Catalonia: A New Lesson for a People Who Want to be Independent

By Carlos Aznárez, from Barcelona on September 11, 2108

A million people crying for independence, demanding the release of political prisoners and the return of exiles should be an image that should be traveling around the world to show that the Catalan people are determined to exercise the right to self-determination and build the Republic of Catalonia. However, the Spanish hegemonic press has tried to hide the sky with a finger. The media has also tried to minimize what has become a powerful message of dignity of a people who are fed up with enduring the chains and the Spanish plundering of their economy, but also the cultural penetration that among other things wants to destroy its upmost sign of identity;  the Catalan language.

All these demands were present during the historic day of September 11 in Barcelona, where from very early in the morning thick columns of demonstrators began to form.  First in front of the Arc de Triumph to fraternize, enthusiastically embrace and wave the flags with the bars and the lone star, better known as senyera. Then came the arrival of numerous buses from nearby towns. As the crowd swelled they began to occupy the wide Diagonal for several kilometers and the orange color of the T-shirts with the legend in defense of the Catalan Republic turned the avenue into a reddish sea. We could not help but be reminded of the great mobilizations that was carried out in Caracas by Hugo Chávez. Not only because of the colorful expression but also because of the insurgent and rebellious character who turned out.

There they were with the joy of knowing that they were fighters for a just cause, thousands and thousands of young people, many children, entire families with their respective generations at the foot of the street. Also it must be noted that there were many immigrants amongst them, including Latin Americans, Arabs, Saharawis, Maghrebi, and even from sub-Saharan Africa. All of them intermingled with the supportive inhabitants of other towns on the Iberian peninsula who are without a state, such as the Basques, Galicians or Andalusians, and with their own respective flags added considerably to the concentration of Catalans struggling for self detemination.

September 11 is by no means coincidental or insignificant. The Catalans recognize it as “Independence Day”, the day in 1714 when the Spanish troops of the Bourbons (the same ones who govern today) defeated the locals after a year and two months of enduring a ferocious state of siege and cruel repression. But what is really commemorated is not that defeat but the heroic behavior of that people who left and indelible memory under the skin and spirit of their descendants. That is what is happening today, a confrontation with the Spanish government  that is still struggling and confronting  the current Bourbons and those Spanish leaders whose lineage is directly traced to the Franco regime.

It is indisputable that independence is growing day by day in Catalonia, and this is due to the fact that the street is much more radicalized than the institutions, the Parliament and the politicians. When people, especially the younger ones, shout “Independence” many are adding the word “Socialism”. They are questioning nothing less than the system and the bourgeois democracy that shelters them. If we add to this the multiple humiliations, actions of repression and arrogance, typical of the Spanish conquistadors throughout history, we can understand why in a country of six million inhabitants, one million have thrown themselves into the streets on many occasions. They have also carried out and emerged victorious in the sovereignty referendum and have defied the Francoist articles with which the overthrown and corrupt President Rajoy applied in order to silence them. They also have resisted in prisons and in exile under accusations that, are so made up and unjust has cause embarrassment at the international level to the government of Spain. But this has always been the attitude of the decadent Spanish empire, from the imprisonment and dispersion of the Cuban patriot José Martí to the current high officials of the Catalan government and the fighters who had to go into exile.

No one who this past Tuesday was fortunate enough to dive into the crowd can remain in doubt as to what this people wants. That sensation came exactly at 5:14 when the whole demonstration turned into a sonic “wave”, which happened after all the attendees produced a total silence that ended with an explosion of shouting and waving of gigantic flags.

The flame of Independence continues to shine brightly and at some point – there is no doubt about it – it will turn into a bonfire that will illuminate the whole of Catalonia. Then, there will be no more political prisoners or looters of the future of those men and women who this 9/11 once again taught the world a lesson in discipline and self-organization.

Catalonia: A million dignified women and men marched in support of the Catalan Republic, photo report by Maria Torrellas, Resumen Latinoamericano, on September 11, 2018

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano, translation North America bureau