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Newsletter (in English)


Speech at the demonstration “Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan” on December 5, 2009 in Berlin

We are here to demand freedom for Abdullah Öcalan and for all Kurdish people. Political prisoners and torture exist not only in Turkey – minorities are also oppressed within the European Union, in this speech, we want to draw attention to the situation in the Basque Country.

On November 24, 34 young people were arrested in a police raid in the Basque Country. These 34 young people come from the feminist movement, the squatters’ movement or different political currents – they are accused of being part of the banned left-wing youth organization SEGI.

The Basque Country (or Euskal Herria) is a small country in southwestern Europe which is divided between Spain and France. The three million inhabitants have always been denied the right to self-determination – the Spanish Constitution, for example, prescribes the “indivisible unity of the nation”.

Of the 34 young people, 31 are still in prison. All of them were held for five days in so-called “incommunicado” detention in Madrid – that means without any contact with lawyers, doctors or the outside world. In those five days, they were undoubtedly tortured. The Spanish police use so-called “white torture” against activists of the Basque independence movement, i.e. methods that leave no traces such as electric shocks, suffocation with a plastic bag, sleep deprivation etc.

The repression of the Spanish state against the Basque independence movement has a long history. In recent years a series of political parties, newspapers and radio stations, leftist movements and also youth organizations has been banned.

This repression, this torture is happening right in the center of the European Union. While the EU likes to present itself as a bastion of democracy and human rights – especially towards the Turkish government! – it tramples the rights of minorities within its own borders.

Whether in Euskal Herria or in Kurdistan, the repression of minorities who are demanding self-determination is not by chance. The capitalist governments in Madrid, Ankara, Brussels etc. are defending their economic system: they cannot relinquish the industry in the Basque Country any more than the reservoir of cheap labor in Northern Kurdistan. This means hey have a concrete interest in blocking self-determination.

But the ruling classes in the Basque Country and in Kurdistan have also shown that they have no interest in self-determination because they do good business with Spanish and Turkish partners. For example, politicians like Talabani and Barzani in Southern Kurdistan are silent about this repression because they want to have good relations with Turkey. Similarly, bourgeois parties in the Basque Country like the PNV are also silent because their dealings with the Spanish bourgeoisie are more important to them. Only the international workers’ movement – those workers in the Spanish State who are suffering from a 20% unemployment rate, those workers in Western Turkey who are living in gigantic slums – can be a reliable ally in the struggle for self-determination.

Only with an international and anti-capitalist perspective can we counter this repression. From Donostia in the Basque Country to Amed Kurdistan: For self-determination! Against oppression! Against capitalism!

//independent youth organization REVOLUTION, Berlin
//anti-fascist revolutionary action-berlin [ARAB]

Pictures on Flickr

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