Craig Murray

On Being a Rebel

The Francoist ultras of the Spanish government have gone the whole hog, and are charging Puigdemont and his colleagues with sedition and rebellion. And before anyone can interject with any nonsense about prosecutorial independence, let me assure you that in no country, ever, in the history of the world, has anybody been tried for sedition or rebellion without the explicit approval of the political rulers.

Puigdemont is in excellent company. Gandhi was jailed for ten years for sedition in 1922 for seeking Indian independence from Britain. He served two years in dreadful conditions in jail. As Gandhi stated in his defence speech, he certainly was guilty under the law, and proud of it. Here is an extract from Gandhi’s speech:

Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by law. If one has no affection for a person or system, one should be free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection, so long as he does not contemplate, promote, or incite to violence. But the section under which mere promotion of disaffection is a crime. I have studied some of the cases tried under it; I know that some of the most loved of India’s patriots have been convicted under it. I consider it a privilege, therefore, to be charged under that section. I have endeavored to give in their briefest outline the reasons for my disaffection. I have no personal ill-will against any single administrator, much less can I have any disaffection towards the King’s person. But I hold it to be a virtue to be disaffected towards a Government which in its totality has done more harm to India than any previous system. India is less manly under the British rule than she ever was before. Holding such a belief, I consider it to be a sin to have affection for the system. And it has been a precious privilege for me to be able to write what I have in the various articles tendered in evidence against me.

In fact, I believe that I have rendered a service to India and England by showing in non-co-operation the way out of the unnatural state in which both are living. In my opinion, non-co-operation with evil is as much a duty as is co-operation with good. But in the past, non-co-operation has been deliberately expressed in violence to the evil-doer. I am endeavoring to show to my countrymen that violent non-co-operation only multiples evil, and that as evil can only be sustained by violence, withdrawal of support of evil requires complete abstention from violence.

Exactly as I predicted, the Spanish governments imposition of elections is a ruse that was never in good faith, with the Catalan leaders exiled (and two of them imprisoned) and the main pro-Independence parties, and the act of seeking Independence itself, banned. The continued endorsement of all this by Western states, Western politicians and corporate and state media has become so self-evidently hypocritical that the tactic is now simply to relegate Catalonia right down the news bulletins and pretend it is all over and nothing much is happening, just as they ignored the violence and fascism around Sunday’s Spanish nationalist march.

But you would have to be extremely foolish to believe this extreme state repression has killed off the Catalan cause. It will backfire spectacularly, in due course.