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Madrid: The dystopia beyond the corona virus – or how the left is handing over protest to fascism

Madrid. Spanish territory. Analysis of the appropriation of the protest by the far-right and the discourses that the left articulates about it. Anarchist claim to different conflict situations on the streets during the last months.

Originally published by Barcelona Indymedia. Translated by Enough 14.

At dawn on November 1 at 00:00, the curfew started in the Spanish state. At the same time there were calls in the streets to challenge this restriction. The protests had an international echo, as they ended with clashes against the police, smashed shop windows, barricades and sporadic looting. The left soon put the call to the skies, pointing to the far-right, which was largely behind the calls that night. Unfortunately, it was not easy to join the protests that night and not meet up with a bunch of Nazis, at least in Madrid. But there were many other people who took to the streets that day, many not even right-wing, and there was probably more than one youth without papers, the kind of people that Nazis like so much. [1] There were confrontations with the police in different parts of the Spanish territory such as Murcia, Seville, Valencia, Madrid, Burgos, Santander, Bilbao and Barcelona.

The following reflection does not try to deny the more than proven participation and even the call of fascist groups after some of these protests. Nor do we seek to legitimize the participation of the left in these protests, because we are far from sharing the barricades with Nazi scum.

We are amazed at how nimble the left has been willing to point fingers at the extreme right over the events. It is clear that political violence is always taken by democracy as a throwaway weapon to delegitimize “the extremes” (since the state is the only one that can exercise violence in a legitimate and hegemonic way). To be able to pose as the neutral, the middle ground, and the most legitimate. The embarrassing thing is that there are certain collectives, self-proclaimed anti-capitalists, who participate in this farce.

While some fascist groups (who had instigated the mobilizations) shifted the responsibility away from themselves and blamed the antisistemas (a term used by the media for anti-sytem rioters, ticks) and the “menas” for what happened, the social networks were filled with reactions from the left in the form of articles and pictures. [2] Some of these reactions are understandable, insofar as they respond to statements that are not entirely true.

What is not questioned by us, however, are the clashes themselves, the damage to multinational corporations and banks, and the injured police officers. Nor the reasons behind these calls, because the Spanish state, like others, is using them to consolidate an increasingly totalitarian police state under the pretext of the pandemic.

What we want to say is: it were not the anarchists who took to the streets that night to cause trouble. But it could have been, and indeed it would have been desirable that it had been us and not them.

Clearly, there are vegan Nazis, Nazis fighting for their labor rights, and many took to the streets when the protests erupted after the last crisis in 2008, although the calls mostly came from the left and they were always expelled from the protests. We can share certain conflicts against power with some sectors of the right, often extended with “anti-system” discourses and aesthetics. And this does not mean that our struggles in their totality have the least in common. This is nothing more than an old strategy of fascism masquerading as supportive, rebellious and militant. The unfortunate thing is that in this crisis, which is socially, economically and politically of an enormous scope, we are leaving the protests to the fascists. Why?

It seems that the Spanish state now has “the most progressive government in recent years.” A hearty round of applause for Podemos. Now we have to be calm, we just have to see it. Since the beginning of this crisis, there have been many statements in the press and on social networks that have tried to protect this government and attribute any possible protest or dissidence to an attack from the right. “This is not the time to argue, we must be united.” The few protests we have seen from the left have been limited to specific areas where they could be directed against the regional government, of course from the right. We cannot explain how social movements are able to live with these circumstances without feeling like puppets of the political parties.

On the one hand, we want to point out that fascism exploits discontent to grow, but also that it does not do so without the help of the left, which tries to make dissidence invisible and blames all criticism on fascist and conspiracy discourses. But we see from our anarchist ideas the urgent need for a confrontational discourse and practice against the state and the current situation, which also confronts fascism and does not leave the streets to fascism. This does not mean pretending that covid does not exist or going beyond the limits of people who need to feel safe in the face of this health situation. We believe that it is necessary to look for a management (of the struggles, Enough 14)) that is based on autonomy and individual and collective responsibility, that does not obey the impositions of any authority and that takes into account the diversity of experiences and needs. But of course, given the attempts of power to transform this into an extension of its social control mechanisms and, as we have always done, to question any authority. In this sense, we wanted to take the opportunity to make a compilation of anarchist actions and contributions in the streets in recent months.

When the government barely allowed us to leave the house for a few hours a day, you could see anti-government rallies and mobs popping up in various places in the neighborhoods, mostly sponsored by high-income conservatives and attended by fascists. Fortunately, on several occasions there was a response, often with the participation or organization of anarchist groups.

But not only the rancid or party organized right took to the streets to make a critique of the political and social situation visible, and there were some small anarchist demonstrations in different neighborhoods. All of them were organized among companions without making a public call, but some of them were later reported.[3] It is worth mentioning that one of these demonstrations in Lavapiés ended with a racist assault that was answered with kicks and punches, and together with some migrants who live in the neighborhood on a daily basis, the assault was stopped and the police were thrown out until they could bring reinforcements to restore “calm” to the square. [4]

Recently, there have also been demonstrations, not authorized by the authorities, in which about a hundred people participated, smashing windows of banks, real estate offices and betting shops, and blocking traffic with container and rented motorcycles behind them, on guard against possible police interventions, which in no case were on time. One of them took place in response to the eviction of the Ateneo Libertario in Vallekas on October 23; the other on the occasion of 20N, after the anti-authoritarian call was canceled [5] , where the demonstration not only provoked several attacks against this type of business, but also encountered a group of Nazis who had to flee, leaving two of them wounded.

Finally, a group of anarchists recently organized a solidarity action in front of the deportation prison when the people incarcerated there started a hunger strike for the closure of the facility after it was reopened after quarantine. This was done in a quarantined neighborhood and in defiance of government restrictions that do not allow gathering in groups of more than 6 people. This also happened in a closed call that was not publicized and took place among a few people who shared affinity with each other. [6]

For some anarchists, it has nothing to do with demanding concessions from power by taking to the streets. Nor do we intend to show that we are many, of course we are not. For us, to make the struggles that are taking place visible is a legitimate thing in itself, and when this is possible, our proposal is always aimed at attacking the state and capitalism in all its possible forms, and breaking the social peace that entails the suffering and poverty of many people. For this reason, we would have liked to have been behind the calls that challenged the curfew, broke every window on Gran Vía and injured three or many more police officers. The most regrettable thing about this issue is that fascism does not have the confrontation that we should seek.

We will continue to attack power as much as we can and try to break with this unjust reality. If we follow the calls of the leftists who give up, we will push the conflict in front of us, as we did in Vallekas [7] and in many other demonstrations, moments and places. And we will also try to generate our own calls and spontaneous mobilizations against the “peace” and the silence they want to impose on this increasingly worsening situation. As in recent months, we are increasingly convinced that we do not need mass actions or the acquiescence of the left and politics.

December 2020, Madrid,
Some anarchists.

[1] In recent months, at least in Madrid, several “protests” have taken place, as well as attacks by Nazis against so-called “MENAS”, which are underage youths without papers.







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