Thursday, November 9, 2017

On self-determination of Catalonia - Russian Maoists

Democracy and Class Struggle welcomes this statement from Russian Maoists and it follows similar statements from Maoists in France,Spain and Italy and shows the growing maturity of the Maoist movement in Europe in dealing with national questions.

On self-determination of Catalonia

We reaffirm our commitment to the principle of national self-determination in connection with the referendums on independence that took place on September 25 in Iraqi Kurdistan and October 1 in Catalonia.

The Catalans have separate (from the Castilian Spaniards) ethnic identity, their own language, their own experience with  statehood 1 and subsequent history of a national movement against the policy of assimilation and oppression pursued by Spain 2. Catalonia has no less grounds for independence than, for example, Portugal or neighboring Andorra. 3.

The current Spanish regime is the restoration of the Bourbon monarchy imposed by the fascist dictatorship of Franco in 1978, the successor to the old monarchy and fascism. 

It puts forward the  slogan of ‘indissoluble unity’ of Spain contrary to the real multinationality of the country, and it has defended and continues to defend this principle by violence.

We are outraged by the (expected) duplicity of the authorities of the EU and Russia who have rejected Catalonian 4 (as well as Iraqi Kurdish 5) self-determination, though the former favored the disintegration of Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia and the latter protected and defended the self-determination of Crimea and, partly, the Donbass region.

We welcome the establishment in Catalonia of a republican form of government instead of an archaic monarchy. We also hope for

the withdrawal of Catalonia from NATO and its subsequent peaceful policy;
solidarity of the revolutionary Catalans with other national liberation movements including the Spanish and French Basques, divided Kurds, the Russians of the South-East of Ukraine, the Tamils of Lanka, the Nepalese Madhesi and other peoples who struggle for the respect of their national identity and self-determination in the form of a federation or their own national state.

We are aware that the national liberation of the Catalan people is not just burdened by bourgeois ideologies but it is headed by the same capitalists who were part of the monarchical regime. 

So it is quite impossible to firmly rely on these or other further progressive steps. However, following Stalin’s instructions 6 we do not perceive such steps as a condition for supporting the national movement or the right of nations to self-determination. 

The transform from the dependent periphery to a national state contributes to the political development of this country (as well as its former metropoly) and to the political delimitation of the proletariat and the bourgeoisie as far as possible in the conditions of a rich imperialist center with the appropriate prevalence of the labor aristocracy.


1  The Barcelona county existed as an independent state in the XI—XII centuries, then until the XVIII century in the union with Aragon. ?
2  Even the national anthem of Catalonia, The Reapers, which was approved in 1993, is dedicated to the revolt against Spanish absolutism in 1640. 
3  The majority of the population of Andorra are Catalans. 
4‘ Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday’s vote in Catalonia was not legal. For the European Commission, as President Juncker has reiterated repeatedly, this is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order of Spain.’ (Statement on the events in Catalonia). ‘Moscow considers the referendum in Catalonia as an internal matter for Spain, said Russian president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.’
5 The EU has consistently confirmed its full support for the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Iraq. It therefore appealed for the referendum not to be held in this unilateral manner, and especially not in disputed areas. It regrets that these calls have not been heeded.’ (Statement of the Spokesperson on the referendum held by the Kurdistan Regional Government). ‘Our support for the sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity of  friendly Iraq and other states of the Middle East remains unchanged. Moscow respects the national aspirations of the Kurds’ 
6 The unquestionably revolutionary character of the vast majority of  national movements is as relative and peculiar as is the possible revolutionary character of certain particular national movements. The revolutionary character of a national movement under the conditions of imperialist oppression does not necessarily presuppose the existence of proletarian elements in the movement, the existence of a revolutionary or a republican programme of the movement, the existence of a democratic basis of the movement. The struggle that the Emir of Afghanistan is waging for the independence of Afghanistan is objectively a revolutionary struggle, despite the monarchist views of the Emir and his associates, for it weakens, disintegrates and undermines imperialism’ (J. V. Stalin, The Foundations of Leninism, The National Question). 

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