See Homage to Catatonia, on this site (from 2 years ago) See also this from 15/10. And this from 14/10.
Apparently those protesting in Catalonia have been influenced by Hong Kong – Hong Kong is exporting its protest techniques around the world. But there are significant differences between the mentality of youth and local history in the 2 places beyond the obvious. Catalonia has had a rich history of proletarian struggle against austerity as recently as 2014, and that’s apart from having been the area of the world of one of history’s most advanced revolutionary movements (climaxing in the years 1936-37). Hong Kong has no equivalent history and for this reason they could be forgiven for their naivety about democracy and for their localist nationalist ideology (which, is not to ignore the enormous problems such attitudes pose), which has the merit at least of being partly understandable because of the threat posed by the world’s most totalitarian state, which reinforces illusions in ‘independence’. Catalans have no such excuse and the fact that some people who called themselves anarchists have now taken on a regionalist independentist ideology is unforgiveable.
This reproduction of 3 texts about the situation is informative. But is too scared to seriously confront the obvious contradictions. It talks of “The parties… suppressing the anti-capitalist objectives that used to characterize the movement”, without at all informing us of these “anti-capitalist objectives”, of which I’ve heard nothing. It says “Hats off to the anarchists and other anti-authoritarian activists who have spent the last two years spreading non-statist, non-nationalist perspectives and analysis relating to this issue and creating the autonomous, horizontal spaces that have cropped up in this movement since 2017” without providing any details or links to examples of what this has been. In the absence of such evidence it comes over as wishful-thinking or, at best, a parallel anarchist ideology that avoids confronting illusions in “Catalonia” for fear of being considered purist or something like that. “Take your desires for reality” doesn’t mean pretending to yourself that reality conforms to your desires, that the movement will magically transform itself from Catalan nationalism into a general anti-capitalist struggle. Abstractly, everything could, of course, but without an explicit attack on self-determinist ideology, and the fantasy community it fosters, and the implicit submission to an alternative capitalist hierarchy against the one in Madrid, just confronting the cops etc. does not – through some activist fantasy – lead to anywhere other than becoming the ‘violent’ wing of Catalan nationalism. Fascists also fight the cops in certain situations, and often in “horizontalist” ways, without obvious leaders (eg some of the most violent participants in Maidan in the Ukraine in 2014). Just as you cannot fight alienation with alienated means so the opposite is also true. “Anarchists” who uncritically join this movement cannot fight capitalism whilst hiding their aims under what is a capitalist content. The whole history of class struggle internationally over the last 100 years or more show that form and content cannot be separated. How you struggle cannot be separated from what you struggle for. Whilst independent action could lead to a perspective where proletarians throughout Spain recognise themselves in such independent action it can only do this by asserting as publicly as possible such an aim against localist nationalism. Without this it could equally lead to another method of intensifying the divisions amongst proletarians.
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