Warmonger Aznar pays the price

11 million Spaniards protested against the bombings in Madrid carried out by forces linked to the reactionary Islamic fundamentalists Al Qaeda. In the three days that followed, the mass protests across Spain and the toppling of Jose Maria Aznar's Popular Party government sent shockwaves across the world.

By Mark Hoskins

As The Economist pointed out, Bush, Blair and Howard in Australia will soon be facing election contests and "There is now a real possibility that all three could follow Mr. Aznar's party into defeat" 12 March 2004.

The last straw for the Spanish people was Aznar's insistence on blaming the Basque separatist group ETA for the bombings, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Aznar's willingness to use the bombing for his own political ends only brought to the boil the anti-war anger that had been simmering in Spanish society. The Spanish working class also experienced first hand that in imperialist wars, it is they who "pay the blood price".

More repression

Right wing capitalist governments are planning to introduce new repressive legislation in the light of the Madrid bombings which can be used against anti-war and anti-government protesters.

In Britain, the metropolitan police commissioner, Sir John Stevens is openly considering the possibility of the army patrolling the streets of London. Meanwhile, the EU has appointed an "anti-terror tsar" and European leaders have been discussing the possibility of a new CIA style EU intelligence centre.

Like what has transpired in the USA, these moves could be used against peaceful protesters who disagree with their own governments.

Bertie Ahern's recent appeals to Irish people not to demonstrate against George Bush have already shown that he has nothing but contempt for the right to protest and there is no reason to believe that he would not use "anti-terror" legislation to criminalise acts of peaceful protest.

State terrorism

Despite their condemnation of terrorism, Bush and Blair are hypocrites who have no reservations about supporting state terrorism. They both continue to support the Israeli regime, despite its repression of the Palestinian people and the recent assasination of Hamas leader, Sheikh Yasin. In contrast, socialists oppose both the terrorism of Al Qaeda and state sponsored terrorism.

Aznar's replacement as Prime Minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero will now be expected to act on his promise to bring the Spanish troops home from Iraq.

The recent discovery of another bomb on a Madrid rail track and the shooting of protesters by Spanish troops in Iraq will increase the pressure on him. The crowds of young people who chanted "don't let us down" at his victory celebration will not tolerate betrayal.

This article is from the April 2004 edition of Socialist Voice.

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