After postponing the Declaration of Independence by the Catalan Government – Only Mass Actions of the Militant and Self-Organized Working Class and Oppressed can open the Road to Victory! Fight for an Independent Workers Republic of Catalonia!
Emergency Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), www.thecommunists.net, 11.10.2017 (UTC: 12.00)
1. Millions of people in Catalonia expected the declaration of independence on the eve of the 10th October. More than 30.000 activists gathered in front of the parliament of Catalonia in Barcelona, as well as in Girona. Banners were hold saying “Defensem la República Catalana” (“We defend the Catalan Republic”) and “No Passaran” (the famous anti-fascist slogan “They will not pass”). Militant activists were mobilized to form self-defense units in order to stop police forces storming the parliament after the declaration of independence. The anarcho-syndicalist trade union Coordinadora Obrera Sindical (COS) practically coordinated the mobilization and argued for self-defense units of the working class to defend independence. On the other side the police forces were mobilized with armored cars and heavy firearms. However, nothing happened in the end of the day. Puigdemont signed the declaration of independence together with the MPs of the Candidatura d'Unitat Popular (CUP) and the Together for the Yes (JxSí) campaign, but postponed its implementation to an unknown future date. Any illusions in the Catalan government as well as in Puigdemont are dangerous as they hinder the class-independent organization of the workers and oppressed. Authentic revolutionaries need to warn the workers and oppressed not to trust Puigdemont and the bourgeois Catalan government, which would like to have an independent imperialist Catalan state but is also willing to suppress any militant struggle for independence in order to keep control over Catalonia.
2. In this very moment, important decisions are made. The imperialist Spanish state still evaluates the implementation of the article 155 which means the dissolution of the Catalonia’s government as well as its autonomy rights. Although it is not certain that the Spanish state will escalate the situation after Puigdemont withdrew the plans for immediate independence, it is still on the table. The reactionary Spanish state has demonstrated once more its arrogance and determination to oppress any attempt towards Catalan independence. It might see Puigdemont's decision to postpone independence as a sign of weakness and therefore an invitation to solve the matter once and for all. The Spanish state might also be furious about the signed declaration irrespective of the postponed date of its implementation. However, any aggressive strike by the Spanish state will lead to a massive escalation as millions of people might be mobilized in defense. It is therefore highly urgent to prepare self-defense units of the workers and oppressed on a broader scale in order to be ready to defend the Catalan people against the aggression of the Spanish state.
3. The CUP is also discussing in this very moment how to proceed with their MPs as they are considering resigning from parliament. They are under strong pressure by their militant rank and file to protest against the Catalan government’s rejection to immediately declare independence. Indeed it would be a vivid act of protest to turn away from parliamentarian work and to focus on mobilizations on the streets. However, it is not likely that the CUP will resign and it is even less likely that the CUP will take all the necessary steps after resigning from parliament. These steps should be to organize mass mobilizations including an indefinite general strike in order to defend Catalonia against the aggression of the Spanish state and to organize the vanguard of the working class independently of the bourgeois nationalists. An indefinite general strike is the nightmare of the Catalan government as it wants to have the ultimate control over the independence movement.
4. Furthermore, public popular meetings in the districts and neighborhoods, the workplaces and schools must be held in order to build action committees of the workers and oppressed. These committees should decide on the next steps on the road to independence. Authentic revolutionaries need to argue in favor of an independent Workers Republic of Catalonia as well as for the support of the Basque people, the Galician, the Valencian people and others in their struggle for self-determination. Joint forces of the working class and the oppressed together with all discriminated people in Spain will shatter the reactionary imperialist Spanish state. The time has come to organize a constitutional assembly in order to elaborate new laws of an independent Catalan state irrespective of the plans of the current bourgeois parliament. If the CUP really wants to fulfill the will of the working class and oppressed in Catalonia, they need to implement all of these steps now. Otherwise they are just the more radical, stuffed animals of the bourgeois Catalan government.
5. The weekend of the 7th and 8th October has shown the right-wing threat against the independence movement. A huge demonstration with more than 350.000 people took place in Barcelona on Sunday. Although it was declared as a Catalan protest, many participants were mobilized from other parts of Spain. The organizing force was the Societat Civil Catalana (SCC), a platform of supporters of Spanish unity against the independence movement. Although the SCC received in the past support by the one or the other politician from the social-democratic PSOE respectively its Catalan branch PSC, this support never lasted long. The reason for this is that the SCC has been dominated by right-wing and even semi-fascist forces since their foundation in 2014. Their leaders came from political traditions like the Fuerza Nueva (supporters of the Franco dictatorship) and the Movimiento Social Republicano (an openly Neonazi group). No wonder, that the SCC was the main sponsor of a book presentation by the publishing house Galland books (named after Adolf Galland, a Nazi pilot who served also Franco), which is also currently promoting to commemorate of the División Azul, the fascist Blue Division of voluntaries from Spain serving the Nazi regime in WWII.
6. The biggest demonstration on Sunday the 8th October was therefore unsurprisingly supported by a dozen of right-wing and fascist organizations like Democracia Nacional, VOX, Falange and many others. The PP also supported the mobilization officially. Likewise, no trade union respectively workers organization called for the participation at the demonstrations of the SCC. However, smaller demonstrations (approx. 5.000 people) were held by the initiative “Parlem-Hablemos” (Let’s Talk) which want to mediate between the Catalan state and the Spanish state on the matter of autonomy and independence. All in all it became very clear that there is a clear polarization between an active and progressive pro-independence camp and an active, right-wing, bureaucratic centralist, pro-Spanish unionist camp. Authentic revolutionaries need to support the pro-independence movement as well as to defend it against the repression apparatus and the (semi-)fascists. All authentic revolutionaries should struggle for a revolutionary perspective inside the independence movement and therefore argue in favor of an independent Workers Republic of Catalonia. Such a republic must not be part of the imperialist European Union. Instead revolutionaries fight for such a republic being part of a Socialist Federation of Iberian Workers Republics as well as a United Socialist States of Europe.
7. The Vaga General in Catalunya (general strike in Catalonia) on the 3rd October was an impressive signal of the militant working class. Although the bureaucratic leaderships of the biggest trade unions CCOO and UGT didn't support the strike and even tried to demobilize it, more than 700.000 people participated in Barcelona alone according to police estimations (which are always way smaller than the real number of participants). Additional 60.000 people participated in Girona (population of approximately 98.000), more than 30.000 in Terragona (population of approximately 131.000), and others. The firefighters were mobilized to defend the general strike in case of police attacks as they have also defended the mobilizations at the referendum on 1st October. The 3-O strike has shown the potential but it was not enough to really challenge the Spanish state.
8. As important as the Vaga General 3-O has been, more is necessary. Another, and for this time indefinite, general strike is urgent in order to drive forward in the struggle for independence. Hence, the trade union Intersindical-CSC called for a general strike between the 11th and 16th October, but the call was declared illegal by the Supreme Court of Justice of Catalonia (TSJC). Furthermore, the pro-independence and left-wing Alternative Interunion Committee of Catalonia announced a general strike for 18th October. All authentic revolutionaries should demand from the leaderships of the trade unions, including the CCOO and UGT, to organize an indefinite general strike irrespective of any prohibition by the bourgeois state. Such a general strike must be based on strike committees and workers assemblies. Self-defense units must be active in order to protect the general strike. Given recent experience, such self-defense units should be led by the firefighters, the dockers and other workers of the transport sector. The latter are able to obstruct the paramilitary Guardia Civil to enter Catalonia during such an indefinite general strike. However, at a certain point the self-defense units will need to arm themselves to be able to really defend the general strike against the repression apparatus. Authentic revolutionaries need to explain the importance of such a step, to actively participate in the self-defense units and to warn against pacifist illusions.
9. The right-wing and fascist forces are an additional threat to the independence movement. It is more than obvious that the polarization goes on between two main camps of which one is progressive, in favor of independence and the other one reactionary, against independence. All workers and oppressed in the whole of Spain need to take side with the Catalan independence movement and to defend it against both the Spanish state as well as fascist forces. Otherwise the attacks of the fascists against progressive forces like it happened in Valencia at the reactionary mobilizations on Monday, 9th October will increase massively. The reactionary forces are mobilized nationwide, so the anti-fascist forces need to answer with nationwide mobilizations. It should be clear to everyone: A victory of the Catalan independence struggle will weaken the most reactionary, militarist and imperialist forces. A defeat of the Catalan independence struggle, on the other hand, is a defeat for the working class and all discriminated people in the whole of Spain. In addition, the people of Catalonia need to join forces with all other oppressed and discriminated people in Spain like the Basque people, the Galician, the Valencian people and others. The working class in Spain needs to fight for the unity of our class and the solidarity with the struggles of the oppressed and discriminated people. Our unity is not the bureaucratically enforced unity of the Spanish state on the ground of territorial lines but rather the class unity of the workers and oppressed on the ground of joint struggle against oppression and exploitation. All authentic revolutionaries must fight for the right of self-determination including the right of separation.
10. All above mentioned tasks are both important and urgent. They must be implemented if the people of Catalonia should have a chance to succeed in their struggle. For this the workers and oppressed in Catalonia and all other parts of Spain need a revolutionary leadership. It is therefore highly urgent for all authentic revolutionaries to join forces and to form a revolutionary party of the workers and oppressed. Only such a party is able to elaborate a revolutionary strategy to lead the masses in a successful fight for independence of Catalonia on a socialist base. This is what the RCIT is fighting for! We call all authentic revolutionaries to join us in this struggle!
International Secretariat of the RCIT