Samuel Barry - Convivencia Contested: Al-Andalus between Historical Memory and Modern Politicshttp://www.mizanproject.org/convivencia-contested/
For example, a consistent theme of the book is that Iberian liberals have tended to adopt a more open attitude toward the Muslim past, facing opposition in doing so from conservatives seeking to maintain a more integral Catholic identity. However, the period of the Spanish Civil War represents an inversion of this pattern: at that time, General Francisco Franco and his africanistas (as both Spanish scholars concerned with Morocco and soldiers stationed there were known) often adopted a quite positive view of Islam and Muslims, against which the left-wing Spanish Republicans arrayed disparaging anti-Muslim and anti-African stereotypes. A similarly open attitude toward the Muslim past was also displayed in the propaganda of the contemporaneous Portuguese Estado Novo, the state established by António Salazar in 1933. It is normal to associate both of these fascist regimes with the traditionalist Catholic right wing in their respective countries. However, these regimes’ greater openness to the Muslim past of the peninsula highlights the importance of distinguishing clearly between Iberian fascism and traditionalist Roman Catholicism there.
Although the efficiency of Hertel’s methods lead her to investigate thoroughly this counterintuitive development in Spanish attitudes toward Islam, her treatment of it points to the most important flaws found in the work. Rather than allowing Francoist Islamophilia to stand as a matter of historical record, Hertel repeatedly takes pains to depict this attitude as a cynical ploy aimed at gaining military and political advantage. For example, on page 51, Hertel writes, “Within the institutions founded after the Spanish Civil War to emphasize the historical link between Spain and the Arab world—an attempt to provide a scholarly foundation for Franco’s claim to Morocco—Arabists mostly dealt with topics concerning al-Andalus” [emphasis mine]. Although I do not intend to dispute the fact itself here, the urge to insinuate motivations for the Francoists’ engagement with the Muslim past is subdued, if not absent, from her treatment of earlier liberal movements in similar directions. While Hertel notes the usefulness of liberalism for the Spanish colonization of Morocco, she does not raise the question of liberals’ ulterior motivations for adopting more positive views of Islam with a similar degree of insistence and clarity.
Perhaps the strongest charge Hertel levels against Spanish liberals is that during the colonial wars in Morocco, the descriptions of Muslims and Africans in their newspapers were “interchangeable” with those of the conservatives.5 However, the ease with which liberal views of Islam were put to use for the ends of the mission civilisatrice at least suggest worldly motivations lurking behind these ideas comparable to those that Hertel claims motivated the Francoists. If, in this regard, Spanish writers were following precedents established elsewhere, the geographical limitations of the work could excuse Hertel’s hesitation to include what might be regarded as an important desideratum, namely a critique of the development of liberal views of al-Andalus and their deployment in domestic, colonial, and post-colonial contexts.
Although not perhaps a major flaw in what is otherwise undoubtedly a valuable contribution to the modern history of the Iberian peninsula, this discrepancy has the effect of obscuring a potentially important historical link between liberal and anti-clerical disdain for traditional religious views and the subsequent strengthening of nationalism on the right wing of Spanish politics. That is to say, it seems possible to imagine that liberalism effectively displaced religious identity as the core element of Spanish political life, and thus rendered off-limits its partitive, integrating force. Fascism then replaced religion with an externally-focused and assimilative imperial identity, which liberalism had helped to form in very significant ways. In such a case, the fascist positivity toward Islam that Hertel adduces would appear to be a token of the ideology’s derivation not from traditionalist Roman Catholicism, but rather from liberalism.
I'm very sceptical about the argument at the end of this. Spanish (and Portuguese) fascism was nothing if not Catholic. This tends to get played down in later accounts by English speaking writers, but I suspect this is comparable to accounts of political Islam that fail to take religious motivations seriously. The nationalist side in the Spanish Civil War represented, more or less, the political wing of the Catholic church. When villages were captured by the nationalists lists of who was to be rounded up, for imprisonment or execution, were routinely drawn up by committees that included the local priest, who after all was often the person best placed to know who was a subversive and an enemy of religion. Fascism may have had a more awkward relationship with the church in Germany, and to a lesser extent in Italy, but this certainly wasn't the case in Spain. It is true that Catholic fascism was a fairly novel twentieth century development, that also took some inspiration from organisational forms borrowed from trade unionism and the left. Again I think this is comparable with the political Islam that was developing elsewhere in the same period.
Incidentally, and to put things in context, the Spanish Civil War followed the Rif War
of ten years earlier against the breakaway Rif Republic
in northern Morocco. This also has echoes in the current protests in Al Hoceima. Franco's uprising began in the Spanish controlled area of Morocco and it would seem logical for the republican side to have supported anti-colonial forces. In fact, despite negotiations, they were divided on the issue
and nothing came of it.
Edit: This thesis seems relevant: Matthew Bentrott - Rojos, Moros y Negros: Race and the Spanish Civil War
Also: Elisabeth Bolorinos Allard - Representations of the Moorish Other during the Spanish Civil War
Contradictions and inconsistencies are also found in Republican discourse. While Republican propaganda represented the Moor as a cruel savage and mocked the Nationalist alliance with the infidel, they also adopted a parallel discourse of brotherhood, representing the Moroccans as fellow victims of fascist oppression and brothers in the international working-class struggle. ‘El campesino marroquí, como el campesino español, no desea más que cultivar su pequeño pedazo de tierra’, declared El Sol in December 1937,
Ha venido a España engañado por un falso espejismo. [ … ] Los mismos que [ … ] lo persiguieron durante siglos, los mismos que lo explotaron y esclavizaron, son los que lo han traído a luchar ahora contra quienes podrían darle, y le dan, al fin, la libertad.
Republican sources claimed that the Moors had been lured to Spain with false promises of land and women, that they were not paid or were given worthless German marks from the Weimar era, and that Catholic rites were imposed on them. There was certainly some truth to these claims. As Balfour and Madariaga have noted, providing evidence from soldiers’ testimonies and reports by the colonial administration, Moroccans in the Nationalist army were often subject to abuses and injustices.
The Republican press also reported on the aforementioned resistance movements in Morocco. In August 1936, the same month that the press was filled with stories of Moorish atrocities in Andalusia and Extremadura, CNT and El Sol reported that there was social unrest in Morocco, where many Moroccans were profoundly opposed to fighting against the Republic. In October they reported that in many villages women were gathering to protest against recruitment, and that Spanish authorities responded by threatening and beating both men and women. ‘En Marruecos’, El Sol declared in February 1937, ‘el Moro trabajador y digno sufre las mismas violencias que nuestros proletarios’.
The Republican representation of the Moorish brother was, at least in part, designed to encourage desertion by discrediting and demonizing the Nationalists. There were explicit efforts to incite Regulares to join the Republican army, including the distribution of pamphlets and speeches in Arabic delivered over loudspeakers. These strategies were not particularly effective, as most Moroccan recruits were illiterate or spoke only the Berber language tafiriq. The press also promised that the Republic would do everything in its power to strive for the freedom of Morocco. In reality, the Republican government made no effort to establish an alliance with the Moroccan nationalists. Overwhelmed by the war and afraid of alienating potential support from France, Republicans failed to seize the opportunity to undermine the Nationalist rebels by offering autonomy or independence to the Spanish protectorate. On the other hand, the Nationalists made promises of independence that they never intended to keep. Ultimately, Spanish Republicans did not identify with the Moroccan ‘workers’ any more than Nationalists identified with their Muslim ‘brothers’.