Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Catalonia nullifies Franco's "justice"

Companys in prison
Believe it or not, in Spain the illegal totalitarian actions of the Fascist dictatorship of Franco are still within the law. The Parliament of Catalonia, in the process of active secession from Spain, has been the first one to declare some of them null.

Specifically the Catalan Parliament declared yesterday all military trials under Franco to be null and void of any juridical effect. Better late than never, I guess. 

One of the most infamous such military trials was the one against Catalan President Lluis Companys (ERC), who was killed as result. 

In spite of some 40 years passing since the (way too peaceful) death of the tyrant, almost nothing has been done in Spain to counter the effects of the fascist tyranny. Only now, under the cover of a very limited Law of Historical Memory, local governments have begun to rename streets that were apologetic of fascism, remove statues of Franco and other fascist icons, unearth the remains of some of the victims of Fascist terror, scattered by the roadsides of the country, etc. However resistance is not trivial, mostly from the ranks of the ruling "Christian-Democratic" party PP and the Catholic Church (which in Spain is extremely conservative and has been losing adepts without remedy since decades ago).

Source: Nueva Tribuna[es].

Thursday, September 29, 2016

War and chaos in the Spanish "Socialist" Party

English leftie intellectual and columnist Owen Jones asked in Twitter about the chaotic situation in the so-called Spanish Socialist Worker Party (PSOE), he was answered mostly with images, sometimes in crude Spanglish, by a crowd of enthusiasts, as reported by the online political humor section of the also online newspaper Publico, Tremending Topic.

One of the best ones was by musician Nega (Los Chicos del Maíz):

In case you miss the political clues, that guy is Felipe González, former leader of the PSOE and also President of the Government (i.e. Prime Minister) for more than a decade back in the Pleistocene, I mean... in the 20th century.

Like most weeds and bloodsuckers he is still alive and messing around, also getting paid millions for doing nothing at some mega-company (revolving doors and all that).

He has been photoshopped in the place of Chile's tyrant, Augusto Pinochet, clearly recognizable by the perennial black glasses (and also because it is a well known historical photo), in the day of the bloody coup against sincere socialist and democratically elect President Salvador Allende.

While I don't expect Owen Jones to read this I thought that I may give a clue or two to my readers because the issue is no doubt important.

We have to go back indeed to Felipe González and what he did to the PSOE and to Spain back in the 1980s. First he blackmailed his party, back then self-proclaimed Marxist (as all socialdemocrats used to be once upon a time) into giving up that label, then he conspired with others from the right in the (not really failed after all but failed in appearance) 23-F military putsch of 1981, then he said "no" to NATO only to say "yes" a couple of years later. He got Spain in the European Union and proceeded with the dismantling of the historical but public and arguably not competitive heavy industry, as well as many other business that had to adapt to the stringent demands of the EU, which are kind of colonialist. He also led by all accounts the infamous death squad GAL, which murdered many Basques.

He's like the godfather of the modern PSOE and the only truly competitive leader it ever had in modern times. Some people say he works for the CIA, others that the CIA works for him. He is no doubt very influential in any case and he has been actively supporting some sort of arrangement with the conservatives, which are not just conservatives but also incredibly corrupt and fascistoid, in the hung parliament that Spain's got after December and again after June elections. 

Many of the so-called "barons" (regional presidents) of the PSOE back this idea, which is akin to political suicide, to PASOK-ization. But all for the good of the Troika and the banksters, I guess. Every other "Chinese jar" (i.e. former relevant politician of the party) has been coming back from the dead to support that political suicide, from Corcuera to Zapatero and Rubalcaba. It's like The Living Dead. 

However the current direction of the party, even if not significantly progressive, is aware of the outrageousness of the demand, both for the party and for their own positions of power. This is particularly true for the current Secretary General Pedro Sánchez, initially looking like a pretty face sockpuppet of the party's apparatchkik but gradually more and more determined to become a real boss. 

The other bosses are not happy at all in most cases. Particularly vocal have been those of Southern Spain, where the PSOE is traditionally stronger and holds regional power with no or very limited support by third parties. These regional leaders are usually called "barons" in Spanish political slang although they are rather like dukes, to be historically reasonable. 

They are generally opposed to Podemos, maybe not in their regions, where they do borrow their votes in many cases, but certainly in the Spanish central government, and they are fiercely opposed to any dialogue with the Catalan separatists in nearly all cases. This again is particularly true in the rather underdeveloped South, where the PSOE is stronger. Regional leaders in the North are generally more sympathetic to Sánchez but as they do not in most cases hold their corresponding regional government, they are not considered "barons" but rather like sidekicks. The only "baroness" supporting Sánchez is Balearic President Francine Armengol. 

However it is not the "barons" who rule the party but its "national" (state-wide) institutions, which are mostly made up of directly elected representatives of the party members. They may or not be akin to the barons but they are definitely much less influential individually and wield less vested interests in the aparatchkik. Sánchez himself was directly elected in so-called "primaries". 

So the critics were pressing Sánchez for a concession to the conservatives, maybe just abstention in the election of the President (Prime Minister equivalent) when he had poor results in two "regional" (national of stateless nations) elections. This is not arguably only or even mostly his fault but of the previous leaders, who pushed the party so far to the right in the past, that have caused total loss of credibility, provoked the 15-M civic uprising in 2012 that kicked out of government his predecessor Rodríguez Zapatero and ultimately triggered the formation of Podemos, which has eroded their vote base very importantly. They have also tied his hands so tightly that he can't really attempt to negotiate seriously any alternative government to the conservative one. 

Finally, under growing not-so-friendly fire, he decided to call for an express congress, so long postponed, because he believes (rightly it seems) that he has anyhow the backing of the grassroots militants. His enemies seem to know they don't have it and therefore they decided to trigger a putsch, sort of, with the always valuable backing of the bourgeois media. The mechanism chosen was to resign in large numbers from the Federal Executive Committee (executive organ of the party) before the Federal Council could be gathered on October 2nd. 

They claim that this should automatically cause the whole remaining executive to be null and that a provisional committee should be appointed instead. By whom if there is no remaining authority? Today it has been clarified, the president of the Federal Council (internal parliament of sorts) has declared that she is the only authority remaining (really?) She had to do so in the street anyhow, as the premises of the party were not at her disposal.

An interesting key point is that the dissidents claim things about how the party's statute is supposed to work but do not provide quotations at all. Instead the Secretary of Organization César Luena provided yesterday a clear and concise quote of the relevant article, which says that in the event of semi-desertion of the executive, then the Federal Council must meet and call for an extraordinary congress to elect a new one immediately. 

This almost exactly what Pedro Sánchez had planned to do anyhow, just that the congress was to be ordinary instead of extraordinary. 

There is of course an ultimate "judiciary" power to sort out the discrepancies, but it can only be called by its own president and this one, Isabel Celaa, is a backer of Sánchez, so she said today that it won't happen today. Tomorrow? A formal complaint has been filled anyhow. The question is that this organ has a precarious balance between both factions: according to analysts, two are pro-Sánchez, two are anti-Sánchez and the fifth one is unclear and the other three are apparently against him and have even claimed to be able to summon themselves. This explains why the putchists were calling all the time for the Committee of Guarantees to take over, they knew they had a majority of backers inside.

So in practical terms the party is split in two and both sides deny legitimacy to the other, however this split is probably not real at all at grassroots level, where support for Sánchez seems in spite of all rather strong. 

The most direct implications are mostly relative to government formation and institutional impasse, which looks now that is going to be extending for a year, barring a split of the "Socialist" parliamentary group, with some of the deputies backing conservative Mariano Rajoy outside of party discipline, as demanded by Brussels, the banksters and such. 

It may indeed produce a split in the party, of course, but there is little doubt that the dissidents have limited grassroots and voter backing, so if there are elections in Christmas Day (yeah, love the idea, who doesn't?), as scheduled if no government is elected (again), they will lose most of their seats in benefit of Sánchez' faction. 

But the long term implications (unless somehow Sánchez manages to survive, not yet ruled out) are that the historical PSOE, essential part of the twin-party system will be dead for good. With the main right wing party, PP, also in a very delicate situation after so many corruption scandals and gathering most of its votes among pensioners (a very large sector of voters but set to die soon in any case, more so with pensions and healthcare being slashed in the so-called "austericide"), the regime of 1978 is deadly wounded.

So somehow it is good news, although it is not immediate good news. It is probably very bad news in the short term with a faction of PSOE's deputies probably voting for conservative Mariano Rajoy for their own personal survival in politics for the next four years. A parliamentary coup. We'll see.

I'm going to watch the soap opera now, I mean: the news. It is hilarious at times, although also terrifying.

Update (Sep 30, 2:30 am): It seems it will be all resolved (???), one way or another in the Federal Commission of Saturday. It's going to be a mess in any case, with Sánchez partisans calling it an extraordinary meeting with a single possible point: the calling of an extraordinary congress and his opponents calling it an ordinary meeting with an open agenda (the previous call).

The main alternative candidate, pro-Felipe, pro-Rajoy and pro-banksters Susana Díaz, leader of the very large Andalusian federation, has spoken in very soft "constructive" and clearly hypocrite language. She's clearly planning to be elected secretary general herself, but it is unclear by whom of how.

On the other hand the Catalan federation is fleeting buses of militants to demonstrate in support of Sánchez in Madrid this Saturday, all while the Catalan Parliament has set a definite date for the referendum of independence on September 2017.

The situation clearly spills a lot outside the PSOE and is actually a fight between democratic institutional change and godfather style corrupt politics at the service of the banksters, represented by Mariano Rajoy and the putschists in the PSOE.

If the putschists win, as seems likely, this may lead to another 15-M style popular insurrection of some sort, although with a fascist law that fines you several salaries worth for any minor offense, even if imaginary, it is unclear how the protests will take place. It is in the end a whole state-level putsch against democracy, be it internally at party-level or externally. No more elections are scheduled until 2018 (European Parliament) anyhow and with the current circumstances (Catalan secession, EU's moral and physical collapse, people starving, a deeply rotten party system in both PP and PSOE) it seems likely that the powers that be will want to impede them forever. Another thing is how, because I doubt there's many youth willing to fight for their own imminent death at the hands of starvation and homelessness.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Finland: nazis murder Jim Joonas Karttunen

Nazis of the SVL organization attacked and severely injured Antifascist activist Jim Joonas Karttunen on September 10th. Today 20th, he died of his injuries at hospital.

Joonas was protesting the presence of a SVL propaganda stand near the train station of Helsinki when he was brutally attacked by the Nazis, who beat him brutally on the ground, causing him a major concussion which eventually killed him.

Days later the Nazi organization uploaded a video to YouTube claiming responsibility and stating that "counter-protesters must be disciplined". 

It is not the first time that the SVL is involved in criminal attacks: in 2013 they already stabbed a protester in Jyväskylä. In that occasion one of the attackers was found a pen-drive with detailed information about more than 300 "political enemies", including antifascists, greens, socialdemocrats, conservatives and Jewish personalities. 

In 2011, Anonymous revealed the details of many SVL militants and sympathizers, including a prominent member of the True Finns party (xenophobic fascistoids, currently partner in the Finnish government), Juho Eerola, who eventually resigned. This implies that the SVL, part of a wider Nordic and Nordicist network, led by the Swedish SVR, are not a mere marginal and minor group but actually a violent shock squad satellite of the other fascists, who pretend to be a "normal" party, just like Le Pen in France. 

Beware because all those fascists, not at all different from Islamic Fundamentalists, are gaining positions in most of Europe very dangerously and we can too easily slide into a new version of 1933 in no time. 

Thanks Jim for fighting against Fascism to the very last of your forces. If we are to overcome this horrible threat, it won't be for those who sit in the sidelines watching but for true heroes like you. Let Mother Earth be gentle on you as you were to Her.

Source: Kaos en la red[es]

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Russia accuses USA of actively backing DAESH, UN Security Council called

We already knew, we knew that all the blah-blah about fighting DAESH (Islamic State) was just propaganda and that neither the DAESH nor Al Nusra/Al Qaeda would be there without the very active backing of the USA and its allies (Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Israel, France, Britain). 

But recently we had become a bit less certain: some US actions backed the Kurdish-centered Syrian Democratic Forces, Turkey and Washington seemed to have fallen apart on the issues of the military coup and the Kurds and even there were some poses about the USA backing a possible attack against Raqqa, the main Islamist capital. 

We can forget about that now: US air forces attacked the Syrian Army at Deir ez-Zor, an enclave at the Euphrates that Damascus has managed to hold free and safe for all these years of war in spite of being surrounded by DAESH forces. The attack killed 62 Syrian soldiers and injured at least one hundred. Russia says that it was meant to pave the way for the Islamist takeover of the town and that only their own counter-strikes allowed for the loyalist enclave to resist. 

The attack, along with the disdain by other US-backed "rebels" (Islamists affiliated to Al Qaeda) for the recently agreed ceasefire, puts in jeopardy any attempt to bring peace to the beleaguered Arab country, something we already knew would not happen: what we did not know was that the truce would be definitely destroyed by US open support of the terrorist forces of DAESH that so many people have murdered, tortured, raped and enslaved, in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere. 

If you are reading this and are a US citizen, please vote Jill Stein (Green Party) this autumn, because she is the only one who holds a reasonable stand in internal and external affairs. All the rest are just crazy war-mongers of the worst kind, who should considered for what they are: class A war criminals. She may not win but it is important to set some good bases for the future in any case if this World has to have some hope. 

Source and more details: RT.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Does 82% efficiency in hydrogen production from water signal a new renewable energetic era?

The news is from a year ago but I only got to know about it yesterday:

Basically the team led by Haotian Wang managed to produce hydrolisis of water into hydrogen with 82% efficiency, four times what was available until recently. It is important that the source is water and not natural gas (for environmental reasons) and that the catalysts are cheap nickel-iron oxides.

There are other details of technical interest that you can read about in the link. 

For me this technological revolution implies that the "utopy" of a solar/wind+hydrogen-powered world is already available, that there is no objective reason to continue using fossil sources of energy other than the limits of transition itself (and maybe lesser monetary pretexts, which should be quite negligible in any case). 

No more need to rely on expensive and foreign sources of oil, we can produce all energy needed locally with renewables and water. What are we waiting for?

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Catalonia moves one step closer to independence, challenging Spanish tribunal

Yesterday the Catalan Parliament moved the stateless nation one step closer to independence by approving eleven conclusions of the Commission for the Constituent Process, step that had been explicitly forbidden by the Spanish Constitutional Court, court that had been explicitly declared irrelevant by the Catalan Parliament as well.

The eleven points were passed with 72 votes in favor (in a few instances with 83 as the 11 members of Catalonia Can Indeed, akin to United We Can, supported or abstained here and there). They are (my aproximate translation from the Catalan original):

1. Right now there is no room for the recognition of the right to decide of the Catalan People inside the constitutional juridical frame of the Spanish state. The only possible way of exercising this right is via the disconnection and the activation of a distinct constituent process.

2. The People of Catalonia has the legitimacy to initiate its own constituent process, that is also democratic, based on the citizens, transversal, participative and legally binding, with the recognition, support and backing of the Catalan institutions.

3. The compared experiences of other countries back the road taken by Catalonia to build a singular model of constituent process according to our own social, cultural, political and economic circumstances.

4. We must take care that the methodological frame of the constituent process remains consensual, known, transparent and shared by all society and the institutions backing it. The constituent process must have the capability of including all ideological sensibilities since the very beginning and also at the time of fixating the indicators, the calendar and all other questions that affect the method to move forward.

5. The constituent process will have three phases: a first one of participative process, a second one of disconnection with the state and call of constituent elections in order to conform a Constituent Assembly, which will redact a project of Constitution. In the third phase, it will be ratified at popular level through a referendum.

Puigdemont and Gabriel, leaders of the independentist movement
6. The preliminary participative process will have as main organ a Constituent Social Forum (FSC) made up by representatives of the organized civil society and the political parties. The FSC will debate and formulate a set of questions on specific contents of the future constitution that will be answered by the citizenry via processes of citizen participation. The result of this citizen participation will make a binding mandate for the members of the Constituent Assembly, who will have to incorporate them in the redaction of the project of Constitution.

7. After the citizen participation phase, the disconnection with the legal frame of the Spanish state will be completed through the approval of the laws of disconnection by the Parliament of Catalonia and a unilateral mechanism of democratic exercise that will serve to activate the call of the Constituent Assembly (AC). The laws of disconnection are not susceptible of control, suspension or impeachment by any other power, court or tribunal.

8. The Parliament of Catalonia backs the constituent process that has to be carried to term in our country. To that effect it urges the Government of the Generalitat to give to the citizenry the resources needed to be able to carry a grassroots constituent debate that remains transversal, plural, democratic and open. To that effect, the Parliament of Catalonia will create a commission for the following of the constituent process.

9. Once it is called, elected and constituted, the Constituent Assembly will enjoy full powers. Its decisions will be of compulsory fulfillment for all other public powers, as well as for physical and legal persons. None of its decisions will be either susceptible of control, suspension or impeachment by any other power, court or tribunal. The AC will establish mechanisms to grant the direct, active and democratic participation of individuals and the organized civil society in the process of discussion and elaboration of proposals for the project of constitution.

10. Once the AC has approved the project of constitution, a constitutional referendum will be called so the People of Catalonia approves or rejects in peaceful and democratic manner the text of the new constitution.

11. Since the beginning, a gender perspective must be incorporated in a transversal manner and with a dual strategy, in order to address the historical inertias of our society and that the constituent process will also be for all, women and men.

Spanish nationalists got very angry
The eleven points were backed by the coalition "Together for the Yes" (JxS, backed by the Catalan Party of the Democrats and the Catalan Republican Left, but with most seats occupied by independents, 62 seats) and the People's Unity List (CUP, a revolutionary left-wing grassroots independentist party, 10 seats). The coalition "Catalonia Can Indeed" (akin to all-Spain United We Can) voted in favor of points 2, 4 and 11 only, abstaining for points 3 and 8, while voting against the other six points, the ones that directly challenge the Spanish legal corset. They have 11 seats.

The People's Party (PP, 11 seats), which controls the caretaker government in Madrid, voted against all 11 points, while the Socialist Party (PSOE, 13 seats) rejected to vote altogether and the Spanish ultra-nationalist "Citizens" (C's) party (20 seats) stormed out of the building in anger. 

Spain has been without a functioning government for months

The timing of the Catalan step forward does not only seems to serve to mend wounds in the rather unstable pro-independence coalition between JxS and the CUP, whithered by disagreements on the budget, which was not approved (not "social" enough for the CUP), but also affects the stagnated negotiations for the formation of a government in Spain, in which the Catalan Nationalists may be decisive.

There are five possible coalitions with pure mathematics (176 seats are needed):

1. PP-PSOE or grand coalition of the two major parties, hampered by the subjective "need" of the PSOE to remain as "leader of the opposition" (otherwise leaving that role to the leftist upstarts of Unidos Podemos). Another major obstacle is the insistence of Mariano Rajoy, besieged by endless corruption scandals and rejected by every single other party, to be the candidate.

2. PP-UP: unrealistic, as they represent polar opposites.

3. PP-C's-PDC: they are all center-right parties but the former two are Spanish nationalists while PDC (former CDC) is Catalan nationalist, and they are in clear crash course these days. Hypothetically PP and C's could make very major concessions (a federalist reform of the constitution) in exchange of the latter deactivating the independence process but it is very hard to see how this could happen, much less after the new step towards independence taken in Barcelona and the declarations of PDC speaker, Mr. Homs, that they will not support neither Rajoy nor any other candidate of the PP. 

4. PSOE-UP-C's: seems most unlikely, as UP and C's are also polar opposites (socialism vs ultra-capitalism, federalism vs. ultra-centralism). The PSOE tried to do something like this (but with them governing solo, without seriously negotiating with UP) in the recent past and was rejected.

5. PSOE-UP-PDC-ERC-PNV, where PDC and ERC are Catalan nationalist forces (center-right and center-left respectively) and PNV is a Basque nationalist (or regionalist) one (center-right). This one used to be the coalition most favored by United We Can (UP) but has been harmed by the abstention of the peripheral nationalist forces in the formation of the board of Congress, which has been interpreted by some as flirting with the PP. For the PSOE, which is much strongly Spanish-nationalist, it is rather undesirable, particularly with the Catalan challenge going on.

There is a sixth possibility that adds up to 175 seats, exactly half of the Spanish Congress, which would include PP, C's, PNV and the small regionalist Canarian party PNC-CC (1 seat), which has already declared their intention to help in government formation, but it is a nightmare scenario for the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV), because there are regional elections this fall (late October in principle but may be moved forward to September) and for them allying with the rotten and rather extremist PP would be a major burden, no matter what they get in exchange. It would still be one seat short of a majority anyhow. 

The PNV has already said that Rajoy is a no-no and that they will demand a solution to the issue of ETA (disarmament, prisoners, etc., today blocked by the intransigence of the PP) but it has been rather ambiguous otherwise. In any case it is very difficult to imagine the PNV backing a government that represses the Catalan push for independence, it would be a major shame for them and could even start an internal rebellion: too much. 

So the conflict Spain-Catalonia is seriously affecting governance in Spain, although it is not the only issue: the irruption of Podemos (now Unidos Podemos, after they merged with United Left) and the endless spat of corruption scandals affecting the conservative PP also add up.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Turkey's coup: Erdogan is doing it right now.

Who was behind July 15th coup has become less important than what is going on after it in Turkey. For all we know, Erdogan himself may have staged or induced the failed military coup (whose structure is still unknown) in order to make a much hardest putsch from the government. About one third of all state officers at nearly all levels are being purged (either arrested, dismissed or ordered to resign), including not just military officers but police, judges, civil servants and lots of teachers. Right in the aftermath of the putsch, massive purge lists, obviously prepared long before, were issued so Erdogan and his islamo-fascists can take full control of the state, beginning by the judiciary. 

The fact that the military putsch failed to achieve anything of note, not capturing a single minister or taking any institution other than, briefly, a few media outlets, strongly suggests that the coup was staged or induced by the Machiavellian Hitler-loving Turkish President, although direct, definite, evidence of this has not yet surfaced. 

In any case, real or fake, the military uprising has led to another much more clear type of putsch, a self-coup by Erdogan himself against the last remnants of democracy and secularism in Turkey. The first stage, that of taking full control of the state apparatus is well under way, while a second stage is foreseeable and will begin with the illegalization of the multiethnic, left-wing federalist party HDP, which represents the spirit of the 2013 popular uprising against Erdogan's islamo-fascism. As happened with the rise of Hitler, openly admired by Erdogan, the social-democratic (and Kemalist) CHP, the largest opposition party, will be left in limbo, boiling in internal contradictions, until the final decree of dissolution is issued in due time. The secularist fascist MHP will be in turn forced into assimilation to the AKP, purging any dissidence. 

Alternatively a soft fascism will be implemented instead (as in Iran, Russia or Hungary), allowing token democracy and only illegalizing the HDP, whose legal fate is surely sealed. This option would allow for Turkey to remain in NATO without causing excessive scandal (not that outright dictatorships have been absent of NATO in the past but it seems harder to defend nowadays). In any case Erdogan's hold on power and the political islamization and fascistization of Turkey can be taken for granted. 

Whatever the case, it seems that Erdogan's islamo-fascism is becoming entrenched in the Turkish state and that this failed coup is serving his totalitarian pursuit as the Reichstag's fire served his admired precursor Adolf Hitler.