“Citizen mobilisation is, without any doubt whatsoever, the key and defining element which will provide legitimacy to political decisions” in the final stretch of the process towards independence. This excerpt from the proposed strategy by the Catalan National Assembly (ANC) is a whole declaration of intent of the role that the foremost pro-sovereigny entity is willing to play, be it by a referendum or by a proclamation of independence in Parliament should the Spanish state prevent the voting, a scenario also possible according to the organisation forecasts.
The narrative thread of the Assembly, prepared by its political impact commission and which has received the unanimous approval of its national executive, is popular mobilisation so that Catalan institutions may hold the challenge of the state and go ahead with the referendum. According to sources from this entity, the starting point of this “permanent” mobilisation will be the approval of the law of juridical transition in the Catalan Parliament and the call for the referendum, which Junts pel Sí and the CUP want to execute in a single day to eschew the veto of the Constitutional Court.
“The key will be the moment of the disconnection law”, points out a consulted ANC member, which reminds that the “basical” function of the entity is mobilisation, as it has showed -he reminds- each National day. The entity assumes that “the time of truth” has come, to show its muscle in the street and start a mobilisation “sustained in time”, “pacific and democratic, proportionate but strong”, up to the day of the referendum. In its strategic document, the ANC directions defines the role of the citizenship as “determinant” in all the decisive moments of the process.
The idea of permanent mobilisation, upon which the ANC has worked during the last months, has reiterated itself several times from the political ranks. The government and the pro-independence parties are very clear that, in order to successfully culminate the process towards independence, political steadfastness must be complemented by support in the streets. A few days before, the chair of the Parliament, Carme Forcadell, also spoke about “permanent mobilisation” as a basic axis for the defence of the referendum.
Which will be the format of these acts? According to all the consulted sources, it is still unknown since -so it is argued- the civil pro-sovereignty movements will adapt the format of the protest to the state response and its level of belligerency. However, this is being debated at a grass-roots level and in the summary of the meeting of territorial assemblies of this past November -a document advanced by ‘La Vanguardia’- it is spoken of “indefinite camps in the public stays”, “general strikes”, “rapid concentrations” or “great demonstration”. ANC sources admit that these are scenarios which are being studied, but they affirm that the decision will be taken once the shock arrives.
The physical veto to the polling
Should the Spanish government try to prevent the vote on the transition law in Parliament, the ANC intends to carry out the “necessary mobilisations” to assure it takes place. However, should the suspension of autonomy or a “physical veto” come to being, the entity would support an unilateral declaration of independence. It is even contemplated that the Assembly of Elected Representatives, a platform promoted by the Association of Municipalities for Independence which includes all representatives (local or national) which support independence, could proclaim the new republic.
Even though the response is ready in case the state should prevent the referendum, the efforts of the ANC will be centred in the mobilisation to make it possible and the actions to win it. The strategic document proposes that each party should do its campaign but that there should be an unitary framework which joins all the pro-independence forces and allows to increase the social base in favour thereof.
The ANC is compromised to use “all its economic and logistic resources, and all its people as well”, for the victory in the referendum. To consider it “acceptable” in the international framework, however, the Assembly puts the following conditions to it: a clear and binary question, a “first-pass-the-post victory” and no participation limit. In this sense, they would support the question “Do you want Catalonia to become an independent state?”.
The judicialisation of the process
Even though sources of the Catalan National Assembly put the starting point in the process of the disconnection law in Parliament, they also mention that the judiciary processes against pro-independence leaders may accelerate popular response. The explosion could be triggered by the investigation against Carme Forcadell. However, the response to the first condemn about the process -the disqualification of Artur Mas, Irene Rigau and Joana Ortega- is yet to come. Sources of the pro-sovereignty entities explained last Tuesday that this is done in order not to “waste ammunition”. The ANC wants to make sure that no-one that supports independence will be tired of campaigning when the time of “permanent mobilisation” comes.
Source: Ara.cat, 16th of March 2017
Author: Núria Orriols