The latest public opinion studies carried out in 2014 by the CEO (Centre d’Estudis d’Opinió ) does not show a clear advantage of the Yes (45.2% in 2014) for the creation of an independent state. In fact, it shows a significant mistrust towards all political parties, regardless of whether they are pro independence or not. The majority of the people questioned feel that those who are supposed to represent them are not offering any solution to the current crisis. In this period of mistrust towards political parties and great concern for labor issues (unemployment is currently 26% in Spain, one of the highest in Europe), this sprint toward independence is not only unsupported by a majority of the population (scant indeed, when compared to the more than 95% recently voting in favor ofCrimea joining Russia) but it is also far from being its major concern. Who then, are the ones most interested in the independence of Catalonia. Maybe we should look at beyond Catalonia’s borders, and even beyond those of Spain.
1882 marks the creation of the Centre Català de L´Havana (Catalonian Center of Havana). Created under the debilitated Spanish empire, after Cuba’s US backed coup in 1898, the CCH remained on the island and even grew to become an important organization, with three centers on the island of Cuba alone. The second important step in the history of the independence movement’s early attempts to build its own state institutions took place in the early 20th century with the creation of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya, and then later in the 1920’s when the first pro-independence political parties, in the modern sense, were born. Estat Català, the main party, was founded in 1922. No one today can claim that, at that time, the Catalonian people supported those parties very much. These latter led two coups, one in 1926 by armed force, and the other in 1931 with the ephemeral proclamation of the Catalonian Republic.
Nowadays, current pro-independence parties, like the ERC (Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya), CUP (Candidatura d’Unitat Popular), CDC (Convergència Democràtica de Catalunya), UDC (Unió Democràtica de Catalunya), some sectors of the ICV (Iniciativa per Catalunya Verds) support independence as well. When you look at this large political party’s coalition, you are tempted to believe there is strong popular support. The 2014 studies on public opinion1 do not back this up. Despite growing support for the creation of an independent state over the last nine years (45.2% in 2014, 13.6% in 2005), the CEO studies also show that almost 55% of the population does not want this, and that there is increasing mistrust of all political parties, including the pro-independence ones.
So, what has happened in recent years? Why has the population changed its mind? What are the tools used by the CiU, ERC, CUP, CDC, UDC and ICV?
The tools of the independence movement
The pro-independence government of Catalonia has very powerful tools at its disposal, namely the institutions, for applying Edward Bernays’ theory of Public Relations, aka Propaganda.
Catalonian government spending goes, in part, toward the campaign for the establishment of a Catalonian state. In this period of drastic cuts in health spending, in assistance to disabled people and senior citizens’ centers, we observe that spending cuts have not affected, to the same proportion, the media (TV3 is frequently used to promote events like the Diada), the five “Catalonian embassies” in Berlin, London, Paris, New York and Brussels, (those in Buenos Aires and México D.F have been closed), numerous official diplomatic travels in the name of Catalonia (as an independent state) to Israel, the US (California) and others, cultural events and actions for promoting the Catalonian language.
The big picture
(The following paragraphs are entirely borrowed from analysis by Pierre Hillard).
The claim for independence in many European regions like Catalonia cannot be seen as a spontaneous swelling in people’s desire for freedom. We cannot be naïve anymore. Everything has its origins. It is not a coincidence that Scotland, Catalonia, Venetia and others are dealing with the same situation and were never started by a popular movement.
Brussels and the regionalization of Europe
The consolidated versions of the treaty of the European Union (better known as the Lisbon Treaty) set out (meaning all member states are well aware of it) what its internal administration should be like. It means centralizing decision-making and reshaping its borders.
Article 4.2 does not mention this explicitly; it says “The Union shall respect the equality of Member States before the Treaties as well as their national identities, inherent in their fundamental structures, political and constitutional, inclusive of regional and local self-government. It shall respect their essential State functions, including ensuring the territorial integrity of the State, maintaining law and order and safeguarding national security. In particular, national security remains the sole responsibility of each Member State. “
This article is crucial for understanding what is currently happening to European Nations. On the one hand they are losing their decision-making power, on the other they are splitting up into several regions, just as the European Free Alliance wants them to.
European Free Alliance
Created in 1981, the EFA is the application of Brussels decision-makers who made the Treaty of Lisbon to institutionalize the will of independence of some regions (to make myself perfectly clear, I mean a fragment of the population of the regions), thus giving them the opportunity to be present at the European Parliament as a political force; so far so good. Why not? The following map shows exactly what this alliance would like Europe to look like.
Among others in Spain, those who support this new version of Europe are L’Esquerra pel Dret a Decidir (in English: Left for the Right to Decide), of which the ERC4 is a full member.
The Nation members of the European Union are handing their decision-making power to the authority of Brussels and to the regions. Regardless of whether we are in favor or not, the big picture should make us understand that the desire for independence is not rooted in a population wishing to free themselves from the oppression of central governments. I agree that there is a general oppression at economic, social and military level, but we should ask ourselves whether the splitting up of nations into several regions is the answer. Are nations not the union of people around common values? Shouldn’t we come together to protect them before talking about federalism in the name of freedom? This division comes at the expense of the people and to the benefit of top elites who care nothing for nations, regions, values, families. While we are divided by struggles for independence, the top elite (mainly from the US) are paving the way to take out everything we love, everything that has built up our identity. The Treaty of Lisbon is only one step; theTransatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the next one towards Global governance or world governance. Who is behind all that? We, the people are only pawns in this big plan, one that includes Catalonians as well, regardless of whether they are pro-independence or not.
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