Monday, 2 October 2017

Political violence


Violence for political purposes is the very definition of terrorism. The actions of the Spanish state in attempting to prevent the people of Catalonia from exercising their rights in Sunday's independence referendum fit the definition perfectly. The police attacked people who were peacefully participating in the vote. They vandalised polling stations. They stole ballots. They arrested politicians. The Spanish state had closed down websites promoting the vote. People were threatened with being charged with sedition if they expressed support for the referendum. The Spanish state, under the personal direction of the Spanish prime minister, behaved exactly like the Italian fascists under Mussolini. Yet the people voted and ninety percent voted for independence.

The Catalan government had said before the referendum that if the yes voted carried the day, they would declare independence within two days. The Spanish prime minister has declared that the referendum did not happen and that Catalonia cannot be independent. His behaviour in the run up to, and during, and immediately after the referendum suggests that the Spanish state will continue with its fascist response to the democratic will of the Catalan people.

The so called international community has responded to the fascist Spanish state in precisely the same way it responded to the fascist dictators in the interwar era. The predominant response is one of silence and the attempt to spin the issue as an internal matter for Spain. The European Commission has called for dialogue - as though one can have a meaningful conversation with a police baton bashing one's head; as though it is possible for a people to negotiate with a prime minister who is prepared to use of all the power of the state, including violence, to deny the rights to freedom of expression and deny democracy. Such pusilanimity by the international community in the face of fascism provided the inter-war dictators with all they needed to overthrow democracy in country after country, including Spain itself.

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