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Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017

Catalonia declared independence; Suspends it for talks with Francoesque Madrid

Christof Lehmann (nsnbc) : Catalonia’s Carles Puigdemont, Tuesday evening, made a formal declaration of independence from Spain to then have it suspended to allow talks with Madrid. The situation in Spain and in Brussels reveals that the new, glossy, blue and yellow Eurofascism is  alive and well and that civil and political rights in the EU are not worth the paper they have been written on.

Puigdemont_Catalonia_declaring and suspending independence_Oct 2017_SpainIn a speech to the Catalan parliament in Barcelona Carles Puigdemont made the much-anticipated declaration, claiming a mandate to launch secession but suspending any formal steps to that end to allow talks and negotiations with Spain’s federal government in Madrid.

The responses to the declaration as well as to the suspension were a mixed basket. Some pro-independence protesters were disappointed; Others would say it was the sensible thing to do; Yet others say it was a smart move that allows all sides to back out of their corners and find a Basque-like economic and political compromise; Some opponents of independence were relieved, others found the decision to declare independence arrogant and the suspension hypocritical. Protesters in Barcelona . and there were many – represented this mixed basket of sentiments but the city was peaceful – relatively speaking.

The financial markets responded overwhelmingly positive which is not surprising anyone cognizant of the fact that Catalonia stands for 25% of Spain’s GDP. The euro was boosted on hopes that Puigdemont’s decision would mark a de-escalation of Spain’s worst political crisis since an attempted military coup in 1981 – and note that the brutal national police crackdown during the referendum on October 1, and arrests of ministers and mayors, the storming of ministries, and more, already had people whisper about Madrid’s Francoesque tendencies and the possible need to build a resistance and an armed underground – just in case.

"I went to vote and look what that nice police officer from Madrid gave me, isn't that pretty?"

“I went to vote and look what that nice police officer from Madrid gave me, isn’t that pretty?”

In Brussels there was a sense of relief that the euro zone’s fourth-largest economy now had at least bought some time to deal with a crisis that was still far from over. All rosy words about the need to avoid violence set aside, the EU has shown in Catalonia, that its much-fabled civil and human rights are not worth the paper they are written on. Human rights and the right to self-determination in the EU, the right to freely express one’s political opinion, in a non-binding referendum?

All that has been thrown out like a baby with the bath water. Europe has shown its fascist face. No longer is it the fascism of brown shirts and boots, it’s the modern, glossy blue and yellow fascism – for now – the boots can always be reintroduced later, and fast and fashion houses will again line up to design the most sexy uniforms.

The legal status of the declaration is unclear – and even that may buy time for talks so Madrid and Barcelona can back themselves out of the corners they have painted themselves into. Puigdemont and other regional politicians signed a proclamation of “full sovereignty” for Catalonia. Its legal value was unclear; Is it a declaration of independence? It is “a signal” but what exactly will it mean?

However, the prospects for political talks still appeared remote on Tuesday despite Puigdemont’s gesture, with Madrid insisting on talks to be held “within the law”, a phrase that is widely interpreted as ruling out independence as an option. Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Saenz de Santamaria also rejected the Catalan leader’s proposal for talks to be conducted by an international mediator. “Neither Mr. Puigdemont nor anybody else can claim … to impose mediation,” she said. The Spanish government will meet on Wednesday to decide on its response to Puigdemont’s declaration. Many will continue their beauty sleep but many will be watching – readying themselves – just in case.

CH/L – nsnbc 11.10.2017

About the Author

- Dr. Christof Lehmann is the founder and editor of nsnbc. He is a psychologist and former independent political consultant on conflict, conflict resolution and a wide range of other political issues. In March 2013 he established nsnbc as a daily, independent, international on-line newspaper. He can be contacted at nsnbc international at

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