Friday, April 11, 2014

Catalan MonitorNews Roundup

1. Artur Mas hints at “plebiscite election” to solve stalled process

Catalan President spoke today to Le Figaro, and outlined the different options left to the Catalan authorities following Tuesday’s rejection of a power transfer [link] by the Spanish Congress. The next step should be for the Catalan Parliament to pass a “Law of public consultations”, which would allow citizens to express their opinion in a non-binding referendum. However, Mas said he is aware of the chances of the central government prohibiting also this option:

Le Figaro – Artur Mas : “Le scénario le plus probable est que nous transformions les élections catalanes en référendum d’indépendance” (version longue)
“If we pass a regional law of consultations and this law is banned by the Constitutional Court, what path will be left to Catalans to express themselves democratically? The only way would then be to hold Catalan elections, which are legal by definition”.

If there is not another avenue, we will turn the election into a referendum. That is not the best scenario, [but] it is the most probable one.”

The Catalan leader has also been interviewed by the French radio broadcaster France Info:

France Info – Artur Mas se bat pour une Catalogne independante
“I think that there is a majority in favour of independence, but we will not know for sure until we’re allowed to vote. [If Catalans vote for independence], I will understand that we have a mandate to negotiate with the Spanish government, but it is impossible to negotiate anything of the sort, if we don’t know exactly the opinion of the Catalan population, which we need to consult”.

Follow Col·lectiu Oliba for more information on Catalan politics in French media.

2. Tercentenary: “the historical thread that binds the past to the present and the future” 

2014 is not just another year in Catalonia. Not only is 2014 the year when a referendum on self-determination is scheduled, but it also marks 300 years since the loss of Catalonia’s freedoms in the context of the War of the Spanish Succession.

The Catalan government has dubbed 2014 “Tricentenari” [Tercentenary]:

“The commemoration has two main functions: recalling the origins and causes of the present on the one hand, and on the other provoking a debate about our collective present and future.

To this end the Tercentenary rests on four pillars: commemorating a series of historical events; reimagining the future of Catalonia; fostering cohesion among citizens; and promoting Catalonia.”

The curator of this commemoration, Miquel Calçada, spoke recently at a debate on the Catalan referendum process in Utrecht (the Netherlands).

The website Help Catalonia published today Calçada’s full speech, an excellent account linking past and present events:

Help Catalonia – Tercentenary of the events of 1714, Speech at Utrech
On 11 September 1714 the city of Barcelona fell after heroically resisting a 14-month siege, thereby ending the War of the Spanish Succession. This conflict, fought over the right to ascend the Spanish throne, spanned the globe and involved two opposing world views: in political terms, the compromising or collaborative approach of the Catalans, who supported the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI, and on the other side, the absolutism of Philip V of the House of Bourbon. For Catalonia, the defeat of the Austrian side had a profound impact on all aspects of life, the echoes of which can still be heard today.

3. The right to decide (on everything)

One proof that the pro-independence drive in Catalonia goes beyond party politics and Artur Mas’ leadership is this weekend’s Catalan Social Forum, a nation-wide gathering of social movements, NGO’s and unions. Under the slogan “Another possible world is under construction”, hundreds of people will attend conferences, workshops and assemblies to debate on the most diverse issues, ranging from ecologism to anti-capitalism, and also Catalan self-determination:

Un país normal [A normal country] – “The right to decide” as a chance to build a better society
“The implication of more and more people into the self-determination struggle has grown incessantly, closely tied to other social demands. Independence is a democratic process that will have direct consequence in everyone’s daily life, and which must enable us to decide the of country that we want to build.”