The New “Nazis” of Spain

Wolf Richter's picture

Wolf Richter

On Saturday, Popular Party Secretary-General María Dolores de Cospedal, number two of the governing party in Spain, said that she knew she was going to get criticized, “but this is pure Nazism.” On Sunday, rather than resigning, she repeated it. For more precision, she added that going to someone’s house to “harass” him “is a totalitarian attitude comparable to what occurred in the thirties in a European country.” A reference to Nazis marking the homes of Jews.

But these “Nazis” are folks who are standing up to the banks and draconian mortgage laws that the government is hell-bent on protecting. And they have a special word for their action: escrache. It had become popular in Argentina in 1995 after President Carlos Menem pardoned collaborators of the Junta. Activists with banners would gather in front of the home or office of a pardoned perpetrator. They’d chant and play music to let neighbors know. While Junta members were beyond the law, they could still be publicly humiliated.

In Spain, escraches were sparked by the implosion of the housing bubble and the coincident rise in unemployment: people fell behind on their mortgages and got evicted from their homes. But unlike in the US, Spanish homeowners borrow under a draconian law where the bank, after the eviction, saddles ex-homeowners with the debt for life.

The law allows the bank to credit the mortgage with only 50% – since 2011 with 60% – of the value of the home, writes Yaiza Hernández in her exposé on escraches. After fees and sky-high default interest, the debt that the ex-homeowner owes is often as high as the original mortgage amount. The law was designed to protect the same banks that ate up subsidies, falsified their books, engaged in dubious transactions, collapsed, and were bailed out with tens of billions of euros.

In 2008, the anger against the banks gave rise to the movement Platform for Mortgage Victims (PAH). It soon established a network throughout Spain. When eviction notices were issued, activists would show up to impede the eviction through their physical presence. In 2010, PAH was one of the groups behind a Popular Legislative Initiative (ILP) to change the mortgage law so that banks would have to cancel the debt after foreclosing on the home – a non-recourse mortgage. They collected 1.5 million signatures, enough to present it to parliament. And in February, 90% of the population agreed that foreclosure should cancel the mortgage.

But the PP government, in its truly democratic manner – it’s already embroiled in A Vast Political Espionage Scandal To Top Off The Sordid Corruption Scandal – didn’t allow the motion to proceed to parliament, despite the outcry it caused. Frustrations rose to the boiling point. Hence escraches.

The PAH started targeting PP Members of Parliament who were blocking the ILP. Activists would gather in front of their homes or offices, chant, and hold up their slogan, written on a pair of round signs: “yes we can,” on the green one, “but they don’t want to,” on the red one (photo). An escrache, according to the guidelines (PDF), is an “informative action” without verbal or physical aggression.

On March 14, the government got slapped in the face by the European Court of Justice which ruled against Spain’s mortgage laws. The government said it would incorporate the ruling into a new law. While evictions continued, Parliament was watering down the reform bill, and the police tried to criminalize the movement and arrest participants. On April 5, at the escrache in front of the house of Vice President Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, the police picked out 30 people. The three ringleaders were fined €1,500 each, 15 others were fined €200 to €250.

When discussing escraches, the PP throws around the words “violence” and “harassment.” Government delegate Cristina Cifuentes called PAH spokesperson Ada Colau and her colleagues “terrorists.” Without consequences. But police efforts to keep activists 300 meters away from the politician’s house was dealt a setback on Tuesday when a court ruled that it was “overreach” – though it allowed some “proportionate” limitations.

But it has a partisan hue. PP MP Celso Delgado, when he found out his house would be targeted, rushed home and ended up discussing the issue of evictions with the activists – not that it changed his or their minds. Non-recourse mortgages “cannot be” he told the press later. “They asked me to break with party discipline,” and vote for the reform initiative. “I said no.” Then he added that it was “noteworthy that in 2011, with the Socialists in power, there were more evictions than in 2012, with the PP in government. And curiously nobody went to protest outside people’s homes then.”

So far, escraches have only targeted PP politicians. Madrid Mayor Ana Botella, member of the PP, hammered it home: in 2011, under Socialist President José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, there were 77,000 evictions in Spain but she has not been heard of any cases of the type of “harassment” that PP politicians have to suffer, she said.

Escraches may be disturbing. Politicians may feel uncomfortable when the weak try to get their point across. And the PAH may protect the left. Yet the reform of the mortgage law is one of the most popular issues and cuts across party lines. Hell-bent on protecting the banks, the PP, steeped in an absurd level of corruption, lashes out viciously and demonizes the activists – with dark overtones. So Cospedal, after equating escraches with “pure Nazism,” issued an ominous warning: “If one day we have something serious to regret, we must look to those responsible for causing the violence.”

Catalonia’s riot police unleashed the untamed fury of the state upon the protestors and cleared Barcelona’s Plaza Catalunya of all occupants. A dense ring of shell-shocked people gathered around the square. I was one of them. A child riding on his father’s shoulders held up a sign: No soy anti sistema, el sistema es anti yo, it said (I’m not anti-system; the system is anti-me). So writes Don Quijones. Read the rest... Europe’s Stark Choice: Resignation or Revolution

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Notarocketscientist's picture


My suspicion is that you will NEVER do anything.  You will fondle your guns n ammo while the govt strips you naked and feeds you dog food rations when the economy implodes.  You'll watch the 1% eat caviar while you shovel dog food past the used by date into your maw and you will gripe and bitch.

But alas, there is salvation for you at hand.  No you don't have to gather together with your Guns N Ammo and open up on Wall Street at lunch time (which will of course only land you in the hang man's noose)

The Spanish have show you the way brothers.  Find our where Corzine lives - or Dimon - or Paulson - or any one of the scores of criminal cocksuckers who are fucking up YOUR lives.  And gather in front of their homes and whenever they come out tear them a new asshole - tell them exactly what you think and what you want.

And if the gestapo throws you out, then choose another target and go to his or her house and hand out the same treatment.  Lord knows there are hundreds if not thousands of deserving cronies who you could target.

So what is it ZH'ERS - are you going to just sit behind your computers and bitch like gossipy housewives with fuck all else to do? 


If I were an American I know fucking well I would be getting off my ass and giving these fucking pricks a piece of my mind.  They who sit amongst sycophants and preen like so many fucking Marie Antoinettes need a cake smeared right into their faces so they get a better understanding of what the repercussions of their criminal actions are to the average person

zipit's picture

Won't be standing on any lawns unless you accept a friendly beat-down by your local jack-booted thugs in riot gear and armed with tasers, tear gas, billyclubs, guns, steel-toed boots: "This problem of selective free-speech has now been exacerbated by the Boston Marathon Bombings.  Oath Keepers had planned and already received a permit for a high profile rally at Lexington Green in Massachusetts (a public venue where one should not need a permit to rally anyway), but the bombings opened the door for the Lexington Board (one member had been trying to undermine the rally from it's inception) to revoke the event.  The excuse given was, of course, that it was for everyone's "safety", and that not enough police were available to secure it.  Though, a secondary event in a nearby town remains approved with little to no trouble.  The right to free speech is NOT subject to the intensity of the times, it is sacrosanct.  Period.  However, many in government today believe that they can rescind our Constitutional liberties whenever the public is distracted enough by disaster."

zipit's picture

Well said.  Inspring, motivating, and yet... true.  The Architect designed the Matrix this way on purpose.  But there is a flaw...

Shevva's picture

*Picks up soap box* Sorry didn't mean to kick it just off to buy a gourd.

JOYFUL's picture

...If it is nothingness that awaits us, let us make an injustice of it; let us fight against destiny, even though without hope of victory...Miguel de Unamuno  September 29, 1864\ December 31, 1936 

jkjacksonhole's picture

There sure is a lot of bullshit in the above discussion.I believe in a keep it simple stupid philosophy.

The NAZI party was the "National Socialist Party"The concepts of socialism have never worked.Why? It supposes to lift up the less fortunate.To do so you must tear down someone. If there are fewer people pulling a cart than riding the cart,the cart does not move.That simple concept is all you need to understand about socialist theory.

FIAT's picture

Hitler was right

Urban Redneck's picture

So let me see if I got this straight...

1) This is a partisan political movement, that refuses to speak out against the party that:

ran on a 2 PLANK PLATFORM of

1) get the hell out out of Bush's Wars so we can focus on building a more fascist police state AT HOME (after the train bombings) and


Now if this draconian mortgage law was already on the books when the Socialists were voted into office... and the Spanish went out and BORROWED MONEY to invest in what was a known housing bubble that the economically illiterate Socialists were OPENLY trying to prick... Then these dumb ass fools are mentally incapable to the point that they should be institutionalized for their own protection or they are the cheap whores of an ASTROTURF mob.

Debtors prisons and indentured servitude is wrong and the laws should reflect that, but these clowns are no better than the thieves they protest against and perhaps they deserve their fate if they are trying to protect the architects of the collapse...

I'll save my sympathy for people who might not have been able to reasonably foresee the forces aligning against them, and are willing to get over the petty partisanship to fight for a better nation.


Stuntgirl's picture

Not exactly.

It is NOT a partisan movement. They target PP politicians because PP has absolute majority and it is the PP who is blocking the people's law initiative.

The PAH, as most everyone, is very well aware of what the socialist government did, but they are no longer in power and obviously you will target whoever is in power now who can actually do something and won't.

At the time the socialists were in power and evictions were carried out, there were also protests, but it takes a while to organize coherently and collect over a million signatures in a 47 million inhabitant country.

Oldwood's picture

You are missing the point. Socialism has always been about protecting the weak and stupid, so the most politically "successful" socialist countries, therefore, must naturally have the greatest concentration of dumbasses. The best aprt is how they are always so totally shocked when the shit hits the fan. Of course its always the evil capitalist that tricked them into self destruction that is the true devil. It would be an interesting world if people actually sought to learn how to best care for themselves in a productive way rather than always trying to game the system for the fast buck.

Bazza McKenzie's picture

Socialism has never been about "protecting the weak and stupid".  It has always been about exploiting the weak and stupid for the politican and then financial advantage of one group of politicians.

besnook's picture

just shoot them already. that is the only speech they will respond to.

RougeUnderwriter's picture

Everyday I read these ZH articles I see Euro zone coming closer and closer to a war between the haves and have nots, North and South, productive, unproductive, rich, poor take your pick. These folks are trending down collectively!


DutchR's picture

And my daily life sees non of that, go figure....


Go smell the roses!

Mountainview's picture

Spain is flying low!

Abi Normal's picture

What was that book again...The Crucible...tourches anyone?

lotusblue's picture

to ease EU PRESSURE,those close to toppling EU rules will be placated with cash.Then it'll move to another social grouping.It's about Divide and conquour!

Meanwhile,they'll (EU) will twist the polis as tightly as possible to ring out the sheckles.

One day they'll over step,as almost in Cyprus,and the Gennie will be out of the bottle and NO putting him back in till anger,rath and, retribution,has been paid suficiantly !

SmittyinLA's picture

You can see why they're hard pushing for a UN gun treaty, probably a lot of money to be made in the worldwide selling US guns, enough to employ every unemployed American in the gun or ammo biz. 

Why should the US give up the global gun biz to the Chicoms and crooked bankers, why do they get the monopoly franchise on gun sales?


Their customers suck  

LuchadorChumba's picture

Spanish Nazi's? Aye aye aye Senor Testilla!

If you grab the megaphone and announce you’re the top Luchador before you win the prize belt, expect to be kicked in the huevos!

Hey, oye... that histler guy, uh...hit-lore... you know... oh yeah... hitler. Pinche Aleman-German is a difficult language to pronounce. Anyways, his cacajuetes got the foot. AYE! Quien? Well, he double crossed (as in 2 crosses that create where one creates and the other removes that creation) another luchador who had bigger, more brawny muscles. Rockeconquistifeller was his original partners name. Mira, the fight went like this... Rockeconquistifeller and Hitler were supposed to tag team the Los Minis fighting team. Instead, Hitler got all nationalistic and arrogant (Lots of hubris when ya got a stash like that ya know). He turned on his team member, Rockeconquistifeller, who he'd taken mucho dinero from (along with MyBM, Ford, and that Bush Baked Beans company). Oh yeah, y tambien... he didn't learn enough occult slam down moves PRIOR to his power play. Too many lightning bolts SS stuff without proper instrucciones.

Don't you make the same mistake me estudiante!

Primero, comprende que that word 'zion' is a loose anagram for 'nazi' (just ignore the 'a' and replace it with an 'o' (those 2 vowels are interchangeable subconsciously)... nazi=zion

You see, the political Xalapa-zionists fighting club were always a luchador opponent of the semites (a type of termite). It was they who slaughtered them in the ring. Ahora amigos, espere y watch, I got some of my top ranked seeing eye luchadors stirring up a fire ant nest between the political Xalapa-zionist luchadors and the islama-luchadors. Should be a real good fight to watch them completely annihilate each other.  That was always our plan! Goddamn we got paciencia.

Then, me amigo, me and you get what we want... a ring all to ourselves. Viva El Luchador!

i-dog's picture

Oye, compadre! ... you were spot on with all details until you got to the hoped for Zionist vs. Islam grudge match. Won't happen ... they have the same coach and share a dressing room! (The Koran was ghost-written by Ashkenazis). However, the Ashkenazis would love to see the Semitic Juden demolished by the ragheads.

You might also mention in future that Nazi comes from AshkeNAZI (I don't know who dreamed up the disinformation that Na-zi comes from National Sozialist, but it's a story that flew). Might also be worth mentioning that the Aryan "master race" is originally from the Ashkenazi homeland of Khazakstan (not Norway or Scandinavia...though Brunhilde and the Valkyries were blondes, they are in fact genetically distinct from the blonde AshkeNAZIs).

Viva El LuchadorChumba!

Abi Normal's picture

Not to be corrective or anything like that....but it was Hister!  De Nada...

Widowmaker's picture

Justice be damned.

Record bonuses.

Mr Whippy's picture

You say "But these “Nazis” are folks who are standing up to the banks and draconian mortgage laws that the government is hell-bent on protecting".

But that is exactly the same argument the Nacional Socialists( not NAZIS) used to at the begining "escrache" the homes of the financiers in Germany which were in the most Jewish.

So obvoiusly the comparison is valid, and in Spain we have a lot of Nacional Socialists from the same social extraction as the Socialists and Communists.



Stuntgirl's picture

You have got to be joking.

The lady in question is absolutely not making the reference you infer with her nazi reference, as she is as brutally uneducated and incapable of original thought as her cronies.

The PP is trying to say these protests are violent and oppressive, and my, when the PP is violent and oppressive, well, you know, it's because the people asked for it.

Let's talk about how she deems that PP voters don't get evicted because they'd sooner pay their mortgage than feed themselves and their children, as they are "decent citizens", and non-PP voters are lazy fuctards who don't need a roof anyway.

The PP is increasingly using classic nazi parlance and rhetoric and that's why these remarks come out of their mouth so easily: "piensa el ladon que todos son de su condición".


Kastorsky's picture

yea, it turns out nazis were the good guys after all

Ghordius's picture

now you confused me. who are the bad guys again?

Ahmeexnal's picture

They wear crowns and pretend to have blue blood, while the rest bows down to them and licks their crusty shoesoles.
You will never see "escraches" against the house of Bourbon.

Stuntgirl's picture

We won't?

Because we just had a massive republican (spanish meaning) demonstration last week.


The Bourbons are not at their easiest right now.

Urban Redneck's picture

No, but if they continue to bungle things as badly as they have for centuries, then we should be due again for some blue-blood letting sometime soon, and I got a hand-me-down tab they still owe on that I wouldn't mind settling once and for all if I'm in the neighborhood.

Joe A's picture

PP politicians and also from PSOE but mostly PP are up to their necks involved in the housing bubble so no wonder they vote against non-recourse mortgages. What kind of inhuman system that anyway? You pay mortgage until you can't and you lose the house but you still need to pay off the rest of the debt.

And if you compare these protesters with Nazis then you really seriously need some history lessons and a visit to a concentration camp in Poland to see what Nazism really entailed.

Sandmann's picture

Britain has full recourse mortgages too

Bazza McKenzie's picture

Britain surely has bankruptcy laws that allow such debts to be absolved in bankruptcy.

Room 101's picture

Most mortgages in the US are full recourse as well.

JOYFUL's picture

Catalonia is the flash point where it all gets real...again.

It was here in the 30s that the anti-statist FAI\CNT could mobilize over a million people in the streets to take on the Guardia and the thugs of left and right all together...

knowing what they did, way back then, about the way all compromise with oppressors -Socialist, Communist, Fascist, Monarchist, etc., leads only to destruction of every movement for justice and the common good... and still ending up crushed, due to Durruti's death, and the sell out by their remaining leaders... it's hard to believe that almost a 100 years later we have had to learn it all over again.

Full circle. Army Infantry lieutenant-colonel Francisco Alaman Castro says that

“the current situation resembles that of 1936...Independent Catalonia? Over my dead body and those of many other soldiers”. We will not make it easy. Although the lion seems to be sleeping, they have no interest in provoking it too much, because it has already given enough proof of its ferocity over the centuries. These plebs are not up to much, if we know how to confront them”.

Even centrist Catalan President Mas has been threatened with military court 'high treason' charges...and this is a guy with all kinds of connections to the banks! Two million marched in the streets of Barcelona Sept 11 2012, for the right to self determination for Catalonia...

if even a fraction of them have taken the trouble to learn what their grandparents generation achieved here before the Stalinist terror disarmed the anti-fascist militias and hunted down the activists, then the storm which Wolf has witnessed brewing is going to be the first true popular uprising against the moneypower in Europe in almost 80 years.  And nowhere else will you see in mentioned(in the English language press)because the power of the Black Flag insurrectionists of Iberia was the one thing that struck terror in the hearts of 'capitalist' and 'commie' alike...and still does in their descendants!  Entre dos Aguas \Paco!

A las Barricadas!

Room 101's picture

So basically these folks are picketing outside the houses of politicians.  And they're branded nazis? What the fuck?

I guess they would know about such things. Afterall, Generalissimo Francisco Franco?  He's still dead. 

gorillaonyourback's picture

Looks like ill be digging into some Spanish history thanks for sparking the interest. The Basque is also interest maybe watch the movie " The Mondragon Experiment" very fair and equitable society

New_Meat's picture

Franco can't be reached for comment.  Nor Krupp, testing out stufffffff.  Nor Hemingway, nor the freakin' communists.

Basquez, well, they've understood for a long time GI.

- Ned

MisterMousePotato's picture

Chevy Chase would remind you, "Franco is still dead."

Edit: (See below.)