Catalonia situation

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Juan Conatz's picture
Juan Conatz
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Sep 22 2017 14:22
Catalonia situation

On the road right now so unable to track down any links but thought I'd start a thread so other could post stuff.

So apparantly there was a about to be an independence referendum in Catalonia that the Spanish government deemed illegal. They've sent 5,000 police and military to arrest the organizers of the vote and try to stop the vote from happening. I think there's talk of strikes? Also saw on FB that CNT workers refused to let a ship of state police dock, although not sure how credible that was.

Mark.
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Sep 22 2017 15:27

I posted some links (mostly in Spanish) on the dockworkers thread:

https://libcom.org/forums/organise/spainish-dock-workers-union-19032014?page=5#comment-598327

There's an interesting discussion on alasbarricadas, mainly around what position the CNT should take:

http://www.alasbarricadas.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=25&t=54033&start=1815

The CGT is proposing a general strike in Catalonia, starting on 3 October. This still has to be ratified by the membership. Some smaller leftist and independentista unions are supporting the strike call. The CNT hasn't made a decision as yet.

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Steven.
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Sep 22 2017 16:45

Yeah it's interesting. It seems like massive mismanagement by the Spanish government. Recent polls put support for Catalan independence around 41%, so it seems the government should have just let the independence referendum take place, and they would probably win.

With the Scottish independence referendum, if the UK government, instead of letting it happen, had sent in police to seize all of the ballot papers and arrest loads of politicians and civil servants it would have backfired massively, and the government could have ended up losing the referendum.

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Sep 22 2017 19:32
Juan Conatz wrote:
Also saw on FB that CNT workers refused to let a ship of state police dock, although not sure how credible that was.

there were according to the facebook feed from someone I do trust (but not necessarily agree with) meetings of port workers in Barcelona and Tarragona which decided to boycott the ships which serve as accommodation of several thousand guardia civil cops in these ports, there was also constant honking of ship's horns last night close to these ships ... CNT members among others took part in the successful defense of the left-nationalist CUP's headquarter against a guardia civil raid on Wednesday ... the police of the Catalan autonomous region btw. follows currently the orders of the central government, don't think that it will change, my general perception is that the focus of the struggle has due to the hated guardia civil's intervention shifted from an argument about national independence towards one about repression

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Sep 22 2017 20:43

The CNT Port Workers union is tweeting about all of the threats they have been receiving from police "unions."

Oh also CCOO have pleaded for everyone to stay calm.

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Sep 23 2017 00:08
Freedom wrote:
dockworkers suspect that at least one of the boats has been deliberately repainted to “throw off” inquiries by the international community:

The cops are holed-up in a fucking Looney Tunes ship grin

nization
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Sep 23 2017 18:24

Yes, that's all very well and hilarious. What's not so funny, however, is what the leader of ERC's (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya) parliamentary group, Gabriel Rufián, said just a few minutes ago (adressing himself to Rajoy): "Take your dirty hands off of OUR police." (Referring to the central government's attempt to "coordinate" all police forces, including the Mossos...)

wojtek
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Sep 23 2017 19:33

The latest in the LRB here.

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Sep 23 2017 19:39
nization wrote:
(...) What's not so funny, however, is what the leader of ERC's (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya) parliamentary group, Gabriel Rufián, said just a few minutes ago (adressing himself to Rajoy): "Take your dirty hands off of OUR police."

Yep, ERC's very personal mossos that protected a fascist demonstration in Barcelona yesterday and did not even intervene when a journalist was stabbed by a fascist thug. Anyhow this quote shows pretty much the dilemma of that sort of "progressive nationalism" – no matter when the cops beat you, as long as they are your "own" ones.

Meanwhile the port of the Barcelona is being flooded by Spanish national police vehicles. Reports say, a couple of hundreds of UIP cars are already in the port.

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Sep 24 2017 06:49

CNT unions from Catalonia and the Balearic islands issued a statement yesterday:

The CNT local unions from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands publicly state our support for the self-determination of the Catalan people.

As anarcho-syndicalists, we don’t think that political reforms within a capitalist framework can reflect our desire for social transformation, a change that would place production and consumption means in workers’ hands. Because of this, our daily struggles do not focus on creating new states or backing parliamentary initiatives.

However, we can’t look the other way when regular people are being attacked and repressed by any state. A state that has, in this case, removed its mask and revealed itself as an authoritarian rule, the true heir of the Franco regime. This is something that could be glimpsed before through many instances, such as labour law reforms, bank bail-outs, cuts on health and education, mass evictions of out-of-work families…many of which were implemented by the Catalan government itself.

CNT Catalonia and the Balearic greet this spirit of disobedience against a dictatorial state, a discriminatory and fascist state, and want to assert our strongest denunciation of repression against workers and of those who carry it out.

The men and women in CNT will stand as one to defend their neighbours and townsfolks, as couldn´t be otherwise with an anarcho-syndicalist, and henceforth revolutionary, organisation.

(The catalan and spanish version can be found here: https://cntlhospitalet.wordpress.com/)

nization
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Sep 24 2017 07:56

The real issue here (or, at least, the one that matters to more people, both inside and outside Catalonia) is not the self-determination of the Catalan "people" (all social classes included, and led, of course, by local capitalists both big and small, and protected by "THEIR" police), but the ongoing crisis of the so-called '78 regime. This regime had already run its course by 2011 (as the 15-M and the subsequent rise of Podemos made clear), and now the crisis is out in the open again as a result of the Catalan referendum. Rajoy can't get his budget approved because he has been deserted by the Basque nationalists, whose support he needs to rule, on account of his handling of the Catalan question. So the Spanish government's legal victory over the Generalitat (which intends to capitalize the "moral" victory) will indeed be a Pyrrhic one; it's highly unlikely that Rajoy's government can go on for long (if, of course, the opposition forces decide to take over the reins and handle the Catalan issue by setting a date for a "proper" referendum). This is what remains to be seen, as well as the overall consequences (the right will be crying "treason" all over the place for years to come and politics will no doubt get uglier)

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Sep 24 2017 13:07

Thanks for that analysis nization. What is the Generalitat? I don't think I've ever come across that name when reading about Catalonia and Spain.

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Sep 24 2017 14:06

The Generalitat is the name for the regional government of Catalonia.

Spikymike
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Sep 24 2017 14:25

Do supporters of the CNT (which one?) really think that the first paragraph is compatible with the rest in that short translated statement by robot? They seem to be straight contradictions to me!

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Sep 24 2017 15:29
Spikymike wrote:
Do supporters of the CNT (which one?) really think that the first paragraph is compatible with the rest in that short translated statement by robot? They seem to be straight contradictions to me!

yes it does. Can someone confirm, does that mean the CNT will be calling for people to vote Yes for independence? Or calling for a boycott? As it certainly sounds like they support a vote for independence…

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Sep 24 2017 16:06
Quote:
The Generalitat is the name for the regional government of Catalonia.

Thanks Oliver.

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Sep 24 2017 16:31

As far as I understood the texts in Catalan and Spanish, CNT Catalunya / Balears gave no proposal on whether to vote for something or not. They just say, that they are in favor of the right of the people to decide on their affairs if they like to.

When we translated the text into German, we did not use the English translation from CNT Hospitallets website because we found it not to be a good translation of the original text in Catalan and Spanish. There are quite a couple of things that are quite different in the English translation compared with the Catalan / Spanish one.

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Sep 24 2017 16:34

The Generalitat is a corpus of limited self administration the Spanish kings granted to Catalunya from the early 18th century onward. The present Generalitat is the 130th.

nization
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Sep 24 2017 17:06

Well, the CNT has a certain

Quote:
tradition

of not proposing to vote or not when it comes to sticky situations, dating back to the 1936 elections which got the Popular Front into power. Just their way of saying "go ahead and vote, but we didn't tell you to, because we are anarchists"...

Also, I reiterate: it's interesting to see that CNT believe in the existence of "the people", a class-free entity entitled to "decide on their affairs"... via the ballot box, as opposed to through the overthrow of the existing relations of production... Hmm...

MT
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Sep 24 2017 18:52

yeah, the cnt statement feels like a really bad joke...

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Sep 24 2017 20:33

Seems to me like they're doing exactly what a revolutionary union should be doing in a situation like this. They aren't taking a stand on independence or not, but are against repression, and for mass disobedience against militarization of society.

If there a revolutionary union in St Louis, this is exactly what they would be doing.

Good thing they don't need to please the internet commentariat.

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Sep 24 2017 21:16

As a piece of popular agitation, I have no problem with the statement per se. Obviously, if I out on my ideological reading glasses, I have have some problems. I am with OliverTwister on this one; it makes sense to make such a statement and in using language that people will understand (e.g. using the category of the "people"). Fit your language to the context.

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Sep 24 2017 21:17
OliverTwister wrote:
Seems to me like they're doing exactly what a revolutionary union should be doing in a situation like this. They aren't taking a stand on independence or not, but are against repression, and for mass disobedience against militarization of society.

it seems like you sometimes feel the need to defend the CNT. However in this instance, with the background of a vote on national independence, saying they "support… the self-determination of the Catalan people", to pretty much everyone that looks like they are supporting independence. Which is not what a revolutionary union should do. Especially as one of the big arguments (the biggest?) for independence is that Catalonia is richer than the rest of Spain, so they shouldn't have to pay money to Spain to provide services to poorer people, including other CNT members elsewhere in the Spanish state.

A revolutionary union should be saying the nationality of the bosses is irrelevant, what's important is to fight for our interests as workers of all countries.

wojtek
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Sep 24 2017 23:01

Maybe some useful links:
https://mobile.twitter.com/marxistJorge/status/910508613814321152

Ragnar
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Sep 25 2017 00:50

CNT to 1-O: Facing repression, defend the rights and freedoms
http://lasoli.cnt.cat/20/09/2017/cnt-davant-l1-enfront-repressio-defensar-drets-llibertats/
http://cnt.es/noticias/cnt-ante-el-1-o-frente-la-represi%C3%B3n-defender-los-derechos-y-libertades

Statement of the Catalan CNT in favor of the right of self-determination of the Catalan people
http://lasoli.cnt.cat/22/09/2017/comunicat-cnt-catalana-favor-dret-dautodeterminacio-poble-catala/

In Spanish the words like: the people or the society used by the unions like CGT or CNT refer to the working class, is a more populist way to speak to reach the receiver of the message.

Also say that careful to judge what is happening in Catalonia these days as something that holds the Catalan bourgeoisie, this is more interested in a negotiation with the central government of Spain than with independence, the high Catalan bourgeoisie is clearly opposed, from the CEOE employers' union or Catalan regional. (Its in Català but talks about how political parties ERC and PDeCAT are retracting their speech: http://www.elnacional.cat/es/opinion/jordi-graupera-momento-verdad_194472_102.html) There is a working class majority behind the freedoms and referendum committees in the provinces and city districts. Many in turn are neither nationalists nor independentistas, can be seen as a new "15M" to the Catalan version.

This committes:
It is only the beginning. we decided everything
https://decidimhotot.wordpress.com/

Spain has ended up entering the institutional and social crisis that began in the 15M movement. The 78 regime is in an identity, territorial and institutional crisis. The questioned monarchy, the system of autonomy of the regions in a deadlock and the plurinationality of the country becomes visible. In my opinion Spain is entering a cycle of identity reconstruction towards perhaps a Confederal Republic or a rise of regional nationalisms and Spanish nationalism philofascist without a mask.

A summary of the performance of the philofascist and conservative PP government:
More than 700 imputed mayors, the Civil Guard entering simultaneously in institutions of the Generalitat (Catalan regional government), arrests of officials and positions of the regional government, seizures by the police of material for the referendum in the own presses, registry of the the political headquarters of the CUP (Independence and Municipalist Party), arrests and fines of dozens of activists for posting posters for the referendum, three ships with thousands of police in the Port of Barcelona, in the rest of Spain some prohibitions on acts in support of Catalan civil disobedience or simply to discuss about what happens in Catalonia.

The CGT, IAC, COS and CNT call to general strike in Catalonia of 3-Oct with support of independentists, CUP and Podems. It is an unprecedented political strike (as they are prohibited by law, such as class solidarity strikes) against repression, in favor of basic freedoms, the right of association and assembly. This is a question that recalls the claims of the beginning of the Spanish transition over the years 78.

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Sep 25 2017 00:37

Seems like today's anarcho-syndicalists have failed to learn the most important lessons from their own history. Once again, at the first test, basic anarchist principles are ditched by modern anarchists in favor of the latest flavour of populism. Seems to be the norm for this historical period; Rojava, anarcho-Corbynism etc.

Ragnar
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Sep 25 2017 00:55

The anarcho-syndicalists then we should not defend postulates as "Against repression, in favor of basic freedoms, the right of association and assembly"?
What basic anarchist principles are ditched?

nization
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Sep 25 2017 08:17

This thread was supposed to be about the situation in Catalonia, not about what the CNT has to say about the situation in Catalonia.

Libcom readers may -or may not- care about what the CNT has to say (I certainly do not), but generally speaking, the "people" of Catalonia (both in the dubious/hazy definition given by Ragnar -after all, it's not the working class who's being asked to participate in the referendum, it's the entire Catalan population- and in its proper sense) couldn't care less about the CNT's statements or its "support", for the very simple reason that for the vast majority of people the CNT is non-existent, a non-entity, and they have no reason to take any interest in it. The CGT, for better or for worse, is another story, as it actually has a certain - though not much- degree of relevance as a union...

nization
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Sep 25 2017 08:55

That said, though I disagree with much that he says, at least Ragnar has posted some actual docs from the "real movement"... which bear witness, in my opinion, to the groundless illusions underlying it... namely, that independence is some sort of trampoline for "changing everything"...

MT
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Sep 25 2017 09:03
Ragnar wrote:
The anarcho-syndicalists then we should not defend postulates as "Against repression, in favor of basic freedoms, the right of association and assembly"?
What basic anarchist principles are ditched?

vs.

Quote:
The CNT local unions from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands publicly state our support for the self-determination of the Catalan people.

If you cannot see the obvious problem already explained by nization, then at least refrain from using a straw-man. To put out a statement against repression (and add ideas against "people's" belief in the state and the police) is fine, but CNT statement is not about that (only). If this populist bullshit is in line with anarchist principles, then it just shows in what pity state anarchism is at the moment.

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Sep 25 2017 09:40
MT wrote:
Quote:
The CNT local unions from Catalonia and the Balearic Islands publicly state our support for the self-determination of the Catalan people.

If you cannot see the obvious problem already explained by nization, then at least refrain from using a straw-man. To put out a statement against repression (and add ideas against "people's" belief in the state and the police) is fine, but CNT statement is not about that (only). If this populist bullshit is in line with anarchist principles, then it just shows in what pity state anarchism is at the moment.

most polls put support for independence as a minority view, so think if anything it's more nationalist than "populist".

Especially considering the planned strike, can anyone clarify when the CNT says they support self-determination, does that mean they are for the right to hold a referendum, without repression from the Spanish state? Or does that mean they support a vote for independence?

Initially I thought maybe they meant the former (which wouldn't contradict anarchist principles), but if they are calling a strike in solidarity with the pro-independence parties, then it looks like they mean the latter (which do).

That seems like a particular worrying development, as it would mean risking workplace unity over disagreements on nationalism (in terms of whether workers decide to take part in the strike or not). Did CNT members vote on whether or not to strike? If so what was the result, and what was the specific question asked?

On a historical note related to this question, this text has been recommended as reading: https://libcom.org/history/catalan-cnt-asturias-uprising