Saturday, May 21, 2016

Tàrraco viva, Tàrraco morta, Tàrraco "cutre"



Publicat a DiariMés el 20 de maig de 2016




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Friday, May 06, 2016

Noms per la memòria - Filferrades

A finals d'abril i principi de maig fa anys de l'alliberació d'uns quants dels camps de concentració nazis a Centreeuropa. Enguany en fa 71.

Són els de Berger-Belsen (15 abril), Sachsenhausen (22 abril), Dachau (29 abril), Ravensbrück (30 abril), Neuegamme (3 maig), Mauthausen-Gusen (5 maig). Altres, especialment els situats a Polònia, una mica abans: Treblinka 1 i 2(19 agost 1944), Sobibor (octubre 1943), Majdanek (juliol 1944), Belzec (desembre 1942), Kulmhof-Chelmmo (17 gener, 1945), Auschwitz-Birkenau (27 gener, 1945), i Gross Rosen (14 febrer, 1945). Més Theresienstad, desmantellada l'octubre de 1944)

Els noms geogràfics han de suportar el terrible pes de què allí va succeir. Els números dels que hi van perdre la vida són tan horribles en magnitud que no són fàcils de comprendre. Aproximadament equivalents a l'actual població de Catalunya.

El pas dels anys no pot esborrar la memòria. Ni tampoc deixar-nos veure que hi ha nous noms que s'incorporen al geografia de la ignomínia. Noms com Moria, a l'illa de Lesbos, Pozzallo, Porto Empedocle i Trapani a Sicília, Lampedusa al bell mig de la Mediterrània. Chamilo i Idomeni entre Grècia i Macedònia. O Calais a França. O, pel cas, Ceuta.

Són els "punts calents" de la crisi migratòria i de refugiats de les guerres a l'Orient Mitjà i la que els ciutadans europeus contemplem sense fer-ne res.

No es tracta de fer comparances en les magnituds de les tragèdies. Als camps d'extermini era una maldat activa, voluntària, planificada i decidida. La crisi dels refugiats només en la persistència de la inacció. De la passiva contemplació de les imatges d'una tragèdia, de la que sembla que només ens quedarà una memòria de noms geogràfics. I ja no som a temps d'esborrar-la


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Sunday, May 01, 2016

1º de mayo



Las celebraciones anuales llaman a redondear cifras de aniversarios. El primero de mayo de este año es el 130 aniversario de los graves incidentes que ocurrieron en Chicago, que llevaron aacuerdo del Congreso Obrero Socialista de la Segunda Internacional, en París en 1889, de celebrar una jornada de lucha reivindicativa y de homenaje a los Mártires de Chicago

He participado en las manifestaciones desde que tengo memoria política, de cuando hacerlo comportaba riesgos graves. También tengo mi pequeña efemérides, esta de 40 años, porque en el primer 1 de mayo después de la muerte del dictador, en 1976, aparecía en primer plano en la Hoja del Lunes de Bilbao al día siguiente (foto). El cinturón industrial de Bilbao movilizaba desde siempre a una población obrera sometida a represiones explícitas que incluían las de la incipiente movilización violenta nacionalista vasca. Años de plomo.

En la foto se me ve (clicar encima para ampliar), con pantalones pata-de-elefante, iniciando una carrera ante la llegada de contingentes de la policía desde la estación, cruzando la plaza Circular, entonces llamada de España.
El reloj marca las 12.05. Hoy dia el reloj sigue allí. La foto de "GoogleMaps Street view" lo muestra marcando las 12.38 (https://goo.gl/ceih8t). 
Al fondo se ve la línea inicial de la manifestación y el primer contingente de "grises" que la vigilaba. A cabo de un momento y con la llegada de los refuerzos de polícia de los que huía, comenzó la represión de la manifestación y los incidentes, de los que recuerdo que los guardias propinaron una tremada paliza a Nicolas Redondo, primer secretario de la UGT, que encabezaba la manifestación.

Pasan los años y los motivos para manifestarse sigue siendo los mismos...



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.




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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





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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.


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


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