Spain: the show trial has begun

Feb 13, 2019 | Europe

The Supreme Tribunal of Spain judges the “procés” amidst a profound crisis of its government and regime. The trial could last three months, with over 500 witnesses. On the bench sit the ex vice president of the Generalitat Oriol Junqueras, the ex consellers Juaqim Form (Interior), Jordi Turull (Presidency), Raul Romeva (Foreign), Dolores Bassa (Labor), Josep Rull (Territory), Meritxell Borras (Governorship), Carles Mundo (Justice) and Santi Vila (Business); the ex president of the Parlament Carme Forcadell; the president of Ominum Cultural, Jordi Cuixart, and the ex leader of the Asamblea Nacion Catalana, Jordi Sanchez. However, the trial is not only against the twelve people whom the prosecution wants to sentence to between seven and 25 years of prison. It is also against the people of Catalonia who voted of the Republic on the Referendum of 1-O in 2017.

The prosecution´s accusations aim to demonstrate that there was rebellion, sedition and embezzlement with a central argument: the existence of violence. On the second day, prosecutor Javier Zaragoza argued that “the independentists planed a criminal scheme of great reach and complexity (employing) violent methods”. Methods that, according to him, were carried out by the over two million people who voted to decide their future and the “human walls thrown against the security forces”. That is, the people who were at the receiving end of the police charges in the schools where the voting took place. The only violence employed during the entire “proces” was by the hand of the Spanish state. Once the preceding statements finalize, it is possible that the defendants begin to testify on Thursday.

This trial is totally biased, political and vindictive toward the leaders, and carries a message for the mobilized Catalan people: “we will not accept your self-determination”. There is a crusade in defense of the parliamentary monarchical regime that was imposed by the reactionary Constitution of 1978. The prosecution was prepared by judge Pablo Llarena, under the guidance of Mariano Rajoy and the approval of King Philip VI. Today it is headed by Manual Marchena, with the public prosecution, the State Attorney and the particular lawsuit of the ultra-right organization Vox. It counts with the support of the PSOE government and the PP, Ciudadanos and Vox opposition. Last Sunday, the forces of the right held a rally in Madrid in which they demanded the sentencing of the political prisoners, that no pardon be given, and the calling of early elections.

This show trial violates elemental democratic and political rights, resting on serious precedents: the prohibition of the Referendum and the blocking of the investiture of the Catalan president elected on 21-D. Though they deny it, in Spain there are political prisoners and a reactionary regime that has nothing to do with the “modern democracy” it says it represents. What there is, is repression, censure, restriction of democratic liberties, false accusations of terrorism and criminalization of protest, against political leaders, and against students, neighbors and activists.

During election campaign, the parties “confront and differentiate” themselves, but they close ranks when it comes to defending the regime inherited from Francoism and the austerity policies against workers ordered by the EU imperialist block. The “lefts and rights” leave their differences aside and they unite to guarantee the oppression of peoples and the exploitation of the majorities. In this sense, it is a shame that there are political exponents who claim to be on the left, but have not coherently denounced the PSOE and Pedro Sanchez and pillars of the regime and the attack on the Catalan people.

Nothing indicates the possibility of a favorable ruling for the Catalan independentists. Not a gram of confidence can be placed on this biased and politicized justice, nor on the organizations that backed the application of Article 155 and wish to do so again. We can only trust the mobilization of the Catalan people that has been sustained since the arrests began. With the beginning of the trial, road blocks, marches, rallies and other actions have multiplied across Catalonia. The yellow ribbons are a symbol that every democratic activist across the world should adopt.

Whomever considers oneself republican, progressive or of the left, should come out in demand of the liberty of the political prisoners and the exiled, and the respect for Catalan self-determination. Among the demands raised during the trial, there is a call for a general strike for February 21. This must become a strong and extended measure of struggle, as part of the necessary disobedience against the Spanish state and the 1978 regime.

Meanwhile, the debate of the General State Budget has had a predictable result. The Congress has rejected Pedro Sanchez´s budgets, which will not be applied and return to the government. The heterogeneous block of organizations that allowed for the vote of no confidence against Mariano Rajoy has not repeated itself, and the stillborn Legislature of only 84 PSOE deputies, receives another shovel of dirt which has led it to reconsider the possibility of calling early elections. It was leaked that Pedro Sanchez will convene the Council of Ministers and that he is considering calling elections possibly on April 28, while municipal, autonomic and European elections would be held on May 26.

The political crisis of the 1978 regime is profound and its regression is continuous, as is the crisis of the government that nobody voted and is suspended in the air. It is not a temporary crisis, it has been ongoing for decades and has unresolved problems that come from the Francoist dictatorship. The problems that are posed will not be resolved by simply electing a president from among the parties that sustain the current political order. This is why it is necessary to conform a new broad and anti-capitalist political alternative on the left, to fight for the democratic and social rights of the exploited and the oppressed, of the youth, the students, women, retirees, the great majorities. We need a great unitary mobilization for the calling of a free and sovereign Constituent Assembly, to debate and democratically decide on the issues at hand, not resolved by the reactionary Constitution of 1978.