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.
NATION AND CONFLICT IN MODERN SPAIN 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 Rivera. The system of propaganda developed by the youth was perhaps unprecedented in 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 fighters, 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 Homeland.'4 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 current 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 Mussolini 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 18
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