This the second interview of our „Barcelona Interview Series“. On November 18, 2017, we spoke with anarchist comrade Xavi (name changed) of the Negres Tempestes collective in Barcelona, about the so-called Catalan process.
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.
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The Barcelona Interview Series: – Negres Tempestes About the Regime of 78: „It Was Not a Transition, It Was a Transaction“
This the second interview of our „Barcelona Interview Series“. On November 18, 2017, we spoke with anarchist comrade Xavi (name changed) of the Negres Tempestes collective in Barcelona, about the so-called Catalan process.
- How did you react when the independence movement came up and was getting stronger, because I guess it wasn’t easy to find a position on what to do in this situation?
Xavi: Well it was really difficult because we came from an anarchist culture in our past. So when people from Catalonia were talking about the situation, they normally didn’t talk about Catalonia. They used the definition “La Tierra”, the land, the territory and then at some point they started to talk about the Catalan republic. It seemed to be something very important, but then the language started to change. Basically our self-organisation started to change its names. They took the names, the powers took the names. They took them and then they were able to rewrite the significance of this. For example; They were talking about solidarity with Mas (Artur Mas, former Catalan president, EIE). That’s crazy. He is rich, he doesn’t need solidarity. People on the street that were attacked by the police during the referendum and people that have trouble with the courts need solidarity. That’s the point, not the rich people. Not the former Catalan president.
It was also difficult because there was a mix of ideas. Some of the center, some of the soft-left, some of the soft-right had their ideas, and there is also CUP, the Candidatura d’Unitat Popular, a left party. We work with them at some issues we were comfortable with. They are there and they are not making a stupid policy. They are in parliament but at the same time they are also on the streets. For example; when there were problems at Can Vies (In 2014 cops tried to evict the social center Can Vies in the Sants district in Barcelona. After days of riots the eviction was cancelled, EIE) their politicians were standing in front of the police and because they are politicians the police can’t hit them.
So it was very difficult, because we also don’t want a state. But I have my language. I have my culture and the Spanish government tries to smash it. For example; They are now trying to destroy the model of Catalan education. It’s a crap model of education, a capitalist model but at least it’s a model that let the language survive. For us the language is important, our language was forbidden from 1714 until the 1970’s. In this period it was only legal to speak Catalan in the first republic. We don’t take a position in which we will support an independent state, but we will support people fighting oppression, against police attacks. We also support the freedom of speech. Sometimes we are together with the “Independentists”, because there are basic rights that are in danger.
Inside the independence movement there are different ideas. Convergència, now PDeCAT, and CUP are not having the same idea. CUP wants to organize the territory in a similar way like in Rojava. If we look to this kind of ideas, it could be nice. But we are not a closed group, there are many small groups in Barcelona and everyone of them have their own ideas, their own position. It’s quite difficult to have a common position about this. In fact there was a meeting with many collectives two weeks ago, organized by a squat of students. They did a really good job. It was the first time we talked. There were many people and it was a good meeting.
- What was the beginning of the independence movement?
Xavi: That’s quite difficult… In the 17th century Catalonia was a territory that had a pact with France. At some point they decided to cancel the pact and started to organize themselves. Catalonia was a kingdom, but for that time in history it was not a usual kingdom. The king didn’t had full control. The powers were separated in 3 parts; the army, the church and trade officials. This establishment was organized in a kind of parliament and controlled the laws that were made by the king but they also made laws by themselves. The king had the right to appoint the Catalan government. But it was not an absolute monarchy like in most other European countries at that time. There was a union with Aragon, but every territory had its own government. But the dynasty had no successor and the Catalans supported the claim of Charles the third, a member of the Austrian branch of the Habsburg dynasty. Other parts of the Iberian peninsula supported Philip the sixth (Bourbonne, EIE). Philip the sixth was from France and an absolutist king. Charles the third said that he would respect the self-government of Catalonia. But Philip won the war in 1714. After that self-government was destroyed, the language was forbidden and many Catalan cultural things were also banned. So the occupation started at 1714. But people always maintained the language and the culture. To be clear; I am not talking about the privileged, the rich people. The independent movement was started by people with money who demanded self-organization to boost trade, for their business. But then something strange happened.
At the end of the feudal system the last thing that reminded of Catalan self-government was the so-called civil code. The civil code was destroyed. Than Fanelli, an Italian anarchist, arrived (In October 1868 Bakunin sponsored Fanelli to travel to Barcelona to share his libertarian visions, EIE) in Catalonia and from there, there was a big mix of ideas. Discussions about who is the enemy? The state? People agreed that the enemy is the state because it was destroying our language, our culture and our self-organization. Why do we need a state? So anarchist ideas mixed with cultural ideas and because of this the second republic, the anarchist one, was very powerful at the streets. Surprisingly an independentist party was in the government at that time. The most surprising thing was that the government recognized anarchist organization, communes and self-organization of the industries. They legalized it. The anarchists became part of the government, but only at the defence department. To be able to defend the territory and the revolution. We are now talking about the Spanish civil war, we are talking about the revolution of 1936. Franco won the war and unfortunately he did a very good job. He smashed ideas, extended christianity, he destroyed syndicates and many organizations. Many organizations went underground, clandestine. These organizations did incredible work. That’s something that we should recognize, that we should be proud of. When the Franco regime ended these organizations became legal again. These were very different organizations; socialists, independentists, but also anarchists. Groups like the one of Salvador Puig Antich, who was killed by the Franco regime in 1974. But the group where he was active in was still there. Some of these anarchist groups fought on the streets to start a revolution but they were not strong enough. After the transition the socialist movement became a strong independentist force. At that time they were the only ones who spoke about independence. They wanted to create a new republic. A socialist republic for the people blah blah blah..
A new wave of independentist came from many different factors. The first factor was the Partido Popular (PP, the governing party in Spain, a re-foundation – in 1989 – of the Alianza Popular, AP, a party led and founded by Manuel Fraga Iribarne, a former Minister of Interior and Minister of Tourism during Francisco Franco’s fascist dictatorship, EIE). The Partido Popular is a factory that produces independentists. I think when Catalonia will become a republic we should create a statue for Mariano Rajoy. Sincerely, many thanks. The most stupid idea the PP had was to put the most stupid man they could find at the Spanish department of education. When he said Catalan students must learn more Spanish that was a big mistake. Talking to Catalans about the schools, saying them to keep the Catalan language out of the schools was a bad idea. There are still many old people that learned Catalan in flats, illegally, the language was forbidden. When these people started to hear these things from PP politicians they said okay, let’s leave this place (the Spanish state, EIE). Most old people don’t like big changes but if you remember them what happened to them and that it could happen again they start to resist. Then they (this old people, EIE) say, okay forget about the dictatorship, forget about Spain, let’s start our own republic. We don’t want this crap and with our own country we will try to prevent that this will happen again. So I think this was a very important moment.
Another important moment was the statute of Catalan autonomy. It was crap. It was designed by the Spanish government, so from people that not many people in Catalonia voted for (To give an idea, the Spanish governing party PP only got 8.5% of the votes in the 2015 Catalan elections, EIE). The Catalan government wanted to change the autonomy statute but the PP went to the constitutional court and destroyed it. Many people had the feeling they tried but this just doesn’t work. I think this was a moment that people discovered there will be no advance inside Spain. The first thing that was removed from the statute was that Catalonia is a nation. Another point that was removed was the part that would legalize euthanasia. For the christian Spanish government that was too much. So people said; we tried but they (the Spanish government, EIE) are constantly saying they want to destroy the Catalan schools, they are also saying that this is the best kind of self-government that they will offer, so it’s time to go our own way. Every time the Spanish government speaks they are functioning as a factory that produces independentists. They are promoting it.
- You already answered the following question but maybe you can be more specific; There are many different groups, initiatives and parties who are part of the independence movement or at least somehow involved. What kind of spectrum are we talking about? There are the former Christian-Democrats, you already told us there is also CUP, than there are a lot of groups and initiatives in the neighbourhoods. How is this balanced?
Xavi: In the end you could say that if you say “I am an independentist” it’s only a name that you are using. Than you develope your own ideas about it. So there are christians (Christian-Democrats, EIE), the Esquerra Republicana, they are social-democrats, and there is CUP, they are more revolutionary. And you have the CDR’s, the Committees to Defend the Republic. Personally I feel more comfortable with the CDR’s, because they are organized in assemblies. They are organized in neighbourhoods and small towns. The ideas that are growing there are very interesting. The CDR’s are independent from the ANC and Omnium (The two big independence organisations, EIE). So they are not under control of the big organizations and political parties. A lot of the people in the CDR’s are collaborating or comfortable with CUP. But the party (CUP) is not controlling the CDR’s at all. There are also anarchists at CDR’s. Because we feel comfortable there.
I should say that the Christians and the right wing in Catalonia are not very liberal, they are racist. They really are a right movement. Every thing they did reminds of Franco and Franco is the one that tried to kill our population, to kill our language , to kill our culture.
- There are also anarchists who are not involved in the independence movement at all. Can you tell us something about their positions and how do you think about that?
Xavi: Personally I think there are not a lot but first of all let’s define the involvement. Many of us collaborate with CDR’s that are organized in assemblies. Many collectives are also integrated in neighbourhood assemblies. So in the end we are collaborating but not inside (the independence movement, EIE).
When there is oppression, when basic rights are in danger, when people are attacked… There is a moment where you should take a position. There is this one front and there is another. There you have the Spanish government and they are fascists and there is the Catalan government and they are corrupt. And there are the people that have the chance to start a new republic. Like I said before there are people who are talking about organizing things like in Rojava. People also need to be defended from the fascist attacks.
So you could be with the fascists and the police. You could be in the middle or you could be with the people in the CDR’s, it’s not the best option, but an option that I feel more comfortable with. So in many ways we support the Independentists, not the idea to create a new state, but to support basic rights. I don’t think any anarchist collective will not take part. Obviously we don’t take part in politics, not on a political party level. We take part on the streets. When you are on the streets it’s easy. There are the fascists and here are we. So there are many ideas and many collectives but there is only one enemy.
- What are the main reasons for you why you think it’s important for Catalonia to leave Spain?
Xavi: If you talk with many people about that, most people will reproduce crap from the Catalan government and from the big organizations. Crap like Spain ist stealing from us. That’s something they always use. I really hate it. It’s the Spanish government that’s stealing from us, not Spain. If you say Spain you refer to the people in Spain and they are poor, like we are. In my point of view it’s not about money, it’s about our language, it’s about culture. It’s about the place where I live. I don’t want a place where fascists can do anything without any kind of consequences. The legal establishment of Spain protects the fascists. The Spanish government says there was a transition from dictatorship to democracy. But in fact it was not a transition, it was a transaction. They changed the name, a few laws and legalized some parties. But everything remained the same as it was. There is no freedom of speech. And there are many many other issues. So one of the reasons for me is that I want to live in a place where fascists can’t act like this is their place.
But also for my language and my culture. It’s a chance to start a new way of organizing (society, EIE). Many of us are talking and introducing ideas and discuss what people are building up in Rojava. There are other ways to organize society. This is something we are talking about in CDR’s, it’s one of the reasons why we are in the CDR’s. My personal reason is the opportunity for a new kind of organization and to protect my language and my culture.
- You more or less already answered this question, but maybe you have something to add. What should change if Catalonia becomes independent in comparison to the situation now?
Xavi: Well, as I said before… The right wing in Catalonia could not express that they are powerful. They didn’t talk about racism. They didn’t talk about sexism. So they are… let’s say limited. There are also some left wing parties and we have CUP. Probably the left parties will get stronger. So there is a chance when we write a constitution. Especially because people started to take the streets, started demonstrations. They started to fight, very peacefully, but it’s a start. We started to discuss everything. What type of school do we want? What kind of health system? Not just a health system that tries to fix, but a health system that tries to find out what’s going on with this person and to help that person. But people also debate what kind of state do we want? Do we really need a state? Is it really necessary? There is a chance to change everything. It’s in our hands. As anarchists we try to express our opinions. What we could do. We say things like: “Okay you think this is impossible, but look we are here. We are here because we did it. We really have the power to do a lot of things. So don’t limit yourself. Try to do more. Try to think what to fight for and try to think about things politicians will not do for you. You need to do it yourself.”
- You already said a few things about the so-called regime of 78. As you said before it wasn’t a transition but a transaction… But many people outside Catalonia and outside Spain don’t know what’s meant with the regime of ‘78. Can you explain that to our readers?
Xavi: When we talk about the regime of 78… I should say that this is new. We always say that this was a transaction. Many people now discovered that what is presented as a democracy is not a democracy. Obviously anarchists and social movements discovered that a long long time ago. But other people are discovering this right now. So they are starting to speak about that. To speak about the regime of 78 because nothing has changed. They realize that this regime is the continuation of Franco’s fascism. They are talking about this because there is no freedom of speech. There is no freedom to assemble (Since the introduction of the Gag law people can be fined and prosecuted for about anything, Tweets, participation in a demonstration etc EIE). The Catalan government is under control of Madrid. Many people working for the administration were fired. The Madrid government demand that everything that is related with the Catalan administration has to be in Spanish, because the new people who were send from Madrid don’t speak Catalan. They (the Spanish government, EIE) can do whatever they want. It’s like it always was, nothing changed. So we are in the regime of 78 and it’s the same as Franco’s regime.
- The Spanish government suspended catalan autonomy with article 155. What do you think could be an effective way to resist this kind of repression?
Xavi: First of all, it’s quite difficult. We are talking about a state that doesn’t seem to have a limit. We should understand that the state needs an enemy. Always! Right now they found a good one again. For a long time it was Euskadi (Basque Country, EIE). Everything was terrorism and terrorism was a big problem Blah blah blah… and they (the Spanish state, EIE) were using this. Right now they are using Catalonia. When everything goes wrong they need an enemy to restrict the rights of people. The Spanish government is using this to incite hate against Catalans.
The Spanish state is very powerful and many people from other regions in the territory support the government. The state uses the police and police violence without any consequences. Many people in Catalonia experienced this for the first time, of course we already had this experience but many people didn’t expect that something like this would be possible in Europe. So it’s difficult, we could try to continue with pacifist resistance but this means we should accept that we will suffer the violence. We should be present at the places where it happens and suffer the violence to show the world the violence of the Spanish government. But many people are not ready for that. I think the first point is that we have to try to organize the streets, to rise against the Spanish government. So it’s time to organize ourselves even more.
We also should organize self-government. For example to establish our own education, apart from the government education. Right now it’s under control of the Spanish government. There already is a new school, with a different concept, where the kids learn what they want to learn. We don’t want to create kids that follow the rules. We want kids to get the knowledge that they want and they enjoy it. They are not drilled in a classroom in a military way, saying yes, yes, yes, learn, learn, learn. We could create many things apart from the government to organize ourselves beyond the government.
We also have to prepare solidarity because it will be necessary. The government imprisoned the leaders of the big independence organizations (ANC and Omnium, EIE). They have enough money and will get everything they need. But we need to be prepared, because for us the repression will not be the same. We should be prepared to be able to respond at the streets. We should be prepared to confront the fascists ourselves. No police or government will do that for us. It’s time to get control over our lives, there is no (Catalan, EIE) government now, only the Spanish government. The Catalan government is out, so we don’t have to respond to any government, we only have to repond to each other.
- How can people outside of Catalonia support the struggle here? Do you have any ideas about that?
Xavi: Propaganda is the most important. So at this point thanks for coming and this interview! Let people know what’s happening here. How it’s happening. Show people that the European Union is a lie, because they (the Spanish government, EIE) are using a military article of the constitution. They occupied our self-government. They kicked the elected government. So right there we see that democracy is a lie. And this was all supported by the European Union. So let people know that the European Union, the European institutions are a lie. But also to show what we do have. Maybe we have something that could really change things. Maybe we can show that they can’t control the whole of Europe and that we are starting to get out of control. When everybody knows what is happening here, the Spanish government kicked the Catalan government but people are organizing themselves on the streets. Maybe they get the message that it’s time to get rid of the European institutions and build something new. Something new for us, for the people who live in Europe.
- What do you think about the pacifist strategy where the Catalan politicians and the big organizations like the ANC and Omnium are always talking about? For me as an observer from outside, I see clear limits for this strategy. What do you think about that?
Xavi: Let’s put things in place. The Catalan government means nothing to Europe. They (The Catalan government, EIE) tried to get attention from the European institutions. They think that the only way to get this attention is with a pacifist strategy. Because if you don’t do that, the Spanish government would argue like; hey they are using violence. That’s the position of the Catalan government. The big organizations, the ANC and Omnium, they adopted these ideas. In my point of view pacifism is okay, just destroying things leads to nowhere, but there are fascists attacking people on the streets and the police is doing nothing. Maybe that’s not the time to be pacifist. Violence just to be violent leads us to nowhere but unfortunately sometimes violence is necessary. I mean if there are fascists on the streets. I don’t think violence is the right way, but if it’s necessary… It’s not like everything will be just fine just because you are a pacifist and you are not doing anything. You need to be prepared for what will happen.
- Last month we were on a demonstration of the independence movement where people were celebrating the catalan police. What’s your position on things like that? I mean, I remember very well that it was the Catalan police who violently evicted the 15M movement from Catalunya square in 2011… These are the same cops.
Xavi: Yes these are the same cops, but we are not talking about the same people. Many people think that the police is there to protect us. During the Catalan referendum (On October 1, EIE) the Catalan cops tried to avoid the violence from the Spanish Guardia Civile and Policia Nacional. So for many people this confirmed that Catalan cops are there to protect them. We have to stop that, because it’s horrible.
We should say it clear; Catalan police is police but they are living here. If you are a police officer and you live in a small town you will know people there. So the Spanish police was attacking people that you know. This actually happened in small towns. The Catalan police actually were protecting people in several small towns (during the referendum on October 1, EIE). It was not the norm, but they did. So people started to say things like: “They are good. They are protecting us.” The Catalan government started a campaign that spread messages like it’s a modern police, it’s a good police, they are there to help us, to protect us blah blah blah… But this changed a bit at the large demonstrations where the police showed there are limits. For example when people went to the Catalan department of economy as the Guardia Civile came to the department to seize documents and arrested some people, a lot of people were there when the Mossos (Catalan police) also arrived and started to assist the Spanish police. At the end the Catalan police attacked the people at the demonstration. People at the demonstration argued with the Catalan police and said things like: “You are here to protect us!” But they soon realized this was not going to happen. So people started to discover that. So it’s starting to change, people are starting to realize that the police is not there to protect us. But in the small towns it’s difficult. It’s a fact that in some small towns the Catalan police really protected people from the violence of the Spanish police. Some of these Catalan police officers are independentists themselves. Some of them supported the referendum. I mean being an independentist doesn’t necessarily mean you are an anarchist, or a communist or socialist. There are also independentists who are liberals, or even neo-liberals like the PDeCAT.
- Can you tell us something about the rise of fascism in Spain and Catalonia?
Xavi: Well the first thing; It was always there. The point is that they (the fascists, EIE) were not very active. They were encouraged and when you listen when Mariano Rajoy (Spanish Prime Minister, EIE) speaks it’s like you hear the military sometimes. They (the fascists, EIE) have the right, not officially, to do what they want and nothing happens. So they feel free to do whatever they want. I don’t think it’s something new. They were always there. I think they were waiting and now they come out and act. They are reorganizing. Fortunately they are not very well organized. Their leaders are pretty stupid and many of them are hooligans. To give an example; during the last demonstration of Spanish nationalists and fascists they were fighting each other because they were hooligans from different football (soccer, EIE) teams. So we are lucky and they will destroy themselves.
- This morning we were on an antifascist demonstration where fascists were again and again provocating the antifascist demonstration. Is there an increase in fascist violence in the last couple of months? As you already said they are more visible and active again. What do you think is the best way to handle this kind of fascist aggression?
Xavi: Right now they (the fascists, EIE) are more violent. The way to protect us is to organize ourselves in our neighbourhoods. In fact many neighbourhoods are starting to do this. There are protocols, like if someone sees a fascist attack he or she will start to make noise on the balcony, others will join on their balconies. So other people will hear that and will come to help. I think this is a good way (In Catalonia and the rest of the Spanish territory there is a long tradition of making noise on balconies to protest, EIE). If the fascists want to take the streets, we should also go on the streets. If they want to do a demonstration we should be in front of them. We need to show them that they are not free to do whatever they want. That we are there and that we will not leave. We will not let them oppress us on our streets, we will fight for our streets and defend them. They came here on the 12th of October and they had some problems here in the neighbourhood (Sants, Barcelona, EIE) and had to leave the neighbourhood quite fast. So we should always remind them, that this is not a good place for them. Obviously this had consequences. Many people are standing trial at the moment. The state prosecution says they (the anti-fascists, EIE) attacked a minority (the fascists EIE). Saying that fascists belong to a minority is really crazy, but we are talking about Spanish law, so we are talking about a joke.
- We visited an Asamblea and it reminded me of Asambleas of 15M. Do you think some parts of the independence movement came out of the 15M movement?
Xavi: Yes some of them. But many of these people are in political parties like for instance Podemos or Comú now, others in the ANC or Omnium. But they are also in social movements. I think 15M was good to show people that there is another way to organize. Right now we are using this kind of self-organization again, so I think there is a connection. Some people that came from the 15M assemblies, the ones who are not in Podemos or Comú… these crappy things, well they came to the CDR’s and said here is another place where we can organize. So let’s organize ourselves.
- What do you think about the importance of the internet for mobilization and organization for the independence movement?
Xavi: It’s the key. An example. At the referendum the Spanish government said the ballot boxes would never arrive. The ballot papers would also never arrive. Never, never, never! All communication was done with Signal. So they (the Spanish state, EIE) couldn’t find anything. But maybe that’s also because they didn’t act very smart. So it was the key for the organization of the referendum. But I like to point out that this referendum was organized by the people, not the Catalan government. The government gave the legal structure, but the people organized it. This is important because maybe people outside of Catalonia think the first and second referendum were organized by the Catalan government but that was not the case. Not at all. People organized and defended the referendum.
- Can you tell me something about your ideas how to deal with people that are working for the state now, like Mossos for example in anarchist society?
Xavi: We will not need them. About how to deal with this people… well it depends on what they did. A prison is not an option. A prison is something that won’t fix anything. Prisons are there to destroy people, not to help people. So in my point of view they should return to society and give something back to society, like for instance social services. Maybe they will see some things different when they work in social services and that’s important.
- The more liberal ANC is dominating solidarity actions in foreign countries. Do you know about international groups that are organized in grassroot movements?
Image: Banner at the Rote Flora squat in Hamburg.
Xavi: Well we are very thankful with Rote Flora. Some squats and anarchist movements supported. In Greece anarchists occupied the Spanish embassy. We are very grateful for this kind of actions. We learned how important solidarity is with the international brigades during the Spanish revolution in 1936. So there are not enough words to say thank you.
- Do you want to install a republic of councils like some other groups that support the independence movement? If yes, how do you want to create it?
Xavi: What I want is difficult to express. But a republic of councils could be a good start. A kind of administration would be there and to be realistic.. We will need it. The point is how do you use this adminstration. In my opinion this administration should be occupied by technicians only. But without any decision-making powers. They should all be controlled by the assemblies. This could be a start. This is my ideal but we don’t know what will happen. There are many CDR’s where people are starting to talk about things kind of ideas. That’s important because this is also a meeting point of some anarchist groups and movements. But also some of the socialist groups and movements. Maybe Rojava is spreading more influence than we all think. Here we are experimenting with this kind of ideas.
- Do you think that the support for this idea is big enough?
Xavi: No. No it’s not enough but it’s growing. It’s really growing. People are starting to take control over their own lives. They learned that they can do many things. People organized and defended two referendums in the Catalan territory. We are not talking about something easy. I mean it’s impressive. When the Spanish police arrived (during the referendum, EIE) to keep out the ballot boxes, people had put the boxes at the top of trees. Or people organized secure places to hide the ballot boxes and gave the Spanish police fake ballot boxes with fake votes. They were sitting in the polling station and said oh yes you can have them and gave them the fake ballot boxes. I mean people are at a point where they can imagine that they can create and organize things themselves. I think that’s a real win. For me this part is important because it was not in control of the government. Sometimes the government gets nervous because they know that they could not control it. Right now the presidents of the ANC and Omnium are in prison. And the ANC and Omnium are aligned with the Catalan government. What the courts say is absolutely false. The ANC and Omnium leaders tried to explain people that they should leave the place (the polling station, EIE) when the Police came but the people didn’t recognized them as their leaders. So people stayed there. So people were like… Well the government is nice but if I want to do something I will do it. So they stayed and defended the polling stations. At this point social movements have a responsibility. Not to show a path but to inject ideas. To stimulate the own imagination of people, they could really surprize us. People that were never organized before did incredible things during the referendum. So let’s present our ideas to them and let’s see what happens. Don’t forget that we have our routines and these routines are our limitations. These people don’t have these routines and limitations and many times they surprize us.
- Let’s talk about economy and consume. Can you tell us some economic models that you would propose for a Catalan republic?
Xavi: One proposal at the CDR’s was that when the companies leave we could take over the companies. Why not? So people are starting to talk about this kind of things. It’s not very big, but it’s a good starting point. There is also a cooperative model in Catalonia. The Catalan government was actually forced to make laws so people could organize these cooperatives. There is a movement. There are cooperatives in the healthcare system, there are cooperatives who opened bars, others are growing or selling vegetables. Many things are produced and sold by cooperatives.
We are doing this interview in Can Battló. This place is not under the control of the city council of Barcelona or the government. There is a bar, a theater, they print books here, newspapers, they are brewing their own beer here. And all these projects at Can Battló are cooperatives and not under the control of any institution. It’s difficult. Can Batlló is owned by the city council but they don’t control it. Can Batlló is controlled by the assembly. Sometimes there are conflicts with the city council, but the assembly of Can Batlló always look what they want to do themselves, so they don’t care what the city council wants. So there is a starting point with cooperatives. There were also collectivations. I think this is the way to organize the economy.
- What do you think about the feminist fight in Catalonia?
Xavi: I think that it’s quite strong. It’s well organized. But there are problems. The first problem is the law. Another problem is the social problem. Even in social movements. There is a lot of work that has to be done there. I am not talking about the feminist organizations. I mean a social problem. There are many things that we have to improve in the social movements. The feminist movement is strong, very well organized and they are not only defending, they are also acting. But in the social movements we often have certain routines that should be broken. Like I said there is a lot of work there, but I am not talking about the feminist organizations. What I mean is our own work, things we have to change ourselves. In our own life. All of us. The feminist groups and movements can support this by providing ideas and information but we have to work on ourselves. We can’t expect that others will do that for us. If we are saying we are anarchists, we should do this ourselves.
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