1-By order of the Spanish National Court, rapper Pablo Hasél was arrested by the Mossos d’Esquadra at the University of Lleida, to make him serve a pending sentence of nine and a half months in Ponent prison. They accuse him of “insulting the Crown” and “glorification of terrorism” in his songs and on social networks. Regarding Hasél´s lyrics, the magistrates considered in 2014 that they do not fall within the freedom of expression because in them “hate speech beats in a clear way and it is not admissible in the field of freedom of expression to incite violence, or carry out hate speech.” Some of the messages on Twitter that motivated the sentence say: “They try to hide that many people have come out to demand the end of the fascist monarchy and even beat journalists,” “Nazi-onal police torturing even in front of the cameras.” If other causes against him prosper, Hasél could spend several years in prison. This is a serious violation of freedom of expression for which the Pedro Sánchez government and the institutions of the Spanish State are responsible, as a new warning to those who have opinions that diverge from the powerful and express it.
2- In Madrid, Barcelona, Girona, Tarragona, Lleida, Valencia and other parts of the Spanish State, large demonstrations are being held for Hasél´s liberation. The National Police, the Mossos d’Esquadra and other regional police, under the orders of their respective governments, repress the protests with mega operations involving helicopters, riot control vans and special forces; beating people with clubs, firing shots, arresting protesters and initiating criminal cases. To the list of people injured by the state violence, we must add the case of a young female protester who was lost her eye to a Mosso´s rubber bullet. Faced with the police brutality, which had its epicenters in Valencia and Barcelona, some public officials ordered an “investigation,” but no one believes them. The anger against the police operations and the demand to dissolve special bodies like the Catalan BRIMO has increased. The truth is that the bosses’ parties ask for more repression, the right and the far right scaremonger with “street terrorism” and the president of the “progressive coalition” Pedro Sánchez warned that “the government will act with strength.” The response to demands is marked by repression and criminalization of protest.
3- The Spanish government, the institutions of the regime and the media at its service, intend to divert attention from the ongoing undemocratic actions by refloating the “specter of violence.” They cynically point to the youth as responsible for the street clashes and the barricades with burning trash containers. The truth is that young people have every right in the world to resort to self-defense against state repression. Those who are truly responsible for starting the violence and executing it are not among the people: the violence lies in the curtailing of elementary democratic rights, in the repression, in the injustices and social inequalities imposed by the government dedicated to maintaining the Spanish monarchical regime and a capitalist system in increasing crisis. Those who care so much about the trash containers should denounce the serious social situation that is reflected in them when thousands of people open them every day looking to feed their poor families. Accusing the protesters who defend freedom of being violent is not a new method, the powerful resort to it every time young people decisively win the streets, as they do with the peoples that rebel around the world against the consequences of the capitalist crisis aggravated by the pandemic.
4- The arrest of Pablo Hasél is not an isolated act of injustice and anti-democratic grievance. There are still leaders and popular activists imprisoned and prosecuted for defending the right to self-determination of Catalonia. Rapper Valtonic is not behind bars because he went into exile in Belgium before he was arrested. María Cristina Cifuentes – former president of the Community of Madrid and MP for the PP – was unusually acquitted of the charge of “document fraud” of her master’s degree. During the 14F electoral campaign in Catalonia, Vox had the attacks on Muslims and immigrants as two of its central issues. In Linares, two plainclothes policemen savagely beat a fourteen-year-old girl and her father, which led to a popular protest that was repressed and in which live ammunition was used. In Pamplona, a judge ruled that the footage of repressive police operations cannot be uploaded to social networks. To complete the picture, neo-Nazis held an anti-Semitic rally in Madrid in honor of the Blue Division, singing Francoist and anti-communist songs. These are serious actions without criminal consequences. The magistrates consider the art of singing more dangerous.
5- These are just some of the facts that demonstrate the falsehood of the statement of the Spanish president when he says that there is a normal situation with a “full democracy” in the country. With the “most progressive government in history” PSOE-Unidas Podemos continue to violate democratic rights as was done during the right-wing Administration of Mariano Rajoy and the PP. When they were in the opposition, current members of the government criticized the Gag Law passed in 2015, but now they support it. Based on that law, attempts to stop evictions, recordings of police interventions on public roads and unauthorized demonstrations are penalized. In addition, the government maintains the reform of article 578 of the Penal Code on “glorification of terrorism” with an inhibitory effect on freedom of expression. When the PSOE and Podemos were opposition, they branded the Gag Law unconstitutional, undemocratic, in violation of the freedom of protest, assembly and expression. They even said that it was a step back in the division of powers, since it gave the government the power to fine both protesters and political opponents. Now that they govern, they uphold the law and the modifications that support the repressive actions.
6- One of the reasons for the imprisonment of Pablo Hasél is the denunciation of the Bourbon Crown. The judges, the bourgeois political parties and the media have set up a protective wall around an institution that is questioned by broad social sectors as anachronistic, undemocratic and corrupt. For this reason, they are hostile and punish those who criticize Felipe VI and Juan Carlos I, who is fugitive in Abu Dhabi, protected by the dictatorial Saudi monarchy, while he is being investigated for very serious allegations of corruption, illicit businesses worth millions and tax evasion maneuvers. The PSOE, PP, Ciudadanos and Vox leave their differences aside when it comes to sustaining the royal family. This is because the dictator Franco anointed Juan Carlos I as his successor several years before he died. Those who accept the Bourbon restoration take the monarchy as the flagship of the transition, which was not at all “exemplary” as its cultists claim, since it perpetuated Franco’s authoritarianism, legitimized in the Constitution and executed daily through the institutional framework of the monarchical parliamentary regime since 1978.
7- The “First World” that the European imperialists propagandize is a compendium of institutions at the service of business negotiations and undemocratic limitations, mainly for workers, women and migrants. For this reason, while all this is happening, the European Union looks the other way, trying to appease or ignore the seriousness of the repeated events in the Spanish State. Far from being a maker of “advanced democracies”, the EU is an imperialist bloc at the service of capitalist exploitation and the oppression of the peoples.
8- The government of Pedro Sánchez and Pablo Iglesias is not “left” or “progressive”, but a bourgeois government with double speak. The ’78 regime is exhausted, it is anachronistic and cannot provide any positive substantive solution for the social majorities. What exists in Spain is not a “full democracy” but a democracy for the rich, oppressor of the Iberian and Catalan peoples, which curtails more and more liberties and serves the IBEX35 companies. The truly violent are in power, they are not the young people who defend freedom in the streets. The workers and peoples of the world cannot remain oblivious to what is happening in the Spanish State or in any place where power deploys authoritarianism to impose its will, appealing to the violence of the bourgeois state. The International Socialist League stands with those who mobilize for the liberation of Pablo Hasél and condemn the repression. We demonstrate for full freedom of expression and respect for democratic freedoms, and we call for actions of solidarity for the amnesty of political prisoners. A unitary popular struggle is needed to break with the EU, to definitively defeat the monarchical and reactionary regime of ’78 and the Constitution that legitimizes it and to impose a Constituent Assembly in which the people can debate and decide their own destiny. All in the perspective of a fundamental solution with the workers and the people ruling under a regime with full liberties, which can only be guaranteed by a socialist republic.
February 21, 2021