‘Diada’ 2018 a huge show of force for the republic
Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/1010/27954
From The Socialist newspaper, September 19, 2018
General strike in Catalonia in defense of the vote for independence, 3.10.17, photo by Robert Bonet / CC (Click to enlarge)
For a socialist Catalan republic of the working class and the youth!
Esquerra Revolucionria, CIO Catalonia
This September 11 – “La Diada”, national holiday of Catalonia – the Avenida Diagonal avenue in Barcelona overflowed by around two million people in an unprecedented mass mobilization.
Once again, the Catalans have taken over the streets. To shout loudly their rejection of the repression of the Spanish state. Call for the release of political prisoners and the return of exiles. And to demand that the republic for which they voted overwhelmingly on October 1, 2017, finally comes true.
This human tide in favor of the Catalan Republic contrasts with the resounding failure of the demonstrations organized by the Spanish nationalist civic group of Catalan civil society and far-right party Vox, and the right-wing populist party Ciudadanos.
The pathetic images of the leaders of Ciudadanos – received by barely a hundred of their supporters in the city center – sum up the failure of these reactionary Hispano-nationalist elements. They try to declare themselves the voice of the “silent majority” of Catalan society – but have been put in their shoes.
The leaders of the reformist left must take note – the party leaders of Podemos and Izquierda Unida (IU – United Left), the leaders of CCOO and UGT, the two largest unions – as well as the leaders of the Catalan-nationalist party ERC . The contrast between this formidable show of force and the weak mobilization capacity shown by the defenders of the post-Franco “78 regime” could not be more abysmal!
How to continue to say that “it would be stupid” or “it is not possible” to move the republic forward because Catalonia is divided 50/50 – like Joan Tard, ERC deputy in the Spanish parliament, and Pere Aragons, ERC vice-president of the Catalan government, have recently?
Faced with the impossibility of hiding the success of this Diada, the capitalist media – Spanish and Catalan – have chosen to recognize it. But they tried to present it as another day, minimizing the number of participants.
The leaders who spent months propagating the idea that it is not possible to realize the republic because “there is not enough force” – the leaders of PDeCat, the main party of Catalan capitalism , its electoral alliance JxCat, and the ERC – have received an indisputable response.
This massive mobilization was even more significant if one takes into account the fact that it came after a year of constant repression by the Spanish state apparatus.
This has included political trials; exceptional measures such as “article 155” of the constitution, which suspends the power of the Catalan government; and the refusal of the former government of the social democratic party PSOE of the Spanish state to accept the right to self-determination for the people of Catalonia.
More importantly, it happened after three months of cold water poured over the movement. The approach of rejecting participation in actions on Diada has also been adopted by Barcelona mayor Ada Colau and the leaders of Catalunya en Com, the Catalan Podemos-IU electoral alliance.
In unjustifiable statements, Ada Colau and the leaders of Podemos have said that Diada reinforces “unilateralism” and the division of Catalan society. In practice, they renounce the principle of the Catalan people’s right to decide their future. It is a right that they defended not so long ago and which has won them massive support from the population.
This political turning point brought them closer to the Spanish nationalist parties of the “155”. This caused surprise and revulsion among the vast majority of workers and young people who voted for Colau and the local electoral alliance Barcelona en Com, including itself, Podemos and IU.
Their failure to support the liberation of the people of Catalonia with a coherent policy – linking the struggle for a Catalan republic to the struggle against the capitalist regime of ’78, and for the workers’ republics in the rest of the territories that make up the state of Spain – is a serious mistake which will cause great difficulty.
The mass force manifested in the streets clashes more and more clearly with the tendency of certain political forces to seek to curb the movement. These are the forces that seek deals from above – deals with a state and a government that refuse to negotiate anything other than surrender of the movement.
The dissatisfaction with this situation manifests itself in the proliferation of slogans on posters and stickers, such as “make a republic now!” “And” self-determination cannot be negotiated, it is exercised “, etc. This is also seen in the criticisms leveled by speakers from the independentist civic group of the Catalan National Assembly, the left-wing nationalist party CUP and others.
This confirms once again that within the Catalan national liberation movement there are two fundamentally opposed political approaches.
The former represents a small minority, but today he sets the tone and dominates the government. This approach tries to curb the movement and to reach an agreement with the Spanish capitalists – which would amount to putting the Catalan republic in the closet.
Faced with this approach, the vast majority of workers, young people and broad layers of the middle classes. They want to advance towards a republic of workers, young people and the people, in order to see a solution to current social problems, and a break with capitalism as well as with the regime of ’78.
For this to happen, the left must fight for leadership in the national liberation movement, on the basis of a socialist program and fight to support mass mobilizations, to unite the majority of the Catalan working class.
In particular, this requires including the layers affected by the crisis of capitalism who reject the reactionary ideas of the PP, the main party of Spanish capitalism, and Ciudadanos – but who until now are wary of the independence movement because of the PDeCat and the Catalan right, from which they received only attacks and cuts.
Today more than ever, it is essential to build a united left front to fight for a socialist republic of workers and young people – bringing together the CUP, the Committees for the Defense of the Republic, the combative unions, the movements for the defense of the women’s rights, students and social movements – to lead the movement to victory.
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