[Marxism] Spanish State: was a "constitutional coup" in the works?

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at bellsouth.net
Tue Mar 16 20:01:02 MST 2004

	There is an email circulating in Spanish-language journalistic
circles that claims to be an account of an 11th-hour Saturday night move
by the Aznar government to postpone Sunday's election and declare
martial law. The pretext would have been the March 11 attacks and that
the PSOE had organized the popular outpouring Saturday night demanding
to know the truth about them. These demonstrations were said to be in
violation of the laws which set the day before the elections aside as a
day of reflection without campaigning. According to the email, the king
refused to sign the necessary decrees, as he is constitutionally
empowered and required to do. The account portrays the King as the hero
of the hour; but if the king did resist, the fact that already countless
thousands were mobilized in the streets against the PP plot to
essentially steal the elections with the ETA lie undoubtedly played the
central role.

	Although in the U.S. media Aznar's defeat is being portrayed as
a reaction to the bombing itself, that is not the way it is being
presented internally in Spain or in Europe. 

	It was the lies about ETA being responsible for the attack, with
the evident aim of stampeding the public, and the perspective of
plunging Spain into a virtual civil war as the government unleashed a
campaign of even more ferocious repression against the Basque patriots,
that is presented as being what drove the voters to the polls. 

	In this connection, the union councils at Spanish state
television (which refused to cover live the Saturday protests) and at
state-owned wire service EFE have demanded that the editors in chief be
fired for being stooges of the government. At least one prominent
newspaper editor revealed that he was called personally by Aznar on
Thursday, twice, to urge him to say flat-out that ETA had carried out
the attack -- which he did. His account suggests that Aznar made quite a
few such calls, explaining how foolish he felt on a mid-day TV show
saying he wasn't 100% sure about it being ETA when everyone else claimed
to be dead certain. 

	He claims he could not have imagined that if the president of
the Spanish government told him something like that so categorically, it
would be false. Which shows the difference between a bourgeois newspaper
editor and a real working journalist worthy of his craft. The working
journalist would not only have been able to imagine what Aznar was
saying was false; he would have assumed it to be the case until proven

	The foreign correspondent's association also made public a
formal complaint to the Spanish government. They said Thursday afternoon
their members received what were in effect unprecedented, threatening
phone calls from Moncloa Palace, Spain's version of the White House,
telling the journalists that they had to say in their stories that ETA
carried out the attack. Not, mind you, that this is what the government
thought, but simply stating it as a fact needing no sourcing or

	The Madrid-based 24-hour news channel CNN+, as far as I know,
has not said whether or not it was also pressured to blame ETA; however,
the on-screen banner carried constantly on Thursday by that channel said
"ETA Terrorism" as if it was an established fact.

	Internet email exchanges seem to have played a key role in
piecing together some of these circumstances, at least as many as were
available by Saturday. Together with only a very few public challenges
to the official line, by Batasuna and ETA itself (both illegal) and a
few other figures, and the first arrest, which turned out to be someone
with no relation to ETA,  these sparked the protests demanding to know
the truth and setting the stage for the huge outpouring of voters the
next day. It should be noted that Aznar's party lost not so much because
of a decline in its vote (that was small) but because many people who
would not have voted did so.  The pre-election polls are crystal clear
that this layer did not see itself as having someone to vote FOR; what
Aznar gave them was someone to vote AGAINST.

	Normally I would discount an anonymous account of a supposed
plot in the highest spheres of government. Given what preceded it, I
think in this case the account of what happened in Moncloa Palace
Saturday night cannot be so easily dismissed.


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