Catalonia

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Well, that was awfully cowardly of Puigdemont....

Sonmi:
Well, that was awfully cowardly of Puigdemont....

I'd call it pragmatic, if this whole affair didn't seem doomed from the start.

Were they able to get any nations to recognize the referendum? I know that the French said they wouldn't recognize independence and that Catalonia leaving would mean they're out of the EU.

Sonmi:
Well, that was awfully cowardly of Puigdemont....

Not really. Now he has the moral high ground. He is attempting talks. If the Spanish refuse to compromise - say by allowing a legitimate referendum - then nobody can complain about a unilateral declaration of independence. Whereas if he jumps straight to independence, people (pricks) can whine about the legitimacy of the vote.

Catnip1024:
Whereas if he jumps straight to independence, people (pricks) can whine about the legitimacy of the vote.

Aren't those people going to do it anyway?

Catnip1024:

Sonmi:
Well, that was awfully cowardly of Puigdemont....

Not really. Now he has the moral high ground. He is attempting talks. If the Spanish refuse to compromise - say by allowing a legitimate referendum - then nobody can complain about a unilateral declaration of independence. Whereas if he jumps straight to independence, people (pricks) can whine about the legitimacy of the vote.

Hasn't Spain taken a pretty hardline stance on not negotiating? And the various countries who've refused to back Catalonia have only weakened their position?

CM156:

Sonmi:
Well, that was awfully cowardly of Puigdemont....

I'd call it pragmatic, if this whole affair didn't seem doomed from the start.

Were they able to get any nations to recognize the referendum? I know that the French said they wouldn't recognize independence and that Catalonia leaving would mean they're out of the EU.

I can only think of three European political entities that spoke of recognizing Catalonia: Sturgeon, Melenchon, and Orban, all for their own personal reasons. There might be more, though.

And yeah, out of Spain, out of the EU, and incapable of joining until Spain has been placated due to them possessing a veto on new memberships, but I hardly see the conclusion of today's events as being any more positive. Catalonia pissed the entirety of Europe off, while Puigdemont happened to anger his own supporters with the theatricality of his empty gestures.

UDI my ass.

Catnip1024:
Not really. Now he has the moral high ground. He is attempting talks. If the Spanish refuse to compromise - say by allowing a legitimate referendum - then nobody can complain about a unilateral declaration of independence. Whereas if he jumps straight to independence, people (pricks) can whine about the legitimacy of the vote.

Catalonia has had the moral high ground for years, and Rajoy has made it clear that he does not intend to negotiate with "terrorist/communists/Nazis/ultra-nationalists/whatever bull the Spanish buy about the Catalans". This milquetoast declaration of suspended independence is a solution that pleases no one, Catalans included.

As for the legitimacy of the vote, that will always be put into question. The whole strategy of the "Remain" side is to dishonestly boycott the vote in order to conflate the apathetic and incapable-of-voting voters with themselves.

Puigdemont might have seriously hurt Junt pel Si by antagonizing their CUP allies with his BS. They lose the CUP, and they lose the parliamentary majority to declare independence proper.

Sonmi:
Catalonia has had the moral high ground for years, and Rajoy has made it clear that he does not intend to negotiate with "terrorist/communists/Nazis/ultra-nationalists/whatever bull the Spanish buy about the Catalans". This milquetoast declaration of suspended independence is a solution that pleases no one, Catalans included.

If you look at recent history, the sorts of people to make unilateral declarations of independence without at least attempting talks tend to be kind of bellends. The fact that the Spanish have been given every possible opportunity to stop breaching UN human rights is a good sign - it means the Catalonian leadership isn't obsessed with glorious revolution or power.

Or that they are pussies. We'll see.

Sonmi:
Well, that was awfully cowardly of Puigdemont....

Catnip1024:
Whereas if he jumps straight to independence, people (pricks) can whine about the legitimacy of the vote.

The vote has no legitimacy, and obviously so. It was held despite not being confirmed legitimate by the relevant jurisdiction, under police disruption, and a pitiful ~40% turnout (having been boycotted by the Spanish unionists). A claim of independence from an illegal referendum that failed swathes of good electoral practice would be a laughing stock to every country in the West. Even worse, what you can't forget, is also the strength of feeling of the anti-indepndence Catalans - he'd potentially kick off something approaching a civil war between Catalans even if Spain didn't intervene.

It is simply not a credible option to claim independence off this vote. The best he can do is play it up as much as he can and hopes Spain is feeling conciliatory, because in reality he's got precious little weight to push with and most of that's due to police brutality.

Sonmi:
I can only think of three European political entities that spoke of recognizing Catalonia:

Sturgeon

Not a huge fan.

Melenchon

Oooosh, really not a fan.

Orban

Oh, well 1 out of 3 isn't bad.

And yeah, out of Spain, out of the EU, and incapable of joining until Spain has been placated due to them possessing a veto on new memberships, but I hardly see the conclusion of today's events as being any more positive. Catalonia pissed the entirety of Europe off, while Puigdemont happened to anger his own supporters with the theatricality of his empty gestures.

image

As for the legitimacy of the vote, that will always be put into question. The whole strategy of the "Remain" side is to dishonestly boycott the vote in order to conflate the apathetic and incapable-of-voting voters with themselves.

I thought it was a great strategy. You don't have to go out for a vote your government has made clear is illegal (and risk getting hit in the face by a cop taking the ballot box) and you don't have to lend legitimacy to the vote.

Sonmi:

As for the legitimacy of the vote, that will always be put into question. The whole strategy of the "Remain" side is to dishonestly boycott the vote in order to conflate the apathetic and incapable-of-voting voters with themselves.

Why the hell should they take part in the vote? It's illegal, with value solely as a propaganda exercise for the secessionists. There is no benefit for anybody but the secessionists to support the referendum.

Agema:
The vote has no legitimacy, and obviously so. It was held despite not being confirmed legitimate by the relevant jurisdiction, under police disruption, and a pitiful ~40% turnout (having been boycotted by the Spanish unionists). A claim of independence from an illegal referendum that failed swathes of good electoral practice would be a laughing stock to every country in the West. Even worse, what you can't forget, is also the strength of feeling of the anti-indepndence Catalans - he'd potentially kick off something approaching a civil war between Catalans even if Spain didn't intervene.

It is simply not a credible option to claim independence off this vote. The best he can do is play it up as much as he can and hopes Spain is feeling conciliatory, because in reality he's got precious little weight to push with and most of that's due to police brutality.

Catalonia has ~5 million voters. In the face of paramilitary police government endorsed violence, over 2 million voted for independence. As there is no chance of getting a vote to be held that the Spanish would accept, and as the UN human rights guarantee the right for self-determination, they have every right to secede.

Spain and it's apologists can go fuck themselves. The question is not whether Catalonia has a mandate, it is how it plays it.

Catnip1024:
Catalonia has ~5 million voters. In the face of paramilitary police government endorsed violence, over 2 million voted for independence. As there is no chance of getting a vote to be held that the Spanish would accept, and as the UN human rights guarantee the right for self-determination, they have every right to secede... The question is not whether Catalonia has a mandate, it is how it plays it.

The kindest thing I can do here is assume you've said that in jest, because it's kind of a hilarious fantasy.

Meanwhile, in the real world...

Catnip1024:
UN human rights guarantee the right for self-determination, they have every right to secede.

The UN does not codify the right of succession, and self-determination has been mostly applied to colonial situations. In fact, most succession movements are illegal unless they manage to win. See the USA and the Confederacy. The former won their war of independence and got to be a country. The latter lost their war of independence and was forced to stay. Latin American nations that won their independence in the 19th century got to leave. The ones that didn't had to stay (at least until the Spanish-American war). If Catalonia is unable to get the matter through the law of the nation they currently belong to (Spain) and are unwilling (or unable) to fight for it through force of arms (and let's face it, they'd be crushed if they tried), then Catalonia is stuck with Spain.

Also as much as you might want to invoke the UN, they have basically no power. There is no mandate.

Agema:

Catnip1024:
Catalonia has ~5 million voters. In the face of paramilitary police government endorsed violence, over 2 million voted for independence. As there is no chance of getting a vote to be held that the Spanish would accept, and as the UN human rights guarantee the right for self-determination, they have every right to secede... The question is not whether Catalonia has a mandate, it is how it plays it.

The kindest thing I can do here is assume you've said that in jest, because it's kind of a hilarious fantasy.

Meanwhile, in the real world...

Come now, we all have our fantasies. It's just that most of us realize they're fantasy.

Agema:

Catnip1024:
Catalonia has ~5 million voters. In the face of paramilitary police government endorsed violence, over 2 million voted for independence. As there is no chance of getting a vote to be held that the Spanish would accept, and as the UN human rights guarantee the right for self-determination, they have every right to secede... The question is not whether Catalonia has a mandate, it is how it plays it.

The kindest thing I can do here is assume you've said that in jest, because it's kind of a hilarious fantasy.

Meanwhile, in the real world...

Okay, point out what is inaccurate here.

You can contest the results of the election, but the only way to back up any claim you make is if you endorse an actual sanctioned election, which won't happen because Spain is scared of the results.

Are you contesting the police brutality? Because that was live-streamed around the world.

The principle of self-determination is long-standing and appreciated by pretty much everyone apart from tinpot borderline fascist states. The UN tends to keep out of the matter until you get to full-on genocide, which is the main issue. But it is clearly set out in UN declarations.

Catalonia is a culturally distinct land from the rest of Spain. It's the equivalent of Wales or Scotland to the UK, only with a higher portion of the overall economy and better football.

If you are saying that the voters of Catalonia don't have the power to deliver a mandate to leave, what does? The land? The trees? Or are you trying to claim that the borders of Spain were defined by God and are therefore impossible to change?

And hows about, this time, just maybe, actually put forward an argument rather than pretentious empty words designed purely to stroke your own ego.

Catnip1024:
The principle of self-determination is long-standing and appreciated by pretty much everyone apart from tinpot borderline fascist states.

Only when politically expedient or strategically beneficial. You think the US government would ever willingly allow any one of its states to become independent? Or what about the various indian tribes?

The Entertainer:

Catnip1024:
The principle of self-determination is long-standing and appreciated by pretty much everyone apart from tinpot borderline fascist states.

Only when politically expedient or strategically beneficial. You think the US government would ever willingly allow any one of its states to become independent? Or what about the various indian tribes?

We had a Supreme Court case about that, actually. Texas v. White. Any 1L worth their salt can tell you what the finding of the case was: There is, without a doubt, no right for a state to unilaterally succeed from the United States.

I have yet to read any specific UN commentary on that matter. I know that Russia cramps down hard on succession movements in some of their less-Russian areas, and China is not willing to entertain Tibet being independent. Like, at all. And since those are all security council members, the only ones who have any power to make binding law, I find it hard to believe there's any right to succession.

The Entertainer:

Catnip1024:
The principle of self-determination is long-standing and appreciated by pretty much everyone apart from tinpot borderline fascist states.

Only when politically expedient or strategically beneficial. You think the US government would ever willingly allow any one of its states to become independent? Or what about the various indian tribes?

I did say tinpot borderline fascist states. But there has never been enough strength of feeling in recent history to properly test that in the US case. If you had eskimo suicide bombers in Alaska, and polar bears setting fire to themselves in protest, it might be different.

Catnip1024:
Okay, point out what is inaccurate here.

You can contest the results of the election, but the only way to back up any claim you make is if you endorse an actual sanctioned election, which won't happen because Spain is scared of the results.

Are you contesting the police brutality? Because that was live-streamed around the world.

The principle of self-determination is long-standing and appreciated by pretty much everyone apart from tinpot borderline fascist states. The UN tends to keep out of the matter until you get to full-on genocide, which is the main issue. But it is clearly set out in UN declarations.

Catalonia is a culturally distinct land from the rest of Spain. It's the equivalent of Wales or Scotland to the UK, only with a higher portion of the overall economy and better football.

If you are saying that the voters of Catalonia don't have the power to deliver a mandate to leave, what does? The land? The trees? Or are you trying to claim that the borders of Spain were defined by God and are therefore impossible to change?

In practice, countries get independence because the rest of the world (or enough of the right players in the rest of the world) recognise their independence. The UN can say what it likes about self-determination, but the UN does not grant countries their independence.

Western countries, with rule of law and all, prefer things to be done in proper legal and procedural manner. So when a province calls an illegal referendum which clearly doesn't pass acceptable standards for a fair democratic vote and doesn't even remotely prove majority support for independence (even had it been conducted legally and without disruption), it's about as convincing to them as throwing a load of wet fish on the floor. This is without also factoring in political issues that Spain is a fairly influential known factor whereas Catalonia is much weaker and its independence potentially disruptive which will lean to them favouring the status quo, which it makes it all the more pressing independence is done "right".

That Spain won't grant Catalonia a reasonable referendum, and that they sent in a load of bully-boys to crack skulls, makes the government of Spain a bunch of arseholes - and pretty stupid arseholes too, because you can hardly do more to encourage unhappy provinces to want to leave than brutalising them. (Unless I guess, you can get away with truly spectacular repression, c.f. Chechnya.) But in the end, Spain will eventually have to grant Catalonia a free and fair referendum if it persistently pursues a desire for independence, because the alternative will be a level of injustice and social disorder that'll end up more damaging to Spain than losing Catalonia.

Catalonia thus needs to seek independence through appropriate channels. What the Catalonian government has done with this preciptious referendum, is to kick off disorder and threat of further disorder to try to bring Madrid to the negotiating table: "This is a taste of how it's going to be if you stonewall us". It's not a credible independence mandate per se, but it might force Madrid to offer, or offer clear routes to, a credible referendum in the future.

I lean to the opinion that the Catalonian government could have looked better by taking a bit more time, pursuing a few more avenues, and showing up the Spanish government as rather more unreasonably obstructive before kicking off a fight. But hey, if it gets them their necessary concessions, I'm happy to say they played their cards well.

And hows about, this time, just maybe, actually put forward an argument rather than pretentious empty words designed purely to stroke your own ego.

Aw, boo hoo hoo.

Having been to Barcelona for a season, it's painfully obvious that many Catalans don't want anything to do with Madrid anymore and I can't really blame them. You can't go a single block without seeing buildings flying the Catalonia flag and independence was pretty much a constant topic of conversation, and this was back when Catalonia didn't have a provincial government or administration at the time. From Philip V to Franco, Catalan language and customs were illegal and Barcelona's growth was artificially stagnated. Things have improved a lot, but there's still the fact that the same family that Philip V was from still sits on the Spanish throne and that Catalonia still has to send funds and resources to the less affluent parts of Spain, which is a factor I think a lot of Catalan revolutionaries are forgetting.

Spain still hasn't fully recovered from 2008's economic recession, and Catalonia is the wealthiest and most industrialized province of Spain right after Madrid itself. If Catalonia left, taking all that tourism, finance, industry, and commerce, Spain's economy would tank and the government would lose a huge chunk of the funds it needs to sustain Spain's state programs. Then there's Catalonia and Spain's relationship with the rest of the EU to consider.

I honestly don't see this going well if things don't at least smooth over. People for Catalan independence are doing it for genuine historical grievances and the sake of autonomy, but the people who want Catalonia to stay are doing it out of very real concerns for Spain's economy and make-up. If Catalonia leaves, that gives the green light to pretty much any non-Castilian region of Spain such as Galicia, Pais Vasco, and possibly Andalusia. It could, emphasis on could, get real ugly.

Edit: That all said and done, the response to the referendum is completely wrong on every level possible. This is only going to remind people from the Francoist regime and how it handled opposition, galvanizing both moderate and radical elements further. It would've been better if Madrid just simply ignored or declined to recognize the vote as people were voting.

Agema:
In practice, countries get independence because the rest of the world (or enough of the right players in the rest of the world) recognise their independence. The UN can say what it likes about self-determination, but the UN does not grant countries their independence.

Is it? Besides in a somewhat pointless way where we now simply define define independence as the recognition thereof by other states, I mean?

It seems to me that if you are capable of holding territory and you manage to be the de facto lawmaker and ruler of that territory and its inhabitants you are independend, regardless of recognition though I'll admit that recognition makes that a lot easier to do. Still, typically a (violent) seperation comes first, and, if it succeeds, recognition after that to formalise what was already the case and what the rest of the world no longer wants to object to/fight.

I'd prefer to try and not go down a 'might makes right' route too much.

Agema:
snip

Somehow, I doubt the Catalan representatives have enough power to block the Spanish government, except in very fortuitous circumstances.

The Spanish have no incentive to allow a proper referendum. There is nothing short of a declaration of independence, or threat of one, that could even conceivably bring them to the negotiating table.

A referendum being illegal isn't an issue if the law is objectively wrong.

Oh, and thanks for holding your maturity together long enough for a proper answer, even if you did slip up at the end...

Thinking about the political ideals it's quite interesting. The EU (and most of the left wing movements nowdays) are supporting the ideal of a "global village" (I might be mistaken in the specific term here), the erosion of the countries (seen as gone past their time) in favour of a borderless world.

The Catalonian independence has a high risk of breaking that ideal as patriotism is complete opposite to the end goal (further driving apart countries) and thus we have the spanish government using violence to keep ideals that paint themselves as "freedom". Not the first time or last time it will happen.

This sounds to me like if California wanted to become its own country and take away its revenue. The US would do literally anything to stop them due to their economy.

I don't know enough about this other than to blame austerity and the banks for this. Poverty and suffering births unrest. Spain also has a history with Franco and such so I bet a lot of people are relieving some bad memories right around now.

Dreiko:
This sounds to me like if California wanted to become its own country and take away its revenue. The US would do literally anything to stop them due to their economy.

Considering the Droughts in California they wouldn't get very far.
-"Hey we want out"
-"Alright, every liter of water you import is 20$"

inu-kun:

Dreiko:
This sounds to me like if California wanted to become its own country and take away its revenue. The US would do literally anything to stop them due to their economy.

Considering the Droughts in California they wouldn't get very far.
-"Hey we want out"
-"Alright, every liter of water you import is 20$"

Also many of those rural areas might not be too keen on succeeding with California for that and other reasons. And it's hard to say "We have the right to leave by majority vote but no part of us has the same right to stay if they so wish"

Also this could be the case in Catalonia with some of the big cities. Imagine Catalonia votes to leave but Barcelona votes to stay. Again, if self-determination is so important that it trumps national laws then it's impossible to justify making parts that way to stay leave with the rest.

Catnip1024:

Agema:
snip

Somehow, I doubt the Catalan representatives have enough power to block the Spanish government, except in very fortuitous circumstances.

The Spanish have no incentive to allow a proper referendum. There is nothing short of a declaration of independence, or threat of one, that could even conceivably bring them to the negotiating table.

A referendum being illegal isn't an issue if the law is objectively wrong.

Oh, and thanks for holding your maturity together long enough for a proper answer, even if you did slip up at the end...

Part of the problem is that the Spanish constitution does consider the Spanish state to be indissoluble and indivisible. Part of the referendum's problem is that Spain's legal and governmental foundation can't at least recognize it. Any attempts of succession are unconstitutional.

NemotheElvenPanda:
Part of the problem is that the Spanish constitution does consider the Spanish state to be indissoluble and indivisible. Part of the referendum's problem is that Spain's legal and governmental foundation can't at least recognize it. Any attempts of succession are unconstitutional.

Constitutions can be changed - I mean, it only dates from 1978, it's not some ancient and unchangeable holy text. The Spanish just have no intention of doing so. It is the current governments determination to use paperwork as an excuse that is the problem, rather than the paperwork itself.

Pseudonym:
It seems to me that if you are capable of holding territory and you manage to be the de facto lawmaker and ruler of that territory and its inhabitants you are independend, regardless of recognition though I'll admit that recognition makes that a lot easier to do. Still, typically a (violent) seperation comes first, and, if it succeeds, recognition after that to formalise what was already the case and what the rest of the world no longer wants to object to/fight.

To an extent I'd agree. However, firstly there's often a big difference between de facto independence and legally recognised independence.

In the former case, countries are often much more vulnerable to the goodwill of major global or regional players. Taiwan, for instance, gets by pretty well because its de facto independence has the agreement of most of the world except China. Without such backing, however, they don't tend to last long.

Catnip1024:
The Spanish have no incentive to allow a proper referendum. There is nothing short of a declaration of independence, or threat of one, that could even conceivably bring them to the negotiating table.

Yes, that's basically my argument. The referendum is a means to force Spain into concessions, even if it is so flawed it will not stand scrutiny as adequate democratic mandate.

Although there are lots of other potential tactics to pressure a parent country into offering independence (or a route to independence) other than a sham referendum.

A referendum being illegal isn't an issue if the law is objectively wrong.

"Objectively wrong"? With respect to what external truth, precisely?

Oh, and thanks for holding your maturity together long enough for a proper answer, even if you did slip up at the end...

That's an ironic accusation from a guy who started throwing insults just because he had a bad argument briskly dismissed.

Agema:
Although there are lots of other potential tactics to pressure a parent country into offering independence (or a route to independence) other than a sham referendum.

Name them. That could actually be implemented in this instance.

If the Catalans can't bring the Spanish parliament to a standstill, they are effectively powerless.

"Objectively wrong"? With respect to what external truth, precisely?

The principle of democracy. If the majority of people in a region want something, and are denied that, that is a failure of democracy. The majority of Catalan's want a referendum, if not independence.

You can argue that democracy isn't a universal value all you like, but it's more relevant than a piece of paper that isn't even as old as half of the people talking about it.

inu-kun:

The Catalonian independence has a high risk of breaking that ideal as patriotism is complete opposite to the end goal (further driving apart countries) and thus we have the spanish government using violence to keep ideals that paint themselves as "freedom". Not the first time or last time it will happen.

Couple of days ago there was a "Remain" demonstration in Barcelona. If you'd ask those people, i'm convinced most of them would say they think of themselves as spanish patriots.
Besides, i think dwindling globalization process would be more harmful to small states like Catalonia, that look into global trade as the source of their prosperity, than bigger, more self-sustainable entities, like Spain. ]

Dreiko:
Spain also has a history with Franco and such so I bet a lot of people are relieving some bad memories right around now.

That sounds to me like the most important historical factor. Can't really say for sure, but i heard that for a long time, for many Catalans, Franco and Spain were synonymous.

Catnip1024:
The principle of democracy. If the majority of people in a region want something, and are denied that, that is a failure of democracy. The majority of Catalan's want a referendum, if not independence.

You can argue that democracy isn't a universal value all you like, but it's more relevant than a piece of paper that isn't even as old as half of the people talking about it.

The age of a law doesn't to affect its validity, and dismissing the Spanish constitution as a "piece of paper" is stupid as you could dismiss the UN's Declaration of Human Rights the same way.

Anyway, the Spanish constitution was voted on by the Spanish people and over 90% approved of it, so ignoring what it says would be undemocratic too.

The Entertainer:
Anyway, the Spanish constitution was voted on by the Spanish people and over 90% approved of it, so ignoring what it says would be undemocratic too.

The Spanish people are not the Catalonian people, and the vote was 40 plus years ago. Anything was an improvement over the previous military juntas of the time.

Catnip1024:

The Entertainer:
Anyway, the Spanish constitution was voted on by the Spanish people and over 90% approved of it, so ignoring what it says would be undemocratic too.

The Spanish people are not the Catalonian people, and the vote was 40 plus years ago. Anything was an improvement over the previous military juntas of the time.

Catalonian approval of it was above average, and I thought things being old was supposed to make them more valid? You're saying the constitution isn't really valid because it's only 40 years old while also saying that the vote in favor of the constitution isn't really valid because it's already 40 years old.

The Entertainer:
Catalonian approval of it was above average, and I thought things being old was supposed to make them more valid? You're saying the constitution isn't really valid because it's only 40 years old while also saying that the vote in favor of the constitution isn't really valid because it's already 40 years old.

My argument was that the Spanish insistence on the irrevocability of the constitution is flawed because it is not that old. Age and tradition gives documents a certain respectability. You can't say "Spain has been inseperable since last Tuesday", for instance.

You argued that the Spanish had held a referendum on the constitution. Yes, 40 years ago. The world changes. Opinion changes. A 2000 year old document should hold no more force if the current population disagreed with it.

Catnip1024:

NemotheElvenPanda:
Part of the problem is that the Spanish constitution does consider the Spanish state to be indissoluble and indivisible. Part of the referendum's problem is that Spain's legal and governmental foundation can't at least recognize it. Any attempts of succession are unconstitutional.

Constitutions can be changed - I mean, it only dates from 1978, it's not some ancient and unchangeable holy text. The Spanish just have no intention of doing so. It is the current governments determination to use paperwork as an excuse that is the problem, rather than the paperwork itself.

That, and the fact that allowing that change could cause Spain to partially Balkanize.

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