I am currently doing a fall study abroad in Madrid, and it is a great experience so far, however something has troubled me a little bit. That being, political stickers and posters out of all things.
Something I like to do while walking sometimes is take a look at various stickers people put up. Most of the time they are perfectly normal, but sometimes they are not. Sometimes you end up finding a Hans Hermann Hoppe Pepe out of all things in the middle of DuPont Circle. That is when you question the politics of many people.
In Madrid, I have not seen many Pepes running around, but the political stickers and posters have been rather concerning. While walking down Paseo de la Castellana one day, I saw several pro-Franco and Falange stickers around. It was rather strange to realize that,
- A: Someone took the time in the middle of the night to put these up.
- B: That their still actual Franco supporters in the 21st century running around.
More concerning were the Black Sun stickers I saw in a couple of places. It seems unlike in the United States the far-right in Europe are more public about their views, which makes sense when you read any newspaper but it is different to experience it in person.
However, while disheartening, those stickers were not the strangest things I saw while walking around. A couple of days ago, I saw a poster for this band called Banda Bassotti. I made little mind of it initially, only noting that for some reason the poster looked like Soviet propaganda. However, looking into it, Banda Bassotti seems to be a very strange example of communist internationalism.
According to some research on Italian wikipedia, Banda Bassotti, is a Italian Punk, Ska, and Oi! band founded in the 1980s. It seems that they are a political band, focusing on communism and anti-fascism in Italy. This is however, not the strangest thing going on.
Apparently in 2017 and again this year they went on tour, a normal thing for a band to do. However, one of the locations for their tour along with Madrid is the Donbass region. Seemingly part of a anti-fascist caravan to the Donbass, they not only have done musical events in cities in the Donbass, but have delivered aid to the people of the Donbass.
They started doing this in response to the actions the Kiev government took against the separatists of the Donbass region. While the Donbass seperatists are very pro-russians, their take is semi-understandable for one reason.
Considering one of the most famous Ukrainian regiments in the conflict is the Azov Battalion, who are known to have neo-nazi sympathies, this fear is understandable. When a regiment runs around with a Wolfsangel and even USA Today lands a interview with them admitting to be Nazis, a rush to fight them is a valid position.
As seen with that, it seems that the political posters and stickers so far compared to D.C are more extreme. When I see in D.C posters advertising to fight with the Peshmerga in a international brigade or something as far-out as that, perhaps some equality will be reached.