The new Catalan Republic is deeply divided about independence. This is because many are not sure if their lives will improve as a independent nation. Newspapers of the ruling class and those linked to liberal, conservative and social democratic political parties are very active in creating a very negative picture about a Catalonia free from Spain. Meanwhile the capitalists are already starting a economic boycott and capital flight is in process. Unless the working class takes control away from pro-capitalist figures like Carles Puigdemont, the young republic will be overrun by Spanish imperialism!
Madrid is wasting no time. Article 155 is in force and the Catalan government has been officially dissolved. Catalan president Carles Puigdemont remains very vague as ever and has not shown revolutionary strength. This weakens the pro-independence movement as the opposition to Catalan independence is growing. On 29 October 2017, more then 300.000 marched in Barcelona against the Catalan Republic. These are Catalonians who wish to be part of the Kingdom of Spain. Most of them are working class people, anti-nationalists, liberals, conservatives and social democrats. Revolutionary socialists stand with those who reject Spanish imperialism and the coup carried out by Madrid. This does not mean that we support Puigdemont. We want a Catalonia under control of working class people, not right-wing pro-capitalist nationalists like Puigdemont and his Catalan European Democratic Party!
Monday is the big moment. Then we will see how strong the government workers in Catalonia truly are. Spain has dissolved the government of Carles Puigdemont and appointed Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría as leader of the Catalan region. She is a member of the right-wing: People’s Party (PP), the party that came out of Franco’s fascist supporters mixed with Catholic conservatives and pro-market forces in 1989. The PP is the main party of austerity and the voice of conservatism, catholicism and Spanish nationalism. If government workers of the Catalan Republic are truly loyal to independence they must reject Sáenz de Santamaría and her minions. Meanwhile the anti-independence forces are getting stronger. Fear is what keeps many Catalans from supporting independence. They think that their country is better off inside Spain. These people have zero class consciousness and do not understand, that the act of rebellion against Madrid is part of a revolutionary mood against austerity and capitalism. A capitalist Catalonia is indeed no alternative, therefore only socialism is the way forward!
If the masses do not take power for themselves, then it is possible that the supporters of Puigdemont will capitulate before Sáenz de Santamaría and her master: Mariano Rajoy Brey. The head of the Catalan police has already been fired and the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) remained passive. This is dangerous as 18.000 officers are the only thing that stand between Spain and political power in Catalonia. If the Mossos d’Esquadra does not intervene to save the Catalan Republic, then Puigdemont and many revolutionary leftists inside the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) face arrest and possible long prison sentences. The anti-independence movement is already calling for the arrests of those who declared Catalonia independent!
Workers need to understand that socialism is the way forward. This vital for the survival of the Catalan Republic. A workers party on a socialist party is needed, now more then ever. If Madrid is able to take power, it will destroy the Catalan Republic. New elections under Spanish control will strengthen the anti-independence movement and they might win. Should this scenario happen then the dreams of millions will be shattered. Trade unionists, socialists and activists will be very disillusioned. The anti-independence propaganda will proclaim that Catalonia does not want to be free from Spain and that the forces of ”reason” have won. This outcome is possible as many Catalonians are not supportive of the Catalan Republic, a result of the inability of the pro-independence camp to provide a clear (socialist) alternative to Madrid. Bourgeois nationalists like Puigdemont wrongly think that their Catalan Republic can join the European Union. This has already been rejected as Brussels stand with the Kingdom of Spain. Many opponents also fear a economic crisis as capitalists move businesses away. This fear is justified and can only be countered with socialist politics in favor of workers!
This is why working class people must take power for themselves. Puigdemont and his supporters are loyal to capitalist law, they wish to build a Catalonia that remains part of the neoliberal economy of Europe. Because of this many have already rejected the Catalan European Democratic Party during the last elections in 2015. Back then the bourgeois Catalan nationalists lost -4,8% of their voters. The anti-independence Party of the Citizenry gained a lot of support after that election. They are now the biggest voice of Spanish nationalism against the Catalan Republic. Although far weaker, the People’s Party of Catalonia and the Socialists Party of Catalonia should not be underestimated. These anti-independence Catalonians are able to rally many. This is why the revolutionary independence movement must be ready to defend their republic. Civic disobedience is one thing, but if Spain is using force then violence is the only way to defend independence!
Although Puigdemont is calling for none-violence, his unwillingness to defend what he just build can lead to ruin for millions. If the Americans had remained pacifist and did not fought the British imperialists, then there would not have been a USA today. The same can be said about Lenin in 1917. If the Bolsheviks had not organized the Red Army to defend the soviets, then the White Armies and their western allies would have triumphed in the Russian civil war. Catalan workers in the government are now in the spot light. Will they defend the Catalan Republic? Or submit to Sáenz de Santamaría? An un-elected official send by Madrid, to take control over all government institutions. Revolutionary socialists advice to openly reject her and anybody send by Spain. Santamaría is not welcome in Catalonia and must be rejected!
The capitalist media of Europe is not positive about the new republic. Most major newspapers side with Madrid and warn Catalonia, that they risk economic downfall if they do not fall back in line of capitalism. This blackmailing is typical and only shows why only a Catalan Socialist Republic has any chance of staying alive. The Popular Unity Candidacy need to push for a socialist program, which is difficult as they are the only ones who are anti-capitalist. The Catalan sections of Podemos and United Left (Spanish Communist Party) do not support independence and have called for dialog with Madrid. Podemos and United Left fail to understand the revolutionary momentum. Their unwillingness to support a socialist Catalonia proofs the ideological weakness of these leftist populist parties!
Article 155 of the Spanish monarchist constitution was written by Franco’s supporters, to prevent Catalonia from ever becoming a independent nation. These conservatives mixed with fascists, catholics and Spanish nationalists wanted a Spain that remained traditionalist. Therefore a kingdom was created with Juan Carlos as the first king. Franco had appointed this Carlos in 1969 as his successor. With the death of the fascist dictator in 1975, Spain became a constitutional kingdom under Juan Carlos. It would take another two years before the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and Spanish Communist Party (PCE) were legalized. The conservative ruling class did not wanted to give freedom of speech to leftists and pro-republicans. After two years of debates and negotiations, the PSOE and PCE agreed on supporting the 1978 constitution. This was a major betrayal of socialist-republican thinking by both the social democrats (PSOE) and stalinists (PCE)!
Catalonia is now at a crossroad. Anti-independence supporters are growing in numbers. Some out of fear for their future, others because they support the crown and the Kingdom of Spain. Young opponents of the Catalan Republic say that they are anti-nationalist and call for unity. It is however not very anti-nationalist to wave with Spanish flags and declaring your loyalist to a king and country that is actively trying to limit democratic rights. Also the pro-independence camp is not nationalist, despite what the capitalist media is saying. Those who support the Catalan Republic do not see themselves superior to Spain, they reject Madrid because of its forced austerity. Opposition to capitalism and its unequal distribution of wealth is a big part of the struggle for independence. Catalonia is said to be this rich region of Spain. In reality, most wealth is centralized in a tiny minority. This elitist minority is living off the work of millions. Almost 20% of all Catalan workers do not earn enough to enjoy what is called the ”good” things in life. 20% is close to 1,5 million people living in relative poverty in ”rich” Catalonia!
What must be done? Revolutionary Socialist Media argues for the complete nationalization of all banks and financial institutions. These must be brought under state-ownership. Then capital flight must be stopped and any company that wants to move out is to be taken over. Workers play a key part here. They must organize the takeover and build their own management. No state bosses are to replace capitalist bosses. Workers can organize and manage themselves. Bureaucratic state control is not the right way. Self management by working people is. Only if the institutions of capitalism are take-over can the Catalan Republic survive. If not then this young state will do down very fast and might not live to see 2018!