"What seems to be forgotten or conveniently overlooked by supporters of Catalonian independence is that although nationalist parties won a majority in the 2015 election, it was not an overwhelming mandate for independence..."
CATALONIAN INDEPENDENCE AND COMMUNIST SUBVERSION?
PUBLISHED: 5th November, 2017 | By BRAD LUNDGREN
The recent independence referendum in Catalonia, and half-hearted declaration of independence has elicited much excitement, sympathy, and even solidarity amongst libertarians and nationalists. Anything that damages or breaks up an overpowering central state like Spain and its EU ‘Godfather’ has to be good, doesn’t it? Well, not necessarily. In this case the devil is very much in the details and they tell a more sinister and anti-liberty story.
To start it is helpful to have a quick overview of Spanish governance. The Spanish system might seem somewhat familiar to Americans and Canadians but is very different. Spain is not a Republic, it has a Monarch. It is not a federal system or federation. It is very much a unitary state that is indivisible as per the 1978 constitution, but with many autonomous regions that have varying levels of powers devolved to them by the central state. These are very different from States in US or Canadian Provinces in that there is no single agreement between the state and the regions regarding the powers that are devolved to the autonomous regions. Every region has different levels of powers based on their competencies and as stated in the specific region’s constitution. Imagine if California was constitutionally given significantly more scope and legal power within the state than, say, Florida. Add to this that the autonomous regions are typically based on historic ethnic and cultural lines. This system invites grievances and there are several nationalist movements in the varying regions (most notably the Basques and the terror campaign conducted by the ETA in an attempt to force independence on Spain).
With Catalonia it is fair to say that the region has a unique culture primarily based on the Catalan language which differs from Spanish. The Catalans identify with their difference from the rest of Spain. This does not mean they have a history of sovereignty that was interrupted when they were bolted onto the Spanish State like, say, Newfoundland or Hawaii being brought into Canada and the US in the twentieth century. Catalonia was a sub-state of the Kingdom of Aragon as far back as the 1100s and became part of a unified Spain with the joining of Aragon and Castile in 1469 and has remained as such since. The Catalonian independence movement really only began in the 1920s and did not start to gain any traction until the 1980’s with protection of the Catalan language the foremost issue. The Catalonian elections of 2003 saw a new government led by a coalition of left-wing parties composed of the Socialists' Party of Catalonia (PSC), the pro-independence Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya (ERC) and a far-left/Green coalition (ICV-EUiA). Their attempt to rewrite the constitution of the autonomous region saw the Spanish parliament remove several contentious issues before ratifying the document. These predictably were clauses on language, Catalonia as a Nation, and finance. Since then support for independence has grown as successive governments have campaigned non-stop for that outcome.
Enough of the background, and on to the current situation. An independence referendum held on October 1, 2017 which had been passed by the Parliament of Catalonia and called by the Generalitat de CatalunyaIt (executive). In September it was declared illegal and suspended by the Constitutional Court of Spain after a request from the Spanish government, who declared it a breach of the Spanish Constitution of 1978. The High Court of Justice of Catalonia issued orders to the police to try to prevent it, including shutting of polling stations and the detention of some of the organizers. Due to the many irregularities in the vote, as well as the ham-fisted response from Madrid with use of force by the National Police and Civil Guard, international observers invited by the Generalitat declared that the referendum failed to meet the minimum international standards for elections.
The nicest thing that can be said of the referendum is that it was a shit show all around, the reason for this is that small, far-left and socialist parties used the weakness of the largest party in the Parliament of Catalonia, JxSi - Junts pel Sí (Together for Yes ) to hijack the independence movement and try to force the vote and declaration of independence through. JxSi - Junts pel Sí is a coalition of liberal and centre left nationalist parties. They were easily the largest party after the 2015 election however fell short of a majority (62 seats of 135). To form government they joined a coalition with the socialist and radical CUP - Popular Unity Candidacy who captured 10 seats giving the coalition a slim majority. With the support of the far left coalition party CSQP - Catalonia Yes we Can (Podemos, ICV - Initiative for Catalonia Greens, EUiA - United and Alternative Left) and their 11 seats the CUP was able to pressure JxSi into holding the referendum regardless of legality, and in demanding a unilateral declaration of independence immediately afterwards (although the reluctant and unfortunate Carles Puigdemont, President of the Generalitat of Catalonia, vacillated and stalled for a week before making the declaration official).
What seems to be forgotten or conveniently overlooked by supporters of Catalonian independence is that although nationalist parties won a majority in the 2015 election, it was not an overwhelming mandate for independence. A large proportion of the Catalonian population identify as Spanish and/or unionists and do not support independence (even if they may have tactically voted for JxSi) In fact those against independence heeded the call of unionist parties to boycott the referendum as it was illegal. Overall all turnout for the referendum was low, only 43%. The YES vote won overwhelmingly but this is like winning a football game when the other team fails to turn up.
Despite declarations that the National Police and Civil Guard prevented or intimidated many from voting (which certainly would have been the case with a minority) polls commissioned by the Generalitat itself show that a majority of Catalonians don’t support independence from Spain. The July 2017 poll indicated 41% were in favour and 49% were opposed to independence. Is this a mandate for separation? Is this a mandate for civil war? Hardly…
Back to my original assertion that it is a minority of socialists, communist and far left that are calling the tune. The interesting thing is that CSQP – Catalonia Yes We Can coalition makes no bones that they are not nationalists. Unable to win power democratically they have attached themselves to the Catalan nationalist movement in order to steal a country they can make in their own image – a worker’s paradise on earth. OK, so that’s all very 20th century class war – they want a hipster’s, feminist, eco-warrior, socialist state. Workers are just so dirty….
They have been able to gain this power and leverage with a paltry 17% combined support (CUP and CSQP – see attached table of 2015 results). Pretty neat eh? The best description is they have performed a coup on a naïve and infighting broad nationalist coalition. Just like that independence means Marxist economic policies and a social justice fantasyland. The majority (they are the majority remember) of JxSi voters didn’t sign up for that but that’s what they got. It’s what the left always does. It finds a weak spot and burrows in to eventually parasitically taking over its host. So when you feel yourself emotionally supporting the Catalan bid to breakaway just ask what are they breaking away to first? I will be the first to dance on the EU’s grave, but not for its former bits and pieces to become the new Albania.
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