A Repugnant Spectacle - ICG

We don't want to enter into the polemic provoked some years ago in the Basque Country and in Spain as to whether or not the execution of Miguel Angel Blanco by ETA and the campaign of the Spanish State marked an irreversible qualitative jump in interbourgeois (imperialist) war; it is of far greater interest to us to denounce the repugnant spectacle of popular adherence to the state's mobilization.

Submitted by redtwister on December 15, 2005

The issue is not at all whether ETA is more or less criminal; even at a time when ETA was putting bombs in supermarkets and killing indiscriminately, the Spanish state never managed to achieve a popular mobilization on the scale achieved today in the face of ETA's execution of an individual directly implicated in the governmental party and thus in its repressive action. By carefully setting the seen using the increasing imbecilisation of public opinion, the state has succeeded in getting the citizens to associate with their master, amalgamating ETA's actions with what current dominant ideology considers to be evil incarnate: the Nazis and the concentration camps. Thus the extreme is reached of spectacularly comparing the situation of some guy held prisoner by the ETA with the Nazi concentration camps! It is hardly surprising that this comparison is never made when it is the Spanish state that is jailing, torturing or killing! (1)

The repugnant spectacle of radio and television campaigns for the "blue ribbon" (2) demonstrates the State's capacity for democratic manipulation, the capacity of its apparatus to put amalgam into practice, as well as the importance of the broadcasting media in this policy of manipulation and fabrication of public opinion according to bourgeois interests.

It is also worth pointing out here that all political sectors have collaborated with this type of campaign (with the obvious exception of the accused: ETA and Herri Batasuna, its political wing). Indeed, even traditional allies of the ETA such as the other Basque nationalist groups or guerrilla groups from various countries have contributed. The example of the Uruguayan Tupamaros, in their current legalistic phase, is all the more meaningful since this group was always very close to ETA's positions and ardently defended its militants, involving itself, for example, in the struggle against their extradition. It is characteristic of all of this campaign of amalgam that the Tupamaros, who were never concerned by ETA's criminal activities when they were carrying out indiscriminate bombings resulting in the deaths of proletarians, yet now feel obliged to distance themselves from ETA when it is to do with the elimination of Blanco, a bourgeois, a man of the state. (According to certain statements made in the press it would seem that the same can be said about "Shining Path" in Peru (3).)

Here is an example of how Rafael Larreina, a member of the Basque parliament and vice secretary-general of Eusko Alkartasuna, is moved and participates in the televised myths:

"... now that two months have passed since the murder of Miguel Angel Blanco, we observe with a certain distance the consequences of this event and the facts that occurred subsequently. The slow-motion crime of Ermua, barely a few days after the striking picture of Ortega Lara emerging from his terrifying captivity, triggered a reaction of horror and indignation without precedent that we all, independently of our political adherence, shared in this country. The popular reaction was equally obvious and strong and should serve as an element of reflection for the leaders of Herri Batasuna and the ETA so that they can determine whether or not they really are involved in the process of national construction and whether they accept and take note of the popular will and want the independence of Euskalherria."

Repugnance and hate are what we feel about this national unity of "all, no matter what their political persuasion", towards this unity for national reconstruction, this unity which calls for more state, more democracy, more peace... that is to say more control, more repression, more police.

We know that the purpose of this campaign is the fortification of the State, we know that its biggest success is precisely popular participation in these demands for a more democratic State, for greater repression and we know that this campaign "against terrorism of the ETA" aims fundamentally to fortify the bourgeois State. We also know that this campaign is fundamentally preventive against any possible action by the proletariat which terrorizes the bourgeoisie (4). We know that this campaign hits the international proletariat, especially the proletariat in Spain and even more so the one that is in the Basque Country.

Driven by our repugnance and our horror for all this campaign of state control, driven by our desire to show our solidarity with the proletariat directly attacked by this impressive wave of laments, of domestication, of affirmation of democracy and terrorism of the State, we publish the following translation of an excellent article entitled "desprecio del lazo azul" ("our contempt for the blue ribbon") of which we don't know the authors and that was published in 1997 (in Spanish) in the EKINTZA ZUZENA magazine (5). The text goes way beyond the content announced in its title and is signed: "Writing found at the University of the Basque Country."

We also want to express our solidarity with the comrades who, in these difficult times for the proletariat in the Basque country, have the courage to produce and to circulate texts like this, texts full of contempt for the blue ribbon.


1. And here we are not only referring to the presidential and ministerial implication in the GAL affair (Felipe Gonzáles, supporting the campaign denounced here, mounted a defence of the GAL's torturing cops), but also, in a more generic manner, to police repression and the situation of prisoners in the jails of Spain or whatever other country.

2. The "blue ribbon" is the rallying sign displayed by all those who want to mark their adherence to the anti-terrorist campaign organized by the Spanish State.

3. Nevertheless, considering the manipulation carried out by the State in Peru, it is difficult to know up to what point these declarations emanate from the fighters of this organization or from a whole of collaborators of the government designated with the name of "Shining Path", thus aiming to spread confusion.

4. Sectors of all kind are conscious of this qualitative step made by the State in Spain carried in the legitimisation of terror thanks to popular mobilization. So Jaime Pastor, in a report on the consequences of the execution of Blanco carried out by HIKA, wrote: "... a newly created script is being approved in order to give a greater social legitimisation for a merely police-based solution to the Basque conflict, which will, moreover, allow this erosion of liberties and rights to be exercised against any kind of activity of dissent against the prevailing political and social system. Thus, even if the all the measures announced to reform the Penal Code are not approved, the PP [Partido Popular] knows that it can count on favourable public opinion towards its propositions, thus favourable to a greater recourse to Orwellian techniques of surveillance and control of citizens' security."

5. Published by Ediciones E.Z., apartado 235 - 48080 BILBO BIZKAIA.


Our contempt for the blue ribbon

Not for well-intentioned individual souls, but for the idea of democratic peace itself.

If we assert that the pacifism of the blue ribbon in which they want to make us believe, is false, it is not because we have no criticism of the armed violence of the ETA (or whichever other organization), but because we think that this history of mobilization against "perpetrators of violence" is a manipulated phenomenon that only serves to distract from the global and legal corruption upon which the game of capital depends: the daily violence that the State and Capital exercise on populations, dispensing a living death; the generalized prostitution or submission to money to which we are condemned and, finally, to hinder the grassroots politics seeking to rise up against the domination of money.

You embrace the bourgeois democratic institutions, proclaiming your faith in them and, in so doing, you accept their violence, submission, deception. No power can maintain itself without its Ministry of Lies to impose itself on populations, so that they accept the servants of Capital and the state in good faith and also want to function as good servants. The essential thing is that the majority - which soon converts itself into all - does what it is asked to, but on the condition that each one believes that he is doing it willingly, of his own volition. They obey Pharaoh's slaves. It is the same thing! Our production of skyscrapers and of means of transport which are not used for any of the things that they say they are and our proliferation of sensless things without any real utility, is, after all, the same as the construction of pyramids for eternity. The same majority, the same blindness, but this time based on the decision, the choice, the will of everyone.

Stand very close to any pavement to observe the traffic jams that occur thanks to the personal car (democratic institution par excellence) and you will see how, in fact, everybody (the majority) goes more or less at the same time to the same place, but each on his own account, in his own car and of his own volition. Remind yourselves that this bone-shaker they sell us as a means of transportation (and that actually entailed the death of useful transport like the tramway or the railway) demands the regular and increasing weekend and holiday-time sacrifice of thousands of lives, far more than all terrorism put together (quite apart from its contribution to pollution, motorways, taxes, small wars over gasoline over at the limits of development...). But of course, they make us believe that we have chosen this, when in fact it has been imposed. No one asked for the car, it was the domination of development which required the creation of needs in order to maintain the illusion that money can satisfy such needs (that were not needs before), to continue to make work (without need), to entertain the masses, finally, to circulate capital and maintain the institutions of the State. Then, the fact that thousands of people die, can be camouflaged as carelessness, accidents or bad luck, in short, as something natural that we must resign ourselves to accept.

Something else that they want to make us believe, by way of endless electoral shows, is that the bourgeois institutions represent the people. That is to say that the sum of individual opinions on the faces and names offered to them is equivalent to the people. What an enormous lie! Therefore, as the people is no more than its lowest common denominator, the common man, there is no Christ who can represent it. (...). The majority is the majority of our opinions (created and directed by the media of mass education - family, school and, finally, morality) that can be easily collected, counted and which produce a whole on which the power establishes itself. But in no way we can confuse this with the latent force of negation in those hearts which have not been completely submitted to the faith - a faith in which everybody knows what he wants and where he is going, a faith in the future, through which death is administered.

And how do they do it? By preventing the people from living, creating an empty present with the excuse of a better future, an unlived present in exchange for a future, for death, because the future is always unannounced death (waiting, empty time which is necessary to fill with something: boredom). Look at the propaganda, especially at the bank (the true churches of today). See how they are interested in the child already having a savings plan, even a personal pension plan! Let him start to sacrifice himself for his future right now! (or someone do it for him, which amounts to the same thing).

See how the notion of travel has been transformed: they lead us to believe that a journey consists of an empty stretch of road enabling us to arrive at a place in a way that neither the destination nor what happens during the journey is of any importance. An empty time is created which has to be filled with something, of course (TV, music,...). The ideal to be reached is for the emptiness to be no more than a bureaucratic formality. This criteria can be applied to what they sell us as being life. From childhood, we are set goals to make us believe in their lies to the point that we assimilate them as if they were our own ideas. So death arrives to us without us having realized what happened.

The work that is done is really useless (seeing that it doesn't obey real needs but the needs Capital). As for this free time that one buys (leisure with work, peace with war, glory with sacrifice, wealth with savings for some or with exploitation for others), it cannot be a time naturally distinct from work-time, war-time or penitence-time. This time is empty. Just as peace won by war is nothing else than undeclared war, what one calls free time is actually undeclared work, calculated in a very precise way in fractions of time (the real currency of money), 15 minutes of happiness (in a Thai sauna), two and a half days of happiness (in the weekend escape), 1 month of happiness (to roast in the mediterranean sun): but deep down one knows that a ration of happiness must have been cut and determined by someone, calculated. And this is what is offered to the heart as a lie and to our desire as an insult. It is a lie that one can live a partly free life and a partly slave life; one is contained in the other and "The price changes the taste of the sweet".

And so, here we stand before an attempt to administer death, perfect domination, the reduction of the people to a mere mass and which, in spite of all, is always hindered by the latent refusal of the people to let itself be reduced to this whole and this idea. It is the war of common sense against the fixed and dominant ideology.

We could talk of the miseries that the empire of development necessarily creates beyond its limits, miseries that are largely put up with but that we must not forget are no more than the misery of wealth which results in the majority living on substitutes: whether one considers apartments to be houses, plastics to be textiles, choses not to pay for a driver or a wagon, but to be the driver oneself and to like it... There are lots of examples in your lives, you just have to look and you'll find them.

Let it be clear that what is sold to us as peace is nothing but war and that the so-called system of liberties is nothing else than the same domination as always, improved and perfected.

If this domination falls or at least stumbles, it is precisely because it lacks what it needs the most: our faith.

Writing found at the University of the Basque Country.