Will The Dead Finally Speak? : The victims of Franco’s fascist regime are being uncovered

Vice News produced this report on the mass murders perpetrated by Francisco Franco during his 36 year fascist regime.  He was so blatant in his crimes, so unabashedly unashamed of them, that many of the victims were buried within the communities where they lived.  They were murdered, and their families forced to live with their relatives’ bodies under their own feet for fifty years.

And this video only deals with the mass graves of 100,000 bodies.  It doesn’t touch on the estimated 300,000 stolen children, either victims of the dead or kidnapped by the catholic cult which was complicit in the regime’s crimes.  “Civil war”?  There was nothing civil about it.

Like many other countries, neofascism is on the rise in Spain.  The “leader” of Spain’s fascist movement (in the video below) engages in historical revisionism, denying that the mass murdered victims even existed.  But Spain has two key differences from most countries where ignorant and racist rightwing “populism” took hold: a popular and competent socialist government, and the republican families of the “disappeared”, millions who know about and remember the crimes of the regime.

Unlike Germany or the US where fascist extremism was hidden from view for decades, Spain’s fascists have still been there since the 1970s.  The question is whether they can attract enough mainstream support, or whether Spain’s populace retains its long memory as the dead are being recovered and families may finally get answers and bury their relatives properly.

Spain’s Far-Right Resurgence Comes From Decades of Fascist Organizing

In Spain’s last general election in 2019, the far right achieved its best ever result. With 3.7 million votes (15 percent) and fifty-two seats, Vox became the third-largest party in the Congreso de los Diputados. And it hasn’t stopped advancing. Earlier this year, it joined the government in Castilla y León, Spain’s largest region. If a decade ago Vox didn’t exist, today its leaders appear on prime-time comedy shows — and with general elections slated for 2023, they could soon even be in cabinet.

All this has been a surprise to a certain mainstream mantra. For decades, it had painted Spain as an oasis of democracy, even the only country in Europe without a far right, just because it didn’t show up on election day. But recognizing these forces’ power today is also about facing up to reality. The Spanish far right isn’t just back: it never really went away. Vox is not its only name. That’s something committed anti-fascists have known for over three decades.

Music Rules: Affecting the disaffected, and speaking for the voiceless

Suicidal Tendencies’s self titled debut studio album was released forty years ago on July 5, 1983.  The hit single “Institutionalized” spoke for a generation of disaffected teens like me (then 16) who saw a screwed up world of boomers saying “you’re the problem” despite them being the ones in charge.  We went to their schools, their churches, their institutions of learning.  So how could they say we were “crazy”?

The video is legendary, with cameos from Mary Woronov (queen of the B-Movies) as Mike Muir’s “mother”, and Jack Nance (lead actor in “Eraserhead”) as his “father”.  It’s more than funny, it was relatable for many people, even those who didn’t like this sort of music.

The album “Suicidal Tendencies” had a massive influence on the record industry.  It sold over 100,000 copies in the first year, proving that bands could be successful on independent labels and didn’t need major labels, which many bands and labels benefitted from over the next 20 years.

“ST” was an album that bridged the gap between Punk Rock and Heavy Metal, and heavily influenced Thrash Metal and other genres and bands.  And it wasn’t just musical influence.  Suicidal Tendencies’ members are Latino and Black, which (like Bad Brains) took them far beyond the mostly white Punk Rock audience.  Cypress Hill quoted and sampled “Institutionalized” in their hit song “How I Could Just Kill a Man”.  Seeing people like yourself and hearing people say things that you think and feel is life changing.

The entire album can be heard on this youtube playlist.  The entire album is great.  Another notable song on the album is “I Shot The Devil”, which was (allegedly) renamed from “I Shot Reagan” after being contacted by the FBI.


Running Costs: Car drivers can’t do basic math

One of my favourite facebook groups, “Fuck, and I can’t stress this enough, them cars”, posts a lot of different things.  Some memes, some laughter at bad driving, criticism of driver entitlement some news about traffic terrorists killing people, support for public transit, bicycles, and (as below) about the economic or environmental costs of cars, among other topics.

In response to someone else’s post about “car ownership” in the US, I did a little math about oversized crapwagons (SUVs, five ton pickups, etc.) and the costs of private vehicles versus public transit.  According to Car and Driver, the numbers below are the average monthly costs of paying for and operating a vehicle in the US.

  Average new-car monthly payment:   $648
  Average used-car monthly payment:   $503
  Average monthly premium insurance:   $112
  Monthly average gas cost for 15,000 miles per year:   $270
  Maintenance and repairs:   $119
  Monthly registration, fees, taxes, and miscellaneous:   $12
  Total monthly car cost   $1,161

[Edit: Obviously I can’t do math either, or I’m inattentive and was just looking at the total.]

Notice that I said “paying and operating”, not “owning”, because many are paying for leases, have balloon or buyout payments that they will never afford.  In reality, most of those driving SUVs, oversized pickups, etc., will never hold the title to that vehicle.  And if they do, its book value will be next to worthless because of rising costs in the future.

According to Urban.org, the cost of efficient public transit for Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington metropolitan area would be $2.2 billion annually.

What Would Providing Every City with High-Quality, Zero-Emissions Public Transportation Look Like?

During his presidential campaign, president-elect Joe Biden prioritized transportation investment, particularly in the form of projects to mitigate US carbon emissions and increase access to opportunity for people of color.

In his transition plan, Biden aims to “provide every American city with 100,000 or more residents with high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options.” The US House of Representatives-passed Moving Forward Act promotes a similar ambition to significantly improve transit service across the country.


Improving transit quality in every urban area to, at minimum, conditions in the Dallas region would cost an additional $2.2 billion annually. This would be a 4.5 percent increase nationally in operating budgets but would expand per capita transit service by 30.3 percent for the average urban area.

National funding?  You don’t even need that.

The DFW metropolitan area’s population was 7,637,387 in 2020.  Assuming that only half of the population would use public transit (i.e. kids under 6 don’t pay, school kids pay half price, the very wealthy refuse to use it), and if every one of those half of the population paid an average of $50 per month (less than 1/20th 1/30th of operating a car) that would be $2,291,216,100 in revenue.  That’s enough to fund that entire transit system without federal funding.  At least two million people would no longer be driving, eliminating a massive amount of traffic, pollution, and danger to others.

Anyone who believes private cars are better than public transit is a distracted driver, i.e. too distracted by worrying about their next payment to look at how much they’re wasting.  If people weren’t ignorant and brainwashed to believe the “cars = freedumb!” lie and really knew the costs of private vehicles, they would be raising hell.

Present Company Excepted: When corporations beat education

I just watched Beau of the Fifth Column’s latest video on the Supreme Corrupt‘s “decision” to end Affirmative Action. He attacks ‘legacy’ admissions, which are the people actually stealing places at universities from the more deserving.  After watching, however, I had a thought that he didn’t touch on.  It’s a point he had made himself before, so it’s odd that he left it out.

He previously said that US businesses and corporations are catering and advertising to LGBTQIA people, that they understand it’s good business.  They do it even when corrupt republican “laws” on the books encourage and protect bigotry.  These companies are admitting which side of history is going to win.

The same goes with education.  Young people want an equitable society, and that includes educational opportunities.  US colleges and universities should behave the same way as multinational corporations.  Ignore the Supreme Corrupt, and keep Affirmative Action as policy anyway (along with ending “white affirmative action”, aka “legacies”).  Educational institutions should be doing the same as businesses, telling government that diversity matters.  One would think that “not for profit” would lead the way on this, not for-profit businesses (which are usually owned by conservatives).



Culture Cancelled: Sandblast, 1972-2003

This is just silliness.

Twenty years ago, early July 2003, the last Sandblast event took place in Prince George, British Columbia.  It was a summer “skiing” event held annually from 1972 until 2003. It ended after an infamous accident (below the fold), after which insurance companies refused to back the event.

This was sheer lunacy.  Skiing down a steep gravel embankment of sand and gravel that ended on a ditch and a roadway, what was locally called “the cutbanks”.  The link is to google maps.  You can see the effect of the event’s 32 year history on the hillside in the satellite view.

They used old skis, snowboards, bicycles, or (in the final year) furniture, hoping to win prizes (often, a paid trip to and hotel stay in Vancouver) and maybe some bandages.  Some participants dressed for the event in ski clothes, leather, or at least jeans, while the most foolhardy wore little more than t-shirts and shorts.  Amazingly, in 32 years of events, the worst injuries were a few broken bones, “mild” concussions, and countless severe raspberries from bare skin sliding on gravel.

More below the fold.

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