Schlagwort-Archive: #independence

Catalonia: Alliance against Energy Poverty

Dear all,

in mainstream media the Catalan question is discussed under labels as nationalism, sectarianism or regional egoism of a wealthy region, that doesn’t want to share its fiscal revenues with the poor brothers and sisters in other regions of Spain.

Rarely focus is put on the social and democratic question, that is the main cause of the call for autonomy.

As CUP-speaker Quim Arrufat and the Catalan President Carles Puigdemont put it: The question is about democracy itself and sovereignty of the people.

For years there are lots of local initiatives, assemblies, collectives, support groups that want to ease the brutal impacts of financial and economic crisis as well as explore and practice forms of a cooperative economy, in a long lasting anarcho-syndicalist tradition of Catalonia.

A big problem in Spain is cut-offs of energy (light and gas) and even water because people can’t pay the bills. In Catalonia there founded different groups an Alliance against Energy Poverty that shows an example, how to build up a cooperative society, and grass-roots democracy.

See the article below, full text attached, emphasis added ES.

With kind regards

Elke Schenk

https://entitleblog.org/2016/09/01/energy-struggles-combating-energy-poverty-in-catalonia/

Energy struggles:

combating energy poverty in Catalonia

Posted on 1. September 2016 by mel

A diverse range of social and environmental collectives have come together in the past few years in Barcelona to form the Alliance Against Energy Poverty, successfully mobilising and fighting to stop energy and water cuts for families unable to pay their bills.* […]

Increasingly unequal distributional effects have become more visible as energy and water companies generate exorbitant profits due to deregulation, government subsidies and increasing prices. This model is based in the logic of the capitalist appropriation of nature, which results in energy poverty for the many and mammoth profits for a handful of companies and their CEOs and shareholders.

Spain is one country where energy poverty – understood here as limited or no access to basic services such as water, electricity and gas due to a person’s inability to pay – has increased dramatically with the crisis. 17% of the population have difficulties paying their electricity, gas or water bills.

Within the context of growing rates of energy poverty specifically in Catalonia, here I explore the energy struggles of the Aliança contra la pobresa energètica (the Alliance Against Energy Poverty – APE), focusing on their strategies, ways of organising and lessons learned. Their success is based on uniting historic and current street-based movements with technical entities to bridge social, ecological and political issues, creating social clamour and building solutions at grassroots as well as institutional levels.

APE, formed in 2013 by neighbourhood associations, workers’ assemblies and water and housing rights platforms, aims to guarantee universal access to basic services (water, electricity and gas), to avoid indiscriminate service cuts and to defend human rights.

A brief overview of energy inequalities in Catalonia is first outlined to contextualise the APE’s struggle. Based on an interview with two APE activists, attending a collective advising assembly in Barcelona, as well as the APE’s published materials and website, focus is then placed on APE and how they act on various fronts.

Why act? Energy inequalities in Spain, Catalonia and beyond

The Spanish electricity system is captured by a handful of powerful companies, which are impoverishing Spanish people, a situation that has become more extreme after eight years of crisis alongside increasing levels of unemployment and precariousness. The electricity oligopoly that operates in Spain – including Endesa (Enel), Gas Natural-Fenosa, Iberdrola, EON Espanya and EDP – registered €7.6 billion in profit during the first three trimesters of 2013, double that of other European electricity companies.

The University of Barcelona researcher Aurèlia Mañé Estrada highlights the depth of their power in stating that Iberdrola and Endesa control outright the legislative branch of the Ministry of Industry and Energy. Endesa alone, the main distributor of electricity in Catalonia, declared over €1.8 billion in profit in 2013. Such exorbitant profits are also fruit of a 60% increase in electricity prices since 2008. […]

The price of water has increased 65% since 2008 and the Spanish Association of Environmental Sciences notes that in the Barcelona metropolitan area alone, the number of water supply cuts rose from 27,359 in 2011 to 72,039 in 2012. […]

APE: uniting street-based social movements and technical entities

To combat and find solutions to these injustices, the Alliance Against Energy Poverty (APE) was founded in November 2013 to unite a range of entities to fight for the right of all to basic energy, gas and water supplies.

APE brings together various entities, diverse in their ideological positions and in their ways of organising, like street-based social movements, both recent and historic, and more technical entities, which have worked on electricity, gas or water issues for years. While such a strategy has its challenges, as each movement has many actions and some participants don’t have the energy to engage in everything, overall APE is made stronger through the complementarity of its groups.

The technical entities lack a movement vision, while the street-based movements lack a lot of information to really understand what is happening”, as one activist explained. In this way, “each component teaches each other and learns from one another. We are not two fronts; we work together.”

[…]

Alliance-Against-Energy-Poverty-2016_09.pdf

Russia’s Alleged Meddling in Catalan Vote: Playing the Blame Game — articles by Ralf Streck and Alex Gorka

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 15.11.2017

Dear all,

concurrently with Ralf STRECK’s article „Die Russen sollen sich auch in Katalonien eingemischt haben“(1) Alex GORKA published „Russia’s Alleged Meddling in Catalan Vote: Playing the Blame Game“.(2) He demonstrates how the Spanish government + media, the EU, the NATO leadership increasingly blame/d Russia interfering in and operating Catalonian affairs.

E x t r a c t s

„Few people are able to recognize their own mistakes. Many prefer to deny the truth becoming willfully oblivious to obvious facts. Why assume responsibility if there is such a thing as blame shifting – a true-and-tried method to get away with it? Pointing a finger at someone else to divert attention serves the purpose. There is method to this madness and Western politicians have been resorting to blame-shifting tactic increasingly often. Each and everything going awry in the world is the fault of Russia. The drive of peoples for independence is a good example. Take Catalonia to illustrate the point. (3)

(…)

Can anyone of sane mind believe that Russia’s “meddling” is the real reason to make over 40 percent of Catalans support independence?

  • Has Russia been behind the 95-year-old independence movement in Catalonia
  • Has Russia made the Catalans’ language and culture distinct?
  • Did Russia make Francisco Franco oppress the Catalan people?
  • Has Russia provoked the economic crisis in Spain, which has served to magnify calls for Catalan independence?
  • Has Russia made Catalans believe that the current tax structure is unfair?
  • Has Russia made Madrid unwilling to renegotiate Catalonia’s autonomy agreement?
  • Has Russia written Spain’s constitution, which expressly prohibits a region from breaking away unilaterally?
  • Did Moscow order Spanish police to use brutal force, while preventing the unconstitutional vote?
  • If it didn’t count, why take such pains to stop it?
  • Several world leaders and political figures condemned the violence specifically. Did Russia make them do it?
  • Did Russia make the EU abstain from mediation effort? And, finally, does Russia stand to gain from an independent Catalonia?

With many publications on the issue, no evidence has been produced to demonstrate a link between the Russian government and Catalonia vote. Obviously, the use of the „Russian meddling“ narrative seems to work as a distraction from the wrongdoing of the Spanish government. The fantasy provides a convenient scapegoat to avoid responsibility of the Spanish government for missing opportunities to launch meaningful political dialogue with Catalonia and mishandling of the vote. (…)

Notes

(1) Telepolis, 14.11.2017 — www.heise.de/tp/features/Die-Russen-sollen-sich-auch-in-Katalonien-eingemischt-haben-3890128.html

(2)  Strategic Culture Foundation, 14.11.2017  —  www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/11/14/russia-alleged-meddling-catalan-vote-playing-blame-game.html

(3) The same Western blame-games are evident related to the last US-presidential elections, the unspeakable crimes of the US-created IS-mercenaries, the Brexit  …

 

Catalonia’s independence struggle – Live Blog by green left Weekly (Australia)

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS – 29.10.2017

Dear all,

daily many of us are trying to get solid information about Catalonia’s independence struggle and the field of social and political forces involved – within, in Spain, Europe …

In that regard — according to our experience — the Australian Live Blog Catalonia’s independence struggle is one of the most instructive.

This will be exemplified by an excerpt of yesterday’s timetable 11:00 – 22:00.

Greets,

Martin Zeis

Catalonia News-Ticker – edited by green-left-Weekly

https://www.greenleft.org.au/content/live-blog-catalonias-independence-struggle

Sa, 28.10.2017

2200 HOURS

  • Sigma-Dos poll shows pro-independence forces losing their majority at December 21 election.

IF REGIONAL ELECTIONS WERE HELD IN CATALONIA TODAY, FOR WHICH PARTY WOULD YOU VOTE?
(NOTE: C’s is Citizens, PSC is Party of Socialists of Catalonia, PP is People’s Party, CSQP is Catalonia Yes We Can, PDeCat is Catalan European Democratic Party, ERC is Republican Left of Catalonia, CUP is People’s Unity List.

„Independ.“ if pro-independence, „Constit.“ is constitutionalist). Sample: 1000

1800 HOURS

What happens on Monday? Or how to resist the article 155 onslaught (main points of NacióDigital report)

Main points of the passive resistance being planned against article 155:

— Ministers and senior executive to go to work as normal, challenging the Spanish administration to remove them physically;
— Puigdemont to continue to work from the main government building (the „Palau“) in St James Square, Barcelona, protected by special group of Catalan police;
— Parliament to meet as usual (with meeting of speakership panel set for Tuesday);
— The main public sector union, USTEC, has voted not to accept instructions from executives imposed under aricle 155 intervention.

— Workers Commissions (CCOO) will not offer disobedience. However, many workplaces have had all-in mass meetings and voted that they will not accept orders from executives imposed from Madrid..

— The minority unity confederation Intersindical-CSC has already held over 30 mass meetings to impart methods of peaceful resistance.

  • The PP demands that the Spanish and European flags, lowered from Sabadell town hall after Friday’s independence declaration, be re-hoisted.
  • Former Catalan police chief Trapero’s replacement leaves structures and personnel of his predecessor unchanged.
  • Spanish government complains that Catalan public television Channel 3 presented Juigdemont as „president“.

1600 HOURS

[TWEET] Juan José Ibarretxe (former Basque premier): „Respect, affection and recognition for the Catalan Republic.“

1500 HOURS

  • Catalan President Carles Puigdemont gives public address over Channel 3

„The best way we have for defending the achievements made to date is democratic opposition to the application of article 155“

October 28, 2017

Dear compatriots,

Yesterday we lived through a historic day, a day full of democratic and civic significance. The Parliament of Catalonia fulfilled what the citizens voted for on September 27, 2015, when the majority that emerged from the ballot box entrusted Parliament with the proclamation of independence.

Yesterday, too, the Spanish Council of Ministers agreed to the sacking of the entire Government of Catalonia, intervention into our self-government and the dissolving of Parliament. These are decisions contrary to the will of the citizens of our country as expressed at the polls. They know perfectly well that in a democratic society it is up to parliaments to choose or dismiss presidents.

However, citizens, in these first moments, all of you have understood that the phase we have now entered we must continue to defend — with a tireless civic spirit and with a commitment to peace. Your reaction is that of a mature country that knows where it wants to go and how it wants to arrive there. Let’s not get diverted from that: let’s continue to persevere in the only attitude that can make us winners. Without violence, without insults, in an inclusive way, respecting people, symbols and opinions and also respecting the protests of Catalans who do not agree with what has been decided by the parliamentary majority.

Our desire is to continue working to fulfil our democratic mandates and at the same time seek maximum stability and calm, understanding the difficulties logically involved in a phase of this kind, one that our country has never been through, in any case never before in the way that is happening now.

The message I would like to address to you is this: let’s have patience, perseverance and perspective. On that basis we can be clear that the best way to defend the gains won to date is through democratic opposition to the application of article 155, which is the end point of a premeditated aggression against the will of we Catalans who by a very large majority and over many years have felt ourselves to be a nation of Europe.

We have to do this by protecting ourselves against repression and threats, but doing that without ever, ever in our life, not at any moment, abandoning a public-spirited and peaceful conduct. We can’t be, nor do we ever want to be, right through might. Not us. I ask this of you convinced that this request is what everyone expects, also from outside our country.

We shall continue working to build a free country, to guarantee a society that has less injustcess, more equality, more solidarity and more fraternity with all the peoples of the world, starting with the peoples of Spain with whom we want to strengthen ties on the basis of respect and mutual recognition.

Thank you very much.

Carles Puigdemont and Casamajó
President of the Generalitat [Government] of Catalonia

1400 HOURS

  • Spanish government appoints number two of Catalan police force (Mossos d’Esquadra) to be the new chief.

1300 HOURS

[TWEET] Mikko Kärnä (Finnish Centre Party, for seat in Lapland): Congratulations to the independent Republic of #Catalonia. Next week I will submit a motion to the Finnish Parliament for your recognition. [October 27]

  • Council of Rubí (Vallès Occidental) votes not to condemn article 155 intervention on casting vote of mayoress.
  • Spanish government appoints Ferran López, the number two of the Catalan police, as chief.
  • Lleida mayor Àngel Ros (front line, in grey jacket, with glasses) takes part in unionist demonstration in Lleida.
  • God relieved (in the Spanish state): „The chairman of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, Ricardo Blázquez, today expressed support for efforts to restore the constitutional order under article 155.“ (Europa Press)

1200 HOURS

  • Ferran Mascarell, the Catalan delegate to the Spanish government sacked by Rajoy, will appeal the decision to the courts because the article 155 resolution adopted by the Senate is „manifestly unconstitutional“.
  • Albano Dante Fachín (Podemos Catalonia): „It would be an enormous contradiction to say one million times „No“ to 155 and then take part in elections as if nothing had happened ... At the present time I personally find it very hard to think of the December 21 elections as normal elections while the Jordis are in jail.“

1100 HOURS

  • St Carles de Ràpita raises the senyera in celebration of the declaration of the Catalan Republic.

Some international press front covers on the declaration of Catalan Republic. ……

Ómnium Cultural: Jordi Cuixart's speech, Oct 16th, + Mike KRIEGER: If Catalonia Fails, We All Fail; 17.10.2017

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS

Martin Zeis, 18.10.2017

 

Below Jordi CUIXART’s short, powerful and inspiring video message after „Judge Carmen Lamela of Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional —the special court of law that superseded and was inspired by General Franco’s Tribunal de Orden Público [Public Order Court in Spanish]— has ordered that ANC and Òmnium leaders Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart be imprisoned without bail pending trial on charges of sedition, following the rallies of September 20 and 21 in Barcelona city.

The Assemblea Nacional Catalana (Catalan National Assembly, ANC in Catalan) and Òmnium Cultural are the two main grassroots groups behind the massive, peaceful pro-independence demonstrations staged in Catalonia in the last few years. On September 20 and 21 people rallied peacefully and without any incidents to protest the arrests of 14 senior Catalan government officials after Spain’s Guardia Civil raided several government buildings. Both Catalan leaders face sedition charges, which carry a prison sentence.

The public prosecutor had requested prison without bail for both grassroots leaders, as well as Catalan police Chief Constable Teresa Laplana and Commissioner Josep Lluís Trapero, the head of the Mossos d’Esquadra. The judge has chosen not to keep Laplana and Trapero in custody but has imposed some cautionary measures on them: they may not travel abroad, they have had their passports seized, both must appear in court every two weeks and must remain reachable by phone at all times.“

Quote from https://www.vilaweb.cat/noticies/pro-independence-grass-root-leaders-sent-to-prison-on-sedition-charges-independence-referendum-cuixart-sanchez-omnium-anc/

Jordi Cuixart’s speech, October 16th

YouTube, Video 1:44 min / engl. subs – URL: www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=h1djhPw-vx4

 

Òmnium Cultural

published 17.10.2017

 

Jordi Cuixart: political prisoner in today’s Europe for holding peaceful rally.

Madrid judge denies bail for Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart, the leaders of

Catalonia’s two main grassroots groups https://www.vilaweb.cat/noticies/pro-…

Òmnium: https://omnium.cat Crida per la Democràcia: http://cridademocracia.org

 

++++

https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/10/17/if-catalonia-fails-we-all-fail/

If Catalonia Fails, We All Fail

By Michael Krieger

Oct 17, 2017 12:04 pm

While I’ve touched on the Catalan independence movement in several recent posts, I want to make one thing clear from the start. I don’t have a strong opinion on whether or not independence is the right move for the region and its people. It would be completely inappropriate for me, a U.S. citizen living in Colorado, to lecture people 5,000 miles away on how they should organize their political lives.

While I don’t have an opinion on how Catalans should vote, I unwaveringly support their right to decide the issue for themselves. When it comes to the issue of voting and referendums, we’ve entered a topic far bigger than Catalonia, Spain, or even Europe itself. When it comes to the issue of political self-determination, we’re talking about an essential human right which should be seen as inherent to all of us, everywhere.

The Catalan push for a right for vote on independence should be seen as part of a much larger push toward greater self-determination that humans will demand in increasingly large numbers in the years ahead. The time is ripe for us as a species to insist on a transition toward a more voluntary, sane, peaceful and decentralized process of political organization. This is an idea whose time has come, and I thank the Catalan people from the bottom of my heart for brining it to the fore, and also for conducting themselves in such a noble, courageous and thoughtful manner. You are leading the way for the rest of us.

The key reason Madrid is wrong on this issue relates to its insistence that Spain must sustain itself in its current form forever. Since Spain is a manmade political creation, this is the modern equivalent of claiming a “divine right of kings,” but rather than bestowing this archaic conception on individual rulers, it’s bestowed upon a nation-state. This is not just an absurd position, it’s patently anti-human. As I discussed in the post, It’s Time to Question the Modern Nation-State Model of Governance:

As things stand today, humans essentially have two choices when it comes to political life. We either accept the nation-state we’re born into and play the game to the best of our advantage, or we try to become citizens of another country with values that more align with our own. The only way to really shatter existing political power structures and form new ones is through violent revolution or war, which is an insane way of reorganizing matters of human governance. One of Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s key arguments in casting the Catalan referendum as illegal is that Spain is an indivisible nation under the 1978 constitution. Let’s think about what this means in practice.

Anyone who’s spent any time in Spain understands how culturally and linguistically distinct many of the regions are when compared to Madrid. These are differences that go back centuries and can’t be brushed off by a constitution created a few decades ago. The idea that these various regions must be part of a centralized Spain even if the people within the regions want political autonomy is ethically preposterous, as well as authoritarian and evil in every sense of the word. If done properly, human governance should always be a voluntary arrangement. If an overwhelming majority of culturally distinct people within any nation-state decide the super state is no longer working for them, they should have every right to leave. Anything else is bondage.

If humans are going to evolve into better forms of political organization rooted in voluntary associations, we must first reject the clear authoritarian nature of our current political environments. All of us are randomly born into nation-states which we never chose in the first place and told to accept them as eternal structures. The people of Catalonia have realized the absurdity of this and are taking a brave stand on the issue. Anyone who genuinely believes in human rights must stand with the people of Catalonia and support their right to a referendum should they choose to have one.

With political philosophy out of the way, I want to move on to a discussion of strategy and why I think those leading the push for Catalan independence have played their hand brilliantly thus far.

First, leadership’s emphasis on a peaceful movement in the face of thuggish violence and aggression by the Spanish state is of the utmost importance. For an independence movement to succeed and create a better, more free society afterwards, things must be done in a conscious way. As I’ve said many times before, ends never justify the means. The means are everything. Moreover, by exposing the opposition as goons, you foster increased solidarity amongst your neighbors who may have been on the fence when it comes to independence. You also create passionate allies across the world. The Catalan people have succeeded remarkably on all these fronts

Immediately following the October 1st referendum, I was concerned that Catalan President Carles Puigdemont would make a mistake by prematurely declaring independence. This would’ve been a huge error since while 90% voted for independence, only 40% or so voted. While such a lopsided result certainly makes the case that Catalans deserve a vote for self-determination, it’s not a clear mandate given the low turnout. If the people of Catalonia want to succeed in their push, Madrid must be seen as the unreasonable — and very public — aggressor in virtually every move on the chessboard. By not prematurely declaring independence Catalonia pushed the move back into Madrid’s court, which is wise since the government there has a habit of making really stupid decisions.

Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for Spain to make yet another blunder with yesterday’s imprisonment without bail of two of Catalonia’s independence leaders.

Reuters reported:

Spain’s biggest political crisis in decades worsened on Monday night when Madrid’s High Court jailed the heads of Catalonia’s two main separatist groups pending an investigation for alleged sedition.

The Catalan government accused Madrid of taking “political prisoners” and one of the groups has called for peaceful demonstrations around Catalonia on Tuesday, with the biggest expected to begin in Barcelona in the evening.

Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont, in a tweet following the detentions, said: “Sadly, we have political prisoners again.”

The phrase was an allusion to the military dictatorship under Francisco Franco, when Catalan culture and language were systematically suppressed. It carries an emotional resonance given fascism is still a living memory for many Spaniards.

Knowing that jail was a possibility, Omnium chief Jordi Cuixart had prerecorded a video message. It’s short, powerful and inspiring.

see: Jordi CUIXART’s speech, Oct 16th – 1:44 min — https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=h1djhPw-vx4

(…)

—  full text attached (pdf) —

KRIEGER_If-Catalonia-Fails-We-All-Fail171017.pdf

Catalonia/Spain – Spain's Rajoy Ready To Trigger "Nuclear Option" As Hundreds Of Thousands Protest Against Independence In Barcelona

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS
Martin Zeis, 08.10.2017

Below a zerohedge-report on the latest events in Spain/Catalonia causing PM Rajoy threatening – if necessary – to trigger the „nuclear option“ i.e. suspending Catalonia’s autonomous status: „Asked if he was ready to trigger article 155, Rajoy told El Pais (1):

„I am not ruling out anything that the law says. What I have to do is do things at the right time, which is the most important thing right now. The ideal situation would be to not have to take drastic solutions, but for that to happen there would have to be rectifications.“

„We are going to stop independence from happening. On that, I can tell you with absolute frankness, that it will not happen. It is evident that we will take whatever decision that we are permitted to by law, in view of how things are unfolding.“

(1) Independencia de Cataluña – Rajoy: “Un Gobierno de concentración podría ayudar pero bastaría con estar juntos”; El Pais, 7 Oct 2017 – URL:

https://politica.elpais.com/politica/2017/10/07/actualidad/1507394644_881357.html

more detailed: Federal police stay, no talks & no independent Catalonia – Spanish PM; https://www.rt.com/news/406022-catalonia-rajoy-no-talks-police

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-10-08/spains-rajoy-ready-trigger-nuclear-option-thousands-protest-against-independence-bar

Spain’s Rajoy Ready To Trigger „Nuclear Option“ As Hundreds Of Thousands Protest Against Independence In Barcelona

by Tyler Durden
Oct 8, 2017 12:02 PM

One week after the historic Catalan Independence Referendum vote reopened Europe’s populist Pandora Box of nationalist secession movements, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Catalonia’s capital Barcelona on Sunday to express their opposition to any declaration of independence from Spain, which according to Reuters showed „how divided the region is on the issue.“

Last Sunday, more than 90% of the 2.3 million people who voted backed secession, according to Catalan officials. But that turnout represented only 43 percent of the region’s 5.3 million eligible voters as many opponents of independence stayed away. Now its the others‘ turn to be heard.

The Spain Report @thespainreport

5.
– Long live Spain/Cat.
– I am Spanish
– Jail for Puigdemont
– THIS is the people of Catalonia@lasvocesdelpuepic.twitter.com/BIig4ol1Oe

10:51 AM – Oct 8, 2017

The protesters rallied in central Barcelona, waving Spanish and Catalan flags and banners saying “Catalonia is Spain” and “Together we are stronger”, as politicians on both sides hardened their positions in the country’s worst political crisis for decades.

As is typically the case, estimates of the crowd size varied enormously, with the range given as between 350,000 up to a million.

The Spain Report @thespainreport

So now we have three estimates for crowd size this morning:
– 350,000
– 950,000
– „more than a million“

2:53 PM – Oct 8, 2017

According to Reuters, the demonstration in Barcelona was organized by the anti-independence group Catalan Civil Society under the slogan “Let’s recover our senses” to mobilize what it believes is a “silent majority” of citizens in Catalonia who oppose independence.

It was a second day of protests after tens of thousands of people gathered in 50 cities across Spain on Saturday, some defending Spain’s national unity and others dressed in white and calling for talks to defuse the crisis.

Meanwhile, in an interview with El Pais newspaper, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he will consider taking the so-called „nuclear option“ – the dramatic measure of suspending Catalonia’s autonomous status – as Catalan leaders escalate threats to declare independence from the country, which could culminate with a parliamentary announcement as soon as Monday.

Asked if he was ready to trigger article 155, Rajoy told El Pais newspaper: “ I am not ruling out anything that the law says. What I have to do is do things at the right time, which is the most important thing right now. The ideal situation would be to not have to take drastic solutions, but for that to happen there would have to be rectifications.

Until this weekend, Rajoy has remained vague on whether he would use article 155 of the constitution which enables him to sack the regional government and call a local election.

Reverting back to a hardline stance, the conservative prime minister ruled out using mediators to resolve the crisis – something Puigdemont has said he is open to – and said the issue would not force a snap national election. The Prime Minister also added the government would “prevent any declaration of independence from materializing in anything”. “Spain will continue being Spain,” he said.

Rajoy reiterated that until the regional government abandons its intention to proclaim independence, no talks can take place.

“As long as it does not go back to legality, I certainly will not negotiate,” Rajoy said, adding that while the Spanish government appreciates proposals to mediate between the national and Catalan governments, it will have to reject them. “I would like to say one thing about mediation: we do not need mediators. What we need is that whoever is breaking the law and whoever has put themselves above the law rectifies their position.“

Rajoy’s position is understandable: losing Catalonia – Spain’s wealthiest region – is unthinkable for the Spanish government. It would deprive Spain of about 16% of its people, a fifth of its economic output and more than a quarter of its exports. Catalonia is also the top destination for foreign tourists, attracting about a quarter of Spain’s total.

We are going to stop independence from happening. On that, I can tell you with absolute frankness, that it will not happen. It is evident that we will take whatever decision that we are permitted to by law, in view of how things are unfolding,“ Rajoy told El Pais. He also called on „moderate“ Catalans to „come back“ and move away from „extremists, radicals“ as well as the Popular Unity Candidacy party (CUP) spearheading the movement. It is the first time he has reached out to the Catalan people since the referendum.

Rajoy also slammed the independence bid as part of a current wave of populism sweeping across Europe, pointing to the rise of far-right parties in France, Germany and the UK. „Another form of populism, without doubt, is this nationalist populism that we are experiencing, which violates the fundamental principles of the European Union, goes against the rule of law, against law enforcement, and so it is a problem also from Europe.

„And that’s why Europeans have stuck up for us and all the governments have supported the Spanish constitution and the upholding of the law.“

Actually, the reason why European have stuck with Spain, is because if Catalonia achieves independence it will unleash a waterfall sequence of copycat referendums, where other independence movements will pursue their own secession dreams.

20171005_ind_0.jpg

It remains unclear just how the current Spain crisis is resolved: the past week in Catalonia has been nothing short of chaotic. Madrid responded to the vote with force, sending thousands of police to the region to shut down the vote. Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont has threatened to declare independence early next week, and hundreds of thousands of Catalan protesters marched in favor of splitting from Spain this week.

70 American academics publish an "Open letter on political repression in Catalonia"

globalcrisis/globalchange NEWS

Martin Zeis, 30.09.2017

Hallo zusammen,

70 AkademikerInnen aus den USA, Kanada und Mexiko haben in einem Offenen Brief die spanische Zentralregierung aufgefordert, die mannigfaltigen Repressionen gegen das für morgen geplante Unabhängigkeits-Referendum in Katalonien sofort einzustellen und eine freie Abstimmung der Bevölkerung zu dieser Frage zu akzeptieren.

Vergleichbare Erklärungen, Offene Briefe, Interventionen seitens in D tätiger AkademikerInnen/WissenschaftlerInnen sind mir nicht bekannt, ebensowenig eine zeitnahe Übersetzung des folgend dokumentierten Textes ins Deutsche auf Seiten alternativer, kritischer, unabhängiger Medien hierzulande …

D o c u m e n t

http://www.ara.cat/2017/09/29/Carta_Academics_Americans.pdf?hash=6ef3fc9870832ae0d5550253b697dbacb970c628

Open letter on political repression in Catalonia

We are academics working in the fields of political science, law, economics, human rights, sociology, history and related subjects in the United States, Canada and Mexico. We write to draw attention to the political repression that is being conducted by the Spanish government and national police to prevent the Catalonian government holding a referendum on independence on 1st October. As the referendum draws closer, the political repression is intensifying.

The Spanish government has stated that it will physically prevent people entering polling booths to vote on 1st October and has threatened to arrest Catalan Premier Carles Puigdemont and more than 750 Mayors of Catalonian town councils for making public premises available for the referendum. Other repressive measures include the following:

● The Spanish Cabinet has unilaterally taken control of the payment of Catalonia’s creditors to prevent any expenditure relating to the organization of the October 1st referendum.

● The Guardia Civil (the Spanish military police force) has closed down websites that provide information or commentary on the referendum. Spanish judges have ordered the main telecommunications companies – Vodafone and Movistar – to prevent access to the referendum website ref1oct.eu. They complied.

● The Guardia Civil has raided printers and distributors in the greater Barcelona region and has confiscated 1.3 million posters and leaflets.

● The Guardia Civil has served an injunction against all pro-independence newspapers and web-based news offices to ban publication of any material related to the referendum.

● The Spanish Post Office has opened ‘suspicious’ mail to check if it contains referendum-related material.

● Meetings in public buildings have been banned and some have been raided and stopped by the police.

The European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has said that Europe would accept an independent Catalonia if that was the result of a properly conducted referendum. The Spanish government’s repressive measures are intended to disrupt the conduct of the referendum.

We support the demands by constitutional lawyers in Catalonia and Spain to cease all action disrupting the referendum, since Section 155 of the Spanish Constitution states that the Spanish government can only compel an Autonomous Community (state or regional government) to carry out legal actions with the prior consent of a majority of the Senate (the Spanish upper house). No such vote has taken place.

We are concerned that the level of political repression in Catalonia at the moment is of a severe and arbitrary character not experienced since the Franco dictatorship. We demand that Spain immediately ceases the political repression in Catalonia and enables the people of Catalonia to be allowed to freely express their political views.

Signed (…)

The listed 70 signers see pdf-attachment and URL: http://www.ara.cat/2017/09/29/Carta_Academics_Americans.pdf?hash=6ef3fc9870832ae0d5550253b697dbacb970c628

Catalonia-Open-Letter-by-American-Academics170930.pdf