Eyewitness to the October 1st Catalan Revolution.
Article by Alejandro García, member of Communist Call and of Communists For Yes, writes from the front-lines of the Catalan revolution for the Irish Republican Socialist Party and to the Irish people in solidarity.
On October 1st we plan to hold a self-determination referendum in Catalonia, convened unilaterally by our government, which grants it a binding nature through the Laws of the Referendum and the Fundamental Transnationality of the Republic, approved by the Catalan Parliament.
The Catalan Parliament has a separatist majority: “Together for the Yes” – in the Catalan Government – and the “Popular Unity Candidacy ( CUP )” which gives its critical support.
This referendum is intended to ask the population: “Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a Republic?”
The key to understanding the current events is in this unilateral unity across political divides.
Why do we do it without the permission of the Spanish State, risking the consequences?
It is simple, although there is a parliamentary and social majority in favor of the referendum – it is estimated that between 70% and 80% of the Catalans- the right-wing Spanish government of the Popular Party has always denied that possibility, As well as any offer of an alternative proposal calling into question the current Spanish territorial framework enforced by Francos fascist government.
We find, therefore two realities and totally different social and political policies in the Spanish State and in Catalonia, where the Spanish model is deeply discredited. An example of this is that today only 27% of Catalans would vote in favor of the Spanish Constitution, endorsed four decades ago by 90% of the population.
This unrest in our country is produced by multiple factors, namely: the capitalist crisis, the re-centralisation of the Spanish State, the constant attack on the language, culture, and Catalan identity, the role of the Constitutional Court (heir of the Francoist TOP) forcing numerous oppressive laws on the Generalitat ( Catalan Parliament ), and above all, the blockade and final cut of the Statute of Autonomy of Catalonia of 2006, which triggered the beginning of an unstoppable movement of national vindication that has been an authentic political earthquake to date.
Thus, the self-determination referendum is the culmination of a well-organized national-popular movement that has been underway for more than ten years, which has increased the Catalan people’s level of consciousness as it progressed and has overtaken all expectations.
Understanding the context of the sovereignty process – trying to summarise it to a large extent, sorry – let’s see what happened in recent days, which have been extremely serious:
The Spanish State has put all its repressive machinery in motion, mobilising thousands of agents of the Spanish Civil Guard and the Spanish National Police, bodies, who have little presence in Catalonia, since the Mossos d’Esquadra are the Catalan police force.
The events rapidly escalated, in a whirlwind that has led us to this day. The Spanish have issued threats, legal proceedings against government officials and 800 mayors, banned dozens of news articles in print-up to today, occupation forces have confiscated approximately a million and a half posters for the referendum, both institutional and party political campaigns, 45,000 letters for the members of the polling stations, as well as 10 million ballots and election registers.
The Spanish have disrupted Catalan communication, prohibited all acts of solidarity in other towns of the Spanish State, closure of websites of the referendum and blockage of mirror webs, countless political policing actions, the Spanish have occupied printing companies, the freezing of all Catalan state finances, the prohibition of the distribution of magazines or leaflets in favor of self-determination.
The Spanish government’s oppressive actions and events have made the Catalan people even more determined to hold our referendum on October 1st, provoking a strong popular response to each repressive action by the Spanish State, showing the separatist muscle and certifying a massive will to participate in the referendum, as October 1st approaches the percentage of participation in polls increased as a form of protest against the Spanish government.
Everything changed on September 20th, as the Spanish occupation forces launched Operation Anubis by applying de facto State of Emergency, and initiating an early morning political policing operation, raiding several Councils of the Generalitat ( Catalan Parliament ) in Barcelona, as well as other related institutions (Tax Agency, Finance Institute, PuntCat Foundation ), arresting 14 senior politicians directly related to the referendum.
As the September 20th attacks on the Catalan institutions unfolded the entire City immediately went out onto the streets in opposition to the Spanish Operation Anubis, beginning a day of spectacular struggle, the main arteries of Barcelona (Gran Vía, Vía Laietana) are cut, thousands of people take to the streets in each town and city of the country, tens of thousands meet in front of the headquarters of the Department of Economy, another thousand is concentrated in front of the headquarters of the CUP, where police forces intend to enter without judicial order, we now believe that this was intended to provoke a violent response The popular forces finally end up concentrating throughout the day on the two designated sites.
In the first, the Department of Economics, the nucleus and main point of the protests -40,000 people, at least- forced the Spanish Civil Guards to stay in the building for many hours, having to wait until late at night and leave disguised as Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan Police Force) to avoid the popular anger that was still outside.
In addition, the Spanish Civil Guards abandoned all the vehicles they had arrived in. In the second case, a human wall made up of hundreds of people and neighbors prevents the access of the Spanish National Police to the headquarters of the CUP, while distributing to the occupation forces the propaganda of the referendum.
Finally the Spanish occupation forces have to retreat with their tail between their legs and without any violent response from the Catalan people for Spanish propaganda.
The following day, 21st of September, a permanent mobilisation is announced until the release of all detainees before the High Court of Justice (TSJC), which reunites thousands of people, with night camps until today, 22nd of September.
The Students then mobilised, with mass demonstrations and a permanent occupation of the University of Barcelona, while planning an indefinite strike along with teachers and workers.
Meanwhile, trade unions announce that they prepare together with progressive social entities a General Strike for October 3, anticipating a repressive escalation and a Spanish blockade of the referendum, which in spite of everything – will go ahead!
The Referendum continues ahead of all because of the popular will, since it is the Catalan people who are defending it in the streets, in the neighborhoods, in universities, at work, against the Spanish occupation forces and their judges, from its threats and repression, despite the regime of 78.
We will fight for a democratic cessation from Spain, amnesty and freedom, for the referendum and the Catalan Republic, for the constituent process that we will have to work among all, for internationalism and solidarity with other people like the Irish, for Socialism.
We are nearly within a week of the Referendum we know now that even more difficult days will be ahead for the Catalan people, but we will be able to live up to it, and we will defend our dignity and liberties until the last consequences. Another 1934 is coming, but this time we will win.
Long live the Catalan Republic!
More articles by Alejandro García to follow.