Gala Evenings in Russia, 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution,  Organised by the Communist Party of the Russian Federation:

Celebrations in Russia:
Oktyabrsky Grand Concert Hall,
St. Petersburg, November 3, 2017
Part 1
Part 2
Rossiya Concert Hall (Luzhniki),
Moscow, November 5, 2017
Part 1
Part 2

 

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First ‘accountable care systems’

Simon Stevens names the first ‘accountable care systems’

Simon Stevens has announced the first eight “accountable care systems”, saying they will be given control of up to £450m in transformation funding.

Speaking at NHS Confederation conference today, the NHS England chief executive said: “We are now embarked on the biggest national move to integrating care of any major western country.” He pledged to end “the fragmented system that passes people from pillar to post”.

The ACSs will bring together providers and commissioners to help break down barriers between primary, secondary and social care, NHS England said.

The first eight ACS regions will be:

  • Frimley Health;
  • South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw;
  • Nottinghamshire, with an initial focus on Greater Nottingham and the southern part of the sustainability and transformation partnership;
  • Blackpool and Fylde Coast, with the potential to spread to other parts of the Lancashire and South Cumbria STP at a later stage;
  • Dorset;
  • Luton, with Milton Keynes and Bedfordshire;
  • West Berkshire; and
  • Buckinghamshire.

Seven of the eight were named in NHS England’s Next Steps document in March as “likely candidates” to become ACS. Buckinghamshire has been selected as an ACS but was not listed in the March plan.

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Rail Workers Striking for “altruistic” reasons: to ensure a “safe” and secured Island railway.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely says striking train staff are ‘selfish’ people.

ISLE of Wight Conservative MP, Bob Seely, has said that striking rail workers are ‘selfish,’ 

How can this be the case when the decision making process concerning the organisation of rail transport in the country has not been by workers? The only decision has been around the vote on the call for strike action. The workers have no choice on supporting strike action when it concerns their unity and action to defend their jobs, which the train operators clearly want to reduce. How can the issue be raised in terms of egotistical human relations, when the collective consciousness relates to what goes on between the Government and rail operators versus the workers and people? It is not passengers and workers who run a lousy railway and have to put up with decisions that are only concerned with profit and not a decent transport service.

There is no justification for the MP to attack island workers or their unions.

Ahead of the 48 hour walk out, which starts just after midnight tonight, MP Seely said: “I am very disappointed this strike is taking place. I condemn it. I do not believe it has anything to do with the Island.

“South Western Railway,  franchise, which runs Island line, has made it absolutely clear it will not remove guards from trains. No-one is losing their job. Despite this, the union is prepared to walk out for 48 hours on Wednesday and Thursday”.

Seely wants the action to be seen as political:

“This industrial action has nothing to do with rail safety and all to do with opposing the Government while using Islanders as pawns.”

The workers are not apologists for unified action, workers at five railway operators will join the strike, the latest in an ongoing dispute over the role of guards and the driver-only operation of trains. If anyone wants to use people as pawns it is the advocates of strike breaking, workers will not be pawns!

RMT members at Southern, South Western Railway and Greater Anglia will strike for 48 hours, and at Merseyrail and Arriva Rail North for 24 hours against the private franchise. The Conservative island MP is  supporting the Transport monopoly against the workers.

There is an issue of a nationwide political movement. There are calls from various sections of the population for nationalisation, but simply switching to this form of State control at the moment is not necessarily political. It could simply be a switch, seen as a pragmatic decision and is not yet a political movement for a transition to control over transport into the people’s hands, nor does it raise any question of public transport as a right. It is the decision making process to be put in their hands, that workers and Trades Unionists  desire to empower them.

The polity as a whole regard the issue of transport as a right and for this there has to be a political struggle in an organised political movement.

The union’s regional organiser for Wessex, which includes the Isle of Wight, Mick Tosh said union members taking part in the strike – including more than 30 at Island Line – were doing so for altruistic reasons.

Mick Tosh hasn’t asked fot the strike to be political:

“We are not asking for more money or fewer hours. Our motivation is to ensure the railway is safe, which we believe Island passengers want.

Political economy and rights of all, regarding rail transport on the island, has been removed from the equation.

The union points out how pragmatic decision making can change at any moment.The company has said it plans to have a guard on every train, which is not the same as guaranteeing it.

The unions say,

“They are looking at Island Line right now. Everyone is keen to ensure we keep an Island railway, and keep it safe.”

Conservatives and David Pugh, as well as some labourites are leading the campaign to keep Island Line in the private franchise as a means to an end of securing a line.

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The Revolution that Shook the World:

100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution

The Greatest Revolution that Shook the World-

 Communists say:

The greatest revolution that shook the world and ushered in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution took place one hundred years ago on November 7, 1917.  Salute this revolution with full conviction that the transition from capitalism to socialism is inevitable. Communists are confident that the working and oppressed peoples of the world will find their emancipation only with a repeat of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The conditions of imperialism which gave rise to the Great October Revolution still exist at this time. There is still the contradiction between imperialism, and the oppressed peoples and nations; among the imperialist countries and monopoly groups; and between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat. As long as these conditions exist there will be struggle to resolve them.

Today the reactionary forces that overthrew the first state in the hands of the working people are in profound crisis. To divert from their crisis and the need for solutions, they continue to use a Cold War portrayal of communism to deprive people of an outlook on the basis of which they can bring about the changes they require. For these reactionary forces, communism is a brutal dictatorship because it deprives them of all their privileges and smashes inhuman relations based on ownership of property. They consider the corrupt and defunct liberal democracy to be the End of History. Attempts are made to divert from the deep crisis in which the bourgeois democracy is mired to make sure the working class does not formulate what can be done to change the direction of the economy and create new arrangements that favour the working class and people. Meanwhile, the liberal democracy has been reduced to its police powers. This requires the criminalisation of speech and dissent at home and war and aggression abroad.


Soviet poster: “Oppressed colonial nations shall rise up against Imperialism under the banner of the Proletarian Revolution”
(click to enlarge).

The Soviet Union played a crucial role in the defeat of Nazi-fascism and Japanese militarism. The victories of World War II were such that the peoples the world over were marching to the drumbeat of peace, freedom and democracy, looking towards communism to affirm their rights and win national liberation. Following World War II, in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean as well as the imperialist heartlands, the reputation of communism was very high. People were making great advances in their struggles for emancipation and to end colonial and imperialist domination. To stem this advance, the Anglo-American imperialists launched the Cold War to snuff out the peoples’ struggle for their rights. Institutions of international subversion and aggressive military alliances were set into motion to stop any attempts at progress. A vast international campaign of lies and distortions was launched to sow doubt about communism and the Soviet Union which had given great hope and inspiration to all peoples fighting for national liberation and social emancipation all over the world. The imperialist agencies introduced bourgeois politics into the workers’ and communist movement. Based on gossips about personalities and events, the aim was and continues to be, to deprive the working class of its own outlook.

To this day, the reactionary forces continue to claim that socialism failed in the Soviet Union because there is some inherent flaw in it. What that flaw is, they do not say. This speculation leads some to suggest that scientific socialism is fine in theory but does not work in practice. How can it be that what is sound in theory does not work in practice? This is an unsound proposition and again they do not explain. The speculators also go to great lengths to convince themselves that socialist revolution and socialist construction are phenomena of the past. Socialism and communism, according to them, are finished once and for all. They suggest that the complete restoration of capitalism in the Russian Federation and elsewhere is an irreversible trend.

These speculators overlook how life unfolds. Dialectics teach that the advance of something necessarily involves overcoming the resistance of the old, and ushering in the new on this basis. Capitalism is old while socialism is new. Only socialism can resolve the contradictions inherent to the present conditions and create the new society.

The bourgeoisie, nonetheless, does not wish to admit that not only do the same conditions of imperialism exist at this time, but that the situation has become worse. The collapse of the Soviet Union contributed to the crisis of capitalism in a big way. All the claims that shock therapy would eliminate the problems of the capitalist system have nothing to show, despite putting much of the blame for these problems on socialism and communism. The conditions in the countries which formed the Soviet Union as well as the former people’s democracies in eastern Europe are worsening with the rise of poverty, unemployment, dislocation of the economy and all manner of crime and chaos in political and cultural affairs. This is also the case in the so-called western democracies where the destruction of the social contract and welfare state arrangements and all the ills of modern capitalism are destroying the fabric of the societies. The vain hope dangled in front of the eyes of the working class that the “benefits” of the so-called radical reforms would one day reach the working masses vanished long ago. The living and working conditions of the people continue to steadily deteriorate.

Socialism suffered a setback because of the failure to bring about the social and political reforms necessary to develop the leading role of the working class in the economic, political, cultural and other affairs of the society. In place of socialist reforms, capitalist reforms were introduced as of the mid-1950s. The content of the relations between people in the process of production was transformed from one which favoured the people into one that favoured a ruling caste which systematically usurped power by destroying the organs of people’s power. A new bourgeoisie arose from the upper echelons of the party, state, army, police and the overthrown exploiting classes.

As the period of retreat of revolution set in worldwide and the initiative passed into the hands of the reactionary forces, even the conception of society was withdrawn by Margaret Thatcher. Along with this retreat, a vicious anti-social offensive was unleashed which has destroyed the arrangements of a civil society whereby the aim of society is to look after the well-being of the people. Nation-wrecking has become the order of the day. Private interests organised into oligopolies have taken over the functions of the state power and run rampant all over the world. It is incumbent upon the working class to take up its leading role by beginning all over again. Starting from the present, the working class is working out a plan of action which serves its own interests and those of the society. It is striving to give rise to a pro-social trend. It has to involve the masses of the people  in discussion and debate as to the kind of system which should replace the present rotting system of capitalist wage-slavery and imperialist enslavement, destruction, aggression and war. In this regard,  the experience of socialist revolution and construction during the 20th century is crucial to achieving success.

At this time of retreat of revolution, when the inter-imperialist contradictions are sharpening, when more and more peoples and nations are awakening to the dangers posed by imperialism to their countries, and when the working class is raising the banner of the pro-social trend against the bourgeoisie, it is incumbent on all revolutionary Marxist-Leninist forces to work out the theory and practice of the revolution. This is the time to prepare, to get ready for the time when the conditions will be ripe for the decisive battles. During this preparation and while dealing with the problems of theory and practice, the working class must not lose sight of the strategic road, the road opened by the victory of the Great October Revolution guided by Marxism-Leninism. This road is still valid and mandatory for all under the present conditions.

Revolutionary greetings to the Communists of all lands, to the workers of all countries, to the Cuban people who are fighting in defence of their revolution and to the people of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea who are fighting for their independence and the reunification of their homeland, to the Vietnamese people and all peoples fighting for the rights of all, all over the world. We salute all fighting forces and call upon them to carry on with confidence for the tide will change and the surging days of a revolutionary flow will come again. Things will turn around and our successes of today will be transformed into final victory.

Guided by the theory of Marxism-Leninism, workers of all countries will be able to work out their own theory and practice according to their own concrete national and international conditions, and mount the barricades of struggle for the victory of world revolution. The working and oppressed peoples of the world will open the path for the progress of society and the emancipation of humanity.

Hail the 100th Anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution!
Support the Struggle of All Working and Oppressed Peoples and Nations for Their Rights! Workers of All Countries, Unite! Glory to Marxism-Leninism!

 


Build the Communist Party and Proletarian Front!


Lenin declares Soviet power at the historic meeting of the Second All-Russia Congress of Soviets, October 26 (November 7), 1917. One of the first acts of the new government is to issue the Decree on Peace, the first step to take Russia out of World War I.
(Detail from a painting by V. Serov 1947.)

The Great October Revolution shook the old world to its roots and brought a new one into being. Its victory signaled the end of the First World War, a terrible war fought between imperialist countries for the re-division of the world.

The October Revolution created the first socialist state and the conditions for the development of Soviet power, a nation-building project led by the Proletarian Front. Immediately, the working class and peasantry led by the Communist Party withdrew Russia from World War I and began to settle scores with its own imperialist bourgeoisie and feudal landlord class. The Proletarian Front, with its organised self-defence contingents that eventually became the Red Army, routed the police forces and military of the Russian imperialist bourgeoisie and landlords, which were aided by a military intervention of fourteen countries.

The new country began to construct socialism not with empty policy objectives but with deeds that guaranteed the people public education, health care, basic humane living conditions and control over their economic and political affairs. These were all unprecedented achievements. Soon the country was industrialized giving it a material base to meet the needs of the people and to defend itself from imperialist aggression.[1]

The Soviet Union forged an unforgettable position in the annals of the people’s history for annihilating the Nazi hordes who stormed into the country in 1941.

The Soviet peoples through their heroic struggle led by the Communist Party made the greatest sacrifice during World War II in defeating the Axis Powers of German Nazis, Italian Fascists and Japanese militarists.

The October Revolution galvanised the anti-colonial/national liberation struggles in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and showed the peoples of the world that the imperialist bourgeoisie can be beaten. It can be done, if the road of Lenin and the Proletarian Front are upheld and developed.

Together, Let Us Open Society’s Path to Progress

The 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution comes 26 years since the collapse of the former Soviet Union. Humanity can clearly see the profound crisis in which the U.S. striving for world domination is mired. Also clear to all, the rule brought into being in Russia and eastern European countries since capitalism was re-established has not provided the promised prosperity and security to the peoples. The bourgeois euphoria has long expired. The Rule of Law established and re-established in those countries replaced one form of corruption with another and has now, under the guise of permanent war on terror become Rule by Exception and governments of police powers, not of law. Meanwhile, the peoples are disenfranchised and see no end to the conflicts or worsening conditions, which even flare up into reactionary bloody civil wars such as in Ukraine.

Today, anarchy and chaos prevail in all spheres of the economy, politics, and social and cultural life. The countries that abandoned the path of the October Revolution are mired in all the ills of the capitalist system: poverty on one pole and fabulous oligarchic riches on the other, and a broad marginalisation of people from their economic and political affairs. In the imperialist heartlands, private interests, the anti-social offensive and warmongering are presented as values that uphold the national interest, while any country which does not accept the U.S. as indispensable is targeted for elimination. What the U.S. cannot control, it sets out to destroy. Wars are no longer politics by other means but wars of destruction. Without politics there can be no peace negotiations either.


Graphic from the Philippines celebrates 100th anniversary of October revolution.

Besides the damaging reality, the lessons of the October Revolution and its Leninist principles are not taken seriously. The persistence in sticking to social democratic prescriptions runs deep, infecting the working class movement profoundly not only in Europe but throughout the world. Social democrats confuse governments which come and go with the state power. They say winning government is necessary to implement socialist policy objectives. Falling short of gaining government status, they argue the working class and its allies must pressure or lobby the existing government power to be pro-social. This illusion-mongering of a parliamentary road to socialism is embedded within the imperialist countries. Lenin stood staunchly opposed to it and led the Russian proletariat and peasants to victory in the October Revolution, which of course became the scourge of the social democrats in alliance with the Nazis who did everything to destroy the working class nation-building project and its positive influence on the world.

Within the imperialist countries including the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin, the betrayal of Marxism-Leninism and adoption of one or another variant of pragmatism was profound and widespread. A determined struggle had to be waged to rescue the banner of Marxism-Leninism and its principles. This included upholding the Leninist conclusion that the government is one institution within the state and not the most powerful by any means. The ultimate power of the bourgeois state is the police power which establishes various layers of secret organization comprised of private interests whose instruments include a political police and spy agencies, among others. One of the main tasks entrusted to the police power controlled and led by the ruling imperialist bourgeoisie is to deprive the working class and people and polity of an outlook which is advantageous to themselves. Everything possible is done to smash the people’s political movement for empowerment.

Any serious government considering socialism as more than a policy objective has to contend with the police power. The police power is the centre of power of the imperialist bourgeoisie. The only force capable of dealing with the police power and overcoming it is the Proletarian Front led by the Communist Party. Reluctance to build the Proletarian Front is endemic within the imperialist countries due to many factors including importantly the ideological pressure from the ruling elite, in particular pragmatism, and the abundance of social wealth stolen from the oppressed countries that can be used to bribe working class leaders and intellectuals.

From revolution to counterrevolution, history has its own twists and turns and our responsibility is to ensure we contribute to opening society’s path to progress. On this important occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Great October Socialist Revolution, t Humankind will always look back with admiration and respect to the days of October of the year 1917, when proletarian salvoes were fired marking the dawn of a new world.

History will assuredly experience once again revolutions of the calibre of the Great October Socialist Revolution. The Marxist and Leninist classics remain a living guide to turn the successes humankind has achieved to date into lasting victory. Our confidence in the working class and the human factor/social consciousness inspires us to build the Communist Party and Proletarian Front as the necessary subjective condition for revolution.

Long Live the Great October Socialist Revolution! Long Live Leninism!
Workers and Oppressed Peoples of the World, Unite!

Note

1. In 1944, the President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Eric Johnston, said the Soviet economy was “an unexampled achievement in the industrial history of the whole world.”

By the end of the first five-year plan in early 1933, the Soviet Union was the second most industrialized nation, with the doubling of industrial workers from 11 to 22 million, coupled with the doubling of industrial output. In the Central Asian Republics and in Kazakhstan the industrial growth rate was fourfold and sixfold. The first five-year plan was a great success as was evident in the production indexes in mining, steel, and chemicals. Factories were being built virtually everywhere with giant dams and railroads also being constructed. By the second five-year plan in 1935, coal miners had doubled production of that of Germany, and by 1936 the Magnitogorsk Steelworks was the largest in Europe, and the Chelyabinsk caterpillar tractor factory the largest in the world.

In much of heavy industrial production, such as steel, cast iron, aluminum and electric power, the output of the Soviet Union outstripped that of traditional capitalist countries. The Soviet economy comprised 10 per cent of the world’s industrial production. Between 1924 and 1940, grain crops increased by 11 per cent, coal by 10 per cent, steel production by 18 per cent, engineering and metal industries by 150 per cent, and national income by 10 per cent. Factory and office workers grew from less than 8 million to 37 million and between 1913 and 1940 oil production increased to 35 million tons from 9 million tons with thousands of units of tractors, harvester combines, and machine tools also being produced. In early 1930, the number of tractors in the Soviet Union was 34,900 and by 1938 it had increased by almost fourteen times to 483,500. In the same period, the number of combine-harvesters was augmented from 1,700 to 153,500 and the number of harvesters alone increased from 4,300 to 130,800.

Volume of Industrial Output (Per Cent of 1929)

Country
    1929
     1930
      1931
      1932
      1933
USSR
     100
     129.7 
      191.9
      189.7
      201.6
USA
     100
     80.7
      68.1
      53.8
      64.9
Britain
     100
     92.4
      83.8
      83.8
      86.1
Germany
     100
     88.3
      71.7
      59.8
      66.8
France
     100
     100.7
      89.2
      69.1
      77.4
 
Country
Unemployment numbers in 1933 during the period of the end of the first five-year plan in the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
0
England
2,800,000
Germany
5,500,000
United States
17,000,000
Italy
1,300,000
Spain
6,500,000

(Sources: mltheory.wordpress.com; Henri Barbusse. Stalin (New York: The MacMillan Company,1935), pp. 201-205.)

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Video on 100th Anniversary of the Great October Revolution in 1917:

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Canada: Increasing Use of Police Powers in  the Name of Cyber Security

Trudeau Government’s Anti-Democratic Electoral Reform

On October 19, Facebook Canada launched its “Canadian Election Integrity Initiative,” which it alleged is an endeavour to protect Canadian democracy. Covered up in the high ideals of ensuring “election integrity” is how this initiative will actually be used for anti-democratic purposes.

This initiative creates the illusion that the Trudeau government is constructing a political policing apparatus to monitor digital social media platforms.

It says that there are “malicious actors” out to prevent social media from being used for genuine political discourse and civic engagement of the people by planting “fake news,” “misinformation” and “disinformation.” (Our emphases)

However, the entire exercise covers up that a primary role of the state that the Liberals serve is to disinform the polity by depriving it of an outlook on the basis of which it can exercise judgement and advance its own interests, not those of the rich.

Earlier this year, the Liberals directed the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) to enter the electoral field, instructing it to conduct espionage activities “against potential cyber attacks by foreign malicious actors.” Now the Liberals are involving private interests under the lead of the CSE to target not only foreign but also “domestic suspects.” The irony of the claim that spying on and targeting Canadians is to protect democracy shows how cynical the Liberals and others engaged in these measures have become.

The system of representative democracy has disempowered Canadians to such an extent that all of this can be done without even passing legislation. The public authority of Elections Canada, the independent agency responsible for the conduct of elections, is being replaced by private interests such as Facebook, Google and others. In fact, Elections Canada was conspicuously absent from the launch of Facebook’s “Canadian Election Integrity Initiative.” As for Parliament, its role is to wait for the Minister of Democratic Institutions to hand over electoral reform legislation which the government will say has already been approved by Canadians, by which it means the Liberal private political consultants and advisors in cahoots with private interests and the security establishment.

Internationally, Facebook itself will deploy an army of some 4,000 censors to monitor Facebook accounts and posts, no doubt sharing the information with U.S. spy agencies and their Five Eyes partners.

Non-profit organizations funded and overseen by Facebook and other private interests are being activated to teach “digital literacy” and how to be an “engaged citizen.” In the name of the right to conscience, criteria for judging what is “authentic political discourse” and what is not is set by the ruling elite. Their cynicism is unconscionable. This means it is unethical, immoral, unprincipled, unscrupulous and indefensible by any modern standards of democratic conduct.

Meanwhile, the giant multi-billion dollar Facebook corporation tracks its users in other ways as well to facilitate the cartel party election machines’ micro-targeting of electors. When it comes to cyber security, the practice of handing to political parties Elections Canada’s list of electors, along with each eligible voter’s permanent unique identifiers, continues. These parties have exempted themselves from the privacy laws of the country and use the electors’ lists provided by Elections Canada to build their databases and manipulate voter intentions during elections.

The latest developments mean that groundwork has already been laid for the creation of police-state elections. Under the guise of protecting democracy and the national interest and the security of the state, police forces will determine what constitutes legitimate political discourse. But the forces doing the policing and imposing the criteria are in fierce competition with one another, both nationally and internationally. Who will be exempted from the shadow of suspicion and doubt? Not only will forces in the opposition which represent the peoples’ interests be criminalized but so too will the cartel parties and third party interveners in elections if they challenge the control of the private interests. Already different levels of police and armed forces and international supranational bodies are duking it out for control of the very private interests which are vying to control the economies and states of different countries. The current measures the Trudeau government is taking are extremely self-serving and there is no doubt that what goes around comes around. The Liberals themselves are likely to become victims of their own measures as will any other of the parties which go along with this.

Thus, the aim of the Trudeau government, the security establishment and political parties of the cartel party system is to smash all political discourse and any attempt by the people to empower themselves. These measures must be opposed by the working class and people by advancing their own program and solutions to the problems plaguing the society, starting with the issue of who decides and what kind of political and electoral process is required to empower the people to stop the further destruction of the society and the economy.

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Spain Imposes Direct Rule on Catalonia:

TML (Canada)

Support Catalans’ Right to Decide Their Future!
Oppose the Spanish Government’s Takeover!


Celebrations in Barcelona as Catalonian parliament votes for independence, October 27, 2017.

On October 28, the Spanish government imposed direct rule on the autonomous region of Catalonia, using Article 155 of the Spanish constitution. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has now replaced Catalan President Carles Puigdemont, dissolved the regional parliament and called a regional election for December 21. The Rajoy government, known for its anti-people austerity measures, has proven incapable of resolving the crisis politically and has refused all invitations to dialogue. Puigdemont and the 12 members of the Catalan cabinet will no longer be paid and could be charged with usurping others’ functions if they refuse to obey, news agencies report. In a brief televised address at 2:30 pm local time, Puigdemont rejected the takeover and called on Catalans to peacefully oppose it. He stated that only the regional parliament can elect or dismiss the Catalan government and that “we will continue working to build a free country.”

The director of the Catalan regional police, who was also fired, issued a statement saying he would comply with his termination. The regional police force tweeted later that day that “protecting and guaranteeing the safety of people is our priority. We continue working normally.” The 17,000 members of the Catalan police had refused to participate in the state violence carried out by the Spanish national police to stop the October 1 referendum.

TML Weekly calls on everyone to support the right of Catalans to decide their future, and denounces the takeover of the Catalan government by the Spanish government and its ongoing threats of state repression and state violence.

The imposition of direct rule by the Spanish government on Catalonia followed the Catalan parliament’s formal vote for independence from Spain on October 27. This vote was a further act of defiance of the Spanish government, which has been escalating state repression to criminalize Catalans’ right to decide their future. This had culminated in the massive police violence in the lead-up to and during the October 1 non-binding referendum, in which nearly 1,000 people were injured. In the referendum, 43 per cent of voters turned out and voted 90 per cent in favour of independence. More recently on October 17, the Spanish High Court ordered the heads of the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) and independence group Omnium to be held without bail pending an investigation for alleged sedition for organizing the October 1 referendum and the protests against state repression.

Just prior to the October 27 vote on Catalonia’s independence, deputies for the three parties opposed to independence walked out of the parliament. Those remaining voted 70 in favour of independence, 10 against, with two blank ballots. The vote was held as a secret ballot to guard against any attempt by the Spanish state to prosecute those who voted in favour of independence. The Catalan parliament has 135 seats, of which 72 belong to a coalition of parties that support independence. Previously, President Puigdemont, while acknowledging the October 1 result, had declined to formally declare independence, instead proposing that the effects of an independence declaration be suspended for two months to permit a period of dialogue.


Catalan parliament as vote is taken for independence from Spain, October 27, 2017.

Also on October 27, shortly after the vote in the Catalan parliament, the Spanish Senate authorized the Rajoy government to implement Article 155 of the constitution. This article allows the national government to implement direct rule over any of the 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities that comprise Spain’s regional governments.

The autonomous communities, which correspond to historic regions and/or nationalities within Spain, exercise self-governance within the limits of the Spanish constitution and their autonomous statutes. The current Spanish constitution came into being in 1978 after the end of the Franco dictatorship. Its official English translation describes Article 155 as “Execution by Government of Community’s obligations in case of non-compliance.” It reads:

“1. If a Self-governing Community does not fulfil the obligations imposed upon it by the Constitution or other laws, or acts in a way that is seriously prejudicial to the general interest of Spain, the Government, after having lodged a complaint with the President of the Self-governing Community and failed to receive satisfaction therefore, may, following approval granted by the overall majority of the Senate, take all measures necessary to compel the Community to meet said obligations, or to protect the abovementioned general interest.

“2. With a view to implementing the measures provided for in the foregoing paragraph, the Government may issue instructions to all the authorities of the Self-governing Communities.”[1]


Catalans celebrate vote for independence, October 27, 2017.

Note

1. See here.

(With files from: Quartz, BBC, Reuters, Guardian, Associated Press, New York Times. Photos: Catalan News, The Pileus, M. Yiannopfans)

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