There’s a problem in Catalonia. You don’t need to be a genius to notice. We won’t analyse its causes here, nor make a political statement in favour of either side. There are different points of view within our organisation regarding the right to self-determination claimed by parts of the Catalan people.
But if there is something that defines the history of CNT, within Catalonia and in the state, it must be that we always stand against repression.
The Spanish state has proved, once again, to be anything but democratic. No matter how often they intone the “democracy” mantra. Today, the sentence in the trial [of the politicians sent to jail for participating in the organisation of the referendum on independence of the 1st of October 2017] was finally made public. It arrived after multiple and outrageous leaks [on the process] to the media, which flatly contradict the idea of the separation of powers. Now, let’s leave aside any personal affinity or animosity that could be felt towards Catalan politicians in general, and the imprisoned ones in particular. We must realise that, in any case, as an organisation that defends direct action and social mobilisation, CNT is affected by this sentence.
Because it’s been drafted in a way that any public demonstration, no matter how peaceful it may be, can be construed from now on as “sedition” [a crime akin to treason in Spanish law, carrying a sentence of up to 15 years in jail]. Anything from a union picket, a sit-in, a rally to stop the bailiffs from evicting a family…It is an outright assault on everybody’s basic rights. And let’s not be naïve: sooner or later, it will be used against us. That’s why we denounce this sentence and we stand together with large parts of Catalan society in rejecting it.
Lately, we’ve seen some bizarre sentencing coming out the courts, such as the prison terms served on the Altsasua youngsters [that were condemned for allegedly having a fight with military police in plain clothes]. We all stated our solidarity with them, as everybody understood that it was nothing more than attack on basic rights. Similarly, we denounced the raids and arrests in the “Piñata” and “Pandora” police operations, that saw several anarchists arrested. They were accused of being part of a terrorist network, sent to jail and held in solitary confinement [and finally released as no accusation could be substantiated]…Many years ago, we lived through the “Scala” operation. We are fed up with the state using all its nasty tricks to suppress any initiative that may represent an alternative to its power.
We are the people. We are your neighbours. We have the right to make decisions on our future and on our lives. It is not a matter of flags or countries. It is about basic individual and collective rights. Not standing firm together with our neighbours when they are suffering state repression, when they are being held under anti-terror laws, would be mean and not libertarian at all. Keeping quiet when disproportionate sentences are being dished out would be implicitly siding with those in charge of repression. We know that our struggle is in the streets, demanding justice and raising our voice. We can offer our experience and we must learn from those beside us. We have to share, be the people. We need to plant a seed of resistance and dignity. The streets must be ours.
For the sake of all those who have suffered the state’s repression and for those that will have to endure it, at home and around the world, we must prove ourselves worthy, as an anti-authoritarian working-class organisation. We will stand together with anyone repressed by the state. Because the state, whichever it may be, is our enemy.
We know where our place is: in the streets, in the workplace, in college… fighting for our basic rights.
CNT Catalonia and Balearic Islands.
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