The Language That Divides Spain

Madrid, Spain on 4/26/2019 © Enriscapes / Shutterstock

The arrival of Podemos and VOX on the Spanish
political scene not solely meant that voters had new electoral choices. It additionally led
to a brand new, groundbreaking fashion that was a change from the stereotypical, uncreative
and overused rhetoric displayed by different events for years.

With Podemos, a left-wing occasion, Spaniards have
grow to be accustomed to phrases which can be a break from what they thought of previous and
ineffective methods of doing politics. That is known as “vieja política vs nueva
política,” or previous politics vs. new politics.

Is a New Fashion of Politics Coming to Spain?


VOX, a far-right occasion, introduced a big selection
of phrases to discredit the left and their ideological system. This can be a system perceived
as involving “ideología de género” (gender ideology), “feminismo
supremacista” (feminist supremacism) and “la España Bolivariana”
(the Bolivarian Spain). But VOX has additionally attacked the extra conservative forces
that its supporters describe as “derechita
cobarde,” or right-wing cowards.

As well as, VOX has additionally advocated for a set of nationwide symbols, together with the flag, the anthem or the cross. It has additionally pushed for the historic revival of occasions such because the Reconquista, the Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa or the Military of Flanders, in addition to figures like Don Pelayo or the Catholic Kings. VOX has rigorously chosen these topics to form its ideology.

As excessive opposites of the political
spectrum, each of those events are examples of the present-day populism in
Spain regardless of their differing linguistic types. Whereas Podemos typically opts for
complicated rhetoric, VOX has a simple means of speaking its message.

On-line Wars

It’s worthwhile to match the rhetoric of political leaders in debates or rallies throughout electoral campaigns and the kind of discourse that they or, particularly, their followers use on social media. Supporters of each events are inclined to show the next stage of aggressiveness and extremism on social networks, primarily as it’s on-line. Our on-line world is a breeding floor for dogmatic, bigoted and exclusionary language as a consequence of perceived anonymity and a presumed lack of accountability that customers assume they’ve behind a display. That is what Claire Hardaker, a lecturer at Lancaster College within the UK, calls the “Gyges impact,” even when individuals use their actual identities.

The presence of “digital communities” whereby individuals all over the world have the chance to speak in a many-to-many context, coupled with the countless risk of what the web affords, has redefined the sentiments of inclusion or exclusion and elevated the want to belong by participation in cybermobs. All these options are associated to the ideas of group salience and polarization that favor the ignition and propagation of on-line hostility. 

The divisive language on social media in Spain, notably on Twitter, over the previous few months of 2019 reached ranges not discovered earlier than. This was primarily as a consequence of two causes: the Catalonian independence course of and the exhumation of the late dictator Francisco Franco’s corpse. Each occasions may appear unrelated, however they’re really related. On the one hand, a lot of these against exhuming Franco have been additionally in opposition to Catalonia’s proper to self-determination and independence from Spain. However, many who backed it are sometimes supportive of Catalonia’s claims.

The binary development of the world into “us vs.
them” tends to reinforce (or create) intergroup bias, with the final word purpose of
reinforcing in-group bonds and ties. Extra particularly, it results in pretty
homogenous teams of supporters and opponents. But on this event, and as a consequence of
the occasions aforementioned, Spanish society has grow to be extra polarized and the division
has resulted in two sides which can be now not thought of opponents however enemies.

In relation to Catalonia, the referendum over
the area’s standing in October 2017, and the next declaration of
independence issued by the Catalan parliament — which was suspended by the
Spanish authorities — have drawn a line between two Spains on a subject that does
not maintain the opportunity of seeing an amicable resolution.

Traitors vs. Patriots

Two sides have thus been established: traitors
or patriots. The lexical decisions made by each factions to label one another have
revealed their ideological foundation and the pillars of their stances displaying two
incompatible views. Professional-independence supporters have used the time period “fascist”
to consult with Spain, along with “political prisoners,” “exiled politicians”
and “occupation forces.” The far proper has described the state of affairs with phrases
equivalent to “terrorism,” “enemies of the nation” or “separatism.”

The historic occasion that also divides audio system of either side is the Spanish Civil Warfare of 1936-39, regardless that most of them weren’t alive to see that battle. In relation to Franco’s exhumation, the conflict was basically resurrected on Twitter utilizing the imagery of sports activities that had been beforehand referred to by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in 1980 as one of many fundamental conceptual metaphors.

The truth that Franco’s corpse was exhumed in
2019 — casting apart the political causes of either side for or in opposition to this —
was perceived as a victory by supporters on the left. For followers on the far proper,
they have been reminded that no matter they do with Franco’s corpse, the suitable would
all the time be the “winner” of the conflict and that that reality couldn’t be erased.

Within the Spanish common election of November
2019, VOX traditionally received 52 parliamentary seats for the primary time. Hundreds
of its supporters gathered exterior occasion headquarters to have a good time whereas singing
“A por ellos” (go for them). Nobody, both
from the occasion or its supporters, clarified what was meant by “them.” That sort
of exclusionary discourse that fosters the division, enhances the distinction
and deepens the irreconcilable views is the very last thing Spain wants at a time of

*[The Centre for Evaluation of the Radical Proper (CARR) is a companion establishment of Honest Observer.]

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s
personal and don’t essentially mirror Honest Observer’s editorial coverage.

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