People Before Profit Statement on the Crisis in Catalonia.
People Before Profit supports the democratic right of the people of Catalonia to self-determination. The Catalan parliament has voted to hold a referendum on the question of Catalan independence from the Spanish State on 1 October as is absolutely their democratic right.
The intention of the Spanish State government to ban the holding of this referendum and further to use force and legal and police intervention to prevent it occurring is a flagrant breach of elementary democratic principles and a classic example of national oppression.
People Before Profit condemns this shocking intervention, tantamount to a coup d’état and virtual occupation, and stands in solidarity with the people of Catalonia in their resistance to this anti-democratic oppression, reminiscent of the dark days of Francoism and Spanish fascism.
We also note and applaud the increasingly progressive and radical character of the movement for Catalan independence which in recent years has more and more taken up the struggle against austerity and been part of the struggle for ‘real democracy’ as pioneered by the great Indignados mass movement of 2011.
Current events in Catalonia, and especially Barcelona, are part of the wider international polarisation produced by the crisis of the ‘extreme centre’ and of the rise of new left and progressive forces.
We also believe the crisis in Catalonia has important implications for the left internationally and in Ireland. First it demonstrates that neo-liberal and pro-capitalist governments who in Spain as in Ireland make much of their ‘liberal’, ‘modern’ and ‘progressive’ credentials are ready to abandon and override democratic principles when they perceive their vital economic and state interests as being threatened.
It also highlights the ongoing importance of the ‘national question’ in the 21st century, and particularly their importance as the neo-liberal rich man’s club of the EU comes under more and more pressure and threatens to unravel. People Before Profit believes the crisis of the current system will lead to a proliferation of such issues in the future in the same way that Scottish independence brings the question of Irish unity to the fore.
In these situations we think it is a serious mistake for the left, either in Spain or in Ireland, to tie itself to rotten neo-liberal capitalist institutions such as the EU, the Spanish State or UK state as if they represent some kind of internationalism. The only internationalism they represent is that of capital and profit.
Opposing rule from these states also strengthens the movements from below, as we are seeing on the streets of Barcelona.
However, we also recognise the limitations of pure nationalism. We support, as we have made clear, the right of the Catalan people to establish an independent Republic but we believe that to make a real difference to the lives of the mass of working people in Catalonia the question of independence has to be linked to the struggle for social and economic justice and a better society that puts people before profit.
And what the ruthless response of the Spanish State demonstrates is that the achievement of both these goals, both the democratic right to self-determination and social justice, depends on the mass mobilisation of people from below on the streets and in the workplaces, i.e. people power.