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Spain: Call it a Dictatorship and They Throw You in Prison

From A World to Win News Service

Spain: Call it a Dictatorship and They Throw You in Prison

April 21, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us

April 14, 2014. A World to Win News Service. A Spanish high court sentenced the 25-year-old rapper “Pablo Hasél” (Pablo Rivadulla Duro) to two years in prison for “glorifying terrorism” on April 1. Several years ago, this “anti-system rapper,” as he calls himself, declared, “If they put me in prison, that will prove I’m right”—right that almost 40 years after the end of the fascist regime of Francisco Franco, despite economic, social and political changes, the Spanish state is still the enemy of the majority of Spanish people and the people of the world and “the critical spirit.”

Hasél was arrested in November 2011, during a time of upsurge in the country’s streets, when the police raided his home in the night and confiscated his digital devices, papers and books as evidence. At his trial before the high court for political cases, the judge ruled that the only question was whether or not Hasél was the author of the dozens of videos uploaded on YouTube and elsewhere on the Net. Since Hasél unhesitatingly stated that he was, the conviction was all but automatic. Hasél argued that he had the right to freedom of speech, but the judge ruled that while that freedom exists in Spain for some speech, Hasél’s rap constitutes “hate speech,” prohibited by law, and further, that “terrorism is the worst violation of human rights,” so no one has the right to defend it. (El País, April 1, 2014)

This is the standard legal double-talk that is the hallmark of the Spanish state: “terrorism” is an affront to “democracy” so those accused of it have no rights, those who defend those accused of it have no rights, those who argue for those people’s rights are “apologists for terrorists” and so on in a widening spiral. But in sentencing an artist to prison for nothing but his words, this is a further step in demonstrating the truth of his words, that in capitalist countries “freedom of expression is nothing but freedom to lie or shut up, and like democracy, freedom of expression is one of history’s greatest swindles.”

Read more: Spain: Call it a Dictatorship and They Throw You in Prison

You Cannot Change the System By Using the System’s Own Logic

You Cannot Change the System By Using the System’s Own Logic

By Dennis Loo (4/22/14)

While there is no shortage worldwide of those who dearly want to see a different system in power, there is an acute shortage of those who understand how to do that.

There are answers but most people are looking in the wrong places.

If you want to change what is, you first have to understand why what is is.

It isn’t enough to see the need for change. It’s definitely not enough to have good intentions. You have to deeply understand why the status quo continues to be the status quo. You have to be, in a word, scientific.

The first thing you need to do in order to be scientific is to understand that it’s a system that we’re dealing with and that systems are not principally a product of the individuals within them.

Most people who recognize that the current system has to go don’t yet realize that this is a system and many of them are still using the same analytical tools and the worldview of those in authority.

This is specifically apparent when they cite that the problem is other people.

Read more: You Cannot Change the System By Using the System’s Own Logic

"Lesser Evils" and Other Ways of Deceiving the People

"Lesser Evils" and Other Ways of Deceiving the People

By Dennis Loo (4/20/14)

The Republicans have a fascist core in their party but that does not make the Democrats the “lesser evil.” The view that public policies’ nature is determined by the president’s party affiliation does not reflect political reality. Elites do not decide what they will do based on what the public wants them to do. The notion that elites do what the people want is what we’re constantly told and what democratic theory claims, but it is not how elites actually operate. Instead, public policies are a product of authorities’ efforts to implement their agenda without incurring too much public resistance to their moves. Thus, deception and manipulation are crucial ingredients in their recipes for rule.

If you compare Obama’s presidency to that of a hypothetical John McCain presidency or Mitt Romney presidency, it is actually likely that Obama’s policies have been more rightwing than a Republican White House would have been. It is likely that a Republican would not have been as successful as Obama in deporting more immigrants than did George W. Bush, would not have been able to keep Guantanamo open this long without massive protests, would not have been as free to openly keep and add to a “kill list” as has Obama, would not have been able to defend and disarm as many people about the NSA’s universal spying, would have met far more resistance to policies designed to further limit women’s rights to abortion, his bailouts of big banks, his energy and drilling policies, climate change inaction, and so on. Had a Republican tried to emulate what Obama has done, the protests against these measures would have been much more massive and intense in the streets because more people would have been clearer that these policies when carried out by a Republican are not in the public interest than they have been when it’s being done by a black Democrat with a silver tongue.

What matters is not, in other words, what public opinion actually is. What matters is what is presented as the dominant public opinion to the public. What people think others think matters a great deal.

Even within the US, capitalism’s heartland, the degree to which people are pro-capitalist is highly exaggerated. You would think judging from mainstream media and the comments of politicians and pundits that everyone is in love with shopping and capitalism. Given that the capitalist class is in charge, this is not surprising: if people knew how unpopular capitalism was in the US, such sentiments would spread and be more openly and boldly expressed, further contributing to those sentiments’ popularity and influence.

Read more: "Lesser Evils" and Other Ways of Deceiving the People

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Elaine Brower 2

Elaine Brower of World Can't Wait speaking at the NYC Stop the War on Iran rally 2/4/12