Esquerra and Bildu team up in defence of Catalonia and the Basque Country: 'Neither subservience nor empty slogans'

Rufián, Junqueras, Rovira and Otegi call for the strengthening of the Catalan and Basque progressive independence movements to defend rights and freedoms, and to “draw along” the Spanish Socialist PSOE

Esquerra Republicana held their central election campaign rally at Barcelona’s historical quarter of El Born on Monday, proclaiming Esquerra and Bildu’s commitment to the defence of Catalonia and the Basque Country. Esquerra leader Oriol Junqueras recalled that El Born evokes the course of history in Catalonia’s struggle for freedom. Esquerra and Bildu declared their progressive pro-independence parties as the only alternative in order to defend the interests of the people and to continue working towards an independent republic in each of their lands.

Before an audience of some 1,200 people, the candidate to the Spanish Congress for Esquerra Republicana Gabriel Rufián highlighted the importance of a strong mandate for Esquerra next Sunday in order to be better able to defend Catalonia. “All just causes have their defenders. Catalonia only has us,” he assured. “Neither subservience nor empty slogans nor frivolity,” he added, slamming the parties whose decisions are taken in Madrid and those that do not put their shoulders to the wheel to make breakthroughs.

Mr Rufián highlighted the “paradigm change” that the strength of Esquerra Republicana and Bildu in Madrid has meant. “The Basque and Catalan progressive independence parties have forced the PSOE to move; we are responsible for their positive rectifications,” he assured.

Oriol Junqueras earlier upheld the alliance between Esquerra and EH Bildu to defend the rights and freedoms of Catalans and Basques. In these elections, the alliance reflects their shared project in the Spanish Senate, for which they are presenting a joint ticket. “We intend to share our struggle with that of Bildu because we are proud to have improved wages, pensions and rights of university students alongside them.” In this regard, Mr Junqueras assured once again that the national struggle also involves the social struggle. “We are convinced that the cause of the republic is the cause of social and economic rights, the defence of the language and the welfare of the people,” said the leader of Esquerra.

Mr Junqueras also warned of the threat the reactionary wave posed in these elections, since the Spanish People’s Party and far-right Vox represent the same thing. That is why the leader affirmed that “the only difference is that this time the People’s Party and Vox are presenting separate tickets, whereas in the past they went together on the same one.”

Esquerra's central event in Barcelona on Monday served to display the mutual understanding with EH Bildu, with whom they have already coordinated over the past years in Congress. For this reason, Bildu leader Arnaldo Otegi also intervened, assuring that only the vote for the Basque and Catalan progressive independence parties will defend Catalonia and the Basque Country. “As far as we’re concerned, the balance will not tip towards one party or another, but towards our people’s national interests,” said Mr Otegi.

The leader of the Basque national left called for the ballot “in defence of the peoples, the institutions and the lands.” He went on to say “We ask you for your vote because they are votes with a high social return: lend us your vote, and we will return it by defending the country and extending your rights.” He asked for the vote to stand up to “FeiVox,” referring to Spanish People’s Party leader Feijóo. “There is no democratic right and far right. They are one and the same bloc offering an authoritarian way out of the regime crisis,” he concluded.

In addition to this, Esquerra’s Secretary General Marta Rovira spoke from Geneva, where she is in exile, pleading directly to the Catalan republican grassroots. “To all the progressives in the country, to the feminists, to the trade unionists, to those who struggle and get up every day to make a better living, to those who love the land, the country and who want to live in freedom and with rights, vote Esquerra Republicana,” she appealed.

Ms Rovira vindicated Esquerra Republicana as the recipe for independence in the July 23 elections. “Before the Spanish Left that has decided to act like the Spanish Right, go for the Catalan Left; and of the Catalan Left, there is only one, Esquerra Republicana, who stand to win these elections and defend Catalonia wherever need be,” she declaimed.