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PostBarcelona City Hall Issues Ultimatum (Bàrbara Molas, Canada, 09/19/19 12:52 pm)
A couple of days ago the Barcelona City Hall declared that if Spain finally condemns the procés it would join the separatists in calling for mobilization.
This is relevant because this announcement has split Barcelona's government (Podemos vs. PSOE) and challenged even more the possibility for a deal between the main national parties to prevent new elections in Madrid. I believe this is an extremely timely issue to discuss.
JE comments: It's a pleasure to publish the inaugural post from our newest WAISer, Bàrbara Molas of York University in Toronto. Bàrbara was nominated by our dear friend David W Pike. I'll formally introduce her to the Forum on the morrow.
WAIS pays more attention to Spain than to any country except possibly the US. Still, we've been asleep at the wheel regarding this week's collapse of the ruling coalition in Madrid. And there is the possibility of lengthy prison sentences coming soon for the Catalonian separatist leaders. As Bàrbara writes, we have much to talk about. What exactly is meant by "mobilization"? I presume it's street protests, but traditionally the term refers to war.
Barcelona City Hall Ultimatum: No Surprise
(José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela
09/21/19 2:39 PM)
I would like to extend an enthusiastic welcome to Bàrbara Molas. I am sure she will make extraordinary contributions to our discussions on the Forum.
However, I must make some small comments on Barbara's post of September 19th.
The declaration by the Barcelona City Council mentioned by Barbara is not a surprise. The council is controlled by independentist parties, particularly two leftist parties, los Comunes and ERC, together with the conservative group JpC. I believe the latter are the heirs of the most corrupt political party in Catalonian history, as well as supporters of the procés.
Bàrbara further writes, "if Spain finally condemns the procés it would join the separatists in calling for mobilization." I suppose she is referring to the probable guilty verdict against the Catalonian politicians in preventive detention, who are now being judged by the Spanish Supreme Court for breaking the Spanish Constitutional Law by unilaterally and illegally pursuing Catalonia independence. This is what they call the process. The way Barbara says it, it seems that the nation, Spain, is planning to condemn the procés and not the politicians who broke the law. In Spain there is an institutional separation of powers and the trial is merely a judicial process, albeit complex and surely with political implications.
Contrary to what Bàrbara speculates, this event is not relevant at this time, because it did not prevent new elections through a deal among the main Spanish constitutional parties. Whether the city council's pronouncement will have any practical effect for mobilization or social unrest remains to be seen.
An amendment to John's comment: there has not been any collapse of the ruling coalition in Madrid this week. In fact the reason for new elections is that there was never any agreement for any coalition.
JE comments: Sorry, I should have said "collapse of the Sánchez caretaker government." We Americans never truly grasp a parliamentary system, just as non-Americans cannot make sense of the Electoral College.
The central question in Barcelona: Will Catalonians take to the streets after the sentences are handed down? Almost certainly, especially if the independence leaders receive the severe sentences (50- to 70-years) that the prosecutors are requesting. And if Barcelona boils over, how will Madrid react?
Throwing Down the Gauntlet at Barcelona City Hall
(Bàrbara Molas, Canada
09/24/19 5:30 AM)
Many thanks to José Ignacio Soler (September 22nd) for his welcome and comment on my first WAIS post.
By "condemning," I was indeed referring to the "probable guilty verdict against the Catalan politicians in preventive detention," and thanks for providing with a definition of el procés, which I did not include.
My words were meant not only to refer to the legal implications of the illegal actions of some Catalan separatists, but also to the idea that Catalonia and (now Barcelona's government) has decided to support el procés as a socio-political movement against what they believe is an injustice. Given that Barcelona (city and province) has always been politically more diverse (Colau in particular has been considered something of an "in-between" party, striving for a compromise between Madrid and Catalonia), the fact that the local government is now pronouncing itself in favour of the imprisoned and (self-)exiled separatists and so against the central government seems to be a relevant issue to think about, particularly taking into consideration the coming elections (again!).
However, I agree with José Ignacio that "[w]hether the city council's pronouncement will have any practical effect for mobilization or social unrest remains to be seen." What it is already causing though is a sense that separatism cannot be neglected (as it largely was after the demonstration of Sept. 11, characterized by the attendance of fewer people than usual), because it is undoubtedly still very much shaping Spanish politics--from below as from above.
JE comments: Bàrbara Molas has given me permission to omit the accent 'when publishing her name. Thanks, Barbara! The "grave" mark (') is always harder to locate on a keyboard than its acute cousin (´). Castilian linguistic imperialism?
The world's eyes are focused on the UK today, and the Supreme Court's unanimous rebuke of Boris Johnson's "prorogation" effort. There are calls for BoJo to step down. I doubt he will--although I was 100% wrong yesterday when predicting the Supreme Court's decision.
We should pay attention to Catalonia, too. Barbara, do we have a specific date on when the sentences will be announced?
When Will the Catalonian Independence Leaders be Sentenced?
(Bàrbara Molas, Canada
09/26/19 4:41 AM)
It was recently stated by prosecutor Javier Zaragoza that the Court's final decision on el procés would be announced within the first two weeks of October 2019, barely a month before the national elections.
However, this information is not final. In any event, a decision should be reached before October 12th, which is when the preventive detention of separatists Jordi Sànchez and Jordi Cuixart would have to be extended for two years after their imprisonment.
JE comments: October 12th is the old "Día de la Hispanidad" ("Spanishness" Day) for Francoists. Now it's known by the blandest and most generic name imaginable: "Fiesta Nacional"/National Holiday.
The big question: will the Court take a hard line (read: hard time) against the independentists, thus provoking unrest in the streets? Or will it try to smooth things over with a slap on the wrist, thus enraging the Spanish Right? It's a lose-lose scenario.
I'd like to hear from Jordi Molins on this topic.
The Myriad Names of October 12th
(José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela
09/27/19 3:39 PM)
In the September 26th post of Barbara Molas, John E commented that "October 12th is the old 'Día de la Hispanidad' ('Spanishness' Day) for Francoists." I believe some clarification on this assessment is necessary.
Since 1987, October 12th is the official National Day of Spain. It commemorates the supposed day Columbus arrived in the Americas, and it is a symbol of the integration of the diverse kingdoms of Spain in the 15th century and their linguistic and cultural expansion beyond the European borders. I believe before that and unofficially, this day was called "Día de la Raza" (Race Day) until 1931 and in 1935, the name "Día de la Hispanidad" was proposed by Ramiro De Maetzu and generally accepted during many years. It is not a "Francoist name" in origin; it was already in use since beginning of the 20th century, though it was used and officially designated in 1958 by the Franco regime under this name.
Countries in America used, and some still use and celebrate, the name "Dia de la Raza." Nowadays it has changed in some countries. Argentina uses the name "Cultural diversity respect Day"; Bolivia "Decolonization day"; in Colombia it's the "day of Race and the Hispanic"; in Venezuela since the Chávez times, "Day of indigenous Resistance"; Uruguay and Chile still informally use the "Day of the Race" name; Peru uses "Day of the original people" name; and finally in the US it's "Columbus Day." All names have different political and socio-cultural implications, but the fact is that historically it's and important and significant day for Western civilization.
JE comments: I don't often link up to a WAIS article from the last millennium, but this 1999 Ronald Hilton post complements José Ignacio Soler's comment to a T. I never knew about Indigenous Resistance day. Read on...and let's revisit this topic on the 12th.
- The Myriad Names of October 12th (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela 09/27/19 3:39 PM)
- When Will the Catalonian Independence Leaders be Sentenced? (Bàrbara Molas, Canada 09/26/19 4:41 AM)
- Throwing Down the Gauntlet at Barcelona City Hall (Bàrbara Molas, Canada 09/24/19 5:30 AM)