Peace for Catalonia demonstration in London today

This video from Britain says about itself:

2 October 2017

Footage has emerged from London, UK, of people gathering in Picadilly Circus to protest the Spanish government’s repressive measures implemented during the Catalonian referendum.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Thousands to stage peace for Catalonia demo in London

Saturday 21st October 2017

PRO-DEMOCRACY campaigners will march in solidarity with Catalonia and against Spanish repression and authoritarianism in London today.

Organisers of the demonstration are calling for the British government to condemn the violence by the Spanish state against “peaceful civilians” and demand the immediate release of political prisoners.

Leading separatist activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, who head the Catalan National Assembly and Omnium Cultura respectively, were denied bail on Monday after being arrested on charges of sedition in the run-up to the independence referendum two weeks ago.

They are both accused of using mass mobilisations to prevent police officers from following a judge’s orders to stop the referendum, which had been ruled illegal by Spain’s constitutional court.

Under Spanish law, sedition is classified as using “force or illegal means to prevent the application of the law, the legitimate exercise of the functions of public authorities or the observance of administrative or judicial decisions” and carries a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment.

There were violent clashes across Catalonia on October 1, with Spain’s Civil Guard police using force as they tried to close polling stations across the region. Despite their attempts to stop the vote, more than two million people took part, of whom 92 per cent voted for independence.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said after the poll: “Spain is a close ally and a good friend, whose strength and unity matters to the UK.” …

European institutions, including the European Union … sided with the Spanish government and branded the referendum unconstitutional. …

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has urged Theresa May to press for a political solution to the crisis and “to end police violence in Catalonia.”

The organisers of the march said: “We demand the immediate release of the political prisoners Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sanchez and the end of the repression and start of dialogue to accept the electoral mandate of the Catalan referendum.

“We call on the UK government to condemn the violence towards undefended peaceful civilians during the referendum vote in Catalonia and support the democratic solution.”

The marchers will gather from 11am at Piccadilly Circus in central London.


Catalonia, a Spanish leftist’s view

This video says about itself:

17 October 2017

Catalans are holding a candlelit march in downtown Barcelona in support of jailed pro-independence leaders Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart. The two men are being investigated on possible sedition charges for organizing protests before Catalonia’s independence vote.

By Alexandre Anfruns:

Monedero: “Spanish democracy is facing its most serious crossroads since the death of Franco

19 Oct 2017

The contention between Rajoy’s government and the Generalitat de Catalunya has been deepening with each passing day. There is no solution in sight, and instead we have witnessed the police response and judicial persecution. Beyond this dialogue of the deaf between Spanish and Catalan right-wings, what is really at stake with the Catalan question? To broaden our perspectives and analysis, and avoid the trappings of false debates that are dead ends for the social majorities, we have interviewed Juan Carlos Monedero, professor and co-founder of Podemos, and one of the most lucid analysts of the crisis of the 1978 regime.

What is your take on the recent events in Catalonia?

In Catalonia there has been a great popular mobilisation that follows the popular protests of 15M (1), when a new phase of Spanish politics was born. But the political leadership of this movement is in the hands of the old guard, especially the old party of Jordi Pujol, today called PDeCat, full or urgency due to its own cases of corruption and because it embraced the independence route. This caused them to accelerate the process, and the lack of democratic commitment from the Popular Party also was of great help.

Has this worked to unite or divide the lower classes?

This so-called “collision of trains” is in reality a collision between a large train and a smaller one. It has worked to polarise Catalan society in two halves. Things have not been done properly…

What role have the different actors played in this institutional crisis?

The king has sided with the most corrupt party in Europe, the Popular Party (PP); the Socialist Party (PSOE) has embraced the PP’s policies of repression and refusing dialogue; and the PP has been guided by its most right-wing sectors, even promoting the arrest of politicians, not to mention all the repression on October 1st.

They can also count on Ciudadanos, the party of the bankers. So the demand for a referendum in Catalonia is still alive.

There is still no prospect of dialogue between Rajoy and Puigdemont. What are the immediate consequences of this?

There are 85% of Catalans in favour of a referendum. On one hand, we have both the PP and the PSOE turned to residual forces in Catalonia, so they prefer to win votes in the rest of Spain with an anti-Catalan discourse.

On the other hand, there is a need for a constitutional change that will somehow address the demands of Catalonia.

Could the Catalan question boost the role of forces for change at a state level?

Historically, the Catalan question has been a black hole for the Left. That was the case in the 1st Republic, with the Canovist Restoration, and the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera.

This was also the case with the 2nd Republic, with Franco’s coup d’etat and the 40-year military dictatorship (with the support from European countries). We will see what will happen now.

What are the opportunities and obstacles at hand?

Following the trend of European social democracy, the PSOE is in clear decline. If it embraces a grand coalition with the PP, then only Podemos remains to try and rescue democracy during times of neoliberal policies. It will be more difficult to form a government, but it will allow it to consolidate as the only opposition party.

Social issues have been relegated to the background. What does the Unidos Podemos coalition propose to open up debate and bring it back to the foreground?

Podemos proposes that a referendum is held, to open a constituent process from below and incorporate social issues. Otherwise the parties of the regime will simply draw up a constitutional agreement from above, in which they will minimally address the issues and restore economic peace of mind to the dominant sectors.

Spanish democracy is facing its most serious crossroads since the death of Franco.

(1) Translator’s note: the so-called Indignados movement was formed after major demonstrations on May 15, 2011

EU heads of state applauded Spanish Prime Minister Rajoy’s moves to impose dictatorial rule in Catalonia because they are preparing similar attacks on the working class across Europe: here.

‘Spanish police violated human rights in Catalonia’

This 1 October 2017 video is called POLICE VIOLENCE IN CATALONIA.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Spanish police used excessive violence during the Catalan independence referendum on October 1. Demonstrators [rather: voters] who were not threatening were beaten with batons, Human Rights Watch (HRW) writes in a report. …

Broken wrist

70-year-old Magdalena Clarena was thrown to the ground by two policemen in the province of Barcelona after refusing to go away. Someone fell on top of her, so she broke her wrist. “I was so angry,” she says in the report. …

Another testimony comes from a 42-year-old mechanic arrested by four policemen, he fell to the ground, got blows and kicks to his head.

At a primary school in Girona, which was used as a polling station, the police beat protesters [rather: voters] with batons. They got blows all over their bodies, witnesses told HRW. The police is said not to have warned and scared children.

Catalan farmers trick Spanish police and trap them in field to stop them disrupting general strike. Local media claims the police were stranded for several hours: here.

The Spanish army and ruling elite used Spain’s National Day and the Day of the Armed Forces yesterday to whip up nationalism and reaffirm their plans to intervene militarily in Catalonia in response to the October 1 Catalan independence referendum: here.

Deadline looms for Catalonia to confirm or deny independence declaration: here.

The jailing this week of the leaders of the largest separatist organisations in Catalonia—Jordi Sànchez of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and Jordi Cuixart of Òmnium Cultural—was met with demonstrations throughout Catalonia culminating in a 200,000-strong protest in Barcelona on Tuesday night: here.

Spanish military invasion of Catalonia?

This 1 October 2017 video is about Spanish police brutality against Catalan voters.

By Alejandro López in Spain:

Madrid prepares to deploy troops in Catalonia

7 October 2017

There are numerous unconfirmed reports of troops being sent to Catalonia and nearby regions ahead of a possible unilateral declaration on independence early next week.

Spain’s political establishment is openly talking of invoking Article 116 of the Spanish constitution, laying the basis for the imposition of martial law.

According to military sources cited in the right-wing newspaper OkDiario, troops are being mobilised to Aragón and Valencia, regions adjacent to Catalonia. It explains that the Spanish government estimates that it is necessary to deploy around 30,000 security forces to take control of the region and to “establish constitutional order against the insurrection.” The newspaper says this is a “number which cannot be presently met by the 8,000 police and civil guards currently deployed in Catalonia.”

According to OkDiario, the divisions mobilized include the Division Castillejos (formerly the Rapid Action Force), consisting of three brigades totalling 3,000 troops (the airborne, the parachute and the legion brigades), along with the Armored Infantry Alcázar of Toledo, consisting of 300 troops and 44 tanks. In addition, Madrid is reported to be mobilising the Group of Special Operations of the Navy, the Spanish equivalent of the Navy Seals.

The number of troops being cited in other sources ranges between 12,000 and 16,000.

La Tribuna de Cartagena explains that the Navarra Frigate, escorted by two anti-mine frigates, is going to depart to Barcelona fully equipped with troops, arriving at Barcelona’s port on October 8—a day before the previously announced declaration of independence is supposed to be made in the Catalan parliament. According to a statement of the Ministry of Defence, the frigates are participating in the Barcelona International Boat Show.

At the same time, NATO has organised a training exercise under the title “Angel Guard”, involving the 600 military police, Spanish and from another nine NATO member countries. According to the website of the Spanish army, these exercises aim to train military police in the management of a command post during operations and raids, escort and protection of authorities, neutralization of hostile armed personnel inside a military compound and crowd control.

Article 116 involves the deployment of the military and allows the suspension of numerous democratic rights including freedom of expression and the right to strike. It also allows for preventive arrests. Suspending these rights would arm the state with vast police powers that the military could use to terrorise the entire working class, as the Franco regime did from 1939 to 1977.

The Association of the Spanish Army (AME) posted a statement defending King Felipe VI’s speech, in which the monarch denounced the Catalan independence referendum and demanded that the Spanish state seize control of the region. The statement describes the speech as “impeccable” because Felipe conveyed “clearly, concisely and emphatically what the line to follow amid these difficult and complex times.”

AME demanded Popular Party Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy move “to defend without delay the unity of Spain, its territorial integrity and its national sovereignty.”

The European Union has declared its support for the military clampdown now being prepared. During Wednesday’s debate in the European Parliament, Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans declared that it is “a duty for any government to uphold the law, and this sometimes does require the proportionate use of force.”

He was backed by leading representatives of the Conservative, Social Democratic and Liberal parties.

The implications of such statements were made clear by German EU Commissioner Gunter Oettinger, who warned yesterday that “There is a civil war imaginable now in the middle of Europe”, before making the pious wish that “One can only hope that a thread of conversation will soon be recorded between Madrid and Barcelona.”

Spain’s media is playing its part in paving the way for the military intervention through a campaign aimed at dehumanizing the Catalan nationalists and, in some cases, the whole Catalan population. Not one day passes where the press does not describe developments in Catalonia as an “insurrection,” a “coup d’état,” “rebellion” or as “treason” which needs to be crushed.

Catalan nationalists are accused of brainwashing children and putting them at the front line of protests to be attacked by police. The national police and civil guards, who savagely injured 800 peaceful protestors last Sunday, are portrayed as defenseless and persecuted by people protesting in front of their hotels and temporary residences. The regional police, the Mossos, are presented as treacherous and disloyal. The separatist Catalan Republican Left and the Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) are constantly attacked, with articles describing them as “the cancer of Catalonia” ( ABC ), or calling for these parties to be “beheaded …. and put in the dustbin of history” ( El Español ).

Such fascistic language precedes a provocative demonstration called for Sunday by the Popular Party and the anti-secessionist Catalan Civil Society, an organization with ties to the far-right. Backed by Citizens and the Socialist Party, and widely promoted by the Madrid-based media, right-wing anti-Catalan nationalists from throughout Spain are being bussed into Barcelona.

The far-right character of the demonstration is acknowledged by its organisers.

In an interview to El Confidencial, Javier Megino, vice-president of From Spain and Catalonia, accepted that there will be neo-fascists and far-rightists present, as they were during a demonstration against separation in Barcelona two weeks ago. Asked if they might cause violence, Megino replied, “when you put together so many people, it is impossible to control them all.”

The demonstration clearly aims, not to represent the “silent majority” within the Catalan population who oppose separatism as asserted by the media, but rather to provoke a violent confrontation between Catalan separatist and fascist forces which the government will seek to exploit to justify a crackdown.

The grave political danger is that the working class in Spain and internationally is not being mobilized against the repressive measures being prepared by Madrid.

At this critical juncture, Catalan and Spanish workers must assess the political forces that claim to supposedly defend them.

Catalan regional premier, Carles Puigdemont, continues to call for dialogue, an option rejected by Rajoy who declares him to be a criminal. Catalan vice-premier, Oriol Junqueras, is mainly concerned at the announcements made by major banks and companies like Banco Sabadell, CaixaBank, energy giant Gas Natural, Abertis, biotech firm Oryzon and the telecommunications corporation Eurona that they are moving out of Catalonia—fearing the future of the region amid the separatist drive.

CUP parliamentarian Eulàlia Reguant told the Catalan daily Nació Digital that her party is working on a plan of how they will take control of Catalan territory, including ports and airports, by approving a law that will mean that 17,000 regional police, the Mossos, “will stop being part of Spain’s justice system.”

Podemos continues its call for dialogue, while promoting illusions in a PSOE-Podemos government as an alternative to the PP, even as the PSOE is participating in Sunday’s far-right protest and working directly with Rajoy in preparing a violent intervention.

Spain’s Constitutional Court outlawed Monday’s session of the Catalan regional parliament, at which it was expected that the separatist parties would make their unilateral declaration of independence—based on a complaint brought by the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC), the Catalan wing of the PSOE.

All these political forces are demonstrating their political bankruptcy in the face of a military-police state threat. They are disarming the working class, despite the broad opposition that exists to a return to police-state forms of rule.

The broadly-felt opposition to the brutal attacks on democratic rights in Catalonia and throughout Spain can only find expression on the basis of politically independent, revolutionary and socialist perspective independent of all factions of Spain’s ruling elites and their parties.

Catalonia’s Referendum Unmasks Authoritarianism in Spain. Friday, October 06, 2017. By Monica Clua Losada.

This 1 October 2017 video is called Woman claims police broke her fingers during Catalonia referendum.

The German government has backed Madrid’s suppression of the Catalonian independence referendum because it, too, is preparing to crack down on social and political opposition at home: here.

The Popular Party (PP) government has stepped up its threats of carrying out brutal repression in Catalonia on the eve of today’s potential unilateral declaration on independence by the Catalan parliament: here.

Speaking Tuesday evening before the Catalan parliament in Barcelona, regional premier Carles Puigdemont announced that Catalonia would secede from Spain, in line with the result of the October 1 Catalan independence referendum. However, he put off a formal declaration of independence for now and requested negotiations with the central government in Madrid. The Popular Party (PP) government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has declared the referendum illegal and treasonous and ruled out talks with Puigdemont: here.

Military tyranny in Catalonia, Spain?

This video says about itself:

Spanish police brutality against Catalan voters

4 October 2017

Compilation of Spanish police brutality stopping voters from getting to the polling stations to cast their votes.

By Alex Lantier:

Spain prepares military crackdown in Catalonia

6 October 2017

With Spanish military and police units already being deployed, Madrid has signaled that it is preparing a brutal crackdown in Catalonia.

Spain’s Constitutional Court yesterday said that Monday’s planned session of the Catalan regional parliament, at which it was expected that the separatist parties would make a unilateral declaration of independence, must not take place. Coming after failing in a brutal attempt to halt the October 1 Catalan independence referendum, and with Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy rejecting calls for mediation led by the Podemos party and the union bureaucracy, the move lays the basis for bringing in the army against what is now declared an unconstitutional meeting.

The Constitutional Court acted based on a complaint brought by the Socialist Party of Catalonia (PSC)—the Catalan wing of the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE), which is now working openly with the PP to prepare a military clampdown. Calling the PSC’s complaint “relevant and of general social and economic interest,” the Court ruled that any act decided by the Catalan parliament would infringe the rights of PSC MPs and be “totally void, without the least value or effect. It warned that defying this order could mean arrests and criminal prosecutions.

On Sunday, the world was shocked and stunned as videos filled the Internet of 16,000 police assaulting polling places and peaceful voters, including women and the elderly, across Catalonia. Furious that its initial crackdown failed, Madrid is now preparing an even bloodier assault, using the military. As the Spanish press debates imposing a state of emergency, as in neighboring France, it is clear that this is bound up with well-advanced plans for military rule and the abrogation of basic democratic rights across Europe.

Rajoy’s minority Popular Party (PP) government is relying on the support of the major European imperialist powers. After official German, UK, and French sources signaled their support for Madrid following Sunday’s crackdown, the European Union (EU) again formally endorsed the Spanish crackdown on Wednesday.

Opening debate on the Catalan crisis at the European Parliament, Frans Timmermans, the first vice president of the EU Commission, unequivocally endorsed Madrid’s use of force against the population of Catalonia. “The regional government of Catalonia has chosen to ignore the law in organizing the referendum of last Sunday,” Timmermans declared, adding: “it is the duty for any government to uphold the law, and this sometimes does require the proportionate use of force.”

Yesterday, Spanish Defense Minister María Dolores de Cospedal made clear that Madrid views an army intervention to be a legitimate response in Catalonia. At a meeting at the School for Higher Defense Studies, she insisted that Spain’s army is tasked with “defending its territorial integrity and constitutional order.” After King Felipe VI declared in a bellicose speech Tuesday that Catalan nationalists had placed themselves outside the law and democracy, Cospedal added, “Everything that is located outside of democracy is a threat to our nation.”

Spanish army units are already providing logistical support to police deployed in Catalonia. And after Catalan regional premier Carles Puigdemont indicated after Sunday’s crackdown that he could declare independence on Monday, a measure that Madrid has stated for months is illegal, political maneuvers by Madrid to seize the Catalan government are underway.

There are also moves underway by the Spanish judiciary to prosecute Catalan judges and Catalan police, the Mossos dEsquadra, for failing to crack down on voters and demonstrating sympathy for separatists. The head of the Mossos, Josep Lluis Trapero, is to appear today before a court on the unprecedented charge of sedition, facing a 15-year prison sentence.

The courts are also removing legal restrictions to decisions by banks and corporations to move their headquarters away from Catalonia, amid reports that CaixaBank could soon move to Mallorca.

On Thursday, Rajoy also rejected appeals for mediation from Podemos General Secretary Pablo Iglesias and Puigdemont, supported by the … Workers Commissions (CCOO) and social-democratic General Union of Labor (UGT) union bureaucracies. When Iglesias phoned Rajoy to discuss the plan, Rajoy thanked Iglesias but declared he had no intention of negotiating with anyone who “is blackmailing the state so brutally.”

This was a direct repudiation of the Podemos leader’s comments the previous evening. Iglesias had told reporters, “A group of trusted people should sit down at a table to discuss as a team for dialog. This is what I told the premier of Catalonia and the prime minister of Spain. I spoke to Puigdemont and Rajoy, and they didn’t say no.” …

While the leader of Podemos held “cordial” talks with Spain’s right-wing prime minister, far-right forces are organizing anti-Catalan protests across Spain and singing hymns of the 1939-1978 fascist regime of Generalissimo Francisco Franco.

Well aware that a new crackdown could provoke explosive social opposition among workers in the entire country, the Spanish press is agitating for moving to a police-state dictatorship. They are discussing the application not only of Article 155 of Spain’s Constitution, a so-called “nuclear option” that suspends Catalan self-government, but Article 116. This suspends basic democratic rights—including freedom of thought and expression, the right to strike, and elections—and allows for press censorship.

After a quarter century of imperialist war and EU austerity since the Stalinist bureaucracy’s dissolution of the Soviet Union, European democracy is at the breaking point. A decade of deep austerity since the 2008 Wall Street crash, which brought Spanish unemployment to 20 percent, has shattered Spain’s economy and discredited its ruling elite. Amid a deep crisis of the post-Francoite regime in Spain, and as the ruling class savagely attacks democratic rights across Europe, the Spanish bourgeoisie is using the Catalan crisis to return to an authoritarian regime.

Madrid’s plans for a bloodbath in Catalonia must be opposed. The critical question is the politically independent, revolutionary mobilization of the working class, not only in Catalonia but in all of Spain and across Europe, in struggle against the threat of civil war and police-state dictatorship and for socialism.

Faced with the prospect of a military crackdown, panic is reportedly spreading among Puigdemont’s supporters. Among Catalan nationalists in Barcelona, the city’s daily La Vanguardia wrote, “A strong feeling of vertigo runs through everyone—undermining militant enthusiasms, revolutionary visions, indignation in capital letters, patriotic ardors.” It added that King Felipe VI’s speech “has accentuated this feeling of vertigo. There is fear that the current escalation will end in catastrophe.”

Incapable of and hostile to mobilizing broader opposition to Madrid’s crackdown in the Spanish working class, the Catalan nationalists’ pro-capitalist politics only serves to divide the workers while a bloody onslaught from Madrid looms.

This video is called

By Alejandro López in Spain:

Amid Catalan crisis, Madrid prepares military rule across Spain

6 October 2017

The Spanish political establishment is now openly debating its options for how to crack down on the secessionist movement in Catalonia and install military rule across the entire country.

Two weeks ago, the debate was whether the Spanish minority Popular Party (PP) government under Mariano Rajoy should implement drastic measures that would suspend Catalan regional autonomy. Now, the question is when and how the military will be deployed and police presence escalated. These discussions must be taken as a serious warning to the Spanish and international working class.

The Madrid-based media is unanimous in denouncing Rajoy for not moving more rapidly with military force against the separatists. Yesterday, editorials attacked the “inexplicable paralysis of the government” (El Mundo), the “Government’s delay in making decisions” (ABC), that the “insurrectionary plan of the secessionists advances … without the governmental side considering any initiative to stop it” (El País); and “the paralysis of the Government … [which] has weakened the constitutionalist bloc and emboldened secessionists” (El Español).

El Confidencial reports, “In the PP leadership, they admit that their members and bases are anxious for drastic measures to stop the coup in Catalonia, and still more after hearing the message of the King. For the moment, internal discipline has been imposed between deputies and senators, with the official message that ‘the president knows what he has to do and when he has to do it.’”

This “discipline” has been broken, in fact, by former PP Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar. Yesterday, Aznar called on Rajoy “to act” and “use all the constitutional instruments within reach.” He added that if Rajoy cannot find “the spirit or the courage,” he should call elections “to give Spaniards the possibility of deciding which government” can face the separatists.

The main mechanism being discussed is Article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which can be invoked if a regional government “acts in a way seriously prejudicing the general interests of Spain.” This clause, which has never been invoked, allows the central government in Madrid to take control of a regional government.

Since 16,000 police deployed in Catalonia failed to close down last Sunday’s referendum—the Interior Ministry said that police closed down only 79 of the 2,315 polling stations—such a measure could not be implemented without a turn to the military and bloody repression.

If such a measure was not contemplated previously for fear that it would set off a social explosion in Catalonia and across Spain, now the right-wing press is provocatively calling for such an outcome. As one opinion writer for the conservative ABC noted, it “would lead to violence in the streets … and millions of supporters and detractors throughout Spain should prepare themselves mentally to expect arrests, suspensions, disqualifications from public office and an aggressive street insurrection that shall be stifled.”

Days after this piece was posted, ABC sees it is too late to invoke Article 155. “This article is only effective if applied on time,” ABC wrote yesterday. Now, it added, the government has to invoke “the Constitutional clauses that foresee the state of emergency, established in its Article 116.” ABC, which sided with the fascist coup of General Francisco Franco in 1936, is calling for de facto military rule once again in Spain.

Article 116 spells out different scenarios for states of alarm, emergency and siege (martial law). It involves the deployment of the military and allows the suspension of the following democratic rights: prohibition of preventive arrest; the right to privacy; the right to free correspondence; free elections and freedom of movement across the national territory; the right to free expression and thought; the right to communicate information or receive true information; prohibition on the seizure of publications and other types of information without judicial process; the right to strike; and the right to adopt methods of collective struggle.

In addition, it stipulates that the government may intervene against “industries or businesses that can upset the public order,” suspend civil servants from their positions and “Order the provisional imprisonment of the accused to be maintained, according to [judges’] discretion, during this period.”

In other words, the ruling class is openly discussing imposing a military dictatorship and suspending rights granted to the working class as a result of its struggles against fascist dictatorships in the 20th century. Suspending these rights would mean arming the state with vast police powers that the military could use to terrorise the working masses, as the Franco regime did from 1939 to 1977.

The other measure being considered is the National Security Law passed in 2015 by the PP and PSOE after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in France. This law empowers Rajoy to declare a “situation of interest for national security,” define the geographical area affected and assume power in that territory “with the appointment, where appropriate, of a functional authority,” in coordination with the National Security Council composed of the defence and interior ministers, the head of the Spanish intelligence services, and the heads of the army.

The law resembles one introduced by Franco in 1969, which directly targeted the working class. As the WSWS warned, “It is an indictment of the Spanish ruling class that the precedent for this law was one passed and used by the fascist regime to suppress the rise in working class militancy. Between 1970 and 1979, it was used against striking workers on the Madrid and Barcelona metros, railways and buses and in the shipyards, postal and fire services and the electricity system.”

The discussions taking place in Spain have vast repercussions for the international working class. It is not surprising that former vice-prime minister and longstanding Socialist Party deputy, Alfonso Guerra, declared in favour of sending the army to Catalonia, adding that “in France the Army has been protecting the streets for two years, and no one is discussing it,” that is, whether France is a democracy or not.

There should be no illusions that the European Union will seek to stop the drive to a military dictatorship in Spain. On Wednesday, Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans said it was the “duty for any government to uphold the law, and this sometimes does require the proportionate use of force,” referring to the 800 injured by police violence last Sunday.

Eighty years after Franco’s military coup, the working class must organise itself throughout Spain to prevent the drive to military dictatorship.

This requires complete political independence from the impotent cries of Podemos imploring the PP to negotiate with Barcelona, a proposal repudiated by Rajoy, and the separatists’ hopes that a major crackdown would simply increase their political appeal. Ignoring the threat of military dictatorship, they are acting to disarm the working class while sowing dangerous illusions in the PP and the military.

On Monday, Spain’s Popular Party (PP) government rejected Catalan Premier Carles Puigdemont’s call for a two-month period of negotiations with Madrid after the “yes” vote in the October 1 Catalan independence referendum. With Spanish armored forces and thousands of police preparing for action, Spain is on the brink of martial law and a military crackdown in Catalonia: here.

The Spanish government’s declaration yesterday that it plans to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish constitution tomorrow, suspending Catalan regional autonomy, is a political watershed and an urgent warning to workers not only in Spain, but across Europe and internationally: here.

Spanish army to Catalonia

This video says about itself:

Catalonia referendum: ‘Spanish authorities are the criminals

1 October 2017

The Spanish region of Catalonia is voting in a referendum on independence that has faced serious opposition from the country’s central government. Spanish police have been accused of carrying out a brutal crackdown against those participating in the referendum.

Al Jazeera’s John Hendren reports from Barcelona.

By Paul Mitchell:

Spanish government sends troops to Catalonia

5 October 2017

The Popular Party (PP) government in Spain has dispatched troops into Catalonia. The media reported that this was to provide support to the Civil Guard and national police in preparation for a declaration of independence by Catalan President Carles Puigdemont.

According to information leaked to El Confidencial, the Ministry of Defense has dispatched army units, including the Logistic Support Group 41 based in the Aragonese capital of Zaragoza, which lies 300 kilometres to the west of Barcelona.

At 19.00 hours on Tuesday, just one hour after it was known that King Felipe VI was going to address the nation in a speech denouncing the Catalan nationalist parties, army commanders told their subordinates to prepare to send to Barcelona two contingents in 20 trucks. The unit had already been in pre-alert for a week to ensure it could be relocated rapidly.

The troops left at night to arrive early in the morning at the barracks in Santa Eulalia de Sant Boi de Llobregat, a few kilometres from the city.

According to El Confidencial’s sources, the main objective is to reinforce the supply of food, clothing and washing facilities for the Civil Guard and the National Police as a result of hotels refusing to house them following their brutal actions during the October 1 referendum vote.

However, it is clear the troops are specialised in preparing the ground for future troop deployment. El Confidencial explains that acting as an expeditionary logistics unit, they have the capacity to “project to any place of the world, in a short space of time, personnel and means before a possible contingency and to respond immediately and with total efficiency where its logistics services are needed.”

The unit has participated in missions in Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq, Lebanon and Afghanistan.

According to, Spain’s Directorate of Naval Supply and Transport has also purchased riot gear for different military units. The order included 295 aerosol sprays for personal defence, 253 tear-smoke cans, 1,500 cartridges, 1,500 rubber balls and 300 triple smoke grenades for 12-gauge shotguns and 1,000 tear gas grenades.

The stage is now being set for a violent provocation that can be used to justify intervention. Xavier García Albiol, the leader of the PP in Catalonia, has called for a “massive” demonstration this Sunday in Barcelona, declaring, “We call on the mobilization of the Catalans who feel Spanish… A democratic exercise to go out to defend democracy, institutions and dignity.”

Faced with such threats, last night Puigdemont made a TV broadcast appealing for mediation by the European Union.

He has stated that his government would submit the results of the October 1 referendum to the Catalan parliament and declare independence within 48 hours of all the official results being declared. The last votes from abroad are due to arrive by the end of the week and an “extraordinary regular plenary meeting” of the parliament is planned for Monday to be addressed by Puigdemont to “evaluate the results and their effects.”

But according to one parliamentarian from Puigdemont’s PDeCat who is opposed to secession, “Puigdemont is desperately seeking international mediation… to be able to stop the declaration of independence.”

However, the European Parliament rejected his appeals yesterday, saying it was “an internal Spanish matter.” Russian President Vladimir Putin also said that Russia regards the Catalonia conflict as a “domestic affair,” which he hoped the country could overcome.

The bourgeois press in Spain has praised the king’s speech, contrasting it with what is decried as vacillation by Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and urging action to be taken.

In a de facto call for yet greater repression, the pro-Socialist Party (PSOE) El País declared, “With harsh words, the King has pointed out that the Catalan authorities have violated the Constitution and the Statute of Catalonia and systematically violated the legally and democratically approved norms… it is the responsibility of the legitimate powers of the State to ensure the constitutional order and the normal functioning of institutions, the rule of law and self-government of Catalonia, based on the Constitution and its Statute of Autonomy.”

El Mundo declared, “The message that Spaniards needed, and which they might have expected from their political representatives, they received from the Head of State with diamond clarity, with a force far removed from all cold protocol.

“Those who are now in charge of the Catalan sedition… have observed a military discipline to impose their authoritarian project on the whole society, disobeying the courts, shredding the political rights of the opposition and finally relying on Jacobin control of the street for the success of its revolution.

“Yesterday we asked him [Rajoy] to apply article 155 [of the Constitution to restore legal order in Catalonia] to end the unpunished rebellion of Puigdemont and his partners. This urgency becomes more urgent today. The King’s message calls him to it.”

The ABC editorial decried Catalonia for “moving from the illegal referendum to the generalized insurrection.” It labelled Tuesday’s general strike “an internal coup” led by “the tiger of extreme left-wing separatism, which is out of control and aims to devour Catalan society in a revolutionary process in which the middle classes will not have the protection of a State worthy of such a name.”

ABC called for Article 155 to be invoked and warned that the longer the government takes, the more the “insurrection of the Generalitat” will necessitate the calling of a “state of emergency and siege” under article 116. Article 116 details how the states of alarm, exception and siege will be implemented.

The official “left” parties have mouthed only platitudes. The leader of the … United Left, Alberto Garzón, expressed disappointment that the speech by “citizen Felipe de Borbón” was not the “balanced and measured speech” he expected. Speaking as an advisor to the monarch, he continued, “I personally know the head of state. I have talked to him several times and I know he thinks things through before he talks. Today, however, I fear he has been advised by his enemies.”

Iñigo Sáenz de Ugarte, writing in the pro-Podemos El Diario complained that Felipe’s speech was “in practice a declaration of war” on the autonomous government of Catalonia and represented “an amendment to the whole of the positions held by Podemos in this crisis.”

This position consists of an appeal to the PSOE to work with Podemos to oust Rajoy and form a left government to rescue the Spanish state.

The PSOE has refused to countenance such an offer and the appeal was bitterly criticised by veteran PSOE leader and former vice-President of the PSOE government under Felipe González from 1982 to 1991, Alfonso Guerra.

Guerra called for the PSOE to openly support article 155 and defended the use of the army in Catalonia if the police could not control the situation, blaming it on a “pro-fascist” independence movement carrying out a coup. Expressing views previously the preserve of the far-right, he labelled the leader of the Catalan police, the Mossos d’Esquadra, Josep Lluís Trapero a “traitor to democracy” and argued that “maybe the Mossos should be dissolved.”

On Friday, Trapero was ordered to appear in court along with the presidents of the Catalan National Assembly, Jordi Sánchez, and Omnium Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, as part of an investigation into charges of sedition relating to demonstrations on September 20.

See also here.

Due to social media, the mainstream media can no longer hide what happens. But they can attempt to frame our perceptions of it. What happened yesterday in Catalonia is that paramilitary forces attacked voters who were trying to vote. The mainstream media has universally decided to call the voters “protestors” rather than voters. So next time you go to your polling station, apparently what you are doing is protesting. This kind of distortion through misuse of language is absolutely deliberate by professional mainstream journalists. In a situation where thousands of peaceful voters were brutalised, can anybody find a single headline in the mainstream media which attributes responsibility for the violence correctly? Here.

English solidarity against Spanish police brutality

This 1 October 2017 video is called Catalonia independence referandum clashes: Police attack elderly women.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

Leeds students picket Institute Cervantes over police brutality in Catalonia

Wednesday 4th October 2017

Leeds Socialist Students behind protest

STUDENTS in Leeds picketed a Spanish government office in the city yesterday in solidarity with the people of Catalonia who were staging a general strike in response to police violence during Sunday’s independence referendum.

Schools, universities and many small businesses in the region were closed on Tuesday after unions urged a strike to condemn violence carried out by Spain’s national police in their attempt to prevent the vote from taking place.

People watched in horror as footage of police dragging voters by the hair, beating them with truncheons and shooting rubber bullets at crowds was aired across the globe.

Leeds protest organiser Iain Dalton, who is a member of Leeds Socialist Students group, said they organised the demo to condemn “the repression of the Spanish state against the right of self-determination for the Catalan people.”

It took place outside the Institute Cervantes, the Spanish government’s cultural organisation whose executive president is Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

“The weekend saw brutal repression on the instructions of Rajoy from the Spanish state’s Guardia Civil [paramilitary police] forcefully shutting down polling stations, after over a week of arrests and other intimidation,” Mr Dalton said.

“Despite this repression, around 85 per cent of polling stations remained open and over 90 per cent of those who voted supported independence.

“Socialist Students stands in solidarity with Spanish workers and students who have faced bloody police repression reminiscent of the Franco era.

“We totally condemn the repression of the Rajoy government.”

The violence the Spanish state inflicted on ordinary Catalans who sought to participate in Sunday’s independence referendum has rightly shocked workers and all those who uphold democratic rights across Spain and around the world. Eight decades after the Spanish bourgeoisie crushed the Spanish Revolution under the fascist jackboot and forty years after the end of Generalissimo Francisco Franco’s regime, the Spanish ruling class is again resorting to savage repression: here.