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Offline RE

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Catalan Republic crushed by Spanish state – without a fight
« Reply #60 on: October 31, 2017, 12:21:20 AM »
Puigdemond is the Spanish Tsipras.  Deja Vu all over again.  ::)

The problem with all these "Independence Movements" is that the Pols have no PLAN for how to run the country or the monetary system once they cut ties with host organism.  If the BIS won't recognize them as their own country with their own Sovereign Currency, they're finished.  And of course the BIS won't do that, because the whole purpose here really is to repudiate the debt.

RE

http://www.greanvillepost.com/2017/10/30/catalan-republic-crushed-by-spanish-state-without-a-fight/

Catalan Republic crushed by Spanish state – without a fight
October 30, 2017

By Jorge Martin
IN DEFENCE OF MARXISM
After a week of about turns, indecision and last minute attempts to find a negotiated way out, the Catalan Republic was proclaimed on Friday, October 27. Tens of thousands celebrated in the streets of Barcelona and other Catalan towns and cities.


Barcelona’s Plaza Catalunya. Site of many processes, and more to come.

As expected the Spanish state responded by sacking the Catalan government, disbanding the Catalan Parliament and calling for Catalan elections on December 21. The stage was set for a major confrontation, but the bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalists in the Catalan government fled the scene. By Monday, the Spanish state was set to take back full control without having broken a single window pane.At the beginning of last week, everything indicated that Puigdemont would have no other option but to declare independence. The Spanish government had announced a series of measures against Catalan self-rule under article 155 of the Constitution and was going to get them approved in the Spanish Senate by October 27, with full support from Cs [Ciudadanos] and the PSOE [Socialist Party]. Puigdemont had made several attempts to open a dialogue with Rajoy and to seek mediation from the European Union, but every time he had been rebuffed in no uncertain terms.On Wednesday, a meeting of the Junts pel Sí (JxSi) group in the Catalan Parliament (comprising Puigdemont’s PDECAT, Junqueras’ ERC and a few independents) had given the Catalan president full backing for a declaration of independence. In the evening of the same day there were big indoor meetings called by ERC, PDECAT and also the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) to explain to their members and supporters that the plan was to declare the Catalan Republic by Friday.That same evening there was a protest organised by the Barcelona county Committees for the Defence of the Referendum to press for the declaration of the Republic. The rally took place in Plaça Sant Jaume but the Catalan government had decided to close off Parc de la Ciutadella, where the Catalan Parliament building is located. As on October 10, the Catalan government wanted to make sure Parliament would not meet under the direct pressure of the masses.

Then there was a wobble. A meeting of the general staff of the pro-independence movement had spilled over into Thursday morning, but it seemed that the option was still that of declaring independence. However, that night had been one of feverish phone calls and conversations brokered by Basque president Urkullu and his PNV (Basque Nationalist Party). Urkullu is in a very sticky situation. He has an agreement with Rajoy by which the Basque Nationalist Party gives the PP the necessary votes in the Spanish parliament to pass the budget in exchange for fiscal concessions to the Basque administration. However, the Catalan conflict has strained this pact. The PNV has been put in the difficult position of propping up the Spanish government which is suppressing Catalan democratic rights. It is therefore in the interest of the Basque capitalists and in the political interest of the PNV that an agreement should be reached.

The basis of the compromise suggested was that Puigdemont would call for early elections to the Catalan parliament, instead of declaring independence. In exchange it seems he was asking for immunity from prosecution and the release of the “two Jordis” (the leaders of the ANC and Òmnium, held without bail on charges of sedition). On Thursday morning, October 26, it seemed that such a deal was on the cards. Puigdemont announced he was going to make a statement at noon. The Spanish stock exchange rallied.

However, there were a number of factors which scuppered the deal. First of all, there is the reactionary nature of the Spanish ruling class, for whom the unity of Spain is a sacrosanct principle, one of the pillars of the 1978 regime. From their point of view, any concessions on this question would threaten the whole edifice. Giving Puigdemont a way out might have been interpreted as a sign of weakness. Rajoy is under pressure from the right wing of his own party and from Ciudadanos, both of which see rabid Spanish nationalism as a vote winner. In the end, the promise of a deal brokered by Urkullu with the Spanish government did not materialise.

Additionally, as news filtered through that Puigdemont was going to announce elections instead of declaring the Republic, pressure began mounting from within his own camp. Two PDECAT Catalan parliament members announced they were renouncing their seats and tearing up their party cards. PDECAT’s ally in JxSi, ERC was already talking of a betrayal. Puigdemont was like the proverbial Duke of York. Having marched his troops to the top of the hill, it was now difficult to convince them to march down again. To top it up, tens of thousands of students were on the streets demanding the Republic be proclaimed. The student strike had been called for in advance and the demonstrators received the news of Puigdemont’s climbdown as the march was about to set off from Plaça Universitat. The mood turned angry. There were shouts against Puigdemont (“be warned PDECAT, our patience has run out”). The demonstration made its way to Plaça Sant Jaume, outside the Generalitat building and students vowed not to leave until the Republic had been proclaimed.
Puigdemont attending mass. God is Francoist and he should know it.

First, Puigdemont delayed his statement by an hour. Then he said it was not going to take place. Then it was moved from the Palace to the Parliament for 5pm, just before the Parliament session was due to start. By the time he spoke, the deal was off. Still, instead of announcing boldly that he had decided to move forward and proclaim the Republic, he fudged the issue again, by announcing he had considered calling elections but hadn’t managed to get a deal and then saying he was putting the issue to Parliament for it to decide, without making any concrete proposal. That was yet another sign of things to come.

Finally, on Friday, October 27, the Catalan Parliament declared independence with 70 votes in favour, two abstentions and 10 votes against, after the PP, Cs and PSOE abandoned the session in protest. Tens of thousands of people who were outside waiting for the decision followed the vote with rapt attention and then erupted in celebratory cheers. The celebration then went to Plaça Sant Jaume. As far as they were concerned, the Catalan Republic had been born and they were ready to defend it.

Almost simultaneously, the Spanish Senate approved the article 155 measures requested by the government. Rajoy proceeded to announce the specific measures: dismissal of the Catalan government, its president and vice-president and all the consellers (ministers); the dismissal of the head of the Catalan police; the disbanding of the Catalan parliament and the convening of early elections on December 21. The Catalan government would be run directly from Madrid, with the different ministers of the Spanish government in charge of the corresponding departments in Catalonia.

This amounted to a coup, but Rajoy had made some changes to his original plan. Instead of a direct intervention which would last six months, this was to be for the shortest possible period of time required to call early elections in Catalonia. Clearly the Spanish ruling class was fearful of sparking a mass protest movement and wanted to legitimise the measures as soon as possible.

The response of the “international community” was also swift. The EU, NATO, the OECD, France, Germany, Britain, the US State Department, all rushed to declare their full support for “Spanish legality”, the unity of Spain and to reject the Catalan declaration. The hopes of the Catalan bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalist leaders to get international recognition of some sort were dashed, as could have been predicted.

The situation at the end of the day on Friday was one where there were two different institutional bodies, the Catalan Republic and the Spanish Monarchy, existing at the same time. A situation like this could not last. One of the two had to prevail over the other. The Spanish state started to take measures, one after the other, to make sure Spanish legality prevailed. But what did the leaders of the Catalan Republic do? Basically, nothing, other than issue vague statements talking of “democratic resistance”.

Starting on Friday night, the meeting of the Catalan government which was supposed to take a series of measures to implement the decision to declare the Republic, took no decisions at all. None. On Saturday morning, the Spanish state removed the head of the Catalan police, Pere Soler and its major Trapero. The first thing you do in a coup is ensure you control the armed bodies of mean. They both abided by the order and in a written statement advised Catalan police officers to follow orders. What did the Catalan government do about this? Nothing.

PDECAT and ERC representatives who are members of the Spanish Congress and Senate did not renounce their seats in what was to them in effect a foreign parliament.

The whole weekend the Catalan government, which was supposed to be busy building a new Republic, did nothing. Well, president Puigdemont did issue a recorded statement in which he called for “democratic opposition” to article 155 measures. That was it. No appeal to resistance, no concrete plan on how to resist, no measures taken by the government. And the Spanish flag was still flying over the Generalitat Palace.

Catalan vice-president Junqueras (from the ERC) penned an article warning that “in the next few days we will have to take decisions that will not always be easy to understand”. He was clearly preparing his own ranks for the climbdown which had already been decided.

Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands (300,000 according to the local police) marched in a wholly reactionary demonstration in Barcelona in defence of Spanish unity. The march was called by SCC (a shady body whose founders have links with the far right, but which has since tried to clean up its image) and had the full backing of the PP, Ciudadanos as well as the Catalan branch of the Socialist Party. The march was backed by half a dozen openly far right, fascist, neo-nazi and racist organisations which afterwards attacked the Generalitat and carried out a number of racist and fascist attacks. The demonstration was big, but slightly down on the previous Spanish unity march on October 8.

Clearly this was not a fascist demonstration. Fascist grouplets represent a small fringe, although in the last few weeks they have been unleashed with the connivance and complicity of the Spanish state and they need to be combatted. The bulk of the demonstration was made up of voters of right-wing parties from the upper class neighbourhoods of Barcelona, the spoilt brats from Pedralbes, Sarrià-Sant Gervasi; as well as backward layers from working class neighbourhoods and towns in Barcelona and its red belt. Scandalously, the former general secretary of the Communist Party, Francisco Frutos, was one of the keynote speakers ranting against “identitarian racism” to a sea of Spanish flags and voters of Spanish reactionary nationalist parties.

Monday morning, the new head of the Catalan police, under instructions from the Spanish minister in charge, announced that the now deposed consellers would be allowed to go to their offices but only to collect their personal belongings. If they refused to go, the police was to write up a report and send it to the prosecutor’s office.

President of the Catalan Parliament Carme Forcadell, who had announced that an ordinary meeting of the Speakers would take place on Tuesday, cancelled it and admitted that Parliament had been dissolved.

A meeting of the leading body of ERC has decided that they “would be present on December 21”, the day of the elections called under article 155 by Rajoy. A short while later PDECAT announced in no uncertain terms that they would participate in those elections. These decisions, and others which we will see in the next few days, represent a complete acceptance of the Spanish state’s coup against Catalan democracy and a refusal to defend the Republic they voted to proclaim on Friday.

At the time of writing these lines it has been announced that Catalan president Puigdemont is in Brussels together with some members of his government. That does not change anything fundamental. Meanwhile, the Spanish state prosecutor has indicted the Catalan president, vice-president and all the Catalan government consellers, as well as the president and speakers of the Catalan Parliament, for rebellion, sedition, misuse of public funds and other related charges. This is a serious warning as rebellion carries a 30 year jail sentence. Incidentally, these crimes (rebellion and sedition) are listed in the Spanish penal code which was inherited wholesale, without amendment, from that of Franco. This tells you something about the real character of the Spanish so-called “transition” to democracy which left the state apparatus of the dictatorship intact. Furthermore, even according to that reactionary penal code there are no grounds for the charges of rebellion, as that crime implies a “violent rising,” something which has clearly not taken place.

The Catalan bourgeois and petty bourgeois politicians have gone quite far in their defiance of the Spanish state, but have done so always in a reluctant manner, pushed forward by combined pressure of the refusal of the Spanish state to make any concessions and the irruption of the masses on to the scene (on September 20, October 1 and 3).

This is fully in line with the character of these bourgeois and petty bourgeois politicians as we have warned time and time again. The exercise of the right of self-determination in the concrete conditions of Spain is a revolutionary task which can only be accomplished by revolutionary means (or as a by-product of a revolutionary movement). That is the last thing the leaders of the PDECAT want, and the leaders of ERC have acted all along as an appendix of PDECAT (even though in reality they are much stronger electorally than them, in a ratio of 3 to 1).

The attitude of these bourgeois and petty bourgeois nationalists fits the words of Marx in his “18th Brumaire” down to the last comma:

“If a real struggle was intended, then it was a queer idea to lay down the weapons with which it would have to be waged. But the revolutionary threats of the petty bourgeois and their democratic representatives are mere attempts to intimidate the antagonist. And when they have run into a blind alley, when they have sufficiently compromised themselves to make it necessary to activate their threats, then this is done in an ambiguous fashion that avoids nothing so much as the means to the end and tries to find excuses for succumbing. The blaring overture that announced the contest dies away in a pusillanimous snarl as soon as the struggle has to begin, the actors cease to take themselves au serieux, and the action collapses completely, like a pricked bubble.”

It has to be said that to the left of JxSi no one has taken up the task of organising the defence of the Catalan Republic on the streets through mass mobilisation, disobedience and strengthening the Committees for the Defence of the Referendum. Workers at the Catalan state media had already warned that they would not accept any imposed directors. The main union of public school teachers in Catalonia, USTEC-STEs had also vowed to resist intervention in the education system. The main union of Catalan civil servants (CATAC) had also rejected article 155 but stopped short of calling for disobedience. The possibility to wage a struggle to defend the Republic was clearly there. Had the Catalan government started to act in a decisive and bold manner and made an appeal to the masses to defend it, there would have been a serious struggle and it is not clear which way it would have gone. This is the perspectives that the Spanish Marxists of Lucha de Clases and the Catalan Marxists of Revolució advanced over the weekend.

Unfortunately, even the CUP, the most consistent and left-wing of the pro-independence parties, remained mostly silent and gave no indications nor leadership to the movement. It would seem that even during the week leading up to the declaration of the republic, they were entangled in the discussions with JxSi over tactics rather than making direct appeals to the mass movement over the heads of the government. The slogans they advanced were correct: “Bread, housing and work – Republic Now”, and they played a decisive role in promoting the formation of the CDRs and their national coordination. They seemed to lack a clear independent strategy with which to struggle to take over the leadership of the movement and they ended up mostly responding to the decisions taken by the Catalan government.

Clear lessons must be learnt from this experience. The struggle for the right of self-determination and for a Catalan republic can only be waged by revolutionary means, through mass mobilisation. It can therefore not be victorious under the leadership of the petty bourgeois politicians but only under that of the working class. For that to be possible it cannot be limited to a struggle for democratic and national rights, but these must be closely linked to social demands which can only be resolved through the expropriation of the capitalist class. As the struggle for a Catalan Republic threatens the whole edifice of the 1978 regime, it should seek and forge alliances with the working people of the Spanish state. These ideas can be summarised in the slogan we have put forward: For a Catalan Socialist Republic as a spark to the Iberian revolution.
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Catalonia ex-officials freed by Belgian judge
« Reply #61 on: November 06, 2017, 04:04:33 AM »
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41881961

Catalonia ex-officials freed by Belgian judge

    9 hours ago
    From the section Europe


From left to right, Meritxell Serret, Antoni Comín, Lluís Puig and Clara Ponsatí have also handed themselves in

Former Catalan leader 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.

They had handed themselves in to Belgian police following an EU arrest warrant issued by a Spanish judge.

Mr Puigdemont fled to Belgium after Madrid imposed direct rule on Catalonia following an independence declaration.

He has said he will not return to Spain unless he is guaranteed a fair trial.

The five are wanted in Spain to face charges including rebellion, sedition and misuse of public funds.

They are now expected to appear in court in Belgium within 15 days. Belgium has a maximum of 60 days to return the five to Spain but, if they do not raise legal objections, a transfer could happen much sooner.

    Catalonia's longest week
    The man who wants to break up Spain
    Catalonia crisis: What next for Spain?

"The request made this afternoon by the Brussels' Prosecutor's Office for the provisional release of all persons sought has been granted by the investigative judge," said a statement by the Belgian prosecutor's office.
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Puigdemont could be seen inside the public prosecutor's office in Brussels

Mr Puigdemont's political party, PDeCAT, said he had surrendered to police to show his "willingness not to flee from the judicial process but to defend himself in a fair and impartial process, which is possible in Belgium, and highly doubtful in Spain".

Last week, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy imposed direct rule on Catalonia following a declaration of independence in the regional parliament. He sacked Mr Puigdemont, dissolved the parliament and called local elections for 21 December.

The declaration of independence followed a referendum that the Spanish constitutional court had declared illegal.

Mr Puigdemont's colleagues also listed on the EU arrest warrant are Meritxell Serret (former agriculture minister), Antoni Comín (former health minister), Lluís Puig (former culture minister), and Clara Ponsatí (former education minister).
Image copyright EPA
Image caption From left to right, Meritxell Serret, Antoni Comín, Lluís Puig and Clara Ponsatí have also handed themselves in

They all handed themselves in to Belgian federal police, accompanied by their lawyers, on Sunday morning and were questioned in a hearing lasting 10 hours.

There were more protests in Catalan cities on Sunday against the detention of officials and activists held by the Spanish authorities.

Protesters plastered city squares with posters depicting the detainees as political prisoners.

Eight politicians are being held in an investigation into alleged rebellion and sedition linked to Catalonia's declaration of independence.

Two activists are being detained in a separate investigation.
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How Big is My Tribe? The Crisis in Catalonia
« Reply #62 on: November 09, 2017, 04:02:38 AM »
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/08/how-big-is-my-tribe-the-crisis-in-catalonia/

November 8, 2017
How Big is My Tribe? The Crisis in Catalonia

by John K. White


Photo by AthalberthH | CC by 2.0

What makes a border today: the natural divide of a river, mountain, or sea, a ruled mark on a dusty map such as in the 1916 Sykes-Picot Agreement that carved up the Ottoman Empire, or the common history, language, or race of a group, not at all mutually exclusive or easily defined? Of course, one should expect trouble when a straight-edge ruler marks the difference between you and me, but the bigger question now is how atomized must we become before we stop drawing lines between us? Simply put, how big is my tribe?

If my tribe is the world, I am concerned about nuclear proliferation, global warming, and the plight of refugees, some of whom are still fleeing war-torn countries and conflicts started in my name to protect our fossil-fuel burning past. If my tribe is my nation, I may want to discourage others enlisting and using my resources for free, unless I need them for cheap work as in the US and Canada, or to take care of me in my old age since fertility rates in Europe have fallen below the essential “replacement level” of 2.1 (Portugal, Spain, and Greece 1.3, France and Ireland 1.9, the EU average 1.6).

Indeed, there is much wrangling these days over what is yours and what is mine, though perhaps it has ever been thus. The UK (majority only in England and Wales) wants out of Europe to be separated by more than just the English Channel (a.k.a. La Manche on the French side), the red rural and blue urban American states are in a permanent state of bicker, while Catalonia (Cataluña/Catalunya) is split in half, unable to muster any call to common cause. Hopefully, we can agree on something to unite us within our narrow worlds without resorting to schoolyard name calling. Honestly, Pocahontas – is that the level of discourse President Punk has stooped to?

Part of the problem is a loss of identity in our new-world melange of everything. Am I Irish because of birth, Canadian because of upbringing, or a long hyphenated list of this and that because of a mixed genetic past? Is anyone a purebred? What exactly is that today? Barack Obama is part English, German, Irish, Scottish, Swiss, Welsh, Kenyan, and American. Perhaps that’s the real story in Trump’s misty-eyed MAGA white world.

In Cataluña/Catalunya, the elephant in the room is the extent of “popular” support for independence from Spain. As everyone knows the 90% number is not real, fashioned by a quick-trigger premier wanting to show his overlords the extent of his meaning and the 10% in his coalition his resolve. Fifty-fifty is more like it, a coin flip at best, and not the stuff to step unguided into the unknown, with or without the law. If 90% of all Catalans actually wanted to split from a centuries-old Spanish hold, few of us would be able to deny that right, automatic entry into the European Union and further border disputes notwithstanding. But be careful of push-button democracy, with or without a functioning populist Twitter account, the minorities among us all have rights. And that minority is larger than you think. In fact, the minority is as large as you want it to be, a line at which I stand at the front.

The law is our guide, though of course any law can be changed. Even the U.S. Constitution can be changed, most recently in 1992 to codify congressional pay raises and in 1971 to set the voting age at 18. No women’s suffrage (1920), no alcohol (1919, repealed in 1933), and slavery (1865) were all deemed laws of the land at one time until deemed unlawful at another. Mutable laws are always up for discussion, though hopefully not after each election as the new bums throw out the old bums, having previously thrown out the older bums.

Immutable laws are much harder to etch in stone, though presumably a central sun, gravity, and heat-absorbing atmospheric gases (CO2 and CH4) are not open for too much time-wasting discussion. Alas, everything seems up for debate now, including whether to trust the solid no-pass line in the middle of the road, considered law by some or just a suggestion drawn up by an overpaid, soon-to-be-pensioned, government lackey by others.

To be sure, realpolitik is more nuanced. Spain and Catalonia are suffering the gamesmanship of its leaders, the right-wing Partido Popular (PP) leader, Mariano Rajoy, choosing a no-negotiation, the-law-is-the-law (fair or not) “indissoluble union of the Spanish nation,” borders-are-immutable route, while Carles Puigdemont of the Partit Demòcrata Europeu Català (PDeCAT) continues cart-wheeling off the high board based on a slim parliamentary majority and a highly irregular October 1 poll (1-O in Spanish-styled dating). Not what one usually hears on Ellen, Conan, or the Jimmies, or indeed from el Gran Wyoming, the host of El Intermedio, Spain’s most popular political satire show.

Indeed the 1-0 Puigdemont poll was unlike earlier referenda in Quebec in 1980 and 1995, Scotland in 2014, or the UK in 2016, which were sanctioned by all parties. In 1980 in Quebec, 60% voted no to negotiating “sovereignty association” on a turnout of 86%, while in 1995 51% voted no to independence on a 94% turnout. In 1979 and 1997, Scotland was asked to vote on devolution (approved the second time by 74% of voters on a 60% turnout), and then on independence in 2014 when 55% voted no to the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” on a turnout of 85%.

In each case, separatist parties held majorities in their parliaments, but only in Catalonia did a majority not vote in the independence poll. Separatism requires unimpeachable numbers, no matter the sweat required to get there. Even the question asked has to be approved down to the final punctuation mark to avoid favouring one side over the other. One can also ask about Spanish electoral practice that weights rural votes more than urban votes, as noxious to some as the American Electoral College electing Donald Trump president 304-227 when Hillary Clinton polled almost 3 million more votes. Or indeed the fairness of filling a 100-strong American senate in lots of 2 that gives Wyoming (pop. 590,000) as many senators as California (pop. 39 million).

One can also ask who gets the children after a divorce. What happens if smaller regions of Catalunya want to break away from their newly crowned masters as some have already indicated in the event of secession? Or if the Catalan parts of France and the Valencian Community want to join the most modern of Club Meds? The borders can become messier than a Brady Bunch family reunion. Where will Barça FC play, no small detail in any settlement?

Indeed, borders are never simple. In the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty, Ireland was partitioned into the nine counties of Northern Ireland and the twenty-three counties of the Irish Free State, although Northern Ireland soon became six counties after three chose to join the South as prescribed in the Treaty’s Boundary Commission (Note, Ulster is thus not synonymous with Northern Ireland). I suppose, we can keep pulling parts of the North into the South to cement our differences, although had all of Ulster remained part of the North a united all-Ireland republic might be closer to reality today, that is, assuming a unity vote greater than 50% could more easily be achieved in a nine-county North. No doubt, the north of the North would object to any such proclamation….

Devolved local power is good, doubling up on essential services everywhere not so good, standing armies on every border a throwback to city-state empires of the Middle Ages. Isn’t the smallest government that ensures equal rights for all the best, satisfying both libertarians and socialists? Yes, not easily got, but sadly the goal of today’s political puppeteers is to keep the important issues off the front pages – inequality, climate change, deregulation – to discuss instead the personalities of the players, a 24/7 megaphone circus full of repeated “breaking news” sound bites. What about the millions who don’t want independence? Who demands their voices to be heard?

Yes, elections is the way to go Senyor Puigdemont as you build your case for change, but one builds from the foundation up, brick by brick. One doesn’t build a house of straw and ask the world to admire it. Democracy is not dead (even amid European administration or the constitutional quagmire of Spain), it’s just very hard. Knock on doors, send letters/emails/tweets, hold town-hall meetings, bang on pots and pans, anything to build support. There is a case for Catalan independence if that’s what a majority of Catalans want.

The former Catalan leader Artur Mas, however, has stated Catalunya is not ready, while Santi Vila, one of the gang of 14 charged by the Spanish court, has already broken from the main, preferring constitutional reform to a unilateral declaration of independence. Tolstoy wrote that “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Perhaps every unhappy rebel is also unhappy in his or her own way. Some take over a party from within as Donald Trump did (not wanting to crash and burn like the other failed third-party reformers before him), while others have tried violence in varying degrees. Today, change comes only in the ballot box, after which we plod on to include all, the unhappy and the happy.

Indeed, Spain must also take care not to ruffle Catalan feathers. The British horribly overreacted to the 1916 Easter Rising, executing 15 men by firing squad (including a badly injured James Connolly who was shot while propped up on a chair), only to swing Irish opinion in favour of the rebellion. When it comes to fairness, we should remember Portia’s wisdom and not Shylock’s claim: “The quality of mercy is not strained; / It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven / Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest; / It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.” Who among the Spanish elite will heed such words to meet for a parlay upon fair ground and heal wounds? Shylock’s pound of flesh is no route to justice.

It is true that money corrupts more today than ever and that electoral machines have a powerful hold on our media and our choices. Citizens United is anything but and indeed the DNC is its own modern-day Tammany Hall, while fake news lurks on social media. But despite the fears of a vanishing past, voters can see the truth in front of them. We just need confidence in the product.

We get the word “revolution” from Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer who changed the way we think about the heavens with the publication of his 1543 book De revolutionibus orbium coelestium (On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres), which spawned the use of revolution to mean radical change. When the time comes for an incontrovertible idea to flower, we will all carry it. Now is not the time to rip ourselves apart because of our differences, but to unite over how much we have in common.

Want to dump Trump? Want to be independent from or stay a part of Europe, the UK, Canada, Ireland, Spain? Get out and vote. Check your anger at the door and talk back with a loud X. Everyone, everywhere, tell the world your mind. We should all be fighting against inequality, influence peddling, offshore tax havens, sexual harassment, profit-only deregulation, dwindling rights, …, not each other. There are bigger issues at stake than the size of our individual differences.

Most importantly, do not demand only your rights, but those of everyone. That is the spirit of all revolutions, yours and mine. Onwards from D-21 to beyond.
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More articles by:John K. White

John K. White, an adjunct lecturer in the School of Physics, University College Dublin, and author of Do The Math!: On Growth, Greed, and Strategic Thinking (Sage, 2013). Do The Math! is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at: john.white@ucd.ie.
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Huge rally in Barcelona demands jailed separatists’ release
« Reply #63 on: November 12, 2017, 02:55:54 AM »
They can put plenty of people out in the streets, but it doesn't seem to do a heck of a lot of good.

RE

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/thousands-demand-release-of-jailed-separatists-in-barcelona/2017/11/11/ecc991e8-c6fb-11e7-9922-4151f5ca6168_story.html?utm_term=.2e2c8db019e6

Europe
Huge rally in Barcelona demands jailed separatists’ release


Backdropped by the Sagrada Familia church, demonstrators march during a protest calling for the release of Catalan jailed politicians, in Barcelona, Spain, on Saturday, Nov 11, 2017. Eight members of the now-defunct Catalan government remain jailed in a related rebellion case. Former regional president Carles Puigdemont and four other ex-cabinet members fled to Belgium where they are fighting extradition. (Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press)

By Joseph Wilson | AP November 11 at 3:10 PM

BARCELONA, Spain — Hundreds of thousands of people backing Catalonia’s bid to secede from Spain packed the streets in downtown Barcelona Saturday to demand the release of jailed separatist leaders.

The rally’s grassroots organizers called for 10 prominent members of the secessionist movement in the northeastern Spanish region to be freed from prison.

Eight former members of Catalonia’s dissolved Cabinet and two activists are in jail while Spanish authorities investigate their alleged roles in promoting an illegal declaration of independence last month in violation of Spain’s Constitution.

A separate court in Madrid granted bail on Thursday to another six Catalan lawmakers also being investigated over the secession push.

“We want to tell the world that we want freedom for our prisoners and freedom for Catalonia,” Agusti Alcoberro, the vice president of grassroots group National Catalan Assembly, told the crowd in Barcelona, the region’s capital.

Barcelona’s police said 750,000 people attended the rally.

Many of the protesters carried pro-independence “estelada” flags, with its white star and blue triangle superimposed over the traditional red-and-yellow Catalan colors. Many also held signs saying in Catalan “Freedom Political Prisoners” and wore yellow ribbons as a symbol of their demands.

“They (Spanish authorities) are violating many rights of freedom against our people and we come here to say that we are against that and to demand the release of our prisoners who are in prison unjustly,” said 30-year-old engineer Joan Carles Roses.

Family members of the jailed separatists read messages from their loved ones to the crowd at the conclusion of the march.

Also on Saturday, the pro-independence Republic Left party announced that its jailed leader Oriol Junqueras will be its top candidate for the upcoming regional elections on Dec. 21. The Catalan party is including other jailed leaders in its list for the regional parliament. Polls show that Republic Left is favored to win the upcoming ballot, although it won’t secure an outright majority.

The Catalan conflict is the worst constitutional crisis to threaten Spain in nearly four decades.

A day after Catalonia’s Parliament voted in favor of a declaration of independence on Oct. 27, Spain’s government activated extraordinary powers given to it by the Senate to fire the region’s government, dissolve its parliament and call local elections.

While those separatist leaders now in jail obeyed a summons to appear in court in Madrid, deposed Catalan president Carles Puigdemont and four of his former ministers fled to Belgium, where they now await an extradition hearing to return them to Spain.

Addressing the rally in Barcelona via a video message shown on a large screen, Puigdemont said: “We need you all to be very active. We want to hear your voice, both those of us in Brussels and those in prison.”

Puigdemont and his fellow separatists claim that a referendum on secession held on Oct. 1 gave them a mandate for independence, even though it had been prohibited by the nation’s highest court, failed to meet international standards and was boycotted by anti-independence parties. Less than half of the electorate turned out to vote, and the referendum was also disrupted by brutal police raids.

No foreign power has recognized Catalonia’s claim to independence. The European Union has warned that an independent Catalonia would be cast out of the 28-nation bloc.

The most recent regional elections and opinion polls show that Catalonia’s 7.5 million residents are roughly split over remaining a part of Spain or going their own way. Most pro-independence supporters feel that the Catalan language and culture would have a better chance of flourishing in a separate state and that their economic prospects would be improved.

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The business sector has so far not been convinced, with over 2,000 companies transferring their headquarters out of the northeastern region in recent weeks for fears of being pushed out of the common EU market.

The Spanish Constitution says the nation is “indivisible” and that questions of national sovereignty should be addressed by the national Parliament in Madrid.

___

AP television producer Hernan Munoz contributed to this report.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Catalonia’s pro-independence parties win parliamentary election
« Reply #64 on: December 21, 2017, 03:01:02 PM »
https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/catalonians-turn-out-strongly-for-parliamentary-vote-with-independence-in-the-balance/2017/12/21/f69c6a68-e4df-11e7-927a-e72eac1e73b6_story.html

Catalonia’s pro-independence parties win parliamentary election, dealing blow to Spanish government


Catalans cast their votes in a regional parliamentary election in Barcelona on Thursday. Their choice is between pro-separatist parties or those that want to keep the region firmly part of Spain. (Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

By William Booth and Pamela Rolfe December 21 at 5:37 PM

BREAKING: With a record-breaking turnout of more than 80 percent, Catalans dealt Spain’s prime minister a major setback as secessionist leaders stood poised to return to power, including former regional president Carles Puigdemont, now in exile in Brussels.

BARCELONA — Voters in Catalonia packed polling stations Thursday to pick a new regional parliament and to answer again an old and bitterly divisive question: Did they want to remain a part of Spain or seek independence?

The balloting proceeded calmly across the region, unlike the chaotic referendum that was conducted in October despite being declared illegal by the country’s constitutional court. There were no reports of significant irregularities. After polls closed, turnout was confirmed at a record-high 81 percent.

Thursday’s election comes less than two months after 2 million Catalans chose to secede from Spain and their leaders unilaterally declared independence, prompting Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to dissolve the rebellious regional legislature and call an early election. His publicly stated hope was for a legal and orderly vote in which the region’s secessionists would be swept aside.

Miquel Iceta, the Catalan Socialists’ candidate, celebrated the huge turnout. “The greater the participation, the more the joy for all democrats,” he said.
0:49
Puigdemont hopes abnormal election will return Catalonia to normality
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Speaking from Brussels, former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said Dec. 21 that a regional election could restore order in Catalonia. (Reuters)

At one polling place in an upscale neighborhood in Barcelona, voters on both sides of the independence issue confessed they felt more fatigue than excitement. Many said they were disturbed by the deep rift that has emerged in Catalan society.

[In the boxing ring and on the streets, Catalonia is split ahead of latest vote on future with Spain]

“It feels like Catalonia is totally broken,” said Ines Corrales, 19, a student who had plastered a Spanish flag sticker on her motorbike helmet. She said she voted for the Cuidadanos, or Citizens, party, which is opposed to independence.

Corrales said that even her childhood friends had ribbed her for not supporting the separatists, calling her a fascist.

“I was never for independence, though I love Catalonia,” said Javier Sedo, 81, a pensioner with a cane. “I believe the power of Spain is the union of its many nations.”

Sedo, who joked that he wished his country were more like the United States of Spain, said he had voted for the socialists.

A father and son, Ramiro and Guillermo Salina, ages 59 and 21, came out to vote together. They supported two different pro-independence parties.
4:51
In Catalonia, regional politics mix with boxing
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Ahead of Catalonia's Dec. 21 regional elections, the Post visited an amateur boxing competition where political opinions run the gamut. (Raul Gallego Abellan/The Washington Post)

“I want to see a negotiation toward independence,” the father said. His son volunteered, “I just want independence.”

Did they think they would see a sovereign Catalonia?

They didn’t, not anytime soon.

“I think we will have to vote on this issue again and maybe again,” Ramiro Salina said.

Counting the paper ballots would take hours, officials said, especially given the large number cast.

With 80 percent of the ballots counted, the three pro-independence parties had taken 47 percent of the vote, while the unionist parties had 52 percent.

But thanks to an electoral college-style system that gives added weight to votes cast in less populated areas — the traditional strongholds of Catalan nationalist identity — the pro-independence parties would capture 70 seats in the regional Parliament with these numbers, compared to the 65 seats for the unionists and other parties. The weighted vote system is intended to balance out the populated urban areas votes with rural communities, thus affording parliamentary representation to regional groups despite not having the popular majority.

As Catalonia’s voters braced for results late Thursday night, they were not the only ones feeling anxious. Nobody has bet more on the outcome than Rajoy, the prime minister, who has urged Catalans to step back from what he sees as an illegal, reckless insistence on independence.

 It is possible that Thursday’s election will resolve nothing and that Rajoy and the central government will be left with a divided, restive Catalonia.

Many voters who oppose a breakaway Catalonia appeared ready to punch the ballot for the centrist, reformist Citizens party.

Inés Arrimadas, the leader of the Citizens party in Catalonia, declared, “If we govern, our priority is going to be social policies, not the secessionist process.”

The people, she said, want to move on. The 2 million people in Catalonia who voted for independence in October might disagree.

In an interview with the news outlet El Pais, Arrimadas warned that if separatists win, “everything will repeat itself like a deja vu” and that Madrid and Barcelona will again find themselves locked in confrontation, with secessionist leaders unable to take on their posts, because they are in jail or in exile.

If Rajoy’s surrogates slip further in Catalonia, one reason might be a corruption scandal swirling around his party in a long-running case targeting dozens of business and political figures in a kickbacks-for-contracts scheme.

It is not only the Spanish government that is biting its nails. Most of Spain and its powerful business groups oppose an independent Catalonia.

European leaders, too, have made clear they would not recognize an independent Catalonia and want the matter settled and the situation returned to “constitutional normalcy,” as Rajoy puts it.

[Catalan separatists counted on support from the E.U. But they got the cold shoulder.]

 Yet there was little normal about this election.

The former president of the Catalonia region, Carles Puigdemont, fled into self-exile in Belgium in late October. Now he is seeking to return to power, addressing crowds back home via teleconference links from an office in Brussels.

Spanish prosecutors dropped their request for Puigdemont’s extradition, but the separatist leader still faces arrest for rebellion if he returns to Spain.

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Spanish news media reported that the national police were keeping a close eye on the border with France to see whether Puigdemont attempts to return — in the event his party comes out on top.

Meanwhile, former vice president Oriol Junqueras sits behind bars in the national prison outside Madrid, as prosecutors decide whether to charge him with sedition, which carries a maximum sentence of 30 years. His party, the Catalan Republican Left, was also expected to do well Thursday, according to pre-election polls.

Rolfe reported from Madrid. Raul Gallego Abellan in Barcelona contributed to this report.
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⚖️ Spain: Catalan leaders get 13 years in jail for sedition
« Reply #65 on: October 15, 2019, 02:21:48 AM »
It's Raining in Spain again.

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🌧️ Barcelona police and separatist protesters clash for second night
« Reply #66 on: October 17, 2019, 02:12:28 AM »
More Rain in Spain falling Mainly on Barcelona.

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🌧️ LIVE from Barcelona!
« Reply #67 on: October 18, 2019, 12:54:08 PM »
Great live action of an ongoing battle between the Gestapo and Boys in Black Pajamas!

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