Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Guillermo Zapata, Ahora Madrid, Backed by Podemos, Resigns From Madrid Council over anti-Semitic Tweets.

with 7 comments

Logotipo de Ahora Madrid - Compacto

Ahora Madrid Faces First Hiccup. 

The Local, an English language Spain based site, reports,

Guillermo Zapata, resigned as Madrid’s cultural councillor on Monday just 48 hours after accepting the role under new Madrid mayor Manuela Carmena, amid a row over anti-semitic ‘jokes’ that he tweeted back in 2011.

He had defended himself after tweets dating back to 2011 came to light arguing that they were made in the context of a debate on dark humour and before he went into politics.

On Sunday he closed down his Twitter account and apologized for the damage he caused but the row escalated and Carmena accepted his resignation on Monday afternoon.

The hashtag #ZapataDimision (Resign, Zapata) went viral in Spain, just one day after activists from the Indignados movement that organised mass street protests in 2011 became mayors in Madrid and Barcelona.

Zapata had made deeply offensive jokes about the Holocaust and gas chambers used by the Nazis during World War II. In another tweet, he had also taken aim at a victim of an attack by Basque separatist group ETA.

In a statement posted on social media platform Tumblr on Sunday, Zapata apologized, and said his jokes had been prompted by a debate on “the limits of humour”.

Claiming he did not identify with the content of his own tweets, Zapata said he was taking part in an online debate prompted by the sacking of a columnist of national daily El Pais, after he made a joke denying the Holocaust.

“Now some of those tweets, which were written within the context of a conversation on black humour, have been recovered with the goal of presenting them as though they represented my ideas — while in fact I do not defend them at all,” Zapata wrote.

“I firmly condemn all forms of racism, and, of course, anti-Semitism. I believe the Jewish Holocaust teaches us a lesson that humanity must never forget, so that it is never repeated,” he added.

Guillermo Zapata is a member of Ahora Mardid  – the Madrid election front, which is backed by Podemos, and embraces a range of other forces, including other leftists and citizens’ groups). It defines itself as “«candidatura ciudadana de unidad popular» citizen platform of popular unity, and as a  «partido instrumental sin vida orgánica» (an instrumental party without organic internal life).   Wikipedia on this bloc and its  ‘new politics’: English, Spanish.

This incident perhaps reflects a problem with the entry of ‘new’ political forces without an “organic internal life”.

 

Latest news: Zapata dimite como edil de Cultura por el “dolor generado” por sus tuits.

Guillermo Zapata: “No me interesa mi cargo, solo pedir perdón y que nadie crea que defiendo la violencia”

 

Zapata’s background as a script-writer and cultural activist from the (conservative) ABC:Guillermo Zapata, de guionista anónimo a edil de la discordia.

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Andrew Coates

June 16, 2015 at 11:21 am

7 Responses

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  1. Hm, “only a joke”. Sadly Corbyn’s semi(?)-support for the likes of Hamas isn’t amusing in anyone’s book.

    dagmar

    June 16, 2015 at 5:30 pm

  2. hmm.. >>

    11,060 supporters
    3,940 needed to reach 15,000

    http://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&sl=es&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.change.org%2Fp%2Fpartido-popular-podemos-psoe-exigir-la-inmediata-dimisi%C3%B3n-de-cargos-pol%C3%ADticos-del-pp-que-con-sus-expresiones-han-injuriado-e-incitado-al-odio-la-dimisi%C3%B3n-de-guillermo-zapata-de-ahora-madrid-es-un-ejemplo-que-todo-pol%C3%ADtico-con-frases-desafortunadas-en&sandbox=1

    Seen the media frenzy that has caused some tweets following former Councilman Guillermo Zapata when he was a private citizen in citing cruel jokes in a debate on the limits of humor, can not be left unpunished all insulting, racist They are inciting hatred or political office of PP such as Esperanza Aguirre, Pablo Casado, Jesus Manuel Gonzalez Capon Baralla Mayor, Leon de la Riva, Councilman Pedro Vega, Rafael Hernando, the deputy Andrea Fabra, President of new generations of PP in Huesca José Luis Ferrando or PP councilor in Paredes de Nava Jonathan Head Infante who asked publicly shot in the neck for the secretary general of the party can ( http://www.eldiario.es/meseta/expresion-concejal -PP-Paul-Iglesias_6_322027830.html )

    Deputy links with statements that no jokes, such leaders of the PP.

    Esperanza Aguirre: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TfcSc9-cQ0s

    Rafael Hernando: http://www.elplural.com/2013/11/22/rafael-hernando-ofende-a-las-victimas-del-franquismo-en-13-tv-se-acuerdan-solo-de-sus-familiares-cuando-hay-subvenciones/

    Miscellaneous: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=910112672386834&set=p.910112672386834&type=1

    ===

    This, through a Google Translate fog, appears to offer some decent background and a context – the internet slipstream we all leave behind – which appears relevant not just to Spain.

    http://translate.google.com/translate?sourceid=navclient&hl=en&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.eldiario.es%2Fzonacritica%2FZapata_6_399020095.html

    Paul Canning

    June 16, 2015 at 8:30 pm

  3. Interesting Twitter thread about that ElDiario article. Contains the line “When it comes to politicians of the PP. opinions are a paroxysmal wickedness and tear Galactic veils.” Also a Charlie reference😮

    Paul Canning

    June 16, 2015 at 8:40 pm

  4. Paul, looking at his background as a script-writer and ‘cultural activist’, Zapata seems of no weight whatsoever.

    The problems with him remind me of the mountain of scandals the UKIP fresh intake have created: not exactly ideologically, simply that this kind of ‘instant’ politics attracts egoists and odd-balls.

    Dagmar, Corbyn’s international politics have drawn a lot of criticism, including within the left.

    The ambiguities of his stand on Iran, appearing in Press TV (to cite but one case) have been the cause of a lot of agitation. Some of this was pointed out to him at a public meeting last year by somebody whom modesty does permit me to name.

    The oddest thing is that his failings (except perhaps on Hamas, Hezbollah) are not shared by the international campaigning group he is associated with: Liberation (ex-Movement for Colonial Freedom, known for Fenner Brockway).

    Liberation
    backs the Kurdish struggle, defends Bangladeshi, Sudanese, and other secularists, and on a host of issues is part of the progressive human rights left.

    There are many theories about why Corbyn has a doubtful international stand.

    But this is not an election about his positions on these subjects.

    It’s about the only left candidate in a Labour leader election, in which austerity is the central dividing line.

    Andrew Coates

    June 17, 2015 at 5:23 pm

  5. “There are many theories about why Corbyn has a doubtful international stand. But this is not an election about his positions on these subjects. It’s about the only left candidate in a Labour leader election, in which austerity is the central dividing line.”

    I’d be interested to hear about those theories; though I wouldn’t ask or expect you to post them here. I hadn’t imagined there was any “special” reason why he has these positions, except that he is part of the “identikit” “hard left”.

    Yes, austerity is the central dividing line. But would the Tendance (and, also, the AWL) say the same thing if, say, George Galloway was still in the Labour Party and was the “left “candidate? I doubt it.

    dagmar

    June 17, 2015 at 9:22 pm

  6. Andy: I agree with the point about the Mayor’s group’s issues with where they have sourced candidates from.

    Through the Translate fog I picked out a couple of relevant points from the ElDiario piece which seemed to be echoed in the Twitter thread. The first was the hypocrisy from the right, who were the ones who I understand initially called for Zapata to resign. The second was that younger candidates may well have such embarrassments waiting to be found.

    The latter makes me think of people like MP Mhairi Black who was, again, on the Mark Steel show about Paisley the other day. She said something off on Twitter when she was 18 and it keeps coming back.

    People our great age don’t have this to worry about as much and if we don’t want politicians to just be scrubbed clean robots then we’re still working out what is allowable in an age when the Internet is a frenzied swamp over perceived slights (just like Black’s).

    The whole episode needs proper explaining in English though because what I’ve read sounds like half the story if not less.

    On Corbyn. There is also his role in STWc and that group’s open support for Russian imperialism. Which I would love to hear him challenged on.

    Paul Canning

    June 18, 2015 at 1:12 pm

  7. “There are many theories about why Corbyn has a doubtful international stand.

    But this is not an election about his positions on these subjects.

    It’s about the only left candidate in a Labour leader election, in which austerity is the central dividing line.”

    – Andrew

    So, why shouldn’t the Labour Leadership election be about a candidate’s “international stand” alongside his/her view on austerity?

    Corbyn’s views on international matters seems much the same as Galloway’s, especially on Israel/Palestine.

    Ex-AWL Trot Alan Johnson sums it up well here –

    “You [Corbyn] said: ‘Salah represents his people extremely well’, even though after the 9/11 terrorist attacks Salah wrote this in the October 5, 2001 issue of the weekly Sawt al-Haq w’al-Huriyya (Voice of Justice and Freedom): ‘A suitable way was found to warn the 4,000 Jews who work every day at the Twin Towers to be absent from their work on September 11, 2001, and this is really what happened! Were 4,000 Jewish clerks absent [from their jobs] by chance, or was there another reason? At the same time, no such warning reached the 2,000 Muslims who worked every day in the Twin Towers, and therefore there were hundreds of Muslim victims.’”

    http://leftfootforward.org/2015/06/an-open-letter-to-jeremy-corbyn/

    Corbyn and Galloway form a mutual appreciation society –

    ‘Congratulations to George Galloway on astonishing result in Bradford. Big message here on opposition to wars and austerity.” – Corbyn on twitter

    George Galloway ‏@georgegalloway Jun 15
    Congratulations to Jeremy Corbyn MP and good fortune in the labour leadership contest. If he wins it will change everything…

    https://twitter.com/georgegalloway

    The only political difference I can see between Corbyn and Galloway is that the former is (still) in Labour. Oh, and Respect is pro-EU. I’m still unsure as to how Corbyn is going to swing with that especially as his main backers on the Far Left are anti.

    So, if the so-called Left candidate is a backer of the Jew hating, 9/11 conspiracy theorist (twas the Jews wot done it), Islamist Raed Salah, that’s meant to be ignored in aid of opposition to austerity. Sorry, but no thanks.

    But if the Far Left are saying that the rest of the Labour Leadership candidates are all Blairites of one shade or another, then I’ll take them at their word on that – namely there’s not much to choose between them.

    Except –

    Who best stands a chance of beating the Tories?

    At the moment, I have to admit to considering voting for Liz Kendall. Why?

    1. She stands the best chance in five years time of beating the Tories.

    2. Her win will (hopefully) encourage the Friends of Galloway to leave Labour and form their “bold Socialist Alternative” with assorted Trots, Stalinoids, Islamists, Maoists, anti-Zionists etc etc. This split might even help Labour win.

    As for saying, this is supporting an austerity candidate. Yes, that’s right. But then that didn’t stop me wanting “pro – austerity” Labour this year.

    One last quote on international matters –

    ” I will continue to press for an end to the violence, terror and blockade in Gaza and to a negotiated two state solution, which is the only way to bring lasting security and justice to the Israeli and Palestinian people.”

    – Liz Kendall

    http://www.lizkendall.org/liz-calls-for-end-to-bloodshed-in-gaza/

    Now, there’s an international stand I can agree with.

    John R

    June 18, 2015 at 1:59 pm


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