Catalonia: Another Undemocratic Attack of the Regime of ´78

The Supreme Court´s disqualification of President Quim Torra is a new political revenge against the Catalan people to which cannot be answered to with half-fast measures.

By Rubén Tzanoff

Unanimously, the Supreme Court (TS) has ratified the sentence of the Superior Court of Justice of Catalonia, confirming the sentence of a year and a half of disqualification from public office and a fine of 30,000 euros for the current President of Catalonia, Quim Torra (JxCat). He was accused of the crime of disobedience to the Central Electoral Board for failing to remove a banner with the slogan “llibertat presos polítics i exiliats” (Freedom of political prisoners and the exiled) with a yellow ribbon from the balcony of the Generalitat, during the April 2019 electoral period. The magistrates say that “they did not violate Torra’s rights to ideological liberty and freedom of expression, that they have defended “free suffrage” and that the penalty is “proportional.”

In reality, we are in the presence of a new political outrage, disguised with judicial arguments, as a continuation of the revenge of the powers of the Spanish State against the Catalan demand for self-determination. At the request of the Prosecutor’s Office, the courts have placed the JEC as a higher body than the regional executive, making a crime of the simple act of displaying a banner without party identification, which, moreover, was later replaced by a different one. The resolution violates freedom of expression and, far from defending the holding of transparent elections, tramples them, since Torra was elected by the Parliament, in accordance with mechanisms based on the popular vote. The penalty is only “proportional” to the regime´s systematic attack since the 1-O Referendum.

This is not a “disqualification” but a dismissal, since Torra will not reach the end of his term, as neither could Carles Puigdemont (JxCat), exiled in Belgium since the application of Article 155 by the Mariano Rajoy´s (PP) government. It must be remembered that this is the same “justice” that: blocked Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Turull from being sworn into office, imprisoned the leaders of the “Procés” with a show trial, prevented them from benefiting from the third prison degree and criminally persecuted hundreds of activists. It is not just a “Catalan problem,” because it is the same institutional system that legislated the Gag Law, that did nothing against the escape of emeritus King Juan Carlos I, who stands accused for corruption, and does not punish the political leaders of power when they uncover the “sewers of the State.”

Pointing out these issues and rejecting antidemocratic attacks does not imply political support for the JxCat-PdeCat-ERC joint management that acts from the Government and the Parliament. At different times, they have given in to the promises of concord made by the PSOE-UP “progressive coalition” which are actually maneuvers to try to appease people, get them to support their budget and implement a limited “dialogue table” within the framework of a restricted autonomy. You cannot have expectations in the Catalan bourgeois government that prioritizes business interests over public health and education in the midst of a pandemic and that calls on the Mossos de Esquadra to repress struggles. We place our trust solely in the mobilized Catalan workers and people.

We reject the resolution of disqualification of the Supreme Court and we continue demanding the amnesty of the political and exiled prisoners. We do so by calling for unity of action, as was expressed today in the demonstrations that were replicated throughout Catalonia, in which we participated. Torra has prepared his departure by making a JxCat-ERC pact to shield the Government, which “intensifies the coordination mechanisms and defines the representativeness of Vice President Pere Aragonés as a substitute…” placing the next electoral call, depending on the evolution of the pandemic, between January 31 and February 7. Beyond the tangled scaffolding agreed upon and even the demand to implement a “consensual referendum”, the fundamental thing to advance towards the Catalan Republic will be permanent mobilizations, civil disobedience, general strikes and the people´s self-organization. To take this course, it is necessary to build a new political alternative from below, a front of the radical left that consistently confronts the governments and parties of the regime, the right and the far right, fighting for the democratic and social rights that are needed.

It is essential to fight for immediate demands, but this will not be enough, we must put forward transitional proposals to address underlying problems. The monarchical-parliamentary regime molded by Francoism cannot provide progressive responses for the great majority, is anachronistic and conserves the worst vices of the old politics. Faced with those who do not even want to touch the Constitution or who suggest the possibility of making specific changes, we believe that a constituent process is needed, based on mobilization and popular struggle, where fundamental changes can be debated and decided, towards a government of the workers and the people, with a model of socialism with democracy.