STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Everything You Need to Know About the Catalan Independence Referendum
By Joe Jarvis - October 05, 2017

It’s all illegal! That’s Madrid’s position on the referendum in Catalonia. Of about 5.5 million eligible voters, about 2.4 million chose–or were able–to cast ballots. 90% of them voted in favor of independence from Spain.

Spanish courts have ruled, and leaders have repeated, that the country’s Constitution does not allow a region to separate. European Union courts have echoed this position.

Of course, Spain’s response to the vote was completely legal. This involved sending police into the region to close polling stations, seize ballots, and deliver some old-fashioned fascist beatings. But it was all to protect democracy, naturally.

The response of the Spanish government is perplexing. They basically strengthened the resolve of the Catalans to remove themselves from an aggressive and violent subjugator. The Spanish government’s response was reminiscent of military dictator Francisco Franco’s suppression of the Catalan language and culture prior to his death in 1975.

Through their actions to stop the referendum, they showed exactly why Catalonia would want to be independent of Spain.

Further proving the independent nature of the region, Spain had to send in an occupying force to suppress the referendum and attack anyone who tried to vote.

In a sign that Spanish police reinforcements sent to Catalonia might be there for an extended stay, an army logistics unit sent bunkbeds, kitchens and showers to an army barracks near Barcelona in case the police need to use the military base at some point, a Ministry of Defence spokesman said.

Some police staying at hotels in Catalonia have come under pressure from local residents to leave.

Police officers from inside the region of Catalonia would not follow the orders of Madrid.

Police from the region will actually be prosecuted by the Spanish government for inaction. They refused to break up peaceful protests and generally stood down rather than follow orders to brutalize anyone attempting to vote.

Meanwhile, Catalan firefighters lined up to form a human shield to protect protesters from the invading police force.

Firemen and people face off Spanish Civil Guard officers outside a polling station for the banned independence referendum in Sant Julia de Ramis, Spain October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Media present for the vote are reporting that journalists in the area have been suppressed by the government as well.

To summarize, it started with pro-referendum Catalan politicians being arrested. Then an invading force of police suppressed the right of Catalans to vote, attacking and injuring almost 1,000 innocent citizens and non-violent protesters. The police shut down hundreds of polling stations, seized ballots, and attempted to shut out media coverage of their violence.

The government of the region which pressed ahead for the region’s right to self-governance, have the backing of a vast majority of voters who were able to express themselves at the polls. The local police and firefighters are standing behind the people of their region and defying Madrid.

It is unclear how many more people would have cast votes if the government had not responded so violently. We also don’t know how many ballots that were cast were seized and destroyed by Madrid. But since over 42% of eligible voters managed to get their ballot in, and since 90% of those voted for independence, we can say with certainty that at least 38% of eligible Catalan voters support the right to rule their own region.

It is worth noting that many Catalans against independence boycotted the vote.

If Catalonia had no reason to secede before, now they have plenty.

Just look at the pictures and video coming out of how the police are treating the Catalans. You see bloody and battered elderly. You see women being thrown to the ground and tossed aside by police in riot gear. You see men being beaten and dragged by officers.

In the following clip, you can see police breaking into a polling place in order to stop voters. The police handing out beatings and breaking down doors are acting legally. The people voting to disengage from the government these forces represent are acting illegally.

 

Who cares what the law has to say? The people of Catalonia did not agree to the Spanish Constitution. And if Spain believes in democracy, as they claim, then why wouldn’t a region be able to vote itself independent?

You always hear talk of law, and courts, as if that meant anything. Spain wants them to follow a legal procedure if they want independence because it guarantees that they will never get it!

What is the obsession with having to play by the enemy’s rules?

 

You want to look at the real rule of law, look at the police swarming into Catalonia and attacking the people. The clip above shows how laws are ultimately enforced, with violence. There is nothing right or moral about the law. Law is written by the government to enforce their interests. It has nothing to do with rights or general human decency. It has nothing to do with resolving disputes, as common law does. Statute law only creates conflict, instead of letting two disagreeing parties go their separate ways.

Catalonia is paving the way for other regions to seek the same independence. It is the first step in a process of self-governance. The smaller the governing structure, the easier it is to change or resist.

It is not hard to see that central governments behave like abusive partners, threatening and carrying out violence when their partner tries to leave. Catalonia accounts for 15% of Spain’s population and 20% of its GDP. It is a net payer into the country’s coffers.

And what do they get in return for being Spain’s cash cow? They get to fund the police who are sent in to shut them up when they start to exercise their rights.

All being said though, how can a region expect to be independent if they cannot defend themselves against outside aggression?

I hope that in these modern times the demand for peace is enough to defend them. I hope that Catalonia does not have to start killing the cops who are occupying the region to subjugate them. I want to see Spain retreat not because of a violent resistance, but because of a peaceful refusal to accept such barbarism in the 21st century.

As divorced as governments are from the pressure of the market, there are similar effects that can take place through public opinion, much like boycotting a business.

When businesses mess up, they have to apologize and quickly correct their actions. Usually, someone high up gets fired, and they retrain all the lower personnel involved. If they don’t make a serious effort at reform, their business will lose customers who do not have a stomach for whatever negative actions they took.

And it does appear that Spain’s economy is already taking a hit.

The constitutional crisis in Spain, the euro zone’s fourth-biggest economy, has shaken the common currency and hit Spanish stocks and bonds. Madrid’s borrowing costs have risen sharply and reached their highest since March on Wednesday.

The cost of insuring against potential losses on Spanish bank debt and Spanish, Italian and Portuguese sovereign debt has also jumped, suggesting an impact on the wider euro zone.

I would expect these actions would harm tourism to Spain. If the conflict becomes too costly, I would expect Spanish voters to become angry at those in charge, like the Prime Minister.

I would expect other governments, with the proper pressure from their citizens, to reject the violence of the Spanish government. Evening knowing full well they would want to react in the same way, other governments would likely be tempted to protect their image and admonish the violence of Madrid.

Officials from Catalonia, as well as the European Union, have called for Spain to open up a dialogue with Catalonia. While the Catalan politicians say they are willing to negotiate, Spain says they are not. Prime Minister Rajoy says he will not sit down for negotiations until Catalonia returns to the law. That is the same law that allows his forces to attack and terrorize the Catalans.

Movements like Catalan independence are great for freedom because they give people more options. The easier it is to move to a better jurisdiction, the more responsive governments must be.

That is what made Europe relatively free, compared to the East, in the first place. Many small countries had to treat their citizens relatively well or lose them to a competing nation closeby. These countries had to allow their people the freedom to produce, to learn, and adopt innovation, or suffer at the hands of their technologically advanced neighbors.

Competition will improve governments. The more governments to choose from, the better.

195 countries do not provide enough options for a world population approaching 8 billion.

Catalan politicians are now pressing ahead to get the parliament of Catalonia to officially declare independence. In response, Spain has threatened to resolve the region’s parliament.

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  • Bombaste Von Hohenheim

    spanish government only did what brussels toild them to do … just like now in france the murderer of the 2 young girls of Marseilles is now a “martyr” go figure

    • GH

      Yes, starving the beast is the most simple and effective method…anywhere! But getting those who provide the beast with “food” to put away their fear of government retribution is near impossible; even if they are strong supporters of freedom movements.

  • Gregorio Smith

    If the Catalans sent their tax money to Barcelona instead of Madrid, the Spanish govt would feel it.
    Just simply deny the authority of Madrid…..

  • Daniel

    Joe
    you presented a one-sided report, I am not sure if out of ignorance sitting in comfort in the US or because of some fanatic anarchist-libertarian ideology that makes you see any chaotic destruction as good.
    Come back to reality, man, this Catalanist socialist separatist stuff is really harmful and destructive.
    I live in Spain and people here are upset that there is a sham referendum used as a fig leaf to break away and steal land that belongs to all.

    First of all, if you are thinking in terms of “fascist”, you talk like a socialist leftwinger. Your perjoratives describe NOTHING of Spain today.
    I will say Joe, you don’t know what you are spouting about.

    You put some images of the Police doing their duty to pick up sham referendum boxes used as a fig leaf for a power play and political putsch, ORDERED by the Supreme Court in Catalonia as in severe violation of Constitutional laws.

    Let me ask you Joe, do you like Lincoln and the Union, or are you some sort of Neo-Confederate and George Wallace-type of States Rights guy?
    These Catalanist socialists will bring socialist oppression like Confederates (Democrats) and the modern socialist Democrats bring oppression on other people.
    More than that, since Catalonian separatists place the ethnic identity card, they WILL do an ETHNIC PURGE once they get into power since they are a minority.
    Joe, it will be like Serbia and people are afraid in Catalonia from these radicals who use their slim parliamentary majority to go for broke grabbing independence, with no major agreement in society.

    Only very few people were seriously hurt, unlike most police in the world would do.
    I would be more afraid of your State Police than the Spanish Police, they are not known to be very hard like US or German police.
    Did you see the Youtube videos of anarchist punks throwing rocks at the peaceful National Police who did not respond?
    “Peaceful” people who deliberately put themselves in harms way (and they were just taken aside), even putting old people and children in the way?
    One woman showed she had an arm bandaged because she says, she had 5 fingers broken and the police touched her boobies. Turns out that she was not a student, she was an activist for ERC (an exterme socialist party), and there was a Youtube video showing she was hysterically getting in the way of the police, which 2 policemen just pulled her aside and did not touch her boobies. She was a liar and she confessed the next day, without her bandages, that she just had One inflamated finger, and went back to her online cooking videos with no bandages.
    FAKE NEWS, Joe, don’t get fooled by socialist liars, they also sent out photoshopped fake photos of 2012 riots between CATALAN police and radical socialist union guys, and put on their Catalan flag like a fake Iwo Jima flag, its been shown to be a hoax,
    and some American websites stupidly repeat them.
    Don’t be suckered in Joe, either you will have online posts to swallow your words in the future or you will have to delete stuff because its clear you stuck your nose in something that you don’t know what you are talking about.

    Did you see the video of Spanish Gypsies in Gerona going out to SUPPORT the National Police?
    Did you know that in some neighborhoods, when the Separatists wanted to make their sham election to support a coup d’etat, their neighbors went out to stop them because they understood that they were going to be PUSHED INTO THEIR USURPATION against their will?

    Please don’t fall for the Catalonian SOCIALIST propaganda,
    as per your own words, the MAJORITY of Catalonia DO NOT WANT TO RIPPED AWAY FROM THEIR COUNTRY.

    Hows THAT for Democracy? Respecting Freedom?
    The majority of Catalan people there are AFRAID of these radical socialists coming into power.

    These Catalan socialists want local referendum on and on and on until one says yes, and in the meantime, they incite civil disharmony and disturbance.
    Now there is a Red Fear in Barcelona, people are afraid to talk, shops close, when these Catalan fanatics and hoodlum youths hit the streets.
    Up to a week ago, there was no Spanish police anywhere (except airports) for 15 years and this Separatist Red Fear has been spreading.

    Look at the Youtube videos of Catalans going to THANK the Spanish Police presence they have not seen for years, some are hugging and crying and asking them NOT to leave, to leave them to these Separatist fanatic wolves.

    Look at the massive demonstration coming up on 8 October Sunday, Millions will come out in Catalonia AGAINST this coup d’etat, and these shameless Socialist junta leaders will be justly thrown in the clinker after they declare independence on Monday.

    Look at the Millions who DO NOT WANT.
    Are they in your Democracy and Freedom radarscope, Joe?
    Or they don’t count because you got some anarchist ideological axe to grind?
    You cannot declare independence when the majority and so many do not want that.

    Come back to real FREEDOM Joe, and don’t support fake socialist “freedom” movement, they are just robbery and banditism in the name of freedom.

  • disqussted999

    I’m not there in Catalonia, as Daniel points out about many (probably the large majority) of those opining on the topic. So I can only know what I can find and read online. I can certainly understand the point of view of those Catalans who do NOT want to be ripped away from Spain, no matter what the past history of the country. Every country in Europe has similar parts of their history, where groups were included or excluded and then ruled by someone other than whoever it was that was ruling them before…that’s pretty much the history of Europe, and really of most of the world. That creates tensions, for sure, but that’s also reality.

    No one likes to see police beating up any citizen anywhere, esp. in a peaceful “protest.” It’s just plain ugly and our reactions are pretty much the same as those who live anywhere where freedom and decency are loved or at least longed for. On the other hand, there is a significant amount of hypocrisy going on here, especially coming from those who seem to be the power and money behind the movement. (ALWAYS look at whose behind these movements…aka, follow the money.)

    Those that have been pushing for this secession say they want independence from Madrid, but they’ve stated they want to join the EU, ie, put themselves under the bankster-supported globalist elites of Brussels!! Independence? Sounds more like a profitable connection for them and power for those that can hand over a new profit-center to Brussels. Why would Brussels care more about the people of Catalonia than the Spanish govt? They wouldn’t, as they’ve proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to anyone that gets their info from anything other than the MSM of the US or Europe.

    Then there’s the matter of the complaint that they put more into the Spanish economy than they get back and that Madrid is sending more money to the poorer provinces than those provinces are putting in. But these same “leaders” backing the secession movement have called for more monies to come from France and Germany and go to the immigrants. Hmmmm…so this rich province of Spain doesn’t think it fair that they put in money that goes to poor provinces of Spain, but they demand that the rich countries of Europe put in more money to go to the poor countries of Europe taking in most of the immigrants! Hypocrisy…and there’s more…but enough for now.

    Again, I’m not here defending Barcelona or Madrid, esp. not Rajoy (a political power-hungry jerk), but things are not always as simple as they seem. Control of the MSM in Europe is the same as in the States…the MSM says and shows what it is ordered to by a handful of globalist elite families that own and control what is discussed and shown in >90% of the news–TV, paper, online. Whenever the MSM tells you to look in a certain direction, better start looking in the opposite direction if you really want to find the truth. Just saying….

  • georgesilver

    Beatings will continue until morale is restored.

  • georgesilver

    We all know the facts about Catalan so here is something really important.

    LAS VEGAS eye witnesses posting on Facebook that there were multiple shooters in SEVERAL HOTELS.

    This is the Bellagio Hotel witness. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnxDl6Iw254

  • Jubal

    Everything you need to know about the Catalan separation farcerendum? No, not even close.

    I’m far from condoning aggression, but truth must be told. Much ado about the brutality of the Spanish police, but many of the images used by the propaganda campaign to create this new Black Legend are false, mainly in the following two ways:

    1) Photographs taken years before the farcerendum in protests demanding more tax-slave money from government during the 2011-2013 years, presented as farcerendum day documents.

    2) The riot police in those photographs not being the national Spanish police, but the police of the same Catalonian government that is pushing for separation. Beware that both the Spanish national police and the Catalonian government police wear very similar riot uniforms.

    The headline photograph of this article is a good example of both points. See for yourself here (article in French, but you can get the essence of it even if you can’t read French: just watch the photographs and the years, or use a web translator):

    http://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2017/10/02/violences-policieres-en-catalogne-attention-aux-images-trompeuses_5194905_4355770.html

    Video of point 1 and photos of points 2 and 4 in the linked article are good examples of what I said, too. As I use to say, paraphrasing Vox Day, [Catalonian] NJWs always lie. The rabbit hole goes way deeper, but I hope that mautre, well meaning readers get the idea.

    The author mentions “military dictator Francisco Franco’s suppression of the Catalan language”. Fair enough, but, for an article supposedly telling you everything you need to know about the matter, the absence of any mention to the opposite sign suppression and oppresion conducted since the 80s against the non-nationalist Catalonians by the nationalist and nationalist-socialist governments of Catalonia seems a bit of an oversight here, if you allow me the licence of an ironic understatement. You should ask who is afraid in Catalonia. It’s not the Catalonian nationalists. But after decades of being silenced, things get to a point where the silent, oppressed people, whose only sins are feeling both Catalonian and Spanish and wanting to have their kids schooled in Spanish and Catalan (instead of only in Catalan), are pushed to the limit and begin to speak up, as yersterday demostration in Barcelona shows.

    You can read Spanish libertarian María Blanco, pen name Lady Godiva, on the matter (she is not a Spanish nationalist or unionist at all):

    “The situation of non-nationalist Catalonians has reached unbearable limits. […] common citizens, who are afraid, mass media executives tell you the state of terror they live in, how arbitrariness is in power …”

    Read her blog post (in Spanish) to get the full, balanced tone of it and get closer to the truth you are not being told:

    http://marygodiva.wordpress.com/2017/10/07/la-maldicion-equidistante/

    At least, Joe Jarvis (reluctantly?) admits that “many Catalans against independence boycotted the vote” (this simple admission puts him way ahead of many “libertarian” pundits of the anglo-alternative echo-bubble, good for him). Of course they did. They knew this was not a reliable referendum. Not being legal had more implications than the formal point of not being legal: there was no guaranty of fair voting and vote counting. It was a propagandistic, partisan performance.

    Much more has to be said about democracy and seccesion from a libertarian point of view, but my time is valuable and limited, minuscule compared to the tons of one-sided stuff thrown at you by the pseudolibertarian propagandistic complex. My willingness to indirectly benefit with my speech the Spanish State that oppress me is even more limited. I hope the readers are able to think independently and see how the same concepts and principles are invoked or waived, or used in opposite ways depending on where the events take place. Beware. The principles that libertarians hold dear are being used to push a narrative. Don’t become a useful tool of the narrative. Stick to principle. Question everything, beginning with those pundits you trust.

    • Jubal

      In the last paragraph it should say “secession” and “oppresses”.

  • Jubal

    I cannot see the comment posted by Daniel. Why?

  • Jubal

    Since the photo in the article of Le Monde that I linked in my previous post is not the same that The Daily Bell uses here with the headline, you may have doubts about my aseveration that it is from the 2013 protests I mentioned. Well, I’ll make it easier for you. The following link includes three photographs from those protests in 2013, including the one that The Daily Bell is using to “illustrate” this article:

    http://www.democraticunderground.com/10022932997

    Until now, the reaction of the Spanish government has been much more restrained than what the propagandists want you to believe. NJWs always lie. Don’t fall for it.

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