Catalan independence referendum question

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This topic contains 13 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of GarySFBCN GarySFBCN 2 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #57892
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    The Catalan nationalist block has revealed the question they want to ask in a referendum on independence from Spain on 9th November 2014. Actually, rather than ask one simple, direct question, they want to ask two related questions that are open to interpretation.

    Q1. Do you want Catalonia to be a state? Y/N
    Q2. Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state? Y/N

    There are three potential combinations of answers: Y/Y, Y/N, N/N. Talk about making it complicated. 🙁

    What is a state if it is not independent? Do they mean like a US state, say Florida? But they already have that under another name with their regional autonomy. What is the point of Q1? Surely they only need Q2? The whole double question arrangement is confusing, and makes one wonder what is meant by “state”. I suspect that’s exactly what the nationalists want – opaque results open to interpretation that give them wiggle room whatever the result.

    Compare this to the Scottish referendum question: Should Scotland be an independent country? Y/N

    Spanish President Rajoy has made it crystal clear the referendum will never happen, so this road either leads to nothing or a constitutional crisis. If the former then we are wasting time when we should be solving very real problems, if the latter then we are just creating more problems.

    Van Rompuy has made it clear Europe doesn’t want it either, so I don’t know where this all leads.

    Catalan nationalists respond at least the Scots get a chance to vote, and I have sympathy with that point. But now I see the questions they want to ask, I wonder if they can be trusted to organise a referendum. Surely this has undermined their cause?

  • #118818
    Profile photo of Chopera
    Chopera
    Participant

    I agree Mark. When politicians start messing around with semantics like that then people are more motivated to not vote at all. Also the two questions are leading – they encourage undecided people to vote yes to the first one and no to the second, and I bet they’ll then ignore the answers to the second question anyway and focus on the first, which is designed to have more yes votes. It’s a stupid waste of time and money. The nationalists don’t even know what they want – they haven’t got the guts to be independent because that means leaving the euro, taking control of your own currency, raising your own revenues, and spending them as you see fit, making your own laws and rules, having your own system to enforce those rules, creating your own institutions, building your own alliances, signing your own treaties and agreements, etc. But when they are asked if they want any of that they say no, they prefer to be part of the EU and the eurozone. I support giving the Catalans a referendum on independence if that’s what they want, but I’m not convinced that is what they want at all. If Rajoy had any brain he’d call their bluff and offer them all that because it’s pretty obvious they haven’t the stomach for it. They want to call themselves an independent state without actually being an independent state.

  • #118819
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    The questions are political semantics yes, but they have to be viewed in the light of legalities. It is currently illegal to hold a referendum in any autonomous state in Spain which calls for independence. The Spanish parliament has to give their authority and pass a royal decree to that effect.

    The questions in their current form are not a vote for independence (illegal) they are asking for the electorates opinion only (legal). So what at first sight may seem a waste of time, look further and you can see it’s part of a long term political process to pressurise the government and show the EU there is democratic opinion in favour for Catalonia to break from Spain.

  • #118820
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    Van Rompuy has made it clear Europe doesn’t want it either, so I don’t know where this all leads.

    The questions in their current form are not a vote for independence (illegal) they are asking for the electorates opinion only (legal). So what at first sight may seem a waste of time, look further and you can see it’s part of a long term political process to pressurise the government and show the EU there is democratic opinion in favour for Catalonia to break from Spain.

    Both key points. With Spain marching towards fascism, and each day some European council lambasting the loss of rights or whatever in Spain, it will be interesting to see how Europe can ignore Catalunya. With the ample history of fascism in Europe, it is appalling to me that there isn’t a stronger response to what the Spanish government is doing.

    I view the recent law, allowing security guards to act as police as a further consolidation of power, to suppress dissent. And while there’s no apparent connection, my gut tells me that the recent wave of immigration from Russia to Spain is playing a part in the emerging religious/fascist/criminal governance.

    All of this is to say that I see Spain and Catalunya moving farther apart.

  • #118816
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    @garysfbcn wrote:

    [
    I view the recent law, allowing security guards to act as police as a further consolidation of power, to suppress dissent. And while there’s no apparent connection, my gut tells me that the recent wave of immigration from Russia to Spain is playing a part in the emerging religious/fascist/criminal governance.

    The change in the law to allow security guards to have the same powers as police is a method of circumventing investment in an accountable and correctly trained police service. The Spanish government are gearing up for massive dissent as they move their political agenda further to the right.

    The Fascists have never really gone away in Spain, they still hold a sizable, silent and powerful following. The economic catastrophe has given the extreme right new hope of influence and power.

    The Catalonia issue is a symptom of a people not wishing to be part of it. Catalonia was the last region to be defeated by Franco’s forces in the civil war. Historically the region has strong revolutionary and socialist tendencies and have never given up their belief they are an independent nation.

    I am personally very depressed by the swathe of new laws passed recently by this government in an attempt to roll back the democratic freedoms Spain has gained since the death of Franco.

  • #118817
    Profile photo of DBMarcos99
    DBMarcos99
    Participant

    @logan wrote:

    @garysfbcn wrote:
    [
    I view the recent law, allowing security guards to act as police as a further consolidation of power, to suppress dissent. And while there’s no apparent connection, my gut tells me that the recent wave of immigration from Russia to Spain is playing a part in the emerging religious/fascist/criminal governance.

    The Catalonia issue is a symptom of a people not wishing to be part of it. Catalonia was the last region to be defeated by Franco’s forces in the civil war. Historically the region has strong revolutionary and socialist tendencies and have never given up their belief they are an independent nation.

    Do you know anything of the history and composition of Spain and Catalunya?
    Firstly the biggest opposition to Franco’s rebellion came from Madrid. He was unable to take it by force (unlike many other cities that fell quickly), and despite the use of 5th column sympathisers. Indeed the republic was only to last as long as Madrid held out. Once the centre fell, Barcelona and Catalunya fell within days – admittedly there wasn’t much point continuing at that point.
    Secondly the “strong revolutionary and socialist tendencies” are not a Catalan characteristic. Indeed their people are seen as very business-astute and tight with their money. There have been famous worker movements inside Barcelona – fed by large migrant populations moving from other parts of Spain.
    Orwell was a great writer but it seems his “Homage to Catalunya” has misinformed a lot of people.

    EDIT: Correction – actually Catalunya fell in February 1939 – it was not until the end of March 1939 that Madrid was overrun.

  • #118810
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    Gary, Spain is not “marching towards fascism”. We have creeping authoritarianism on left and right, and no liberal movement to speak of, but we are a long way from fascism. Let’s not exaggerate the problem.

    In my fifteen years in Spain, travelling all over, I’ve never met anyone who could accurately be described as a fascist.

    Now let’s get back to the question about the question.

  • #118813
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant

    Apologies Mark. I’m guessing that, similar to other words, we in the US define “fascism” differently than you all in Europe.

    I believe that logan aptly answered the question – the results will demonstrate the will of the people. If the majority answer N/N, it would demonstrate a lack of support, and possibly could halt many independence efforts.

  • #118804
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    The result will not demonstrate the will of the people, because the referendum won’t take place. That Spanish state will not let it happen.

    But if it were to take place, it wouldn’t reveal much because the question(s) is not clear and direct. It creates more questions than it answers.

  • #118805
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @logan wrote:

    The questions are political semantics yes, but they have to be viewed in the light of legalities. It is currently illegal to hold a referendum in any autonomous state in Spain which calls for independence. The Spanish parliament has to give their authority and pass a royal decree to that effect.

    The questions in their current form are not a vote for independence (illegal) they are asking for the electorates opinion only (legal). So what at first sight may seem a waste of time, look further and you can see it’s part of a long term political process to pressurise the government and show the EU there is democratic opinion in favour for Catalonia to break from Spain.

    Sorry, I don’t buy this argument. Firstly, the current line of questioning is illegal anyway, opinion or not, and secondly, if just asking for an opinion was legal, why not ask the same question as the Scottish referendum, namely “Should Catalonia be an independent country?” That question just seeks the electorates opinion.

  • #118808
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    Of course fascists don’t call themselves that any longer. However that political ideology still exists in every dark crevice of the PP. Although I admit with the passing of a generation the cause of fascism inevitably becomes weakened. A section of Spanish society hold dear the values Franco held and they are also linked to fundamental Catholicism and how Spain functions.

    I have often wondered why the modern governments in Spain are so against the people of Catalonia expressing their views on independence. I except the economic argument, that there is a form of interdependence between the two but there is also a political ideology which goes back to Franco. He fought the civil war in part to keep Spain whole. He believed communism was gaining momentum and in turn separatism would follow particularly in the Basque country.

    I believe Spain will never be fully developed into a mature democracy until it can accept the right of self determination by the Basques and the Catalans. Like Scotland given the chance of a vote for independence there is a possibility they will vote against.

    Having that right to choose is surely their fundamental democratic right.

  • #118799
    Profile photo of GarySFBCN
    GarySFBCN
    Participant
  • #118800
    Profile photo of logan
    logan
    Participant

    Thanks for that link Gary. This seems the logical explanation on the two vote question. Quote:

    By agreeing on a double question, however, Mr. Mas managed to strike a compromise among separatist parties that together hold 88 of the 135 seats in Catalonia’s regional Parliament, while sticking to his pledge to call a referendum before the end of the year.

    The two questions offer Catalans a chance to demand an overhaul of Catalonia’s relationship with Madrid without calling for a unilateral break-away, by approving the first question but then rejecting the independence proposal in the second question.

    If the vote indeed takes place next November, it will come almost two months after an independence referendum scheduled in Scotland.

    Mr. Mas said he was hopeful Catalonia would resolve its dispute with Madrid over the legality of a vote, which Catalan politicians have called “a popular consultation,” as opposed to a binding referendum whose terms are covered by the Spanish Constitution.

    The entire thing most likely will end up in the constitutional courts and be blocked. However Mas can still maintain he stuck to his promises.

  • #118775
    Profile photo of Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Participant

    @logan wrote:

    The entire thing most likely will end up in the constitutional courts and be blocked. However Mas can still maintain he stuck to his promises.

    True, in which case it’s a futile distraction at a time when we need to focus on real problems, not identity politics. But I guess that’s just politicians the world over. 🙄

    I lost faith in this referendum idea when I saw the question(s) they have come up with. This parody hits the spot:

    [attachment=0:11kvnltv]mandanga.jpg[/attachment:11kvnltv]

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