In Fact…

In Fact…

AZNAR’S PAST

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AZNAR’S PAST

**Vicente Navarro writes: The Bush Administration is behind a bill currently in the House Committee on Financial Services to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar, in gratitude for being “a staunch and steadfast ally” (i.e., supporting the Iraq war against the wishes of 90 percent of his people). He is known in America as a conservative; actually, his political roots are fascist. As a teenager he was a Falangist. His father and grandfather played prominent roles in the Franco regime. Aznar denounced the town of Guernica for renaming General Franco Square as Liberty Square after the dictator’s death. Spain’s Supreme Court, appointed by Aznar’s government, refuses to expunge the criminal convictions of executed opponents of the Franco dictatorship. Aznar defied the instructions of a UN Human Rights agency to find the bodies of the more than 30,000 people who disappeared under Franco. He is president of the Popular Party, founded by Manuel Fraga Iribarne, Information Minister under Franco. Fraga recently wrote a prologue to a book denying the Holocaust. He was Aznar’s mentor and anointed him as his successor. To award Aznar Congress’s highest honor would insult the soldiers who died during World War II in the fight against fascism.

HAL LEVENTHAL HOOTENANNY

**Gene Santoro writes: On November 29 a tribute to Harold Leventhal will be presented at Carnegie Hall by Arlo Guthrie, featuring Guthrie, the Weavers, Peter, Paul & Mary, and Theodore Bikel; the proceeds benefit the Woody Guthrie Foundation and Archives, which Leventhal helped form. During his sixty-five-year music-biz career, Leventhal pushed the postwar folk boom and broadened the audience for its dissident ideas. Born in Ellenville, New York, in 1919, Leventhal became a high school political activist. During World War II he served in the Signal Corps in India, where he befriended Gandhi and Nehru. In polarized postwar America, Leventhal saw Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Josh White as the populist voices of progressive ideals and organized rallies and concerts featuring them. From 1950 he managed the Weavers, and during the Red Scare became the folkie left’s commercial strategist, piloting blacklisted musicians through McCarthyism. In 1955 he reunited the Weavers, launching the folk-revival wave that washed into the 1960s. He produced plays and movies, including Wasn’t That a Time, Alice’s Restaurant and Bound for Glory. And he helped The Nation stage several events, including a memorable one at the Village Gate for the last Democratic convention in New York (ticket information: 212-247-7800; www.woodyguthrie. org).

DANTO HONORED

**A book by Arthur C. Danto, The Nation‘s art critic, has received an important award in France. The Madonna of the Future, a collection of essays, most of which appeared in this magazine, won the Prix Philosophie. The winner is chosen by
a jury representing high cultural institutions in France.

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