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Repression against the Basque separatists by the Social Democrat government of the Spanish State

Immediate release of all Batasuna leaders! Legalization of Batasuna!

 

On October 4th , the Audiencia Nacional (National Hearing) -the court which is dedicated to the most serious criminal affaires- arrested the leadership of the political party Batasuna, which demands the independence of Euskady (Basque country). As a response, several thousands people demonstrated in Bilbao and in St Sebastian. On October 7th, Audiencia Nacional’s Baltasar Garzon put 17 persons in jail in Madrid, for “membership of an armed group”, out of the 23 persons who were arrested. The judge Garzon blames them for being linked with ETA (Euskadi ta askatasuna, Basque country and freedom), the organization of Basque nationalist guerilla warfare which was born in 1952 to lead the armed struggle against Franco dictatorship.

Since 2002, the government led by Aznar, from the PP, the bourgeois party heir of Francoism (Partido popular, Popular Party) prosecuted any Basque political or cultural expression. In 2002, the judge Garzon had already originated the device which turned Batasuna outlaw, which banned the petit-bourgeois nationalist party to take part to the municipal elections, where he had a significant audience on the previous ballot. He was protected by the act of June 4th 2002, through which the Cortes (parliament) voted an antidemocratic law allowing the ban of any party by the government and by the courts, under the pretext that it advocates violence.

In March 2004, three days before the general elections, an islamic network of Al-Qaida blew up several suburb trains in Madrid, which killed 200 people and injured 1 400 others. The Aznar government immediately accused ETA, despite Batasuna disclaimers. The discontent of the workers and the youth, who were the target both of the reactionary attacks and of the PP policy, became concrete with more and more massive demonstrations, charging the government of being a liar, and lashing out at PP premises. It appeared later that the Islamist network was full of informers and was linked with the police.

The general elections were to save the monarchist Spanish State from a serious crisis, and to give a shining victory to the main traditional workers’ party, the PSOE (Partido socialista obrero español, Spanish Workers’ Socialist Party). Since then, Zapatero government ruled on the behalf of the Spanish bourgeoisie, like his predecessor did as a “socialist” Prime Minister of Juan Carlos, namely Felipe Gonzales.

Before the amplification of the repression against the radical wing of Basque nationalism, various pressures were exerted against the Catalan nationalists who dare to question the monarchy, which is so cherished by the Catholic church and by the PP, and also by the PSOE and by the PCE (Partido comunista español, Spanish Communist Party). Two Catalan militants were brought before court for “serious injure” to the crown: on September 13th, they had burnt a portrait of Juan Carlos when the latter came to Gerone. On October 1st, Ricardo Blazquez, the bishop of Bilbao, felt obliged to claim himself “close” to the royal family “not only from a personal point of view, but also on the name of the institution I represent”. Monarchy is a legacy of Franco, it was set up with a total support by the PSOE and by the PCE, that already acted against the proletarian revolution in 1936 and 1937, with the help of the CNT, contributing then to the success of the fascists.

The PP openly rejoiced when Basque militants were arrested by the police of the PSOE government.

The PP leader, Mariano Rajoy, described the operation as “good news” and he said, referring to the government, that “wisdom consists of rectifying one’s mistakes”. (El País, October 6th 2007)

Whereas the PP government had refused any negotiation, the PSOE government made some attempts for disarming ETA, as the Labour government succeeded with the IRA. In March 2006, ETA declared a ceasefire, which allowed negotiations to begin, even if Zapatero refused to discuss the issue of independence. Yet, since the discussions with the Zapatero government led to nothing, especially about the improvement of the conditions of the 700 Basque prisoners, ETA broke the truce. In March 2007, when the separatists intended to build a party with statutes claiming that it would use “exclusively democratic political means”, the Zapatero government prevented that. As a a result, they could not take part to the municipal elections in May 2007. In July 2007, one of the main actors of the “peace process”, Arnaldo Otegi, was charged with terrorism and put into jail.

Marxism has nothing to do with the Spanish chauvinism of the Social Democrat (PSOE) or post-Stalinist (PCE) leaderships, which are agents of the bourgeoisie within the proletariat, it has nothing to do with the bourgeois (PNV) or petit-bourgeois (ETA, Batasuna) Basque nationalism, which pretend that people ignores class struggle, and deny that the maintenance of oppression, including national oppression, is due to the private ownership of the means of production. Post-Franco ETA lost a significant part of its popular support in murdering other Basques, including former executives, that did not share their views on independence or on attacks. It divides the proletariat and has struck workers more than once: for instance, on December 30th 2006, ETA blew up a bomb on the car park of Madrid airport, and two immigrant workers were killed.

Yet the proletariat must advocate democratic freedoms that are restricted by all the bourgeois States on the name of the “fight against terrorism”. It must stand up again the flag of democratic claims that were given up by the senile bourgeoisie, like republic, secularism and the right of the peoples to choose their autonomy. In order to unify the proletariat of the Spanish State against the Francoist monarchy, against the bourgeois State, against the bourgeoisie, all the Spanish workers’ movement (PSOE, PCE, UGT, CCOO…) must advocate freedom for the arrested leaders, the lifting of the ban of Batasuna. The workers’ movement in France and in the Spanish State must argue in favour of the release of the Basque political prisoners in the French and the Spanish jails, against the collaboration between polices. Rank-and-file militants in PSOE, in PCE, in UGT and CCOO unions, workers of all the Spanish State must break with any policy of support to the monarchy and to the repressive institutions which divide and weaken the working class. They must advocate the right of the Basques, on both sides of the boarder, to decide their own fate, until the creation, if they wish so, of a separate Basque State.

Workers’ alliance, an achieved unity of the proletariat, will be able to overthrow the Francoist monarchy, to scatter its repressive forces, and to dissolve its repressive courts. In leading all the oppressed, the proletariat will separate the church from the State, will build a workers’ republic, will allow peoples from Spain to freely decide their fate, on the ruins of the bourgeois State, in expropriating the big capitalist groups, in building the Iberian socialist federation, and in opening the way to the Socialist United States of Europe.

For this, the workers need a party which is different from the reformists, from the Basque and Catalan nationalists; they need a revolutionary workers’ party which unites the vanguard of all the Spanish State and allows it to get connected with the conscious workers in Portugal, France and Morocco through a revolutionary workers’ international.

Freedom for Batasuna! Abrogation of the law on political parties! Unconditional freedom for all political prisoners! Down with the Francoist monarchy! Iberian socialist federation!

October 11th 2007

Permanent Revolution Collective, DNK Austria