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#Catalonia: Fundamental Social Change is Far Away

Yesterday we documented a demo against the activation of paragraph 155, which will suspend the autonomy of Catalonia and for the release of the two leaders of two groups independence movement. Yesterdays events made us even less optimistic about the Catalan independence process. Fundamental social change is far away.



Image: Front banner of the finger that marched from the Sants district to the city center of Barcelona yesterday.

Published by Enough is Enough.

Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of  these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.

Read all our reports about Catalonia; here.

Mixed Feelings After Saturdays Events in Catalonia

Yesterday we documented a demo against the activation of paragraph 155, which will suspend the autonomy of Catalonia and for the release of the two leaders of two groups independence movement. Yesterdays events made us even less optimistic about the Catalan independence process. Fundamental social change is far away.

Several demonstrations (fingers) started in different neighbourhoods of Barcelona. All demonstrations were marching towards the city center, where they all came toghether.

We started to report about yesterdays demonstration in the Poble Sec neighbourhood, where we visited an assembly on Friday night. A group of about 30 people marched towards the finger that started in the Sants neigbourhood. During the march people joined and the group started to grow. After we reached the fringer from Sants the march started togrow rapidly. After a few hundred meters we were several thousand people. 

In the city center a huge crowd came together and in the early evening hours people where still arriving. According to local police authorities 450.000 people joined the protests. We could not verify that number, but we had the impression that although the protest was huge, the number was actually lower.

We witnessed that people didn’t mind a helicopter of the Catalan police was monitoring the demo, but every time a helicopter of the Spanish cops flew over the demo people started to whistle and put their middle fingers up. Later people celebrated the Catalan cops, cheering at them, a thing that didn’t happen for the first time. We tweeted that we could publish another blog about the role of the police in society but that we won’t…

What we saw was a demonstration of people of all parts of society. Although we respect the intensions and motivation of anarchist comrades who are active in the independence movement, we cannot close our eyes when we see that actually the only thing a majority of the independence movement agrees upon is the independence itself, not what happens after that.

The majority of the Catalan government is formed by the Junts pel Sí (Together for yes) coalition which also contains christian democrats. The leftwing CUP party is also part of the Catalan government and at least has many basic-democratic elements. The major pro-independence groups are the ANC (National Catalan Assembly) and Òmnium Cultural. These groups are also not exactly anarchist or anti-capitalistic. On October 17 we already published a critique about a video that was released by Òmnium Cultural.

In our statement from September 30, one day before the Catalan referendum, we already wrote that “we are not exactly enthousiastic about states and nations. Not about new states and not about old states.” So yes we are very critical in our reporting of the events in Catalonia. After yesterdays events we are even less optimistic about the Catalan process. We already wrote above that we do respect the good intentions and motivation of anarchist comrades who are active in the independence movement, but we think this is a relatively small minority in the independence movement. Yesterday people were not only cheering Catalan cops, they also cheered politicians of the Catalan governing parties who attended at the demonstration. 

Last night Catalan prime minister Puigdemont didn’t declare the suspension of the suspension of the declaration of Catalan independence (this impossible sentence says a lot about politicians). He announced a parliamentary session of the Catalan parliament for Friday, October 27, the same day the Spanish parliament will decide about the suspension of Catalan autonomy. Puigdemont also said the fight for Catalan independence will continue, but he didn’t say how. Once again Puigdemont was buying time. This isn’t surprising. Puigdemont is not be trusted (like all politicians and political parties, they alway have their own agenda.), as he is serving the interest of the Catalan political and economic elites.

Two comrades from Athens wrote on October 18: “The Catalan bourgeoisie, which is represented by the governing alliance of president Puigdemont and consists of a center-right wing party (which has repeatedly cooperated in the Spanish central political arena with the center-right wing PP supporting austerity policies) and the Catalan social-democratic party, propagates independence but they do not wish independence. They only wish a broadened financial autonomy.” Which is the reason Puigdemont has still a something to negotiate: “Puigdemont did not have the slightest problem to ignore the “popular will” of thousands of people that he manipulated and mobilized, those who stood outside the parliament and waited for the declaration of independence. Puigdemont served the interests of those who support him. With an abstract statement, he threw the ball back to Madrid: “Let’s negotiate, let’s see what you can offer us” was the bottom line of his statement.”

Nobody knows how the Catalan process will develope, but fundamental social change is far away. The repression by the central Spanish state will probably increase in the coming days, weeks and maybe even months. We are not confident that the Catalan government and the major independence groups are willing and/or able to protect people when a possible wave of repression will be started by the Spanish state. We think anarchists can’t look the other way when that will happen, but they also can’t look away when it comes to the intensions and motivation of major parts of the pro independence movement which have nothing to do with social liberation. 

We think anarchists could play a role in the district assemblies to encourage self-organization which makes people less dependent or even independent from the political elites, but also to push social issues and to prepare for the fight against possible increasing repression. The engagement in the district assemblies mus not necessarily mean that people support Catalan independence. People can engage in these assemblies as part of the social struggle in the neighbourhoods. No more, no less. To build coalitions solely on the basis to create a new state is a dead-end street. We don’t need any states, we need total liberation. 

Some of the Enough is Enough team, October 22, 2017.

Images: Barcelona October 21, 2017.


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3 thoughts on “#Catalonia: Fundamental Social Change is Far Away

  1. […] is going to prevent that from happening. Because of the resignation of the heads of Catalan police (which are NOT our friends and allies) it isn’t even sure that the Catalan government is in control of the Catalan […]

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