Critical Support for CUP! Continue the Struggle for Independence via preparing for a Mass Uprising!
Statement of the International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 20 December 2017, www.thecommunists.net
1. The election in Catalonia (Catalunya in Catalan language) on December 21st takes place under the shadow of Madrid’s imperialist authoritarian regime. It is the result of Madrid’s imposition of the notorious Article 155 which allows the imperialist Spanish State to unilaterally dissolve Catalonia’s regional autonomy rights. So when the Catalan people voted in a popular referendum on 3 October for the independence of Catalonia (despite the repression of the Spanish police) and when the legitimate Catalan government went to implement this decision, the conservative Spanish government of Rajoy intervened and imposed a new election. Likewise it arrested a number of leading pro-independence politicians or drove them into exile. Catalonia’s President Carles Puigdemont quiet rightly states that the election takes place against the background of “detainees, people in exile, violence, the coup d’etat of 155, 10,000 police, financial persecution, media warfare, economic warfare.”
2. The blatantly authoritarian violation of the Catalan people’s right of national self-determination by the imperialist Spanish State demonstrated that independence can not be achieved in a legalistic, peaceful way. Likewise did the shameful toleration of Madrid’s tyranny by the EU leaders demonstrate that it would be naive to have any illusion in this imperialist institution. Only the organizing of the workers and oppressed in councils of action in the workplaces, schools and neighborhoods and the formation of self-defense units can create the pre-conditions for a mass uprising – the only road to achieve independence! The emergence of the CDR (Committees for the Defense of the Referendum) and the role of the firefighters in defending the people against the attacks of the Spanish police show that the popular masses have already advanced their political experience.
3. All indications show that the Catalan people are determined to defeat Rajoy’s coup against the Catalan right of national self-determination at the polls. According to nearly all polls, the pro-independence parties are set to win again – as they did already in 2015 – a majority of parliamentary seats. Under such circumstances it would be wrong for revolutionaries to boycott the election. They should rather help the masses to draw the right conclusions and to overcome their illusions in bourgeois and petty-bourgeois leaderships.
4. Naturally, it is absurd to even consider a vote for the pro-Madrid parties like Rajoy’s conservative PP, the social democratic PSC or the neo-liberal “Citizens”. These are outright imperialist, anti-democratic and neo-liberal forces which fanatically supported Rajoy’s imposition of Article 155.
5. Likewise, it is impossible to lend electoral support to CeC (the Catalan affiliate of the PODEMOS party of Pablo Iglesias). This petty-bourgeois left-populist showed their capitulationist essence when – in face of Rajoy’s coup – they propagated an equidistance between the aggressor and the victim. Instead of rallying to the defense of the Catalan independence movement, CeC/PODEMOS blamed both the so-called “unilateralists” (i.e. the supporters of independence) and the central government in Madrid imposing Article 155 for the political crisis. They demand that independence must be the result of negotiations, i.e. it must take place only with the consent of Madrid. In other words, they oppose the right of the Catalan people to decide by themselves and without outward interference their own future statehood. This is the same reactionary logic that denies a woman the right to divorce from her violent husband if he does not agree to it.
6. While we defend the bourgeois and petty-bourgeois nationalists of Puigdemont’s list JxCat (Together for Catalonia) and of the ERC (Republican Left of Catalonia) against any repression by the Madrid regime (e.g. ERC leader and deputy-president Orol Junqueras is in jail while Puigdemont has been forced into exile), we do not advocate electoral support for these parties because of their pro-capitalist program. Their bourgeois nature has been also demonstrated by their completely legalistic and pacifistic methods with which they naively hoped to win independence and which failed so bombastically. Naturally, this does not exclude the necessity for joint practical actions in defense of Catalunya’s independence.
7. Instead the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT) calls for critical electoral support for CUP (People’s Unity List). CUP has been a consistent supporter of the independence struggle and combines this with a program advocating anti-capitalism and socialism. With a constant share of 6-9% of the votes at the election in 2015 and in recent polls, they represent clearly the politically most advanced sectors of the workers and youth in Catalunya. However, in allying with these vanguard sector, revolutionaries must also explain the political failures of the CUP leadership in the recent past. Among those failures are the CUP’s leaders support for Puigdemont’s bourgeois minority government in parliament. While coordination with such forces in organizing mass protests on the streets or even voting for independence can be legitimate steps in the struggle, it is illegitimate to keep a bourgeois government in power. Related to this, the CUP leaders adapted to Puigdemont’s legalistic and pacifist strategy to achieve independence instead of advocating the line of mass uprising.
8. It is likely that the election on 21 December will open a new political phase in Catalunya’s independence struggle. It will be urgent that activists draw the right lessons from the experience of the past few months in order to be better prepared for the next, inevitable attacks of the imperialist Spanish state. The RCIT has elaborated its views on such a strategy in a number of documents. We look forward to discuss and collaborate with revolutionaries in order to advance the struggle for a Catalan Workers Republic and an Iberian Socialist Federation!
For the RCIT’s analysis of Catalonia’s struggle for independence, we refer readers to numerous documents which are collected in a special sub-page on the RCIT’s website: https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/collection-of-articles-on-catalunya-s-independence-struggle/