Pablo Hasél: Repentance is not freedom

Pablo Hasél Photo: Insurgente

In February, Spain’s Supreme Court sentenced leftist Catalan musician Pablo Hasél to 2 years and 9 months in prison for his outspoken activism against the monarchy, fascist movements and police terror. Later, the court added 16 months to his sentence for non-payment of a fine. Read more about Pablo Hasél’s case here.

As soon as they imposed the additional 16-month sentence for telling proven facts about the monarchy and police brutality, the prison psychologist came to offer me a treatment program to be able to access the third degree permits that they give to the majority of prisoners (once a quarter of the sentence has been served). These permits consist of leaving prison for a few hours, then a few days, and thus progressively shortening the sentence. But they are not in exchange for nothing, especially in the case of political prisoners for whom “reintegration” means jumping through hoops by denying the just and necessary struggle for which we were kidnapped. 

The psychologist, extorting me with a long stay in prison if I did not accept, intended to strip me of my principles by making me accept this insulting program based on “reviewing my expressions and emotions” to “empathize with the victims” of armed self-defense — a dishonest regret that from the first day I made very clear that I will never assume.  

Therefore, I replied that I was being disrespected and that if I am incarcerated, it is precisely because I have great empathy with the real victims of the oppressors’ terrorism. They do not hesitate to impose all kinds of criminal policies, misery, exploitation and lack of freedoms with armed force. My response was to go to them and speak about the empathy they lack. That’s too much for them. They imprison you for solidarity and above all they want you to pretend to empathize with those who oppress you! Wanting to control even our emotions is outright fascism. How delusional if they believe that I can stop feeling hatred against the oppressors who beat us in so many ways! It would be to stop feeling love for the oppressed.

The twisted blackmail focused on “you have to worry about yourself and take care of yourself,” meaning that this is only possible if I agree to spend less time in prison in exchange for crawling. As if I could care for myself and take care of myself without being true to my conscience, which is the most valuable thing I possess! They don’t understand that we revolutionaries are not driven by individualistic interests. We would feel much worse out on the street, having given them the repentance that their repression seeks, than in prison with our heads held high for continuing to defend our principles. This false concern for me is also offensive when they do not care about the dire conditions we suffer in prison or the unjust conviction. The only thing they care about is taming you.

There are those who do not understand this consistent attitude in the face of repression, influenced by the opportunistic positions of domesticated organizations that do not pose any danger to the regime. They encourage people with the idea that to get out of jail, anything goes. However, this strengthens the forces of repression, because not only do they get their enemies to delegitimize the struggle, but by recognizing that they have done wrong, it legitimizes them to repress others. To do that in the name of the struggle is intolerable. 

Logically, I am the first one who wants to see myself out of jail, but not in any way or at any cost. Political prisoners must leave as we enter: revolutionary and unrepentant. If we are freed early, it is due to the pressure of solidarity and not by submitting. So if the struggle doesn’t prevent it, I will have to serve the entire sentence, but I will not renounce my integrity. Leaving earlier by agreeing with them would be a victory for the state, a false freedom. We don’t fight for that, but quite the opposite. That is what the demand for total amnesty includes: freedom of all political prisoners without any surrender.

Translated by Greg Butterfield

Source: Insurgente

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