Tendance Coatesy

Left Socialist Blog

Against Madrid’s Repression, Against Middle-Class Catalan Breakaway State.

with 27 comments


Catalan Independence Supporters to Oversee Polling Booths in Break-away Election.

Grupos de activistas pro referéndum toman las escuelas para garantizar su apertura el domingo)

From the Statement of the International Committee of the Fourth International (Northite).

Rarely do we agree with this group, but here they say some important truths which most of the English speaking left seems unable to articulate.

We would add that it is astonishing that anybody who claims to be socialist or left, in the case of the Catalan ERC  Republican Left of Catalonia (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya, ERC; IPA:  and the smaller  pro-nationalist ‘radical’ left outside, can justify an alliance of the Catalan nationalist left with a corruption riddled (and much larger) pro-business party, the Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català, PDeCAT), also known as the Catalan Democratic Party (CatalanPartit Demòcrata Català). It was founded in Barcelona on 10 July 2016, as the successor to  the now-defunct Democratic Convergence of Catalonia. Why the name change from its former incarnation, the Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya   ? There is one family name that sums the reasons up, Jordi Pujol, a byword for sleaze and insider backhander, something that marks out modern Catalan nationalism.

The strategy of this alliance, which won 47% of the regional vote in 2015,and 71 out of 135 seats in the devolved parliament, has been to blame ‘Madrid’ – with overtones of the profligate, lazy ‘Southerners’- for all their economic and political problems.

Appararently this is ‘civic nationalism’.

But then there are people who can convince themselves that the SNP is ‘left-wing’.


30 September 2011

Oppose the state crackdown on the Catalan independence referendum!

For working class unity! No to separatism in Spain!


Catalonia is Spain’s richest region, representing a fifth of the country’s GDP. The separatist parties aim to create a new mini-state, through which they can claw back taxes presently paid to central government, while establishing direct relations with the global banks, transnational corporations and the European Union. They hope to transform Catalonia into a low tax, free trade area based on stepped-up exploitation of the working class.

The Catalan nationalists and their pseudo-left backers dress themselves up as progressives. However, nothing fundamental distinguishes Catalan separatism from similar separatist formations across Europe—the Scottish Nationalist Party in the UK, or those of an explicitly right-wing character such as Italy’s Northern League and Belgium’s Vlaams Belang. In all these instances, separatism has emerged in regions enjoying some economic advantage over the rest of the country, which the local bourgeoisie seeks to exploit to its own benefit.

An “independent” Catalan republic, were it established, would be nothing of the sort. It would be even more dependent on the major powers, in Europe and internationally. In alliance with the EU, it would continue the policies the Catalan separatist parties pursued in their alliance with Madrid: brutal austerity, slashing funding for education, health care and other social needs and using police to smash strikes and protests. It would be a dead end for workers.


Against capitalist Spain and the creation of a capitalist Catalonia, the ICFI calls for building the United Socialist States of Europe!

Written by Andrew Coates

September 30, 2017 at 8:56 am

27 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Andrew Coates

    September 30, 2017 at 9:35 pm

  2. Not so fast Andrew. Trotsky counterposed the slogan of an Iberian Socialist Federation, not a unified Spanish monarchy, or republic for that matter, to propaganda for Catalan separatism. This was in a revolutionary situation when such a federation was, in Trotsky’s opinion, realizable in the short term.

    “It is useless to say that the Catalan workers do not have the final word to say on this question. If they came to the conclusion that it would be unwise to divide their forces in the present crisis, which opens sweeping opportunities to the Spanish proletariat, the Catalan workers would have to aim their propaganda maintaining Catalonia as part of Spain, on one or another basis. As for me, I believe that political judgement suggests such a solution. Such a solution would be acceptable, for the time being, even to the most fervent separatists, since it is completely obvious that in the event of the victory of the revolution, it would be so much easier than it is today for Catalonia, as well as for other regions, to achieve the right of self-determination.” (May 25th, 1930)

    Very different to today’s situation where elements of autonomy have been removed from Catalonia and the right are presently dominant in Spain as a whole. Also Trotsky, did not rule out the question of socialists advocating separation. For Trotsky, it was a question of how to assess the will of the Catalan people and the workers in particular. From the same article:

    ““But does the proletarian vanguard itself raise the slogan of the secession of Catalonia? If it is the will of the majority, yes; but how can this will be expressed? Obviously by a free plebiscite, or an assembly of Catalan representatives, or by the parties that are clearly supported by the Catalan masses, or even by a Catalan national revolt.”

    Judging by the parties supported by the Catalan masses, and the make-up of the Catalan assembly, (73 out of 135 are pro-indepence) I suspect Trotsky would be raising the demand for a Socialist Catalan Republic right now. It is also arguable that what we are seeing is the beginnings of a Catalan national revolt.

    As you can see while Trotsky stood for the closest unity of the workers, he was very careful when discussing the slogan of secession from afar without being able to directly gauge the will of the Catalan masses and that mood was for him decisive. I think that is an approach that both yourself and David North would do well to emulate.

    Carl Simmons

    October 1, 2017 at 2:17 am

  3. What’s Trotsky got to do with anything?

    Dave Roberts

    October 1, 2017 at 4:55 am

  4. Posted in the wrong thread. Andrew was quoting Trotsky, in my opinion wrongly, to justify opposing an independent Catalan state.

    Carl Simmons

    October 1, 2017 at 7:59 am

  5. In fact I think it was an earlier version of this article, repleat with lengthy quotes from Trotsky on Catalan independence. Andrew obviously had second thoughts and deleted it. The Northites though do claim to be Trotskyists.

    Carl Simmons

    October 1, 2017 at 8:07 am

  6. no, the article is here: https://tendancecoatesy.wordpress.com/2017/09/20/catalan-crisis-between-opposing-repression-and-opposing-nationalist-separatism/

    Catalan Crisis: Between Opposing Repression and Opposing Nationalist Separatism.

    And this is the reference to Trotsky which you refer to Carl,

    Leon Trotsky The National Question in Catalonia

    (July 1931)

    At the moment our thoughts are with internationalists caught between the Spanish police and the mobs of Catalan nationalists, more later.

    Andrew Coates

    October 1, 2017 at 10:03 am

  7. Guardia Civil injures people with firearms for voting (photos; graphic, not for sensitive people):



    October 1, 2017 at 10:32 am

  8. And what has Trotsky got to do with anything? Except mass murder of course.

    Dave Roberts

    October 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm

  9. petrel41

    October 1, 2017 at 4:54 pm

  10. “In Catalonia’s ‘red belt’ leftwing veterans distrust the separatists
    Nationalism is not the answer to Spain’s problems, say an older generation who fought against General Franco ”

    All four dismiss the independence movement as a distraction from more pressing social issues, claiming it has proved a useful smokescreen for the Catalan government’s spending cuts.

    “What’s happening now is that everyone has been told that Spain is the origin of our problems,” says Salas. “They are being fed a version of Catalan history that has nothing to do with reality and this has radicalised young people around independence.”

    “There’s been a sort of mantra, that Spain is robbing us, and there’s a lot of confusion, as though the Spanish government and the Spanish people were one and the same,” Jiménez says. “With a prime minister like Mariano Rajoy it’s very easy for everyone to oppose the government.”

    The Baix Llobregat has its own history and none of the four feels included when politicians talk about “the Catalan people”, they say.

    “All of us here are immigrants but we’re all Catalans, too,” says Martínez, who is dismissive of the case for Catalan independence. “It’s about class. I don’t have a problem with the person standing next to me, it’s the one above me who’s the problem.”


    Andrew Coates

    October 1, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    • Andrew Coates

      October 1, 2017 at 8:38 pm


    Macron Heights

    October 1, 2017 at 11:20 pm

  12. 90% voted for independence in vote organaised by independence supporters.

    42% partication.

    Un 90% de ‘síes’ con 2,2 millones de votos y una participación del 42%, según el Govern


    Andrew Coates

    October 2, 2017 at 8:32 am

  13. What the same ‘Northite’ site writes today, plus, graphic, videos and photos:


    including anti-police demonstrations by Spanish language Andalusian immigrants in Catalonia


    October 2, 2017 at 9:48 am



    Andrew Coates

    October 2, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    • El País on Catalonia is as ‘impartial’ and ‘reliable’ as the ‘Reverend’ Ian Paisley’s Protestant Telegraph on Northern Ireland.

      No matter whether one is for or against Catalan indepedence, condemnation of the criminal bloodbath by Rajoy’s Giuardia Civil should come first for everyone.

      One woman, Marta Torrejillas, says police broke her fingers one-by-one and sexually assaulted her as she attempted to leave a polling station in Barcelona; the video evidence strongly corroborates her story:


      This video is about what police did to Ms Torrejillas.


      October 2, 2017 at 4:56 pm

  15. I suspect your comments on this and on El País, are about as reliable as The Canary.

    Still I notice that their figure of 90% is now repeated by Reuters, though it looks a bit small for a group with these ambitions.

    Incidentally what it your view on the Greater Catalonia issue?

    ” Esquerra Republicana also defends the creation of a País Valencià state that would end up federating with the other territories in order to form a federal-type republic (Northern Catalonia in France, Valencia Region and Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera).”


    Andrew Coates

    October 2, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    • The views of me, you and Rajoy about whether Catalonia should become independent are irrelevant.

      Only the people of Catalonia should decide on that.

      If you are opposed to Catalan independence then you should found a vote NO campaign, or a campaign distributing leaflets to abstain from voting.

      During the referendum voting, a man wrapped in a Spanish flag, obviously intending to vote No, walked into a polling station. The other voters, mostly Yes voters, gave him a big applause.

      Because what that man did was the correct way. Unlike Rajoy, who injured over 900 human beings, let his thugs rape and break the fingers of a young woman, attack firefighters, etc. etc.

      In a town where mostly Spanish speaking immigrant workers from Andalusia, live, these workers shouted in Spanish Go away, occupiers! while protecting the polling stations, where they may have voted No.


      October 2, 2017 at 7:04 pm

  16. I have no strong opinions on independence for Catalonia, although instinctively petty-nationalism of all stripes leaves me cold, and I pretty much despise both PDeCAT and the PP.

    However, if Catalonia does force through independence, it will entirely be the responsibility of the Spanish government and the fascistic behaviour of their security forces.

    In fact, I’m less concerned about pointless petty-nationalism than I am about increasingly militarised police forces reacting violently to unarmed civillians. This is an increasing issue and can be seen from the US, to Brazil to Ukraine (where the use of militarised police by Yanukovic ultimately led to his downfall, Russian invasion and civil war).

    When governments within the EU (a union I support) escalate this sort of behaviour, then the EU itself should express the most strenuous opposition. Failure to do so and to stamp this out could lead to an escalating cycle of violence and potentially the return of home grown terrorism such as experienced in the Days of Lead.


    October 2, 2017 at 6:58 pm

  17. “Years of Lead”. Soz.


    October 2, 2017 at 6:59 pm

  18. Meh. All individual views are pretty much irrelevant in the grand scheme of things. That’s why we’re bitching at each other on the bottom half of the internet rather than changing the world.

    My general view is that petty-nationalist squabbles are a sideshow to the struggles, explotation and violence faced by workers from states across the world.

    Nationalist separatism does very little to alleviate these systematic problems with the international capitalist system, nor in fact does the continuation of the primacy of nation states, whatever their geographical boundaries.

    But yeah, if that’s what the people if Catalonia want, let them have it. Whatever.


    October 2, 2017 at 7:19 pm

  19. Actually nationalism is never very far below the surface of all things working class as witnessed by the break up of the Soviet Union and its satellites. Despite seventy years of Socialism the old atavistic urges soon re-surfaced, very often bloodily.

    Dave Roberts

    October 3, 2017 at 7:01 am

  20. That’s not really an “actually”. More a statement that nationalism is historically popular. “People can be nationalistic” isn’t really a rhetorical smackdown to the failure of nationalism to do anything to materially improve people’s lives.

    “Cocaine is addictive and physically and mentally harmful”

    “Welp ACKSHERLY loads of people like cocaine acksherly”


    October 3, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: