Basque Country: Solidarity with Mugimendu Sozialista!

The International Marxist Tendency (IMT) expresses its solidarity with the comrades of Mugimendu Sozialista (MS), who have been facing a prolonged campaign of harassment and intimidation from social democratic organisations and the leadership of EH Bildu – with the permissive attitude of the Basque right.

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As an organisation which conducts communist and revolutionary work in 50 countries around the world, the IMT shares the communist ideas of MS, we likewise proclaim the need for social revolution and for the spread of socialism internationally. Socialism is the only alternative to the barbarism which capitalism condemns workers and their families to, with its economic crises, exploitation, oppression, wars, environmental disasters and climate change. Only revolutionary Marxism as a method of analysis and social transformation, and communism as an objective of society, can give humanity hope for the future.

For that reason, for the IMT, an injury to one is an injury to all. We will publicly defend any revolutionary communist and socialist from harassment and intimidation by political adversaries; no matter what country or area of the world they are in.

MS was born a few years ago from a split of the Basque nationalist left and has undoubtedly brought with it a substantial part of the organised Basque youth. MS has set itself apart in calling on the official leadership of the Basque nationalist left to open a public debate on the experiences of recent decades that resulted in a defeat for the Basque national liberation movement.

It has openly proclaimed its working-class character and its communist objectives, and has been very critical of the gradual shift to the right of the EH Bildu leadership that has embarked on a policy consisting of working exclusively through the institutions. They attempt to reach agreements with the representatives of the Basque bourgeoisie (PNV) and Spanish social democracy (PSOE), in practice abandoning any struggle to break with the Spanish state and for socialism.

The IMT substantially shares MS’s criticism of EH Bildu’s leadership. The MS comrades correctly base their criticism on facts, figures and arguments. This is the only method that can constructively contribute to the clarification of ideas, the perspectives, and the tasks facing the Basque radical left, whether communist or nationalist.

The leadership of EH Bildu is perfectly entitled not to share MS’s positions, which it can freely counterpose with facts, figures and arguments of its own. But the methods of harassment, intimidation, violence of any kind, and financial suffocation to overturn a political adversary, are neither sound nor acceptable methods within the left and the workers’ movement.

We have had confirmed reports, from various witnesses who are members of the Basque nationalist left, of the destruction of MS propaganda; the expulsion of MS comrades from youth centres; harassment and insults in public spaces; and a systematic effort to prevent MS from putting up stalls at various Basque Country festivals to prevent it from financing itself – all using the institutional power of EH Bildu and PNV.

These methods correspond to bureaucratic and Stalinist attitudes that should be banished from the movement. Far from showing strength, this type of approach reveals political weakness, the fear of openly debating and contrasting ideas and ideological positions.

The leaders of EH Bildu should know that communism is not the enemy of national democratic rights. Quite the opposite. Those of us who base our communism on the ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin, on the example of the October Revolution, and on the first congresses of the Communist International before its Stalinist degeneration, have always raised the banner of the right of oppressed nations – like the Basque nation – to self-determination. And this includes the right to form an independent state if the majority of the population so chooses.

Lenin never defended narrow “workerism” and never counterposed the struggle for socialism to the struggle for national liberation or any other democratic demand. On the contrary, he urged the communists to raise the banner and fight for even the most minimal progressive demand of any oppressed group of society: national minorities, poor peasants, women, homosexuals, etc. Only the proletariat has the strength, and the social and economic weight to put itself at the head of all the other oppressed classes and layers in society, in order to overthrow their common enemies, namely capitalism and imperialism.

Thus, after the triumph of the Russian Revolution, when the peoples oppressed by the Russian empire were given freedom by the new workers’ state, some became independent while others remained voluntarily united as Soviet socialist republics. The land was given to the peasants; women were granted full equality, and rights such as divorce and abortion; and homosexuality was decriminalised.

It is true that communism aims to build a world without borders or exclusions of any kind, a universal socialist fraternity where all human beings freely relate without privileges of any kind. But such a union must occur voluntarily and on an equal footing, without impositions or privileges for any people or nation over others.

That is why we think that, beyond the political differences between MS and the Basque nationalist left, there is a common space of struggle and frank collaboration through the tactics of the united front on concrete questions, where we have common enemies and adversaries. Bureaucratic and violent methods must cease. For this reason, we call on the most militant workers and young people of the Basque nationalist left – its most left wing layers – to make their voice heard against these methods that harm not only the comrades of MS, but the very morale and prestige of EH Bildu and of the Basque nationalist left in general.

We reiterate our support and solidarity with MS, and we are at your disposal for everything that you need.

7 June 2022