ISSN 1989-4163



Not Understanding Catalunya

Coss Palmboom

Many people these days seem to be having difficulty understanding what is going on in Catalunya, judging by the endless stream of erroneous, stupid, hateful and irrelevant remarks coming out of mouths, arses and laptops. Of course, many of them are deliberately wrongful as those pronouncing them hope to gain from cheating the public into false perspectives. With another round of needless Spanish parliamentary elections coming up, this tendency is especially strong among politicians and media figures. An overview of some of the nonsense proclaimed over the last couple of weeks.

The main culprits of wrongly informing the public about what's going on at the moment are of course the media. Their interpretation of the facts on the ground, or rather how they imagine things to be, depends on their political position. Most newspapers and TV channels from Madrid will tell you that the violence erupting on the streets of Barcelona this month is the work of organised elements from within the independence movement, showing that it has always been a violent uprising and that its leadership was rightfully put behind bars for a decade. They also love to focus on minor details and forget the big picture, as this would refute their arguments. Catalunya's two main newspapers unfortunately have decided to follow this line, most likely for fear they might be put out of business once the popular uprising has been definitely crushed and order re-established. So, watching the news doesn't really get you informed. Well, yes, you learn about the editorial stance of each of these media, but that will hardly come as a surprise.

Politicians also prefer not to know what is going on. Their main interest is their personal career and alternatively the success of their party. They don't need to know what's happening, in fact it could be detrimental to their official position to be lectured on the finer details of how popular movements function. Once again, we shouldn't worry too much about politicians lying to us, it is much more revealing to hear them defend an opinion which is utter claptrap. I will not go into what the fascist three are spouting these days as they are totally irrelevant, at least until the tenth of November. Of certain interest are of course the declarations of the caretaker prime-minister. Fearing he may lose out to TFT thanks to the climate of rage and revenge created by the Madrid media, officially he must play tough and hail the outrageous behaviour of the various riot police forces on duty in Catalunya as a shiny example of respect for law&order, what he privately thinks we may never know although an improbable landslide victory might push him towards showing understanding that Catalunya's economic prowess is fruit of the fact that the region is run by Catalans. This, by the way, has nothing to do with supremacy or nazism, it is normal for regions all over the world. For the moment, Sanchez is behaving in typical arrogant Madrid fashion: the other day he was visiting Barcelona only to tell the police what a great job they had done, not interested in having a conversation with the democratically elected local authorities. Of course not, the ridiculous idea that everything is the fault of the local population and that poor old Spain is suffering from the desire of a people to take care of themselves, must be upheld at all costs. It's like hearing a slave owner lecturing his slaves about the dangers of freedom and then having them beaten up in case they still want to pursue their independence.

Catalan politicians, party colleagues of those who were imprisoned for wanting to moderate public outrage, have completely lost the plot. The nominal president of the Generalitat managed to isolate himself by proclaiming his desire to continue seeking an independent state at a moment when most of his crew are busy trying to carve out a future for themselves in what they see as the unchangeable realities of tomorrow. Rumour has it the politically most relevant prisoners have negotiated a deal for their quick release in exchange for declaring defeat. The less relevant ones, those who haven't done much else than leading a peaceful movement exercising its supranationally recognised right to seek self-determination, of course will have to suffer the consequences of such indulgence, together with the dozens of demonstrators who have been picked off the street and are awaiting the vengeance of the Spanish inquisitional system.

Police forces are never interested in the truth, as it is their prime job to maintain injustice. Without institutional unfairness society wouldn't be needing much more than a handful of traffic wardens, so any sign of larger and better armed contingencies is proof of its existence. In the case of Spain, the size and preparedness of an array of special forces tells you everything you need to know about the value the authorities attribute to democracy and justice. A personal on the ground inspection combined with studying the invaluable work of various brave camera operators has made perfectly clear the strong arm's tactics these days. Wherever a demonstration sprang up, police forces would encircle the demonstrators, dressed in battle gear and armed to the teeth with so-called crowd pacifying equipment. Of course, after being confronted for hours with the possibility of a sudden violent attack, some people lose it and start reacting to the menace by shouting unpleasantries and then some others resort to throwing stones. That was always the sign for the forces to move forward and beat indiscriminately every limb and head they found on their path. Similarly, people were randomly arrested and thrown into jail. Perhaps randomly is not the right word here, as they were never the rioters who got busted but always peaceful protestors trying to get out of the way of such violence. A story heard too many times is that all of them were accused of something they pertinently had not done and that the judge of instruction would accept the police declaration without asking for any proof. This way, up to forty people have now been jailed, accused of the same crimes the independence leaders have been convicted for and likely awaiting similar jail sentences. Remember these poor souls whenever a handful of leaders are freed as a sign of what a wonderfully functioning democracy Spain could be.

None of the establishment are willing to understand Catalunya, as it is not in their perceived interests. Catalunya apparently functions much better as an ever boiling pot to cast all your misfortune at. Let's fuck Catalunya, let's see them react, let's fuck them again. But the people of Cat are getting tired of this kind of misbehaviour, coming from el Parlament as much as from Madrid. That's what the 11.9 marches have been about these last two years, getting rid of politics because no politician was to be trusted, not even the honourable mr Puigdemont when he hesitated to call the republic, and starting again from the ground up. The people from rural Catalunya who marched into Barcelona last Friday were the same who've come to all the large demos. They're like Brexiteers, they want a decision now. The down town rallies of the last two weeks have seen a different public: students and other youngsters, city workers and some families. They are the generations who have not been welcomed by the job market as there is no expanding economy needing their services. Some manage to squeeze into the corporate world and they usually prove worthy, but nobody up there seems particularly willing to give up their place for a millennial. So these kids are fighting for their future. They feel that Spain is going nowhere, they find it old-fashioned in its lust for obedience. They want to live in twenty-first century Europe, they have been living there for the last twenty years. They don't want to lose that. This is in the end what all this madness has been about, Catalans wanting to force Madrid into a new paradigm, away from the eternal confrontation of TFT, and back to the sort of cooperation that seemed possible in previous decades. This can only prosper if the rest of the country understands what Barcelona's youths are fighting for, a functioning country that is freed from the burden of TFT, and starts joining in with their equally justified demands. It's not about who gets what, it's about rebuilding the federal system (in a more clever and effective way for sure) that was invented as a provision against the kind of territorial division we are currently experiencing. I wish you pleasant elections. Due to reasons of nationality I shall not be participating.






Not understanding Cataluña 



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