Socialists should give no political space whatsoever to the “reasons” behind the cowardly attacks in Spain and Finland. We condemn these attacks, carried out in the name far-right Islamism and violent jihad. Our sympathies are with those affected.
It seems the attack in Las Ramblas Barcelona was part of a planned attack, by 12 men. This was exposed when a gas explosion in a building killed two men likely to have been making bombs and storing explosives. The Sagra Familia Cathedral may have been chosen as their next target.
The choice of a popular tourist area shows a similarity with the attacks in Nice, Westminster Bridge, and London Bridge. Eight of the perpetrators are now dead and include Imam Es Satty a supposed key figure in the radicalisation of the young Spanish and Moroccan men involved in the attack.
He spent three months in the town of Vilvoorde in Belgium from which 20 jihadists travelled to Syria in 2014.
Daesh has once again claimed the attack but any direct connection between their leadership and the attackers is, if real, not yet known. The Spanish government has come into conflict with Catalan officials over whether the cell has been formally dismantled or if there may be other members still planning attacks. The US has told Spain it was unacceptable for the attack to have happened, given US intelligence was made available to them. The attack will possibly prompt a rethink of policing and intelligence across Europe. It may mean civil liberties will be further curtailed and more harassments of Muslim communities. The Spanish Popular Party government is intent on more police-state measures.
This follows the passing of a National Security Law, a response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks, which allows far wider powers to be used by the government in a time of “emergency.” If Spain raises its terror alert level it can deploy 5,000 soldiers onto the streets. The last time that occurred was under the rule of the fascist Franco dictatorship.
The stabbing of six people in Turku is the first terror attack ever recorded in Finland. The lone attacker who targeted women was apparently a Moroccan and, until recently, living in asylum accommodation. Such a revelation will bolster the Finnish far-right and their main political representatives, the True Finns Party who have already used it to stoke up anti-Muslim and anti-refugee rhetoric.
Finland has accepted many more Syrian refugees then the UK, even with its much smaller population. This decision has been a major target for attack by the True Finns.
In both of these latest attacks, as elsewhere, human solidarity surfaced; people, including a paramedic, put their lives at risk to try and help. Solidarity and the politics of hope and liberation are what we need to fight back against the reaction and barbarity of these attacks.