Spain: Communist groups defend imprisoned Catalan leaders

October 29, 2019

Below is a joint declaration in response to the sentences of 9-to-13 years each issued following the “trial” of nine Catalan political leaders and the massive protest in Catalonia on Oct. 18, endorsed by four communist groups that organize throughout the multinational Spanish state. Although pro-capitalist parties lead the Catalan movement, these communist organizations nevertheless defend the Catalan people’s right to self-determination, explaining that only by defending this democratic right can they build a movement uniting the working class from all the different peoples ruled by the central Spanish government. The groups Communist Initiative, the Communist Party of the Peoples of Spain, Red Network and Proletarian Union endorsed the call, which was published Oct. 24 on Translation by John Catalinotto.

The verdict of the “procés” [trial of Catalonia’s political pro-independence leaders], as well as the repressive actions before and after it, demonstrate that these actions are the reflexive response of the [Spanish] State to any organized questioning of the current bourgeois order in Spain.

The communist organizations adhering to this manifesto declare our solidarity with those in Catalonia, who, realizing the impossibility of gaining by legal means their legitimate aspirations to self-determination, organized the referendum [October 2017] that gave rise to this ignominious sentence. This people, that has sustained the organization and mobilizations during these years of harsh repression, today manifests its absolute rejection of a federal political oppression that was reactivated with the sentence of the Constitutional Court against the reform of the Statute in 2010. The Catalan people can count upon our full solidarity and support, because they defend not only their own democratic rights; through their struggle, they are at the same time defending the freedoms and rights of the popular classes and of all the peoples of the Spanish State.

This harsh sentence shows the exhaustion of the current project of domination by consensus between the different parties that emerged from the regime of 1978. The current economic crisis on the one hand increases the intrinsic need for the accumulation of big capital, forcing more and more the imposition of an increasingly reactionary state; this is shown by the gag rule, trials such as that of Alsasua [2016 conviction of  and long sentences given to eight Basque youth in charges stemming from a bar fight involving off-duty Civil Guard officers], media censorship, etc. On the other hand, it drives the Catalan bourgeoisie to impose its own political agenda. The tendency toward reactionary political measures under imperialism leads to the denial of democracy and, with it, denial of the right to self-determination.

The working class and especially communist organizations would commit a grave error if we were to think that this matter did not affect us. Today the State directs this sentence against [Catalan] independence leaders; tomorrow that same State will try to crush any kind of response organized by the working class and popular sectors against cuts in salaries, rights and freedoms, such as those that the next government — led in all probability by the [Socialists] PSOE — will bring us.

Making it known that our objective is to attain socialism through the revolutionary struggle of the working class, and because we are clear that “democracy” does not abolish class oppression, we affirm that the solidarity and united action of the workers of the different nations cannot be achieved without recognizing the right of self-determination of the peoples as a basic democratic principle, nor can socialism be achieved without the education of the working masses in the struggle for democratic rights.

With this sentencing, which condemns [the nine] leaders of a democratic and legitimate process to [a total of] 100 years in prison for the efforts to achieve a right recognized by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms of the United Nations, that of self-determination, the Spanish State demonstrates the impossibility of achieving self-determination through any legal means under this regime.

Therefore, it is essential that the movement of students, workers, men and women of all ages, which these days is being expressed with energy and vigor, be transformed into disciplined organization, united in principles and political line, to achieve a certain victory against bourgeois governments and enemies of both the Spanish people and the Catalan people. The General Strike on Oct. 18 was the first step.

The Marxist-Leninist communist organizations that subscribe to this Communiqué also aspire to this step, and we will work to make it possible for all the trade union centers to jointly call a general strike throughout the whole Spanish State, demanding amnesty for all political prisoners and defense of democratic rights.

They came, by Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Communists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Communist

Then they came for the Socialists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Socialist

Then they came for the trade unionists

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a trade unionist

Then they came for the Jews

And I did not speak out

Because I was not a Jew

Then they came for me

And there was no one left

To speak out for me

For the right to self-determination of peoples!

Immediate freedom for political prisoners!

For the socialist republic!

(Credit: Red Roja)