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EU parliament parties unite to condemn Spain on village consultation & fascist rally.
Saturday September 12, 2009 19:55 by susan Boyle - ( iiosaf )
In what could have seemed like a typical storm in a tea-cup about a fortnight ago & in my opinion didn't merit comment or reporting then, a village consultation in Catalonia has evinced EU parliament cross party condemnation of the Spanish state. The leaders of the EU conservatives, socialists, greens and liberals have expressed their concern at the continued operation of the Spanish Falange party. Manfred Weber leads the conservative block in the EU parliament he has said "this demonstration celebrates a brutal and inhuman totalitarian system in which thousands of European died and it must be stopped" or Bernhard Rapkay leader of the German socialists in the EU "we must punish any European who uses fascist symbols".
What could have caused that?
The story really is extraordinarily interesting, ironic, though provoking & of interest to Welsh, Scot or any referendum voter.
They are a nation & their language is spoken by ten million. But this referenda was only supposed to include a few thousands.
The answer is simple and almost ridiculous, the town of Arenys de Munt, in the valleys which lead from Barcelona through to the Pyrennes in Catalonia decided it would ask those of its 8,000 approx population with voting rights to take part in a "consultation" or "referendum" on whether or not they wished complete independence for Catalonia. At first the decision of the council which is one of those which in the past has refused to fly the Spanish state flag on occasions and always flies a really big Catalan flag on its special days (such as the 11th of September which marks the end of the war of heriditary succesion in 1714 after which the privileges of Catalonia and her statehood were stripped by the victorous Bourbon King Philip IV, the father to the emperor Carol V of pretty much everything from Mexico, Peru, Florida, California to Africa, the Philippines, Flanders, the Netherlands, Bohemia, Pommerania and Austriañ.
The answer to the proposed consultation really would have been a given conclusion. Arenys de Mar is one of those little towns which in the past years has formally banned bull fighting to the delight of animal rights activists and utmost consternation of seasoned catalanists like myself who know there has never been a bull fight in Arenys de Mar not even in the Mithraic cult heyday of bull slaying during the Roman Empire, for the good reason that Arenys de Mar isn't that old a town.
So the proposed consultation wasn't going to produce any surprising results especially considering the elected representatives of the place or almost all independence heads anyway & the complete exercise should have simply been seen as summer silliness. In the circles where I work, (Catalan republican and leftist publishing presses and cultural promotion entities), the whole thing was seen as a farcical almost tongue-in-cheek provocation not of the Spanish state and its unionists but of the main pro-independence and republican party, the ERC who have in recent years and under new leadership moved slowly further away from their stated aim to hold a referendum termed a public consultation to everyone in Catalonia who (this is the crafty bit) rather than holds a voting privilege is a holder of a Catalan Health Service card.
But then the Falange decided they wanted to do a march and demonstration in Arenys de Munt on the same day as the little village consultation.
The Falange were the first political party to register themselves in the Spanish state at the time of the transition to democracy. They had been the only political party permitted during the Franco dictatorship. The influence of their membership was to wax and wane through the dictatorship as the regime moved from the unequivocal fascist and nazi axis to isolationism to reprochement with the West and to its final days of extraordinary influence by Opus Dei. But the party's symbolism continued to be imprinted on almost every "social" project adopted by the state. In the last 7 years across the Spanish state as part of the process of memory and the few laws passed to support that controversial process, the mass graves of those shot by Falange militia as well as the "housing department" plaques on flats constructed by the regime have been subject for examination.
Under the 1978 Spanish state constitution, only the government may together with the other pillars of the state, put a referendum to the people and article 8 prohibits all secession or attempts at independence of the historic nationalities .
The Basque region under its last Lehendakari (taoiseach), Juan José Ibarretxe attempted for more than decade to put a referendum or public consultation to the Basques on their future. In the end the fudge which was adopted and would have been used (had he not lost power to a grand coaltion of conservative and socialist unionist parties in the last election) was the quite blindingly ingenous :-
referendum on a referendum . By which the Basques were to be asked to vote "yes" or "no" to the simple question "Do you want a referendum on the future of Basque and Spanish relations".
Now that's back when the Falange used to get busy. Every few weeks they'd bus themselves in complete with their uniforms, sunglasses, Franco era flags, skin head youth and whole baggage to do a march in a provocative bit of the Basque country.
I remember they even turned up in Barcelona where I live on afternoon, normally they only assemble in Bcn once a year to mark the execution by Franco of the last legitimate president of the Catalan government once he had been handed over by the Gestapo and deported from the Vichy era "French state". Now of course they aren't allowed to assemble at the execution point because recent changes to the law have proscribed all political acts there.
So the little village of Arenys de Munt gave the Falange a treat.
The village folk cried out to their media and that of Spain that the Falange turning up on a day of outright Catalanism would be likely to end up in trouble.
So the Spanish state said, ok - we don't want you having your consultation but we understand how you feel about the Falange, let's put the Falange demonstration off for a few days and appoint a judge to oversee the constitutionality of your consultation.
= very fair.
But........."big BUT"......the judge appointed to oversee the case is not only the lawyer who represents the Falange but is also a proper paid up party member of the Falange and a furthermore a recurrent candidate of the Falange party.
= very dodgy. What is even more dodgy is that a Spanish Government minister of Zapatero's cabinet could criticise the folk of the wee town and tell them "these referenda will bring the Falange out of the cave".
But if that is true, then the opposite is true as well. The first minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, expressed his complete support for the town of Arenys de Munt and has given not one, but three interviews this week to Catalan press to explain how the Welsh in their valleys would face the same bag of dirty tricks should they make a step forward. Which seemingly he wants to do soon.
............ Let's absorb all this information a moment..............
* The town of Arenys de Munt wants independence for Catalonia from the Spanish state.
= no news in that.
* The Falange bring a nazi style gig wherever in "Spain" they think someone whats independence.
= no news in that.
* There has been an appeal put out to all sectors of the intelligentsia, culture & people who can write decent job references in the last 48 hours exhorting them to go to Arenys de Munt tomorrow. As such I've even been tweeted, emailed and phoned once to go up the mountains and do my "foreigner Irish born person who can speak the language properly".
= no news in that.
* The cross party leadership of the mainstream EU parliament blocks have condemned the Spanish state for tolerating the Falange and some have even called for its criminalisation.
= There is something new in that. If FF, FG, Labour and the Greens can agree on local level referenda like the Irish Lisbon 2 vote, and can agree so clearly at EU parliament level on the nastiness of fascism - then why can't they illegalise the Hungarian legion and stop the NBP, NF etc????
The Catalan language press :
The Spanish language press :
The town council website which hosts itself in France (giggle)
the Facebook of the campaign so you can make friends with it.