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EU parliament parties unite to condemn Spain on village consultation & fascist rally.

category international | eu | opinion/analysis author Saturday September 12, 2009 19:55author by susan Boyle - ( iiosaf ) Report this post to the editors

In what could have seemed like a typical storm in a tea-cup about a fortnight ago & in my opinion didn't merit comment or reporting then, a village consultation in Catalonia has evinced EU parliament cross party condemnation of the Spanish state. The leaders of the EU conservatives, socialists, greens and liberals have expressed their concern at the continued operation of the Spanish Falange party. Manfred Weber leads the conservative block in the EU parliament he has said "this demonstration celebrates a brutal and inhuman totalitarian system in which thousands of European died and it must be stopped" or Bernhard Rapkay leader of the German socialists in the EU "we must punish any European who uses fascist symbols".

What could have caused that?

The story really is extraordinarily interesting, ironic, though provoking & of interest to Welsh, Scot or any referendum voter.
They are a nation & their language is spoken by ten million. But this referenda was only supposed to include a few thousands.
They are a nation & their language is spoken by ten million. But this referenda was only supposed to include a few thousands.

The answer is simple and almost ridiculous, the town of Arenys de Munt, in the valleys which lead from Barcelona through to the Pyrennes in Catalonia decided it would ask those of its 8,000 approx population with voting rights to take part in a "consultation" or "referendum" on whether or not they wished complete independence for Catalonia. At first the decision of the council which is one of those which in the past has refused to fly the Spanish state flag on occasions and always flies a really big Catalan flag on its special days (such as the 11th of September which marks the end of the war of heriditary succesion in 1714 after which the privileges of Catalonia and her statehood were stripped by the victorous Bourbon King Philip IV, the father to the emperor Carol V of pretty much everything from Mexico, Peru, Florida, California to Africa, the Philippines, Flanders, the Netherlands, Bohemia, Pommerania and Austriañ.

The answer to the proposed consultation really would have been a given conclusion. Arenys de Mar is one of those little towns which in the past years has formally banned bull fighting to the delight of animal rights activists and utmost consternation of seasoned catalanists like myself who know there has never been a bull fight in Arenys de Mar not even in the Mithraic cult heyday of bull slaying during the Roman Empire, for the good reason that Arenys de Mar isn't that old a town.

So the proposed consultation wasn't going to produce any surprising results especially considering the elected representatives of the place or almost all independence heads anyway & the complete exercise should have simply been seen as summer silliness. In the circles where I work, (Catalan republican and leftist publishing presses and cultural promotion entities), the whole thing was seen as a farcical almost tongue-in-cheek provocation not of the Spanish state and its unionists but of the main pro-independence and republican party, the ERC who have in recent years and under new leadership moved slowly further away from their stated aim to hold a referendum termed a public consultation to everyone in Catalonia who (this is the crafty bit) rather than holds a voting privilege is a holder of a Catalan Health Service card.

But then the Falange decided they wanted to do a march and demonstration in Arenys de Munt on the same day as the little village consultation.

The Falange were the first political party to register themselves in the Spanish state at the time of the transition to democracy. They had been the only political party permitted during the Franco dictatorship. The influence of their membership was to wax and wane through the dictatorship as the regime moved from the unequivocal fascist and nazi axis to isolationism to reprochement with the West and to its final days of extraordinary influence by Opus Dei. But the party's symbolism continued to be imprinted on almost every "social" project adopted by the state. In the last 7 years across the Spanish state as part of the process of memory and the few laws passed to support that controversial process, the mass graves of those shot by Falange militia as well as the "housing department" plaques on flats constructed by the regime have been subject for examination.

Under the 1978 Spanish state constitution, only the government may together with the other pillars of the state, put a referendum to the people and article 8 prohibits all secession or attempts at independence of the historic nationalities .

The Basque region under its last Lehendakari (taoiseach), Juan José Ibarretxe attempted for more than decade to put a referendum or public consultation to the Basques on their future. In the end the fudge which was adopted and would have been used (had he not lost power to a grand coaltion of conservative and socialist unionist parties in the last election) was the quite blindingly ingenous :-
referendum on a referendum . By which the Basques were to be asked to vote "yes" or "no" to the simple question "Do you want a referendum on the future of Basque and Spanish relations".

Now that's back when the Falange used to get busy. Every few weeks they'd bus themselves in complete with their uniforms, sunglasses, Franco era flags, skin head youth and whole baggage to do a march in a provocative bit of the Basque country.

I remember they even turned up in Barcelona where I live on afternoon, normally they only assemble in Bcn once a year to mark the execution by Franco of the last legitimate president of the Catalan government once he had been handed over by the Gestapo and deported from the Vichy era "French state". Now of course they aren't allowed to assemble at the execution point because recent changes to the law have proscribed all political acts there.

So the little village of Arenys de Munt gave the Falange a treat.

The village folk cried out to their media and that of Spain that the Falange turning up on a day of outright Catalanism would be likely to end up in trouble.

So the Spanish state said, ok - we don't want you having your consultation but we understand how you feel about the Falange, let's put the Falange demonstration off for a few days and appoint a judge to oversee the constitutionality of your consultation.

= very fair.

But........."big BUT"......the judge appointed to oversee the case is not only the lawyer who represents the Falange but is also a proper paid up party member of the Falange and a furthermore a recurrent candidate of the Falange party.

= very dodgy. What is even more dodgy is that a Spanish Government minister of Zapatero's cabinet could criticise the folk of the wee town and tell them "these referenda will bring the Falange out of the cave".

But if that is true, then the opposite is true as well. The first minister of Wales, Rhodri Morgan, expressed his complete support for the town of Arenys de Munt and has given not one, but three interviews this week to Catalan press to explain how the Welsh in their valleys would face the same bag of dirty tricks should they make a step forward. Which seemingly he wants to do soon.


............ Let's absorb all this information a moment..............

* The town of Arenys de Munt wants independence for Catalonia from the Spanish state.
= no news in that.

* The Falange bring a nazi style gig wherever in "Spain" they think someone whats independence.
= no news in that.

* There has been an appeal put out to all sectors of the intelligentsia, culture & people who can write decent job references in the last 48 hours exhorting them to go to Arenys de Munt tomorrow. As such I've even been tweeted, emailed and phoned once to go up the mountains and do my "foreigner Irish born person who can speak the language properly".
= no news in that.

* The cross party leadership of the mainstream EU parliament blocks have condemned the Spanish state for tolerating the Falange and some have even called for its criminalisation.

= There is something new in that. If FF, FG, Labour and the Greens can agree on local level referenda like the Irish Lisbon 2 vote, and can agree so clearly at EU parliament level on the nastiness of fascism - then why can't they illegalise the Hungarian legion and stop the NBP, NF etc????


The Catalan language press :

The Spanish language press :

The town council website which hosts itself in France (giggle)

the Facebook of the campaign so you can make friends with it.

Related Link: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=123927727387&ref=share
author by iosafpublication date Mon Sep 14, 2009 17:29author address author phone Report this post to the editors

There are a lot of lessons being learnt in Catalonia, as in Spain, as in further afield in Wales and Scotland at what occured yesterday in the little town of Arenys de Munt.

What had begun as an exercise supposedly inspired by previous consultations in Quebec and Montenegro very quickly became as I wrote above a provocation from the most resolute Catalan independence sector to its own main political party leadership.

Then the Falange ingredient made the story newsworthy beyond the mountains and even found mention in the EU parliament.

An opinion poll published in the Spanish daily "La Vanguardia" suggested yesterday that 40% of the Catalans would vote for independence in a referendum if the question was put to them. That is pretty much the figure of Scottish, Welsh and Quebecker populations who would do likewise.

In the end the town council could offer no logistic support or open any public building to the voters and as predicted two coach loads of Falange members arrived. They weren't allowed carry Franco era flags and had to make do with their own flag of the black and red tricolour with the arrows in the middle. They attempted to march through the town but were surrounded by Catalan police "mossos d'esquadra" who in turn were surrounded by Catalans singing "els segadors" a tuneful little ballad which was of course the Catalan anthem when they went to war against Philip IV back in the beginning of the 18th century and lost their statehood.

ah but!!!!!????

The figures of the consultation have a lot to tell us about such things anywhere anytime. For as we ought know only in third world countries do the majority of people vote.

* The consultation in Arenys de Mar was open to all its citizens over the age of 16.
* 41% of those who could vote in Arenys de Mar did so. This may be more than voted in the European elections, the referendum to adopt the last "estatut" formulating relations with the Spanish state or even the last general election - but it is not over 50%
Nor for that matter was the referendum in the Spanish state to ratify the Lisbon Treaty. I wince every time I read how people say "The Spanish ratified Lisbon" when in fact less than 50% of them bothered to vote and abstention in some regions was high as 70%.

"but not votes don't count" - so that's why you make sure you vote No to Lisbon.

Now this morning all the parties of Catalan regionalism, independence, republicanism and even "convergence" have thrown in their lot with forthcoming town and village consultations. In Irish terms the whole shabang & motley crew from "tweedy gaeilgoir first Dáiler" to "tweeds & manor Fine Gael" are it seems completely behind any future consultation (with constitutional or legal force) on Catalan Independence.

& it seems every little village up the mountains with a make-do ballot box is queueing up to copy the example of Arenys de Munt. It's charming. It's inspiring. It's ground breaking.....

if for only one reason which no commercial newspaper of either Spanish unionist or Catalan independence hue has seemed to notice & your own Iosaf has :-

This was the first time voters passed a ballot in the Spanish state by depositing their paper in the box themselves.

Since the transition, it has been the responsibility of the election office presiding officer to take the ballot paper from the citizen and place it in the box. OF course this will change for the next elections as now the Spaniard is thought to have matured from the novelty of democracy which was the 1970's and will be trusted to place their own vote.

For those who don't believe that, there were in fact a significant number of votes "spoilt" in the last elections by citizens who refused to give their vote to the presiding officer and let him or her deposit it for them. A Basque man was even arrested in their last election for not hading over his ballot paper. That's the basques for you though.

see you! see me? some of the fascist Falange who turned up for the day & remind everyone Catalonia is "white nigger" Spanish. delightful.
see you! see me? some of the fascist Falange who turned up for the day & remind everyone Catalonia is "white nigger" Spanish. delightful.

author by Louise Irelandpublication date Mon Sep 14, 2009 21:05author address author phone Report this post to the editors

More than 96 percent of votes in Arenys de Munt were in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state within the European Union, a municipal spokesman said.

"This is a triumph for democracy," said local mayor Carles Mora, who got round a court order forbidding municipal authorities from organising the non-binding vote by holding it outside official offices. About 40 percent of the town's 6,500 eligible voters participated in the referendum.
Catalan Town Votes For Independence From Spain

Published: September 13, 2009

Filed at 5:35 p.m. ET
Skip to next paragraph Reuters

MADRID (Reuters) - Inhabitants of a small Spanish town voted Sunday for the region of Catalonia to secede from Spain in a poll which, though symbolic, adds to pressure on the minority Spanish government as it struggles to combat recession.

The referendum in Arenys de Munt came as Spain's socialist government braces for a court ruling by Spain's Constitutional Court to overturn a special statute setting out the boundaries of Catalan autonomy within the Spanish state.

Many Catalans, including Catalan members of Spain's ruling Socialist Party, feel that such a ruling would ignore legitimate aspirations of a people with hundreds of years of separate identity and which retains its own language.

Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero needs to pass tax increases to pull Spain's budget deficit back towards European targets, perhaps without the support of Catalan nationalist lawmakers in parliament.

More than 96 percent of votes in Arenys de Munt were in favour of Catalonia becoming an independent state within the European Union, a municipal spokesman said.

"This is a triumph for democracy," said local mayor Carles Mora, who got round a court order forbidding municipal authorities from organising the non-binding vote by holding it outside official offices. About 40 percent of the town's 6,500 eligible voters participated in the referendum.

Leading members of Catalonia's independence movement converged on Arenys de Munt for Sunday's vote, sensing an opportunity to push their claims up the political agenda.

A few dozen members of the far-right group the Falange. a powerful force during Spain's 1930s Civil War but now marginalised and weak, waved Spanish flags and made fascist salutes from behind a large police cordon protecting them from a much larger jeering pro-independence crowd.

Catalonia, in common with other Spanish regions, already enjoys extensive autonomy over areas including education and health. As in the Basque Country, successive regional governments have promoted local language and culture in recent decades, angering Spain's Castillian heartlands.

(Editing by Louise Ireland)

Related Link: http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/09/13/world/international-uk-spain-catalonia.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=arenys&st=cse
author by iosaf readerpublication date Mon Sep 14, 2009 21:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

further coverage of this event and commentry from Iosaf at http://www.indymedia.ie/article/94043

author by Free the Catalan Countries - Ógra Shinn Féinpublication date Tue Sep 15, 2009 01:22author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Ógra Shinn Féin recently spent a week long delegation in the Catalan Countries, hosted by the Catalan youth movement JERC, youth wing of Esquerra.

The Irish Republican youth movement engaged in many meetings while there, building up important solidarity links, and deepening our understanding of the organisational and political realities of the Catalan struggle.

Ógra also attended a public meeting in Arenys in support of Independence, where Ógra National Organiser Barry McColgan, and Ógra activist and Councillor Johnny McGibbon, were introduced to the thronged crowd.

Barry McColgan also give an interview to a national Catalan paper in support of the referendum;


Related Link: http://www.elpunt.cat/noticia/article/3-politica/17-politica/79618.html
author by iosafpublication date Wed Sep 16, 2009 16:52author address author phone Report this post to the editors

It appears the consultations will copy the Arenys de Munt model in that for Spanish constitutional reasons they will not be afforded any logistic support by their town councils nor be able to make use of any public building. I could ironically muse that the suggested day (October 3) will be a very busy one for the Falange and their coach drivers, will there be enough of them to go around?

Meanwhile, the Catalan parliament is now debating a motion to grant formality to these consultations and treat them as something similar to "petitions" which would lead to the posing of Catalan territorial wide public consultations in name or referenda in substance .

This proposed law began its course in March of 2009 and its committee stage will end on October 23rd which of course will be after 60 more village votes including that curious age-group of the 16-18 year olds.

The nitty gritty of the right of the Catalan "Generalitat" and "Parlament" to put referenda to the people is enshrined in article 122 of the "estatut" (c/f my 2005 report "How "Catalonia a nation" means "Spain becomes a Federation" http://www.indymedia.ie/article/72240 )

Now it is important to understand that many elements of that estatut (incidently for which less citizens of Arenys de Munt voted for than in last weekend's consultation) are still facing the Spanish state Constitutional Tribunal.

The clause of nationhood was altered to a preamble for example. Preambles mean nothing.
The language clauses are still causing huge difficulty with Spanish unionists and the right wing, if you look closely at the illustration of the nice Falange man above you see his t-shirt shows a kid with a Catalan flag over its mouth and the slogan "speak spanish!". This is their updated version of the Franco era ban on the Catalan language when posters and school teachers exhorted citizens and kids under threat of punishment to habla cristiano! (speak in Christian).

Thus the Arenys de Munt consultation is going to throw yet another spanner into the smooth passing of the estatut ( complete English version here : http://www.parlament.cat/porteso/estatut/estatut_angles...6.pdf )

This can (& I reckon will) go several ways :

* an al ready apparent increase in independence sentiment in Catalonia.
* an increase in resentment of Catalans in unionist Spain.
* a reallignment of the party political realities in Catalonia which will most likely lead to the next government being a coalition of the centre right nationalist CiU with the leftwing ERC.
* the strengthening of the microparty independence grouping CUP and a possible split from ERC led by its "Reagrupament" faction.

For the moment, I remain to be convinced that the strategy for assuming increased indepedence for Catalonia or the much more idealised and problematic and frankly little supported "paisos catalans" entity would be well served by any coalition between Reagrupament, JERC and CUP. Catalan politics teaches one something which is valuable to all, when the estatut (linked to above) was passed by the Catalans, even Noam Chomsky thought to speak of great progress on regional independence, sovreignty and so on so forth. Understandably. But a great error. We must never count chickens before they hatch.

author by iosaf - (nice to see Susan Boyle make it.)publication date Sat Sep 19, 2009 01:14author address author phone Report this post to the editors

those interested in the new census of all Catalans with residential or genealogical connection to the Catalan lands of Catalonia, Valencia, French Catalonia, the Balearic islands and the Aragon fringe can skip this comment on how the only Irish people who vote on Europe are the ones who don't live there........go to the bottom of the comment in other words

____________Irish diasporia stuff on the fringe of Europe to make you vote YES ____________

In the Irish commercial press today I read with my usual disdain & contempt how a paid contributor to the "Irish Times" argued that Ireland ought make more use of its diasporia & then to liven up the opening paragraph of a pathetic piece of drivel, its writer KINGSLEY AIKINS chose to cite the supposed Indian and Israeli experiences. http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0918/1....html What exactly India or Israel have to do with the Lisbon 2 referendum wasn't made clear, but one thing I never tire of writing in comments or letters to supposedly high ranking bods is a short list of facts, nay factoids:

* I am a member of the Irish diasporia who has spent much more than decade in and out of employment in European states.
* I have negotiated health care, charmed bank managers, converted misdemeanours worthy of fines into mere reprimands, held leases, paid bills, made friends, voted in elections, joined and taken active part in trade unions and community groups in European states.
* I found that my ability to speak more than 6 European languages other than English a distinct advantage in the pursuit and general day to day continuance of my existence as a European . I am neither proud nor humble about being a European, many people on the street where I live are Europeans too. It has nothing to do with place of birth, religion, skin colour or ethnicity. But a certain ability to survive in multiple environments and engage with diverse linguistic and political schematics and apparata of power and state does seem to come in handy. I'll concede one thing though - I'd rather be a European than a north American and the fact that more than few interesting people in my neighbourhood have adopted the EU and left the USA behind seems to bear that out.


I have many times defied anyone of any political hue to give me an example of one other member of the Irish diasporia who has done all these proper European citizen things. = Name me one MEP who has jumped the hoops.

But even if I feel strangely qualified for a seat in the European parliament on account of not needing to wear the fecking ear plugs nor ask the waiter what the luncheon menu means - I am not considered by the chattering classes of the Irish intelligencia to be a European. My thoughts and those of my peers on the EU and what Europe is about aren't even given space on local cable TV unless we're singing the praises of whichever city we happen to live in and lauding it up as the next über cool plot since James Joyce's Ulysses meets Pevsner budget brothel pocket guide.

I am rather & my peers are equally undoubtedly a member of the Irish diasporia who Mr KINGSLEY AIKINS of the Irish Times thinks has not been properly exploited.

Why is that? ........... how are we not being properly exploited us diasporia lot?

¿ Don't we get paid enough wages?
¿ Aren't we assured a plot in Glasnevin cemetary complete with repatriation funereal expenses even if we don't die like a neo-nazi mercenary in Bolivia?
Perhaps I should emulate the example of the Irish Times, Kinglsey Aiken's Indian diasporia & eschew game shows and the hopes of winning millions or ruppees and simply open a corner shop on a 24/7 schedule so my kids can endure years of racist taunts and finally write their doctorate in Periodontal Prosthesis and bring cosmetic dentistry to yet happier whiter smiles?

Perhaps I should find the gumption of the Irish Times, Kinglsey Aiken's Israeli diasporia and volunteer to spend a stint in the IDF and with the conscripts of thar apartheid state and other poor deluded volunteers from the USA to north London whilst deciding which is a better way to pass the time? Hassling palestinians? Singing the Kaddish till we are either blue in the face or have learnt the words off by heart enough to earn a green card Yisgadal veyiskadash shemey rabo Be'olmo di'vero chir'usey Veyamlich malchusey or maybe we would just dream about the day we got to go to a rave party like maniacs in some peaceful place of the mediterranean.............. ibiza is good ooooops - we'd be back in the diasporia.............hmmmmm..........that's the thing........... nobody in their right mind in any diasporia gives a shite about the shithole they left behind.

__________________________ €IR€ unqiue in disenfranchising her non-resident EU citizens_________________________

Ireland, our wonderful republic is the only member of the EU to disenfranchise its European resident citizens. Every other EU citizen gets to vote in its birth states referenda and general elections.

We didn't get a vote in Lisbon 1 despite living in Europe more than any of you realise.

We don't get a vote in Lisbon 2 despite living in the Europe you only think of as a cheap holiday.

which are the Irish diasporia? non Yankee "no taxation to representation? (our Euro paid for your your Luas) or are we simply the forgotten Irish who are just a tad too European and clued into what Europe is to become the last non-resident European citizens allowed a vote in the constituency of their birth?

_____________________Catalunya's 11 step Dance to Liberty___________________________

As I wrote yesterday in my analytic comment the radical faction of the ERC party "reagrupament" have now decided to contest seats in the next elections. The split of the ERC has begun. Contrary to what many Irish people might think, Sinn Fein is in fact a partner of the Spanish unionist IU whose Catalan equivalent ICV are trying to keep a distance. Ogra Sinn Fein should keep an eye on these new developments so that they may better understand the Eirigi appeal.

And here's the bumper list :-

If you go here you can register yourself on the first Catalan Lands census.
The whole thing. From southern France to southern Valencia to the northwest tip of Sardinia to the eastern strip of Aragon!

You go here so you can soon enough get your voting card for some consultation or referendum or something.

A Welsh equivalent would include the welsh speaking community of Patagonia in Argentina.

A Scottish equivalent would include half the US Bible Belt.

An Irish equivalent would be unthinkable, because as I never tire of explaining - - -

"the secret of the Eire and northern Ireland statelets are the fact that they persuade people to leave and never come back."


If you're Irish whose idea of diasporia has something do to with Oz, Boston or Guinness
read this : http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2009/0918/1....html

If you think someone you know just might be a Catalan (and not really a Basque or Irish ancestor of every president of the USA and heavy weight boxing champion of the world read this :
& the thing is, being crafy auld iosaf I know there are quite a dozen candidates in Ireland, so sign up! http://www.nacio-catalana.org/

Were you born in one of these places, do you live there or was one of your grandparents from there? relax we're not talking football team selection status. this is nationalism...Kosovo wasn't in Lisbon you know. But it's yours now
Were you born in one of these places, do you live there or was one of your grandparents from there? relax we're not talking football team selection status. this is nationalism...Kosovo wasn't in Lisbon you know. But it's yours now

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