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Spain

The struggle for Catalan independence: an interview with People’s Unity List (CUP) joint national spokesperson Quim Arrufat

 

 

August 7, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Born in the rural Seu d’Urgell in 1982, People’s Unity List (CUP) joint national spokesperson Quim Arrufat became a well-known and respected figure in Catalan politics during his time as one of the CUP’s first three MPs in the Catalan parliament (2012-2015).

 

In an October 2012 interview with the Catalan web site Vilaweb, he described his organisation, which is committed to Catalan independence and socialism, as “urban Zapatistas”.

 

Spain: Debate erupts in Podemos around agreement to join PSOE government

By Dick Nichols

August 6, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On September 26 last year, José García Molina, the secretary-general of Podemos in the central Spanish autonomous community (state) of Castilla-La Mancha, announced that his party’s agreement keeping the regional Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) government in office had «died of disappointment and shame».

According to García Molina, the agreement had expired «waiting for one of its signatories to breathe life and inspiration into it, waiting for justice to be done to what had been presented and signed, but most of all it died from shame at realising some people’s lack of commitment to their promises and undertakings.» This was despite the Castilla-La Mancha government’s claim that of the 72 points agreed with Podemos as a basis for its support, 49 had been completed and 19 were in the process of being implemented.

Basque leader Arnaldo Otegi: 'Independence will provide us with the tools for advancing alternative social policies'

 

 

 

 

 

Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (or ETA, “Basque Homeland and Freedom”) a Basque independence movement on April 8 put a definitive end to its campaign of establishing an independent socialist Basque state through armed struggle. In a statement bearing the organisation’s seal and initials, the group declared itself a disarmed organisation, praising the work of Basque civil society and existing Basque institutions in supporting the peace process, while condemning the Spanish and French authorities for what they perceived to be “stubbornness” in not allowing the group to lay down its weapons. 

 

 

 

Showdown in Catalonia: Can the independence referendum actually happen?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

June 26, 2017
Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — Nothing alarms Spain’s establishment more than the prospect of the unity of the Spanish state being threatened by the desire for self-determination of the peoples that live within its borders. “Spain: One, Great and Free” — the catchcry of the Francisco Franco dictatorship (1939-1975) — is still the guiding principle and ruling emotion of this elite, even under the regionalised “state of autonomies” created by the 1978 post-dictatorship constitution.

 

This reality explains why prime minister Mariano Rajoy, head of the People’s Party (PP) government, announced at its inauguration on August 30 last year that “Spain’s most serious challenge” is the possibility of secession by Catalonia. So the June 9 announcement by Catalan premier Carles Puigdemont of the date and question of his government’s promised referendum on Catalonia’s future relation with Spain inevitably had the Madrid establishment media (dubbed “the cavern” in progressive circles) in a frenzy.

 

Spain: Socialist Party leader’s shock rebirth unnerves establishment

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 31, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The plan had seemed so well organised. Its first stage was successfully executed on October 1 last year when the ruling elite in the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) got the party’s 250-strong Federal Political Committee (FPC) to force the resignation of general secretary Pedro Sánchez (see account here).

 

Sánchez’s crime had been his refusal, after the inconclusive June 26 general election last year, to allow the formation of a minority People’s Party (PP) government through PSOE abstention. He had also proposed to have this refusal put to the PSOE membership for endorsement and to have a new primary for the position of general secretary.

 

New Catalan political space: one hurdle cleared on the road to left unity

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 7, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– The struggle to build a Catalan political force inspiring the level of support and activism needed to implement radical social change took a step forward in Barcelona on April 8, when the new “political subject” provisionally called Un País en Comú (“A Country Together”) held its founding congress.

 

Un País en Comú, whose final name will be decided by membership referendum, is the third Catalan progressive unity project with en comú (“together” or “in common”) in its title. The first, in June 2014, was the broad activist coalition that under the name of Barcelona En Comú won the May 2015 Barcelona city council election. In defeating the ruling conservative nationalist Convergence and Union (CiU) the new formation made former housing rights activist Ada Colau the city’s mayoress and a reference point for radical politics across the Spanish state.

 

Catalonia: What Un País en Comú stands for

 

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

May 7, 2017 
–– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– This appendix to the article “New Catalan political space: one hurdle cleared on the road to left unity” tries to summarise the essential content of the first draft of Un País en Comú.

 

Spanish state: big issues for Podemos left unresolved by congress

 
 

By Dick Nichols

March 11, 2017 Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal In the end the close result that participants and commentators alike were expecting never happened: at the second congress (“citizens’ assembly”) of the radical Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos, held in Madrid on February 11-12, the proposals and candidate list of outgoing general secretary Pablo Iglesias easily defeated those of outgoing political secretary Iñigo Errejón.

 

Podemos Congress: The three main positions at Vistalegre II

Spanish Civil War veteran José Almudéver on fighting fascism


 

February 10, 2017 —  Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — February 6 marked the 80th anniversary of the start of the “Battle of Jarama” during the Spanish Civil War, as left-wing and democratic forces fought to stop the fascist forces of General Franco taking power.

Alongside the Battle of Madrid, the Battle of Jarama is commonly associated with the participation of the International Brigades — volunteers, often organised by Communist parties, who travelled from around the world to Spain to join the anti-fascist fight in defence of the 1931-39 Spanish Republic.

Following Franco’s failure to take Madrid in October-November 1936, the fascist forces attempted a military offensive in February 1937 on the western flank of the Spanish Republic forces, alongside the river Jarama. While the offensive failed, and the counter-offensives by the Republican forces effectively turned the battle into a stalemate, the battle itself became synonymous with the military, political and moral contribution of the International Brigades to the anti-fascist struggle.

Holding the frontline at Jarama were thousands of volunteers from Britain, Ireland, United States, Italy, France, Belgium and many others who came from around the world to defend Spanish democracy against Franco, Hitler and Mussolini.

Among a handful of surviving International Brigadiers remaining today is José Almudéver Mateu.

Renewed Sortu sets 2026 as target date for sovereign Basque Republic

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

February 3, 2017 – Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal – On January 21, in Bilbao’s hyper-modern Euskalduna Conference Centre, the Basque left pro-independence party Sortu concluded its refoundation congress by finalising the election of its 29-member national council.

 

The congress had brought together Sortu members from all parts of the divided Basque Country: its four southern districts in the Spanish state, presently covered by the regional administrations of Navarra and the Basque Autonomous Community (Euskadi) and its three northern districts in the French coastal department of Pyrénées-Atlantiques.

 

Catalonia versus the Spanish state: the battleground in 2017

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

January 17, 2017 –– Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal –– 2017 will be the year of showdown between Catalonia and the Spanish state over whether the Catalan people have a right to vote on how their country should relate to Spain.

 

Spain: the civil war in the Socialist Party and the challenges for Podemos

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

November 16, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In the end, on October 29, it all worked out pretty well for Mariano Rajoy. After patiently implementing his motto that “all things come to he who waits”, the leader of the minority conservative People’s Party (PP) was that day confirmed as Spain’s prime minister for a second four-year term.

 

Two days later, Rajoy was sworn in by King Philip and normal operations were resumed in the institutions of the Spanish state after ten months of tension and turmoil springing from the inconclusive general elections of December 20 and June 26.

 

These had converted the two-party system into a four-party game, with newcomers Podemos (on the left) and Citizens (on the right) drawing millions of voters away from the PP and the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), Spain’s other traditional “party of government”. No party had a majority and the second election was called because the PSOE’s attempt to form a government with Citizens failed because of the opposition of the PP, Podemos and the rest of the left, as well as of Basque and Catalan nationalist forces.

 

European financial system: next crash just around the corner?

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

November 1, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The trials of major European banks, starting with “venerable institutions” like the Monte dei Paschi di Siena (the world’s oldest bank) and Deutsche Bank (Germany’s largest), have raised the spectre of another 2008 — a “Lehman Brothers times five” in the words of one finance market analyst.

 

Spain: Socialist Party bosses behead leader to allow conservatives to rule

 

 

Socialist Party (PSOE) leader Pedro Sanchez

 

By Dick Nichols

 

October 13, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — In late September and early October two heavy political bomb blasts shook the already unstable foundations of the Spanish state.

 

Catalonia and Spanish state: million-strong rally brings showdown closer

 

 

By Dick Nichols

 

September 22, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — On September 11, Catalonia’s national day (the Diada), between 870,000 and a million-plus came out to show their support for Catalan sovereignty and—for the majority of those present—for Catalan independence from the Spanish state.

 

The fifth annual mass mobilisation for Catalan statehood since 2012, again organised by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and the Catalan cultural association Òmnium Cultural, confirmed that this social movement remains by far the largest in Europe.

 

It continues to pose a threat to the Spanish state and will also become an increasingly critical issue for a European Union that continues to reel under the blows of Brexit, its brutal handling of refugees and economic stagnation in many major regions.

 

Spain: Podemos MP on understanding transversality

 

 

 

Podemos MP in Andalucia Juan Antonio Gil de los Santos

 

By Juan Antonio Gil de los Santos

 

August 10, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — When the 15-M movement broke out onto the streets across Spain in 2011, it didn’t coalesce into a series of political parties on either end of the political spectrum. In fact, there was a common declaration that stood out among all of the indignados: “They don’t represent us”.

Spanish general election: snapshot of a big disappointment

 

 

Spain's June 26 national elections saw the right-wing Popular Party win 137 seats (up 14 from the December 2015 elections), while the left-wing United We Can coalition won an addition two seats (up to 71), failing to overtake the Spanish Socialist Workers Party as the biggest party on the left.

 

By Dick Nichols

 

July 1, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal — The key question about the result of the June 26 Spanish general election is also the most difficult to answer: why did 1.09 million people, who in the December 20 elections voted for Podemos, the United Left (IU) and the three broader progressive convergences Together We Can (Catalonia), Podemos-Commitment (Valencian Country) and In Tide (Galicia), not vote for the combined Podemos-IU ticket United We Can and these convergences at this poll?

 

The election saw an increased vote for the ruling People's Party (PP) while the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) held off the seemingly unstoppable charge of United We Can and allies towards supplanting it as the leading force of the left.

 

Spanish general election: United We Can knocking at the door

 

 

The United We Can campaign is generating enormous enthusiasm and by far the biggest rally crowds of any of the parties in the lead up to the June 26 general elections in the Spanish state.

 

By Dick Nichols

 

June 21, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal a much shorter version of this article was published in Green Left Weekly — The Spanish and European establishments have, at the time of writing, less than a week to lock the door against the advance of the progressive alliance United We Can (Unidos Podemos) in the June 26 general elections in the Spanish state.

 

How are they doing? As matters stand, not very well.

Spain: Can the Left’s economic plan turn back austerity?

 

 

The left-wing coalition Unidos Podemos (United We Can), is currently polling over 25% and looks set to surpass the vote of the social-democratic Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE).

 


By Dick Nichols

 

June 14, 2016 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal a much shorter version of this article was first published at Green Left Weekly — United We Can — the joint ticket made up of Podemos, the United Left (IU), the green party Equo and three broader alliances in Catalonia (Together We Can), Galicia (In Tide) and the Valencian Country (A la Valenciana) — is campaigning in the June 26 Spanish general election on a plan to reverse economic austerity.

 

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