Catalan Independence? Democracy dies in Spain.


Well you couldn't invent it. Puigdemont has resorted to Spanish tribunals because he objects to losing his status as an MP.
The same tribunals he dismisses as political.
He has managed to alienate ERC and ensure a deeper division among the independence parties.

Also he wants leadership of the independence movement. Personally I fail to see why someone who has made so many mistakes and be so out of touch manages to stay convinced that he has the path to independence.
Problem is he has a lot of visits of supporters who only agree with him and doesn't get the gainsaying voices.

Catalans have a serious problem with their own politicians who have divided into bickering groups and not getting together. A big part of this is the determination of a faction that wants to maintain Puigdemont as its head despite the need for a hands on man in Catalunya who can convince the factions to come together. Torra hasn't shown it yet.

Meanwhile Torra has said that he is taking it as read that the trial will end up with prison sentences and that he will not rule out any non-violent democratic path towards independence including UDI.

I can see why he refuses to rule out anything as it leaves him with ammunition but for many things he doesn't have the united support of independentistes nor a social consensus.
Yet the one thing that may reunite the separatist parties is a series of prison sentences for the prisoners.

But it's a pity there isn't someone else at the helm.
Personally I fail to see why someone who has made so many mistakes and be so out of touch manages to stay convinced that he has the path to independence.
I think you answered your own question there. He's now so out of touch he doesn't realise how sidelined he's become .


I think you answered your own question there. He's now so out of touch he doesn't realise how sidelined he's become .
He's also committed to the policy of taking Spain to the International courts which is a long term one. But now the red hot emotions have cooled a bit and people have had time to think then I see that as fine, but as an adjunct to what is happening here.
He has created a new party 'La Crida' (The Shout/Cry) which he hopes will attract the majority of independentistes but is merely is yet another party further adding to the jigsaw and confusing the scene even more. It goes head to head with the PDeCat in that it is looking at that vote, and will attract his adepts rather than all independentistes. ERC still has its core followers and Junqueras is showing a lot of dignity in prison and gaining respect.

Meanwhile Torra keeps antagonising Madrid in dumb ways, he called for a constant mobilisation, by which he means keeping things going not a call for taking the streets. Yet that is how it will be portrayed in Madrid.

We need a new, and above all competent leader, and the only one I can see is Aragones of ERC.


Here is a letter to the newspaper ref the above which I present translated by myself. It shows that while Puigdemont is trying to unite independentistes under his banner the actual result at the moment is the opposite. It also shows that he is being questioned by many, including myself.

Titled Puigdemont divides:

Puigdemont has played a new dividing card by appealing to the CT. By this he places ERC firmly in the band of the 'others', the impure ones. He cannot and will not be relegated to a second place, he has to the the indisputable leader of the independence movement and is working hard to not be left by the wayside.
He chose to play the exile card and can't allow physical distance to be the cause of a possible decline in his influence or role.
All in all he does more harm than good to the independence movement as it appears he doesn't know how, or can't manage its evident division. Furthermore he does more harm to the Catalans while, for quite some time, we continue to languish in the hands of a government who doesn't govern and is incapable of running the day to day life in Catalunya. Ergo, we all lose.
Will Puigdemont continue this escalation until we lose everything, starting with himself?


Interesting article today not just about Catalunya, but essentially politics in general, but Spain in particular.
The writer refers the situation to the work of Pascal Bruckner.

Full article in Spanish here.
España, una pesadilla de Pascal Bruckner

The gist of the article is about the politics of victimisation, and how it is used as a political tool.
For example the PP under Aznar used ETA as a way of maintaining votes, the Spanish society being the victim here. When his successor the PSOE Zapatero tried to get ETA to the table with certain success the PP under Rajoy did their best to torpedo it.

There is also an aside about hunting and bullfighting in that the traditional red-blooded male has his rights protected from the liberal threat thus making him the victim and allowing the torture of animals to continue.

Here is an extract: I like the point about a national catholic viewpoint because that is precisely what Vox and PP are promoting and what a lot of Spanish still hold as true.

It makes sense if we consider, as the journalist David Remartínez underlines, that "Spain is the story of a defeat: Spanish nationalism is based on a superiority over the neighbour, never over the foreigner.
Only the myth of the Reconquest is victorious, everything else is Invincible Armada unjustly sunk. Sunken by the bad luck, ay. " A nationalism railing against the fates.
In the end, according to Bruckner, analyzing the Serbian case, the most dangerous. There are much more spectacular cases that consist in making the executioner pass off as a victim. The brutal illiberal reaction, or postmodern fascism, which was written a week ago in La Vanguardia by former Secretary of State José María Lassalle, former advisor to Mariano Rajoy, reveals how the road to vindicate ancient values requires the concurrence of Bruckner in his most obscene expression:
"Vox defends an archaic and anti-liberal democracy. Invokes a sentimental communitarianism that is found in an absolute idea of nation-state. And they wants, for that, to brutalize democratic politics. To annul it by silencing alternative views and tolerance, concepts that they despise because they weaken the friend-enemy dialectic on which he wants to re-found a naked policy of liberal and social democratic complexes ".
But how to raise such a delirium? Effectively by victimizing. The misrepresentations and lies promoted by this postmodern fascism involve converting the old impositions of the dictatorship into martyrs of democracy. For example, defending Holy Week (Easter) because, they say without batting an eyelid, that it is being threatened. It is false, of course, Holy Week was a mandatory observance during the national-Catholic dictatorship, and today the only threat that it is under is that the secularization of any developed society has turned it into a folkloric event with more tourists than devotees, an event that the public powers, far from pursuing, promote, subsidize and promote.

Grey Fox

As Spanish government had recognised Septic puppet as president of Venezuela, why Catalonia wouldn't confirm recognise of Maduro as a legitime president? It can be useful for both Venezuela and Catalonia, can't it?


As Spanish government had recognised Septic puppet as president of Venezuela, why Catalonia wouldn't confirm recognise of Maduro as a legitime president? It can be useful for both Venezuela and Catalonia, can't it?
See your point, but as Maduro is seen as about as stable as a chav wench in the Bigg Market friday night then it would probably have a negative affect.
Podemos had a lot of problems over Venezuela connections a short time back.


Meanwhile PP continues to drop in the polls while Vox gains ground. Casado's recent ploys have cost him votes. He now has a problem, if he tries to swing back to the centre he will be seen as fickle, so expect more rhetoric.
Yet he still claims to be a right-centre party while spouting hard right stuff. Aznar may have found his follow on but he may have made a poor choice.

Spanish politics used to be two major parties PP-PSOE plus a few minor ones who occasionally made the difference. Now there is principally a four way split PP-PSOE-Cs-Podemos and a few minor ones with Vox being very loud and a key player in the way the main parties react.
Yet the PP-PSOE still have to get to terms with the concept of coalition government and while Sanchez of PSOE has a better idea than Casado of PP they still have some way to go.


The big event of course is the imminent trial of the prisoners scheduled for the 12th of this month.
Spain is quite eager for this to be seen as a completely fair trial and that Spanish Justice is independent and non-politically motivated.
Interesting that the FT had an article which used the word Inquisition, in that while not having seen the article just the use of the word raises all sorts of points.

However it isn't starting that well from the entirely fair stance, the prisoners were transferred in escorted and closed Guardia Civil vans, the obvious visual impression is that of dangerous criminals or the obvious comparison with the treatment of ETA terrorists.
Furthermore the courts refused conditional liberty on rather shaky grounds that they could do a bunk up to Waterloo where there is an infrastructure to welcome them.
This means that they will have a drive to and from the prisons each morning and night, with the subsequent difficulties of liasing with their defence lawyers, and the if not infringement of their rights certainly the metaphorical pulling of the shirt when the ref isn't looking.

Also the Spanish are not happy about having foreign observers present as they say it will be on TV and so open to all. If they were that sure of their case then the court could be packed with observers and they could proceed with clear consciences.

Personally when the principal judge has links with the PP and FAES then the claim of non-politically motivated judges seems a bit shaky. To be totally above criticism he should have been replaced, but that seems a concept that Spain finds difficult to absorb.


Meanwhile the political parties in Catalunya are following this closely, however just when they need to be united there is a big split between ERC and PdeCat/La Crida who have different takes on it.
It has been commented that having no real plan of action the Catalan parties have a route card that involves reacting to what happens in the trials.

Sadly people have been let down by their politicians as they seem destined to be everywhere. Also Llarena's politically motivated decisions have had the effect of removing the main leaders from the driving seat of Catalan politics just when they were needed.
Claims of non-politically motivated judges fall short given this bloke's performance.

This when the courts should never have been used at all. History may not show Rajoy as the most inept Spanish PM because he has a lot of competition, but he will be right up there with the contenders.

Editorial in La Vanguardia Excerpts.
We are undoubtedly facing an exceptional trial that should never have taken place, since - as we have not tired of stressing in these pages - the territorial conflict should not have left the normal channels of political discussion nor should it be a matter for magistrates . However, the reality is that, now and after decisions of a very high political irresponsibility, the time has come to elucidate other types of responsibilities.

The defendants arrive at this trial after long months of preventive detention, an anomalous and debatable aspect according to accredited experts and of very diverse sensibilities. The decision to deprive these persons of liberty has not helped to reduce the tension and, above all, involves great difficulties for the normal preparation of the defences, in addition to clearly conditioning that the accused can present themselves in the best possible way before the court. , given the limitations to which they must submit during the months that the trial will last. There are enough legal measures to avoid the risk of flight without having to resort to a preventive detention that has a very difficult justification.

Full Spanish article.



Here people are not expecting a fair trial and the feeling that the sentence has already been dictated is very real.
One thing that is extremely disquieting is that Vox is bringing a case against the defendants in the role of indignant citizens. This should have been left to the State Prosecutors but now we will have this hard right group mixed in with it all.
Once again it tends to muddy the waters when one talks about non-politically motivated justice.

The feeling of many Catalans is expressed here:
Pilar Rahola.

Of all the emotions that have overflowed since the early morning of Friday, when the row of vans began its march to Spanish prisons, the most hurtful is the bitter emotion that impotence generates. It is a mixture of sadness and anger, of helplessness and frustration, of love and pain, and in the totum revolutum, the hurtful jolt that all injustice provokes. It is the scythe of power, when it looms over its victims, with no other limit than that granted by its impunity.

We have seen them being taken towards the capital of the kingdom, in their vans of prisoners, watched as criminals, insulted by civil guards of the "a por ellos" who record their mockeries for their friends. And so, while accompanied by millions who are at their side, but alone in their loneliness of (suffering) reprisals, the Catalan political leaders, honest and peaceful people, have begun the last journey of shame that surrounds them. They know that they are hostages of a State that has decided to erode its democracy in order to bend its cause, and in the process of annulling rights, it has committed an outrage on itself. But it matters little because, as they say like Rubalcaba said, they can afford to destroy their democracy, but they can not afford to lose Catalonia. And therefore, turning a blind eye, which is what those who know that they look towards indecency do, and so have committed all kinds of outrages (liberties) with the rights of the representatives of the Catalan people.

They say that someone says they're going to see justice, that blind lady who keeps balances in balance. But in the Spain crowned by the 155, justice has eyes and looks to the side of the defenders of the eternal, sacred and epic homeland, blazon of an ultramontana (catholic church based) ideology that is as old as Mine Cid, and as perverse as intolerance. Everyone knows, from the many trenches that the conflict has dug, that all this is a great fake, that this macro-judgment is political and against politicians, and that they are not crimes but ideas that are pursued.
They know it so well that they even prevent international observers from coming, in a vain attempt to deny the political character of the medieval cause they have erected, worthy heirs of the inquisitors of yesteryear. If they even remembered The Times in the title of his editorial, "The Times view on the trial of the Catalan 12: Spanish Inquisition," they said, and put in check the intention of political persecution of Spanish justice. But to the isolationist Spain that does not care what Europe thinks, because it will never read The Times, nor does it need to, the same fake image that surrounds this farce is the same, because its only purpose is to punish the Catalan heretics who dared to argue against the holy grail of the sacred unity of the country. They are not prisoners, they are hostages. It is not justice, it is punishment and revenge.

Ed To redo a bit I missed.
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Well, both interesting and disquieting that the Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Catalunya which is claiming jurisdiction in the case of Trapero and the Mosso chiefs on 1 Oct has received what they qualify as a grave unjustified attack by thre Prosecutor of the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid.
The prosecutor publically questioned the impartiality of the Judges in Catalunya in this case.
The TSJC replied that it was a grave irresponsibility to do so and against all the norms while the Prosecutor claimed jurisdiction in his court.

Personally I find his words extremely worrying for the impartiality of justice here.
"How can there be impartiality and serenity if rebellion and sedition rule in Catalunya?" He asked.

So the Prosecutor has not only bought into the fiction of an out of control Catalunya but has decided that this needs controlling. Rather than questioning the impartiality of the Catalan courts (who have a huge number of Spanish judges) the Prosecutor should be severely looked at and questioned for his.
If he is typical of what awaits the prisoners in terms of fairness then I don't know why they are even bothering with the show. The sentence has been decided in many minds, it just needs bringing about.


Latest development and certainly ridiculous. PSOE have appointed a type of notary figure for the bi-lateral Catalan-Central Government dialogues. They stress that this is not a mediator but more of a note taker to confirm what agreements have been made. This coming amidst all the accusations of them going to bed with the independentistes for support in Parliament.

PP's Casado has gone through the roof and accused Sanchez of high treason and the worst blow to democracy since the attempted coup in Parliament in 1981. In this he has called Sanchez a felon, and is considering a motion of censure.

So let's get this straight, he accuses the government of high treason for sitting at a table with the independentistes to try and arrive at a political solution to a political problem and have a notary type figure present to verify what was said.

According to the PP spokeswoman it is humiliating, shameful and unacceptable to Spain and the only mediation possible is that the Spanish vote and say "enough" to the state bending over to the independentistes. Curiously this Catalan lady, term used advisedly, is saying that Spain needs to vote against democratic dialogue and apply 155 backed up by all the powers of the state to solve the problem. Fascinating way to use democracy to subvert democracy.

Mind even Cs want Sanchez to explain the figure of the notary, and some of the big figures of PSOE are disquieted by it.

I see it as a way to confirm that the negotiations are not conceeding to independentistes in return for support, simple as that. But don't let that stop PP from a good bout of histironics.
Sadly if that is how many Spanish think, or worse, are being led to think then democracy here is getting even shakier.


Meanwhile ERC and PDeCat are withdrawing support from the PSOE over voting for the budget. This budget is very favourable for Catalunya, and if it doesn't go through may cause elections which do not ensure that Sanchez will win again with a PP-C-Vox coalition feasible.
Yet the independence parties want a gesture over the prisoners which Sanchez has very little leeway, to say almost none, to give.
Suspicion is that he may not even want to.

So we turn down the budget but at least Sanchez can say he isn't in bed with the independentistes which cuts ground away from the PP and Cs.

Despite that I think we should vote for the budget, the rest is all nice and moralistic, but very impractical. catalunya needs government, we don't have much these days unfortunately.
So how would the Scottish Independence Referendum have gone if all in the UK could have voted?

'Tens of thousands of people waving Spain's red-and-yellow flag have demonstrated in Madrid to oppose any concessions by the government to Catalan pro-independence parties and to call for early elections. Demonstrators chanting "Spain! Spain!" and "we want to vote!" filled the Plaza de Colon in the city centre on Sunday in the largest protest socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has faced in eight months in office.

'The opposition centre-right and far-right parties called the rally, seeking to make a show of force against Sanchez by capitalising on anger with Catalonia's separatist leaders and the government's efforts to establish a dialogue with them. Around 45,000 people attended, officials said.'

Madrid protesters reject Catalonia policy
Sanchez offered to have a mediator present during talks between the Spanish government and the Catalans, particularly with the budget requiring a sign-off very shortly.
Many Spaniards, especially on the right, saw this as a sop to the independents in Catalonia and called for this demonstration.
The Independents in Catalonia, meanwhile, rejected the offer of a mediator and, indeed, rejected any idea of talks between the two sides.
If the budget isn't agreed, it could lead to a Spain wide general election and Sanchez is already in charge of a precarious minority government as it is.
Vox (the new right wing party) only has representatives in the local Andalusian government at the moment but a general election could see them getting some seats in the Cortes which would probably lead to a PP led government again in a coalition with Vox and the Citizen's party.
Unless the Catalan Independents at least allow talks to start, it could lead to the right wing parties taking over again.


OK let's try to address this. The Spanish call for a vote has to be examined, it comes from a certain percentage of the population, the percentage that PP -C,s and Vox have been inciting over the last few months. PP especially since Sanchez ousted them from government and they are going for blood.
Casado openly said that the agenda that PSOE is putting forward is that of ETA, and that Sanchez is betraying Spain by asking for a 'redactor' on the table.
That to my mind is a hugely irresponsible way of conducting politics. Because of the way Spanish politics now works he is betting on getting between 30-40% of the vote to allow him to be the biggest party and hence have the best chance of forming government. So his idea is to inflame a certain sector of voters enough so that they will get off their bums and vote, plus he is trying to counter the loss of votes to Vox. Yet polls show he is failing but the corollary is that he is managing to fix positions in society even more and raise the temperature rather than what Sanchez is trying to do which is lower the temperature. Playing largely for party gains rather than what is best for Spain.

The position of 'redactor', as I have said is not a mediator, which the right wing and Madrid press are claiming, it is more of a notary type of figure who will say what agreements have been reached. As the right are saying that Sanchez has given in to the independentistes it seems like a sensible move.
But that would show that the Right are simply scaremongering so that has to be stamped on, hence the cries of treachery.

The Catalan parties have not shut off talks at all, PSOE have withdrawn and the Catalans have encouraged him to return to the table.

The problem is that he couldn't hang on till the Catalans gave him a breathing space, which could have been only this weekend.


So how would the Scottish Independence Referendum have gone if all in the UK could have voted?

'Tens of thousands of people waving Spain's red-and-yellow flag have demonstrated in Madrid to oppose any concessions by the government to Catalan pro-independence parties and to call for early elections. Demonstrators chanting "Spain! Spain!" and "we want to vote!" filled the Plaza de Colon in the city centre on Sunday in the largest protest socialist Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has faced in eight months in office.

'The opposition centre-right and far-right parties called the rally, seeking to make a show of force against Sanchez by capitalising on anger with Catalonia's separatist leaders and the government's efforts to establish a dialogue with them. Around 45,000 people attended, officials said.'

Madrid protesters reject Catalonia policy
That to me shows that there is an underlying current in Spain that is , shall we say, very traditional.
Spain historically has imposed her ideas on the lands that she has conquered or had influence over. These ideas being based on the Catholic-religious concepts of 'we are right'. Look at the effects it had not only in S. America, but in the Netherlands and the 30 Years war, and the retarding effect it has had in colonies like the Philippines.
There is still a very firm idea that there is a sacred unity to Spain and that anyone who challenges or even questions it should be punished.
This is the segment of Spanish society that is demonstrating, and while 45,000 is not to be sniffed at, it still pales against the Catalan marches that at their peak reached almost 2,000.000.

They are demonstrating against a party that is attempting to find a political dialogue with a dissident sector of their society and arrive at an accord. That they are claiming they want to vote is rather ingenuous as they are voting to stifle the vote of a significant minority of the Spanish state. Democracy still has a way to go here in many people's minds.


As I sit at my laptop this sunday night I am trying to reflect on where we are.

Firstly I think it's very clear that the independence movement has had a defeat, it occurred on four levels.

The first is that Spain, and the idea of the one indivisible country, hit out at the attempted vote on 1 Oct, and hit hard enough to show that certain underlying thoughts and ideas hadn't changed at all. Spain historically has imposed its ideas wherever it has gone, but little by little has lost control of all of those places, except in the Basque Country and Catalonia. To all of the situations it applied force to retain its control and in this case it applied just enough to stun the Catalans who had believed that the state had evolved sufficiently democratically to hear their voice, and just little enough to allow Europe to say nothing.
That liberal progressive Spain, the thinkers and defenders of the rights of the individual have simply shut up, indicates that they too are happy to support the concept of the One Spain rather than a plural or federal Spain. That or they were afraid to open their mouths in fear of a backlash from the Spanish nationalists.

That Europe said nothing is the second level and the Catalan leaders especially, counted on the fact that the EU would say enough to mediate. The Catalans felt let down when Europe led by Juncker said effectively that they were letting Spain do what they wanted in return for a solid support in Europe. The feeling of being thrown to the wolves was palpable.
The fact that Catalunya has garnered a certain sympathy abroad is gratifying but not enough so far to make a difference.

Thirdly the delegation of a political problem into the arena of the judicial cut the leadership away from the independence movement. The Spanish judiciary still has an element that is politically biased, and that element took control of the judicial process. Putting the leaders of the movement in jail, or driving them into exile, although legally dubiously justifiable has been effective in leaving the Catalan independence parties running in circles trying to find a way ahead.

Fourthly, and partially as a result of the above, the Catalan leadership has not been at the level that was required. From the misplaced faith in the EU through the mishandling of the aftermath of 1Oct to the current dog eat dog infighting they have let the movement down badly.
Puigdemont especially is trying to direct the movement from afar, listening only to those who support him. He wants the Spanish to hit hard so he can go to the European Courts to show Spain up. Though what practical effect that will have I have serious doubts.
It means that Torra is still trying to play a hard line with Spain, while successfully, so far, avoiding disobedience. ERC also want to show that they are not giving in, though they are more for a regroup and try to gain more support for the movement rather than directly confront.
This lead to a policy of try to gain a concession from Sanchez while negotiating. The Catalans didn't reject the talks as @exbleep seems to say, they want them to continue. However they dillied and dallied just a bit too long over the figure of the 'redactor' and other things and Sanchez under pressure from the Right broke off talks.
Now they have the choice of refusing to support the budget, a favourable one for Catalunya, or throw Sanchez onto his luck in the elections. If he wins we get a breathing space, if he loses we get 155 and the return of a pseudo-franquism.

This is a very brief resume of a long thought process, but in the short term the independence movement should vote for the budget, ditch Puigdemont and regroup for a push further down the line.
Meanwhile Spain returns to a traditional way of thinking, and those who have other ideas shut up.

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