Catalonia has long been a center of revolutionary struggle, notably during the heroic but unsuccessful fight against fascism during the Spanish Civil War. Today, the fight that many Catalans are taking up is for their own self-determination. Their mobilization is a direct challenge to the modern Spanish state, which rests on a post-Franco arrangement that brought back the monarchy and maintains many undemocratic features of the decades of fascism — including suppression of the rights of national minorities.
The European Union is another part of the backdrop to this conflict. The pro-capitalist Catalan politicians backing independence are mainly EU supporters. But the workers of Catalonia, like the common people throughout Spain, are suffering greatly from austerity measures imposed by the EU in partnership with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.
Spain’s right-wing government is using every weapon to stifle the independence movement and imprison or otherwise sideline its leaders. But this is inflaming more sentiment against the central government.
The majority of Catalans may or may not want independence, meaning secession. But they deserve the right to decide, free from violence and intimidation by the government. And their battle for this deserves the support of workers in the rest of Spain and internationally.