Spain

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.

The moment that hundreds of uniformed Barcelona firefighters joined the 90,000 -strong student demonstration in Barcelona is an indication of the level of class conflict developing in Catalonia. These scenes are reminiscent of other periods in history, such as May 1968 when the workers and students came together.

Yesterday, (Wednesday, 27 September) students in Catalonia were out on strike and on the streets in many towns and cities. High school students blocked dozens of roads and highways. Most polling centres for Sunday are schools, so the students are called on to play a decisive role in the ongoing events in the build up to the referendum on Sunday.

This morning (Sunday, 24th September), there were mass rallies all over Catalonia. The one in Barcelona was attended by thousands of people. This is significant, because this weekend is the Mercè festivity, which is a very important holiday and one would not expect big demonstrations.

We publish here a statement of the International Marxist Tendency on the crisis in Spain. The Catalan independence referendum challenges Spanish 1978 regime. It has been met with heavy state repression on the part of the Spanish state. The IMT supports the Catalan people's right to self-determination. For a Catalan Socialist Republic as a spark for the Iberian revolution!

Yesterday morning  (Friday, 22nd September) thousands of students from the University of Barcelona, whose staff and students are staging an indefinite general strike, occupied the institution's historic building in the city centre in opposition to repression and in defence of the referendum.

Neighborhood defence committee

The situation in Catalonia keeps accelerating. This morning [yesterday, Thursday, September 21st], students and staff at the universities walked out and staged a rally attended by 5,000, and at many schools classes have been cancelled. University staff and student unions have declared for an indefinite general strike.

The decision of the Catalan Parliament to convene an independence referendum on October 1st has been received with repressive measures by the Spanish state. These measures are increasing in intensity as the days go by, and reveal the profoundly undemocratic nature of the 1978 Constitution which was imposed in an agreement between the old Franco regime and the leaders of the workers’ parties in order to bring to an end the revolutionary crisis engulfing the country.

11 September, the national holiday of Catalonia, saw a round of mass protests and rallies for the right to self-determination of Catalonia and against the banning of the referendum by the central government. In the morning, there were several gatherings by various political parties. In the afternoon, there was a huge pro-independence demonstration, which according to the police, was attended by one million people. In the evening, a mass rally was held by the radical left, pro-independence Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP), under the slogan of “self-determination: independence, socialism, feminism”.

A week ago, Catalan and Spanish society was shaken by two deadly terrorist attacks in Barcelona and in the town of Cambrils. The forces of reaction immediately seized the opportunity to spread their racist venom, to sow fear and division, and to promote repressive measures at home and step up their imperialist interventions abroad.

Spain never saw a genuine bourgeois revolution, and today important democratic tasks are still pending: the abolition of the monarchy, the separation between church and state, the cleansing of the state apparatus of Francoist residues… But undoubtedly the most pressing issue is the national question.

Federica Montseny speaks at the historical meeting of the CNT in Barcelona on 1977, the first one after 36 years of dictatorship in Spain. Manel Armengol

Este año se cumple el 40º aniversario del que fue, sin duda, el año decisivo de la llamada Transición. En el año 1977 tuvieron lugar los asesinatos de Atocha, que elevaron la temperatura revolucionaria de la sociedad a su grado máximo, la legalización de los sindicatos y de los partidos de izquierda, entre ellos el PCE; la celebración de las elecciones semidemocráticas del 15 de junio, así como la firma de los infames Pactos de la Moncloa, que sellarían la traición a las expectativas populares despertadas a la muerte del dictador.

On Sunday, 187,949 members of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) were called to the ballot box to choose a new leadership for the party. After a heated campaign where the more left-wing candidate, Pedro Sánchez, locked horns with the right-wing Susana Díaz, Sánchez won a resounding victory with a lead of almost 11% that has given shivers to the ruling classes.

La tranquilidad del gobierno del PP no se siente amenazada por los innumerables casos de corrupción y de saqueo del dinero público en que está envuelto el partido desde hace años. Tampoco se ve amenazada por aplicar una política económica y social que ha empobrecido a las familias trabajadoras. El gobierno del PP tiene la convicción de que, llueva o truene, será sostenido –con la excepción de algún que otro ladrido– por sus muletas de Ciudadanos, el PNV y la gestora que dirige el PSOE. Esa es la voz de mando del IBEX35.

On March 6, Spanish dockers will go on strike against a decree of the PP government which destroys the very foundations of social rights conquered with organisation and struggle, and contained in agreements and laws, such as Convention 137 of the International Labour Organisation Labour, ratified by Spain in 1973, to guarantee the regularity of employment and minimum salaries of this group of workers.

The resounding victory of Pablo Iglesias and his list of candidates at the Podemos congress, the National Citizens' Assembly, is viewed as a great event for millions of workers and youth in Spain and, by extension, for the Spanish and European left. At the same time, it represents a defeat for the ruling class and the dark forces of reaction, who barricaded themselves behind the right-wing stance of Íñigo Errejón, with the vain desire of dealing a demoralizing blow against everything that is alive and is truly progressive in the country.

The second statewide Citizens Assembly (Vistalegre II) has a tremendous importance for Podemos and the Spanish left. It is by no means an accident that the event has been accompanied by increasing polarisation between the positions of comrades Pablo Iglesias and Íñigo Errejón.