Sunday, December 30, 2012

Documentary[es]: corruption, cronyism and Opus Dei in the Kingdom of Navarre

Navarre has since its forced annexation to Castile, some 500 years ago, some notable self-rule, like the other Basque provinces. This self-rule was heavily shrunk in the 19th century but still retains its own fiscal autonomy, being in direct charge of the money of all the Navarrese and only paying a yearly tribute ("cupo") to Spain. This is in principle something good... but it all depends on who is in charge.

In the case of Navarre, since at least the fascist period, it has been corrupt politicians, often linked to that greedy destructive Catholic cult styled Opus Dei (God's Job in Latin). Together they have managed to suck once and again the wealth produced by the work of 600,000 Navarrese citizens into their bottomless pockets.

This documentary (produced by Ateak Ireki (Open the Gates) and Herri Ekimena (People's Action), the first of a trilogy, dwells in the depths of the way too many corruption scandals that have shattered the Old Kingdom (Spanish language):

Los trileros forales. 
¿Quién se ha llevado los dineros?
(The chartered thimblerigs. Who took the moneys?)

It does not deal yet with some of the greatest black holes of  Navarrese corruption: the hyper-controversial Itoitz Dam or the sudden loss of the Navarrese People of their public bank: Caja de Ahorros de Navarra, merged and remerged at loss for the private profit of the same power ring of fascist roots.  These matters will be dealt with in the planned future episodes. 

The documentary has been the last weeks projected town after town through much of Navarre, often more times than planned because of the massive public interest. More than 2000 copies have already been sold and the expectation is such that the authors have decided to release it freely (anti-copyright license) in the Internet.

Source: Ateak Ireki.

All you wanted to know about farcical radiation monitoring in Japan

... synthesized in just two blogposts by Safecast:

Droids is the popular name for the monitoring posts, by the way. 

Together the two lengthy articles gather most if not all the information on the falsehoods and manipulations of the official Japanese radiation monitoring system, installed in Fukushima and some nearby prefectures after careful decontamination of the spots in which the droids have been located.

Many simply do not work at all...

But others provide the true measure...

... for their carefully cleaned patch of land only. A few meters away:

... x10 or more the official value.

Take a look at those articles because there is much more valuable information in them to understand the criminally farcical reality of official radiation figures in Japan.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Bolivia nationalizes Iberdrola subsidiaries

Iberdrola Tower (Bilbao)
- CC by Zarateman -
President Evo Morales signed today the decree by which the four subsidiaries of Basque/Spanish energy corporation Iberdrola have been nationalized. These are: Electropaz (La Paz), Elfeo (Oruro), Edeser (services) and Compañía Administradora de Empresas (management). Morales said:
We have been forced to take this measure in order to guarantee equitable prices for electric grid service in the departments of La Paz and Oruro, and also that the quality of electric services is the same in the urban and rural areas. 

Previously, in May, Bolivia also nationalized the assets of other Spanish energy corporations specialized in high tension distribution: Red Eléctrica Española and Transportadora de Electricidad. Also in 2010, four other electric companies were nationalized, included subsidiaries of French multinational GDF-Suez and British one Rurelec. Oil, concrete and mining corporations have also been nationalized in Bolivia since 2006.

An independent audit will determine in 180 days how much should Iberdrola be compensated for.

My tragic question as forced customer (modern serf) of Iberdrola and neighbor of their menacing office tower (which as the fortress of an evil overlord watches unmatched above our heads) is, when will we Basques collectivize Iberdrola matrix itself, hopefully lowering electricity costs radically, and necessarily dedicating energy generation and distribution monopolistic income to the public coffers? When?!

Source: LINyM[es].

Friday, December 28, 2012

Western Basque socio-political survey: more than half want independence

The last edition of the Euskobarometro is here and it shows that Western Basques still want greater self-rule, often identified with independence and that they massively support the right of self-determination here and in Catalonia.

Follow selected graphs annotated by me (red and green text in English) for better global comprehension. Color-coded boxes indicate relevant figures of declared vote for each category (click to expand to original size):


Nearly all Western Basques feel Basque, what varies, excepted a bunch of "Martians", is whether we feel "Basque and Spanish" (i.e. Basque as a subcategory of Spanish: 35%) or Basque only (i.e. Basque as a category on its own right: 33%) or, the intermediate position (Basque primarily and Spanish secondarily: 19%). 

As we shall see through the graphs, the two latter stands are a continuous zone of Basque identity while the former is a mostly distinct zone of Spanish identity with concession to the sociological reality they actually live in. Very roughly always but there is a continuous c. 5-to-3 apportion that also shows up in elections and what-not.

Desired political status

Effectively, we see again the 3-5 apportion: 34% (roughly those who feel equally Basque and Spanish) are satisfied with the current status, while 58% (roughly those who feel mostly or only Basque) want greater self-rule. 

The right to self-determination of nations

Guess what? Roughly 5-3 again, although there is some distortion with the ambiguous option "neither". A slim majority wants a referendum here in the Basque Country and also in Catalonia, the 35% Unionist community is against the right of the peoples to choose their own destiny. 

Notice also the voter boxes how in this case it's almost exact: voters of Spanish nationalist parties (PP and PSE-EE) are against and voters of Basque nationalist parties and coalitions (PNV, EH Bildu) are in favor.

Desire of independence

Once again we see the 5-3 apportion very clearly profiled 53% want independence, either strongly (31%) or weakly (22%). Only 33% oppose. 

True that some of those wanting independence may be contented with a much greater self-rule ("federalism") but that option is clearly not on the table and won't be, as the Spanish autocrats have recently set clear for the Catalan case, with even sabre rattling by big-mouthed retired military officers who scare nobody anymore. 

While the Euskobarometro barely deals with geography or ancestry for each type of replies, it would be interesting even if just for the record, to know which municipalities or what ethnic ancestry do each sector has. I have some idea but it'd be interesting to see it confirmed.

Source: Euskobarometro Nov. 2012[es].

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Indonesia: the millions murdered by Suharto

While the Capitalist propaganda machinery (aka "free media", all owned by a bunch of oligarchs) is quick to recall the massacres real or alleged of the so-called Communist regimes, it almost never dwells with the at least as brutal and merciless repression of its own system, like the US prison-slavery system, which creates the criminals (usually black people) artificially in order to get cheap work force.

Al Jazeera, while most of the time silent in what affects to Islamist regimes like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain or Egypt, offers now and then research on some such matters and now it is providing, in a hidden corner and such (let's not too many people watch it), a documentary in one of the less know mass murder campaigns of recent history: the murder of millions of communist sympathizers in Indonesia after the Suharto coup. 

Most people, knows nothing of that, not even in Indonesia. 

No Christmas this year: Jesus child figure kidnapped in demand of social justice

Unknown activists have kidnapped the Jesus baby figure from the famous Plaza do Obradoiro in Compostela (aka Santiago), Galicia. 

The activists of FARTAS (Galician/Portuguese for "the fed up ones") claim that their action is propaganda against the austerity-for-the-poor campaign orchestrated by the bankers and their political minions in Europe and specifically Galicia, and against the cynicism that reigns in today's politics. They say: if politics are a joke, we are going to have some laughs too.

Source: Público[es] and video published at YouTube[por].

Monday, December 24, 2012

Looting and death in Argentina

The economic crisis is hitting hard again in the South American country and that has resulted in generalized looting these last days, maybe triggered by the Christian holidays' typical consumerism. 

The riots began at Bariloche, remote Andean town of Mapuche substrate, where the authorities rejected on the 20th to mediate between the angry people and the supermarkets and essentially told them to start looting. Therefore some 150 people attacked several shops of large supermarket chains. The subsequent clashes with police resulted in a 5-years-old girl and a pregnant woman injured and 60 people arrested.


The incident however caused many replicas through the many impoverished urban areas of the country, with lootings reported on the 21st in Rosario (where many people had lost all in the recent floods), and spontaneous squads of some 100-150 people each assaulted some 35 small supermarkets. Police intervened shooting rubber and live bullets, killing two and injuring several, two of then seriously. Also 120 people were arrested and two girls have been reported missing.

The mortal victims are Silvia Barnechea, 36, who suffered an mortal injury while breaking a commercial window apparently, and Luciano Carrizo, 22 who was shot dead by police according to all witness accounts. 

Later on the looting began again.

Witnesses also reported how the ill-paid and corrupt police force collected the goods that looters lost in their flight.

Buenos Aires urban area

The incidents also reached the metropolis of Buenos Aires, which concentrates 1/4 of the inhabitants of the country. The number of arrested people reached almost the 500 hundred only in the autonomous city of Buenos Aires, with another near-hundredth arrested in Zárate-Campana (the industrial suburbs up the estuary). Without more data these figures alone give idea of the dimensions of the looting maybe. 

In San Fernando there were rumors of manipulation and deceit about supermarkets giving away food and accusations of gratuitous violence of the police against the people who believed that. 

In La Plata some 800 people looted two Chinese shops and a Spanish supermarket barely avoided following suit.

Government and dissident unions exchange accusations

The government blamed dissident sectors of the unions CGT (Moyano or trucker faction) and CTA (Micheli or dockworker and farmhand faction). In turn these replied that it was organized by the government in order to present themselves as victim and get a pretext to arrest these controversial union leaders. They said: if Moyano is arrested, we stop the country.

Source: La Haine[es].

Greece: the eight people arrested at Villa Amalias have been released

Three of them have been released without charges and the other five on bail (they must go to police every month and await trial). Remember that they are accused on grounds of non-evidence like empty beers and stuff like that. 

Source: From the Greek Streets.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Protests against sexist violence take over Delhi for a whole week

Thanks to Jhangora for noticing because I was oblivious, especially as the news blogs I used to follow for South Asia have been inactive for months now.

The New India shows the finger to the Old one (Hindustan Times)

As far as I could understand from several random media, the gang-rape of a young woman in a bus, whose driver did not stop nor did anything about it, and subsequent death near-death injuries caused by the attackers throwing the victim and her boyfriend off the bus while on the march, have caused six days of uninterrupted massive protests in Delhi, which have been violently repressed by authorities more concerned about tourism than about the safety of citizens, triggering in turn greater and more angry protests.

The Gate of India today (Hindustan Times)

India is a country shattered by many contradictions and widespread misogyny is one of them. However it can also be seen in the images that protesters are in many cases young men, as angry as their female peers about all this.

The huge crowds indicate generalized anger (Al Jazeera)

Update: according to K.G. Singh, the victim, 23, is in critical condition but not yet dead. He wonders if this rape-cum-murder is can be a "Tunisian moment" for revolutionary change in India. Hard to say but there are some parallels indeed.

Update (Dec 26): interesting report at Al Jazeera on the impunity of rape in India and the complicity of police → LINK.

Update (Dec 28): The government has fortified the Gate of India to impede protests from reaching the landmark (→ First Post). The victim remains in intensive care with severe brain injuries and surviving only barely (→ Reuters). H/t Jhangora (see comments).

In Nepal also (update Dec 28):

Kasama mentions that the Prime Minister of Nepal and arch-class-traitor Baburam Bhattarai has rejected to listen to women's claims, what is at least striking for someone who was a communist cadre, and still claims to be one.

The scandal, which may well cost him the post to which he clings rather desperately after most of the communist grassroots broke away with him and President Pachandra, arose after a Nepali girl was raped by police officers at the airport.

The officers have only been suspended for two months, instead of throwing them in jail for decades, castrating them or beheading them as would be justice. 

Protesters reached the Prime Minister's residence at Baluwatar this morning but were not allowed to enter.

Also another girl, raped and robbed in Punjab, was heavily pressed by police to retire the charges. Then she killed herself by poisoning (→ Russia Today).

Update (Dec 29): the unnamed victim of the brutal rape died at Singapore (→ BBC).

Basque and Red: excerpts of Argala's thought

Some days ago I mentioned the anniversary of the execution of the fascist and Christian fundamentalist top leader Luis Carrero Blanco some 39 years ago. What I did not mention was that the mastermind behind that attack, Jose María Barañain Ordeñana, best known by his nickname Argala (Slim), was murdered by the Spanish secret services five years and one day later on December 21st of 1978, using very similar methods (bomb under the car) in a clear gesture of revenge. 

On the anniversary, the political debate blog Borroka Garaia da! (Is Time of Struggle!) published integrally a key document[es] to understand this man and his ideological and political legacy, which, on one side, reflects much of the collective feeling of the doubly oppressed Basque Working People and, on the other, has been so influential on the politics and ideological foundations of this nation as it is now, and very especially its sizable revolutionary fraction. 

After reading it I was tempted to translate it in full, so the people from around the World can understand better what is behind Basque struggle for emancipation, both national and socio-economically. But it is too long and my commitment too weak, so I will select some excerpts in the hope that they reflect the whole somewhat. 

The document is the introduction he wrote for the book by Jokin Apalategi Nationalisme et question nationale au Pays Basque, 1830-1976 (Nationalism and national question in the Basque Country, 1830-1976), published in 1977.

Banner with the image of Argala and a quote:
But neither ETA nor all KAS nor HB nor any political organization will
be able to solve the problems of the Basque Working Class. Only
the Basque Worker People itself can solve its own problems.



What I recall vividly is the impossibility to have any relation with my maternal grandmother. She barely spoke any Spanish and I did not know any Basque, so our conversations were never went beyond a brief exchange of unrelated words.  She had to die without us having ever a real conversation.


Since I have some reasoning --so to say-- I have been able to watch the exploitation of the working class, even without understanding it as such for long. I have seen workers ---my neighbors--- who after the working journey had to work after hours in the construction business of my father¹ or others, and all only in order to reach to survive along with their families: At about the age of seventeen I joined a Catholic organization known as Legion of Mary, one of whose goals was to dive in social misery to offer consolation to those who were forced to suffer it. Through my participation in it, I knew what I thought did not exist in our country, but I did not know the causes of that suffering I saw; what became gradually evident to me was that consolation does not remedy hunger nor illness. Only with the worker struggles that in the midst of the decade of the sixties happened in my area, and especially with the strike of Bandas and the repression unleashed under the subsequent "state of exception", and also with the reading of novels about worker priesthood I finally reached to the understanding of the social division in classes with opposed interests.


... I began to study Marxist theory. 

By that time we heard already rumors about a new patriotic and socialist organization that fought for the independence of the Basque Country, it was E.T.A. The Ikastolas² spawned all around and you could see young people singing in Basque language. The Basque question arose back to light and with all its problematic. Our people, almost annihilated, resurfaced and its awakening was also felt in Arrigorriaga³. Evening classes of Basque language for adults began and Basque speakers began losing their inferiority complex to show pride of speaking the Basque language. 

As result of both factors --study of Marxism and national Basque awakening--, I reached clear conscience of the existence of the Basque Country as differentiated nation, integrated by seven regions separated by the weapons of the oppressor French and Spanish states; of the division of society in classes confronted by irreconcilable interests; of the Basque Country itself not being any exception in this aspect. I understood what was the "evangelization of America" by the Spaniards and what were "the crusades", what were "the reds"⁴ and the "glorious national uprising"⁵; that it was not about the rich helping the poor, nor merely about the working class salaries being raised, but about socializing the means of production; that in order to reach social solidarity a cultural revolution is needed, and that, in order to achieve that, it is not enough with goodwill but that a transformation of the Capitalist mode of production currently dominant into another socialist one is necessary; that for such thing it is required that the working class gets the political power; that a State apparatus is not neutral and that this forces the working class to destroy the bourgeois State in order to create a new one of their own, that bourgeoisie resorts to weapons when they see their privileges threatened, what suggests that if the working class does not face the problem in similar terms, we will have to watch many massacres and very few revolutions.

Once begun this process of comprehension, that I hope to never dare to consider mature enough, I was offered entry in E.T.A., and I accepted.


... It was not the Francoist dictatorial State with its extreme centralism and imperialism the only reason of the existence of the independentist option, but alos the historical incomprehension demonstrated by the Spanish worker parties towards the Basque question. The independentist option was the political expression of national affirmation of the popular sectors with a national consciousness, which were expanding every day. The Basque People had the opportunity to check along the history that a socialist revolution at state level is not any automatic solution for their national oppression; that Spanish worker parties are too impregnated of the Spanish bourgeois nationalism. On the other hand, the achievement of independence demanded the defeat of the Spanish State at least in the Basque Country, that is: a true political revolution that could only be carried on by the popular layers under the direction of the working class, only one able to assume today in the Basque Country, with all consequences, the direction of a process of such dimensions. Precisely, this assumption of the Basque question by the working class is what has allowed the national awakening of the Basque Nation.

My later relationships, as representative of E.T.A., with representatives of diverse Spanish worker revolutionary parties, did only confirm this vision. Such parties did not understand the Basque question but like a problem, an inconvenient problem that should be made to vanish. I always felt that the unity of "Spain" was for them as sacred as for the Spanish bourgeoisie. They never came to understand that the national character of the class struggle in the Basque Country was a revolutionary factor; on the contrary, it was for them nothing but a discordant note in the Spanish revolutionary process that they hope to orchestrate.


... it is evident that the only viable economic solution for the continental Basque Country⁶ is its integration with the peninsular area, where it can find the capital and the technology it needs to stop being a mere touristic reserve and producer of workforce doomed to emigration.


But what is worker internationalism? Does being internationalist demand to the workers of a divided and oppressed nation to renege of their national rights to fraternize that way with those of the dominant nation? Not in my opinion. Worker internationalism means class solidarity, expressed in mutual support, among workers of the various nations, but respecting each other in their peculiar ways of national being. If the relationships between the Spanish and Basque patriotic worker forces have not been better, it is not because of the just demands of the latter but to the incomprehension and opportunist acting by the former towards the Basque national question. Does worker internationalism demand that the workers of the more politically advanced nation slow down their rhythm in order to walk hand by hand with those of the less developed ones? If that would be the case Humankind would still be stagnant⁷.


... The Spanish worker parties are not anymore the main enemy of the state because this role has been taken by the Basque patriotic worker forces, notably E.T.A.


Today, before the double solution ---Basque petty-bourgeois or Spanish socialist-- that was offered to the Basque People in the first third of century, a sector of the Basque working class is in condition of offering a third way: the Basque socialist revolution.

We must not deceive ourselves however: the success of this option is difficult. ...


Among the Spanish People we have found also true revolutionaries who were able to acknowledge the existence and rights of our people; but sadly very few of them. If the Spanish worker parties would have been like them, maybe today we who defend the independence of the Basque Country would have chosen a more unitary solution. In any case, the peoples walk towards their economic and political integration and workers must impel the international solidarity and unity as long as that does not force us to sacrifice our national personality.


The article at Borroka Garaia da! ends with a brief biography or Argala, which explains, among other details, that, upon his death, Arrigorriaga was taken by the Spanish military police (Guardia Civil) and that it was forbidden that the funeral procession entered the town. In response it was agreed by a popular assembly that everybody would stay locked at home except a small group of relatives and close acquaintances who would carry the coffin preceded by the ensign of KAS (the Patriotic Socialist Coordination, then the political platform of the Basque Nationalist Left).

Upon arrival to the town hall, with the Basque ensign at half staff with a black cloth on it in sign of mourning, three Spanish policemen saluted the coffin in respect.

Source and full text in Spanish: Borroka Garaia da!



¹ Earlier he talks in length of his father, of humble origins but who had luck with lottery and invested in construction business, what did not quell his worries because the Capitalist system is also implacable for small businesspeople. 

² Ikastola: lit. learning workshop, term used for Basque-only schools, originally private which began spreading in the 1960s. The more common Basque term for school is ikastetxe (lit. learning house). 

³ Arrigorriaga, small town near Bilbao where Argala lived all his childhood and early youth. 

Los rojos (the reds) was a term used continuously by the Spanish Fascist propaganda machinery to stigmatize all those who opposed their military coup and subsequent totalitarian regime. Being rojo back then meant that you would be socially stigmatized at the very least and that all evils that might befall on you, like being imprisoned and tortured, or even killed arbitrarily, or simply to lose your job... were morally deserved. 

Term used by the Fascist regime as pedantic apology of their coup

Iparralde (the North), the area under French control. 

Notice please that this was written in the context of the 1970s, when ample areas of the World had achieved what was then understood (by most Marxists at least) as a more advanced way of socio-economical organization, if not political.

FBI treated "Occupy" movement as a terrorism threat

New revealing documents show that the freedom of assembly and protest in the USA is treated as a systemic threat by police. 

From Justice Online (via Kasama):

Documents Reveal Secret Nationwide Occupy Monitoring

FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) pursuant to the PCJF’s Freedom of Information Act demands reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat even though the agency acknowledges in documents that organizers explicitly called for peaceful protest and did “not condone the use of violence” at occupy protests.

The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.

“This production, which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF).  “These documents show that the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security are treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.  These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

... continue reading at Justice Online (or at Kasama).

New Basque Left Independentist party: Eusko Ekintza

A new Basque political party has been presented to the media this Saturday 22nd in Navarrese town of Altsasu. Eusko Ekintza (Basque Action) gathers people from the Nationalist Left, Eusko Alkartasuna and other unorganized sectors and describes itself as anticapitalist, left-leaning and independentist.

They claim that the new party is a reality not represented in the current spectrum of parties and organizations currently existent in the Nationalist Left but do agree with their general goals of independence and socialism, but they put the emphasis in a socialism founded on a strong public, communitarian and cooperative sector.

In the words of Gotzone Rekondo:
Our ultimate goal is however the achievement from this very day of a new economic, social and political system in which we the people self-organize from below and that would eventually replace the capitalist system.

Emphasis is also placed on the means of struggle towards independence, which should be for them nonviolent disobedience and decentralized grassroots organization from below by mean of popular assemblies.

Press conference of the new party today in Altsasu. From left to right: Enrique Lertxundi, Jakue Pascual, Santi Merino, Arritxu Santamaría, Gotzone Rekondo, Nekane Garmendia and Peio Mari Olaeta.

They direct their alliances' policy to all organizations in the Basque Country, France, Spain and Europe that share their goal of overcoming of the Capitalist system and the unfair organization of the territory.

Previously they had indicated their intention to join the Basque ample Left Independentist coalition that is EH Bildu. The most notable representative of this bloc, candidate to Lehendakari Laura Mintegi already showed her openness towards this new party.

The public faces of this new party so far are:
  • Peio Mari Olaeta: member of Euskaria foundation, former member of Eusko Alkartasuna (EA, socialdemocrats, members of EH Bildu) and member of the critical platform Ezkerretik Bilduz (Uniting from/by the Left), Gasteiz.
  • Nekane Garmendia: councilor of Ultzama, Navarre, by Bildu, and generally active in the formation of Bildu in the old kingdom.
  • Gotzone Rekondo: Basque language activist from NW Navarre.
  • Enrique Lertxundi: attorney, consciencious objector, antimilitarist and advocate of nonviolent action to independence, from Donostia.
  • Jakue Pascual: intellectual of autonomous ideology, author of Anarkherria, Tellurics of Basque Liberation, Mari's Toy, etc., Bilbao.
  • Santi Merino: member of Eusko Alkartasuna until recently, from Donostia.
  • Arritxu Santamaría: member of Ezkerretik Bilduz and historian (→ video on the history of EAE-ANV), from Lapurdi. 

Not sure what to think but it certainly looks that they may embody sociological and political tendencies which do not have room in Sortu (too monolithic) or in Eusko Alkartasuna (too social-democrat) or in the rather irrelevant Alternatiba (breakaway faction of the all-Spain United Left coalition). I could well sympathize with much of what they say however I am also very wary to see people who come from EA and have been undeservedly vocal against ETA's armed struggle while not generating an alternate nonviolent movement themselves. 

Those people remind me of the heated debates that we had in the Conscientious Objection Movement almost two decade ago and in which there was a dominant sector that, on one side, wanted (or pretended to want) to promote a nonviolent campaign for the independence of the Basque Country  but then, on the other side, was not willing to take any steps until ETA abandoned armed struggle. Those were also often the ones who wanted to scrap the sentence that recognized the right to self-defense from the ideological declaration of the movement, totally missing or rather mischievously distorting the point of nonviolence as understood by Gandhi himself.

I have the feeling that there are the two kinds here: the good hearted ones, probably most, and then those from EA, which is a party I can't stand, really. You cannot constitute an anticapitalist politics with the socialdemocrats and you cannot wait to initiate a nonviolent movement until those who (right or wrong) chose armed struggle give up, wasting two decades. 

But we'll see what is all about in due time. I have very mixed feelings.

Partial sources[es]: Naiz Info, Público.

Basque Country: popular support gathers in just two hours the €15,000 of bail imposed to Aurore Martin

Aurore being hugged by friends upon exit from prison
A fund-rising initiative managed to gather in just two hours and only in the towns of Baiona (Bayonne) and Donibane-Garazi (St. Jean Pied-de-Port) the €15,000 demanded by the Spanish political court Audiencia Nacional (of Fascist inception). 450 people donated the money between 9:00 and 11:00 this Saturday, allowing the Northern Basque prisoner of conscience to get out by 17:00. 

Aurore Martin is a Basque politician with French passport who was extradited by France to Spain (polity infamous for its torture and political persecution record) on charges of purely political persecution, causing upheaval in the Northern Basque Country (among other places). She is accused of being an active member of Batasuna, party declared illegal in the South (under Spanish occupation) but fully legal in the North (under French control).

Sources: Kazeta[eu], Naiz Info[es].

Historical Italian communist newspaper 'Il Manifesto' goes bankrupt

From Struggles in Italy:

Goodbye, il Manifesto

Il manifesto announces its controlled bankruptcy in February 2012. Source: Il manifesto.
After four decades, the Communist newspaper Il Manifesto is closing. The news was rumored in February and confirmed in May; a final announcement was made on December 17, on the homepage of the newspaper.

Founded in 1969 as a dissident branch of the Italian Communist Party (PCI), Il Manifesto became a symbol of the possible dialogue between the unorthodox side of Italian communism and the radical Marxist movements, in a period marked by student and worker protests and by the experience of left-wing extra-parliamentarism. After being expelled from the PCI for their unorthodox views on the Eastern Bloc and the students’ movement, the founders of Il Manifesto maintained their independence from the party, soon becoming an influential voice inside the Italian left. Initially created as a periodical reflecting the political views of the group, Il Manifesto later became a newspaper. In 1974 the Il Manifesto group joined the short-lived PdUP party (Proletarian Unity Party), an experience marked by frequent fractures and divisions.

Its sharp and witty headlines, its rejection of all compromise with capitalism and neoliberalism and its attention to the global economy made Il Manifesto a rare exception in the bleak landscape of the Italian media.

... continue reading at Struggles in Italy.

Update (Jan 21 2013): Il Manifesto survived somehow and is still alive.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Villa Amalias solidarity video

I would have put it as update in yesterday's post on the matter, if at all... but it features one of my most favorite ever bands (Suicidal Tendencies) and one of their best ever songs (and they have many): You can't bring me down!

Update: please read also the manifesto by the eight imprisoned members of the Villa Amalias community (housing squat and social center of Athens) at From the Greek Streets.  

Update (Dec 23): 300 anarchists interrupt the discourse of the Mayor of Athens with cries of "Kaminis: Villa Amalias will be your grave!" → at From the Greek Streets (video in Greek and very dark).

Zapatistas march in massacre anniversary

Yesterday may have been the end of a four-century cycle for the Mayas but the Mayas of Mexico have more dramatic events to commemorate today: the massacre of 45 citizens, members of the nonviolent Zapatista group Las Abejas (The Bees) or in many cases their children, at the hands of a death squad in 1997. The massacre, which took place during a Catholic mass, is known as the Acteal Massacre.

In memory of that heinous act some 40,000 people, nearly all wearing the usual Zapatista black mask, indicating their affiliation, gathered yesterday in silence in the five major towns of Chiapas: Ocosingo, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Palenque, Altamirano and Las Margaritas. Besides a few spontaneous applauses and chants of "vivan los Zapatistas!" or "you are the pride of Mexico!" the protests were made in laconic silence with risen fists. 

Meanwhile the Center for Human Rights Fray Bartolomé de las Casas (known as Frayba) denounced the impunity given to the criminals who executed the killing. 50 of the 87 participants have been formally set free, while the rest remain at large.

Sources[es]: LINyM, La Jornada.

Friday, December 21, 2012

New survey shows much worse environmental damage from Fukushima catastrophe

Even if the original survey would have been legit, as time passes and the source of the pollution is not contained (probably it cannot be contained efficiently but anyhow the attempts have been feeble at best), radioactive contamination continues spreading. The result is that areas that showed not brutally high contamination levels are now horribly polluted like the very area of the reactor itself (also they surveyed the sea).

The result is that, using the same coding colors (originally misleading because blue means bad and red means hellish, nothing good other than brown) is as follows:

New survey at the left, same color coding

I wonder how it is the real map of Japan and other regions of the World: this has no end in sight and can only get worse and worse. 

Source: Fukushima Diary.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Nicaragua: 50% of electricty is now from renewables

The Sandinista Minister of Industry and Mines, Emilio Rapacciolli proudly announced that this month of December has achieved the target of 50% of the energy consumed in the Central American country. The total accumulated for 2012 is of 40.5%, almost ten points above the 31.2% of 2011. 

Most importantly the money saved by not importing fuel for thermal generation amounts to more than $200 millions. 

Simultaneously the electric grid coverage has also improved dramatically, covering now 75% of the national territory (vs. only 52% last year) with 60,000 new homes (est. 350,000 people) that can enjoy of electric energy for the first time ever.

Much of this development has been achieved with the construction of five "small" and 20 "micro" hydroelectric centrals.

I mention mostly because I think that it is a great example of how environmentally friendly development is not a privilege that only the likes of Germany (also here) can afford (and profit from) but that it is also the way forward for all those small and less developed countries that truly want a future worth that name - and also a present. 

Cuba is another very active power in the development of renewable energies.

Source: LINyM[es].

See also: solar energy category here and in my old discontinued blog Leherensuge.

Greece: Anarchist squat raided by police

The occupied building (housing) of Villa Amalias was raided by police yesterday. Eight people (six Greeks and two foreigners) who happened to be in it at the time of the raid were arrested and remain under arrest so far. No charges are known to have been put forward. 

Contra-Info reminds that previous evictions of this popular housing entity have failed because it has always been reoccupied:

The Greek police have temporarily evicted the squatters several times in the past, but Villa Amalias has always been (re)occupied. It must be emphasized that the building was built in circa 1860, and since 1990 it has been maintained only thanks to the autonomous action of the squatters themselves and many solidarians. Villa Amalias comrades have declared on numerous occasions that they are consciously opposing exploiters, henchmen, pimps and druglords of any nationality in the downtown neighbourhoods, fighting constantly against fascist and racist violence so as to promote intercultural coexistence and self-organization.

Sources and more information at Contra Info and From the Greek Streets.

Update (Dec 21): communication from the Villa Amalia community at From the Greek Streets.

Another update: the squatter community, via From the Greek Streets, mentions that the police entered illegally and that they have removed the precincts already:

As of this morning, the cops have unsealed the door of the Villa on the side of Cheiden Str, without the presence of any of the residents. It is obvious that they are inside illegally and have made unauthorized entry into the space. We warn that any damage or alteration in the space of the occupation will be responded to appropriately. We should remind them that no-one has the right to be present inside the building without our presence. 

Also it is mentioned that the arrested have gone through court with stupid ad-hoc charges like having empty beer bottles, what is used as "evidence" of their intention of creating Molotov cocktails and what not. 

39th anniversary of the execution of fascist vice-dictator Carrero Blanco

On such day as today (December 20th), the Basque guerrilla ETA successfully placed and exploded a bomb under the car of Admiral Luis Carrero Blanco, second in rank in the fascist regime of Spain, just after Franco.

The car flied so high that it ended up inside the Jesuits' school beside which it was parked, not before hitting a cornice, which was the matter of some hostile Christian jokes about how he could never reach heaven. The event was celebrated for decades and is still celebrated today by a popular song that goes (translated):

Scheme of Carrero's "flight"
Carrero Blanco, naval minister,
he always dreamed of flying,
and one happy day ETA militar
made his dream a reality. 

He flied, he flied, Carrero flied
and against the eave he striked!

All to the eave, all to the eave, 
all to the eave like Carrero!

Here you can listen to a punkified version by Soak (in Spanish).

Previously the infamous fascist minister, very close to that Catholic-materialist brainwashing cult that is the Opus Dei, had betrayed the Republic with the help of the supposedly friendly governments of Mexico and France becoming a very close advisor to Fascist tyrant Francisco Franco.

He was critical in the approximation of the Fascist-Fundamentalist regime to the USA already in the midst of WWII, fearing to lose Canary Islands and risking a seaborne invasion while the dictatorship was not yet consolidated (the Maquis guerrillas were active until the 1960s).

His position as second in command was consolidated after WWII reaching the posts of Admiral of the Spanish Navy and Vice-President of the State Council (an institution that still exists in Spain, watching from the shadows). In June 8th 1973 he was appointed Prime Minister under an obviously ailing Franco, what consolidated him as the successor of the dictator. 

He could not rule for long however.

The guerrilla operation, planned long before was performed by a commando of four led by Argala (later murdered by the Spanish secret services), who, for five arduous months, dug a tunnel under the street to the place where the fascist strongman always parked his car before his daily mass. 

The commando, pretending to be electricians, successfully blew up the car the morning of December 20th and then cried that it was a gas explosion, running away successfully before police could arrive. His chaffeur and bodyguard died immediately but Carrero survived to suffer still for some hours. 

One of the commandos, Julen Agirre, would explain years later(source):

The execution in itself had an order and some clear objectives. From the beginning of 1951 Carrero Blanco practically occupied the government headquarters in the regime. Carrero Blanco symbolized better than anyone else the figure of "pure Francoism" and without totally linking himself to any of the Francoist tendencies, he covertly attempted to push Opus Dei into power. A man without scruples conscientiously mounted his own State within the State: he created a network of informers within the Ministries, in the Army, in the Falange, and also in Opus Dei. His police managed to put themselves into all the Francoist apparatus. Thus he made himself the key element of the system and a fundamental piece of the oligarchy's political game. On the other hand, he came to be irreplaceable for his experience and capacity to manoeuvre and because nobody managed as he did to maintain the internal equilibrium of Francoism.

(h/t Ahaztuak[es])

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Monsanto's glyphosate destroys protective gut bacteria

Monsanto's infamous biological speculation policies are not just force-feeding us artificial engenders, destroying the health and economy of farmers and killing a soil we very much need to live. They are also killing our gut bacteria... but only the good ones, the harmful gut bacteria proliferate instead. 

Monsanto’s Roundup Devastating Gut Health, Contributing to Overgrowth of Deadly Bacteria

pesticidesprayfield 260x162 Monsantos Roundup Devastating Gut Health, Contributing to Overgrowth of Deadly BacteriaMuch of the public forgets the gut when it comes to warding off the flu and other more threatening diseases, but the gut—and its army of beneficial bacteria—are essential in protecting us from harm. That’s why eating genetically modified and/or conventionally farmed food could be a direct assault on your own health. Most recently, research has shown that Monsanto’s herbicide, known as Roundup, is destroying gut health, threatening overall health of animals, people, and the planet significantly.

The journal Current Microbiology recently published a study that caught Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide’s active ingredient, glyphosate, suppressing beneficial bacteria in poultry specimens. Given that gut health is directly linked to chronic illnesses and overall health, this isn’t exactly welcome news for people who can’t always afford or who lack access to organic, locally grown food.

But it gets worse. While good bacteria died, highly pathogenic bacteria were unaffected by glyphosate. (...)

... continue reading at Natural Society.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Palestinians invent method to recycle plastic into gasoline

From the Electronic Intifada:

Plastic to petrol scheme unveiled at Ramallah science show

17 December 2012

Afnan Hamad (far right) and her colleagues demonstrate their invention to convert plastic waste into fuel. (Jillian Kestler-D’Amours / IPS)

RAMALLAH (IPS) - Afnan Hamad stood proudly in front of a booth at the Ramallah Cultural Palace exhibition hall, three plastic bottles filled with discolored liquid on the table in front of her.

“We designed a device to convert plastic waste into gasoline, kerosene and diesel fuel,” said the 23-year-old chemical engineering graduate from An-Najah University in Nablus, pointing to one of the bottles. “We hope to see a real factory built, and be the first supplier of alternative fuel in Palestine.”

... continue reading at the Electronic Intifada

Palestinian prisoners in hunger strike "dying"

From the Electronic Intifada:

"My brother is dying": an urgent appeal from family of hunger striker Samer Issawi

17 December 2012

Shireen Issawi (left) at a Ramallah protest in support of her brother Samer
Shireen Issawi (left) at a Ramallah protest in support of her brother Samer
(Issam Rimawi / APA images)

Samer Issawi has just turned 33. He spent his birthday on hunger strike.

On Sunday I phoned his sister Shireen. “Save Samer, he is dying,” was the first thing she said. Samer had gone without food for 138 days.

“The last news we got was on 14 December when the Israeli occupation court refused to release Samer on bail. I have received news from different sources indicating that my brother has recently started suffering from severe pain in all of his body especially in his muscles, abdomen and kidneys.

“He has an acute vitamin B-12 deficiency. His body has begun to eat his muscles and nerves. It seems he has lost the control of his limbs as a result of malfunction of the nerves. His vision is frail as a result of fainting four to five times a day and his body is covered with bruises. He is vomiting blood, his heart is weakening and he can barely breathe.”

I asked Shireen: “When have you seen your brother?”

“Like a skeleton”

“No one has met or spoken to him since his current arrest. I have seen him on Thursday [13 December] when he appeared in court. He looked like a skeleton sitting in a wheelchair, and he can’t move or walk. My brother was put in the slaughterhouse of Ramleh Prison Hospital during his first month of the strike. A month later he was put in a small cell as a punishment. He suffered the solitary confinement in a two-meter square room, meant to pressure him to end his strike.”
“Where is he now?” I asked.

“He is still in a small dark room in Assaf Harofeh hospital. He is kept in isolation; no one can see him, not even his loved ones. The only human contact he has is the guards, who misleadingly wear white uniforms. His legs are tied with shackles that look even bigger now against his tiny skeleton.”

... continue reading at the Electronic Intifada.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Venezuela: Socialists win by landslide

Once again the Socialist United Party of Venezuela (PSUV) won the elections in the South American country, in this case regional ones, taking all states but three (Miranda, Lara and Amazonas).

Opposition leader Enrique Capriles retained therefore his title as Governor of Miranda but that is not good news because they lost five states to the Chavistas. 

Critically the opposition lost control of the key oil-producing state of Zulia (better known internationally for its capital Maracaibo), the most populated and wealthiest of all Venezuela. They also lost Carabobo, Nueva Esparta, Táchira and Bolívar. 

The result, according to Radio La Primerísima[es], is the following:

So while the health of President Chávez may not be the best, the health of his political line seems quite consolidated.

Nazis attack SYRIZA MP in Athens

Three men aged 30-35 attacked Dimitris Stratoulis (pictured) at the exit of a football game in the Greek capital yesterday evening. They said: we are members of Golden Dawn and we are going to kill you. 

Stratoulis, who is member of the Greek Parliament by the Left coalition SYRIZA, called for help and several people attended forcing the Nazis to run away. After being attended at the emergency room of the stadium, he issued the corresponding denounce at the police station and went to hospital for checks. 

Almost simultaneously to this attack Nazis attacked an antifascist demonstration in the neighborhood of Nikaia. Police intervened throwing tear gas into nearby cinemas and injuring one woman. 

In the city of Volos (Thessaly) another Syriza MP, Alexandros Meikopoulos, was attacked by police when these charged against the crowd of football fans for no clear reason.

Sources: Diagonal[es], Greek Reporter.

Radioactive Japan chooses the path of ultranationalism and warmongering

Shinzo Abe will be PM again
General elections in ailing radioactive Japan were marred by extremely high abstention (almost 50% of the people abstained, underlining popular distrust on the system). However actual voters were massively supportive of the ultra-conservative Liberal-Democratic Party (the traditional seat of power in Japan) and the neo-fascist Japan Restoration Party. 

Both are determined to reform the Japanese constitution so they can have a regular military force and wage war outside their borders, something that was banned by the constitution imposed after WWII. Other right wing parties have also grown in representation.

Both Japan and South Korea have been raising the level of tensions in the last years in the region by provoking North Korea and China respectively. Recently private agents of ultra-nationalist ideology used the disputed islands of Diaoyu (Senkaku for the Japanese), near Taiwan, to create an international incident with China that would fuel the nationalist and militarist feelings in a Japan terribly frustrated by decades of economic stagnation and now also by the catastrophic impact of the Fukushima nuclear disaster (not well understood probably by citizens who remain largely brainwashed by the media but demoralizing in any case). 

Curiously the parties which have opposed the nuclear industry all this time, the Communist and Social-Democratic parties, have lost positions, even if just mildly. A new allegedly anti-nuclear party (Tomorrow Party) totally failed to capitalize the discontent as their campaign was horrible and not at all at the height of their responsibility. In prospective they can be seen as an attempt to divert votes from the Left, which is the only force consistently anti-nuclear in Japan but never too influential. 

The winner-takes-all system, by which most seats are allocated by district,  does not allow for the smaller parties to have any chance (a typical case of rigged "democracy") but then they also failed in the less important proportional election. 

In brief, we should expect a warmongering Japan which will make all in their hand to raise tensions and trigger wars in East Asia in a desperate attempt to hide the huge problems it has: ailing elderly population, a failed economy and half the country worryingly polluted by nuclear radiation.