On Saturday, 3 June 2023, Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network in the Spanish State was invited to participate in Amnesty Eguna 2023 (Amnesty Day) in the Basque Country, organized by Aske, the pro-independence and socialist organization against repression and in favor of amnesty for Basque political prisoners, which operates as part of the Jardun coordination. Aske was created as a mechanism to combat the persecution suffered by Basque labour, political and social organizations. In this framework, the fight for amnesty is understood not solely as the achievement of the freedom of political prisoners, but also as an essential step to create political conditions that achieve independence and socialism in the Basque Country.
Therefore, the day took on an internationalist perspective through the participation of organizations representing and supporting other national liberation movements in addition to the Basque struggle, such as the Palestinian, Saharawi, Filipino and Colombian movements. The main theme of the day thus revolved around the battle against repression faced by those struggles that seek to implement peoples’ right to national self-determination, and to define for themselves a project for a socialist country free from the neoliberal and imperialist structure that subordinates and condemns peoples to dispossession.
The day was held in the open air in front of the Old Town of the city of Donostia. The event began with a opening discussion during the morning, in which militants from the Philippine Revolution organization, the Polisario Front and Samidoun shared a table together with Aske members, who moderated the session. The event also included speakers from the National Liberation Army of Colombia, participating virtually. During the conversation, Samidoun members shared their experiences in the Palestinian, Arab and internationalist struggle for the national liberation of Palestine, explained the work they do in support of political prisoners and reiterated their support for the right of the Palestinian people to conduct their struggle by all means necessary until the liberation of all Palestine is achieved, from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea.
During the conversation, Samidoun also analyzed the repressive dynamics that are currently taking place at the international level and, specifically, in the Spanish State where the extreme right of VOX and the PP party work side by side with the Zionist lobby to obstruct our work. In the same way, the comrades in the Saharawi, Filipino and Colombian struggle informed us of the situation of their struggles, finding numerous points in common between us. Together, we shared ideas about the mechanisms that we use to counter the international strategy of repression from imperialist and Zionist forces. This space served to bring together many comrades who, from different locations, facee the same enemies and a political project with similar ideological values.
Throughout the day, speakers and organizers emphasized the leading role of Basque, Palestinian, Saharawi, Filipino and Colombian political prisoners. All the organizations present share the view that the figure of the political prisoner constitutes a revolutionary vanguard, and that, more than a victim, they are revolutionary political subjects who, despite being detained in jails, maintain their struggle and political values in another sphere of action. For this reason, it remains essential to publicize the situation and particularities of these prisoners wherever they are, since they constitute a fundamental source of knowledge and leadership for those of us who maintain the political struggle outside of prison, without which we cannot continue. All parties emphasized that they view the liberation of political prisoners as a necessary step to achieve national self-determination, and that release campaigns can never be disconnected from the objectives of liberation as a whole.
Following a lunch organized by Aske, Samidoun activists attended the panel on the evolution of repression in the Basque country, with speakers Itziar Moreno, Zunbeltz Larrea, Aratz Estonba and Joserra Murgoitio. These Basque strugglers and former political prisoners reviewed the repressive methods used by the Spanish State against the Basque people and their political organizations from the 70’s until today. They further emphasized that the repression has not ceased, despite the fact that it appears differently than it did in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s. This repression has been adapted to new institutional political needs and international concerns, as Itziar pointed out, as countries aim not to damage their own image internationally.
The former prisoners shared the methods of resistance and struggle that they maintained in prison, some for over a decade, including their political conviction, transformation of individual attitude, mutual support among fellow prisoners and their unbreakable connection with the continuing struggle outside. Their remarks reminded those present of the teachings of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah, imprisoned for over 38 years in French prison, who has maintained his revolutionary vision despite severe pressure to retract his political perspective.
The day ended with a march and Basque dance performance, before Aske members closed Amnesty Day with a speech before all of the gathered participants.