[Marxism] Re: Bombs in Madrid

Ed George edgeorge at usuarios.retecal.es
Fri Mar 12 06:22:03 MST 2004

As I write, there is increasingly greater evidence emerging suggesting
that the attacks in Madrid yesterday were not the work of ETA but of an
al-Qaeda type organisation. But as we still don't really know who did
this yet, further speculation is really unnecessary.

What is necessary to talk about is the veritable carnival of reaction
that these attacks have opened up. Everywhere now in the streets of the
Spanish state one can see the Spanish flag - marked with a black ribbon
- the same flag that was of course the flag of Franco and of Spanish

Today, there is to be a generalised stoppage of work at 12.00. The
slogans are these: from the UGT (my union) 'No to ETA!', and from the
other main trade union federation, Comisiones Obreras, 'ETA Against All,
All Against ETA' ('ETA contra todos, todos contra ETA').

Tonight, at 7.00, there will be co-ordinated demonstrations throughout
the Spanish state, organised around the slogan 'With the Victims, With
the Constitution, For the Defeat of Terrorism'. Practically every
political force is supporting this mobilisation, from the
clerical-neoliberal (and governing) Partido Popular to the Communist

Should socialists support these mobilisations? I say no, and for two
reasons. To demonstrate against terrorism with and alongside the PP,
cheerleaders of the greatest terrorist active in the world today, that
religious maniac who believes he is leading a global holy war against
evil (I refer, of course, to George W. Bush) is absurd. If the attacks
of yesterday are indeed the work of a section of the Arab resistance,
then, independently of what we think of the attacks, they occurred
precisely because of the policy of the PP government in supporting the
war in Iraq, and which maintains Spanish state troops there now as part
of the western imperialist army of occupation that is killing and
maiming Iraqi citizens.

If the attacks of yesterday do turn out to have been the work of ETA,
then it is precisely the Spanish Constitution which lies behind what is
called 'the Basque problem' (in reality a Spanish state problem) in that
it is this constitution which specifically rules out the possibility of
self-government for the non-Spanish national minorities. In addition,
the policy of the PP government (ably supported by Spanish state social
democracy) in criminalising the national question - through banning
political parties, closing down newspapers, summary imprisonment for
political dissent and ill-treatment of prisoners - that drives people to
pursue political struggle through non-political -'terroristic' - means.

Indeed, all the talk 'democracy' and 'the constitution' is appearing
increasingly like nothing more than a cloak for simple Spanish
chauvinism. Addressing 'the nation' yesterday on state television, the
prime minister Aznar claimed that the people who died yesterday had died
'because of the mere fact of being Spanish,' conveniently forgetting the
large number of victims - due to the location of the bombs - who were
immigrants, often without papers, forced as a consequence to work in
sweatshop conditions without rights due to his government's racist
anti-immigration laws. (Aznar's declaration of today that his the
non-Spanish victims will be granted Spanish citizenship reeks of
hypocritical opportunism and can only rub salt into this particularly
open wound.) Aznar finished his address by urging a massive turn out for
the demonstrations today in the name of 'solidarity' and 'patriotism'.

Later, in the evening, 'the nation' was addressed by its King, the
Bourbon Juan Carlos II (in his first address to his subjects since his
live if half-hearted televised declaration of opposition to the
attempted coup of 1981). Amongst other things, he said, continuing the
increasingly ugly nationalist theme:

'Discouragement was not made for Spaniards. We are a great country,
which has demonstrated with interest its capacity to overcome
difficulties. Let there be no doubt. Terrorism will never achieve its
ends. It will never be able to weaken our faith in democracy, or our
confidence in the future of Spain.' 

This wave of chauvinistic nationalism is a trap for the left; and once
again it has fallen straight into it.

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