It has been three years now since the start of the Euro-repressive campaign of November 2002 paving the way for the arrest and imprisonment in France and Spain of about twenty communists, antifascists and supporters of political prisoners. As Communist Party of Spain (reconstituted) PCE(r) activists, and for their part, of the committees for an International Red Aid (SRI) or of the Association of Family & Friends of Political Prisoners (AFAPP), they are to be prosecuted in the judicial proceedings (36/02-M) along with five October 1st Anti Fascist Resistance Group (GRAPO) guerrillas.
The current situation as it stands is that twelve activists are already being held in prison without a fixed trail date for a trail being issued by the French National Court. It is said that along with other exceptional measures, their ‘preventive detention’ will be extended up to four years.
Each of those being held are of the firm opinion that the sentences against them has already been decided in advance in accordance with the new repressive European laws simply because of their ideology and political activities on social and worker issues, and as part of the anti-repressive movement against the ongoing imperialist war.
Accordingly, the reason why they have been condemned is due to the workers' right to organise their own party and struggle for true democratic freedom and socialism.
These detentions, just as the previous detentions of November 2000 against the leadership of PCE(r), took place within the framework of a media campaign and were described as a dismemberment of the GRAPO. However, only seven out of some thirty people arrested between 2000 and 2002 during different repressive operations belonged to that armed organisation. Also, their detentions were purposely carried out together with members of the party exclusively as an excuse for justifying the subsequent illegalisation of PCE(r) and its surroundings. After such a criminalising campaign, that again fell into complete oblivion. This is a strategy we know exceedingly well for it had accompanied the Spanish communists' activity for three decades: what is not published in the disinformation media does not exist.
Almost two and a half years later the notorious ‘Judge Garzón’ prepared this case for trial: thousands of papers with false evidence and witnesses were manufactured by the police (Guardia Civil). They discussed the contents of these documents and publications and created non-existent organic links with other antifascist organisations, etc.
In spite of this, the trial was lacking in evidence: the famous armed guard PCE(r) - GRAPO was born thanks to Garzón's work and will. None of the colleagues of the National Court had dared to create such a connection between a political party and an armed organisation. As a result, during thirty years of sentences against PCE(r) and its activists, many of them were convicted of illicit association and illegal propaganda.
In brief, this trial is a jumble which aims at hiding the fact that the chief objective of such a political-judicial sham is the criminalisation of PCE(r). As a consequence, the illegalisation of PCE(r) was enforced in March 2003 according to the ‘Law of Parties in Spain’.
(a similar act occurred when Franco, once captured and disarmed the red army, enforced his laws of political responsibilities retroactively in order to imprison and execute reds and separatists for their political and trade-union activities which were legal during the republican period).
This trial is going to be held with the gangster socialists again in power, full of promises of a democratic regeneration. The continuation of the ruling class plans to try and face the serious crisis stemming from their own capitalistic system.
Among other things, these plans include rearmament in order to participate in the imperialist war and the strengthening of measures of overexploitation and repression. The Zapatero(s), co-authors of the ‘Law of parties’ who are going to send the political prisoners to the dock, are the same who enforce this law to prosecute tens of political activists, young people, social and cultural organisations of the abertzale left, or to decide which political alignment could be allowed to participate in the past autonomous Basque election etc.
Accordingly, in spite of their best efforts, they will never be able to conceal the fact that they are going to convict them as communists, antifascists and anti-imperialists. Not even the French collaborationist tribunal that judged the Seven of Paris succeeded in achieving this result: on that occasion it was obvious that nothing else was prosecuted but the right to maintain and spread revolutionary ideas. The political defense and the support campaign provided by their supporters, including the assistance in the court from the internationalist solidarity was a full political victory.
Stop The Show Trials
Once again it must be stressed the example of collective effort to unmask the true reasons why they are going to be prosecuted. With the Fortress Europe agenda all capitalist states will cooperate amongst each other to eradicate all forms of working class resistance and organisation in order to uphold their power and privileges through imprisonment, torture harassment, intimidation even murder.
We must overcome the fear of institutionalised terror and defend the legitimate right to organise just within their legality and in the defence of the true democratic liberties. As shown by historical experience, capitalism yields only before the pressure of popular struggles.
Irish Republicans and Republican Socialists are all too familiar and not forgetting how in France political activists were rounded up, tortured, fitted-up and imprisoned during similar show trails that became known as the 'les trois irlandais de vincennes’ affair. Closer to home, with the British and Irish ‘authorities’ and its quest for their own favourable political outcomes we have had the Birmingham Six, Guildford Four, etc. and the Sallins train robbery.
It is vital that these political prisoners are actively supported at this time by human rights and prisoner support organisations also. This is not merely a French assault on political thought and freedom. It is part of wider European offensive by a network of states against political activists and prisoner support organisations as can be seen with a series of detentions in France, Belgium, Catalonia, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Euskal Herria (Basque Country) and Ireland (remember the cases of Seamus Doherty and now John Brady) were further repressive measures are on-going.
Solidarity Is Strength
Solidarity protest actions are now being planned during the trail dates. It is incumbent upon all of us to show that political prisoners are not alone and that such widespread repression, arrests, detentions and show trials are seen for what they are – an affront to all our civil liberties!
The show trials of those political activists who were arrested in July 2002 are now set to begin on November 16th 2005 at 9am and will be held in the notorious Palais de Justice (Paris). Nine sessions will take place all of which will be held on Wednesdays (mornings), Thursdays and Fridays (evenings), until December 2nd 2005.
Solidarity protest and pickets are already being planned for French and Spanish Embassies and Consulates across the globe.
Stop the Repression, Stop the Brutality!
End the Show-Trails!
Release All Political Hostages Now!