In our post-war period, the censorship imposed by the winning side of the war was tremendous, and terrible, since the political-social-military allied with the Church (Catholic and catholic) was exercised in every corner of the country and over every civil society, and over every experience, with the sole and exclusive aim of having everything and everyone under surveillance in a regime with the maximum possible lack of freedom… I appeal to the younger generation to try to imagine this state of affairs, even if only slightly – I don’t want them to break down in the effort -, it is only so that they can appreciate what they have.

At that time, in the sixties, week in, week out, I was working in my father’s printing press, then pure and simple typography, and you can stop counting, but a super-monitored space because of what could be printed there. At that time there was the well-known Press and Printing Law, imposed by Franco and ruled with an iron fist by that Fraga Iribarne, minister of its interior during the fascist dictatorship, and later recycled into a policy of openness in the first democratic governments. A reversible and very profitable man, as history will have taken good note of…

This law made it compulsory, under summary penalty, for seven copies of all printed matter produced in these printing workshops, in offices delegated by the civil governments in the town halls, to pass through the Censorship: One copy remained in the custody of the designated municipal office, another for the industry declaring the impression, and five were sent to the Legal Deposit in the provincial capital (we were then provinces).. With the exception of business cards and the work of ‘remendería’, everything else, absolutely everything, had to pass through the established Censorship control. The work of editions was subjected to prior censorship, that is, it had to be submitted before printing (this is called “curling the curl”). Then, once the “plácet” was received, the second Censorship, checked that the contents were in accordance with what had been declared.

Just imagine… in the early days, even reminders of communion and death notices had to go through the censors. I was in charge of collecting everything in a bulky folder, taking it to the Town Hall every Saturday – at that time work was also done on Saturdays -, and Paco García Villalba, as government delegate for that purpose, and a servant of the nuns, we both signed that enormous amount of paperwork, after stamping all the copies and filling in all the information required in each and every one of the forms. A whole morning was spent on that task.

Only once in all those long years of lead and opacity, we were severely prosecuted for non-compliance with the established regulations: we had printed some seals for the cork of wine carafes with the bottler’s brand, 3 or 4 cm in diameter… Our defence was based on something very simple, which was that the 8×12 cm seal did not fit on the seal. Something so obvious and elementary did not cause the cancellation of the complaint, if not the “suspension” of the same. We should have presented it even though it was not completed. Crazy… but that gives you an idea of the closeness of the procedures of that brutality of censorship.

Well, I tell you this curious story because, the other day, I saw an old German film, Wind of Freedom, about the practices of the Stassi, the political police of the communist regime of the now defunct GDR, which shows that its socialist and democratic labels were also used by absolutist governments of the then states on the other side of the so-called “Iron Curtain”… Even the USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Russian Republics) with its strict communist regime. Just like that.

What I mean by this is that that fascist dictatorship copied the methods of that communist system in terms of censorship and repression. Stalinism and Francoism were the same, with the same systems of persecution of freedoms, and identical practices… There they persecuted those who visited churches, and here they persecuted those who did not go to church. There, believers were imprisoned, and here atheists were imprisoned. There, right wingers were shot, and here left wingers were shot. But, in the end, everything is the same, everything is the same, only the labels change, not the forms, not even the ways…

After all, they are twin absolutisms, which, in the current era, are even confused in their pursuit of the same ends. The voter of the extreme right and the voter of the extreme left are the same kinds of voters; both vote for the most ultra-populism and use the same repressive means of poisoned confusion and propaganda: extreme neo-censorship and persecution of any idea opposed to their own.

Today, this ultra-populism has been reborn in all the countries of Europe and in many parts of the world. What is less important are their speeches and the colour of their flags, because what they seek is the same thing and with the same weapons and procedures… And the upturn is being produced by the votes of the uneducated and ignorant citizens themselves, who believe themselves to be democrats. Later, these citizens will want to escape from the cages they are forging for themselves. The bad thing is that then we will all pay.