Maravall, J.M.
June 1979
Political Studies;Jun79, Vol. 27 Issue 2, p218
Academic Journal
This article analyses the bases of the political competition between the Communist Party (ICE) and the Socialist Party (PSOE) in Spain. The historical backgrounds of this competition in the period of Popular Front strategies and civil war and under Francoism are discussed. The main decisions taken by the PCE seem to have traditionally followed a pattern of politics of broad alliances, generally moderate strategies and attempts to minimize the socialist influence. In the 1960s the socialist influence seemed to be limited as a result of cumulative difficulties, and the reproduction of an Italian style political situation was predicted. There was however a socialist renaissance in the last years of Francoism which was parallel to a more intense political struggle and an increasing crisis of the dictatorship. Secondly the article looks at recent Spanish experience, the general elections of 1977 indicated the strong persistence of political memory, which favoured Ike PSOE. There was a remarkable political continuity with the loyalties and cleavages of the Second Republic, with a strong vote to the PSOE in the historical leftist areas, where socialism was able to survive notwithstanding its organizational crisis. The trade union elections of 1978 qualified however this predominance of the socialists on the left. Here, recent militancy at the shop floor level, represented by the communist-orientated Workers' Commissions, seemed more important than historical memory, although the socialist UGI produced a strong challenge. Finally the article examines the similarities between the programme of the PSOE and the Eurocommunism of the ICE and concludes that theoretical-ideological convergence, paradoxically, may well maximize political competition between communism and socialism in Spain.


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