“In 1713-14, it took the troops of Spain’s Borbon monarchy 14 months of siege before taking Barcelona and ending Catalan self-rule. In September 2017, Catalonia is again under siege, this time from the central Spanish People’s Party (PP) government.
Under prime minister Mariano Rajoy the Spanish state is concentrating all its firepower on stopping the Catalan government’s October 1 independence referendum. On that day, if this siege is successfully resisted, Catalan citizens will vote on whether “Catalonia should become an independent state in the form of a republic”.
Since September 6, the day its parliament adopted its referendum law, Catalonia has experienced a “shock and awe” offensive aimed at forcing the pro-independence government of premier Carles Puigdemont to submit to the central Spanish administration. The adoption of the law by the parliamentary majority of 62 Together For The Yes (JxSí) and 10 People’s Unity List (CUP) MPs was the culmination of an eight-year process that has seen over one million people mobilise every Catalan National Day since 2012.
The stakes could not be higher. If the referendum takes place, the PP minority government in Madrid will suffer a lethal blow to its credibility, opening the way to a change of government in the Spanish state. It would also bring into view the prospect of finally overturning the sub-democratic regime that has been in place in Spain since the late 1970s, when the heirs of the dictatorship of Francisco Franco negotiated a flawed “transition to democracy” with the anti-dictatorship resistance.
By the same token, if the Rajoy government manages to stop October 1, it will be a setback not only for Catalan aspirations to sovereignty but also for all forces in Spain fighting for democratic rights and against austerity. The partial weakening of the “1978 regime” represented by the rise of anti-austerity party Podemos and its allies would be contained: the “constitutionalist” parties—the PP, the Spanish Socialist Workers Party (PSOE) and the hipster neoliberal outfit Citizens—would be strengthened.” (Originally published: The Green Left Weekly by Dick Nichols if you cant get into Monthly Review)
‘“The Rule of Law Such As Ours” (And as Imposed in Catalonia)’ by Daniel Raventós & Julie Wark, counterpunch.org
“The Spanish government is playing hardball. Whatever post-Franco party has been in power, Madrid has always done everything possible to suppress Catalonia’s attempts to claim the right to self-determination but, this time, as October 1 looms, the response against a peaceful citizen movement has been much rougher than anyone imagined, including measures like police and Guardia Civil ships in the harbor, water-cannon trucks roaring along the highways, helicopters clattering overhead, taking control of Catalan finances, raiding the offices of the government’s IT center, the Foreign Affairs Ministry and Catalan government offices, detaining fourteen officials, impounding close to ten million ballot papers (so activists took printers into the streets to make off new ones), shutting down websites about the election (swiftly restored with mirror sites), and placing the Catalan police (Mossos) under the command of a colonel from the Guardia Civil (who, from a long lineage of Franco supporters, was charged with torture in 1992).” [long snip]
“The Catalans are a feisty (“tumultuous” according to the present Minister for the Interior) people and no lovers of authoritarian regimes, as evidenced as long ago as 1285 with the Berenguer Oller plebian revolt against the clergy and upper class. The Spanish soldier Baldomero Espartero said in 1842 that Barcelona should be bombarded every 50 years, while Antonio Guerola, Civil Governor in Barcelona, pronounced in 1864 that, “The rebellious personality of Catalans has often required military strength to suppress it, and long periods of time under siege.”
(much more of history and explanation of the independence movement is here.)
‘When Fascism Won’t Die: Why We Need to Support Catalonia’, by Anna M. Hennessey, counterpunch.org
“Thousands of the people who were tortured or sent to the camps were Catalans. During the years of Franco’s dictatorship, Catalonia was one of Spain’s strongholds of resistance, and the Catalan people suffered enormously for it. Following a military trial in 1940 that lasted less than an hour, Lluís Companys (1882-1940), the president of Catalonia’s Generalitat, or its system of governance, was tortured and then executed by the Guardia Civil. Companys is a symbol for what the Catalans endured during and after the Civil War. Many were murdered, disappeared, imprisoned, sent to concentration camps, had their children stolen, or were economically disenfranchised during these periods. Catalan people were also banned from speaking their language and saw other aspects of their culture suppressed by the fascist regime. Teaching and speaking of the language became legal only after Spain’s restoration to a democracy in 1978.” (again, more is here.)
‘Catalan secession crisis: Alongside Rajoy, Trump calls for a united Spain’, Paul Mitchell, wsws.org (self-explanatory dickiness)
freaking google strikes again: