Flirting with fascists
We all thought the evil ghost of fascism had disappeared with WWII and the reconstruction of a new Europe. This might be true for some European countries; but that’s just not the complete truth. These movements are present in various European countries; in some, they are small marginal groups whereas in others, they are reinventing themselves under demagogical and democratic camouflage parties. If I had to pick one example, I would say the most dangerous scenario can be found in Spain. When General Franco died, a so called “democratic transition” was initiated. In this transition, which I would qualify more as a transaction, new and old political parties were able to participate in the first free elections of Spain’s new era. However, Franco’s loyal servants were never prohibited nor sanctioned; they just continued to play an active role in Spanish politics under fresh labels such as Alianza Popular, which later became Aznar’s Partido Popular which ruled Spain for decades. Nothing has changed but the clothes they wear (and even that is questionable sometimes…). These people know nothing about democracy. They only understand the meaning of power.
When I was watching FC Barcelona playing Manchester City at Camp Nou during last week’s Champions League fixture, I read a tweet that left me shocked. It read the following: “Encuentro con @Albert_Rivera de @CiudadanosCs durante mi visita a #Barcelona“. Now some of you may be lost by now, but let me explain. This tweet was published on UK Ambassador to Spain, Simon Manley’s official Twitter account, announcing his meeting with Albert Rivera, President of a radical right wing pro-Spanish party in Catalonia. I find it extremely alarming for a UK ambassador to meet with a party that has been comparing current Catalan president Artur Mas to Hitler and company. I find it extremely alarming that Mr. Manley could plans to converse with the lowest grade political leaders who are not only experts in demagogy but who have constantly given full support to fascist movements in Catalonia and Spain. Although he took the time to meet with Barcelona’s Mayor Xavier Trias, how come he did not choose to meet with other leaders of the main parties in Catalonia? I find it curious given the current political situation in the country.
Actually, this weekend, Ciudadanos’ candidate for the upcoming European Parliament elections Juan Carlos Girauta took a swing at the Catalan National Assembly (a huge civil movement formed by Catalan citizens who seek to restore Catalonia’s independence), accusing its current president Carme Forcadell of trying to stage a coup after the assembly had approved a document in which it detailed all necessary steps to take once independence is proclaimed. A few month’s back, Mr. Girauta had appeared on Catalan public television stating that he would vote “no” on independence, reaffirming however the right to vote. How is it possible to defend a democratic referendum and to call on people to vote “no”, and, at the same time, send a blunt attack on the civil movement which gathered more than 2 million citizens to legally claim a referendum on independence. Are these the people that Mr. Manley meets with instead of meeting with those who are leading this democratic and peaceful movement? Will the UK abandon Catalonia again as it did in the past?