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I am also all for a referendum but it is not politically feasible until ETA has given up armed struggle. Now, but making the successive incarnations of Batasuna illegal, the Government makes it harder for ETA to take that necessary step. For me, that is a pragmatic reason to oppose the PP's 2002 law of political parties, in addition to reasons of principle. This is because the new law uses guilt by association to disband political parties. This is quite unlike Garzon's actions when he closed the paper Egin and suspended Batasuna as a result of his judicial investigations of the support structure (and I'm not talking about political support but financial and operational) of ETA. The new law of political parties also would make it a crime for Ibarretxe to organize a non-binding referendum (which is the only kind that he constitutionally could organize).

Free association or indepedence require a reform of the Spanish Constitution, and I very much doubt that the required majorities would be elected in the necessary elections of a Constitutional parliament. The PP would be able to whip up enough support even if the previous Parliament had had a sufficient majority to approve the principle.

But until ETA gives up this is a theoretical exercise.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 12:49:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, have you read Article 9 of the PP's law of political parties?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 01:07:32 PM EST
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Not until now.

I know about it, but I never read the text before.

This could really come back to hurt the PP.  In the case of the letter written in Melilla by a military officer, and the more famous case of Mena, did either have contact with PP officials?  Did Rajoy know?  Are the comments by the Senator from Melilla support for activities contrary to democracy and pluralism?

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 01:30:28 PM EST
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In the context of Zapatero working to pass an agreeable verison of the Estatut this gets more interesting.  Zapatero has made a point in arguing that the deal reached in Catalunya can be transported to all the other regions (which is the way that the autonomies came about in the 70's and early 80's.)

And about ETA giving up armed struggle, this is a case of the chicken and the egg.  ETA won't give up arms until the Spanish government negotiates with them, and the Spanish government won't negotiate until ETA gives up armed struggle.  The State has to be the responsbile party, and in part that means lifting the ban on Batasuna.

Zapatero has been very discrete with this and he hasn't been the agressor that Aznar was in the region. Zapatero has been silent when the PP tried to get the Fiscalia to prohibit the recent conference by Batasuna (it's a different name, but the same group).

It's poltically impossible for him to come out and say that he's going to negotiate with ETA, but I have no doubt that secret meetings are taking place.

If the state of the autonomies is reopened when other communities try to reform their autonomy statutes, the Estatut might eventually force a referendum on the issue of autonomy for the regions.  If support for greater autonomy can be extended beyond Catalunya and the Basque country into Valencia and Andalucia the dynamics change.  Maybe you get support for a consitutional reform that allows for regional referendums on autonomy.

It would be a case of the PP getting what they were hoping for, and finding out it's not what they want.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 01:23:19 PM EST
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If I understand Zapatero's position (and, as with the Sphynx, that's a tall order) it is that the only thing that Spain can negotiate with ETA is the treatment of ETA members who are in jail but not for murder, and that any settlement of the political question can only start in earnest after ETA gives up armed struggle. Of course, everyone believes that ZP is negotiating with ETA in secret a way to allow this to happen with everyone saving face. As for Batasuna, it is unclear to me that with Article 9 of the Law of Political Parties there is any way for the current leadership of batasuna to take part in any political party. On the other hand, what has been rather shameful is the PP's persecution of the hitherto unknown Communist Party of the Basque Lands for the crime of receiving Batasuna's endorsement when the latter was made illegal shortly before the latest Basque elections. If that is not guilt by association, I don't know what is.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 01:30:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Sphynx, good one.

As for Batasuna, it is unclear to me that with Article 9 of the Law of Political Parties there is any way for the current leadership of batasuna to take part in any political party. On the other hand, what has been rather shameful is the PP's persecution of the hitherto unknown Communist Party of the Basque Lands for the crime of receiving Batasuna's endorsement when the latter was made illegal shortly before the latest Basque elections. If that is not guilt by association, I don't know what is.

If the objection to the participation of Batasuna is that it's leader have supported terrorim why not ban them from running for office rather than banning the party?

In opposing national liberation movements of this type, the State has to find a way to oppose the method, terrorism, while allowing dialogue on the message, national liberation.

By at least pretending you're listening, you tame a lot of the rage that comes from people who feel they've been stripped of their human rights.

And I'll give my consent to any government that does not deny a man a living wage-Billy Bragg

by ManfromMiddletown (manfrommiddletown at lycos dot com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 01:41:42 PM EST
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If the objection to the participation of Batasuna is that it's leader have supported terrorim why not ban them from running for office rather than banning the party?
That is the problem: the new law makes it possible to make a party illegal for failing to expel members who commit certain crimes (guilt by association) as well as penalizing speech. And you will notice that the kinds of activities that this Article 9 lists explicitly are the kinds of things that ETA supporters are known to do.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Feb 7th, 2006 at 01:45:25 PM EST
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