Let's Talk about Spanish Imperialism

By Francisco Brotons Beneyto, Northstar Compass, November 2000

First of all, we ask the readers of Northstar Compass to forgive us for abandoning what is the general theme of the review, the support to the revolutionary process in the former USSR, because on this occasion we are going to write about Spain; since we cannot ignore the request made by Boris Shevtsov from Russia in his letter that was published in the August issue of NSC-and the kind of comment made by the Editor to “this well-meaning but confused letter that doesn’t take the political situations into consideration”.

Boris Shevtsov has effectively reasoned when he characterized “monarchy”, but he did not go far enough to say that Spain is also “imperialist” and also not enough because he forgot to characterize it as also “fascist”. This is not a problem; we are adding this ourselves. It is true that Spain is not the size of the USA (as the Spanish oligarchs would like) and hardly becomes a second-rate power, but yes, it has all the requirements to be characterized as also an imperialist country. However, far from what Boris Shevtsov says in his letter in NSC, this feature of the Spanish State does not come from owning colonies in North Africa, but its character as a monopolist country, which is ruled by a financial oligarchy, from the fact that it exploits economically other peoples and other nations and from the fact that it takes its part in the plundering and domination of other countries through their participation in NATO.

Nowadays, Spanish imperialism, as well as most of the imperialist powers in the world, expresses itself not as much as through the ruling and submitting territories politically, but by the extraordinary benefits that it obtains through all of the immense amounts of capital that is invested in those territories. And, as a datum to be recorded by comrade Shevtsov in his history book, these capital investments of Spanish finance capitalism are orientated mostly towards Latin America (which includes Cuba -Editor). Thus in 1998, 61% of the total investment of Spain abroad were made in all of these countries which, belonged to its ample colonial empire till the 19th century.

Only in Argentina, and this data is only for the six months of 2000, the big Spanish monopolies called (Repsol, Telefonica, Endesa…) control through the market buying of shares entire branches of the economy of this country, such as petrol and energy, telecommunications, aviation, the distribution of water, gas and electricity, etc. The big Spanish banks are majority shareholders also of the third, fourth, sixth, tenth and twenty-fourth top Argentinean banks. In Chile, the first top banks of the country belong in their biggest part to Spanish capital, the Spanish Telefonica controls 43.6% of the Chilean Telefonica, 64% of the electricity company ENERSIS belongs to the Spanish ENDESA; by the way, the “war” to prosecute the genocidal Pinochet had the economic background of stopping the attempts of all the Chilean politicians to prosecute the top managers of REPSOL, accused of corruption and exerting pressure to change the Chilean laws that prevented any foreign company from owning more than 32% of certain companies. Of course, the Chilean law has been changed and Pinochet has returned to his country. These brief examples prove that it is not necessary to “have colonies” to be imperialist; it is enough to have money to invest and defend (we understand that this differentiates Spain from Russia, since it is true that the Russian capitalists have not yet too much surplus capital to invest, although may we remind Shevtsov that the investments that were made during the times of socialism in the Federated Soviet nations are also nowadays capitalist: that capital is one that the Russian capitalist bandits are defending in Chechnya).

Even so, Spain still has some colonies, precisely in North Africa: two towns Ceuta and Melilla, and an archipelago, the Canary Islands. But if we are now talking about oppressing peoples, we are reminding NSC readers that the present Spanish State oppresses and maintains subjugated three nations within its own borders: Galicia, the Basque Country and Catalonia, although, and in this aspect Spain resembles the present Russia, “legally and constitutionally they form an indissoluble part of the Spanish territory” and the Army and the police are there to remind this to all of the patriots that are still determined to gain the recognition of their right to self-determination.

Well, it is also true that we belong to NATO and that the social-fascists of the PSOE were the ones who made us enter the organization after a farce of a referendum that was backed—in order to give everything a “legal” appearance -by the Spanish revisionists of Carillo's PCE, yes, the same one who maintained such good relations with the Soviet Krushchevites and Brezhnevites of the former USSR. Nowadays, they send out “tin soldiers” to slaughter other peoples (Iraq, Bosnia, Kosovo and Central America…)But this, of course, in the name of “freedom”, democracy and human rights.”

We don't want to finish the “charges” against the Spanish State without making a reference to its “monarchy” because, if the fact of having a king is something bad of itself (Shevtsov seems to consider this very outrageous, so do we, and we agree with him on this question), if, besides, that Spanish king had been appointed by Franco as his heir, the thing becomes tragic (or comical, that depends on the way of looking at this, because here in Spain we laugh a lot at the Bourbon). But don’t let ourselves be frivolous, because characterizing the ruling regime in Spain is not a question of political forms, but of the very monopolistic, imperialist and fascist essence of the State. We inherited from Franco's regime much more than a king: we inherited his same regime, that has been only slightly reshaped in its facade to homologate it to the rest of the “democracies”: but its essence is still the same: terrorist, oppressive and exploiter.

As Boris Shevtsov can see, we know very well the ground upon which we walk on (and all those elements that trample on us): and precisely because we know very well the fascist and imperialist nature of the State of our bourgeoisie, we also know that only with its destruction we will be able some day to reach the true freedom that socialism means. We are persevering in this, using any means necessary, legal and illegal, peaceful and violent ones, and at the same time that we denounce constantly its character, as we are doing on this occasion, and proclaim very loudly -and also struggle for—the right to self-determination of all the colonies that it still possesses and the return to the neo-colonized people of the wealth that is being stolen from them. Finally, we are also very aware that in the most probable case of the breaking out of another world inter-imperialist conflict, as the two that scoured Europe in the 20th century, we would do everything possible to achieve the defeat of our particular imperialism, at the same time that we would concentrate all of our efforts and energies on transforming the plundering war into a revolutionary civil war.

Communist Party of Spain (reconstituted)