Catalonia

Yesterday, the Spanish Supreme Court issued sentences against twelve Catalan political prisoners involved in the October 2017 referendum, including nine former ministers, the speaker of the Catalan parliament, and two popular civil society leaders. The proceedings went on for almost two years, during which nine of them were held in pre-trial detention. As expected, the sentences were harsh: between nine and 13 years in jail for the nine held on remand, and fines and disqualification from public office for the other three.

Nine Catalan political prisoners, who have been held in remand for almost two years, have been given lengthy jail sentences of between 9 and 13 years by the Spanish Supreme Court for sedition and misuse of public funds. And what was their “crime?” The organisation of the Catalan independence referendum on 1 October 2017. This is a scandalous, undemocratic ruling that reveals the rottenness of the Spanish 1978 regime. The International Marxist Tendency rejects these outrageous sentences and calls on the labour, socialist and democratic forces of the world to mobilise against them with all their might.

Lucha de Clases (IMT section in the Spanish state) rejects the sentencing of the “Procés” trial, issued by the supreme court, which includes jail sentences of 9-13 years and disqualification from public office for the nine Catalan political prisoners and three other defendants. These sentences again show the authoritarian character of the monarchical regime of ‘78.

In the coming days, the Spanish Supreme Court will issue sentences against nine Catalan politicians involved in the referendum of 1 October 2017. Seven of them have been on remand for almost two years. This includes five ministers from the previous Catalan government, as well as two prominent civil society leaders. In addition, a number of prominent politicians and activists are in exile in Belgium, the UK, and Switzerland, which have refused to extradite them.

On Monday 9 September, in an operation involving 500 Civil Guard police, nine activists of the Catalan Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs) were arrested, and 10 properties were searched. By the end of the day, two of those arrested had been released and the seven others were transported to Madrid, where they will be presented to the National Court on Thursday. What we are witnessing is an attempt to criminalise the CDRs ahead of the sentencing of Catalan political prisoners, and the expected protests against these sentences in the next few days or weeks.

Image: Òmnium

On 12 February, the trial of the 12 Catalan political prisoners began, with the state prosecutor asking for sentences of between 11 and 25 years. The body in charge of passing judgment is the supreme court, which will consider the accusations presented by the prosecutor's office of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement. Their crime: having organised the 1 October 2017 referendum on Catalan independence.

Yesterday, 16 people were arrested by Spanish police in Girona (Catalonia) without a warrant. Amongst those arrested were two local mayors of the anti-capitalist pro-independence CUP, a photojournalist and several activists of the CDRs (Committees for the Defence of the Republic), ANC (Catalan National Assembly), La Forja (pro-independence youth organisation) and SEPC (Catalan Students’ Union).

In Spain, achieving the right to self determination is a revolutionary task. Any attempt to exercise it will meet the frontal opposition of a powerful imperialist state, inherited wholesale from the Francoist dictatorship. This regime will not tolerate any attempt to put into question the sacrosanct unity of Spain. Only mass, militant struggle against the state and the capitalist system on which it rests will conquer the right of national minorities (Catalans, Basques, and Galicians) to decide their future.

The former Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, once again resides in Belgium. He first fled to the country in order to escape conviction for sedition and rebellion by the Spanish state after he (formally) declared the independence of Catalonia on 27 October 2017. Ever since, the Spanish government and judiciary have tried to convince other European states to arrest him and send him back to Spain for trial. So far, they have been unsuccessful. Following a short period during which he was under arrest in Germany, Puigdemont is now back in Belgium.

One year ago, the Catalan independence referendum on 1 October became a turning point in the whole political situation in Catalonia and throughout the Spanish state. What we call the “Republican October” was characterised by an abrupt entry of the masses into the political arena. It saw an impressive mobilisation from below that challenged the apparatus of the state and the hesitation of the leaders of the Generalitat, becoming one of the most important challenges faced by the 1978 regime in 40 years.

One year ago, the Catalan independence referendum on 1 October became a turning point in the whole political situation in Catalonia and throughout the Spanish state. What we call the “Republican October” was characterised by an abrupt entry of the masses into the political arena. It saw an impressive mobilisation from below that challenged the apparatus of the state and the hesitation of the leaders of the Generalitat, becoming one of the most important challenges faced by the 1978 regime in 40 years. It could have gone much further. What was missing?

The following is the latest editorial from Revolució: magazine of the IMT in Catalonia. The Catalan Marxists offer a balance sheet of the political situation in Catalonia and the rest of the Spanish state, and explain the tasks ahead for the left wing of the Republican movement.

Hundreds-of-thousands took to the streets of Barcelona once again on Sunday 15 April to reject Spanish state repression. A key demand was freedom for Catalan political prisoners – the demonstrators marched under the slogan “Us Volem a Casa” (“We want you home”). This came at the end of a week in which the state attempted (and failed) to charge members of the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs) with terrorism. The massive demonstration revealed the resilience of the movement, despite a leadership that is failing to show the way forward.

The Catalan Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CRDs) have come under a sustained campaign of criminalisation. The state prosecutor, the mass media and the political parties of the Spanish regime have all ganged up to brand them as “violent”, demanding that “action should be taken” against them and threatening them with prosecution for “rebellion”. Why are they so afraid of the CDRs?

Yesterday, the Spanish regime’s strategy of repression against the Catalan independence movement suffered a serious blow, when a German court in Schleswig-Holstein decided there were no grounds to extradite Catalan President Carles Puigdemont for rebellion. Additionally, a series of decisions by the Belgian justice system further undermined the position of the Spanish regime.

Lucha de Clases (section of the International Marxist Tendency in the Spanish state) opposes the arrest of Carles Puigdemont in Germany and demands his immediate release. We also demand the release of five Catalan independence leaders arrested on Friday, including the last candidate for the presidency of the Generalitat, Jordi Turull; along with all Catalan political prisoners. Original statement in Spanish here.

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".

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

...

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.

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.

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?

The proclamation of the Republic by the Catalan Parliament on October 27th was short-lived. The Spanish state was ready to crush it decisively, while the Catalan government had no plans and no strategy to defend it. That, however, is not the end of the movement.

 The Catalan general strike against repression, article 155 intervention and for the release of the political prisoners managed to paralyse the country. Despite all difficulties, the strike had a large following in education, the public sector and the media, but was almost non-existent in industry and transport. However, the day was marked by mass road and transport blockades organised by the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs) and mass demonstrations in all cities and towns.

The Spanish state intends to appear as the victor in the unfinished battle against the Catalan independence movement, but the most significant development in these 2 months has been the emergence of the largest movement of civil disobedience in the Spanish state in 40 years.

El Estado español pretende aparecer como el vencedor en la batalla inacabada contra el independentismo catalán, pero el hecho más significativo de lo sucedido en estos dos meses ha sido el desarrollo del mayor movimiento de desobediencia civil habido en el Estado español en 40 años. Este movimiento ha sido protagonizado por millones de personas comunes y corrientes, ha tenido características revolucionarias y ha puesto en jaque al régimen del 78 y a su aparato de Estado heredado del franquismo. Las lecciones a sacar de este conflicto, que está lejos de haber concluido, son preciosas; y ayudarán a forjar la conciencia revolucionaria de la nueva generación, en Catalunya y en todo el

...

The decision to jail eight members of the Catalan government, and to issue an arrest warrant for the Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, along with a further four members of his government, is an unprecedented and very serious violation of basic democratic rights that has revived the Catalan independence movement.

After a week of about turns, indecision and last minute attempts to find a negotiated way out, the Catalan Republic was proclaimed on Friday, October 27. Tens of thousands celebrated in the streets of Barcelona and other Catalan towns and cities.

450,000 marched on Saturday, October 21, in Barcelona (according to local police) with tens of thousands gathering in other towns and cities across Catalonia, to demand freedom for the two Jordis (held without bail on sedition charges) and to reject the Article 155 coup announced by Spanish president Rajoy in the morning.

Avui entrevistem a Vidal Aragonés, regidor a l’ajuntament de Cornellà per Cornellà en Comú-Crida per Cornellà, advocat laboralista vinculat a diferents sindicats de classe més combatius especialment als estibadors, professor de dret laboral a la UAB, i uns dels defensors més eloqüents de la independència des d’un punt de vista marxista.

We publish here an interview by the Catalan paper of the IMT, Revolució.Vidal Aragonés is a town councilor in Cornellà, for Cornellà en Comú-Crida per Cornellà; a labour lawyer linked to different militant class struggle unions (especially to the dockers); professor of labour law at the UAB and one of the most eloquent advocates of independence from a Marxist point of view.

Después de 9 días de euforia españolista desatada en todo el Estado, la crisis en Catalunya podría tomar un nuevo giro con la detención de los máximos dirigentes de dos de las principales organizaciones independendistas, Jordi Sanchez y Jordi Cuixart, de la Asamblea Nacional Catalana y de Òmnium Cultural. En la noche de ayer hubo caceloradas masivas en toda Barcelona y otras ciudades. En Girona, hubo una gran manifestación nocturna y cortes de carretera en algunas poblaciones, como El Masnou. Hoy martes, hay convocadas movilizaciones al mediodía de los estudiantes y

...

Jorge Martin reports on how the arrest of two Catalan officials has reignited the mass movement for independence. The whip of oppression wielded by the Spanish state has driven the masses back into action, the mood is incendiary, and Puigdemont has been left little room for maneuver.

Monday morning, October 16 at 10 am was the first deadline the Spanish government had given the Catalan government to clarify whether it had declared independence or not. That summons sent last week, was part of the legal requirements to implement article 155, suspending Catalan autonomy. Once again, Catalan president Puigdemont gave another inconclusive answer.

El capitalismo español atraviesa su crisis política más grave desde la Transición. El movimiento por la autodeterminación de Catalunya, que tiene un contenido revolucionario indudable, ha puesto en jaque a todas las instituciones del Estado. Todas ellas: el gobierno central, la judicatura, las fuerzas represivas y la Corona se han implicado hasta el cuello para tratar de aplastarlo.

Parecía como si todo estuviera decidido de antemano. El presidente catalán, Carles Puigdemont, iba a acudir al Parlamento catalán y anunciar la formación de una república independiente, como estaba obligado a hacer por los resultados del referéndum del 1 de octubre. Esto sería seguido por la suspensión de la autonomía catalana por parte del Estado español, que había declarado ilegal el referéndum, y tal vez incluso por la detención de los miembros del gobierno catalán por rebelión. Al final, el choque se retrasó, pero con toda probabilidad no se evitó.

It seemed as if everything had been decided in advance. Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, was going to go to the Catalan Parliament and announce the formation of an independent republic, as he was bound to do by the results of the 1 Oct referendum.

#BenvingudaRepública (Welcome Republic): this is the hashtag being used to organise mobilisations today, Oct 10 in Barcelona, when the Catalan president, Carles Puigdemont, will address Catalan Parliament about the results of the independence referendum on Oct 1. Those organising the mobilisations have two aims: to push Puigdemont to actually declare the Catalan Republic and also to defend and protect the session of the Catalan Parliament (the Spanish Constitutional Tribunal already ruled on Friday that a session which was to take place on Monday had to be cancelled).

...

El proceso independentista catalán se encuentra en un momento crítico. La disyuntiva es avanzar o retroceder. El Tribunal Constitucional ha prohibido la celebración del pleno del Parlament de Catalunya del lunes, que debía ratificar el resultado del Referéndum del 1-O y proclamar la República catalana. Desairando el discurso Real, han surgido iniciativas de diálogo por todas partes, con escasa probabilidad de salir adelante. Por su parte, la burguesía catalana se ha alineado abiertamente con el régimen español, y ha iniciado una guerra mediática de amenazas económicas contra su propio pueblo.

Catalonia’s Independence Referendum on October 1 has opened up a major regime crisis in Spain. Braving brutal police repression, hundreds of thousands occupied and defended polling stations so that 2.2 million people could vote on the day. There were images of police officers using hammers to break through the doors of polling stations and then snatching polling boxes from the hands of the people, of police officers using batons against unarmed civilians, including elderly ladies, of police officers throwing people downstairs.

Ayer 3 de octubre, Catalunya vivió una protesta gigantesca contra la represión del Estado, en un clima insurreccional en algunas partes de la comunidad. El gobierno del PP quemó en apenas 15 días todo su arsenal represivo en su intento vano de abortar el Referéndum sobre la independencia del 1-O, y lo hizo arrojando gasolina sobre el fuego en un pastizal seco, provocando un incendio de dimensiones colosales. La acción directa de las masas en la calle ha maniatado todo intento del Estado de aplastar el movimiento por la autodeterminación. Desairado por todo un pueblo, y suspendido en el aire sin apoyos parlamentarios sólidos, el Rey ha acudido en ayuda del gobierno del PP y de

...

The Catalan masses are gearing up for a massive strike movement today, as key unions commit to a nationwide ‘stoppage’ after facing brutal repression by the Spanish state during the referendum on Sunday. The referendum movement is developing a radical, working-class character under pressure from below, putting a Catalan Republic on the agenda. This is opening up a crisis with the potential to topple the Spanish regime.

Brutal police repression failed to stop the Catalan independence referendum faced with the determination of hundreds of thousands to overcome all obstacles to participate. What we saw yesterday in Catalonia was on the one hand the real ugly face of the Spanish regime created during the so-called “Transition” at the end of the Franco regime, and on the other the mass mobilisation and self-organisation of the Catalan people to exercise their right of self-determination.

Join us