Statement on the referendum on the independence of Catalonia
Article by Manfred Maier (RCIT Germany), 21.09.2017, www.diekommunisten.net
On 1 October, the Catalan government will hold a referendum on the independence of Catalonia. As you walk through the streets of Barcelona you can see the Catalan colors, flags, etc. on windows and balconies. Hundreds of thousands of people supported the demand for independence on the streets of Barcelona on September 11; it was not the first demonstration of this kind in recent years. The more the Spanish central government curtails the autonomy of the Catalans, the more intense become the demands for independence in Catalonia.
The Spanish government is up in arms against the decision taken on 6 September by the Catalan Parliament. The Spanish Constitutional Court suspended the decision. In doing so, the Spanish Government is fully responsible for the deterioration of the situation, since it has provoked opposition with the refusal to negotiate or offer any concessions
The bourgeois press, including those published in Catalonia, largely repeats the government's propaganda against the movement of independence. The EU is clearly opposed to the independence of Catalonia and , therefore supports the Spanish central government.
There was also a massive interference by German corporations on the question of the independence of Catalonia. The leaders of the multinationals such as Volkswagen (VW / SEAT), BASF and other companies operating in Catalonia are openly threatening the independence movement with loss of production and job cuts.
The positions of the Catalan and Spanish political parties
We do not want to analyze the positions of all parties in detail, but we briefly mention the most important ones. The results of the elections to the Regional Parliament of Catalonia in September 2015 are in brackets.
- The PSOE and its Catalan offshoot PSC want the conversion of Spain into a federal state (12.72%). The PSC rejects the independence efforts of the Catalans while the PSOE is even offending the planned referendum as such.
- The Catalan UDC (Christian Democrats) is for a referendum and for the right of Catalonia to decide itself (2.51%).
- Junts pel Sl, an alliance of CDC (Liberals), Catalan ERC (left) and other forces: for referendum and for independence (39.59%).
- The CUP, an anti-capitalist, Catalan party, is opposed to the EU status of Catalonia and demands an independent Catalan state (8.21%).
- "Catalunya Sí que es Pot" (CSP) is an alliance consisting of the Catalan Podemos, Ecosocialists and the Catalan branch of the Izquierda Unida. The chairman of Podemos is in favor of the the referendum, but against independence. The Catalan leading candidate of the aalliance is however in favor of both (8.94%).
- The Catalan PP (Partido Popular) rejects the referendum and is against the independence (8.49%).
- The Ciutadans (neoliberal) is against the independence of Catalonia (17.9%).
Which Way Forward?
Based on the vivid tradition of class struggle, the extent of both the political organization and mobilization of the Catalans, and the popularity of their independence movement, we call for participation in the referendum and a vote in favor of Catalonia's independence.
Our perspective for an independent Catalonia, however, is neither for a small capitalist nation state or EU membership similar to Spain.
The organizations of the working class must rather fight any chauvinism and advocate an Iberian Socialist Union within the United Socialist States of Europe. In such a socialist union, the Catalans (as well as the Basques) will have the full right to lead their own state free from any discrimination against other nations if they wish so.
The building of a revolutionary communist party in Catalonia, but also throughout Spain and in Euzkadi (Basque country) must be achieved. This is a central and indispensable task.
All organizations and activists who want to build such a party must join forces on the basis of a revolutionary program that includes:
- Fight aagainst the EU austerity policy and, against the austerity programs in Catalonia. This austerity policy was supported and implemented by forces of the Catalan Parliament, including those who are now pro-independence.
- The government of an independent Catalonia must nationalizethe banks under the control of the workers; money transactions must be placed under control of the labor movement.
- All big companies must be nationalized under workers control.
- The Guardia Civil and other police units must be dissolved and replaced by self-defense units of the workers and oppressed.
- The judiciary must be replaced by jury courts set up by the workers' movement. The structures of the judiciary of the constitutive monarchy of Spain are deeply imbued with the influence of Francoism and the Spanish-Castilian central state, and cannot be adopted by an independent Catalonia.
- In Catalonia and the whole of Spain, a school system must be set up which makes it possible to learn the languages of the various ethnic groups of the country as well as all other languages of migrants on an equal and voluntary base.
- The state and the church must be rigorously separated from each other and all institutions of the monarchy must be abolished.
- In a free, Catalan workers state asylum seekers, who fled because of war or economic need, will find a safe home. In the last few years in Barcelona alone, hundreds of thousands have demonstrated for the refugees' right to stay. These were the largest pro-rrefugee demonstrations across Europe. The Spanish central government has also massively attacked this solidarity movement.
- After the declaration of independence, a constitutional assembly must be convened, where the most urgent questions about the further development of the independent state are discussed in open and democratic debates.
Revolutionary Communists advocate the construction of a workers state, allied with the oppressed of Spain.
A serious situation
If the referendum really takes place on 01.10. deciding on the independence of Catalonia, violent attacks by the Spanish central government are most likely. Thus the mayors, who support the referendum, are invited by the Constitutional Court of Madrid, as "witnesses" to the "Spanish constitution". They are threatened with prosecution in case of support for the referendum.
The Spanish government will not be afraid to use the police and army against the polling stations of the referendum. The masses in Catalonia will have to answer that with the weapon of the political mass strike and powerful demonstrations, but will also have to defend their democratic referendum with armed defence guards. For the EU, the separation of Catalonia would be a disaster, so it will continue its support for the Spanish state against the Catalans by any means.
The Catalans who aspire for independence earn our full support!