Monday, March 30, 2015

Road map to Catalan Independence signed by CDC, ERC, ANC, AMI, and Òmnium Cultural

(A very rough translation of the road map signed by the two principal (and ruling) pro-independence parties in Catalonia—CDC and ERC—as well as the Association for Pro-Independence Municipalities (AMI), the Catalan National Assembly (ANC), and cultural organization Òmnium Cultural.)

Road map to Catalan Independence

Road map of the Catalan Sovereignty Process

This road map aims to gather the pro-sovereignty organizations that share the objective of Catalonia that begin a process of democratic transition in order to become an independent state, if that's what the majority of its citizenry so decide.

A. Plebiscitary elections

The elections on September 27, 2015, characterized as a plebiscite, will serve as a legal mechanism to know the will of the Catalan people on their politicial future, in place of the referendum which was blocked from being held. In this way, the result will be definitive and easy to read by everyone, inside and outside Catalonia, and it will allow for the exercise of the corresponding mandate.

The sovereigntist candidacies must make it clear in their platforms, first and foremost, that voting for them means pronouncing oneself in favor of the independence of Catalonia.

The national and social elements are inextricably bound together, therefore, it is necessary to make a definitive bet on the recovery of the social state, especially in education, healthcare, and pensions, as well as in social rights and essential public services.

It is absolutely necessary to express an undeniable will of democratic regeneration, transparency, accountability, citizen participation, and the fight against corruption.

B. How the Process will Proceed  

Setting up a project of writing a constitutional text in a term of approximately 10 months, by way of a participatory mechanism that facilitates gathering more voices around the project through an open constituent process in which there is direct citizen participation (a Catalan Constitutional Convention), and which is later subjected to a referendum.

Creating and setting in motion the necessary structures for the new state: a tax collection agency, social security, transitional laws, foreign relations, transition of strategic infrastructures, social and health services, energy supply, security...

Exercising the sovereign acts necessary to construct the new country.

With the mandate of the election, an initial sovereigntist declaration, as an announcement and the initiation of the process toward the proclamation of the new State, or Catalan Republic, according to the terms and conditions made explicit in this road map. The process of democratic transition will not be subject to the [current] jurisprudence in effect or to eventual overrule of this declaration.

The process of national transition toward the proclamation of a new State or Catalan Republic which will begin with the elections of September 27, will be completed within a term of 18 months.

C. Institutional Relationships

Negotiations will begin with the Spanish State on the new conditions: distributing assets and liabilities, the relationship between the new countries.

Opening negotiations with international bodies for the recognition and admission of the new state.

Maintaining an open attitude with respect to an offer from the Spanish State of an alternative binding referendum on the independence of Catalonia.

D. Culmination of the Process

At the end of this process, a binding referendum will be held on the constitutional text which will culminate the exercise of the democratic mandate in favor of the constitituion of a new Catalan State. A positive result in this referendum will allow for the Proclamation of Independence.

Election of a new Parliament in the new Constitutional framework.

From this moment forward, negotiations begun on the new form of relationship with the Spanish State and the European Union.

Barcelona, March 30, 2015


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Competing road maps in the Catalan family: get over it!

On the last two Tuesdays, Catalan President Artur Mas and the ERC leader Oriol Junqueras offered opposing views on the best way forward for Catalonia's independence process. Each presentation was given to a crowd of supporters, and each attended the other's speech. You can read my live-tweeted, translated version of their presentations here and here.

But this is what I think (versió en català al final):

The Catalan President gets up on stage, suggests a single party list with a mix of politicians and community representatives with a single objective: the independence of Catalonia. He says it's time to take the long view, put local politics on hold for 18 months, and tackle the construction of the necessary state structures for the new Catalan Republic. In order to prove his 'sense of country', he offers to give up top spot on the list, and be last instead, and promises as well that he will not run again for presidency after independence.

Critics say he's protecting himself and his party by insisting on unified list, that it's impossible to create state structures within Spanish State, and that you can't preach unity if you appear solo on stage. Pretty much all of the other parties have already rejected such a unified list, and we're left wondering who would join.

Catalan Republican Left leader Oriol Junqueras takes the stage a week later, espousing value of diversity, and suggests joint campaign, platform plank for independence, community representation, Executive, and name prefix but separate lists. Says this is the way to make sure not a single pro-independence vote is lost.

Critics say he's protecting himself and his party by insisting on separate lists, that it's impossible to achieve clear democratic mandate without unified force, and that you can't preach unity if you appear solo on stage. It's not at all clear if other parties would be able to agree on single independence plank, and thus we're left wondering how we (and the world) would know which votes were for independence.

Meanwhile, the people look on with increasing frustration. Scuttlebut points to lots of backstory and old wounds that have never healed. Accusations fly and many are true. This party was in power for X years and never lifted a finger for independence. This party made Y deals with this Spanish/pro-unionist party to save their own power. This party hasn't fulfilled commitments to create state structures. This party has taken advantage of the moment while we take our political lumps.

It's like watching siblings fight: she hit me first, he called me names, she thinks she's better than me, you love him more.

We the people are the parents. First, no hitting, use your words. Next, remember that it's not just today, the back story exists. We got to this point because of all that has gone before. No one is blameless, we are all responsible. Be generous.

And if you can't figure it out, we parents will have to step in. We'll hold your hands and show you just what we want you to do: win independence.

Now, go back to your room and don't come out again until you have a plan that you can present all together. You've got until dinnertime.



El president català, Artur Mas, surt a l'escenari, suggereix una llista unitària, amb barreja de polítics i representants civils amb un sol objectiu: la independència de Catalunya. Diu que és moment de mirar a llarg plaç, de posar la política local al congelador 18 mesos, i posar mans a la feina de construir les estructuras necessàries estatals per la nova República Catalana. Per evidenciar el seu sentit de país, ofereix deixar espai a dalt de la llista i ocupar l'últim lloc, i a més promet que no tornarà a presentar-se com a president desprès d'assolir la independència.

Els crítics diuen que es protegeix a ell mateix i al seu partit insistint en una llista unitària, que és impossible crear estructures d'estat dins l'Estat Espanyol i que no es pot demanar unitat apareixent solet a l'escenari. Pràcticament tots els altres partits ja han rebutjat la llista unitària i ens queda el dubte de que s'hi apuntaria.

El líder d'Esquerra Republicana, Oriol @Junqueras surt a l'escenari una setmana després, explicant com és de valuós la diversitat, i suggereix una campanya, un punt sobre independència, representació civil, un govern, i una part del nom en comú, però llistes separades. Diu que aquesta és la manera que assegurar-se que no es perd ni un sol vot independentista.

Els crítics diuen que es protegeix a ell mateix i al seu partit insistint en llistes separades, i que és impossible aconseguir un mandat democràtic sense la força unitària, i que no es pot demanar unitat apareixent solet a l'escenari. No queda clar si els altres partits es posarien d'acord sobre un punt comú sobre independència i ens quedem preguntant com sabríem (nosaltres i el món) quins vots serien a favor de la independència.

Mentrestant, la societat civil observa amb frustració creixent. Les xarxes i les veus en off senyalen molta història i ferides velles que no s'han curat mai del tot. Les acusacions són múltiples i algunes sabem que són verídiques. Aquest partit estava al poder durant anys i no va aixecar ni un dit per la independència. Aquest feia tractes amb els unionistes per protegir-se els escons. Aquests no han complert amb les estructures d'estat. Aquells se n'han aprofitat del moment mentres menjem els gripaus. Ad infinitum.

És com veure germans barallant-se: ella m'ha pegat primer, ell m'ha dit paraulotes, ella pensa que és millor que ningú, tu l'estimes més a ell.

La gent som els pares d'aquests nens. Primer, no us pegueu, feu servir les paraules. Ara, recorda que no només és el que ha passat avui, la història existeix. Hem arribat aquí per tot el que ha passat els altres dies. Ningú és totalment net, som tots responsables. Sigueu generosos.

I si no podeu ser generosos els uns amb els altres, els pares haurem d'intervenir. Us agafarem per les mans, i us ensenyarem exactament el que volem que feu: que guanyeu la independència.

Va, cap a l'habitació i no torneu fins que tingueu un pla que podeu presentar tots junts. Teniu fins l'hora de sopar.

Friday, October 31, 2014

President Mas says Catalan vote on political future will go on

Catalonia's President Artur Mas called a press conference at 6:30pm this evening in the Catalan Government Palace of the Generalitat to respond to the announcement by the Spanish Government that it would bring legal challenges against the new formulation of Catalonia's "participatory process" to ask the people their opinion on their political future.

Here is a video of the full press conference, mostly in Catalan, with a few Spanish questions near the end and one question (and answer) in English at 1:01:22.

I'll start with a rough translation of the introduction, which explains the general reaction to the Spanish Government's actions. I then live tweeted the central portion of the press conference, and finally offer a transcript of the English question at the end of this page.

I'll try to be brief so that people can go on with their preparations [for the holiday tomorrow]. But it seemed necessary to respond to the fact that the Spanish Government has presented a new legal challenge before the Constitutional Court, and explain what that means, and what decisions we've made about it.

The first thing I'll say is that on October 14, I announced two significant decisions: first, that we would not apply the decree convoking the consultation, that I myself signed, because of the legal challenge that the Spanish Government had brought before the Constitutional Court. I said we wouldn't apply that decree, even though we wanted to very much. And the second decision was that we would continue forward with respect to November 9th, with a participatory process, with the same aim of finding out the opinion of the Catalan people about their political future, based on the powers that the Catalan Government has with respect to citizen participation. So, therefore, the consultation that was to be called with a decree was substituted by a participatory process, that as you know is in full swing, with many decisions already taken, and that has the same objective, which is to know the opinion of the Catalan people with respect to their political future. But in this case, based on general powers of the Generalitat de Catalonia with respect to citizen participation.

The central government celebrated, at that time, two weeks ago, the suspension of the decree. I remember it perfectly. With grandiloquent words. They even lauged at what we were trying to do. They made fun of it in public. They said it was a fraud, a happening, they used a long series of descriptions to belittle what we had announced as a substitute of the decree that could not be applied, and the intention of keeping on with November 9th as a participatory process.

I want to make it clear that after this first reaction of the Spanish government, two weeks later, they have gone from making fun of it, to bringing a legal challenge before the Constitutional Court. That is, they have crossed the line of ridiculousness. When a government, the Spanish State, two weeks ago, laughs at what we're doing, ridiculizes it, publicly, makes a big joke out of it, and then only two weeks later presents a challenge to the Constitutional Court, it's a government that has clearly crossed the line into ridiculousness. If what we are doing is so serious, why wasn't it so serious two weeks ago? On October 14, I explained exactly what we were going to do, and that is exactly what we've done. If that was so serious as to warrant a legal challenge before the Constitutional Court, why did they take two weeks before making any decision, meanwhile laughing at us, making fun, ridiculizing us?

In addition, besides being ridiculous, the Spanish Government is abusing its power, and abusing the law. Both things at the same time. It is using the Constitutional Court improperly and incorrectly. Giving it a role that does not correspond to it. It is not the role of the Constitutional Court to resolve political conflicts and a court like the Constitutional Court should not be used to solve problems that others cannot solve. These actions make it clear that the Spanish Government is incapable of solving its own problems politically without presenting legal challenges before the Court which hide the inability of the Spanish Government to find solutions to problems it is faced with. By doing so, I think the Spanish Government uses the Consitutional Court in an almost obscene fashion, because it doesn't make sense to use the court this way, nor is there any reason to do so.

The rest of the conference was live-tweeted:

(Note there are two page of tweets.)
Q: What is the vision that the outside world has right now of the Spanish Government?

#CatalanPresident: I don't know what the opinion is in foreign countries. This is something you have to ask other people. But my impression is that probably in the world they can realize that the Catalan people want to vote. We have the will to vote. We have the will, the real and strong will to decide our political futre as a nation, as a country. This is the reality. And this is something that all the people in the world should know. And we are trying to do so.

We have very big difficulties, very big difficulties because it is almost impossible to sit at the table with the central government and agree to terms for the consultation in Catalonia. We have recent events in this sense, recent examples: what happened in Scotland some weeks ago. There was an agreement between the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish leaders and the British Government. And the British allowed the Scottish to vote. The British allowed the Scottish to decide their political future. And the British won! But that's democracy. You can win and you can lose. This is real democracy.

And there is a lack of high-quality democracy in Spain. As you can realize, because although the Catalan government and the Catalan institutions are doing their best in order to reach agreements with the central government in order to sit at the table to try to reach these kinds of agreements, it is not possible, because they say No to every proposal, to every suggestion we send from Catalonia.