The leader of left-wing party Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, (who recently resigned as vice president in the Spanish coalition government to stand as a candidate for the Madrid Regional Assembly) received a letter yesterday containing a death threat against him and his family and four bullets. The Spanish Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska and the Director of the Civil Guard received similar envelopes with threats and bullets. One of them is signed: "Civil Guard. National Police." These threats should be taken seriously.
It is not clear who sent the letters, but the bullets are army issue ammo, and the signature in one of the letters point towards individuals within the state apparatus.
Earlier this month, the headquarters of Podemos in Murcia were firebombed. A few months earlier, it was discovered that a group of retired Air Force officers were discussing the need for a coup in a WhatsApp group. A retired general said, "we'll have to start shooting 26 million sons of bitches". The same retired general was involved in a joint letter sent to the Spanish King, denouncing the Spanish Socialist Party/Unidas Podemos (PSOE-UP) government as "communist" and a "threat to democracy", and asking Felipe VI to intervene, a clear instance of inciting a coup.
The state prosecutor investigated these coup-mongering retired officers, but it concluded there was no crime to prosecute. Meanwhile, an army corporal who signed a letter against the Franco regime was sanctioned and then expelled from the army for “breaking the political neutrality of the Armed Forces”.
This is not just a case of retired officers either. In February this year, several newspapers published an investigation into an active neo-nazi cell within the Spanish Army in Cartagena, including serving officers. Reports about far-right sympathies of soldiers and officers are regularly made public in the media and by anti-fascist activists, without any consequence.
El Ministerio del Interior ha recibido una carta dirigida a mi con amenazas de muerte hacia mí y hacia mi familia. El sobre contenía 4 balas de Cetme. pic.twitter.com/yquNIed7pV— Pablo Iglesias 🔻 (@PabloIglesias) April 22, 2021
The spectre of Franco
It is known that the Spanish bourgeois democracy has its roots in the Franco regime. There was never a clean democratic break in the so-called Spanish transition in the 1970s nor a purge of the state nor the armed forces, police, etc. The "1978 regime" which is in place today, is the result of an elite pact to guarantee impunity to those involved in the crimes of the dictatorship. That is the explanation for the proliferation of openly fascist and reactionary elements in the judiciary, the state apparatus and the army.
These elements have been encouraged and whipped into a frenzy by the rise of the far-right VOX party in recent elections. The official democratic bourgeois parties, particularly the right-wing People’s Party (PP), have been competing with VOX for the same electorate and adopted many of its talking points (a "Communist government" in cahoots with "separatists", aimed at ending democracy and "breaking up Spain"). Furthermore, the main "democratic" right-wing parties, PP and Citizens (Cs), have had no qualms in reaching agreements with the support of VOX to rule in regions and municipalities, including in Andalucía.
As a matter of fact, the PP is a party that also has deep roots in the dictatorship, having been originally founded by seven Franco ministers. Most of the vote VOX has received comes from the PP.
Two weeks ago, VOX organised an election rally in the working-class neighbourhood of Vallecas, south of Madrid. This was a clear provocation. The party has described poor and working-class districts as "multi-cultural dumps".
As was to be expected, left-wing and working-class organisations in Vallecas organised a protest rally against the presence of the far right. After a provocation by VOX leader Santiago Abascal Conde, who crossed riot police lines to confront anti-fascist protesters, the police charged against the local people protesting the VOX rally. The police protecting the far right and charging against anti-fascist protesters are under the command of Interior Minister Marlaska, who yesterday was one of the recipients of the death threats.
It is clear that large numbers of police officers are members of or sympathetic towards VOX, and there is clear complicity between the far-right party and police "union" Jupol.
The PSOE-UP government has taken no action to put a stop to this far-right collusion and infestation within the state forces. On the contrary. The Spanish government has consistently used the police against anti-fascist protesters, while allowing openly fascist and neo-Nazi demonstrations to go ahead.
For a united front and working-class fightback!
The threat of the far right has to be combatted. There needs to be a joint mobilisation of the left and working-class organisations in the streets.
On Saturday in Seville, there is a demonstration in the working-class neighbourhood of Cerro Amate, where an activist in the Barrios Hartos (Enraged Neighbourhoods) platform was threatened and attacked by fascists. The comrades of Lucha de Clases play a leading role in this organisation. This is the way forward, and should be built on, with further demonstrations organised throughout the Spanish state in a show of strength by the working class against all the reactionary scum in society.
Today, Iglesias walked out of a radio debate when a representative VOX refused to condemn the threats he had received. This decision was correct, but it is not enough. Podemos should call for a united front of all left-wing, trade union and working-class organisations against the far right and call for mass mobilisations to answer these murderous threats.
For a united front against far-right aggression! Mobilise the people! No pasarán!