Catalans Occupy Schools, Blockade Roads Amid Police/Government Threats, "History's About To Be Written"

The Spanish ambassador to UK, Carlos Bastarreche, has warned Catalan government’s move will have ‘serious implications’ for European stability...

Europe is watching “a slow-motion, low-cost coup d’etat” by the Catalan government.

 

“If the Catalan government succeed it will be a drama for Europe, starting with the UK, because it will mean that a region can disobey the rule of law.

 

“This is not a dispute between Madrid and Catalonia. On the one side is a democratic Spain and its independent judicial system, and on the other side not Catalonia, but a group of radical nationalists and leftwing extremists in the regional power that are not complying with the law,”

Which perhaps explains how aggressive Spanish authorities are in their efforts to stop any voting taking place.

The Civil Guard, acting on orders from the High Court in Catalonia, entered and shut down 29 database and census applications at the Catalan government's telecommunications centre on Saturday.

Additionally, as DPA reports, the central authorities in Madrid have shut down the electronic vote-counting system in Catalonia in a further effort to prevent Sunday's planned vote on independence for the region.

 

By blocking the counting system, Madrid had effectively "cancelled" the referendum which it had already declared illegal, government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo told journalists on Saturday.

 

This "further strike against the illegal proclamation" of the referendum "was carried out within the scope of the law," the spokesman said.

But as tensions come to a boiling point across Catalonia, separatists are occupying more than 160 schools designated as polling stations on Saturday in an attempt to keep them open ahead of Sunday’s referendum on independence from Spain.

“The history of my country is going to be decided in the next few hours, so there’s no way I’m going to be staying at home in bed and watch it on TV,” said Eduard Elías, 50, a computer science engineer at a school in the Raval neighborhood of Barcelona, adding that he would leave only if the confrontation became violent.

 

“Imagine you would have been offered the chance to fight alongside George Washington,” Mr. Elías said.

 

“At that time, revolution meant weapons and war, but we’re now in the 21st century and we will have our paper ballots instead to bring about real change.”

But, as The FT reports, a top Spanish official in Catalonia said that police had sealed off more than half of the 2,315 designated polling stations.

Spanish national police and their Catalan counterparts have orders to close all polling stations in the region by 6am on Sunday.

Spanish courts have ruled the referendum illegal and the central government in Madrid has voted to stop it.

Pro-independence supporters are hoping the police will be unable or unwilling to physically stop them voting them if they gather in sufficient numbers.

Catalan’s regional government, elected in 2015, has said that it will declare independence within 48 hours of a Yes vote.

This could force the Spanish state to step in and temporarily suspend Catalan autonomy, taking Madrid into uncharted constitutional territory.

During a demonstration in Barcelona on Friday night, regional president Carles Puigdemont said that the Catalan nation had “already won” ahead of Sunday’s vote.

“We have already won, we have won over the fears and the threats of an authoritarian state that didn’t want to let us get this far and tried to make us surrender at the first sign of difficulty,” he said.

 

“On Sunday we have a date with the future, and on Monday we will begin to take that path,” he said, although he gave no indication of how exactly they would go about trying to take independence in the event of a Yes vote.

Sunday’s vote is illegal and a declaration of independence would have little international support. However, a strong turnout and a majority Yes vote could embolden the long-term separatist cause.

Analysts also warn of the danger of increased anti-Madrid sentiment in the region if Spanish authorities crack down hard.

But not everyone supports this 'illegal' vote...

*  *  *

Last week, Mises Institute President Jeff Deist took a pro-secessionist, decentralist position in regards to the current secession movement in Catalonia. See "Let Catalonia Decide" from September 19.

In response, many have claimed that the current secession movement should be blocked. Below we present a column by one reader, without modification. We have not edited it for content, and, like all articles, the article should not be interpreted as an official position of the Mises Institute.

A Spanish Libertarian's View of Catalonian Independence

Authored by Marta Hidalgo via The Mises Institute,

Unfortunately, the nationalists approach history in another temper. For them the past is not a source of information and instruction but an arsenal of weapons for the conduct of war. They search for facts which can be used as pretexts and excuses for their drives for aggression and oppression. If the documents available do not provide such facts, they do not shrink from distorting truth and from falsifying documents.

 

~ Mises, 1944. Omnipotent Government

The Catalan nationalist movement in favour of independence is not driven by an urgent need of freedom to establish a libertarian paradise of free market and low taxes. It does not look for the creation of a smaller and more decentralized government. It is the creation of powerful special interests in the region for the purposes of getting even more power, concessions, grants and money from the rest of Spain, while they control Catalonians even more though indoctrination and the creation of an evil foreign oppressor. Independence is not an end for them, it is a political tool. Independence is not an end for them, it is a political tool.

Spain is divided into Autonomous Communities and today each one has an Estatuto, similar to a constitution, which has given Catalonia, among others, regional autonomy. Catalonia controls its education and healthcare systems and it can impose taxes over events that are not already taxed by the central government or the councils, with some exceptions. Through this, Catalonia currently imposes 17 different taxes, and has one of the communities with the highest income taxes in the country.

Recent attempts at independence have been sought via changes to Catalonia's estatuto — it's constitution. The region's first estatuto was voted on in 1979 by 59.7% of the population with 88.15% voting for approval. After years of claiming separate nationhood, and poor treatment at the hands of Madrid, Cataloinian leaders presented a new estatuto to increase regional independence in 2006. 49.42% of the voters turned out, with 73.9% voting for approval. In 2014, the first illegal referendum on independence took place, paid with taxpayers' money from all of Spain. 37% of voters turned out, with 80% voting to approve. This means only 30% if potential voters voted for independence. 

The Origins of the Separatist Movement 

During the time of the ever-growing Spanish Empire, Spain was made up of kingdoms, but Catalonia was not one of them. It was made up of counties and there was a figure called the Count of Barcelona. The first time there is a mention of the term Cataluña is in the 12th century, when the King Alfonso II acknowledges it in a donation document to his wife. In 1714, the Bourbons and the House of Austria fought for the throne of Spain. Catalonians sided with the Austrians. There was no such thing as an invasion from Castilla; it was a Succession war, not a Secession War. In fact, one of the nationalist heroes, Rafael Casanova, famously called Barcelona to fight against the Bourbons for their honour, their nation and the freedom of all of Spain.

The Catalonian nationalist movement that rules today in the region started in the 19th century, at the time of the Romantic Era, and received the name of Reinaxença. It was a movement that focused on land and tradition, and its main goal was reviving the Catalan language. One of the founders of this movement, Francisco Cambó, became the leader of the Lliga Regionalista, a political party that existed from 1901 to 1936. After the death of Prat de la Riba in 1917. Cambó was part of the government of Spain in 1918 as Minister. In Cambó's memoirs, he explained that the nationalist movement was of ridiculously small size when he started, almost like a cult. He explained that, as with all big collective movements, the quick expansion of Catalonian nationalism was due to propaganda based on some exaggerations and some injustices.

The Current Movement 

In 2012, something called Liquidity Fund for Autonomies was created to give communities access to grants and debt at almost 0% interest. Around 33% of this money has gone to Catalonia, even when they claim to be one of the richest, most innovative, civilised, and cosmopolitan regions of Spain. 

One of the biggest cases of political corruption is that of the Pujol family. Jordi Pujol was the president of the Catalan government for 23 years and considered one of the fathers of the Catalan nation. It has been discovered that his family and he have a fortune of about 3.3 billion euros in tax havens. This money was hidden from the taxing authorities, and its origin is being investigated. The court exposed it came from political activities, mainly from illegal payments from business owners in search of a public contracts. Sadly, it is not the only case of this kind.

The idea that the Catalan language is being endangered, continues to be spread by the nationalist movement. The reality is only half of Catalonians have Spanish (i.e., Castilian) as a mother tongue, a fact that has been fought through the immersion system. The law says parents can choose the language they want their children to study in, but it is not being applied, even after favourable rulings from the Supreme Court. Moreover, it is required by law in Catalonia that the name of your business must be in Catalan, or you risk a fine, and that you must speak it if you want a public job as policeman or doctor, even when 98% of the population speaks Spanish.

I want freedom for Catalonia, and if it means they are out of Spain, so be it. But it must be done legally. The Spanish constitution established the country is a democratic and constitutional monarchy, and sovereignty resides in the Spanish people.

More than 90% of Catalonians voted yes to the Spanish constitution. To change the current political system, a referendum should start in the national Congress, with a law approved by the absolute majority in Parliament. Via this system, it would be possible to call a referendum in Catalonia to check the reality of the secessionist claims among the people, but this possibility is not entertained by the nationalists. The Constitution, and the opinion of those who are not in favour of secession, who feel both Spanish and Catalonian, who don't get involved in the political agenda of Catalonian nationalists as we saw in 2014, must be respected too. But if nationalists carry out that referendum, they might lose; propaganda only gets you so far.

*  *  *

Still, as ABC reports, Barcelona is bracing for what could be the worst civil confrontation since democracy was restored in the 1980s.

"Neither side is listening to the other side anymore," Carles Castellanos, a 75-year-old retired teacher and prominent political activist, said.

 

"If the Spanish government had properly addressed the requests of Catalonia in the past and not rejected negotiations, it wouldn't have come this far. Now both sides have become more extreme in their positions."

Comments

sun tzu Sat, 09/30/2017 - 13:10 Permalink

Funny how the rule of law only matters when the presstitutes and bankers say it matters. They had no issue with tearing Kosovo away from Serbia or overthrowing governments across North Africa with manufactured popular uprisings. 

The Alarmist SilverRhino Sat, 09/30/2017 - 14:14 Permalink

The Spanish government, like many others, would have you believe the rule of law has nothing to do with the consent of the governed: It has everything to do with the consent of the governed. The governed in this case are demonstrating en masse that they no longer view Madrid as their rightful government, and it is the Spanish government that is no longer following the rule of law.

In reply to by SilverRhino

ByTheCross TeethVillage88s Sat, 09/30/2017 - 14:52 Permalink

'The law' is supposed to derive from the people (assumed equal), so if the people (feeling unrepresented by Spain) prefer to be differently represented (by Catalonia), then they can't really be breaking their own law.However, whether the people identifying as Catalonians would be better off (let alone better represented) in the event of independence, is another question entirely.Wait until the fat lady sings...

In reply to by TeethVillage88s

Escrava Isaura y3maxx Sat, 09/30/2017 - 13:12 Permalink

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What? Occupy is working in Spain?  

In reply to by y3maxx

TeethVillage88s Escrava Isaura Sat, 09/30/2017 - 13:26 Permalink

Even if they succeed blood shed or no blood shed...

They don't know what they want 1) Anarchy 2) Fascism 3) Communism 4) Socialism with Republic 5) Socialism with Democracy 6) Socialism with Globalism 7) Progressive Socialism/Progressive Liberalism with Open Borders, mass immigration, import of goods they could make themselves, export of service jobs they could do themselves, Central Bank like EU/USA with "Planned Inflation" and "Fake Economic Statistics".

Chaos!

But of course... get loose from Spain Central Authority.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

Escrava Isaura TeethVillage88s Sat, 09/30/2017 - 13:43 Permalink

Spaniards are anarchist. Their differences they will sort it out later. By the way, anarchist know what they want. And they have wider back. Very different from US.  
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In reply to by TeethVillage88s

Escrava Isaura RumpleShitzkin Sat, 09/30/2017 - 14:25 Permalink

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You might have a point there for the wrong reasons. Revolutions need the peasant society to have merits. Anyway, the same can be said of American conservatism. Meaning, what they want, they are not gonna get. The forces that they are against are too strong financially and militarily. And they are very organized and united.  

In reply to by RumpleShitzkin

TeethVillage88s Escrava Isaura Sat, 09/30/2017 - 14:30 Permalink

wider backing?

thanks. confused a little in translation. I know there was a whole city that was Anarchist for like 2 years... I guess they learned to run factories and govt... I imagine they are higher percent ...anarchist.

Se' La Vie. It is their home & city & country.

- Mob rule? Well... peoples are different... maybe discipline from Catholic school is a strength for them.

In reply to by Escrava Isaura

Escrava Isaura TeethVillage88s Sat, 09/30/2017 - 15:28 Permalink

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Catholics are good fit for anarchism, in my view, and if they follow the gospels. But, please, don’t include the American Catholics as well as me. I can’t be an anarchist or socialist because I am a liberal. Liberals can tolerate a bit of both. I came to realize that the anarchist way would have been a lot better in terms of the future of humanity than the liberals. The liberal is actually the worse of the three.    

In reply to by TeethVillage88s

Escrava Isaura Billy the Poet Sat, 09/30/2017 - 15:17 Permalink

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Wider back because they can tolerate more than conservatives and liberals. Conservatism have the narrowest back. Conservatism like people that look at think like them. Liberal and conservatives like structures. Top down. Anarchist, if they are really anarchists, are the opposite. There won’t be inequality. Land has no right.  Anarchists have patience for mediocrity. Anarchists are not aggressive and greedy. Anarchist don’t care about efficiency. If the anarchists were running the industrial society you would not see either state or private power. You would see worker’s councils, consumer councils, communities assemblies. You would see regional banks with their own currencies. All representation would be local.      

In reply to by Billy the Poet

The Alarmist TeethVillage88s Sat, 09/30/2017 - 14:18 Permalink

Sometimes knowing what you don't want is a compelling reason to take action.

Even if this is the end of times, be of good cheer ... people as a community are stepping up for want they want as a community, which is far more encouraging than watching a great nation go to apoplexy because its athletes go to a knee to protest whatever the heck they are protesting.

In reply to by TeethVillage88s

Dutti TeethVillage88s Sat, 09/30/2017 - 14:58 Permalink

Many Spaniards and Catalans are quite emotional people. Back in the 1930's General Franco put an end to the anarchist (antifa) BS.I know Spain and Catalunia a bit and I think it is a pity to see the country being torn apart by separatists. First it was the Basque country, now the Catalans. Spain's regions already have a good deal of autonomy, some use their own language etc.Switzerland as an example is a small country, has three different areas with three different languages and fortunately has managed to stay together as one country despite the regional differences - that's the way to go.If all the regional populations want to seceed, it will weaken them and their country as a whole. We saw the Quebec problems a while ago and fortunately for Canada and the Quebecois the separation did not happen. So far the Scots are still in the UK - good for them.However, in today's day and age it is difficult to keep people united without strong leaders when the population is gullible and emotional. Everyone feels entitled and competent to judge what's best for them and the community and tears the common fabric apart.Good luck to Spain and the Catalans - they will need it.

In reply to by TeethVillage88s

TeethVillage88s Dutti Sat, 09/30/2017 - 15:14 Permalink

I'm not Spanish or Catalan nor visited. So I ask what are the issues. We have separate languages and this seems to serve the Govts & the elites to keep up dumb

USA:

- Dumbed Down History, K-12 & more
- Dumbed Down Education, Politics, Economics, Business
- Yes, promote Language Differences, teach in Spanish
- Promote unfree Press, Monopolies in Media, Telecommunications, Deregulate Telecoms, Oligopolies, End Investigative Journalism to save money, use News Wires, Replicate News 24/7
- Perhaps we can marry govt with media... bring media into Public Relations, Public Affairs, Military Public Affairs... career track with govt or military... special CIA/NSA/FBI Agents to leak or Media Reps to put out the govt line, "Govt Narrative"

Is that what you had in mind... CIA integrates with all Military services as it is allowed to borrow assets... so why not allow press to integrate with govt... job sharing... publish govt narrative as CIA rep!

Is that what you were saying?

In reply to by Dutti

Don Diego sun tzu Sat, 09/30/2017 - 14:02 Permalink

look at the independentist flag: the yellow and red bands belong to the historical (and totally respectable) Catalan flag, but the triangle and the star are exactly the same as in a masonic apron. That flag looks exactly as the flags of the last territories lost by Spain (Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Western Sahara and Equatorial Guinea), always the same pattern: triangle and star like a masonic apron, check them for yourselves here:https://imgur.com/a/x1uGhIncredible but true.

In reply to by sun tzu

Crazy Or Not Don Diego Sat, 09/30/2017 - 16:39 Permalink

As I understand it the Blue is a nod to the French Revolution, and Star is the rebel star of a Republic.When side on flag pole triangle is sideways and Star upright....though we can see whatever patterns we wish I guess?They also had these ones at different times in history, but some Austrian guy made Eagles on flags not so trendy...https://imgur.com/gallery/Q8d42

In reply to by Don Diego

Crazy Or Not sun tzu Sat, 09/30/2017 - 14:19 Permalink

I happen to be in Barcelona right now so a basic update:* People are occupying the voting stations and organising "non political events" social/community stuff,   So cannot be arrested for that - as spaces are largely schools/town hall, community centers etc....* Police (local Mossos) are inspecting every 3 hours "to check events are non political in nature"* Seems to be some dilemma in Police whether to interfer if large numbers of citizens (who they are bound to protect) are present and no disturbances are taking place.* Fire Department has said "if people think they may have seen smoke coming from Guardia Civil sealed buildings (voting locations) ..(they - the fire Dept.)...are duty bound to force entry and check the buildings are safe"  (people are taking this as a cue that voting stations sealed by Spanish Police will be reopened by the local Catalan Fire Department...In general it's peaceful with a party atmosphere, but the expectation is that it's going to get fucking interesting in the next 24, 48 and 72 hours as various events unfold. I'll post pic's or link to vids as things unfold where I am.... loads and loads of people out on the streets. NOTE : because of the time zone difference my comments may appear down threads - please check for them they'll be direct live observations or links to vids/imagesOrNot.

In reply to by sun tzu

Crazy Or Not Don Diego Sat, 09/30/2017 - 15:57 Permalink

Thanks Don, it's in hand ;)  been a gold bug for years...What's clear is the situation is never going to go back. All trust is broken between local and central Gov. Likely Madrid will be trying to run some Chicago Boys operation here for next several years that looks likely be undermined at every oportunity. The numbers on the streets are huge, people are self organizing which is inspiring to see. Entire families are taking part in disrupting Madrid's plans, Occupying (playinging family games etc even repairing school fences and fixing up school yards etc) occupying public Libraries etc....If they get heavy tomorrow we'll see pensioners and children being arrested...no way will this play well for Spain.  Rajoy's Govt likely will look stupider by the minute. Worse than that the policing costs in Spain are going to soar until this is resolved. A general strike has been announced for Tuesday. Likely this will be a total shut down of everything. (Note to self MRE's wherever I go!) and such disruptions (given the mood against Madrid) will probably continue and ramp up while Spain is running what should be local Governance offices.... (Finance and IT ).Updates here (you'll have to run a translator)http://www.elnacional.cat/Is an ENGLISH VERSION (not sure it updates so fast)http://www.elnacional.cat/en/ 

In reply to by Don Diego

Overflow Crazy Or Not Sat, 09/30/2017 - 16:20 Permalink

Dont forget ONLY the seccesionist sheep are on the streets. Barcelona is a 1.6M city. A small % of them is massive. If you want the big picture you'll need some other perspective. You'll need to look for it actively, most of them are silent.  They'be been scared for long time, now it might be their liberation and they're expectant. All Spain is expectant, we pray this insane clowns have killed our neverending cancer. 

In reply to by Crazy Or Not

Don Diego Crazy Or Not Sat, 09/30/2017 - 16:19 Permalink

don't worry, they will get bored once they find out nobody cares about them. If they get lucky Venezuela will recognize them. Any strikes will piss off the silent majority and sometime the Catalan masonic bourgeosie will call it out. Also, Barcelona is the focal point, in the rest of the region things are quiet.There will be some negotiations. The most likely outcome is that they will have an agreement with Spain like the Basques and Navarrans, that is the Catalans will control their own taxes.

In reply to by Crazy Or Not

Crazy Or Not Don Diego Sat, 09/30/2017 - 16:58 Permalink

@Don / Overflow / Peddling FictionThe most interesting International observations have been from the science Nature Journal that since Spain has been running the Catalan budget they've been screwing up the research funding and jeopordizing signifacant research....and this gem:-"Many scientists believe that an independent Catalonia could change the scientific landscape even more fundamentally, not least by releasing universities from old-fashioned and inflexible national laws..."Which has been Catalunya's whole problem, Madrid wants all the important stuff to go through them and their Universites...even if they are not the best at the job... so the Catalan's have been drowning in the Spanish red tape. This was a private affair but not the independence movement has taken it to the public arena so all the petty meddling for status and credit that slows down Catalunya's potential is being seeen and commented on internationally and Madrid is being seen for the dictotorial assholes they have been until now. There have also been some (unoffical) comments from the UN regarding Spain's infractions over basic Human Rights, which are also enshrined in European Union Charter - so there'll be a push for a bitch fight in a few HR courts when the dust settles.Peddling - I only harvest innocent simpletons with what I hope are reasonably solid facts ;D OrNot

In reply to by Don Diego

Crazy Or Not Overflow Sat, 09/30/2017 - 18:53 Permalink

Barcelona Latest:Catalan Farmers and Construction Co's have been out blocking streets to stop Police vehicles reaching Voting Stations and other key areas.There's a massive "you asked for it ...now here it is in spades" vibe around but with brilliant good (and some dark) humor. I'm not posting pics right now cos some people are up to stuff, and it will depend if they get picked up or not. Some twitter feeds show whats going on:https://twitter.com/Rai679/status/914252535086682112https://twitter.com…

In reply to by Overflow