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When the university defeated the Franco regime

23 Marzo - 2021

In 1966 the Democratic Union of Students of the University of Barcelona was established in an assembly in the Capuchin convent of Sarrià, also known years later as the Caputxinada. It was the result of years of struggle for democracy from the university, and it was the spur for the establishment of the Taula Rodona, which, for the first time since the Civil War, united the entire democratic opposition in a coordinating body. The PSUC was thus emerging from the isolation to which it had been subjected until then by the other political forces. Five years later the Assembly of Catalonia was constituted, of which we celebrate its 50th birthday this year, as the culmination of the process of unity of the democratic forces.

Fifty years later, the seven militants who made up the PSUC Student Committee for the 1965-1966 academic year, who later followed diverse professional and political careers, met again and decided to jointly conduct a political reflection on that period, which was represented by the SDEUB and the role of the PSUC, how the university organization was structured and worked, and the relationships it had with the Party leadership. The Democratic Union survived until 1968, subjected to constant and intense repression. Even so, the Francoist organizations did not return to occupy the Catalan university and this, socially and culturally, became democratic territory.

The UPF Barcelona School of Management has hosted this Tuesday, March 23, the presentation of the book Quan el franquisme va perdre la universitat. El PSUC i el Sindicat Democràtic d'Estudiants de la Universitat de Barcelona. Curs 1965-1966 with the authors and protagonists of the events: Andreu Mas-Colell, former councilor of the Generalitat de Catalunya and emeritus professor at UPF; Pau Verrié, former general director of IDEC-UPF; Albert Corominas, emeritus professor at the UPC; Pere Gabriel, emeritus professor at the UAB; Joan Clavera, former dean of the Faculty of Economics and Business at the UAB and Salvador Jové, former deputy. The author Esteve Lamote de Grignon, who has been responsible for health programs at the Junta de Andalucía since the 1980s, was unable to attend the event.

The dean of UPF-BSM, Oriol Amat, welcomed the event in the auditorium of the School, highlighting "the honor and pleasure" that it is for UPF-BSM to receive the authors of this book. "It can be seen that in 66 there was a good harvest, looking at the trajectory that you have had. The mission of the Pompeu Fabra University and the UPF-BSM is to train people, citizens and professionals. And the book that is presented has a lot to do with it. see with these dimensions, "said Amat, who also wanted to" thank the authors for the path they opened. "

The act has continued with the words of the authors. Paz Verrié, former general director of IDEC-UPF and editor of the work published by Editorial Base, has started. Verrié has remarked that "this is a collective book, an unusual thing, 56 years later we have all written a book reflecting on the project we are carrying out". The issue is composed of an introduction signed by all, a chapter for each one focused from the responsibility within the student committee and a chronology, a biographical review of each one and the six issues of the University Magazine published during that course. Verrié affirms that this book "wants to place the Democratic Union not as a specific event, but as a fact in the university struggle and that it continued after us."

After thanking the attendance as a public of the more than 25 former members of the PSUC, before and after her time, she has thanked and valued the work done to "improve the university and the country."

Geography of the Underground

José Luis Martín Ramos, professor of Contemporary History at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​has continued to speak, who has reviewed the book from his field of expertise. "The book describes a geography of the underground, a sentimental and intense geography," he has said.

"This is an indispensable book, the only reproach I would make is that it took so long to come out and therefore historiography, dissemination and memory have been slow to incorporate what this memory contributes: the role of the PSUC and its role in the political leap of the country, "he added. The expert has stressed that the work has a "very successful title, the regime lost the university, it was defeated, in those years when the union was born in Barcelona and later spread to other universities in the country."

"The book has seven sincere contributions and very representative of the personality of each one, which develops a coherent story and marks the key moments that caused the dictatorship to be defeated at the university and a process of rupture began," he added, recalling that "the university was not reconquered by the regime and even though the union disappeared, its consequences continued."

Seven authors, seven chapters

The former councilor of the Generalitat de Catalunya and professor emeritus at UPF, Andreu Mas-Colell, has taken the floor next to list the decisions that he believes are key to the success of the Caputxinada, among which stands out "reacting to the enclosure by of the police shouting for the general strike. The response was impressive, especially led by little mobilized students, this was proof of the depth of the movement. "

Verrié also spoke about his chapter, on the structure of the union, which had a hundred members: "We had a clear project, we wanted to create a Democratic Union for the defense of students' rights, not only for political agitation. The students then see the PSUC as the best tool in the fight against Francoism. "

Corominas has commented on the university union policy of the PSUC: "The student movement grew throughout Spain and especially in Madrid while the PSUC promoted the movement to advance without fragmentation." On his side, Gabriel has spoken about the party's propaganda and its relationship with the effervescence of university students; Clavera then pointed out in his speech the will that with "this book our children or grandchildren understand what the university students did against the dictatorship with the creation of a space of freedom in the university, growth of the PSUC and the hope of a better moment despite of the Franco regime ".

Jové, who signs the last chapter of the book, has closed the act explaining the difficulties to implant the student union after the union's constitution: "The repression put an end to the union, but when we rejected the assimilation attempt by the Franco regime, we stopped all the attempts of the regime to assimilate student unions. Then the university disconnected from the Franco regime. Who lost the battle was the Franco regime ".

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