Jesús González Requena
(Universidad Complutense de Madrid)
Lorenzo J. Torres Hortelano
(Universidad Rey Juan Carlos)
de esta edición: gonzalezrequena.com, 2021
This text has been rejected by the following scientific journals:
Comunicar. Revista Científica de Comunicación y Educación, Profesional de la Información, Political Communication, Politics, Journal of Women, Politics & Policy, Communication & Society, Revista Latina de Comunicación Social.
Reasons given: non-compliance with formal rules, in most cases. Lack of scientific rigor in some other.
There is another possibility: the political incorrectness of the presented data.
This paper studies the informative context in which the Spanish government took the decision not to suspend the massive public events on the weekend of the 8th of March in which feminist demonstrations were to be held and argues how certain political interests -of the current Spanish government- as well as ideological interests -predominant in the aforementioned demonstrations- were able to determine the non-suspension. To justify this, firstly we contrast the information contained on the front pages of the pro-government newspaper El País on the decisive dates of the crisis with the statements made to TVE by the Minister of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, J. L. Ábalos on the 1st of June. These statements are considered to be copies of the discourse constructed by the government to justify its failure to take the measures indicated at that time. The result of this comparative analysis shows that on the 8th of March the government had sufficient information to recommend the suspension of the feminist demonstrations, as well as the other major public events that took place that weekend. And, secondly, we proceed to an analysis of the political and ideological factors that prevented the necessary health measures at the time, formulating the thesis of the direct relationship of these factors to a type of ideology that is identified as belonging to an identitarian clan.
KEYWORDS: Covid-19, demonstrations, 8th March, feminism, El País, ideology, identitarian clan.
1. Introduction. 2. State of affairs, objectives and methodology. 2.1. Ideology and perception of reality. 2.2. Ideologies and the real. 3. Results. 3.1. The non-suspension of the public events on the 7th and 8th of March. 3.2. The Government’s a posteriori positioning. 3.3. Data and times vs. government discourse. 3.4. Ideology as a masking screen. 3.5. Ideology and distortion of the perception of reality. 3.6. The position of the media. 3.7. From ideology to the conception of the World. 3.8. From the conception of the world to the identitarian clan. 3.9. A dubious heel of the feminist movement. 4. Discussion and conclusions. 5. Bibliograph, 6. CV.
The week of 16th to 24th February 2020, an international meeting of the WHO-China joint mission took place. The final report (World Health Organization, 2020: 21) recommended that countries that were beginning to have cases of Covid-19 infection should activate the maximum health emergency protocols necessary for their detection and cure, as well as inform the population of the seriousness of the situation. This happened three weeks before the 8th of March, the date on which the feminist demonstrations took place in Spain on the International Women’s Day. In what follows we will show to what extent certain political interests -of the current Spanish government- and ideological interests -predominant in the demonstrations- were able to determine the non-suspension of them despite the warning. This makes the case an ideal one for analysing the relationship between ideology and the perception of reality.
Let us first, place the theoretical context in which our research is inscribed.
2. State of affairs, objectives, and methodology
2.1. Ideology and perception of reality
As Ortega y Gasset stated, the perception of reality as a function of the intellect is conditioned by the belief system of each individual (1914, 1930), including those related to political ideologies. These, according to Lippmann, are social structures of learning in which “our social circle conditions our spiritual contact with the world, tries to lay the foundation on what we should consider admissible and tries to determine how we should judge it.” (1922, p. 61).
Ideology has been analysed in relation to identity. Thus, for example, Pye (quoting Erikson) suggests that political ideologies are an expression of personality even if there is a gap between the private and the political (1961, p. 220). Other authors have called this relationship between ideology and identity an illusion of cultural identity (Bayart, 2001); politicized collective identity (Simon & Klandermans, 2001); effect of continued influence (Lewandowsky et al, 2012); or collective irrationality that leads to ideologically biased behaviour (Kahan, 2013, p. 420). In this sense, we have studied how the mechanism of cognitive dissonance is activated in these processes (Festinger, Riecken, & Schaster, 1965; Kahan, 2013), which points out that when ideology intersects with the perception of reality, the latter seems to be inconvenient because it does not fit in with the reality the ideology constructs; in other words, ideology takes on more relevance “than the objectivity of the demonstrated facts” (in Blanco, 2020, p. 177).
Lakoff explains how our perception of reality is determined by frameworks in which we sometimes force the facts to fit in with our ideology (2007, p. 110). These frameworks also influence our identity. In this sense, Bueno recalls how, in the Nazi period, Adorno argued that identity was a strong idea that would have replaced the idea of equality of the French Revolution. That is, identity as “the ideological integration into a people or a culture […] the relationship of the subject with some kind of environment” (2010).
Other authors argue that this integration of ideology into certain frameworks determined by the world view can give rise to certain mirages (Taylor & Brown, 1988; Jost et al., 2013). Thus, “even if the data reveals the error of a belief, the human being will tend not to doubt it, only the facts that question it” (in Blanco, 2020: 177). A derivative of all this is that, in the hands of “extremist parties”, these frameworks would make it possible to set the rules of the game “in which the centrist parties are forced to play” (Blanco, 2020, p. 183).
In the same vein Crilley states, quoting Ball (2017, p 5) and Davis (2017, p. xi), that what characterises our era in political terms is “the victory of emotion over reason-an era where the facts of the matter are not as important for politicians and the public as the sentiment beneath” (2018, p. 418). D’Ancona expresses himself in similar terms when he speaks of “the resurgence of emotional narrative” (p. 31). For Ball all this characterises an era of “misrepresentation, half-truths and outrageous lies alike” (p. 5).
Some consequences of this state of affairs, as Endress states, derive from the relative capacity to judge and evaluate the reality and temporality of events, since “the high level of established rigid long-term expectations in modern societies seems to hinder these societies from an adequate sensibility of the temporal character of social reality and from the continuous need for interventions” (2019: 56). Several authors have expressed the same view (Corner, 2017; Graham, 2020; Moreira, Rique Neto, Sabucedo, & Pereira, 2018). For example, Graham states that:
When groups collectively rationalize their actions, entire networks of beliefs and desires can be created and maintained in the form of shared moral narratives and system-justifying ideologies. These collective rationalization cases illustrate how adaptive advantages can come at the expense of the truth (2020, p.1).
Notwithstanding the above, we do not intend to start from a negative idea of ideology. As Freeden states, there is room for some rehabilitation of the concept as a social phenomenon and analytical tool for political thought, that is, not taking ideology, whatever it may be, as suspicious of anything (2006, p. 21).
It is worth noting that there is significant scientific production on how ideological belief systems can lead to misunderstanding and conflict over perceptions of reality by skewing people’s views of reality and objectifiable facts (e.g. Sen & Gates, 2007; Flynn et al., 2017; Ringel, Rodriguez & Ditto, 2019; Roussos & Dovidio, 2018).
According to Innerarity, today’s political culture is shaped by an “absolute and impudent lack of appreciation for objectivity and facts” (2018, p. 26). We believe that this has to do indirectly with the phenomenon of post-truth, not so much as a synonym for fake news -which has always existed- but as a phenomenon that goes beyond that in the sense of showing a lack of appreciation for objectivity and facts. McIntrye suggests that the prefix post does not refer to a temporal issue but to the fact that “the truth has been eclipsed, [becoming] irrelevant” (2018, p. 5).
In relation to this eclipse, several authors claim that in the second decade of the 21st century has been created a breeding ground for a certain mix of reality from a variety of relevant political actions. The most cited cases in this respect are Brexit and Donald Trump at the international level (for example, Ball, 2017; D’Ancona, 2017; McIntyre, 2018). Indeed, the focus for analysing this phenomenon now seems to be on politicians (McIntyre, 2018, p. 10). Could the 8th of March then be our national case?
2.2. Ideologies and the real
Image 1: Front page El País, 25/2/2020.
“The WHO calls on the world to prepare for a pandemic.”
Suddenly the real emerges as an outburst of the unforeseen, of the unexpected, cleaving, and breaking reality, as a universe of the predictable. For the real is, by definition, what one does not want to see. So, individuals defend themselves by clinging to the reality they know, trying to make invisible with it, what they are used to foreseeing with, the cracks through which the real points out.
In this field, ideologies appear, due to their discursive and systematic character, like screens to which it is tempting to cling in order to make invisible that which one does not want to see.
We are presenting a case study regarding this in what follows.
3.1. The non-suspension of the public events on the 7th and 8th of March
Everything seems to indicate -in what follows we will provide precise data on the subject- that the failure to suspend the public events planned in Spain for the weekend of the 7th and 8th of March was a serious error that considerably facilitated the spread of the pandemic in Spain.
Sporting, cultural, and political events and, above all, the feminist demonstrations on the 8th of March, International Women’s Day, were massive events that not only brought together huge numbers of people in crowded conditions but also, in order to make them possible, caused the consequent saturation of public transport.
Image 2: Front page El País, 9/3/2020.
Was it an avoidable or unavoidable mistake? Did the Spanish government have sufficient data at the time of that weekend to justify taking such a decision, a measure that would have prevented these mass events from taking place and which, in fact, was taken only three days later – on the 11th of March? (1)
The core of the debate, as it has been addressed in Spain since then, lies precisely in this: whether it was the government’s interest in holding the feminist demonstrations -demonstrations that were very actively encouraged by various members of the cabinet (2)– that led to the non-suspension of the public events of that weekend. If this were the case, we would be faced with an almost authentic case of the effects that an ideology (3)-in this case the feminist one (4)– can have on the perception of reality.
3.2. The Government’s a posteriori positioning
Let us see how, in retrospect, the Spanish government has positioned itself on the issue. We will take as a reference the statements made to TVE1 in the programme La Mañana by the Minister of Transport, Mobility and the Urban Agenda, José Luis Ábalos, on the 1st of June, in the context of the discussion opened by the revelation of some words by the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero, in which, as the interviewer summarises, she acknowledged that there was less participation in the demonstration on the 8th of March because of fear of the coronavirus, adding that she was not going to acknowledge this in public.
Let’s see Minister Ábalos’ response:
«At that time, what we did not know exactly was the dimension of the problem. What we did have was some data on infections and incidence in the hospital system. At that time, we also thought that all the infected cases, because of the tracking being carried out, were cases that came from outside. Therefore, at that time there was no evidence of intra-community transmission. But the case deserved, in any case, a lot of responsibility. In fact, I remember perfectly the first week of assuming ministerial responsibilities we always had, we set up a committee within the government to deal with the phenomenon of the coronavirus which at that time was exclusively in China, then it moved to Italy…»
[José Luis Ábalos, La Mañana, TVE1, 01/06/2020]
It would be certainly incongruous trying to judge these claims in the light of what we know today. The appropriate thing to do is instead to contrast them with what was known at that time. We think the best way to do so is using the front pages of the most widely circulated pro-government newspaper –El País– which will allow us to restore the data that was already public and therefore could not be ignored by the government.
3.3. Data and times vs. government discourse
«At that time (we can fix the days when it was decided to keep the demonstrations on the 6thand 7th of March) what we did not know exactly, was the dimension of the problem. What we did have was some data on infections and the incidence in the hospital system.»
The minister’s vague expression contrasts with the information published a week earlier, on the 28th of February, on the El País front page in which it was reported that the epidemic is beginning to outstrip the emergencies.
Image 4: Front page El País, 28/2/2020.
Source: https://elpais.com/hemeroteca/elpais/portadas/2020/02/28/ “The epidemic is beginning to outpace emergencies”
«At that time, we also thought that all the infected cases, because of the tracking being carried out, were cases that came from outside.»
However, eight days earlier, on the 27th of February, El País reported on its front page that it had detected the first case of local infection of the virus in Spain.
Image 5: Front page El País, 27/2/2020.
Source: https://elpais.com/hemeroteca/elpais/portadas/2020/02/27/ “Sevilla records the first case of local infection of the virus in Spain”
«Therefore, there was no evidence at that time of an intra-community transmission.»
If there was no such record, how is it possible that on the 3rd of March, five days before the demonstrations, El País published on its front page that Health is studying how to limit public events in the outbreaks of the virus?.
Image 6: Front page El País, 3/3/2020.
“Health authorities consider limiting public events in outbreaks of the virus.”
Clearly, if the isolation of virus outbreaks was considered, this indicates that there was a possibility of intra-community transmission.
It should be remembered that on the 2nd of March it was known that Torrejón de Ardoz, a town close to Madrid, was one of the outbreaks of the virus to which the Health Authorities were granting extreme vigilance.
Image 7: Front page El País, 2/3/2020.
“Health authorities extreme surveillance against the virus in Torrejón, País Vasco and Málaga”.
Besides, it was entirely foreseeable that a considerable number of people from this population would travel to the demonstration called in Madrid for the 8th of March. (5)
«But the case deserved, in any case, a lot of responsibility. In fact, I remember perfectly the first week of assuming ministerial responsibilities we always had, we set up within the government to deal with the phenomenon of the coronavirus which at that time was exclusively in China, then it moved to Italy…»
The Minister says his government was following the development of the epidemic first in China and then in Italy.
Since it arrived in Italy before Spain, and because this in turn announced the foreseeable arrival of the Covid-19 in our country, given the very close proximity of all kinds between the two nations, it should have been a prime reference for the Spanish authorities to consider the dates of the decisions taken there, in relation to the known rates of the development of the epidemic in terms of the number of deaths and infections.
The most relevant measures taken against the pandemic during that period were: on the one hand, the suspension of public events and school activities and on the other hand, the beginning of large-scale confinement.
Italy closed the schools and cancelled the public events on the 24th of February, when it was known that 3 people had died and 152 had been infected.
Image 8: Front page El País, 24/02/2020.
«The latest balance shows 152 people infected, counting the two Chinese tourists who are still admitted to a hospital in Rome and who developed the disease outside Italy. In addition, yesterday an elderly woman died from the coronavirus in Cremona, in the region of Lombardy. It is the third victim registered in the country.»
[Daniel Verdú. El coronavirus paraliza el norte de Italia, El País, 24/0272020, p. 21.]
If Italy was the obligatory reference for Spain, it could be deduced that the Spanish authorities, in view of the rapid spread of the pandemic there, despite the measures taken, should have shortened the deadlines. But it did not do so. On the contrary, it delayed them considerably compared to the times in Italy.
If it had at least followed the transalpine deadlines, it would have taken the suspension measure on the 6th of March, when we already had 3 deaths and 261 infections.
Image 9: Front page El País, 6/3/2020.
“An undetected coronavirus death uncovers a major outbreak.”
«To date, none of the three deceased in Spain had been previously diagnosed with the virus […]
«Given the growth of cases -the last ones informed yesterday [2020-03-05] by the Ministry of Health raised them in Madrid to 90 infected of the 261 throughout Spain […]»
[Pablo Linde: Una muerte por coronavirus sin detectar destapa el mayor foco, El País, 6/3/2020.]
However, it did not do so until 5 days later, on the 11th of March, when there were already 47 dead and 2.002 infected.
Image 10: Front page El País, 11/3/2020.
“Sánchez announces, «difficult weeks» and aids for families and businesses”
«According to the latest data provided by the Ministry of Health, the number of cases reported nationwide amounts to 2,002, including 47 deaths.» [https://www.dsn.gob.es/es/actualidad/sala-prensa/coronavirus-covid-19-11-marzo-2020]
So, the delay in adopting the measure is, in this case, obvious.
It must also be acknowledged that, regarding the second major measure, the confinement, the Spanish government was able to anticipate itself to the times of Italy.
Image 11: Front page El País, 9/3/2020.
“Feminism shows its strength in 8-M”
Thus, if the Italian government did not implement the general confinement until the 9th of March, when it recognised 230 dead and 6.000 infected, the Spanish government did so shortly afterwards, on the 14th of March, when it counted 136 dead and 5.753 infected.
Image 12: Front page El País, 14/3/2020.
“The government declares a state of alert for a fortnight.”
|a) Suspension of public events|
|24th February||6th March|
|3 deceased||47 deceased|
|152 infected||2.002 infected|
|9th March||14th March|
|230 deceased||136 deceased|
|6.000 infected||5.753 infected|
|TABLE 1. Source: own elaboration|
To anticipate the measure of the confinement was undoubtedly correct, but as the subsequent figures on the evolution of the disease in Italy and Spain show, did not manage to compensate for the effects of the delay in the first measure -that which affects our discussion -as shown by the higher number of deaths and infections among the total population in Spain.
Image 13: Front page El País, 8/3/2020.
“The powerful rage”
Probably nothing is as appropriate to test the state of information about the epidemic as paying attention to the front page of the newspaper El País on the 8th of March, the very day of the demonstration. The front page, as we know from press reports, was necessarily made the night before. This is what the Spanish government knew: that the virus is blocking the world; that the spread of the coronavirus challenges states. But above all: that Italy is preparing to isolate 16 million people in the north of the country.
This is what was known that day, even though Minister Ábalos seemed to have forgotten it on the declarations of the 3rd of June.
3.4. Ideology as a masking screen
We think that this proves that the Spanish government had enough data to decide to suspend the public events on that weekend, especially considering that in recent years there had been an exponential growth in participation in the demonstration on the 8th of March. (6)
However, this should not be understood as saying that the members of the government and its Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare, who are responsible for managing public protection against a pandemic, wanted the increase in illness that would have been avoided if the suspension of public events had been taken in time – at least in the times of Italy. Of course not. They certainly did not want it.
What matters, in any case, in the real world, is not what was or was not wanted, but what happened. And what happened is that, despite the data they had, they did not see it coming. Therefore, the issue that should concern us here is to analyse the screen that helped them not see it.
3.5. Ideology and distortion of the perception of reality
This blindness probably begins with the short look of politicians who only see their own short-term interests, because they do not even recognise that their task is to manage the public affairs well instead of organising the propaganda apparatus to win the next elections. It would be worth stopping to consider the mental context in which many contemporary politicians have been living their activity in such short-sighted propagandist frameworks. Donald Trump like Pedro Sánchez, or Boris Johnson, belong to a generation that has long been installed in the nothing ever happens. We mean, in that fantasy, purely imaginary, that our world, with all the comfort it had reached in recent times, was guaranteed. So, they could devote themselves to their propaganda calculations with the only risk of losing the next elections. They were, they are, in short, players of fortune. But what distinguishes them is their ability to perceive the themes that can touch others. To all those others who, not expecting so much from fortune, need something to believe in. It is here that ideology begins to act. Trump and Johnson have found it in nationalist ideology, that very pregnant combination of narcissistic assertion and hatred of the other. And Sánchez… in a peculiar combination of anti-Franco and feminist ideologies.
Hence the importance the government attached to the 8th of March call and its direct involvement in promoting it. The brilliance they expected from it was, together with the aforementioned nothing ever happens, the other major component of the screen that contributed to making the real threat invisible. Thus, an ideology – in this case the feminist one – played a determining role in the configuration of that screen.
This provides us with an ideal case for the study of the power that ideologies – in principle, any ideology – can achieve, in certain circumstances, to distort the perception of reality. Nothing expresses this better than one of the slogans that were displayed and shouted at that demonstration. We are referring to the one that recite: “The (your) machismo kills more than the coronavirus“.
Images 14 and 15: “El machismo mata más” [Machismo kills more]
Source: 08.03.2020 | 21:26 horas, RTVE.es/AGENCIAS: https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20200308/marchas-espana-dia-mujer-8m/2007105.shtml
Image 16 and 17: “El machismo mata más” [Machismo kills more]
Source: BBC News Mundo (left): <https://www.bbc.com/mundo/noticias-51801656
Source: Ideal Almería (right): <https://www.ideal.es/almeria/almeria/almeria-marea-violeta-8m-20200309232919-nt.html
Images 18 and 19: “El machismo mata más” [Machismo kills more]
Source: 08.03.2020 | 22:01 horas, Jessica Martín (left): <https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20200308/feminismo-resiste-coronavirus-calles-machismo-mas-peligroso-mata-mas/2006321.shtml
Source: El Diario.es, Marta Borraz / Raúl Rejón 8 de marzo de 2020 17:10h (right): <https://www.eldiario.es/sociedad/feminismo-calle-exigir-derechos-mujeres_1_1036341.html
This is a statement which, as such, can be confronted with empirical data. And it is an indisputable fact that this statement has been empirically disproved. That is to say: it is a proven fact that the coronavirus kills more, much more, than machismo, whatever is understood by this very confusing term. It is a fact, in short, that this statement is clearly false. This makes it a pure example of an ideological statement capable of distorting the perception of reality, that is, of constituting a screen capable of veiling reality itself, with the disastrous effects that such veiling can -and this time did- achieve.
3.6. The position of the media
Image 20: Front page El País, 8/3/2020.
What is remarkable is the resistance of this veil, its ability to prolong its presence despite the forcefulness with which the facts have come to disprove it. And no less notable is the involvement of so many media in maintaining this denial by way of silencing, as the issue of the delay in taking the first measures against the pandemic has become for them something irritating that, they seem to think, is better left unsaid.
Everything seems to indicate, in any case, that it is the prestige of feminist ideology that facilitates the self-censorship that so many media professionals have come to accept regarding this matter without even confessing it to themselves.
It is not without influence the fact that their media were actively involved in calling for a demonstration that had ended up becoming a kind of official demonstration.
3.7. From ideology to the conception of the World
What is remarkable is the illogical and irrational leap that is manifested in this, since, in principle, the assessment of the opportunity to maintain or suspend this call was based on health criteria and did not affect the feminist debate itself. Therefore, we think that it is on this irrational factor that we should concentrate.
It is a fact that, against all reason, this prestige of the feminist ideology had come to impregnate, even distort, a health policy debate that was in principle completely independent of it. How to explain such a power of impregnation, irrational in itself?
First of all, we identify the conversion of ideology – which in itself is nothing more than a set of more or less compact and systematic ideas and beliefs about a certain field of reality -into a conception of the world, since it is known that what characterises a conception of the world is its capacity to impregnate the whole of reality, claiming itself through this authorised way to affect each and every one of the aspects of the experience in which it participates.
In this way, ideology goes from being a set of ideas and beliefs in which one participates, to becoming something that confers identity. This is clearly manifested through substantive statements of identity such as I am a Christian, I am a communist, I am a nationalist, I am a feminist, I am an ecologist… So, the whole being is finally affected by this determination of essence.
3.8. From the conception of the world to the identitarian clan
But even this is insufficient to explain the issue at hand, for someone can assert her feminist identity and at the same time accept a purely sanitary judgment, all the more so when it may affect his or her own health. And surely this could have been the case for most of the participants in the event.
However, in this case, it is a fact that this contamination took place to the point that a real threat became invisible. What was the path that made this possible? We think that an added factor is that certain conceptions of the world, far from being limited to constituting the basis of identity – on the model I am… x-, they simultaneously offer their participants integration into what we believe is appropriate to call an identity clan. In this way, the I am x becomes an I belong to x. The grammatical difference that separates one from another enunciation is capital, since in the first x it is the attribute that confers identity to the I, but without questioning, at least in principle, the autonomy of that I. In the second, on the other hand, the bond of belonging makes x the factor capable of determining, if not abolishing, the very autonomy of the I.
It is the difference that separates identity from the identitarian. The identitarian clan then appears as the foundation of being, in a similar way to what happened in tribal cultures, where the autonomous space of the individual had not yet appeared as an inalienable right of the subject. There is no doubt that a powerfully religious feeling beats in this, but of an archaic religiosity, completely different from that which we know in modern religions.
Once the autonomy of the self is suppressed, the possibility of thinking, of even conceiving the autonomy of the self from the other, is inevitably suppressed and the world becomes extraordinarily simplified.
Either the other participates in my identitarian clan or he inevitably becomes my enemy. For the differentiated part that one has renounced in oneself is necessarily intolerable in the other: who has he thought to be so as not to renounce what I have renounced in my sacrificial act for the clan?
This ends up manifesting itself in the paradoxical rejection of those whose ego does not allow itself to be absorbed, even though they were originally natural members of the community. This took the form, in the demonstration on the 8th of March, of the expulsion from the community of groups of women belonging to political parties that were repudiated for not being considered sufficiently feminist. And, in contradiction to the act of expulsion they chanted under slogans such as “I just want to be remembered as a free person ♀”.
Image 21: Begoña Villacís leaves the 8-M demonstration in Madrid while the leaders of Ciudadanos are scolded by other protesters] (Video: Atlas)] .© David Olivas.
“Ciudadanos expelled from 8M, while PSOE and Unidas Podemos seek to recover an image of unity.”
The more different the other shows himself, the more he will be hated as an enemy that threatens the very being of the clan. This opens the door to what is the most primary form of enjoyment: hatred. Thus, the enemy is hated. And this triggers a narcissistic mechanism that derives, from the intensity of that hatred, a fantasy of invulnerability, whose evidence becomes palpable in the photos of the harassment of other party members.
When, in addition, this clan or ideology endangers the rest of the population that does not belong to it, one could speak, with Maalouf, of deadly identities as they reduce identity to belonging to only one thing, install men in a partial, sectarian, intolerant, dominating, sometimes suicidal attitude, and often transform them into people who kill or into supporters of those who do it (2014, p. 10.1).
By means of this narcissistic affirmation, thinking itself ends up ceasing, being considered unnecessary and, at the same time, dangerous-since it could distance me from this fusion with the clan from which all my strength derives-and is replaced by adherence. Loving adherence to the clan.
Once this line is crossed, the facts themselves become irrelevant, for there is no longer any truth other than the very identity of the clan. And lies can, in this way, be conceived as necessary, as a form of defence of that clan of membership in which the only truth would reside.
Finally, in this process reality itself is extinguished, or confused with the clan itself, so that everything ends up in a process of totalitarian absorption.
3.9. A dubious heel of the feminist movement
How is it possible that the feminist movement, which was born in the 19th century as a movement that demanded full recognition of women’s rights as free individuals, on an equal footing with men, and without having to renounce their femininity, has been able to take on this bias?
Well, to this day it seems to have lost the sense of femininity that permeated the first suffragettes, two of whose major traits were care and delicacy. Two traditional qualities of the feminine that, if they had been present in the minds of those who called for the demonstration, they could have proudly taken on their suspension, lived as an act of care towards the community. But the fact is that this was impeded by the current dominance of the feminist movement under the sign of rage
Image 23: Front page El País, 2020, 8th March
And, by any measure, empowerment means nothing more than the assertion of power itself.
Image 22: Front page El País, 2020, 9th March
We will only add, to conclude this text, that we believe that the affirmation of power as the milestone, if not the only, reference of the trend apparently dominant today in the feminist movement is diametrically opposed of what the first -and feminine- feminism wanted to provide to the modern world.
4. Discussion and conclusions
The results obtained from the comparative analysis of the front pages of the newspaper El País on 8th March and the days before, and the statements made by Minister Ábalos to TVE on the 1st of June, provide objective data that clearly contradict the discourse that the Spanish government has subsequently maintained on the information it had available when it decided not to suspend the 8th March demonstration.
Thus, it is demonstrated that on the 8th of March the government had sufficient information from various sources, including those that reported on measures taken on the same days, also those taken by the Italian government, which advised the suspension of the feminist demonstrations, as well as the other major public events that took place that weekend.
But, beyond the verification of the multiple contradictions that the Spanish government has incurred and continues to incur in relation to these events, our study analyses an evident case of distortion of the perception of reality caused by an ideology -in this case the feminist-, while allowing us to establish that the degree of this distortion is considerably greater when the ideology in question is shaped as belonging to what we have proposed to call an identitarian clan.
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(1) Only three days later, on the 11th of March, the WHO declared it a pandemic. Its President, Tedros Ghebreyesus, stated: “We are very concerned about the alarming levels of spread and severity, and about the alarming levels of inaction”. The news from El País continued: “Ghebreyesus explained that in the last two weeks there has been a 13-fold increase in the number of cases of Covid-19 outside China, the epicentre of the outbreak. More than 118,000 positive cases have been registered in 114 countries and the number of deaths has risen to 4,291” (the bold characters are ours), source of the 11th of March: <https://bit.ly/34DzyF3
(2) Cfr.: “Government ministries join the Equality campaign with purple avatars and the hashtag #GovernmentFeminist”. Source: Europapress, 6th of March 2020, <https://www.europapress.es/epsocial/igualdad/noticia-8m-ministerios-gobierno-suman-campana-igualdad-avatares-morados-hastag-gobiernofeminista-20200306164225.html
(3) Cfr.: “Government ministries join the Equality campaign with purple avatars and the hashtag
#GovernmentFeminist”. Source: Europapress, 6th of March 2020, <https://www.europapress.es/epsocial/igualdad/noticia-8m-ministerios-gobierno-suman-campana-igualdad-avatares-morados-hastag-gobiernofeminista-20200306164225.html
(4) Cfr.: “Government ministries join the Equality campaign with purple avatars and the hashtag
#GovernmentFeminist”. Source: Europapress, 6th of March 2020, <https://www.europapress.es/epsocial/igualdad/noticia-8m-ministerios-gobierno-suman-campana-igualdad-avatares-morados-hastag-gobiernofeminista-20200306164225.html
(5) The evolution of attendance has grown exponentially since 2017, when 40,000 people attended; in 2018, 170,000; and in 2019, 350,000. Source: Government delegation in the Community of Madrid. Attendance developments have grown exponentially since 2017, when 40,000 people attended; 2018, 170,000; and in 2019, 350,000. Source: Delegation of the Government to the Community of Madrid.
(6) See note 3. The actual figures were finally lower than expected, as according to the Government Delegation in the Community of Madrid, 120,000 participated (50,000 in Barcelona). This is interesting, because it is 70% lower than the participation in 2019, which tells us that civil society was aware of the imminence of the pandemic, source: <https://www.rtve.es/noticias/20200308/directo-sigue-directo-actos-concentraciones-del-dia-internacional-mujer/2007083.shtml In 2019, 350,000 participated (200,000 in Barcelona), more than twice as many as in 2018. This is the interesting data, since it is undoubtedly a relevant figure, source: https://bit.ly/3oD5gdp. The reasons for the drop in participation cannot be attributed to the weather, as on the 8th of March there was a maximum temperature of 15.2 ºC and a minimum of 3.5 ºC, in accordance with the previous dates and the season, and above all, it did not rain, so the drop in participants cannot be attributed in any way to the weather, source: www.datosclima.es (based on AEMET Open Data).