Our problem with such violent political policing is not the violence per se. We are used to violence. Western civilisation was built on violence, and is perhaps the greatest purveyor and consumer of warfare and state sponsored violence in the history of the human race. Rather, our problem with this sacrilege is that it shatters our illusions pertaining to the nature and power of democracy. It reminds us that democracy is a pacifier; a ritual that sedates people with the tranquiliser of the mere impression of control while the state qua the ruling establishment is free to get on with the business of power.
The Catalans are far from powerless. With a population of 7.5 million people, half of whom at least are in favour of independence, Catalunya has the numbers to stifle Spain’s aggression. One million people on the streets of Barcelona and proportionately large numbers out in other towns and cities; ignoring Spain’s diktats, will render police or military action useless. The alternative to this is a potential standoff between elements of the Catalan police force and the Spanish Guardia Civil.
With today’s arrests and the furtherance of the Spanish programme of the seizure of finances and communications Catalan autonomy has been effectively suspended, forcing a serious and volatile constitutional crisis. These are the conditions that have led to open revolt and violence in many part of the world before, and nothing – other than the remarkable sense of calm thus far – makes Catalunya any different.
Voter apathy and the atrophy of our movement will, if left unchecked, eventually kill the idea of independence. Don’t for a second imagine that it won’t – it happens to movements and revolutions all the time. There is nothing special about us.
Every social crisis is the result of the conditions that govern society remaining as they are and functioning as they were intended. This is true in the case of racially motivated police brutality because the structures of law and order – as the hard edge of the hegemon – are inherently racist.
Leftist revolutionaries of Latin America were well acquainted with the Monroe Doctrine of hemispheric domination by Uncle Sam. It meant terror campaigns by CIA funded paramilitary death squads.
We didn’t get lumbered with soviet councils or re-education camps. What we got instead was 'sexy socialism.' The sexual revolution was a revolution too, and Scotland rather enjoyed it.
It never became the Workers Republic that existed in full flower for a single week in Dublin in 1916, but that is not to say that it cannot be born again. What I saw at the GPO tonight only informed me of the urgency of the need for its rebirth.