Sunday, September 28, 2014

Catalonia calls independence referendum

Support for independentism in Catalonia per the 2012 elections
Yesterday at 10:30, Catalan President Artur Mas, backed by his cabinet and the parliamentary majority, solemnly signed the decree 129/2014, which calls for a referendum on Catalan independence on November 9th. 

After signing such a historical decree, Mas spoke to the press in Catalan, Spanish and English, emphasizing the broad majority that supports this decision and recalling the massive citizen mobilizations of the last years, which have gathered millions once and again, in support for the right of self-determination of Catalonia. 

Then he walked out to the street to personally greet members of the movements National Catalan Assembly (ANC) and Òmnium Cultural, which have been impelling the movement for self-determination at grassroots level in a non-partisan way. 

These organizations installed a giant urn and a counter, which yesterday marked 42 days and 12 hours until the referendum. 

Meanwhile in the offices, Vice-President Joana Ortega was approving the technical aspects of the vote: the census that will be used (the population registry of the Catalan Statistical Office, Idescat), printing the ballots, organizing the urns, etc. An informative campaign on the referendum was also initiated. 

Most of the parties supporting the referendum already have clear that they will call for a YES vote. These are Democratic Convergence (CDC), Republican Left (ERC) and the Popular Unity List (CUP). Two other parties are still debating: Democratic Union (UDC), minor partner of Mas' CDC, will decide their position on a meeting this Sunday, while Intiative for Catalonia - The Greens will do so via an internal vote. 

Meanwhile the Spanish Nationalist parties PSOE, PP and the racist far-right seedling Ciutadans, have all decided to ignore the referendum altogether, as they consider it illegal.

For reference, this is the representation that each party or coalition has in the Parliament of Catalonia:
  1. Convergence and Union (CiU = CDC + UDC): 50 seats
  2. Republican Left (ERC): 21 seats
  3. PSC-PSOE: 20 seats
  4. PP: 19 seats
  5. Initiative for Catalonia - Greens: 13 seats
  6. Ciutadans: 9 seats
  7. People's Unity: 3 seats
Notice that in the European elections and opinion polls CiU has yielded much support to ERC, while the Spanish Nationalist parties have clearly lost support, among other reasons for their support and implementation of draconian EU pro-bankster anti-social policies but also because of the striking national awakening of the Catalan People. 

Madrid dead-set to veto democracy

With their usual imperialist arrogance and disrespect for democracy, the Spanish twin party PP-PSOE stands clearly determined to block the right of Catalans to decide on their own affairs. 

Today an emergency cabinet meeting will be held in Moncloa Palace, the see of the Spanish government. The cabinet will appeal the referendum to the Constitutional Court, which will meet on Tuesday. It is widely expected that the Spanish tribunal will veto the Catalan decree that very day. 

While this outcome is widely expected no matter what, as there is no real separation of powers in Spain nor effective judicial independence, from a purely legal viewpoint the reason seems to stand in favor of Catalonia. In this sense the preamble of the referendum decree clearly underlines that Catalonia has been transferred the right and management of popular consultations in order to gauge the opinion of the people. 

Technically the referendum is just consultative and the Catalan authorities have the power to promote Constitutional reforms and to ask Catalans on their opinion for this purpose. With the law on hand, the referendum is therefore absolutely legal. 

Even if the Spanish Constitutional Court vetoes the referendum, Mas has announced that he will keep the process rolling on the pretext that, if the decree is suspended and not directly declared null, this suspension can theoretically be removed at any moment, reason why the whole process must keep going. 

Source: Gara[es].

Spain on the eve of its dissolution

The very continuity of the State of Spain, as we have known it, presents every day more question marks. This is how Gara's cartoonist Tasio sees this critical moment:

... with the pen of the Catalan referendum decree being a torpedo that threatens to sink Ship Spain. 

No kidding: France, Spain and many other European and Mediterranean states built on the uniformist, assimilationist and hyper-centralist Jacobin (neo-Absolutist) model designed by the French bourgeoisie after the Revolution, have serious cohesion issues. 

The case of Spain is however paradigmatic: Catalonia, with 7.6 million inhabitants, makes up 16% of all the population of the state. Together with almost three million Basques, who are also fighting for our self-determination, that is more than 21% of the so-called "Spanish" population. In industrial and overall economic might, the share is even greater. And I haven't yet counted the other Catalan Countries or the other nations like Galicia where independentism is a strong force. Even in historical core areas like Andalusia or Aragon, nationalism, particularly left-wing nationalism with a strong social consciousness and revolutionary programs, is clearly growing as we speak.

Naturally not just Castile or "core Spain" will actively and even violently fight against the rights of the Catalan and Basque peoples to rule ourselves in democracy, but France particularly will do as well. By extension and design so will do all NATO. So shaking off the joke of Spanish and French occupation does not seem easy at all. 

But Spain is the weakest link in all this Western Imperial alliance bloc. It has been so historically and it is even more nowadays. Spain is economically and politically weak. Even in its recent apogee in the late 1990s and early 2000s, it could not manage to be accepted among the G7 powers, not even in the much wider G20, a clear sign of its dependency on other powers such as France, the USA, Germany and Britain. The weakness of its "economic miracle", based on real state speculation even more than in the USA or Britain, was revealed under the light of the global economic crisis that began in 2007 and shows no sign of abating.

It is of course very possible that Spain will, very provisionally, survive this ongoing process of self-determination in Catalonia and the Basque Country, thanks to its police and military might and its international alignment as vassal of the NATO Empire. But it is extremely clear that it is weakened to the marrow and that its chances of survival, in its current extension, in the mid term are very close to zero. Time and the will of the Peoples strongly work against this authoritarian monster created only by the power of military bullying. 

Today this military authoritarian only pillar of the Kingdom of Spain is clearly not anymore enough to keep the state together. We don't live anymore in the times of Absolutist nor Fascist tyrants: cohesion can't be produced only by military violence, the Peoples are not willing to swallow that anymore, the whole social paradigm has changed and, sooner than later, Democracy will prevail.

ETA calls for a broad national agreement for self-determination

On the Basque Fighters' Day, September 27th, the Basque guerrilla Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (Basqueland And Freedom), in unilateral permanent ceasefire since more than three years ago, has issued a new communication.

They argue that the international situation for self-determination of oppressed peoples has entered a new stage with the Scottish and Catalan referendums and that, being the right to decide an overwhelming demand of Basque society, a broad-spectrum agreement must be reached among the political forces around this immediate goal.

While this demand is clearly hegemonic among Basques, the occupant authorities from Madrid of Paris are doing everything to harm the Basque Country, imposing all kind of laws and economic impositions and increasing political repression against Basque citizens. 

That is why ETA calls for a broad National Agreement with the goal of effectively implementing the right of self determination in the Basque Country. Being this a key historical moment for the hopes of freedom of the Basque Nation.

With the sight quite clearly on Catalonia, which is calling for a referendum for November 9th in spite of all Spanish legal and political obstacles, ETA mentions that the upcoming months will see critical developments for the hopes of the Basque People, making a rally call for all activists of the Basque Nationalist Left to work for the success of this opportunity.

They reckon that the way ahead is not easy, but they sustain that it is possible:
We are building the road to freedom and, with faith in our strength, illusion and energy, we will achieve it.
They finish with the usual slogan:
Long live the Free Basque Country!

Long live the Socialist Basque Country!

Keep working until independence and socialism are achieved!

Sources: Gara: 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Tortures reported in political trial against Basque youths

The five youths arrested in Loiola are part of a much larger group of 28 being tried for their political activism and ideology at the Spanish Inquisition (Audiencia Nacional) these days in Madrid. 

The trial began yesterday with the victims of political persecution turning their backs to the court in signal of non-recognition and showing banners in demand of repatriation of Basque prisoners. 

After an hour and a half of suspension the farce trial continued at close doors with the declarations of the victims of persecution, most of whom have denounced tortures that forced them to sign self-inculpatory declarations. 

Ander Maeztu reported systematic beatings and the so-called "bag" torture (asphyxia by putting a bag on your head). Garazi Autor denounced sexual agressions and beatings. 

Izaskun Goñi, who knew for two years before her arrest that she was being under persecution, reported the anguish suffered for all that time expecting that any night (it's almost always by night) police entered her home and arrested her, beginning the much feared "long journey". When it finally happened she suffered a panic attack. 

Among the "evidence" against her is her participation in a protest against the murder of baker Anger Berrueta by a policeman in Pamplona in 2004. 

Ohiana López and Eneko Villegas reported systematic beatings and forced physical exercise up to extenuation. They say that their declarations are totally false. 

Ibon Esteban and Egoi Irisarri also denounced tortures. Esteban managed to identify one of his torturers and showed a photo of this vile man to the court. Irisarri declared that in Canillas [police station] I went through hell.

The only one not reporting tortures this first day of the trial was Endika Pérez, who was arrested by French police in the Northern Basque Country, soon after taking part in a sit-in in Izpura precisely to denounce the possibility of being arrested and deported to Spain. 

Second day of the hearing

The day began with the court sending to prison the five citizens arrested in Loiola, claiming risk of evasion, action that was opposed by the defense on the grounds that they were all the time localized and never attempted such evasion. 

Then the narrations of torture sessions continued:

Imanol Beristain reported being subjected to forced postures, beatings and kickings, sexual aggressions. He reported to have lost consciousness because of the pain, waking up drenched in sweat. 

Rubén Villa declared that he began to be tortured already in the Bilbao police station. He was told, sarcastically, that he could relax, that they would not pull out his fingernails nor bury him in quicklime (as happened to two ETA members decades ago, after being captured by the Spanish police). Then they dragged him to a window, pulling half his body out and said: this is the last time you will breathe the air of Bilbao. The forensic doctor did not even pay attention to his complains. 

Xabat Moran explained: they manage to make your head crack... your body is still yours but your head they own it. I did not control my own actions

Moran denounced forced postures, beating, "the bag" (asphyxiation) and insinuations that they were raping his girlfriend in the nearby room. Just an hour before being sent to the instruction judge he was naked and in state of shock in the very room he had been tortured, being that the reason he signed a false declaration. 

Ainara Ladrón reported "hell" in the journey to Madrid: they beat me, they hit me with their fists on my ribs, they pushed me against the window and yelled at me all the time. She also denounced sexual aggressions in the police station, rejecting what she signed then, even if this declaration was not self-inculpatory. She has requested to skip the bulk of the trial sessions on the grounds of being pregnant, request that has been granted.

Ikoitz Arrese, Saioa Zubiaur and Xabier Bidaurre also reported tortures in the incommunicado period of their arrest. Arrese denounced a fake execution, with a policeman placing a gun on her head. Among other tortures, Bidaurre reported that he was threatened with the rape of his companion.

The farce trial continues today. 

Source[es]: Naiz Info (link 1, link 2).

Monday, September 22, 2014

Civil resistance against political repression at Loiola

The five youths challenging the Spanish Inquisition
Several Basque youths under political persecution by the Spanish authorities have staged today, along with a huge number of supporters an act of civil resistance against the repression they are subjected to for their political ideas. The scenario chosen for this act of defiance was the Sanctuary of Loiola, a Jesuit temple erected in the home lands of Eneko Loiola, known to posterity as Ignatius of Loyola.

"Basque" police soon appeared in riot gear, their faces covered under the black masks of mercenary shame. The result can be watched in the following videos:

Masks made easy identification of the persecuted impossible
Update (Sep 24): 

Those above were just the first videos that made it to the web. The police intervention lasted three hours and included a good deal of violence. Besides the five victims of inquisitorial persecution, two others have been arrested accused of "aggression" against a policeman, almost certainly untrue.

You can watch several other videos at Muy Basto and judge yourself.

It is true that a cop was injured but that's because he slipped badly on the stairs, falling down painfully, but all on his own. 

Many citizens were also injured by police violence.

The names of the five victims of inquisitorial persecution are: Jazint Ramirez, Xabier Arina, Imanol Salinas, Igarki Robles and Irati Tobar.

Repression for civil resistance: huge fines requested against some nonviolent activists

In a distinct but related development, five Basque citizens are being judged for taking part in the "human wall" that attempted to protect another victim of political persecution, Urtza Alkorta, last year (see here and here).

Arbitrarily accused of "aggression against authorities", four of them face possible fines of € 8850, around a year's salary for many.

Source: Naiz Info[eu].

Imagine that there is a pro-occupation demo and nobody goes...

Go away!!
Yes, I'm paraphrasing the old war resisters' slogan "Imagine that there is a war and nobody goes". It's not that different in fact and that is exactly what happened.

Far right groups called for a demo in Pamplona in support of the Spanish occupation forces. Only some ten fanatics showed up and the demo was canceled right away by the organizers, admittedly because nobody had come.

It seems obvious that NOBODY supports the Spanish military and police occupation or Navarre or the Basque Country in general.

Source: Sare Antifaxista[es].

Update (Sep 24):

Image of the demo:

Satire of the failed demo:

Source: BGD!

Fundamentalist pincer against Kurdish civilians

The Western-armed "Islamic State" has attacked the Kurdish town of Kobanê (also known as Ayn al-Arab), causing the flight of some 70,000 civilians to Northern Kurdistan, under Turkish occupation. The Islamist government of Ankara, known to be the most unconditional supporter of Ibrahim's "Caliphate", has closed the artificial colonial border, which runs along the Istanbul-Baghdad railroad through this part of Kurdistan. 

Thousands of Northern Kurds have been pushing towards the barbed-wire occupation line with the intent of helping the refugees or even joining the struggle against the Islamists. As the Turkish occupation forces wouldn't let them move freely, clashes began near the checkpoint.

A large number of civilians remain trapped south of the occupation line (→ video) without food nor water after being forced to run for their lives as the Islamist forces advanced around Kobanê destroying everything.

As happens with the Yezidi refugees taken under the protection of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Turkish state is not at all willing to help them even passively, regardless of the fact that the PKK and Ankara have been in a stable truce for a whole year now. The attitude of Ankara has been all the time to support the Islamic State and favor their war crimes. Thousands of Ibrahim's fanatic followers are Turkish, the Turkish Army has trained Islamic State's thugs in NATO's most important airbase in the region: Incirlik (what implies also US participation and blessing) and, while closing the occupation line to Kurds, has allowed the border to remain open for the Islamist terrorists. 

Much as in Ukraine or Palestine: NATO, the US Empire and its many puppets, means fascist dictatorship and terror for the civilians everywhere, whose lives become incidental to the power-mongering of the imperialist forces and totally expendable. Kurdistan is no exception and, especially considering that the Kurdish forces have one of the most advanced socio-political analysis in our West Eurasian region, they deserve all the solidarity we can muster: because they are the only good guys and girls in all the region, the only ones who seem to have clear priorities of equality, freedom and respect and not some fanatic fascist agenda that only serves the oligarchs of the World at the expense of the people.  

The Humanist ideals in West Asia are spelled "Kurdistan", let's give them all our support, let's smash those fascists!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Scotland votes today on its future

Will the majority of Scots vote for an independent Scotland or prefer to stay under English rule? Whichever their choice, what is most important is that they do get to choose, something that most people-nations in Europe or elsewhere are not allowed to. 

This makes the Scottish referendum a central reference in the ongoing process of internal European decolonization, which is one of the most painful democracy issues in the subcontinent awaiting resolution. 

All other oppressed people-nations of Europe look at Scotland today with great interest and to London also with some admiration for being able to allow the fundamental democratic right to secession. Meanwhile the petty tyrants of Madrid, Paris and other neo-Absolutist (Jacobin) regimes shiver and grunt, fearing not just contagion (most of the separatist movements in their residual empires are older and stronger than the Scottish one) but particularly the difficulty of justifying repression against attempts of democratic empowering when such a precedent has been set.

Would I live in Scotland (where I'd be entitled to vote as resident EU citizen, per the rules of this referendum), I would definitely vote YES. No nation has ever repented from regaining sovereignty, even if some times the road to freedom may be difficult. Ask the Estonians if they would want to be again under Russian domination, ask the Angolans if they would like to be Portuguese again, ask the Irish if they would rather be British, ask the Icelanders if they'd prefer to be Danes, ask the Kosovars if they'd wish to be under Serbia or ask the Greeks if they'd want to be under the Turkish yoke? Nobody ever repented from getting their natural rights. And that will also be the case with Scotland if the YES option succeeds today. 

Of course it is the decision of Scots and we must all respect it, whichever it is, but we must also all be glad that they get the right to choose, something that is a fundamental human right, seldom respected. 

Hopefully soon Basques, Catalans, Corsicans, Bretons, Kurds, Chechens, Sahrawis and other oppressed peoples of this part of the World will follow suit. It is time of decolonization.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Millions of Catalans march for freedom in their National Day

a segment of the massive demo
Some 1.8 million people (according to police sources) gathered at central Barcelona to form a human "V" on the two main avenues of the capital. 

This is the third consecutive year in which millions demonstrate for Catalan independence on their national day. But this year it seems even more relevant because a referendum on independence is scheduled for November 9th, but this one has been declared illegal by Spanish Imperialism. 

Catalans showed their defiance in this day. Muriel Casals, of Òmnium Cultural, said in her speech: 
We are not afraid, the voice of the Catalan People is above whatever a tribunal in Madrid may say. 

It is also the 300th anniversary of the defeat of Catalonia, which fought for the Habsburgs in the War of Spanish Succession - because these granted their statehood, suppressed by the Bourbons upon French-Castilian victory. This was reminded by Carme Forcadell, of the non-partisan Catalan National Assembly (ANC) movement, who said:
We have demonstrated that our People is able to take upon any challenge and, thanks to that, on November 9th we will decide on whether we want to remain part of the Spanish State or become a free and sovereign state of our own.

She then demanded from the Catalan elect authorities to adhere to the will of the People and set the urns. President Artur Mas showed his adherence to this demand in press conference later on.

general view of the demo

Some international representatives were also present, among them Liam O'Hare of the Radical Independence Campaign of Scotland, who showed his disapproval of the Spanish veto to the Catalan referendum. 

Pathetic Unionist counter-demos

A few thousand concentrated in Tarragona at the call of all the so-called Catalan Civil Society, gathering representatives of all Unionist parties (PP, PSOE, UPyD, PxC, MSR - some of them outwardly fascist). A small fascist group also tried to sabotage the acts in Barcelona.

Sources: Gara[es], photos from La Vanguardia and El Periódico.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Ukraine: Mariupol surrounded by the Militia: fascists and NATO officers inside

The latest news from Ukraine are that the Antifascist Militias advanced very clearly in the South of Donetsk People's Republic surrounding two new pockets of variegated Junta troops, which include police forces, the remnants of the Nazi battalions "Azov" and "Dnepr" and six NATO officers. These Western officers, specialists in informatics, were in charge of the propaganda war but somehow ended up in the frontline (almost certainly because the Junta lacks loyal troops and even loyal commanders) and now they seem to be trapped in the port city of Mariupol, whose citizenry clearly stands with the rebels.

The Militia's advance towards the coast has been dramatic as can be seen in the following maps, which show the situation on mid-August and the end of the month:

Overall military situation in August 14-24

Mariupol surrounded in August 29th

Meanwhile the Junta only seems able to make bombardments of civilian buildings in Lugansk, where several apartment buildings and a school were destroyed, and Donetsk (no details reported). Meanwhile, in a single day, they lost 7 tanks, 28 other armored vehicles, 22 other vehicles, two missile launchers type "Grad".

Source: Euskal Herria - Donbass Solidarity Committee[es/eu] (link 1, link 2, link 3).

Teens against fascism

Also Kristina Rus mentions in her Facebook page the emotive story of 72 teenagers, too young to be allowed to join the Militia but who were not willing to see their hometowns taken by the Nazis, so they organized their own resistance:
Battalion "Youth Self-defence" consisted of 72 16-18 year olds from Lisichansk and Severodonetsk, who were too young to join the militia, but wanted to defend their cities. 24 girls joined the battalion. 72 kids held Lisichansk for 2 days by themselves against 2,000 fighters of National Guard, when Mozgovoi's battalion "Ghost" left the city, waiting for reserves from Lugansk. They were armed with just AK's, 3 machine guns and 2 sniper rifles. Neutralized several dozen national guardsmen, 3 armed vehicles and 2 Grads. When they began to retreat to Alchevsk, after realizing that no help is coming, they were shelled with Grad, and 18 of them were killed. So, 18 of them won't be going back to high-school or college this fall ...