Pro-Spain activists took over streets of Barcelona today. Police estimate the crowd at 350,000 but organizers place the total close to a million.
Meanwhile, the Catalan government appears likely to declare independence on Tuesday, and prime minister Mariano Rajoy Mulls Suspending Catalonia Autonomy via article 155.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will consider taking the dramatic measure of suspending Catalonia’s autonomous status, as the region’s leaders escalate threats to declare independence from the country.
“We are going to stop independence from happening. On that, I can tell you with absolute frankness, that it will not happen. It is evident that we will take whatever decision that we are permitted to by law, in view of how things are unfolding,” Rajoy told the El Pais newspaper in an interview.
Asked if this would include using Article 155 of the Constitution, the legal mechanism needed to suspend Catalonia’s autonomy, Rajoy said: “I am not absolutely ruling out anything that the law allows. I would like to do it at the right time … that it is more important at the moment.
“The ideal scenario would be that there were no need for drastic solutions, but for that there would need to be rectifications.”
Pro-Spain Rally in Barcelona
CNN reports ‘Catalonia is Spain’: Protests Snub Call for Catalan Independence.
A week of protests have nonetheless shown a bitter division.
Massive crowds have taken to the streets to rally for independence since the vote a week ago. But there have also been large crowds against separation, including in Madrid, as well as protests calling for dialogue.
In a sea of red-and-yellow Spanish and Catalan flags, protesters sent a clear message, shouting: “Catalonia is Spain.”
Huge Spain Unity Rally in Barcelona
The BBC reports Huge Spain Unity Rally in Barcelona.
At least 350,000 people gathered in Barcelona, capital of Catalonia, for a rally against independence from Spain.
They waved Spanish and Catalan flags and carried banners saying “Together we are stronger” and “Catalonia is Spain”.
It was the largest such rally in Catalonia amid speculation that Catalan leaders will declare independence from Spain next week.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister who lost a referendum on independence from the UK in 2014, said on Sunday that the only way to resolve the crisis was with “both sides coming together to try to find a way forward… that respects the rule of law, democracy and the right to choose”.
Crystal Ball Territory
We are in crystal ball territory, but the options are pretty much binary.
If the Catalan government wants to hold talks, Rajoy is likely to demand they renounce independence, something the Catalan leaders are unlikely to do.
So far, Rajoy has refused talks with any political parties that favor discussion over force.
If the Catalan government declares independence, Rajoy will declare article 155.
Assuming the latter, Spain will have to send in more troops, arrest all of the Catalan leaders, and put in a puppet government that supports Madrid until new elections are held.
Predictions after that get dicey other than the EU will sit idle, ignoring events in Spain as an internal issue.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Sadly, and possibly leading terrorism and/or civil war?………democratic approach would have been so much better
I don’t think Rajoy will risk a Puidgemont / Catalan UDI and my gut feeling is that Catalunya isn’t ready either. My guess is that Rajoy will be provoked into suspending the Catalan constitution imposing direct rule and stepping up the security on Monday, perhaps by the pro-independence movement telling the press that they will DEFINITELY be declaring UDI on the Tuesday – true or not! So with the main suspects behind bars (and able to fight another day) both parties survive in the short term. But irrespective of how this plays in the immediate future, my money is with the Catalans in the longer term. Sadly either way they will have to face Big Brother either in the guise of strongman Rahoy, or arch-lout Junker.
It should be relatively simple to solve this democratically. First, let the Catalans have their vote. Remind them during the campaign however that if they split they’ll be out of the EU as a consequence and will have to formally ask to join in. Remind them that being out of the EU will strongly affect their “prosperity”. Remind them that in order to be accepted into the EU they’ll need the totality of the votes of the member nations, Spain included. Now, tell them that in order to keep the democratic process fair, what’s left of Spain will hold a referendum to accept Catalonia into the EU. Et voila. Take your chances.
Macro Investor said:
The EU has a ton of costs and zero benefits. Richer countries are forced to subsidize the lazy. All the crazy rules prevent economic growth. More freedom always beats more communism.
You will simply be reminding them of what they are trying to escape.
what if “freedom” is little more than “capitalist” propaganda?
Prominent lawyers have the opinion Cataluña would not leave EU at independence.
If you introduce referendums you end up with other regional politics turning into referendum parties and the local population forming movements along the new lines. Not sure Spain as a whole wants that going on.
Catalonia can survive quite well without the EU. No EU or Spain means fewer taxes and tributes flowing out of Catalonia’s treasury. Hence, a richer Catalonia by those amounts. Immediately after declaring independence and sending a representative to the UN, Catalonia could align with the UK (Gibraltar), Turkey, Armenia, Serbia, North Africa, friendly Islamic players (e.g. Iran), the BRICS, etc. Being outside the EU might actually boost the Catalonia economy, as besides expanded trade they could compete for corporate headquarters with lower corporate taxes; no doubt, this is a reason Rajoy and EU want to crush Catalonia.
I am not sure EU wants to stop Cataluña, but it will certainly give verbal priority to Spain. Here are some polls of Catalan political leanings, if roughly accurate, pro-independence are mainly ERC and CUP, both left parties.
ERC is part of the European Free Alliance, which is pro-EU ( Republic Left of Cataluña in English)
Does not necessarily mean they will head straight to EU, but for them it would be logical as they are already integrated in many ways….I am not sure any other country would want to be on the wrong side of Spain just like that, and EU has some leverage with Spain, plus is not a country as such, but a group of.
I am sure Serbia was equally surprised when NATO bombed their cities. Do not be lulled into complacency by the long pauses between aggressive actions in Europe. The nature of the barbarian beast is consistent over many centuries. Spain pioneered ethnic cleansing of its Jewish and Islamic populations, and the Inquisition came down hard on non-Catholic Christian for several centuries. UK is already on the wrong side of Spain over Gibraltar, and could defeat Spain again if need be.
pater eusebius tenebrarum said:
Absolutely – leaving the strait-jacket of EU regulations and “harmonization” (which is EU speak for imposing the highest possible tax rates on everyone) will be an enormous economic boon. As to trade, Catalonia could completely take the wind out of the sails of all potential threats by unilaterally declaring itself a free trade zone. That will be to its advantage regardless of whether the EU reciprocates or not. Of course I wouldn’t expect the local politicians to possess the degree of economic literacy required to recognize this fact, but it would be great fun if they went ahead and did that – simply because it would immediately provide unassailable proof that protectionist dogma is erroneous.
Medex Man said:
Exiting a sinking ship like the EU is a good thing.
Re-applying for EU membership later? Are you out of your mind? What makes you think the EU will still be around in five years? Its bankrupt, and its sugar daddy (Germany) is losing its economic clout to illegal immigration effects.
If Germany’s economy can’t float the EU’s bull sh!t, the whole stupid EU collapses.
I have no idea if Catalonia should declare independence or not (I don’t care, I have no horse in the race). But Europe needs to pull its head out of its own rear end and understand the EU is in far worse shape than Catalonia.
The EU is fiscally bankrupt. Your military is literally a global joke. You cannot defend your own borders, never mind project power abroad. You cannot enforce your own treaties between member states (name any country still giving lip service to the Maasserstrict treaty?)
And yet you live in a delusional world where you think the EU is important? Its far from obvious the EU is even viable long term — and the EU’s drunken immigration policy’s only known effect at the moment is to undermine the German economy, aka the EU’s lifeline.
On its present course, the EU won’t be around in five years — whether Catalonia wants to apply or not won’t matter. Forget about what Catalonia wants, the rest of Europe needs to open its eyes… or you folks will be applying to join Catalonia.
Incredible things are happening. The catalonian people that have an spanish feeling and that have been quiet, oppressed by the vocal nationalists, have done an step forward, helped by a strong feeling of support from all over the country. This changes everything. Everything. On the other hand, the economic power have sent an strong message to the independentists. Big companies and banks fly off Catalonia. The local antifa say that they don’t care, but people are becoming afraid.
No support inside, no international support, companies fly, … I think it’s a checkmate. There wont be a declaration of independence.
By the way Mish, keep the record straight: the government didn’t sent troops. They sent the police to comply with the order of a judge. Do you know that the narrative of ‘police brutality’ is in most part fake news, and is being spread by NyT and CNN? You in the USA know how this work, don’t you?
Did you not see the live videos of police thugs stomping on people? Call them police or troops or military police if you like, it does not change what happened. I used a word many media reports used.
It’s fake news that the Spanish “whatevers” did not use excessive force. The entire operation was counterproductive. It did not even stop the vote.
Macro Investor said:
I thought the EU was so there’d be no more European wars of conquest. Folks are realizing it was just a different kind of German takeover.
The pipe dream of diverse populations living together peacefully is really a nightmare. It’s in our DNA to live with folks of our own kind. It’s also a pipe dream to think that power hungry sociopaths will ever stop trying to take over the world.
Donald Last said:
In Madrid many pics showing guys giving a fascist salute in front of Spanish flag. So whatever happens, Spain will be forced to look at itself anew, especially the younger generations, and the mature ones coming into leadership.
Then there is the blowback in Europe. Next time it prates about its belief in democracy and Human Rights it will all ring very hollow. Coming down on Poland for this and Hungary for that; disdain for the Afd who believe they are losing their country to islamic immigrants.
And the more one sees of Juncker the more one loves one’s dog.
Maybe Rajoy will have to resign and other concessions made in order for Catalonia to want to stay.
You know that there is a battle in the media. Here you have the explanation about the ‘many pics’. Don’t let the fake news fool you. https://elpais.com/elpais/2017/10/08/hechos/1507484964_888438.html
By now, it should be obvious to everybody that the 90% pro-independence result of the referendum is very far from reality. Pro-Spain voters simply refused to participate, because they considered the referendum illegal.
Both sides screwed up and both sides can only lose by not negotiating.
I don’t think there is room for either to back down.
Puigdemont has some space, but not much, Madrid will allow him no concessions now and he is politically ruined if he stalls.
As Roger says above, maybe the only reasonable solution now is a face saving show of arrest and 155… but I don’t know if that is possible without a lot of trouble still.
We are guessing at this point as once talk is finished people just act without advertising their intention beforehand.
all had ‚illegal’ independence referendum which Madrid recognized as valid almost immediately
Madrid does not have a legal nor moral leg to stand on.
Exactly. EU have no legal or moral standing after their role in dismembereing Yugoslavia. Spain missed the opportunity to have real referendum like what was held in Scotland and Quebec. They could have won by campaigning on the benefits of union.
Now both sides are subject to the law of unintended consequences. The best thing for Catalonia is to move out of EU. Will the separatists be willing to die?
We’ll know soon enough in this game of chicken who backs down.
pater eusebius tenebrarum said:
Correct. Note that this applies to Crimea absconding from Ukraine via a referendum as well.
“. Police estimate the crowd at 350,000 ”
Why do you parrot this bullshit?
You have no idea what the police estimated the crowd at.
All you know is what they claimed.
Mich, what it would be nice of the article contained what ARTICLE 155 says.
Rajoy needs a rectification up his a**!!
“anything that the law allows…ideal scenario would be that there were no need for drastic solutions.” Rajoy
Rajoy is a traditional White Castilian Supremacist. A “true believer” hellbent on restoring Imperial Spanish power and glory under the banner of the Spanish King. Easily and quickly, Rajoy’s War on Catalonia could become genocidal and scorched earth, like Cortez’s conquest of Mexico and Spain’s conquest of Peru. All this talk about the law is pure Castilian crap. Rajoy quickly “changed the law” when he wanted to, forcing banks to leave Catalonia without the shareholder vote required by corporate law. Laws can be changed, but Rajoy is exercising Imperial prerogative that disregards natural law and God’s law. I doubt Rajoy and his associates or the Spanish royal family will survive Rajoy’s War.
Rajoy seems to be able to survive anything. He is like a cockroach. Virtually indestructible … https://youtu.be/0Urv-kizQq8 … didn’t even flinch! 🙂
Next time Rajoy will wake up dead.
History teaches that what works is general strikes. Nothing brings governments to the table like an economic shut down. Governments will threaten jail and violence without hesitation but they understand you simply cannot make millions of people go to work. No work, no goods and services. No goods and services, out with the old government, in with the new government, hopefully one who can get workers back to work.
Archimedes – “Give me a lever and a place to stand and I will move the earth.”
If I understand correctly, Spain needs Catalonia for a decent % of income without which Spain has major problems. If Spain has major (extra) problems so does the ECB. If the ECB has problems so do all the major economies in the Euro. If the ECB/Euro problems so does the EU.
Therefore doesn’t Catalonia have some leverage on the ECB/Euro/EU if it can find a way to exercise it by denying Spain income?
First thing is to boycott relocating banks and move cash elsewhere to partly hit their liquidity.
I wouldn’t put it past the Spanish authorities to freeze Catalonian private accounts, legally or otherwise.
All of this really hammers home the fact that government is violence and theft,
You are not going to read that in the Guardian, tho…..
Michael Surkan said:
As badly as Rajoy has mishandled things, the Catalan government really needs to think carefully before declaring independence. The reality is that the referendum was not a democratic result that all Catalans can get behind. The MANY Catalan citizens who support unification simply didn’t vote.
Declaring independence on such a non-democractic vote will create permanent divisions between Catalans, with the unionists feeling like they had no voice.
Yes, the problems with the vote are largely due to Rajoy’s misdeeds but that is no excuse for the Catalan government to score an own goal and drive permanent wedges between their own citizens that will sour the political scene of an independent Catalonia for hundreds of years. You don’t want to start a new country on that kind of fractured basis.
Naturally it’s in the American tradition to root for the underdog except when we happen to be the aggressor. I assume most Americans would side with the Catalans. Although it’s an interesting duel from a global political perspective my emotions are neutral. If a giant sinkhole swallowed the United States tomorrow most of Spain (to include Catalonia) would probably celebrate. So do I care what happens in that part of the world? No, not really unless it resulted in a world war. I don’t wish any of them any harm. It’s like watching Portugal play Argentina in soccer. Is it fun to watch? Yep. Do I care who wins? Nope.
It’s true. I see in the comments a surprising hatred towards Spain, and I don’t understand why. To make a parallelism, the average Spaniard is like the American one, while the independentists are full of moral superiority and rage and they remind me radical democrats and antifa in the USA.
Medex Man said:
If one is going to bluff, one has to threaten something that might be true or at least the opponent can’t readily dismiss the possibility.
We all know Spain is not going to shut down 30%+ of its economy. More to the point, we all know the Spanish government was already teetering on insolvency BEFORE this latest Catalonian voting fiasco.
Instead of parroting the stupid cr@p that passes for western “journalism” today… lets call Rajoy’s ploy for exactly what it is: he is threatening a scorched earth policy.
If he destroys the Catalonian economy, he also destroys the Spanish economy with equal certainty. I don’t know if Catalonia is viable on its own, or if Spain is viable without Catalonia — but its obvious that united Spain cannot withstand a 30% sudden GDP cut.
Activating Article 155 is essentially saying that Spain’s economy will be destroyed — even if Spain “wins”, whatever that means.
The EU can pretend to still exist with a failed Greek state, because Greece is so small relative to the whole EU. Most Greeks don’t trust and don’t depend on Athens — so a failure of Athens doesn’t really matter. The EU is big enough to bury Greece’s fiscal problems in the aggregate books.
Spain on the other hand, is a huge member state. The rest of the EU can float Athens, but they cannot float Spain. If Spain triggers a self destruct mechanism (aka Article 155), Spain becomes a failed state (assuming Spain “wins”) and the EU is in very very serious trouble.
One has to wonder if folks in Madrid are going to oust Rajoy and seek a negotiated settlement with Catalonia. Not because they agree or disagree with Catalonia — but out of self preservation for Madrid.
Madrid can have 50% of something, or they can have 100% of nothing… Rajoy has his ego on the line and is negotiating out of emotion. Are there any rational people left in Madrid? If so, Rajoy will be ousted soon. If not, Spain will end up terminating the EU.
Evolution of chaos. Economic failures are driving system breakdowns through societal division.
Is it deliberately, cyclical or both?
I think economic failures (the economic cycles) are cyclical by themselves with out deliberation.
Maybe social divisions are a symptom and cause of the long historical cycles.
Chaos is the abyss from which the new cosmos (order) is formed.
We tend to think something falls into chaos, but it is quite possible that the confusion we witness is just the arrival of a new order.
When will people reach for something new until they feel they are without it?
The illusion is maybe that we were never satisfied, or have forgotten what is really necessary to be free of needless wants.
Blame society, politicians, the economy, or maybe just ourselves…but it is certainly a challenge to keep a circumstance whole, the rest being its own adventure.
Monday now and the local press is loaded with statements from any and all people in position of influence, as they make their positions clear… about what MIGHT be said tomorrow in the Catalan parlament.
Apart from that it seems quiet, the only obvious moves are the arrival of some naval force and the Spanish constitutional in Cataluña transferring some of its police protection from mossos to Spanish forces.
Violent police/military actions will soon ensue. Spain has no choice. They accept independence, or like we saw with the election, they send in goons to beat the independence out of the People.
Spain, the EU, are socialist tyrants.
Euskal Tell said:
I am amazed when Spaniards claim that Catalans, or Basques, feel superior. It is quite the opposite. The Spaniards love to say that their culture and civilization are universal and superior whereas Basque and Catalan culture are provincial, inferior folkspeech concoctions. Spaniards also feel vastly superior to the Portuguese. Few Spaniards even attempt to speak Portuguese in Portugal and yet are offended , at least amazed, if Portuguese attempt to speak Portuguese in Spain. I’ve seen this in Badajoz, right on the border. No wonder Spanish nationalists have a bum rap in Iberia!
With this arrogance , it is hardly surprising that there should be resentment. The Spanish have traditionally used military violence to subdue the Catalans. Not just during the Spanish Civil War but in 1934. The ruling party in Spain even referred to Lluis Campanys, one of the leaders behind the Estat Catalá who was ultimately shot by Franco in 1940. They said that the current president of Catalonia had better take care or he’ll wind up like Campanys!
I don’t think readers hate Spain per se , Spaniards are great people with great wine and food,but they do hate their sordid political history and their violent tendencies in resolving political questions.