive, the author concludes, it is impossible to look the other way and forget the past. As well as by fascist leaders and their followers, the 20th century was also characterized by a strong opposition to them. Hundreds of heroes, some anonymous, others well known, lost their lives trying to defend democracy. The poems included in this issue constitute a small homage to the resistance of the republicans, the partisans, and all those who dared to raise their voices, and erect a barricade against the oppressor at all costs. We hope that reading Federico García Lorca, León Felipe, Wisława Szymborska, Primo Levi or María Ángeles Pérez López will become an invocation of that spirit, that it will revive the urge for resistance, open our eyes, and remind us of the importance of defending freedom.
Imagen de portada: Eoin O’Duffy, líder fascista irlándes con los activistas de las Camisas Azules, 1933-1934.