Good Time (2017) and Uncut Gems (2019) are ciphers for the Safdie Brothers’ exploration of capitalist ideology’s acidic hold on the individual. On its breaking down of character, reducing one to rubble. On its decay of the soul.
We were recently contacted by a Spanish Film-maker and journalist called Alex García, currently living in Britain and proceeded to ask him the following questions, if you would like to find out more about Alex, you can watch an English-subtitled version of his video on Spanish oppression at – https://youtu.be/Zqs3rGlgjmo
Q. What is your own experience of the Spanish State?
A. I started my political militancy in social movements such as the platform affected by the mortgage crisis, the Anti-Austerity 15M student movement. I have a Youtube channel where I try to give voice to all social problems. In the channel I have attempted to denounce the repression that is exercised by the Spanish state against all political opposition. The fact is that the people’s voice is repressed, since the objective of State repression is to silence them and to generate fear amongst the population. This has led the Spanish state to take me to court, where they are now attempting to sentence me to two years in prison, solely for my audio-visual work.
Q. How have you seen the Spanish state react to your opposition to their rule?
A. The current Spanish state was established in 1939 after the War and a bloody coup d’état, which left thousands dead in the ditches. Crimes were committed that have not yet been investigated and for which the culprits have never been tried. In the period of “transition to democracy” (beginning in 1975), a process was carried out to disguise the open dictatorship which retained the same essential ethos as the same fascists remained in power. Political opposition continues to be repressed and persecuted to this day. Any voice that attacks the pillars of the Spanish state, such as myself, any voice that denounces the fact that there has not truly been a separation with fascism, that there is no democracy, that the opposition is persecuted, are in turn persecuted.
Q. What does left-wing politics look like in Catalonia at the minute?
A. Currently in Catalonia there has been a broad popular movement calling for Catalonian people’s right to decide their own future. However, this movement is being repressed with brute force, as could be seen during and following the October 1 referendum, and currently as much of the independence leadership remains in prison or in exile. The conflict in Catalonia is a national conflict, where there are certain sectors of the bourgeoisie with their own interests, but there is also a large section of the proletariat that is not satisfied with the current configuration of the Spanish state.
Q. How can we support you in Britain?
A. I believe that in the current context, where both the issue of Catalonia and the issue of freedom of expression for the oppressed people-groups, is generating an impact on the rest of the EU Member States. A good way to support the opposition to the ruling class within Spain is to denounce what is happening in Spain and pressure your own governments to position themselves against a country like Spain which does not even respect European treaties.
Q. What is your situation in Britain at the moment?
A. I am currently working and trying to learn English here. But I intend to return to Spain in a few months to continue my work there.
Q. Can you give us some examples of the way in which the Spanish state oppresses opposition?
A. The Spanish state has a long list of crimes against the opposition, even if we leave aside all the crimes before the period known as “the transition,” during which time we there were paramilitary groups organized by the state, such as the LAGs and murders at the hands of the police. Currently there are numerous political prisoners, imprisoned for their militancy in political parties which were outlawed in 2002. These prisoners serve sentences of up to 20 years in prison for exclusively political militancy. They live in very bad conditions and may be subjected to execution purely by means of sanitary neglect, as many are seriously ill and are do not receive proper medical attention in prison. In recent years there has been an increase in the number of detainees, those who are incarcerated and tried for political crimes for commenting on social networking sites, online rap songs or videos. Many of whom are young people who have participated in demonstrations or who are politically active in their neighbourhoods. These people often receive long sentences, such as the case of Alfon who was sentenced to 5 years in prison for participating in the General Strike of 2011.
Q. What do you feel Catalonian independence would achieve?
A. From my point of view, the independence of Catalonia puts the Spanish state on the ropes. Spain is a state that requires national unity, it is a very centralized state and that has very rigid pillars. As such, I think that independence would weaken Spain and bring their violent oppression out into the open, forcing them to give up their façade and show themselves for what they really are, a fascist state. This allows a strong social movement to be generated both in Catalonia and in the rest of the Spanish state, because it is clear that in order for Catalonia to achieve independence, it will have to end the Spanish state as it currently exists, since Spain can not allow the independence of Catalonia and is willing to use all of their forces to prevent it.
Q. What is your opinion of the leaders of Catalonian independence, on the streets and officially?
A. I do not trust the current leaders of the Catalonian independence movement. I think that the only way out of Catalonia is for the popular masses to organize themselves from the grassroots, as they are doing with the Committees of Defence of the Republic.