News and analysis on Catalonia's struggle for self-determination from Green Left Weekly's European bureau.
In 2019, European and legislative elections will take place in Portugal in a national political context different from anywhere else in the European Union (EU), where austerity policies still reign and the racist and xenophobic right is rising, writes Dick Nichols from Lisbon.
Over the past three years in Portugal, the minority Socialist Party (PS) government has been supported from outside by the Left Bloc, the Communist Party of Portugal (PCP) and the Ecologist Party-The Greens (PEV).
In recent weeks, senior judges in the loftiest halls of the Spanish legal system — the Supreme Court, the National High Court and the Constitutional Court — have been exposed as subverters of a fair legal process, lackeys of Spain’s almighty banking elite and bumbling incompetents, writes Dick Nichols from Barcelona.
Last December 21, Catalonia’s three parliamentary forces supporting independence — Together for Catalonia (JxCat), the Republican Left of Catalonia (ERC) and Popular Unity Candidacy (CUP) — won a 70-65 seat majority in the 135-seat Catalan parliament.
Six months of drawn-out negotiations over forming a pro-independence government then followed.
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.