The 13th-December Catalan Independence Referendum Campaign has started

13-D campaign starts in Barcelona

The campaign for the independence referendums in Catalonia that will take place on december the 13th has started. Yesterday more than 3500 people filled the “Fòrum de Barcelona” auditorium (link in Catalan) in what was a public presentation of the referendums organisation.

Amongst other people celebrities like Miquel Calçada, aka Mikimoto, a Catalan TV presenter or Carles Móra, the Mayor of Arenys de Munt, the little village that hosted the first referendum back in september spoke and said that: “We have gone past many stages with this initiative and the next one is the independence” he also said that “last week’s joint editorial is nothing but a desperate plea because they know the Statute is the last stop and that Catalonia’s dignity only has one name: Independence”.

A great amount of catalan intellectuals and celebrities like the catalan international actor Sergi López and catalan actor Joel Joan actively support the referendums.

At the meeting it was also announced that the collection of 500.000 signatures to force the Catalan Parliament deputies to discuss the independence.

Last week the Catalan press published a joint editorial pleading the Spanish Constitutional Court not to further cut the Catalan Statute since rumours were that after three years of deliberation the Court was finally ready to give a very restrictive sentence. This was an attempt of Catalan unionist media to stop the Catalan independentist movement by pleasing the public Catalan opinion but the Spanish media interpreted this as an attack and responded with extreme aggressivity.

Seems like December will be an interesting month for Catalonia. On December the 13th 161 villages and cities across Catalonia will host referendums of independence organised without any support of the political parties following the initiative started by Arenys de Munt and more than 700000 Catalans will have the right to vote. In December the 15th the first voting towards banning bullfighting in Catalonia will take place following a popular initiative that collected 180000 signatures.

Spain will appeal each one of the 130 referendums of independence in Catalonia

Arenys' voting slips

In another display of Spain’s low democracy degree the Spanish attorney general has announced that they will appeal each and every one of the independence referendums (link in Spanish) scheduled to take place across Catalonia on December the 13th. This is another sample of the degree of hostility in Spain towards Catalonia and the low quality of their democracy, denying Catalan citizens the right to democratically decide.

Unfortunately for them the only effect this is going to have is give the event more publicity. Just like last September 13th in Arenys de Munt the referendums cannot be stopped since they are organized by (link in Catalan) private association with no involvement from the town councils.

So far more than 650000 catalans will have the right to vote in one of the referendums organized in one of the municipalities across Catalonia and a national referendum is being organized for next year. The votings will have the presence of international observers (link in Catalan) to give the event the required transparency and validity for the international community.

Arenys de Munt votes for independence of Catalonia

Arenys - Photo by Raul Roncero, some rights reservedSomething is moving in Catalonia. Arenys de Munt a little village with 6500 eligible voters in the Maresme comarca (the Catalan equivalent of a county), 40km to the north of Barcelona  succeeded in organizing a referendum of independence from Spain last month. An overwhelming 96% of the voters said “yes” for Catalonia to become an independent state in the European Union.

The story of this success started as a private initiative (legally binding referendums are under the exclusive control of the Spanish state and the right to self-determination is not allowed in Spain).   A lot of publicity was given by the fact that a judge unsuccessfully attempted to ban it but since it was not an initiative coming from the town council, (although supported by it) but from the citizens, and the voting was held outside official offices, it was perfectly legal.

This happened while at the same time the authorities defended the right of the Spanish fascists from Falange Española, former dictator Franco’s party, to hold a demonstration in the village on the day of the referendum. Let’s not forget that fascist parties are not banned in Spain. This gave the event loads of publicity but the impact was even bigger when the opposition leader Mariano Rajoy, forced the Spanish president, Zapatero to comment on the subject. Zapatero declared  “I don’t expect this to go viral”.

On September the 13th  the voting went on uneventfully and in a partyish atmosphere until the results were made public at the end of the day. Meanwhile, 50 Spanish fascists arrived to Arenys, did their demonstration closely watched by the police and were largely ignored except for the media, with more than one hundred reporters following the events. The local mayor Carles Móra said that “this is a triumph for democracy”.

Many Catalan politicians, observing the success tried to show their support once it was clear how important the event had been, although they had ignored it beforehand. It seems that the current Catalan politicians are unable to lead the Catalan society and so society spontaneously takes action.

International media, like the New York Times included the news in their following day editions.

Señor Zapatero was wrong, inspired by Arenys de Munt’s experience many Catalan municipalities have decided to organise a similar voting, this time simultaneously, on December the 13th. As of today at least 117 catalan villages and cities are preparing independence referendums next December with more municipalities being added to the list every day. There are already plans to organize  a national referendum next year. Political parties have been excluded from this since the organizers want to make it clear that this is a citizen initiative.