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
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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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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.
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 ...
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 ...
A historical overview and Estonia's minorities
Estonia (Eesti, Estland) is a Baltic state that was colonized by the German Teutonic Order of Knights from 1346 being, therefore, dominated politically and economically by a German-speaking landowning aristocracy, which succeeded to maintain its social and economic position even during the Swidish occupation of the territory of present-day Estonia from 1561 to 1721 and for most period of subsequent Russia's administration since 1721 to 1915. From 1855 the ethnic Estonians received the right to possess the land. Migration increased the Estonian population in the cities during the time of the Russian administration. It is ...
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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 ...
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A Totalitarian Europe Now on Our Doorstep
Kosovo and Metohija – Return to UNSC Resolution 1244
Why V. Yanukovych Said No to the European Union
The Collapse of the European Union: Return to National Sovereignty and to Happy Europeans?
Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault
Crimea, Kosovo, Catalonia, Corsica and Kurdistan
The Russian Minority Question in Estonia
Documentary Movie “The Basque Ball” (2003)
A New Islamic Occupation of Iberian Peninsula?
Twenty-Five Years since the USSR Collapse: The Eurasian Economic Union has a Promising Future
The Balkans’ Run-Up to the Catalan Crisis
European Unification Divides Europeans: How Forcing People Together Tears Them Apart
Turkey and the European Union: The Question of Cultural Minorities and Their Religious Identities
The Forerunner of the European Union
Catalan Independence: 5 Things to Think About
Politics is Above Common Sense in Latvia
The Confrontation between Madrid and Barcelona
Disobedient Hungary: From the Soviet Union to the European Union
What is the European Union for?