I was unaware of its existence, I confess. Until recently, I have lived without knowing that there is a so-called Association for the Defense of Transition Values (ADVT). In recent days, this entity has appeared in the media for having promoted the manifesto Against the reform of the crimes of sedition and embezzlement: in defense of the constitutional order. Last July, the same association launched another manifesto, Against the Democratic Memory Project. Its mission, according to its website, is "knowledge of the Spanish Political Transition and the survival and consolidation of its values and achievements." Its promoters add that the ADVT is "politically non-partisan, non-denominational and non-profit and is open to people of the most varied ideologies."
The question is twofold and I have been thinking about it for days: what are the values of the transition? Who says what values correspond to that stage and how are they reflected in our present? After all, the transition, as the term indicates, was not something static or monolithic, it was a process that –contrary to the myth fabricated by some– did not respond to a single and exclusive script perfectly thought out in advance by distinguished heroes of the homeland.
In the transition, diverse strategies, disparate perspectives, diverse interests come together, and everything is amalgamated from a widely shared objective – that is yes – to avoid a new civil war and transform an authoritarian state into a democracy. When the transition took its first steps, after Franco's death, the main political and social actors concerned did not have the same plan in mind.
Suffice it to remember that the formations with the greatest weight in the democratic opposition advocated abstention in the referendum for political reform in December 1976. Suffice it to remember that there were prominent sectors of the post-Francoist right who yearned for a limited democracy, without the participation of the communists and other parties, who tried to leave legality on the sidelines. It is enough to remember that the public was never asked about the form of State or it is enough to remember the tutelary role of the leadership of the armed forces during the drafting of the new constitutional text.
What values animated the great consensus of the transition? The elites that were leaving the Franco regime did not have the capacity to prolong it and the democratic opposition did not have enough strength for a break. The tie of impotence continues to be the least bad of all the explanations to understand how Spain went from a dictatorship to a system of parliamentary monarchy in a few months. No one tried those responsible for the crimes of Francoism or asked for explanations. In exchange, those whom Franco described as "anti-Spain" could return from exile and be released from prison. Pragmatism, not looking back and the lesser evil were the main values of that convulsive moment (and not exempt from violence, with terrorism of various kinds).
Who says today what is consistent with the values of that transition? An example: the right attacks Pedro Sánchez for having Bildu among his parliamentary allies. What is more congruent with the spirit of the transition? Treat Bildu as one more actor or demonize him by system? If it happened today, some guardians of the transition would not forgive Adolfo Suárez for the legalization of the PCE, the return of Tarradellas or the Moncloa pacts.