The fight for independence in Catalonia: What lessons for Quebec?
‘We are the grandchildren of the grandparents you bashed' October 3 demonstration
outside the Spanish National Police headquarters in BarcelonaIntroduction by Richard FidlerOctober 16, 2017 — Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal reposted from Life on the Left — Following the October 1 referendum in Catalonia — held in the face of massive repression resulting in hundreds of injured — the people shut down production and massed in cities and towns across the autonomous state on October 3 to protest the Spanish government’s attempt to deny them the elementary democratic right to vote on their constitutional and political future. The political crisis is continuing to deepen. The Spanish Constitutional Court, at the request of the Catalan social-democratic party, has ordered the suspension of the Catalan parliament scheduled for October 9 to implement the result of the referendum, which under the Catalan legislation would be a declaration of independence. In response, the Catalan National Assembly has called for the “biggest possible mobilization” outside the Catalan parliament on October 9. Some leaders of the independence movement have been charged by the federal court with “sedition,” as has the head of the Catalan police (the Mossos d’Esquadra) who is accused of “passivity” in the face of a September 20 demonstration. The events in Catalonia have naturally attracted much interest in Quebec, and some dozens of Québécois have made their way to Barcelona and environs in recent days. They include leaders of the pro-sovereignty parties in Quebec, among them Manon Massé, a spokesperson for the left independentist party Québec solidaire. In an exceptional gesture, the Quebec National Assembly voted unanimously (113 to 0) on October 4 to “deplore the authoritarian attitude of the Spanish government, which has led to acts of violence during the referendum on the independence of Catalonia,” adding that it “deplores the number of injured.” The Assembly called for “political and democratic dialogue between Catalonia and Spain in order to resolve peacefully and in a consensual way the differences that separate them, in respect of democracy and law, and with international mediation if the parties so consent, to lead the parties to a negotiated solution.” The motion was presented by Parti québécois leader Jean-François Lisée on behalf of Premier Philippe Couillard and the other party leaders, including Manon Massé of QS, who had just returned from Barcelona. The resolution was a clear departure from the refusal of Couillard up to then (and even today by the Trudeau government) to criticize the Spanish government for its handling of the Catalonian crisis. The motion, along with considerable critical commentary in the media, is no doubt just the beginning of public discussion in Quebec over what the events in Catalonia mean for Quebec, and especially the independence movement. The following is an initial contribution by André Frappier, an editor of Presse-toi à gauche and Canadian Dimension. A former president of the Montréal postal workers union (CUPW), he is also a member of the National Coordination Committee of Québec solidaire, although he writes here in a personal capacity. André informs me that he will be in Catalonia during the next week to observe firsthand the important events. I have translated this from Presse-toi à gauche.