By Jason Michael

As the international media, European states, and the European Union all look the other way, the Spanish government is mobilising the army against democracy in Catalunya. They all fear the beginning of a new age of inter-national democracy.

There comes a point when a news broadcaster can no longer be said to be broadcasting the news. This time has already come for the BBC and the majority of mainstream news media outlets around the world. Before the advent of the internet and social media it was possible for broadcasters to get away with manipulating the facts; twisting the details of some events and ignoring others to suit their own state or corporate agendas. Social media makes this impossible. It is now more likely for major stories to be broken by ordinary people with Twitter and Facebook accounts than by multi-billion dollar news agencies. Mainstream media’s monopoly of the news is a thing of the past.

Twelve days from today the people of Catalunya will be going to the polls to have their say in whether or not they wish to separate from Spain and become an independent nation. We know this because the October 1 referendum has been covered by the international media. We also know some of the more troubling details. Spain insists this is an illegal act of democracy. The Spanish police have raided print factories, Catalan government offices, and television and radio news stations, and we have been told the Spanish judiciary now plans on arresting the Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, other members of his administration, and mayors supporting the referendum.

At this the mainstream media falls silent. In spite of the fact that it is now well-known around the world, thanks to social media, the BBC, CNN, Euro News, and Russia Today have refused to report on Spain’s decision to send the military into Catalunya in its efforts to stop the vote going ahead. Yesterday people across Catalunya were photographing convoys of armoured vehicles belonging to the Ejército de Tierra (Spanish Armed Forces) and the Guardia Civil (Spain’s military police force) and posting them online. El Nacional, one of Catalunya’s own news agencies, reported:

This morning the Spanish Army has transferred several units of Pizarro armoured combat vehicles to Catalunya. One military convoy was spotted this afternoon on the A2 at Bellvís moving towards the interior of Catalunya.

When military units, complete with armoured cars and combat ready tanks, are mobilised in readiness for deployment against citizens of an EU member state by their own government it is news. Catalans are not rioting. They are not creating a civil disturbance. All they are doing is exercising their civil and political right to vote in a democratic referendum their own autonomous parliament has sanctioned – a right guaranteed to them by the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the European Convention. Having committed no crime the people of Catalunya are now living under the threat of a brutal military crackdown – and the world’s media is silent.

Even Jean-Claud Junker, president of the European Commission in Brussels, who stated he would respect the result of the Catalan referendum, has backed down. Following letters of support from members of the Danish parliament and the Scottish government, Frans Timmermans, vice-president of the Commission, clarified on Friday last what Junker had “meant to say,” stating:

If within the framework of the Constitution new realities are created in the member states, these new realities will also be realities for the EU, which will act on the basis of new realities.

Europe’s clearly amended position is that the onus is now on Spain to change its constitution; a constitution that claims to be founded on the absolute indissolubility of the Spanish state. Notwithstanding the fact that the Spanish government led by Mariano Rajoy’s Partido Popular – a party founded by a former minister in the fascist government of Francisco Franco – is a minority government, Spain would rather use force against the Catalans than create “new realities” in its overtly fascistic constitution. The European Union, in its refusal to support its own democratic principles, has handed Spain a blank check to deal with Catalunya as it sees fit.

The great boast of the European Union – a boast reiterated by the United Kingdom’s Remain campaign during the Brexit referendum – is that it has helped to preserve peace in Europe for over seventy years. Now its own spinelessness has created the conditions for a real conflict. But, then, that wouldn’t be anything new. The European Union stood back and allowed the British government to wage war against its own citizens in the north of Ireland. It was US and Irish and not EU intervention that brought an end to that conflict.

Why is this threat to peace and security by Spain being ignored by the world’s governments, the mainstream media, and the European Union? The answer is simple. Catalunya – like Euskal Herria, Scotland, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Vlaanderen, and a host of other nations with growing separatist movements – exposes the contradiction at the heart of the international state model; that the nation-state often transcends nations and in so doing allows for the domination of small nations by the dominant nation within their respective states.

Catalan independence, especially in the context of a modern, developed nation-state, will send a signal not just across Europe but around the world; that the age of the small democratic nation-as-state has arrived. Ironically, the framework of the European Union has made this possible. The European project has shown that small, resource rich nations – gathered around larger central states – can do well economically on their own account. This was the very argument made by Alex Salmond about the North Sea’s “Arc of Prosperity.” The problem with this vision is that within the current model of statehood the small nation, subject to a dominant nation within the state, is more often than not a resource to be plundered by the dominant nation-state. This is as true of Catalunya as it is of Scotland.

Evidently this is a dying paradigm. Yet the states, many of which stand to lose subject nations of their own in this geopolitical transition, are resisting this change. Their resistance now only lays bare the true nature of their power – democracy itself is subservient to the demands of power. Spain’s constitution makes this perfectly clear, making Catalunya the test case of the new paradigm. This is why Spain is prepared to use force – again, and why the rest of the world is prepared to turn a blind eye. If this crackdown goes ahead we may well see – again – columns of international brigades arriving in Spain to fight the fascists.


Thousands Rally in Bilbao in Support of Catalan Referendum

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2 thoughts on “A New Era of Democracy is Dawning in Catalunya

  1. When it comes to using force, I don’t think Spain will hold back. I think they’ll use any means necessary to keep Catalonia under their heel. They know if they go saftly with Catalonia, the Basques will probably be next in line for Indy.
    There’s no doubt Westminster will be watching this closely to see how the rest of the world responds to Spain’s bullying of Catalonia – No doubt with thoughts of their own re Scotland.

    Liked by 1 person

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