27th of October: the government of Catalonia declares its independence from spain; the spanish government in response dismisses the Catalan government, assumes direct control of the region and declares regional elections for the 21st of December. What happens from now on is unknown. Below is a statement from the country’s principal anarchist labour unions before the unfolding of events …
The undersigned organisations, national labour unions, share our preoccupation with the situation in Catalonia, because of the State repression unleashed, because of the decrease in rights and freedoms that this presupposes and will presuppose, and because of the growth of a rancid nationalism that again shows its face in a great part of the country.
We defend the emancipation of all of the workers of Catalonia and of the rest of the world. In this context, it is perhaps necessary to recall that we don’t understand the right to self-determination in statist terms, as proclaimed by nationalist political parties and organisations, but as the right to self-management of our class in a specific territory. Thus understood, self-determination has more to do with the control of production and consumption by workers, and with a bottom up democracy, organised according to federalist principles, rather than the creation of a new border or the creation of a new State. As internationalists, we believe that the solidarity between workers should not be limited by state borders, and therefore our little concern for where these are drawn.
What does appear to us as quite worrying is the reaction that is being expressed in many parts of the country, with the exaltation of a putrid españolismo [spanish-ism], that is far too reminiscent of past ages, goaded on by the media and in harmony with the authoritarian drift of the government, obvious in the imprisonment of people for calling for acts of disobedience or the application of article 155 of the constitution. It does not escape us that this outbreak of nationalism lays the bases for future cuts in rights and freedoms, against which we must prepare. The oppressive unity of the so called “democratic forces” in the justification of the repression augurs a dark horizon for all future dissidence. It would seem the the post-franco regime that has governed us for 40 years will close ranks to guarantee its continuity.
The said regime, which has existed and exists in Catalonia, as in the rest of Spain, understands that its very existence is at stake. Broadly questioned and immersed in a profound crisis of legitimacy, it looks on with alarm at all the fronts opened up against it. The threat to the territorial integrity of the State joins the scandals of corruption, the loss of prestige of the monarchy, the questioning of the public bailouts of private institutions and the cuts suffered by the population, discontent at a growing slavery in the work place due to the last labour reforms, the increase in the years of work and cuts in pensions, etc. … The constant appeals to defend the constitution must be understood as alarm bells to stem the very real existential crisis that besieges it. The danger is that in the process the repressive behaviour recently witnessed in Catalan cities is sanctioned and becomes the norm. Or worse …
We obviously don’t know what way events will go. We will remain attentive to what happens, ready to defend the interests of working class people throughout the country. With all of our strength, we oppose the repression and the normalisation of extreme-right attitudes that are already evident. We will obviously also not allow ourselves to be used by the strategies of political parties whose goals are foreign to ours. In turn, we will not stop encouraging mobilizations of the working class when it decides that the time has come to shake off the dictates of political and economic elites who for too long have managed the control of the territory to serve exclusively their own interests.
As working class, libertarian and combative labour unions, we are in the streets, in the demonstrations, as we have already shown on many occasions, against the repression, against the cuts in rights and freedoms, and against corruption.
It may be that the crisis in Catalonia is the tip of a state model that is dying. That this change moves in one direction or another will depend on our capacity, as a class, to carry the process in a direction opposed to repression and the growth of nationalisms. We hope that the final result will be more freedoms and rights and not the other way around. A great deal is at stake.
For rights and freedoms!
Against the repression of the working class!