Spanish general wants Franco-style military coup

This video is called 1981: military seizing the Spanish Parliament.

By Alejandro López in Spain:

Far-right Spanish general demands ouster of Socialist Party government

24 December 2019

Retired four-star General Fulgencio Coll Bucher, Chief of Staff of the Spanish Army between 2008 and 2012 and spokesperson for the fascistic Vox party in Palma de Mallorca, has called for the army to oust acting Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. According to El País, Coll’s article is circulating widely in the officer corps via WhatsApp groups.

Coll laid out some of his arguments in an article titled “Pedro Sánchez, a problem for national security” in the regional Balearic edition of the right-wing daily El Mundo. In it, Coll calls on unidentified “powers of the state”—apparently the army—to “prevent” Sánchez assembling a majority for his government if it includes the separatist Catalan Republican Left (ERC). He says Sánchez “should not be allowed to endanger with impunity the institutional legitimacy of the state.”

Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) has not been able to form a government since the November 10 elections, though it has secured the support of the … Podemos party. However, the PSOE and Podemos do not have a parliamentary majority between them and still require the ERC’s 15 seats to officially form a parliamentary majority and a government.

Referring to the PSOE-ERC talks, Coll said that “the acting prime minister’s behavior is not legitimate, nor can one accept it in a prime minister… Pedro Sánchez seeks personal satisfaction without noticing the obvious institutional damage, as he will negotiate a reform of the state of unknown content and scope with a minority to break the constitutional order.”

Coll also accuses the PSOE of being insufficiently aggressive in repressing mass protests against this year’s show trial of Catalan nationalist politicians. The repression left over 600 protesters injured and hundreds arrested. Yet Coll accuses Sánchez of treason for “confusing an organised insurgency with a problem of public order,” “endangering the members of state security so as to avoid political risk,” and “treating the defence of the Constitution as optional.”

Coll states that Article 102 of the Constitution allows, at the initiative of a quarter of parliamentarians and by an absolute majority in parliament, charging Sánchez before the Supreme Court “with treason or any other crime against state security.”

Vox leader Santiago Abascal has defended Coll’s article, denouncing Sanchez as “the traitor who inhabits the Moncloa” prime ministerial palace. On Twitter, he wrote: “They are really worried that Spain will defend itself against the imposition of a progressive dictatorship. They do well to worry, because Spain will defend itself.”

Coll’s statement is a threat to workers not only in Spain, but across Europe and beyond. Sections of the UK military and intelligence establishment have denounced Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as unfit to rule. In France, the newly retired head of the general staff, General Pierre de Villiers, has demanded harsher repression of a nationwide strike, stating: “There is not enough firmness in our country.” Amid growing strikes and protests across Europe and internationally, factions of the ruling class are discussing the possibility of launching coups and imposing military dictatorships.

After leading four coups in the 20th century—in 1923, 1932, 1936, and 1981, with the 1936 coup leading to a three-year Civil War and a 39-year fascist dictatorship under Francisco Franco—the Spanish army is again considering intervening in political life. Under cover of threatening mass protests against the Spanish crackdown in Catalonia, it is building up a police-state machine targeting the working class.

So far, the PSOE and Podemos have reacted to Coll’s threat with deafening silence. They left it to a low-ranking official, PSOE spokesperson for the Balearic Islands Iago Negueruela, to reply. He called Coll’s article “a very dangerous approach, especially coming from someone who was what he was… These are anti-democratic statements that are outside of the Constitution.” He added, “Vox is a party that is a danger to coexistence and democracy.”

It entered parliament this year, the first time a far-right party entered the Spanish parliament since the end of fascist rule in Spain, in 1978.

In June, the Supreme Court issued a ruling endorsing Franco’s 1936 fascist coup, describing Franco as “head of state from 1 October 1936 until his death in November 1975.” With this unprecedented ruling, Spain’s highest court claimed that the proclamation of Franco as head of state in a coup led by a gang of fascist generals on October 1, 1936 was legitimate.

Now top-ranking officers are coming out in favour of fascistic positions. Coll held the Spanish Army’s top post until seven years ago, having been named by former PSOE Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, who also tasked him with leading disaster relief in Spain and overseeing the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq. Other retired officers in Vox include former Navy General Agustín Rosety Fernández de Castro, former General of Division Alberto Asarta, and former General of the Air Force Manuel Mestre. All three sit in the Congress.

Both Rosety and Asarta signed last year’s pro-fascist manifesto “Declaration of Respect to General Francisco Franco Bahamonde, Soldier of Spain”, along with 670 other top current and retired officers. It hailed Franco’s “unique command of Spain, assaulted and besieged by international communism.”

This is an open statement of support for Franco’s fascist mass murder. His 1936 coup targeting growing radicalization in the working class under the Spanish Second Republic triggered the Spanish Civil War, which led to over a quarter million deaths and the imposition of a dictatorship that ruled Spain until 1978. Franco interned hundreds of thousands in concentration camps, banned strikes and political parties, censored the press and had thousands tortured by the secret police.

Coll’s statement underscores that the official legitimization of Francoism is not a purely historical issue but reflects the European ruling elite’s rapid move towards police-state rule.

‘Illegal’ African saves Spanish disabled man

This 12 December 2019 video says about itself:

Migrant rescues wheelchair-bound man from fire in Spain

A Senegalese migrant, Gorgui Lamine Sow, rescued a wheelchair-bound man from a burning building in the Spanish city of Denia recently. After hearing cries for help, Sow climbed into the burning building, hoisted the man on his shoulder and climbed down a balcony. Thereafter, he immediately left the scene fearing police action.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV, 11 December 2019:

Undocumented street vendor rescues disabled Spaniard from burning home

In the Spanish resort of Dénia, near Alicante, an African immigrant rescued a disabled man from his burning apartment. He did that last Friday, along with neighbours coming.

39-year-old Álex Caudeli Webster is in a wheelchair and could not flee quickly on his own when a stove caught fire in his home. He called for help, to which Senegalese street seller Gorgui Lamine Sow responded quickly. “I heard screams and immediately went inside,” he says to the newspaper El País.

Sow climbed in through the balcony, threw Webster over his shoulder, and then climbed out through the window. Local residents had meanwhile put a staircase under the balcony – that is how Sow managed to come down safely with Webster.

After the rescue, the hero had flown quickly; Sow is staying illegally in Spain and probably wanted to evade the … police who had been called. A local journalist managed to track down the 20-year-old immigrant in the seaside resort of Gandia, where he lives with his wife and daughter.

This gave Webster the opportunity to thank his lifesaver and to provide him with a ‘superman’ shirt. “He saved my life”, said the Spaniard. The municipality is planning to issue a certificate to Sow, and has said it wants to try to give the immigrant and his family legal status.

Previously, 22-year-old Malian Mamoudou Gassama was given French nationality after rescuing a toddler in Paris who dangled from the balcony of an apartment building.

UPDATE: Sow gets permit to stay in Spain.

Big pro-climate demonstrations in Spain, Chile

Climate activist Greta Thunberg (centre) walks at the COP25 climate talks summit in Madrid

This photo shows Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg (centre) at the COP25 climate talks summit in Madrid, Spain.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Tens of thousands march for the climate in Madrid

TENS of thousands of people marched in Madrid and Santiago, Chile, today to demand real action on climate change.

Swedish eco-warrior Greta Thunberg joined the mass demo in the Spanish capital, where the COP-25 climate summit has been taking place.

Marchers united behind the slogan “the world has woken up to the climate emergency.”

Greta joined teenagers staging a sit-in in the UN climate summit itself who held hands, sang Power to the People and waved Fridays for Future banners.

Chilean groups on the march carried banners denouncing the neoliberal regime of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, which had been due to host the summit but dropped the idea in the face of mass anti-government demonstrations which have rocked the country for over a month.

Civil Society for Climate Action (SCAC) spokeswoman Estefania Gonzalez said: “I come from Chile, a country where an avocado tree has more right to water than a person.”

The mass protests against inequality in Chile were “directly related to the environmental crisis,” she said.

“Today, climate action means social equality, it’s not possible to have social equality without environmental equality.”

SCAC has run a Social Summit for Climate Action alongside the UN summit, with a strong presence from indigenous groups in Latin America who are seeing their rights to land attacked by the Jair Bolsonaro government in Brazil.

They have also been victims of a violent terror campaign implemented by Bolivia’s coup government since the military overthrew the country’s elected, and indigenous, president Evo Morales last month.

This September 2019 video says about itself:

Thousands of people joined a global climate strike in the Chilean capital Santiago on Friday.

Schoolchildren and workers marched past La Moneda presidential palace to demand action from government.

Demonstrators dressed in green and brought a series of homemade signs and banners to argue for their cause.

The strike in Chile was one of many taking in Latin American cities and across the world.

The global action follows a series of school strikes initially inspired by Swedish teenage and climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The Morning Star report continues:

A march in the Chilean capital Santiago was timed to coincide with the demo in Spain.

An alliance of US states, cities, academic institutions and companies opened its own venue at the climate talks, aiming to show that despite the Donald Trump government’s decision to pull out of the Paris accord, many in the US remain committed to curbing global warming.

Elan Strait, who manages the We Are Still In initiative for the World Wildlife Fund, said the movement was “a short-term band-aid not only to get those carbon dioxide emissions down but also to encourage policymakers to lay the ground for further achievements.”

Fourteen seafaring nations published a study on the likely impact of predicted warming on maritime industries today, saying if emissions were not sharply reduced fisheries will be devastated.

Spanish neo-fascist Vox party, a danger

This 11 November 2019 video says about itself:

Spain’s far right looks to reignite embers of Franco era

Spain’s Socialist Party says it will act fast to form a government, after winning the most seats in Sunday’s parliamentary election.

Leader Pedro Sanchez had hoped the vote – which was the second this year – would break the country’s political deadlock.

But with the far-right Vox party more than doubling its support, the country appears more fragmented than ever before.

Al Jazeera’s Jonah Hull has more from Madrid.

By Alex Lantier:

The Spanish elections and the rise of the fascistic Vox party

12 November 2019

The rapid rise of the fascistic Vox party in Sunday’s Spanish elections is a warning of serious political dangers facing workers in Spain and around the world. As it faces mounting political protest and anger against social inequality, the ruling class is moving to set up fascistic police states tasked with violently repressing social opposition in the working class.

Vox officials have publicly hailed the record of the “national army” of Generalissimo Francisco Franco, the fascist dictator who launched a coup in 1936 against growing radicalization in the working class under the Spanish Second Republic. The resulting Civil War led to over a quarter million deaths and the imposition of a dictatorship that ruled Spain until 1978, three years after Franco’s death. Franco interned hundreds of thousands in concentration camps, banned strikes and political parties, censored the press and had thousands tortured by the secret police.

The Franco regime was so despised by workers in Spain and across Europe after it fell that, when Vox was founded in 2014, it attracted virtually no support. For several years, despite its extensive connections inside the army brass and the Popular Party (PP), Vox won 50,000 votes or less, well under one percent of the vote.

Vox’s vote surged, however, after the brutal police crackdown on the peaceful Catalan independence referendum of October 2017, and particularly amid Spanish nationalist attacks in the media against mass protests in Barcelona opposing last month’s jailing of Catalan nationalist political prisoners. On Sunday, Vox won 3.6 million votes, or 15 percent, doubling its parliamentary fraction from 24 to 52 seats—third behind only the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) and the PP.

Vox’s rise is part of a broad trend in European capitalist politics towards the growth of neo-fascist parties, nationalism and the official public legitimization of fascist dictators.

The Alternative for Germany (AfD) is currently the third-largest party in Germany, after years of propaganda by right-wing extremist professors and state officials to legitimize militarism and minimize the genocidal crimes of Nazism. Mass protests against the AfD have only intensified the ruling elite’s determination to rehabilitate Nazism. Last week, parliamentary president Wolfgang Schäuble denounced a “pacifist attitude” as the disastrous result of the Nazi defeat in World War II, which he called “the catastrophe of 1945.”

In France, as he launched a brutal crackdown on “yellow vest” protests against social inequality a year ago, President Emmanuel Macron hailed Nazi-collaborationist dictator Philippe Pétain as a “great soldier”. Amid growing anger at his social cuts, Macron continues to appeal to the far right, recently granting an interview attacking migrants and the Muslim veil to the far-right Current Values magazine.

The Frech name of that magazine is Valeurs Actuelles. Its editor-in-chief used to be a supporter of OAS extreme-right terrorism.

As a result, polls show he would now barely defeat neo-fascist candidate Marine Le Pen in a presidential election, by 55 percent to 45 percent.

The growth of fascism in official European politics does not signify a return to the mass popular support enjoyed by the Nazi Party, Mussolini’s National Fascist Party or the Francoite Falange. For now, it is a carefully staged political campaign, driven from the top, to promote violent, right-wing and nationalist opposition to social and political protest.

Vox’s rise is a classic example. While it has surged based on its anti-Catalan propaganda amid the wall-to-wall media denunciation of the independence referendum, no mass movement has emerged in Spain taking up Vox’s calls to deploy the army and execute political “criminals” in Catalonia. Polls confirm that large majorities of Spanish people support a negotiated settlement in Catalonia, despite the anti-Catalan hysteria in the media.

The promotion of Vox and of Franco comes overwhelmingly from the state machine. The PSOE allowed Vox to officially join its public prosecutor in persecuting Catalan officials who were given decade-long jail terms last month for organizing the peaceful 2017 referendum. And the Supreme Court in June issued an extraordinary ruling honoring “don Francisco Franco”, declaring that his October 1, 1936, self-proclamation as ruler of Spain during the Civil War made Franco the head of state—effectively ruling that Franco’s coup was legitimate.

Finally, the ruling elite focused the election campaign entirely on attacking mass protests in Catalonia, which were savagely repressed, with hundreds of arrests. Issues of concern to workers, like jobs, social programs and a halt to military-police violence, were off the table. The caretaker Socialist Party (PSOE) government, speaking for the entire capitalist class, had already written to the European Union (EU) pledging billions of euros in social cuts and military spending increases. All of this had the effect of boosting Vox.

The bourgeoisie’s failure to elicit broader support for its pro-fascist campaign up to now cannot, however, be a cause for complacency. The fascist threat is growing and its parties are winning increased support thanks to their constant promotion as the only alternative to the despised official parties.

Three decades ago, bourgeois propagandists proclaimed that the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 meant the “End of History” and the triumph of capitalist democracy. In fact, none of the contradictions of capitalism that drove the European bourgeoisie to stake its fate on fascist regimes in the 1930s had been resolved. Facing explosive anger at social inequality produced by decades of post-Soviet EU austerity and mass unemployment, the ruling class is again preparing dictatorship.

Sunday’s Spanish election revealed the breakdown of the parliamentary system established in 1978 in talks between the Francoite fascists, the PSOE … The PSOE-PP duopoly at the heart of that regime has collapsed. Each of the four elections in Spain since 2015 has resulted in a hung parliament, and no party has been able to muster a parliamentary majority since then. The ruling class is responding, through Vox, by turning back to Francoism.

Vox: its 52 deputies include retired pro-Francoite generals, former police and Civil Guards, anti-LGBTI activists, holocaust deniers, lawyers and Catholic fundamentalists: here.