Sunday, April 03, 2016

The crisis of the Spanish state

It is not easy to give a start date of the current deep crisis in Spain, even to regret it. It seems that  they earned it on their own. Without a government, with a serious institutional conflict, the breach of commitments to economic Europe and a future full of uncertainties, is all very disappointing.

In recent years, the government with an absolute majority of the right has not allowed a quiet consolidation to help overcome the economic depression generated in the international arena. The rot has been the dominant factor of the Popular Party. Rotten corruption of the same party and a large crowd of its leaders, even its own president, did not find out regeneration. The bastard use of institutions, especially the third power, justice, broke the little credibility they could have. Above all that, the most recent refusal to be accountable before the Congress, completes the brittle fiction the three powers drag since the end of the Franco dictatorship.

On top of all that, it has been just 20 months since the head of state of a restored monarchy of dubious legality, had to leave through the back door and hurriedly in the middle of a tangle of personal and family problems. And, at least from one can see in the media, no one knows where to. His daughter and son-in-law indicted and under trial for a money scam and tax evasion.

When five years ago, at night and with treachery, the major parties PSOE and PP, without consulting the constituency, reformed the so many times consecrated Spanish Constitution, just to ingratiate themselves with the European masters of money. Now they remain unfulfilling their commitments of debt, that they call the "deficit", and even the shameless minister Montoro has the cheek to say it is the fault of the governments of the autonomous regions.

In an interview with that peculiar presidential candidate Donald Trump, talking about the position of the Catholic Church, the interviewer warns that "the US is not Spain" where the Church plays a determinant role in the state. Perhaps it is only the opinion of a television interviewer. Or not.

All this they did it by themselves, the all-powerful state of high officials, attorneys of the state, corporative aristocrats, entrenched Madrid politicians, the Church and the royalty. They have not counted on the Spanish people, and even less on the Catalan people, continually belittled, insulted and financially abused .

Is anyone surprised that the majority of Catalans want to take the reins of their destiny? That they want to decide, and if a majority agreement is reached, leaving Spain? Obviously this is why they do not even want to ask a question in a referendum.

If asked, the only answer is YES.


Friday, March 25, 2016

La segona visita de Matteo Renzi a Tarragona

Ha estat pel luctuós motiu de la mort en accident a Freginals de set joves italianes, juntament amb altres de diferents nacionalitats i un grapat de ferits, que el primer ministre d’Itàlia ha vingut a les nostres terres. La visita, amb el rerefons del terrible accident no tindria més substància si no fos pel desfici protagonitzat pel govern de l’estat, bé que en funcions, que no ha sabut situar-se en el protocol de forma ordenada. Per motius que no s’expliquen més que per la inoperància habitual dels responsables de les relacions exteriors de la Moncloa, han deixat que, amb tota normalitat d’altra banda, fos el president de la Generalitat qui acollís a peu de l'avió oficial del govern italià al primer ministre a la seva arribada. I que hagi sigut que l’acompanyés en la seva visita a ferits i familiars de les víctimes.

La “primera visita” la podem entendre com virtual, en efigiï, ara fa divuit mesos, el 16 d’agost de 2014, quan l’Assemblea Nacional Catalana va saludar al recinte de l’amfiteatre la figura de Matteo Renzi en un pòster gegantí, que després es va incorporar a la manifestació multitudinària de la “V” a la Diagonal de Barcelona l’onze de setembre següent.

Des de l’ANC Tarragona vam remetre les fotos de l’acte a l’amfiteatre al consolat italià a Barcelona i a l’agència de notícies ANSA. L’agència ho va distribuir als seus mitjans socis. El consolat, amb l’exquisida “finezza” diplomàtica es va limitar a recollir l’enviament sense comentaris.

Però han passat els mesos i les circumstàncies han anant canviant. La mateixa “finezza” ha portat al govern italià anunciar la visita al govern de la Generalitat. De govern a govern, de primer ministre a primer ministre. Òbviament que l’ocasió lamentable no dóna per a massa més. Però hi ha gestos i actituds que no requereixen paraules.

Mentrestant el senyor Rajoy estava a Huelva, el seu ministre d’interior que havia vingut el dia abans ja no volia tornar, i el ministre d’Afers Exteriors Margallo (no hauria de ser Margalló, com la planta?) probablement no va arribar ni a assabentar-se de la visita. I la delegada del “Gobierno” a Catalunya es retirà en la proverbial actitud de la cua entre cames.

L’amargor que produeix les morts de gent jove i tràgicament a penes m’ha pogut impedir d’esbossar un lleu somriure. Anem bé, companys.

(Publicat a DiaroMés el 30 de març)

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Diari Digital

Amb motiu de la nova edició digital de DiariMés de Tarragona, 18 de març 2016


Wednesday, March 02, 2016

The last known surviving veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade

The Last of the Lincolns: Delmer Berg Dies at age 100

Delmer Berg (December 20, 1915 - February 28, 2016), the last known surviving veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, died peacefully in his California home today. He was 100 years old. Though hard of hearing in his old age, Del was voluble and forthcoming about his experiences in the Spanish Civil War and beyond, recently authoring a piece for the NY Times Magazine and interviewing with El Diario and El País.

We honor Del for his lifetime of activism and his dedication to ALBA-VALB. His death marks the silent turning of a historic page.

Del was born in 1915 outside of Los Angeles – “Where Disneyland is now,” he said wryly in a 2013 video interview with ALBA – to a family of poor farm workers. Seeking better economic opportunities, the Bergs moved to Oregon. But, as the country foundered in the Great Depression, teenage Del dropped out of high school to assist his father. Del’s political consciousness was forged in these early years:

“Being poor, being a farmer, I automatically felt part of the downturn,” he said in a 2014 interview with Friends and Neighbors Magazine. “You don’t need to go to school to learn what’s going on; just sit out on the farm and look around.”

Del found his way out of agricultural labor with a stint in the 76th Field Artillery in the Presidio of Monterey but soon bought his discharge for $120 in 1937: he saw the threat of the rise of fascism in Europe and wanted to travel to Spain. A billboard advertising the “Friends of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade” brought Del into the fold of stateside organizing for Spain. After “licking 10,000 stamps,” in the winter of 1938, Del was on a ship to France and would make the trek across the Pyrenees, following in the footsteps of so many volunteers before him.
While in Spain, Del served in a field artillery and anti-aircraft artillery battery, ultimately laying communication lines from the Republican headquarters to the front during the momentous Battle of the Ebro River. The photo below shows him in the illustrious company of brigadistas Sam Slipyan, Conlon Nancarrow, Ed Lending, Charles Simpson, and Norman Schmidt. His next and final post in the city of Valencia was quiet until his unit’s lodgings in a monastery were bombed by a fascist airplane aiming for a railway station.

Despite the shrapnel in his liver, a personal reminder of the bite of fascism, Del’s life after Spain was an active one. While many Lincoln Brigade vets were prevented from serving in WWII, Del was drafted into the Army. He feared discrimination because of his political affiliations but instead was surprisingly given his choice of outfit by his recruiter. He was called to appear before the House Un-American Activities Committee during the postwar era but “they could never find me to serve a summons,” he gleefully told Nadya Williams in 2012.

Del’s political commitments were various: the Young Communist League, United Farm Workers, his local NAACP (he proudly recalls being at one time the Vice President of the Modesto chapter which had no other white members), the Mexican American Political Association, the anti-Viet Nam War movement, the Democratic Club, the Congress of California Seniors, and peace and justice committees. In his final years, Del lived comfortably in his self-built home in the Sierra Nevada foothills.

When the vets would muse about who would be last to survive, perhaps none wagered it would be Del. He revealed his secret to longevity in 2014: “I think staying politically active keeps me alive... It fills my life. I never slowed down – I’m right in the middle of things yet.”

Del was predeceased by his wife June Berg. 
ALBA will host a memorial for Del and the Lincoln Brigade in New York. Date to be announced. 

¡Hasta siempre compañero Del!

Yanks in the Dimitrov Battery: standing Sam Slipyan, Conlon Nancarrow, Ed Lending, Charles Simpson (?), Delmer Berg, Norman Schmidt, kneeling two Spanish Chauffers.

(Text and photos reproduced from ALBA- Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives)


Sunday, February 28, 2016

Trump ain't a trump card

(Just three days before Super Tuesday 2016)

At least that's what I hope. No matter how hard he tries I see no way Donald Trump could ever become president of the United States. Yes, I know things are bad in many ways and situations, but I do not think the American people would turn crazy just over a few stunts by that crazy guy with the yellow hair.

Of course many people got fed up with Obama and misread some of his proposals. And also he fell short on many promises. And the conservative America just had enough of eight years of a black guy at the helm. He may not rate as a GREAT president, but it seems he has carried the office with fairness. Having the House and the Senate totally against him did not make the job easy either. As a lame duck, save some big event, one cannot expect much more out of his presidency. The (domestic) economy is faring reasonably well and the money people--and the Chinese--are getting ahead despite stock market and oil prices roller coaster.

The presidential race looks like it’s going to be much more about personalities than about issues. Trump may well be the Republican candidate, but he will lose the presidential election. Hillary should lead the Democratic ticket, but that’s not yet clear. Bernie Sanders looks like an excellent person but, correct me if I’m wrong, he is too Jewish, too socialist and too pacifist for the Middle America taste.

Obviously that’s the view from this side of the pond. I feel am getting the same feeling the people of Tarraco had, way back in the 1st century, when the Roman emperors were elected: it will certainly concern my life, but there is nothing I can do about it. Until an emperor was a local (for Hispania) guy: Trajan, Hadrian…
My friend TTR commented:

As for me, I do not like any of them, right or left. What a shame that Democrats can not come up with a better, more decent candidate than HRC. Bernie Sanders is not going anywhere. He won New Hampshire and that will be it. May be Massachusetts.
Trump seemed unstoppable till 2 days ago when Rubio started attacking him very directly with issues that could be damaging.
Actually, this election is much more than personalities. There is a long list of issues that are at stake, including border security, poverty in some sectors, big discrepancies  between the very rich and the rest, health care, leadership in the country and abroad, revision of the existing trade agreements, what to do with ISIS, who is best in controlling the legal flight of investment and tax avoidance, who will handle the enormous national debt, and on and on. And now that Scalia died, who will be his successor? Republicans may block Obama"s nominee but if HRC wins she will bring in judges of left persuasion so the country will have that in mind also when they choose a President. 
I find the process fascinating and have followed every detail of it.


Sunday, February 21, 2016

Polítics i tertulians

Publicat a DiariMés el 17 de febrer de 2016


Thursday, January 14, 2016

El remei de tot plegat

La energía i el seu control pot estar a l'arrel de les solucions a molts problemes del món que coneixem. L'aportació a DiariMés d'avui es un xic ximple que haurem de desenvolupar.