Alexander Hay

Oct 18, 2017

2 min read

Spain and Catalonia: a guide for encouraging radical revolutionaries!

On 1 October 2017 there was a referendum in Catalonia on the thorny issue of Catalan Independence. Polling prior to the referendum suggested limited support for the independence movement. The government of Spain in Madrid opposed the referendum as unconstitutional, and responded violently against the voters in Catalonia sending out thousands of police to suppress the referendum. Hundreds of voters were injured by the police, and an otherwise peaceful, even if non-binding, referendum was disrupted. The final results of the referendum came out in favor of independence, but this may have been skewed by the government instigated violence — only the most pro-independence voters would risk going out and voting creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

In retrospect the Spanish government had 3 options:

  1. Do nothing and sit back and watch — if the vote is Yes then they declare the vote “non-binding” but useful so that the issue can be legally addressed in the National Assembly; if the vote is No then the Spanish government has a mandate to crack down on the violent members of the Independence movement.
  2. Actively oppose the Yes vote and make sure that those opposing independence are heard — the only real risk here is that the government might over play the downside of independence and lose respect like the Remainers have in the UK.
  3. Attack the referendum itself denying the voters a chance to voice their opinions, even if the vote is illegal or non-binding. This will in effect be an incredible propaganda victory for the Independence Movement since they can then claim victory without a legitimate vote (a primary strategy of all revolutionaries and Bolsheviks).

The last is clearly an incredibly stupid policy to follow, but this was the policy the Spanish government chose, and the European Union stood behind.

So what now? The Spanish government is now in the process of pressing forward with criminal charges against the democratically elected political leaders who supported the independence movement and the referendum, stripping the province of its previous autonomy, and imposing direct rule from Madrid.

This should be interesting to watch. I have no legitimate interest in this issue other than curiosity. I must admit to a certain amount of support for the concept of self-determination, but I have no idea if this is a good idea for Catalonia.

I only believe that the response of the Spanish government is like pouring gasoline on a fire.

Alexander Hay is a US lawyer now living in Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia. Some have accused him of being a curmudgeon, but what do they know???? Noisy kids!

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