Communism and Political Change in Spain

Communism and Political Change in Spain

Communism and Political Change in Spain

Communism and Political Change in Spain

Excerpt

With the death of Francisco Franco in November 1975 and the subsequent democratization of Spain's political structure undertaken by his successor, King Juan Carlos de Borbón, and directed by Premier Adolfo Suárez, a new era opened in Spanish politics. Elections paving the way for the adoption of a Western‐ European-style parliamentary democracy were held in June 1977 and March 1979, and Spaniards approved a new constitution to replace the outdated and fascist-inspired Fundamental Laws.

After nearly four decades of authoritarian rule, hitherto repressed political and social groups demanded a place in that new democracy—none more insistently than the Partido Comunista de España (PCE). Operating illegally from the end of the Civil War in March 1939 until the party's legalization in April 1977, the PCE functioned during much of that time as the best-organized and most effective opposition force in the country. In the years after 1956, under the leadership of Secretary General Santiago Carrillo, the party shifted policy in many areas, adopting rather flexible postures toward developments in Spanish society. The Spanish Communists not only tried to shed their traditional anticlericalism and rigid adherence to Leninist precepts but, taking advantage of regime-sponsored syndical elections, built a political base around the illegal trade union known as the Comisiones Obreras.

The political significance of Spanish Communism has extended beyond the borders of Spain in recent years. To some extent before, but particularly after, the invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968, the PCE altered its international posture, abandoning its . . .

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