Embat: The King has no clothes. The authoritarian drift of the state – Pablo Hasél case and beyond

February 22, 2021

A statement by Embat, a Libertarian Organization from Catalonia, on the Pablo Hasél case and the authoritarian drift of the state in general.

Originally published by Embat. Translated by Riot Turtle.

After the imprisonment of rapper Pablo Hasél for a song against the monarchy, after the violent repression of the protests against his imprisonment, after the totally unpunished demonstration of neo-Nazis in Madrid praising the Blue Division, after the unleashed police action in Linares, after months of curfew at nightfall while every morning we go to work in crammed buses and trains like anchovies or even after the haste to put the “Procés” prisoners [1] back in prison after the bad results for the regime in the Catalan elections, we are experiencing a new turn of events in the Spanish state.

ll of the above, and more, is related to the so-called “democratic normality”, or rather its non-existence. As indicated by the Vice President of the Government himself – the same one who commissioned the song by Hasél and then did not want to know anything about its legal repercussions – Spain is a low-intensity democracy. With all the above, we are moving towards converging not with the more advanced countries of Northern Europe, but rather with the countries in the East.

In less than a week the contradictions of the Spanish state have become evident. The biggest of all is that there is a government that claims to be left-wing and progressive and every day we have received information of the opposite. For example, its lack of decision or desire to protect those at the bottom, while submitting those at the top, or its cynicism in defending that nothing happens when Francoist declarations are signed in the army. It is made clear time and again that the Government has no power. Who has it then? It is a deep state that controls the drains. And from there it controls all the other levers: the army, the judiciary, the media, big business, politicians and the police. And of course, the monarchy. That is not missing.

The problem is not Hasél. It is a consequence of the problem. The real elephant in the room is that the Spanish state is in the hands of that deep state which is traversed by the same reactionary ideas of Francoism. The state is Francoism with a democratic veneer. And this cannot be changed by neither the PSOE nor Podemos no matter how many governments they might have.

The rise of the far-right in Spain means that somehow the flock of sheep has gotten out of control and it is time to call in the dogs. The Catalan national question of the last decade provoked the gradual appearance of this new political actor that dominates the country, the judiciary. This actor is in charge of legislating, expressing its opinion and clearly setting the political agenda of the state. And this actor is fed by the media bombardment with certain topics, in order to “educate” the population. They do so, for example, when they talk about lost eyes instead of mutilated ones, when they do not talk about the violence exercised by the State through the police or when they divert attention from the root of the problem by putting a perverse definition of civic behavior at the center of the debate. The institutions also feed this bombardment by proposing, as a matter of urgency, a reform of the criminal code that could have been done months ago, the removal of the Gag Law and a pardon for Hasel which, besides being late, is nothing more than a band-aid and not a solution.

This whole issue was well brought to light during autumn 2019, with the ruling of the Referendum. And it is now becoming clearer. Spanish judiciary does not care about the law, except to impose a way of life in accordance with their principles. There is no place for anything else.

Not to understand that in order to move forward we have to expose all this, is to continue playing the game of the post-Francoist state. Catalan politics are in such a situation. They understand how the state works, but then they call for order. They don’t want their barracks to burn down. Protests yes, but peaceful. Feminism yes, but without losing privileges. Anger yes, but contained. Four chants and then go home. Those who follow this logic do not aim to change anything, but to participate in the management of the current situation. To do nothing, as leftist politicians or catalanists would wish, is to allow situations like these to become normalized and to increase.

Anger and indignation appear as isolated outbreaks. When they are shared by the population, no manifesto is needed. All it takes is a burning container and thousands of people – not only in Catalonia but all over the country – get the message. Young people understand that we have to face this reality, young women no longer accept to stay in the rear guard. Not only for Pablo Hasél but for our future as free people.

So we must emphasize the messages that are being spread these days, because they erode the credibility of the state. And the most important message is the defense of liberties in the streets by any means necessary. The best of our people are at risk every night. And it is necessary that as a society we give them all our support in these days and those to come. It is necessary that we show our solidarity with those who have been arrested and injured.

We demand the release of Pablo, and of all political prisoners, the immediate release of all detainees, the dissolution of BRIMO [2] and the fall of the monarchy and the fascist state. Only from here, we can build something else.

Embat, February 18, 2021.


[1] The “Procés” prisoners are prisoners that are imprisoned because of their alleged involvement in the Catalan independent process.

[2] The BRIMO is a Mobile Brigade, the riot police of the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan Police).

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