Monthly Archives: December 2017

It is not going to be easy in Catalonia

I don’t think anyone can deny that the left did badly in the Catalonian elections. Regardless of their views on independence, organisations on the left did not do well.

The vote of the realignment of Podemos after its split, Catalunya en Comú Podem (CCP), went down slightly from 8.9% to 7.4%.

The CCP has a ‘third camp’ opposition to the 2 larger nationalist blocs and opposed both direct rule and independence prior to a full referendum. It advocated an anti-austerity government pulling in both parties from independence left (CUP and ERC) and from the anti-independence left the PSC (Socialist Party). The problem is that some of these parties (ERC and PSC) are not only weakly anti-austerity but also fiercely hostile to each other.

Many on the left with illusions in nationalism have looked with great hope on CUP – the pro-independence group to which the former Podemos leader Fachin recently defected. CUP has novel democratic structures and hostility to conventional politicians. It can claim with some justification to be the activist core of opposition to the police repression during and since the October 1st referendum. But the CUP lost even more votes – going down from 8.2% to 4.5%.

Other than the the Spanish government party the people’s Party (PP), the vote of all right wing parties increased.

Most notably the home grown, fiercely Spanish nationalist and right wing party, the Citizens Party, growing from 17% in 2015 to now be Catalonia’s largest party at 25.4%

The total vote of all independence parties was less than 50% – going down slightly from 48.8% to 48.5%.

The loss of  support of the Spanish government party, the PP, can only be celebrated. It will create difficulties for them invoking direct rule. But should the new pro-independence Catalan Government declare that their October declaration of Independence stands, the Citizens Party are likely to demand Rajoy re-establishes direct rule.

Direct rule will lead to continuing repression on pro-independence politicians and people.

But if the Catalan government redeclares independence, that  will lead to dissent in the urban areas of Barcelona and Tarragon. There are large numbers of migrants from elsewhere in Spain in those areas and in them independence parties polled well under 50%.

One might hope that the Catalan government will concede a proper legal referendum and start talking about class issues with non-Catalan speaking minorities, give guarantees of their rights should independence proceed etc. But that is unlikely.

The CCP’s hope that the leaders of the PSC, ERC even the CUP could be pulled into an anti-austerity bloc was fairly naive. But hopefully the voters of those parties may balk at possible aggressive nationalist rivalries that may grow.

But is not going to be easy over the next months.