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(en) anarkismo.net: Interview with Embat: "Our responsibility as anarchists is to turn what is being forged into the street into a solid popular movement" by José Antonio Gutiérrez D. (ca, it) [machine translation]

Date Mon, 1 Jan 2018 12:15:32 +0200

In the days immediately following the elections of December 21 in Catalonia we have held this conversation with the companions of the Catalan libertarian organization Embat , in which we hope to deepen elements of judgment on the current crisis of the Spanish State and the situation of the Catalan procés, from the libertarian perspective. ---- 1. What is the meaning of the recent elections in Catalonia? What was Madrid's bet on them? ---- The Government of Mariano Rajoy tried to divert the focus of the independence movement from the construction of the Catalan Republic. Therefore, as soon as autonomy was suspended through the application of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, regional elections were called. ---- Catalan society came from a very intense month of October that culminated with the proclamation of the Republic on October 27 and the general strike of November 8. However, the Government of the Generalitat did not intend to dispute the power of the Spanish state in the territory of Catalonia. He understood that this meant calling for the general mobilization of the people, which undoubtedly meant that the situation would get out of hand. In those moments it is almost certain that the popular self-organization would have provoked some clashes with the police occupation forces of unknown consequences. There was talk of a Catalan Maidan and that the State was willing to shed blood. There were threatening calls from the highest levels of the State to Catalan institutions and parties in this threatening sense.

So the elections seemed like a worthy solution to the main Catalan separatist parties (PDCAT and ERC) and were a way to return to democratic normality. They posed as the recovery of lost autonomy - obviating that this normality had been lost by proclaiming the Republic. These politicians sincerely hoped that the European Union would intervene in their favor instead of positioning themselves in a bloc with Spain.

On the statist or unionist side, in those weeks began a facelift of the Citizens option, which is a liberal populism, similar to Movimento 5 Stelle Italian, straddling the right, the far right or the center left. The Spanish media have bombarded strongly with this candidacy, which has been the most money spent on the campaign, receiving even the support of French politicians such as Emmanuel Macron and Manuel Valls and eventually became the benchmark for unionism. The Popular Party was deeply worn out in Catalonia and sank.

From the election call the independence movement was anchored to defensive positions, based on political prisoners, with its president in exile or focusing on preparing a macro-demonstration of Catalans in Brussels seeking international recognition that never came. 2. What is the impact they think they will have and what balance do you make of them?

The elections have resulted in a victory for Ciudadanos, which was in the first position of votes, but can not form a government by not adding the necessary seats to govern. You can not even make it by agreeing with other unionist parties (Partido Popular and Partit Socialista de Catalunya). The most likely government will be that of the independence movement that should have the votes of the CUP or seek agreements with the Commons to expand the base.

These two leftist parties have come down because the entire campaign has been based on the national question and the strongest options on each side are not leftist. There is a paradox that a society where in all the surveys the population is mostly in the center-left, center-right parties win. It is the effect of the useful vote, which goes towards the options that government can form.

Returning to the issue, the independence movement was so mobilized that it has even taken more votes than October 1. But this time it has faced a unionism that focuses on a single option, Citizens, while they were in three parties, which among the three double in votes to Citizens.

However, the million votes that this force has achieved, Citizens, have generated concern these days in the Catalan left. In many cases, the vote comes from the working and popular Spanish-speaking neighborhoods of Catalonia. It is not a vote on a program, but rather a vote against the independence movement. Nor is it a right-wing party despite the fact that the extreme right here supports it tactically (the four fascist candidacies that are usually presented here stopped doing so so that their votes were here). Rather it is a liberal party that attracts a portion of the working class that believes in social advancement, entrepreneurship and all that, that attracts the population of other territories that live here in Catalonia, or even that can attract the population more humble that does not feel attracted by the independence movement. This population that sees the Spanish television channels and not the Catalans. In this sense there is a sense of arrogance or moral superiority on the part of Catalanism that alienates the population with fewer studies and lower socioeconomic capacity.

In any case, an independent republic with 1.7 million disaffected (the votes added of Citizens, PSC and PP) would seem of doubtful viability and guarantee of conflict in the medium term. But as we know that a large part of that number belongs to the working class, that is where the popular movement must enter. These days as a joke emerged in the networks a new country that would become independent of the hypothetical independent Catalonia based on the regions where Citizens had won. Even so, when reviewing the results it turns out that the independence movement grew in the metropolitan area of Barcelona (in those neighborhoods and working villages), while it decreased in some towns in the interior. This is argued as that the most bourgeois sectors of the independence movement abandon it towards the PSC,

3. Do you feel that the October push has been lost or is there a new process that is opening?

The loss of momentum is due to the lack of leadership of the independence movement as of October 27. In the first place, when the government of the Generalitat was removed and when the visible leaders of civil sovereignty were imprisoned, clarity of objectives was lost. In addition, the independence movement remained in a defensive position, basing a large part of its mobilization on political prisoners. All this after having proclaimed the Republic and not having defended or imposed it. This feeling remains in the environment and produces discouragement.

In addition, this independence movement has placed its hopes in international recognitions that never arrive. They are placed in the hands of third parties that are not willing to be involved in Catalonia because in fact this territory is a potential Pandora's box. We have already seen the electoral results of Corsica. Europe does not consider an independent Catalonia because it would be to give possibilities to a good number of secessionist movements of the Continent.

The most remarkable thing about the current situation is that if there are many doubts and disappointments at the macro level, at the micro level (on a personal or family scale) it is where a clearer disconnection with the Spanish state is reflected. It is in this sector where a popular movement of revolutionary intention could influence, because many people have made an important turn in their lives. The boycott of what comes from Spain is to a certain extent general in these people, and moves to several facets of life. For example, when the large Catalan companies moved the headquarters due to pressure from the Spanish Government and the great Catalan capitalists (supporters of the continuity of Catalonia in Spain) thousands of people took their savings from banks that had left the territory (about 10 . 600 million euros in the month of October) and a good part went to the ethical bank, which had not left Catalonia. Then cooperativism has suffered a boom. For example, the cooperatives of energy consumption, gas, internet, etc. they are receiving an avalanche of service requests from people leaving conventional capitalist companies.

Another aspect is the increasingly poor opinion that the European Union has among the independence movement. 6 months ago it was not considered that Catalonia left the EU; now the possibility of joining EFTA opens up.

This must be considered as a small turn towards anti-oligarchic positions. A good part of the voters of ERC and PDCAT (under the acronym Junts per Catalunya) share this vision to support these socioliberal parties. The issue is that this anti-oligarchic sentiment coupled with the fact that these parties have to agree with the anti-capitalist CUP, "pull to the left" of the independence movement, although perhaps sociologically it is not. Here lies the opportunity. It is not that people are becoming anti-capitalist, but that at the moment they are in a previously unpoliticized phase.

4. What is happening with grassroots processes such as CDRs?
Grassroots processes, committees or CDRs are still active. From our organization we have seen that they lost momentum due to the lack of clear leadership and above all to the lack of a program. Everything was almost paralyzed waiting for the elections, because it was understood as a decisive vote. After all, if the unionists had won (they call themselves "constitutionalists"), everything that was advanced would have been lost. Meanwhile, the CDRs have been one of the mobilizing actors of the little that could be mobilized. If the ANC went to Brussels to hold a demonstration, the CDRs remained in the village and in the neighborhood, mobilizing the political prisoners, for the implantation of the Republic, against repression.

And, what is more important, they have dedicated themselves to numerous acts of popular education, through lectures on economy, politics and society alternatives. In these alternatives, of course, there are proposals that are more specific and related to us. Surely we will soon see the fruit of this process, but the task of raising awareness is not banal.

What worries us is that with the disparity of positions in the CDR it is almost impossible to agree on a minimally ambitious and representative program. That is to say that it will be complicated to have a cohesive movement from the CDRs, if perhaps these (or some CDRs) will be part of a broader movement. 5. What is your position as anarchists in the face of what lies ahead?

What will come ahead will be more repression and more crisis. We do not believe that the government of Rajoy can be stable since it is subject to many pressures from all sides. Spain has been dodging bankruptcy for years and the government has now used the Catalan political crisis so that it does not talk about its own problems.

Our responsibility as anarchists is to convert what is being forged in the street into a solid popular movement to be able to face with guarantees the time that we have to live. We can not have a libertarian militancy based on the counterculture or the construction of a lifestyle society apart from the current one when the working class neighborhoods are thrown into the hands of populism. We can not continue having atomized revolutionary movements in a thousand collectives because that way we will not have any weight in society. Our function is to activate foci of social conflict, and this is done through popular organization based on material struggles (work, housing, defense of the territory, social rights, against speculation / gentrification, etc.) and social (feminism , minorities, immigration ...).

The Catalan popular movement must enter the most humble neighborhoods. It can not be that most activists of the social movements are not affiliated to the unions or that the neighborhood associations are in the hands of older people about to retire. The lack of a rootedness of organized leftist ideas or of social movements in many working-class neighborhoods is a breeding ground for populism. The popular movement that we envision is pro-independence because of the tactic of the moment, because it understands that the Republic will allow it to improve its position and improve people's lives, and from there it will be easier to build a revolutionary bloc.

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