STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS
Spain is Holding Catalonia Hostage
By The Daily Bell Staff - May 28, 2017

Imagine you are in a book club. For a few years, it was great, you liked the books and the discussion with members. But then, the club started reading steamy romance novels that you just weren’t into and would not entertain your opinions for other material. Finally, when you can’t relate to the discussion on the texts anymore, you decide to leave the club.

But then, the book club President locks the door and tells you to sit down. You will remain in the club, the other members tell you, whether you like it or not. You will read the romance novels which don’t interest you, and you will contribute your monthly dues, by force if necessary.

As ridiculous as that would be, that is the attitude of Spain, and many other countries, when it comes to regions wishing to secede and form their own country. Why should regions be kept in the larger “club” against their will?

Catalonia is a region in Spain bordering France and the Mediterranean Sea, that has been independent at times in history. The modern movement for independence began almost 100 years ago, but the region settled for autonomy instead of full-fledged independence.

In 2006, Catalonia drafted a revised Statute of Autonomy, many parts of which were ruled unconstitutional by the Spanish high court. This sparked calls for Catalonia to entirely secede from Spain, instead of settling for “autonomy.”

Spain however, doesn’t even want the people of Catalonia to talk about or think about secession. The former President of Catalonia defied the Spanish government when he held a referendum to form a new country of Catalonia. 35% of eligible voters turned out in the region with a population of 7.5 million.

The informal vote was opposed by Mariano Rajoy’s government in Madrid and was held in defiance of Constitutional Court ruling five days ahead of the poll that the referendum was illegal. Around 2.3 million people in Catalonia cast a ballot in the plebiscite with 80.7 percent voting for independence.

The non-binding referendum was held in 2014, and because of it, earlier this year Spain barred former Catalan President Artur Mas from holding public office for two years and fined him €36,500.

Prime Minister of Spain Mariano Rajoy has called Catalonia’s efforts to break away “an unacceptable attempt to blackmail the state.” Spain’s constitution makes it illegal for regions to seek independence.

Yet the government of Catalonia remains defiant, promising the people a binding referendum for September of this year in which voters can decide if Catalonia will break away from Spain.

Spain will attempt to prevent that referendum from being held, even though polls consistently indicate 80% of Catalonians want to be allowed to vote on the issue.

Just in case Spain is successful in obstructing the people from voicing their will, the Catalan government has drafted a bill that would declare its independence from Spain, officially making Catalonia its own country.

The bill would appropriate Catalonia-related cases from the national courts to the newly formed Catalan courts, which would dismiss all pending cases against people charged with independence-related illegal activities.

Catalonia has a functioning government and has a plan to implement their own courts upon becoming independent. The people at least want the freedom to choose independence, and many polls and former referendums indicate a majority would vote in favor of forming a new country that better aligns with their unique culture and interests.

The population of 7.5 million would place the newly formed country right in the middle of worldwide countries by population, larger than Denmark and Ireland, slightly smaller than Israel and Switzerland.

But the Spanish government is holding on tooth and nail, determined to preserve their power.

Why Is Spain So Adamant that Catalonia Stays?

Federal governments are always weary of their power being challenged, and historically countries seek to gain territory, not lose it.

Even amidst the Catalan movement towards independence, Spain is attempting to bring Gibraltar under the rule of their economically weak country, even though Gibraltar has not been part of Spain since 1713. Gibraltar, technically a British Territory, considers Spain a hostile and threatening neighbor. Spain cannot even keep its own house in order, yet seeks to assert sovereignty over more independent regions.

One main reason that Spain does not want to lose Catalonia is that it is a wealthy region, that forms a solid tax base for the Spanish government to slurp up.

Catalan independence would mean the loss of up to 30 per cent of Spain’s gross domestic product and Minister of the Economy Luis de Guindos insisted that is something the government “will never let happen”.

It is a tax farm, and Spain simply wishes to remain in control over the appropriated resources of the Catalans, instead of allowing their wealth to remain in the region, and be spent how they choose through a smaller more responsive government.

The defense minister has called the Catalan government’s attempts at secession “a grave threat to coexistence and constitutional order.”

But this is silly. Coexistence is exactly what Catalonia is after, as well as their own constitutional order which has been prevented by the government in Spain. Coexistence means letting people go their own ways if they wish. Coexistence means you leave people alone who wish to be left alone.

And by constitutional order, what he really means is dictatorial order, as the Spanish government is fighting as hard as possible from allowing Catalans to follow their own constitution, run their own affairs, and be free to choose their own system.

And with Spain’s attempt to silence any dissent, even charging those in favor of independence with crimes, it is no wonder why people would want to separate from a regime so hostile to free speech, and freedom of expression.

It is unjust and an affront to freedom to keep people in an organization against their will. Allowing secession supports the idea that when the larger group no longer represents your will, you have the right to peacefully remove yourself from their ranks.

Decentralizing government is a good thing, as it gives people more control over their lives, their communities, and their futures. Let’s hope we are only seeing the very beginning of this secessionist movement to give people more control over their government and experiment with better political systems.

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  • Brabantian

    What is funny about Spain trying to get Gibraltar back, is that Spain is still holding on to its Ceuta & Melilla enclaves in north Africa that are really part of Morocco … And Morocco has grabbed control of much the pre-1975 Spanish colony of Western Sahara … Spain is also facing secession from its Basque people (who are also in France) & also from its Galicians north of Portugal who speak a dialect of Portuguese

    Britain should give the Malvinas (Falklands) back to Argentina, & probably should give back Gibraltar to Spain … Britain should also give northern Ireland back to the Irish, as one of the Beatles sang about, Paul McCartney, who was likely technically ‘supporting terrorism’ under current British laws … And let the Scots go, & the Welsh too if they want

    The dirtiest secret of Russia is not Donbass East Ukraine & Crimea etc where the Russian-speaking rebels genuinely want to secede from Kiev, but the as many as 100,000 Chechens who were killed so Russians could hold on to the Chechnya & Dagestan oil revenues for Gazprom etc

    China is totally against ‘splittism’ because they are holding on to the Turkish Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang province, & Tibet … India vacuumed up the formerly independent Sikkim between Nepal & Bhutan, & should let them go free … Indonesia should let Hindu-predominant Bali be free

    Israel should give back the land they stole from the Palestinians, & the land they occupied later in wars that arose because of that earlier theft … Tho Israel is right that 40 million Kurds living continguously, deserve their own country carved out of Turkey, Syria, Iraq & Iran … Ditto the Balochs in Iran & Pakistan … Vatican City should give its territory back to Italy & become a spiritual, not national, institution

    The US should let states secede, let some go back to Mexico, give up all US overseas military bases, & stop torturing & invading other peoples … Canada & the US & Australia need to make due amends to all their aboriginal peoples … in North America they need to let the buffalo roam free again … The museums need to restore stolen ancient treasures back to home countries that are able to protect them … The banksters should return the money they stole

    • Marten

      Amen….And reforme always provokes rage on the part of those who profit by the old “Order”………

    • I don’t know where you get your expansive experience but you have certainly nailed most of the problems extant today. Well done. When the NWO comes perhaps you should try for ‘World President’ and enact all these changes including Austrian economics. Anyone who talks this logically gets my support.

    • Doc

      Territorial monopolistic governments are wrong whatever way you split the territories. Why focus on their arguments when the issues are better solved by letting individuals and groups of people decide freely what kind of governments they want, unrelated to the place they happen to live?

    • Don Duncan

      What happens when “should” is not the rule? Injustice. What then? How do we (our species) achieve justice? By enlightenment, led by voluntarist intellectuals who teach the art of non-violent existence. The rejection of authority begins with the acceptance of reason instead of the initiation of violence. It’s only logical.

    • 200 Years Together

      Quite a sordid history this world has. The worst thing that could happen to the globalists plans is immigrants assimilated, integrated and adopted their new home’s culture and festivals at light speed as well as dialect and maybe even the native religion.

  • Rick

    Why not California? Why not Quebec? Why not Texas? All of these areas seek their sovereignty just as much as Catalonia. Great Britain ceded Hong Kong to the mainland Chinese, as did most of the European countries with their colonies in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, so the Gibraltar example does not ultimately ring true.

    • ninefingersgrapes .

      Thanks, reply was Great and surely ring true in the good old USA!

      • WA1

        Where 11 states are considering seceeding… and TEXAS, was a separate nation for I think 8 years…

        • Hey you

          Sounds good. But who will be first to “bell the cat”?

  • Brabantian

    A curious thing re Catalonia, is the several hundred thousand Muslims they invited to live there … on the theory it was ‘good’ to have immigrants who do not speak Castilian Spanish. Catalonia rejected the culturally closer immigrants from Spanish-speaking Latin America as were settling in the rest of Spain, fearing that people from Ecuador etc would dilute the move toward independence … Catalonia thought it would be preferable to bring in masses of Muslims from Pakistan etc ‘who would then learn to speak Catalan’.

    One of the largest mosques in the world is being built in Catalonia, and its half million or so Muslims (out of 7.5 million total in Catalonia) is one of the most intensive concentrations of Muslims in Europe. On some Muslim sites, an ‘independent’ Catalonia with its multiple-child-having Muslim population, is a major step in the Muslim ‘reconquest’ of the entire Iberian peninsula, a half-millenium after Muslims & Jews were expelled from papal ‘Catholic’ Spain.

    • Ethercruiser One

      Interesting points.

    • autonomous

      And Muslims are more dangerous than Spain?

  • robertsgt40

    Catalonia is a microcosm of what’s going on with the rest of the planet. People have had enough. Not everyone wants to be part of tribal NWO.

    • autonomous

      And like Catalonia, at least 72% of voters quietly accept what they have.

      • MountainMan

        No hard and fast conclusions may be drawn from that 72%. They may be opposed, unfocused, uncomprehending, uninvolved, distracted, sick of politics, too “busy,” too old, too young, don’t care, too sick, out of the country…….the list goes on and on.

        However, human nature being what it typically is, it is safe to presume that most of them at least would prefer to be free men rather than slaves.

        But a mere preference is not enough. A lot of people are not willing to make the sacrifices required to acquire true freedom.

        That’s true in ANY country. Look at the American Revolution. Only a pretty small percentage of people were actively involved in it, helped out, served, fought, and made it happen.

        Obviously, this meant that MANY sat on the sidelines, and quite a few others resisted the effort, and still others abandoned the US outright (the so-called “Tories”).

  • Rafael

    What a stupid metaphor. Christ, what awful writing.

  • Doc

    DB: “many polls and former referendums indicate a majority would vote in favor of forming a new country that better aligns with their unique culture and interests.”

    In the referendum that was held, 35% participated and 80% were in favor of leaving Spain. That’s 28% voting in favor of leaving. What do we know about the other 72%?

    I think this shows how wrong these secessionist movements are. They will just end up with a smaller government that nobody really wants.

    That’s not “coexistence”. In the past, the famous convivencia (i.e. coexistence) on the peninsula between muslims, christians and jews was based on the personality of laws, not one territorial monopolistic law for everyone. Each group of people had their set of laws. It was the highest civilization of Europe at that time with great scientific achievements and it lasted for a very long time. Until territorial monopolistic laws were imposed by the christians.

    Let everyone have their favorite type of government wherever they live. That’s proper coexistence.

    • autonomous

      “In the referendum that was held, 35% participated and 80% were in favor
      of leaving Spain. That’s 28% voting in favor of leaving. What do we know
      about the other 72%?”
      It says that 72% favor abusive government, and Spain has a very long history of abuse.

      • Doc

        We can’t infer that that they want an abusive government. We also don’t know what kind of government any of the 28% want.

        “Spain” is basically synonymous with the territorial monopolistic government, and that’s abuse whatever way you look at it. Forcing people into something is always abuse, including such a government.

        The only kind of government that wouldn’t be abusive would be one that isn’t territorial and monopolistic in nature, that you as an individual or group can enter into contract with and secede from according to the terms of the contract.

        That’s basically the meaning of the “personality of laws” that existed before the current system was imposed world wide.

        • autonomous

          One can infer from the fact that they neglected to vote that they prefer a continuation of the status quo to a change.

          • Don Duncan

            I “infer” that the abstainers have no confidence in either govt. and are disgusted with politics. How about that? No matter. 28% is enough to move the majority even if they are apathetic, which is usually the case. Only about a third of the colonists wanted secession from the British Empire. What if they had used more efficient means, not armed rebellion? Maybe the American Secession Movement would have come about without an army or massive debt/loss of life, in less time. They didn’t have experience with non-violent resistance that we have now thanks to Gandhi, MLK, and Gene Sharp.

          • autonomous

            Those who hold the power to steal won’t give up non-violently. Not against 28% or even 72%. Non-violence is a better option to protest, but not to break free. To break free always costs blood. Gandhi and MLK both paid with blood; their survivors might or might not break free. Gene Sharp’s fate or legacy is yet to be determined.

          • Doc

            No, you might guess that some would prefer that but not everyone.

            For example, I wouldn’t have voted at all as I wouldn’t vote in favor of any territorial monopolistic government. That doesn’t mean I support status quo.

            Don Duncan added a few more reasons below.

          • Hey you

            That’s not true. A vote implies acceptance (approval) of current conditions. Continuing to vote can be equated to supporting the current system.
            The real answer is to show up and with pitchforks!

  • Hey You

    Small is beautiful. Also, small is more humane because a small political entity is close to the people. There is no reason that there are any large political entities except to glorify those in control of the large entity.
    Seems that countries can best function when most citizens can know each other. I realize that such would not allow mobilizations for war, which seems in itself, to be a strong reason to limit political entities’ sizes.

    • We in the UK have a similar movement for the secession of powers of government to the regions and counties. When the next crisis occurs the aftermath will allow such movements to activate by dint of necessity and a new economy will emerge improving the lot of all the people as big government gives way to small government, free trade and sound money:
      http://harrogateagenda.org.uk/

    • Exactly, a true community that holds leaders accountable by knowing them.

  • autonomous

    “One main reason that Spain does not want to lose Catalonia is that it is a wealthy region, that forms a solid tax base for the Spanish government to slurp up.”
    A more truthful statement would be, “The only reason…” To slurp up taxes is the one and only function of government. Spain would have been well served by dishonest Abe in this totalitarian reaction.

  • georgesilver

    The masses will always vote for the promise of something better. The masses can’t shake the idea that they need someone to make things better for them. Whatever they’ve got, be it big or small government, they will always vote for something else because none of it is for the benefit of the people. It never enters into the average ‘voter’ head that they alone are masters of their own destiny and should stop looking for ‘saviours’. We exist in a World full of “human nature” which never changes. The ones with the drive to control are the psychopaths who will end up running things whether it’s Catalonia, Brexit or the status quo (and it sure ain’t gonna be for the benefit of the people) The average person hasn’t got the same dedication. The true individual works the system in place to his best advantage and realises his scope to change things are very limited. The only thing he has most control over is himself. The true individual is adaptable to circumstances.

  • eyesofgod

    Good article. Thanks for this. The Catalonians need our support. The ARE us. Obviously, people need to be able to govern themselves without the intervention of large, unwieldy bodies of bureaucrats—like what we suffer here in the USA. The correct trend is to get small, to know those in one’s own group, to hold them always accountable. See the books, Not-Two Is Peace, and Prior Unity. We must, for the first time in human history, approach life from the standpoint of unity, of us being a prior unity, instead of the old and divisive way of separation, of separateness, which is egoity. Egoity is the very source of all our “problems”, and notice this: source is prior to cause. Unity, which is inherent and intrinsic, has always already been the case. It always will be the case. It need only be acknowledged.

    • Thank you! We hope they can keep the ball rolling on this trend!

    • LawrenceNeal

      Egoity is the very source of all our “problems”, as in psychopathy, the .001% Elite Psychopaths, the source of all ills in the world.

  • SnakePlissken

    Good for the Catalonians. Not everyone is on board with the whole one world government mess that will lead to global tyranny.

    • Alan777

      Let’s hope the USA recognizes Catalonia and puts some weight behind their bid for independence.

  • Anda

    During the moslem occupation spaniards were treated as slaves. The enlightened society Doc describes flourished in Toledo, Cordoba, and a few other cities for a short periid. Warfare was almost constant as rival factions among the moslem invaders fought over territory. This period in Spain’s history was far from the idyllic picture described by Doc.

    • SnakePlissken

      Muslims claim that once the world is united under a global caliphate, there will be peace in the world, but history has shown that the different Muslim sects hate each other and are just as hostile and violent towards each other as they are towards other groups, so if a global caliphate were to become reality, they would continue fighting among each other. Muslims will never know peace.

  • LawrenceNeal

    And the Basque country, as well.

    • SnakePlissken

      The future of Europe (and the US and China) will be either:
      A) Unified under a single federal state that eliminates sovereignty and individual freedoms, and forces their will on the population (like current China).
      B) Many decentralized autonomous states that work together through trade and defense treaties as appropriate (like the US is supposed to be, and direction the UK is moving towards).
      Option B is the long term future, but Europe is heading towards trying option A first. The only question is how long they will suffer under a globalist government before devolving into a European civil war.

      • LawrenceNeal

        Hey, Snake, like your work in the ‘Escape’ movies.

  • eyesofgod

    Like I said, as long as we continue to act as tho we are separate, this tribalism will continue. It’s only really just a matter of a significant number of us actually acting out our inherent and intrinsic unity. Just 6 or 7% of us. That’s the magic number. Please check out the book, Not-Two Is Peace. You can download a major essay from that book from the Net called “Reality-Humanity”. The logic is inescapable. It’sabout us putting away all card, placards, signs, markers of tribalism, and cooperating with each other to deal very directly with the real circumstances needing our help in this world. It’s also (of course) a matter of refusing to (or otherwise neglecting to) participate in the old failed games of the elite.

    • Nobleharbor

      Right, once you get the big govt. “All One”. It won’t be long befor you get the “Rules”.
      No independents
      No individual initiative
      No freedom whatsoever.
      Useful Idiots, until they win, then…
      Mass Graves,
      Cattle cars,
      Ovens going full tilt…
      Hell on earth.

  • eyesofgod

    Seems to me this gesture of areas wishing to break away from state rule and governance is merely a sign of the gret desire for self-governance—but at a level that is more human-scale, where we can truly hold those in guiding position accountable. Currently, the states of become far too large, and so the “leaders” feel no reason to be accountable to all those nameless and faceless minions “below” them. Power corrupts—unless the “powerful” are coming from the place of unity.

  • Paxman

    The catalan separatist politicians are cryptojews. Israel wants a separate Cataloña…
    The gov of Cataloña is 100 % broke. Its civil servants are paid by the central Gov in Madrid.

  • MountainMan

    What Cataluña is doing is perfectly natural. Laissez-faire economics requires nothing but peace and free trade. What else is there to struggle for in this life but peace and free trade?

    Keep the peace, and all will be well. There is no excuse that “Spain” can come up with to deny the people of Cataluña what they want.

    Cataluña is not a political unit of “Spain”; it is an independent area of economic systems infinitely complex in nature which the “Spanish government” cannot possibly comprehend, let alone “manage.”

    Their is nothing that “Spain” can offer Cataluña but bondage.

    What Cataluña is doing the Basque country should be doing.

    What Cataluña is doing, the northwest should be doing.

    Any group of people large enough to hold a plebiscite should be granted independence if they want it. No country which denies this human right is worthy of the name “free.”

  • lorenzo pons

    The article is full of imprecisions. First of all, according to the Spanish Constitution which was agreed upon by 80% of catalán people, the separation from Spain can only be decided by a majority of Spanish voters. Therefore, catalán voters cannot decide on behalf of the rest of spanish voters (the Spanish Constitution has mechanisms in place that allow catalans to seek Independence if they convince the rest of spanish people to vote in favor of such Independence). Secondly, it is not true that a majority of catalans would vote for Independence. Recent polls indicate quite the opposite. The real truth behind the catalán Independence movement is catalán government to continue looting catalans as they have done during the last 38 years, most of which under the mafia style government of Mr Jordi Pujol. It is very sad as a catalán myself to see how the hard working and civilized people of catalonia have been fooled and robbed for so long, in such big quantities by so few depicable people. I only hope that the Spanish government frees us from these evil people once and for all.

  • Mar

    This article is awesome, thank, we think same, we want freedom and real democracy

    Barcelone

    • lorenzo pons

      The catalan government brainwashes catalan people by controlling most of the media in catalonia ; brainwashes the minds of catalan children by imposing teachers in catalan schools to teach a distorted view of spanish history and foment the hatred towards Spain ; it doesnt allow parents to choose the language in which they want their children to be taught in,obliging schools to teach almost 100% in catalan language which is clearly against the law ; it doesnt permit businesses to market in spanish language imposing fines if they do; it puts in place all imaginable barriers for people that dont speak catalan to apply for public jobs; it wastes huge ammounts of catalan public money to promote independence….

      What kind of freedom and democracy are you talking about?

      Barcelona

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