Socialist Worker

Jailings in Catalonia spur fight on streets

by Dave Sewell
Issue No. 2579

A demonstration against repression in October

A demonstration against repression in October (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A strike and mass demonstration were set to take place in Catalonia this week after the Spanish state began locking up the deposed Catalan government.

Spanish authorities jailed the vice president and seven ministers of the deposed government last Thursday.

They will be held and then tried on possible charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds after the bid for independence.

Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez, the leaders of the two main independence campaigns, are also in jail.

Revelations from the detained ministers’ lawyer about their treatment have intensified the anger.

David Karvala is part of the revolutionary socialist Marx 21 in Barcelona. “They were handcuffed behind their backs,” he told Socialist Worker. “And they were bounced around in the back of the Guardia Civil police van for four hours with no safety belts.

“One needed medical attention for injuries to his wrist.”

Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and some of his ministers fled to Belgium. They handed themselves in to Belgian police on Sunday after a European Arrest Warrant was issued.

Workplaces

The jailings have triggered outrage in Catalonia. There were protests outside workplaces and government buildings last Thursday.

These were followed by late night “cassoladas”—noisy protests banging pots and pans.

Crowds thousands-strong held up posters outside local government buildings throughout Catalonia on Sunday. And one pro-independence union federation called a strike for Wednesday.

Campaigners called a programme of actions leading up to a mass demonstration in Barcelona on Saturday. The days of 10-12 November this week must be a focus for international solidarity.

The Spanish state’s attack on democracy has given new focus to an independence movement.

It has also outraged some opponents of independence. Barcelona mayor Ada Colau called for “a common front for the freedom of political prisoners”.

Renewed

There’s potential for a renewed fightback against right wing Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy.

But Catalan politicians are already starting to focus instead on the 21 December elections.

Puigdemont called on all pro-independence parties to stand in a common list. This is partly to stop his right wing Catalan European Democratic Party losing votes to its former coalition partner the social democratic Catalan Republican Left.

Such an alliance would also stifle critical voices such as the anti-capitalist CUP.

Unity in action is important, but the struggle for independence cannot fall in behind Puigdemont.

Its strength is in the working class activists at its grassroots, in their unions and local Committees to Defend the Republic.

WithCatalonia.org has been launched to encourage international solidarity.

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