Stop the Criminalization of the Independence Referendum and its Supporters! Participate at the referendum and vote “Yes” for independence! Organize immediate self-defense units!
Statement of the Revolutionary Communist International Tendency (RCIT), 21 Sept 2017, www.thecommunists.net
1. On 20th September the imperialist Spanish state arrested 14 Catalan senior officials including Oriel Junqueras, the current vice president of Catalonia and his closest colleague Josep Maria Jové, the secretary general of the finance department as well as Josep Lluís Salvadó, the treasury secretary of Catalonia. With these means of outrageous oppression, the Spanish regime wants to stop the mobilization for the referendum on October 1 and threatens all supporters of the independence campaigns. The RCIT is in full solidarity with the independence campaign activists and the current protests in Catalonia. We demand the immediate release of all arrested officials and the end of the prosecutions against the supporters of the referendum!
2. Spanish foreign minister Alfonso Dastis attacked the Catalan politicians in an interview with Bloomberg New York, accusing them of having “Nazi-attitudes”. It reflects very well the hypocrisy of the oppressing Spanish state that one day before the police has confiscated nearly ten million ballot papers and arrested the Catalan officials, Dastis dared to say about the independence movement: “That’s something you don’t see in a democracy”. Instead it is the Spanish state, a constitutional monarchy, which kept many elements from the fascist Franco-regime. The current reigning King of Spain and enemy to the Catalan independence, Felipe VI is the son of former king and chosen successor of Franco, Juan Carlos I. All authentic democrats, not to speak revolutionaries, have to reject the constitutional monarchy and to fight for its abolition. Facing this duty one has to sharply criticize the role of the Partido Comunista de España (PCE) who collaborated with former king Juan Carlos I. in order to hinder the working class to take power in the looming revolutionary crisis in the late 1970's.
3. Without any political sympathies for the capitalist politicians of Catalonia and their program, all authentic revolutionaries still have to defend them against the Spanish repression apparatus. The arrested officials wanted to fulfill the will of the Catalan people by organizing the referendum and for this they get punished by the regime. The current behavior of the furious Spanish state could be the preface for implementing nothing else than simple Bonapartism. They need to be stopped immediately in order to prevent this massive attack on democratic rights. Otherwise, more anti-democratic measures and attacks on the labor movement will inevitably follow soon.
4. Catalonia has a long, historic tradition of demanding independence from the Spanish rulers which was massively nourished during the era of the Franco-regime. About 80% of the people in Catalonia are in favor of having the referendum and nearly half of the Catalan people are currently for the separation. In addition, mobilizations of the supporters for the independence were impressively big in the last years and involved up to more than one million people (out of a population of 7.5 Million!). Last but not least, Catalonia as such is not only a traditional stronghold of the working class (likewise the Basque country) in Spain, it organized also the biggest pro-refugee protests in Europe. Therefore, there can be no doubt about the progressive character of the forces in favor of national self-determination as well as of the strength of the independence movement among the politically conscious workers and youth in Catalonia.
5. The planned referendum on the independence of Catalonia has to be supported by all authentic revolutionaries. The RCIT calls for participation in the referendum and for a “Yes” vote for the independence of Catalonia. In most cases, participation in a referendum is not a subversive act as it is part of the arsenal of bourgeois-democratic rights. However, the imperialist Spanish state persecutes the independence movement to such a degree that it is not enough to just call for the participation at the referendum. It is urgent to build self-defense units of the workers and oppressed in Catalonia to defend the independence movement.
6. Furthermore, the labor movement in Spain needs to organize a nationwide solidarity campaign with the Catalan people. It needs to support the right of the people in Catalonia to hold their referendum and to form an independent state if they wish so. The people in Catalonia need to organize a Revolutionary Constitutional Assembly in order to democratically develop new laws for an independent state. Authentic socialists should argue in favor of an independent Workers Republic of Catalonia (likewise for the Basque country as they also have a very militant and progressive tradition demanding independence).
7. The formation of self-defense units of the workers and oppressed in Catalonia will be used as a pretext by the Spanish imperialist state to escalate their attacks on the Catalan people. Although such an escalation frightens pacifist elements it should not hinder class-conscious workers and the oppressed to take such a step. The escalation is not avoidable without abandoning the plans for the referendum not to speak the independence. However, abandoning the referendum would be a massive defeat not only for the Catalan people but for all oppressed and discriminated nations in Europe who aspire national self-determination. In addition it would strengthen the self-confidence of the repression apparatus in Spain which would be encouraged to attack more brutally other mobilizations of the workers and oppressed like the pro-refugee protests. To all those who fear the escalation we say: “It is better to fight now for a future of freedom than to obey the oppressors for your lifetime!”
8. The mass parties and trade unions of the working class in Catalonia must organize mass demonstrations and a political, indefinite general strike. They should demand the immediate release of all arrested as well as for the right to hold the referendum in 1 October. Likewise, it is also important not to let the Catalan people alone. There must be mass protests in solidarity with the Catalan people in the whole of Spain. They must support the right of the Catalan people to hold a referendum as well as to have the right to separate from the Spanish state. It is most likely that not only police but even military will be mobilized by the Spanish state against such a movement. An indefinite general strike needs therefore to be protected by its self-defense units, which, if necessary can be turned into armed popular militias. Likewise, such a solidarity movement must demand the same rights for the Basque people who have also shown a strong desire to become independent.
9. The Catalan people can only achieve real independence and freedom if they fight consequently for it and if they have the support of the workers and oppressed in the rest of Spain. Therefore only unity and solidarity can solve the current situation in favor of the workers and oppressed. Exciting times are ahead for the working class and oppressed in Catalonia and nationwide who should prepare to fight the imperialist Spanish state and its friends in the imperialist European Union by any means. Only a Workers Republic of Catalonia as a voluntary part of an Iberian Socialist Federation and the United Socialist States of Europe means both - real independence and unity. This goal can only be achieved by an armed uprising and a socialist revolution of the workers and oppressed in Spain and in whole Europe.
10. The RCIT calls all workers and oppressed in Europe to support the independence movement and to rally for the release of the arrested officials and prosecuted activists now. In addition to the above mentioned measures it is highly urgent to build a new workers party in Catalonia and nationwide. In our opinion such a workers party needs to be based on a revolutionary program for the liberation of the working class and all oppressed. It should be built in combination with the formation of a Revolutionary World Party. We call all authentic revolutionaries in Catalonia, the Basque country and the rest of Spain to organize meetings and mobilizations in order to form such a New Workers Party. Now is the time to fight the rigorous repression apparatus of the imperialist Spanish state. Now is the time to achieve big victories by fighting consistently and united!
International Secretariat of the RCIT