Monday, May 14, 2007

News from around here: Banned ETA front party Batasuna has set up a second front party, Basque Nationalist Action (ANV). The courts banned all ANV local tickets containing Batasuna members, but declared the tickets that don't include any to be legal. ETA-Batasuna will therefore be running under another name in the 133 towns whose tickets got the legal seal of approval, and, get this, Batasuna leaders Otegi and Barrena openly endorsed the ANV.

(Notes: The courts had previously shot down another ETA attempt to get on the ballot that was called ASB, which then of course disappeared without a trace. The local ticket is the party's list of candidates for city council; if the party wins, say, three seats, then the top three names on the party's ticket become council members.)

La Vangua's Cuba correspondent reports that Cubans are setting up illegal antennas to get American cable and satellite TV, and that the police go around checking all the electric cables hanging off the fronts and sides of Cuban residential buildings to see if any of them lead to illegal antennas. As you probably know, in Cuba, the only legal TV is government TV. The cops, of course, don't need a warrant to check your cables, and if you get caught you can get three years in jail. The regime called people who want to watch CNN or General Hospital or Seinfeld reruns "individuals who contribute to carrying out the Bush Commission's program to destroy the Cuban Revolution." So much for the freedom and dignity of the Cuban people.

Further election news: The Socialists think they have a real chance to take Navarra away from the PP, mostly because a Basque nationalist coalition called Nafarroa Bai (PNV + EA + Aralar) is going to pick up one-fifth of the seats there. That might knock the PP out of an absolute majority, and allow the Socialists to form a governing coalition. That looks like the only exciting race; the other Socialist targets, Madrid and Valencia, are firmly in PP hands.

La Vangua informs us that Catalonia's own nativist right-wing anti-immigrant party, the Platform for Catalonia, appeals mostly to intolerant young working-class males, and has had most success in four comarca capitals (more or less county seats) where conservative Catalan nationalism is historically strong, Vic, Manlleu, El Vendrell, and Cervera. Meanwhile, in Premià de Mar, a local independent anti-immigrant party has done well. The Platform has had little success in Barcelona and in its industrial suburbs. It's not necessarily the towns that have the highest percentage of immigrants where the Platform wins votes; seems that the Platform does well in towns where one immigrant nationality has moved into one neighborhood and concentrated there.

The article compares the Platform to the French National Front and Haider's FPO in Austria, but what it most reminds me of is the Vlaams Belang in Belgium, another regional party based on linguistic nationalism.

Barcelona example: Those jerks over by the Arco de Triunfo were going to hold a big old pot-banging demonstration to show the local Chinese that they were not wanted, but, in a good move, the Ayuntamiento closed them down for not having the right kind of permit. That's real class, demonstrating against your neighbors in their presence and pounding on metal pans so they can't avoid hearing it. I can't think of any more expressive way to say "You're not welcome here" than actually beating somebody up.

Look, if it's a conflictive group and the crime rate goes up and grandmas are getting mugged on the streets, I more than see your point, though I'd rather concentrate on individual bad eggs than blame the whole group-- we can't call all Ecuadorians gang-bangers just because a few are in the Latin Kings. But the Chinese are not generally known for being muggers or purse-snatchers. The only thing they have a reputation for around here is running sweatshops with debt-slaves, and I'm not sure exactly how true that is. Whatever, it is the kind of lawbreaking that a little competent police work ought to be able to do something about.

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