Archivo de la categoría: articles (ENG)

Catalonia: The prison sentences are an attack on democracy


This text was written on the afternoon of October 15. The situation is changing rapidly but, as the article explains, the basic arguments haven’t changed much in the last two years.

Castellano · Català · English

The long jail sentences declared on 14 October against pro independence political prisoners are a cause of outrage and rage for any democratic person. Even though expected, the news was a shock. Even the liberal British newspaper, The Guardian, declared that “The draconian jailings shame Spain.”

Let’s remember the sentences: Oriol Junqueras, 13 years; Raül Romeva, 12 years old; Jordi Turull, 12 years; Dolors Bassa, 12 years; Carme Forcadell, 11 years and 6 months; Joaquim Forn, 10 years and 6 months; Josep Rull, 10 years and 6 months; Jordi Sánchez, 9 years; and Jordi Cuixart, 9 years.

All of them are scandalous. Here we will only highlight two aspects.

Carme Forcadell has been sentenced for sedition for having, as Speaker of the Catalan Parliament, acted on the basis of the wishes of the country’s population, democratically expressed in elections. The Supreme Court jailed her for allowing a parliamentary debate on a referendum. This is a terrible precedent. Seguir leyendo Catalonia: The prison sentences are an attack on democracy

Crisis in the Mediterranean: Open the borders

Laura Ribera and Ibrahima Dabo


The situation in the Mediterranean is critical. European governments tell us that it is critical for security reasons.

Their logic, and that of the European Union (EU), is that borders need protecting, to keep out “outsiders”. Meanwhile, NGOs, citizens’ movements and part of public opinion maintain that the situation is critical for humanitarian reasons and because of the large number of people who die in the crossing.

We’ve read about Matteo Salvini closing off Italy’s ports to people rescued in international waters, about different European countries’ refusal to allow specialised rescue workers to give assistance at sea or that Libya is considered a safe country for the return of migrants. Such headlines appear in the mainstream media, with no deeper explanation. Seguir leyendo Crisis in the Mediterranean: Open the borders

Elections in Spain: crisis and polarisation


[castellano] ·  [català]

There are many headlines for yesterday’s elections: the victory of the Labour type Socialist Party; the entry into Spanish Congress of the far right VOX; the continuing importance of the Catalan struggle…

It will be some time before a government is formed, and many issues will need further analysis. Socialist Worker explained the background to the elections when they were announced, and we won’t repeat that here. This article is a rundown on the headlines.

A victory for Pedro Sánchez

The PSOE, the party of the current Prime Minister, Pedro Sánchez, won an impressive victory, rising from 85 seats with 5.4 million votes in 2016 to 123 seats with 7.5 million votes.

Sánchez is much more moderate than Jeremy Corbyn but there are some parallels. Only two years ago, the right wing old guard of the PSOE ejected Pedro Sánchez from the leadership after he used the Socialist votes in Congress to try to stop the right wing PP from taking power. Sánchez fought back and won the leadership again. So this election result, based on opposition to the right, is a slap in the face for that old guard. Seguir leyendo Elections in Spain: crisis and polarisation

Bye, bye Rajoy: what now?


[Català] · [Castellano] · [English]

The expulsion from office of Mariano Rajoy and the PP is good news.

It would have been better had they not been the biggest party at the last elections. It would have been better had they fallen as a direct result of mass mobilisation in the street, or a general strike (or a socialist revolution!). It didn’t happen like that, but the current political environment, influenced by different social struggles, was an essential factor in turning the court’s condemnation of the PP’s corruption into a no confidence motion. After all, the parliamentary arithmetic is the same as a year ago and the PP’s corruption is hardly a novelty.

The massive women’s mobilisations of recent months, the protests over pensions, the struggle for the right to decide in Catalonia, the strikes that continue to take place… have all contributed. The fall of Rajoy — Aznar’s Sancho Panza; the man who referred to the disastrous oil spill in Galicia as “little threads of plasticine”; the person responsible for the gag law, for the police brutality on 1 October, for corruption… — his fall is partly our victory and we must celebrate it.

However, different sectors of the movement insist, for different reasons, that nothing has changed, that there is nothing to celebrate. Let’s look at their arguments. Seguir leyendo Bye, bye Rajoy: what now?

People power removes blanket ban on abortion in Ireland

Tina MacVeigh

[Castellano] · [Català] · [English]

On Friday 25 May 2018, people living in Ireland voted overwhelmingly to remove the 8th Amendment from the Irish Constitution. In a wonderfully fitting reversal of history, 66% voted last week to remove the Amendment – 67% had voted to insert it in 1983.

Women in Ireland have lived under the shadow of the 8th Amendment for 35 years:  not only did it constitute an effective ban on abortion for any reason, equating as it did the life of the unborn to the life of the woman, it also embodied decades of state and church shaming and criminalisation of women.

For all of these 35 years, grassroots feminist movements have campaigned for contraception, for abortion, for the right to information about abortion, for the right to travel to other countries to have an abortion while it was still illegal in Ireland. This weekend, the conservative government in Ireland took centre stage in claiming this victory, despite the fact that they voted in a 14 year jail sentence for women who procured or took abortion pills in 2014 and despite the fact that as recently as September 2017 our Taoiseach (prime minister) publicly stated reservations about the introduction of abortion legislation. Seguir leyendo People power removes blanket ban on abortion in Ireland

The new Catalan president: An investiture that should not have been

[Català] · [Castellano]

Finally, about six months after the elections of 21 December, 2017, the Catalan parliament has invested Quim Torra as the 131st president of Catalonia. This article deals with some of the debates there have been and the challenges we are now facing.

This shouldn’t have happened

If the Spanish government had respected the referendum and the unionist parties had run a campaign of “vote no”— instead of “there’ll be no vote” — we would have had an unquestionable result… that would certainly have been “Yes” to independence, with a smaller majority but less abstention. (That’s why they boycotted the referendum instead of campaigning for “No”.)

If article 155 had not been applied, suspending the government; if the scarcely independent judicial system had not sent the government to prison or exile; in short, if democracy had been respected… In that case, Carles Puigdemont would now still be president, and the Spanish and Catalan governments would be negotiating the terms of independence in a civilised manner. And we would not have had the 21 December elections or all this investiture debate. Seguir leyendo The new Catalan president: An investiture that should not have been