Of all the International Women’s Day (IWD) demonstrations held in an unprecedented 177 countries on March 8, the Spanish state stood out as the site of the largest mobilisation for women’s equality. In fact, it was the greatest mobilisation for women’s right in history, with almost 6 million people — overwhelmingly women — striking and demonstrating in about 120 cities and towns.
The title of Adam Hochschild’s marvellous book on the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War is taken from French author Albert Camus’s requiem for that doomed struggle: “Men of my generation have had Spain in our hearts … It was there that they learned … that one can be right and yet be beaten, that force can vanquish spirit, and there are times when courage is not rewarded”.
About five million women went on strike and marched in Spain on March 8 in support of a call for an international women’s strike to mark International Women’s Day and demand a just and egalitarian society, TeleSUR English said that day.
Early on January 30, Roger Torrent, speaker of the Catalan parliament elected on December 21, suspended that day’s session, which had been set to elect outgoing president Carles Puigdemont as head of the new Catalan government.
The decision of Torrent, leading member of the pro-independence Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC), came after the Spanish Constitutional Court ruled two days earlier that electing the exiled Puigdemont could not take place in absentia.
The main war aim of the People’s Party (PP) government of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy for the December 21 Catalan elections was to stop the re-election of a pro-independence government.
During the election campaign, the Spanish political, economic and media establishment even dreamed of the election of a pro-unionist administration on the back of unprecedented participation from a «silent majority» supposedly in favour of continuing the tie with Spain.
At first glance, the result of the December 21 Catalan parliamentary election changed little.
All three competing blocs in the intensely polarised December 21 Catalan election are working feverishly to win in a battle shaped by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s October 27 sacking of the Catalan government.
The struggle in Catalonia for self determination has shaken the whole Spanish state. It has forced all political forces to take a stance.
Much of the left across the Spanish state, while not supporting the repression of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, have also not supported Catalonia’s independence process.
The December 21 election in Catalonia will not only decide if pro-independence forces can return to administer this region of the Spanish state: it will also decide if the Spanish state’s own underlying crisis of legitimacy intensifies or starts to fade.
In essence, the election will be a plebiscite on the central Spanish government’s takeover of the Catalan government under article 155 of the Spanish constitution and whether a majority think Catalonia has a right to decide its relation to the Spanish state.
Road and rail blockades organised by the Committees in Defence of the Republic (CDR) paralysed traffic movement across Catalonia on November 8.
The blockades were part of a day of protest action aimed against the Spanish government’s takeover of the Catalan government and parliament, and the detention of eight Catalan government ministers.
Live coverage of the struggle for independence in Catalonia from Dick Nichols, European correspondent of Green Left Weekly and Links--International Journal of Socialist Renewal, based in Barcelona.
Businesses ground to a halt in Barcelona and across Catalonia on October 3, as a general strike was observed and protesters poured into the streets. Two days after the Spanish government authorized the use of force to disrupt a referendum on independence from Spain, Catalans for and against secession remain livid.
The war without guns between the Spanish state and the 80% majority of Catalan people who support their parliament’s October 1 independence referendum is reaching a climax at the time of writing on September 29.
On October 1, it will become clear whether the Catalans have humiliated the central Spanish People’s Party (PP) government by succeeding to vote; suffered a setback because the 10,000 Spanish National Police and paramilitary Civil Guards in Catalonia succeed in closing polling stations; or achieved a mixed result due to only some voters getting into polling stations.
Forty-one Spanish Civil Guard raids on Catalan government-related buildings and private homes on September 20 led to the arrest of 13 high-level Catalan government officials and harvested a lot of “suspect material” for the prosecutors charged with stopping Catalonia’s October 1 independence referendum. However, the raid have provoked a mass revolt in response.
The haul included 10 million ballot papers stored in a printery warehouse in the central Catalan town of Bigues i Riells.
Half-a-million people marched in the Catalan capital of Barcelona on August 26 to express the profound desire in Catalan society to stay tolerant, open and un-militarised in the face of the August 17-18 terror attacks on Barcelona’s Rambla and in the seaside town of Cambrils.
This was partly because the attacks — claimed by Islamic State and causing 15 deaths and up to 130 wounded — coincided with the tensest moments to date in the fight between the Catalan and Spanish governments over the planned October 1 referendum on Catalan independence.
Thousands of Muslims voiced their rejection of jihadi extremism on August 21, marching through central Barcelona with banners reading “Terrorism has no religion”, Morning Star Online said.
It came in the wake of the August 17 terrorist attacks in Catalonia, which killed 13 and was claimed by Islamic State.