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.
A farcical trial until the end
The trial, as well as the preliminary investigation, was a farce in which the sentences were already decided beforehand, and where the state and its judiciary have twisted their own laws. Firstly, we had the accusations of rebellion and sedition. Then we learned of the close ties between both the investigating judge, Llarena, and the president of the court, Marchena, with the right-wing PP. Then there was the continuation of the provisional detention of prisoners for two years. Finally, we saw the arbitrary rejection of evidence, videos and testimony of witnesses presented by the defence during the trial. The purpose of all this was to secure a sentence that would serve as an example to others.
The way the court’s ruling was reported to the public was equally farcical. The most relevant aspects of the case were leaked 48 hours before the official announcement from within the ranks of the Supreme Court itself. The leak included a clear political objective: to try to deactivate and deflate the popular response to the sentencing.
The prisoners have been sentenced for sedition, a crime inherited from the Francoist criminal code and copied to the letter in the current "democratic" criminal code. This is a crime that involves a "tumultuous uprising." Based on the facts about the popular mobilisation of 20 September and 1 October referendum, this is qualification is completely false. The 20 September movement was a popular mobilisation unleashed spontaneously, after weeks of provocations and abuses in the streets by police forces to prevent meetings and the dissemination of propaganda about the referendum. On the day, people gathered around the Ministry of Economy to protest and try to prevent the searching of the building by the Civil Guard, and not to "take power" in Barcelona and proclaim the Catalan Republic. That argument is a product of the feverish and authoritarian imagination of the Supreme Court magistrates. Both Jordis (Sànchez and Cuixart) demonstrated a peaceful attitude at all times and, in fact, attempted to calm the crowd. And 1 October was simply a popular referendum, in which the police could not prevent a massive and exemplary democratic process, involving more than 2 million people, who faced brutal repression at their hands.
Threat to democratic rights throughout the state
In reality, this sentence poses a serious threat to our democratic rights throughout the Spanish state. Any mass mobilisation could be declared tomorrow as "tumultuous", and any right-wing and reactionary judge (which the majority are) could accuse a mobilisation's organisers of "sedition", based on the precedent of the Procés trial. Thus, the sentence expressly states that, on 20 September, "the constitutional limits of the exercise of the rights of assembly and demonstration were exceeded". It is already a folly to speak of “constitutional limits” to rights that, by constitutional definition, are fundamental. But it tells us a lot about the repressive mentality of the members of the Supreme Court.
The reality is that it is not these Procés politicians who have truly been judged, but the referendum of the 1 October, and the will of an entire people to exercise the right to decide their destiny. The state needs to reaffirm its authority through exemplary punishment. It cannot allow any questioning of its supremacy and unity. The sentences also reflect the fact that forced "national unity" is one of the pillars of 1978 regime and Spanish capitalism. Historically, the weak and parasitic Spanish ruling class has only been able to impose itself and ensure the unity of its state through coercion and violence towards oppressed nationalities. Just as it could only defend its property and privileges over those it exploited with the whip of repression and a bloody, 40-year-long dictatorship. The Spanish ruling class can only respond to the demands of the right to self-determination with an iron fist.
For a voluntary union, not a forced one
We, as Marxists, are not interested in any forced union between the peoples that make up the Spanish state. Each people should have the right to decide whether they want to live in the same state as the others or live independently, through a democratic referendum. It has been precisely the repeated denial of that basic democratic right, with threats of intervention by the army, which led to the only possible way out: for the Catalan people to decide their future for themselves, and to do so outside of the state's control.
Precisely what divides and sets us against each other is the feeling of oppression of one people by another under a forced union. What unites and strengthens us is the freely made decision to live together on an equal footing.
The 1 October referendum is a wonderful example of civil disobedience and popular self-organisation that will remain as one of the great popular deeds of contemporary Spanish history. At the time we unconditionally supported this referendum – since no other option was possible in the face of the state's opposition – and we also support its result: the independence of Catalonia. We believe that an independent Catalan Republic would represent a decisive blow to the monarchical regime of ‘78, born of the spurious pact between the dying Franco dictatorship and the then-leaders of the PCE (Communist Party) and the PSOE (Socialist Party), who betrayed the marvellous revolutionary struggle of the Spanish working class against Francoism and its successors in those years. It is not trivial to point out that, until that moment, PCE and PSOE both defended the right of self-determination for the historical nationalities of the Spanish State, which they have since abandoned.
A Catalan Republic would stimulate the development and advancement of the struggle for a democratic Spanish republic, which would unite the republican movement on both banks of the Ebro. At the time we appealed for the Catalan working class to put itself at the head of the movement to give the Catalan Republic a class-based and socialist character that would promote a similar development in the rest of the state. We continue to make this appeal.
The Catalan and Spanish working classes have a common history of struggles and freely exercised organisation, without impositions. In fact, for decades it was the Catalan workers who played the leading role within the Spanish working class as a whole. We have no doubt that, on a socialist basis, it would be possible to establish a voluntary federation of Iberian socialist republics that, for us, would simply be the prelude to a European and world socialist federation.
The right of self-determination, like the republic, is a revolutionary task
The Spanish state apparatus will never accept that the Catalan people can freely decide their destiny. Nor will it ever accept a democratic referendum on the monarchy, nor a cleaning out of fascists and reactionaries from that apparatus (the judiciary, the army, the police and the Civil Guard) that has remained in place, barely unchanged, since the time of the dictatorship. From this, a crucial conclusion is drawn. In Spain, exercising the right to self-determination, like the other democratic rights listed, is a revolutionary task, which implies a confrontation with an imperialist state and with the capitalist system on which it is based.
We appeal to Spanish workers – to youth, to all sectors oppressed and exploited by Spanish capitalism and its reactionary neo-Franco state apparatus; and of course to all left, trade union and social organisations, starting with Unidas Podemos – to go onto the streets and defend our Catalan brothers. Defend the freedom of political prisoners, oppose any new attempt at repression, and support the democratic right of self-determination for the Catalan people. Let us turn the solidarity struggle for the right of the Catalan people to decide their fats – and the freedom of prisoners and the return of exiles without charges – into the spark that ignites the general struggle against the monarchical regime of ‘78, and for the beginning of the Iberian revolution.
FREEDOM FOR POLITICAL PRISONERS!
Continued mobilisation against these scandalous sentences!
To get the republic, you need a revolution!
For a Catalan socialist republic, as the spark for the Iberian revolution!