Mario Garcés —— Transition

The author denounces a general cause against the spirit of the Transition at the hands of a left that, he claims, uses a manipulated historical memory

I am convinced that more than half of the new thinkers who think about Martin Villa’s role in the Transition and the events for which he is being judged in Argentina, had no idea who he was until half way through the news. But the neomelancholy that has compulsorily appropriated a significant part of the sociological left in this country has prevented a rational judgment from being made about the role of Martín Villa in those critical days of our recent history. The left has taken advantage of the process to turn the whole period of the democratic transition into a general cause, as a kind of late revenge on those who joined the regime change with indolence and apprehension.

When a nation like Spain combines the concepts of memory, democracy and history, nothing positive can happen. Memory is subjectivity, history is objectivity and democracy is axiology. That being so, any alloy of these terms constitutes a rational, but also an emotional crusher.

If memory is composed of a double plane of subjectivity, that which emanates from the subconscious and that which underlies thought, memory hardly contributes any constitutive value to the neutrality of the historical fact. Thus, the epic of the story has replaced the ethics of reason-based thinking, and the Transition has given way to the customary tradition of denying ourselves as a country. Faced with hope as a message of an exemplary Transition, the left is riding on the back of a tragic vision of life, that of the past, like an exorcism that self-justifies its current raison d’être. Serious historical error.

It must be recognised that where the Spanish right renounced the cultural battle, the left appropriated melancholy. So much so that in the months that I have been in Congress I have had to see how different manifesto-laws, whose sole objective was to articulate the past in a normative way, were processed. This rampant tributary left of Frankfurt and its school was committed to diversity, to the collectivisation of society and to the revision of the past as it saw fit, until it created an idealised narrative. A narrative based on exhuming the “war of the cemeteries” so that the living do not forget that there are two Spains: theirs and the other.

“Among all the viruses that plague us, it is not the least of which is the annihilation of the spirit of the Transition.

In contrast, the undervalued Vázquez Montalbán of that socialist Catalonia incinerated by the pragmatism of the present left, already anticipated this when he pointed out that that time, that of the Transition, “was very cruel for the supporters of memory as the only landscape in which desires are possible”. Years later, Vázquez Montalbán’s prophecy has come true, and the cruelty has mutated into opportunity. An opportunity that inevitably takes real Spain away from official Spain. The Spain that rejected eternal revanchism in order to replace it with perpetual peace, as Kant pointed out.

Martín Villa is still alive to give an account of the events of which he is accused. He will be the one to give his testimony. But it cannot be denied that, behind this judicial procedure, there is a mendacious and opportunistic investigation. A general cause against those years, against the spirit of the Transition, by those on the left who, defeated by a declining thought, think that they can bait the sentimentalism of the new readers of rewritten history. They thus exaggerated historical memory, this great semantic contradiction, in order to give an ideological response to the past that would consolidate the project of a left that is heir to the worst propaganda tradition.

Because memory is not empty, but memory cannot be selective, not even oblivion. For this reason, we must not exhume the agonising sense of guilt, that guilt that makes the battlefield in Spanish cemeteries and even in the gutters. That happened, indeed, as did the Transition. And among all the viruses that plague us now, not the least is that of collective disaffection and the annihilation of the spirit of the Transition. The only spirit that makes us free and equal.


This tribune has been published in El Español. You can access it by clicking here.

Photo credits: EFE


Mario Garcés
Member of the PP for Huesca, deputy spokesperson for the People’s Parliamentary Group and coordinator of economic affairs.