Catalan Leader Urges “Peaceful” Rebellion As Spain Takes Over Government

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Originally appeared at Zero Hedge

Update (0920ET): A Spanish government spokesman has responded to Puigdemont’s address, saying that “Spain will not comment on comments by Puigdemont who is out of a job.”

*  *  *

As we detailed earlier, in a pre-record message this morning, Catalan separtist leader Carles Puigdemont urged Catalans to peacefully oppose Spain’s formal takeover of the region’s affairs.

Catalan Leader Urges "Peaceful" Rebellion As Spain Takes Over Government

Puigdemont said the activation of article 155 of the Spanish Constitution was illegitimate and called on Catalans to show “patience, perseverance” and faith in the future, and urged “democratic opposition” against Spanish government orders to sack his administration and dismiss the regional parliament.

As The Spain Report notes, he announced he Catalans must “continue defending” their new republic “with a sense of civic responsibility,” adding “our will is to continue working to guarantee our democratic mandate”.

The use of Article 155 to suspend home rule in Catalonia was a “premeditated attack on the majority will of Catalans” and “contrary” to democracy.

Puigdemont also called on pro-independence Catalans to be respectful of fellow Catalans who are in favor of Catalonia remaining within Spain. Puigdemont didn’t mention central government orders to remove him.

Presumably, Puigdemont’s calls suggest a strategy designed to compare Madrid’s forcefulness to Catalan’s peaceful protest, perhaps in an effort to garner more international favor – as most of the ‘developed’ nations issued statements overnight declining to reecognize Catalonia and fully backing the establishment’s Spanish government.

Live broadcasts showed Puigdemont in a bar in the town of Girona at the time of the televised speech.

Puigdemont declined to speak to reporters when he left the bar shortly after the speech.

Meanwhile, Spain begins implementation of Article 155:

Spanish Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz  de Santamaria takes over the management of the Catalonia area after Madrid took its autonomous status yesterday and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy fired the regional government, the agencies said, reports sega.

Catalan Leader Urges "Peaceful" Rebellion As Spain Takes Over Government

Spain’s Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido is leading the Catalonian police after the chief of police, Jose Luis Trapero, was removed. Both decisions enter into force immediately.

However, La Vanguardia reports, members of the Catalan government don’t plan to accept being removed, citing sources it doesn’t name, though oit is unclear exactly what they will do. The Catalan government is reportedly preparing next steps in line with proclamation approved yesterday by the regional Parliament. Among the possibilities being weighed is calling constituent elections before the end of the year.

So what happens next?

The Duran.com’s Adam Garries lays out 5 possible scenarios…

1. Madrid ignores the implementation of the declaration of independence 

In many ways, it seems counter-intuitive to list this as the ‘most peaceful short term option’, not least because there is ostensibly no bigger insult to a peoples than to simply ignore their declaration of independence. This is ironically, not necessarily the case with Catalonia.

The very reason that Catalan independence was not declared on the 2nd of October is because the Catalan leadership are very moderate in their approach to the issue. Forgetting whether one finds the Catalan leaders inspiring or incipient, the fact of the matter is that they did not so much say “give me liberty or give me death” as they said “give me European values and give me those values on my terms at the soonest possible date after a period of polite discussions”.

Because Catalonia has shown the propensity to wait for a good faith negotiation partner during a very trying month and because furthermore, many Catalan politicians have insisted that they seek peace and cooperation whenever possible, the onus therefore is now very much on Madrid to de-escalate the situation.

Madrid could still go through with the technical firing of the Catalan government in order to administer the humdrum business of daily life in Catalonia for an interim period on their terms, but if Madrid were to officially adopt a position of ignoring the formal independence vote, it could still negotiate with independence leaders in another capacity.

The west, including Spain, continually speaks of ‘moderate rebels’ in places throughout the world, notably Syria, in spite of the fact that they are acting violently, using terrorism as their de-facto means of ‘political expression’, are mostly foreign proxies and are violating not only national but international law. With the exception of Catalonia violating Spanish law, included the much hated 1978 Spanish constitution, which many see as overtly Francoist in nature, none of this applies to Catalonia.

No one can reasonably say that Catalan independence supporters or their leaders are terrorists or post a direct threat to world peace as al-Qaeda, the FSA, Kurdish ethno-nationalists and ISIS do in places like Syria or Iraq. Furthermore, unlike Middle Eastern Kurds who are something of Israel’s de-facto regional puppets, Catalan independence movements have been part of Iberian history going back centuries. The Catalan struggle, in other-words, predates the creation of the dastardly Israeli colonial state, the birth of George Soros, the idea of the New World Order and the advent of neo-liberal economics.  To therefore say that Catalan independence is about any of these things, as many have, fails to realise the long historical basis which underlies recent events in Catalonia.

Because of this, Madrid  has nothing to lose, yet much to gain from engaging in negotiations with the leaders of the independence movement. Had Madrid negotiated directly with the leaders in Barcelona, the entire independence movement may have fizzled-out over time, in the same way that Brexit appears to be doing in another EU state, or otherwise, Madrid could have agreed to a situation whereby Catalonia settles on an Andorra like solution whereby Catalonia becomes a state formally protected by Spain (as Andorra is technically protected by France), while technically enjoying the desired benefits of EU membership which logically derive from the ‘protector’ state. Because of Catalonia’s size vis-a-vis Andorra, some sort of financial agreement could be agreed upon on a per annum basis.

Such a solution would require creativity, but crucially it requires no blood and could be arranged to create face-saving and money saving measures that cover both sides in terms of economic, political and even ego driven requirements and desires. It is still not too late to achieve this as the “slowly-slowly” attitude in Barcelona has not dramatically changed, in spite of recent dramatic events. In this sense, yesterday’s vote was more of a sign that Barcelona is not bluffing, that it is a sign that Madrid is now an automatic enemy of the largely unrecognised new Catalan Republic.

2. Barcelona initiates a dialogue process….and it works 

It must be re-stated that one of the reasons Catalonia implemented a declaration of independence yesterday was because it felt it had no option to do anything else. If Catalonia’s leaders did nothing while Madrid moved to abolish their autonomy, they would have looked weak before the eyes of their constituents and ineffective in the eyes of the world from which they will need to garner support, in one way or another.

Thus, we now know that Catalonia’s leaders have the collective strength to do what they said they would do. But can they now do something more difficult? Can they offer the wider world an option that cannot be refused?

Catalonia has gone out of its way to do that which, for example, the Kurds in the Middle East have not done. While Kurds have resorted to armed conflict and terrorism in their disregard for both national and international law, Catalans have practised entirely peaceful civil disobedience in arguable violation of national law, but in full compliance with EU law which is theoretically superior to national law in many cases, among member states.

The fact that Catalans are being totally disregarded by most EU states and the EU itself, is symptomatic of double-standards in the west, whereby an armed terrorist in Asia or Africa is a ‘freedom fighter’, but peaceful individuals initiating a controversial but totally non-violent political process in the west, are somehow bandits. Furthermore, Catalonia is a regional crisis and for the EU, an existential crisis. Such a reality is miles away from the very real security crisis that Turkey, Syria and Iran felt when Iraqi Kurds, machine guns in hand, voted in a secession referendum which went beyond their legally defined autonomous borders within Iraq. Again, none of this applies to Catalonia.

If followed to its logical conclusion, Catalonia can now call on international mediators to instigate a process for dialogue that Madrid simply could not ignore. If such a process fails, it will represent a total failure of the so-called international community. If not a single nation, not the UN, not a former UN Secretary General, not a single peace activist can step forward and heed Catalonia’s calls for a truly international dialogue process to be organised, then there truly is no international community to speak of. It certainly behoves Catalonia to attempt and find out.

3. Duelling governments in Barcelona 

Madrid is set to appoint a new interim leadership in Barcelona who will answer directly to the Spanish government, while calling for new elections to form a Catalan parliament in December. The effectiveness of such a move depends on the de-facto current leaders in Barcelona (Puigdemont et al.) and their supporters simply going away quietly.

If anyone thinks it is likely that after a long standoff which was capped by the declaration of a Catalan Republic will end the moment Spanish PM Mariano Rajoy sends ‘his man’ to Barcelona, then they are not living in the real world.

With two competing governments in Barcelona, the short term confusion and deadlock could lead to disaster, as shall be explored in the following two, very un-peaceful possibilities.

4. Mass arrests of Catalan independence leaders 

Spain has already set a worrying precedent by arresting Catalan independence organisers on sedition charges. There are now open fears that such a precedent could now lead to the arrest of the entire de-facto leadership in Barcelona, as well as many members of the Catalan parliament (even though the vote for independence was conducted via secret ballot).

This would not only set-off an uncontrollable chain reaction of fear and almost certainly violence in Catalonia and beyond, but would set off a chain of lawsuits which would test the primacy of national law versus EU and international law. If Madrid were to invoke the most neo-Francoist elements of its constitution and subsequently conduct mass arrests reminiscent of the 1930s, it would not only embolden more Catalans than ever in their desire to breakaway from Spain permanently, but it will be guaranteed to keep both the European Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Justice busy for years if not decades to come.

The legal issues which currently exist, could and should be solved through mediation followed by an accord. However, if mass arrests of prominent Catalan leaders are conducted by Spain, a larger legal Pandora’s Box would be flung open and more importantly, any claim of a peaceful regional dispute would be forever lost. Instead, it would be a repeat of the 1930s in more ways than one, combined with the legal labyrinth of 21st century judicial mechanisms.

5. Civil War 

Depending of various push-pull factors at play, a repeat, however microcosmic, of the 1930s Spanish Civil War could take place. If Madrid cracks down hard on political leaders, demonstrators and other civil bodies in Catalonia, it is possible that Catalans could find the means to arm themselves and fight back.

If an armed struggle took place in the heart of the EU, not only would it quite possibly be the end of Spain and western Europe as we know it, but it could be the end of the EU…full stop.

Whatever would be leftover, would by definition be unrecognisable and only a great deal of effort to put the region back together could restore peace.

For mercenary thinkers who see questions of war and peace simply in economic terms, it is worth saying this: for the moment, the Catalan crisis has not drastically impacted global markets. If things escalate into an armed civil conflict, it will impact markets, but primarily in Europe with some ricochets in North America.  The rest of the world will remain financially stable.

This will be the ultimate sign that an Iberian peninsula which once ruled large quarters of the world, is now reduced to a corner of a European Union that far from leading the world, can now, barely lead itself.

In many ways, this will be the ultimate wake-up call.

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  • TAzz Mannia

    The author has no idea about Spain or about Catalonia. First, you should inform yourself.

    1- Catalonia has been part of the Kingdom of Spain since the end of XV century. Only a few countries in the world has such a long history in common. Whatever, Catalonia never was independent. It was part of the kingdom of Aragon. Never alone. Any other tale is invented. By the way, some Catalonians argue that Christopher Columbus was Catalan… Tell about it to a Genovese. X-D

    2- Spanish Constitution says clearly that Spain cannot be splitter. Same way a lot of Constitutions in the world, including Russian, Swiss, Italian, Brazilian and many others, obviously. So, by default, an Independence referendum is unconstitutional. By the way, Spanish Constitution and Catalonia Estatut were supporters by vast majority of Catalonias and with much higher participation that the joke of ilegal referendum voted on October 1st.

    3- Spain is the second most decentralized country in the world, only after Germany. So, Catalonia has a really high degree of authonomy. Nobody at Madrid has denied more authonomy. Only rule: respect the Constitution. Or modify the Constitution (must be voted by all Spanish citizens).

    4- Neo-franquist??? WTF!!! Any comparison between Spain 40 years ago and right now is total stupidity. Nothing is similar. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Read about Spain during that dark time. All Spanish people has to suffer Franco dictatorship. All SPANISH. Franquism assimilation to current Spanish people is a total nonsense and a lack of respect with Spanish people.

    5- Civil War? Yes, could be (I hope no). But not between Spain and Catalonia… But between Catalonians. You missed the most important point. Only 40% of Catalonians support Independence. And most of them (including many of that 40%) would agree to negotiate a bit more of authonomy. There is not a majority of catalonians supporting Independence and this is why this is a fucking foolish!! How do you pretend to be independent, alter the status quo, get outside EU, lost most of your more prominent companies when more than half of the population is against this???

    Catalonia leaders have loose they brains. I’m agree that current party ruling in Madrid is not the best in order to agree with anybody. But anyway, what catalonian leaders are trying to do is the most stupidity you could do only because “my dick is longer than yours”…

    • TAzz Mannia

      And read something about Andorra, my ignorant friend. If you were there you would notice that languages used are Catalan (official) and Spanish, not French. Andorra is a fully independent state since centuries whose state chiefs where the King of France and the Seo de Urgell bishop and is more vinculated to Spain than to France

    • TAzz Mannia

      And one last point…

      Why some political parties want the Independence of Catalonia???
      – Because as a rich region of Spain (like Madrid), they pay to the country budged more than what they receives (by the way, Madrid region pays more).
      – Why they pay more? Because the solidarity between regions. South and west of Spain have less developed economy than Center, North and East

      This is the real reason: MONEY. Fucking money.

    • Solomon Krupacek

      you are right in all points. but you must understand, russia is the only country in the world, who talks about “could be accepted” the independent catalonia. russia want to make problems in EU, therefore is this game. and ALL russian media will support putin. ;)

      • Gregory Louis

        What the fuck does Russia have to do with a Spainish and Catalan problem?

        • Solomon Krupacek

          ckeck my comment under yesterdays article

      • gustavo

        I am from Lationoamerica and have partial Spanish blood. Howerver, I would be very happy to see Catalunia separeted from Spain. I support Catalunia separation, if this is what Catanunians want, independently of the international correlations between the two superpowers.

        • Solomon Krupacek

          most of them dont want. the plebiscit was illegal also according to catalonian law. so, there is only big fart and not independence.

        • Solomon Krupacek

          morover, for the change os catalonian status is needed 85 voices in the catalonian parliament (catalonian law!). only 63 voted for indpendece. so, PigDemon is iberian Barzani. Pfuj!

    • Justin

      First draft of the UN Charter, Chapter 1, “the right to self determination”!
      When do you believe this UN right can be implemented?
      Can it be implemented only when a region of people are being suppressed, oppressed or perhaps used? I hear most of Spain’s GDP comes from Catalonia and these people are totally against being in the EU! Thats what I understand! “Self determination”!

      So if only oppression / aggression grants a region of people “the right to self determination” then why isn’t East Ukraine allowed to do so? They have been labelled as “terrorists” and have been shelled many times in their capital all because a revolution / coup took place in kiev to remove an ELECTED leader who’s majority vote came from East Ukraine!

      So they can’t claim their right to self determination either?

      So when is it possible?

      When??

      Because in Catalonia, there is an economic reason. In Ukraine there is a political takeover and military oppression reason! But none of these reasons are good enough! Why?

      WHY???

      The UN Charter was designed so that no nation can oppress or contain its people! This is how democracy works right?

      Spain signed onto this UN declaration! So how does Spain ignore this?
      So we have a Spanish Constitution and then we have a UN Declaration!

      When push comes to shove, the UN Declaration wins! But the UN is rigged!
      Catalonia has the money! There will be a split! Be sure of it! Not because of differences in culture etc but because of economic reasons! Because of EU debt! Thats why!
      This is not different to BREXIT in my view because it is all to do with the “sinking ship” called the EU! Catalonia is very wise to split! Very wise indeed!

      Good bye Spain! Spain will become as poor as Portugal!
      Catalonia will be the new Gem!

  • hvaiallverden

    Yup, again the counter arguments are just this, either with us, or against us, I wounder where this trolls comes from, since their focus is on Spans side of this, uh….. quarrel.

    And when the article mentioned International Laws, somehow the base for all the wars, the invasions, to right to protect civilians, tossing “dicks” everywhere and creating an never ending spiral of violence, somehow, thru all this, you and others, whom is on the “right” side, used this so called Laws, witch we have an truck load of, from land to sea, cant see the same now, makes one wounder, dont you.

    Again, I am just talking about self-determination, and local rule, not anything else, and you have an problem with just that, and on top of it, refuses to even acknowledge that this rights, are universal, nations are not. Facts, you forgot them to.
    Never experienced anything, huh, having your history and language banned, you even forgot that to, an classical rule thru Neo-Darwinianism, some of us have, but not you.
    I will always an sub-human, according to the century’s of Norwegian Gov and people (khazars in the south, Nothingbutyahoho, is an BallTick bastard, period), treatments and all based upon good descent “science”, and still is the rule, so far nothing will change that, the only thing that can alter this, is just to do what you want and tell the rest to just bog off.
    In the younger years, it didn’t bother me much, but now it pisses me of, I know this political Game is everywhere, to me the Catalan fight is about humanism and economic freedom, from an openly fascistic Gov. an rightful fight for not been an slave, an master of your own house.

    I have no fears of that, but obviously others cant handle either the freedom nor the truth.

    You have no idea what it is to be seen upon and treated like an stranger in your own land.
    You Grook.

    To me, its the Catalans that have all the rights, what so ever to do what they want, why Spain went bonkers I dont know, its simply stunning, the violence and open fascism, and somehow you dont bother to debate that either, what do you want to debate, Spain, ugh…

    And the invasion of well pissers, undermining the rightful cause by sniveling drivel, Sore-ass paranoid screaming and mumbling in the corners, Hungary know what they are, and Catalans dont need them, at all.
    And I will just remind people about the International charters some waived somewhere, is flushed down the drain, convenient isn’t it, lets just give an f…. about WE the People.
    There never will be any democracy if you dont have the rights to say, NO.
    Anything else, is a lie.
    Dont insult our intelligence again yankikes, we are indeed feed up with you, weaponized stupidity, an American specialty.
    My hart and soul lives with the Catalans.
    Never give up and never give in.
    PS: the EuroCrauts latest power tripping, and the EuroCrauts Banking ind. doings lately, do you have any idea of what I talk about, the coming cluster f…. created by theft, aka Austerity’s, and somehow, this sinking ship, is the solution to everything, you gotta be kidding.
    They are the enemy of man.
    Monetary Heroin, yeah, keep pumping.

    peace

  • Solomon Krupacek

    This is the end, when Pokemons rules. :)

    • Daniel Castro

      That’s the hyporisy, if they think they are entitled for a country they should take arms and rebel…

      This people thinks Spain defeated Napoleon with flowers and little parades, stupid SJWs…

  • hhabana

    This man is a fool. I am no fan of Rajoy, but he is right to crush this immediately. These fools in Catalonia should be tried for treason and jailed until very old, old men.

  • Lazy Gamer

    Will Spain fall for the trap or not? lol

  • gustavo

    If Catalunia wants to be separated, the Spain constitution can be changed, in order to do this legally.