Spain Moves To Dissolve Catalonia’s Parliament

Reuters reports:

The Spanish government has secured opposition support for dissolving Catalonia’s parliament and holding new elections there in January in its bid to defuse the regional government’s push for independence.

The Socialists, the main opposition, said on Friday they would back special measures to impose central rule on the region to thwart the secessionist-minded Catalan government and end a crisis that has unsettled the euro and hurt confidence in the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who wants opposition support to be able to present a united front in the crisis, has called an emergency cabinet meeting on Saturday to pave the way for Madrid establishing central control in the region.

More from the BBC:

While the dissolution of Catalonia’s parliament and the holding of snap regional elections may appear to offer a way of diffusing today’s state of extreme tension, there are plenty of reasons to doubt that such a strategy would provide a clear exit from the crisis.

The far-left CUP has suggested that it would boycott any election imposed on the region. Other pro-independence forces might do the same. Massive street protests against any form of direct rule from Madrid can also be expected. And what are the potential consequences of forcing an election on Catalonia?

Mr Puigdemont has promised to call a formal vote on independence in Catalonia’s parliament if Article 155 is invoked. If such a declaration were approved, the pro-independence forces could style the ballot as the election of a constituent assembly for a new republic, the next stage laid down in the secessionists’ road map.

And from Bloomberg:

For Catalan President Carles Puigdemont and his allies, the stakes are arguably even higher — two of his closest collaborators have been in jail since Monday, a National Court judge ruling that they might interfere with evidence if released. If they’re eventually convicted on charges of sedition, they face up to 15 years in jail.

A court in Lleida, Catalonia, on Friday ordered Spain’s Civil Guard to search the Catalan government’s data and communications centre for evidence that regional police officers co-ordinated their actions to allow the makeshift ballot to take place, in defiance of the Constitutional Court.

European Union leaders lined up on Thursday to back Rajoy, and the EU has made it clear that an independent Catalonia would fall out of the bloc, its companies shut out of European markets, and its banks cut off from funding by the European Central Bank. Blue-chip Catalan companies, such as CaixaBank and Gas Natural SDG, are already leading a flood of businesses uprooting for other parts of Spain to escape the potential disruption.

  • Blake Jordan

    All playing into Putin’s hands…

    Guess not all countries learnt from the UK and the USA.

    • Tawreos

      Hell, the UK and the USA didn’t learn from themselves.

      • GanymedeRenard


    • Jeffg166

      Catalonia has a very long history of wanting to be independent. I’m sure Putin is delighted but he didn’t have to push at all for this to happen.

    • GanymedeRenard

      Well, not that the UK and the USA are the measure of all things, either.

  • Todd20036

    There is no possible way this will end well.

    • zhera

      I just hope they don’t go full Balkan.

      • Karl Dubhe

        Them, you and us. 🙁

  • Kruhn

    Although constitutional, Spain’s actions are going to precipitate the crisis. This is not going to end well. It seems that Catalans are split over independence, but pushing them against the wall isn’t going to help.

  • Tawreos

    Why is Catalonia still pushing for this? The EU has told them this will not end well and the businesses are trying to get the hell out of there. Why would they still keep pushing if that is the case? Do they expect Russia to help them? This just doesn’t make any sense.

    • zhera

      I think after the way Spain handled things, people got even more angry. Logic and reason loses.

    • Nelson Kerr

      Pride and the simple fact that they did not join Spain willingly, now you have the added factor of the violent thuggery of the Spanish government

    • Ron Robertson

      There’s some evidence that the Catalonian leaders pushed this because of a new law making public Andorran bank accounts (Andorra is between Spain and France in the Pyrenees), which indicates a lot of the Catalan politicians are hiding money there.

    • Many Catalans consider themselves a separate nation from Spain. They were a principality at one point. The predominant historic precursors of nationalism in Europe are geography and language. Religion is third – Germany, for example, was made a nation in the 1870’s even though it was composed of Catholic and Protestant parts — but everyone spoke German. The language of Catalonia is Catalan, which is as close to French as it is Castilian (what we know as Spanish). Franco actually outlawed the speaking of Catalan in public and in schools in an attempt to unify Spain — and brought in non-Catalan speakers from other parts of Spain to live there in an attempt to unify the country. The number #1 reason Catalonia exists as an entity is that the language, and hence culture, is Catalan. It is a unique national identity.

    • Pepón

      More that 1200 companies have already moved their head office out of Catalonia, to the rest of Spain. Hotel reservations have already diminished by 50% for the next months. The reservations for holidays for next year are at a minimum. This is an economic disaster for Catalonia, way worse than Brexit is for Britain.

      But you cannot move fanatics. Everything is the fault of Madrid, or Obama, or the Jews, or whoever the enemy is. So if Catalonia suffers economically for this stupid movement, then the fault lays on Rajoy, or the King, or someone else. It’s never their fault.

  • Bluto
    • kirby7771

      great meme.

  • worstcultever

    I bet the world’s greatest and most respected international statesman, Donald Trump, could solve this delicate Catalan situation in a jiff. Why hasn’t anyone asked him?

    • Tawreos

      Because he might just decide to nuke the problem and start over from scratch

      • Todd20036

        More likely he won’t care.
        Spaniards aren’t white enough.

        • Tawreos

          True, plus I don’t think he has a hotel or golf course there

        • olandp

          They all speak Mexican too.

        • GanymedeRenard

          So aren’t Jews, and yet he cares about Israel… Oh, wait. The Orange One only cares about himself.

        • Vira

          Catalans are whiter than Trump’s mother’s crusty vagina.

  • boatboy_srq

    Well, that’ll help.


    Makes you wonder whether Rajoy didn’t plan this from the beginning as a way to suppress independence-minded Catalan MPs.

    • Nelson Kerr

      It would not have worked with the co-operation of the thugs in madrid

  • OdieDenCO

    civil war pending in Spain, can WWIII be far behind. History, forgotten, repeat!

  • Jefe5084
  • Publius

    Good. I don’t think many Americans realize how well-supported the government’s approach has been by the general Spanish population. Spanish people don’t see the idea of Catalonia’s independence as touching—they see it for what it is: a ridiculous exercise in nationalism that should be stopped.

    This isn’t Putin’s doing, this isn’t Trumpian. Don’t let Mariano Rajoy’s political affiliation skew your opinion about this. After all, his approach is supported by the PSOE, and just a short time after such a contentious government-formation process, that’s saying something.

    • Vira

      Depends on whom you’re talking with. I have spoken this week with people from Madrid, Galicia, Andalucía, and of course Catalunya.

      It was striking how little support I heard for Rajoy OUTSIDE Catalunya. The people with whom I communicated skewed young, and they all viewed Rajoy as a weak, incompetent, indecisive buffoon; perhaps dishonest as well, but certainly supported by corrupt and extremely conservative politicians.

      Ironically, the most outspoken support I found for Rajoy was in Catalunya, though the person was older and affluent. He was an anomaly though.

      But this is by no means a new issue; it was an issue when I lived in Barcelona 25 years ago. It has just become exacerbated by the financial crisis, extensive political corruption, and 6 years of a weak politician (Rajoy) grasping at straws to hold onto power, and making alliances with corrupt politicians hostile to Catalunya. I do agree with you that Putin has nothing to do with this.

      It is not surprising to me that Americans don’t know the history of Catalunya, or of it’s political tensions with Madrid, post-Franco. We barely know our own history, and I myself had to read extensively and talk to several people to gain a better understanding of how things had deteriorated to their current state.

      Ignorant Americans try to draw parallels between California or Texas declaring independence, as if there were no difference in the American Constitution, and the Spanish Constitution; or in the histories of the respective regions vis-a-vis their central governments.

      IF legitimate elections are held in January, it will be interesting to see the result. Rajoy may well fuck this up comparably to May’s Brexit fiasco, and political opposition to the PP and PSOE in Catalunya has a couple of months to harden further.

      The violence inflicted by the Guardia Civil on 1 October was real; I personally know two people who were truck by truncheons while demonstrating peacefully, leaving deep, painful welts on their backs and legs. There was nothing fake or manufactured about it. Catalans saw it with their own eyes, and videoed it with their own phones, and sent those images out to the world. And now we have the corrupt, far right Spanish government telling us that the national military police behaved appropriately? Ni poc!

      The only people supporting that narrative are either ignorant, or liars. Or most likely, both.

      • Lars Littlefield

        OT Aside: Spain had just switched over to using the Euro in place of the Peseta and I needed a hair cut (something that often happens to me when a country adopts a new currency). I walked into a nearby barbershop and asked if they were busy. A classic old gentleman with a giant moustache happily invited me to sit in his chair. He pumped me for answers to his usual barber interrogation blather. At one point in the conversation I told him how much I like Barcelona. But was curious as to why there were no monuments or statues of Franco. Yeah, stupid me.

        The barber frowned and went on a rant about how Franco brought clean water to the city. Franco brought all the city fountains and wells back to life. Franco healed all the sick and crippled children by just touching them. Franco fed everyone . . . on an and on, etc.

        By the time I was able to escape his lecture it cost me 30 Euros for a damn buzzcut. I learned a valuable lesson that day. But it certainly wasn’t worth 30 Euros. 🙂

        • Publius

          Those people are a dying breed. They pop up here and there and basically exist only for the amusement of people who aren’t fascist assholes.

          • Lars Littlefield


        • Spain converted to the Euro in 2002 — 15 years ago. It depends on what you mean by recent.

          • Lars Littlefield

            I wrote “had just switched.” As in “I had been living in Spain and they had just converted to the Euro.” But that’s OK. I still love you. 🙂

          • Ah OK! I should read before commenting 🙂

      • Pepón

        Yes, the violence was manufactured. The reports about people being killed and tortured certainly were manufactured. On the other hand, the police did hit protesters. Police acting against protesters, even pacific protesters, is nothing strange in democratic countries (Occupy movement, Hamburg, Turin). It should be denounced, and it is being investigated by a judge.

        And the violence was certainly manufactured by the Catalan government, that needed those images to justify their illegal actions. A judge is investigating the behavior of the Catalan police. I’m pretty sure she will find the police chief colluded with the nationalists to force the Spanish police to act when it was too late to avoid the chaos. Even some Catalan policemen are saying it. So you have a police force that disobeyed the orders of a judge, in favor of the party line of the Catalan government.

        On the other hand, protesters were not only peaceful; there are enough videos showing the violent reaction of the protesters. A man was detained yesterday for kicking a policeman in the head during the “vote” (video below). He was the third one detained. And there are enough videos showing policemen receiving a level of disrespect, and abuse, and not acting on it, no policeman in the US would ever accept. Even a judge commented on it the next day. There are videos of policemen protecting children, that had been used as human shields (video below). If you think Catalan nationalists are peaceful, I’d recommend you walk with a Spanish flag though Barcelona to check it out. Below you have a video of a group of nationalists shouting “whore” to a little girl for wearing the Spanish national soccer team shirt in Barcelona.

        Of course, your friends will not tell you this, because “they” are pacific, and if they were not, it was an exception, and if it was not, it was justified, and if it was not, it was provoked, etc. They cannot be at fault, they cannot bare the blame for anything, they are the good guys.

        • Vira

          Utter horseshit. And strawman horseshit at that.

          No one has alleged torture; no one has alleged murder.

          There were more than a 1,000 documented injuries, many of them videoed IN THE MOTHERFUCKING ACT; dozens more with video and photographic evidence after the fact.

          The violence was ‘manufactured’ by Rajoy’s thug Guardia Civil, who behaved much as they would have under Franco. If the Mossos refused to attack and violently beat their fellow Catalans, it is because they will continue to live in Catalunya as neighbors; and because they themselves know what it is like to live under jackbooted fascists that are the Guardia Civil.

          You can pretend that the protestors were the aggressors, but you reveal yourself as a liar and a fool.

          The whole world was watching; the whole world saw exactly what happened.

          You have no credibility when you say otherwise.

          • Pepón

            Projecting much? I never said “protestors were the aggressors”, that is a straw man; I said protesters were not pacific, and the videos demonstrate that. I never said there were no injured; I said some of the news were wildly exaggerated. And they were!

    • Lars Littlefield

      Although the ETA was responsible for the catastrophic train bombing in Madrid, once Asnar was unseated by Zapatero in 2004 the Basques and Catalanes settled down substantially and there was a palpable sense of well-being in those regions. Mariano Rajoy didn’t do anything that I’ve heard or read about to have nurtured that sense of well-being when he defeated Zapatero in 2011. The Partido Popular (Rajoy’s party) likes to color itself as an innocent center-right benign bunch. But when you check out their history, the largest factions incorporated into that party beginning in in 1978 were Franco fascists. There is a lot of crap going on that I doubt any of us can really fully comprehend regarding the politics at work unless you’re a citizen of Spain.

      • Vira

        ETA (Basques) was not responsible for the train bombing. That was Islamists.

        • Lars Littlefield

          Well shows you what I know. I was in Barcelona when that happened and left two days after the bombing. The media said it was ETA at that time. I never bothered to recheck.

          • Vira

            The Madrid subway bombings occurred in 2004, 3 days before national elections. The PM at the time, Jose María Aznar of the..ahem…Partido Popular (yes, those fascist assholes again) immediately falsely claimed that there was evidence linking ETA to the bombing in a cynical attempt to leverage support in the upcoming elections, when in fact there was evidence to the contrary. Aznar and the PP were subsequently drubbed at the polls.

      • Publius

        I am a citizen of Spain. I’ve commented on Spanish politics here before.

        I’m not defending the President of the Government’s politics or the sordid history of his party. I’m just trying to convey to people that the government’s approach is well supported. The PSOE would do the same thing. People in the United States are quick to draw parallels or even connections between and among outside actors like Putin. In reality, that’s quite silly.

        • Lars Littlefield

          I agree.

      • JCF

        “Although the ETA was responsible for the catastrophic train bombing in Madrid”

        Huh? Islamists did that! (After Spain participated in invading Iraq) The right wing government tried to blame ETA, Spanish voters didn’t buy it, and the government fell.

        • Lars Littlefield

          see my post further down. 🙂

  • The_Wretched

    Putin must be gleeful. Brexit, Trump and now catalonia. It’s quite a bit of crumble on a strong, liberal and vibrant west.

    • kirby7771

      On the other hand, it wasn’t all that long ago that Russia was a bankrupt state that needed help from the West. Oil and gas got it out of debt. Now, alternative energy options will likely see oil and gas prices plummet in a decade or so. Putin’s Russia will go the way of other tinpot dictatorships.

      • You have to admit though, Putin has been pretty good at getting what he wants foreign policy wise lately — for starters
        — Trump is President of USA. What a goldmine!
        — UK votes for Brexit (unexpectedly) and gives his ally Jeremy Corbyn a much larger share of vote than expected.
        — Far-right Russian allies AFD enter parliament in Germany with an unbelievable 13% of vote
        — Catalonia independence movement occupies Europe

      • BobSF_94117

        Russia is still a bankrupt state, it just has a very rich clique running it.

  • Hank

    Perhaps it is time toes if the Chechens want a bit more of independence??? /s

  • Halou

    Not sure if it is a good idea but it sure beats sending in the army.

  • TimCA

    From The Washington Post:

    “How fake news helped shape the Catalonia independence vote”

    Unfortunately many of these false narratives (lies) made it into the MSM coverage of the so-called “election” on Catalan independence and were freely cited here previously at JMG as supposed justification of Puigdemont, his supporters and their illegal actions.

  • JWC

    I do not believe a heavy hand by Spain is the right way to go

    • Nelson Kerr

      too late late to worry about that , using violence to stop people from voting pisses people off.

      • JWC

        Its a problem that Spain and catalonia have between them They are going to have to address it sooner or later Sooner can be dome amicably (or not) thru negotiations. Later after violence and bitter feelings with force Spain will get what it wants and catalonia will still be festering

      • GanymedeRenard

        Voting illegally? BTW, I DEPLORE Police brutality.

        • Nelson Kerr

          you are endorsing police brutality and they were voting to decide their own fate

          • Pepón

            Voting illegally!

          • GanymedeRenard

            No, I am not. The current populist Catalan authorities called for an illegal vote under the current Spanish laws, under a legitimate Constitution agreed upon and signed by all the major Spanish (including Catalan and socialist) parties after Franco’s death. Not even half of today’s Catalan electorate participated in this sham referendum, full stop. There was Police brutality and it is DESPICABLE AND REPREHENSIBLE, no question!

          • Vira

            Sir, your facts are in question.

            1) If it were a “sham” election, why did Rajoy send in military police to suppress the vote?

            2) Catalunya had 5.3M eligible voters; 2.3M cast votes (2.25M for Independence); another 770,000 were illegally confiscated by Spain’s military police; 2.3M + 770K = 3, 070,000 votes, or 58%, despite disruption of the election by the Spanish military police.

            MATH says that more than half of the electorate participated, and that more than 90% voted in favor of Independence.

            Further, do you believe in freedom of political expression? Even IF the referendum were technically outside the legal criteria of the Spanish Constitution, the Catalans were making a political protest by…..VOTING.

            Either way, the brutally violent Spanish military police were acting illegally, whether they were suppressing voter turnout, confiscating ballot boxes full of pro-Independence votes, or violently attacking Catalans who were exercising the right to political demonstration.

            There is no defense for what Rajoy did, no possible justification for sending in rabid national police from other regions of Spain hostile to Catalunya to disrupt the referendum, whether it was a licit electoral act or a licit act of political expression.

            You are left logically naked. And it isn’t pretty.

          • GanymedeRenard

            No, they’re not, sir or madam.

            1) Firstly, this was not an “election” – it was a REFERENDUM, and an illegal one under all considerations.

            Secondly, are you suggesting that police forces are to be sent to suppress legal votes? Your logic is fascinating.

            2) Here’s some MATH to you: According to the official Catalonia’s Government, 58% percent of the Catalan electorate abstained from voting. Even if the 90% of the remaining 42% voted ‘yes’, who can verify those results? There was no INDEPENDENT observation! There are even recounts of people voting more than once or with no ID control whatsoever. So the validity of the result is more than questionable.

            Do I believe in freedom of political expression? Of course! Do I approve of political manipulation? Absolutely NOT! Many Catalans, instigated by some irresponsible authorities with no vision beyond their most immediate interests, fell to the tramp of feeling ‘oppressed’ by a non-existent tyrannical force exerted by Madrid. “Voting” was not an expression of their malaise, but a ploy concocted by those in power in Barcelona.

            Sorry, but the Police intervention wasn’t illegal. BRUTAL? Yes! Illegal? No. See the definition of illegal. Hint: illegal = contrary to or forbidden by law. Just to clarify, ACTIONS are illegal, not human beings.

            It’s YOU who are logically, and ideologically, naked. And it is far, far from being pretty.

  • JAKvirginia

    You want a lesson in how not to govern in a situation like this? Keep tabs on this story. I guess it never occurred to the Spanish government to sincerely talk with these people and work to settle differences. And so it goes…

    • GanymedeRenard

      Oh, but the central Government has. It’s a constitutional matter. It’s really not that simple.

      • JAKvirginia

        It never is simple. And it isn’t recent. This problem has been going on for 50 years or more. There has never been any real listening from either side and now there seems to be only resentment. It will not end well.

        • GanymedeRenard


        • BobSF_94117

          That’s just silly. Yes, it is a very old problem, way older than 50 years. But you cannot look at the last 40 years and say that there hasn’t been any listening and that nothing has changed. Catalonia is more independent, more free to be Catalonia than it has been in hundreds of years.

          The European system of state government with strong regional and local powers for historic racial and religious subpopulations is the best solution anyone has come up with.

  • Jean-Marc in Canada

    This is not going to go well……

    • GanymedeRenard

      I smell civil war. Just like in 1936. *Sigh*

  • Lars Littlefield

    Granted, I don’t understand everything about the Catalan independence movement, but I still remain in contact with many close friends who live in Castellfedells, Barcelona, Tarragona and Lleida. All of them support the movement. However folks who comment here and whom I respect insist the Catalanes are fools. I consider only one of my friends in Spain to be a fool. And he’s really more goofy and cute than foolish.

    • Tempus Fuggit

      Folks who comment here and whom you and I respect nevertheless mostly don’t live there, haven’t been there, don’t have a dog in the hunt or a vote in the poll, and don’t know what the fuсk they’re talking about, so their opinions are poorly informed and don’t matter. It’s kind of like Israel/Palestine that way.

      • Best comment of the month. The World Wide Web makes everyone an expert about everything doesn’t it?

        • Tempus Fuggit

          Of course it does; just ask them!

      • BobSF_94117

        Anyone who believes in the idea of Europe has a dog in the hunt.

        • Tempus Fuggit

          Thank you, Bob, for so accurately illustrating what I said.

          • BobSF_94117

            So Catalan independence from democratic Spain, a member of the EU, has nothing to do with the future of Europe?

  • Nelson Kerr

    Franco would be so proud!

    • No. He would be disgusted. He banned the Catalan language and would be appalled at a Catalan parliament in which autonomy had regional powers. Same-sex marriage and gay bars? One million at Gay Pride? Catholicism not required as a course of instruction in public schools? Free speech? Guns not being used on demonstrations? Where are the thousands of dead bodies? Multiple political parties? No, Franco would not be proud. He is rolling in his grave.

      • Ron Robertson

        And I’m glad for that, he was an evil man.

        • One thing very incongruous — about fascist Franco. He turned an eye and let an estimated 40,000 Jews and 60,000 allied airmen and free french fighters escape over the Pyrenees through Catalonia through Vichy occupied France during the Second World War through Portugal and other ports. Although Spain was officially neutral during WW2 (they sent soldiers to fight the Russians along with Germany), they allowed the The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee was allowed to operate an office out of Barcelona during the war- quietly. If you were a Jew, and managed to make it to Spain — which, on paper, still did not allow Jews to live there until 1967, you were allowed transit out. Spain was the only country which bordered the Nazis that allowed this. There is a movie being made about now with Colin Firth.

      • Nelson Kerr

        He would be proud of the thugs in Madri

  • My take here — First of all, American progressives need to watch it right now when they start accusing the Spain and the Spanish government of “acting like Franco” and applying rose colored glasses to the Catalan independence movement.
    — Spain has come a very long way from the Franco years. It is a full democracy and has been since King Juan Carlos helped stopped a military coup in 1981 which attempted to overthrow nascent Spanish democracy. Spain is an LGBT rights pioneer (marriage was made legal in 2005). When it comes to economic development, Spain has made incredible strides in 40 years.
    – The Rajoy government (in power) is not a far-right government, it is not fascist, it is conservative right of center and of Catholic heritage. It is not the Falange. Spain is not seeing the rise of a far-right anti-immigrant party like France, Germany or Austria has.
    – The central government in Spain did not negotiate an independence vote like London did with Scotland. Scenes of the police shutting down polling stations would probably be replicated in other nations.
    –What we have to ask ourselves is this. The breaking apart of the following nations would mean the end of the EU, for all intents and purposes as a functioning force —
    Spain (Basque Country and Galicia also want independence, perhaps)
    Italy (Venice and the Piedmont region want independence)
    Belgium (Flanders and Wallonia)
    Cyprus (Greek and Turkish parts)
    the UK (Scotland and perhaps Northern Ireland)
    Afterwards, the Russian speaking parts of Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and the Ukraine will wish to join mother Russia
    — perhaps Germany will feel threatened enough to rearm and will want to get nukes in response to all this. Talk is now beginning.
    I think Catalonia is an internal Spanish issue. But are we prepared for a world in which nascent nationalist engulfs Europe and puts an end to the system of peace which has served the world well since 1945?

    • From my friend in Barcelona — he can’t leave a reply.
      “It is the most serious explanation Ive read about this. You are right 100%. But there are too much Catalans who dont simply want to be Spanish and Spain dosnt know and dosnt want to response that.
      The true is Spanish government is going to suspend Catalan autonomy partially and celebrate new autonomy elections on desember-january to replace the current separatist Catalan government.
      No one knows if the mass which suport them will protest or will take the streets or what else…”

    • Mark_in_MN

      Where I have an ethical and political problem is the central government nit negotiating an independence vote as with the UK/Scotland model. In my eyes, this diminishes any ethical ground Spain (and others in the EU) might seek to stake out here. If this threatens the EU, it’s because the EU makes it so. The EU could act in ways that smooth the way for the EU and any potential nations, but it seems more interested in the status quo and power than in European cooperation within a setting of self-determination and democratic rule close to home. Let all these potential nations become EU members automatically, if they choose, and allow some greater flexibility in national economic management and there would be less of a problem, and maybe the Brexit mess might have been avoided, too.

  • JCF

    This will not end well…

    • GanymedeRenard

      You are so right.

  • GanymedeRenard

    Remember Charlie Hebdo, folks? Last week’s edition was dedicated to the Catalan issue. Here’s its editorial – long post, bear with me:

    The Catalan independence referendum has shaken Europe. If all the European regions with their own language, history and culture start claiming independence, the Old Continent will soon break up like pack ice under global warming. Given that there are 200 languages in Europe, why not create 200 new countries? And why not as many declarations of independence as the continent has cheeses and wines?

    Independence, but from what? Independence is legitimate when you want to break free of tyranny or oppression. From what tragic destiny do the Catalans want to free themselves today? Franco banned the use of Catalan after his victory in 1939 but in 1977, not long after his death, the Generalitat de Catalunya was re-established, followed by a regional Parliament and government. So today, in the absence of Franco, they must find another tyrant to overthrow. They have chosen the Spanish state and, of course, the worst dictatorship the world has ever known: the European Union, based in Brussels.

    Independence: a flamboyant word sometimes hiding less noble concerns. As with the Italian Lega Nord, it’s always the richest regions that seek it. Catalonia wants independence so it no longer has to pay for Spain’s poorer regions. We can almost hear the despicable Margaret Thatcher again: “I want my money back”. Language, culture and tradition are nice on postcards, but dosh is so much better. Europe’s poor regions rarely take to the streets demanding independence.

    Beyond these mercenary considerations, it’s curious to hear certain voices from the Left claiming that the independence of a region like Catalonia will strike a blow for cultural identity, which, by the way, no-one is disputing. But in that case, why should the cultural identity claimed by the Catalans be considered OK when the Christian identity championed by European xenophobes isn’t? Why are the words “identity” and “culture” audible when they are uttered by the Left, but become repugnant when used by the Right or the extreme Right? The aim of Catalan independence is not to free the region of a tyranny that doesn’t exist, nor to enable the economy to become prosperous because it already is, and even less to speak a language that has been authorised for a long time. The obsession with identity that is spreading across Europe like mould across fruit affects the extreme Right, but also the Left. Right-wing nationalism and left-wing nationalism have one thing in common: nationalism.

    Toothless grandmothers will knit flags…

    When Catalonia has broken the shackles binding it to the Spanish monarchy and the Holy European Empire, what will happen? Proud independentists will march through the streets of Barcelona to the sound of drums and fifes, taking themselves for the Durruti column, young girls will throw rose petals at the militants who have bravely defied the Spanish police state, choirs of curly-haired children will sing of new-found freedom and the end of the Euro, toothless grandmothers will knit flags in the colours of the new Republic, and great-grandfathers will dig out the caps they wore at the front in 1936. It’ll be beautiful, it’ll be moving, it’ll be magnificent. And then when evening comes, everyone will go home and collapse in front of the telly to watch “Wheel of Fortune” and Barça in the quarter final of the league cup. Catalonia really deserved that. Site:

    The original title in French was Connerie ou Mort, roughly translated as ‘Idiocy or Death’. The cover of that edition, in the same satirical, irreverent spirit that’s made this weekly publication both infamous and vulnerable, states that the (separatist) Catalans are even more stupid than their Corsican counterparts:

    • Pepón

      Love it!

      • GanymedeRenard

        I would, too, if it weren’t so harshly true.

    • BobSF_94117


      And Putin’s behind it to boot.

  • -M-

    This doesn’t seem likely to defuse the situation.

    • SDG

      And what options, under the law, do they have? Puigdemont refused to negotiate.

  • SDG

    This is purely Puigdemont’s fault. He declares independence… totally unclear what THAT means. Then, says he is willing to “negotiate”… and then silence. So… WTF is he trying to actually do?

    They will dissolve the parliament, and hold new elections…