(Translation and footnotes by D. Breatnach)
(Reading time: 4 mins.)
TINKO is an independent organization created to work for COMPLETE AMNESTY. As an amnesty organization, it intends to create the necessary means to fight against repression with its scope of work being the Basque Country.
As its name indicates2, it intends to reflect the attitude of determination and commitment of some political prisoners3 in these difficult times. Along with the dignity and toughness that is being maintained, there must be constant struggle in the streets.
It is our responsibility to keep the flame of the struggle burning; for this reason, we see it more necessary than ever to organise ourselves.
TINKO’s understanding of repression goes beyond reporting each case in isolation, since each of these cases responds to a general repressive situation.
The states are the ones that speak of the individualised treatment of prisoners, denying their political nature and hindering solidarity. Therefore, our duty in this regard is to promote unity and solidarity.
It is the slogan of COMPLETE AMNESTY that offers this overview of the aforementioned repression, as well as the political solution that opposes this repression.
Full amnesty includes freedom from all political repression without exclusion, as well as overcoming the underlying causes of repression, such as national and social oppression.
Therefore, TINKO is an organization made up of ideologically-conscious activists, who want to make their contribution in the field of anti-repression towards a Basque Socialist State.
If the intensity of the struggle is met with repression, it will be our task to counter that repression, to try to facilitate the conditions for the struggle.
It is necessary to take a broader reading of repression, paying attention to reality with the intention of joining our forces.
We aim to create a broad movement against the repression that upholds the interests of the political victims of the struggle cycles of yesterday, today and tomorrow, that will always be in accord with the declaration of complete amnesty and not establish differences according to the struggles carried out.
It is necessary to underline the enormous generosity of the militants who suffered the repression of the previous phase. They have been our compass even in the bleakest times and they continue to be so today.
Total amnesty is our strategic objective and we do not define it in a purely legal way but instead in a political way.
Amnesty includes the unconditional release and freedom of prisoners, fugitives, refugees and political deportees and also the resolution of the reasons that motivated these people to fight for their fundamental rights, in the case of the Basque Country, against national and social oppression by the Spanish and French states.
Only ending the denial of our rights can ensure that prisons do not fill up anew after they have been emptied. These are the other measures that a full amnesty should include, along with the aforementioned freedom from political repression:
- The right to self-determination
- Abolition of repressive laws against the working class. Repeal the labour reform laws, the muzzle law, the party law and the anti-terrorism law4.
- Dismantle and expel the repressive and occupying forces from the Basque Country.
As we said at the beginning, TINKO intends to create the necessary means to combat repression.
We consider it necessary to create useful tools to organise in cases of repression, which allow the creation of effective solidarity networks for the protection of those who suffer repression for being active in different fields.
In addition to organising instruments for protection in the courts, insisting on repression as being general and calling for total amnesty. While the net would be politically wide, victims of repression would receive protection according to the following minimum essentials:
Joining the call for total amnesty.
Feeding the network itself, that is, strengthening the network against other cases of repression.
Putting the collective before the individual.
Not denying access to basic political rights in a possible trial: the right to political organization, the right to demonstrate, the right to assembly and the right to freedom of expression.5
1Tinko was founded some months after an internal dispute inside the Amnistia organisation in the autumn of 2020 about whether to support a demonstration in Madrid or not. Amnistia itself, as with Tinko, grew out of the perceived necessity to resist repression in order to move forward in struggle, while the official leadership of the left-nationalist movement was adapting itself to the requirements of the Spanish State.
2“Tinko” means ‘firmness’ in the sense of ‘resolved/ standing firm’.
3Note the qualification “some”: the leadership of the Basque prisoners’ organisation and of the relatives’ support group, Etxerat, followed the abandonment of the revolutionary path by the leadership of the Basque Izquierda Abertzale mass movement. Most of the prisoners followed the leaders’ line, which entailed prisoners not calling themselves “political” prisoners, not joining any protests and seeking parole as individuals, including apologising for their previous actions. The leadership dropped the call for Amnesty and confined their demands to an end to the dispersal of prisoners away from their home areas.
4In brief, laws restricting the right to strike and to record and disseminate police violence, along with laws permitting repression of political activists.
5There is a practical reason for the inclusion of this requirement: The Spanish State demands the political activists it arrests apologise for their resistance and undertake not to repeat it. Shamefully and to the shock of many, in September 2019, 47 activists in three organisations engaged in prisoner solidarity work, including officials of the Basque Left Movement, in exchange for non-custodial sentences on all but two (who received relatively light sentences) pleaded “guilty” to ‘anti-terrorism’ charges. Doing so endorsed the criminalisation by the Spanish State of prisoner solidarity work and was a great shock to many Basques, including the 50,000 who had demonstrated in Bilbao in solidarity with the accused only days before the trial and had been kept in ignorance of the deal. (See Euskal Herria. Iñaki Gil de San Vicente: “Es inadmisible engañar a 50.000 personas, pactando a sus espaldas” – Resumen Latinoamericano)