Saturday, 24 October 2009

The actions at Prats de Molló

November 4th 1926 is remembered in Catalonia for being the feat by Francesc Macià and the hundred other volunteer patriots, who from the Northern Catalan city of Prats de Molló, showed the Catalan nation’s conflict and her wish for independence to the rest of the world.

Following what is known as “The Actions at Prats de Molló”, Catalan claims were spread worldwide. The detention of the insurgents –summoned  in the county of Vallespir, due to  the betrayal of a spy, who was descendant of Italian revolutionary Garibaldi, paid by the French, the posterior trial of Francesc Macià and the other soldiers in Paris, the sentence –imprisonment and fines- and his exile in Brussels were highlights in the European and American press for quite some time.

Since 1714, the name of Catalonia had not been mentioned by so many people beyond the borders. Two-hundred and odd years after Spanish occupation of Catalonia, a new generation of patriots bore arms to demonstrate to the other Catalans how independence is achieved. The belligerent character of Catalans was well alive within those youngsters, and Catalan tradition was carried out once again despite prohibitions. Coming to age where the child would be considered a grown-up man, the head of the house gave him the key, the “duro” –money- and the knife. Catalans always considered ourselves “franks” –free-, as opposed to other humans, most of whom were subjects. Freedom, determined and regulated from the origins of the Nation within the Constitutions of Catalonia, cost blood and because of that, all well-born Catalans bore arms, to defend themselves and their freedom. With Macià, this atavistic spirit, the wish for recovering the snatched freedom was reborn, and a lot of his followers abandoned everything for Catalonia: family, job, study, social position … Until the last breath, all without exception had preserved the sparkle of Independence in their eyes. Eternal glory to defenders of the motherland! 

The first days of November 1926, more than a hundred Catalans demonstrated with desire for freedom and Independence that was claimed by the subconscious of a whole nation, which remained imprisoned and violated by the Spanish tyranny and barbarism represented by Primo de Rivera’s dictatorship. It was an all-level attempt of armed uprising, impregnated with courage and heroism; should it have succeeded, we would be a in front of a historical contemporary precedent of secessionism, surely very productive and hardly coverable by the “official” historiography, and actually provable. In any case, political leaders like Macià, are greatly missed in the actual Catalonia, where there is no audacity nor heroism but a great deal of complexes and genuflections.

President Macià had determination and a clear goal. This is a résumé of the declaration that Macià had to read when Independence was declared:

”TO ALL FREE NATIONS OF THE WORLD. It is Catalonia where we salute you from, free Nations of the World, at the moment of raising in arms in defence of her non-expiring right of self-government. We want a Free Catalonia for Catalans! We want a modern culture for our children, for our workers and our Colleges. We want the maximum improvement for our proletarian force and for our Higher Education schools. We want to manage our National wealth ourselves, in an Independent Catalan Republic.

Let the World know that we are not encouraged by hatred against the rest of the Iberian Peninsula, nor by any imperialist or conquering spirit. We would consider ourselves lucky, once free, to help the other nations of Spain that suffer under the same regime of reaction, so that they become free too.

We want to break the chains that have forcefully brought us under the yoke with them, and to exchange those for free and fraternal links that allowed us to work together towards international peace. Because international peace is, the ultimate goal why we raise in arms. And is to you, free nations of the world, to whom we address, first, the salutation and then an anguished yell, asking for your recognition of our right to become free.

We do this with hope and faith in freedom and justice, the fundamental principle of International Law for non-forced cooperation, but free, of all nations and for civil equality, against all privileges and against tyranny. We are convinced that peace in Europe will not be assured while the force of the armies supports imperialism and that the rights of the small nations to decide by themselves. For the right of the nations and the people! For international peace! Good Health!

Francesc Macià, Prats de Molló, 1926

Today, more that eighty years later, this declaration prepared by the Catalan volunteers leaded by Macià remains almost totally valid. A reason to reflect on, and that his experience and sacrifice be the example to not cease the fight for the independence of Catalonia.
Catalunya Acció, with an ambitious, and updated to the 21st Century project, without firearms, but with the same energy and conviction, gathers the spirit and courage of those Catalans that one day said enough and realized that the only solution is to break with Spain.

Oriol Escuté

Member of Catalunya Acció

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Independence and immigration

"Independence is impossible, there is too much immigration." Here we have it. The mother of all lies. How many times have heard, especially (what a coincidence) from who would want us believing that we live in a fragmented country? On one hand there are those who disgustingly discriminate between immigrants (xarnegos –from Spain-, Moors or sudaques –from South America-) and Catalans at its root, ignoring many previous waves of immigration. But others bent on maintaining economically, not just philosophically, a fictional Andalusian collective (as if everyone thought the same or belonged to the same herd) as FECAC and other mafias. Even some people want us to believe that there is a language conflict, such as the virtual Catalan vs Valencian, when the only real problem is that Spanish is still, unfortunately, official language enforced to all Catalans. Yes, Spanish is my mother tongue, but is as foreign as English in the Netherlands, Turkish in Germany or Spanish to Portugal itself. It is no coincidence that these are precisely the most manipulative of all immobilizers. What makes so much fear to change ? That instead of Andalusian collective become Catalans? That we became normal people like any other in Europe? That, without distinction as to origin or family origin, everyone wants to free the land of welcome?

Well, a Catalan writes to you , son and grandson of people from Andalusia, this Baix Llobregat massively populated by immigrant people (now or 30 years ago, the concept is the same) and their descendants. This lie about immigration is about to end it once and forever. To begin, groups such as Catalònia Acord or, in the scope language, Veu Pròpia, are causing a mental short circuit to a more than one brain of the country, because of their clarity and forcefulness. Their words can be summarized as follows: "integrated newcomers and their descendants are simply Catalans. Full-stop. We are part of one nation: the Catalan. We do not need any protection from Spanish gangs or its patrons who live installed decades within our governments”.

Non-generalizing my particular way, I think is quite significant. In primary school I was lucky that the history teacher hit my child's brain –about 12 years of age- with the phrase: "Obviously that Catalonia is a country!". We all were spoken in Catalan (we were Catalan). Later, however, at high school I was amazed that the course of history was only in Spanish (I'm afraid it still does, but that needs go change it, and quickly). Gradually, that seed planted by that teacher was germinating. Knowing Catalan history is necessary but not sufficient. Fortunately, one (only one!) of my Catalan classmates spoke the language of the Catalans to me, perhaps only because he considered me a real Catalan. It was just so I could practice it enough to become a proper speaker . And get to college, finally I could make all social life entirely in Catalan, as should be, regardless of my mother tongue or childhood surroundings. Finally after all this process of maturation and have good eyes open to everything happening around me, obviously I am Catalan, I feel like a Catalan, I suffer like a Catalan, but I also have an enormous enthusiasm in the Catalan future than any other who knows to live in a colony and not just want our country be free, sovereign, independent, mature, prosperous, but also takes action to achieve it.

Thus, in many cases the same as mine, these new Catalans, only have the name, the mother tongue and (currently) Spanish passport. Incidentally, there is a clear symptom of the disease in the country regarding immigration: each day, knowing my name, many lifetime Catalans will address to me in Spanish. I, with my Spanish name intact, answer voluntarily in Catalan to create them a mental short circuit. It will be through mental short circuits, then, that we progress. I do not believe that I will ever translate my name, as, in fact, is not prompted to a son of Germans, Russians or Senegal, with foreign name to do so. Therefore I will always be a Catalan with foreign names, particularly Spanish. And what that has to do with the future I want for my country? The answer is easy: nothing. For independence is neither necessary nor wanted to change one's name, nor have great-grandparents of Cerdanya, or vote ERC , or stop having friends in Spain or France, or to speak Catalan own family coming from 30 years of Andalusia, China or Ecuador. Wishing for independence just needs loving the country and want it completely free. Nothing more.

The Catalan identity is merely a way of thinking, understanding and acting in the world around us. It is purely mental and, contrary to what some would like us to believe, is not genetic. This way of thinking and living that make up the life of the party (generally called the Catalan people), eventually becomes dominant in each of the individuals who are born, grow up or spend a significant part of his life in. The daily experience, how people interact, socio-economic structure and the physical environment in which we move, end up determining the formation of this way of thinking and acting (ie, of being) make, for better or for worse, different from the rest of the world. In this sense, indeed there is more than the Catalans now have it explicitly clear. Catalan is because, simply, anyone who thinks and acts (ie, who is) the Catalan way.

Right now, hundreds of Catalans should be doing like me the whole process of integration, so spontaneous and natural. However, with a normalized environment (ie with their own State as other people have) would make virtually all descendants of immigrants, or at least thousands, or hundreds of thousands ... What is wrong then? What are we doing wrong? Well this answer is too easy: almost everything. Because we do not have our own State, nor act against the phenomenon of immigration as we should act while we have not.

Not having a State means that Catalan people do not have their own space where to work naturally, relaxed, their way of structuring society, to integrate newcomers, to not alienate their offspring, leaving them in no-mans Land to develop their culture and show it to the world with pride. Someone will respond to all this, to some extent, as is done now. Well, at least try. With the continuous interference of the invader, Spain, a lot of energy is wasted to perform all this work of integration. Just as they wasted on thousand other fronts that we address incorrectly as separate; defence of the language; protest against tax plundering suffered by all of the Catalan population (including Spaniards who live there!); demand own sporting teams, voice and vote in international organizations, labelling, judgments, software, audiovisual entertainment in Catalan ... (and will not end up ever). From all this, why not directly achieve independence? The integration of immigrants as Catalans would also be positively affected having their own state, because the methods and objectives would be decided by us instead of the Spaniards, who is now trying to turn immigrants into Spaniards.

With immigration, we are already making mistakes now. It is not possible to refuse up front as Catalans those who do not speak Catalan. Because we adopt the language as a natural consequence of considering becoming a member of that different group. It is a step but not the cause. Not necessarily speaking Catalan makes one Catalan. Instead, being conscious or feeling Catalan yes it does, sooner or later, to adopt Catalan, it is only a matter of time. Because the Catalan language is obviously the most appropriate, to best express the Catalanity, namely, the fact of thinking and acting in the Catalan way, ie, be and feel Catalan. The nuance is needed, however, that progress in any of the other two fields provided, is fed to one another. The fact that you are spoken in Catalan (and therefore that is conducive to you speaking it in the long term) facilitates the fact of beginning to feel really Catalan, acts as a throttle for the entire process. Recall again my mate in high school that spoke to me in Catalan. If I had not sensed like being considered Catalan probably would not have been speaking in Catalan now, probably would not have adopted the language that to me, then, was neither mother nor social but only the school (and a little by TV3). If we do not consider newcomers and their descendants real Catalans, and we do not speak Catalan to them, they note that they are just being refused to be Catalans. And finally, they are rejected as Catalans will become something else (for example, are Spanish).

This is, summarized, the tragedy we suffer. This whole process that should happen more naturally having their own state, because we have not, is not happening yet. And if does not happen naturally, then in theory should make it happen consciously, voluntarily and everyday, but we do not. Because, over time, is simply exhausting. You can not always blame the people not to continuously and consciously do what the rest of the world's people do naturally and effortlessly because they have a State. But we can blame all together to not focus our energies on achieving it. Because not only do, but we regret that, day in and day out, the consequences of not having this status. Do not put a start to achieve it, and also we lose ourselves in the desert wrapped in our own miseries.

And bound to the principle for the construction of this new State not only can not leave out the newcomers for their own moral dignity, but they and their descendants are absolutely essential. Especially for the enormous wealth of pure winning character off those entrepreneurs, who for ambition or need, and unlike others who remain, leave everything behind in their homeland and are able to take roots and integrate to the land of welcome, living there, having descendants and assimilating their way of thinking and acting (exactly what the Catalan identity is), and ultimately succeed in the goal with the initial fear of the unknown. And this is precisely what is needed to achieve independence, do we realize? Character winning decision, assumption of risk in exchange for the option for a better and more dignified future than that of the submissive slave, because the gains are usually proportional to the risk assumed in the bet.

To conclude, once again I will use my own example. My parents came here because they wanted to have a prosperous future, and I also had too, and every opportunity in life. Well, one of the biggest reasons why I work to achieve independence is that I do not like to find myself soon in the same situation as them 30 years ago. They came to stay, and I do not want to have to go to another country for my children if I ever have all chances. The Catalans are still able to make our country prosperous for many decades if we take the independence we have now more than ever at your fingertips and abandon forever this nightmare.

Imagine the extraordinary and overwhelming positive feedback from a moral and collective enthusiasm at the beginning of this enterprise that will become common in our society. Nobody is aware of that involved in this spiral of positive energy, so the result of a referendum will not be more than simply a logical and natural to join this national cohesion and winning character, ie the the recovery of the Catalan spirit.

Therefore, the Catalans, started on the path towards independence, towards a country, adult, responsible and better. It is not only imperative but also an indication, an announcement: we have already begun the journey. And above all, we are starting together all Catalans, old and new.

Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Councillor Catalunya Accio

Monday, 19 October 2009

The ideal of Catalonia

macià2All politics, to be completely effective, need of an ideal.  Politics become something amorphous, routine and far from people’s feelings without it. Naturally, those who do not even want to talk about that are always saying “we must resolve the real problems of the people” or “the most important is to be good managers”. They do not know nor want to go beyond this and are incapable of conceiving any encouraging idea to go past the clichés that they have minted to justify their intellectual and dialectical poverty. Talking in these terms means to possess the concept that the people behave like pigs, only thinking of eating, sleeping, and sitting down and getting fatter. Are Catalans like this? Are we only worried of paying the mortgage, going away for the weekend and eating good shellfish?

Surely that an important part of those who are in charge of the rudder of the country would like to see us reduced to such poor condition. It would the guarantee to perpetuate in power such alarming mediocrity that, among a lot of people, the idea of having to pass a test is necessary for everybody who wants to have any post with responsibility. We cannot tolerate any longer that “being the son of …”, “brother of …”, “partner of …” or “best friend of …” is the warrant to take possession of a chair. This fact is especially alarming in Catalonia, because we have always been a Nation that have valued the effort and talent of the protagonist, no matter who he or she is. We only need to see the statues at the façade of the Town Hall in Barcelona, James I and Joan Fiveller, put up asymmetrically, equalling Kings and subjects at the time of reckoning successes. This is the way to demonstrate carelessness regarding the person’s origins when the matter is to honour the defenders of the national freedom. Favouritism disgusts us because we put it to the Antipodes of our collective and most appreciated values. If we talk about politician leaders, we especially value perseverance, humanism and resolution to confront injustice. I doubt that what I have just said has anything to see with the fact that even today, we perceive President Macià –in the picture- as model of Catalan politician to imitate. Nevertheless, even for the most interested in reducing politics to an emotionless game, people, always, as said by John F. Kennedy “demand their leaders to act with courage and integrity”.

However, it must be said that these things are not easily applied to day-to-day reality. To begin with, the ideal cannot be bought at the first corner shop we find nor may be provided by any electoral campaign strategist or any expert in political marketing. It is not a simple slogan, a webpage, Facebook or a multicultural festival. A real ideal is forged within the minds of who want it materialized. Furthermore, it takes roots with time and life experiences through challenges derived from its defence; and it is impossible to build among chairs, government commissions or general secretaries. Who politically is born among all this might be able to manage more or less successfully a budget but, do not fool ourselves, will never shake anybody’s soul and will be unable to interpret and shape collective feelings, which are what move the spirit of a nation. Perhaps would be a “technician”, at worst would be a bureaucrat.

Talking about Catalonia, we would see that all that means doing collaborationist politics with Spain is seen lacking of idealism. The main characters justify themselves saying is the only possible, although the truth is that when we see how they work, we cannot stop thinking about the phrase “when foxes cannot reach the grapes, say that they are not ripe”. Then, it is not strange that their defenders are always seen by us like people who want to take profit of something without facing the enemy. Their option is the easiest and the least compromised and then, has the courage to make us believe that have achieved a big victory for Catalonia. But the reality is that we all well know that the only fact that can shake the collective soul of our people is the ideal of freedom, that is nothing else than her independence. This is the ideal of Catalonia.

Santiago Espot
CEO Catalunya Acció

Monday, 12 October 2009

The United States of America and Catalonia

The North American elections have made me think about a “virtual” visit to the States and see parallelisms between this and our nation, that some time ago was, like the Americans, a great world power and which, in Servent’s words “was in front of the Nations of the world”.

The Catalan origins of the flag of the USA

The formation of the flag of the United States of America would part from an evolution of the Catalan flag that the English took as a model for the British East Indian Company. Besides its design with red and white stripes, without precedents in England, curiously, the evolution of the number of stripes or paly coincides too ,as in the Catalan ensign, with the number of territories that would represent. From the five original territories (England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and the American Colonies), as well as the different American patriots revolutionary flags that represented the number of colonies until the flag of the thirteen stripes (seven red and six white) of the thirteen foundational colonies that became independent from the British Crown. Though the number of stripes will remain unchanged from then, and they are the actual number, the increase in the number of States of the Union would be represented by the number of stars within the flag. Because of the red colour used, design of the stripes and their territorial meaning, the Catalan influence in the historical and iconographical reference appears evident in the origins of the formation of this flag.

Evolution from the Catalan ensign to the actual flag of the United States of America

But the presence of the Catalan stripes is not an exclusive fact of the National flag, other North American States and Puerto Rico reflect an original Catalan presence that has been usurped, tergiversated and converted in Castilian under the ambiguity of the name “Spanish”.

From the left, the flags of New Mexico and Arizona

Coat of arms of San German de Puerto Rico

The proliferation of Catalan ensigns because of the Catalan presence throughout the world, the ignorance and the oblivion about our nation is so great that there are anecdotes like this one, where a Catalan saw a Catalan flag hoisted by the entrance of a Museum in honour of the USS Constitution, in Boston, and the person who had ordered it, because they had seen it in a paint of the Battle of Tripoli, who had hoisted it every day, could give this man no explanation where that flag had come from. The visitor went away intrigued to know if our ancestors had to do anything with the first international naval battle of the United States of America. If you pay a little attention, is not difficult to find Catalan references in the American films and series.

Catalan contribution in the formation of a new nation

Precisely a sea man, Jordi Ferragut Mesquida, born in Ciutadella de Menorca during the British occupation of the island, who took nautical studies in Barcelona, left Catalonia and emigrated to the United States, where he worked in the Merchant Navy and fought the British in the American Independence War. In the Battle of Cowpens, it was highlighted that he saved the life of somebody called George Washington, one of the fathers of the Nation and who would become the first President of the United States. Jordi’s son, Jaume Ferragut, would be adopted by the future Captain of the Navy David Porter, who changed his name to David Farragut, would become the first major officer of the Navy during the Civil War and was the first counter-admiral, first vice-admiral and first admiral of the US Navy. The name of Farragut is today one of the symbols of America i bear his name several military academies, schools, towns, squares and streets, monuments and appears in diverse manifestations of popular culture, as the fleet of spaceships Farragut in the Star Trek series, or the Commodore Farragut in the novel “20000 leagues under the sea” by Jules Verne. Minorcan’s immigration to Florida within that time was not punctual, even today, their descendents surprise and thrill us seeing that they keep some of the customs, preserving Catalan vocabulary and now, thanks to internet, the blog The Minorcan Factor or Minorcanculture, among some of them.

But Catalan presence in North America did not begin in the 18th Century with Minorcan immigrants or figures like Gaspar de Portolà and Fra Juníper Serra, it is shown evident from the beginning of the Catalan landing in the continent at the end of the 15th Century, with Colom and other Catalans like Joan and Sebastià Cabot in Terra Nova.

The very name of Florida would be a Catalan name too, given by Joan Pons d’Agramunt –later converted by the censorship in a Castilian called Juan Ponce de León. Intuitively, it is perceived the Catalan origin of names like California, Pensacola –from our Peniscola-, and so many others.

Catalan place names in the United States: Barcelona Harbour, València, Farragut, Juniper Serra Mountain, Montserrat, Cabot, Porter, Coloma, Montfort, Pineda, Ponset, etc...

The name of the Nation and the political structure

Like the old Catalonia, the United States of America are formed, like everybody knows and like their own name indicates, by a series of States with their own laws. The North American federal culture is expressed by a national coat of arms with the legend “Pluribus unum”, the unity in plurality. It is common too, the county as a local or regional government form, as well as it was in the Principality of Catalonia. Equally, besides the States, the Federal District, which lays besides of the dependence of any other State member. It is known as Washington DC because of the name of the city that constitutes the district, the official name of this singular territory that exercises as capital of the Nation is District of Columbia, hence the initials DC.

Like in Catalonia, too, the Americans have had their discrepancies with regards to the name of the Nation. Precisely, the denomination of the capital district answers to the remaining of what, at the time, was proposed as the name of the whole Country: Columbia. Explained in the Wikipedia, Columbia was the first popular and poetic name of the United States of America and is a grammatical feminine form derived from the name Cristofor Colom. The denomination dates from before the Independence War in 1776, but was forgotten in the 20th Century. The Americans appealed to the figure of Colom instead of the figure of the Cabot brothers, promoted by the English.

George R. Stewart says that the name “United States” was criticised for too long, imprecise and slightly poetic, and said that the Constitutional Convention in 1787 would have been the perfect moment to change it. The two characters who probably had argued more for a better name, following Stewart, would be Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin. However, the Nation kept the name of “United States” although the popular support for “Columbia” remained. Finally, the establishment of a new independent country with the name of Colombia had provoked that the denomination “Columbia” was not longer available for the United States, therefore their progressive abandonment. In spite of that, the name “Columbia” appears constantly in North America and even remains as the personalization of the Nation in feminine figure, equivalent to the masculine “uncle Sam”, normally associated to the President.

Columbia, the feminine representation of the United States of America, derived from Colom, is today symbol of Columbia Pictures. The United States and Catalonia in today’s world.

The United States have always looked out for our country in the moments where new independent States have been born in the old Europe. The return of Catalonia to the international political arena is seen with good eyes by  America, which need to have strategic associates in the western Mediterranean, with European States dedicating their efforts to improve their economies, and not managing internal territorial problems. But from Catalonia, we have not understood nor correspond adequately the possibilities that the international chequer offers to us.

Yet with President Wilson, the regionalist Catalan politicians at the beginning of the 20th Century missed asking him for support for having an Autonomy, that he declined for being and “internal affair” with the Spanish State, instead of asking directly for independence, in a moment where the independences of Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary or Ireland were facilitated. During the 2nd World War, too, existed a project to make, at least the Principality, an independent State to facilitate the Allied offensive against Fascism in Europe, that finally was not approved. More recently, President Clinton affirmed that “future will be either Catalan or Taliban. In a Catalan world, we would celebrate the differences, because they are a manifestation of the common Humanity. In a Taliban world, the differences are the only thing that matters”.

Events like September 11th 2001, unite one more time America with our own September 11th 1714 and increases the long list of shared symbols, even though Spain has tried to hide and usurp them. Now, the United States are to begin a new era with a new President, it is interesting to see how the American Democrats have adapted the Catalan donkey as the sign of their party. Democrats Abroad have bought copyright to the proprietor of said donkey to use it as the official sign in the campaign of Barack Obama to the American Democrats overseas. And from the Republican benches, Robert Kagan, John McCain’s assessor in international politics, referred to the supporters for independence of Catalonia and other European countries in a press article. Nobody was surprised that with the actual American President, we have another opportunity to see an independent Catalonia among the other European nations. But to do so, Catalans must have especially present this paragraph of the Declaration of Independence of the United States: “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”.

Published at “Es Poblat d’en Talaiotic”

What we must do now

When most visible becomes our collective condition of submission, some of our compatriots inclined to demoralize would like to throw in the towel. This state of mind is not only due to our inexistent trust in our leadership –we are unable to see them giving us a victory as a nation-, but combined with the most diffused voices within the public opinion, which are constantly generating a perception that Spain is winning the battle. In addition to that, the occupiers publish what they loot in form of fiscal balances and it does not happen anything.

Among our most representative people, all are laments and calls to resistance, and the formulae to escape from them are always the same: to stay put, to use the little we have and pray to the Virgin of Montserrat. No one of our main opinion makers of the country is going  beyond describing the adverse effects of the viruses called Spain and France. We lack so much in patriotic gestures that there have even been who has seen Jose Montilla’s last attitudes in the financial theme some reincarnation of Pau Claris. A victory can never be built on these foundations. Hence, what must be done? To continue with the same old unsuccessful attitudes or to have the audacity to begin walking through new pathways?

There will be who believes that there is no life beyond new political parties with representation in the Parliament. Most of these think that everything has to go through the sieve of Esquerra Republicana de Catalunya or Convergencia i Unio, and they limit themselves to force “one step beyond” the main leaders of these formations. We have been so many years without having political parties that we think that maintaining the actual ones is our least harm. But reality says that this way of seeing things has consolidated a harmful ruling of the actual political parties that has smeared all with subsidies, dropping their pants down in front of the government of Madrid and make all kind of buttering up to the great communication or economic groups. It is not strange, then, that the beginning of a sensation that who is really in power within the Principality of Catalonia are some people with office at the top floor of some emblematic buildings in the city of Barcelona.

However, I reckon that seeing the last Congresses of the two parties self-called of exclusive Catalan subjection –what a sarcasm!- it does not invite to a lot of optimism. Seeing their results and confirming that the sensation that the end of an era has arrived it is the same thing. Their principal leaders would like to lengthen to the infinite the era of blurriness, but the people with clear Catalan national awareness is fed up with waiting and want something happening. They are neither willing to wait another ERC congress in June nor they believe the euphemisms that came out in the last conclave of CiU. Patriotic people want clarity because they consider exhausted the times of fuzziness. Ambiguity would work in other times and being the essence of one political party. This characteristic has even become one of the polling clues to govern Catalonia for twenty-three years. What has remained? A profound deception and the sensation that they have eaten some ground. This is how the promoters of this politics have acted, what can we expect from their political offsprings?

For all this, the idea of a new political formation that embodies a real, authentic, modern and operative support for independence is taking shape. With faces and styles without any connexion with thirty years of abandoning own principles. Possibly, this feeling is produced at the moment in small cores but is spreading quickly, and without any doubt is combined with the incompetency of the actual leadership of the country and the colonial treatment that Spain is brooded about visualize constantly. However, who will thread the needle?
From Catalunya Acció, we shall never tire to repeat this necessary convulsion in our politic arena. Even more, we shall not remain here. We shall do everything possible to become one of the foremost makers shaping this new hope that every day claim more Catalan patriots.

Santiago Espot 
CEO Catalunya Acció
(Article published at El Punt, 10-10-08)

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Charles Merrill, Christopher Columbus and Jordi Bilbeny

Almost a year after its publication in the States, it arrives, with perfect aiming, the translation into Catalan of Charles Merrill's book Colom of Catalonia: origins of Christopher Columbus revealed. It is a matter of the book in which he follows the information published until now, makes an estate of the question, compiles everything new might be and extracts a conclusion. And what is this conclusion? That Bilbeny was right. But not only Bilbeny, because, in reality it is a part of a tradition that begins with Peruvian Historian Luis Ulloa. And is good that the book appears now that October 12th is so near.

I encourage you to use your blogs to speak about the book, the monstrosity of the historical appropriation and Charles Merrill and Jordi Bilbeny. It would not be bad you also link the web of the Institut Nova Historia, the foundation that accommodates Jordi Bilbeny and his team. It is a very good moment to decide to become a member and help, this way, to develop these investigation even more. At the Institute, a lot of investigation and diffusion work is being done to revise History.

The book appears in a moment in which Spain does not stop receiving blows and disappointments. They will not host the Olympic Games in 2016; everybody comments that they are the only ones to come down from the economical recovery; now, President Zapatero sees how the polls are turning against him; Catalans have made explode a democratic earthquake with epicentre in Arenys de Munt; and, for afters, it reappears, with a more than oportunistic translation, a topic that they would like to have dead and buried when the book was publised last year. It is not that I feel a special pleasure in poking in the wounds of the others. I do not consider myself especially sadistic. But I do not feel sorrow for them, to be honest. So, if you would like to broaden your knowledge, there are the books by Caius Parellada, Teresa Barque, and so. But especially Bilbeny's Cristòfor Colom, Príncep de Catalunya, published by Proa.

Xavier Mir

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Racist, xenophobic and excluding Spain

As well as being imperialist, excluding and false –because it does not exist as a Nation-, Spain is xenophobic and racist. Somebody save it from this strong qualifications, because there is always the common people, strange to the imposing politics of the centralist oligarchy from Madrid, who do not know anything and do not understand anything…

The extreme racism against Catalonia is silently promoted by the central Governments from two centuries ago. A careful silence that is represented in the highlights of the newspapers, radio and television stations that follow suite to the cavern and play the game throw the stone, hide the hand. This racist game against Catalonia is also played regularly by the representatives of the law, the CGPJ –Consejo General del Poder Judicial-, TS –Tribunal Supremo-, TSJC –Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Catalunya-, TC –Tribunal Constitucional-, National Police, Civil Guard. Numerous cases that might be attributed to any of them appear every day, do not make me list them all or we would fill the article.

The priority for the Spaniards promoters of racism, the disqualification and humiliating delectation against the Catalan people is to make us oblivious of, to minimize and to dilute the main; the daily looting of our wallets in the form of taxes that never return where they have been paid from and, later, divide equitably among the other poor communities as per inter-regional solidarity.

Spain obviate the 20th article of the Spanish Constitution to the Catalans. It talks about freedom of speech. They put us under the microscope when we meet and when demonstrate, and they will take very short time to apply any newly invented law to illegalize our political parties supporters of independence that do not follow the game of “the yoke and the arrows” –symbols of Falange Espanola- as it has happened in the Basque Country. The situation is worrying because in Catalonia nobody uses violence to expose their political thoughts. In Catalonia, ideas are exposed and arguments are used, not weapons. But some people from the Castilian meseta and other regions do not understand that Catalan people show their ideas within current legality.

Looking at it, is normal, because Catalans have been a mere colony of Spain, whose object for looting is not oil or copper but the money we earn working hard and that, year after year, is converted in infrastructures and equipments from the Ebro to the South.

The Spanish central government does not doubt to approve a fascist demonstration of the Falange Espanola, corroborated by the TSJC, which is the heir to those whom arrived at the people’s homes at night, loaded up the lorry and shoot our ancestors by the cemeteries and other dark places, something not heard of in the civilized countries of the Europe of the 15.

The Spanish central government does not doubt to hinder all those who, always within actual legality, demonstrate their Catalan nationality or their desire for independence, as if it was a crime. Something like trying to prohibit freedom of thought, freedom of choice by the citizens. To declare oneself to support the independence movement of Catalonia in Spain, or to declare oneself as nationalist, is to call oneself “red, hairy, mason, horny and tailed evil”. As in the best times of the Francoist regime.

One of the main conditions for a country to be democratic is freedom of speech, reunion and association. It seems that in Catalonia has not arrived democracy yet. Every time that one initiative that does not agree with the unity of Spain beyond universe takes off, no matter who is in power in Madrid (either PSOE or PP), all Spanish powers bring up the untouchable and holy book of the Spanish Constitution to suppress that movement. They know that with this movement comes the unification of the Spanish Budget, more that the unity of Spain.
Visca Catalunya Lliure!

Pedro Moron de la Fuente
Writer and journalist
President of the association Catalonia Acord