SPAIN: Catalonia President Declares Independence But Suspends Action To Allow For Talks With Madrid [VIDEO]

The New York Times reports:

The leader of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, said on Tuesday evening that his region had earned the right to independence from Spain, but he immediately suspended the process to allow for talks with the central government in Madrid.

“I ask Parliament to suspend the declaration of independence so that in the coming weeks we can undertake a dialogue,” he said. In a long-awaited speech to the regional parliament in Barcelona, Mr. Puigdemont said that Catalonia had won the right to independence as a republic free from Spain, but left open the door to negotiations and to mediation.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain has rejected any dialogue with Catalan separatists unless they abandon plans for secession, and Mr. Puigdemont and his allies are now in danger of arrest for sedition, and the Catalan parliament at risk of being disbanded.

More from the Washington Post:

The opposition leader in Catalonia’s parliament says regional president Carles Puigdemont’s statement that he has a mandate to declare independence from Spain “is a coup” and has no support in Europe.

Opposition leader Ines Arrimadas of the Ciudadanos (Citizens) party says the majority of Catalans feels they are Catalans, Spanish and European and that they won’t let regional officials “break their hearts.”

Puigdemont says a landslide victory in the region’s disputed Oct. 1 referendum on independence gives his government grounds to implement its long-held desire to break century-old ties with Spain. Less than half of eligible voters cast ballots.

  • Do Something Nice

    I just read this: “Central government sources say they consider Puigdemont’s speech to be a declaration of independence. The Rajoy government will take measures, and is expected to apply Article 155 of the Constitution.”

    If this happens it will not end well or anytime soon.

  • I’ve been called a conspiracy theorist for suggesting this, but this sudden renewal of the Catalan separatist movement, along with Brexit and Trump attacking NATO (probably on Putin’s orders) and the various secessionist movements seemingly afflicting ALL of Russia’s traditional foes, smells like an orchestrated campaign.

    • JustDucky

      I wondered if Russia was involved, too, and was just Googling it. And yes, it looks like we can add Catalonia to the list of places Putin has targeted:

      “In recent weeks, Russian state-backed news organizations and automated social network accounts, known as bots, have aggressively promoted digital misinformation and outright fake news about the politically charged [independence referendum in Catalonia] planned for Sunday, according to an analysis of recent online activity.”

      http://www.politico.eu/article/russia-catalonia-referendum-fake-news-misinformation/

      “According to the Madrid-based Spanish daily El Pais, cited in the Atlantic Council’s study, the allegations against Russia in Spain include the following: that Russian government-funded broadcaster RT has been using its Spanish-language portal is spreading disinformation about the referendum; that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “has become the principle international agitator in the Catalan crisis, sharing opinions and half-truths as if they were news”; that automated bots, including bots spreading Russian propaganda, have spread Assange’s tweets and those by former U.S. National Security Agency renegade Edward Snowden; and that pro-Kremlin websites have been disseminating fake news on the Catalan issue.”

      https://www.haaretz.com/world-news/europe/1.815112

      • Tom Bestor

        The Russians want to West to break into as many pieces as possible.

    • Do Something Nice

      Nope. Not that there isn’t Russian involvement, but the independence movement started in the 1980s and went into full swing when the right-wing party was voted to govern Spain in February 2012.

      • I didn’t say there wasn’t an independence movement. I’m well aware of this and the Basque separatists and lots of other secessionist movements, including the Confederacy here in the U.S.

        What I’m saying is suddenly they’re all receiving shadowy backing, esp. on social media and in the news, and all of those trails seem to head back to Russia.

        • UrsusArctos

          Neo-Confederates don’t want secession. They want to overtake the existing US and expand the antebellum era nationwide.

    • Todd20036

      True, but this would take an AWFUL lot of advanced planning.
      And besides, unlike what happened in the US, the SPEXIT (or whatever they might call it) was passed by over 90% of the vote. No way could anyone take credit for that if it weren’t legitimate.

      • boatboy_srq

        There are enough separatist movements in enough countries that the challenge is finding the ones most likely to succeed and/or most likely to be disruptive. Look, for example, at Yugoslavia: after Tito, that country splintered almost immediately. Spain and France have Basques (as well as Catalans), The UK has the Scots, Ireland’s only consistent line over the last three centuries is that the current situation (whatever that is) is unacceptable,… the list is long and varied. Andin more thsn a few cases – the Roma spring to mind immediately – the affected population does not have a defined homeland. The problem is not fomenting discord but deciding which already-simmering discord to stimulate for best effect.

        • Reality.Bites

          The biggest problem, IMO, is Spain’s reaction. More inflaming than an entire bot army.

          • boatboy_srq

            Rajoy is an idiot.

            With that said, though, basing an independence claim on a plebiscite the national government declared illegal long before it was held and which was largely boycotted by voters who did NOT desire independence is a reach and should be treated as such.

          • Reality.Bites

            And I would say the national government had no moral (don’t know about legal) authority to declare it illegal and the government engaged in the most obscene voter intimidation tactics.

            Their ONLY way out is to allow a fair vote to take place under international supervision after their suppression tactics. Otherwise they can look forward to years of fighting and likely violence.

          • Johnny Toro

            Democracy and constitutional law only applies when it suits your bias? Got it. Very Trumpist of you.

      • boatboy_srq

        90% approval on a 40% turnout when only 42% surveyed were in favor, and for which Remain voters would have followed Madrid’s advice and stayed away from the polls, is not exactly a mandate.

      • Tomcat

        Did you not see the violence at the polls? Who knows if it was fair or not. But it is not America so Ka-surah-surah.

        • TimCA

          Ballots being handed out in masse at nationalist rallies, little control to ensure against duplicate balloting, etc. etc. It was conducted to ensure a predetermined outcome even before intervention by the central government.

        • JCF

          Not your point—but I love this: “Ka-surah-surah.”

      • TimCA

        An illegitimate vote conducted exclusively by secessionists, tabulated by those same secessionists and boycotted by a majority of the Catalan electorate.

        • Todd20036

          Ah, now I see where you are coming from.
          Ok, thought it was a “legitimate” vote that was funneled through regular channels.

          • Pepón

            Not just that. There were no controls whatsoever: people could vote several times (and some journalists documented that); there are suspicions of urns getting to the voting locations already filled with ballots; people “voting” in urns on the street without any control; no private voting stall; the recounting was done without any guarantee by nationalists in favor of the independence, etc.

      • UrsusArctos

        92%± of the voters in an election vote with 42%± turnout. That reads as 38%± of eligible voters. Better than the numbers as saddled us with 45*, but still not good for something as controversial as secession.

      • Pepón

        I don’t know why people keep repeating these numbers. The whole process was so fraught with irregularities –even without taking into account the police intervention–, the observers, hired, and payed by the Catalan government, have declared that the vote was not valid.

    • Tawreos

      Russia has also been backing a Texas Secession movement as well.

      • UrsusArctos

        And Calexit

        • Gustav2

          When the Calexit guy was in Russia:

          From His Home in Russia, #Calexit Leader Plots California Secession

          https://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/12/13/from-his-home-in-russia-calexit-leader-plots-california-secession/

          • m_lp_ql_m

            Actually, Louis Marinelli is plotting his return, if the two emails in the past 2 days from Yes California are any indication.

          • Gustav2

            Russia trying to hide its support?

          • m_lp_ql_m

            Most likely. What sucks is that there is a true native support for Calexit, but the way Californians think, any Russian involvement will kill the movement.

      • Reality.Bites

        No, that was me.

        • UrsusArctos

          Pics or it didn’t happen.

      • Tomcat

        They already got caught doing that and exposed for it.

      • Todd20036

        Honestly, I’m ok with that. What does Texas have to offer? Oil? Whoopie.

        • Tawreos

          I am not so much against Texas seceding as much as I am against Russia being behind it.

      • And California. The leader of Calexit literally moved to Russia where he was given free office space.

    • UrsusArctos

      I don’t see it as a “Master Plan”, more like prepared for opportunities to cause mayhem. I see Putin using ANY splits in western nations as a chance to promote chaos. With the west’s institutions weakening, the former soviet states are ripe for “Rejoining” Russia.

    • The_Wretched

      Pretty much anything that’s a splintering force for the EU project needs an investigation for Russian fingers these days.

  • Treant

    Spain should send the Armada!

  • james1200

    O/T but Joe, will you cover the Harvey Weinstein mess, which is blowing up again? I thought the NYTimes story was explosive but damn, Ronan Farrow in the New Yorker just outdid them.

    https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/from-aggressive-overtures-to-sexual-assault-harvey-weinsteins-accusers-tell-their-stories

    Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow just came out and said he harrassed them (Jolie never worked with him again and warned everyone to stay away from him.) And Hillary just laid into him, too.

    https://twitter.com/NickMerrill/status/917803750869426176

    • Treant

      Statement from Trump: “Grabbed Gwen Paltrow’s pussy? Kewl, dude.”

    • Treant
    • james1200

      It’s also obvious that he raped Rose McGowan (she signed an NDA but damn she’s been a hero in this insinuating things for years about him) and Asia Argento. There’s no way in hell he didn’t rape even more women.

    • Leo

      The Obama’s silence has been seen as deafening across the spectrum given their daughter’s internship with him.

      • Do Something Nice

        I’m not known for defending Clinton, but the bashing shes been getting for waiting “5 days” to “respond” to this is idiocy.

        And the idea that EVERYONE needs to respond and if they don’t it is somehow horrible is equally toxic.

        How about cutting people some slack and assuming they are on our side even when they don’t speak out about every fucking issue?

        • Lazycrockett

          The right is trying to make Weinstein some huge democrat donor and political force when he fact he hasn’t given the dems much cash compared to real donors. People demanding Hilllary, who probably only met with Weinstein for a meet and greet and photo op, coming out with a statement denouncing him is just more Hillary haters demanding purity.

          • JCF

            The point is, Weinstein will NEVER work again—probably anywhere (let’s hope he’s SUED to the point his forced retirement is NOT comfortable!).

            While it’s absolutely taken too long for “the system to work”—it’s gotten there eventually.

            Now, contrast w/ Drumpf. Failing Up, to the VERY TOP.

  • Tomcat

    We want as much as we can get BEFORE we leave.

  • Vira

    The EEUU has an imbecile for a leader, but a shameful lack of response by Merkel, Marcon et al who would consider themselves “leaders” in Europe. They are highlighting the uselessness of Europe to protect democracy.

  • Refugay

    O/T I’m at home in downtown Oakland today and I can’t believe how thick the smoke is in the air. We were camping in Humboldt for the wknd and got stuck north of the fires trying to get home yesterday. The skies were dimmed with smoke all the way down the coast from Ft. Bragg to Bodega Bay. It was a long eerie drive. It’s getting worse and worse today in Oakland though. This is awful.

    • Todd Allis

      It’s smoky here in Brisbane too. I swear the tea I’m drinking has morphed into lapsang souchong (a very smoky tea).

    • Yesterday in San Francisco I was coughing so much I threw up twice. Today’s a little better for me. Most of my family is in Sonoma Country. So far, none have lost their homes but many of my grammar and high school friends have either lost their home or has a relative who has.

    • JCF

      In Sacramento, my eyes have been burning all day (inside! w/ the doors and windows closed, and the a/c on!)

  • TimCA

    Fake “referendum”. Francisco Franco also conducted “elections” too. And like Franco before him, Carles Puigdemont and his extremist nationalist followers have zero commitment to follow the wishes of the majority of the Catalan people, nor to protecting minority rights, nor to adhering to democratic institutions and the rule of law. Puigdemont, like Francisco Franco, seeks the extinguishment of a diverse, multicultural, multilingual Catalonia.

    I hope the Catalan people and all Spaniards will resist nonviolently this coup d’etat against their democratic government!

    • Vira

      Fake referendum? Then Spain is a fake ‘democracy’.

      Puigdemont has an overwhelming mandate to pursue independence.

      You make a glaringly false equivalence: It is Rajoy who is Franco’s bastard political son, and Felipe his bastard grandson.

      Fuck this fake democracy, i la nostra també.

      • TimCA

        You can keep Puigdemont and his rightwing nationalist PDeCat party. Puigdemont and the majority of his hard core followers represent a direct attack on a pluralist Catalonia!

  • Tomcat

    OT: what is this country coming to when rich men no longer can grab pussy without all this disgust? Asking for trump.

  • AJD

    It’s not my business, but I’m not all that sympathetic to the Catalan separatists. Whereas the Kurds have a truly distinct culture and a long history of being persecuted, and the same can be said of the Basques, it’s not really the case with the Catalans. Aragon was one of the founding states of the Kingdom of Spain, so they’re quintessentially Spaniards, whether they like it or not. It reminds me a lot of people from Taiwan who want everyone to think they’re not Chinese, even though they are.

    • Tawreos

      The people of Taiwan do not want people to think they are Chinese to avoid angering China

      • m_lp_ql_m

        The people of Taiwan actually consider themselves more Chinese than mainland China.

        • AJD

          It depends on whom you ask, and the split is often between people whose families are from Taiwan originally and speak the Minnan language and the mostly Mandarin speakers who moved there from the mainland.

      • AJD

        They have that attitude because they imagine themselves to be a nation apart from China. But they’re ethnically and linguistically Chinese, and the government that rules the island is the Republic of China, which fled to there after the communists took over the mainland.

    • Do Something Nice

      I don’t support independence for various reasons, but the Catalans certainly do have a distinct culture.

      • GanymedeRenard

        So do Galicians and Basques.

        • Do Something Nice

          So do Mongolians, but I was responding to someone who wrote that the Catalans don’t have a ‘truly distinct culture,’ so I limited my response to that false statement.

          • GanymedeRenard

            I’m not sure if I’m following. But are you suggesting that Catalans DON’T have a truly distinct culture?

          • Do Something Nice

            Have a good day.

          • GanymedeRenard

            You too, sweetheart. 🙂

          • AJD

            Maybe “truly distinct” was not the best choice of words, but they’re not distinct to the same degree as Basques (whose language is completely unrelated to any other and may actually date back to the Stone Age) and the Kurds (whose language and culture are very very different from those of the Arabs, Iranians and Turks). By contrast, Catalan is still a Romance language, and Catalonia’s history is inextricably tied with Spain’s.

          • Do Something Nice

            Culture goes beyond language, and culturally, Catalans are very different than the rest of Spain.

            Just google Caga Tio, Caganer, Corre foc, etc.

          • AJD

            But again, not as different as the Basques – one finds similar degrees of difference between different regions of other European countries, e.g. Italy, Germany, England etc. And history is another important consideration as well. Catalonia has no history of being a country of its own, unlike, say, Bavaria or Venice. The Basques don’t either, but they’ve been recognized as a distinct ethnic group since at least Roman times.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Not in disagreement here.

    • Vira

      You’re right. It’s not your business. Your sympathy is not required; nor is your factual, historical ignorance welcome.

      Catalunya has ALWAYS been a distinct culture and language, and has pursued independence for more then three centuries.

      You know NOTHING.

      • AJD

        Not to the same degree as the Basques or the Kurds relative to majority cultures where they live. And the other key element that would make me sympathetic – inequality and oppression – is missing entirely.

      • GanymedeRenard

        Easy, my friend, no need to be rude.

        I think @AJD820:disqus has a valid point. Many Catalans like to think that they’re unique just because their language and culture are not the same as Castilian. Same could be said about Galicians, a people who have culturally more in common with the Irish than they do with Andalusians.

        Catalunya has ALWAYS been a distinct culture and language, and has pursued independence for more then three centuries.

        As I’m sure you know, at some point back in the Roman times, Hispania (one of the provinces of the Roman Empire) was divided in three main regions: Tarraconensis, Betica, and Lusitania. Tarraconensis is what roughly corresponds to today’s Catalonia and Valencia.

        Save for the Basques and possibly the Galicians (by culture, not by language,) ALL of the modern regions of Spain are culturally Latin (Latin meaning Roman in this context.) Catalan and Castilian are in fact sister languages, of course. An average Roman wouldn’t be able to distinguish a Tarraconensis person from an Betica person, for example.

        If anything, culturally and linguistically, the Basques have a much better case for independence than the Catalans. Basque is the ONLY non-Romance language spoken in modern day Spain. Their culture predates the Roman conquest, and the racially purists – ugh! – would even go as far as to argue that the Basque DNA is exceptional regarding the rest of the Iberian peninsula’s.

        • AJD

          My point exactly.

          • GanymedeRenard

            You’re welcome. I was responding to Vira by agreeing with you and trying to add my two cents. 🙂

  • Tom Furgas

    I am wondering if Catalonia gets any aid from the central government. Because if they do it will vanish. Also, does Catalonia have a standing military? If they do split from Spain they’d better be sure they raise one, because the central government of Spain won’t lift a finger to help them. In fact, Madrid will do all it can to make them regret the split.

    • AJD

      Catalonia is the more prosperous part of Spain, so they support the rest of the country.

      • Hue-Man

        WAS. I commented earlier that Quebec’s independence movement in the 1970s led to the mass exodus of businesses and their workers from Montreal to Toronto and Vancouver. After 40 years, Montreal is just now starting to re-establish itself.

        If they follow the Quebec pattern, they’ll ban all languages other than Catalan at businesses and schools and government services. This will drive more Spanish speakers away – unlike French, there aren’t many Catalan speakers outside of Catalunya.

        • canoebum

          I love Montreal, but I think Barcelona is in a different category altogether. More sunshine, less ice.

        • Pepón
          • GanymedeRenard

            I read some of the major banks in Spain are moving out of Barcelona. Is that true?
            ____

            What ever happened to your old avatar, fellow JMGer? I liked it.

          • Pepón

            Ermmm… I forgot my password? ヽ(´ー`)ノ

          • Pepón

            Both banks from Barcelona have left: one to Valencia, one to Alicante. They haven’t moved yet any operative stuff, that will take more time, but the first steps are already done.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Wow. Thanks, Puigdemont! / s

          • Do Something Nice

            The banks are moving to continue to be covered by the European Central Bank rules and regulations because that would cease under an independent Catalunya.

            Some, like Sabadell aren’t even moving their headquarters operations and the move is only on paper. But it does mean that Catalunya will lose the tax revenue from these banks.

            But also, if the banks do choose to move out of Barcelona, it make be a good financial decision as the office rents and other costs in Barcelona are very high, unlike many other areas of Spain.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Whatever it takes for Barcelona to continue to be one of the most beautiful places on Earth that I’ve ever been to (not to mention the place of birth of some of my hottest men,) would be very welcome by this fella! XD

            But I suspect this is not a good move on the Catalan’s end of the equation.

          • Pepón

            That is not the worst part. The worst part is the mood and the spirit there is shattered. Friendships broken, families are divided. Many people are thinking about leaving Barcelona/Catalonia, not just businessmen. The nationalist pressure is unbearable on the street level.

            If you can read Spanish, I recommend two articles. The first one is the ex-chief of the Dutch Circle of Businessmen in Barcelona, explaining why he will leave Barcelona.
            http://www.expansion.com/opinion/2017/10/06/59d7672ee2704e625e8b4587.html
            The second one is from a Catalan journalist crying over the destruction Catalan nationalism is leaving on it’s wake, and denouncing their hypocrisy.
            http://www.expansion.com/blogs/saballs/2017/10/06/adeu-siau-catalunya.html

          • GanymedeRenard

            🙁

      • GanymedeRenard

        And Pedralbes is the most prosperous district in Barcelona. Should they split from the city?

    • Vira

      Catalonia pays more than it receives.

      • TimCA

        So do other more prosperous comunidades as well.

        • GanymedeRenard

          Euskadi (the Basque Country) comes to mind.

          • TimCA

            Along with Madrid, Navarre and as you mentioned Pais Vasco. All of these comunidades pay more than they receive from the Spanish central government.

    • Halou

      “does Catalonia have a standing military?”

      No. There are Catalans in the Spanish military, similar to how there are Scots in the British military but it does not have it’s own separate structure.

      • GanymedeRenard

        And there are also Mossos d’Esquadra whose ancestry (it could even be their parents) are from other regions of Spain – so much for the ethnically and culturally purists.

  • GanymedeRenard

    Who would want a Republic when you could have this hot daddy for a King? *chuckles*

    Jest aside, what’s the point of declaring independence and then wanting a dialog?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/856914fb9ae53660d306774e8e1ed67ccc5b9c0195a0a671666d7b80331c1e9f.jpg

    • Karl Dubhe

      To get a ‘better’ deal than outright independence.

      • GanymedeRenard

        The region is already autonomous, has its own parliament, and its people are free to speak their own language and exercise their own culture. In fact, Catalan is one of the the four official languages of Spain according to the Spanish Constitution (the other ones being Castilian/Spanish, Basque, and Galician; by comparison, the neighboring France has been more oppressive vis-à-vis its different peoples.) IMO, Catalonia’s political class is too stupid to realize that an independent Catalonia won’t be accepted by the European Union as things stand now. They wouldn’t even be able to use the euro as their currency anymore.

    • leastyebejudged

      Yeah, hot tyrant.

      • GanymedeRenard

        I’m all against monarchy. Every. Single. One. But Felipe is hardly a tyrant.

        • leastyebejudged

          His tyrannical words betray him. And you.

          • GanymedeRenard

            Words. Words. Rajoy’s the tyrant here.

    • billbear1961

      All the King did in his speech to the nation, according to an article in the Guardian, was berate Catalans, as though they alone were responsible for the escalating crisis, when Madrid’s behaviour has been incredibly reckless. He said nothing about the police brutality, condemned around the world, that was visited upon some 800 peaceful voters, encouraged by HIS government in HIS name. (Some of the brutal cops were hurt when some Catalans fought back.)

      I was very disappointed in this King, who made no effort to remain above politics. He could have called for calm and compromise, for mediation, which seems to be what protesters in Catalonia AND Spain were calling for only a few days ago. He could have reached out to all his subjects, including those who wish to exercise the right to self-determination of a distinct people with their own culture and language and long-held territory, the same right the Scots and Welsh possess in the UK and the Québécois have in Canada. It is disingenuous to behave as though such a right does not exist, because a Constitution many Catalans apparently reject, one imposed on them, arbitrarily denies them that right!

      Rajoy and the PP are reckless bastards, only making things WORSE by relentlessly bullying the Catalans as though they were a subject people just conquered in a war. Their behaviour is despicable–it strikes one as vengeful and vindictive. They seem bent on deliberately provoking the Catalans, on wounding a people’s pride—it’s disgusting.

      Now I read, here on JMG, that there were gross irregularities during the referendum, which should have been monitored closely by both sides–most Catalans wanted the referendum to proceed, even those who reject independence–and perhaps by outside observers, as well, if anyone felt the need to ask for their help as witnesses.

      EDIT: Now, instead of a well-run referendum that those favouring independence almost certainly would have LOST, people are faced with this mounting CRISIS.

      • GanymedeRenard

        Hi, Mr. Bear! I didn’t read the article. Would you care to share the link? Thank you in advance! 🙂

      • Pepón

        Billybear, Catalans voted the Spanish Constitution in a real referendum, with guarantees, and it got more votes than *any* other vote that has been done in Catalonia afterwards. And that was 40 years ago, so we’re not talking about 200 years ago.

        Please, read a little bit about the “police brutality”; there have been many fake new going around. Of those alleged 2 mio voters, and those brutal clashes, only 4 people landed in the hospital (data from the Catalan health service). *4*. Of those, only 2 had some serious conditions: one had a heart attack, and one had a rubber ball thrown by the police hit the eye. That’s it. When the Catalan government, and their police, evicted the occupy movement from Placa de Catalunya, there were two protesters severely injured (broken bones). Btw. those images have been used to make fake news. This does not justify what happened during the pseudo-referendum, but it tells you nationalists are not a lick less “fascist” than Rajoy.

        And why would the King negotiate with them? Should the Federal Government in Washington have negotiated with Wallace? Wallace had the majority of Alabama behind him, after all. If we don’t respect the law, and begin substituting it with the Volksmandat, then we are going to end in the same place as last time.

      • Pepón

        And btw., here you have the Catalan police (Mossos d’Escuadra) killing a gay man. What you hear that sounds like a cow is the man shouting while they were killing him.

        http://www.dosmanzanas.com/2013/10/muere-un-empresario-gay-tras-ser-objeto-segun-testigos-presenciales-de-violencia-policial-por-parte-de-los-mossos-desquadra.html

        https://youtu.be/3xaZfeZp6vU

      • GanymedeRenard

        As much as I love you, dear Mr. Bear, I’d beg to disagree with you on this.
        After reading (and watching) what the Guardian published, I can only conclude that the King was most certainly NOT berating the Catalan PEOPLE, merely their – rather irresponsible – current authorities. Populists, and culturally purists if you ask me.

        None of my business, but it’s needless to say that I of course disapprove of, and condemn, the violent response by the central government in Madrid to a peaceful referendum; however, this doesn’t mean that the referendum wasn’t unconstitutional in itself.

        I’m almost certain that you know that the current Spanish Constitution, which made possible the transition from dictatorship to democracy, along with the restoration of monarchy, was agreed upon by all the major political parties in Spain at the time – including the Catalan parties, not even 40 years ago.

        I’m absolutely certain that you know that, for example, altering the U.S. Constitution consists of proposing an amendment and subsequent ratification. And that amendments may be proposed either by the Congress with a two-thirds vote in both the House and the Senate or by a convention of States called for by two-thirds of the state legislatures.

        Just like the USA, each and every free country that’s ruled by a Constitution has a special process to make amendments. And it appears that Catalonia’s government’s attempt to hold a referendum did not respect this process according to the Spanish laws.

        Poll after poll has shown that the majority of Catalans want to remain in Spain. And this referendum clearly lacks of validity, and clearly had no independent observation. No control or monitoring whatsoever.

        Exactly what constitutes self-determination? Being autonomous (which Catalonia is)? Having a separate parliament (which Catalonia has)? Being able to freely and officially speak a distinct language (which Catalonia does)? Careful there – the far right and the far left coincide when appealing to the “ein Reich, ein Volk” mantra.

        And how would Queen Elizabeth react if Wales, or Scotland, or Northern Ireland UNILATERALLY and unconstitutionally declared they’re seceding?
        Philip (Felipe) VI failed to condemn the Police brutality, and this was not only regrettable, but disappointing. On the other hand, he did a good job condemning NOT the Catalans, but those in power in Barcelona. And they’re far from being liked by the majority of their own people.

        Finally, I’m most certainly not a fan of monarchies – fashion entertains me, and that’s a separate issue. But this particular King, Philip VI, bears me no antipathy. He was the first Spanish monarch to welcome LGBT organizations to the Royal Palace in Madrid, and he even changed the protocol to allow politicians under his mandate to choose between swearing on the Bible or making a civil oath to fulfill their duties. And, unlike the Queen of Britain (his cousin somewhere over there), his coronation wasn’t presided by a religious authority whatsoever.

  • TimCA

    On an anecdotal note the daughter of a friend of mine was prevented from voting in this “referendum”. When she arrived at her polling station her name was already marked off the rolls (they were using census rolls to conduct this “election”). It would appear someone had voted for her. She also relayed an incident in her same home town of another young man she knows being forcibly ejected from a polling station before being allowed to cast his ballot. The reason? He was wearing a lapel pin that featured a combination of both the Catalonian and Spanish flags. Every poll worker there however was wearing garments, hats etc featuring the Estelada. “Democracy” as practiced in Valldoreix!!!

    • Basically a rigged election. Figures.

  • billbear1961

    Not even half the people voted!

    Still, keep your goddamned, hateful FASCIST BASTARD police under control, Rajoy, you miserable, bullying, hamfisted PRICK!

    If they harm ONE peaceful protester the way the ugly BRUTES did voters the day of the referendum, then you and they should be pursued by the full FORCE of the LAW you SAY you’re protecting!!

    • Todd20036

      Not disagreeing with you, but the US is having enough trouble with its own police brutality

      • billbear1961

        Yes, you are–it’s a disgrace.

      • billbear1961

        Speaking of which . . .

        NFL May Require Players to Stand During Anthem

        “The owners of the NFL are reportedly considering a rule change that would make it mandatory for players to stand during the national anthem,” CNBC reports.

        “A league spokesman said that the owners would discuss the potential change during a meeting next week.”

        https://politicalwire.com/2017/10/10/nfl-may-require-players-stand-anthem/

        Another step towards fascism.

        • netxtown

          But when Jerry Jones did his about face – he said his reason was that the NFL already had a rule that required standing for the national anthem. Jerry just got busted…one of his faces is a liar.

    • leastyebejudged

      The police beating people up might have had something to do with that.

      • billbear1961

        Seems not unlikely, doesn’t it?

        • leastyebejudged

          It’s a mess. I know better than root for either side.

    • Pepón
      • GanymedeRenard

        Hawt! (Brutality is not my thing, but this brute can try me any time, and I know I sound terribly shallow!)

        • SDG

          Ouch… shallow, can hurt!

          • GanymedeRenard

            Join in!

      • billbear1961

        If they’re fascists, they can rot in hell.

        • Pepón

          I think you’re using that word too lightly. In Spain it has stopped meaning anything, being abused by the left and nationalists. And that is a bad thing, as now we don’t have a word to talk about real fascists.

      • netxtown

        suddenly I remember a wonderful time after a full night at Twin’s Pub. Marco was quite vocal…and I remember his breathless…no mais. no mais….followed by a whimper and a depleted giggle….

      • SDG

        Fuck ya… I also saw some bald, bearded French police that could arrest and interrogate me any time.

    • Johnny Toro

      Sounds like u were there? Or just buying into the propaganda and hyperbole of independistas?? The moral outrage is curious given the separatists complete unwillingness to work within laws – and oppression of a likely majority that have no desire to separate from Spain.

      • billbear1961

        I know what we saw in the news, and outlets–most of them–the ones I saw–were hardly pro-independence.

        Please see my long reply to Ganymede Renard’s post on the King.

        I’ve added an edit you’ll only see if you refresh the page.

        Actually, I’ll post it again here:

        Now, instead of a well-run referendum that those favouring independence almost certainly would have LOST, people are faced with this mounting CRISIS.

        • Johnny Toro

          Actually, it seems like you are parroting some of the more inflammatory descriptions appearing in the media; it’s a complicated issue. It doesn’t help that you want to emphasize the role of the “King” vs. “peaceful” voters (LOL) when I think you likely have no deep understanding of the role of the monarch as it is currently constituted, or the history of Spain and its autonomous regions. I live in Madrid; lived in BCN for 4 years and my husband is Spanish – we’ve many Catalan friends. I’ll grant you that a significant minority may favor independence. But the culture, people, residents of a Catalunya are deeply intertwined with Spain and many polls, etc. simply do not show even a majority favoring secession (and really, should a simple majority control the destiny of the other 49.9%? Seems like you would want at least 60% or 2/3 to approve it Imo.). But if you have political will and support, Spain has democratic institutions where they could press for that – they didn’t. Instead favoring a hastily called vote, with glaring irregularities, and now proclaim it as justifying a split from Spain. In the lead up Rajoy’s response was measured and firm, and clearly his obligation under the Spanish Constitution. There might have been some skirmishes in the voting, but hardly “brutal” — there are too many separatists and eager media vultures looking to create sympathetic propaganda – and to some extent they’ve been successful. You were taken in.

          There’s a lot more that could be said, but I am very frustrated reading the pontifications of Western media and commentators trying to interpret what’s going on and often I think missing it by a long-shot. What Puigdemont and his supporters are doing – in contravention of law and democracy – is the real story, and it’s not being given the deep take it deserves.

    • SDG

      If Texas one day decided to break off from the US (although, may that is a bad example, since most folks with love to see Texas go back to Mexico).

      OK, so California decides, fuck you fascists, we want our own country, where everyone can be free and happy. We will take W. Oregon, and W Wash with us. Do you think the US government would just sit by and say “Bye Felicia”. You think things would be peaceful? And do you think it would be right to do so?

      Personally, I believe that the reaction of the current, right-wing government was over-reaching. And… had they done NOTHING… and ignore it, since the vote was un-constitutional, it would have gotten far less attention, and reaction. Because now, folks like you, all over the world are crying police brutality.

      However, they do have the right, constitutionally, to keep Catalunya from seceding from Spain.

      What “may” happen now, is that the Catalan parliament will be suspended until they get their collective shit together. Their will be general strikes, which will cause harm to the economy. Then, someone will collect their shit… and they will negotiate… and they may get some concessions from the central government for some stuff… and that will be it.

      They don’t have an army. They don’t even have a group like ETA (to my knowledge), and you see what that brought.

      The EU will NOT accept an independent Catalunya, nor will ANY country with diplomatic ties to Spain. Won’t happen.

  • barrixines

    Don’t engage with Russian trolls pretending to be Catalan – it really is a waste of your time.

    • Lars Littlefield

      Are Russians still showing up in hoards and causing trouble everywhere? That was a major problem around 1998-2003. If it wasn’t British futbol boosters stumbling drunk and vomiting all over in the Metro stations it was Russian criminals running theft rings and causing fights in places like the Easy Net Cafe or outdoors at the Swiss bistro off of Plazas Catalonia. . Nasty, violent boys. Always being arrested and carted off to jail.

      • barrixines

        No the Russians are far too rich to be doing that now. The Brits, however, are still spewing all over Spain as much as they ever did.

  • Tom Bestor

    Flying to Madrid tomorrow, then on to Barcelona on Monday. Unless they close the Catalan border!

    • billbear1961

      You know when or how to pick a dramatic moment, Tom!

      • Tom Bestor

        Yes. When I made my reservations a year ago, I specially requested “historic happenings.” Of course, drama follows wherever I go!

        • billbear1961

          🙂

          I hope things will calm down quickly!

  • Lars Littlefield

    I know from having spent a lot of time in Barcelona, living and vacationing there over the last three decades, that the movement to become an independent country has always been very strong. During Franco’s reign it was illegal to conduct business, print books or newspapers, or teach Catalan in schools. People were imprisoned and killed for trying. `Ask just about any native catalonian about it and they will tell you they deserve to enjoy their own identity and self governance more than the tiny corrupt principality, Andorra, that separates them from France. I’ve never argued with them. It’s always seemed reasonable to me. Personally, I think Spain needs to concede and let them try it. Especially since the provence gives much more to the central Spanish government than they get back in financial support. And that’s my two cents.

    • Pepón

      That is not completely true, and is part of the Catalan nationalist myth:
      – More books were printed in Catalan during Franco’s dictatorship than any time before. There were many book prizes for books written in Catalan.
      – There were people studying in Catalan in Franco’s time: Jordi Pujol himself studied in Catalan. The schools were just few. In the 1970s many illegal Catalan schools opened, and a blind eye was turned, so they operated without too many problems. And many teachers taught in Catalan, even if it was not allowed. I’ve never been able to discover if it was illegal (in the sense of going to jail), or the use in the classroom just not being allowed by the ministry (btw., the use of Castilian is not allowed in the classroom in Catalonia right now).
      – Catalan continued to be used in church.
      – The Nova Cancó begun in the 1960s, and was very popular.

      Many Catalans themselves do not know this, or ignore it conveniently. Their nationalist narrative of victimhood clashes with these facts.

      The problem was, Catalan, the language, then as now, had become a political instrument for nationalists. Franco would brutally eliminate any, and every perceived enemy, and Catalan nationalists were among them after the Civil War. But as soon as the 1950s, there were already Catalan books (mostly religious), Catalan opera, Catalan theater, etc. just not much, as an impoverished country didn’t even have the money to sustain Spanish culture.

      There were no Catalan newspapers, but it is questionable if any newspapers in Catalan would survive even today without the Catalan government subsidizing them heavily with millions of euros.

      So, yes, Catalan did become a discriminated language, not supported by the government, but you were not shot on the street if they heard you speaking in Catalan, as some nationalists want to believe.

      • Jay Mills

        *Nazi troll alert 2*

      • Lars Littlefield

        Ah hah. So the tour guide who dragged me through the fort at Mount Juic was stretching the truth. Good to know.

        • SDG

          Think about it for a minute… you think you are going to get an unbiased opinion from a tour guide.

          • Lars Littlefield

            But he was soooooo handsome. (sigh)

          • SDG

            Sigh… it happens.

    • SDG

      1. They have their own identity. Being part of a republic takes none of that away. What happened under Franco was terrible, but that has been over 40 years.

      2. Self-governance? So what exactly is that? They are a semi-autonomous region, with a parliament.

      3. “let them try it”? It’s not letting your kid ride the bike without training wheels?

      4. The “provence gives much more to the central Spanish government than they get back in financial support”. Probably on a superficial level. But they rely on the rest of Spain as a market, not just the EU.

      Just as a comparison, have you heard of the “Cascadia” movement? You should read up on it.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cascadia_(independence_movement)

  • Pepón

    JoeMyGod brings only one side of the conflict. I’d like to show you the other side. This was last Sunday in Barcelona. Between 350,000 and 900,000 (depending on the source) went out to the streets to defend the Spanish Constitution. It was the first time the “silent majority” did something like this.

    https://youtu.be/oFBVcHSfTLk

    • Jay Mills

      *Nazi troll alert*

      • TimCA

        Do have anything substantive to contribute? Please, don’t be shy.

    • GanymedeRenard

      So this happened the day before yesterday. Why didn’t the main U.S. media report on this? This is MAJOR! I mean, a friggin’ Nobel Prize was protesting!

      • Pepón

        That is the question, why didn’t the main U.S. media report on this? I have my opinion, but I’ll keep silent about it.

        I just would like everyone to remember this video when you say “the Catalans” this or that. There is no “the Catalans” any more than there is “the Americans”, or “the Canadians”. Societies are not monolithic. And this is not about Spain against Catalonia, the Catalan society is divided more or less through the middle.

  • -M-

    Dialogue sounds good.

    • andrew

      Yep, There is a Churchill quote: “It’s better to jaw jaw than to war war.”

  • andrew

    Less than half the eligible voters cast ballots. Why?

  • Bison Burgher

    It’s all such predictable, manufactured melodrama. For the umpteenth time, there is zero chance Catalonia will become an independent nation, at least not anytime soon.

    The referendum was unconstitutional and illegal, the law permitting it was sneaked through Parlament in order to bypass open debate, and the voting was a farce — but Madrid is “undemocratic”. And now we have to endure painfully stupid headlines like “90% of Catalans vote for independence.”

    Who seriously thinks Catalonia is going to cut itself off from the sweet flow of tourist and real etate Euros when the economy is just barely dragging itself up off the floor?

    • SDG

      Thanks… well said, and very much to the point.

  • Tempus Fuggit

    Ooh, hey, goody-goody-gumdrops! Now people who’ve never been there, have no dog in the hunt, and don’t know what the fuсk they’re talking about have a Spain/Catalunya option for when they grow tired of pontificating about Israel/Palestine!

    • SDG

      Play nice… this how MOST ‘muricans see the world. With all due respect to the kind contributor above, it is very easy for folks to lump all the conflicts in one basket, and cheer for the perceived underdog, no matter the situation, no matter what. No knowledge of the conflicts… no clue about history, and very little inclination to get educated beyond a headline, god forbid read a Wikipedia article.

      I won’t dare touch on Israel/Palestine… but agree with you there.

  • ‘Til Tuesday

    I have no dog in this hunt, but I notice that just like American politics, both sides in the dispute over Catalonia claim to have the facts and truth on their side. Who to believe. Who to believe.

    I only know that you can’t subjugate people who don’t want to be ruled over. The Catalonians, like other people groups around the world, will never give up their fight for independence. They’ll fight for a thousand years or more if need be. One can see it in the Palestinians, in Northern Ireland, in Turkey, in Tibet, and lots of other places.

    All the soldiers and police in the world are no match for what’s in people’s minds and hearts. I don’t know the solution, but I know you can’t force people to submit – it only makes them more determined to win. Governments can put down a movement, but they can’t extinguish it completely. The dream of independence will remain as long as the particular people group is alive.

    • SDG

      Hi, please don’t take this as an attack, but a gentle push towards enlightenment.

      You DO have a “dog in this hunt”, because we now live in a global society. While I personally believe that Catalunya has been given the short stick by the current, Right-wing government in Madrid, succession is NOT the smartest move for them. If every ethnic region in Spain, Italy, Germany and France all decided to start splitting into little pieces, Europe would be doomed. If Europe goes, Nato goes… and then we are left with Putin holding the bag (you DON’T want that).

      It is also as testament that no matter how far we believe we have come, humans simply cannot tolerate other (no matter what the “other” is).