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Irish Left Archive

From 1975, the Starry Plough, newspaper of the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP), on the execution of five members of ETA and FRAP under Franco's fascist dictatorship.

The article highlights Irish solidarity action and draws parallels with Irish Republicanism.

It also notes the potential for several more executions, though thankfully they didn't take place and Franco died two months later.

Opposition is continually growing in Spain and the Basque country to Franco's oppression. Since last August Basque members of ETA (Basque Nation and Freedom) and members of the Left-Wing Revolutionary Anti-Fascist and Patriotic Front (FRAP) have been sentenced to death by Spanish military courts. 5 have been executed already.  Strikes and protests have taken place not only in the Basque country but also throughout Spain and abroad. Such is the amount of protests that 1,000 Spanish priests have sent a letter to the Archbishop of Madrid asking the Spanish Catholic Episcopal Conference to oppose the new 'anti-terrorism' law-and the death sentences being opposed under it. 130,000 have been on strike in the Basque region for over 6 days. Last year Anti Puich, a Catalan activist was garroted (strangled to death) in the 15th century torture.  The Basques are demanding self-determination of Euskadi (Basqueland) and all other nationalities oppressed by the Spanish state, freedom of the Basque language, bilingualism in Basque education, freedom for Basque popular culture and state subsidies for the popular Basque schools founded by the Basque resistance. While different Basque groups exist they have put tactical differences aside and united in a broad front of action. This is one of the many reasons that they enjoy wide support, particularly in.the Basque county.  Last December saw half a million Basque people actively support a general strike called by one Basque organisation in support of political prisoners, that ¾ of the population.  As we have stated before, the ability of the Basques to work united in a front should inspire our struggle in Ireland, especially as Britain is playing her age old Orange card to divide the Irish people so as to safeguard her interests. It should encourage us to work for the establishment of a similar united front in Ireland.  -----  The five executions that took place in Spain shocked the world. Fascism was seen for what it is. It became obvious that the seven reprieves by Franco were merely a move to minimise reaction both in Spain, the Basque country and abroad. But the five executions couldn't minimise the horror of Spain's fascism. Reaction was massive demonstrations by most European countries whose governments recalled their ambassadors in protest while its workers took to the streets in their thousands.  In Ireland workers and students did more than the Government when U.S.I. students picketed the Spanish Embassy and Aer Lingus workers refused to handle Spanish flights. All the Irish government did was to vote in favour of a motion censuring the Spanish government and asking for clemency at the European Parliament.  As in 1916 and Bloody Sunday in Derry, Spain’s repression far from frightening the Basque people into submission has escalated the struggle for freedom in the Basque country. Strikes, protests and demonstrations are being organised successfully by the Basques.  While the Basque nationalists must be full of rage and sorrow at the murder of their comrades they must be proud of Juan Paredes who defiantly faced the firing squad without a blindfold, singing a Basque nationalist song. As the guns blazed their death they couldn't drown his cry of "GORA EUZKADI ESKATUTA" (long live Free Basque country). Two seconds later he was dead.  Under Spanish Fascist Law no other political party (except the government's party) is allowed exist, no trade unions (except the Government ones) are allowed exist, no meeting of more than 20 people can take place without the permission of the authorities, strikes are forbidden. These examples of Spanish Laws show the oppression in Spain. Political prisoners are continually tortured as a matter of routine.  In sorrow at the death of their five patriots we join with the Basque people and send them our fraternal greetings in their struggle against fascism and for national liberation.  The victory of the Basque people cannot be too far away, if they are as patriotic as Juan Paredes. Over 30 more Basques are due for execution as we go to press.  ---  Members of the Dublin Comhairle Ceanntair of the I.R.S.P. picketed the Spanish Embassy in Dublin for two hours on September 8th last to highlight the oppression being suffered by the Basques and to exert pressure on the Spanish government to rescind its recent death penalties.