Barcelona dockworkers boycott Spanish police repression ships

This video says about itself:

Spanish dockworkers’ leader Jordi Aragunde who is Coordinator of the Catalan-Balearic Area Port of Barcelona stevedores and one of the leaders of the International Dockworkers Council discusses the struggle of dockers in Spain and the attack on the working class in Europe and internationally. This includes the privatization of the ports of Greece … He also discusses other trade union federations and the difference that exists between them and the IDC.

He was interviewed at the headquarters of the Barcelona stevedores’ offices on June 6, 2014.

By Alejandro López in Spain:

Barcelona dockworkers boycott Spanish police ships sent against Catalan referendum

22 September 2017

Dockworkers in Catalonia’s two main ports, Barcelona and Tarragona, are refusing supply services to vessels carrying riot police and paramilitary Civil Guard units sent by Spain’s Ministry of Interior to crush the secessionist referendum. This comes amid a rapidly escalating political crisis in Spain caused by the central government repression of the independence referendum called by Catalan separatist forces for October 1.

Just over a week before the scheduled referendum, Spain’s Interior Ministry has activated one of the largest security operations since the end of the fascist regime of General Francisco Franco in 1978. It is employing three tourist cruise ships to house more than 4,000 police sent to Catalonia. Two of the boats are anchored in Barcelona and the third in Tarragona.

In an “extraordinary assembly” on Thursday morning, dockworkers from the Organization of Port Workers of Barcelona (Organización de Estibadores Portuarios de Barcelona -OEPB) met to declare their response to the previous day’s arrests. They unanimously agreed not to give any service to the two cruise ships, “in defence of civil rights”, and against what they defined as “repression ships.”

OEPB secretary Josep Maria Beot said the company managing the port had ordered five workers to take care of several containers of one of the boats. He added, “As long as this exceptional situation lasts, we will not attend the ships that are selected to respond to this situation.”

A dockworker, Gabriel Jiménez, told the daily El País: “Many civil rights are being violated, and as dockworkers, we are affected.” He added, “If they were normal cruise ships or a refugee boat we would supply it without thinking, but to these ships, if they ask us, we will not give them anything.”

Hours later, workers from the company managing the loading and unloading of goods in the port of Tarragona also refused to service the ships. They announced they would not supply fuel to the ships because they can contribute “to the repression of elementary democratic principles.”

On Wednesday, Spain’s Civil Guard arrested 14 high-ranking public officials in the Catalan regional government, and local Catalan businessmen. The same morning, they tried to raid the headquarters of the … separatist Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) party without a warrant. They stopped when protesters blocked the entrance.

This was the latest attempt of the conservative Popular Party (PP) government to halt the independence referendum. Days before, the Civil Guard seized voting cards, referendum posters, pamphlets and printing plates. They also closed 22 pro-referendum websites. Catalonia’s home rule has effectively been suspended after the central government took over the Catalan government’s financing system.

In response, for two straight days, mass protests have erupted in Catalonia’s capital, Barcelona.

On Wednesday night, Rajoy once again said that the referendum will not go ahead, and told Catalan regional premier Carles Puigdemont: “Don’t go ahead. Go back to the law and democracy. This referendum is a chimera.”

The following day, Puigdemont reacted by posting a tweet announcing to the Catalan population the locations where they will be able to vote.

Reports suggest that the PP government, supported by the [Blairite] Socialist Party (PSOE) and [pro-Big Business] Citizens, will activate Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution to legally suspend home rule in Catalonia. The article has never been invoked for fear it will trigger an eruption of political opposition both inside and outside of Catalonia.

The Catalan nationalists have laid the basis for state repression of the region’s dockworkers. The separatist Catalan European Democratic Party (PDeCAT), to which Catalan premier Puigdemont belongs, voted last May alongside the Basque Nationalist Party in favour of the PP government’s decree stripping the dockworkers of basic rights and benefits. The law, passed under pressure from the European Union, led to the privatisation of the ports and the decimation of working and safety conditions for 6,000 dockworkers.

Defending their support to the PP’s law, the PDeCAT spokesperson in the Spanish parliament, Ferran Bel, declared that he hoped the EU will “take note of our [the Catalan separatists’] commitment to Europe.”

Behind Bel’s phrase was the commitment that the Catalan bourgeoisie would not hesitate to comply with the EU’s crushing austerity, militarism, imperialist wars, and incitement of xenophobia. It showed that the independent Catalan republic they aim to build would carry out the same type of attacks on workers as it has already done as a regional government.

The dockworkers’ courageous and principled stand in defence of democratic rights is a sign of growing radicalisation of the working class. It is the first sign of the working class intervening in the emerging crisis of bourgeois rule. …

While most of the Spanish media is backing Rajoy’s measures and calling for a further crackdown, Catalan dailies are warning of the social unrest this can create.

Enric Juliana in La Vanguardia warns that the “growth of the protest may blur some emotional boundaries between the supporters of independence and those against. This new movement can increase in the next days, depending on the decision of the state apparatus.”

Yesterday’s editorial of El Periódico de Catalunya warned, “Social indignation has gone beyond the perimeter of independence to extend to the trade unions, university rectors, students, professional schools and institutions as emblematic as Football Club Barcelona. This almost unanimous clamour should lead the Interior Ministry to measure its future steps very well, unless the forcefulness on display seeks to precipitate street mobilisations. In any case, the air of insurrection of these protests, like a thermometer of the social temperature, deserves a deep political reflection on the part of the two governments.”

CNT warns of riot cops shipped into Barcelona docks: here.

Spanish government dispatches police reinforcements to Catalonia: here.

UPDATE: Madrid government abolishes Catalan police autonomy.

See also here.

24 thoughts on “Barcelona dockworkers boycott Spanish police repression ships

  1. Pingback: #Barcelona dockworkers boycott Spanish police repression ships | Indiĝenaj Inteligenteco

    • The minority government in Spain is the Partido Popular, a right-wing party founded by an ex-minister of General Franco’s dictatorship. As the Spanish armed forces are already killing people in wars in the Third World, at least some Partido Popular leaders would not mind Guardia Civil or army killing people in Barcelona.


  2. Saturday 23rd September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in World

    THE standoff between the Spanish and Catalonian governments over plans for an independence referendum ramped up again yesterday as Madrid confirmed it has shipped in forces from across the country “to help the Catalan police maintain order.”

    The comment confirms rumours which had been flying around on Thursday that angry protests over Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s hamfisted intervention against Catalonia’s October 1 referendum had spooked Madrid into using officers from elsewhere to crush potential disorder.

    Local police have reportedly been reluctant to crack down on the rallies in the regional capital of Barcelona which erupted after the Spanish government confiscated 10 million ballot papers and arrested 14 Catalan government officials.

    Thousands of pro-independence protesters have taken to the streets with many camping out near the judiciary building.

    Hundreds more rallied outside a court in the north-eastern Catalan town of Hospitalet de Llobregat, where six officials had been detained.

    Union workers at Barcelona’s Prince of Spain and Lepanto docks were the first to spot Mr Rajoy’s power move, as three huge ferries capable of carrying an estimated 4,000 police sailed into port on Wednesday, releasing riot vans emblazoned with the national police logo. Other reports spoke of assets being brought in by train as Mr Rajoy looked to bolster loyalist forces.

    The Catalan National Assembly civic group has called for the protests to continue until the regional officials are released — their first hearings were due to be held yesterday.

    Spain’s conservative Peoples’ Party government says the planned referendum is illegal and violates Spain’s constitution.


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