Note by the Saker: today I am posting to completely different views on the events in Catalonia. I do that because I hope that our community has the maturity needed to be exposed to two oppsed views without automatically having to declare one The One And Only Correct Opinion and defame the other with insults, personal attacks and logical fallacies. I personally am not taking sides in this conflict for two reasons 1) I don’t know enough about what happened in the years leading up to this referendum and 2) I love Spain and the Spanish people so I have my own biases 3) I generally dislike separatists (as opposed to autonomists), especially those who demand the right to secede but deny the same right to others inside the seceding entity. However, I put F.MAN’s article first because in alphabetical order F.MAN comes before Koenig.
Finally, I categorically demand that only fact-based logical arguments be posted in the comments section, and that only the topic at hand be discussed, not F.MAN or Peter Koenig. Absolutely no personal attacks on anybody. The moderators have been warned that this post might trigger some strong emotions, and I have asked them to be very strict. I will also keen an eye on what is going on here. If things to crazy, I will shut down the comments section. So, please, let’s have a polite and issue-focused discussion, okay? I ask this as the host of this blog.
PS: for more opposed point of views, please take a look at these two:
The future of the EU at stake in Catalonia by Pepe Escobar
THE RAPE OF DEMOCRACY.
On Sunday October 1st. I am watching on TV and in the online newspapers the events that are being developed in Catalonia. This referendum about independence of Catalonia from Spain. I have one thing to say: this is the RAPE of DEMOCRACY in its purest expression.
But do not misunderstand me, the victims of this RAPE are not the “Catalan People” but the Spaniard Citizens and Spain.
Catalonia has been always a Region with a distinct character than the rest of Spain. But that doesn’t mean that they are completely different, that they are foreign to Spain, or that they exclusively speak Catalan. Historically Spanish language have been the language of the majority (or at least in parity) since the late 17th or 18th century. It was and is the main language of the big cities, if you do not believe me, just visit Barcelona (which account for 60 % of Catalans) walk through the city and tell me which languages do you hear on the street, probably more Spanish than Catalan.
When the Democracy was re-installed after Franco’s Dictatorship the Fathers of the Spanish Constitution and the political forces in general adopted (as a generosity measure, and taking into account that some regional languages and identities had been “repressed” and censored) to allow Catalonia and other regions to self-Govern, to become autonomous (hence the name “Autonomies”) and take competences from the central government such as Healthcare, Police and Education, between others. Spain is a “de facto” Federal State, much more that Germany or the USA, just that the name doesn’t say it, doesn’t mean it is not, because it is.
Since those early years specially in Catalonia the local (Nationalist-Independentist) Government have initiated a policy of differentiation mainly based in the Idea that Catalans are better than the Spaniards, that everything bad happening to them it is because of the Spaniards. That the Spaniards are foreign settlers and occupants, in other words: the enemy. They have been following also a very hard policy of limitation of use and expression in Spanish language. The majority of the population have always spoke in Spanish (with as much as 65-70 % in the Past) Catalonia have had a huge influx of internal Spanish immigration from other regions. You have to look at the surnames of people to see that. Today the percentages of use of Spanish on everyday aspects and at home, have been reduced but are, after 30 or more years still over 50 %.
They (the Independentist) have been pursuing the enrichment of their Nationalist and Socialist Ideas. Looks like most of the journalist, politicians, and analyst of the entire World have miss this fact: that they are NATIONAL SOCIALIST (aka NAZI) in their Ideology, forgetting which were the results of the last National Socialist Experiment in the last century.
At the same time, they are following some (30 years long by now) plan of washing the minds of the youth through the regional schools, which they absolutely control. Almost forbidding the children of Spanish speaking population to receive an education in their mother tongue (No matter Spanish is also official, and a right for all Spanish citizens to learn, or that the Spanish speaking population have always been a majority. If you want for your kids to study in Spanish you have to send them to a private school, if not they hardly receive 2 or 3 hours a week of very basic Spanish classes. In fact, they just do into others what they said it is too bad when happening to them.
They have been also breeding a new generation of Independentist in the same Schools. They have thrown away from those schools and universities almost all of the teachers and professors that doesn’t accept their thesis and ideologies. They did it also in the regional Police, and have been doing it in Healthcare and any other Public Service branch they control (they do this elevating over all criteria of selection that you speak Catalan, if you are to work in any public service position, from judges to janitors. With the result that you do not have the best, most qualified person for a position, but undoubtedly one who speak Catalan and it is a sympathizer or affine to their Ideology)
Not only that, they have invested heavy in “changing History” creating myths for a nation that never existed, erasing 500 years of common history to some ridiculous extremes (sometimes I think these independentist Catalans are to Spaniards like Ukrainians to Russians, because of their negation of reality and facts, inventing or distorting them as much as necessary according to their nationalistic agendas. They have become quite adept at this to the point of saying that Cervantes and Cristobal Colon were Catalans. That once existed a Kingdom of Catalonia, or that the Civil War was a war between Spain and Catalonia, all of this the most abject Falsehood)
They always got with this because the Spanish government have been in dire need of their support, no matter which color or tendency, right or left always need the support of the nationalist-independentist (Catalan and/or Basque) MPs to have more stability. This as a result, again of the generosity, of the founding fathers of the constitution also, that reduced the minimum percent required in a Spain’s election to 3% in order to get a seat in the House of representatives (5% is the usual in Europe). It wouldn’t have been possible for the Basque for example to get any of their MPs in Madrid, and nationalist-independentist Catalan Parties would have had the half or less, of what they usually get (thus becoming irrelevant in the Parliament) for 30 plus years these Nationalist-Independentist MPs have been the Little Bully in the Parliament, always benefiting, blackmailing, becoming the necessary partners with much more might that should correspond. All this done in favor of favoring a mutual productive and stable coexistence (looks like after 40 years it was only productive or stable for them) in peace and democracy.
The results of this generosity are today on the newsbreaks. They have got what they want:
First: they have the new breed of independentist (with Spanish names and surnames, whose families live there for less than a generation) Spanish in everything but ideology and language, totally brainwashed, to the point of changing their names and surnames to be more pure Catalans, because they are better, stronger, more beautiful, etc. See the pattern here? the Chosen People. Change People with Race and brings some very nasty dark memories of the mid-20th Century (If you do not believe me look at their ideology) In one word, they are to be the privileged.
Second: they present themselves always as the victim. The always say: “we have got the high moral ground, because, we are oppressed and repressed, Spain steal our money, we have no real free speech and off course no real democracy… Catalonia is not Spain… blah, blah, blah.” But the reality is that they are the ones who want to be elevated, over the rest of citizens. They are the ones that doesn’t respect the Laws, the constitution that 75 % of Catalans approved in the 70s. They have been doing that for years now, ignoring supreme court sentences (from regional, national or EU courts, no matter what. If they don’t like the judgement of the Court, they simply ignore it) breaking the Principle of the constitution that say all Spanish citizen are equals under the Law. Off course they believe they are better and are all above the law (I must say much of this is because of the permissiveness of the Government in Madrid, that it is like a father with a troubled, rebellious and spoiled child named Catalonia. That child can’t be corrected, educated or disciplined, because it is politically incorrect to say enough is enough or give him a slap. The boy is now 40 years old, and it is mistreating his father knowing nothing is going to happen, in fact he wants now to kill his father and walk away with the money)
Third: They accuse their victims of their crimes. And following the most probed and trusted Nazi Propaganda Technics, they repeat the Lie once and again till the Lie becomes a Truth. The Problems they have because with their corruption, inefficiency, mismanagement, inability and sometimes the simplest stupidity, are always the fault of others (read Spaniards here) which gives them “carte blanche” to keep going on with it. The rights they are asking for themselves they are negating to others. Once and again, it is good to make a referendum to secede from Spain, but how dare the Val d’Aran make a referendum to secede from Catalonia, or the city of Barcelona… Democracy it is only when the results of the vote favors me. If not, it is not democracy and let’s try again, till we get what we want.
The Lie, becomes Truth in the minds of those neutered sheep that never thought for themselves, that just follow MSM, that don`t read or know about Spain’s History or that simply are not allowed a look at the facts. If you don’t know the facts, you can’t form a right opinion, you cannot take the right decision. They got the world to believe their Lie. To Swallow it in full.
Fourth: they got that normal Spaniards have started to hate them after 40 years of blackmail, to think let them go and good luck. Not to mention the fracture in Catalonia (where about the half of the population, at least, is against independence) They want a divorce, and Spaniards are starting to think lets speak about it, find an agreement and good bye. But they are Forgetting that without Spain (no matter what their corrupt and inept politicians say, politicians that started to believe their own Lies long ago) they are a non-viable state. Because if you go, we have to share the debt of the State (Catalonia Debt accounts for, at least, 25% of Spain´s External Debt. Catalonia, it is now less than 17% of Spain’s GDP (becoming smaller every year) with about 15% of the population, very far from that 25% of GDP in the 20th Century. Off course they keep saying they are feeding the lazy Spaniards but the fact is: it is exactly the opposite) and off course there is not going to be more money for your delusions coming from Madrid, no more money for pensions, Healthcare, Investments and subsidies, the moment you are another country (this they keep hidden carefully, when not blatantly lying) In some ways much of the Spaniards are fed up with this 40 years of blackmailing. In these times 1000s of Business have left Catalonia, every year, for other regions of Spain. All multinationals that have a seat there, were to leave the “New Country” for Madrid the moment they become independent because Catalonia would be out of the EU, which of course they do not say. And they are just a tiny market of 7 million against 37 in the rest of Spain plus ca. 450 Millions in the rest of the EU. They live in an alternate World, where all bad comes from Spain, and all good it’s just a step away if not for the Perfidious Spain. Like good spoiled Childs, it is only I, me, mine, myself… the rest of the World doesn’t matter.
I read a comment in a newspaper today… It says “Sex and Democracy are quite fun”.
But for that Fun to be, you need the consent of the other part. If you do it without consent, with force and violence and against the will of the other part, it is RAPE.
On Sunday October 1st 2017, Spain’s Democracy is being Raped. Just in front of a cheering World by a selfish, immature, consented, troublesome spoiled 40 years old Kid named Catalonia.
F.MAN aka Francisco M. Aviles Nuevo, Spanish, currently residing and working in Germany since 2011 Architect, Master’s degree in Applied Physics, Master’s degree in Electric Engineering. Caricaturist for “theSaker.is” and “lesakerfrancophone.fr” under the Penname F.MAN (if you are interested in the Sketches please make me know it). This is an original work, an article of opinion. Sorry but I can’t keep going with the Lies that Catalan Nationalist are throwing up to the world. Much less seeing the World swallow it in FULL!
by Peter Koenig
Yesterday’s historic vote – the Referendum decided by the Government of Cataluña, called illegal by the neoliberal Rajoy Government of Madrid – turned into an event of abject police violence against masses of unarmed voters. The Referendum may have been illicit according to the Spanish Constitution, but voting in a referendum as an expression of opinion is a human right, regardless of whether the central government of Madrid would or would not accept the result of the vote.
In the early Monday morning hours, the Catalan Government issued statements saying that about 2.3 million Catalans, 42.3% out 5.3 million eligible voters, casted with 90% a ‘yes’ ballot for Independence. Without the violent interference of the national police and civil guard, the Catalan Government estimated that at least 80% of eligible voters would have cast their ballot.
Clearly, the Spanish Government’s demonstration of ruthless and brute force was and is a reminder that in Europa fascism is alive and well, that Generalissimo Franco in Spain is not dead. Brussels, miserable, spineless puppets to the transatlantic empire and the European oligarchy, remained shamefully silent – arguing it was a Spanish internal affair, as if Spain, a full member of the EU wasn’t a European Union’s ‘internal affair’.
At the end of the day of the Referendum, 1 October, President Rajoy had the audacity to declare literally that there was no referendum taking place in Cataluña. He congratulated and thanked the Spanish police to protect law and order in Barcelona and elsewhere in Cataluña and to uphold the Spanish Constitution. Yet, the media showed and reported all-day long violent police battles against peaceful voters. The forceful, riot-clad Spanish police smashed windows and broke into schools where voting boots were located, attempting to prevent voter from voting; they also removed and destroyed ballot boxes.
At the end of the day nearly 1,000 people – 844 officially – were injured by national police force, extreme violence, by utterly harmful and potentially deadly rubber bullets and batons smashing indiscriminately into nonviolent unarmed voters, including elderly people, women and children. There were hundreds of thousands of people, families who came with kids to this historic event, some camping since Friday in the schools to make sure that their right to vote was protected.
Since the Catalan police decided a hands-off policy, not to interfere with the referendum, but rather to protect the voters from possible violence, the fascist Rajoy Government sent in police and the civil guard from other parts of Spain to prevent the vote to take place. Their brutal and excessive violence against unarmed voters was shocking. They clearly had firm instructions for their brutality from their masters in Madrid – the very masters that congratulated them for carrying out their duties. It was a horrible sight to see.
President Rajoy lauding the violent police that left hundreds of inured, many seriously wounded, is yet another testimony that fascism in Europe is growing. Franco’s blood must be running in Rajoy’s veins. Brussels, the headquarters of the European Police state – of the growing European military regime – already today engulfing the bulk of the 28 EU member states, concurred with this violence by remaining disgracefully silent.
Let’s look a bit closer at some of the reasons behind this horrendous crackdown on people who were merely intent of expressing their opinion – a full human right, according to the UN Charter.
Cataluña with a population of about 7.5 million (out of Spain’s 46 million) and a surface of about 7% of Spain’s 506,000 km2 contributes about 20% to Spain’s economic output, produces 25% of Spain’s exports, receives 23.5% of Spain’s foreign tourist, and 57% of foreign of Spain’s investments. There is a lot to lose by Cataluña’s secession.
Cataluña today receives about 1,800 euros per capita in tax devolution from Madrid, but contributes at least double that amount to the Spanish Treasury. This imbalance has long been a sore thumb in the relations between Barcelona and Madrid. But Rajoy’s PP (Partido Popular) Government has always staunchly refused any dialogue for more autonomy and more financial justice.
Spain’s northern Basque Region fought for decades (1959-2011) for independence. The Spain-ETA armed political conflict, also known as the Basque National Liberation Movement, caused hundreds of violent deaths. When they finally reached disarmament and a peace agreement in 2011 with the central government in Madrid, they settled for a considerably fairer fiscal agreement with Madrid.
Looking at history, Cataluña became part of Spain in the 15th Century under King Felipe VI and Queen Isabella. In the 20th Century, under the Spanish Republic, Cataluña with her own culture and language, received full autonomy in 1932. I was abolished by Franco, when he came to power in 1938. After Franco’s death in 1975, Cataluña regained temporary autonomy which lapsed in 2006, when a Spanish High Court challenged the Statute of Autonomy and ruled some articles of the Statute ‘unconstitutional’. That was the time when the most recent Catalan Independence Movement began. Since then several mock referenda took place, including the latest in 2014, when 80% of those who voted (about 30% of eligible voters) opted for independence.
The 1st October 2017 Referendum was the first serious attempt at secession since 2006. Though non-conform with the Spanish Constitution, the forceful and violent suppression of the people’s freedom of expression – was a grave human right’s abuse. It will most likely backfire – badly.
This fierce oppression by Madrid, the unwillingness for dialogue, has definitely turned most Catalans against Madrid and for independence. A few weeks ago the polls in Cataluña indicated a close call with a slight edge for those who wanted to remain with Spain. After threats from Madrid for weeks and the violent police crackdown of yesterday’s election, at least 80% of eligible Catalan voters now seek independence. A similar trend could be found within Spain. A couple of months ago, 10% to 20% of Spaniards were neutral or favored independence for Cataluña. After yesterday’s police fiasco, close to half of Spaniards in solidarity with their Catalan brothers support Cataluña’s independence.
The fight is by no means over after Madrid’s violent attempted oppression of the vote. We can just hope that civil war can be avoided.
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, Sputnik, PressTV, The 4th Media (China), TeleSUR, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance.