Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 19 February 2021, www.thecommunists.net
1. Widespread street protests are sweeping Spain after the left-wing rapper Pablo Hasél was imprisoned to serve a 9-month prison sentence for “insulting” the Spanish monarchy and “praising terrorist violence” in his songs. In addition, he faces an additional prison sentence of 2,5 years for “obstructing justice” and “assault” in 2017. Since Tuesday thousands of people, mostly youth, are demonstrating in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, and other cities. The police try to suppress these rallies with brute force, but the youth are determined to fight back. A young woman has lost an eye after she was hit by a rubber bullet.
2. Pablo Hasél is a well-known rapper who in his lyrics denounces the police for torturing and killing demonstrators as well as targeting migrants and refugees. He also defends members of armed organizations like ETA – a now dissolved organization associated with the national liberation struggle of the Basque people. Hasél is not the only one who has been victimized by the Spanish State’s assault on free speech. Several other artists and social media personalities were put on trial in the last years. Among them is another rapper, Valtonyc, who was forced to flee to Belgium in 2018 after being convicted of similar crimes.
3. The scandalous attacks of the Spanish State on free speech and on the right to demonstrate are only the latest examples of the reactionary offensive of the ruling class in Spain. Since years, the Spanish state suppresses the right of the Catalan people as well as the Basque people for national self-determination. Madrid even imprisoned leading representatives of Catalunya – including members of the regional government – or forced them to go into exile only because they support the pro-independence campaign!
4. Likewise, the Spanish government has imposed a draconic Lockdown policy since nearly a year under the pretext of the COVID-19 campaign. It mobilized the army on the streets and ordered curfews against the people.
5. All these attacks have taken place under a so-called “left-wing” government led by the social-democratic PSOE of Pedro Sánchez. Other parties of this government are Unidas Podemos, led by Pablo Iglesias, as well as the Partido Comunista de España – the historic party of Spanish Stalinism – and its ally Izquierda Unida. The PCE and IU are both part of the Party of the European Left (PEL), a Europe-wide alliance of ex-Stalinist parties like the LINKE in Germany, SYRIZA in Greece or the French PCF.
6. The Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) points out that these developments in Spain must not be viewed in isolation. They are part of a reactionary, anti-democratic offensive of the ruling class in Europe and indeed globally. Macron’s war against Muslims and his notorious police law, the numerous police raids against Muslims in Austria, the police brutality against Black people and migrants in the U.S., the occupation of Kashmir and the anti-Muslim CAB Bill by the Modi government in India, the arrest of Navalny by the Putin regime and the brutal suppression of mass protests in Russia, the draconic clampdown in Hong Kong as well as against the Uyghur people by the Xi regime in China – these are only a few examples of a global tendency. Most importantly, since spring 2020 the ruling classes in nearly all countries have waged an unprecedented assault on civil liberties and democratic rights under the pretext of a pandemic. As the capitalist world order is fundamentally shattered – the global economy has entered its worst depression, acceleration of the rivalry between the imperialist Great Powers (U.S., China, EU, Russia, Japan) and popular uprisings in many countries – the ruling class is waging the COVID-19 Counterrevolution in order to safeguard their power and to raise the profits of the big corporations. All these developments are united by the very same essence: Massive attacks on democratic rights and expansion of the police and surveillance state. We Marxists characterize this development as Chauvinist State Bonapartism.
7. The RCIT states its unconditional solidarity with Pablo Hasél and all others who face persecutions by the Spanish State. We repeat our solidarity with the legitimate struggle of the Catalan people as well as the Basque people for national self-determination. Down with the anti-democratic Lockdown policy! Fight Chauvinist State Bonapartism in all countries!
International Bureau of the RCIT
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We refer readers to some other documents of the RCIT relevant for this issue:
COVID-19: Madrid’s Workers and Poor Protest against the Reactionary Lockdown Regime! Support the struggle against anti-democratic attacks and for expansion of the public health service! 2 October 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/madrid-s-workers-and-poor-protest-against-the-reactionary-lockdown-regime/
COVID-19 and the Lockdown Left: The Example of PODEMOS and Stalinism in Spain, 24 March 2020, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/global/covid-19-lockdown-left-podemos-and-stalinism-in-spain/
The RCIT’s statements and articles on the independence struggle of the Catalan people are compiled on a special sub-page on our website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/collection-of-articles-on-catalunya-s-independence-struggle/