March 21 is World Puppetry Day and on this occasion we would like to remind the world of the situation faced by our comrades, Alfonso and Raul from Puppets from Below. At the beginning of February, the puppeteers from Granada were invited to Madrid carnival celebrations by the muncipality to present their show, The Witch and Don Cristobal. During the performance they were arrested and face up to 7 years in prison.
The puppet show itself was a political commentary on the state practice of framing politcal activists and other serious problems of attacks on freedom and abuse of power. As part of the plot, the police attack the heroine of the story and plants a placard in her premises which serves as the basis for branding her a terrorist. This scene was used to accuse the puppeteers of “glorifying terrorism” and “incitement of hatred”.
For all who know the show and the puppeteers, it is clear that this was an example of critical theatre. It is a gross example of state encroachment on conscience and freedom to try and criminalize people for their political thought.
It may well be that the event organizers in Madrid had no idea what they were sponsoring – but who's fault is that? The puppeteers warned that there may be content inappropriate for children, but parents paid no attention, deciding to denounce them to the police instead.
Much can be said about the show, but one thing is clear: this was not any glorification of terrorism or incitement. Such charges are simply characteristic of the very problems that the puppeteers were denouncing. The abuses of the state have been stepped up in Spain recently, where new laws have been introduced and we see increasing incidents of political repression.
The lnternational Workers' Association send our solidarity to the puppeteers and we demand that all charges be dropped.
Around the world, we are all facing an increased attack against our freedom by the State, Capital and Religion. The State acts above all to destroy any threats to its power, which it uses to seal off borders and shut out refugees fleeing from war, misery and religious fanaticism. Which it uses to facilitate Capital's exploitation of labour and the earth, often using public funds to do so. Which is uses to protect private wealth of the elites. Which it uses to wage war. Which it uses to spy and invigilate and limit various personal freedoms. Which it uses to build up the power of the elites and usurp the rights of people to decide for themselves.
The history of wars in the financial interests of elites show us how the state terrorizes populations, murdering and destroying so that a few can profit. This is the greatest form of terrorism of all.
When we look at the criminalization of social movements and dissent such as what is happening today, we recognize the Spanish state as the one using actual terror – a threat of locking up people who wrote a critical theatre work. This is done in a futile attempt to strike fear into those who would be vocally critical. Futile because it is an outrage that has already been met with a large public outcry.
As the attacks of the State are on the increase, we cannot retreat but must organize to resist on a global level.
Freedom for the Puppeteers and Against State Terror!
We have a new world in our hearts – with no room for tyranny and exploitation!