Continue the struggle until the conquest of the socialist Catalan republic!
The Supreme Court has already made public the sentence of the Procés trial. The harsh sentences for political prisoners are above all a declaration of war of the regime of 78 against Catalan people, to their legitimate right to self-determination and their struggle for the republic. A sentence that confirms what we already knew: that the democracy that was prepared during the Transition years has deep authoritarian flaws, and is completely submitted to a State apparatus that was directly inherited from the dictatorship.
The Spanish bourgeoisie, and also the Catalan bourgeoisie, have made it clear that the people of Catalonia are a dangerous enemy to be beaten, as it has been on so many other historical occasions when the people of Catalonia challenged the capitalist regime and its political order. The bourgeoisie intends to deny and hide by all means the determination demonstrated on the 1st of October of 2017, with the organization of a democratic referendum in which more than two million people exercised their right to vote in favor of independence and the republic. But the most decisive thing, and what ignited all the alarms of the ruling class, is that this right was exercised through the direct action of hundreds of thousands of workers and youth, resisting the unrestrained repression of thousands of national policemen and the Spanish military policemen under the orders of the centralist State.
Yes, that day there was a massive violence in the streets of all of Catalonia. But that violence was only from one side, as shown by thousands of photographs, home videos and images that were streamed through the media throughout the day.
In the world of the regime of 78, the riot police who broke into schools breaking glass windows, who beat old people, women and children, who stole ballot boxes as if they were hunting trophies, and cracked skulls, were exercising "constitutional legality.'' Damn this constitutional legality that rewards torturers and protects fascists, which blocks the exhumation of the bodies of hundreds of thousands of Republican fighters buried in ditches and clandestine graves, which rescues banks but expels thousands of families from their homes, which privatizes health, education, condemns us to unemployment, starvation wages and precariousness. This capitalist and oppressive constitutional legality doesn’t represent us.
On the 1st of October, the people of Catalonia said enough to the "unity of the nation" imposed manu militari by an army filled with Francoists and reactionaries. Rebelling against a State that denies the legitimate right of self-determination, but also against those politicians who have used the institutions to serve the great economic powers and the Catalan oligarchy. What was the great general strike of the 3rd of October, which mobilized millions of workers and youth in an unprecedented demonstration of strength, if not a clear warning that the republic to which we aspire means to break decisively with everything that has led us to the current situation?
As on the 14th of April of 1931, as on the 19th of July of 1936, the workers, youth and people of Catalonia have placed themselves at the forefront of the struggle for the transformation of society.
What happened in October 2017 was the most serious, determined and radical questioning ever made of the capitalist regime that, in the 1970’s, restored a guarded parliamentary democracy. All the powers that be understood what was at stake and acted accordingly: they launched a furious repressive campaign, encouraged the most disgusting Spanish nationalism, and used all the tools at their disposal — the monarchy of Philip VI, the police, the courts, the parties of the system, the media — to try and give an unforgettable lesson to the Catalan people. It must be said, however, that they have failed miserably.
It is not rebellion but sedition
This frontal attack on the democratic rights of the Catalan people represents a direct threat to all conquests and freedoms of the working class and the youth of all territories. Hence its historical significance.
For nearly two years we have listened to the most accomplished representatives of the Spanish reaction, but also to numerous leaders of the social democracy, talk about a "Coup d'etat". In fact, what the Supreme Court judged was an exemplary and peaceful mobilization and, indirectly, they have to recognize this fact in their own edict by prancing to justify the crime of "sedition" and "embezzlement" after abandoning that of "rebellion".
Thus, the sentence refers to the fact that in the autumn of 2017 there were “indisputable episodes of violence”, but at the same time it recognizes that they are not enough to condemn prisoners for rebellion: “Violence has to be an instrumental, functional violence, pre-arranged directly, without intermediate steps, to the ends that the action of the rebels aim at.”
Instead of rebellion, the Supreme Court typifies the crime of sedition and justifies it by resorting to the peaceful concentration of the 20th of September of 2017, before the Conselleria d'Economia, in which tens of thousands of people participated, and to the "resistance" to the violent operation of the police and the Spanish military police on the 1st of October. All this serves to mount a resolution that justifies the crime of sedition as explained by the Criminal Code: “the action of publicly and tumultuously rising to prevent, by force or outside the legal channels, the application of the Laws, or the legitimate exercise of the functions of any authority, official corporation or public official, or the fulfillment of their agreements, or of the administrative or judicial resolutions.”
And here we arrive at the central point of this scandalous sentence against democracy. According to the Supreme Court, the peaceful mobilization of millions of people exercising a political right, such as voting to decide on the type of relationship they want Catalonia to have with the rest of the State, is considered a crime and the label of violence hangs on it. In this way, the great mobilizations of 15-M movement in 2011, actions to curb evictions, general strikes, the “citizen tides” or marches of dignity... all could be classified as sedition.
With this ruling it is clear that the regime of 78 cannot tolerate the democratic exercise of an entire people. And why? Because the triumph of the mobilization in favor of the republic could open a very dangerous phase of social and political rebellion against the capitalist institutions.
In one thing we agree with the system’s analysts. The events of the 1st of October opened a revolutionary crisis. And we, as Marxists, underline: a completely legitimate and necessary revolutionary crisis when it comes to transforming an unjust and damaging political and economic order that exists against the interests of the majority.
Does legal mean democratic?
he idea that everything legal is democratic is being hammered down by the acting Government and the parties of the system. But this kind of syllogism hides a completely false and very reactionary idea. It is evident, for anyone who has eyes, that what is legal in a society based on the exploitation of one class over another is always that which safeguards the established order, that which defends the interests of the ruling class. And this has nothing to do with a true democracy. When the oppressed defy that order, then the State — which is the instrument of coercion of the capitalist class — enters into action displaying all its violence.
The fraudulent convictions of the independence leaders brutally contrast with the absolutions or ridiculous sentences for the corrupt politicians of the PP, the bankers who have bankrupt Bankia or the Banco Popular, the fascists who attack activists on the left, the police officers involved in drug trafficking, or the rapists and murderers of women who are handled with kid gloves by the justice system. This justice system has a clear class content: it is the same that sends Altsasu's youth to prison, keeps Alfon behind bars, sentences unionists who take part in strikes or prosecutes tweeters, rappers and PAH activists. It is the same justice system that refuses to judge the crimes of Francoism, and that considers the apologetics of the dictatorship, carried out publicly by dozens of army commanders, to be perfectly legal.
The cause of the Catalan people is the cause of the left and of all who aspire to change society
The Supreme Court has sentenced Oriol Junqueras, former Vice President of the Generalitat, to the highest penalty, 13 years; three former counselors, Raül Romeva, Jordi Turull and Dolors Bassa, to 12 years; the former president of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell, to 11 years; and the leaders of the ANC and Òmnium, Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, to 9 years. Will they achieve their goal of containing the Catalan national liberation movement? Obviously not, that is completely ruled out.
Marx pointed out that a people that oppresses another can never be free. For this reason, revolutionary Marxism inscribed the principle of the right to self-determination of oppressed nations on its flag, as a democratic aspiration that must be supported by all revolutionaries.
Obviously the PSOE has long since forgot these ideas and trampled on them. Its firm defense of article 155, its denial of the right to decide, its capitulation before the apparatus of the State, kneeled before Spanish nationalism — the same that denied democratic freedoms in the 30’s of the last century — made him in his own right an absolutely reliable state party for the ruling class. It is also no coincidence that the campaign slogan chosen by the PSOE is “Now Government! Now Spain!” Pedro Sánchez's choice can’t be any clearer.
Likewise, what the other part of the parliamentary left of the Spanish State is doing is a huge mistake. Unidas Podemos refused to get involved in the Catalan national liberation movement, and did so with the worst of arguments. Instead of deepening its solidarity with the people of Catalonia and promoting mobilization for the republic in all territories, reinforcing its class content and unifying the response against the common enemy — the monarchy, the bosses, the regime of 78 and all its representatives — Unidas Podemos adopted a cynical and equidistant position between the people who were beaten for organizing a democratic vote and the block of the 155 that raised the flag of the most rancid Spanish nationalism and repression in all its possible forms.
The struggle of millions of people for the right to self-determination and the republic has been denounced by numerous "progressive" intellectuals and left-wing politicians who supposedly declare themselves "Republicans" and "Communists", as a reactionary movement led by Catalan elites. But the truth is that the Catalan bourgeoisie not only has not promoted independence and the republic, but has firmly positioned itself against it, in alliance with the Spanish bourgeoisie and playing a fundamental role in the repression and the campaign of fear (all we need to do is remember the hundreds of companies that left Catalonia immediately after the 1st of October).
What we have seen in the negotiations for the failed Coalition Government between Unidas Podemos and the PSOE is conclusive. Pablo Iglesias accepted Sánchez's policy and expressly renounced the right of self-determination and any criticism of the regime of 78. He even declared that if Unidas Podemos was to become part of the Government and the PSOE happened to apply article 155, he would abide by it without questioning. The experience of these two years has shown that the abandonment of a class and internationalist position on the national issue becomes a complete renunciation of defending democratic rights.
The Spanish bourgeoisie is well aware of how unpresentable the Supreme's sentence is and is preparing herself to face a massive response in the streets. That is why the arrests of nine CDR activists, accused of terrorism, are not accidental. It is about making as much noise as possible and covering, with lies and propaganda, the true situation. Nobody fails to see the interconnection between Catalan events and movements that occur in the highest levels of the State. With an economy that is moving towards recession, the Spanish and Catalan bourgeoisies prepare new and brutal cuts that will hit millions of workers and the impoverished sectors of the middle layers. In this context, the example that are the continued mobilizations in Catalonia constitutes a real danger of destabilization and resistance to the ruling class’ plans.
With the repression of the Catalan people, the authoritarian tendency that guarantees national unity as imposed by the Franco dictatorship and its political heirs is consolidated, and tomorrow it will be used even more harshly against any social movement, union and organization that is not willing to accept the policies of the capitalist governments.
General strike and a plan of struggle to conquer the Catalan socialist republic!
In the Catalan national liberation movement there is a growing clash fomenting internal differentiation. On the one hand, hundreds of thousands of young people, workers and broad sectors of the middle layers who want to carry to the end the struggle for a republic that will break with the oppression of the centralist state and make Catalonia's social transformation a reality. On the other hand, the Catalanist right wing (PDeCAT) and sectors of the ERC leadership that are working hard to negotiate with the State a way out along autonomist lines, which will allow them to push back the movement and get it off the streets.
This contradiction was revealed during this last year with the booing of Torra or the demands for the Minister of Interior, Buch, to resign after the repression of different anti-fascist and independence demonstrations. Recently, it has manifested itself again before the decision of the Department of the Interior to authorize the Mossos to use pepper spray against the protesters. During the last months, this malaise has grown and reflected itself in numerous criticisms of the ANC territorial assemblies and in the actions of the CDRs, or in the decision that the leaders of the Government parties were not to be at the head of the Diada demonstration.
We must draw all the lessons that the experience has provided in these years. The answer to the Supreme Court's ruling cannot be limited to an isolated strike — which would alleviate the pressure in the boiling pot — nor to any political approach that would lead to the lowering of our political objectives precisely when we have the power to reach them.
The Sindicat d'Estudiants has organized a 72-hour general strike of the youth, with a combative programme: Out with Franco's repression!, for the immediate release of political prisoners, for the Catalan Republic of workers and youth! This is the way. We need an ambitious plan of struggle, one that is up to the tasks posed by the events. It is necessary that all the militant left, the CDRs, the class unions that have positioned themselves in favor of the republic, and all the social movements raise a plan of action that is prolonged in time, with a clear calendar of general strikes, occupations of workplaces and study centers, with demonstrations, capable of generating the massive support of the population.
Achieving a resistance movement of this scale requires making it clear that we are fighting for a socialist republic that will nationalize the fundamental levers of the economy, banking and the big monopolies, and will put an end to the nightmare of social cuts, to the lack of affordable public housing, to precariousness and miserable wages, to patriarchal violence and the destruction of the environment. This way we would establish a bridge to cross the borders of Catalonia and unify our struggle with that of the workers and youth of the rest of the territories, creating the best conditions to face and defeat repression.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Catalonia are fed up with words and promises that never come true. That is why we must rely on our own strength and determination to face the repression of the State and make the republic a reality. We must unite national liberation with the socialist transformation of society and establish a strategy capable of achieving victory. The will to fight is not enough; we must act consciously to build a party of workers and youth that makes it possible.
Join Esquerra Revolucionària to build the combative left!
Immediate freedom to political prisoners!
Visca Catalunya, lliure i socialista!