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Catalonia: a democratic revolution in progress

Alejandro Bodart (Leader of MST en Izquierda al Frente of Argentina)

The workers and the people of Catalonia have an enormous tradition of struggle. Its fields and cities are plagued with heroic stories during the Civil War that in the decade of the 1930 faced the Republic with the monarchy, the revolution with fascism. The combativity was transmitted from generation to generation until we reached our days.

In the Gaudí’s lands a democratic revolution is being developed. And not only is its legitimate right to self-determination and independence, but also the subsistence or collapse of the nefarious regime enshrined in the ’78 Constitution that shaped the present Spanish state, with its monarchy, institutions and economic corporations inherited from the Francoism and sustained by social democracy and Stalinism.

As revolutionary socialists we join with all our forces to the democratic battle that is raised and from that trench, together with the consequent anticapitalist sectors, we will contribute what we can for the enormous triumph that would mean the Catalan independence does not stop in the limits of a new capitalist state and continue to meet all the needs of workers and poor people, so that the current democratic revolution becomes socialist.

The historical context

On February 16, 1936, the Popular Front triumphed in Spain and the Second Republic was proclaimed. Four months later, on July 18, the fascist and monarchist right gave a coup. A ferocious civil war begins that divides Spain into two irreconcilable sides and that will last three years.

Faced with the fascists who organize their phalanxes, the workers create their militias, control patrols and a network of committees that unite all working and popular organizations. “Throughout republican Spain, a situation of double power is created, where, unequally according to the regions and their political map, the masses, in the same movement that leads them to combat, liquidate the problems of Spanish society, contributing their solutions, putting an end to the forces of repression, police corps, army, traditional authorities – the Church in the first place – seize factories and lands and begin to exercise power directly through their committees. /2

It opens the possibility of giving a fatal blow to fascism, perform outstanding democratic tasks and advance to socialism. But this is not the orientation of the Popular Front, which wants to keep the process within the limits of a bourgeois republic.

Despite the enormous heroism of the working class and popular sectors, the open betrayal of the PCE/3 under the orders of Moscow and the PSOE/4 leads to a defeat of the revolutionary process.

The 1 of April of 1939 triumph the fascists with Francisco Franco. A bloody military dictatorship that will last 40 years begins.

The transition and the Constitution of 1978

On November 20, 1975, Franco died at the age of 82. Two days later is named King and Head of State the Franco Juan Carlos de Borbón. The period known as “the transition” begins.

In the previous year, on April 25, 1974, the Carnation Revolution had taken place in Portugal, which led to the collapse of the Salazarist dictatorship, which had dominated since 1926. The impact of this event and Franco’s death unleashed throughout Spain a huge worker’s rise and the awakening of nationalities, with the Basques at the head. This process began to crunch the social and political order that had built the Franco regime and if not again by the betrayal of the directions could have ended up being superior to the Portuguese process.

Again the PSOE and the UGT/5 and the PC and CC.OO/6 played with everything to disarticulate the movement, saving the king and the dictatorship from a revolutionary defeat. They negotiated with the weakened Franco regime the first general elections after 44 years, which took place on June 15, 1977, and a new Constitution, which was enacted in December 1978. This formally reinstates the monarchy, ensuring the continuity of Juan Carlos. It maintains unchanged the Franco Army, the Police and the justice, and the enormous privileges of the Catholic hierarchy and of the seven banks that maintained the regime. It gives impunity to the perpetrators of the crimes of the dictatorship, which until now remain unpunished, and those responsible for the blatant theft of state property. Basque and Catalan bourgeois nationalism was part of this great agreement and they expressly renounced the right to self-determination of their nationalities in exchange for administering weakened autonomy.

With independent Catalonia, against the Spanish State

The triumph of the Catalan independentistas this October 1 could mean a knockout blow to the reactionary framework of ’78. The regime has been deteriorating since the global crisis of 2008 arrived in Spain and showed that all institutions are at the service of the banks and against the working people.

The abdication of King Juan Carlos de Borbón to his son Felipe VI in 2014 was an almost desperate attempt to save not only the monarchical institution, but the whole of the “transition” agreements. The economic crisis that has dragged Spain for years, the political irruption of the indignant and the left shift of a mass band, the impossibility of forming a majority government by the debacle of the bipartisanship PP/7-PSOE, creates a scenario by which a refoundation of the country unthinkable until recently can be found.

The Spanish working class has nothing to lose and everything to gain if the machinery with which the bourgeoisie has been dominating for the last 80 years collapses.

For a free and sovereign constituent process

Like all living processes, the Catalan process is full of contradictions. The forces that command him have profound class limitations. They reflect bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalist sectors and if so far they have not betrayed the democratic aspirations of the majority of the population has been by the push of the mobilization. They would have wanted everything to end with a more advantageous negotiation with Spain, but they have been forced to lift the flag of independence that some of them gave 40 years ago. If they have no alternative, they will put themselves at the head of a new State and a new Republic to prevent progress in economic and social changes that question the capitalist system.

The working class has been actively participating in the mobilization but, by the responsibility of its leaders, it does not do so in an organized but individual way.
For our part, we will work with the growing number of anti-capitalist workers and young people so that the process does not stop. As we unconditionally defend the right to self-determination and independence, we will also support the demand that the Constituent Assembly that has already been convened be concrete and free and sovereign to discuss and take measures to end the precariousness of work and unemployment by distributing the hours of work, ensure health, education and housing for all based on not paying the external debt, nationalize the banking and take all measures to ensure that every worker has a decent life.



1Integrated by the Republican Left, PSOE, PCE, POUM (Labor Party of Marxist Unification) and Republican Esquerra de Catalunya. The CNT, anarchist, did not raise abstention and supported it tacitly.
2 Trotsky and the Spanish Civil War, Pierre Broué.
3 Spanish Communist Party, Stalinist.
4 Socialist Workers’ Party Spanish, social-democratic.
5 General Union of Workers, Social-Democratic Trade Union Center.
6 Comisiones Obreras, communist trade union center.
7 Popular Party, rightist.


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