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The Falange or sometimes the Phalange is the name assigned to several political movements and parties dating from the 1930s, most particularly the original movement in Spain. This article is primarily about the Spanish Falange. For information about the Lebanese Phalange, see the Kataeb Party article.
In Spain, the Falange was a authoritarian royalist political organization founded by José Antonio Primo de Rivera in 1933 in opposition to the Second Spanish Republic. During the Spanish Civil War the Falange became a leading force on the Nationalist side, eventually favouring Francisco Franco. It constituted the core of the official single party in Spain, which was created after the Decreto de Unificación (Unification Decree) and called Falange Española Tradicionalista y de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista (FET y de las JONS) between 1939 and 1975, sometimes under the broader name of the National Movement (Movimiento Nacional).
Members of the party were called Falangists (Spanish: Falangistas).
- Corporate state in which class struggle would be superseded by the Vertical Trade Union , joining workers and owners.
- Roman Catholicism, with a touch of anti-clericalism.
- Attention to the Castilian farmers
- Pride in the history of the Spanish Empire
- Anti-communism and anti-anarchism
- El yugo y las flechas (the yoke and arrows), symbol of the Reyes Católicos.
- The blue shirt, a symbol of industrial workers.
- The red beret of Carlism (after the unification).
- A flag with red, black and red vertical stripes, reminiscent of the Anarchist flag of the CNT.
- Cara al Sol, "Facing the sun", its anthem.
Falange was a small party when it was founded in 1933 by José Antonio Primo de Rivera, a lawyer son of former dictator General Miguel Primo de Rivera, and by Onésimo Redondo and others. It united with several other small parties, becoming Falange Española de las JONS (Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista), or "Spanish Phalanx of the Assemblies of National-Syndicalist Offensive". Its philosophy of populist and patriotic authoritarianism had many parallels with German nazism (though without the anti-semitism) and Italian fascism. Its members wore blue shirts.
During the Second Spanish Republic, its gunfighters became involved in street shootings with leftist revolutionaries.
Primo de Rivera was arrested on July 6 1936, and the party joined the conspiracy to overthrow the Republic. On July 17, the African army led by Franco rebelled. On July 18, right-wing forces in mainland Spain followed suit.
Spanish Civil War
During the Spanish Civil War, the Falangists fought on the "Nationalist" side against the Left-led Republic; Primo de Rivera was the leader of one of the main groups within the Nationalist coalition, but because of his incarceration was unable to exert any actual influence (as a result, he was referred to among the leadership as el Ausente, (the Absent One). In November 20, 1936, Primo de Rivera was executed in a Republican prison, giving him martyr status for the Falangists.
After Franco seized power, he united Falange with the Carlist Monarchist Comunión Tradicionalista, forming Falange Española Tradicionalista de las JONS (FET de las JONS). Those who opposed, like Francisco Hedilla , were suppressed. The Carlist red beret was added to the uniform. It was also known as Movimiento Nacional.
After the war
After the war, the party was charged with developing an ideology to hold together Franco's regime. It became the typical cursus honorum for ambitious politicians. Those new converts were called camisas nuevas ("new shirts") in opposition to the more overtly populist and ideological "old shirts" from before the war.
Falange developed youth organizations (Flechas, Pelayos; compare to Hitlerjugend and Italian Balilla and Arditi), a female section (Sección Femenina) led by José Antonio's sister, that instructed young women on how to be "good patriots, good Christians and good wives". Falange seized the property of opposition parties and trade unions.
After Franco's death, the Crown was restored and therefore the democratization was later led by Adolfo Suárez, a former chief of the Movimiento. The new situation atomized Falange. For the first elections in 1977, three different groups fought in court for the right to Falange's name. Virtually left out of the political mindshare, Falangist inspired parties (some claiming the heritage of Hedilla) are only seen publicly on ballot papers, in State-funded TV election advertisements, and during demonstrations on historic dates.
Even decades after the fall of the Francoist regime, Spain still has a minor Falangist element, represented by a number of tiny political parties. Chief among these are Falange Auténtica and Falange Española de las Juntas de Ofensiva Nacional-Sindicalista, the latter taking its name from the historical party.
A small American group, the Christian Falangist Party of America , was formed in 1985, inspired by Kataeb. A report  circa 2000 also discussed a website for a National Syndical American Falangist Party.
It is a topic of constant discussion between the ones who consider themselves as genuine Falangists and people of other parties, particularly among extreme leftists, whether Falangism is an extreme right-wing movement or not. That is because Falangists considere themselves neither conservatives nor leftists, just something above both, much like what Benito Mussolini said. However, most modern analysts agree that Falangism was, indeed, a right-wing political movement.
- Rafael Sanchez Mazas , one of the head ideologists of the original Falange
- José María Aznar, a Falangist in his teens.
- Lebanese Phalange, a Maronite party inspired by Falange.
- History of Spain
- Falange Española de las JONS (in Spanish)
- La Falange, Spanish Falange party website (in Spanish)
- Falange Auténtica (in Spanish)
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