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An Analysis Of The 2017 Catalonian Referendum & Demonstrations.

Guernica by PabloPicasso

The 2017 Catalan Referendum: An analysis of the situation & events leading up toit.

Something I deeply admire about the Catalans is that their independence movement has no paramilitary wing. Compared to the Euzko Alderdi Jeltzalea whose paramilitary wing was called ETA, or the Sinn Fin who ran a paramilitary wing called the IRA, the Catalans are vulnerable in Spain.

Millions Of Catalans Peacefully Demonstrating

IRA & ETA were classed internationally as terrorist groups, this is actually the primary reason that the Catalans decided a long time ago that they wanted no part of terrorism. They saw that violence achieves nothing, which is why theirs has historically been a peaceful and democratic movement.

This is useful to know when reading about the massive demonstrations underway in Barcelona right now, the people in those crowds have any intention of causing trouble, they sing songs of love at the police.

But there are radical Spanish elements in the crowd though, waving Spanish flags and trying to provoke the locals. Groups of Spanish nationalists are walking around Barcelona spitting on Catalans, singing civil war fascist songs, attacking Catalans and making fascists salutes as as they march through Catalonia holding Spanish flags and saluting the Spanish police.

Spanish fascists celebrating General Franco on his birthday.

The problem the Spanish have is that in looking for violence, they are finding none. The Catalans dont have a black bloc equivalent and historically its difficult to radicalize Catalans, even when the Spanish are killing them or when the Spanish killed the Catalan President, they never took up arms.

Say what you like about the Catalans, Gandhi would have approved.

The Catalans have nobody to protect them but their own local police force and they were just put under the direct command of the Spanish Civil Guard.

Historical De Facto & De Jure Independence

Catalans are an old tribe from the County of Barcelona, historically ruled by the Counts of Barcelona, which later became the Principality of Catalonia or Principatus Cathaloni in Latin. They have been in Catalonia for millennia.

But the problem is that, historically, the Catalans never quite had the military strength they needed to win their territorial freedom and they became a realm of the King of Aragon, becoming part of Spain much later.

The Catalans have never really been Spanish, in that they were never Castilian, never spoke Spanish or part of the original Crown of Castille.

Catalonia has been recognized as a separate cultural, geographical and political entity since the 13th century and despite the Spanish dictator General Franco who was determined to put a stop to the Catalans being Catalan, they have managed to remain Catalans to this present day.

They became part of Spain when their King married the Spanish Queen, a historic reason for countries merging that Catalans are still not happy with.

Moving forward in history to the dying days of the Spanish civil war, in 1938 Catalonia was one of the last regions in Spain to fall to the fascist army of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco, the Catalans holding out longer than almost everyone else against the fascist forces, angering El Caudillo.

Francos troops conquered Catalonia in an aggressive campaign in 1938.

Tarragona fell on 15 January, followed by Barcelona on 26 January and Girona on 2 February. The Spanish holocaust followed shortly after, spreading fear, executions, oppression and the horror of the white terror to Catalonia.

The fact that Spanish tried to wipe out Catalan language and culture, combined with the fact that the Catalans financially subsidize the rest of Spain means that the Catalans want independence, now more than ever.

They Catalans are tired of paying more taxes that the Spanish, they are tired of having more toll roads than any other part of Spain and now they have had what little autonomy they had taken from them by the Spanish Civil Guard.

The Catalans have long felt like the last forgotten colony of the Spanish Empire and the Spanish seem to be extracting more value than ever.

Why Are The Catalans Demonstrating Right Now?

If you had asked me why I had joined the militia I should have answered: To fight against Fascism, and if you had asked me what I was fighting for, I should have answered: Common decency. George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

Today the streets of Barcelona and multiple Catalan towns are full of peaceful demonstrations, primarily in response to Spains heavy handed response to the Catalans holding a national referendum on independence.

Catalonia intends to hold a referendum to democratically ask each other if they even want independence, but the Spanish declared their referendum illegal and have taken some heavy handed measures to put a stop to it.

How Are The Spanish Dealing With The Situation?

The fat Russian agent was cornering all the foreign refugees in turn and explaining plausibly that this whole affair was an Anarchist plot. I watched him with some interest, for it was the first time that I had seen a person whose profession was telling liesunless one counts journalists. George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

Its worth noting that Spain is a Western democratic state, a founding member of the European Union and also that it would be a financial disaster for Spain if Catalonia declared unilateral independence after their referendum.

It is also worth noting that the Spanish operate a paramilitary force called the Civil Guard who historically enforced dictator General Francos will in the Catalonia region and who still have fascist symbology in their emblem.

The Guardia Civil are the group who tried to reimpose a military dictatorship long after the death of Franco, when in 1981 a group of 200 Guardia Civil officers tried to execute a coup against a then democratic government.

The fascists won the war in Spain and that the transition to democracy from a dictatorship was a painful compromise for anyone who wasn't fascist.

Arguably the transition generously accommodated the winners of the Spanish civil war in order to work, meaning the Guardia Civil and the Francoist political apparatus remained mostly intact through the transition.

In light of that, here are the actions the Spanish have taken so far:

1: The Civil Guard raided Catalan government buildings and arrested 14 senior governmental officials, establishing emergency rule.

2: The Spanish government has taken control of Catalonias public finances, suspending de facto self-government fiscally and legally.

3: The Civil Guard entered editorial offices of Catalan newspapers to forbid them from publishing referendum coverage, threatening criminal charges.

4: Spanish prosecutors office ordered 22 websites taken down and the Civil Guard raided the.cat domain foundation controlling Catalan domain names, a serious technical assault on Catalan culture.

5: The Civil Guard confiscated official campaign material and posters in favor of referendum from privately owned printing shops and business.

6: The Spanish Attorney General ordered questioning of more than seven hundred Catalan mayors for illegally supporting the referendum.

7: The Spanish prosecutors office ordered Spanish police to confiscate ballot boxes to stop the voting taking place on October the 1st.

8: The Spanish postal service has warned its staff not to handle referendum materials or facilitate it in any way at the request of the government.

9: Spanish authorities are flooding tens of thousands of Civil Guard units into the region to reinforce local forces that are already in place and have placed the Catalonian police force under the control of the Guardia Civil.

10: In a clear effort to calm growing tensions amongst those who worry about political violence on October the 1st (referendum day), the official Civil Guard twitter account tweeted that they are the coming storm.

Val Ms Anar Sol Que Mal Acompanya

The Catalans are determined to proceed with their referendum and they have announced that they plan to declare unilateral independence immediately after a successful referendum has taken place. It is highly likely that the Catalans will move forward with the vote in an underground fashion.

If this actually does happen then we need to watch Spain and Catalonia closely with international observers from the United Nations. If only because history has a nasty habit of repeating itself and also because both Spain has a vested interest in stopping it from happening, even if the EU is friendly.

Friendly neighboring countries have printed millions of ballot papers for the Catalans, smuggling them into Spain under the noses of the Spanish and these new ballot papers are being distributed around on a grassroots level.

Keep your eye on Catalonia come October the 1st, the day of the vote and the day that the Catalans expect the Spanish violence against them to start.

Spread the news so that the world can watch the Catalan vote and remember the old Catalan folk saying; val ms anar sol que mal acompanyat.

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