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.
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.
Catalonia’s regional government has declared it will hold a referendum on October 1 over whether it should become independent from Spain. In response, Spain’s conservative People’s Party (PP) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has vowed that the “unconstitutional” referendum will not take place, setting the scene for the biggest crisis in the Spanish state since the 1978 transition from the Franco dictatorship.
Quim Arrufat is a joint national spokesperson for the People’s Unity List (CUP), an organisation that he has likened to “urban Zapatistas” – in reference to the insurgent indigenous movement based in Chiapas, Mexico – that is committed to Catalan independence and socialism.
Nothing alarms Spain’s establishment more than the prospect of the unity of the Spanish state being threatened by the desire for self-determination of the peoples that live within its borders.
It was clear early on that something special was happening in the May 24 local government and regional elections across the Spanish state.
In Spanish elections, the voter participation rate gets announced at 1pm and 6pm — while voting is still taking place. Well before the polling stations closed, the news was that participation was up about 5% in Catalonia and about 8% in the working-class districts of Barcelona.