Catalonian parliament votes for Catalonia to leave Spain

October 27, 2017 • 9:50 am

I feared this would happen but didn’t really think it would. According to CNN, Catalonia’s regional parliament voted today, almost unanimously, to split from Spain. The vote was 70 in favor, 10 against, and 2 not voting; the motion was “to form the Catalan Republic as an independent and sovereign state.” The opposition party, however, left the chamber before the vote.

This is a crisis of the highest order, as the Spanish government has vowed to quash the move. As you know, there was a referendum in Catalonia on October 1 when, defying the Spanish government, which tried to repress the voting, the Catalan people voted to split from Spain. Since the voting was disorganized and disrupted by Spanish police, and many opponents didn’t vote, the results aren’t definitive. And even if they were, one wonders if Catalonia really can legally vote to leave Spain and form its own country. As far as I know, that’s no more legal than California leaving the United States and forming the Republic of California.  A more kosher vote could have taken place had Catalan President Carles Puigdemont called for a new referendum, but, despite calls for him to do so, he refused. And now trouble is in the offing:

Meanwhile, in Madrid, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy urged the Spanish Senate to approve his government’s plans to dissolve the Catalan parliament, remove the region’s elected leaders as soon as possible and hold new elections.

This would be done under a never-before-used provision of the country’s constitution, Article 155.

Addressing the Senate on Friday, Rajoy said the rule of law had been “stomped on” in Catalonia and warned of a fracturing of society. “Exceptional measures need to be adopted when there are no other ways to go back to normality,” he said.

He proposed sacking the government of Catalonia and calling new elections, under the provisions of Article 155 of the Spanish constitution.

Those measures are “not against Catalonia but aiming to stop Catalonia being abused,” he said. “Not to suspend the autonomy of Catalonia but to consolidate it; not to cut back rights but to restore them to legality. What’s threatening Catalonia is not Article 155 but the behavior of the government of Catalonia.”

What will happen? Who knows? My fears are of some sort of new Spanish civil war—something I didn’t think possible.

The area shaded in pink below would become the new country should this move eventually succeed. My guess is that it won’t, but even in that case the country will henceforth be riven with distrust and enmity, particularly if Spain sends in the military.

Your thoughts?

188 thoughts on “Catalonian parliament votes for Catalonia to leave Spain

  1. When the Catalans tried to hold a referendum on this issue Rajoy responded with incredible brutality – the way in which the Spanish police piled into people doing nothing more than attempting to cast a vote was disgraceful. Rajoy and the Spanish government have met all attempts at trying to discuss the issue with a blankly negative response. As a believer in the right to self-determination and as someone who despises those who resort to police brutality my sympathies are entirely with the Catalans. I share your fears of further and worse violence in the region, but I place the blame squarely where it belongs – with Rajoy and the Madrid establishment. As a Brit let me make it quite clear that were Theresa May and her bunch of incompetents to respond to Scottish moves for independence in the way that the Rajoy government did to the Catalans I would condemn them in terms at least as harsh as those with which I condemn Rajoy and his government.

    1. I think you misunderstand the situation.

      On voting day millions of Catalans voted. There were hundreds and hundreds of polling stations around Catalonia and ample place for people to find a voting booth where they could vote several times for their stupid, selfish fantasy – as many did.

      People that got bashed by police that day are not “victims,” they are either provocateurs idiots. Police following legal orders of the Catalan High Court had every right to use force to execute their orders. Even though I disagree with that force and it did not prove to be politically expedient.

      People that were not smart enough to use WhatsApp to find a polling station 10 minutes walk away were obviously seeking trouble.

      1. This comment seems condescending and at variance with the many videos showing Spanish police forcibly trying to keep people from voting. The police, wearing heavy riot gear and black masks, tried to close down as many polling stations as they could.

        For those who don’t know, this region has its own language, and in the past has often been abused by the central government.

        To understand the history better I highly recommend George Orwell’s autobiographic book “Homage to Catalonia” available online for free. This was his account of his volunteering to go to Spain and fight in Catalunya against the Spanish fascists (led by Franco) in the years leading up to WWII. Some of the buildings he fought in are still there in Barcelona.

        1. Condescending because a minority of brainwashed wannabe martyrs are threatening to turn a perfectly civilised corner of the world upside down and impoverish it for no obvious reason.

          Tried to close down as many polling stations as they could, eh? Do you remember seeing a map of Barcelona on the evening news with little animated flames where all this violence allegedly took place? There were only bout 3 or 4 locations where that happened and not more than a few dozen polling stations closed.

          In fact, the vast majority of the Independentistas were able to vote in The Matrix. Ermm, I mean Catalonia.

          I would certainly recommend coming to live here rather than reading Orwell if you want to understand the present hysteria of a significantly deluded minority.

          1. I lived there for a month, not very long compared to you, but long enough to know that you are wrong when you accuse at least half the population of being brainwashed idiots. You are also distorting what happened. The black-masked Spanish riot police did try to close down as many voting places as they could. Those were their orders. The police were only limited by their numbers, not by their lack of intent.

      2. “Police following legal orders of the Catalan High Court had every right to use force to execute their orders”

        Nobody has the right to use force against people who are not themselves being violent. If they were breaking the law then they should have been arrested and put on trial. I am not aware of any arrests.

      3. No. It was not “orders of the Catalan High Court. It was Spanish national police, which had been shipped in to enforce the order of the Spanish constitutional court, and using blatant excessive force to do so.

        I would further point out that this constitutional court has been used repeatedly over the years to squash Catalan aspirations towards greater autonomy and/or independence.

        1. You are confusing two distinct high courts. The one that ordered the closure of the voting booths was the Catalonian High Court. This court ordered the “security forces” to close those booths. The “security forces” comprises the local police (city police), the Catalonian police (mosos), the National police and the Guardia Civil (another national police). Only the National police and the Guardia Civil tried to enforce the Catalonian High Court orders. The Catalonian High Court is the equivalent of the Supreme Court within Catalonia. It is the only Court appointed to prosecute Catalonian parliamentarians and, as such, a road block for the separatists. Within the “laws of separation” approved by the separatists was a specific law dissolving the Catalonian High Court.

          The Constitutional Court, in Madrid, effectively outlawed every “law” that was not within bounds of the Spanish constitution. This Court is the equivalent of the US Supreme Court. As an example used here several times, if the Californian Parliament passed a “law” separating the State from the Union the US Supreme Court would strike that “law” down as unconstitutional.

  2. I’m here on the ground. When I arrived to live in Catalonia 5 years ago I was quite impressed how well they had organised their society compared to the rest of Spain and compared to Northern Europe from whence I came.

    The sad reality is that the Independentistas are incredibly brainwashed and act like the fascists they accuse Madrid of being.

    Their selfish fantasy of independence will only scratch their stupid little itch but it will destroy their country before they even have one.

    1. I agree too, though I’m completely against the violence of the central government.

      It’s Catalonia that’s in the wrong here, and most citizens have been worked up into a frenzy by power-hungry politicians. The EU has also come out against the Catalan move.

      Imo this has come about because of the GFC, which hit Spain particularly hard. However, Catalonia has come through it much better than most of the country. So a few Libertarian Republican types made noises about Catalan taxes going to support the rest of the country. And that’s what this is about – money. The people of Catalonia want to abandon their fellow Spaniards because the country is going through a tough time.

    2. Yes, brainwashed, that was the word I was thinking of, when I heard Catalans speaking about the reasons for their wish to seperate from Spain:
      “I do not feel as Spaniards.” ” I feel as Catalan” . “My grandparents were also for independence”. It’s all about feelings, never about being suppressed into anything. It is about the big picture that nobody can name concretely. It could also be said that people are embroiled in a kind of hysteria, especially if you could see today after explaining the independence how hundreds of people on the streets and squares of Barcelona break out in tears like if they would get freedom now after long long time of hard supression.

    3. “When I arrived to live in Catalonia 5 years ago I was quite impressed how well they had organised their society compared to the rest of Spain and compared to Northern Europe from whence I came.”

      Doesn’t this observation at least partly justify those Catalonians who would like independence from the rest of Spain?

      1. The Independentistas believe they are different and, ultimately, better than others from different geographical regions. They have amassed a propaganda machine that has peddled a fake history of being simultaneously the world’s greatest power and it’s most oppressed country.

        Everyone from Michelangelo to Walt Disney is Catalan nowadays.

        Ironically, the many immigrants who came here from the poorer parts of Spain built this place into what it is today. Their children have grown up in a far better place than their own childhood ever knew.

        Many of these second generation immigrants are embarrassed of their heritage and make up some of the fiercest Independentistas.

        It’s very much “I’ve got mine so fuck you.”

        This turns my stomach.

  3. I don’t know what to make of this. Besides Catalonia, a number of other regions in other countries would like to become independent. Think two different Basque regions, Flanders, Corsica and more. Given that some of the borders of countries do not take into account ethnic or cultural concerns, one wonders if such fragmentation might not eventually lead to reuniting the areas which should have remained independent in the first place, like if the French and Spanish Basques got together.

    1. Do they have a plan for their future relationship with the EU I wonder (since they will be outside.) Brexit seems a mess, if all these bits keep dropping out the result will be “interesting”.

  4. Then the Basques will B off and Andalusia defines itself as a historic nationality and may want to up its status next. At some point a host of micro states is greatly destabilising and surely against the interests of everyone in the region.

    1. I agree. I think the Catalonians are being as short-sighted as many US conservatives, who share with them a same “why should my taxes go to help others?” attitude. Because providing those taxes to others makes the entire region more economically prosperous, more stable, reduces crime, etc… (…you idiots).

      I don’t know enough about Spain’s culture or constitution to say what the right resolution is. Just because it’s probably a bad decision doesn’t necessarily mean they shouldn’t be allowed to do it (think Slovakia), if the culture and constitution provide them a path. Obviously I’d like a peaceful resolution, but I don’t know what that can be, and though I have an opinion on what it should be, I could easily be wrong about that too.

  5. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”

    I support the principle of self-government. If the majority of Catalans no longer wish to be part of Spain, they should not be compelled to remain.

    I also support it from a practical perspective. The larger the government, the more power it has and the more harm it does. I would like to see more large countries split into more manageable pieces.

    1. I guess, then, that we should have let the South and their slaves secede from the Union. I presume the majority of southerners didn’t want to be part of the U.S. Would you have supported that secession? It seems so, based on what you’ve said.

          1. In Canada I once started an Ontario separatist party. I got 100,000 signatures first day. All from outside Ontario. 😉

        1. Would you support it by ignoring the constitution, or would you support letting them leave by the existing, legitimate, process (amendment)? If you ignore the constitution for this, why should anyone respect it in re abortion, establishment of religion, etc?

          1. I see the use of the constitution as acceptable when it supports individual rights and unacceptable when it oppresses them. I don’t see the U.S. government (or any government) as having inherent legitimacy.

            That makes the calculus a bit more difficult because the secession of any U.S. state would be undertaken by a government that itself has no legitimacy by default. If a majority of the citizens of that state wanted to secede, it would be immoral to prevent them from doing so. In that case, I would hope that those who didn’t want to secede could remain U.S. citizens.

            Freedom of association should apply to individuals’ relationships with governments as much as their relationships with each other. I’ve read of systems of competing governments in the same geographic region, where residents can subscribe to the one they prefer. Whether or not that is feasible in practice, I support the principle and would like to see more voluntarism and less coercion.

            1. ” I’ve read of systems of competing governments in the same geographic region, where residents can subscribe to the one they prefer…”
              How in the world could that even work?

            2. “I see the use of the constitution as acceptable when it supports individual rights and unacceptable when it oppresses them.”

              This isn’t an answer to Craw’s challenge. Either you accept the Constitution and the protections it offers, or you don’t. As Craw said, if you simply want to disregard the Constitution when it suits your personal interests, and if you manage to get everyone else to agree, there’s no reason for anyone to respect the parts of the Constitution you want them to.

            3. ” If a majority of the citizens of that state wanted to secede, it would be immoral to prevent them from doing so.”

              It’s “immoral”? What if California seceding would do an enormous amount of damage to the rest of the US (it would), the vast majority of whom do not want it to secede? Do their voices matter, or only the people in California (and, at that, only the voices of those in the majority)?

              Regardless, the idea that it’s somehow immoral not to give a majority of people something they suddenly decide they want seems absurd.

        2. At the time of the American Revolution, the states banded together to form “a perpetual union.” If any of the states thought they might want to leave later, they should have had an escape clause written into the Constitution. Failing that, they should seek to amend the Constitution to allow secession, so they could depart de jure. (The slave-holding states certainly had no right simply to take their ball and go home because their candidate got beat by Abraham Lincoln in the election of 1860.)

          1. I don’t think that states have rights. If rights exist in any meaningful sense, they are held by individuals, not collectives. If individuals want to disassociate from other individuals, it is immoral to use force to prevent them from doing so.

            1. So every man can declare himself a nation unto himself?

              That states have no rights would come as a shock to the framers of the 10th Amendment.

              1. The constitution was written to protect pre-existing rights, not to grant them. The states and federal government were granted powers, not rights.

                That being said, I think that a political environment that comes as close as possible to every man being a nation unto himself is an admirable goal. What right have I to force someone to be part of my country?

              2. You have no right to force anyone to be a part of your country. But where states bind themselves together in a union, they have no right to leave that union except as the law of that union provides — just as a couple married according to the laws of the land has no right merely to declare themselves divorced, but must dissolve their union as the law provides.

                To form a union is to eschew anarchy.

              3. States don’t have rights, if anyone does, individuals do. Individuals have the right to choose with whom they will and will not associate. If the law prevents that, the law is not legitimate.

                Further, as has been already pointed out, the decisions made by one group of people are not binding on their descendants. You seem to value the law more than the people it affects.

              4. “You seem to value the law more than the people it affects.”

                The same argument, I imagine, could be made by people who think free speech is a bad idea.

          2. At the time of the American Revolution, the states banded together to form “a perpetual union.”

            It is profoundly un-democratic to assert that the wishes of past, dead generations should bind today’s generations.

            The only legitimacy of the arrangements of the United States is the ongoing consent of those who live there.

            1. The only legitimacy of the arrangements of the United States is the ongoing consent of those who live there.

              Exactly. Would many of us here argue against stricter gun control because the Second Amendment is inscribed in stone? Would we defend slavery because the Founding Fathers owned slaves?

            2. The founding generation understood that its intentions should not bind later generations immutably. For this reason, the Constitution’s framers imbued it with an Article 5. It is not too much to ask that, should a state wish to leave (or dissolve) the union, such a drastic be accomplished according to Hoyle.

            3. “The only legitimacy of the arrangements of the United States is the ongoing consent of those who live there.”

              But how are the voices of those from a single state more important than the voices of everyone else in the country? If 51% of Californians decide that they want to leave, while 99% of the rest of the US wants them to stay, why are the voices of the Californian majority more important than their countrymen?

              1. Because it’s about California! It’s a basic principle of democracy and self-determination.

                The Californians should get the say in whether they want to be part of the US, and every other state also gets to decide that for itself.

      1. The Catalans don’t keep slaves.

        If you want a historical precedent what’s the difference between what they are asking for and what the Americans did when they seceded from the British Empire? Didn’t that kick off over an unwillingness to pay taxes?

        1. The American colonies did not voluntarily agree to be bound in a perpetual union with Britain; the states of the nascent American union made such an agreement among themselves. Therefore, the American slave-holding states (unlike the American colonies) had no right to dissolve the bands connecting them together without first amending the nation’s charter.

          (I am not nearly conversant enough with Spanish law and history to venture an opinion as to what set of circumstances would authorize Catalonia to secede from Spain.)

    2. From further on in the Declaration:

      Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

      From Abraham Lincoln’s First Inaugural:

      Plainly, the central idea of secession, is the essence of anarchy. A majority, held in restraint by constitutional checks and limitations, and always changing easily with deliberate changes of popular opinions and sentiments, is the only true sovereign of a free people. Whoever rejects it, does, of necessity, fly to anarchy or to despotism. Unanimity is impossible; the rule of a minority, as a permanent arrangement, is wholly inadmissible; so that, rejecting the majority principle, anarchy or despotism in some form is all that is left.

      I would hardly consider the government of Spain a despotism, or its attitude towards Catalan as tyranical. From what I’ve read there is not a majority for independence in Catalonia. While there could still be violence of the nature of a guerrilla, I don’t see a second Spanish Civil War happening. The Western Powers are not so pusillanimous as they were in the 30s. Without outside aid, no civil war could be waged.

      1. While there are questions about the level of support among the residents of Catalan, Spain did send in armed people who did attack otherwise peaceful individuals. That’s a despotic behavior.

      1. But how can we be sure of that if a properly organized referendum, recognized by all parties involved, is not allowed?

        1. It’s not as if this failed referendum comes out of the blue. Here is a good source if you can read Spanish:
          Basically, independentist parties have never obtained more than 47-49 % of the votes for their regional Parliament. In the last regional elections, several nationalist parties got 48 % of the votes. By virtue of electoral laws and after forming a coalition for Government, they managed to control slightly more than half of the Catalan Parliament. Since then, they have pushed to turn this scant majority into what we have today. Even if you forget that they have breached every conceivable legal disposition both formal and substantial, not even respecting their own regional laws) it should be obvious that unilaterally seceding is a grave step that could not be undertaken without a significant majority of the people they claim to represent.
          And, by the way, I and many Spaniards are all for negotiations, the reform of the Spanish Constitution and, in my case, even a properly organized referendum not unlike what happened in Quebec. But what we have witnessed in Catalonia is a bunch of runaway politicians running a circus.
          And a final note: it is really insulting to call themselves an “oppressed” people, when they have been enjoying high levels of self-government for decades (similar to the States of the USA or the German Länder). They are not second class citizens in any part of Spain. After Spain regained democracy, they have never ever been in any way discriminated against. Nationalist have controlled local institutions (and most notably, education and the public media) for decades. No nationalist has ever been harassed or intimidated in Catalonia for being nationalist. On the contrary, what you find is that those Catalonians who do not identify themselves as nationalist have been bullied (even children at school!) and considered not “real” Catalonians or even “traitors”. They really have a nerve these secesionists.

          1. You cannot equate the results of a parliamentary vote with a referendum. A good example is Scotland where the SNP held significan majorities in the Scottish parliament yet lost the independence referendum. The motivations for voting and the number of voters were different in each case. The results of a parliamentary vote cannot used to deduce the way people would vote in a properly held referendum. If people against independence are so convinced they would win then why not allow a referendum, win it, and get it over with? Otherwise it doesn’t look good.

            1. This particular referendum was only a PR stunt from the get go. Do you know that the regional “law” to approve it was passed in like 6 o 7 hours without respecting even their own procedures?
              Sherfolder’s post below (at #23) makes a good point. Whatever your politics, even leaving aside questions of legality, this referendum was a rigged game from the get go. Even some longstanding Catalonian nationalists were (and still are) appalled at the way Puigdemont’s administrations has been acting and organizing things. I have already stated my view that I am all for referendums and negotiations. But this is really a case were the theory and the abstract ideas (people voting for their own self-determination, what’s wrong with voting, democracy is beautiful) hide the shitty reality of opportunist politicians bringing a marvelous region to the precipice, needlessly fracturing a whole society.
              As a Spanish man leaving abroad, my heart weeps today.

              1. Thank you for the thoughtful and articulate personal account.
                Visited there years ago.
                Still fondly remember the people and beautiful Barcelona.

  6. The british empire ignored the democratic will of the Irish people in the election of 1918, it didn’t turn out well for either side and burned it’s way for nearly the entire century.

    Both sides need to be sat down around the table to see if autonomy can be protected and the concerns of the Catalans addressed within the context of Spain. They’ve been forced into this position by the actions of the Spanish government.

    1. They have not been “forced” to anything. That is not the reality outside of the Matrix world of this group of Catalonians who do not represent the whole of Cataluña.

    2. The Irish are a distinct ethnic group by blood and culture for ages. The Normans imposed some loose rule in the early 12thC but the Irish weren’t colonised until Elizabethan and especially Cromwellian times. Unlike the Catalans they were colonised, many deported and many starved. The Scots were also distinct though their history is more intertwined with the English and much less obviously colonial. Northern Ireland is a different kettle of fish. England has always been much the richest and most powerful of the 4 kingdoms which moreover are islands apart from Europe and thus the geopolitical impact on Europe regarding separation amongst them is limited.
      Catalonia is not comparable to Ireland or the 4 kingdoms and it has not been colonised by the Spanish. The Catalans are extremely prosperous and well organised as they are.
      And the European Union is important even if it needs improvement. It is the culmination of a process set up initially to share economic benefits and critical iron and coal resources that had previously led to catastrophic warfare in Europe. Additionally Europe has NATO and needs to be united against real external threats to its borders and security and Russia is looking to break up both NATO and the EU. Spain is at the border of Europe and North Africa regarding Isis in Libya and Tunisia and the migration issue.

  7. The Spanish government has been heavy-handed, clumsy, stupid. But they are right: the referendum was illegal, and Catalonia cannot just secede. So I have to side with the central government here. But maybe the Catalans were just putting a stake in the ground, and will back down, and then work through constitutional means.

    1. Moreover, because the referendum was illegal, opposition parties urged their members not to vote at all so as not to legitimize an illegitimate process. Similarly, as pointed out below, they’ve also withdrawn from the parliamentary vote.

      This story is being spun very heavily.

        1. Yes, as has been done in Scotland. Although the Scottish Nationalist Party held power in the devolved Scottish Parliament, having won the 2011 election (69 out of 129 seats) on a manifesto which included an independence referendum, the result of the referendum was a 55% vote against independence.

          The form of the question asked in the referendum was agreed between the Scottish and UK governments, and the then UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, agreed to abide by the result.

          It seems that separatists and nationalists tend to have louder voices than those who wish to retain the status quo. Living in Scotland during the referendum campaign, those promoting separation appeared to be in the majority, and there was an implication that anyone voting for the Union was not a true Scotsman. As a result, the Unionists maintained a lower profile, but came out to vote on the day, surprising the Nationalists. I would not be surprised to find the same in Catalonia, should an official and fair referendum be held.

          1. Even if you don’t accept what Rasmo said about successive elections in which the separatist vote has never had more than half the vote, you have to take in account that independence has been actually voted three times, counting October 1, having lost the first two, and only winning the third in a referendum without any guaranties and made purposely with separatists implication in mind. Unionist didn’t recognize it and didn’t vote nor were they interested in a process that clearly wanted to exclude them. of course “yes” won with a 90%, but it was a joke wrapped in a farce.

            The problem is, in Catalonia the separatists don’t seem to want a legal referendum. According to current Spanish constitution and law would be difficult, yes. You’ll have to amend the constitution first… it would be a whole process. In a few, the current correlation of forces in Spain wouldn’t allow it, so they take it that it’s impossible to negotiate with the Spanish government, and they have to take their own way whatever the cost. That implies two things, that they have no other way and the situation for Catalonia is untenable, both of them false.

            It doesn’t seem any negotiated solution would be good for them anyway, as a binding referendum should be held in Spain whole, at least to ask if a second referendum should be held in Catalonia alone explicitly referring to independence yes or no. And they have made very clear they would only accept a solution in which only Catalonia, and Catalonia alone voted.

            So their calls for negotiation are empty words anyway.

  8. Well, no, I lament that so many non Spaniards fall for the separatist propaganda. To begin with: “Catalonia’s regional parliament voted today, almost unanimously, to split from Spain”? This is totally inaccurate. It was a little more than half of it. The opposition (several parties not just one) left the premises before the voting in protest. These separatists have arrogated to themselves the voice of “the people of Cataluña” while they represent at most about 40 % of voters.
    The ‘referendum’, by the way, was a farce.
    How would Americans react if the Governor of, say, Alabama, unilaterally decided to declare independence from the USA? Or what about the muslim major of London calling for a referendum to decide whether Sharia Law should apply in majority muslim neighborhoods of the city?
    I am too sad today.

    1. Then the Spanish government should organise a properly conducted referendum and pledge itself to respecting the outcome.

      That’s the way to resolve such situations. As a democrat, my instinct is to be against any side that refuses to put it to a vote.

      1. When you use the expression ‘A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand’ you
        literally mean that success comes from sticking together and to do anything
        else is to invoke disaster.

        The origin of the phrase ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand’ comes from the Bible. In the King James Version, the quote is found in Matthew, 12:25: “And Jesus knew their thoughts, and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”


  9. Practically every country has a region or two that is much richer than the rest of the country. In most cases, the people of the richer regions do not mind participating in their country’s economy and to contribute in helping the poorer regions. In my opinion, the separatists in Catalonia acted out of selfishness and greed. Catalonia has been an integral part of Spain for many centuries, it was so even before it got named Catalonia in the 15th century (I think, I might be wrong).

    There are separatist movements – usually in a marked minority within their region – in many European countries. If they all acted like the separatists of Catalonia and seceded, Europe would become very fragmented and lose its cohesion. The EU, with all its present warts, failings and faults, was born out of a deep desire to no longer have wars in Europe following the devastations of WWII. Should it fall apart through numerous cecessions, Europe will lose its cohesion and it would be a disaster for hundreds of millions of people.

    Ultimately, if the Catalonian separatists manage to wrest its independence from Spain, I think that in the long run it will in my opinion regret it because it won’t be integrated into the EU, it won’t be able to use the Euro as its currency, and its economy will likely collapse.

    I can only think of the saying “United we stand, divided we fall.”.

    1. If they all acted like the separatists of Catalonia and seceded, Europe would become very fragmented and lose its cohesion.

      Really? What’s wrong with little states? is the existence of Lichtenstein or Andorra a problem? Or Belgium or Luxembourg for that matter?

      You arguments were made at the end of the Soviet era, against the reorganisation of Eastern Europe and dismemberment of states such as Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, but in the end it’s much better to allow people to organise into the nations that they want to be in. That’s democracy.

      The EU, with all its present warts, failings and faults, was born out of a deep desire to no longer have wars in Europe …

      The main cause of wars is People A wanting to rule People B or wanting to tell People B what to do without their consent.

      The principle of self-determination, that any region can decide for itself whether to part of a larger unit, is the best way of *preventing* wars.

      1. And you think that if we all broke up into the sort of titchy entities that your post above suggests – Bavaria? Flanders? Cornwall? Venice? Thanet? Where do you want to stop? – it would all be hunky-dory and there would be no possible external threat?

        I think you need to think again.

          1. I’m not Steve, but I’ll answer. “Yes.”

            Rival gangs divvy up blocks of territory and fight over the boundaries. Your villagers will do the same.

            1. And they would then not only be incapable of self-defence but incapable of economic survival.

              You say “it’s much better to allow people to organise into the nations that they want to be in”. How’s that going to work in a mongrel nation like the UK? There are about 150 nationalities represented in London, and by some counts home-grown Brits are in a minority. Is London to be allowed to declare UDI? The Islamic Republic of Tower Hamlets? Come off it!

              1. Yes, London should be allowed to declare UDI if it wishes to. Does it wish to? I’ve not heard that it does.

                There are a lot of advantages in being part of a wider nation and that’s often what people want.

  10. I know very little of Spain and the troubles with Catalonia other than it has been ongoing for some time. I have been to Spain a couple of times but that was many years ago to Zaragoza and Madrid. The problem with secession in the U.S. is it is not legal. This has already been tried back in 1860. Even then, many people, including the president prior to Lincoln said, Oh well, I guess there is nothing we can do about it. But Lincoln disagreed. He said, in so many words, the Union (constitution) made the states and only it can let them go. End of story. And if you think about it, this is the way it has been here since. Only the United States, however many states they total can admit another state to the union. Lincoln declared this that many years ago and it stands today. I have no idea what would apply in Spain?

    1. The only national constitution I’ve ever seen that explicity allowed for secession was that of the Soviet Union, and that was clearly window dressing. As Lincoln observed (quotation above) the principle of secession is one of anarchy, because there is no logical end to separatism.

      1. Interesting. Several states that had been part of the Soviet Union certainly took advantage of that one. In the case of Russia, since most of the territory was simply taken, they should have an out.

        Lincoln always considered the southern states in treason and that is why he refused to negotiate when others tried to talk him into it. He would not do it. If he had lost the election in 1864 to McClellan, he would have made a deal with the south.

        1. I am pretty sure that Lincoln was talking exclusively of the U.S. and it’s condition when he spoke of Anarchy and secession. A separation of a country does not necessary mean anarchy and many times has resulted in a better situation. Yugoslavia would be one and if allowed to take place could also apply to Iraq. Anarchy is more likely when separate regions are forced to combine as happened quite surely after the first world war.

          1. Of course there is no universality, sometimes independence leads to a better life for the population but sometimes the opposite happens.
            An important yardstick should be whether a people is oppressed by the government of one country and there seems to be no better solution than separation from the land.
            But all this is not true for Catalonia, no suppression by the central government, largely regional autonomy – where are the hard facts that make it so important to declare your own country? Catalonia must co-finance money for financially weaker parts of the country.
            The Catalonians want to pay only for themselves. But no relevant country, not the EU, not the US will accept a Repulic Catalonia, they have to leave the EU, and to join in again will not be possible because Spain will vote against them
            Or maybe after twenty years of civil war, when the country is economically down, maybe they will be finally accepted out of compassion …

        1. only for a few decades in a basically colonial relationship and Spain can hardly be compared to the Soviet Union

    1. Seriously though, it depends on your views on national self determination. What constitutes a nationality? What about the Kurds – that is a REAL crisis… this is by contrast ‘a little local difficulty’…

        1. Being a devil’s advocate for a moment, one argument might be that Turkish Kurds are in fact Turks, Iraqi Kurds are Iraqis, and Syrian Kurds are Syrians. In other words, under what circumstances should real or supposed ethnic or cultural affinities take precedence over generally accepted national boundaries?

          It’s not necessarily a trivial question. Are the Celts of Wales, Cornwall and Brittany sufficiently co-cultural to warrant treating as a single “nation”? Surely not! So why are the Kurds any different?

          I don’t necessarily disagree with your sentiment. I just think it needs some justification.

          1. History is complicated. Modern boundaries of Turkey/Iraq/Syria/etc. were imposed without excessive regard for ethnic or cultural boundaries in the very recent past. The Celts of the UK diverged much further in the past. Time matters.

          2. under what circumstances should real or supposed ethnic or cultural affinities take precedence over generally accepted national boundaries?

            When those people want them to!

            The underlying principle here is the democratic assent of the people who live there.

            I’m amazed that people think that notions of “accepted boundaries” should take precedence.

        2. “I support independence for the Kurds.
          What’s the argument against it?”

          Kurdistan is a rather unusual case. A historic area split between three other polities. I’m not sure there are any other examples like it.

            1. And Lappland, come to think of it. Poland had a history as a nation state before it was subdivided, however, which puts it in a rather different case from Kurdistan and Lappland, which never have been.

  11. I agree it is a foolish move for Catalonians to try and succeed form Spain. However, Americans saying they are wrong, because it is “illegal”, need to consider how legal it was for the 13 colonies to succeed from England.

    1. While I’m (weakly) anti-secession on this subject I do think it’s a very fair point that given the US’s own complicated history with secession, it’s best to avoid broad, sweeping, absolute statements on whether secession is right or wrong in all scenarios.

  12. If Catalonia wants to succeed from Spain that’s their business. Same with California or Alabama leaving the US.

    1. Yes. The statistics is unclear, but the democratic voting process says they could do it.

      Nations are so 20th century anyway. [/sarcasm]

  13. From what I know of the situation, I support Catalan. Yes, you can say it wasn’t a legal vote but then the actions of Madrid were oppressive. The whole situation is heavily weighted in Madrid’s favour. Catalan can’t secede because that’s illegal and violates the constitution. They try hold a vote because it’s a democracy and Madrid says that it’s illegal to have such a vote. It’s a situation that’s impossible for them to win if they have to fully comply with the law because the opposition is writing the laws. Maybe the secessionists are a minority but when there was a chance to actually see by making a legal vote that was suppressed.

  14. The police response to the elections was appallingly heavy-handed, and stupidly played right into the hands of the intended provocation of the referendum. Nevertheless, where free, democratic countries are concerned, secession based on ethnic nationalism is not a progressive development. The world has got more peaceful precisely because ethnicities have consolidated into larger multi-ethnic states so that national rivalries do not also (toxically) become ethnic rivalries. A future Europe of microstates will not be more peaceful, richer, or more fulfilled than it is at the moment. It will be more inward-looking, more suspicious, more selfish, less internationally engaged, and for those reasons there are likely to be more wars.

    What’s emerged in the last few decades in the West is a kind of narcissistic, irresponsible nationalism of ennui, like that of the Quebec separatists — an indulgence cultivated by people who take their present comfort so utterly for granted they forget the compromises of unity that were necessary to achieve it in the first place. If we submit to this narcissism of minor difference, just because we can, what kind of message are we sending to all those ethnic groups around the world locked in cycles of ethnic conflict with their neighbours? Do what I say, not what I do? Seems to me that if Vermont and Mississippi can bear to be part of the same country, Catalonia doesn’t really have much to complain about.

    1. The world has got more peaceful precisely because ethnicities have consolidated into larger multi-ethnic states so that national rivalries do not also (toxically) become ethnic rivalries.

      No, actually, we’ve become more peaceful because we all accept the principles of democracy and self-determination!

      In the old days, whether Soctland and England would be part of the same state would be settled by wars and pitched battles (Bannockburn, Flodden, and many others).

      Nowadays, it is settled by everyone agreeing to put it to a vote!

      I’m actually quite astonished by the number of commenters here who don’t seem to accept that principle!

      If Catalonia or California or Cornwall wanted to become independent, then *of* *course* this should be allowed (!), and it’s the duty to the larger state to organise a sensible process for this, if it becomes clear that that’s what many of those in a region want.

      1. Sorry, I think this is complete bollocks. Do you seriously think that if Cornwall – the poorest county in England – voted to secede, the rest of us should just wash our hands of it? Cornwall depends crucially on financial subventions from the rest of the country: maybe we’re not as generous as we ought to be, but left entirely to itself Cornwall would be in serious and permanent financial trouble.

        One of the benefits of a comparatively large political entity – such as the UK – is that the wealth generated by the more prosperous bits of it can be used to support the less prosperous bits. If bits start breaking away, this benefit disappears. But if the less prosperous bits want the benefits, they need to accept the authority of the larger entity.

        1. Do you seriously think that if Cornwall – the poorest county in England – voted to secede, the rest of us should just wash our hands of it?


          Cornwall depends crucially on financial subventions from the rest of the country: …

          So they’re unlikely to want to secede, aren’t they?

      2. “No, actually, we’ve become more peaceful because we all accept the principles of democracy and self-determination!

        In the old days, whether Soctland and England would be part of the same state would be settled by wars and pitched battles (Bannockburn, Flodden, and many others).”

        Political union in the UK preceded full democracy by a couple of centuries. Which meant that by the time ordinary people started voting, they had had several generations to become used to the idea that they were members of a multi-ethnic union. Without that union, boundaries of citizenship would have continued to align with boundaries of ethnicity, which, as we’ve seen throughout history, gives a nationalistic charge to every rivalry and disagreement, like sticking 20,000 volts through Frankenstein’s monster. Is that a creature we really want to wake up?

        I know it seems unimaginable that this kind of conflict would happen between Scotland and England today. I’d argue that it’s become unimaginable largely because three centuries of union has successfully *prevented* it re-occurring, as it used to with grinding regularity through the previous eight centuries before the union was made.

    2. It’s also worth noting that Putin supports many of the separatist movements in the same way he supports far-right political parties. It’s not because he agrees with their goals but because he wants to undermine both the EU and the idea of democracy.

        1. And I suppose he didn’t interfere in the French, German, US etc. elections either?

          I was going to put this comment under what you said, but didn’t because I’m aware of your admiration of Putin and inability to admit he might do something wrong.

        1. Putin also opposes separatist movements within Russia (and what he fancies to be the rightful Russian empire); what he supports are separatist and far-right movements elsewhere (which is what Heather is referring to, I believe).

      1. Coincidentally, the separatist pro Russian republic of South Osetia opened an “embasy” in Barcelona on October 23. For “cultural, humanitarian and business purposes”.

  15. I am sorry to say that polarisation and splitting seem to be the idee fixe of many people today. Long ago I remember voting to join the EU and I voted to remain when we had a referendum. My view is heartfelt rather than from reason but echoes Oliver Hardy “united we stand, divided we fall – mm huh”.

    Breaking up is bad. Getting together is good. Idealistic I suppose but I stand by it.

      1. I support apt analogies; comparing nations and families isn’t one of them. As Tolstoy might’ve put it, every unhappy union is unhappy in its own way.

  16. One day before the referendum, I read an interview with Puidgemont in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In this he declared that if he won the vote, he would immediately (!) (after 48 h) proclaim the Republic of Catalonia.

    To remind you: The Spanish Constitutional Court has previously invalidated the referendum, but Puidgemont simply did not care.
    In the Catalan electoral law, there were no minimum participation clauses, meaning that even if only 20 percent of all Catalonians had voted and the rest of the population remained at home, the result would have been binding.

    That’s why Puidgemont has made every effort to enforce this election at any cost, and Rajoy has sent tens of thousands of police to Barcelona to definitely avoid voting.
    because he knew that Puidgemont, if a majority would vote for independence
    was ready to create facts immediately, so to call the Republic of Catalonia.

    And everything has come as Puidgemont had wished: Pictures of flogging policemen who act against the harmless civilians who just wanted to give their vote … The right was clearly on Rajoy’s side, the referendum was a constitutional violation, but the television pictures seemed to speak against him.

    Since that vote and the events that have taken place in the next few days, a general strike in Barcelona, ​​etc., I was sure that a civil war would break out in Spain. And the day today, when independence was officially proclaimed, has brought this point nearer.

  17. Although the Spanish are in the right here, Rajoy’ government has been crass, stupid and heavy handed. A gentler, less-polarising attitude would have paid dividends – like taking a leaf out of the UK’s book and holding a state-backed referendum over Scottish independence, a referendum that surely they would have won. Once the photos and videos of the black-garbed Civilia Guardia (allegedly) attacking voters at the Catalan initiated vote, the initiative shifted, possibly decisively, to the Separatists, together with a large number of Catalans who did not wish for independence but might well do now.

    This ranks with the execution of Irish rebels in 1916 as a textbook example of how NOT to win hearts and minds.

    1. On the other hand, many Catalan people who belonged to the silent majority (or even “silenced” majority), i.e., those who had no problem holding both Catalan and Spanish identity but remained cowed for years because nationalists had all the levers of institutional power in Catalonia and used it tho their heart’s content are now starting to wake up and oppose these reckless movements. Again, let’s not forget they are at least half the people of Catalonia.

    2. The Spanish Constitution does not provide that any part of the country splits.
      And so it is in almost all constitutions of other nations,
      And why this is very reasonable, that was very well put on the point above by DrBrydon: “the principle of secession is one of anarchy, because there is no logical end to separatism.“

      1. And why this is very reasonable, that was very well put on the point above by DrBrydon: “the principle of secession is one of anarchy, because there is no logical end to separatism.“

        Whereas there’s a logical end to unification: a single world government, a single currency and everyone speaking the same language and eating the same food.

  18. It’s not comparable to California leaving USA.
    Catalonia has continuity in history and once had its kingdom.
    Just like nations of ex SSSR and ex Yugoslavia had right to their countries so does Catalonia.

    1. Sorry Nino but you are WRONG!
      See my post bellow and you will see that there has NEVER been an independent Catalonia, never a Catalonian King or Queen.

  19. First I will like to address some factual mistakes and inaccuracies in your post and the CNN bit, then my impression on the news. The vote today was not unanimous, as somebody already said. It’s 70 out of 135. In popular vote, these 70 representatives actually account for lees than half of the voters.

    The October 1 referendum was not simply “defying” the government, it was an illegal move, based on illegal unconstitutional and illegitimate laws passed by the Catalonian parliament. so the problem itself it’s not that it was disrupted and disorganized by the police, who in fact have the obligation to act against people breaking the law and acting against court orders, the problem was that from the beginning the referendum had zero validity, and even more, when Spanish government made clear they were trying to close the polling stations, Catalonian government conceded that the voters could vote in any station, even if it was not the one assigned to the voter: this permitted and in fact resulted in people voting several times.

    There hasn’t been any calls for a new referendum. What some parties have been suggesting, for some years now is a legal and legitimate referendum, in different variations. Catalonian sovereignists have had already one that counts for them, and no-sovereignists didn’t want the October 1 one, much less a new one. I think you may be confused with the actual calls for a new election on the Catalonian parliament, as a way to maybe stop the enforcement of article 155.

    Now, on the CNN. I consider this one specially wrong; there are any plans to dissolve the Catalonian parliament, nada, zero. In the government proposition to apply the 155, there was a direct mention not to remove the parliament, in consideration of it being composed of directly elected representatives. Yes, it considers the measure of dissolving the government and removing president Puigdemont, neither of them directly elected. The parliament elects the president who in turn designates his government.

    Also the choice of “sacking” instead of deposing, dissolving or removing when referring to this action by the Spanish upon the Catalonian one seems to me (not a native English speaker) too harsh. Reading the bit you expose, it seems to me CNN is trying to be “balanced” by taking strong stances against both sides, which results in this.

    Have no fear, this is not going to result in a civil war. As someone already said, Catalonia has no army, and only a huge popular uprising could result in war. That has small chances of happening, you see, for various reasons. Much of the separatists are entitled youngsters and college and school students, who in the United States would be shouting “hate speech”, “cultural appropriation” and harassing Nicholas Christakis and taking MAGA hats from people. At some point they are going to return to studying or to job or a search for it. That’s for granted for almost all the movement, I doubt they are ready for such an uprising and that they would be much united in it.

    Because you see, the most politically committed of the movement are divided in three parties. CUP, ERC and PDECAT. CUP are anti capitalists nationalists (if that is even possible), ERC and leftist nationalist, and PDECAT right wing nationalists. CUP has 10 representatives in the Catalonian parliament, and ERC and PDECAT (together as a coalition) 62. CUP is a relatively new party, who seems to be pushing the most for independence, and are the most street organized, and more tied to these entitled youngsters. ERC is the traditional Catalonian pro-independence party, and PDECAT, although of long nationalist tradition too, not always clearly pro-independence; only in the last years have they become more radicalized in that sense, and this has been clearly in response to the pressing concerns about corruption, as a way of changing the political discourse away from the matter. PDCAT is, in fact, the exact ideological Catalonian counterpart of the party in the Spanish government, PP.

    So, let me try to translate this to American terms. Imagine Texas (I imagine Texas a better equivalent for Catalonia than California) pushing for secession, and this move being politically supported a party of authoritarian leftists, another composed of Bernie Sanders followers, Texan version, and a third of just classical republicans. And in the streets authoritarian leftist youngsters. Does that sound crazy? Well it is that crazy actually in Catalonia. Now imagine them repressed by FBI (or whatever agency would correspond that), as they should be, and them complaining because the police didn’t let them commit illegal acts.

    I don’t have a clear idea of what could happen now. The main problem is so crazy and such nonsense is all this, that I can’t put myself in the head of the political separatists leaders, what their actual plan is, apart from their explicit goals. My best bet is they wanted to gain international attention not by their fight itself, but by the Spanish government repression, try to paint this as dictatorial and the imprisoned as political prisoners, and force some outside intervention or some situation in which the Spanish government could not de facto rule over Catalonia, like some Transdniester thing.

    The main problem is that CUP explicitly wants to implant a non-capitalist state, which is simply impossible with the current correlation of forces in Catalonia. If in the theoretical popular uprising there wouldn’t be hard confrontation between CUP and PDCAT, for sure it would in the new Catalonian state.

    In the end, what I think is going to happen is that 155 is going to be enforced, it’s going to be difficult and hard, but in some time people in Catalonia, Spain, and outside is going to realize it’s not that bad after all, and separatism is going to gradually lose momentum. But depending on how the situation is managed, we’ll have the same problem in 20 or 30 years again. Nobody in Europe is going to recognize an independent Catalonia, every country here in Europe has some stronger or softer separatist movement, and nobody wants to open Pandora’s box.

    The only way it could be achieved was if some non European power realized this, and thought it could be a good idea dismebering the European union. Let’s hope Trump doesn’t wake up with the wrong foot about Catalonia someday.

    1. “Let’s hope Trump doesn’t wake up with the wrong foot about Catalonia someday.”

      No he won’t. Trump is at least a law-and-order man, and I think these separatists represent a kind of anarchists for him. He will not like them.

      1. You are right, I actually think that myself. I was only trying to end with a joke, cause all this is actually very painful to me (I am Catalonian and I have still a lot of family there).

        Actually I think if someone would try that, would be Putin. I don’t think so anyway, ’cause even if a weak European Union could be good for Russia, I don’t think an exploded one could, and he should know that.

        Who else could it be? China? I don’t think so, big open markets are better fort them.

        Even Slovenia, which Catalonian separatists cited as an example they would follow, dismissed the actual Catalonian process. So no, I don’t think independence is going to have any chance of success. The question is how bad the consequences of all this are going to be.

        1. ” , I don’t think independence is going to have any chance of success. The question is how bad the consequences of all this are going to be.”

          I agree.
          In the spring of this year I spent a week in Barcelona (for the first time).
          What struck me: everything, really everything was written in bilingual, in first place in Catalan, second in Spanish.

          Within a few months, everything is at stake
          When I see on television all the crowds in the square in front of the Department of the Presidency of the Generalitat de Catalunya, right in the heart of this beautiful city, which all seem obsessed with the idea that there is nothing better and greater than independence from Spain , you can really just shake your head.
          Unfortunately, the strategy of the separatists has so far worked out, and it’s a pity that these people can control the course of events because they are much better organized than the opponents of independence. But Puidgemont has been following the idea of ​​secession ever since he was a young man, so he’ll be ready to take on a martyr role.
          It is really sad what happens now in Spain.

      2. Trump (like Nixon before him) is a “law and order” man in name only. His actions as president — perhaps most prominently his effort to strong-arm FBI director James Comey into dropping the Mike Flynn criminal investigation, his subsequent firing of Comey for continuing to pursue the Russia investigation, and his pardoning of Joe Arpaio — as well as his multifarious nefarious business dealings before he took office, all bespeak Donald Trump’s utter contempt for the rule of law.

        1. That Trump very often completely despises the rule of law – I fully agree with you.

          I meant the “man of law-and order”in a more metaphorical way, Trump is not an innovative-creative mind, he likes to appear like a tough dog, hard on the outside, he’s simple in thinking and acting and speaking.
          He loves power poses and the language of power. When he turns to the public, he pretends to serve the law and land, but inside the circle of power he is completely unpredictable, and his willingness to override laws is probably greater than at most of his predecessors in the Oval Office.

          1. Oh, I agree. Except that Trump is unpredictable only by the ordinary standards of logic and consistency. Once one understands that his overarching algorithm is always claim credit (even if totally undeserved) for whatever goes right and avoid at all costs blame for anything that goes wrong — that Donald Trump must never, ever, under any circumstances be labeled a “loser” — then everything he does is completely predictable.

    2. Actually I have to correct myself. After the declaration of independence the Spanish government did actually dismiss the Catalonian parliament, in order to convene new elections in Catalonia on December 21.

      1. Yes, and you were extremely confident and emphatic in your original declaration that there was no chance whatsoever – “nada, zero” – of this happening. So does the fact that it then *did* happen, almost immediately after your pronouncement, give you pause? Cause you to re-evaluate any of your other positions or assumptions on this?

        1. Well, the Spanish government made a very clear declaration the parliament wouldn’t be dismissed, are new elections were planned in January. The government simply didn’t did what they announced, and at the moment of writing the former I hadn’t read the latests news. just the bit put here.

          What the government has done is, basically, to suspend Catalonian self-government. Their declared intention was to make this measure as “soft” as possible, so they were going to dismiss the Catalonian government, but not the representatives elected by the people, so as not to “suppress” democracy. The last three days everything has been happening and changing very fast, and it seems that when President Rajoy announced the application of 155 decide to convene new elections on Catalonia as soon as possible, and that meant, according to law, dismissing the Catalonian parliament.

          My guess is he didn’t know, (or didn’t want to know, he’s a piece of work too) how the declaration of independence was going to go exactly (it could have been a declaration of president Puigdemont), and when the Catalonian parliament did in fact vote a declare, he decided they had to go. Also, to convene elections as soon as possible goes in the line of softening the 155’s measures as much as possible, by making them last shorter.

        2. NO! The Spanish government DID NOT dissolve the Catalonian parliament. The Spanish government called for elections on the 21st of December. Period! The LAW says that once elections are announced the parliament is dissolved. Same thing happens with every other autonomy and even with the central parliament in Madrid.

            1. You can always spin things the way it suits you. The Catalonian law says that once you call elections, parliament is dissolved. So, the Catalonian government is fired according to the law, the Spanish president calls for elections in Catalonia on December 21st, according to the law, then the Parliament is dissolved…., according to the law.

              Here are the links to the OFFICIAL documents, as approved by the Senate and the Spanish Government, no newspaper interpretation needed:




              1. the effect is the same, directly or indirectly, the parliament was dissolved by the actions of the Spanish government. But sincerely, I can’t see what’s the importance of the point, I can concede if you are happier that way.

              2. Yes, the effect is the same, but the difference is significant. If you can’t see the importance of the point, I can. When the Spanish dictator died in 1975 the Spanish people, the succeeding governments and parliaments passed laws modifying or abolishing previous laws until a democracy could be created LEGALY. Spain had its first elections in 1977 and ratified its Constitution in 1978. They went from LAW to LAW to LAW. No break, no illegalities. If it was done then, it could be done now.

  20. A little history might serve us all. Since one of the strongest claims Catalans use for their independence claims is their language lets start with the Roman Empire. By 195 BC Catalonia was in Roman hands and the creation of their language was started.

    By the 5th century CE the Visigoths had conquered Catalonia and continued the expansion of the Visigoth Empire until the 8th century and, at its height, it comprised large parts of France and most of current Spain.

    In 711 came the Moors and by 714 they had conquered most of Spain, including Catalonia (Narbonne, in France, fell on 720). That was a fast conquest!

    The Frankish Empire under Charlemagne stopped the advancement of the Moors and initiated the re-conquest of the lost territories. Girona, on northern Catalonia was retaken on 785. Barcelona on 801. Until 987 the Catalonian territories were ruled by Counts subservient to the Frankish crown. From this date the Frankish empire became progressively weaker and the Counts progressively more independent.

    In 1137 Queen Petronilla of Aragon married the Count of Barcelona, Ramon Berenguer IV. BUT… the Queen was Petronilla and Ramon was awarded the title of Prince of Aragon. Their son, Alfonso II of Aragon consolidated the union as King of Aragon and Count of Barcelona.

    In 1469 King Ferdinand II of Aragon married Queen Isabella I of Castile, but each was monarch only of their territories. In 1512 the Kingdom of Navarra is invaded and annexed and 1516 the monarchies are formally united in the Kingdom of the Spains (plural) by the accession of their grandson, Charles I of Spain, also known as Charles V Holy Roman Emperor, and was sole King of Spain. However Castille and Aragon remained separate under one crown until 1716, after the War of Succession.

    In 1640, during the 30 Years’ War with France, there was a rebellion in Barcelona and in 1641 a Catalan Republic was declared. It lasted all of a week because the only way to sustain it was to declare King Louis XIII of France as Count of Barcelona and protector. By 1652 most of Catalonia was again part of Spain and in 1659 the Franco-Spanish war ended.

    During the Spanish War of Succession, 1702 to 1714, the last Habsburg King of Spain, Charles II, died childless and the Bourbon line was initiated with Philip V. Archduke Charles of Austria, later Charles VI Holy Roman Emperor, disputed the succession. Parts of Spain declared for one and other parts for the other. At first Aragon declared for Philip, but in 1705 changed sides for Charles. When Philip won it united the crowns of Castille and Aragon and he abolished some political and economic prerogatives of Aragon and Catalonia.

    During the Napoleonic wars (1808-1814) parts of Catalonia were directly annexed by France. In most of Catalonia there was resistance to the French occupation/annexation, same as the rest of Spain.

    Then came the Carlist Wars and the First Spanish Republic (1873-1874). Current Catalanism started at the end of the 19th century. The monarchy was restated on 1874 with Alfonso XII

    The Spanish Second Republic started on April 1931 and the Spanish Civil War started on July 1936 (ended on April 1939). The dictatorship lasted until 1975 and the first elections were held in June 1977.

    So…. From 987 to 1137 different counties were more or less autonomous in practice, although vassals of the Kings of France or Aragon in paper. From 1137 to 1641 Catalonia was part of Aragon and Spain.

    In 1641 there IS an independent Catalonia…. For one week. From 1641 to 1873 Catalonia has been either under French or Spanish rule.

    During the First and Second Spanish Republics Catalonia had autonomy under the Spanish State, but no independence. Since the 1978 Constitution was voted and approved by ALL regions of Spain (Catalonia massively voted in favor +90%), Catalonia has had autonomy.

    So, at least historically, there has never been a Catalonian King or Queen, and the Catalonian Republic in 1641 had no president nor held elections. I hope this helps people with a little perspective.

    1. It is all about feelings, not facts. “I feel as Catalan not as Spaniard”. That’s all what is counted in. Facts don’t matter, only if they fit with the feelings.

        1. I hope Vierotchka is just lying because he/she is a Putin apologist, rather than a paid Russian troll.

          If it’s the latter, the job they’re doing doesn’t warrant payment.

      1. “Russians have not used social media to accentuate divisions anywhere.”

        I don’t know whether to attribute this comment to ignorance or willful denial of evidence.

    1. My cousin lives there too, unfortunately this looks quite similar to the way things got pretty ugly in Ukraine. The window for negotiation seems to be completely closed and in the past and neither Rajoy nor the independentists will move an inch to accommodate a peaceful solution. So yes, they are in uncharted territory, looks bad.

      1. Sorry, but no way in hell it is even similar to the Ukraine! In Ukraine everything was orchestrated from Washington (toppling the “elected” government with money and propaganda) and Moscow (supporting the separatists with money, propaganda and weapons). The only way something similar could happen in Catalonia is if France supported the Catalonian separatists with money, propaganda and weapons. This is not going to happen since France has its own nationalist movements: the Roussillon, Corsica, Alsace-Lorreine, the Basque, Brittany, Savoy, Occitania, Provence, Normandy…. The only international support the separatist have is Venezuela! Nothing more needs to be said!

        1. What needs to be said is that Moscow could be supporting the separatists with money and did help them with their bot army.
          In Ukraine it all started with peaceful demonstrations and ended up in civil war and finally the Russian invasion.
          The idea that things could turn violent in Barcelona is not far fetched at this point.

    2. Don’t worry for that, the condition for it are not met. As I said in the comments there could be some civil unrest and/or uprising. And the separatist movement is explicitly pacifist.

      Only if she is caught in some police action could she be in some danger. My advice would be, if you accept it, to ask her that she avoids concentrations of people when in the streets.

Leave a Reply