Brutal state violence in Catalonia – support the general strike and the Catalan people’s right to decide

Brutal state violence in Catalonia – support the general strike and the Catalan people’s right to decide

22141117_1142590779174505_8990849805699627788_n

The brutal attacks of the ‘Francoist’ Spanish state forces in their attempts to prevent the democratic rights of Catalan working class to vote in the independence referendum on Sunday 1st October has sent shockwaves across the world.

Plastic bullets have been fired on protesters, elderly people have been brutally attacked and around 500 people reported injured so far by the Spanish state forces. A tirade of attacks were launched by the forces this morning and last night to close down polling stations, physically attack and arrest those attempting to defend the referendum and voting process. Trade unions have now called for a general strike this week in response. 

22141088_1142590792507837_6441675763984110490_n

A general strike in response to this brutal repression has been called for Tuesday 3rd October. Coventry Socialist Party gives its full support and solidarity with the working class and youth of Catalonia engaged in this historic struggle!

22221729_1984456251786111_7402487951091682123_n

22140996_1862661650425814_5506273611157464020_n

The images emerging from Catalonia only give a glimpse of the tremendous and fearless will of the Catalan working class to take on the Spanish states brutal oppression. 

22141004_1142590909174492_7948280876069051945_n

The below is part of a statement on today’s events from our sister organisation in Catalonia and Spain Izquierda Revolucionaria/Esquerra Revolucionaria and a link to the full statement. Due to the fast pace of events only a basic translation has been possible, however it explains the position socialists take on the current situation.

Wild Police violence and exemplary resistance from the people of Catalonia!

General strike on 3 October against the repression and the right to decide!

Down with the PP government!

Immediate withdrawal of repression forces!

Thousands of police and civilian guards have deployed savage repression to prevent the right to vote in the referendum of 1 October. Facing a tens of thousands of citizens, families, children and the elderly, stealing the ballot boxes as trophies, the riot police sent by the PP and the state to occupy Catalonia have been met with a massive and exemplary resistance from the people.

Despite the campaign of fear with which for days has attempted to frighten those who want to vote (arrests, millions of fines, records, web closures) the answer is being massive and exemplary in today’s day. This is the way. The mobilization must continue with a major general strike in Catalonia on 3 October and in the following days, and with mass demonstrations of the left fighting and the working class trade unions in the Spanish State. It’s time to break down the PP.

The images of Francoism have returned with all their strength from’s hand and his government of thieves, reactionary and National-Españolista. The heirs of the dictatorship have tried to teach the people of Catalonia a lesson, but what they will reap is a complete failure. The Rage, indignation and fury of millions of young people and workers will grow until they turn into a wall against which Franco’s right and his repressive state will crash against…”

http://www.izquierdarevolucionaria.net/index.php/estado-espanol/catalunya/10782-violencia-policial-salvaje-y-resistencia-ejemplar-del-pueblo-de-catalunya-huelga-general-el-3-de-octubre-contra-la-represion-y-por-el-derecho-a-decidir

22050016_1078934918908862_3220221806756860205_n

Here is a collection of photos of solidarity protests from other parts of Spain with the people of Catalonia

Here are two recent articles from the last week on the events leading up to the referendum:

Catalonia: Historic student mobilisation against Francoist repression

Spain/Catalonia: One million demonstrate in Barcelona for self-determination referendum

For further background the following extract is from a recent  statement published last week  by our sister organisation – Esquerra Revolucionària:

In an operation reminiscent of the days of the Franco dictatorship, members of the Civil Guard arrested 14 officials of the Catalan government responsible for the organisation of the referendum on 1 October. They have also seized referendum literature and raided printing premises.

Madrid has also moved to take control of the Catalan police force.

In addition there has been the imposition of a massive news blackout; arrests of youth for pasting posters; threats of criminal action against hundreds of mayors who backed the referendum; indiscriminate seizure of records in the headquarters of government buildings and attempts to raid the headquarters of the CUP [Popular Unity Candidacy].

The prohibition of political acts supporting the right to decide in Madrid, Gasteiz and Gijón; the intervention in the finances of the Catalan government by the central government, and the deployment of thousands of police officers in Catalonia to intimidate the population, all amount to the imposition of a state of emergency.

Scandalously, the Psoe leaders support this Francoist offensive against the people of Catalonia.

This is the consequence of Psoe embracing pro-Spanish nationalism for years and merging with the ruling class in all essential matters. The Psoe leaders have not only abandoned a socialist approach to the national question, they are placed alongside Franco, who denied that Catalonia is a nation.

The idea that the referendum represents a ‘coup d’état’ and is an ‘anti-democratic’ imposition against a section of the Catalan population is one of the biggest lies that the media, at the service of the Spanish capitalist class, is trying to sell.

If the state, the PP and the parties that are supporting them are so sure that the supporters of independence are a minority, why not accept the result of the ballot box? Why prevent the vote?

The real reason that explains the closed-mind attitude of the right-wing and the state is not that they defend democracy, but quite the opposite. They deny that the people of Catalonia have a right to decide and make Catalonia a nation.

The PP is a party flooded with cases of corruption. It has savagely cut public education and health and given more than €100 billion to the bankers. It evicts us from our homes and condemns us to precarious jobs and low wages. It supports dictatorships like the Moroccan or Saudi regimes, and encourages the foreign military interventions of imperialism. This party wants to give us lessons in democracy!

The attack on democratic freedoms represents a tremendous threat to the population of all of the territories, and especially for workers, young people and their fighting organisations throughout the Spanish state.

Leadership

Esquerra Revolucionària fully supports the general strike mobilisations being developed in Catalonia, but if we want to defeat the authoritarian assault perpetrated by the central government it must be accompanied by an appeal for the mobilisation of the working class and the youth of the rest of the Spanish state.

A mobilisation of this character is the way to more effectively confront and defeat the PP and its nationalist policies, and win the right of Catalonia to govern itself.

Unfortunately, the parliamentary formations to the left of the social democracy (CUP, Can, Comu, Izquierda Unida in Catalonia), and trade unions, have abandoned the struggle to lead a mass movement. They have failed to fight for a programme that unites the struggle for self-determination with economic and social demands that are being demanded by the majority of the working class, youth and the wider sectors.

It has given the formal leadership of the struggle against the state and the government of the PP to the PDeCAT (Catalan European Democratic Party), allowing these capitalist politicians to appear as victims of the authoritarian politics of the Spanish right wing.

The leaders of the PDeCAT looked for every excuse not to call the referendum. Finally, the pressure of the movement, and prospect of heavy election losses if they did not call a referendum, compelled them to do so.

The repression unleashed from the PP is a shock to millions of workers and young people from working class neighbourhoods of Catalonia.

Right now the conditions are present for many more to join the millions who are already mobilised, ready to defend the referendum, together with the sectors that also want to fight against repression but are suspicious of PDeCAT.

Esquerra Revolucionària calls on all workers and young people in Catalonia to fight for the right to decide their own future, against this authoritarian coup of the PP and the state.

A Catalan socialist republic would generate overwhelming sympathy among workers in the rest of the Spanish state and in all other countries of Europe, opening a path to transformation social and the liberation of all oppressed peoples.

For the right of the Catalonian people to decide!
Down with Rajoy and his Government of austerity! 

For a socialist Catalonia, for a socialist Spain and a socialist world!

Do you agree? Fill in the form below!

Hundreds attend #Justice4Daz campaign launch meeting and march

Hundreds attend #Justice4Daz campaign launch meeting and march

Over 200 people came to the launch meeting of the #Justice4Daz campaign last week, which was set up after Coventry man Darren Cumberbatch died after “contact” with the police – the third black man to die in such circumstances in a month, after Edson da Costa and Rashan Charles. Hundreds also joined a march in Nuneaton on Saturday.

The meeting was chaired by Reverend Desmond Jaddoo, who asked the question on many people’s minds – “why was this healthy 32 year old man torn away from his family and from the community?”

The meeting heard that Darren left his sister Carla’s house on Sunday July 9th “healthy and in great form”, and that the police only informed the family that he was in George Eliot Hospital on Wednesday 12th. Witnesses said he had been “battered” by police, and had black eyes and burns on his body. He told a friend he had been Tasered 9 times.

Speakers at the meeting called for the use of Tasers to be suspended due to concerns about their safety, and for the officers involved in Darren’s death to be suspended immediately. Concerns were also raised about the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), who were described as “not fit for purpose”.

A speaker from Black Conscious Coventry argued that the problems within the police are systemic and rooted in the capitalist system: “Policing is not there to protect the community, it’s there to protect property and big corporations.”

Hundreds also marched through Nuneaton from the train station to McIntyre House, where Darren was staying, and on to the police station. The march was led by friends and family of Darren. Marchers laid flowers and candles outside McIntyre House.

The march then proceeded to the police station where Darren’s sister, Carla, spoke. Luke, a witness from the night when Darren “came into contact” with police, also spoke: “Something kicked off around 2 o’clock in the morning. I heard him screaming, I heard him shouting. The police were there. He was screaming for help. He was asking, ‘What have I done?’ I heard no reply. I heard tasers – no warning of tasers. I heard CS gas – no warning of CS gas … That night there was something going on that shouldn’t have been going on by police.”

Ryan Rochester, chair of the Coventry branch of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) said: “This happened three weeks ago and we still haven’t had a statement from the police. There is video footage from the incident – when are we going to see it? The longer people have to wait the more doubt there is on the validity of what is going on.”

 

 

Warwick Students Hold #CopsOffCampus Protest Against Police Brutality and for Free Education

Warwick Students Hold #CopsOffCampus Protest Against Police Brutality and for Free Education

Over 1000 students gather at Warwick for #copsoffcampus protest

Over 1000 students gather at Warwick for #copsoffcampus protest

During a peaceful sit-in at Warwick University last Wednesday (December 3rd), students were attacked by police and security guards using CS spray and drawing a taser. Video footage clearly shows police brutality, with a female protester being dragged across the room by her hair, and another student being put in a headlock and slammed to the floor by a police officer.

These actions were a disgrace, and the students rightly called a protest the day after in response. This protest was attended by over 1000 people, and a number of people spoke to the demo including Sierra Leonean activist Mohammed Wurie, who brought solidarity from Coventry University SU and Coventry Socialist Students.

After the demonstration around 200 students occupied the 2nd floor of the Rootes building, and immediately began to discuss the aims of the occupation and the movement for free education.

warwickocc2

Hundreds of students occupy the Rootes building at Warwick

Dan Crowter, a member of Coventry Socialist Party and TUSC local election candidate, spoke to the occupation to bring solidarity greetings. He read a solidarity statement from Dave Nellist, which was also on hundreds of Socialist Students leaflets that were given out (click here to read the statement)

At the Socialist Students national conference on Saturday this motion of solidarity with Warwick students was passed unanimously:

The right to protest on campus

Proposed by Warwick University Socialist Students

Conference notes:

  1. The brutal treatment of Warwick university students at the hands of police during an occupation calling for free education
  2. Similar violence suffered by students at Lancaster, Manchester and Sheffield universities as well as elsewhere
  3. The defiant, 1000+ strong protest organised by Warwick students in response to this assault on their democratic rights
  4. The solidarity demonstrations organised elsewhere in the country, including London
  5. Last year, students responded to police brutality with a wave of ‘cops off campus’ demonstrations
  6. There are ongoing attempts to undermine the right to protest, including (but not limited to):
  • Police violence used against demonstrators
  • Kettling and other repressive policing techniques
  • The criminalisation and imprisonment of peaceful protesters
  • Repressive anti-trade union legislation

Conference believes:

  1. Attacks on democratic rights have gone hand in hand with austerity and are designed to weaken and repress attempts to fight back

Conference resolves:

  1. To send a message of solidarity to the students at Warwick as well as around the country who have suffered these attacks over the last week
  2. To continue to organise and mobilise for ‘cops off campus’ protests around the country in response to these attacks
  3. To follow this up with a day of action in the new year which raises the demand for free education and an end to austerity, alongside defending the right to protest on campuses.”
Socialist Students national conference showing solidarity with Warwick students

Socialist Students national conference showing solidarity with Warwick students

It is clear that the police were told to back off on Thursday after the events of Wednesday, with only a small number of Police Liaison Officers visibly present. This shows the power we have – when there’s a mass occupation, police keep their distance. It is crucial to harness the power that we hold, especially those who may be new to political activity.

We need to organise more mass demonstrations and occupations as part of a wider movement to fight for free education and to change society.

Solidarity message from Dave Nellist to Warwick student demonstration

 National chair of TUSC (Trade Unionist & Socialist Coalition), Dave Nellist, sends solidarity greetings to the Warwick student demonstration held on Wednesday 04-12-14:

(Dave is a former Coventry Socialist Councillor & Coventry Militant Labour MP)

Dave Nellist

Dave Nellist

‘This generation of students threatens to be the first for decades which won’t be better off than their parents.  Crippling mortgages, having to supplement inadequate pensions, and debts exceeding £50,000 to get a degree, will be difficult to cope with even if students succeed in getting a graduate level job.

For the thousands who don’t, it will be impossible.

Education should be free.

Peaceful protest is a democratic right.  40 years ago several hundred of us, at what is now Coventry University, held a 19 day occupation of the equivalent of the Senate House.  I support the right of Warwick students to protest, including peaceful sit-ins and occupations, to regain genuinely free education.

The actions of the police on Wednesday, as viewed on YouTube, were a disgrace and formal complaints should be made by those present to ensure an investigation takes place.  But internal investigations by the police of themselves, is not enough.  We no longer have proper, democratic oversight and accountability of the police by the communities in which they work.  Present Police Commissioners are toothless and almost all drawn from establishment parties.

We need a new accountability of public sector organisations like the police – to elected committees of local people, including councillors, representatives of trade unions, residents and tenants organisations – and yes, representatives of students and young people as well.

The actions of the police on Wednesday may be an aberration – or it may be part of a pattern that believes kettling and heavy handed policing of student protest is ok.  Either way a proper and genuine investigation is required.

The police need to be democratically accountable to the communities they serve.

Solidarity.’

Dave Nellist

(Socialist Party and National Chair, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition)