News and analysis on Catalonia's struggle for self-determination from Green Left Weekly's European bureau.
At the June 8 ceremonial handing over of portfolio briefcases from outgoing conservative People’s Party (PP) ministers to their incoming Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) replacements, the contrasts were dramatic.
A bunch of reactionary lifetime political operators and religious obscurantists were replaced by what new Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez boasted was the “progressive”, “feminist” and “Europeanist” alternative.
The Catalan parliament finally voted in a new president on May 14, 199 days after the pro-independence bloc held on to its majority at the December 21 elections imposed by the Spanish government.
The annual conference of Denmark’s Red-Green Alliance (RGA) — commonly known as the Unity List — took place in Copenhagen on April 27-29 during a moment of class struggle unusual in these times of weakened trade unions.
The conference of the radical left force wouldn’t even have happened on those days if Denmark’s public sector unions had been forced to strike in support of their demands over wages and conditions.
Basque Homeland and Freedom (ETA), which waged a decades-long military campaign for Basque independence, released its “Statement to the Basque Country: declaration on harm caused” on April 8. The statement is an apology for the suffering arising from more than 40 years of violent operations that ended in a permanent ceasefire in 2011.
The most extreme Spanish reaction to the April 5 ruling of the Higher Regional court of German state Schleswig-Holstein that freed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont was from radio shock jock Federico Jiménez Losantos.
“In the Balearic Islands there are 200,000 of them [Germans] as hostages,” he railed. “In Bavaria, well in Bavaria pubs could start being blown up. So, I’m proposing action? Of course, they’ve slapped us around, they’ve given us a kick in the you-know-what.”
“General strike! General strike! General strike!” In protests across Catalonia after the March 23 jailing of five MPs and the March 25 detention in Germany of Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, these words rang out loud and appeared on placards and banners everywhere.
A general strike would certainly make the Spanish government of Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and the senior judges doing its bidding think twice about their relentless persecution of Catalonia’s pro-independence MPs.
Except that a general strike, while desirable and important as a goal, will not happen until there is an earthquake in the Catalan trade union movement.
France is once again on the brink of an all-out industrial war — and its outcome could transform the country’s political landscape.
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.
After the December 21 Catalan election reconfirmed a majority for pro-independence forces, it seemed inevitable a new government would soon be formed. More than two months later, however, the spectre of a repeat election haunts Catalonia.