The national and democratic popular uprising of the 1st October demonstrates the support of the Catalan people for Independence! Move on to independence! Prepare the resistance against the repression forces of the Spanish state! Join the general strike on 3 October and transform it into an indefinite political general strike to support the struggle for independence! Build self-defense units in order to fight back the repression! Join arms with the Basque people and the Spanish working class! The perspective must be that of creation of an independent Workers Republic of Catalonia!
Emergency Statement by the International Secretariat of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 02.10.2017 (10:00 GTM), www.thecommunists.net
1. The people in Catalonia participated in the referendum with incredibly impressive mobilizations on the streets. Despite the massive and brutal intervention of the police forces mobilized by the Spanish state, including the paramilitary units of the Guardia Civil, three million people were on the streets fighting for their democratic right to hold the referendum. And they succeeded. 42.34% of all eligible voters got their votes counted despite the police repression and of them 89.29% voted “Sí” (Yes) for independence. The Catalan government stated that at least 777.000 votes were lost as the repression apparatus confiscated full ballot boxes and shut down approximately 400 schools who served as polling stations. Based on this number it would mean that 57.3% of all eligible voters tried to participate despite of the brutality of the police forces. It is most likely that the participation would have been even higher as many people were not able or willing to risk physical confrontations with the repression apparatus in order to vote. However, based on the outcome of the referendum an additional number of 777.000 votes would mean that 51.2% of all eligible voters were in favor of independence.
2. The Catalan people didn't only hold a successful referendum on the 1st October in Barcelona, Girona and all other parts of Catalonia. They made history! Three million people chanted that day “No tinc por!” (I'm not afraid!), “Votarem!” (We will vote!) and finally “Hem votat” (We voted!). They heroically resisted the rubber guns and batons of approximately 12,000 officers who injured at least 844 people, some of them way older than 65 years. More than three million people resisted against the police violence unarmed and mostly with their hands up. In addition there were solidarity protests in various other parts of Spain. In Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia, demonstrations with 3,000 people (approx. 3% of the total population) took place. However, one of the largest demonstrations in solidarity with the Catalan people took place in Bilbao, the biggest city of the Basque province. More than 40,000 people (approx. 12% of the citizens) were demonstrating in Bilbao showing their solidarity with the Catalan independence movement. This was a national and democratic popular uprising! This event confirms the RCIT’s call, in recently published statements, that all progressive forces need to mobilize for the referendum and vote for the Sí!
3. In the evening of the 1st October, the Spanish state reacted to the successful referendum in a bizarre way. At a press conference of the PM Mariano Rajoy declared: “Today there has not been a self-determination referendum in Catalonia. The rule of law remains in force with all its strength. We are the government of Spain (...). And we have shown that our democratic state has the resources to defend itself from an attack as serious as the one that was perpetrated with this illegal referendum. Today, democracy has prevailed because we have obeyed the constitution. ” Such a rejection of the reality is no surprise as the Spanish state is both arrogant and highly aggressive towards the Catalan independence movement. However, the people of Catalonia remain unimpressed by this. It is symbolic that voters and activists at the Escola Industrial laughed the Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saez de Santamaria out of court, chanting “Votarem, votarem!” after she had commented on the referendum that day: “Continuing this farce makes no sense, this does not lead anywhere, they should stop it immediately!”
4. Any illusion in the so-called “Western Democracy” is misplaced, especially in the current situation, irrespective of the criticism on the repressive behavior of the Spanish state which has been expressed by several European politicians. Let us not forget that the spokesperson of the German government Steffen Seibert announced at a press conference a few days ago: “We’re convinced it’s important that with everything that’s happening at the moment, to maintain the rule of law, both with regard to EU treaties and with regard to national law, i.e. the Spanish constitution.“ Unsurprisingly, at another press conference which was given by US President Donald Trump together with Spanish PM Rajoy seven days ago, Trump stated that the Catalonian people “love their country” and that they “would not want to leave Spain”. Beside of the fact that Donald Trump, the Psychic is as incompetent as Donald Trump, the President it reflects how the self-proclaimed guardians of democracy in the United States as well as the European Union deal with authentic democratic mobilizations.
5. The imperialist EU might even support the repression apparatus of the Spanish state in near future in order to prevent the separation of Catalonia. An independent Catalonia might otherwise become a role model for other independence movements in Spain like the Basque people and other discriminated people in Europe. Obviously, this would be a nightmare for the EU. Successful separations would weaken the imperialist project of the EU. It is therefore important to be aware of the potential danger coming from the imperialist EU during the independence process of Catalonia. The European workers movement needs to consistently support the independence movement of the Catalan people (likewise also the Basque people). The Spanish and the European labor movement need to organize a large solidarity campaign including mass mobilizations now. In case of an acceleration of the conflict between the Catalan people and the Spanish (and EU) repression apparatus, the Spanish and the European labor movement should send solidarity delegations to help the Catalan people to organize themselves in self-defense units. In case of the Spanish state preparing a coup d'état in Catalonia, such self-defense units need to be turned into armed militias of the workers and oppressed which should be supported by the Spanish and the European labor movement.
6. The RCIT has supported not only the right to hold the Catalan referendum. We also called to vote at the referendum in favor of independence. The national and democratic popular uprising by the Catalan people on 1 October as well as the concrete outcome of the referendum prove us right. The discrimination of Catalonia by the Spanish state is obvious. The proletarian stronghold Catalonia demanding self-determination today and also in its whole history should motivate all authentic revolutionaries to support the independence movement. However, those organizations and activists of the labor movement, who oppose Catalonia’s independence justify their positions by emphasizing the necessity of unity of Spain’s working class. But as a CUP representative correctly stated: “The working class of Madrid and the working class of Barcelona are united not because they are both Spanish, but rather, because they are both working class.“ The unity of the working class in Spain can only be established by full equality and democracy and this includes the defense of the right of the Catalan and likewise the Basque people to become independent from the Spanish state. Authentic revolutionaries should not argue against the more than understandable attempt of a discriminated people to become independent of the imperialist Spanish state. We rather unconditionally support the independence and combine it with the slogan of the Workers Republic of Catalonia (as well as the Workers Republic of the Basque country)!
7. The Catalan government wants to implement the independence in the next days via decisions of the regional bourgeois parliament. We have seen the Spanish state being already furious just because of the referendum. It is easy to imagine what they will do to stop the Catalan government to declare independence. In this situation it is clear what authentic revolutionaries need to do. The support of the independence of the Catalan people includes defending all activists and even the capitalist Catalan government against the repression apparatus of the Spanish state. However, we warn the workers and oppressed in Catalonia that they should not have illusions in the Catalan government. The capitalist politicians of Catalonia hope that they can turn the province into a small but still strong imperialist country. Their agenda is to have a better position as rulers and exploiters inside of the imperialist European Union. We defend them against the aggressions of the Spanish repression apparatus but we don't have any trust in them. It is therefore highly important to maintain class independence of the workers and oppressed. Our method to implement the independence of Catalonia as it was decided by the legitimate “referendum 1-O” (as it has been called in the Catalan media) is not to have bourgeois negotiations with the imperialists of Spain and the EU. We rather call to organize an indefinite general strike in Catalonia and mass actions of the workers and oppressed in the rest of Spain. The already announced general strike on 3 October should be used as a starting point for such a movement! Such a political general strike must be the prologue of an armed uprising of the workers and oppressed, a socialist revolution in order to create a Workers Republic of Catalonia.
8. A political general strike as well as a massive solidarity movement will undoubtedly provoke the Spanish state to mobilize all its forces in order to smash such a proletarian movement. Likewise, the capitalist politicians of Catalonia will react in panic to such mobilizations as they would correctly understand that they are losing control over the situation. They will put all energy into pacifying the labor movement and bribing of the bureaucrats of the trade unions and other workers organizations. The workers and oppressed of Catalonia as well as the rest of Spain need to fight on all fronts. This means to organize self-defense units of the workers and oppressed that can be turned into armed militias in order to defend the Catalan people against the police, against the paramilitary Guardia Civil as well as against the whole military apparatus of the Spanish state. At the same time the workers need to challenge the bureaucratic leadership of the trade unions and of the other organs of the labor movement. The reformist bureaucrats are open for bribery by the Catalan capitalists and the Spanish state. The official leadership needs to be controlled by the rank and file workers which must include their right to expel those who are betraying us. Workers assemblies need to be organized to democratically discuss and decide on the indefinite general strike. Strike committees need to be created in the workplaces and schools in order to prepare and to implement a political strike. All decisions need to be made and all functionaries need to be elected and removed democratically at any time by the workers assemblies, respectively the strike committees.
9. The independence movement in Catalonia is strongly influenced by pacifist ideas of passive resistance. This has not hindered the Spanish state to mobilize its repression apparatus in order to attack hundred thousands of people. The strike action of the dockers in Barcelona and Tarragona reduced the number of forces of the Guardia Civil available for deployment because it made it impossible for thousands of armed officers to reach Catalonia in time. In case of future mobilizations of the repression apparatus by the Spanish state, it is the task of the workers of the transportation sector in whole Spain to boycott likewise any intervention for the repression forces. In addition, the workers and oppressed in whole Spain need to block the streets and all routes so that they obstruct the mobilization of the repression apparatus. This will probably provoke the Guardia Civil and all other repression forces to attack the solidarity movement brutally. The current struggle of the Catalan people has already inspired the Basque people to renew their struggle for independence and will continue to do so. Such a process will also provoke a violent reaction of the Spanish state. In other words, all steps that need to be taken in order to really implement the independence of Catalonia as well as the independence of the Basque country will unavoidably lead to militant confrontations with the repression apparatus. The working class and the oppressed need to prepare for this otherwise the independence movements will be smashed. The workers and oppressed in Spain suffered for decades under the Franco dictatorship. It would not be a surprise if the current constitutional monarchy of Spain which arose out of the Franco regime, is willing to implement a dictatorship in Catalonia (and probably also in Basque country). It is life-threatening to underestimate the imperialist Spanish state and it shows how dangerous the current pacifist illusions are in reality. The only perspective for the independence movement is Socialism or Dictatorship.
10. The RCIT calls all authentic revolutionaries in Catalonia as well as in Spain to join forces in order to prepare for the upcoming developments. Class independence of the workers and oppressed is highly important. It is time to organize an indefinite general strike in Catalonia to ensure the creation of the independent Catalan state. Such a state should be a Workers Republic of Catalonia as part of a future federation of the United Socialist States of Europe. All authentic revolutionaries need to unite in order to build a Revolutionary Workers Party as part of a future Revolutionary World Party which can lead through the struggle. However, all authentic revolutionaries need also to collaborate in united fronts’ with existing mass organizations of the workers and oppressed. The wrong leaderships of the reformist and centrist organizations and parties need to be challenged by authentic revolutionaries without being sectarian towards the workers and oppressed at the basis. Only a consistent revolutionary program and the ability to merge with the masses of the workers and oppressed empowers authentic revolutionaries to fulfill their historic task.
All power to the workers and oppressed in Catalonia! Forward in the struggle for an independent Workers Republic of Catalonia! All authentic revolutionaries – fight together with the RCIT for the building of a Revolutionary Workers Party in Catalonia, in the Basque country and in Spain!
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For the RCIT’s analysis of Catalonia’s struggle for independence, we refer readers to our recently published articles and documents:
RCIT: Catalonia: Support the Democratic Right for Independence! For an independent Workers’ Republic of Catalonia (and the Basque country)! 26.09.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/support-catalonias-independence/
RCIT: Catalonia: For the Immediate Release of All Arrested Officials! Stop the Criminalization of the Independence Referendum and its Supporters! Participate at the referendum and vote “Yes” for independence! Organize immediate self-defense units! 21 Sept 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/repression-against-catalonia/
Almedina Gunić: Catalonia: This is what Democracy looks like. The Spanish ambassador in Britain explains bourgeois democracy, 23 September 2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/spanish-state-in-catalonia-this-is-what-democracy-looks-like/
Manfred Maier: 1 October 2017: Big Decision for Catalonia. Statement on the referendum on the independence of Catalonia, 21.09.2017, https://www.thecommunists.net/worldwide/europe/big-decision-for-catalonia/