I’ve been asked if the catalonian independent movement was something new…some kind of recent development.
The answer is no, it is not new at all. And the spanish central estate has been aware of it since long. My point is: it was not something that explode in their faces and force them to take some urgent and strong actions because they were not prepare…
First thing we need it’s to contextualize historically…Spain had a dictatorship for more than 36 years. And Franco, the dictator, did not like too much the concept of regional autonomy, or soberanity…for him Spain was One, Great and Free (Una, Grande y Libre – that’s one of the slogans of the nacionalist Franco period. It explain spain concept as: One – non divisible, so no soberatiny or even regional descentralization, Big- Imperial, for the American lost “Empire”, and Libre- so not under foreigner influence, to be more clear, comunist-marxist-european democracies-US, etc)…and if someone though it should be something different, then would probably finish dead, in prison or in exile. Regional languages, traditions, ways of living and thinking, ideologies, decentralized power, all was suppressed. After his death Spain entered in what we called Transicion (transition to democracy). We learn in the school that it was a success and a model for other countries. That laws were done in a just and equal way, and on 1978 they were collected on our awesome constitution. The truth is that people was not asked how they wanted to be organized (at least not all the people) and we inherit laws (and rulers) from the regime. *ref Like the amnesty law *ref (that gave impunity for regime rulers and torturers), anti-terrorist law (an undercover state of emergency) or the social security *ref law (recently updated). Read https://abcdd.org/en/2017/02/13/ueberblick-der-aktuellen-entwicklung-von-repression-in-spanien/ if you want to now more about spanish repression laws. So, dictatorship injuries were not heal, victims were not listen, and crimes were not repaired.
And repression has been always here.
Attending to the 1978 constitution, spain is a country formed by different administrative territorial entities – comunidad autonoma – with a certain legislative autonomy, with its own representatives, competences, and laws. Each comunidad have the regional laws collected on their estatuto de autonomia (estatut d’autonomia in catalan). For example, education is public and there are estate laws for it, but each region takes care of it on their own and have also their own rules. There is a couple of regulations following these estatut: representatives of the citizens have to approve it, and it has to be ratified. In 2001, catalan government wrote an estatut which was approved by the catalan parliament. PP (Popular Party, who is also now in the power, with rajoy as president) was the first one “collecting signatures in the streets” (in all spain) to not let it be approved. But then, PP baned the estatut denouncing it to the constitutional court (as unconstitutional). They cut it so much that is not recognizable. And that’s what catalonia has been using since then. Something that nobody wanted there. It is the only autonomy that exercises the right to autonomy with a rule imposed by the constitutional court because the PP forced it. * ref
Some regions have had more active independent &/or nationalism movements (e.g. Pais Vasco, Cataluña, Comunidad Valenciana…) *ref. It is true that around 80% of the catalonian society want to express their willing with a referendum *ref. Half of the political parties are pro-independence. And it is clear from the picture of last spanish elections (picture) *ref that catalonia (and Pais Vasco) disagree the most with the central government (usually from PP or PSOE).
And again, this is not new.
The estate knew it.
And also wanted it…hate it’s useful. Nobody remember corruption. Everybody have a clear enemy now…and it’s an easier one than the estate and the rulers.
What happened last months in cataluña? It’s complicated…let’s explain it with 3 sections: 1) pre-referendum, 2) referendum (1st October 2017), and 3) post-referendum (till first of december).
The catalonian independent movement is heterogeneous (like the vascos), although there’s not so many indepes (people who want the independence) which are from the radical right wing. Nevertheless, part of the movement come from the catalonian bourgeois, with a conservative perspective. Citing *ref, they can be divided in between nationalist vs soberanist. As he said, the first one thought that cataluña exist before nations exists, and that catalonian people can do amazing things that not other people can do, and that Spain steal them. The second one think that there is not democratic resolution with an spanish central estate, and that emancipatory politics are more possible in an small region.
1. How would you be able to be sovereign/independent/whatever, if there’s no possibility of doing a legal referendum &/or change the constitution? – with social disobedience – The constitution is completely armored, fortified. So there is not a real possibility to change how we are ruled (unless it suits the central government, then they can do Real Decretos and just change laws). There is not a real way for citizens to decide if they want to be a monarchy, a republic, a federal estate, etc. In this context, the past catalonian government formed by PDeCAT (with puigdemont, they are indepes, republicans and liberals…and like this new euphemism called center) and la CUP (indepes, anticapitalistas, feminist, euro-esceptics, what the establishment would call radical left) pressure for the independence (probably each of them with different objectives: first ones cause it means more power; second ones cause it’s a way of not being under central government ruling and shitty spanish laws).
And they started preparing the referendum, which was consider not legal since the begging. Why? Well, rajoy’s argument was that spanish constitution makes no provision for a vote on self-determination. So again the snake bitting its tail. And the catalonian government decided to go for it, in an unilateral way. This is: even if the central government/constitutional court says it’s not legal, if the referendum votes say Yes, catalonia would be proclaim independent.
After catalonian goverment communicate their intention to do a referendum, the repression from the estate started to come in huge proportions: imputed mayors (the ones that supposedly support the referendum, 700 were taken to the court for allowing preparations for the vote to go); catalan government officials were arrested, referendum websites were blocked, millions of ballot papers and campaign material were seized; the catalonian government was intervened; the media, political parties and school directors were intimidated, and the anubis operation started (which was designed as a military operation): three ships full of civil guards (guardia civil, a military force) and national police docked in the harbor of barcelona. You may have seen the boat…with a huge “Tweetie Pie” painted on one of the ferries. Usually in catalonia the main police is the Mossos d’Esquadra, and although it seems that in this occasion they have “taken care” and “defended” the population, in the past they also did nasty things. * ref. The spanish government sent the civil guard to occupy government buildings, arresting ministers and officials, and also took control of the catalan government finances. And things did not just stayed inside catalonia…in Madrid they banned a public meeting for discussing independence and referendum. Obviously, all these actions are against some of the european/world agreements/laws on human rights, signed by the country (e.g. the right to a fair trial and effective judicial protection; the right to privacy, the inviolability of the home and the privacy of communications; the right to freedom of expression and information, and the right to freedom of assembly and demonstration…)
Felipe, the little king, have publicly called on catalans not to vote, with a horrible speech that aligned perfectly with rajoy’s one. Just to calm the mood of the population (sarcasm), which was rising like steam. With fascist demos, regime flags, nazi shouts, people cheering the police destinate to catalonia as if they were going to the war…
All this was happening until the 1st of October, the day of the referendum, where the Estate give it best…
2) International media covered the repression on the referendum probably better than some of the spanish public media…and i got tired and depress. So I will just collect some of the shitty things that happened that they: more than 800 injured people in the operation, riot police dragging voters from polling stations, beating peaceful protesters with batons, dragging voters out by the hair or throwing them down stairs, firing rubber bullets to disperse crowds, Catalan firefighters and Catalan police arguing with them …
One independent organization (Lafede.cat), integrated by organizations of human rights and lawyers collectives, acted as human right watchers during 1-O. The network by itself registered more than 100 cases of police attacks just in Barcelona: “violence, sexual assault, punches, throwing away people down the stairs or hit them with truncheons on their head. Besides, the National police fired rubber bullets that are banned in Catalonia since 2014.” http://www.lafede.cat/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/informe_drets_humans_1oct.pdf
– CREO QUE ESTA INFO SE REPITE UN POCO NO??
So, in conclusion, it was a fight in between the estate and – almost – the whole catalonian society.
And after all this, mariano rajoy’s response: there was no referendum and no problem – police acted with “professionalism, firmness and serenity”. The responsibility for all that had happened lay with the Catalonian government.*ref
And people demostrated against estate/police repression and violence.http://www.eldiario.es/catalunya/politica/catalanes-toman-calle-represion-referendum_0_693281755.html
3) After the referendum, things did not get better.
Tension rose until the edge, rumors of an army occupation, companies and business leaving catalonia because the instability, the possible application of the 155 article -155 article means that Cataluña is not governed anymore by the Catalonian Goverment (elected by catalonians) and ministries, but by the central state and other autonomies.
And the moment of the referendum counting and unilateral independence declaration arrived on the 10th of October. puigdemont gave an speech validating the referendum and the independence (after counting 2.2 million of persons, with 90% for the Yes, there were 87 000 more people than the ones voting for the independence parties last elections), and just after that he proceed with the suspension of the declaration indefinitely, asking for international mediation and dialog. According to his own words, he made “a gesture of responsibility” to “resolve the conflict serenely.”. The CUP got super piss off. Anyway, this was not enough for PP or PSOE, who after this continue with the idea of applying the 155 article…
In the mid time, people was demonstrating for spain Unity – with capital letters – (including also people with fascist flags shouting fascist slogans and making hail hitler)
and for the dialog http://www.eldiario.es/politica/Varias-ciudades-espanolas-dialogo-Catalunya_0_694680673.html
To know if they should apply the 155, rajoy asked puigdemont if catalonia was declare independents or not (for 2 minutes). puigdemont answered with a letter. It seems it was not clear enough, so rajoy asked again. Again, not clear. For him was not relevant the number of persons who do something politic from the base. He just ignored it.
On the 27 of october, spanish senate approved 155 article (with 214 votes of PP, PSOE, Citizens, UPN, Forum and Canary Coalition and 47 against of Unidos Podemos, ERC, PDeCAT, PNV, EH Bildu and Compromís), while the catalan parliament proclaimed the catalan republic (70 votes on favor, 10 against and 2 blank, without PP, Citizens and PSC). Same night rajoy banned the catalan goverment, dissolved catalan parliament and asked for autonomic elections for the 21 of december. Catalonian politics are being persecuted and prosecuted. But as always, first ones to be blamed and punished is society (like the leaders of some pro-independent organizations omnium and ANC, prosecuted for enabling an illegal demo). – tengo q chequear esto – son org. o mas bien politicos?? eh??? y es por lo de la mani? estoy un poco escribiendo de memoria
Spanish society is divided. So I do not really understand this concept of breaking something if society is already divided (rich-poor, men-women, here-there, us-they). There’s people who defended the need of an space for speaking of how people want to organized themselfs. Then there’s people that think that Spain should not break, and that catalonia has to be part of spain, even if it seems they hate catalans.
But you can smell hate and fear.
And the mass media has been contributing to this hate, manipulating, with no proper sources, not writing properly the subtitles from catalan to spanish, without recording any declaration of the 2.2 million of people who voted, with demos for spain unity without ultras or fascist flags… next day international media had on the cover the police repression of the 1-O, while in the public news television, police charges were shown on minute 11…and less than 1 min without videos. And we could continue…
There’s no right of speech. People is getting prosecuted and condemned for posting jokes against regime exploding persons like Carrero Blanco (he died in an ETA attack), and then policemen (who have real explosives, by the way) complained in a chat about the major of madrid (from Podemos) not being killed in an attack were a lot of left lawyers died during the transition, and we just hoped it would not be forgotten to fast.
For me the discussion entered another dimension…we are not just talking about catalonia being independence or part of an estate. We are talking about social rights and freedom. The estate criminalize society, making people their enemies. Some spanish people do not realized that at some point, the estate can decided that they are also the enemy. And they would be living in a place without social rights to protect them.