Catalonia: Powerful student general strike on 1 October

More than 150,000 young people fill the streets against repression and for the Republic


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The general student strike called by Universitats x la República (universities for the Republic), the Sindicat d’Estudiants (Students’ Union – SE) and the SEPC (nationalist student’s union) was a great success. Classrooms were totally emptied, and more than 150,000 students took to the streets in different cities.

The demonstration in Barcelona, with more than 100,000 students from schools and universities, paralysed all of the main roads in Barcelona and filled Sant Jaume square (where the demo ended) several times over. Thousands also came out in the towns of Tarragona, Girona and Lleida. This was an unquestionable demonstration of the strength of the youth in struggle for a Catalan Republic, for the freedom of political prisoners, the return of the exiles and the end of Francoist state repression.

On the one-year anniversary of the historic 1 October 2017, when the Catalan people defeated repression by the regime of 1978 and voted for a Catalan Republic, hundreds of thousands again took over the streets. In Barcelona, the atmosphere was of great enthusiasm and combativity, singing songs and chanting for the freedom of political prisoners, against police repression and demanding a general strike to continue the struggle to make a Republic a reality. There were also chants against the monarchy and against capitalism. The participation of blocks of teaching workers was notable, as was the sympathy of many workers.

From our speaking system, we denounced the policy of empty gestures from the Spanish PSOE government which despite moving prisoners into Catalonia has kept them in jail and refuse to recognise the right of the Catalan people to self-determination. However, we also gave hard criticism to the Catalan government and leaders of PDeCAT and ERC (pro-independence parties) for the brutal repression by the Mossos d’Esquadra (Catalan police) against protestors standing against a fascist rally to pay homage to the military police who injured over 1,000 people for exercising their right to vote.

This criticism, together with the demand for Catalan Interior Minister, Miquel Buch, who defended this police brutality, to resign, was met with great support and chants of “Buch resign!” and “the streets will always be ours”. There was also anger against the manipulation of the media, which consciously covers up police repression and fascist attacks.

This student protest was part of an historic day of struggle which started early in the morning with protests called by the Committees for the Defence of the Republic (CDRs) blocking roads and railway lines, and which continued in the evening with more mass demonstrations.

These days of struggle also underline that the working people and youth have the will to fight to the end, in contrast to the leaders of PDeCAT and ERC who seek to put a brake on this movement and dilute its revolutionary nature, trying to negotiate behind the backs of the movement to renounce the struggle for a Republic and maintain capitalist austerity policies. This day of struggle showed that the majority are those who reject this corrupt monarchy and regime, and reject austerity. We fight for a socialist Republic of the workers, youth and people which can end social problems such as poverty, austerity, unemployment, evictions, repression, sexism and the corruption of the system.


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October 2018