Sunday, December 23, 2012

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.

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