The former mayor of Muro, Jaume Perelló, explained in a valedictory interview that the golf course in Muro represented a further diversification of the local economy away from just farming. The other day I mentioned the renovations that are due to occur at the ethnology museum in the town, the one devoted to life as it was before tourism. As if to emphasise the one-time overriding significance of agriculture to the town, reinforcing Perelló's point, a local archivist, Sebastià Riutort, has conducted a major project to collect, clean and restore, and classify documents related to the farming co-operative of Muro. In total, the documents occupy 19 metres of shelf space. It is an extraordinary example of diligent historical record-keeping and an important collection of primary source material for study by historians and others with an interest in not only Muro's but the island's past.
"The Diario" reports on this archive, one that charts the founding and history of the "Cooperativa Agricola Murense". In historical terms, the co-operative is of relatively recent origin, but this makes it even more powerful a subject for historical record and scrutiny as, until the 1970s, Muro, a town with no port or seafront as such up to that time, was wholly an agrarian economy and as the actual year of the founding was 1937. The co-operative was a thing, therefore, of the Civil War and of the Franco era and administrative philosophy; in the same year a similar co-operative was established in neighbouring Sa Pobla. Neither event was insignificant in terms of the post-Civil War economy of Spain and in terms of how work was organised under Franco. To appreciate this significance, it is necessary to understand that the Spanish economy for 20 years after the end of the Civil War was an autarky, in other words a self-sufficient economy that substituted imports with everything produced internally, regardless of cost or productivity. It was not until the Stabilisation Plan of 1959, largely crafted by technocrats from Opus Dei, that Spain moved towards something of a functioning capitalist economy. The Muro co-operative was but one element of that autarky, and the archive contains records of the relationship with organisations such as that which centrally regulated the potato and sweet potato business in the Balearics. Just how closely the co-operative was associated with Franco can be recognised in one of its statutes, which refers to farmers making Spain "one, great and free", and in the documentation of a meeting in 1940 when the assembly rose and offered cries of "Franco, Franco, Franco".
Together with the ethnology museum development, this archive suggests that, in Muro at any rate, history is, if not alive exactly then very real and well. Thoroughly laudable and outstanding examples of preserving local culture and history.
Yesterday's title - The connection was The Marx Brothers and so - "Animal Crackers", http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdKC7jOGAyQ. Today's title - this comes from something of a protest song by someone rocking in the free world.
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