Anecdotage 10a: Catalonia and political freedom 101

We were hoping, but we knew that things could go from bad–posturing by Puigmont; legalistic preaching by Madrid–to worse. And it has. Here is what Robin Alan wrote, minutes ago:

The situation in Spain is even worse than I thought it would be… they just jailed eight members of Puigdemont´s government… political prisoners in 21st century Europe… outrages. If the EU and western governments accept this as an internal Spanish affair – shame on them all.
One positive effect: the radical left that is against independence, Podemes (Ada Colau, mayor of Barcelona is part of the Catalan version called Podem) is joining the separatists in a united democratic front against the unionists, not to support independence, but to stand up for democratic rights and demand freedom for the political prisoners. I believe that those combined forces will easily get over 50% of the vote in elections.
Yes, I agree that the heavy-handed actions of the Madrid government will bring many more supporters to the Podem party that wants some kind of solution that is neither unionist nor secessionist, but something like a negotiated alliance with Spain. The Mayor’s ideas are, to my mind, the common sense solution to a crisis that should never have happened in the first place. I rather suspect that the secessionists are the top twenty percent of income earners in Catalonia who still believe that libertarianism and globalization are good things. Well, they were good things for that group, but for nobody else. They should stop believing in mirages and fighting for lost causes. But they do not deserve to be locked up for having ‘wrong’ ideas. Disagreement is the heart of democracy; deal with it, Rajoy, or go down in history as a brother to Franco.
Here is Ada Calau:
After talking about a train crash in the conditional or future tense for so long, it’s difficult to take on the fact that today it has happened.
A decade of PP carelessness with Catalonia has culminated with the adoption of article 155 by the Senate today.
Rajoy presented the motion to the applause of his party and to the shame of all of us who respect dignity and democracy.
Were they applauding his failure?
Those who have been incapable of proposing a single solution, incapable of listening or of governing for all, have enacted a coup against democracy today with the annihilation of Catalan self-government.
On the same track, in the other direction, the pro-independence parties are in their, smaller train with no breaks, advancing at a kamikaze pace (“now is the moment”, we’re in a hurry”), after their mistaken reading of the results of the Catalan elections. Their speed has been the result of partisan interests, a headlong dash which has been consummated today with a Declaration of Independence in the name of Catalonia that doesn’t have the support of a majority of Catalans.
We won’t tire of repeating it: it’s a mistake to renounce the 80% in favour of a negotiated referendum for the 48% in favour of independence.
Many of us have been warning of this danger for years and, over recent weeks, working in public and in private to avoid this collision. We’re a majority, in Catalonia and in Spain, who want a halt to the trains and for dialogue, common sense and an agreed solution to take hold.
There’s always time to turn to dialogue. Whatever happens, we won’t cease to demand it. But now our task is to defend Catalan institutions and to fight to maintain the social cohesion and prosperity of Barcelona and Catalonia. We’ll be with the people, struggling to make sure that their rights are not violated. Healing the wounds that all of this has caused and calling on people in the rest of the country to fight with us because the democracy that is at risk today is theirs too. We will also continue to call on the Socialist Party to stop supporting those who have applauded Rajoy today, otherwise it will be impossible for them to be part of any credible or inspiring alternative.

I know where I’ll be: involved in the construction of new forms of self-government that give us more democracy, not less. That includes working to kick out the PP which, with its cruel applause today, has celebrated the pain of a people. But also, above all, I’ll be working to feminize politics so that empathy becomes an everyday practice that allows us to build broad consensuses through which diversity can become our greatest treasure.
Nor Article 155 nor Unilateral Declaration of Independence: not in my name.

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