One of the less covered aspects of the nationalist struggle for Catalonian independence is the fact that the left, for the most part, does not support ousted President Carles Puigdemont.
Puigdemont leads a minority centre right Government that has been steadily losing popularity. His Junts pel Sí party is itself a coalition of factions from the far left to the Christian right. It is propped up by the CUP, a left nationalist party that is the smallest in the Catalan Parliament.
The government is legitimate; however, it is not popular on the left.
There are many reasons why the wider left does not currently support the wantaway republic.
Primarily, it’s because independence offers little to the working class. The move to leave is promoted mainly by the rich. They see profit in a new republic which would retain strong industrial and tourism revenues.
The working class of Catalonia is not overwhelmingly of Catalonian heritage. In the Franco years, Barcelona was flooded by ethnic Spanish workers seeking a better life. Generations on, Catalonia is as much Spanish as it is Catalan.
That’s an uncomfortable fact for some, however it is regularly reflected in polls on independence that almost always show the majority are happy with the current arrangement of autonomy within the wider Spanish state. Even the recent referendum, hobbled as it was by the Spanish state, only indicated support for the breakaway from a third of voters.
Nationalism, whether it’s from the left or the right, is always fraught with danger. For us on the left, we need to take a calm, reasoned view of events in Catalonia. The response of the Spanish state is not Francoism returned and Puigdemont is definitely not Lluis Companys.
Put simply, these are not revolutionary times in Catalonia.
A genuine independence may well come someday, in some form not yet known, however, it will only succeed if it takes all citizens with it.
We cannot trust the right to deliver real independence for Catalonia or anywhere else.
Te Reo Putake – Socialist, vegetarian, contrarian and footballer