CUP manifesto against Repression and for a Political and Democratic Solution

Eulàlia Reguant from the CUP calls for the international community to recognise Catalonia’s right to self-determination and to demand an end to the state repression and police violence – and calls for journalists and lawyers to come to Catalonia and meet with civil organisations in defence of human rights.

The call is to build an International Forum for Self-determination, an Amnesty and Freedom. Please watch the film and share and comment:


Statement from CUP on the Situation in Catalonia from Bella Caledonia on Vimeo.

CUP manifesto against Repression and for a Political and Democratic Solution

The popular response to the trials of the political prisoners, and the state response to the demonstrations has revealed the fundamental problem that faces us: the Spanish state, the government and the courts have erased the possibility of a political solution in Catalonia.

Last Monday, 9 political and social Catalan leaders were condemned to prison sentences of between 9 and 13 years for organising a referendum. This is at the centre of the conflict we face. Political avenues to resolve the dispute have been closed down.

Indeed, since 2006 the state and its constitutional and judicial institutions, but also its political institutions have systematically closed down all doors to a political settlement:

• The statutory reform of Catalan autonomy within the Constitutional framework was refused, and debate blocked even after it was approved by the Spanish Congress and passed by a constitutionally sanctioned referendum.
• Bilateral negotiation over the management of infrastructures and of finances was refused.
• Numerous social, environmental laws passed by broad and plural majorities in the Catalan Parliament were consistently blocked by Spanish authorities.
• Finally, the consultative referendum (9th of November 2014) was not recognised and the referendum of self-determination (1st of October 2017) violently disrupted, despite being initiated and supported at all levels of the Catalan administration.

Meanwhile, the authoritarian drift, not only in Catalonia and the Catalan Countries, but throughout the Spanish state, has intensified. Prison sentences have been imposed against singers and journalists in the exercise of their freedom of expression and against social rights activists and trade unionists for engaging in protest.

And now, as a result of intervention of the Constitutional court and threats of prison, to talk, simply to talk about sovereignty and self-determination inside the Catalan Parliament has been effectively forbidden. Peaceful protest and political action has been universally criminalised.

All of this has left us without any tool to provide a political or institutional answer to the huge challenges presented by the economic, social and global environmental crisis, challenges that we are facing right now.

The Spanish government prefers to ignore the social majority and to give police responses to popular mobilization.

The Catalan government has not risen to the challenges of the situation and in fact has helped the Spanish state in its repression.

The proposal of the Catalan President Torra on Wednesday to exercise self-determination this parliamentary term was immediately undermined by his partners in government (JxCAT and ERC).

But the problem is much deeper.

The Parliament has been emptied of power and emptied of the capacity to provide political solutions to the situation.

The people has understood this and is now in the act of replacing the institutions that are supposed to represent them.

It is necessary for us to continue the mobilisation and maintain the protests.

The situation has easy political ways out. But they will require political will.

Indeed, it is a matter of political will for those who really hold the power.

The Catalan government cannot take control of the situation, not this one, or any other government that might be formed from new elections. The Catalan government is tightly controlled by the Spanish state under an ongoing threat of the state of emergency authorised by article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. In any case, the Catalan government and the parties currently in power do not have any intention to overcome these limits; they continue to obey whatever measures the Spanish state imposes.

An election now would not be a solution.

The Catalan government has demonstrated its lack of capacity to change the political situation and it cannot have the support of CUP. Those who propose elections right now aim to demobilise and pacify the people.

We do not call for a forum of Catalan parties or Catalan political leaders. Neither do we call for new elections which would be a breath of fresh air for the Spanish state.

The democratic institutions are empty and neutered, and the Spanish state has blocked every way out that is not repressive.

In order to deal with this situation we launch a call to all public elected members in Catalonia to support a permanent mobilisation and build an International Forum for Self-determination, an Amnesty and Freedom underpinned by these measures:

• The end of repression.
• The freedom to apply social and economic policies without restrictions by the state.
• The exercise of self-determination.
• To let the people decide freely.

From from the point of view of CUP, these demands have to be concretized:

• Self-determination for the Catalan Countries.

• An absolute amnesty for all political repressed people.
• The withdrawal of all police and military forces of the Spanish state from Catalonia.
• The disbandment of the BRIMO of the Mossos d’Esquadra.
• The end of the social apartheid and the end of the ‘estrangery’ law.
• The immediate suspension of all housing evictions.
• A minimum salary of 1.200 euros and the equality in salaries between men and women.
• A shock plan against sexist violence.
• A public and free university and the abolition of university fees.
• Nationalisation of water, light, energy and telecommunications, and an end to privatised public services.
• End of the payment of the public debt to the banks and financial institutions.

For all these reasons, we call for:

• The continuation of public mobilisations and public demonstrations, to harness popular power in peaceful protest, supported by popular assemblies in every town or neighbourhood.

• All elected people in all democratic forces in the country, deputies, local councillors, and mayors to meet in an Assembly of Elected Positions this Monday 21st of October to establish a manifesto of demands that we direct to the international community to find a democratic solution recognising the self-determination right as the way out to this cul-de-sac created by the state.
• Journalists, lawyers, and elected officials around the world to come to Catalonia, and to meet with political and civil organisations in defence of human rights and to make a call for an International Forum for Self-determination, Amnesty and Freedom.



Comments (18)

Join the Discussion

Your email address will not be published.

  1. Douglas says:

    So the CUP are calling for mass mobilizations to continue in Catalonia….more of the same, even after last night’s frankly worrying scenes? I don’t agree with that at all.

    Bella Caledonia has become the kind of platform of Catalan independence in the English speaking world. So maybe somebody from the CUP, or from Esquera Republicana or Carles Puigdemont or Clara Pontasi in Scotland, and if none of the above, Bella Caledonia itself can tell us all where all this is supposed to go? What is the end goal here?

    What is the end goal of these mobilizations, probably another night of riots in Barcelona and other Catalan towns? Seventeen people still in hospital, six people have lost their eyes, dozens of young people arrested, damage to Barcelona worth millions of pounds and we’re to go on and on and on with this until what happens? Because if the answer is the Spanish State is going to suddenly give the Catalans a referendum, then that just isn’t going to happen. The chances of that happening between 1 and 100 are zero.

    What we need is for people to calm down and actually stop and think for once…no?

    The Catalan independence ‘plan’, if you can call it, that rests on depicting Spain as a Fascist State – and let’s be clear, Franco would have shot the leaders of the independence movement by now, so let’s not make the mistake of trivializing Fascism because unlike Scotland, Spanish society actually endured it for 40 years and Franco shot tens of thousands of Spaniards in that time – break the law, provoke an authoritarian reaction from the Spanish State – which was always going to happen – and wait for the cavalry to arrive in the from of international pressure… the cavalry being, yes, that’s right Jean Claude Junker and the EU.

    I don’t know about the rest of you, but Junker looks like anything but a romantic hero to my eyes. It was never, ever a plan…

    As for the CUP, well what the CUP wants to do is to carve out a new State in Europe which runs from the south of France, all the way down to Valencia, a State which never existed in the past based on the much fabled Pays Catalans, or Catalan Lands, the area of Europe where they speak or else spoke Catalan: a new State based on language, In this, they are much more radical than Esquera Republicana or PdCat.

    It’s a crazy idea which is so fanciful you don’t know where to start. In Scotland, back in the 30’s, Hugh MacDiarmid briefly flirted with the idea of a Celtic Union and Scottish-Irish Gaelic speaking lands, but MacDiarmid, who flirted with almost every idea, didn’t flirt with it for long. States in 21st century Europe are not built on linguistic lines.

    It’s one thing to protest for a few days against the shocking sentence of last week, it’s another thing to turn it into a permanent campaign with the chaos, violence and disorder which we’re seeing… we need people to start thinking.

    Finally, if these riots continue, then I really don’t think that does the cause of Scottish independence any favours at all in the minds of undecided voters…

    1. Hi Douglas – we’re just wanting to report on the situation as we can and to highlight human rights abuse and state violence. I also don’t feel its my place to lecture movements on the ground in another country about the right way forward. I’m not sure what the right way forward is – but we stand in solidarity with peaceful demonstrators for democracy, as I’m sure you do.

      1. Derek Henry says:

        Peaceful demonstrators for democracy ?

        The SNP have tried to overturn the result of the democratic Brexit referendum since the morning after the result ?

        Sometimes I think the SNP should actually sit back for a moment and actually listen to themselves. They have been bat shit crazy ever since. Some of it is politics but the majority of it has been pure anti democratic ranting that will be used against them very soon by their opponents.

        1. gavin says:

          Derek. I think you will find the SNP has been keen to uphold the result of the referendum—it was counted as 62% remain in the country of Scotland—an equal partner in the UK.
          Nor have they tried to escape the wider consequences of being in a Union with a far bigger English nationalist partner. The SNP, in 2016 offered to put independence to the side, if the UK government would commit to either the UK or Scotland being kept in the single market and customs union. The U.K. Government of May and now Johnson refused, though it promoted the same deal for N Ireland.

      2. Douglas says:

        Bella, the problem with the Catalan independence movement is that the people who have been running it, are not very bright.

        Oriol Junqueras? A really nice man I’m sure, decent man, a very devout Catholic, but no strategist. Artur Más? Más is in the Guardian today saying that their independence movement ‘overestimated’ the foreign dimension, so, you know, believing the EU would step in.

        Well, I’m not a politician like Artur Mas, who lets not forget, was forced out by the CUP back in September 2015, but I remember the Balkans War for example, and how the EU did nothing at all when a war was raging on the EU’s doorstep for which the EU was savaged by plenty of European and American intellectuals, to no avail .
        How any more or less politically aware European citizen, let alone a politician, could have thought the EU were going to side with Catalonia, on less than 50% of the popular vote, against Spain, the 4th biggest EU member, is a complete mystery to me.

        What I’m saying is they really don’t have a plan much less a strategy, and they continue to stir up all these activities on the street. Well, it’s going to lead to a lot of very frustrated young people… you know?

        As for Puigdemont, well he has nothing to lose now. He’s got his man Quim Torra in the Generalitat, who is using the events of the last few days on the streets of the Barcelona as a leverage, demanding a referendum without consulting his independence partners even…

        I get the feeling it’s all one big improvisation… they’re just winging it. They don’t know what they’re doing.

        And as Ada Colau said today, the Mayoress of Barcelona, Barcelona doesn’t deserve to be treated like it was last night.

        Peace. Calm. Reflection for a spell at least..

        1. Gavin says:

          Douglas, Catalonians don’t require “brightness”. They are demonstrating against a thuggish, repressive, nationalist regime in Madrid whose conduct shames the EU. You don’t see police baton/rubber bullet attacks in London today–or in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago.
          Spain fears the verdict of the Catalan people–ironically it could have won a referendum easily a few years ago. The longer this goes on, the looser its hold on Catalonia becomes.

          1. Douglas says:

            Gavin, I think political leadership is very important.

            You only have to look at what has happened to Britain since the core members of the Bullingdon Club were allowed to run the country, starting with Mr Shit For Brains himself, David Cameron, to see that..

            …the country has gone to hell in a hand-cart in ten years, the Constitution in tatters, the Queen dragged into politics, the atmosphere toxic, the country divided, and now that adolescent oaf Boris Johnson refusing to sign a letter to the EU, in a huff like Donald Trump.

            Nicola Sturgeon was asked a couple of years ago what people could do to achieve Scottish independence. And she said, ‘listen to Unionist voters, try to understand them, try to persuade them’. That sounds like a good approach, a democratic approach.

            She didn’t lead the Scottish independence movement down the garden path of a Unilateral Declaration of Independence with less than 50% of Scottish voters on board, which is what Mas, Junqueras and Puigdemont did. It’s totally irresponsible… their common electoral platform Junts Pel Si, won about 38% of the popular vote in the elections of September 2015. The CUP provided them with another 8% or so, taking them to about 47%. They never had a majority of Catalans on board to take the country down the path of independence…. the Catalans voted down their plan.

            And they didn’t have a referendum on independence in their manifesto. They declared that the Catalan Elections of September 2015 would be a plebiscite on Catalan Independence. They lost that plebiscite. And they disregarded the result and proceeded anyway because they had a majority of one seat in the Catalan Parliament…

            As for the EU, I don’t know which misconception is more perplexing to me, the one in which the EU is a dark, sinister plot by 500 million Europeans to rob Britain of its sovereignty, or the alternative version in which the EU is a cross between the US cavalry and the United Nations, with the President of the Commission a knight in shining armor… it’s neither of these things….

  2. Derek Henry says:

    Self determination ?

    What by keeping the Euro ?

    Makes me thinks the elites in Catalonia are running the show as self determination means leaving the Euro.

    1. gavin says:

      Derek. You are obviously an economic illiterate. So are most people. Currency–any currency–is simply a convenient means of exchange.
      The trick is to match your productivity to suit whatever currency you use to buy or sell in a common market place.
      Catalonia is a high value, high productivity economy (compared to other EURO counties) so sharing a currency in the worlds biggest trading block is win-win.

  3. Douglas says:

    What I’m saying Bella is that, if you are going to dispense with legality, which in some very special cases may be justified, then you must have legitimacy.

    What you can’t do is dispense with both legality AND democratic legitimacy and except the rest of the world to come and save your ass…

    If I were Artur Mas, Carles Puigdemont or Oriol Junqueras, when the elections results of September 2015 came in, the plebiscite which Junts Pel Si had called, I would have said: “we lost, we don’t have a majority in favour of UDI, we need to take a step back and try to build a majority in Catalonia for independence and, in the event, a future Unilateral Declaration of Independence….”

    That’s what Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP would have done, no question…

    When armchair revolutionaries in Scotland – which is a great country for armchair revolutionaries, there are thousands of them – sound off about Catalonia, well, they should ask themselves first, “Would I support this in Scotland?”

    And most of those scots backing Catalan UDI would not back UDI in Scotland I suspect…

    1. gavin says:

      Douglas, I know no-one in Scotland who believes, or promotes, UDI for Catalonia.
      But Catalans should have the right to determine their own future, same the UK, East Germany or Scotland without recourse to violence and threats of violence.
      The pro independence leadership in Catalonia may be rank bad (which I don’t agree with) but their work is being done for them by Madrid and the State police.
      At some point dialogue will take place and by then the dial will have moved toward the dissolution of Spain, which is acting against its own best interests.

      1. Douglas says:

        Gavin, I’m pretty sure George Kerevan from these pages supports Catalan UDI, though not 100% sure. His book on Catalonia is a propaganda exercise more than anything and if the Generalitat had financed it, I wouldn’t be surprised… (don’t take that literally)

        And you’re right about the right to Catalan self-determination, but do you not agree that what the Catalan Indie leaders have done is totally crazy? Why weren’t they patient? What would any British democratic party have done after securing 47% of the vote at an unofficial plebiscite? They would have waited and tried again a few years later, like Scotland is doing now…

        UDI may indeed be the only way for Catalonia to become an independent State in the future, if that ever happens, due to the stupidity, paranoia and anti-democratic thinking of the Spanish ruling elite who are the most conservative people on planet earth. They never change anything., They’re not flexible or forward thinking. They’re very rigid in their way of thinking. Things which are rigid break…

        All the more reason for the Catalans to be patient and to wait, and to build support until you have say 65% or 70% of Catalans in favour of independence. Why the rush? They completely blew it…

        And if Spain is a ‘post-fascist State’ or whatever people want to call it – I would call it an authoritarian democracy after the events of last week – then how come Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont’s predecessor party CiU were in government with Jose María Aznar’s PP and Felipe Gonzalez’s PSOE? I mean, the SNP have never propped up a Labour Govt or a Tory Govt…. if it was bad as ‘post-fascist’, then Mas and Puigdemont must be part of the problem.

        Spain’s a great country, the Spanish people are great, the food, the weather, the lifestyle, it’s all fantastic. But see the politicians? The politicians and the political culture are absolutely terrible. Instead of solving problems, they cause them, both in Barcelona and Madrid…

        And many Spaniards don’t understand democracy, particularly the ethics of democracy, the unwritten rules. They think it’s a winner takes it all system, and of course, it is not that, it is just the opposite, you can’t crash the system, which Rajoy’s govt did by refusing to even discuss a referendum, and Puigdemont did by declaring UDI.

        As for the CUP’s list of demands, well it sounds great, and we are getting close to Christmas. It’s a good Santa Claus wish list…. if you believe in that kind of thing…

        1. florian albert says:

          It is reassuring to read a sober analysis of Catalan politics.

          With regard to your statement, ‘many Spaniards don’t understand democracy’, does this assessment apply equally to Catalunya and to Madrid ? In my (limited) engagement with Catalans, I have got the impression that they believe themselves different from the rest of Spain and that, in truth, this means better than the rest of Spain.

          Events in the last day or so give some cause for hope. There seems to be a realization in Catalunya that they are in a cul de sac and that their alternatives are to back off or to up the stakes in confrontation. If they chose the latter, they are on their own, nobody of any consequence, is backing them and Madrid looks ready to fight fire with fire. That being the case, the former option will be followed, however reluctantly.

          1. Douglas says:

            Florian, as you rightly say, the Catalans will tell you they are different from the rest of Spain in terms of their political culture. Historically speaking, there is some truth in that.

            But where is the evidence for it in the present day? The PdCat, Puigdemont and Artur Mas’ party, started supporting independence in the year 2012. They had been one of the most important parts of the Spanish political system of 1978, or the Regime of 78 as sometimes as it is called, having propped up governments from both the PSOE and the PP.

            Then, after the Catalan Statute was struck down by the Constitutional Court, and during the worst economic crisis in living memory, and after their former party the CiU had been liquidated due to its mass corruption scandals, they embraced independence….

            But between the years 2012 and 2017,, they called two referendums, and made one Unilateral Declaration of Independence. That’s in five years!

            The SNP has been around for almost one hundred years. In that time, they’ve called one referendum and they’ve never crashed the system.

            Part of the resentment in Madrid is that they don’t believe Puigdemont and Artur Mas. They think they’re two opportunists. Some people think the whole independence thing is just a smoke screen to distract attention from all their corruption cases.

            I don’t believe that for a minute, but I find it hard to stomach Artur Mas and Carles Puigdemont calling the rest of Spain fascists and corrupt. They were an integral part of the Spanish political system until 2012, and the Ciu was totally corrupt, just like the PP in Madrid. So, they were part of that system which they are now decrying.

            Junqueras and Esquera Republican are a totally different case. They’re the oldest independence party in Catalonia and they’re on the Left. PdCat are the party of the Catalan bourgeoisie…

    2. Updated the post with more detailed statement from CUP …

  4. Alistair MacKichan says:

    Good journalism would expand the acronym CUP. Wikipedia says it is a measure of volume.

    1. The Popular Unity Candidacy (Catalan: Candidatura d’Unitat Popular, CUP) is a left-wing pro-Catalan independence political party.

      The CUP is made up of autonomous local assemblies representing towns or neighbourhoods. These assemblies may have some ideological differences, but their common ground is independence for the Catalan Countries and clear left-wing politics, often in the form of anti-capitalism, socialism, and eco-socialism.

Help keep our journalism independent

We don’t take any advertising, we don’t hide behind a pay wall and we don’t keep harassing you for crowd-funding. We’re entirely dependent on our readers to support us.

Subscribe to regular bella in your inbox

Don’t miss a single article. Enter your email address on our subscribe page by clicking the button below. It is completely free and you can easily unsubscribe at any time.