We are not exactly enthousiastic about states and nations. We won’t jump on the nationalist bandwagon but we do see the ugly Francoist and fascist face of the Spanish state. After the massive wave of repression, which is ongoing, its not just about nationalism anymore.
15M was the first movement which was able to mobilize large parts of Spanish society which questioned the political architecture of the “Regime of ’78”, named after the constitution of 1978.
The so-called “transition” from the fascist Franco regime into a parlamentary democracy, left the Francoist political and military class untouched and actually was just a reform of the Franco regime. On October 9, 1976 former Francoist minister Manuel Fraga founded the People’s Alliance (Alianza Popular, AP). Fraga authorized the execution of political prisoners under the Franco regime. A notable case is the execution of communist leader Julián Grimau, whom he called “that little gentleman” (Spanish: ese caballerete) in a press conference when asked about his detention and death sentence. Fraga was also one of the writers of the new Spanish constitution which was approved in 1978 and was never charged for the crimes he committed during the Franco years.
The now governing Partido Popular (PP) of prime-minster Mariano Rajoy was a re-foundation (in 1989) of the People’s Alliance (Alianza Popular, AP), again founded by Manuel Fraga. The 15M mobilizations made the political establishment increasingly nervous. Demonstrations were surpressed with police violence and the political class also reacted with new repressive and authoritarian laws like the “Ley Mordaza” (Gag law). With this law the cops are the ones who can charge and punish people for civil disobedience, without any form of interference or verdict by the courts.
lot has happened since the massive 15M mobilisations across Spain in 2011 and 2012. In May 2017 we republished a piece by Autonomies about 15M in which Tomás Ibáñez stated that the “worst that could have happened to 15M, and the future of social struggle, would have been for it to have allowed itself to be led by the libertarian movement … or that it have assumed as its own the principles and objectives of the the libertarian movement.” (Ibáñez, Anarquismos a contratiempo, 269) The “worst” thing, he qualifies, excluding 15M ending up in the hands of some left-wing, extreme left-wing or nationalist political parties. The rise of Podemos would seem to confirm the worst. The Spanish streets were empty again.
But not in Catalonia. The independence movement was already growing but the end of the massive 15M mobilizations and the rejection by the Spanish Constitutional Court, at the request of Rahoy’s Partido Popular, of a draft Regional Statute approved by the Catalan courts, was also the start of an enormous boost for the struggle for independence. The regional Catalonian political class became under pressure after social movements and large parts of society demanded the right to decide about the independence of Catalonia. As a result many politicians started to support the project of an independent state.
After the Catalan government announced to held a referendum for independence on the first of October, the Spanish state reacted with a wave of repression. Regional government buildings were raided, ballot boxes confiscated and thousands of riot cops and paramilitary Guardia Civil squads were send to Catalonia by the central government. The .cat domain registration office was raided, websites and google apps banned just to name a few of the measures taken by Rajoy’s central government in Madrid. Rajoy again and again stated that the referendum about the independence of Catalonia will not take place.
Given the wave of repression by the Spanish state many anarchist comrades in Catalonia will support the struggle against repression and for the right of self-determination and freedom of information. Many of them will do so although they are not supporting the idea of another state.
We don’t believe in new states, especially not within a capitalist framework. We are convinced that we need an anti-capitalistic social transformation where production, consumption and decision-making are self-organized and in the hands of the people, a social transformation without states and borders. But we also can’t look away when the Spanish state is showing its ugly fascist Francoist face and repress people. We can’t look away when basic rights like the freedom of information and the right to determine peoples political will is being attacked by the authoritarian government in Madrid.
The opinions of anarchist comrades in Catalonia are mixed. While some people think that Catalonian independence is an opportunity to boost the struggle for social and emancipatory issues in a new and possibly unstable state (at least in the beginning), others think that the struggle for independence is distracting from these struggles. There should be no doubt about the objectives of the neoliberal ruling class in Catalonia. As soon as they do not need the social movements anymore, they will be the first to repress the emancipatory forces in the movement. We are not very optimistic but will support the struggle against repression and for social transformation as good as we can. In Catalonia and elswhere.