Direct action and resolutions of
THE INTERNATIONAL
Workers of the World
The anarchosyndicalist trade union, workers' confederation and section of the Anarchist International

 

 


CONTENTS:

ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD

The situation in Spain


ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL WORKERS OF THE WORLD

This is the official web-page of the International Workers of the World, IWW/AI - affiliated to the IFA - L'Internationale des Fédérations Anarchistes - The International of the Federations of Anarchists - The International of Anarchist Federations (IAF) and the Anarchist International (AI). For the history of IWW/AI in general, see link to the history of IFA/IAF/AI, at "Links" below. The Confederation consists of anarchosyndicalists in the Anarchist Federations of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Finland, and in several other countries of the Anarchist International broadly defined, from Iceland to the New Artisan and Workers' Union in Mauritius (click on: NAWU ), etc. i.e. world wide.

This section of the Anarchist International was founded/reorganized at the The First Nordic Anarchist Congress 15-17 october 1982 in Oslo, and further developed at later congresses, and it is rooted back to the in Geneva 1866 founded 1st International's i.e. the IWMA - International Workingmen's Association's conference at Saint-Imier, in The Swiss Confederation, 15-16.09.1872. At this conference it was decided an anarchist resolution denouncing all forms of political power, i.e. political/administrative and economically broadly defined. Also a solidarity and fellowship pact was decided upon by the delegates. The resolution put forward by Michael Bakunin 16.09.1872, under the title "The political action of the proletariate", at the Saint-Imier congress, should not be forgotten. The Anarchist International had meetings several times during the years passing by, first within the framework of the IWMA 1872-77, later related to other international anarchist congresses.

Bakunin's famous word of wisdom: "Liberty without socialism is privilege, injustice; socialism without liberty is slavery and brutality", is still valid. Another important event in the international anarchist and labor movement's history is the "Haymarket affair" related to the Chicago anarchists in 1886, the backround and origin of May Day as the international workers' day, see May day .

The Anarchist International (IFA) was reorganized at a congress in Carrara (Italy) 31/8-5/9 1968. The purpose of the congress was, among other things, to create a world wide anarchist organization as an alternative to "Cohn Bendit et autres gauchistes", also called "the children of Marx". Anarchists were tired of people presenting basically marxist or marxian ideas as anarchism. In the following years, several congresses were organized, see the History of the Anarchist International IFA/AI .

The anarchosyndicalist branch was as indicated above officially confirmed as a section of the Anarchist International at the IFA-congress in Oslo 1982, deciding a.o.t. the following: "El principal tema de este congreso ha sido la cooperación anarquista nórdica. El acuerdo se ha hecho sobre la aceptación de una cooperación muy ampllia. La cooperación ideológica [i.e. political] económica y cultural ha sido enfocada sobre los ountos siguientes: la acción de los anarquistas en los sindicatos, el movimiento colectivista, cooperativista, el movimiento ecologista, feminista, el apoyo a los jovenes..." This is a.o.t. documented in the Bulletin C.R.I.F.A. no 42 novembre 1982 p. 4. , plus Folkebladet No 4/1983 and IFA-Solidaritet No 8/1983. The Anarchist Manifesto ISBN 82-90468-09-1 of the Northern sections of IFA published in 1983, confirms the branch of "anarko-syndikalister (fagbevegelse), i.e. anarcho-syndicalists (labor confederation/movement)" within the general program.

The anarchosyndicalist section was later expanded universally when the Anarchist International world wide was officially confirmed at the International Anarchist Congress in Oslo medio December 1998 and later.

In 1997 the term Anarchist International (AI) was officially introduced, although mentioned several times before, say, in International Journal of Anarchism, IJ@ no 10/26 (15) in 1985. The constitution of the Anarchist International AI was as mentioned officially confirmed on the International Anarchist Congress, i.e. the 5th Anarchist Biennial, arranged by the NAC/IFA/AI in Oslo medio December 1998. The AI is a broader organization and network than the IFA anarchist federations of some countries in the South and North, see the Anarchist International .

The International Journal of Anarchism, IJ@, is the only officially mandated and publicly registered organ of the Anarchist International AI-IFA-IAF, the IWW/AI included. There are sections/federations for support work, community action, research and different tendencies of anarchism broadly defined, among them as mentioned the anarchosyndicalist section International Workers of the World - IWW/AI.

The IWW/AI, i.e. the Anarchist International-WW must not be mixed up with the Industrial-WW, founded in 1905 in the USA. The Industrial-WW is mainly a leftist marxist/marxian* organization, neither anarchist, libertarian nor anarchosyndicalist, i.e. outside the anarchist quadrant on the Economical Political map, see System theory and economic-political map .

The IWW/AI forms a junction between the Anarchist International in general, and the general syndicalist and trade unions world wide.

The network of the IWW/AI broadly defined is usually just called the INTERNATIONAL.

IWW/AI promotes anarchosyndicalism, anarchism; decentralism, free contracts, federalism and real democracy etc. as opposed to statism, centralism, slave-contracts and other authoritarian tendencies in the unions and generally, see the Oslo Convention and www.anarchy.no all around.

Especially IWW/AI works for 1. Citizen remuneration above the powerty line. 2. A significant higher minimal salary - it must pay to work! The purpose of this is to do away with relative slave-contracts in the different countries, i.e. "wage slavery". Furthermore IWW/AI is for 3. unconditional support to free research from the people's perspective as opposed to the national or authorities' perspective, based on the non-dogmatic, non-dialectical, scientifical method suggested in Peter Kropotkin's "Modern Science and anarchism" (1903-13), i.e. the hypothetical deductive method. Thus, also the left-Hegelian dialectical ideas of, say, Bakunin and Max Stirner, and later Daniel Guerin, Sam Dolgoff and Murray Bookchin, must principally be rejected as pseudoscience, similar to Marx and his followers' ideology. Also central theorems in marxist economics are not compatible with the hypothetical deductive method, and thus are pseudoscience.

IWW/AI works against 4. party political and state-socialist rule of unions, and 5. support to political parties from the budgets of the unions. The main strategy of IWW is direct action .

This is the general program of IWW/AI. There are however also some other cases that may be mentioned:

IWW/AI is also against the "all workers - one big union" strategy of the Industrial-WW and others, that reminds us of the Soviet Union; and their intrigues, lies and smearstories related to Jamal Hannah & co at jah@iww.org against the Anarchist International and its sections, similar to Marx's intrigues etc. against Bakunin in the First International. There is not so much new under the sun! Nobody should link up to this student commie type joke of an "industrial union" nor take it seriously. Boycott "Industrial-WW" in America!

There are also other marxist groups and fascists/neonazis posing as "anarchosyndicalists", "anarchobolsheviks", "anarchonationalists", "revolutionary syndicalists" etc., see the The International Anarchist Tribunal - The Anarchist Press Tribunal - International Branch and Nordic Branch for an update. Say, in Sweden 1999 a real anarchosyndicalist Björn Söderberg of SAC was killed by two nazis, after trying to stop the fascist infiltration in a union-club. 23.10.1999 about 20-40000 persons all over Sweden demonstrated against fascism and to honor the memory of the brave syndicalist.

At the Anarchist Conference in Stockholm, arranged by the Nordic IFA secretariate and the Swedish section of the Anarchist International, in 1983, neonazi skinheads tried to infiltrate the movement, but strong measures were taken to stop these dangerous intruders. These efforts of the Anarchist International were however a good investment.... Our fellows at SAC have, as mentioned, been less successful dealing with this problem. And the anarchists of course remember well that communists killed a lot of anarchists in the Spanish revolution 1936-39, as well a more recent ochlarchical repression of libertarians by marxists, say, at May Day demonstrations.

The IWW/AI calls on all anarchists, anarchosyndicalists included, to be on the alert against authoritarian infiltration: Fascists, nazists, trotskyites, lubbeists, red brigades, etc. - and ochlarchists (ochlarchy = mob rule broadly defined). A stitch in time saves nine - better look before you leap, i.e. organizations ruined, persons being wounded or be killed:

"The fight against fascism begins with the fight against bolshevism"
- Otto Rühle -

Contact IWW? Click here!

http://www.anarchy.no/iwwai.html


Click on Links to see some federations related to the IWW/AI network broadly defined, i.e. organizations with significant factions of anarchosyndicalists. There are however more!
There are no unions without anarchists, click on:
International Workers of the World in Global Unions


The situation in Spain

Introduction about anarchism and anarchy and the situation in Spain

Anarchy and anarchism vs State, briefly defined

Anarchy and anarchism mean "system and management without ruler(s), i.e. co-operation without repression, tyranny and slavery". In short an-arch-y = (an = without - arch = ruler(s)) - y = system and management, as, say, in monarch-y. Anarchists are for and contribute to anarchy and anarchism world wide. One of the main tasks of anarchists is the fight against ochlarchy (mob rule broadly defined). To mix up opposites as a) anarchy and ochlarchy and b) anarchists with ochlarchists/ochlarchs, as outdated dictionaries, newsmedia and mislead youths often do, is equally authoritarian as mixing up opposites as peace and war, as Big Brother did in Orwell's "1984" newspeak. It should be stopped and anarchists make resolutions with free, libertarian criticism of this authoritarian tendency, and also contribute to other direct actions against ochlarchy, guards at demonstrations, etc.

Anarchists are not only against ochlarchy, but also monarchy, oligarchy, polyarchy, plutarchy, matriarchy, patriarchy, hierarchy, etc, i.e. in real terms, economic and/or political/administrative. Anarchists mean all forms of archies should be done away with, practically toward ideally. Anarchy and anarchism are coordination on equal footing, without superiors and subordinates, i.e. horizontal organization and co-operation without coercion. This means practically or ideally, i.e. ordinary vs perfect horizontal organization respectively. Thus, anarchy and anarchism mean real democracy, economical and political/administrative, in private and public sector.

Briefly defined State/archy in a broad societal meaning is systems with significantly large rank and/or income differences and inefficient, i.e. significantly vertically organized. Anarchies are systems with significantly small rank and income differences, plus efficiency, i.e. significantly horizontally organized.

Thus, if the system works significantly more from the bottom, grassroots - the people, and upwards, than from the top downwards, to the bottom, it is anarchism and anarchy. The grassroots - the people - is here defined as a class as opposed to the superiors economical and/or political/administrative, i.e. in income/remuneration and/or political/administrative rank. And thus anarchy and anarchism may happen just 1. a brief moment - a glimpse of anarchy, 2. in the short term, 3. medium term and 4. in the long term.

The fundamental parameters of a system, the coordinates on the economic-political map, are usually estimated as average, rather long term structural estimates, including the libertarian degree (= 100% - the authoritarian degree). Around the long term average structural estimates, there may be medium or short term dips or the opposite, a hike, without changing the fundamental rather long term average parameters. Just a brief moment - a glimpse of anarchy, will of course in itself not change the long term structural average coordinates. There may however of course also be shift in the rather long term average structural estimates. A significant change of a systems coordinates is a revolution or a revolutionary change, and this may be short lived or a lasting change of a system's coordinates on the economic-political map.

State/archy, seen as a societal concept, may be a form of marxism, populism/fascism or liberalism, see the economic-political map below, with the four main quadrants and the 16 sectors for different subsystems. Capitalism is economical plutarchy.

The situation in Spain

The rather long term structural average estimates of the coordinates on the economic-political map for the 25 most libertarian countries in the world, including Spain ranked as no 16, are found in the table below:

THE 25 HIGHEST RANKING COUNTRIES ACCORDING TO LIBERTARIAN DEGREE ETC.
SYSTEM ANALYSIS

Countries:

Rank of country according to libertarian degree, and type of system

Libertarian degree and (authoritarian degree) %

Degree of socialism
and (capitalism) %

Degree of autonomy and
(statism) %

Gini-index

Norway

1 Anarchy

54,0 (46,0)

55,0 (45.0)

53,2 (46,8)

25,8

Switzerland

2 Anarchy

53,0 (47,0)

51,0 (49,0)

55,1 (44,9)

33,1

Iceland

3 Anarchy

52,0 (48,0)

54,0 (46,0)

50,1 (49,9)

25,0 (est.)

Liechtenstein

4 Soc.dem.

49,5 (50,5)

51,4 (48,6)

47,7 (52,3)

32,0 (est.)

Luxembourg

5 Soc.dem.

49,2 (50,8)

52,1 (47,9)

46,5 (53,5)

30,8

Denmark

6 Soc.dem.

48,8 (51,2)

55,3 (44,7)

43,0 (57,0)

24,7

Japan

7 Soc.dem.

48,5 (51,5)

55,2 (44,8)

42,6 (57,4)

24,9

Belgium

8 Soc.dem.

48,2 (51,8)

54,0 (46,0)

43,0 (57,0)

25,0

Finland

9 Soc.dem.

47,9 (52,1)

53,8 (46,2)

42,6 (57,4)

26,9

Sweden

10 Soc.dem.

47,5 (52,5)

54,0 (46,0)

41,7 (58,3)

25,0

Netherlands

11 Soc.dem.

47,2 (52,8)

52,0 (48,0)

42,8 (57,2)

30,9

Canada

12 Soc.dem.

46,8 (53,2)

50,9 (49,1)

43,0 (57,0)

33,1

Austria

13 Soc.dem.

46,5 (53,5)

52,1 (47,9)

41,4 (58,6)

30,0

Ireland

14 Populist

46,2 (53,8)

45,0 (55,0)

47,4 (52,6)

35,9

Germany

15 Soc.dem.

45,9 (54,1)

53,0 (47,0)

39,6 (60,4)

28,3

Spain

16 Soc.dem.

45,5 (54,5)

51,5 (48,5)

40,1 (59,9)

32,5

Australia

17 Populist

45,0 (55,0)

48,0 (52,0)

42,2 (57,8)

35,2

United King.

18 Populist

44,5 (55,5)

44,7 (55,3)

44,3 (55,7)

36.0

New Zealand

19 Populist

44,0 (56,0)

44,6 (55,4)

42,4 (57,6)

36,2

France

20 Soc.dem.

43,5 (56,5)

51,4 (48,6)

36,6 (63,4)

32,7

Italy

21 Populist

43,0 (57,0)

44,7 (55,3)

41,3 (58,7)

36,0

USA

22 Cons. lib.

42,5 (57,5)

24,5 (75,5)

69,8 (30,2)

40,8

Israel

23 Populist

42,3 (57,7)

47,8 (52,2)

37,3 (62,7)

35,5

Hong Kong

24 Cons. lib.

42,1 ( 57,9)

22,1 (77,9)

74,8 (25,2)

43,4

Greece

25 Populist

42,0 (58,0)

47,9 (52,1)

36,6 (63,4)

35,4

The estimates are approximately figures. © IIFOR/IJA ISSN 0800 – 0220 2007 and later.
Anarchy = here social-individualist anarchism; Soc. dem. = social democrat marxism; Populist = here moderate parliamentarian democratic fascism; Cons. lib. = Conservative liberalism. See economic-political map above. Ranking of countries according to libertarian degree, estimates of the libertarian degree in general, and information on methodology, see Ranking and System theory - chapter V.B.. We have used " , ", the European standard instead of American/UK standard, i.e. " . " as decimal separator. The term "ca" is an abbreviation for the latin circa, which means about or approximately.

The economic-political map:

 

*) The stars indicate the position of the Norwegian economical-political system after the revolutionary change in 1994/95.
Read more about the anarchist velvet revolutionary change in 1994/95 and the development afterwards at the History of Norway and the Anarchy and IJA 1994-96  

The system in Spain, seen all in all - private and public sector, and seen in international perspective, is a social-democratic, right marxist, system with ca 45,5% libertarian degree, regarding the long term structural estimates of the coordinates of the map. Shifting cabinets and prime ministers among the Spanish major parties are usually indicating just marginal left and right movements of the system seen all in all. However during the present economic depression, there is a relatively strong tendency of unenlightened plutarchy and economical plutarchy in general, i.e. capitalism, in Spain. This is indicating a temporary dip in the libertarian degree, and a movement downwards and to the right on the economic-political map. It may even be possible that the increase in the degree of capitalism has moved the system temporarily into the populist sector of the fascist quadrant of the map. When the economic depression is over, the system however will most likely move towards the coordinates indicated in the table above.

Updated news - latest updates at the bottom of this resolution

01.10.2017. Referendum and general strike in Catalonia. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont says the Spanish region has won the right to statehood following a contentious referendum that was marred by violence. He said the door had been opened to a unilateral declaration of independence. Catalan officials later said 90% of those who voted backed independence in Sunday's (01.10.2017) vote. The turnout was 42,3%. Spain's constitutional court had declared the poll illegal and hundreds of people were injured as police used force to try to block voting. In another development, more than 40 trade unions (included CGT and CNT-AIT) and Catalan associations called a region-wide general strike on Tuesday 03.10.2017 due to "the grave violation of rights and freedoms". The IWW supports the general strike.

03.10.2017. General strike in Catalonia. Thousands of people in Catalonia were rallying and blocking roads in protest over Spanish police violence during Sunday's (01.10.2017) independence referendum. There is little public transport across the region, after local trade unions called a general strike. Barcelona's port was at a standstill, union sources said. Almost 900 people were hurt as police tried to prevent the vote. Thirty-three police officers were also injured. On Tuesday 03.10.2017, about 300,000 people took to the streets of Barcelona, city police were quoted as saying by the AFP news agency. Protest rallies were also taking place in other major cities and towns of the north-eastern autonomous region. CNT-AIT declared "Against all States. For freedom. For social revolution!". This is also valid for an indepent State of Catalonia, thus IWW is against it.

07.10.2017. Unity rally in Madrid. Thousands of people calling for Spanish unity have attended rallies in the capital Madrid after Sunday's disputed referendum for Catalan independence. Other demonstrations - including in the Catalan city Barcelona - have also been held urging political dialogue. Protesters dressed in white gathered with signs saying "Spain is better than its leaders" and "let's talk". The IWW supports dialogue.

08.10.2017. Unity rally in Barcelona. At least 350,000 people gathered in Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, for a rally against independence from Spain. They waved Spanish and Catalan flags and carried banners saying "Together we are stronger" and "Catalonia is Spain". It was the largest such rally in Catalonia amid the furore over last week's disputed independence referendum. Similar rallies were held across Spain on Saturday 07.10.2017. The final results from the referendum in the wealthy north-eastern region suggested 90% of the 2.3 million people who voted backed independence. Turnout was 43%. "No" voters largely boycotted the ballot and there were several reports of irregularities. The government has apologised for police violence last Sunday (01.10.2017). Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy has warned he would not rule out anything "within the law" to halt Catalan secession. Rajoy says that thousands of extra officers shipped into Catalonia will stay until the conflict is resolved. Any declaration of independence by Catalonia will have no effect, Rajoy has warned, adding that he is not ruling out suspending the region's autonomy. In an interview with El País newspaper, Mr Rajoy also rejected any mediation to resolve the crisis.

10.10.2017. Catalan ruler Carles Puigdemont has said his people voted for independence from Spain - but that he wants a negotiated solution with Madrid. He asked the regional parliament in Barcelona to suspend the effect of the vote so talks could begin - rather than breaking away immediately.

11.10.2017. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has given Catalonia's separatist leader five days to say whether or not he has declared independence. If Carles Puigdemont confirms by Monday that he has, he will be given a further three days to withdraw the declaration. Failing that, Madrid will invoke Article 155 of the constitution allowing it to suspend the region's autonomy and impose direct rule. Speaking in parliament, Mr Rajoy said Spain was facing the most serious threat to its 40-year-old democracy. He accused the separatists of hatching an "anti-democratic plan foisting their will on all the people of Catalonia", and said the Spanish government had had no choice but to restore order. "It falls to the Catalan leader to restore constitutional normality," he told deputies, rejecting any suggestion of outside mediation in the dispute. He added that he was willing to negotiate on the issue of regional autonomy and changes to the constitution - but this had to be within the framework of the law. IWW calls for "autonomy and federalism", one of the anarchist (IFA) principles.

12.10.2017. Ochlarchy in Barcelona. Violence broke out in Barcelona on Thursday (October 12) on the sidelines of a pro-unity demonstration organised to coincide with Spain’s national day. Under the motto “Catalonia yes, Spain too”, the march passed peacefully through one of the city’s main streets, with a festive atmosphere. People waving Catalan and Spanish flags were throwing chairs and tables at each other before police arrived to break them up. IWW condemns the ochlarchy.

16.10.2017. Catalonia's nationalistic ruler Puigdemont 'unclear' on independence - Spain. The Spanish government has said that the head of the Catalonia region has failed to clarify whether he declared independence last week. In a letter to Madrid on Monday, Carles Puigdemont instead called for negotiation over the next two months. Spain's Deputy PM Soraya Saenz de Santamaria said Mr Puigdemont now has until Thursday to clarify his position. The Spanish government has warned that Catalonia must revoke the declaration or face direct rule from Madrid. Last week Mr Puigdemont signed a declaration of independence, but halted its implementation to allow negotiations.

17.10.2017. Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades worsened on Monday night (16.10.2017) when Madrid’s High Court jailed the heads of Catalonia’s two main separatist groups pending an investigation for alleged sedition. The Catalan government accused Madrid of taking “political prisoners” and about 200 000 protesters gathered in Barcelona to call for their release.

19.10.2017. Spain to trigger suspension of Catalan autonomy on Saturday. Spain’s government will trigger on Saturday 21.10.2017 the Article 155 of the constitution, which allows to suspend Catalonia’s political autonomy, the Prime Minister’s Office said on Thursday 19.10.2017. The special cabinet meeting was called after Catalan ruler Carles Puigdemont said the regional parliament could vote on a formal declaration of independence from Spain if the central government failed to agree to talks. Puigdemont told members of his Catalan Democratic Party on Wednesday night (18.10.2017) that not only he would not back down but that he would press ahead with a more formal declaration of independence if Rajoy suspends Catalonia’s political autonomy.

The leader of the Catalan nationalists and region’s president, Carles Puigdemont, has written to the Spanish government in Madrid saying urgent talks were the only way to defuse the crisis, but insisting if they did not take place, the Catalan parliament would vote on a unilateral declaration of independence. For Madrid, it is yet another “deliberate attempt to seek institutional confrontation”, and sidesteps an ultimatum that expired on Thursday demanding Catalonia abandon its independence plans. “In the absence of a clear and precise answer, the Government understands that it has not responded to its request and therefore will continue with the procedures provided for in article 155 of the Constitution with the aim of restoring legality in Catalonia,” said government spokesman Íñigo Méndez de Vigo. “That said no one doubts that the government will put all the means at its disposal to restore as soon as possible the legality and the constitutional order, to recover the peaceful coexistence between citizens and to stop the deterioration that the political and juridical insecurity, of which the “The leaders of the Generalitat are the only ones responsible, is causing in Catalonia an obvious economic and social detriment to all citizens,” he added. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy holds an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday when ministers will send a bill to the Senate demanding the unprecedented suspension of Catalonia’s regional autonomy.

21.10.2017. Rajoy says he will sack Catalan government, call regional elections. The Spanish prime minister also said he would curb the powers of Catalonia's parliament. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday (October 21) said he would curb the powers of Catalonia’s parliament, sack its government and call a regional election within six months in a bid to stop efforts by the autonomous region to break away from Spain. Rajoy said his government had taken the unprecedented decision to restore the law, make sure regional institutions were neutral, and to guarantee public services and economic activity as well as preserve the civil rights of all citizens. The measures must now be approved by Spain’s upper house, the Senate, where a vote is scheduled for October 27. The comments came after Spain’s central government met to discuss establishing control of the wealthy northeastern region.  The emergency cabinet meeting follows a referendum on secession three weeks ago. Madrid says suspending some of Catalonia’s autonomy — a move that could be applied under Article 155 of the Spanish constitution — would guarantee “freedom, security and plurality” in the face of “rebellious disobedience.” Spain’s prime minister Mariano Rajoy said the goal of such measures, “is to go back to legality because it cannot be a portion of a country where law is not applied, where law doesn’t exist. And at the same time we need to go back to institutional normality.” The country’s head of state King Felipe said he supports the central government’s stance, and affirmed the unity of Spain. He says “Catalonia is and will remain an essential part.”

Puigdemont says Catalonia 'will not accept' Spain's plan. The speech followed the Spanish prime minister's announcement that he will sack the region's government and call elections. Catalan ruler Carles Puigdemont has condemned Spain’s “democratic attack” on Catalonia, following Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s announcement that he plans to curb the powers of the region’s parliament, sack its government and call an election within six months. Puigdemont called on the Catalan parliament to meet to debate the measures, which he described as the “worst attacks” since the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. He added that the region cannot accept the plans, warning that the “response of citizens will be severe and will end up with a big step backwards.” The speech came amid mass protests in Barcelona, where some 450,000 people gathered to demand freedom for jailed influential pro-independence activists Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart, and protesting against 'direct rule' from Madrid. Rajoy announced the new measures for Catalonia earlier on Saturday (October 21), following a meeting with the central government to discuss thwarting efforts by the autonomous region to break away from Spain.

24.10.2017. Autonomy and federalism is an anarchist (IFA) principle, but also equality and solidarity, and this is very important, and relevant, to the discussion about autonomy for Catalonia. It is clearly against anarchist policy when relatively rich parts of countries, as Catalonia (and Lombardy & Veneto in Italy), want more autonomy or even want to be an own state, leaving poorer parts of the country to be even poorer, declares IWW. Anarchists are also for internationalism and against nationalism and supranationalism.

27.10.2017. The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain, while the Spanish parliament has approved direct rule over the region. The Catalan regional parliament has voted to declare independence from Spain. The move was backed 70-10 in a ballot boycotted by opposition MPs. In all, the motion declaring independence was approved with 70 in favour, 10 against and two abstentions in the 135-seat chamber. Minutes after the Catalan Parliament declared independence, the Spanish Senate voted to take direct rule over Catalonia. The Spanish government immediately called a cabinet meeting at 6pm CET to enforce direct rule over Catalonia. The main secessionist group in Catalonia called on civil servants to not follow orders from Madrid and instead to respond with “peaceful resistance”.

IWW does not recognize the new Catalan state, but calls for peace, and no ochlarchy... The future for Catalonia within Spain should be based on autonomy and federalism, decentralization, equality and solidarity and other anarchist (IFA) principles, all in all more autonomy broadly defined and socialism, both in Catalonia and Spain in general.

Later Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy says he is dissolving the Catalan parliament and calling regional elections over its push for independence. The prime minister said the unprecedented imposition of direct rule on Catalonia was essential to "recover normality" in the region. He is also firing Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his cabinet. Mr Rajoy made the announcement following a frantic day of developments in the row over Catalan independence. The Spanish Senate granted Mr Rajoy's government the constitutional power to suspend Catalan autonomy, and after a cabinet meeting Mr Rajoy spelled out what that would entail. Promising "free, clean and legal" elections, he called the situation "sad", saying: "We never wanted to come to this." The elections are scheduled for 21 December. Mr Rajoy also announced the sacking of the Catalan police chief. After the Catalan parliament voted to declare independence, thousands took to the streets to celebrate. Separatists say the move means they no longer fall under Spanish jurisdiction. But the Spanish Constitutional Court is likely to declare it illegal, while the EU, the US, the UK, Germany and France all expressed support for Spanish unity. There have been pro-unity demonstrations too, with protesters in Barcelona waving Spanish flags and denouncing Catalan independence. The Spanish government stripped Catalonia's most senior police officials of their powers, hours after direct rule was imposed on the region. Catalonia's 17,000-strong local police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra, was taken over by the Spanish Ministry of Interior. The force's popular chief, Josep Lluis Trapero, was also dismissed and replaced by his low-profile deputy, Ferran López.

28.10.2017. The Spanish government has stripped Catalonia of its autonomy and taken charge of its government. Early on Saturday 28.10.2017 an official state bulletin dismissed Catalan leaders and handed control of Catalonia to Spain's Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria. Demonstrations for and against independence went on into the night. Demonstrators have gathered in Madrid to call for a united Spain. A large rally "for the unity of Spain and the constitution" was held in Madrid on Saturday. Sacked Catalan ruler Carles Puigdemont has called for "democratic opposition" to direct rule from Madrid. He condemned the suspension of Catalonia's autonomy and promised to continue to "work to build a free country". He made the call in a pre-recorded TV address to Catalans broadcast on Saturday afternoon. The Spanish government has said it would welcome the participation of Mr Puigdemont in new elections in the region in December. A Spanish government spokesperson, Íñigo Méndez de Vigo, said that despite his removal from office, the separatist leader had the right to continue in politics. "The Catalans will be able to say what they feel about what they've been seeing in this last year, with all sorts of failing the law, abusing the law and putting themselves outside the law," the spokesman added. A poll published by Spanish national newspaper El Pais on Saturday suggests more Catalans (52% to 43%) are in favour of the dissolution of the regional parliament and the holding of elections. Fifty-five per cent of Catalan respondents opposed the declaration of independence, with 41% in favour.

29.10.2017. Unity rally in Barcelona. Hundreds of thousands of anti-independence protesters rallied in the Catalan capital of Barcelona on Sunday 29.10.2017. In a sea of red-and-yellow Spanish and Catalan flags, protesters marched down Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia shopping strip, some chanting for the imprisonment of deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, who led the divisive independence drive. The Guardia Urbana, a Catalan municipal police force, said at least 300,000 people had turned out in Barcelona. Organisers and the government in Madrid put the turnout at more than a million people. Puigdemont has urged his supporters to pursue "democratic opposition" to the moves by Madrid, which have included dissolving the region's government and calling snap elections for December 21. It was unclear on Sunday what that opposition would mean in practice. The sacked head of the Catalan police force urged officers to follow the orders of the new commanders, but there were signs that some civil servants would refuse to obey Madrid. The Spanish government on Saturday 28.10.2017 confirmed that Puigdemont would be eligible to run again for President. But at the same time, Madrid has threatened to have the suspended leader charged for "rebellion," which carries a maximum 30-year jail term.

30.10.2017. Spain's chief prosecutor has called for charges including rebellion - which carries a maximum 30 year jail term - to be brought against Catalan leaders. José Manuel Maza said they should also face sedition charges following the region's declaration of independence. Speaking at a news conference earlier, Mr Maza, the Spanish attorney-general, called for Catalonia's leaders to be charged with misuse of funds over the independence referendum they held in October, after it had been declared illegal by the constitutional court. Under the Spanish legal system, Mr Maza's requests will be considered by a judge. There appeared to be no major disruption in Catalan government offices on Monday, despite some officials defying instructions from Madrid not to turn up for work. Any ministers who arrived at their offices were given hours to leave under threat of "action" by Catalonia's regional police force, Mossos. Madrid's temporary move to impose direct control by invoking Article 155 of the constitution - a first for Spain - will see as many as 150 of the region's top officials replaced. Mr Puigdemont and his vice-president Oriol Junqueras reject the central government's moves, arguing they can only be removed from office by the citizens of Catalonia. Madrid has called for fresh regional elections on 21 December. A spokeswoman for Mr Puigdemont's PDeCAT party said it would field candidates "with conviction". The ex-president could run in new elections if he has not been jailed by then, according to Spain's Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis. Sacked Catalan President Carles Puigdemont has gone to Belgium, a lawyer he has hired there says. The lawyer, Paul Bekaert, did not comment on reports that Mr Puigdemont could be preparing an asylum claim. Spanish media reported that Mr Puigdemont had met Flemish politicians in Brussels. Puigdemont was in Belgium with several of his sacked government ministers, among them Dolores Bassa, labour minister and Joaquim Forn, interior minister.

10.2017. Catalonia's sacked President Carles Puigdemont says he has not travelled to Belgium to seek asylum. He has appeared in public in Brussels with several colleagues after declaring independence from Spain last week. Mr Puigdemont said he was not trying to escape justice but wanted to be able to speak freely. He was speaking at a press conference as Spain's constitutional court suspended the declaration of independence made by the Catalan leader on Friday 27.10.2017.

01.11.2017. Spain's high court has summoned sacked Catalan leader Carles Puidgemont and 13 other members of his dismissed government to appear later this week. It also gave them three days to pay a deposit of €6.2m ($7.2m) to cover potential liabilities. The summons comes after Spain's chief prosecutor on Monday 30.10.2017 said he would press charges including rebellion. Sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont will not return to Spain to answer charges including rebellion, his Belgian lawyer has said. Paul Bekaert suggested Mr Puigdemont should instead be questioned in Belgium where he has been since Monday 30.10.2017. He has been summoned to court in Madrid on Thursday 02.11.2017, alongside 13 deputies. They face charges including sedition and misuse of public funds over last month's banned independence referendum. Spanish prosecutors could order their arrest if they fail to appear in court for questioning. But Mr Bekaert said that his client would "wait and see" further reaction from the Spanish authorities before returning because of the "high" risk of detention. He also suggested he would fight any extradition ordered by the Spanish national government. Joaquim Forn and Dolors Bassa, the deposed Catalan interior and labour ministers who travelled with the former Catalan president to Belgium, returned to Barcelona on Tuesday night (31.10.2017). They were greeted by chants of "off to prison" by some crowds that had gathered at Barcelona international airport.

02.11.2017. Eight sacked Catalan ministers have been remanded in custody by a Spanish high court judge over the region's push for independence. Prosecutors had asked the judge to detain eight of the nine former government members who turned up for questioning in Madrid. The state prosecutor has requested a European arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont. The request also covers four other dismissed Catalan ministers who did not show up in court in Madrid as requested. No good news for Carles Puigdemont. Later an arrest warrant was issued for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont said his lawyer on Belgian State Broadcaster VRT. Eight of Catalonia’s separatist leaders have been jailed after appearing in court on charges of sedition, rebellion and misuse of public funds. The judge refused them bail amid fears they may also abscond like the sacked Catalan president Carles Puidgemont. It comes after Spain’s state prosecutor called for most of the ministers to be jailed pending an investigation and a potential trial over their role in Catalonia’s illegal push for independence. The group of nine includes former regional vice-president Oriol Junqueras. But the prosecutor recommended that one of them, Santi Vila, should be granted bail of 50,000 euros. He stepped down from the Catalan cabinet before a unilateral declaration of independence and has since then been pushing for a negotiated solution with the government. Thousands of Catalans have protested against the detention of eight regional ministers sacked over Catalonia's push for independence from Spain. Thousands of people gathered outside Catalonia's regional parliament in Barcelona. Many carried Catalan flags and slogans that read "Freedom for political prisoners". Similar protest rallies were held in other Catalan towns. Political parties and civic groups in the affluent north-eastern region also condemned the judicial move. Madrid has powerful economic levers, even though Catalonia is one of Spain's wealthiest regions. More than 1,600 companies, including the banks Caixa and Sabadell and several utility companies, have decided to move their legal headquarters out of Catalonia since the referendum. Catalonia accounts for about a fifth of Spain's economic output but Catalonia also has a huge pile of debt and owes €52bn (£47bn; $61bn) to the Spanish government.

03.11.2017. A Spanish judge has issued European Arrest Warrants (EAW) for sacked Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four of his allies who went to Belgium. The four ex-ministers are former agriculture minister Meritxell Serret, former health minister Antoni Comín, former culture minister Lluís Puig and former education minister Clara Ponsatí, the BBC said. The five failed to attend a high court hearing in Madrid on Thursday. Thousands of protesters have gathered in Barcelona and other Catalan cities for the second night running to call for the release of the former officials detained on Thursday 02.11.2017.

04.11.2017. The fate of Catalonia’s ousted leader remains unclear but Belgium’s ruled out his immediate extradition to Spain. Madrid has issued a European arrest warrant for Carles Puigdemont however Brussels has made it clear the matter must be decided by its courts and not its executive. Belgian authorities have also released a statement saying they don’t consider Puigdemont to be a flight risk so they are not in a hurry to talk to him, adding it could be Sunday or Monday. For his part, Puigdemont has taken to Twitter to call for a united political front in December’s snap election to continue the drive for independence. Puigdemont repeated that he is willing to cooperate with Belgian authorities over the arrest warrant. He’s also called for more protests against the jailing of eight former members of his regional government, words warmly welcomed by some on the streets of Barcelona. “To pick someone up and arrest them is not politics. Politics is talking, discussing, to arrest someone seems to me a little bit like the action of a fascist government. It’s something that doesn’t make any sense these days in Europe, we all need to talk and discuss, that’s why we live in a democracy,” said Barcelona local Cristiano Gonzalez. Some crucial talks are likely to take place this weekend as political parties that wish to run on a common platform have until Tuesday to register any potential coalition.

05.11.2017. Catalonia's deposed leader Carles Puigdemont and four former advisers have turned themselves in to Belgian police, says a prosecutors' spokesman. He said an investigating judge would decide by Monday 06.11.2017 morning whether to execute an EU arrest warrant issued by a Spanish judge on Friday 03.11.2017. Sunday 05.11.2017 saw more protests in Catalonian cities against the detention of Catalan officials and activists held by the Madrid authorities. Protesters plastered city squares with posters depicting the detainees as political prisoners.

06.11.2017. Former Catalan ruler Carles Puigdemont and four former ministers have been freed with conditions by an investigating judge in Belgium. The judge said they could not leave the country without permission and had to give details of their accommodation. Puigdemont and four associates will appear before a Belgian court on Nov. 17 to discuss the European arrest warrant Spain has issued against them, prosecutors said on Monday 06.11.2017. “The Brussels prosecutor’s office hereby confirms that the hearing at the council chamber will take place on Nov. 17 at 1400 (1300 GMT),” Brussels prosecutors said in a statement. The hearing is one stage of the European extradition procedure that could take several weeks to complete.

07.11.2017. A delegation of 200 Catalan mayors will be in Brussels on Tuesday 07.11.2017 to support the Catalan government and its ousted leader, Carles Puigdemont and to explain their view on the crisis between Madrid and Barcelona. The mayors will gather at 1pm at the Schuman roundabout, outside the Berlaymont building, which is home to the European Commission. Catalan officials at the Brussels event Tuesday urged European Union leaders to take up the Catalan cause. A group of mayors held up letters spelling "Help Catalonia." At the end, they sang the Catalan anthem and the mayor raised their walking sticks— the symbol of mayoral power in Spain.

08.11.2017. Spain could allow referendums, says FM. Spain is considering constitutional changes that could allow its regions to hold referendums on independence in the future, the foreign minister Alfonso Dastis says. Dastis has said a nationwide vote on the issue could be held. "We have created a committee in parliament to explore the possibility of amending the constitution to be able to accommodate better the aspirations of some of the Catalan people," Mr Dastis said. "We acknowledge there is a political situation that deserves to be looked at but, in any case, it's clear that the decision will be taken, will have to be taken by all Spaniards." He also said he was sorry if people got hurt during the banned referendum last month, but that there was no disproportionate use of force. He had previously said some pictures of violence were "fake". This appears to be an olive branch to supporters of separatism in Catalonia, who are protesting once again across the region. It offers the prospect of a referendum to change the Spanish constitution and therefore make it legally possible to hold a referendum on Catalan independence. But what that means in effect, is that the entire population of Spain - 47 million people - would vote on whether Catalonia should have the right to self-determination. Alfonso Dastis said the legal change might help resolve the Catalan crisis for future generations. But it is a far cry from what deposed Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont had called for, the right for Catalans only to decide. Mr Puigdemont is now in self-imposed exile in Belgium, sought by Spain to face charges of rebellion following his illegal declaration of independence. In a speech to parliament, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy called for a big turnout in the snap election called for 21 December so that Spain could get over the crisis. Pro-independence parties failed on Tuesday 07.11.2017 to reach an agreement to form a united front for the vote.

Gridlock as Catalonia hit by general strike. Roads have been blocked in Spain’s Catalonia region as pro-independence supporters took to the streets as part of a general strike. Some public transport was disrupted and shops closed, but major stores were reported to be open as usual. Major motorways were cut off though, causing massive tailbacks. The strike was called by the two main civic groups who support independence, with demands that their leaders be freed from prison and sedition charges against them be lifted. Minor clashes were reported as police attempted to move some protesters. As local political parties try to prepare for new elections set for December after Madrid took back control of the region, Spain’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday 08.11.2017 officially annulled the Catalan parliament’s unilateral declaration of independence last month. The events of recent weeks have plunged Spain into its worst political crisis in decades and raised fears about the effect on the economy.

09.11.2017. The former speaker of the Catalan parliament is appearing at Spain's Supreme Court over her role in the region's push for independence. Carme Forcadell and the MPs arrived to pro and anti-independence protests on Thursday morning. Later the speaker of Catalonia’s parliament and five of its members have appeared before Spain’s Supreme Court in Madrid. Spain’s state prosecutor asked the judge to jail Forcadell and three other lawmakers, and for the others to be released on certain conditions, according to a court source. Hearings were still going on into the early evening on Thursday 09.11.2017. Spain’s supreme court has ordered the release on bail of the Catalan parliament speaker. It’s been set at 150,000 euros. Spain’s state prosecutor had asked a judge to jail Carme Forcadell who enabled its declaration of independence while an investigation into charges of rebellion and sedition continues. She reportedly said she will comply with emergency powers from Madrid. Five other lawmakers were also in court, with four of them being released on bails of 25,000 euros, while the other was released without bail. Carme Forcadell was put in jail until the bail is paid.

10.11.2017. Catalonia’s parliament speaker spent Thursday night in prison outside Madrid and will be kept there until she pays bail of 150,000 euros. It follows a marathon court hearing that saw Carme Forcadell and several colleagues summoned to answer charges of rebellion. A judge at the Supreme Court in the Spanish capital ruled that Forcadell could be freed on bail once the cash is handed over. Four other lawmakers were allowed to walk free but must find bail of 25,000 euros while a fifth was released without bail. They were summoned to court for enabling an Oct. 27 declaration of independence that prompted the Spanish government to dissolve the Catalan parliament and sack the regional administration. Eight former members of the Catalan government and the leaders of the two main pro-independence grassroots groups remain in custody awaiting trial at the High Court on charges of rebellion and sedition. On Thursday 09.11.2017, the High Court rejected an appeal presented by their lawyers for their release, a court spokeswoman said. Forcadell’s role in Catalonia’s push for independence sparked strong feelings outside the Supreme Court, with some demonstrators defending Spanish unity while others rallied in support of a Catalan breakaway. Later Catalonia’s parliament speaker has been released from custody after posting bail of 150,000 euros. Carme Forcadell's supporters paid the €150,000 (£132,000) bail for her release. For Carme Forcadell, the road to freedom has been costly on more than a financial level. Spain’s Supreme Court ordered her to pay 150,000 euros, but she also had to agree to renounce “any political activity that went against the Spanish constitution.”

11.11.2017. Catalan pro-independence supporters march in Barcelona. Independence parties make a show of strength in Barcelona but no political Catalan unity ahead of vote. One month to go before crucial elections in Catalonia and there has been a show of force by pro-separatists in Barcelona. 750,000 people rallied in Barcelona to protest against the detention of Catalan leaders. Protesters in Barcelona on Saturday 11.11.2017 shone phone torches in unison at sunset, as calls were made to free eight Catalan ministers and two grassroots campaign leaders. They marched behind a banner declaring "We are a republic", and carried placards that said the 10 Catalan detainees were political prisoners. The sacked former ministers are being investigated for alleged rebellion and sedition, while the two activists were arrested over a mass protest before the referendum. There were performances and speeches to the crowd. Protesters chanted "Puigdemont for president" and a cellist played a traditional Christmas carol, The Song of the Birds, which is associated with Catalans driven into political exile. In another development, the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau, condemned Catalonia's pro-independence leaders. Ms Colau, who was elected in 2015 on an anti-capitalist platform and whose party is standing in the regional parliamentary election for the first time, said leaders of the independence movement had "tricked the population for their own interests". "They've provoked tensions and carried out a unilateral independence declaration which the majority do not want," she told a meeting of her Catalonia in Common party. However, her party has also voted to break a pact with the Socialist party in Barcelona in protest at its support for the national government's decision to invoke Article 155 of the constitution, imposing direct rule on Catalonia.

12.11.2017. Spain's Rajoy vows to end 'separatist havoc'. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said regional elections next month in Catalonia will help end "separatist havoc" in the north-eastern region. He addressed a campaign event on his first visit there since imposing direct rule on the region a fortnight ago. Defending his decision in Barcelona, he said he had "exhausted all roads" after the Catalan government's unilateral declaration of independence last month. Speaking at a campaign event in Barcelona for his Popular Party (PP) on Sunday 12.11.2017, Mr Rajoy called on the participation of the "silent majority" to "convert their voice into a vote". "We must reclaim Catalonia from the havoc of separatism," he added, saying: "With democracy, we want to reclaim Catalonia for everyone." He told PP supporters that the right result would boost Spain's economic growth next year to above 3%. He called on companies not to leave the region, after hundreds of firms moved their headquarters away amid uncertainty over the region - which accounts for a fifth of Spain's economy. He also urged people in Spain to continue buying Catalan products. Mr Rajoy's PP won just 8.5% of the vote in the last regional elections two years ago.

17.11.2017. Catalonia’s ousted ruler Carles Puigdemont is due in court in Brussels on Friday 17.11.2017 to argue against extraditon to Spain. Puigdemont sought refuge in Belgium after running an independence campaign that prompted the government in Madrid to impose direct rule on Catalonia and call new elections. His legal team are set to argue that he and four separatist allies with him are being persecuted for their policital opinions and shouldn’t be handed over. But press reports say that Belgium’s Public Prosecutor has already made enquiries about the prison conditions the group would face if their extradition goes ahead. Spain is said to have provided reassurances about the jail in Madrid in whch Puigdemont would be incarcerated. That prospect has further stirred passions on the streets of Barcelona where independence supporters staged a fresh protest on Thursday (16.11.2017) night, to denounce the detention of other former Catalan separatist leaders who they see as political prisoners. Later a Belgian judge has made no ruling on a European arrest warrant issued by Spain for ousted Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, following a court hearing in Brussels. The Belgian judge has postponed a decision on executing an arrest warrant for ousted Catalan leader, Carles Puigdemont, until December. The Belgian prosecutor demanded the warrant to be exercised, but the case for Puigdemont’s defence will be made at a hearing early next month. “We will make our case on December 4. The prosecutor has asked for the extradition warrant to be exercised. Nothing has been decided today,” said Paul Bekaert, Puigdemont’s lawyer, outside the main Brussels court. The prosecutor had determined that according to Belgian law Puigdemont and four of his former ministers who travelled with him to Brussels were charged with conspiracy by public officials, Bekaert added. Under the Spanish warrant, all five faced charges of rebellion and sedition. The European arrest warrant system in place since 2004 makes it easier for EU countries to demand the extradition from other EU states of people wanted for crimes, and removes political decision-making from the process. EU countries issue thousands of such warrants each year. The Oct. 1 referendum and subsequent turmoil have plunged Spain into its gravest political crisis since the return of democracy four decades ago. Puigdemont has since said he might consider a solution that did not involve secession.

25.11.2017. Catalan election campaign launched from Belgium. Catalonia’s former president Carles Puigdemont is having to launch his regional election campaign from exile in Belgium. He fled Spain last month after the government charged him with sedition for holding an illegal referendum on independence. Puigdemont addressed his Together for Catalonia party candidates at a hotel near Bruges.

04.12.2017. Four top separatists to stay in jail. Two senior figures in the sacked Catalan separatist government must stay in jail but six others can go free, a Spanish supreme court judge has ruled. The six set to leave Spanish jails must post bail of €100,000 (£88,000; $120,000) each. Two top activists must also remain in jail. The judge in Madrid ruled that Mr Puigdemont's deputy Oriol Junqueras and Catalan ex-Interior Minister Joaquim Forn must stay in jail, along with grassroots separatist leaders Jordi Sanchez and Jordi Cuixart.
Those freed on bail are:

The bail conditions state that they must report every week to a judge in Catalonia, they cannot leave Spain and they have to surrender their passports. Mr Puigdemont and four other ex-ministers also appeared in court in Brussels on Monday 04.12.2017. Spain wants them to be extradited, and a lawyer for Mr Puigdemont tweeted that a Belgian judge would decide on 14 December.

05.12.2017. Catalan arrest warrants withdrawn by Spain's Supreme Court. A Spanish judge has withdrawn an international arrest warrant for ousted Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and four other ministers. They fled to Belgium a month ago after declaring unilateral independence in a referendum ruled illegal by Spain. Despite the move, the judge said they still faced possible charges for sedition and rebellion. Rebellion is considered one of the most serious crimes in Spain, carrying a jail term of up to 30 years. Spanish Supreme Court judge Pablo Llareno announced the warrant's withdrawal on Tuesday morning, citing the willingness the Catalan leaders had shown to return ahead of fresh regional elections being held on 21 December. He said its removal would allow Spain full control over the investigation. Meanwhile Catalan parties launch their election campaigns. Between now and December 21 pro-Spanish and pro-Independence Catalans will have to decide which parties best represent them.

07.12.2017. Catalan separatists march in Brussels. Tens of thousands of Catalan separatists marched in Brussels on Thursday to show support to their ousted leader Carles Puigdemont, who faces arrest in Spain and is currently in Belgium. Before Puigdemont addressed the crowd, Brussels police said about 45,000 people attended the rally, many draped in Catalan flags. There were chants of "Puigdemont, President" from the crowd of demonstrators, many of whom travelled from Spain for the occasion. Several buses came straight from Barcelona to Brussels' Parc du Cinquantenaire, which was created to mark the 50th anniversary of Belgium's independence from the Netherlands. Some protesters carried placards criticising the European Union for not pressuring Madrid. One sign showed the face of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker with the question: "Democracy? Some defend it when it suits them. Shame on them." Many Catalans are pro-European but they feel let down by the EU's refusal to mediate their conflict with Madrid. Puigdemont, who is facing arrest in Spain for organising an illegal independence referendum in October, told a news conference on Wednesday 06.12.2017 that he would stay in Belgium for the time being. His party, 'Together for Catalonia', is campaigning on a pro-independence ticket for the December 21 elections called by Madrid in an effort to resolve the crisis.

21.12.2017. The people of Catalonia are going to the polls in a closely watched regional election called by Spain following a controversial independence referendum. The snap election pits parties who want Catalonia to be an independent republic against those who wish it to remain a semi-autonomous part of Spain. All indications are that the result will be very close. There seems little prospect that the election will solve the region's political crisis. The Spanish daily El Pais said on its front page on Wednesday 20.12.2017 that one million undecided voters could have the last word. Later: with 99 percent of ballots counted in a vote to elect Catalonia’s regional parliament, separatist parties are seen winning 70 seats out of 135. Turnout was more than 80%, a record for a Catalan regional election.

22.12.2017. Catalan crisis: No mood for compromise after close vote. The day after elections in Catalonia deepened the split between its separatist parties and the Spanish government, both sides are in a defiant mood. The elections gave the three pro-independence parties a slight majority in the regional Parliament, underscoring the resilience of their vote after three months of upheaval. After a record turnout of over 80%, they won 70 of the 135 seats, compared with 72 in the 2015 elections. But again they won a fraction less than half of the total votes cast (nearly 48%), slightly less than they did in 2015. The party of former Catalan President Carlos Puigdemont won 34 seats -- even though he has been in self-imposed exile in Belgium since October. The turmoil has had a chilling effect on Catalonia's economy. Foreign investment fell by 75% in the third quarter of this year compared to a year ago.  Two of Spain's largest banks -- Caixa and Sabadell -- decided to move their headquarters out of Catalonia -- as did some 3,000 other companies. The latest result, and the uncertainty that lies ahead, won't have them hurrying back to Catalonia.

23.12.2017. Difficult talks are starting after Catalonia's election. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy has said he will discuss the issue of Catalan independence with whoever becomes the new leader of the Catalan government. Rajoy has however said he will only begin talks with the next Catalan President within the country. His statement is in response to an offer by Carles Puigdemont, leader of the nationalist Together for Catalonia party, to hold talks outside of Spain. Following the regional election in Catalonia, in which no party gained an outright majority, Mr Rajoy said he was willing to hold talks with whoever took control of the Catalan regional government "in a realistic way and inside the law". At a press conference Rajoy said the national government was willing to talk to the new leader. However, he stipulated that talks would need to be inside of Spain. This is because the former President Carles Puidgemont is in self-imposed exile in Belgium. He faces possible arrest if he returns to Spain because of his role in the illegal independence referendum. Speaking at a press conference Rajoy said "The government of Spain would like to offer all its co-operation and all its willingness for a constructive, open and realistic dialogue. But always within the rule of the law." Combined the separatist parties had a slim majority. However, the largest single winner of the Catalan election was the pro-union party Cuidadonos. It's leader Inés Arrimadas has been compared by some to the French President Emmanuel Macron. Her victory has been seen as a sign by some that the nationalists are falling out of favor. Cuidadonos did however not gain enough votes to form a majority. Despite this their popularity could be a threat to Rajoy's Popular Party when Spain next holds national elections.

29.12.2017. Spain's prime minister says the new Catalan parliament should hold its first session on 17 January, ahead of reinstating the region's government. Mariano Rajoy's announcement comes a week after Catalonia's separatist parties won a majority in a divisive snap election. He called the vote in a bid to quash a bid for independence by the region's leaders and end the political crisis. Analysts say it could take months for a new Catalan government to be formed. "I hope that as soon as possible we will be able to have a Catalan government that is open to dialogue and able to relate to all Catalans, not just half of them," Mr Rajoy said in an end-of-year address to the nation on Friday 29.12.2017.

17.01.2018. Catalan MPs return for the re-opening of parliament. "Hologram president"? On Wednesday 17.01.2018, Catalan MPs return for the re-opening of parliament, following the snap elections the Spanish government called in December. The region's three separatist parties are set to govern again, after they won 70 out of 135 available seats, enough collectively to rule as a coalition - if they can establish one. Two things of note will begin to happen. Firstly, a parliamentary board will be voted for, and reflecting the election result that will mostly be made up of independence politicians. Secondly, that board will be in charge of proposing the next president - but there is an unresolved problem. The board is likely to propose the ex-President Carles Puigdemont as leader again, despite the fact that he's 800 miles away in Belgium, in self-imposed exile. He is refusing to return because if he does, he faces arrest on sedition and rebellion allegations, which carry a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years. But how the eight independence politicians still in prison or exile will be able to cast their votes - or operate in parliament when they're not present - is being questioned. Mr Puigdemont's team believe he can rule from afar, via Skype, Facebook and social media if need be, although that has earned him the nickname the "hologram president" in the Spanish press. In Barcelona, Mr Puigdemont's spokesman, Joan Maria Piqué, tells me it is perfectly plausible for him to be president remotely, and points to how Donald Trump uses Twitter as a prime source of interaction in the US. There has been a warning this week from Spain's Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, who says that any attempt to inaugurate Mr Puigdemont will lead to the continuation of emergency rule by Madrid. Lawyers for the Catalan parliament council, an advisory body, have also said it would not be legal or within the Spanish constitution to allow for a president in exile. Joan Maria Piqué dismisses both of these claims, and states that Mr Rajoy has no power to prevent a Puigdemont presidency. In Madrid, a spokesman for the Partido Popular, Spain's governing party, tells the situation has gone "from an independence crisis to a political farce". Ramón García says the Spanish government believes any political return for Carles Puigdemont will have to be decided by the Spanish Constitutional Court, and that it is likely to immediately suspend the decision to elect him while it investigates the legal possibility of remote rule. Later Catalan MPs in Barcelona have elected a pro-independence speaker at their first meeting since Madrid dissolved the region's parliament. The choice of Roger Torrent is the first step to reinstating local government. The new Catalan Parliament's term opens with many doubts. The Parliament has two-and-a-half months to elect a President of Catalonia. If they don't  - the elections will be called again. In contrast to the sound and fury of the recent months of protest and political discontent, it appears calm, for now, as the next more formal stage of the crisis plays out.

27.01.2018. Catalonia's Puigdemont cannot lead from abroad, court rules. A Spanish court has moved to block pro-independence politician Carles Puigdemont from assuming the presidency of Catalonia. The former leader has been living in Brussels since he declared independence in October, resulting in charges of sedition and rebellion against him. Mr Puigdemont is the only candidate for the Catalonian presidency. But the country's constitutional court has now ruled he cannot lead the region's parliament from abroad. Supporters of Mr Puigdemont had argued that he could carry out his role with the use of technology such as video links from Belgium, where he is currently living. The Spanish government, however, has contested that a "fugitive" cannot lead a regional parliament. It had asked the nation's constitutional court to rule on the issue. In a statement, the court said that it was suspending Mr Puigdemont's swearing-in unless he appeared in the Catalonian parliament in person - and received prior permission from the courts to do so. The decision was unanimous, it said. The Spanish authorities had hoped December's elections would end the political crisis, during which it has imposed direct rule on the largely autonomous region. But an alliance of separatist parties still held a majority in the Catalan parliament after the vote. It is now due to vote for a new president on Tuesday 30.01.2018, with no other candidate apart from Mr Puidgemont proposed.

29.01.2018. The former president of Catalan, Carles Puigdemont, says he plans to seek judicial permission to attend his inauguration as president after Spain's top court ruled that he couldn't be there unless a court allowed it.

30.01.2018. Catalonia vote postponed, support remains for Puigdemont. Catalonia's current president and parliamentary speaker insists the vote is delayed, not cancelled and says Carles Puigdemont is still the best candidate to lead the region. Carles Puigdemont is the 'only feasible candidate to lead Catalonia', the region’s current president has insisted as he announced a vote to determine the position had been postponed. Roger Torrent, who is also the Parliament Speaker stressed the ballot had not been cancelled: "I will not propose any other candidate. President Carles Puigdemont has all the legitimacy to be a candidate and he has all the right... That's why I have personally pledged to guarantee his immunity, and the immunity of all the deputies in the exercise of their political rights in the Parliament of Catalonia ". But Madrid says Puigdemont is not a viable candidate as he has been in self-imposed exile since illegally declaring independence for Catalonia in October.

02.03.2018. No second term in office for Puigdemont. In a blow to Catalonia's bid for independence, former leader Carles Puigdemont has pulled back from a bid for a second term in office. He said his withdrawal was the only way to get a new government underway. Puigdemont faces charges of sedition and rebellion in Spain and is currently in self-imposed exile in Brussels. He said his party would propose a pro-secession campaigner, Jordi Sanchez - currently in remand in a Madrid prison on charges of sedition - as an alternative candidate. The announcement came just hours after three pro-independence parties in the Catalan parliament approved a motion recognising the legitimacy of Puigdemont's candidacy. It also reaffirmed the validity of a banned October 1st referendum on independence in a tense first session of parliament since elections in December. The nomination of Sanchez is likely to be just as fraught with difficulty given he is in detention.

09.03.2018. Spain's Supreme Court says the man nominated to lead Catalonia's regional government cannot be freed from jail to attend an investiture ceremony. Pro-independence activist Jordi Sanchez, 53, had asked to be released to attend Monday's debate and vote in the Catalan parliament. He was jailed on sedition charges after October's independence referendum, which was deemed illegal by Spain. The judge said there was a risk Mr Sanchez would reoffend. Mr Sanchez was nominated as Catalonia's leader by separatist parties after the former head, Carles Puigdemont, last week formally abandoned his attempt to be reappointed. He has backed Mr Sanchez, who is the only candidate. Judge Pablo Llarena ruled on Friday 09.03.2018 that although Mr Sanchez had the right to participate in public affairs, those rights could be curtailed if there was a risk of reoffending.

11.03.2018. Catalonia 'Republic Now' march draws thousands. Several thousand Catalans took to the streets of Barcelona on Sunday 11.03.2018 calling for pro-secession politicians to forge greater unity and press ahead with their promise to create an independent republic. Police say 45,000 independence supporters have marched in Barcelona, demanding the formation of a new Catalan government. Madrid has blocked the moves and legal action has also forced the Catalan parliament to cancel this week’s planned session to elect a new regional first minister.

18.03.2018. Thousands of pro-unity supporters protest in Barcelona. Thousands of demonstrators marched in downtown Barcelona in favour of national unity. It’s against the secessionist movement in Catalonia. Holding Spanish flags, the official “Senyera” flags of Catalonia as well as European Union flags, demonstrators demanded the election of a leader “for all Catalans” to the regional parliament. Sunday's demonstrators oppose the possibility of electing the jailed leader of the region's independence movement Jordi Sanchez as Catalonia's next president. It was organised by the unionist Catalan civil society group, who estimated 200,000 people attended, local police estimated there were only 7,000 demonstrators.

Catalan independence: Puigdemont moots Swiss model 'attractive'. Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont says a majority of Catalans might support Swiss-style federal autonomy rather than full independence. Mr Puigdemont's remarks in Geneva appear to suggest a departure from his previous support for full independence.  As mentioned, the ex-president fled to Belgium after Catalonia's declaration of independence after a disputed vote last October. The restive region remains under direct rule from Madrid, imposed after the stand-off. This is despite elections being held in December, with a majority of seats won by pro-independence parties. As mentioned Mr Puigdemont is wanted in Spain on charges of rebellion and sedition. Four other Catalan leaders, including the former vice-president, Oriol Junqueras, remain in prison for their part in October's independence vote. Catalonia's self-government remains on hold, as Madrid refuses to free from jail the man nominated to lead Catalonia's regional government. Mr Puigdemont, who was speaking at an international human rights film festival in Geneva, suggested independence might not be the only option. "Maybe, (among other ways of doing things), the Swiss model is the most efficient and attractive", he said. Switzerland has a highly decentralised public sector, with regional administrations/countries, known as cantons, having a significant amount of autonomy. More information: see (click on) Federalism and Direct Democracy - The Swiss Confederation.

23.03.2018. A Spanish Supreme Court judge has ordered five Catalan separatist leaders, including the latest candidate for regional president, to be detained without bail pending their trials. The leaders are charged with rebellion, along with eight others, over their involvement in a push for independence. The judge said that the five were serious flight risks. Two separatist leaders wanted by Spanish authorities are in self-imposed exile in Belgium and Switzerland. The latest detentions throw into doubt a planned second vote in the Catalan parliament on Saturday 24.03.2018 on whether to install Jordi Turull, now in prison, as regional president. Altogether 25 separatists have been charged, variously with sedition, rebellion, embezzlement and other crimes. They deny all the allegations. The escalated legal action against the separatists follows Catalonia's independence referendum last October, which the Spanish courts declared illegal. This is the most serious challenge to date for the Catalan independence movement. Almost the entire leadership faces a major legal fight. The legal rulings have provoked a furious response from Catalan separatists and thousands have turned out to demonstrate. One of the accused - the sacked former head of the Catalan government, Carles Puigdemont - called Spain anti-democratic and an embarrassment to Europe. A European arrest warrant has been reactivated against him, and issued for five others who are also in self-imposed exile.

24.03.2018. Spain Catalonia: Clashes - ochlarchy - after separatist leaders detained. Crowds of protesters in Spain's Catalonia region have clashed with police (ochlarchy) after the Supreme Court stepped up legal action against separatists. The anarchists condemn the ochlarchy. Spain's Supreme Court ruled 25 Catalan leaders should be tried for rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state. Convictions could result in up to 30 years in prison. More than 20 people were injured as police used riot batons to keep protesters away from federal buildings in Barcelona on Friday night. Demonstrations also took place in other parts of Catalonia. In Madrid, a Supreme Court judge ordered five more Catalan leaders to be detained without bail, pending trial over their involvement in October's banned independence referendum. Other separatist figures were already in custody or had gone into exile abroad. Friday night's rallies had been organised by a separatist group before the court decisions were announced. The rulings appeared to inflame the protesters and angry crowds confronted lines of riot police protecting Spanish government buildings in Barcelona. They waved flags and chanted independence slogans while some burned pictures of the Supreme Court judge and of Spain's King Felipe. Tensions spilled over into violence as some protesters tried to break through police lines. A calmer rally took place in Catalonia Square, in the city centre. Catalan TV showed rallies in support of the jailed leaders elsewhere in the region including in the cities of Vic and Tarragona. Friday's rulings at the Supreme Court in Madrid were considered the most serious challenge to date for the Catalan independence movement. Almost the entire leadership now faces a major legal fight. Defiance still reigns in Catalonia, where the parliament has suspended a vote to elect Jordi Turull as its new president. He is one of 25 separatist leaders, including former president Carles Puigdemont, that Spain is putting on trial on charges of rebellion, embezzlement or disobeying the state.

25.03.2018. Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont detained in Germany. Catalan separatist leader Carles Puigdemont, wanted on a Spanish arrest warrant, has been detained in Germany after entering the country from Denmark, his lawyer says. Puigdemont has been in self-imposd exile in Brussels for the last five months but had travelled to Finland. He had left the country announcing a return to Belgium after fearing the Finns were on the point of executing a Spanish extradition demand for him. Puigdemont is one of 25 Catalan politicians the Spanish Supreme Court decided on Friday 23.03.2018 to try for rebellion, misuse of public funds or disobeying the state. Clashes - ochlarchy - have broken out in Barcelona after the arrest of Carles Puigdemont. As news emerged of his detention, thousands took to the streets to denounce the move. The anarchists condemn the ochlarchy.

26.03.2018. A German court has ordered former Catalan President Carles Puigdemont to remain in prison pending a decision on an extradition request from Spain.

03.04.2018. German prosecutors have asked a court to allow the extradition of Carles Puigdemont to Spain. Puigdemont has been held in a detention centre in northern Germany for just over a week after he was arrested in Germany on March 25th.

05.04.2018. A German court has rejected "rebellion" as grounds to extradite Catalonia's ex-leader Carles Puigdemont and ordered his release on bail. The Schleswig-Holstein court said he could still face corruption charges in Spain, and it has only suspended extradition - not ruled it out. As mentioned he was arrested in the north German region last month, after Spain issued a European Arrest Warrant. Spain charged top Catalan separatists over October's independence referendum.

06.04.2018. Former Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has left jail in Germany after a court said he could be released on bail pending a decision on whether he will be extradited to Spain. Puigdemont walked out of the Neumuenster prison on Friday 06.04.2018, nearly two weeks after he was arrested while travelling from Finland back to Belgium where he was living in self-imposed exile since Catalonia's independence referendum last October.

07.04.2018. Catalan ex-ruler Carles Puigdemont has said he wants to return to Belgium at the end of German legal proceedings. Speaking at a press conference the day after his release on bail from a German prison, Mr Puigdemont also again called for fresh dialogue with Spain. German courts are still considering whether to extradite the former ruler, wanted in Spain on sedition charges. The court in the northern state of Schleswig-Holstein on Thursday 05.04.2018 set his bail at 75,000 euros (£65,000; $90,000). However, he is not allowed to leave Germany and must report to German police on a weekly basis.

15.04.2018. Thousands of pro-independence supporters take to the streets of Barcelona calling for the release of jailed political leaders. The protester's appetite for independence is equally matched by the national government's determination for Catalonia to remain part of Spain. The Catalan Assembly has until May 22 to invest a president. If that deadline is not met then the region could be forced to call fresh elections within two months.

06.05.2018. Catalonia separatists propose Carles Puigdemont as new president. Secessionists view Puigdemont as legitimate candidate for region's presidency but Spain wants him tried for rebellion. Catalan politicians are attempting to put forward former regional President Carles Puigdemont as a candidate for the region's presidency, despite a European arrest warrant issued by Spain. Puigdemont met with members of his Together For Catalonia, known by its Catalan acronym JxCat, in Berlin on Friday 04.05.2018. They proposed nominating Puigdemont, who could accept the presidential nomination from abroad thanks to a law recently passed in the regional Catalan parliament. JxCat spokesperson Eduard Pujol said at a news conference on Friday that his party "wants to vote on the investiture" of Puigdemont, calling him "a legitimate president". Catalonia held snap polls in December, called by the Spanish government, to form a new parliament after separatists led by Puigdemont tried to secede the region from Spain. Secessionist parties maintained their majority, continuing the struggle between the national and regional governments. Catalonia must form a new government by May 22 or hold new elections. Four attempts to form a government have failed so far.

10.05.2018. Catalonia's Carles Puigdemont opts out of presidency. Former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont has nominated a political newcomer to be the region's new president. In a video from his self-imposed exile in Berlin, Mr Puigdemont named Quim Torra to be a candidate for the presidency of the region. Mr Torra is an MP from Mr Puigdemont's pro-independence party, Together for Catalonia (JxCat).

14.05.2018. Catalonia's regional parliament has elected pro-independence supporter Quim Torra as president, ending months of political stalemate in Spain's northeastern region. Torra, 55, won the ballot by a simple majority on Monday 14.05.2018 with the backing of 66 parliamentarians and four abstentions. Sixty-five legislators voted against him.

19.05.2018. Catalonia’s new leader Quim Torra named his cabinet on Saturday 19.05.2018y, though the inclusion of politicians who are either in jail awaiting trial or in self-imposed exile was instantly denounced as provocation by Spain’s ruling party. Torra, a hard-line supporter of Catalan independence and close ally of former leader Carles Puigdemont who is in Berlin while a decision is made on his extradition, has called on the central government to end direct rule. However the inclusion of Jordi Turull and Josep Rull, both jailed, and Antoni Comin and Lluis Puig in Brussels, and wanted by the Spanish police, is unlikely to loosen Madrid’s reins on the region. Government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said on Friday 18.05.2018 that the inclusion of jailed politicians would be rejected by the courts which had already blocked attempts to name detained or absent nominees for the leadership position. The ruling People Party’s (PP) candidate in Catalonia, Xavier Garcia Albiol, mentioned on Twitter after Torra’s announcement, that the composition of the new Catalan regional government is a clear message that they want to continue with the problems, the conflict and provocation.