On October 24th a grave injustice was put right when the remains of the fascist former dictator of Spain, Francisco Franco (1892-1975), were exhumed from the Valley of the Fallen mausoleum in the outskirts of Madrid.
While many celebrated the move, members and sympathisers of the far-right (led by Franco’s namesake grandson) protested.
The Francoist government was responsible for the death’s of around 100,000 people during its 36-year existance, yet when the despot died in 1975, he was given a state funeral and buried in a monolithic tomb, constructed for him by slave labourers.
Yet despite this, his family had the audacity to petition the High Court to try and block the move. Although they lost the case, they were granted many consestions including; access to the event, to be his pallbearers, and to re-bury him in their family vault. They also claimed that the whole move was simply a political manoeuvre by the ruling PSOE party with a general election coming up.
One day the reality of what Franco did may dawn on some of his descendants. Until that day their presence in Spanish political life will continue to denigrate the memories of the victims of Europe’s forgotten fascist.
Around Northumbria University’s Campus resides the infamous campus cat. Humphrey is a light brown, black striped, emerald eyed cat who has been helping students and non-students manoeuvre the herculean maze that is in existence. When I first met him over a month ago, I was instantly dazzled by his confidence and warmth. He lovingly rubbed up against my leg and invited me to pet him. He is cool like that. Next time you’re on Northumberland Road, watch out for this feline; he is often seen during the mid-point of the road, but I have been informed that he even ventures further out, even reaching the Five Swans pub. I can’t blame him given the reasonably priced meal deals. Being a student can be stressful, but Humphrey is a non-judgemental entity that gives us humans the privilege of playing with his furry physique. Cats are the best.
While we may all differ regarding our ethnicity’s, sex, gender, sexual orientation and religious beliefs, what we all have in common is that we are being increasingly impoverished and exploited by the global regime of greed and hegemony. Yet, at the same time, we are increasingly more politically disempowered, surveilled and controlled.
The more austere the economy becomes and the more authoritarian the Tory state becomes, the more identity issues and cultural issues are pushed to the foreground, especially in academia and establishment media. If we stopped just purely celebrating our diversity’s and fighting different strands of difference long enough to see our common plight, we just might wake up to the reality that class, economic austerity, and western totalitarianism have been and remain among the most pressing issues of our time.