Fascist Franco may have been dead for more than four decades, but Spain is still encumbered with his dictatorial corpse. A new paradigm has been coined right inside the lofty European Union, self-described home/patronizing dispenser of human rights to lesser regions across the planet: “In the name of democracy, refrain from voting, or else.” Call it democracy nano-Franco style.
Nano-Franco is Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose heroic shock troops were redeployed from a serious nationwide terrorist alert to hammer with batons and fire rubber bullets not against jihadis but … voters. At least six schools became the terrain of what was correctly called The Battle of Barcelona.
Extreme right-wingers even held a demonstration inside Barcelona. Yet this was not shown on Spanish TV because it contradicted the official Madrid narrative.
The Catalan government beat the fascist goons with two very simple codes – as revealed by La Vanguardia. “I’ve got the Tupperware. Where do we meet?” was the code on a prepaid mobile phone for people to collect and protect ballot boxes. “I’m the paper traveler” was the code to protect the actual paper ballots. Julian Assange/WikiLeaks had warned about the world’s first Internet war as deployed by Madrid to smash the electronic voting system. The counterpunch was – literally – on paper. The US National Security Agency must have learned a few lessons.
So we had techno power combined with cowardly Francoist repression tactics countered by people power, as in parents conducting sit-ins in schools to make sure they were functional on referendum day. Some 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans who made it to the polls ended up voting in favor of independence from Spain, according to preliminary results. Catalonia has 5.3 million registered voters.
Roughly 770,000 votes were lost because of raids by Spanish police. Turnout at around 42% may not be high but it’s certainly not low. As the day went by, there was a growing feeling, all across Catalonia, all social classes involved, that this was not about independence any more; it was about fighting a new brand of fascism. What’s certain is there’s a Perfect Storm coming.
The “institutional declaration” of overwhelming mediocrity nano-Franco Rajoy, right after the polls were closed, invited disbelief. The highlight was a mediocre take on Magritte: “Ceci n’est pas un referendum.” This referendum never took place. And it could never take place because “Spain is a mature and advanced democracy, friendly and
tolerant”. The day’s events proved it a lie.
Rajoy said “the great majority of Catalan people did not want to participate in the secessionist script”. Another lie. Even before the “non-existent” referendum, between 70% and 80% of Catalans said they wanted to vote, yes or no, after an informed debate about their future.
Crucially, Rajoy extolled the “unwavering support of the EU and the international community”. Of course; unelected EU “elites” in Brussels and the main European capitals are absolutely terrorized when EU citizens express themselves.
Yet the top nano-Franco lie was that “democracy prevailed because the constitution was respected”.
Rajoy spent weeks defending his repression of the referendum by invoking “the rule of law such as ours”. It’s “their” law, indeed. The heart of the matter are Articles 116 and 155 of a retrograde Spanish constitution, the first one describing how states of alarm, exception and siege work in Spain, and the latter applied in “order to compel the [autonomous community] forcibly to meet … obligations, or in order to protect the … general interests.”
Well, these “obligations” and “general interests” are defined by – who else, Madrid and Madrid only. The Spanish Constitutional Court is a joke – it couldn’t care less about the principle of separation of powers. The court congregates a bunch of legalistic Mafiosi/patsies working for the two parties of the establishment, the so-called “socialists” of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and the medieval right-wingers of Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP).
Few outside Spain may remember the failed coup of February 23, 1981 – when there was an attempt to hurl Spain back into the long dark Francoist night. Well, I was in Barcelona when it happened – and that vividly reminded me of the South American military coups in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the coup, what passes for “justice” in Spain never ceased to be a mere lackey to these two political parties.
The Constitutional Court actually suspended the Catalan referendum law, arguing that it was violating the – medieval – Spanish constitution. This disgraceful collusion is crystal-clear for most people in Catalonia. What Madrid is essentially up to amounts to a coup as well – against the Catalan government and, of course, against democracy. So no wonder the immortal civil-war mantra was back in the streets of Catalonia: “¡No pasarán!” They shall not pass.
Brussels does demophobia
Rajoy, thuggish, mediocre and corrupt (that’s another long story), lied even more when he said he keeps the “door open to dialogue”. He never wanted any dialogue with Catalonia – always refusing a referendum in any shape or form or transferring any powers to the Catalan regional government. Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, insists he had to call the referendum because this is what separatist parties promised when they won regional elections two years ago.
And of course no one is an angel in this hardcore power play. The PDeCaT (the Democratic Party of Catalonia), the main force behind the referendum, has also been mired in corruption.
Catalonia in itself is as economically powerful as Denmark; 7.5 million people, around 16% of Spain’s population, but responsible for 20% of gross domestic product, attracting one-third of foreign investment and producing one-third of exports. In a country where unemployment is at a horribly high 30%, losing Catalonia would be the ultimate disaster.
Madrid in effect subscribes to only two priorities: dutifully obey EU austerity diktats, and crush by all means any regional push for autonomy.
Catalan historian Josep Fontana, in a wide-ranging, enlightening interview, has identified the heart of the matter: “What, for me, is scandalous is that the PP is whipping up public opinion by saying that holding the referendum means the secession of Catalonia afterwards, when it knows that secession is impossible. It is impossible because it would mean that the Generalitat would have to ask the Madrid government to be so kind as to withdraw its army, Guardia Civil and National Police from Catalonia, and to meekly renounce a territory that provides 20% of its GDP … so why are they using this excuse to stir up a climate reminiscent of a civil war?”
Beyond the specter of civil war, the Big Picture is even more incandescent.
The Scottish National Party is sort of blood cousins with Catalan separatists in its rejection of a perceived illegitimate central authority, with all the accompanying negative litany. SNP members complain they are forced to cope with different languages; political diktats from above; unfair taxes; and what is felt as outright economic exploitation. This phenomenon has absolutely nothing to do with the EU-wide rise of extreme right-wing nationalism, populism and xenophobia – as Madrid insists.
And then there’s the silence of the wolves. It would be easy to picture the EU’s reaction if the drama in Catalonia were happening in distant, “barbarian” Eurasian lands. The peaceful referendum in Crimea was condemned as “illegal” and dictatorial while a violent attack against freedom of expression of millions of people living inside the EU gets a pass.
The demophobia of Brussels elites knows no bounds; the historical record shows EU citizens are not allowed to express themselves freely, especially by using democratic practices in questions related to self-determination. Whatever torrent of spin may come ahead, the silence of the EU betrays the fact Brussels is puling the strings behind Madrid. After all the Brave New Euroland project implies the destruction of European nations to the profit of a centralized Brussels eurocracy.
Referenda are untamable animals. Kosovo was a by-product of the amputation/bombing into democracy of Serbia by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; a gangster/narco mini-state useful as the host of Camp Bondsteel, the largest Pentagon base outside of the US.
Crimea was part of a legitimate reunification drive to rectify Nikita Khrushchev’s idiocy of separating it from Russia. London did not send goons to prevent the referendum in Scotland; an amicable negotiation is in effect. No set rules apply. Neocons screamed in vain when Crimea was reunited with Russia after shedding tears of joy when Kosovo was carved out of Serbia.
As for Madrid, a lesson should be learned from Ireland in 1916. In the beginning the majority of the population was against an uprising. But brutal British repression led to the war of independence – and the rest is history.
After this historic, (relatively) bloody Sunday, more and more Catalans will be asking: If Slovenia and Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the tiny Baltic republics, not to mention even tinier Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta, can be EU members, why not us? And a stampede might be ahead; Flanders and Wallonia, the Basque country and Galicia, Wales and Northern Ireland.
All across the EU, the centralized Eurocrat dream is splintering. It’s Catalonia that may be pointing toward a not so brave, but more realistic, new world.
By Pepe Escobar
Source: Asia Times
According to the prevailing wisdom in the West, the Ukraine crisis can be blamed almost entirely on Russian aggression. Russian President Vladimir Putin, the argument goes, annexed Crimea out of a long-standing desire to resuscitate the Soviet empire, and he may eventually go after the rest of Ukraine, as well as other countries in eastern Europe. In this view, the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014 merely provided a pretext for Putin’s decision to order Russian forces to seize part of Ukraine.
But this account is wrong: the United States and its European allies share most of the ...
On December 8, 1991 Russia, Belarus and Ukraine stated that the USSR ceased to exist and signed an agreement on the creation of the CIS. Mikhail Gorbachev, the President of the Soviet Union, resigned on December 25, 1991. The Russian Federation assumed the USSR’s rights and obligations to become the recognized primary legal successor of the Soviet Union.
Each post-Soviet state was free to choose its own destiny but the need to cooperate and maintain mutually beneficial close economic ties was evident.
The creation of the Eurasian Customs Union was guaranteed by 3 different treaties signed in 1995, 1999 and 2007. The first treaty in 1995 guaranteeing ...
Imagine – the European Union were to collapse tomorrow – or any day soon for that matter. Europeans would dance in the streets. The EU has become a sheer pothole of fear and terror: Economic sanctions – punishment, mounting militarization, the abolition of civil rights for most Europeans. A group of unelected technocrats, representing 28 countries, many of them unfit to serve in their own countries’ political system, but connected well enough to get a plum job in Brussels – are deciding the future of Europe. In small groups and often in secret chambers they decide the future of Europe.
With every day, the true face of Europe mirrors ever so clearer the abject inhumane colonial power that raped and usurped Asia, Africa and South America for hundreds of years, as so well depicted in numerous articles and essays by my friend, philosopher, historian and war journalist, Andre Vltchek. Every day this neo-colonial continent spits out new atrocities. And it’s getting worse. Jean Paul Sartre was right, when he said the US is but a Super-European-Monstrosity. The colonial Europeans, mostly Anglo-French Europeans, are at the helm of this monster-octopus, self-declared empire. They are behind the mysterious and Machiavellian eye on ...
Headlines and commentary across both Eastern and Western media have mainly focused on the Catalan independence referendum and the actions of Spanish police and the Spanish government's attempts to disrupt polls.
However, little is being said about what the real implications of Catalan independence may be. What do those politicians in Catalonia in favor of independence seek to do with it should they succeed? Will they create a Catalonia that serves the best interests of the people? Or serve the EU and NATO more efficiently and eagerly than a united Spain ever could?
There are 5 points those following this conflict should ...
Gibraltar is famous for its 426m high limestone ridge and tax haven status. It is also famous for having Europe’s only wild population of monkeys – all 320 of them. It boasts a total area of just 6.8 square kilometres or 2.6 square miles, a total area approximately one third smaller than Bicester Village Shopping Mall in Oxfordshire. Most of the population of this peninsula live in flats, crammed on land at the base of the rock where around 12% of the workforce is employed by Gibraltar’s big online gaming industry, who are there to evade taxes – quite legally of course. ...
Just three years after a citizens’ referendum returned Crimea to Russia, from which it had been separated for sixty years, the people of Catalonia, Spain’s largest province, will vote to leave that country.
And just as the international community has decreed that the Crimean referendum was a fake, Spain’s Prime Minister felt compelled to declare that the vote could’t possibly take place, that it would be illegal, that independence, in his words, could only be ‘a pipe dream’ for the country’s richest province.
Clearly, national governments don’t like losing land and people, however when it suits the international community, some communities are ...
War is not an anomaly, nor an exception to the rule, it has always been with us and it might always be. Militarism and its practice in war are subcategories of waste (the harmful things we produce such as pollution and bombs) and domains of accumulation themselves. They are also prerequisites for the expansion of capital and its market economy. Much is done to portray war as an inherent attribute of human fallibility or an unintended consequence. However, mainstream concepts associated with the promotion of the market economy are weapons of the ruling class. They are all laced with poison. ...
The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website.
The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website.
The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors.
The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website.
The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.
The following text by Michel Chossudovsky was presented in Seoul, South Korea in the context of the Korea Armistice Day Commemoration, 27 July 2013
A Message for Peace. Towards a Peace Agreement and the Withdrawal of US Troops from Korea
Armistice Day, 27 July 1953 is day of Remembrance for the People of Korea.
It is a landmark date in the historical struggle for national reunification and sovereignty.
I am privileged to have this opportunity of participating in the 60th anniversary commemoration of Armistice Day on July 27, 2013.
I am much indebted to the “Anti-War, Peace Actualized, People Action” movement for this opportunity ...
We hear that Kosovo and Metohija’s frozen conflict is not conducive to Serbia’s interests, but nobody notes that Serbia stands to lose even more if negotiations under EU auspices continue under the same pattern and trend. Judging by the ongoing course wherein Serbia has been only delivering concessions and Prishtina’s clique only gaining control over the whole Province, Serbia may end up delivering irrevocably all her rights and interests and receiving nothing in return.
Except promises of EU membership by 2027 as “indicative” year! Rarely is heard that such a EU/USA deal “territory (of Kosovo and Metohija) for EU membership” would ...
Documentary movie “The Basque Ball” (2003) on Basque nationalism, freedom, terrorism, independence …
The First Part of the Movie
The Second Part of the Movie
The movie is with English language subtitle.
Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!
Donate to Support Us
We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
CNN recently discovered a paradox. How was it possible, they asked, that in 1989, Viktor Orban, at the time a Western-acclaimed liberal opposition leader, was calling for Soviet troops to leave Hungary, and now that he is Prime Minister, he is cozying up to Vladimir Putin?
For the same reason, dummy.
Orban wanted his country to be independent then, and he wants it to be independent now.
In 1989, Hungary was a satellite of the Soviet Union. Whatever Hungarians wanted, they had to follow directives from Moscow and adhere to Soviet communist ideology.
Today, Hungary is ordered to follow directives from Brussels and adhere ...
"Evicted five centuries ago by crusading Christians, the Arabs are back in Spain, using their oil dollars to buy land that was seized from their ancestors by the sword". — James M. Markham, The New York Times, 1981.
The Madrid daily ABC wrote that 800 mosques in Spain are out of control. The Spanish daily La Razon charged that Gulf donors, such as Qatar, were a source of Spain's Islamization. The Saudis also launched a new Spanish television channel, Córdoba TV, as did Iran.
They dream of, and work to, regain the "lost Caliphate" of Spain. Some Islamists do ...
When Napoleon crossed the Neman River and said about Russia, “May its fate come to pass”, could we call it aggression on Russia by a nineteenth-century European Union? Whatever you call it, with the exception of the Balkans, which were under the Turks, all the rest of Europe had been pulled into this campaign—Prussia, Austria, and Switzerland as allies, and Poland, Spain, and Italy as vassals. That leaves almost no one else. Of course, when writing about history you can’t use modern terminology in the past tense. But a polemicist can do what a scholar cannot. And understanding the conditional nature of ...
After all the initial eu(ro)phoria and hopes placed upon the original concept of a non-aligned, social-democratic Euro-bloc, the reality has turned out somewhat differently.
In a pamphlet written in 2011 – Europe: The Unfinished Project – I wrote:
At the present time the EU project seems to be stuck in no-man’s land, unable to press ahead with full political integration, or retreat back into a northern European protectionist Deutschmark zone, and leaving the peripheral member states to the tender mercies of unfettered, globalized capitalism. However there seems to be a sufficient residue of the original EU idealism in the present stage of ...
The dramatic developments surrounding the independence referendum in Catalonia, as well as the plebiscite for the self-determination of Iraqi Kurds, have once again raised the issue of the lack of clear criteria in international practice for allowing the self-determination of nations and territories. This creates a breeding ground for double standards and speculative political maneuvers. And although Catalan separatism has a long and unique history, an assessment of current events shows that there are links to other regional crises including in the Balkans, where the double standards and geopolitical games have become fully apparent.
Richard Haass, president of the influential US Council on Foreign Relations, recently took ...
Christopher Marsh and I, in our recently published book (Russian Foreign Policy: Interests, Vectors and Sectors), sketch out what we term "Putin's Eurasian dream"—the ambition to create a Eurasian economic and political zone where Moscow sets the overall agenda and is able to hold its own in the global geopolitical competition with the United States, the EU and China—and to have the foundations laid by 2015. A major obstacle to this vision was abruptly removed on Thursday when Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych announced that his country would not sign a landmark partnership agreement with the European Union—which Russia had consistently ...
Unification of Europe has brought about radical new divisions within Europe. The most significant split is between the people and their political leaders.
The June 23 British majority vote to leave the European Union has made strikingly evident the division between the new ruling class that flourishes in the globalized world without borders and all the others who are on the receiving end of policies that destroy jobs, cut social benefits, lower wages and reject as obsolete national customs, not least the custom of democratic choice, all to make the world safe for international investment capital.
Actually, the lines are not quite ...
Quietly, without most people noticing, the European Commission is moving ahead with a strategy that will arguably make the EU into the first fully operational model of a centralised ‘one state’ supranational authority: ‘A New World Order’; the long standing neoconservative ambition which lies at the heart of global secret society agendas and US geopolitical hegemony.
The key ingredient of this strategy is the establishment of an ‘EU Treasury’ which, according to Donald Tusk, President of the EU Council, will come into effect in June 2018, under the official title: European Monetary Fund. This will result in the single point control ...
Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault
Twenty-Five Years since the USSR Collapse: The Eurasian Economic Union has a Promising Future
The Collapse of the European Union: Return to National Sovereignty and to Happy Europeans?
BREXIT vs. GREXIT – The True Face of Europe
Catalan Independence: 5 Things to Think About
Gibraltar: A tax haven not a nation
Crimea, Kosovo, Catalonia, Corsica and Kurdistan
A Liberal Democracy, a Market Capitalist Economy and the Permanent Wars
The Confrontation between Madrid and Barcelona
America’s War Аgainst the People of Korea: The Historical Record of US War Crimes
Kosovo and Metohija – Return to UNSC Resolution 1244
Documentary Movie “The Basque Ball” (2003)
Disobedient Hungary: From the Soviet Union to the European Union
A New Islamic Occupation of Iberian Peninsula?
The Forerunner of the European Union
What is the European Union for?
The Balkans’ Run-Up to the Catalan Crisis
Why V. Yanukovych Said No to the European Union
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
A Totalitarian Europe Now on Our Doorstep