(reprinted from Workers Tribune, France, Issue no. 132, March 28, 2018)
By François Forgue
The repression unleashed by the Francoist government against Catalan officials and elected representatives has just reached a new level. Their crime – because as far as the Rajoy government is concerned, as well as all those who are supporting it in one form or another, it is a crime – is having called for the constitution of the Catalan Republic.
This repression means that a whole people has been “made illegal”; not only has stating its will been banned, but even talking about it also. This is an unusually violent takeover directed against basic and fundamental rights throughout Spain, and beyond.
Indeed, this attack is being carried out with the open support of the institutions of the European Union and the governments that support them. It was the police of the new Merkel-SPD “grand coalition” government in Germany that carried out the arrest of former regional President of Catalonia Carles Puigdemont, who should have been elected President of the Catalan Republic.
The German police acted in accordance with “a European arrest warrant issued by a Spanish judge”, as explained by Fernando Carderera, Spain’s ambassador in France. Clearly, the European Union and its governments have not only endorsed the anti-democratic measures decided upon by the government of the Francoist monarchy, regarding them as decisions that commit all of the States of the European Union; they have also taken on the role of enforcers outside of Spain for Rajoy and Felipe VI, King by the grace of God and the decision of the dictator Franco, who made Juan Carlos, the father of Felipe VI, his successor.
The arrest of Puigdemont on 25 March was preceded by the decision of the Constitutional Court of the Spanish State to ban him from being a candidate for the presidency. Jordi Sanchez, who could have replaced him as candidate, was then detained. Today, eight Catalan elected representatives and officials have been imprisoned on charges of “rebellion”, deprived of their rights without trial or sentence. Their offence is to have declared themselves against the monarchy and in favour of the Catalan Republic. As far as the government of Felipe VI and Rajoy is concerned, “rebellion” is the expression of the people’s will. From the point of view of democracy, it is respect for the people’s will that forms the basis of the rule of law.
Every worker and every citizen who is committed to democracy cannot but oppose the introduction of a “parole” regime for an entire people, one in which freedom is reduced to acceptance of orders issued by the government, and one in which surveillance is part of the continuity of the regime that was the origin of the current institutions: the anti-democratic and anti-working-class dictatorship of Francoism.
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CATALONIA: Free Puigdemont and All the Political Prisoners!
Statement from German Labour Activists
(reprinted from IWC Newsletter No. 180)
In Germany, the Merkel government’s police arrested Carlos Puigdemont, former president of the Generalitat of Catalonia. Immediately in Germany and France the activists and organisations linked to the IWC took initiatives to protest these arrests.
Carlos Puigdemont must not be handed over to the Francoist monarchy!
25 March 2018
- To the SPD Executive Committee
- To the Schleswig Holstein SPD Regional Committee
- To the federal Minister of Justice
- For information purposes, to the leadership of the SPD Workers Commission (AfA)
Former regional President of Catalonia Carlos Puigdemont had barely crossed the border between Denmark and Germany this morning when he was arrested by German police in Schleswig Holstein, on the basis of a European arrest warrant. C. Puigdemont had been able to leave Denmark unhindered. He lives in exile in Belgium.
Over the last few days, at the heart of Europe, we have seen the government of the Francoist monarchy and the courts it has set up take brutal measures once again against the will of the Catalan people, and refuse Parliament the right to elect a government that expresses the majority will of the people resulting from elections. On 23 March, five representatives of the people were imprisoned. So there are now eight parliamentarians and representatives of social organisations in prison, and eight others have had to go into exile. The courts have deprived them of all of their political rights, without trial and without a conviction.
The arrest of C. Puigdemont in the German Federal Republic – after close collaboration between the German Federal Criminal Police (BKA) and the secret services of the Spanish State and its Francoist monarchy – is a severe blow against the Catalan people’s democratic aspirations for a Republic. The European arrest warrant relies on the principle that the EU member states recognise the decisions of their respective legal systems. The procedure initiated on 23 March against C. Puigdemont and 12 other parliamentarians and representatives of organisations of the Catalan people is intended to serve as the basis for a criminal trial on charges of rebellion, sedition and embezzlement. The legal system of the Francoist monarchy is threatening the accused with sentences as high as 30 years imprisonment.
Based on the current information available to us, a European arrest warrant (Article 2.2) cannot relate to acts of “rebellion, sedition and embezzlement”, charges that recall the pre-democratic conditions of an authoritarian state.
This is why we are demanding that Carlos Puigdemont not be handed over to the legal system of the Francoist monarchy of the Spanish State. Carlos Puigdemont must be released immediately, and if he so wishes, he should be given political asylum in Germany.
Furthermore, regarding Catalonia, we are calling for the following: Release all the political prisoners immediately! Cancel all the legal prosecutions! Freedom for the Catalan people to choose their own representatives! Hands off the Catalan Republic!
First Signatories: E. Neweling, member of GEW trade union ; Norbert Müller, SPD, AfA, member of ver.di trade union; A.H. Grotjohann, delegate of ver.di trade union ; Peter Kreutler, delegate of ver.di trade union ’ Klaus Schüller, member of the SPD Workers Commission (AfA) national leadership, member of EVG trade union; Sidonie Kellerer, member of GEW trade union ; Peter Saalmüller, SPD, member of ver.di trade union; Norbert Müller, SPD, AfA, member of ver.di trade union ; H.-W. Schuster, President of Düsseldorf SPD Workers Commission (AfA), delegate of ver .di trade union; Volker Barth, academic