Aznar defeated
The Socialist Unity Network

Spain rejects war lies

Jim Jepps

Celebrating Aznar's defeat The aftermath of the bombing Millions take to the streets

The tragic and unprecedented terrorist attacks in Madrid could have pushed people one of two ways. The Spanish electorate could have fallen into the arms of patriotism, racism and hate. They could have stood 'shoulder to shoulder' with Aznar and more deeply entrenched the war drive.

The fact that this was (and still is) a very real possibility is shown by the right wing back lash. Numerous letters in the papers saying that the Spanish electorate has given in to terrorism, that Bin Laden must be dancing with joy and that this will not stop terrorist attacks.

But the Spanish people reacted with disgust at the attacks but turned away from the policy of war and imperialism. Sick of lining up with Blair and Bush they sought to dissociated themselves from the war and its lies.

Certainly the main stream news describes the attacks as the main factor in why the ruling party has been defeated. The squalid attempt to use ETA as a scape-goat days before the election was suspect from the start, but as evidence started coming out that information had been found on the day that this was probably the work of Muslim terrorists Aznar has been widely accused of a cover up.

Indeed the demonstrations that his own government called that swamped the country have, in all likelihood, added to Aznar's woes. When millions are on the streets they talked to each other. They say "why did this happen". One placard simply read "The wars are yours - the deaths are ours." And here lies the basic root cause.

On Feb. 15th last year four million people in Spain demonstrated against the war and said that not only was the government wrong to ally itself with Blair and Bush, but also that the war would lead to the world becoming a more dangerous place. That fact was tragically born out this week, and everyone can see it. It is not that people have begun to disagree with the war as a response to the Madrid bombing, but that they had already rehearsed all the arguments as to why the war could lead to that bombing.

Certainly the new government knows it cannot continue to be part of the war coalition and has begun a process to withdraw the troops by June 30th. You can read reports on this at the BBC and the Independent for example.

Blair and Bush, who are not that far away from their respective elections, must be watching these events with increasing concern. Their lovely war has gone awry, and worse - millions of people all around the world know it! The defeat of Aznar is a real blow to their war coalition, but is small potatoes to what a defeat for Bush will mean. A change of US President will send shock waves across the world, and there will not be one commentator that will be able to avoid the protests against the war.

Blair faces his own problems. The Guardian reports that Muslim voters in Britain who have been staunch supporters of Labour at previous elections (more than 70% of Muslims who voted at the last general election voted for Labour) this support has absolutely collapsed in the wake of their 'war against terror'. If Bush goes in eight months time there will be an unbearable pressure on Blair, which could lead to his humiliation - one way or the other.

When the new Spanish premier stated "One cannot bomb by chance, one cannot lead a war with lies" he expressed the sentiments of millions - whatever the future holds in the US and Britain we have to prepare ourselves for the reaction if similar terror attacks take place in this country and ensure that our response is to push the world forward towards peace and justice rather than into retribution, repression and further racism.


March 2004