Call for international solidarity with Catalonia
On Monday 14th of October 2019, the Spanish Supreme Court announced its sentence against the 5 Catalan government ministers, the CatalanΩ vice-president, the Speaker of the House, and the two leaders of the largest civil society organizations in Catalonia. They will face a combined 100 years in prison (between 9 years and 13 years each), for their role in the organisation of the 1st October Referendum 2 years ago.
Since Monday, people of all ages and backgrounds have taken to the streets of many towns and cities all over Catalonia. Barcelona airport had over 100 flight cancellations on Monday, after protestors blocked some of the roads that access it. Since Wednesday, people are marching all over Catalonia to reach Barcelona by Friday to join the General Strike that has been called by some trade unions and civil society organisations. So far this week, there have been road closures, riots and a country-wide sense of being under siege by the police . Images of police violence have returned. So far, at least one man has lost an eye due to rubber/foam bullets, and another has lost one of his testicles. On Wednesday night, Catalan police ran over two minors in Tarragona, with one of them still being in a critical condition. Police protocols have been repeatedly violated, with the use of materials such as rubber bullets that have long been outlawed in Catalonia.
It is within this context, that a call to the international community is necessary. International solidarity is a powerful tool to protect and support movements that face such levels of repression. In the 1990s, when the Liverpool dockworkers were locked out for 28 months and maintained a struggle for their dignity throughout that period, they were supported internationally by many who saw that struggle as their own. Barcelona dockworkers, at the time, had a direct salary deduction by their union which was sent to support the Liverpool Strike Fund.
The current violation of fundamental human and democratic rights in Catalonia and the authoritarian drift of the Spanish State should worry the international community. No modern democratic state should be allowed to repress their people with such vengeance and cruelty. The defense of our human and democratic rights is an issue for everyone, whether Catalonian or not. Since the 23rd of September, the list of prisoners has been rising, 7 people were imprisoned after violent police raids a couple of weeks ago, and since the start of the week, 4 more people have also been imprisoned without bail.
Please consider supporting the following organisations financially. The proposal is for you to donate one day’s wages (for Friday’s General strike) to support the work that they are doing to defend the rights of prisoners and those suffering police abuse and violence, as well as denouncing the situation of human rights violations in Catalonia. There are a few organisations which require support:
The Centre for the Defense of Human Rights – Iridia. They provide legal advice and representation to people who have faced police violence and abuse. They have led the accusation against the police for the violence that the world witnessed during the 1st of October referendum in 2017. You can either become a member or make a one-off donation:
The website is currently only in Catalan or Spanish. However, it’s relatively straight forward to use. To become a member, click on “Fes-te Sòci/a”, or for a one-off donation “Fes la teva donació”.
They also have a bank account where you can transfer your funds: Caixa d’Enginyers ES72 3025 0001 1014 3354 0184
Òmnium Cultural, with Jordi Cuixart as their president (who faces a 9-year prison sentence), is one of Catalonia’s oldest cultural organisations. You can get involved here: https://www.omnium.eu/en/
Most of their work in the last few years has focused on an unrelentless defence of civil and political rights, including the right to free speech, freedom of association, basic democratic rights and the right to self-determination.
Caixa de Solidaritat, this is the official solidarity fund for the government ministers and others prosecuted in relation to the 1st October referendum. Legal costs have been enormous and will continue to rise as the case will eventually be brought to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. So, please consider a donation to the fund: https://caixadesolidaritat.cat/
An organization called Sanitaris per la República (Healthcare workers for the republic) have spent the last two years helping people who get injured in demonstrations due to police brutality. They require funds for training and healthcare materials. They currently have a crowdfunding website: https://www.totsuma.cat/projecte/1729/sanitaris-per-la-republica
They also have a bank account where you can transfer your funds: Caixa d’Enginyers ES85 3025 0005 8014 3330 9631
Finally, Foreign Friends of Catalonia develops a diplomacy of proximity which tries to explain the situation in Catalonia to people elsewhere and develop direct and lasting connections between people. You can either donate or become a member, which gives you the chance to arrange a visit to Catalonia and get to know the situation directly: https://foreignfriends.cat/?lang=en
International solidarity is essential for all emancipatory movements, please consider denouncing the situation in Catalonia everywhere you can and please also consider sending financial support.