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Spain bans electoral list in support of the rights of national minorities

23. May 2009

In an unprecedented anti-democratic move the Spanish Supreme Court banned a list composed of Spanish leftists together with organisations of several national minority movements. It is a dangerous sign that the anti-democratic repression does not limit itself to Basque forces but reaches out also to those who dare to defend simple democratic rights also outside the Basque country.

Solidarity call by the International Initiative–Solidarity among the Peoples (II-SP)

For democracy and the presumption of innocence

The undersigned individuals and organizations would like to express with the greatest forcefulness our indignation and alarm over the extremely serious attack on democratic freedoms and upon the principle of the presumption of innocence, fundamental to a state based on laws, that has been used to justify making the candidacy of the Internationalist Initiative – Solidarity Among the Peoples for the European elections illegal, and we thus demand the that the Supreme Court revoke its decision in this matter.

We would also like to denounce the shameful campaign of harassment and slander orchestrated by the corporate media in the service of the established order, and at the same time we express our solidarity with Alfonso Sastre and the other people that these media have attempted to criminalize for their simple participation in Internationalist Initiative.

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Madrid court outlaws anti-capitalist party
By John Catalinotto (Workers World)

By outlawing a new political party from an upcoming June 7 ballot, ruling circles in the Spanish regime are exposing their links to the 36-year-long fascist reign of Francisco Franco. Their latest anti-democratic step involved fraudulent charges to prevent the newly formed International Initiative–Solidarity among the Peoples (II-SP) organization from competing in elections to the European Parliament.

To underline an anti-capitalist solution to this crisis, some leftist parties, both on a federal level and in the regions that consist of oppressed nations within the Spanish state, joined together this spring to form the II-SP. They offered a relatively broad but clearly anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist alternative.

Historically, the Spanish state has included at least four peoples or nationalities. The people of Galicia in the northwest, of Catalonia in the east, and of the Basque Country in the northeast have been under the heel of the Castilian ruling class. Repression was especially brutal during the Franco period against local customs and any languages other than Castilian Spanish.

Today it also includes immigrants from Africa and Latin America, who face racial discrimination.

In carrying out the struggle for Basque self-determination, Basque freedom fighters set up an organization in 1959 known as ETA, an acronym for the Basque words meaning Basque Homeland and Freedom. ETA evolved into a guerrilla group that carried out armed actions against the Spanish state, both during the fascist period and afterwards.

The Spanish ruling class took the same approach toward ETA as the British rulers did toward the Irish Republican Army and the U.S. toward Puerto Rican patriots: repression. They hunted down ETA members and also jailed thousands of Basques involved in political struggles.