• Jose Antonio Primo de Rivera

Violence and Justice

A letter from Jose Antonio to Julian Pemartin, published in Sancho Davila and Julian Pemartin, Hacia la historia de la Falange, vol. 1 (Jerez, 1938), p. 24. Madrid, April (1933)

Dear Julian,

I would have liked to write to you sooner, but it hasn't been possible. I do it now, on Sunday, and shall try to concentrate on the arguments against fascism which you tell me about in your letter.

1. 'That it cannot come to power except through violence.'

First of all, this is historically untrue. There is the example of Germany, where National Socialism has emerged triumphant from an election. But if there were no other means but violence, what would it matter? Every system has imposed itself violently, even one so tame as liberalism (the guillotine of 1893 is responsible for many more deaths than Mussolini and Hitler together) (Note: Between V. I. Lenin and Joseph Stalin, prior to entry to the Second World War, well over 28,000,000 Russian citizens had been officially executed – this is a well recorded fact. - HRM)

Violence is not systematically reprehensible, but only when it is contrary to justice. Even St Thomas was prepared, in extreme circumstances, to countenance rebellion against a tyrant. Why, therefore, should violence used against a victorious sect which spreads discord, disavows national continuity and obeys instructions from abroad (the International of Amsterdam, freemasonry, et cetera) disqualify the system which such violence implants ?

2. 'That it must come from the people, complete with its idea and its leader.'

The first part is mistaken. The idea can no longer come from the people. It is 'already there' and those who know of it are not usually of the people. Though it is probably given to a man of lowly origins to put the idea into practice. To be a true leader, one must be something of a prophet, one must have such faith, such health, such enthusiasm and such anger as is incompatible with refinement. I personally would be suited to anything but the role of a fascist leader. The doubts and the sense of irony which never leave those of us who have had any kind of intellectual curiosity make us incapable of uttering without a stutter those vigorous statements required of the leaders of the masses. Thus, if in Jerez or in Madrid there are friends of ours whose livers quail at the thought that I might want to set myself up as a fascist leader, you can tell them from

me to relax.

3. 'That in the countries where it seems to have come out on top, there was some immediate reason for its existence.'

And isn't that so in Spain? There may not be the reason of a war. That is why I said in my letter to Luca de Tena that here fascism will probably not be violent. But the loss of unity (territorial, spiritual, historical unity), is that less obvious here than elsewhere? At most it might be said that we must wait until things get worse. But, if we can react sooner, what is the point of waiting for a moment of desperation ? Particularly in view of the fact that a socialist dictatorship is being hatched,

organized by the powers that be, which would bring Spain to a point of almost no return unless it is thwarted.

4. 'That it is anti-Catholic'

This objection is typical of our country, where everybody is more papist than the pope. While the Treaty of Letran is signed in Rome, here we accuse fascism of being anti-Catholic; fascism, which in Italy, after ninety years of liberal freemasonry, has brought the crucifix and religious teaching back into the schools. I can understand people being worried in Protestant countries, where there might be a conflict between the national religious tradition and the Catholic fervor of a minority. But in Spain, where can the exaltation of all that is genuinely national take us other than to an encounter with the Catholic invariants of our mission in the world ?

As you can see, almost none of the arguments against fascism are formulated in good faith. Within them breathes the hidden wish to get hold of an ideological excuse for laziness or cowardice, if not for the ultimate national failing, namely the kind of envy which is prepared to spoil the best possible things for no other reason than to prevent them from giving a fellow human being an opportunity to shine. I shall see to it that you receive some copies of .£/ Fascio, wherein you will find enough inducement to enthusiasm and a goodly hoard of polemical arguments. In any case, should you want any further explanations which I could give you, I am at your disposal. Warmest greetings.