By: Carlos Aznárez / Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / October 27, 2017
Catalonia is living a historical day, independence is a reality against all odds. Knowing what was coming from the Spanish Government they approached it with courage and rationality. The parliamentarians of the new Catalan Republic decided to go ahead with the proposal of Together for the Yes and the candidacy of Popular Unity (CUP), and with 70 votes in favor and 10 against it and two blank votes they decided to ratify what had already been massively voted on October 1 in the referendum.
The expected response to this transcendental moment was one of emotional hugs in the street, waving flags, slogans of “Independence, Independence”, while thousands of voices sang the Catalan anthem “Els Segadors”.
It was not easy to reach this moment after centuries of peaceful resistance demanding liberation from the Bourbon occupation that began in 1714. There have been years of work and tireless militancy from the Catalan people defending their right for their own language, while always being brutally suppressed by the Spanish nationalists that as they did with the Basque prohibited them to speak in their native tongue. Those that did were subject to beatings, jail and even murder during the period of Franco.
It has been a long period of time in which pro-independence forces faced putting their bodies on the line as they did October 1. This not only happened during the repressive onslaught during the Franco regime, but also in times of the farce democracy. Over the years the Catalan resistance has been met with the arrogance of civil guards and fascist Spanish policemen, killing, closing headquarters, outlawing political forces, attacking national symbols or during the time of Judge Baltasar Garzón hundreds of freedom fighters were sent to jail and tortured.
Despite this, the Catalan people almost always opted for peaceful struggle except for short periods of armed struggle through the organization of Terra Lliure (Free Land) that landed most of their militants in prison. Their ideal planted a seed out of which several of the more militant pro-independence groups were born. This option through political means, which at other times seemed impossible to carry out because of the strength and level of repression from the enemy, gradually permeated into all segments of Catalan society now resulting in this remarkable success.
Another difficulty along the way was the differences among progressives, some of them like the CUP aspired for a Republic whose endpoint is socialism, but others linked to the Together for the Yes, a more social democratic tendency and to the center right had more moderate aspirations. But everyone, absolutely everyone, understood that only united could they reach this moment that they are celebrating today. That unity brewed between political forces who made concessions to one another, without compromising the fundamental principle of breaking from an empire and a monarchy that has been bleeding economically, politically and culturally each of its colonized territories. But the great spur of this for this arrival at independence was not decided by the institutions but instead in the street. It was in there where it became crystal clear that there would be no stepping back from the decision to achieve independence. The popular mobilization became a repeated image, until it was that very powerful moment on October 1, the day of the Referendum that opened the doors to what has been achieved today in their Parliament. A reflection of more than two million people who had visibly reiterated their desire for freedom and self-determination.
The decision to be independent in Catalonia will also in the short-term generate sympathy in other territories of the so-called Països Catalans, like Valencia, Balearic Islands and Catalonia North (the latter dominated by the France). But in addition, this stream of breaking of chains, is being followed closely by the Basque, Andalusian, Galician and Canarian peoples and others of this involuntary coalition of oppressed countries that call itself Spain. And what about those who today are looking from all over Europe thinking of greasing the machinery to go in a similar way. As the Basque analyst Iñaki Gil de San Vicente said, “the dignity is contagious”
Now, as it always happens in these liberating processes (as was experienced in Latin America to similar episodes) begins the most difficult part of the story. “Spain”, today governed by the fascism of the PP, Ciudadanos and the PSOE, and counting on the shameful complicity of the misnamed “progressives” of Podemos, whose leader Pablo Iglesias stated that independence is “illegal and illegitimate”, have reaffirmed the order of war against the young Catalan Republic. The government of Spain has said it will apply article 155 of open intervention of all Catalan institutions with the support of the military. The corporate employers will do more of the same, by using their money in other lands that will allow them to continue stealing the surplus value from the workers with total impunity. The hegemonic media join in by criminalizing the independence with a stream of reactionary opinions as they do when they attack and demonize progressive and revolutionaries in Latin America.
The recipe that will be put in practice now is the usual one in a brutal and despotic empire such as Spain. First it was the King who condemned it and now President Rajoy has reaffirmed it, “we will restore order because this is a serious country”. An euphemism that in the Spanish language means that doors will open to more stark repression. Their so called “legal” assault troops and their paramilitary have already been implanted in Catalonia and in recent days paraded giving praise to Franco, the Phalanx and even to the Spanish Legion who murdered thousands of Africans during the time of the dictatorship.
In front of these threatening movements, the Catalan independence movement must keep a cool head, warm heart and prepare to resist in all instances. It has the experience to do so because on their side is their just cause that can count on the youth force of the CUP and all the members of the Committees for the Defense of the Referendum. But they are also counting on the workers who are already thinking about a general strike, as well as the support of the students. In all of them, in their permanent struggle, they will have to have trust so that all the gains do not get lost, without neglecting the necessary international solidarity with the Catalan Republic so Rajoy and his allies do not get what they want. The legality of the proceedings is the mobilized people who don’t want to return to the monarchs or viceroys. Today, without any doubt, we are all Catalan. Visca Catalunya lliure! Long live free Catalonia!