Yanis Varoufakis‏ summarises what seems like desperate times:

“21st century Europe: Execution in Malta of activist exposing tax cheats. Racism triumphing in Austria. And political arrests in Catalonia.”

As attention focuses on Trump’s attacks on the free press in the USA, Spanish newspaper El Pais sacks veteran British journalist John Carlin, over an article in The Times criticising the handling of the Catalonia crisis by the governmentin Madrid and King Felipe. As America has got used to repeating: This is not normal.

It’s not just the principle of self-determination that’s at stake, it’s the principle of democracy fundamental freedoms and civil rights. Whilst Scottish nationalists need to avoid transposing the Catalan experience directly onto ourselves here, it’s appalling that left-unionists (formerly known as internationalists) should use their own constitutional prejudices to avoid solidarity with the people of Catalonia.

It’s not good enough to look the other way and mumble something shamefully incoherent about the ‘rule of law’.

There are many exceptions to this, as Paul Mason wrote earlier this month:

“Two million Catalans braved the threat of a police boot in the face to demand independence. As with Scotland and Greece, this was a modern, cosmopolitan form of nationalism. After the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, and the Greek vote to reject austerity in June 2015, people who resist the economic and social order in Europe know that state-backed scare tactics are part of the deal.”

But now with the imprisonment of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez the need for active international solidarity is clear.

In response the Catalan Defence Committee Scotland has been brought together to “develop a broad based solidarity effort in social movements, campaigns, trade unions, colleges and communities. Building on the demonstrations, this will be a more concerted and wider movement to include everyone who wants to defend democracy and the right to self-determination, regardless of their view on independence.”

Jonathan Shafi writes: “Grassroots leaders of Omnium and ANC have been arrested for sedition in the last few hours. Today Catalan human rights organisations have called for international support on a sustained basis. You can read the statement – which via the CUP is being used to set up similar campaigns across Europe – see the range of signatories to which you can add you name/organisation.

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“What’s happening here, in Catalonia, is not an internal Spanish affair. It concerns to each and every European citizen” – from Òmnium Cultural:

 

 

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