Photo: A manifestation of people in Palma, for political prisoners Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart
By Neus Tur, Palma de Mallorca
November 3rd, 2017
The Catalan process has been social and politically shaking Catalonia for months, but has also had effects on the rest of the world. And Mallorca stands out, undoubtedly, as the territory which has shown the most solidarity: dozens of events have taken place in the last months, a Coordinator for Groups for Democracy has been born and a dozen Defense Committees of the Republic (CDR) have been set up on the island.
The indignation and rage against the imprisonment of eight counsellors of the legitimate government of the Generalitat of Catalonia has resulted in eight manifetations in Mallorca, one in Menorca, one in Ibiza and one in Formentera, convened yesterday and this Friday. The Catalan question, in fact, has not had only an impact on the streets, but has also impacted on institutional policy and the island’s political groups. In particular, those that currently have responsibilities in the coalition Government.
Solidarity with prisoners
Thursday evening in Inca, Artà and Campanet groups of people held manifestations in support of the political prisoners. They had been convened by the Committee for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) of Inca and the delegations of the Obra Cultural Balear (OCB) of the other two municipalities. This Friday, November 3rd, the Coordinator of Groups for the Democracy of Mallorca and the CDR of Palma have called for a concentration to demand the freedom of Vice President Oriol Junqueras and of the counsellors Dolors Bassa, Joaquim Forn, Carles Mundó, Meritxell Borràs, Raül Romeva, Josep Rull and Jordi Turull – at the time of writing these lines Santi Vila had already paid his bail bond of 50,000 euros. In the case of the Mallorcan capital, the protest will be at 7pm in the Plaza de Cort de Ciudad.
In Esporles, the Ateneu Popular of the municipality has called for a concentration in front of the Town Hall. It will be at 8:15p.m. Also in Sa Pobla a protest has been called. It will be at 20:00 in front of the municipal consistory. In Porreres, on the other hand, the mobilization convened by the Popular Assembly of Porreres and the Cultural Assembly of Porreres will be at 7pm in the Plaza de la Vila. At the same time, the CDR of Manacor has called a manifestation against the imprisonments in the Plaza de Sa Bassa.
Similar to the big island of the archipelago, the rest of the islands have not been excluded from the popular indignation. In Menorca and through social networks, a concentration has been convened in Ciutadella, at 7pm in front of the Town Hall. In Eivissa and Formentera, the Committee for the Defense of the Republic has convened concentrations at 20:00 in Alamera de Vila and in the Plaza de San Francisco Javier de Formentera.
One Coordinator and eight CDRs
Now, beyond the current outburst of rage and indignation for the imprisonment of the eight counsellors of the Government of the Generalitat, its been months since Mallorca has been in “effervescent” times, due to the political situation in Catalonia. On the 20th of September, Can Alcover, the headquarters of the OCB and the home of political Catalanism and countless previous struggles, was full to the brim with noisy elected officials supporting their Catalan colleagues. A few hours later, the square of Cort de Palma seemed small, as it was packed with people crying out “against repression and for democracy”. The following day, on Thursday, September 21, the Coordinator of Groups for Democracy was born, an organizing platform that brings together some 40 entities from different fields, such as MÉS, Podem, PSIB-PSOE, GOB, the Association of Memory of Mallorca , the STEI, the OCB and the Cercle Mallorquí de Negocis.
Photo: The Son Monar bull painted in protest against political repression in Catalonia
During the following weeks, popular concentrations and mobilizations have taken place around the island: a concentration of people to reject the visit of Mariano Rajoy, an act of solidarity with Catalonia organized by MÉS for Mallorca in Inca, painted on the Bou de la Son Monar, concentrations to decry the police repression of October 1st in different municipalities, protests against of the imprisonment of Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart, demonstrations in support of democracy and rejection of the application of article 155 and a long etcetera.
In addition, on Thursday, October 19th, the Committee for the Defense of the Republic of Mallorca was born, which convened, on Friday the 27th, concentrations in different municipalities to welcome the Catalan Republic, which also calls today for concentrations to protest against the imprisonment of the counsellors of the Generalitat de Catalunya. The initiative, driven by the Independentist Left, the Sovereign Assembly of Mallorca and some individuals, has grown during the last few weeks. Today, the island has CDRs in three districts of Palma (Pere Garau, Canamunt and Eixample) and other Mallorcan municipalities such as Manacor, Felanitx, Esporles, Campos, Alaró-Santa Maria, Llubí and Inca.
Internal criticisms and debates in parties and insular Governments
The Catalan question, in addition, has not only had an impact on the streets, but has also affected institutional policy and, in particular, the political parties which make up the coalition of the current Balearic Government. Faced with support by the PSOE for the approval of article 155, MÉS and Podem asked the socialist senator Francesc Antich not to support it, militants of MES demanded their eco/pro-sovereignty party withdraw from the government if the Balearic ex-president voted for the suppression of Catalan self-government. Although Antich was absent from the Senate at the time of the vote, the most critical voices within the Government coalition continue to resonate, since MÉS, one of the most active agents in solidarity with Catalonia, is now in coalition with a party which supported article 155.
Photo: Francina Armengol, president of the Balearics, interviewed on TV3
Critics, however, are not limited to the eco/pro-independence party. During the last few weeks different historical affiliates of the PSIB-PSOE, such as former tourism counselor Celestí Alomar and Bernat Ramis, have been discharged from the party, and many voices have criticized the support of the PSOE for article 155 and the judicialization of the Catalan conflict. The autonomous community president, Francina Armengol, who had already spoken critically of the support of her party for article 155, considered the judicial measures adopted by the judge of the Spanish National Court Carmen Lamela to be “disproportionate” and appealed to “balance, wisdom, responsibility and dialogue as the only solutions of the current situation” at an event, yesterday, celebrating the opening of the Week of Books in Catalan.
With the political tension that is being experienced in Catalonia, Mallorca has once again emerged as a “brother” territory, where much of the social and political spectrum feels interconnected with the historical situation that is being experienced in the Peninsula. While it is true that there are contradictions still present, because of their own political agenda and a social reality that is far removed from the Catalan process, the island has once again become the spearhead of solidarity with a movement, a replica of which, might one day resonate in the archipelago.