Help Catalonia. Save Europe

Yanis Varoufakis‏ summarises what seems like desperate times:

“21st century Europe: Execution in Malta of activist exposing tax cheats. Racism triumphing in Austria. And political arrests in Catalonia.”

As attention focuses on Trump’s attacks on the free press in the USA, Spanish newspaper El Pais sacks veteran British journalist John Carlin, over an article in The Times criticising the handling of the Catalonia crisis by the governmentin Madrid and King Felipe. As America has got used to repeating: This is not normal.

It’s not just the principle of self-determination that’s at stake, it’s the principle of democracy fundamental freedoms and civil rights. Whilst Scottish nationalists need to avoid transposing the Catalan experience directly onto ourselves here, it’s appalling that left-unionists (formerly known as internationalists) should use their own constitutional prejudices to avoid solidarity with the people of Catalonia.

It’s not good enough to look the other way and mumble something shamefully incoherent about the ‘rule of law’.

There are many exceptions to this, as Paul Mason wrote earlier this month:

“Two million Catalans braved the threat of a police boot in the face to demand independence. As with Scotland and Greece, this was a modern, cosmopolitan form of nationalism. After the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, and the Greek vote to reject austerity in June 2015, people who resist the economic and social order in Europe know that state-backed scare tactics are part of the deal.”

But now with the imprisonment of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sànchez the need for active international solidarity is clear.

In response the Catalan Defence Committee Scotland has been brought together to “develop a broad based solidarity effort in social movements, campaigns, trade unions, colleges and communities. Building on the demonstrations, this will be a more concerted and wider movement to include everyone who wants to defend democracy and the right to self-determination, regardless of their view on independence.”

Jonathan Shafi writes: “Grassroots leaders of Omnium and ANC have been arrested for sedition in the last few hours. Today Catalan human rights organisations have called for international support on a sustained basis. You can read the statement – which via the CUP is being used to set up similar campaigns across Europe – see the range of signatories to which you can add you name/organisation.

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“What’s happening here, in Catalonia, is not an internal Spanish affair. It concerns to each and every European citizen” – from Òmnium Cultural:

 

 

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Comments (17)

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  1. Paul Carline says:

    YouTube has already taken the video down.

  2. Paul Carline says:

    Sorry – it’s the FB page that can’t be accessed. This link still works: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=wouNL14tAks

  3. FireZ says:

    This video is a shame. The only scope of who made it is to victimize the indipendentists and show Spain as a repressive govern. During all the time I was living there, Catalans were receiving more benefits, less taxes and all kind of facilities. Now they are trying to blackmail the govern using people and ideals. And that is a real disgrace.
    You, sharing this horrible video, are disgraceful.
    I dream with a Spanish republic.
    The Catalans are just selfish egotists, as they are proving in these days.
    No mention to all the money that the different “presidents” of the Catalan Parliament have robbed to the population. No mention to the brainwashing inside the schools. Shame. Shame.
    Being Republican, this is particularly sad to me.

    1. Alice Macfarlane says:

      If they are such a drain on Spanish wealth, let them go, everyone should have a democratic right to independence. Are you really supporting the extreme police violence we saw a few days ago? The people were peacefully voting, not rioting, the police were violent. How can you defend that?

      1. Fernando says:

        What happen with the million of catalonians Who also feel spanish? They are more than independents but they fear to talk because the real repressive goverment is catalonian goverment. Independence movement is like Orwell’s world, they change history they force people to leave to other regions. If you want freedom for catalonian dont support supremacist independence. I am from Asturias we are poor compared to catalonian independent, but still we dont hesitate to support our spaniards brothers from other regions

  4. ANDREW RADLEY says:

    Where has the facebook page gone?

  5. Rona Crawford says:

    Can’t access the FB page, says “page not found”…..

  6. Bourgade says:

    All people have the right to rise against anti-democratic behaviours especially if they are induced by governments. In france it is written in the ” La declaration des droits de l’homme” Man’s rights articles 1793. Art9/11/35

  7. Maria says:

    Just 37% of Catalans want the independence from Spain, what about the other 63%!
    https://youtu.be/tuiCZDm2NJc

    1. Steve Cairns says:

      The answer to your question is to let them vote.

      The disgust and anger felt across Europe is not directed at those in Catalonia who want to remain part of Spain, or even those in other parts of Spain who want the same. It is directed at those who refuse to let their fellow citizens to express and quantify their convictions collectively.

      The condemnation is directed squarely at those who use, demand or condone violence to impose their own will in silencing those who would dare to register and count a protest against it.

      If the vote within Catalonia is in favour of unity, it is the end of the crisis. The independence movement must reinvent itself, and Spain as a whole would be wise to seek ways to address the differences that drove a significant number of it’s citizens to reject it.

      If the vote is for independence, it is the beginning of a process and a negotiation to a settlement that must involve the whole of Spain.

      There is no reason to suppose that leaving Spain will be any less traumatic, or indeed more unilateral in its terms for Catalonia, than leaving the EU is currently proving for the UK. If you want someone to remain Spanish, and you peacefully make that, or any other argument, then you have a democracy. If you smash them to the ground with batons and drag them through the streets by the hair to prevent them voting, you do not.

      Every step further away from democratic process Spain takes, is one which lengthens the shadow of Franco. It cannot and should not be tolerated or condoned by any Catalonian, Spanish, or EU citizen. If you want unity, that commitment is what must unite us. That is the foundation.

      Those who refuse to contemplate any outcome outside their own prejudice are the ones who create division. They exist on both sides of any argument and it’s silly to pretend otherwise. For that reason the only possible solution is to send all of them to the ballot, whether they like it or not. Do it like your life depended on it. Do it with the same conviction as they would send the likes of us to a firing squad. Whatever your opinion of the video, the title is perfect and certainly worthy of Mike Small’s article. The outcome is less important. The means by which we must resolve this, are fact existential to European democracy.

  8. William Ross says:

    Mike

    Like you I am very sympathetic to the plight of the Catalans. My perception is that Catalonia is a nation with the right to self determination. I want the Catalan issue to be decided in a fair legal referendum in which Yes and No voices can be heard. We had such a referendum here in Scotland in 2014.

    What other country in Europe other than the UK allows successionist nations such as Scotland the right to vote on independence? What chance for the Catalans and Basques, the Corsicans, the Bavarians? Not much.

    Obviously, the departure of Catalonia would be disastrous for the Spanish state and might bring on its fully blown dissolution. I can also understand Madrid`s concerns, but not their actions. A Catalan UDI will be very difficult. Catalonia will be out of the EU ( just like Scotland would) Can it stay in the Eurozone outside the EU? The EU is clearly supporting its member state which is Spain.

    I am glad that you quote Varoufakis. I am sure that he knows what any independent Catalonia will face. Mike: if you read Varoufakis, you would get a flavour for the elitist unyielding unaccountable power block which lies in “Europe`s dark heart”. This is the establishment which crushed the Greek people, ignored the voters of France and Holland, told the Irish and Danes to try again and now seek to thwart the Brexit vote. Perhaps one day the light may dawn on you.

    I hate to say it, but I hope that the Catalans are not relying on their “rights as European citizens”.

    William

  9. Jamsie says:

    This is probably the most confusing titles I have seen on here.
    The confusion has permeated into the subject content and some of the replies.
    However it does throw some extraordinary weight behind the case for the UK leaving the EU and demonstrates vividly the contradictions which exist in the pro-nationalist, pro-EU mind.
    For example the “principle of self determination”.
    What is this?
    Is it something that regardless of the democratic will of the electorate of a country which can be imposed?
    Is it something to be gifted to the masses by politicians or unelected oligarchs?
    Surely that so called principle only comes into being when the democratic mandate of the electorate has been clearly given.
    I don’t know a lot about Catalonian affairs but from what I have read the referendum was neither legal nor was it supported by the majority of the electorate.
    But it is the reference to the statement by Paul Mason which I suppose reinforces the blindingly obvious which is that there is an economic and social order in Europe which does not benefit the people of Scotland and by reference from Paul does not support the nationalist point of view in Scotland.
    Why do the SNP want to take us back into Europe?
    Alice says “everyone should have a democratic right to independence” – my own take on that is that if there is clear and unambiguous evidence that the majority of an electorate would like to vote on independence then that democratic right should be made possible.
    However where there is a clear majority against such a referendum then no politician should ever be allowed to call one based on fictitious mandates.

    1. “I don’t know a lot about Catalonian affairs but…”

      1. Jamsie says:

        But the point I made is relevant.
        All reports state clearly the referendum turn out was less than 50 per cent of the electorate.
        Maybe the economic and social order in Europe of which Spain is an integral part came into play.
        They are all citizens of Europe are they not?

        1. I think the question of the legitimacy of turnout is slightly undermined by the presence of riot police attacking people trying to vote

  10. Jamsie says:

    Nothing to do with the legitimacy of the refendum then?

  11. DOUGLAS STUART WILSON says:

    Can I just ask Bella Caledonia, why do they advocate UDI for Catalunya when they did not advocate UDI for Scotland after the elections of May 2015, when the SNP won 52 out 56 seats?

    The pro-independence forces in Catalonia didn’t even win 50% of the vote at the last Catalan elections…. the referendum figures broadly mirrored that for all the draconian interference by the Spanish State…

    Why are Scottish nationalists supporting a right wing led putsch by the Catalan bourgeoisie, albeit willingly backed by the minority radical Left, against the poor of Extremadura, Andalucia and Spain’s other poor regions?

    What are the progressive forces of Catalonia saying? What is Ada Colau saying, what is Xavier Domench saying?

    These are the people whose politics I would always identify with Bella Caledonia. Not the fucking CUP who are hell bent on going back to the Middle Ages to define politics today and reclaim a non existent Pais Catalans.

    And certainly not Puigdemont’s PDeCAT, who are the Catalan equivalent of the PP in Madrid, right wing, corrupt and bourgeoisie to a man., and who imposed austerity with added relish on the Catalan people, even before the PP in Madrid even asked them to do so. Artur Más? Jordi Pujol?

    Sorry folks, they are on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me…

    Why this contradiction about UDI for Catalonia and not for Scotland?

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