[Marxism] Anarchist puppeteers jailed for supposedly glorifying terrorism.
modulus at spiritofcontradiction.eu
Mon Feb 8 06:57:00 MST 2016
I wrote this up for reddit, you may prefer to read about it there, if
This case is a little difficult to explain and to me quite unbelievable.
I think it is worth trying though. I haven't found a good article on it
in English, though there are a number of articles about it in Spanish.
The Madrid city council hired a group of puppeteers to perform puppet
shows, which had already been performed in other cities, for the
carnival celebrations. One of the shows is called la bruja y Cristóbal
(the witch and Christopher). (The witch part pertains to the content of
the play, which involves witch-hunting.) The play is for adults, and it
was not marketed by the company as being for children, though there's
some degree of confusion whether the programme by the council may have
done so. The programme advised people that it wasn't a children's show
before it took place, though, and parents were advised in situ by the
company as they began the performance.
The play's theme is oppression and confrontation of different forms of
hierarchical power (it's an anarchist play). It shows a woman, the
"witch", being attacked by different powerful figures: property, in the
form of an eviction from her flat; religion, in the form of a nun who
tries to steal her child (topical in a country where this actually
happened); police, beating her up and framing her with a poster in
support of "Alka-ETA"; and finally a judge who sentences her to death,
but whom she manages to hang instead.
We can probably agree some of the themes of this play are rather heavy
and not appropriate for children. What happened during the performance
is some parents became increasingly alarmed by the message in the play,
which included support for squatting empty housing, etc. In the
confrontation with the nun, the "witch" kills the nun, and so on. The
confrontation with the police shows the cop beating on her, her falling
unconscious, and the cop raising a poster saying "Gora Alka-ETA", then
taking a picture to frame her before the judge. This is linked to
so-called Operation Piñata, which was a police raid on squats where
there are suspicions anarchists were framed as supporting violent
terrorist actions. Gora means "live" in Basque, and Alka-ETA is a pun
conjoining the idea of ETA, the Basque group, with al-Qaeda, as the
state's official enemies.
When this poster came up, in the context of the play, some people called
the police, and two puppeteers were arrested and taken to court under
suspicion of glorifying terrorism and attacks on fundamental rights.
After this took place, the whole Spanish bourgeois press spoke against
them, and the vast majority of political parties positioned themselves
likewise against them. The city council is controlled by Podemos and
members from social movements. Whether honestly or to disassociate
themselves from the "scandal", they also fired the company and presented
a complaint about it.
After the judge interrogated the suspects, it imposed preventive prison
This is ridiculous at so many levels I cannot express it very easily. A
play about police framing and misuse of terrorism charges against
anarchists ends with... terrorism charges against the anarchist
performers. Eventually some of the more left aligned media and parties
have been having second thoughts about it, and are saying that it is
excessive to jail these people, who are by all sensible definitions
political prisoners. The controversy now is whether they "endangered
childhood", by making such a play.
It's interesting to contrast the reaction of the Spanish state in other
1. Last week a confessed serial abuser of children in a religious school
was not sent to preventive prison.
2. A bullfighter who took his infant daughter with him while he
confronted a small bull was found not to have committed any wrong.
3. The king's brother-in-law, who stands accused of embezzling funds for
a disabled children's charity, is not in preventive prison.
But performing a play which was duly indicated was not for children is a
threat to childhood.
Some sources in Spanish about this whole mess:
More information about the Marxism