The conservatives and ultra conservatives of the Iberian country are determined to wipe out the Spanish left. This is what the riots, threatening voices and a prosecution war (lawfare) that has been going on in recent times are all about.
Juanjo Andrés Cuervo
The panorama is as follows: The Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE) needs the support of Junts per Catalunya to retain the government. The Catalans demand an amnesty for thousands involved in the independence movement. Meanwhile, judges and right-wing militants are trying to boycott democracy.
Last week, far-right militants attacked the PSOE headquarters around the country. The most noticeable event was when the rioters went to the main headquarters in Madrid. During many nights, thousands of people arrived there to oppose negotiations between the PSOE and Junts per Catalunya, the right-wing political party of Catalonia.
There were many videos going viral through social media. The rioters threw cobblestones and flares at the police, shouted ‘Long live Franco!’, sang the Cara al Sol, the anthem of the Falange, and insulted journalists who were covering the scene.
In addition, there were bizarre moments, such as when a drunken Herman Terstch, a Member of the European Parliament for Vox, took the microphone of a journalist from El Pluralinsulted the newspaper’s manager.
Or when a young Spaniard complained about the mistreatment of the police, using a dialect associated with the upper classes of Spain, for ‘defending fucking Spain.’
Paraphrasing Guy Debord, we are living in the Society of the Spectacle. The information flies across the networks and the videos go viral in a matter of minutes.
People running with Spanish flags, running towards the headquarters of the PSOE and shouting against an alleged group of politicians who want to destroy Spain. They see themselves as the saviours of their homeland. But all this audiovisual content is façade, almost a tragi-comic symptom of our frenetic society and the power of the social media. In Spain, the real problem lies beneath this bizarre spectacle, in the institutional powers.
The deep state against democracy
In Spain, the right-wing controls a significant part of the judiciary. The failed renewal of the General Council of the Judiciary (CGPJ), a body composed mostly of conservative judges imposed by the PP, is one of the biggest failures of Spanish democracy. Even the European Commission urged Spain to end the deadlock in the renewal of the CGPJ.
Given that the PSOE-Unidos Podemos government needed the support of the PP to achieve this goal, it is not surprising that it has not been met.
In other words, the CGPJ should have been renewed more than four years ago. This exemplifies the systemic anomaly in Spain. Despite this, they approved a declaration against the amnesty even before that the content of the law was published.
There is hardly any doubt that the judges are trying to use their power to influence politics in Spain. Some weeks ago, the Professional Association of Magistrates sent a published letter to the European Commission. It called on the European Union to intervene if the amnesty law is passed.
A new left-wing government?
Since the start of the previous legislature with PSOE and Unidas Podemos in January 2020, the deep state has constantly attacked the left-wing government.
The soft coup or lawfare, a common trend in Latin America to overthrow leftist governments, has happened in Spain in the last years. In Gramscian terms, the right-wing has the hegemonic power of the country.
A pessimist view would point out that it does not matter that the left-wing increased the living conditions of the working-class in a difficult context of the pandemic of Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine.
And despite the supremacy of the right in the institutions, the General Elections of the 23rd of July drew an unexpected scenario. The right-wing and the left-wing block obtained a similar number of votes.
During the last week of September, the right-wing PP tried to form government. But they failed to gain the necessary support. As they did not reach power by the ballot, now they want to do so by other means. A common trend in the modern history of Spain.
The images of the far-right militants tried to enter the headquarters of the PSOE inevitably bring some recent memories from across the Atlantic.
The storming of the US Capitol on 6 January 2021 and the invasion of many Brazilian buildings like the National Congress or the Supreme Federal Court in Brazil on 8 January 2023.
The United States, Brazil and Spain had similar processes. In the three countries, the extremist right-wing lost, and their fanatics tried to impose by force a new regime. At least in the hyperreal world in which they live.
Against the histrionic attitude of the right, the left is trying to form a government. In the following weeks, PSOE and Sumar will have the chance to repeat the feat of 2020. To support the working-class, the power must never fall into the hands of the radical right-wing.
But even if PSOE and Sumar establish a government, there will face many enemies in the following years. The path is, as they did in the previous legislature, to increase the material conditions of the majority of the people.