The long weekend has left three worrying news about the cultural climate in the capital of Catalonia. The most far-reaching has to do with the triumphant shows by Bruce Springsteen, quite an event for rock lovers, who attended from all parts of our country. The controversy lies in the fact that, when greeting, the rocker from New Jersey addressed Catalonia and Barcelona, but did not mention Spain (in addition to pronouncing sentences in Catalan, chop through). Many independentistas took it as a publicity triumphwhile a couple of mass media –TVE and The vanguard– wrongly informed that he had said “Hello Spain” (this last header published a errata). The fact that we are debating this idiomatic detail -which would be anecdotal in any other country- is already a victory for independence, but it is worth analyzing the censorship mechanisms that intervene in situations like this.
How do we know that Springsteen was not a simple lapses? Because we know the Catalan music circuit, where this very weekend a related debate broke out: the emblematic Razzmatazz concert hall had attached a poster in English to a baffle so that two foreign groups that were performing that night -ORK and Lizzard- would have consider: “Due to the current political situation, please avoid the term ‘Spain’ on the stage and opt for ‘Barcelona’ and ‘Catalonia’”, read the message. Did anyone give Springsteen a similar indication? Why should the sensitivity of a few thousand ‘indepes’ weigh more than that of the unionists who come to the stadium? Why does it matter what a gringo star says from the stage?
More important than all this is the growing climate of intolerance that has become Barcelona’s trademark. We have confirmed it, for the umpteenth time, by the information that arrived yesterday from Literal, the Barcelona political book fair, partially financed with funds from the city council directed by Ada Colau. As Martian as it may seem, the organizers made the decision to exclude the classical Marxist publishing house the old molehouse of authors not so suspicious of rightism as Bakunin, Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Iñigo Errejón, Federico Engels, Antonio Gramsci, Francisco Fernández Buey and Lula Da Silva, among others.
Reason for expulsion? “The organizers argue that they do not share certain ideological lines contemplated in the editorial catalogue. So clear. Censorship, like in the old days of Francoism. The organizers declare themselves firm anti-fascists, and it seems to them that the old mole does not meet the necessary requirements to be declared an anti-fascist.” explains the magazine note. Key phrase: “The organizers do not share certain ideological lines contemplated in the editorial catalogue.” What political book fair would that be in which the promoters shared each and every one of the approaches of the texts presented? Probably the annual convention of a sect.
Comparing the cultural splendor of Barcelona in the 1970s and 1980s with its current decadence saddens anyone
More wood: “Now he plays the drum roll, his face to the wind, the denunciation of anything that does not align with his way of seeing the world. She has to close ranks in the face of the threat of fascism, which apparently is imminently going to occupy the institutions. That excludes the debate, the exchange of ideas”, laments the publication directed by Miguel Riera. The only author invoked to justify the ban, during a telephone conversation, was the Italian Marxist and sovereignist Diego Fusaro, who has shared spaces for debate with such relevant Spanish-speaking leftists as Álvaro García Linera, Manolo Monereo and Carlos Fernández Liria. By the way, it is now a tradition for progressive firms such as Enric Juliana, Pedro Vallín and Steven Forti to orchestrate campaigns against the Italian’s presentations in the city.
This is not an isolated event: two seasons ago, Ediciones El Salmón was also censored in Literal for the book Covid-19: the authoritarian response and the strategy of fear. The debate organized around the book was suspended, despite the fact that the organizers acknowledged not having read the book and being guided by fragments that had been sent to them. They refused to discuss the decision with the author, who was prohibited from discussing it when he had already traveled to Barcelona. Everyone can draw their own conclusions, but comparing the cultural splendor of Barcelona in the 1970s and 1980s with its current decline makes anyone sad.