picture: Boaz Guttman, flicr

PTB-PVDA condemns Spanish State violence and pleads for negotiated solution

The Workers' Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA) condemns the brutal violence of the Spanish police in Catalonia and calls for dialogue. “We condemn the brutal violence by the Spanish State and plead for a negotiated solution”, says PTB-PVDA chairman Peter Mertens.

“This is the authoritarian Europe at work: divergent opinions are harshly suppressed. Instead of letting people vote, the Guardia Civil storms the polling stations. Instead of entering into dialogue, rubber bullets are being fired at peaceful demonstrators. Instead of engaging in debate, websites are being blocked. Instead of openness and a place for all sensitive issues in the debate, the debate is being quelled with violence. The Spanish State's actions polarize and push even more people into the arms of separatists. Like Barcelona mayor Ada Colau, Izquerda Unida and Podemos, we plead for a broad debate in society, and for a negotiated solution.”

'Undermining fundamental freedoms hits everyone'

The rightist Catalan government, too, carries part of the responsibility, by wittingly pushing the conflict to the hilt. While many proud Catalans justly defend their rights, they don't want, for that matter, a separation. They are also strongly opposed to the harsh neoliberal austerity policies of the Catalan government, which render it difficult for cities as Barcelona to steer their own path of development.

Last week, Ada Colau told the British newspaper The Guardian: “There are many non-separatists such as ourselves, who, while critical of the unilateral path taken by the Catalan regional government, are calling for a negotiated solution in accordance with the feelings of 82% of the Catalan population, who support the holding of an agreed referendum.” Quite some people who initially were opposed to the referendum, eventually switched to a position in favor of the referendum as a result of the hard and deaf actions of the Spanish State.

Alberto Garzón, the very popular federal coordinator of Izquerda Unida, also warns for an escalation of State violence: “The violence of the rightist conservative government in Spain not only hits the separatists, but society as a whole. When fundamental freedoms are undermined, everyone gets hit. Against which political opponents the Guardia Civil will be instructed to act tomorrow? And the day after?”

Meanwhile, Barcelona mayor Ada Colau and Izquerda Unida demand the resignation of the rightist Prime Minister Rajoy, because of the unprecedented and irresponsible police violence. The PTB-PVDA supports this demand.

'Separatism is no alternative to the neoliberal State violence'

“Madrid's State violence is not just military. It is also economic, as is the case in the rest of the European Union. Skyrocketing unemployment, a gigantic housing crisis, the increasing duality in society where an ever smaller clique keeps getting richer, result in ever growing social tensions. The alternative to this neoliberal violence is not separatism. Not in Catalonia, nor elsewhere in Europe”, says Peter Mertens. “We observe that precisely the Catalan authorities are among the first to apply neoliberal laws and to hamper the autonomous leftist development of cities like Barcelona. Another Spain is needed, in another European Union, one that is not based on competition and imbalances, but on solidarity and unity.”