Fascist Fanatics

By: Hannah Long

A feeling of Kinship, is perhaps one of the best words used to describe those who feel a great closeness to the leaders and beliefs of a by-gone era. Both Crumbaugh and Vice’s video provide a glimpse into the ever present “fandom” of fascist fanatics, more specifically Spain’s turbulent relationship with the matter. One of the first subjects Crumbaugh touches upon in his reading is how dictator Francisco Franco’s rule provided Spanish citizens with a sense of structure in their lives, a comforting belief that Franco’s ideology would provide a positive future (16). Many of his followers became pleased as Spain soon emerged in the mid twentieth century due in large part to the massive tourist boom in the 1960s. A small snippet which showcases why followers of Franco still see his leadership as a hallmark of governance, providing jobs, a growing economy, and Spain’s own nationalism to not only grow inside of the country but for their culture to become beloved worldwide (16-18).

And while it does paint a loving picture of Francoism it shows how the idea of expression and agency of the Spanish people were non-existent outside of this governmental structure, as one part of the nation became empowered (I.e. Spain’s global influence and power) another became silenced (individualism and democracy) (19). Vice’s short documentary shows the modern day consequences of this power imbalance, one of the most consistent points that kept being touched upon throughout the video was how minority groups and to a larger extent anyone who did not fit the hyper nationalistic agenda were regarded as “parasites” or the root of all Spain’s problems (6:45,10:20-10:30). It shows how a majority were/still are on the outs in a fascist regime, and how only few could ever speak out in opposition due to such a fervent hate that was against them.


Justin Crumbaugh, “Prosperity and Freedom Under Franco: the Grand Invention of Tourism” in Destination Dictatorship: the Spectacle of Spain’s Tourist Boom and the Reinvention of Difference (SUNY Press, 2009), pp. 15-41.

Inside Spain’s Fascism Fandom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqKSXPiGe7U

3 Replies to “Fascist Fanatics”

  1. Hello Hannah,

    Kinship is a thought-provoking way to describe the closeness felt by followers to leaders like Franco and their movements. I feel that it accurately describes the intense emotions and affiliation that were demonstrated in videos such as the Vice special. Yet, as these movements attempt to argue some sort of mythologized connection to each other, language like ‘kinship ‘ can walk a fine line. In one case it highlights how fanatical these ‘fans’ of fascist movements are; while simultaneously, by using language like ‘kinship’ to describe it, are we as outsiders lending legitimacy to these myths of ‘brotherhood’? Overall, I feel that your analysis highlights many elements of the popular appeal of fascism, from a sense of ‘community’ to feelings of national success, while also encouraging deeper thought on how we as historians describe this relationship.

    1. I think you brought up a good point here, the word kinship highlights what they in their own mind see their relationship to fascism as, to a larger extent it highlights how in their mind’s fascism is almost like an outlet, an excuse to justify their own rational and mindset towards controversial issues. Using the word to describe how they themselves would see it as (i.e. their relationship with it) does not lend legitimacy to their acts and behaviours, I don’t believe it lends any legitimacy to myths rather that is up for debate between peoples own personal takes on the matter and their own perspectives on particular words, when used in relation with political ideologies. Personally, I think the closeness that people tend to feel towards an ideology such as this is almost akin to a “familiar comfort”, a place or a time in which they felt that their particular group had more say and more power. (But, I am sure we will go into greater depths about “yearning” for fascists’ of the modern day in our lecture this week.)

  2. I think you both highlight how difficult it is to talk about fascism without repeating or naturalizing some of the assumptions within fascist ideology. If we rely on their language, does that means we’re also complicit in reproducing those relationships, or are those simply the tools we are provided to describe fascist past? If not those terms, what language do we use instead to describe those relationships easily/quickly? This becomes especially difficult when we’re trying to engage in higher analysis –if our purpose in providing context is to catch readers up to speed and provide some quick background to our subject, than we need to rely on a language that can easily invoke and explain those ideas. Spending pages creating new terminology could both prevent new readers from engaging with our ideas while take up a lot of space that could be spent on deeper analysis. While I don’t love the idea of using fascist language and ways of thinking to describe the past and believe there is room for alternatives, the challenge comes in trying to find new ways to reframe an idea without some of the dangerous assumptions that fascist coded language might bring. Or alternatively, a solution could be to purposefully highlighting those assumptions in language so we’re able to engage with it in a more-full capacity.

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