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15 de març 2019

"A revolutionary revolution" by Joan Fonollosa

This is an English translation (by MS) of "Una revolució revolucionària" by Joan Fonollosa (12 March 2019). I hope the author doesn't mind.
Click here if need be to access the whole text
Source: unilateral.cat/2019/03/12/una-revolucio-revolucionaria/

I'm beginning to get the feeling that some time from now - let's say,  a hundred years -, history books will speak about the Catalan Revolution like the way today's books speak of the French Revolution or the Russian Revolution. And ours is a very revolutionary revolution. Let me explain.

First of all, it is a full-fledged political revolution. A people has risen against a system of unjust and arbitrary power so as to change things. Just like the French and Russian Revolution, it is about replacing an obsolete or aristocratic regime with another: democratic in France and communist in Russia; with very different long-term results... but that's another tale. Today's bosses do not bear the titles of dukes and marquesses but those of senior officials and IBEX-35 executives; and instead of statutory rights we call corruption, but essentially it is the same scheme. This feature adds one that has neither French nor Russian, but many others that have existed throughout history: it is an anti-colonial revolution; and as in all these cases, the colonial breed has generated a local subcategory of native - from the sipais of India to the moro friend of one hundred years ago in Morocco: it is not necessary to say our names now - that they have lent themselves to serve the colonizers in return for some crap of power and money. Ours is, then, a political revolution in the classical sense.

But this revolution is revolutionary in the sense that although it is classical in its causes and in its purpose, it is a kind of revolution completely new in its methodology: hence it has been described as revolutionary and to consider it worthy of study in the future.

Traditionally, revolutions used to be essentially violent and started by the poor. The American revolutions (North and South) were run by wealthy colonizers, but the people who took part in them were, as in all cases, a mass of people who had almost nothing to lose other than a life that was little better than death. Because of this, because they had nothing to lose, they rose up in arms against the constituted power, which, of course, responded in the same vein. In this sense, the American revolutions were no exception: the colonial power responded with war, as always. And the same goes for our case: Spain wages war, among other reasons because it cannot do anything else. But, alas, this war can no longer be waged in the traditional sense.

Von Clausewitz, considered the great Western theorist on warfare, defined it as "the continuation of politics by other means", and that is exactly what they are doing. The difference is that the world advances - although sometimes we don't get that impression - and today these "other means" can no longer be tanks and guns. That's why they use the means that they have at their disposal: from judges and prosecutors to tax inspectors, defaults on payments and legal measures designed to hurt. All this, of course, with the help of more classical weapons: propaganda, defamation, lies, international bribery and pressure in the search for allies. And, naturally, a series of provocations to see if the violent spark explodes to allow them to apply more traditional remedies, that - it has to be said - they dominate much better than us.

We're all thrilled to bits about "the revolution of smiles" but we need to be aware that this is possible only because classical warfare is not applicable. Not so long ago, the smile would have frozen on our lips: maybe not on the first big September 11 (2012), but withot a doubt the Catalan Way of 2013 would not have been possible and the V of 2014 would have been a massacre, assuming that it could have been done. So let us be aware: if we have arrived where we have come without violence, it is because the traditional remedy is no longer possible; on October 1 they did a trial run to see how far this path can be reached these days; And it has to be said that the results were not as negative as we all thought.

But apart from that, our revolution has yet another new aspect: the popular revolution is no longer in the hands of the poor. In today's Catalonia there are no sans-culottes that have nothing to lose, like the Russian peasants in 1918. We, the protagonists of today are people that do have things to lose: call us the middle class if you want. We nearly all have a car, a weekend home or a plasma TV: you kno hat I mean. And that is what makes the capacity for resistance larger - that's why it's already lasted for seven years, an unprecedented duration: traditional revolutions lasted no more than five years - but at the same time it makes us less committed and makes our internal division easier. The fear of losing more than that one is willing to risk rules out an indefinite general strike, for example. Or that some people believe the promises of the enemy to "behave well," when history shows us that it has never done so and has never fulfilled its promises. And as no definitive violent action is not possible either, this kind of draw is perpetuated, and we hope that it will break someday, in our favor. But for the time being, it looks like being a long haul.

And that's where things stand. We are making history in the sense of trying to do something that has never been seen before: a revolution without violence and with people in revolt who do not go hungry. And since it is completely new, there are no precedents to emulate and nobody knows what the right recipe is.

One thing is clear: it seems that "they" have not understood it, beyond the ban on bombarding Barcelona as they always used to do. And this is our great advantage: we do know that we are exploring uncharted waters, while they believe that there has just been a merely operational change.

See also: Això és una guerra", M. Strubell http://www.tribuna.cat/noticies/politica/aixo-es-una-guerra-14-03-2013.html

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