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Publication of Gloria Román Ruiz’ book, Franquismo de carne y hueso. Entre el consentimiento y las resistencias cotidianas (1939-1975)

Date of news: 22 December 2020

Francoism in flesh and blood. Between consent and daily resistance, València, Publicacions Universitat València (PUV), 2020.

Earlier this month, Gloria Román Ruiz’ book Franquismo de carne y hueso was published. Gloria has provided us with an English abstract detailing the contents of her fascinating book:

At the beginning of the 1960s, a resident of Dehesas de Guadix (Granada) sent a clandestine letter to «La Pirenaica», the radio station of the Communist Party ofFranquismo de carne y hueso Spain in exile. In the letter he recalled that after the end of the civil war and the victory of the Francoist side in 1939, his family and many others from his town were dragged into a hell of misery and hunger, having to leave the municipality in search of sustenance. Throughout his childhood and young adulthood, he continued, «the only heat that entered my body and that of my brothers was when we warmed ourselves over the fire and ate field herbs». He blamed those misfortunes on the dictator Francisco Franco, whom he referred to as «Paco punish-guts» and «his despicable henchmen».

During those immediate post-war years, women frequently had to queue and wait with their baskets in hand to get food rations. One of those women was an inhabitant of Santa Fe (Granada) who, in 1940, being fed up with waiting, vigorously protested by calling the way in which the supply of flour was managed «abuse». According to her, the «rogues» who were «involved» in the town hall were responsible for this. For her part, Leonor Leal, from Chiclana de Segura (Jaén), was accused of disrespecting the municipal veterinary inspector when he examined the products of several fish sellers during the winter of 1946, one of the harshest winters of the post-war period. Leal, indignant at the poor quality of the sardines put up for sale, exclaimed: «that rotten fish was being sold, the bodies would tell later». In a threatening tone, she added: «that these had passed, but that others we would see».

Small events like these, collected in Franquismo de carne y hueso, allow us to understand the dictatorship as lived experience. Through showing the daily experiences of those who lived under the Franco regime (1939-1975), the book explores the complex and even contradictory attitudes among ordinary people that were caused by dictatorial discourses and policies. As such, for the period 1939-1975, the book demonstrates the simultaneous coexistence of popular attraction to certain aspects of Franco's regime – such as the construction of social housing – and small acts of daily resistance against others such as the post-war autarkic economic policy, as illustrated in the previous examples.