Vox’s strategy, between ‘lepenism’ and ‘orbanization’

The orientation of Vox, both in Catalonia and in the rest of the State, is a matter of debate. What are your influences? Which model is it going? From Public We spoke with experts on the extreme right and knowledgeable about the phenomenon to assess the strategy and direction of the training. In the last elections to the Parliament of Catalonia, Vox obtained good results in part of the labor belt of Barcelona, ​​in the upper area of ​​the Catalan capital, in Camp de Tarragona, in the Aran Valley, in part of Alt Empordà (Girona) and in areas with a strong presence of the Army, the Civil Guard or activity of the guerrillas dedicated to tearing the yellow ties. With 11 deputies and 7.7% of the vote, the candidacy of Ignacio Garriga became, starting from scratch, the fourth political force in Catalonia.

To get started, Sergio Grace, researcher specialized in the extreme right and director of the analysis and study medium on extreme right Cinved, highlights an important feature that characterizes Vox in Catalonia, different from the state Vox: its composition as a political party here is determined by the heritage of Plataforma per Catalunya (PxC), which in 2019 ceased its activity to join Vox, thereby acquiring the Islamophobic and anti-immigration discourse of the Anglada era. “Of course, the independence process has been one of the workhorses of Abascal’s party“, affirms Gracia. The dominant explanation maintains that Vox arises and grows because of and thanks to the Catalan question: independence awakened the radical right. Others argue that today’s fascism has used the fight against independence to whitewash and legitimize itself before Spanish society.

In Catalonia, “Vox has instrumentalized the regional symbols, something that it has not done in the rest of the autonomous communities,” says Gracia. “In the end they resorted to the defenestrated senyera for their campaign rallies,” explains the Cordovan expert. This is a position that, as the Barcelona photojournalist has explained Jordi Borràs in various articles in Critical, draws mainly on the concept of Hispanic Catalanism that groups such as the Catalan Patriotic Movement promoted in the 1990s, to rediscover and reinterpret Catalan as something uniquely Spanish.

For Daniel V. Guisado, political scientist and analyst at the Carlos III University of Madrid, Vox currently “does not present significant differences between Catalonia and the rest of the country.” “Its growth trajectory is deeply limited. The territorial conflict is not as intense as it was years ago, and there are already many parties that dance on this dance floor, “says Guisado.

Little working class voter

Inheritance of PxC, some moments with greater force and others with less, the lepenisation de Vox is an assumption that has always existed. In this case, it would be about the possibility that the party, as Marine Le Pen has done in France, was for the task of penetrating and obtaining votes among the working class, in a clear commitment to the call “welfare chauvinism“, the idea of ​​a welfare state that prioritizes locals and restricts benefits to citizens of foreign origin.

Recently, he has also planned the possibility of a orbanization of the party, in the image and likeness of the Hungarian Fidesz of Viktor Orbán, and turn Vox into the hegemonic force of the right and conservatism by considering that the workerist turn is no longer enough to win. “It is true that Vox has carried out tests of new political tactics. The Madrid campaign is an example “, says Stew. With the hegemony of Isabel Díaz Ayuso, the trivialization of post-confinement freedom with a profound discourse on canes and tapas, the Vox campaign was “more anchored to the security and nativist axis, and the” multicultural “criticism.

Despite a certain rhetoric and workerist gestures, consummated with the creation of the anti-communist union Solidaridad, inspired by the Polish union federation with Christian roots, “it is flatly false that the working class votes for Vox. In other countries, radical right-wing parties have achieved significant support among the lower classes, but this is not the case in Spain “, argues Guisado.” Of course there will be working people who vote for Vox, but in statistical terms this is more an anecdote than a generalization. “

For Guisado, Abascal’s party “is economically right-wing and morally conservative. In this sense, it resembles parties in the east much more than radical parties in northern Europe.” There is, for now, no chauvinistic twist or lepenist in Vox. In fact, like all the main radical right-wing parties in Europe, it promotes tax cuts, but contrary to what is usually preached, not for the popular classes, but for businessmen and high incomes. Gracia affirms that the party has decided to embrace Orbán’s policies, such as the closing of borders, the construction of walls in Ceuta and Melilla or the ironclad defense of the classical family.

Formula import

Could there be talk of a salvinization of Vox? For Alba Sidera, a journalist specializing in the extreme right and a correspondent in Rome, no. As Sidera explains, it is a “problematic” term because currently Matteo salvini (public admirer of Orbán), in the middle of the competition stage with the post-fascist party of Giorgia Meloni (the Brothers of Italy), performs three-way balances. Between wanting to keep up-to-date with Giancarlo Giorgetti and Luca Zaia, closely linked to the businessmen of northern Italy, who want a moderate League close to the German CDU; reconcile with the ultra-conservative, catholic and identity current that is reflected in Orbán and Bolsonaro; and to come to terms with those supporters who demand a return to the strident and populist Salvini, openly racist and capable of uniting, in the style of Le Pen (or Mussolini), the “patriots of the left and of the right.”

In addition to this, among the possible lepenisation or orbanization by Vox, Guillermo Fernandez-Vazquez, a researcher at the Complutense University of Madrid, speaks in the magazine The U, of what he calls the venezuelization de Vox, that is, the hardening of its strategy of opposition to the Sánchez government with the adoption of a story of living in a dictatorship, with a neocon language very close to that used by the opposition in Venezuela. This is how voxists speak of “totalitarian government”, “socialcommunism”, “gulag”, “Bolivarism”, “safe neighborhoods” or “applying 155”.

That framework seems consolidated. “Now it’s time to fertilize the land by selling a bleak present,” says Gracia. The problem is that Vox “tries to import winning formulas from other countries that in Spain may not fit “. “The feeling is that Vox does not know what he wants to be when he grows up,” concludes Guisado. Be that as it may, lepenisation, orbanization, venezolization, salvinization or Trumpism, surely not everything, nothing, but something of each and balance. Vox has built its own discourse that distances it from the Franco regime of the bunker (despite certain interferences) and connects it intellectually and politically to the right of the thirties of José Calvo Sotelo, Renovación Española.

The other great leg of the ideological body of Vox is in the Gustavobuenism, which advocates furiously, in the slipstream of the best-seller by Elvira Roca Barea Imperiophobia, for the vindication of the Spanish Empire, and, specifically, of an empire opposed to the Anglo-Saxon and Protestant world. In fact, Garriga, to refer to Latin American countries and Spanish-speaking communities, was one of the first to publicly allude in parliament to the concept, of his own creation, of “Iberosphere”, to eventually create a space for counterbalance and projection of Spain outside the European Union and to battle culturally the Sao Paulo Forum and the Puebla Group. If Vox has a clear course, it is to wave the flag to safeguard the unity of Spain. And here, due to the Spanish renewal, beyond the photo of Colón, he always finds allies.


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