A short article featuring observations and analysis of the government crackdown on and arrests of anarchists in Barcelona and Madrid in December 2014, written by the editors of the Barcelona journal, Argelaga.
What’s Behind Operation Pandora? – Revista Argelaga
If there is one thing we can be sure of, it is the fact that the Spanish Government is not enjoying its best times. Up to its neck in a swamp of corruption and incapable of resolving either the difficulties posed by the restructuring entailed by the regional separatist movements (“soberanismo”) or the pressing economic problems that are crushing increasingly broader sectors of the subject population, it fears that its lack of credibility and its impotence will terminate in a State crisis that, faced with a popular reaction that is not limited to voting, could very well have harmful consequences.
The State is hardening. The proof: the attempt on the part of the Ministry of the Interior to create a file on people who are arbitrarily classified as “suspects”, and the passage of a Law of Civil Security that gives the police carte blanche to repress any movement that protests in the streets. As opposed to those who propose constitutional reforms, or even to “democratize” the State in order to save it, there is a political sector that seeks to armor it with all kinds of repressive measures. Behind the walls of this fortress the majority of the real powers that have a great deal to lose in this crisis have taken refuge. They are beginning to panic, and that is why the State has embarked upon a change of course; with this goal in mind it is preparing the ground. The communications media were the first to lend a hand in this task, long before the police and the judiciary. For quite a while now fantastic stories about mysterious international visitors, the messengers of anarchy, as well as other tales of the same alarmist type, have been circulating, stories that have a tendency to criminalize the only means that exist which are opaque to Power (an opacity that is itself a scandal): squatted buildings, libertarian cultural centers and self-managed collectives.
The message is clear: either us or chaos. The strategists of Power do not believe that the libertarians and squatters are their most fearsome enemies, even though they are quite aware of the example of Can Vies. To the contrary, in their view they comprise a weak enough link to serve as a scapegoat, a kind of warning buoy to those who might also think of navigating such waters. The crude set-up staged by the National High Court judge, Bermúdez, is not just a simple maneuver of intimidation against them and the possible conflicts they might unleash in defense of the Banc Expropiat de Gràcia,1 threatened with imminent eviction. You do not need to read between the lines. The arrest of a dozen young people, almost all in Barcelona, at the old Rosa de Foc,2 under the pretext of four homemade explosives that were detonated two years ago at two separate ATM machines—acts that were ridiculously defined as “terrorism”—or the deployment of more than four hundred State Police [“Mossos d'Esquadra”: the Catalonian regional police force] against the Kasa de la Muntanya,3 are such disproportionate and incommensurate responses that they cannot dissimulate their sinister intentions. And other, similar events took place not too long ago.
Those who pull the strings of such obvious set-ups are either a handful of useless mental defectives, or they are simply trying to warn others—the legal opposition—that they should desist from their monkeyshines, applaud the Gag Law and join the united front with the System. Or maybe they are both at the same time. The provocation of the anarchists, good people who are not afraid of anything, is the first step in a strategy of tension that is just the tip of the iceberg. Power is trying to stir up some kind of commotion in order to strike fear into the hearts of the television-watching citizenry. The State is floundering, it fears for its stability, it is on the verge of a nervous breakdown and that is why it hopes that a few minor disturbances will forge the unity of the party of order. Judging by the spread of the example of the numerous demonstrations yesterday all over the peninsula and, above all, the enormous demonstration in Barcelona, we doubt that it will succeed.
Free the prisoners!
December 17, 2014
Translated from the Spanish in December 2014 from the text published on the website of Argelaga: https://argelaga.wordpress.com/2014/12/17/que-hay-detras-de-la-operacion-pandora/.
- 1 A squatted building that was formerly the site of a bank branch office. For more information, see: http://www.circusbazaar.com/squatting-a-new-future-in-barcelona-can-vies/ [Translator’s Note].
- 2 “Rose of Fire”, an expression coined in Barcelona to describe the series of arson attacks that lit up the skies of the city during periods of social conflict in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Rosa de Foc is the name of a libertarian cultural center in Barcelona [Translator’s Note].
- 3 A squatted building that was once a station of the Civil Guards in Barcelona [Translator's Note].