Carles Viñas – The skinheads as a rennovating element of the Spanish extreme right
At the beginning of the 1980s the skinhead movement “cabezas rapadas” emerged within the Spanish state. Born in the context of the construction of new identities by the Spanish youth during the period of democratic transition (1975-1982), the appearance of the skinhead style, was initially tied to the extension of the punk subculture throughout the Iberian peninsula, while it remained relatively free of any ideological influences until the mid eighties.
At that time, some factions of young neo-fascists began to adopt the skin aesthetic. This development should be viewed in the context of the growing process of “politicization” that this subculture suffered during those years, crystallizing later on in the opposition between anti-fascist or non-politicized skinheads versus extreme rightist skinheads, a dualism that evolved in parallel with the development of the skinhead style.
The pioneering extreme right skinheads concentrated in three large urban areas: Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia. It was originally understood as a predominantly urban phenomenon closely connected to the culture of the British working class. These three cities turned into the epicenters of the spanish neo-Nazi skin sector, hosting its first bands, publications and organizations, and also serving as the focal points for the diffusion of the skinhead style.
The advent of the extreme right skinheads was hailed favorably by the then declining forces of the traditional extreme right. After the successive electoral debacles of the so-called “national forces”, the extreme right groups entered in a crisis that confined them to the political margins. This decline was caused by the aging of their support base and the dissolution of their principal political reference, the Fuerza Nueva (New Force) lead by Blas Piñar, following the failed coup d’ etat of February the 23rd, 1981. In this context, the neo-fascist skinheads far from forming a supplement to the old extreme right, became its principal renovating element. A homologous phenomenon soon spread throughout Europe, liquidating the nostalgic character of the former extreme right. Its innovative character was made visible in its iconography (closer to neo-Nazism rather than to Francoist symbols) characterized by the profusion of emblems that were not extensively used till then, like the Celtic cross or the runes taken from the Norse Mythology such as the one adopted by the South African Afrikaner Resistance Movement; in its publications (fanzines of a comics aesthetic called skinzines, which were bound in photocopies); in their modes of expansion, as in the sphere of sports as well as in music (football and neo-Nazi Rock also known as RAC) and in their racist ideology (keeping a distance from the Catholicism that the extreme right previously advocated and that heralded the equality of all people and adopting a supremacist and xenophobic message that the Spanish extreme rightist skinheads were paradoxically trumpeting when the number of immigrants in Spain was not yet significant).
Beyond their transgressive image, the Spanish skinheads provided a more visceral and direct message, something totally unprecedented in the ossified panorama of the Spanish extreme right which was not accustomed to changes and innovations. Their radical discourse, that we can place in the so-called “periphery of politics”, included terms such as racism or immigration, which were not that common until then in extreme right circles. Through this process, the Spanish skinheads became the genuine heirs of the racist positions advocated by the Spanish neo-Nazi organization CEDADE since the mid sixties.
This particular strategy that was adopted by the skinheads did not go further from the mere reproduction of racist slogans, the use of offensive language, a lawbreaking behavior and the ostentatious exhibition of neo-Nazi symbols and basic slogans combined with a deficient ideological structuring. Nevertheless, the growth of the neo-Nazi skinhead movement brought about the renovation of the Spanish extreme right that found itself surpassed by the manifestos and the violent street activism of the skinhead gangs. This is how, and particularly thanks to this mediatic projection, the skinheads managed to occupy the ideological space that was monopolized since then by the traditional – and nostalgic of Francoism- extreme right.
 The Spanish term that denominates the skinheads, which derives from the literal translation of its original name in English.
 X. Casals, “Boixos i Brigadistes: una lectura ideològica”, L´Avenç, n. 211, 1997, pp. 52- 55.
 About the fall of the so-called Franquist búnker, a term coined by the clandestine opposition, see X. Casals, La Tentación neofascista en España, Plaza & Janés, Barcelona, 1998, p. 48-59; J. L. Rodríguez Jiménez, Reaccionarios y golpistas. La extrema derecha en España: del tardofranquismo a la consolidación de la democracia, CSIC, Madrid, 1994, p. 251-270 and by the same author, La extrema derecha española en el siglo XX, Alianza editorial, Madrid, 1997, p. 438-462.
 The two paths of growth that the traditional extreme right followed failed: first, the electoral path ending with the decline of its leader Blas Piñar and, second, the “strategy of tension” that was carried out by violent paramilitary groups and that culminated with the coup staged by lieutenant colonel of the Civil Guard, Antonio Tejero.
 Acrónimo de Rock Against Communism (Rock contra el comunismo). Sobre dicho estilo musical ver V. Marchi, Nazi- rock, Pop music e destra radicale, Castelvecchi, Roma, 1997 and N. Lowles i S. Silver, White Noise. Inside the International Nazi Skinhead Scene, Searchlight, Londron, 1999.
 The term was coined by the historian Xavier Casals who, instead, of relating the activities of skinhead neo-Nazis gangs with the political, he puts them in the context of what he terms: “periphery of politics”. This is “an area difficult to define where what we could specify as politically lumpen – the acts of factions of minor entities, juvenile marginality (the world of confrontations and rivalries among rivaling football fans and juvenile gangs) and costless violence converge”, in X. Casals, Neonazis en España. De las audiciones wagnerianas a los skinheads, Grijalbo, Barcelona, 1995, p. 269.
 Until then the extreme right of the traditional edge had not been placed immigration as a focal point of their discourse given their intense catholic vocation. As Blas Piñar stated: “For us that we have a Christian and transcendental notion of life, all people are equal”, in “Blas Piñar pide protección contra los violentos”, El Observador, (17/XI/1991), p. 10.
– Adán, T. (1996). Ultras y skinheads: la juventud visible, Ediciones Nobel, Oviedo.
– Casals, X. (1995). Neonazis en España. De las audiciones wagnerianas a los skinheads, Grijalbo, Barcelona.
– Feixa, C. (1998). De jóvenes, bandas y tribus, Ariel, Barcelona.
— (1993). La joventut com a metáfora. Sobre les cultures juvenils, Ed. Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona.
– Lowles, N. i Silver, S. (1999). White Noise. Inside the International Nazi Skinhead Scene, Searchlight, Londres.
– Marchi, V. (1997). Nazi- rock, Pop music e destra radicale, Castelvecchi, Roma.
– Marshall, G. (1991). Spirit of´69. A Skinhead Bible, S. T. Publishing, Dunoon.
– Rodríguez Jiménez, J. L. (1994). Reaccionarios y golpistas. La extrema derecha en España: del tardofranquismo a la consolidación de la democracia, CSIC, Madrid.
– Sánchez Soler, M. (1994). Los hijos del 20-N. Historia violenta del fascismo español, Temas de Hoy, Barcelona.
— (1998). Descenso a los fascismos, Ediciones B, Barcelona.
— Viñas, C. (2005). El mundo ultra. Los radicales del fútbol español, Temas de Hoy, Madrid.
— (2004). Skinheads a Catalunya, Columna, Barcelona.
— (2001). Música i skinheads a Catalunya. El so de la política, Diputació de Barcelona, Barcelona.
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