By Sean Jobst
On 26 August, an important dinner-meeting was held at the Barcelona home of the self-professed Marxist billionaire Jaume Roures, at a conclave sponsored by Catalan separatist businessman Oriol Soler. The guests of honor included Catalan leftist historian Xavier Domènech, Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias, and Catalan separatist and Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) leader Oriol Junqueras. The order of business: Formulate joint strategies for the break-up of España, not only in Catalonia but nationwide.
Photos were leaked to El Confidencial of Iglesias and Junqueras arriving at the meeting. Their strategy was to create a new “Popular Front” between Podemos, ERC, Partido Socialista Obrero Español (PSOE), and separatist groups. Iglesias and Junqueras discussed close cooperation between Podemos and ERC, with Iglesias being so devoted to separatism he sold out the regional branch of his own party, in preference for direct deals with the ERC. If we examine the activities of each of these individuals, we reveal much about their motives and how deep is this effort to destabilize the nation.
Roures is managing partner of the Barcelona-based media conglomerate Mediapro, with several TV networks and newspapers under his control. He is best known outside Spain as producer of several Woody Allen films set in Europe; he attempted to turn an art school that was used by Picasso into a museum dedicated to Woody Allen but scrapped the plan after local opposition against this blatant eradication of history. “Unfortunately, Spanish culture prevails in the media,” Roures lamented in an interview with the New York Times in 2016.
During the Franco era, Roures was an activist with the underground Trotskyite Liga Comunista Revolucionaria (LCR), which merged with a splinter-group of the Basque armed separatist ETA in 1973. The group consistently supported communist separatist groups in Valencia, Catalonia, and the Basque Country. Representing the transition from economics into Cultural Marxism centered on social issues, LCR was involved in organizing Spain’s earliest “Gay Pride” parades. Pablo Iglesias founded Podemos from a splinter of the LCR.
Roures is dedicated to the famous approach of Italian Communist theoretician Antonio Gramsci, that instead of an armed revolution a society can be changed through the culture. He openly admits the goal of his newspapers, “La Sexta” and “Público“, to ending what he termed the “regime of 78”. This refers to the Spanish Constitution that gave unprecedented autonomy to his native Catalonia; two of its seven framers were Catalans, and which was overwhelmingly ratified in Catalonia at a higher percentage than other regions of Spain. Catalan independentistas push a historical myth of an oppressed Catalonia. The facts and privileges of autonomy are an embarrassing thorn in the side of the false narrative promoted by the independentistas.
He has used the pages of Público to promote what he defines as “culture”. On 7th Nov. 2009, he printed the entirety of Leon Trotsky’s “The Permanent Revolution“ in Público as one such “cultural promotion”. His film productions include the pro-Putin American director Oliver Stone’s 2003 film “Comandante” idolizing Fidel Castro. Roures also produced the documentary “Las colocas de Interior”, which aired throughout Catalonia on his three TV networks – TV3, Público TV, and Gol TV. With testimony from Pablo Iglesias and other prominent separatists and communists, the documentary presented a “corrupt and authoritarian” Spain in its “dirty war against Catalan sovereignty”. It was clearly designed to manufacture public opinion towards the separatist cause, being aired during the lead-up to the referendum.
Roures is the epitome of the champagne socialist, daydreaming about “the Revolution” while counting the profits from his media empire. “I read ‘The Communist Manifesto’ and it does not say anywhere that people have to be poor”, as he justified it to the New York Times. Roures’ Mediapro exploits its rights to broadcast Spanish football and the UEFA Champions’ League, by politicizing football through FC Barcelona. The club has long been a focal point of Catalan nationalists, and recently released an official statement supportive of the independentistas. Preferring to stay in the background is Roures’ fellow Catalan oligarch Oriol Soler, known for his separatist intrigues and tasked with coordinating their efforts with the Generalitat.
The specter of any manifestation of Spanish nationalism is an obsession of Iglesias, even while he actively promotes the nationalism of regions. He has recently led demonstrations in Madrid in coordination with Basque, Catalan, and Valencian separatist groups. He is so eager with the Catalan independence prospect that he rushed again to Barcelona on the eve of the referendum, to express his solidarity with the independentistas. In the Andalusian city of Málaga, the Podemos “cultural center” of La Casa Invisible portrayed a Spanish flag as a hanging noose, while the North Korean flag continued to fly unhindered above. This was their statement against the “repression” of Spain against Catalonia, while simultaneously extolling the “freedom” of their Communist paradise of North Korea.
Iglesias speaks constantly about “political prisoners in Spain”, while not saying a word about political prisoners living under regimes he praises, including Venezuela and North Korea. Indeed, he hosts a show called “Fort Apache” on HispanTV, a Spanish-language news station operated by IRIB, Iran’s state-owned public broadcasting corporation, and with links to other state-owned networks such as RT and teleSUR. All of these stations have been actively promoting Catalan separatists and presenting Spanish unionists as “fascists” and exaggerating the Spanish police “repression”, which is laughable considering the situation in those countries. One can only conclude that Iglesias bases his loyalty on the money he gets from foreign regimes, while blatantly supporting every cause meant to weaken anything patriotic or traditionalist in Spain.
Despite his own paychecks from TV networks owned by foreign governments, at a press conference in Brussels on 9 Sept. 2014 Iglesias dismissed Spain as “not independent of NATO” due to its policy against the Russian annexation of Crimea. “We must not forget that the European Union favored an illegal transfer of power in Ukraine and the entry of a neo-Nazi party into the Government of Ukraine,” said the Kremlin mouthpiece Iglesias. His faithful towing of the Russian line didn’t go unnoticed by the Kremlin: “Russian leader Vladimir Putin has invited the Spanish leader of Podemos, Pablo Iglesias, to meet in Moscow as part of a strategy to gather support from European alternative social movements after his recent meeting in St. Petersburg with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras,” according to a June 2015 report by mil21.es. “Putin seeks in Iglesias and Tsipras two ‘holds’ with which to try to weaken the Euro-Atlantic offensive against Russia.”
Iglesias’ predilection for opportunism can be seen in his photo-op of wearing a yarmulke at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, despite his party’s lip service to the Palestinian cause. His partner at the Roures meeting was Republican Left of Catalonia leader Oriol Junqueras, former vice-president of the Generalitat. Junqueras met Oren Bar-El, minister of political affairs at the Israeli Embassy in Madrid, on 26 April 2012, in a meeting described as “intense” and “positive” by the Catalan Nació Digital. This was only one out of the many Israeli links to Catalan separatist leaders. Junqueras stood alongside Puigdemont at the Catalan declaration of independence.
Junqueras’ ERC is the same party cited by Salafist imam Abdelwahab Houzi in his speech calling for the “Islamization” of Catalonia. His party has actively promoted mass-immigration, perhaps to change its declining fortunes, while rejecting Catalans’ relationship to other Spaniards. On 27 August 2008, Junqueras wrote a column for Catalan nationalist newspaper Avuí wherein he fantasized about their genetic distinctiveness: “In particular, the Catalans have more genetic proximity with French than with the Spaniards, more with the Italians than with the Portuguese, and a little with the Swiss; while the Spaniards have more proximity with the Portuguese than to the Catalans and very little with the French.”
Its indeed strange that an admitted Marxist would engage in such fantastic racial theories, obsessed at separating from Spain, and even stranger that same party actively promotes the demographic change in its own region so long as the migrants will speak Catalan and vote for the ERC, unlike the Spaniards who move from other regions. Its interesting to consider Qatar’s funding of a massive mosque project in Barcelona, with Pablo Iglesias’ own meeting with the Qatari Ambassador to Spain, Mohammed Al Kuwari. This project is expected to profit not only the Qatari government but the local Catalan government, which would receive cuts from the contracts. Iglesias has his own questionable financial links, being listed as an “ally” in documents from Soros’ Open Society European Policy Institute, with such “Open Society” networks funding Catalan separatist think-tanks.
Following the same pattern is an upstart separatist movement in Andalusia, led by poet and playwright Pedro Ignacio Altamirano. Centered in Málaga, he has admitted contact with Podemos, and has posted a picture with Junqueras on his Twitter. In fact, he declared the establishment of the Andalusian National Assembly (ANA) while a guest of the ERC in Barcelona. Like Roures, he is a figure in the cultural realm with a Marxist activist background and political ambitions. “If Catalonia leaves, we’ll be the next to follow suit,” Altamirano declared at a presentation in Barcelona on 18 May 2017. This Twitter revolutionary who revels in media attention given to him as aspiring leader of his own state, says the ANA will declare Andalusia’s independence “on social media” on 4th December.
These separatist movements promote a historical myth, and in the ANA’s case it is the oft-promoted liberal myth of a Moorish convivencia at odds with an España they view with contempt. Altamirano has praised Malaga as “the City of Paradise” under the Moors. He rewrites history by lamenting the Reconquista as the “expulsion of Andalusians”, about whom he fantastically claims “are a very old people, 3,500 years-old”, as he told Russia Today. “In the toughest period of the Franco regime, I was meeting with Jews and Muslims,” Altamirano boasted in an interview with a Catalan website. “The great Andalus has always aspired to recover the independence of the Caliphate. In terms of today, we are not talking about a Muslim Andalusia, but it does recover that.”
Like their separatist counterparts in Barcelona, the ANA project their own imperialism against an España that “oppresses” them from Madrid. The expansionist Altamirano aspires to lead more than the province of Andalusia: “We claim Murcia, the Portuguese Algarve and the Rif of Morocco. All this is Andalusia. This is our Andalusia.” Another phony “separatist” movement not sincere about devolution, but aspiring to central control over its own expanding state. Like the Catalan separatists and the Italian Lega Nord, the ANA is headed by privileged, wealthy elites who propagandize by peddling ahistorical fictions on social media and promoted by media outlets linked to a foreign power.
The Ukrainians are right to warn about “an element of Russia’s hybrid war” when a delegation of Altamirano and other Andalusian separatists visited Russian-occupied Crimea on 10 April 2017. They met with Russian parliamentarians in Simferopol, with the stated objective to establish contacts with businessmen who operate with impunity under the Russian occupiers. In his social media networks, Altamirano boasted at his “treatment at the level of Head of State” by the Russians. Much like the disproportionate media attention it gave to Lega Nord and Catalan separatists, Russia Today highlighted the delegation for a special program on “the Andalusian and Catalan policy”, wherein Altamirano stressed “future ways of international collaboration between both parties and between Crimea and Andalusia.” Altamirano and his sidekick, Salvador Garcia Urbano, told the Kremlin network that the sanctions against Russia have “damaged our country Andalusia”, invoking the same business concerns as the Lega Nord elitists: “It’s excellent what we have seen in terms of investment and the future of Crimea after its integration with Russia.” Not one to rest his imagination, Altamirano spoke of Ukraine as “the worst dictatorship” while meeting with representatives of Putin’s Russia.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, militants from the ERC’s youth wing trained with the ETA, as did the armed communist group Terra Lliure, which fought for an independent Catalonia. ERC leaders and other Catalan leftists, such as Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau, have lionized these armed militants as heroes. The various separatist groups in Spain have been mostly Communist in ideology and inspiration, as are the current leaders promoting the destabilization of Spain. And behind every “good” communist is the deep pockets of those on whose hand the glove moves their “revolution”.