Should we continue -obviating the latest 21D result- to abide by those whom we have not elected? Should we let our legitimate Catalan institutions in the hands of an illegitimate and unfeeling overlord? Are we really expected to accept rule by a party which currently represents less than 5% of the vote, a residual force in the Catalan Parliament
Imagine your government is taken over and your parliament dissolved because the popular vote does not coincide with pre-existing constitutional articles
Imagine that popular vote is no longer considered THE way to inform new policies and eventually change laws
Imagine that peaceful mass rallies are being investigated as REBELLION crimes (Penal Code specifies must be violent)
Imagine a subject of majoritarian public concern is not allowed as part of the parliamentary debate
Imagine teachers being prosecuted for allowing a discussion of the 1st Oct Referendum attacks on peaceful voters, in class
Well, these are all happening in Catalonia while European institutions have yet to react.
The immediate concern is that all EU countries are at risk of similar unquestioned violations. If the European institutions are a passive observer, leaving democracy undefended and Catalan citizenship completely vulnerable at the mercy of Spain’s lack of separation of powers, European citizens -if not their governments- should be deeply concerned. It is indeed a very worrying state of affairs which is taking place in the open and within the “union”. If I were elsewhere abroad I’d be thinking that this level of anti-democratic permissiveness is a real threat for the rest of the EU member states.
This is how things stand: a majority of Catalans have implicitly rejected Spanish rule with their pro-independence vote on the last 4 voting dates (9N2014, 27S2015, 1Oct2017, 21D2017). Yet it seems such reiterated expression of popular will is irrelevant and that what is expected from Catalan People is that they NORMALISE SPANISH DISREGARD for democratic vote whether binding or non-binding. When last 21D Catalan elections have probed that an increasing majority of Catalans support Spain’s deposed Catalan Government’s positioning and do not feel represented by Spain’s ruling party… Should we continue -obviating the latest 21D result- to abide by those whom we have not elected? Should we let our legitimate Catalan institutions in the hands of an illegitimate and unfeeling overlord? Are we really expected to accept rule by a party which currently represents less than 5% of the vote, a residual force in the Catalan Parliament (4 seats out the total 135 seats)?
Just when article 7 of the European Commission vetoed Poland’s vote last 20th December, sanctioning Polish government for having exerted control over its judiciary, the Spanish judiciary has long been acting at will on Catalonia as the arm of the law emanating from the Spanish state. Spain’s tribunals are administering criminal charges generously among pro-independence supporters -elected representatives and civil society alike- with now hundreds of court cases undeterred and ongoing. Just this week, after the clear pro-independence 21D election win, old and new names have been charged with REBELLION, targeting, for one, and again, ex President Mas as one of the brains behind the pro-indy “complot”. And all this obviating three main facts: that the now worldwide known Catalan Cause (Procés) was started from the grassroots movement of organised civil society (no single brain but many at work); that both, this movement and the institutional support received -a posteriori- have been exemplarily peaceful; and that decisions have always been sought with a permanent call for dialogue and agreement with Spain.
The very latest indignity Catalonia is living comes after Catalan People have voted in what seemed EU state members considered the panacea-BINDING ELECTIONS (after amply questioning the legitimacy of 9N2014 and 1Oct2017 votes). Spain’s article 155 which meant the takeover, imprisonment and forced exile of Catalan elected Government, are still on together with jail sentences of more than 2 months now against pacifist grassroots leaders… And Spain is showing no signs of respect for the new mandate.
I put it to the European -Union, Parliament and Commission- that since there is a clear mandate in favour of an absolute majority rejecting Spanish rule in the Catalan Parliament, 155 must go together with the military police which today have been finally ordered to end their occupation of Catalonia. ELSE, article 7 of the European Commission needs to be called on Spain for doing exactly what Poland has been accused of doing. Or is Catalonia’s case less
Silvia Alvarez i Ribes és Consultora de Redacció Formal/Acadèmica i Tutora de Tècniques d’Estudi a The University of Edinburgh i Queen Margaret University, també a Edimburg, des de 2006.