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Twitterer Called to Testify in Spain for Gramsci Quotes

Categories: Western Europe, Spain, Citizen Media, Digital Activism, Freedom of Speech, Politics

This article is part of our special news coverage Europe in Crisis [1].

*All links lead to texts in Spanish unless otherwise noted.

A Twitter user and activist with the 15M “indignant” movement, @almu_en_lucha [2], has been called to testify before the Spanish police's Technology Crime Squad regarding the content of some of her Tweets. She made the announcement shortly before being called in to testify:

@almu_en_lucha [2]A punto de entrar a declarar por el contenido de algunos de mis tweets.
@almu_en_lucha [2]: About to go testify about the content of some of my tweets.

Two hours later, as she was leaving, she wrote:

@almu_en_lucha [2]Acabo de salir. Me acusan de escribir tweets violentos. Ha sido tan ridículo que me han enseñado algunos ejemplos como ¡citas de Gramsci!
@almu_en_lucha [2]I just left. They accused me of writing violent tweets. It was so ridiculous that some of their examples were Gramsci quotes!

As almu, a well-known activist, explained in this Tweet, the police charged her with using the network to send violent messages, when some of those Tweets were quotes by notable early twentieth century Italian philosopher, journalist and Marxist theorist [3] [en] Antonio Gramsci.

In 2010, Joaquín Estefanía, a journalist and director of the School of Journalism at Madrid's Autonomous University, wrote an article about the Italian philosopher:

Antonio Gramsci [4]

Antonio Gramsci

En el prólogo de las Cartas desde la cárcel, Fernández Buey remata: “Pero se le puede leer como a un clásico. Y las cartas que escribió desde la cárcel, como un documento histórico de la tragedia del comunismo del siglo XX, como el testimonio de una resistencia que durante décadas hizo a muchos mejores. Como una página del libro blanco de un ideal”.

In the foreword to Gramsci's Letters From Prison, Fernández Buey concludes: “But it can be read as a classic. And the letters that he wrote from prison, as a historical document of the tragedy of twentieth century communism, as the testimony of a resistance that over decades made a difference for many. As a page in the blank book of an ideal.”

Moments later, the awesome effect of the Internet, the Streisand effect [5] [en], turned the accusation on its head. The police threats against freedom of expression and their attempts to intimidate activists were denounced. The hashtag #Gramsci [6] became a trending topic worldwide. It is not the first time that this has happened to Spanish law enforcement: the day that they appeared in the media announcing that they had seized the leaders of  [7]Anonymous España [7], the situation became just as comical [8]:

@manelmarquez [9]A leer! A aprender! Antonio #GRAMSCI [10] (1891-1937) Cuadernos de prisión: http://www.rebeldemule.org/foro/biblioteca/tema7891.html [11] Gracias a @almu_en_lucha [2] recuperamos la memoria
@manelmarquez [9]Read! Learn! Antonio #GRAMSCI [10] (1891-1937) Prison notebooks: http://www.rebeldemule.org/foro/biblioteca/tema7891.html [11] Thanks to @almu_en_lucha [2] we are recovering our memory
@robertolpzdmz [12]Si por lo menos todo esto sirve para que alguien conozca y lea a Antonio #Gramsci [13] bueno será. Le ha salido el tiro por la culata al régimen.
@robertolpzdmz [12]:  If all this at least leads to someone finding and reading Antonio #Gramsci [13] it will be for the best. The regime has shot itself in the foot.
 ‏@Anon_Info_Ops [14]Nuestra solidaridad con @almu_en_lucha [2], citada a declarar por el Gobierno Español por tuitear frases de #Gramsci [13]
@Anon_Info_Ops [14]We are in solidarity with @almu_en_lucha [2], called to testify by the Spanish Government for tweeting sentences from #Gramsci [13]
@SpainRevolt [15]@almu_en_lucha [2] y #Gramsci [13] es lo de siempre, gente que lee y gente que no lee y se asusta. La ignorancia es muy peligrosa señores, lean!
@SpainRevolt [15]@almu_en_lucha [2] and #Gramsci [13] it's the same as always, people who read and people who don't read and it scares them. Ignorance is very dangerous folks, read!
@Akratamondo [16]Hay gente leyendo, citando y comentando a #Gramsci [13] en Twitter! Código rojo!: ‏@ElCheDisparaba [17]
@Akratamondo [16]There are people reading, quoting and commenting about #Gramsci [13] on Twitter! Code red!: @ElCheDisparaba [17]

@ElCheDisparaba: En España hoy es violento citar a #Gramsci.

@ElCheDisparaba: In Spain today it is violent to quote #Gramsci.

This article is part of our special news coverage Europe in Crisis [1].