Spain

The arrest of Carles Puigdemont in Germany on Sunday morning was an escalation of a strategy of repression against those who dared call an independence referendum in Catalonia on 1 October. On Friday, five other politicians were jailed and another went into exile. These moves were met with a surge of anger from below, with mass demonstrations and road blockades on Friday and Sunday. Tens-of-thousands in the streets had two main slogans: "General strike" and "Parliament should decide who’s president".

For weeks pensioners have been protesting across the Spanish state against the government’s decision to increase state pensions by a paltry 0.25 percent (against a 1.6 percent inflation rate). The largely spontaneous movement has been growing and is now calling on other sectors of society to join in mass demonstrations on Saturday, 17 March.

What happened in Spain on International Working Women’s Day was remarkable. A commentator in the Barcelona daily El Periódico described it as “more than a strike, almost a revolution”. Over 6 million workers, mainly women but also men, came out on strike, the first time a strike had ever been called to mark 8 March. Hundreds-of-thousands participated in huge demonstrations in over 120 cities in a mass movement that can only be compared to the indignados in 2011 or the huge anti-war marches of 2003.

Ahead of the 8 March International Working Women's Day strike, Lucha de Clases published this article explaining that the struggle for women's liberation is also a fight against capitalism, which entrenches gender inequality. The article calls for a general strike and unified action by men and women workers to overthrow the chauvenistic capitalist system. The incredible success of the women's strike has changed the entire situation in Spain, as Jorge Martin explains; and such unified struggle against exploitation and oppression must be adopted going forward.

El domingo, el pueblo de Barcelona expresó masivamente su rechazo a la monarquía borbónica. Una monarquía que es heredera directa del franquismo, que fue utilizada por las oligarquías de la dictadura como salvaguarda de sus intereses, que está hundida en la corrupción y goza de una impunidad desvergonzada, con una fortuna nunca explicada y que, por encima de todo, se implicó de manera directa en la represión contra los derechos democráticos de los catalanes y catalanas, sobre todo a raíz del discurso autoritario y neofranquista del rey el 3 de octubre. Una monarquía que ha sido rechazada en las urnas por el pueblo catalán en tres ocasiones, el 27 de septiembre de 2015 y el 1 de octubre

...

Han pasado casi cuatro décadas desde los dramáticos acontecimientos del 23 de febrero de 1981, y aún permanecen grabados en mi memoria como si hubieran sucedido solo ayer. Había vivido en España desde enero de 1976, cuando participé en la lucha clandestina contra la dictadura de Franco.

On the anniversary of the 1981, '23-F' coup attempt in Spain, we republish a 1981 article by Alan Woods, political editor of Nuevo Claridad. This article was later translated and re-released in the Militant(UK), along with an editorial comment (also republished). Alan provides a new introduction explaining the circumstances surrounding the article's publication.

In the past few days, the level of repression, intimidation and blatant authoritarianism exercised by the rotten Spanish ‘78 regime has reached unprecedented levels. It is enough to make one’s blood boil. On 20 February, Communist rapper Valtonyc was sentenced to three years and six months in prison for "lèse majesté" (insulting the crown) and “glorifying terrorism” in the lyrics of one of his songs.

La clase dominante y su aparato de Estado están decididos a hacer cualquier cosa para dar un escarmiento al independentismo catalán e impedir la investidura de Puigdemont como President de la Generalitat. Para ello, están pisoteando sus propias leyes en una deriva autoritaria que también apunta contra los movimientos de lucha y resistencia de la clase obrera que se dibujan en el horizonte. Si la excusa para violentar su propia legalidad burguesa es la “situación excepcional” catalana, ¿cuánto más no van a justificar mañana acciones similares y más graves cuando tengan lugar, a su entender, “situaciones excepcionales” en el resto del Estado?

When the Catalan government declared a republic, the Spanish regime answered by sacking it, dismissing the Catalan Parliament and calling fresh elections on 21 December. That election was another defeat for the Spanish regime as it delivered, again, a pro-independence majority. Unable and unwilling to respect the democratic will of the Catalan people, the Spanish regime is now using all means at its disposal to prevent Carles Puigdemont from being elected as Catalan president. In the process it is revealing the profoundly undemocratic nature of the regime that was established in 1978.

El régimen neofranquista español fracasó en su objetivo de impedir la mayoría absoluta del independentismo catalán en el Parlament y desalojarlo de la Generalitat. No obstante, alardea de haber disciplinado a los dirigentes de ERC y del PDECAT para que abandonen la vía del independentismo unilateral, y se felicita por haber establecido una cabeza de puente reaccionaria en las zonas obreras de mayoría castellanohablante, principalmente a través de Ciudadanos. Sin duda, pretenden estimular un enfrentamiento entre los trabajadores catalanes en líneas nacionales. Este es un enorme peligro que los obreros españoles y catalanes deben combatir firmemente.

The Catalan elections on 21 December represent a slap in the face for the strategy of the Spanish government: of introducing direct rule to smash the independence movement. The Spanish ruling party has been reduced to 3 seats in Catalonia and the pro-independence bloc has once again won an overall majority in the Catalan Parliament.

The Catalan elections of 21 December take place in exceptional conditions of repression and limitation of democratic rights. The elections have become a battleground to legitimise (or not) a coup by the 1978 regime, in which article 155 of the Spanish constitution was used to dismiss the Catalan government and disband the Catalan parliament. With two days to go, the result of the elections is hard to predict.

The following statement was produced by comrades from the Catalan section of the International Marxist Tendency, REVOLUCIÓ. It outlines comrades’ support for the CUP in the “illegitimate and imposed” 21 December Catalan regional election, to undermine the ‘78 regime, and also outlines the tasks for the movement for a Catalan Republic.

Events in Catalonia in the last two months represent the biggest challenge ever faced by the Spanish regime since its establishment in 1978. The explosion of the masses on to the scene has acquired at points insurrectionary features. Where does this movement come from? What is its character and how can it move forward in the face of Spanish state repression?