BY MANDY BALDWIN
On Sunday, from Catalonia, we heard a mouse roar – and what a mighty roar it was. In an awesome act of courage which should humble all of us, 90% of Catalan people voted for independence.
With black-clad, armed Spanish police having closed polling stations, beating elderly women with batons, firing rubber bullets, dragging young girls around the ground like broken dolls, thrashing them for daring to declare their freedom to be who they are, the Catalan people, who have kept the flame of their independence and uniqueness burning despite centuries of occupation and intimidation, kept walking to those polling stations which remained open, kept saying NO to fascist Spain.
And yes, Spain is still in large part a fascist state: the veneer of respectability daubed by the equally fake EU on the political class who inherited Franco’s administration, is very thin indeed.
The default mode for Spain was always oppression – violent oppression. Franco executed more than 4000 Catalans, during his ‘reign’ which began in 1939 – and his death in 1975 began a three-year struggle for democracy, which was strongly opposed. Most of the machinery of Franco’s government – and those who ran it – remained in situ.
As recently as the 1980s, while the Guardia Civil strutted ridiculously around, green uniformed, shiny-hatted, bullies and buffoons, groping girls and demanding free drinks in bars, there were other ‘police’ who were referred to as ‘grey ones’ who had the absolute right to arrest, beat, torture, incarcerate or kill any Spanish citizen they chose, without any accountability or question.
On May Day 1978, I was just turned 18, hitch-hiking with my boyfriend. We were walking in Madrid, chatting with American members of the International Brigade who had opposed Franco during the Spanish Civil War, on what they had thought was a happy celebration of the new right to public gathering. There was music. People were singing and laughing. Children walked with their parents; families had brought picnics.
“Franco es kaput!” said an old man to me, giving me a flower and a swig of wine.
And then the ‘grey ones’ arrived – masses of them, from every direction, silent and menacing. We had been ambling at the back with the Americans, just interested tourists. We scattered, ran for our lives, and those of us who managed to make it into side-streets were safe – but those who stayed in the large group weren’t so lucky.
We saw the ‘grey ones’ charge the panicking crowd, deliberately driving them down into the metro where they must surely have been crushed, because they poured down the steps so fast, and so tightly packed, they looked like lava, not people – there were old people, babies in buggies, and children among them. The ‘grey ones’ followed them down. We could hear screams of terror and pain. Shots were fired, people died, we saw people fall, there was blood on the pavement.
And yet, when we got home a couple of weeks later, there was no news of this. Nobody said a word. I’ve never heard anyone refer to this horrendous attack on hundreds of peaceful people in Spain’s capital city, never heard condemnation of Spain’s ‘Tienanmen Square’. It was as if it never happened. And fifteen years later, suddenly Spain was considered acceptable and respectable – as a member of the European Union.
Those ‘grey ones’ trained and still run the police who beat the Catalans who voted on Sunday. Civilised policing is something which has been forced on them reluctantly, and for Spain as a nation, the principle of democracy isn’t really even skin-deep – it’s cosmetic. But then, that makes Spain more suitable for membership than most of us, because the same is true of the EU itself.
Spain’s Ramon Luis Valcarcel calls the result of the Catalonian referendum “undemocratic” and “a coup against Europe” – clearly wishing the superstate’s militarisation programme was already up and running, so tanks could be sent in, to replicate the Russian response to the Prague Spring of 1968. The Belgian PM condemns the violence in muted tones. The Estonian PM huffs a little. Guy Verhofstadt plays the weasel: condemning violence, but then, in that bizarre way Superstaters have of claiming imaginary voters and non-votes as votes in their favour, also condemning the landslide Catalonian Referendum, saying that “60% don’t want independence.”
There is no demand so far for Spain to be expelled or at least punished, as there certainly should be. Of course there isn’t: the Spanish are, after all, only behaving as the rest of the Superstaters will behave, with access to military force.
And there is a resounding, shameful, disgraceful silence from Remainer May – a silence which speaks volumes, as she no doubt makes urgent phone-calls to some greasy Europhile law group or other – like that which the judges who support Gina Miller surely belong to – to continue their work on outlawing direct democracy.
Even Corbyn and Sturgeon had the gumption to unequivocally condemn this outrage.
There is no question. May must go. Today, preferably. She brings shame on her office, on her party, on our entire nation. She must be replaced by a leader, and cabinet, all of whom totally and vocally condemn the actions of Spain and the silence of the EU leaders and all of whom unquestioningly support the right to self-determination of the Catalan people. Unless they do so, then in every real sense, the Conservative party is dead, a mere glove-puppet for Juncker.
In 1934 the British Union of Fascists held a rally at Olympia. It was packed: all those Daily Mail readers, all those people inspired by the need to keep the Reds out, and put the Great Unwashed in their collective place.
They huffed with outrage as hecklers stood up in the audience: why couldn’t the plebs just shut up and listen to Mosley? But when the hecklers were dragged outside and beaten by black-clad fascists, those Daily Mail readers walked out in disgust, the press which had given the BUF its blessing withdrew support, and it was game over for fascism in Britain.
The brutality in Catalonia is the EU’s Olympia moment.
The groups and press which have blindly supported the EU, motivated by a similar snobbery to that which motivated those who supported the BUF, must declare themselves mistaken, or by their silence must be considered to have declared themselves enemies of democracy and friends of fascism.
There can be no excuses any more. This horror is what the Remain vote supported. And the mighty roar of the tiny Catalonian nation, which looks set to shatter the superstate like glass, puts to shame any Briton who is not prepared to wield the full might of our big, rich, powerful nation against the forces of anti-democracy by treating the Reich with the contempt it deserves, and simply walking away.