Escobar: The Future Of The EU Is At Stake In Catalonia

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

Fascist Franco may have been dead for more than four decades, but Spain is still encumbered with his dictatorial corpse.

A new paradigm has been coined right inside the lofty European Union, self-described home/patronizing dispenser of human rights to lesser regions across the planet:

“In the name of democracy, refrain from voting, or else.”

Call it democracy nano-Franco style.

Nano-Franco is Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, whose heroic shock troops were redeployed from a serious nationwide terrorist alert to hammer with batons and fire rubber bullets not against jihadis but … voters.

At least six schools became the terrain of what was correctly called The Battle of Barcelona.

Extreme right-wingers even held a demonstration inside Barcelona. Yet this was not shown on Spanish TV because it contradicted the official Madrid narrative.

The Catalan government beat the fascist goons with two very simple codes – as revealed by La Vanguardia. “I’ve got the Tupperware. Where do we meet?” was the code on a prepaid mobile phone for people to collect and protect ballot boxes. “I’m the paper traveler” was the code to protect the actual paper ballots. Julian Assange/WikiLeaks had warned about the world’s first Internet war as deployed by Madrid to smash the electronic voting system. The counterpunch was – literally – on paper. The US National Security Agency must have learned a few lessons.

So we had techno power combined with cowardly Francoist repression tactics countered by people power, as in parents conducting sit-ins in schools to make sure they were functional on referendum day. Some 90% of the 2.26 million Catalans who made it to the polls ended up voting in favor of independence from Spain, according to preliminary results. Catalonia has 5.3 million registered voters.

Roughly 770,000 votes were lost because of raids by Spanish police. Turnout at around 42% may not be high but it’s certainly not low. As the day went by, there was a growing feeling, all across Catalonia, all social classes involved, that this was not about independence any more; it was about fighting a new brand of fascism. What’s certain is there’s a Perfect Storm coming.

No pasarán

The “institutional declaration” of overwhelming mediocrity nano-Franco Rajoy, right after the polls were closed, invited disbelief. The highlight was a mediocre take on Magritte: “Ceci n’est pas un referendum.” This referendum never took place. And it could never take place because “Spain is a mature and advanced democracy, friendly and
The day’s events proved it a lie.

Rajoy said “the great majority of Catalan people did not want to participate in the secessionist script”. Another lie. Even before the “non-existent” referendum, between 70% and 80% of Catalans said they wanted to vote, yes or no, after an informed debate about their future.

Crucially, Rajoy extolled the “unwavering support of the EU and the international community”. Of course; unelected EU “elites” in Brussels and the main European capitals are absolutely terrorized when EU citizens express themselves.

Yet the top nano-Franco lie was that “democracy prevailed because the constitution was respected”.

Rajoy spent weeks defending his repression of the referendum by invoking “the rule of law such as ours”. It’s “their” law, indeed. The heart of the matter are Articles 116 and 155 of a retrograde Spanish constitution, the first one describing how states of alarm, exception and siege work in Spain, and the latter applied in “order to compel the [autonomous community] forcibly to meet … obligations, or in order to protect the … general interests.”

Well, these “obligations” and “general interests” are defined by – who else, Madrid and Madrid only. The Spanish Constitutional Court is a joke – it couldn’t care less about the principle of separation of powers. The court congregates a bunch of legalistic Mafiosi/patsies working for the two parties of the establishment, the so-called “socialists” of the PSOE (Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party) and the medieval right-wingers of Rajoy’s People’s Party (PP).

Few outside Spain may remember the failed coup of February 23, 1981 – when there was an attempt to hurl Spain back into the long dark Francoist night. Well, I was in Barcelona when it happened – and that vividly reminded me of the South American military coups in the 1960s and 1970s. Since the coup, what passes for “justice” in Spain never ceased to be a mere lackey to these two political parties.

The Constitutional Court actually suspended the Catalan referendum law, arguing that it was violating the – medieval – Spanish constitution. This disgraceful collusion is crystal-clear for most people in Catalonia. What Madrid is essentially up to amounts to a coup as well – against the Catalan government and, of course, against democracy. So no wonder the immortal civil-war mantra was back in the streets of Catalonia: “¡No pasarán!” They shall not pass.

Brussels does demophobia

Rajoy, thuggish, mediocre and corrupt (that’s another long story), lied even more when he said he keeps the “door open to dialogue”. He never wanted any dialogue with Catalonia – always refusing a referendum in any shape or form or transferring any powers to the Catalan regional government. Catalonia’s regional president, Carles Puigdemont, insists he had to call the referendum because this is what separatist parties promised when they won regional elections two years ago.

And of course no one is an angel in this hardcore power play. The PDeCaT (the Democratic Party of Catalonia), the main force behind the referendum, has also been mired in corruption.

Catalonia in itself is as economically powerful as Denmark; 7.5 million people, around 16% of Spain’s population, but responsible for 20% of gross domestic product, attracting one-third of foreign investment and producing one-third of exports. In a country where unemployment is at a horribly high 30%, losing Catalonia would be the ultimate disaster.

Madrid in effect subscribes to only two priorities: dutifully obey EU austerity diktats, and crush by all means any regional push for autonomy.

Catalan historian Josep Fontana, in a wide-ranging, enlightening interview, has identified the heart of the matter: “What, for me, is scandalous is that the PP is whipping up public opinion by saying that holding the referendum means the secession of Catalonia afterwards, when it knows that secession is impossible. It is impossible because it would mean that the Generalitat would have to ask the Madrid government to be so kind as to withdraw its army, Guardia Civil and National Police from Catalonia, and to meekly renounce a territory that provides 20% of its GDP … so why are they using this excuse to stir up a climate reminiscent of a civil war?”

Beyond the specter of civil war, the Big Picture is even more incandescent.

The Scottish National Party is sort of blood cousins with Catalan separatists in its rejection of a perceived illegitimate central authority, with all the accompanying negative litany. SNP members complain they are forced to cope with different languages; political diktats from above; unfair taxes; and what is felt as outright economic exploitation. This phenomenon has absolutely nothing to do with the EU-wide rise of extreme right-wing nationalism, populism and xenophobia – as Madrid insists.

And then there’s the silence of the wolves. It would be easy to picture the EU’s reaction if the drama in Catalonia were happening in distant, “barbarian” Eurasian lands. The peaceful referendum in Crimea was condemned as “illegal” and dictatorial while a violent attack against freedom of expression of millions of people living inside the EU gets a pass.

The demophobia of Brussels elites knows no bounds; the historical record shows EU citizens are not allowed to express themselves freely, especially by using democratic practices in questions related to self-determination. Whatever torrent of spin may come ahead, the silence of the EU betrays the fact Brussels is puling the strings behind Madrid. After all the Brave New Euroland project implies the destruction of European nations to the profit of a centralized Brussels eurocracy.

Referenda are untamable animals. Kosovo was a by-product of the amputation/bombing into democracy of Serbia by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; a gangster/narco mini-state useful as the host of Camp Bondsteel, the largest Pentagon base outside of the US.

Crimea was part of a legitimate reunification drive to rectify Nikita Khrushchev’s idiocy of separating it from Russia. London did not send goons to prevent the referendum in Scotland; an amicable negotiation is in effect. No set rules apply. Neocons screamed in vain when Crimea was reunited with Russia after shedding tears of joy when Kosovo was carved out of Serbia.

As for Madrid, a lesson should be learned from Ireland in 1916. In the beginning the majority of the population was against an uprising. But brutal British repression led to the war of independence – and the rest is history.

After this historic, (relatively) bloody Sunday, more and more Catalans will be asking: If Slovenia and Croatia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, the tiny Baltic republics, not to mention even tinier Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta, can be EU members, why not us? And a stampede might be ahead; Flanders and Wallonia, the Basque country and Galicia, Wales and Northern Ireland.

All across the EU, the centralized Eurocrat dream is splintering. It’s Catalonia that may be pointing toward a not so brave, but more  realistic, new world.


Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 05:09 Permalink

all across the media landscape... partisansthe eternal search for the "white hats", the heroes, the good guys battling the "black hats", the villains, the bad guysghoulish, peppered with lies, propaganda and more liesdon't you see it? both sides, the Spanish and the Catalan, have their "white" and their "black" hats. both sides have their heroes and their villains. both sides have their Nationalists, both sides have a National reason to do thatwhat is utterly amazing, though, is how lightly both "professional" journalists and commentators harp on what foreigners in foreign lands are doing, all taking this Catalonian Secessionist Movement as an excuse to jump on their hobby horsesand what are the "crowds" doing? cheering for one side or the other. bah

Ghordius toadhall Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:29 Permalink

I see... well, I won't call it "agitprop". I see... wrong statements. factually wrong statementsI add to them facts, my opinion, and this with all honesty I can mustermeanwhile, what is an old entrepreneur, usually? one that delegates, and gives his business to his successorsthat leaves plenty of time for pasttimes. guess you never met an old entrepreneurhow many people here are "europhile"? is it kind of forbidden, here, to show the other side of the discussion?tell me, what kind of place do you want ZH to be/become? an "echo chamber"?see up, how I started here: an admonition to refrain from partisanhood. just an opinion/wishsee here right below, the very next comment. that's what I wanted to post. only that. fully factual, only the words of the Separatist leadership in Catalonia in regard to the EU. their words, not minenow, note the reaction to that. ad-homs, more ad-homs, etc. etc.

In reply to by toadhall

BrownCoat Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 21:00 Permalink

@Ghordius,"mine is that I am an old entrepreneur that lives in the eurozone"I would say "if you like your authoritarian (EU) government, you can keep your government" except that other people are forced to be ruled by that horrible autocracy. It's been over a year and the UK have been unable to get out from under the EU boot on their face!

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 05:24 Permalink

In a speech to the EU Parliament, not long ago, the Catalan vice-president said that the government was "convinced that [it] can win the referendum" and that Catalonia can become an EU member "as a new republic in a process of internal enlargement of the EU"."We are members of the European Union, we are European citizens and this process to incorporate Catalonia in EU institutions has to be automatic," he said.It would be "good news for the EU to have a society that is as pro-European and federalist as ours" joining the union, he said.later, the Catalan President, Carles Puigdemont, urged the European Union to “be part of the solution” to the Catalan situation and engage in a conflict that has now become “a European problem”I thought it's better to "hear it from the horse's mouth", since there is a huge mass of strange comments about what Catalan Independentists want from the EUrecap: they want separation from Spain and... immediate access to the EU. further, their President is asking the EU, an institution he stated Catalans respect, to mediate between Catalonia and Spain

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius philipat Tue, 10/03/2017 - 05:31 Permalink

right now, those are the issues for the leadership of the Catalonian Independence Movementright now, this is what their leadership is asking from the EU, and the way they are talking about the EUif this is not true, then prove it. I am just highlighting what they are saying. straight out of their mouths. recently, i.e. a few days ago and yesterday

In reply to by philipat

philipat Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 05:56 Permalink

Indeed just my speculation. But "All politics is local" and positions evolve on both sides according to the local political realities, mais non? Scotland had similar ideas which were never acceptable in Brussels precisely for the reason that other Independence movements, such as Catalunia for instance, might start getting funny ideas?

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius philipat Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:03 Permalink

Scotland got from the EU Commission the exact same answer as Catalonia got just recentlyboth Scottish separatists and Catalonian separatists stated, repeatedly, that they want to join the EU / stay in the EUin short, I don't see even one separatist movement here that does not wave the "Blue and Gold" flag next to that of their independence from their current national setup

In reply to by philipat

toadhall Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:58 Permalink

Yes, indeed scotland got the same answer as to whether it would have to rejoin the EU, post referendum.We shall perhaps never know, but I suspect scotland would get a very different answer now brexit has been voted on.The chance to peel Scotland away from the worlds most successful political union, to the detriment of all Britains would be too tempting now the negotiations have 'started' and britain has voted out.Think about it. If it were English police thugs battoning Scottish grannies, would the EU be as silent? Certainly not.Because that's just it. When it comes to virtue signalling about democracy, the EU shouts loud when it sees an opportunity to bring successionist states into the EU's fold.When the democracy is on its own turf, they are strangely quiet and when referendums do occur and go the 'wrong' way, they are rerun until the 'right' way is chosen.Democracy (and the human rights that come from it), is nothing more than a word to the EU.     

In reply to by Ghordius

toadhall Octagon Tue, 10/03/2017 - 07:40 Permalink

Pack of morons? I don't think so.If I were a Catalan separatist, that also hated the EU, I would position to remain in the EU. Its an obvious strategy.You don't split the Spanish successionist vote. Once you've separated, and the Italian banks have blown the entire shitshow out of the water, then you take on the EU.Wars are won by choosing your battles carefully.

In reply to by Octagon

toknormal Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:10 Permalink

Despite supporting the Catalan independence movement in principle, I have some sympathy for the view that it's "out of the frying pan into the fire" with regards to the EU.

However, that's not the only dimension to these things. People taking power into their own hands - even if that power is illusionary to start with - is a positive step IMO because it's an ongoing process and creates more of a moving target for the statists. In other words, if they're woken up enough to question their national affiliations then there's a chance they might start to become aware of the toxic aspects of their transnational affiliations as well.

On top of that, they already have the problem anyway. The PP conservatives in Spain are more plugged into the EU elite than the Catalan nationalists (by way of their EPP voting block). The latter group may think they are "friends of the EU" but the sentiment is not necessarily reciprocated.

Hopefully they can wake up to that fact before Greek-style Stockholm syndrome sets in.

In reply to by Ghordius

waspwench Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 14:55 Permalink

Both Scotland and Catalonia say that they want independence, but both also want membership of the EU.Neither understand, or perhaps they wilfully ignore, the fact that EU membership and independence are absolutely incompatible.One hardly knows whether to laugh or cry at such idiocy.

In reply to by Ghordius

philipat Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 05:31 Permalink

Oh, OK so everything is fine then after all this unnecessary (And not very politically expedient) violence? As usual, you are trying to obfuscate the core issue. Which is: Is it acceptable in a "democtratic" EU that a member State should deploy violence against it own people in an attempt to prevent them from expressing their wish for self-determination?" under International law and UN code?You clearly believe that so long as the violence is "constitutional" in the narrowest of context, the answer is yes. That being the case, without applying any moral or humanitarian values should, therefore, go on the record as defining the EU.And I note that YOU have still not, in any of your posts, condemned the violence. Also so noted for the record.

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius philipat Tue, 10/03/2017 - 05:46 Permalink

philipat, you just accused me to obfuscate. are you the same philipat that constantly writes I am a some EU bureaucrat? which is a lie, btw, and nothing you can prove, just taken out of your postern gatethe conflict is between Spain and Catalonian Separatists. yesterday, you were putting it in terms of "Spain used the military on people" (or the GC as military). clearly showing that you don't see the difference between a damned police baton and a damned military rifle, which is the difference between a policeman in riot gear, here, and a soldier, herenow, if I was a pro-Spain partisan in this, I would point you to the Constitutional Court declaring that referendum illegal, which then makes the deployment of the police... a kind of mustbut I am sick of this partisan game... among people that are not involvedI repeat: you are trying to put a "the EU has to be involved in this" and that for moral and humanitarian values. like the Catalan Independence leadershipand I don't get it. you have never had a kind (and seldom a truthful one) to write about the EU... but you are calling on it to intervene?meanwhile, you kind of ask from me to put a sort of huge disclaimer in every comment. kind of "small print" stating that I condamn this, condamn that, and cross all my values T's and put a point on all my moral I's, and so onyour behaviour is, in my eyes, trollish, disingenuos, and you have proven very often to me to lie, here. and this always asking for my identity, while lying about it, and never showing who you are, or where your POV comes from. yes, you live in Bali, which is on the other side of the world of Catalonia. meanwhile, I am often in Barcelona and in the rest of Cataloniayes, I answered to your comment... for the simple reason that if I would not, you would have a troll feast. evidence: many other posts. behave as a honest commentator, and I will treat you as a honest commentator. lately, you have not been such, in my eyes

In reply to by philipat

philipat Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:23 Permalink

I think that most here would charge you with the very same accusations? Oh, and by the way, you didn't even address my "accusations". If you do, I will respond. By the way what is a "postern gate"? I have no clue.I have been commenting on ZH for over 7 years and have never before been accused of being a Troll, presumably with good reason? I neither know nor care who you are but several of your posts have indicated that you are part of the EU bureaucracy. If not MAKE A DEFINITIVE STATEMENT NOW that you have no connection or affiliation with the EU in Brussels or elsewhere. And if not, why are you analy committed to whatever the EU does, even when involving sickening violence against old folks and children?And also MAKE A DEFINITIVE STAEMENT that irrespenctive of politics, on humanitarian grounds that you condemn the violence.Last chance GhordEUs?As for me, I am as I have disclosed on many occasions, a humble retired CEO now living on the beach in Bali, Indonesia.And you seem to be getting quite touchy? Tut, tut, tut....

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius philipat Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:33 Permalink

I hereby make the following statement: I have no connection or affiliation with the EU in Brussels or elsewhere...except this:- I have friends which are in various political parties throughout the eurozone. including MPs and MEPs- I am on speaking terms with both Nigel Farage and Marine Le Pen, as well as many others throughout the EU- I have met once Putin, before he was in politics. we had tea and a long discussion. he later thanked me for some tips I gave himand that's the problem: I am plugged into many things, "here in the neighbourhood" (something many entrepreneurs just kind of "have to"), and I would have to make another six or seven bullet points of explanation which would give many people clues about who I am, which is not something I want. should I? if yes, why, since you do not?meanwhile, you did not even state your citizenship(s). what do we know about "philipat"? just that "you are not a Brit", just "a humble retired CEO living in Bali""sickening violence against old folks and children"?yes, violence against old folks and children is sickening. now, why were they there? again, you kind of try to force me to take a stance where you can go all moral and haughty. but... an illegal (by constitutional court) polling station where children are, instead at home... why were those children there, again? to vote?you... lie. while trying to maintain a moral stance. what do I have to think about such?("postern gate" is a gentle way to say "you took it out of your ass")

In reply to by philipat

philipat Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:52 Permalink

OK thanks for the QUALIFIED statement of your position, not very firm or committed but a start!My citizenship actually has nothing to do with my views on humanity, morality or the EU. But OK, here's the deal. You discolse your Nationality and where you live (I have already disclosed my domicile) and I will disclose the remaining detail; my Nationality. Fair enough, OK?And here was I thinking that a "Postern gate" was something like the Brandenberg gate?

In reply to by Ghordius

philipat Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 07:34 Permalink

You didn't READ my post. Aagan, if you post your Nationality and place of residence, I will post my Nationality. I have already disclosed HALF of the information. Couldn't be fairer than that, right?Meanwhile, OK you have stated that you are not  a Eurocrat and have no associations or affiliations with The EU so I will take you at your word. Until provem otherwise. And in the meantime, you might also wish to explain why, for general interest, why you are so anal in your support of EVERYTHING EU? Remmember that "No assocaitions or affiliations with the EU" includes benefiting from service contracts with the EU or any other related beneficial arrangements. In the meantime, I have received several PM's from a person who claims to know a lot about you, which I am researching.

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius philipat Tue, 10/03/2017 - 07:47 Permalink

I have several nationalities. and I could ask for more, and get themmeanwhile, I will disclose again more then you: no, nothing "eu" ever gave me money or favoursand... the same question, reversed, from your:"why you are so anal in your support of EVERYTHING EU?"to"why you are so anal in your attack of EVERYTHING EU?"and, often without even knowing what you are talking about? from Bali, the other side of the world?"the EU" is a myth, here. something like 80% of what is being written about the EU, here, is simply... falsewhat is your stance about.... wait for it, big word incoming... truth?(ah, but we have your unsubstantiated assertions, don't we?)

In reply to by philipat

Ghordius philipat Tue, 10/03/2017 - 08:23 Permalink

yes, my existing citizenships are all inside the eurozone (see my avatar?)no, I am not a Jew, I am Catholic. often stated, here on ZH. you?no, my citizenships hark from a bit before "the EU" even started to be called "the EU" (again: I am... old)again, you cry obfuscation, you insinuate stuff like "tax purposes", you push for information... and you deliver none about yourselfhere, a freebee: my family is old, too. very old. it's on a lot of stuff, including the "Domesday Book"

In reply to by philipat

philipat Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:02 Permalink

Wow, I'm impressed/sarc. So you are saying that you are part of the Globalist NWO ELites? So perhaps now I can begin to understand your position on the EU.Oh, wait, is that The Domesday Book or The Doonesbury Book?So some of the PM reports about Austro-Hungarian links begin to make sense now..Still researching with contacts in Europe.

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius malek Tue, 10/03/2017 - 11:14 Permalink

malek, I, for my side, enjoyed your last "grandstand"go back, and note my +1 cheersmeanwhile, he behaves like a troll. and I still dislike his lies, his way of derailing discussionstoo bad. and too bad that you are at loss for words, I would have appreciated to read what exactly I did wrong, in your eyes

In reply to by malek

malek Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:24 Permalink

Rrright, you who never answer to specific questions
and avoid touching on the key points at all cost
and seem to be always searching for supporting facts only after you made up your answer…,
now accuse others of derailing.

Your deafening silence on the key points unmask and expose you.

In reply to by Ghordius

malek malek Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:43 Permalink

Oh, and by the way your +1 is meaningless if you yourself a few days later act along what you then denounced:…

"there are only two sides, black or white. you are either with us or against us"

i.e. the constitutional court is god-like, everyone who doesn't follow its decrees to 110% (meaning 100% plus "vorauseilender Gehorsam") deserves to be beaten up by the police!

In reply to by malek

GreatUncle Ghordius Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:30 Permalink

Ghordius ... a question it seems like you do not sometimes.  Do you believe in free speech (like you have on here) and democratic principles (that come from a vote). Whatever the outcome of the vote then it is up to those that lost to negotiate (a payoff, normally cash) to smooth over the objection that Spain is refusing to consider.That last point is legal in all concepts of the ECHR freedom of assembly, ballot etc. and really the Spanish constitutional argument is rubbish when the constitution has already been handed over.Hard for many to stomach the slow approach of handing power over to the EU leaves you in the never-never land and whoah betide a politican who gets caught having sold out the population on one hand yet pretending they are still in charge on the other.A dogs dinner ... but now hand all power over to the EU from sovereign governments now as Junkers would demand and watch the backlash. 

In reply to by Ghordius

Ghordius GreatUncle Tue, 10/03/2017 - 06:41 Permalink

I do not believe in free speech. I uphold the right to speak freelymeanwhile, you bring in the ECHR. here link: that the Catalan separatists did exercise their freedom of expression. quite strongly, actuallybut that "freedom of ballot"? look in the details. here:Art. 3: Elections"Article 3 provides for the right to elections performed by secret ballot, that are also free and that occur at regular intervals.[40]"Elections are not Referenda. just stating the facts(and witholding a huge mass of "caveats" and "moral points" that philipat seems to want to see in every comment of mine)

In reply to by GreatUncle