The ‘Antifascists’ Strike Again – Notes from Spain | Edward Anderson
Violence against democratically elected officials cannot be swept under the carpet just because the bottles are launched at those you do not support.
On the Friday just gone here in Spain, a democratically elected member of the Spanish congress was assaulted on the streets for the crime of attending a peaceful assembly to rally for an upcoming regional election.
The women in question, Rocío de Meer, was hit with a projectile and several other projectiles were launched as the police were needed in force to protect people at a political rally in a small Basque town. So why haven’t you seen it on BBC News or the Guardian, no doubt appalled by these horrific scenes in a Western European Democracy? Well, probably because the victim was a Vox deputy and the people who launched the assault were the ‘antifascists’.
That’s right, these heroic self-proclaimed ‘antifascists’ boldly defended the hard won democratic traditions in Spain by pelting people who had committed the evil crime of coming out to hear members of the Vox party, at a rally for the upcoming Basque elections on Sunday 12th July.
As a (politically) old lefty, I have grown very tired of these sorts of groups claiming to be part of some heroic struggle to ‘smash the fash’ when they are simply people who consider violence a political tool to be unleashed on those whose views they do not like. In a country where the bodies of a brutal Civil War are still being dug up, it is incredible that any person would think that their hatred of Vox was more important than the defence of political freedoms that are holding an increasingly threadbare Spanish democracy together.
There have been frequent attacks on PSOE offices across Spain, I have no doubt after this we will see more. Violence breeds violence and therefore it is almost more important to defend the rights of your opponents, over the side which you agree with.
Call me cynical but I cannot help but feel if this had been a member of PSOE or Podemos attacked and the protest group from where the objects were thrown had been waving Spanish flags instead of rainbow ones, you would be seeing more about this in the English-speaking press.
To clarify, I am no fan of politicians calling for their elected political opponents to ‘condemn’ or disassociate themselves from the people responsible unless there are direct links. Enoch Powell put it best in a Frost interview in 1969 when stating “I am not going to be put in the absurd position of disassociating myself from people you know full well I am in no way associated with”. Asking PNV leaders to condemn attackers is more about ‘gotcha’ politics then a serious united front.
What is needed however, is for some solidarity with the victims of an attack and to say that violence against elected officials has no business in a democratic society. People in Spain should already know where that road ends. If you dislike Vox too much? Fine. Self-preservation should still be a good enough reason because anyone who is not a Vox supporter should not be stupid enough to think for a second that the same tactics, if they are allowed to seep back into politics, will not be turned against them.
Eventually on this website I hope to actually be able to stick to my fortnightly schedule and write about boring old left-wing subjects such as wages or housing but once again, we are having to make the point that ballot boxes are better than bottles. All democracies are fragile, with modern Spanish history and the upcoming inevitable economic crisis making it especially true for this country. If people will not defend the right of their opponents to enjoy the same political and democratic freedoms they would expect for themselves, they should not be surprised when one day their political opponents become their enemies… and their enemies return the favour.
Photo by user, Ruban Sanchez, on Twitter.