Battles ahead in Spanish state

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Catalan independence colours the results of the fourth general election in the Spanish state since 2015, as the far right party VOX makes major gains and the left loses support. Héctor Puente Sierra explains.

The Spanish general election on 10 November saw the possibility of a left wing coalition government but also the horrifying growth of the far-right party VOX to become the third force in parliament.

This is the fourth general election since December 2015, underpinning four years of political turmoil and instability.

Spain has been a stark example of the social polarisation and erosion of the neoliberal centre that followed the 2008 economic crisis, with the Labour-type PSOE and conservative PP becoming shadows of their former selves.

Crackdown on democracy

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The trial against the leader of last year’s campaign for Catalan independence brings to the fore a murky history of undemocratic manoeuvering by the Spanish state. Sara Garcia reveals worrying developments.

On 12 February, after they’ve spent more than a year in preventive custody, the trial against the 12 Catalan politicians and civil movement leaders began. They may be sentenced to more than 25 years in jail, facing charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds among others.

New government won’t solve Spanish crises

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With an authoritarian atmosphere and ongoing political questions Héctor Sierra argues that the change in leadership won’t deal with the problems ahead for capitalism in the Spanish state.

Mariano Rajoy is gone after seven years of austerity with an iron fist. The now ex prime minister lost a motion of no confidence in late May and his People’s Party (PP) lost control of government. The motion was put forward by the Labour-type Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE), following pressure from the anti-austerity party Podemos. PSOE’s Pedro Sánchez announced he will lead a “transitional government” to reestablish “governability” and “democratic normality” before calling general elections. The legislative term is due to finish in 2020.

Catalonia, class and independence

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The Spanish state’s violent response to the Catalan independence referendum last month was shocking, writes Héctor Sierra, but now is the time for the left to take a lead.

The events in Catalonia have exposed the limitations of liberal democracies once again. Friedrich Engels wrote that the capitalist state is composed of “special bodies of armed men”. Few times in recent history has this been so clear as on Sunday 1 October, when the Spanish ruling party, the conservative People’s Party (PP) led by Mariano Rajoy, responded to the Catalan referendum on independence by deploying 10,000 police and paramilitary agents to physically stop voters from casting their ballots.

Letter from Catalonia

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It’s important for the left to understand what’s at stake in the independence debate, writes David Karvala.

On 1 October 2017 Catalonia is to hold a referendum on the question “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state in the form of a republic?”

The Spanish state aims at all costs to stop the vote, with administrative and judicial measures as well as covert operations.

Catalonia is a nation of around 7.5 million people at the eastern end of the Iberian Peninsula.

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