The squatters’ movement in the extreme right: the case of Hogar Social Madrid (I)

Credit: Hogar Social Madrid

In this article I intend to combine two concepts: the extreme right and the squatters’ movement. Initially, they both seem like incompatible concepts since we might think that squatters are better linked to anarchism and social movements of the extreme left. This may be so, but the practice of squatting is not exclusive to a specific ideology. In fact, there are cases of squatting (of some success and importance) among in the extreme right of some success and importance in different states of the European Union.

At present, it seems obvious that the extreme right is not only present at the institutional level, nor are they just several disorganized hundreds of football hooligans. There are many political actors, institutional or not, that operate and do politics under the label of the extreme right. As already mentioned, illegal occupations are also used as political action by some extreme right-wing movements. Usually, these occupations have social criticism such as denouncing usury or strong opposition to immigration and the proposal to nationalize banking.

In the institutional field, Spanish and international political parties, have been well known for decades. In Spain, some examples are Fuerza Nueva [New Force], España2000 [Spain2000] and VOX. In the European environment, the Front National (FN) [National Front] in France (now renamed Rassemblement national (RN) [National Regrouping], the Freiheitliche Partei Österreichs (FPÖ) [Austrian Freedom Party] and the political party known as Chega! [Enough!] in Portugal stand out among others.

Many parties with this political ideology derive from fascist, neo-conservative or ultra-religious traditions (Fennema, 2002). Each European State has a different historical, political and social context that determines, in part, the characteristics and the temporary or permanent success of these types of party formations. In Spain, basically, the fishing grounds of the extreme right parties have resided in Barcelona, ​​Madrid and Valencia.

Much has been researched and written about extreme right party actors (Von Beyme, 1988; Kitschelt, 1995; Casals, 2007 and Mudde, 2007). There are studies that analyze the rise of this type of political parties. Articles that deal with its origins, ideology or communication strategies.

As for the social or political movements of the extreme right, there is not so much bibliographical material in this regard. There is little literature that refers to the phenomenon of the extreme right associated with social movements[1]. Examples of these socio-political movements exist in Europe such as the Pan-European identitarians, Generation Identity, which has subsidiaries in France and Germany mainly, and anti-Islamisation movements, such as PEGIDA¸which started in Germany but quickly spread to several European countries.

The mirror to look at: CasaPound Italia (CPI).

Focusing on the scope of squatters’ movements of the extreme right, I will analyze the most important case in Spain, Hogar Social Madrid (HSM) [Social Home Madrid].

It is true that the HSM has not been the first squatters’ movement and social assistance in Spain. If we make a small historical tour, the first relevant antecedents that use this movement as a foundation for political action are found at the end of the 80s, with the Bases Autónomas (BB.AA) [Autonomous Bases] in Madrid and Barcelona.

Subsequently, and already in the 21st century, there were more cases of squatter centers, such as the self-managed patriotic space called the Proyecto Impulso [Impulse Project], created in October 2011 in Castellón or the example of Casal Tramuntana, founded in January 2012 in Barcelona. These cases, and their successors, imitated one of the greatest socio-political movement of the extreme right which uses squatting as a political action: CasaPound Italia (CPI). CPI was a pioneer, founded in 2003, and is one of the strongest squatters’ movements in Europe.

Hogar Social Madrid, as we said before, originated in Zaragoza and Madrid, almost simultaneously, in the summer of 2014. Since then, they have opened new centers in Granada (2017) and Toledo (2018), keeping in the state capital a greater activity and militancy that endure almost 6 years later.

The main activities of this organization consist in the distribution of food to Spanish people who are in economic disadvantaged, although the characteristic that defines them is the occupation of buildings to claim and denounce different political aspects.

A marked charity character.

Due to the influence of CasaPound Italia, the sociopolitical movements of the extreme right that have squatted in Spain have marked emphasis on charity.

Although the below extreme right movements have never really squatted in any building in Spain, it is worth of mention one of the antecedents of social movements, in this case an ONG, which was a pioneer in assistance and help only for Spanish people. This ONG called Hogar Social Patriota Maria Luisa Navarro, was linked to the political party Spain2000 (E2000) and was founded in 2010 in Valencia. Others have been created with different success as Españoles en acción [Spanish people in action], also linked to E2000.

In the case of HSM, it has continued with this charitable nature of the extreme right that provides only to nationals. Their help, mainly, is not born from solidarity, it is born from charity. They also justify their occupations in different ways such as political criticism and denounce on issues like unemployment, corruption or multiculturality.

It is, therefore, important to approach the phenomenon of the extreme right from the perspective of n socio-political movements. In a future article I will analyze, more carefully, how the activity of Hogar Social Madrid (HSM) is organized and what it consists of.

Mr Víctor Morencos Jaén is the author of the article “The institutionalization Strategies of the new radical Spanish Right, 2002-2017” in Politics and Governance (Journal of Research and Political Analysis), and the book “Vox: The new radical Spanish Right” in the publisher Libros. com.

© Víctor Morencos Jaén.  Views expressed on this website are individual contributors and do not necessarily reflect that of the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right (CARR). We are pleased to share previously unpublished materials with the community under creative commons license 4.0 (Attribution-NoDerivatives).

Mr Víctor Morencos Jaén

[1] Froio, Caterina, Pietro Castelli Gattinara, Giorgia Bulli and Matteo Albanese (2020). Casapound Italia: Contemporary Extreme-Right Politics. London: Routledge.

Casals, Xavier (2007). “La extrema derecha en España (1945-2005). In La extrema derecha en España desde 1945 a nuestros días (473-494). Madrid: Editorial Tecnos.

Fennema, Meindert (2002). “Los partidos populistas de derecha”. In Las ideas políticas en el siglo XXI (225-247). Barcelona: Ariel.

Kitschelt, Herbert (1995). “The Contemporary Radical Right: An Interpretative and Explanatory Framework” In The Radical Right in Western Europe: a comparative analysis (1-46). Michigan: University of Michigan Press.

Mudde, Cas (2007). Populist radical right parties in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Von Beyme, Klaus (1988). “Right-wing Extremism in Post-war Europe”. In Right-wing Extremism in Western Europe (1-18). London: Frank Cass.