Catalonia

Yesterday's general strike marked a qualitative leap in the political situation in Catalonia. For the past four days, mass peaceful demonstrations for the release of the political prisoners have been brutally attacked by Spanish and Catalan police. On Thursday, protesters were also attacked by neo-Nazis protected by police, who brutally beat up an anti-fascist militant. The youth have retaliated setting up barricades.

Today there is a general strike planned in Catalonia and a massive mobilisation, with five columns marching throughout Catalonia to converge in Barcelona. This day of action is organised under slogans rejecting the judgement of "Procés", and calling for the freedom of the Catalan political prisoners and the right to self-determination. The International Marxist Tendency in the Spanish State, Lucha de Clases, unconditionally supports this day of struggle.

"Barcelona has seen more barricade fighting than any other city in the world", wrote Engels in 1873. Yesterday, Barcelona stood by this reputation. Various republican and democratic organisations called peaceful vigils across Catalonia to protest against the sentences faced by the political prisoners. In Barcelona, as well as in other localities, the demonstrators – including families, elderly people, and children – were attacked by Spanish and Catalan riot police, charging at them with truncheons, rubber bullets, and stun devices.

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?

Join us!

Help build the forces of Marxism worldwide!

Join the IMT!