Revolution or War n°9

(Biannual - February 2018)

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The Situation in Spain and the Catalan Question

The question of Catalan separatism has been the focus of international attention throughout the fall of 2017. At the time of writing, the question is not resolved for all the fractions of the Spanish bourgeoisie after the December 21st Catalan elections, which renewed a pro-independence parliamentary majority. We cannot provide here a detailed analysis of the particular difficulties with which the Spanish ruling class is confronted. The historical weaknesses and particular contradictions of each national bourgeoisie re-emerge because of the growing pressures exerted by the various economic, imperialist, and political effects of the economic crisis of 2008. It is clear that the Spanish ruling class is in turn directly confronted with the need to adapt its state apparatus. The upheavals and reconfigurations of the political apparatuses, including teams and personalities, are everywhere imposing, as shown by the last French and German elections – not to mention the Brexit and the Trump election.

The following three texts provide, it seems to us, some analytical elements, albeit incomplete, which may help to reflect on the particular issues confronting Spanish capitalism. But above all, it was necessary to warn the working class against the attempts to enlist it behind the flag of a Catalan Republic, and later against the opposing ones calling it to protest for "the unity of Spain" both in Catalonia and the whole country. Indeed, unlike other manifestations of nationalism in Europe, especially in Eastern Europe, Catalan nationalism has the historical particularity of not being right or far-right, but presenting itself as left-wing ; even as far-left with the CUP, which is member of the Catalan parliamentary bloc; and anti-monarchical and pro-republican. Thus, on October 3, the main Catalan political forces and the main unions, including far-left and anarchist CNT called the workers to strike in support of independence. The situation thus presented the danger of seeing more or less important parts of the proletariat allowing itself be dragged onto the bourgeoisie’s ground in direct or indirect nationalist clashes.

The communiqué (below) that we published on October 13, 2017 introduces the position of the British group of the Internationalist Communist Trend ( the CWO. We have no place to reproduce it here (the reader can find it on our site: The position of the CWO warns the proletarians against any participation in a nationalist camp in the name of proletarian internationalism. Rather than producing ’our own’ position, it seemed to us more useful that the communist forces speak with one voice on this occasion even if we do not quite agree with the hypothesis of the article that “local assemblies [could] reflect sparks of working class self-organisation”. Indeed, to believe that a ’movement’ on a bourgeois and nationalist ground could turn into a class movement because workers would be "self-organized" in their workplace is a dangerous illusion and shows a tendency towards fetishization of self-organization that the Italian Communist Left had fought in its day against Gramsci. And even more is it politically confused and dangerous to believe that revolutionaries can ’intervene effectively in events like the strike in Catalonia to push the struggle beyond the control of trade unions and institutional parties’ as if it was a real class movement ’simply’ controlled and contained by the unions while instead it is a ’bourgeois nationalist movement’. In this case, the revolutionaries ’have nothing to push’ but everything to denounce and must call on the workers to break with this terrain and this movement. We hope to discuss and clarify this with ICT.

The second text is the statement of the Spanish blog Nuevo Curso ( that we precede by our introduction. It follows the result of the December 21st elections which renewed the Catalanist majority to the Generalitat (the parliament of Catalonia), to the great displeasure of Mariano Rajoy’s Spanish government. This result expresses the failure of his Partido Popular, descended from Franco’s regime, and the contradictions and weaknesses of Spanish capitalism. However, the emergence of the new party, Ciudadanos, and its electoral success to the detriment of the PP, announces that the clear-sighted fractions of the Spanish bourgeoisie prepare to get rid of the old political apparatus to the benefit of a new staff. Is not Rivera, the Ciudadanos’ leader, already presented as the Spanish Emmanuel Macron?

January 17th 2017

Communiqué on the Situation in Spain and Catalonia (October 13th 2017)

How far can the nationalist conflict between Madrid and Barcelona lead? Up to a new 1936? What are the stakes and the risks for the proletariat in Spain and Catalonia? And for the international proletariat? The article of the Internationalist Communist Tendency ( that we reproduce hereafter states the position that the working class must adopt in this circumstance by reaffirming the communist principle according to which “ workers have no country ”. The proletariat in Catalonia must not let itself be dragged and divided between Catalan and Spanish nationalisms. The proletariat in Spain must not let itself be dragged into the defence of “the indissoluble unity of Spain”; nor even behind the banner, these days often waved in the streets of Madrid, of a Spanish Republic whose hands are not less stained of workers’ blood, the 3000 miners murdered in the Asturias in 1934 being its highest accomplishment, than the present democratic monarchy. Don’t forget that the current democratic monarchy was directly set up by Franco. Once more, as in 1936-1939, it would be the proletarians who would pay the highest price.

The present situation can result in a new farce of the Catalan petty bourgeois nationalism after that of October 6th 1934, when the President of the Generalitat de Catalunya Lluis Companys declared, already then, the independence of a Catalan Republic against “the Monarchist and Fascist forces” (see El País, October 7th 2017). This Republic lasted only ten hours. Or rather, more seriously, it could lead in time to a genuine bloody confrontation like precisely 1936. “Technically” if so we can say, the nationalist and democratic forces are already lined up on either side for such an outcome. Now, it is not guaranteed that in such a case, the other European and international ruling classes – whether they are conscious or not is secondary – would not allow the situation to deteriorate. Given the present situation of the capitalist world, that is its present economic (like the ICT recalls) and historical contradictions, the necessity and the perspective of a confrontation with the international proletariat to inflict it a series of historical defeats, become increasingly pressing so as to open up the path towards the generalized war in a manner that suits the interests of the ruling classes. And we can’t exclude that some fractions of the bourgeoisie among the most enlightened of the present historical stakes do not consider a “remake” of the 1936 Spanish bloodbath and the proletarian ideological, political and physical defeat of that time, which definitively cleared the road to the 2nd World War.

That is why the apparently relative massive participation of the workers to the October 3rd general strike in Catalonia “against the Spanish repression” called by the whole unions, including the leftist and Anarchist CGT and CNT, is a bad sign. That is why the active presence and the nationalist radicalism of the leftist Catalanist group CUP is dangerous, as is the apparently “mediator” position of the leftist Spanish group Podemos, which calls for a new referendum and to the dismissal of Rajoy’s government “to safeguard the homeland unity”. In Spain and Catalonia, the workers have no illusion on Mariano Rajoy’s class policy, nor on the King who “went off his reservation” to support the first one, and they don’t forget their direct filiation with Francoism. Both are unable to convince them to engage for the defence of nationalism and republican democracy. But actually once more the left forces called “radical” can do it : Podemos, CUP, Catalunya en Comú of the Barcelona Mayoress, the unions CGT, CNT, CCOO, etc.

If this workers participation would be confirmed as it has been October 3rd, it would enable the whole Spanish (including the Catalan) ruling class to engage even more in the nationalist confrontation. Moreover, since this conflict does not develop in a “peripheral” country such as the Kurdistan, where the Kurdish nationalists supported by a great part of the international leftism and Anarchism are for sure going to suffer a bloody massacre, a new “Spanish war” would mean a first historic defeat of an important fraction of the European proletariat. It would mean that the international bourgeoisie absolutely wants to open now the path towards the generalized imperialist war. In this sense, Catalonia today would be a kind of 1936 “remake”, with the difference that it would be the first defeat and not the last of a series. The alternative Revolution or generalized War would not be resolved by this single event, but the capitalist option, war, would score a first point in the massive confrontations between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat which are opening up at the international level.

The IGCL, October 13th 2017.