Catalonia situation

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Ragnar
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Oct 3 2017 13:05

and what do you believe? I imagine that you have not seen the demonstrations and supports of Seville, Madrid, Bilbao, Santiago, etc ... so early and with all the confusion reigning. We will see supportive protests this afternoon.
The question is then, what is needed to carry forward a general strike movement in the rest of Spain today 2017?
-Unity of action of the radical unions
-With the support of social organizations
-With the support of left-wing parties
-Focalizing the anger in the crisis in the government of the PP and the CEOE

Do we have that in the rest of Spain? maybe somehow in the Basque country.
As always happens in Spanish working history, cities such as Madrid and Barcelona visually feed the fight, passed in 15M and will now pass with 1Oct and the general strike of 3Oct. Give it time.

Spain has an unresolved problem since the Transition, it is sociological Francoism, fascism or Falangism. You can see it in the PP clearly, also in the Andalusian PSOE, you can see it in many members of the civil guard, the police and the army. There is a lot of defense of the 78's regime in those who show their flag on balconies these days.

Mike Harman
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Oct 3 2017 13:34

Write up on today so far (with some background on the weekend and earlier) here: https://libcom.org/news/general-strike-against-state-repression-catalonia-03102017

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OliverTwister
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Oct 3 2017 13:45
nization wrote:
I leave "hegemony" to Gramscian neo-Stalinists and their "libertarian" little helpers...

That's why you're irrelevant.

Ragnar
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Oct 3 2017 13:51

the center of Barcelona now and there are still hours for the departure of the unitary demostration of the radical unions.

nization
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Oct 3 2017 15:00
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That's why you're irrelevant

Indeed. And that's what constitutes your imaginary "relevance" (besides non-stop wishful bullshitting, of course). The CNT was already irrelevant long before I was born... and still is. Hopelessly.

Ragnar
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Oct 3 2017 15:31

I guess where you're an activist will be more relevant. isn´t it?

Granollers, only union convener in the small town:
http://el9nou.cat/valles-oriental/actualitat/unes-5-000-persones-a-la-porxada-contra-la-repressio-policial/

they are irrelevant I imagine.

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Ed
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Oct 3 2017 15:33

Just asking, what's the reaction like in the rest of Spain? It seems like if there's any hope at all in this struggle coming out from the control of nationalists, it's in actions against state repression starting to spread to other parts of Spain

Mark.
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Oct 3 2017 15:41

Reports of police leaving the port in plain clothes in small groups:

https://mobile.twitter.com/PortuariosCNT/status/915239427311640576

Mark.
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Oct 3 2017 16:00
Ed wrote:
Just asking, what's the reaction like in the rest of Spain? It seems like if there's any hope at all in this struggle coming out from the control of nationalists, it's in actions against state repression starting to spread to other parts of Spain

I've seen reports of demos in support elsewhere. I'm not sure of the scale. There's a demo planned for this evening in Puerta del Sol in Madrid, organised jointly by the various anarchosyndicalist unions.

Ragnar
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Oct 3 2017 16:02

There are demos and protest in all capital of provinces organise from anarchosyndicalist and radical unions. Sevilla, Cordoba, Almeria, Valencia, Bilbao, Zaragoza, Compostela, Oviedo, etc, etc...

rooieravotr
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Oct 3 2017 16:56

Interesting liveblog on the general strike day from anarchist website: Live Blog #3Oct : General Strike in #Catalonia

Salvoechea
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Oct 3 2017 18:03

spanish king is going to speak to the country by 9 pm, local time. So, things are getting out of order. Three possibilities, an ambiguous long and boring discourse that nothing changes, the anounce of the Republic or a democratic solution for Catalonia (as Podemos, the Basques and social movements are asking for), or lastly a military intervention (as all the right wing are asking for).

These days are neverending, and really weird. We as a society are in a turning point. The last 40 years old Regime is collapsing in something similar to a May 68 for catalans. Don't believe spanish "unionist" press as they're presenting Catalonia as a new totalitarian/populist Reich. The opposite is true. Self organisation is everywhere. People assemblies are wide spread and there're about 150 Defense Committees of Referendum with around 5000 participants (probably more). National question has rose a huge contradiction in the system, and even local catalan burgoisie is openly independentist right now.

Which is our place in all of this? We, as anarchists are a tiny bit of society. We're probably a few thousands, with many simpathisers all around Catalonia, as this land is quite liberal and freethinker open to our ideas since 19th century. Our organisations here are big (CGT 15000, CNT 1200), but internally weak (being always in internal disputes).

However there is a widespread popular movement in every town and villages led by a social democratic / marxist CUP. This movement has also a libertarian composition inside, not structured officially in an organisation. The movement is an organisation of organisations. Based in youth and student groups and feminists groups, social centers... and values close to us. I don't really consider them as revolutionists, but however we may see them as a good ally to be with, the ones who manages stuff to be done. They've grown up a great deal in the last few years, and are in the Parliament like a commie party of any other country. Their motto is "independence, feminism and socialism".

So, social movements have been impulsed by "autonomous" ( some close to Colau Comunes other totally independent), anarchists and independentits. Roughly speaking.

This week committees have been called by groups near CUP. Buy with an anarchist participation. Those committees were turned yesterday into strike committees and today they led pickets in many places. Specially those territories with a weak (or inexistant) alternative unions (CNT, CGT, IAC, CSC and COS).

However, even those committees have been overcome by spontaneous self organisation of firemen, peasants, port workers, teachers... by thousands. There have been around 40 road blocks, and many pacific civil disobedience. This time there was a call for a "civic stoppage", like a strike of patrons and masters. Politicians supported the strike. But officially the strike was called by anarchosyndicalists. Weird. They used us. But... we've also have managed to be in touch with dozen of thousands of new people to whom we have been a practical and useful referent. Symbiosis.

Anarchist discourse have been put in a secondary place, as the point was a Referendum. What to do? Probably most of us knew this was not our war, but I was worthy to be there. Just like 14th of april of 1931, a point of rupture with an hostile reality. The biggest mistake of Madrid government has been to repress a symbolic roleplay (voting) with the brute force. The people felt that enough is enough and if the Referendum was illegal it was a good idea to vote then. Repression have created a rebellious environment with many thousands of people willing to have a chance to get revenge. The General Strike provided them an opportunity. And it has been the most "general" strike I've ever seen.

We don't support this scenario because we want to have a new State. We support this situation because is a rupture with a corrupt system and it benefits the revolutionary cause by expanding our base and normalising disobedience and self organisation.

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jura
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Oct 3 2017 19:03

Did the strike also affect the private sector? I've seen reports on striking hospitals, universities, and public transport.

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Khawaga
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Oct 3 2017 19:08
Salvoechea wrote:
Anarchist discourse have been put in a secondary place, as the point was a Referendum. What to do? Probably most of us knew this was not our war, but I was worthy to be there. Just like 14th of april of 1931, a point of rupture with an hostile reality. The biggest mistake of Madrid government has been to repress a symbolic roleplay (voting) with the brute force. The people felt that enough is enough and if the Referendum was illegal it was a good idea to vote then. Repression have created a rebellious environment with many thousands of people willing to have a chance to get revenge. The General Strike provided them an opportunity. And it has been the most "general" strike I've ever seen.

We don't support this scenario because we want to have a new State. We support this situation because is a rupture with a corrupt system and it benefits the revolutionary cause by expanding our base and normalising disobedience and self organisation.

Hear, hear. Too often anarchism is just reduced to some principles that you stick to no matter what. The end-result being a politics of withdrawal and retreat from any engagement with social movements or activists that would be open to our ideas and practice. There are of course many exceptions, but if we at least don't try--like anarchists are trying to in Spain--we won't even get to fail and learn from new mistakes. We are so scared of repeating old mistakes that it seems like we've become scared of even trying anything; if all that happens is that we make new mistakes is that such a bad thing? At least we'd learn something.

And no, this is not a call for activism (which you should still give up), or some pro-nationalist/nat lib sentiment.

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robot
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Oct 3 2017 19:19

There have been reports that all three automotive plants (Nissan, SEAT and Volkswagen) had production reductions today, because workers did not show up or just-in-time material did not arrive due to the traffic shortages. The ports at Tarragona and Barcelona seem to have been paralyzed because the dock workers were on strike. Public transport in Barcelona and other towns had only minimal services early in the morning and in the afternoon. Flying pickets forced a lot of shops to close during the whole day.

melenas
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Oct 3 2017 20:55
cantdocartwheels wrote:
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That seems like a particularly 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?
g

Probably a bit more concerning than that since in Catalonia in order to get any public sector and also most public facing jobs you need an advanced certificate in Catalan. Thus sadly nationalist sectarianism is already embedded in workplaces. Afterall if you are a Spanish migrant from say Murcia or another similarly less wealthy part of Spain you will not be able to apply for any of said jobs unless.you spend a year or two studying on an officially recognised Catalan course, assuming you have the funds or academic ability to do so.
Of course, a lot of the jobs we're talking about here are the ones more likely to be unionised. Anyways, sadly I would say nationalism has already divided ''workplace unity'' somewhat.

I can't believe it, for a public job in Catalunya they ask you to know Catalan, what will be next? Ask you to know English to work in UK? No really, can you be able to understand that as public worker in Catalunya or Euskal Herria you need to know the local languages? Is so strange? Are you able to understand that is a official language and you mast be able to speaker it to work in the public sector? You mast be ready to attend whatever person or communication in whatever official language, because are that OFFICIAL LANGUAGES.

baboon
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Oct 3 2017 19:42

I think that the "Catalonia Situation" is one more example of the global situation and this, on the basis of the fundamental and irreversible contradictions of the capitalist economy, is the exacerbation of centrifugal tendencies of bourgeois politics, of the decay and discredit of the ideological superstructures of capitalism. It goes all the way through Trump, Brexit, the rise of populism, corruption and the militarisation and violence of the state.It's the increase in tensions between bourgeois factions, with some of the most intelligent of the latter, reduced to defending their corner against rival cliques. "Independence", "Separation" are the bourgeois cries for "let's look after number one", "Every man for themself". It's the opposite, the deathbed, of proletarian unity.

It's no surprise that all the imperialist flashpoints of the early twentieth century are coming back to haunt us; tragedy, farce, then mayhem. Spain again, a significant but doomed workers' response in what was basically a rehearsal for the Second World War. The hot-spots of the Balkans, Crimea, the Caucasus have been kept simmering and the battlegrounds of Asia of World War Two, even if reconfigured, are reasserting themselves with terrible instability. Everything's changed some people say, there's been enormous advances. Changes there have been but we are in exactly the same fundamental situation as following the First World War. It's a very dangerous period coming up for the working class because the bourgeoisie will make the greatest use of is decay and divergences and try to mobilise the working class behind them.

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Cooked
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Oct 3 2017 20:19

I find it pretty awful seeing this impressive mobilisation. Knowing that separatism/nationalism was the ingredient that made it possible. Of course it's great to see people uniting against cops but the shadow cast by separatism makes it all look pretty dark to me. Without nationalism this unity would not exist?

Dannny
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Oct 3 2017 21:22

A hasty translation of a communiqué from the anarchist group Amor y Rabia, which put out a widely-read magazine in the 90s and early 00s and which re-launched as a blog and digital publication a few years ago. (I don't know what kind of following it has now or how many people are in the collective, perhaps other posters might have more knowledge of this)
http://noticiasayr.blogspot.co.uk/2017/10/comunicado-del-colectivo-amor-y-rabia.html

1) We condemn unreservedly the brutal police actions ordered by the central government with the support of the Socialist Party (PSOE) and Ciudadanos, and which only serves the electoral interests of the PP and Junts pel Sí

2) We completely refuse to support a 'Process' inititated and directed by a political caste that is as corrupt and repressive as the government in Madrid and the parties that support it.

3) As a part of the libertarian movement we reaffirm that the objective of anarchism is a world without classes or borders, based on direct democracy and equality.

What is happening in Catalonia is entirely contrary to this: it is cross class and in support of a neoliberal government that is instrumentalising social unrest for its own interests, in the name of an illusory common good and the creation of a new state that would be in the hands of those who previously supported the 'Regime of '78'. The demise of neoliberal globalisation has paved the way for protectionism of an identitarian character.

Amor y Rabia considers it fundamental to struggle against capitalism and to concentrate our forces on fighting class society, focusing our activity on the social question rather than the 'national question', which turns us into pawns in the internal struggles of rival oligarchies.

'Changing bosses is not the same as freeing yourself from them'

JOAN PEIRÓ

Salvoechea
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Oct 3 2017 22:16

It's not catalan nationalism what has made possible this mobilisation, but spanish nationalism. This was supposed to be a votation for 2 million people out of 6. Which means more a mobilisation than any other thing. But repression has turned it into a defiance, into a referendum for democracy. This time people was applauding voters with flags of Spain. So, in the end were 2.2 million voters and another 775,000 who could not be conted due to the police intervention. Even many people who would have voted not to break Spain in other conditions voted for it.

In the end the King of Spain has done a speach against catalan government avaling spanish one to use everthing on its hand to keep Catalonia. He has linked his destiny to central government. Same as 1931

This movement is lead by streets right now. But its transversality makes it dependant on catalan institutions.

Ragnar
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Oct 3 2017 22:24

http://www.cnt.es/noticias/cas-cat-eng-tras-la-huelga-del-3-o-cnt-llama-extender-la-respuesta-social

After the 3-O strike, CNT calls for extending the social response

Facing Tuesday’s general strike in Catalonia, CNT wants to show its satisfaction with the response which thousands of workers have given throughout the day and across trades. Popular mobilization responds again against the severe repression which Catalan society is living. Worker’s solidarity shows once again that it can do anything.

This isn’t just another call to action. We stand before an attack on rights and freedoms which deepens the breach between the ruling class and us, the working class. State and Capital show their teeth and they do it with a clear goal: shoring up their corrupt and totalitarian system. A system which today we know can be made to stagger thanks to the great combative mobilization.

This Tuesday’s general strike in Catalonia is a giant’s step towards the social struggle to demolish this political and economic system. It’s a transcending conflict for anarcho-syndicalism: we don’t fight to switch up flags but for a Social Change in capital letters which allows us to recover the reigns of our lives and everything they’re taking away from us.

From CNT we show our absolute rejection towards the bureaucratic apparatuses which call themselves unions and, once again, align themselves with the government and employers in order to torpedo the general strike in Catalonia. This is nothing new. It reaffirms us in our organizational model based on direct action and mutual aid. While CCOO and UGT sabotage the worker’s movement, thousands of people will take part in the numerous calls to solidarity beyond any borders. For them is our recognition. For them is our fight in workplaces and in the streets. For them is the CNT.

Against all States. For freedom. For social revolution!

Permanent Secretariats of the Regional Committee of Catalonia and the Balearic Islands and of the Confederal Committee

Confederación Nacional del Trabajo

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jura
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Oct 3 2017 23:05

BTW, the total "Yes" vote was 2,020,144 or 38% of eligible voters (5,313,564). If we add the 775,000 votes taken by the cops (mentioned above), and assume they all would have been "Yes", it adds up to 52,6% of eligible voters. Seems like it was split pretty evenly (at best) despite all the fervor.

Mark.
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Oct 4 2017 00:07

Twitter thread in Spanish. It seems the Guardia Civil have met with employers to try and identify CNT members in the port of Barcelona. I think the issue here is retaliation for monitoring and publicising police activity in the port as well as generally trolling police twitter accounts.

https://mobile.twitter.com/PortuariosCNT/status/915295856101863424

Mark.
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Oct 4 2017 09:24

Coverage of yesterday's events on alasbarricadas:

http://www.alasbarricadas.org/noticias/node/39004

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Oct 4 2017 08:59
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I can't believe it, for a public job in Catalunya they ask you to know Catalan, what will be next? Ask you to know English to work in UK?

Nope, to work in England you don;t need a certificate in English. I live in London, friends, family and co-workers of mine from abroad are special needs or language teachers, cover supervisors, chefs, do admin jobs, are social workers and so on etc etc etc. They often did not need to show a certificate in written English, being able to pass the interview conversationally was enough,
When my wife got a job in a school, she was just told to make sure she carried on practicing her English, not that it was a pre-requisite of employment.

By contrast Spanish friends and family of mine have said that even when going for a job in a restaurant or a shop in Barcelona you can be asked for a certificate in written Catalan. This is straight discrimination in a city where 100% of people understand Spanish* . Just a shit mirror image of francos language policy. If you come from Murcia (somewhere that probly suffered equally under Franco and is a lot less well off as a region than catalonia**) to Barcelona to work, for example why should you have to pass a certificate in Catalan literacy just to work in a shop let alone in the public sector?

*https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Catalonia
**an area of course that the government of catalunias boss class probably feels that it is ''subsidising''

Back on the subject of the UK. The current migration system in the UK means you have to pass an IELTs exam to gain citizenship, but nobody on the left supports this. This is not really linked to employment though, especially as generally in the public sector we do not have the same level of bureaucracy when it comes to employment as spain (all those endless regional exams etc) Although we get worse job security as a result.

The current government and other English nationalists have been trying to enforce stricter rules in some areas, most on the left and in the unions would oppose and campaign against this. eg https://www.unison.org.uk/motions/2016/black-members/nmc-criteria-for-overseas-nurses-2/
However the core issue for me with the current language policy in catalonia is that the sections of left and the unions in catalunia don't only appear not to oppose it, they also seem to be its decidedly naive cheerleaders. Thus when I se statements expressing support for the ''self determination of the catalan people'' against ''spanish attacks'' I can't say I feel too enthusiastic.
Perhaps I am wrong and i hope i am, but i am not sure how you can sideline nationalism and put forward an alternative programme when you effectively piggy backing on a nationalist cause.

wojtek
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Oct 4 2017 09:44

It would be interesting to know how Catalans view the English language v 'oppressive' Castillian.

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Khawaga
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Oct 4 2017 12:47

Cantdocartwheels, you don't seem to have noticed that malenas referred to public sector jobs, not all and every single job. It's the same in many other countries with several official languages; Finland, Canada, south Africa IIRC. But if you work for the state, not the private sector.

Mike Harman
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Oct 4 2017 13:31
jura wrote:
BTW, the total "Yes" vote was 2,020,144 or 38% of eligible voters (5,313,564). If we add the 775,000 votes taken by the cops (mentioned above), and assume they all would have been "Yes", it adds up to 52,6% of eligible voters. Seems like it was split pretty evenly (at best) despite all the fervor.

So this is interesting, since presumably the 'no' voters would have also have had to fight through riot police (or at least risk it) in order to vote, facing the same repression as the 'yes' voters. The only possibility for that not to be the case would be if there was a massive urban/rural split in the vote. Whether that contingent was present on the general strike yesterday is a different question of course.

I can't find it at the moment, but on twitter yesterday there was a photo of a demonstrator in Barcelona with a massive Spanish flag draped around him and a placard saying (paraphrasing the translation from memory) "I don't want independence but I will stand with my neighbours against the police"). On the other hand it was hard to find a photo of the urban mobilisations (as opposed to the road blockades) that didn't have a massive Catalan flag in it.

On the question of nationalist vs. class content, there's often tendencies in both directions. What we can ask is the extent whether it's a nationalist movement in the sense of for an independent Catalonia vs. a movement against Rajoy and the regime of '78 more generally. It seems like at least this week, it could be turning into a massive mobilisation against the national state and police, with the Catalan nationalist movement and everyone else left behind by events.

A positive movement for Catalan independence doesn't offer anything, the reaction to the suppression of civil rights and policing, and a broader anti-'78 regime movement there's more possibilities for something to happen that breaks out of the limitations of national independence.

The solidarity demonstrations in the rest of Spain last night look decent sized, but from photos mostly limited to CGT/CNT and maybe Basque nationalists? (and hundreds or low thousands, not tens of thousands from these photos) https://twitter.com/libcomorg/status/915294864111226880

If the reaction to the general strike yesterday ends up being a legally allowed referendum, then it being 'demobilising' might be correct, but no sign of this at the moment.

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Oct 4 2017 13:41
Mike Harman wrote:
So this is interesting, since presumably the 'no' voters would have also have had to fight through riot police (or at least risk it) in order to vote, facing the same repression as the 'yes' voters.

Yeah, but many of those opposed to secession (or to the referendum as such) would simply stay at home, right? That's what I would do, anyway.

Mike Harman
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Oct 4 2017 13:47

You're right, I read your comment wrong and inserted an explicit 'No' vote in there somehow, which is why I thought it was worth commenting on...