Antonio López Piña, SYA Spain

The Democratic Memory Act: Tackling Spanish History During the Franco Regime
March 23
12 p.m. ET

As Spain transitioned to democracy, silence over the record of Franco’s dictatorship prevailed. The 1977 Amnesty Law intended to find forgiveness and move from the politically motivated crimes, forbidding prosecution for crimes during the Franco regime. Act 52/2007, the Historical Memory Act, was an initial attempt to move toward justice. The proposed Democratic Memory Act goes further than its 2007 predecessor fulfilling many recommendations made by the United Nations. Notably, in contrast to the previous 2007 Act, the Democratic Memory Act promises that the state will take responsibility for exhumations of mass graves and includes a detailed sanctions regime for violations. The Act is not without controversy or obstacles and in class we will address why part of Spain’s population finds it necessary to clarify these crimes and delegitimize the movements that today still either supports it or not. We will look at this through both a philosophical and ethical lens. To what extent do we have the capacity to interpret history detached from an ideological vision? Is there a “good” that must be admitted objectively? Does political power have the capacity to legitimize criminal actions against humanity by virtue of “superior ideas?” Does this theme connect with some aspects of the “Stay Woke” movement with respect to American history? The goal of this class is to offer an overview of the different and conflicting points of view and the arguments used by the law’s debaters.

Conversational skills in Spanish are recommended for this class.

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