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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Informal referendum for independence in Catalonia

After the new statute has been challenged by the tories (fascists) at the Constitutional Court, Catalans are thinking that they are probably best on their own. An informal referendum is set up for today in 170 Catalan towns, including 700,000 voting citizens (Catalunya as a whole has more than 6 million inhabitants, many concentrated around Barcelona).

From BBC:

"More and more people think we have no room in the Spanish house, so we need a house of our own," organiser Alfons Lopez Tema says.

"[The Spanish] don't want us, they don't love us, they don't give us what we want. So the best thing is to vote and decide."

Joan Canela ponders at Rebelión:

If the Republic was formed after municipal elections, who knows what can bring independece.

The fact that this referendum acknowledges the right to vote to immigrants has brought their organizations to support Catalan independence. Diego Arcos, president of the Argentine House, says:

Catalonia acknowledges our citizenship while Spain does not.

Immigrants have already organized a political platform in favor of Catalan self-determination.

Anna Arqué, speaker of the organizing platform, hopes that the effect of these co-ordinated municipal referendums will be that the Catalan Parliament will call an official poll on the matter at national level.


Kepler said...

Vamos, Maju...what country do you want them to get independence from?
OK, imagine they get it. Who is next?
País Vasco? OK. You get it. Who is next? Valencia? OK, they get it. Then? Galicia. Fine, great.
What happens next? You get more money as taxes don't have to go to Madrid but to the EU. You will open an embassy in Madrid, one in the US, one in Russia, in Venezuela and so on. What else? Are you going to forbid Spanish?
Are you going to do what next?

I don't think you would win a referendum in the Basque country, though. What would you do if you lose it?

Maju said...

Shut up your mouth! This is most serious and is not about damn fucking money. It's about survival and democracy!

I don't think you would win a referendum in the Basque country...

I don't think the Spanish tyranny is going to allow us to have one. In fact they have already forbidden it.

But we will get what we want one way or another, that's clear.A decadent state like Spain will crumble soon: one generation or so. We're patient but fucking stubborn. West Europe and the Mediterranean will have their decolonization event just like it happened in Eastern Europe.

We do not have less right to our own nation-state than Finns, Czechs or Georgians. So we will get our freedom by any means.

Kepler said...

Now you are the one joking.
I asked what you will get.
Survival? Who is killing you?
Who is forbidding you to speak Euskera? (I do hope you speak Euskera most of the time).
I give you something: I think Basques tend to be better organized than castellanos, they are more honest and entrepreneurial.
The idea of the monarchy is something as stupid for me as for you.

Still, I am not sure what you are aiming at and what you want to do for it and whether you have thought it through. My impression has been that lots of people, also Basques, don't want to split.
You may be in the Basque country, but I wonder if you get out of some streets/circile of Donostia or some other town with particularly high pro-independence tendencies.

That is why I ask what you are going to do if the day comes you organize a referendum and people vote against your idea. Are you going to pull a gun against them and tell them to vote for democracy ta askatasuna?

Kepler said...

And just in case: I am a complete outsider and I think that if a majority of the population wants to form their country, that is fine. Still the problem starts in the details.
I think you are not going to get that:
But what if some region in your Guipuzcoa wants to have its own referendum?

Maju said...

Survival as a people, survival of the language, survival of a democratic tradition, survival of our identity.

Right now Basque language is not anymore forbidden and in some areas even encouraged somewhat but there are vast areas of the country where the language has no support and the people no self-rule at all.

Anyhow, the damage done by eight centuries of occupation, sometimes more tolerant, other times more totalitarian (very specially 20th century fascism) cannot be undone without sovereignty.

We need sovereignty desperately. Sovereignty is just the democratic right of the people to organize their own business as they think best, without foreign interference, which is almost invariably an aggression.

Why would we renounce to such fundamental right? It would be suicidal as nation. We will fight for it generation after generation. We have done so far and I don't see any particular reason for this trend to change.

"For what they were, we are. For what we are, they will be".

... Basques tend to be better organized than castellanos, they are more honest and entrepreneurial.

Depends. But there may be some true to that stereotype. I don't think it's "racial" but cultural: the poor Castilians have always suffered a totalitarian state, where the parasitic elites are greatly favored. Instead Basques have nearly always enjoyed a democratic state of business, where aristocracy has only existed as a minor historical incident.

Even Shakespeare wrote that "one day this country will be the marvel of the world". But for that, this country has to exist. 800 years is already too long to be ruled, partly or fully, by foreigners. You can't do your will when you're chained.

And Basques are chained by Spain and France. Most of our sovereign decisions are stopped by the Spanish or French institutions. They impose their flags, ban our parties, don't allow us to organize democratically as we desire, impose their official languages, use our territory for their trades at whim, keep police and military garrisons nearly everywhere, impose NATO, impose Israel, ban Kurdistan.

If you'd live here, you'd realize the daily imposition. Would you like Venezuela ruled by Madrid as in pre-Bolívar times? Hope not.

It is the same here.

Still, I am not sure what you are aiming...

Sovereignty. The right to decide our destiny, long and short term, without foreign interference.

Maju said...

My impression has been that lots of people, also Basques, don't want to split.

If sovereignty is guaranteed, then splitting is less important. Because once we can rule our own affairs without Spanish or French veto, then we can forge any short of international ties as need be. Autonomy? Why not but with sovereign guarantees: that nothing can be imposed without the approval of our (would be) democratic institutions. So if we choose not to place the Spanish banner in our town halls, the Spaniards have to respect that - and so on.

So far they respect nothing. They impose everything.

That is why I ask what you are going to do if the day comes you organize a referendum and people vote against your idea. Are you going to pull a gun against them and tell them to vote for democracy ta askatasuna? -

Obviously not. The whole point is that the Basque People can self-determine. I don't percieve self-determination as any single vote, anyhow, but as the right of sovereignty that all peoples (nations, ethnos) have.

So a North Ireland style solution would be fine. North Irish may have less competences than the West Basque autonomous region but they have something that is a zillion times more precious: they can now decide their destiny with full sovereignty. If they want more autonomy, they can give it to themselves, if they want independence they can get it, if they want to join Eire, they can too.

Similarly the Flemish can surely split Belgium (though this would cause some conflicts re. Brussels) without anyone being able to veto that decision if so they wish.

Similar are the cases, for what I know, of Scotland and Greenland. But that is not what's going on in Latin Europe or in the Mediterranean.

Here the French Jacobine model dominates and that means that only the state citizens as a whole are considered a "nation". This obviously causes the unfair and totalitarian domination of the central nation (French, Castilians, Arabs, Turks) over the sovereign will of the conquered nations.

And that fuels conflicts like the one here, in Catalonia, in Corsica, in West Sahara, in Kurdistan, in Kabyle, etc. The unitarian constitutions make impossible for the sovereign peoples to self-rule actively and often there's no alternative but war or surrender.

Maju said...

what if some region in your Guipuzcoa wants to have its own referendum? -

Personally I'd support it as a lesser evil. Gipuzkoa has been a quasi-sovereign state for the last 800 years (or at least until 1833) and their will must be respected.

However we must not forget that the provinces or regions are a Castilian creation: when they invaded West Navarre in 1199-1200, they split the annexed half-country in three provinces (a Castilian administrative division traditionally) but acknowledging their self-rule with Navarrese law (the "fueros"). It was their trickstery to make sure that Western Navarrese would not uprise again, as they did before in the Restoration.

Essentially they renounced to impose their feudal system (they had already imposed it in La Rioja) in change of loyalty and access to the sea (Bilbao is a Castilian foundation, while Donostia was founded by Navarre - they used Baiona after losing it).

The history of the three northern provinces is more autonomous though. When the English annexed coastal Labourd (modern Labourd/Lapurdi), Pamplona, the legitimate overlord, annexed the interior (roughly modern Lower Navarre), later split by the Castilian conquest of southern Navarre. Zuberoa/Soule had an autonomous existence since the disintegration of Vasconia/Gascony, as did Lapurdi.

However the three were suppressed by the French Revolution, frocedly incorporated to a rather artificial departament: Atlantic Pyrenees. It's almost unanimous among northern Basque mayors (most of which are not nationalist) that they need a Basque department. However this issue is taboo in Paris and always get rejected. As result Basque nationalist vote has been growing quite sharply in the last decade or two.