"We belong to history": the end of coal and the miners

Published on: Tue, 11/12/2018 - 10:03

John Cunningham

In the summer of 2012 a small group of ex-miners and labour movement activists met in a pub in Sheffield. We had just heard of the Spanish miners’ strike against the attempts by the right-wing government of Manuel Rajoy to withdraw subsidies to the mining industry and thereby, in effect, close it down.

A ‘fact-finding’ trip to Spain then followed and on returning to the UK a Spanish Miners Solidarity Committee was formed, raising 28,000 Euro in something like six weeks – money that went to support the families of the strikers. After which time the miners called off the strike.

Nevertheless, I

25 years of jail for Catalan leaders?

Published on: Tue, 06/11/2018 - 08:09

Martin Thomas

On Friday 5 November Spain's Supreme Court Prosecutor called for sentences of up to 25 years for the Catalan nationalist politicians jailed after the 1 October 2017 referendum on independence for Catalonia.

The prosecutor's case is that the Spanish constitution says that such a referendum could be called only with the agreement of the Spanish government. The Spanish government did not agree: in fact it mobilised state forces to try to disrupt the referendum.

The referendum ended inconclusively - 92% for Catalan independence, on only a 43% turnout.

A December 2017 election for the Catalan

Climate resistance must be built from below

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2018 - 11:04

Neil Laker and Mike Zubrowski

In his new book Burning Up, A Global History of Fossil Fuel Consumption (Pluto Press), Simon Pirani notes that the world economy tripled in size between 1945 and 1973. And the world began to burn as much fossil fuel, every three years, as in the whole of the nineteenth century.

That depended on cheap oil, which averaged at around $1.80 per barrel during the 1960s. In Simon Pirani’s view, this period of “transition to an oil- and electricity-dominated system... was not directed at providing electricity access or improving lives; if we can speak of an aim or direction, it was to do with capital

Sánchez to keep Rajoy’s budget

Published on: Wed, 06/06/2018 - 11:47

Rhodri Evans

Through all its confrontations with Catalan separatists, Spain has been under a minority government. On 1 June that political levitation act finally expired.

Parliament voted no confidence in the conservative PP government of Mariano Rajoy. Through a never-tested-before provision of the 1978 Spanish constitution, the new government will be led by, and probably made up solely from, the PSOE, Spain’s social-democratic party, although it has only 84 seats in the 350-seat parliament.

The new very-minority government will probably be forced into a general election soon. Realistically new prime

Rajoy tries further repression

Published on: Wed, 28/03/2018 - 17:45

Colin Foster

Big demonstrations in Barcelona on 25 March responded to the arrest, in Germany that day, of Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont.

Supporters of Catalonia separating from Spain hold a small majority in the Catalan parliament, though they are probably still short of a majority in the electorate. Other separatist leaders are in exile or jailed.

Instead of negotiating and finding ways for a democratic decision by the people of Catalonia, the right-wing minority government in Madrid continues to try to “solve” the problem by repression.

Catalan separation: "against the advice and criticism of the Communists"

Published on: Sat, 17/02/2018 - 10:14

Leon Trotsky

Leon Trotsky: The National Question in Catalonia

Written: July 13, 1931. First Published: The Militant, Vol. IV No. 24, 19 September 1931

Once more on the subject of the timely questions of the Spanish revolution.

Maurín, the “leader” of the Workers and Peasants Bloc, shares the point of view of separatism. After certain hesitation, he has resolved himself with the left wing of petty bourgeois nationalism. I have already written that Catalan petty bourgeois nationalism at the present stage is progressive. But on one condition: that

Catalonia impasse demands challenge to Rajoy

Published on: Wed, 10/01/2018 - 10:56

Martin Thomas

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy has scheduled the first session of Catalonia's new parliament for 17 January.

Elections on 21 December gave a result similar to 2015. The pro-independence parties won a small majority of seats in the parliament (70/135 this time, 72/135 in 2015) with a slight minority of the votes (47.3% this time, 47.8% last time).

Only now several of the leading pro-independence MPs are now held in Spanish jails for sedition, or self-exiled in Brussels for fear of being jailed if they return to Catalonia.

On Friday 5 January Spain's Supreme Court refused bail to Oriol

Catalonia: everything stays the same, so everything must change

Published on: Sat, 23/12/2017 - 20:24

Martin Thomas

"If we want everything to remain the same, everything must change", says the young aristocrat Tancredi to his uncle, the Prince, in the turmoil of Italian unification as portrayed in Lampedusa's novel The Leopard.

Catalonia's election results on 21 December may be a matter of everything having to change because everything has remained the same. The results surprised mostly in how little change they showed in Catalan opinion and in Rajoy's response. Thus they have made the status quo pretty much untenable, short of all the parameters being changed by a large revival in Spain's sick economy.


Catalonia goes to the polls

Published on: Wed, 13/12/2017 - 10:59

Tony Holmes

The constitutional crisis in Catalonia continues to simmer as the region awaits elections on 21 December.

A number of Catalan politicians and activists, including members of the recently dismissed government, have been denied bail and remain jailed on charges of sedition. Some are in exile in Belgium.

The Spanish government has been directly administering Catalonia now since late October. While there have been large-scale demonstrations against the suspension of regional autonomy and political arrests, the civil disobedience among local government and regional police that some predicted has

Vote is tight in Catalonia

Published on: Wed, 06/12/2017 - 10:16

Rhodri Evans

On 5 December, the Spanish Supreme Court withdrew its international arrest warrant against Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four other members of the government who have sought refuge in Belgium. Other Catalan politicians, arrested in Spain, have however been refused bail and will have to run their campaigns for Catalonia’s 21 December elections from jail.

Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy still hopes to regain control on 21 December by scaring lukewarm supporters of Catalan independence into voting for anti-independence parties. The opinion polls still show little movement. They

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