Why would Catalans want independence ?
First let me say a couple things about myself: I am a Catalan and I am pro Independence.
What follows is my opinion.
Why do Catalans want independence? Have you heard about the right of self determination? According to the United Nations:“It states that people, based on respect for the principle of equal rights and fair equality of opportunity, have the right to freely choose their sovereignty and international political status with no interference.” Namely, the ability for Catalans to decide if they want to be part of Spain or not, and organise themselves as a new European State. A referendum, claim most of the Catalans, should be the means to decide on that question, just like recently the Scottish have done.
I think that sometimes the question should not be, why do the Catalans want independence? But instead, why can’t the Catalans be able to vote, to decide by democratic agreement, how do they want to organise themselves politically, culturally, socially, economically? The answer to these two questions, are related as I am about to show in this article.
Why should Catalans be negated this right? The right to Self-Determinate, it is not one right that you would like for yourself? For your nation?
Actually your nation, as State, is manifesting this right in this moment.
Doesn’t your nation, my appreciated reader, offer a unique contribution, a particular perspective that’s been unfolded possibly through centuries and that is able to manifest and contribute to the world, also for its worst and best?
Just because currently a nation is not a state, should this mean that even if they desired to become one, it is now officially not possible to self determinate, as if a certain number of nations can only become state for the best of the world? How many nations have self determinated in the last century? Not anymore from now on?
Are we going to have then citizens in the European Union with more rights than others? Do people in Scotland have the right to self determinate their future but their European peers from Catalonia do not? Mmmm really? Is that right?
I hope you can feel my passion here. It is intended. And I know as well that I have deviated from the question why do Catalans want independence. But what I just explained reveals the deep true reason why. Let me build it up for you.
You might think, that in your state there are already some nations integrated and that they do actually feel happier, content and able to manifest and express their uniqueness as a nation into the world. Well, then, if that’s the case, lucky for them. Or you might think that if such a nation would want to decide its future, even that you might think it will be best for them to remain, you would agree on a Referendum to hold that question. If that’s the case, again, lucky for them.
In Spain, where there are multiple nations, not all of them experience this happiness. Actually, Catalans might not be the only ones wishing to self determinate from Spain, just care to ask many Basques what’s their opinion. Spain denies this right, has done so in the past, it is doing it right now, and if it is up to them, they will deny it forever. There have been many official demands for that right, from the Catalan Parliament, from the Catalan Government and from at least the majority of the population, that currently vote pro independence options. Always slammed with the same answer: No.
The thing is, deep down, Catalans want to self determinate because they are not happy within the State of Spain. Also deep down, that’s for one simple reason that took me a while to actually see, and to which more and more Catalans are becoming aware of: We are an occupied territory, a colony of Spain.
That has great consequences for the people of Catalonia, pro independence or not, we are bound and limited to the mood’s of Spanish capital and powers, exploited and repressed in multiple ways. Yet, this reality was very well disguised, and up until the recent events of the past decade has not been seen, perceived and understood by most Catalans. Spaniards and Catalans lived in Matrix.
So, to self-determinate? Colonies don’t have such rights, simply. Colonies are to be exploited, depleted of their identity and kept under-control.
Many Catalans want to leave Spain for the simple fact that Spain’s notion of integrating differences is non-existent. Not that there are not Spaniards who would want that, but the root of the state, the deep state of Spain is authoritarian and with a conception of old imperialism, wanting to oppress and suppress those differences, because they feel intimidated by it, and the best solution for them is to repress, oppress and suppress them. They have tried so for centuries now, I must say, to my own pain, with large success, yet not completely. The Catalan seed keeps flourishing up, not surrendering to the challenges it faces.
The latest effort of this dominance was what’s been called The Transition, from the dictatorship of Franco to the current “Democratic” State. For the last 40 years, the way to impose that repression, has been to consolidate the idea into people’s minds (in Catalonia and in all Spain) that we were living in a true democratic state where we could all understand and live together in peace. In that representation of that democratic state have been participating not just the deep structures of the Spanish State (that remain in hands of Franco’s affiliates), but also the Catalan democratic institutions. Our Catalan politicians, to have a hold of power helped disguise this lie. The enormous, outrageous, infamous lie of democracy in Spain. A move to pretend something changed from the dictatorship in Spain but that represented just a wash of the face of the old regime. Even international institutions of power helped in this restyling of Spain’s democracy. I guess everyone’s got something out of it. The result, a fake democracy what we were given, a Matrix to live in.
I know it is a tough thing to state and that it might be difficult to swallow. But that’s how it has been currently revealed to most Catalans, even though from always there have been voices claiming this was such. Voices that were kept silent, and that were not ready to be listened for most, who were already satisfied with the status quo, busy building up their lives and prospering, unaware of the fairytale they were given to engage with. This kept the play alive, and made most believe it as true.
Democracy was the Matrix in Spain, still is for many.
I am now shocked to this, since I know how I did believe in Matrix, how the comfortability felt and how my ways of behaving reinforced it, even somehow hurt or dismissed those that were making explicit the fantasy.
That’s a story I like to learn more about: how is it that we swallow so many pills unaware that we are actually doing so? How many frames are imposed to us that we don’t realize…? Maybe more maturity will help me to understand and acknowledge more and more of those, now let’s leave it here, shall we. Let’s continue. But let me just suggest, that you might be in this Matrix too, with your current understanding of Spain and Catalonia, and how democratic the Spanish State is.
So, where we were. Yes, Matrix was ruling, but in it things were rumbling for avarice.
Those that had power wanted more, and those that didn’t, wanted their share as well, both in Spain and in Catalonia. After all, if this is a play in place to keep and sustain power, for some to get rich, so it becomes natural that some of those players ask for more of this wealthy share.
Corruption rose (or was made more public), social justice failed, as Spain was about to enter once more in its history in recession. So as the acts of this play unfolded a series of events occurred that led Catalan and Spanish politics to pretend to be more nationalist to remain or obtain more power.
People in Catalonia were pressing, basically tired of being bullied, unrespected and offended, for actions and actions of the Spanish State, either led by the Left or by the Right. Always disrespected, always having to battle against a state that was making the simple existence more and more difficult. Laws against the Catalan education or language, for instance or, a persistent and consistent economic mistreatment and the final stab on Catalans, that hurt them to rebel, the authoritarian rejection of the new Estatut (Catalan constitution) that was approved in Parliament although being previously mutilated in many layers and ways for the Spanish Legislative, who finally approved it, then was banned for the Judiciary.
While in the Spanish side, the Catalans have always represented a good target to blame for the state of things, to distract the attention of its citizens. Distract them of what? The answer is easy, from the multiple and great scandals of corruption in both main political parties and of course, the Spanish Crown, as well. So having a perfect distraction, Catalans demanding more respect, was overused and over-scaled. Instead of addressing it in mature and democratic ways, it worked better politically to let it skyrocket, after all, a lot of smoke was indeed needed.
Unfortunately for Catalan politicians at one moment Spain felt consolidated enough in the lie, for them then, there was no need to continue pretending to play such game. After all, who had really power was them, and theirs was the gift to give it and take it.
Then the smoke become fire.
The later acts in the play were out of Spain’s comfort zone, and to what they were ready to tolerate and accept, plus a new phenomena was arising: people’s consciousness of the fairytale of Democracy in Spain. I guess there was not enough smoke to veil the abuse and corruption and the structures of the last dictatorship were showing up more and more, alive and in place, ruling, controlling and enriching a few as always.
The movement that challenged this more explicitly was the Catalan independence led by very powerful Social pacific and democratic movements that were gaining power, momentum and influence in Catalonia. For the last ten years there have been massive supportive demonstrations peacefully in Catalonia, the largest civic movement of protest in Europe by far.
This movement was largely controlled by Catalan political parties, that played a double role of embracing it and leading it, while also controlling and using it for their political party benefits. In a sense, people aspirations were held by those in power. Maybe because people felt more secured if the movement was lead mostly from parties and government, who seemed committed and in control. But there was a moment in which this control was lost, that was during the referendum held in 2017 considered illegal by the Spanish Government, and organised collaboratively by the Catalan government and the social civic organisations.
All parts of the play lost control because people made it theirs. People fought for the Referendum because it meant sovereignty and it did empower them for the first time in decades. Freedom it is not something that can just be tasted since once it is tasted you can go without it, at least in healthy ways.
So when the Catalans went voting in a Referendum that Spain did not allow, the Spanish State raised up the mask of unveiled repression, and send their police to beat up those that voted and those that attempted to vote. Citizens of the EU being beaten up for voting, for defending their vote and their view to see voting as a solution to the problem. Spain had no problem with that showcase of brutality, and those that lead the operation, from judges to chief officers, today have major recognition.
Being a Catalan repressor has always paid, in political terms, in the play, and even more now that the play is struggling not to be revealed.
But, voting in 2017 was at the same time a great pivotal moment in the movement of independence. It was a very real experience for Catalans of what it meant to be free. Free, free, free. Leading on, participating, making possible and defending with their bodies their vote, a vote! October first of 2017 was a beautiful democratic statement of the Catalan Nation and a tremendous awakening of pro independence Catalan consciousness.
It meant a strong differentiation from Spain, we wanted to vote, they repressed us for doing so. We tasted freedom and the prescription was outrageous repression, punishment and violence. So it was very natural for many of us to see the veil go, and beginning to see the nature of our occupied nation. Matrix was now fully revealed, naked.
If voting for self-determination was not allowed in Spain, if this was not allowed for us, members of an old democratic nation of the world, then what were those that denied us this right? If we could not vote, a largely democratic demand for most of the Catalan population, whether pro-independence or not, what was the solution offered to us, repression with violence? Now that the nature of our democratic fairy tale had been revealed, how could we live in such a dark place, knowing there’s no light for us here? Are we being asked to renunciate to self-determination by democratic means? What would our fate be in this repressive state? What future our culture will hold? What future our children will have?
That moment showed that Spain had intensely sought to avoid our voting, and it only could do so by force, by violent force, of what was more evident than ever, their occupation forces.
It was a clear statement from the Spanish State, this right is not yours, and we will never give it to you. Which clearly meant, you are ours, and ours is your obedience.
Repression continued to unfold since that moment, in many and multiple forms, including the imprisoning of two social leaders of the movement and most of the Catalan government, except those who searched exile and keep the voice alive in the heart of Europe.
In sum, this process helped clearly see, and still does now, the sight of authoritarianism, and its ways of repression and oppression. Catalans were beginning to acknowledge the imposture, fake, corruptive democracy they had been given to live in, and how oppressed they had been in it, and how this repression could only increase by remaining in this so-called democratic state. Pretending different it is very corrosive to the soul.
Today Catalan political leaders are in jail for demanding and somehow facilitating the celebration of a referendum in 2017. But also, because Spain’s deep state view of their role of keeping things at ease here at the Colony was abandoned, thus there was no further need of them and sentencing them should serve as an example to all those who might want to claim their seat either to control power or to continue advancing in the political aspirations. Those politicians are sentenced from nine to thirteen years in prison for such referendum. Here, today in the European Union, not bad right?
Yet they are not the only victims of repression, as today there are many injured for life, or arrested with accusations of terrorism, simply for wanting change and participating in social pacific protest. Repression is the norm and it is suffered in gross and more subtle ways.
Because one of the layers the Matrix that the Spanish State want to impose here in Catalonia, in Spain and in the International community is that Catalans pro-independence are Terrorists. But nothing is further from that statement, the journey has been pacific, hugely transversal among different segments of the Catalan society. And that is what precisely frightens them the most. It is easy to impose repression and not to be seen as authoritarian when there’s actually violence. But extremely difficult to justify if there is, like has been, no other violence that the one Spain repression imposes. Catalans are as committed to independence as to the way of achieving it, democratic and pacific. Social disobedience is embraced as a legitimate way of protesting and wanting to change the status quo.
What is now more clear than ever, for most and most Catalans, is that we are a territory occupaid, and the mask is off, so are the intentions to eliminate us as who we are, with our culture, history, ways of thinking and being.
Independence is our survival.
Spain does not want us as us, wants us like them. And for us to be, just there’s one way, Independence.
No fairytale can mask again this fact, even though you could see today intents being at play, but their hits were so hard, so unmasked, so cruel and violent (in the streets, in the voting polls, in their judiciary and political system) that an emergent awakened consciousness has raised in Catalonia today, striving pacifically but firmly, in one direction: Independence.
So here it is, this is my modest humble opinion why do most catalans want independence today. Which paradoxically has been revealed as this so call “process of independence” has advanced and helped reveal the true nature of things: occupation and repression. The more repression increases the more the pro independence consciousness rises. It just reveals more of the truth, a truth more and more people is less afraid of. Independence continues to rise despite the new forms of repression, aggression and violence against Catalans that the Spanish State imposes today in Catalonia.
Catalans want freedom from tyranny, want freedom to flourish as a nation.
We are claiming pacifically for a right that should be as ours as it is yours.
In my opinion then, you should deeply care about this Catalan movement of independence, pacific and democratic. A new state in Europe is emerging.