Understandable, perhaps, when the demonstration was organised by trade unions… but what possible reason could the Association of Victims of Terrorism have for not attending the march? They are, after all, a nominally apolitical group. In the past, observers have been heavily criticised for suggesting that the AVT has become little more than a grassroots PP activism unit… but it’s all beginning to look a bit more obvious now.
The AVT’s website is dominated by criticism of the Socialist government and a banner which describes the ‘Civic rebellion’ to be ‘unstoppable’. In fact, looking through their site, it’s tough work finding a single example of what the AVT actually does to help victims of terrorism. I’ve been told that even if the AVT has strayed from its original aims, it was founded in good faith. I find this difficult to believe. The whole movement is based on a simple lie: that the necessarily random victims of Basque terrorism, and their families, could somehow all subscribe to the same complex, right-of-centre political philosophy.
One of my favourite sections of the AVT site is their ‘Culture and Entertainment’ section, which features several books about terrorism, Zapatero’s ‘Spain, state in emergency’ and conspiracy theories about the 11-M bombings. Great reading, I’m sure. Sad, though, that innocent and trusting folk all over the country are being invited – with some cojouling -to donate their money to these people who allow political prejudice to get in the way of peace.
Spanish-language blog, El Siglo de las Luces, has a well written and interesting post about moves by the Spanish right to expand its influence by forming and supporting supposed NGOs and pressure groups around the country. These groups traditionally start out as single-issue before becoming more and more embroiled in the two topics which seem to excite the political extremes in this country: left versus right; and the question of nationalism (this term usually only referring to Catalan and Basque nationalism/separatism.
The classic example of this is the AVT (Association of Victims of Terrorism). Ostensibly formed as a support/pressure group for victims of ETA and their families, the AVT long ago became a sort of rent-a-mob for high profile, low impact demonstrations in Madrid where protesters gnash their teeth and do the whole Two Minutes Hate thing.
I’ve written about the AVT before (I stand by everything I wrote six months ago) and currently words fail me to describe how bitterly I dislike their nasty mixture of pressure politics, rhetoric and sheer anti-reason. There is simply no point in attempting an ordinary criticism of the AVT because they are so astoundingly out of it. Sometimes, I think it’s part of a clever plot to utterly confound critics: where do I start? they’ve opened a battle against logic on so many fronts that I get headaches just trying to list them.
Instead, I recommend reading that blog post at El Siglo de las Luces. And consider that even though it may not be working that well, the PP’s strategy is pretty clever. By politicising members of the Spanish working class (nominally against one thing they don’t like, e.g. subsidies for Catalan language, ETA, etc), the PP have forged a plan which, should it eventually start working, could well extend their platform of support and – more importantly – their political influence throughout Spain.