(translated in house)
December 13 2013
The truth is I do not regard myself an acute political analyst or anything like that, but I`m going to indulge myself, without this being a precedent, by sharing a personal insight into what is going on in Catalonia and what I think will happen. I refer of course to the vexed (for many) issue of the so-called sovereignty process, and which I now see as simply irrevocable and will in a few months' time lead to a new state in Europe...
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What I do not understand is how it is not acknowledged that all the stages that this dynamic is going through were and are entirely planned and follow a logic that places its potential in the entrenched refusal of the Madrid government to negotiate anything and to portray this image of immobility that merely reinforces the pro-independence arguments by showing a dogmatic and fanatical Spain, directly confronted with the alleged negotiating and dialoguing idiosyncrasies of the Catalan people.
I think the whole strategy leads to yesterday's annnouncement of the date and question of the referendum will not be able to materialize. Moreover, they won't even try. In fact, curiously enough, the only hope what we might call Unionist options could have would be for the referendum to be held and in which the independence option would get a slim majority or might even lose. Hiwever, if there is no refernedum, there will be independence. That is why they keep repeating that only if the referendum is legal will it take place, it won't be held. That's the catch.
The move seems clear to me and I think that is what was foreseen from the very start. It relies on the central government, the Spanish parliament, certain judicial decisions or whatever prevent the referendum being held. What will happen then? In the face of the blocking of all legal paths to independence, the option would have to be an early election, which would inevitably be of a plebiscitary nature. Let noone that the outcome will be, as up to now, an absolute majority of the independence parties and a Parliament which will have full democratic legitimacy, if not legality, to declare independence unilaterally, which it certainly will. That is, instead of a defeat or a very discrete victory that a referendum would bestow on the independence cause, the outcome would be a majority of nearly two-thirds of the Parliament that would materialize it in a solemn declaration that would give birth to a new sovereign State: the Catalan republic. This objective requires, I repeat, that the referendum be impossible and not be held. The stubbornness of Rajoy and Rubalcaba is the key to the process leading to the desired end: secession.
What can the central government do at this or any later stage in the process? Answer: nothing. The suspension of Catalan autonomy is inconceivable that would pose a huge administrative problem that no one knows how it could be solved, starting with the dismissal of the President of the Generalitat and replacing him by..., whom? And how? A beach-landing of thousands of civil servants that would take over a bureaucratic system that would most probably refuse to obey those who would appear as usurpers?
Nor can the central government can lay too many hopes on foreign countries running to its support should the political determination of Catalonia enjoy wide parliamentary support. It is clear that the threat of the "expulsion" from Europe seven million of its citizens is not going to take place, among other things because those citizens self-segregated from Spain would not on that account lose their nationality as Spaniards, at least if Article 11.2 of the Constitution is applied. Moreover, let it not be forgotten that, as always, the international position that will end up being decisive is not that of the countries of Europe, but that of the United States, who could not care less for the likely chagrin of the Spanish government in the face of a position that does not support its interests. The recent visit to Israel by Artur Mas could be related to the indirect request for support from the major world power following the outcome of a peaceful and democratic process. The way the international press is reflecting the whole sovereigntist process, in any case, cannot not greatly reassure the unionists positions.
Moreover, in this story a strategic differential is being left out: the whole of the sovereigntist process is being driven, dynamized and maintained from beneath by what in other times we would not have hesitated to describe as a mass movement; today we call it a broad grassroots citizen movement, and there is no doubt that it would be mobilized and would take less that two minutes to take to the streets, as it has done so spectacularly when it has organized its own events. Unlike Quebec or Scotland, the sovereigntist movement does not appear to be the result of a political will expressed and acting from above, but quite the opposite. It is the political parties that are being dragged by a collective mood they no longer control and that has its own organizational structures.
In such circumstances, the Unionist option only has one possible way to act. By refusing to negotiate, and being incapable of even technically implementing Article 155 of the Constitution, its only recourse would to apply Article 8, i.e. an armed intervention to take the militarized police – the Guardia Civil – or directly troops out into the streets, i.e. the same act that the government of the Republic took during the black biennium in 1934: bombarding the Generalitat. Only that this time there would be a lot more people in the street peacefully preventing the army from occupying the centre of Barcelona; that is, unless there was a military coup, without and against the central government, in the name of upholding not only the law but the sacred duty of the military to defend the unity of the Spanish nation. In that case, the international scandal would be colossal and would simply and totally discredit any unitary political project in Spain that would appear to only be possible by the force of arms.
In short, there will be no referendum, the only reasonable option that Unionists have. It is this factor which will make the unilateral declaration of independence legitimate, and such an event could only be stalled in the usual way, i.e. by the force of arms. We will see the army on the streets. In such a case, and in actual fact right now, the doubters have to eventually choose between nationalists and the “nacionales”. I 'm afraid my choice has already been made.
Ramon Casanellas Cell of the “Partit dels i les Comunistes de Catalunya” (EUiA)