On 16 November rs21 hosted in London a discussion of the movement for Catalan independence. Here we present video recordings of the three speakers, and the responses of all three panellists to questions from the audience.
Ona Curto Graupera of Catalan CUP (Popular Unity Candidacy) opened the meeting. Ona outlined the current situation in Catalonia, where long-standing demands for independence have become the centre of a huge movement. Independence isn’t centrally about economic issues, Ona argued, but about respect for the Catalan people. Instead of respect, we saw harsh oppression on 1 October when Spanish paramilitary police attacked the referendum. Ola went on to describe the actions of Spanish state officials to close down the Catalan government since the vote, and the CUP’s approach to the forthcoming election in December.
Jordi Miguel of the CUP stressed that the independence movement isn’t dominated by a divisive nationalism. He went on to explain the different political groupings within the independence movement, and the 1978 political settlement which has dominated the Spanish state since the death of the fascist dictator Franco in 1975. Jordi stressed the importance of building a broad coalition in support of independence, including both the CUP and the neoliberal PDeCAT party.
Luke Stobart is an activist and author whose analysis of politics in Catalonia has recently been published in Jacobin and the Guardian. Luke began by stressing the growth of both radical ideas and support for independence in Catalonia. He went on to look at possible developments in the independence movement in the next few months. Luke highlighted the fact that, while there is wide working-class support for independence, there’s a lack of enthusiasm for it among some parts of the Spanish-speaking working class – one reason for which is the regrettable lack of support for independence from left parties like Podemos. But the successful general strike on 3 October, called from below, shows the radical and democratic politics which dominate the independence movement.
Finally, all three panellists responded to questions from the audience.