Parliament of Catalonia Approves Independence from Spain Amid Strong Opposition from Madrid


The Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) lasted almost as long as the Nigeria/Biafra war (1967-1970). Both fratricidal wars had no negotiated conclusions as the victorious sides were deemed to have exacted unconditional surrender from the vanquished. The City of Barcelona, which is the economic capital of Catalonia, fought on side of the Republicans which were defeated by the Nationalist army led by Franco. Rudiments of Catalan nationalism had existed long before the Spanish Civil War.

The modern independence movement began when the 2006 Statute of Autonomy, which had been agreed with the Spanish government and passed by a referendum in Catalonia, was challenged in the Spanish High Court of Justice, which ruled that some of the articles were unconstitutional, or were to be interpreted restrictively. Popular protest against the decision quickly turned into demands for independence. Ensuing agitations explicitly called on the Catalan government to begin the process towards independence. Catalan president, Artur Mas, called a snap general election, which resulted in a pro-independence majority for the first time in the region’s history. The new parliament adopted the Catalan Sovereignty Declaration in early 2013, asserting that the Catalan people had the right to decide their own political future.

The Catalan government announced a referendum, to be held in November 2014, on the question of statehood. The referendum was to ask two questions: “Do you want Catalonia to become a State?” and (if yes) “Do you want this State to be independent?” The Spanish government referred the proposed referendum to the Spanish Constitutional Court, which ruled it unconstitutional. The Catalan government then changed it from a binding referendum to a non-binding “consultation”.

Despite the Spanish court also banning the non-binding vote, the Catalan self-determination referendum went ahead on November 9, 2014. The result was an 81% vote for “yes-yes”, with a turnout of 42%. Mas called another election for September 2015, which he said would be a plebiscite on independence. Pro-independence parties fell just short of a majority of votes in the September election, although they won a majority of seats. The new parliament passed a resolution declaring the start of the independence process in November 2015, and the following year, new president, Carles Puigdemont, announced a binding referendum on independence. Although deemed illegal by the Spanish government and Constitutional Court, the referendum was held on October 1, 2017. Results showed a 90% vote in favor of independence, with a turnout of 43%.

On October 27, 2017 the Parliament of Catalonia approved a resolution creating an independent Republic unilaterally by a vote considered illegal by the lawyers of the Parliament of Catalonia for violating the decisions of the Constitutional Court of Spain. As is the case in all democracies, there is no unanimity among all partisan formations doing business in Catalonia. Podemos, the second largest party in Spain by membership, supports a referendum. Other parties favor an intermediate form of self-determination, or at least support a referendum on the question.

As is evident from the raging controversy, that the Catalans’ journey to full self-determination is still a work in progress. But it would appear that the Rubicon River has now been crossed when the Parliament of Catalonia has ratified outcome of the October 1st Referendum for self-determination. The future steps shall be a battle of wills pitching the self-determination agonists in the Catalan state and the federalists, on the one hand and the Parliament of Catalonia and the Spanish National Assembly cum Court of Spain, on the other hand. This video was made to push the case of Catalan autonomy and self-determination.

On its face value, the video has gone a long way to buttress and justify the steps already taken by the Catalan nationalists to secure self-determination for their fellow compatriots. The video catalogs a minimum of 25 instances where essential laws made by Catalans to advance the welfare of their own people were rejected by Madrid and the Court of Spain. Even the decision by the Catalan state to conduct its own internal Referendum was greeted with brutal force by Madrid.

The presenter may have succeeded in convincing her audience that the only other path open for the Catalan nationalists, in face of the uncompromising roadblocks from Madrid, is to declare an independent CATALONIA.