The real issue in ETA’s struggle is Class War. Most people who try to get to grips with the violence in the Basque Provinces are led astray by the independence issue and the romance of death.
The respected historian Peter Preston published an article in The Guardian, “Jaw-jaw is just a start” that gave rise to a lively discussion in its website.
You can read the article and the comments here
It came a few days after The Times -that American newspaper printed in Britain- published an incendiary article praising ETA terrorist de Juana Chao including harrowing photos of him shackled to a hospital bed, he is on a hunger strike. He murdered 25 people and has been 18 years in jail.
Aznar, the Black Knight of Spain, is in the board of Rupert Murdoch, the media tycoon owner of The Times, the Sun, and Sky TV, and it’s not surprising that his newspaper tries to score political points for the discredited party of Aznar, the Popular Party.
A word to the unwise, here: once an Israeli friend of mine, on hearing the name “Popular Party” asked me if they were Spanish Communists: the name popular itself is a lie. No, I told her, they are Fascists. They are popular in the way that the fascists parties that killed your people in Germany, France and Poland were popular in their time.
The Times’s, and Preston’s well-reasoned article and the often illuminating comments, show a constant in what we can call the gringo’s take on Spain: do anything possible so as to discredit the Spanish Socialist Party PSOE. This people think that they still live back in the times when they run their Empire of Evil -the affairs in the Middle East give them grounds to that view- that far from Britain being just another Italy, they believe they are back running the world, delivering bombs, peace, justice, climate change as and where they please.
Britain put Franco in power -MI6 even flew him in Le Dragon Rapide from the Canary Islands to take part in the military coup of 1936, a prelude of World War II- and Manuel Azaña, President of the Spanish Republic said that the biggest enemy of the Republic was not Franco, or Hitler, it was the British Government. Later on they put all the generals of Spain in the boards of British companies, buying them off we could say, and that includes Franco “that Christian Soldier”, as Churchill who put him there called him.
The British try to pull the wool over the eyes of the world by going about some Communists who went to fight for the Republic: they never made any difference. Pure perfidy: The British Government blockade Spain and forbid the selling of weapons to the legitimate Spanish Republic. That was the decisive thing, in 1936-1939. Please, do not go on about Orwell and others like him, because you are not a Communist and you shouldn’t wrap yourself in a Red Flag. Simply admit that your country helped to destroy the Spanish Republic, for its own reasons and do not put a spin on it.
The Republicans are dead, let them rest in peace: if they lived today they would be like Martians in this world.
But the criticism and weakening of the PSOE and their often incompetent actions is a constant in the British press, always happy to back the Right in Spain. The British always try to weaken their European Union partners in every way possible, be it by words, by scurrilous articles in the press, by pushing for a bigger European Union so as to dilute its character and to make the EU a meaningless shambles detested by our citizens (see Britain trying to get Turkey in, and the ex-Soviet republics: the British press says it is for our good, then when the harm is done they turn around and denounce the EU as a Leviathan that threatens their existence), giving refuge and immunity to terrorists and in general by behaving towards Europe, as nations, in the same perfidious way they behave towards each other, as individuals and from early age.
This week a survey of children in Europe reveals that the British children say they can’t count on their schoolmates, that they can’t trust anyone, that they are unhappy, bullied, most unhelpful towards each other and desperate for human contact.
From there springs the national character of bloodymindedness and unreliability so evident here. It is a Darwinian, a Mechanical Orange society; I am not able to say if it was always like this or if it has been exaggerated under Thatcher, “there’s no such thing as Society” was her motto, and “mi amigo Blair” as Aznar used to call him.
In the nineteenth and early twentieth century Britain always gave asylum to European terrorists, pompously claiming they were under the protection of their laws, while they weakened Austria, Germany, Russia: that could be only in their benefit. This raw power struggle continues today, Britain gives asylum to Russians wanted for crimes, it came to light during the affair Litvinenko, but also to every kind of Mideast thug, African mass murderer and Asian terrorist.
They pushed for the integration of the ex-Soviet Republics in the EU, and immediately the British formed a Fascist Parliamentary Group with the worst from Italy, Romania, Britain and the like. The British Fascist alone didn’t have enough numbers, now all of them together, they do: it is 1936 all over again.
In the view of the nostalgics of their Empire of Evil nothing has changed and they get rid of their criminals and of the soldiers they used in the dirty war against the IRA by sending them to Spain, where they run drugs, timesharing schemes and other criminal enterprises in the Costa del Crime, from Gibraltar to Benidorm under new identities given to them by the British.
And when they see a so-called Socialist government in Spain put against the ropes by the terrorists, immediately they publish articles and photographs that carry an anti-democratic message, but what’s is Democracy for them, they own it.
It is understandable that citizens of other countries, when they see that ETA kills, come to the conclusion that there must be some legitimate grievances. There must be a reason. Otherwise, why murder, why ruin other people’s lives? They are told that under Franco -put as Dictator of Spain by the democracies, let’s keep it in mind- the Basques suffered grievances, they believe that perhaps even now under the democracy their rights must somehow be stamped on, their culture extinguished, their people persecuted. Otherwise, why kill? Killing has romance, murder carries an attractive message for the masses and it is its own justification: there must be a reason.
Since the death of Franco (in 1975) and the new Constitution and the following elections, the Basque Nationalist Party (PNV) has always won and has been in power, although the political branch of ETA, Herri Batasuna (under different names), consistently wins near 20 % of the votes, much more than the local PP of Aznar.
In the Basque Provinces all children learn Basque -not a difficult language, I must tell you. To work for the Administration you must pass an examination in Basque to show your proficiency. The cultural life has never been better, also the health of the Basque culture, if anything they are expanding on other territories. They benefit, in short, of a degree of autonomous government incomparably better than any other nation in Europe.
Why kill, then? Why the terrorism? There is an obvious contradiction here, there must be something else going on.
[As there are bound to be some unreconstructed anti-Spanish reading this, and as the legislature of Idaho, not long ago, asked for the independence of the Basque Provinces, I hereby demand the Independence of Idaho, giving everything back to the the Indian Nation, the compulsory teaching of Navajo or whatever, and the ethnic cleansing of the European invaders, including the Basques who live there. How does this parallel situation look now? We all know what would happen if the Indian Nations used terrorism to further their cause and legitimate their grievances. We have seen the film.]
So, everything is good in the best of all possible Basque Worlds. Then, why the killings, kidnappings, car bombs, extortions, urban violence and general mayhem? What is rotten in the Basque land? Let’s remember that this is backed by a sizable part of the community and forget about 15 %, it is a lot more.
As the Basque Nationalist Party governs there, perhaps the blame, or part of it, must rest with them. Who are they? What are they?
In a few words: the PNV are Rich, and they are Jesuits.
The people of the PNV own banks, they own the farms, they own the coal mines, they own the steel works, they own the houses and their rents, they own all the big businesses, they control the access to public employment, they own the Jesuit University of Deusto (considered the best in Spain), they own the best private health network, they monopolize the private (church) school system, they own the land in the cities and they very carefully control the building of homes so as to maximize their capital and earnings. They own everything.
The president of the PNV is a Jesuit priest, Javier Arzallus and their politicians have all being educated in Jesuit schools, when they appear on TV with their slow priestly gestures, the careful movement of their manicured hands, their cultured voices that would not be out of place in a church, everything transmits this message to the Spanish viewer, very attuned to the voice and body language of their masters: here is a Priest, delivering a Sermon, not a Politician. Pure spin, to get more power and more money for them and their greedy social class.
Who are the members of ETA? What are they?
In a few words: they are Communists. They are the disadvantaged and violent children of the working class. Their fathers were the ones digging the coal, and fishing the fish, and making the steel, and hammering the planks of the ships, and driving the trucks, and raising monstrous, Soviet-style housing in Rentería, and making the engines and cannons and weapons in Eibar. Their fathers were the ones who accumulated the capital for their PNV owners. Many etarras are not even of Basque descent -the PNV is a racist political party, that wanted to restrict its membership to men with four Basque grandfathers. Not in the statute books now, but as a matter of fact they mostly got away with doing it.
Idoia López Riaño, and Caride, two jailed mass murderers of ETA -their surnames don’t tell you anything because you are not Spanish, but we can tell at once: they are gallegos, despised and downtrodden poor migrant workers who went from lands lying to the West (something like 300 miles away, but that’s a world away in Europe) looking for work in the factories of the PNV, who got rich in the time of Franco, paying low salaries, without labor unions or human rights.
* It is Class War, it is the Social Question, stupid.
In the dismal working class neighborhoods of industrial Basque land, the Ruhr of Spain, their children joined this irredentist, nationalist, uncompromising political movement sprung from the PNV. A devilish mixture of Jesuit teachings, mafia-like money raising as a way out of unemployment and poverty, early 20th Century political and class struggle, some legitimate cultural grievances, propaganda through the deed (anarchist name for XIXth Century terrorism), the insensitivity of the young militant towards the victims, sheer pleasure in raising hell (kale borroka: street fighting), international connections with other militant groups in Europe and South America: It beats standing in the dole queue any day. For that you need a brutal mindset and very low intelligence, but what’s the use of intelligence in a soldier? A militant is a soldier of an irregular army and a shadow state.
And the violent, thuggish mindset if also a consequence of their Environment: Most of the Basque Provinces is unfit for human habitation, particularly Bilbao. I know personally what I am talking about: Two of my sisters and my two nephews went to live in Bilbao some years ago. A few years later one nephew developed cancer, and then my sisters: It is not an anecdote, children in every family in Bilbao are born without fingers, with tumors, or other irreversible health problems: Because Bilbao lies on the side of a cliff or canyon, and the factories were built down the river Nervión. For centuries the smokestacks spelled lead, cadmium, mercury, uranium, every kind of contaminant onto the city. When awareness came of the contaminants in the blood of the citizens the owners (los aberat, los amos, the Rich), that’s is the PNV, didn’t say a word, closed the factories and threw tens of thousands on the dole. The girls are desperate to marry outside and leave, they don’t want to have monsters as children. You won’t read anywhere about it, it is just common knowledge of the people: “Vox populi, vox dei”, and both the Basque and the Spanish Government hide it, or they would have to do something about it and spend money on the workers, that would be the day.
This also happens in Avilés, Asturias, just a few minutes drive away, another part of the Spanish Ruhr. Women there can not conceive, they suffer from Black Womb: their insides are contaminated with lead and other heavy metals from the smelters and iron and coal works.
The PNV built the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, with public money of course, to show off their new sensitivity. The PNV own everything, they can do as they please. It is a theme park, without a theme or an art collection of any kind. Let me laugh at the artistic spirit of the bilboetas: They already had a very beautiful and important Art Museum in Bilbao, I have passed many a pleasant morning in the Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao. Whenever I go, I have the whole museum to myself, the bilboetas don’t go to any museums: the bars are open. I must admit that I never went to the Guggenheim, the Museum of Javier Arzallus, the Jesuit priest and president of the PNV.
I don’t believe that the PSOE is going to solve the Social Question in the Basque Provinces or anywhere else, so this thing will go on and on, under its own logic.
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