Sunday 1 October was a day of shame for the Spanish State. In a brutal denial of basic democratic rights, the Spanish State sent thousands of Guardia Civil into Catalonia in an attempt to forcibly suppress a democratic referendum on Catalan independence.
The result of the Spanish state's tactics were scenes reminiscent of police behaviour in the dark days of Franco’s fascist dictatorship, with peaceful would-be voters batoned, dragged by the hair, and thrown down the stairs of polling booths. Over 800 people were injured.
Despite this appalling repression the vote went ahead in many, perhaps most areas. People Before Profit has received the following figures:
2,020,144 yes to independence; 176,566 no; 40,585 blank; 20,159 spoiled.
That is 90% for independence. In a situation where 400 polling booths were forcibly closed and at least 770,000 were prevented from voting that is a resounding victory.
Some people, including some on the left, are arguing that Spain as a whole should be able to vote whether Catalonia has a right to leave. But this is wrong and a denial of the right to self determination of the Catalan people. The English were not entitled to vote in the referendum on Scottish independence or all Europeans on Britain’s right to leave the EU and what would we say to the idea that English voters should have had a veto on Irish independence?
Another argument is that the independence movement is driven by the Catalan rich or bourgeoisie. This is also false. The Catalan ruling class wanted only regional autonomy; the call for independence has been driven from the left and from below. And that is how it is going to continue with a planned general strike on Tuesday 3 October.
People Before Profit demands; 1) that the Irish government issues a strong statement of condemnation of the actions of the Spanish State. Ireland, of all countries, has the historical authority to stand up for the right of a small nation to be free. It must use it now. 2) that the EU issues a similar statement. The EU never ceases proclaiming its democratic and progressive credentials. Let it now censure the Spanish State
People Before Profit says:
Shame on the Spanish State – stop the repression now!
Solidarity with the Catalan people – defend the right to self-determination!
Solidarity with the General strike – victory to people power!