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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
(2008)

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


Page 17

Conservative Youth Groups in Spain, 1914-1939 
The origins of modern Spanish conservative youth groups can be located with
the 
foundation of the Juventud Maurista (JM) in 1914. The youth played an important
role in 
the formation of the political movement named for prominent statesmar? Antonio
Maura. 
Since early in the twentieth century Maura had been one of the most influential
politicians 
of the Restoration system, leading the Conservative Party and also twice
serving as president 
of the government. By 1913, however, Maura's position within the government
and his 
leadership of the Conservative Party had begun to slip and he was ultimately
displaced by 
Eduardo Dato, who also became head of the government in October of that year.4
A group 
of the deposed leader's followers, at first without the explicit support
of Maura himself, soon 
launched a distinct political movement dedicated to "interpreting [Maura's]
thought, his 
doctrine and his example."5 The new movement, christened maurismo, began
with a series 
of meetings held in Bilbao during November 1913. Jose Gutierrez-Rave claimed
that these 
events attracted thousands of people and that the majority were youths. Indeed,
the move- 
ment proved initially quite successful at winning over segments of the Conservative
Party's 
youth organization, including the whole of the Bilbao group, and the defectors
quickly 
established themselves as Juventud Maurista. By the time the mauristas met
in Madrid to 
form a central committee, the youth section of the party had claimed its
own place on the 
organization's leadership council. From almost its origins JM proved enormously
success- 
ful at mobilizing young people and enrolling them in the movement, thanks
in large part 
to the efforts of its leader Antonio Goicoechea.6 Although not the most charismatic
leader, 
Goicoechea proved an effective organizer and quickly grew the Madrid group
into the larg- 
est and most influential JM section. He also presided over the formation
of a Federacijin 
Nacional de Juventudes Mauristas in April 1915. Goicoechea later headed the
Alfonsine 
monarchist group during the Republic; a group that consistently attacked
the parliamentary 
system and incessantly agitated for its downfall.8 Jose Calvo Sotelo was
also an important 
member of JM and, like Goicoechea, played a key role in the development of
Alfonsine 
monarchism during the 1930s.9 
Owing to the circumstances of its initial formation and subsequent organization,
mau- 
rismo remained rather vague in its ideological formulation, constituting
"more a mood, a 
style or an attitude rrather] than an explicit alternative philosophy.' "
It was even unclear if 
maurismo constituted a separate party or simply a dissident segment within
the tradition- 
al Conservative Party. As a result, the national movement remained undeveloped,
leaving 
room for a great deal of regional autonomy. Among the groups who best took
advantage of 
this ideological diffuseness and the lack of strong centralized control was
JM, which quickly 
became the most active element of the entire movement." If the overall
message of the 
movement remained undeveloped, the youth quickly articulated a singular sense
of mission 
to defend religion, the crown, and above all, the ideals and legacy of Antonio
Maura. JM 
employed modern propaganda techniques to promote its agenda and at times
the message 
sent was couched, not simply as an attack on the political parties, but rather
as an assault on 
17 


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