Update: THE MELILLA MASSACRE
Proletarians of all countries, unite!
THE MELILLA MASSACRE
WE DENOUNCE THE GENOCIDAL MASSACRE OF JUNE 24 COMMITTED BY THE IMPERIALIST SPANISH STATE IN COMPLICITY WITH THE KINGDOM OF MOROCCO AGAINST AFRICAN MIGRANTS
The blood and pain of the African masses shed on June 24 of this year on the borders of the Spanish empire (in its colonial territory of Ceuta and Melilla) and of the African semi-colony of imperialism, the Kingdom of Morocco, fills us with legitimate class hatred against imperialism, all reactionaries and their opportunist and revisionist servants.
The blood shed by the poorest of the poor on earth raises to the top our proletarian internationalist sentiment and our decision to strain all our forces to serve the international proletariat and the peoples of the world to sweep away with the world revolution so much ignominy, misery and horror that imperialism and world reaction unleash everywhere, on this occasion, represented in their intrinsic evil and rottenness by Spanish imperialism and the reactionary servant state of Morocco.
The two-handed massacre committed by the repressive forces of both states, called a “tragedy” by the bourgeois media, which took place last June 24 at the border of Melilla and Nador, in which at least 23 people were killed (and 77 others are still missing), it is not the first of its kind and is part of the genocide that the imperialist states of the European Union (imperialist alliance to advance and be able to compete for world hegemony) have been committing for many decades as part of their genocidal policy against the poorest masses of the world, represented by the poor of different ages who constitute the migratory current from south to north (the movement of the world population of the present epoch). Thousands of people are killed by this official policy of “controlled migration” of the EU and the different imperialist states and their servants in the semi-colonies, which is carried out through state violence by action and omission in the whole Mediterranean basin. It has not been the first time that this has happened and, as they themselves say, it will continue to happen.
But what is so special about this new massacre? To answer this question, let us first let the hypocritical and whitewashing report of the reactionary newspaper El País speak, when it says:
“The images carefully contrasted and analysed to try to get closer to the truth of what happened stir the conscience and provoke new doubts about the actions of Spain and Morocco during those hours” (Editorial, El País, Empecinamiento sobre Melilla, which is accompanied by a summary or subtitle: Marlaska insisted yesterday on his version of the tragedy despite the new evidence left by the investigation of EL PAÍS, 1 December 2022).
Let us note, from the beginning, the word tragedy, which is related to the Greek tragedy, which always ends with the tragic end of the hero or heroes, a denouement that provokes the deepest emotion in the spectators and ends in tears and embraces among the weeping audience to console themselves (collective catharsis). Thus, in ancient Greece, the Greece of the classics, they freed themselves collectively from their burdens and bad consciences, as they say now, they took the weight off their shoulders, they washed their faces with the demonstration of collective weeping. Thus, the massacre committed by the repressive forces of the Spanish state and the Moroccan state against the African masses on June 24, by political decision from the highest level of both states, in application of their policy of “migration control”, laws and other regulations of these states and the European Union has blown up in the face of the “socialist” government of Sánchez and his allies such as the careerist and carrilloist “Iglesias”, the submissive parliament, to all the institutions of this Spanish state of bourgeois dictatorship, and reveals, once again, how behind its so-called defence of the so-called “human rights” the most elementary rights of the masses are openly violated, starting from the right to life, and behind covert agreements, between the imperialist states and the states of the semi-colonial countries, the authorities and repressive forces of the “despots of Africa” are handed over to fulfil their role of exterminators.
This time, on 24 June, what went wrong for them was that they had to get directly involved in the execution of the starving people of Africa in the same scenario of collective massacre, without any continuity in time or space, and which remained visual material. But the Greek tragedy of the journalistic and official reports of the various Spanish and European authorities is followed by the comedy of the dissolution of guilt, of washing the face of the state and its institutions and saying that it was due to individuals, a minister like Marlaska, “who has not duly fulfilled his responsibilities and who, despite all the evidence, avoids giving a report in line with the reality of what happened”, and the functional responsibilities of the individuals directly involved in the crime for “omission of their functions”, etc. In this way, they intend to wash the state’s face, to say no, it is not state terrorism, it is a problem of individuals and of adjusting the laws better. That is why they have their penal system that seeks to individualise criminal responsibility when it is about them and to generalise responsibility in order to persecute revolutionaries for what they are. These reports, almost without exception, have the nature of the so-called “Truth Commissions”: to cleanse the state and its institutions of crimes against the masses.
We have had to write this long paragraph above in order to understand the true character of the reports, however magnificent they may seem, of why the visual material has been made available to anyone? In other words, we have to explain why these bourgeois newspapers in Spain, Europe and the world have financed such important journalistic reporting? Here, we try to find the reason for it, for these reports, which may surprise many for their “truthfulness” and “objectivity” in the investigation of the case and the facts, to bring to light the interstices and facts of something that was already in the spontaneous consciousness of the majority of honest people, who are the majority, who repudiate the crimes of imperialism and reaction, which they commit daily all over the world, who repudiate their revisionist servants.
We think that the journalists who have worked to make this report that appeared in El País with the title RECONSTRUCTING THE MELILLA MASSACRE, NOVEMBER 29, 2022, as journalist of this bourgeois media, have done a good job to make known one aspect of what really happened and that the rest was not within their reach and they could not go any further, they were commissioned to make us see the trees to hide the forest. Now we can move on.
For us, the particularity of what happened on June 24 lies in the situation due to the knowledge of the audio-visual material that shows how this genocide was carried out. That is, it shows the execution of the massacre in its entire process, by agreement and concert between the repressive forces of both states, protected, in turn, by agreement and contracts, by laws and protocols. For us there is no doubt that it is not a question here of what is common to these massacres, i.e. the sharing of roles for the crimes committed in application of the “migration control”, between the representatives of the imperialist states of the EU and the representatives of the African semi-colonial (servant) countries, one as a mediating or mandating author and the other as a direct author; In this case, it is about a perfect identity between the intellectual and material perpetrators of the massacre established by agreements for these state crimes, and it is not possible to divide the crime scene as one of the reactionary “denouncing” newspapers and the “investigators”, who are quoted there, claim when they say:
“The pictures clearly show people in a serious condition in an area of the border crossing point. A survivor and members of the Moroccan security forces who were filmed while dragging bodies suggest that at least one person died on Spanish territory, a short distance from our agents. The investigation shows that at least one minor was among those being returned to Morocco, and it seems logical that there were also injuries in a tragedy in which at least 23 people lost their lives. We are talking about respect for human rights on our land border, and we demand transparency, self-criticism about what went wrong to cause such a dramatic result, and a willingness to put mechanisms in place to ensure that it does not happen again. Five months later, none of this was present in the appearance of Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska, who insisted on rejecting any questioning by the media, Congress, the Ombudsman, the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, the UN and UNHCR. All of them have considered that there is indeed matter for investigation”.
When they talk about investigating etc., it is for them about calming consciences, about cleaning up their states, trying to make what is behind the massacres look like human failures or incapacities of the officials. For them, it is about whether the immigration and related regulations of these European imperialist states have been observed. States, which seek to control immigration from south to north. Controlled immigration means, according to the labour force needs of the imperialist countries, of fresh blood requirements that they need: the monopolies generated by the finance capital, to keep their economy running, and to respond to the strategic needs of troops, coming from the oppressed countries (cannon fodder) in the following decades ahead of this 21st century. All of the above is an expression of its advanced process of decomposition, always through state violence, following what has been established since the origin of capitalism of seeking to maintain a balance between the needs of capital and the quantity of labour power.
History repeats itself and will continue to repeat itself until imperialism and reaction are wiped off the face of the earth through world revolution. The history of genocides will continue to repeat itself, as long as the proletariat and the African people do not sweep away the three mountains that oppress them through people’s war. As long as this does not happen, the armed and police forces of the imperialist states, acting in agreement and concert with the armed and repressive forces of the landlord-bureaucratic states in their service, will continue to bathe to their heart’s content in the blood of the poor masses of Africa, like modern Tancreds, vainly trying to stop the population movement from south to north. These population movements are the announcement that we are on the march to end imperialism in its own metropolis.
Almost in conclusion, the Editorial of the newspaper in question, without blushing for its cynical cover-up of the responsibility of its government and its beloved minister of the interior, says:
“Even supposing that there had been no deaths on Spanish soil, although witnesses and recordings from the EL PAÍS investigation assure that there was at least one, perhaps the key question is the one asked by the PNV deputy Mikel Legarda: can Spain ignore what happens a few metres from its border post?”
Gentlemen of the monopoly of the international press and “investigators” of the Congress, of the Ombudsmen, of the Council of Europe, etc., all the questions that you ask yourselves, to try to make yourselves look very concerned about the “tragedy”, are insubstantial because they are made with the purpose of trying to ignore the reality of what happened and which have been shown in images, which demonstrate the existence of unity of plan or genocidal purpose, unity of action, unity of result and the scene of the crime that covers the border of both states. Keep on claiming, gentlemen of the bourgeois press, to try to cover up your true colours and those of your masters. We suggest you to read better the own report produced by your own newspaper, we refer to the report: AGONY ON BOTH SIDES OF THE MELILLA BORDER, A JOINT INVESTIGATION BY EL PAIS AND LIGHTHOUSE REPORT […].
Now, we quote from the reporters’ report, the summary account of their investigation into the events of the genocidal massacre, although their assessments and evaluation of responsibilities are not as conclusive as the facts they expose and, in essence, remain in line with the editorial of the newspaper El Pais, their employer. We therefore recommend reading the report together with the editorial, which we have taken as the basis for our criticism in this article. We quote below some parts in extensum of the report RECONSTRUCTING THE MELILLA MASSACRE, NOVEMBER 29, 2022:
“The biggest loss of life at a European land border in living memory occurred this year and it was barely reported at the time. On June 24, 2022 at least 23 people died and 77 remain missing after a group of African asylum seekers attempted to enter a border post in Melilla, a Spanish exclave on the coast of North Africa.
Despite the appalling death toll, serious questions remain unanswered by Spain and Morocco over what happened. Spain continues to deny that any deaths took place on its territory and has given only a partial account of its role despite having at least two sources of aerial footage documenting the events that unfolded on the day.
The lack of sustained and independent reporting on the day of chaos and death has so far prevented any serious shortcomings in the countries’ accounts from coming to light. Lighthouse Reports and partners undertook the most advanced visual investigation to date to establish fully what happened at the border post and how an attempt to seek protection in Europe led so many people to a violent death.
Our reporters were able to see hours of unpublished footage of what happened, which revealed how a deadly crush took place partly inside Spanish territory.
In the days preceding the deadly event, witnesses told us that Moroccan authorities raided the mountains where people hoping to cross the border were staying in Nador, a city in the northeast of the country, and prevented shopkeepers from selling them food. They told us the authorities initiated violence for four days before threatening people with a 24-hour ultimatum to leave the mountains on June 23.
A group of hundreds of people headed to the border post in the early hours of the following day. Through analysing video footage, we were able to establish that Moroccan security officers waited for people at the border post, and only advanced towards them once they had entered a courtyard-like space, effectively trapping them before firing tear gas at the group.
Our analysis of the use of tear gas shows how Moroccan police fired at least 20 canisters in under 10 minutes into the enclosed space in which people were attempting to open the door to the border post. Survivors also report being shot by rubber bullets by Moroccan authorities while trying to enter.
Ibrahim, 27, was among the hundreds of asylum seekers who tried to reach Spain on the day. He was caught in the deadly crush, and witnessed his friend, Abdul Aziz Yacoub, (Anwar) die. He told us that he witnessed Moroccan authorities beat Anwar before he died, in Spanish-controlled territory.
A video of Anwar’s body inside the Spanish border post was circulated widely. In it, authorities are heard confirming the man’s death. Six months later, Anwar’s family is still waiting to retrieve his body.
Spanish and Moroccan authorities collaborated in approximately 470 pushbacks. In Spain, Guardia Civil officers shot rubber bullets at asylum seekers. In total, 65 rubber bullets were shot by Spanish authorities and at least 85 gas canisters were used, according to Guardia Civil sources.
Sam,16, described how once he reached Spain, authorities fired tear gas towards the group of people he was with. He said his hands were tied and he struggled to retain consciousness before he was “dragged on the ground from Spanish territory to the Moroccan side”. Some survivors said they were pushed back from Spain while unconscious.
After hundreds were returned from Spain, our analysis shows that people were left for at least three hours under the sun in Moroccan territory. Several interviewees describe seeing dead bodies on the Moroccan side of the border post.
Despite the many injuries sustained on the day – some of them fatal – medical assistance was not mobilised in time to help people in Morocco or Spain. In Melilla, an ambulance was parked 100 metres from the border, but officials said they couldn’t get closer for safety reasons. In Morocco, ambulances were present throughout the day, but they were reportedly used predominantly to remove dead bodies.”
But capitalism and the bourgeois state, from its earliest origins to the present, as monopoly or imperialist capitalism, cannot exist without this history of crimes and horrors against the masses of the world, as Marx wrote in Capital, establishing the definitive judgement or condemnation of capitalism. Marx says:
“The discovery of gold and silver in America, the extirpation, enslavement and entombment in mines of the aboriginal population, the beginning of the conquest and looting of the East Indies, the turning of Africa into a warren for the commercial hunting of blackskins, signalised the rosy dawn of the era of capitalist production. These idyllic proceedings are the chief momenta of primitive accumulation. On their heels treads the commercial war of the European nations, with the globe for a theatre. It begins with the revolt of the Netherlands from Spain, assumes giant dimension in England’s Anti-Jacobin War, and is still going on in the opium wars against China, &c.
The different momenta of primitive accumulation distribute themselves now, more or less in chronological order, particularly over Spain, Portugal, Holland, France, and England. In England at the end of the 17th century, they arrive at a systematical combination, embracing the colonies, the national debt, the modern mode of taxation, and the protectionist system. These methods depend in part on brute force, e. g., the colonial system. But they all employ the power of the State, the concentrated and organised force of society, to hasten, hothouse fashion, the process of transformation of the feudal mode of production into the capitalist mode, and to shorten the transition. Force is the midwife of every old society pregnant with a new one. It is itself an economic power.
Of the Christian colonial system. W. Howitt, a man who makes a speciality of Christianity, says:
‘The barbarities and desperate outrages of the so-called Christian race, throughout every region of the world, and upon every people they have been able to subdue, are not to be paralleled by those of any other race, however fierce, however untaught, and however reckless of mercy and of shame, in any age of the earth.‘
The history of the colonial administration of Holland — and Holland was the head capitalistic nation of the 17th century —
‘is one of the most extraordinary relations of treachery, bribery, massacre, and meanness‘.
Nothing is more characteristic than their system of stealing men, to get slaves for Java. The men stealers were trained for this purpose. The thief, the interpreter, and the seller, were the chief agents in this trade, native princes the chief sellers. The young people stolen, were thrown into the secret dungeons of Celebes, until they were ready for sending to the slave-ships. An official report says:
‘This one town of Macassar, e.g., is full of secret prisons, one more horrible than the other, crammed with unfortunates, victims of greed and tyranny fettered in chains, forcibly torn from their families.’
To secure Malacca, the Dutch corrupted the Portuguese governor. He let them into the town in 1641. They hurried at once to his house and assassinated him, to ‘abstain’ from the payment of £21,875, the
price of his treason. Wherever they set foot, devastation and depopulation followed. Banjuwangi, a province of Java, in 1750 numbered over 80,000 inhabitants, in 1811 only 8,000. Sweet commerce!
The treatment of the aborigines was, naturally, most frightful in plantation colonies destined for export trade only, such as the West Indies, and in rich and well-populated countries, such as Mexico and India, that were given over to plunder. But even in the colonies properly so called, the Christian character of primitive accumulation did not belie itself. Those sober virtuosi of Protestantism, the Puritans of New England, in 1703, by decrees of their assembly set a premium of £40 on every Indian scalp and every captured red-skin: in 1722 a premium of £100 on every scalp; in 1744, after Massachusetts-Bay had proclaimed a certain tribe as rebels, the following prices: for a male scalp of 12 years and upwards £100 (new currency), for a male prisoner £105, for women and children prisoners £55, for scalps of women and children £50. Some decades later, the colonial system took its revenge on the descendants of the pious pilgrim fathers, who had grown seditious in the meantime. At English instigation and for English pay they were tomahawked by red-skins. The British Parliament proclaimed bloodhounds and scalping as ‘means that God and Nature had given into its hand’.
The colonial system ripened, like a hothouse, trade and navigation. The ‘societies Monopolia’ of Luther were powerful levers for concentration of capital. The colonies secured a market for the budding manufactures, and, through the monopoly of the market, an increased accumulation. The treasures captured outside Europe by undisguised looting, enslavement, and murder, floated back to the mother-country and were there turned into capital. Holland, which first fully developed the colonial system, in 1648 stood already in the acme of its commercial greatness.
‘In the year 1866 more than a million Hindus died of hunger in the province of Orissa alone. Nevertheless, the attempt was made to enrich the Indian treasury by the price at which the necessaries of life were sold to the starving people.
It was ‘in almost exclusive possession of the East Indian trade and the commerce between the south-east and north-west of Europe. Its fisheries, marine, manufactures, surpassed those of any other country. The total capital of the Republic was probably more important than that of all the rest of Europe put together.’
Gülich forgets to add that by 1648, the people of Holland were more overworked, poorer and more brutally oppressed than those of all the rest of Europe put together.
With the development of capitalist production during the manufacturing period, the public opinion of Europe had lost the last remnant of shame and conscience. The nations bragged cynically of every infamy that served them as a means to capitalistic accumulation. Read, e.g., the naive Annals of Commerce of the worthy A. Anderson. Here it is trumpeted forth as a triumph of English statecraft that at the Peace of Utrecht, England extorted from the Spaniards by the Asiento Treaty the privilege of being allowed to ply the negro trade, until then only carried on between Africa and the English West Indies, between Africa and Spanish America as well. England thereby acquired the right of supplying Spanish America until 1743 with 4,800 negroes yearly. This threw, at the same time, an official cloak over British smuggling. Liverpool waxed fat on the slave trade. This was its method of primitive accumulation. And, even to the present day, Liverpool ‘respectability’ is the Pindar of the slave trade which — compare the work of Aikin  already quoted — ‘has coincided with that spirit of bold adventure which has characterised the trade of Liverpool and rapidly carried it to its present state of prosperity; has occasioned vast employment for shipping and sailors, and greatly augmented the demand for the manufactures of the country’ (pp. 338-339). Liverpool employed in the slave trade, in 1730, 15 ships; in 1751, 53; in 1760, 74; in 1770, 96; and in 1792, 132.
Whilst the cotton industry introduced child slavery in England, it gave in the United States a stimulus to the transformation of the earlier, more or less patriarchal slavery, into a system of commercial exploitation. In fact, the veiled slavery of the wage workers in Europe needed, for its pedestal, slavery pure and simple in the new world.” (Marx: Kapital, Book I, chapter XXXI, Genesis of the industrial capitalist)