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Bunk, Brian D., 1968-; Pack, Sasha D.; Scott, Carl-Gustaf (ed.) / Nation and conflict in modern Spain: essays in honor of Stanley G. Payne

Bunk, Brian D., 1968-
"A shape note of pugnacity" : conservative youth groups in Spain, 1914-1939,   pp. 15-29 ff.

Page 18

the entire Restoration system. The group aimed to remake the monarchical
regime into a 
system that reflected their ideology and one that presumably guaranteed them
a position of 
power. JM's attacks combined with other pressures both domestic and foreign
to undermine 
constitutional rule. By 1923, the parliamentary system of the Restoration
that had func- 
tioned since 1870 was replaced by a military dictatorship under General Miguel
Primo de 
The system of propaganda developed by the youth was perhaps unprecedented
modern Spanish political history since it was an effort aimed at mobilizing
popular support 
for the movement. As a result, the members of JM viewed themselves as street
contesting the political high ground with all comers, including socialists,
whom they hoped 
to "teach a virile lesson in citizenship and patriotism.'2 The campaign
generated plenty 
of innovative methods including famously printing "Maura, Si!"
on cigarette papers and 
creating a brand of liquor called Anis Maura. In addition, the group founded
a newspaper, 
sponsored classes for workers and held mass rallies throughout the country.'3
Clearly these 
efforts anticipated modern techniques of mass mobilization, especially those
developed by 
the fascist regimes of Mussolini and Hitler. Although it never fully developed
to the extent 
of those surrounding other European leaders, there existed something of a
cult of personal- 
ity surrounding Maura. The youths often wrote of Maura's skills as a leader,
declaring that 
if his reforms had been carried out, Spain would not have lost its colonies
or had a war in 
Morocco and the political system would be free of corruption. In short, Maura
was an "emi- 
nent statesman, a just and honorable man, [the] glory of the race and the
The movement eventually produced a "Maurist Catechism" written
by a priest who defined 
in general terms what it meant to be a follower. The true believer was "a
man of beliefs, of 
ideals, of honor; a man that loves God and the Nation above all things and
serves the King 
without deception or lies."'5 
Despite its professed loyalty to the monarchy, JM consistently attacked the
system. A letter sent to Maura in 1913 by individuals who later formed JM
of Madrid 
stated that "the new recruits are taking up the flag that the veterans
had left on the field of 
battle." '6 The letter continued by characterizing the crisis of the
political system in terms 
of age and decay: "We in Spain are presently in a moment of deepest
crisis: the maximum 
aggravation of the old humors of a governmental system contaminated from
the skin to the 
marrow. Pus boils on the martyred corpse of the Nation, and in the heart
of the pustules 
one perceives the growth of morbid germs.'7 Members of JM also played a key
role in the 
formation of the paramilitary group called Union Ciudadana that later named
an honorary member. Maurismo has been characterized as a "revolution
from above" one 
that spoke of democracy and justice for all citizens but that took a paternalistic
approach to 
social problems. The most radical elements of the movement, perhaps best
represented by 
Goicoechea and JM, favored a strong executive and would enforce social and
political stabil- 
ity while eliminating the possibility of radical change.'8 The choice of
language echoed that 

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