Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

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Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Vahir » Sat Sep 27, 2014 8:58 pm UTC

Link

The president of Spain's powerful northeastern region of Catalonia on Saturday formally called an independence referendum, the latest secession push in Europe and one of the most serious challenges to the Spanish state in recent years.

[...]

"This referendum will not be held because it is unconstitutional," [Soraya Saenz, deputy prime minister of spain] told reporters during a rare Saturday press conference.


It seems like the Catalans have gotten sick of Spain's refusal to hold a referendum, and unilaterally declared one of their own. If they secure an independence vote and the Spanish government refuses to acknowledge it, this could turn ugly.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Diadem » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:19 am UTC

I wonder what Spain can do to stop this. Send in the police? Pretty sure local police aren't going to lift a finger. Send in the national police or the army? Well, that's one way to make absolutely sure that support for independence will spike. Let it go ahead and then ignore it? That doesn't look good, if the vote ends up being a yes, and only pushes their problems forward. They'll then have to repress an independence movement that now has democratic legitimacy, and that will only be harder.

Spain's best option is a no vote on the referendum. But it Spain doesn't recognize the referendum, they can't campaign in it, which significantly reduces the chances of a no vote.

Their second best option is to make sure the referendum doesn't happen. But I don't see how they can do that without escalating the situation.
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Brace » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:04 pm UTC

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Volcano99 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:22 pm UTC

The decree of the referendum will be paralysed later today, when the central government sends it to the Constitutional Court (these guys). According to Mas, all legal bases are covered, so the wording used can't be deemed unconstitutional. The Constitutional court is heavily politized (and towards the PP, the current ruling party in Spain) so it will presumably be blocked.

It can be blocked for up to 5 months, but they have announces they will work fast, so expect a resolution before the 9N.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Diadem » Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:31 am UTC

The logic of asking a constitutional court about the legality of a unilateral move to break away is kind of fantastic.

I friend of mine once told me that when she broke up with her then boyfriend, his response was "I don't agree". He clearly didn't understand the concept of a break up. This is the country equivalent. Spain can go to the constitutional court all they want, but what their constitution says is, of course, entirely besides the point. It just doesn't apply to this situation.

That's not to say that Spain can't force Catalonia to stay, via a variety of ways, some more peaceful than others. That may be within their power, and in that sense their consent to this break-up is useful, just like in individual relations where it is nice if your partner doesn't fight a divorce every step of the way. But the idea that they can just deny the existence of this event with a legal ruling is a strange one.
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Djehutynakht » Tue Sep 30, 2014 7:08 am UTC

Diadem wrote:But the idea that they can just deny the existence of this event with a legal ruling is a strange one.


In all fairness, it's pretty common. That's what happened with the US Civil War. The Constitution mentions nothing about states leaving the US, but the Supreme Court was pretty quick to say "Yeah, you can't leave the United States". Of course, the other side doesn't care and... Civil War.


I'd expect that within the whole realm of modern Europe and the European Union a military put down of a democratic secessionist movement would be... problematic, to say the least.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Diadem » Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:29 am UTC

Djehutynakht wrote:
Diadem wrote:But the idea that they can just deny the existence of this event with a legal ruling is a strange one.

In all fairness, it's pretty common. That's what happened with the US Civil War. The Constitution mentions nothing about states leaving the US, but the Supreme Court was pretty quick to say "Yeah, you can't leave the United States". Of course, the other side doesn't care and... Civil War.

I'd expect that within the whole realm of modern Europe and the European Union a military put down of a democratic secessionist movement would be... problematic, to say the least.

This is pretty much what I was trying to say. The secession of the confederate states wasn't stopped by the US supreme court saying it was unconstitutional. If the north hadn't sent in the military, the south would have seceded with or without SCOTUS permission. Both as a practical and fundamental matter, if enough people decide that a law doesn't apply, then the law doesn't apply. The law's opinion on this is irrelevant.

You can have laws about how to change laws, but you can't have laws about how not to change laws.
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby leady » Tue Sep 30, 2014 11:36 am UTC

Sure you can, so long as you can enforce that position.

That is afterall why individuals -> towns -> cities are all generally not considered secedable, but historical areas or countries (Scotland, Kingdom of Aragon in old money) are considered sort of allowed.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 30, 2014 1:58 pm UTC

Fun fact, Texas and Virginia both voted to stay in the Union (barely), but the people in charge happened to be plantation owners.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Zamfir » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:08 pm UTC

Both as a practical and fundamental matter, if enough people decide that a law doesn't apply, then the law doesn't apply. The law's opinion on this is irrelevant.

Irrelevant is a large word. Many people in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain will care whether the procedure towards secession is constitutional, or not. This will influence whether people will take the referendum serious, whether they will vote in it, how much importance they give to the outcome.

Now, it is indeed irrelevant if Catalonia has group of people who do not care about the constitution, who are willing to force their will on fellow catalonians and spaniards even against a constitutional ruling, and who have enough power to actually pull that off. That was basically the situation in the US South.

I don't see much indication that it also the case in Catalonia. Not all supporters of independence there are supporters at all cost, and supporters are not an utterly dominant group in Catalonia. The hard core will need the soft supporters of independence, and at least a measure of acceptance from the opponents within Catalonia, and some degree of cooperation from the rest of Spain. All of those are more likely if the referendum follows the current Spanish legal rules, so those rules are highly relevant.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby leady » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:22 pm UTC

#lazy

Why is Catalonia so called rather than Aragon? Or was it always Catalonia in the local language and as usual we renamed it?

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Mutex » Tue Sep 30, 2014 2:36 pm UTC

Aragon seems to be the region (or "nationality" as it's apparently designated - Spain is weird) to the west of Catalonia.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby CorruptUser » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:01 pm UTC

Why are the referendums based on large regions; why can't they be based on (using the US as an example) counties rather than states? And if so, why can't it be even smaller like towns? Perhaps all 200 people in Bumfuck, Nowhere don't want to be in the US, isn't it wrong to not let them have a vote? And if they can have a vote, why can't my family farm vote itself out?

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby ivnja » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:19 pm UTC

I think one of the biggest practical obstacles is when a seceding region (at whatever scale) isn't along the border of whatever larger body it is seceding from. If a farm in Kansas secedes, it's still entirely surrounded by the rest of the US (and state, and county, and town). No access to international airspace or waterways, etc. Same if the whole state of Kansas tries to secede. If Florida wants to go, on the other hand, it's a little less unreasonable - it could go about its business without having to rely on the goodwill of the rest of the US, as far as trade routes and transportation and all that jazz go. Vermont (etc) could potentially manage, too, since it could avoid US airspace by going through Canada. Border regions like that also wouldn't be able to depend on a free ride for defense (which would make it potentially slightly more tolerable for the country being seceded from).
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:57 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Both as a practical and fundamental matter, if enough people decide that a law doesn't apply, then the law doesn't apply. The law's opinion on this is irrelevant.

Irrelevant is a large word. Many people in Catalonia and in the rest of Spain will care whether the procedure towards secession is constitutional, or not. This will influence whether people will take the referendum serious, whether they will vote in it, how much importance they give to the outcome.


Indeed. Enough people with enough power is really the key. There are many unpopular laws that hang around because the opposition lacks power, even if they are generally supported.

So, even if Catalonians want independence overwelmingly, if enough powerful interests oppose them, it might still be quite sticky.

CorruptUser wrote:Why are the referendums based on large regions; why can't they be based on (using the US as an example) counties rather than states? And if so, why can't it be even smaller like towns? Perhaps all 200 people in Bumfuck, Nowhere don't want to be in the US, isn't it wrong to not let them have a vote? And if they can have a vote, why can't my family farm vote itself out?


There isn't a logical reason, really. Certainly there are counties and cities larger than the smallest of nations. Mostly, it comes down to power. Bumfuck, Nowhere, doesn't have it.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Soteria » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:17 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Fun fact, Texas and Virginia both voted to stay in the Union (barely), but the people in charge happened to be plantation owners.


Source? My understanding is that Texas voted overwhelming to secede, over Houston's veto, and that Virginia did as well--after Sumter.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby sardia » Tue Sep 30, 2014 5:44 pm UTC

Maybe he's referr to West Virginia origin story.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Vahir » Tue Sep 30, 2014 9:01 pm UTC

CorruptUser wrote:Why are the referendums based on large regions; why can't they be based on (using the US as an example) counties rather than states? And if so, why can't it be even smaller like towns? Perhaps all 200 people in Bumfuck, Nowhere don't want to be in the US, isn't it wrong to not let them have a vote? And if they can have a vote, why can't my family farm vote itself out?


I've been saying exactly this in every thread on the subject I've seen in these forums. Nationalism is weird.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby jano » Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:00 pm UTC

leady wrote:#lazy
Why is Catalonia so called rather than Aragon? Or was it always Catalonia in the local language and as usual we renamed it?

No: Aragon is a territory to the east of Catalonia. During the Reconquista (Reconquest) it was a kingdom, which gave the name to the Crown of Aragon, after the dynastic union in 1150 of the Queen of Aragon with a Count of Barcelona, their son inheriting all different territories in the House of Aragon and the House of Barcelona. The Kings of Aragon had also the title of Count of Barcelona and ruled territories that consisted of not only the present administrative region of Aragon but also Catalonia, and later the kingdoms of Majorca, Valencia, Sicily, Naples and Sardinia. In 1469, the crowns of the Christian kingdoms of Castile and Aragon were united by the marriage of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon. 1478 commenced the completion of the conquest of the Canary Islands and in 1492, the combined forces of Castile and Aragon captured the Emirate of Granada, ending the last remnant of a 781-year presence of Islamic rule in Iberia.

On the other hand: in Catalonia, besides Spanish, many people speak Catalan. Something similar happens in other parts of Spain, with other languages. Spanish is the official language of all Spain, while Catalan is also official only in Catalonia, Gallego in Galicia, etc.

On another point: as far as I know, according to the Spanish Constitution (1978], it is illegal for a region (like Catalonia or any other) to call an independence referendum. I think that the government could call one in which all the Spaniards (not just the people in Catalonia) could vote the secession of a part of the state. From wikipedia: "As a result, Spain is now composed of 17 autonomous communities and two autonomous cities with varying degrees of autonomy thanks to its Constitution, which nevertheless explicitly states the indivisible unity of the Spanish nation."
Spoiler:

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Volcano99 » Tue Sep 30, 2014 10:40 pm UTC

Vahir wrote:On another point: as far as I know, according to the Spanish Constitution (1978], it is illegal for a region (like Catalonia or any other) to call an independence referendum. I think that the government could call one in which all the Spaniards (not just the people in Catalonia) could vote the secession of a part of the state.

It doesn't explicitly forbid referendums, it just states:

Spanish Constitution wrote:Section 2. The Constitution is based on the indissoluble unity of the Spanish Nation, the common and indivisible homeland of all Spaniards; it recognizes and guarantees the right to self-government of the nationalities and regions of which it is composed and the solidarity among them all.1


It also says that "National sovereignty belongs to the Spanish people, from whom all State powers emanate"1. Therefore, Spain is indivisible, and saying otherwise corresponds to all Spaniards, or something like that. Una, Grande y Libre!

On the economic side, the budget for the year 2015 was presented today. Catalans will get 9.6% of the budgeted money. We contributed more than 18% to the GDP.

1: http://www.congreso.es/portal/page/port ... gles_0.pdf (both on page 10 according to the PDF / page 6 according to chrome)

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Telchar » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:00 am UTC

Am I misunderstanding the border or would Catalonia be completely enclosed by the rest of Spain?
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:12 am UTC

I'm pretty sure that an independent Catalonia would be bordered by Spain (Castile at this point?) to the west, France to the north, and the Mediterranean to the south and east.

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Has anyone else misread the title as "Catatonia strikes back"?

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby eSOANEM » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:25 am UTC

Yeah, Sheikh al-Majaneen's got the border right.

There's also Andorra on the border with France. Currently, the Andorran co-princes are often referred to as the French and Spanish co-princes but, in an independent Catalunya, they'd get the co-prince (assuming Urgell stays part of Catalunya).
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Soteria » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:17 pm UTC

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:Has anyone else misread the title as "Catatonia strikes back"?


Yes.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby ivnja » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:41 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:Am I misunderstanding the border or would Catalonia be completely enclosed by the rest of Spain?

Sorry, I didn't mean to perhaps cause confusion with the enclosed regions comment, I was just responding to CorruptUser's county/town/family farm question.
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby bigglesworth » Wed Oct 01, 2014 3:05 pm UTC

I wonder how much appetite there is in Rousillon to join an independent Catalonia.
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Vahir » Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:48 pm UTC

bigglesworth wrote:I wonder how much appetite there is in Rousillon to join an independent Catalonia.


To my understanding, they've been thoroughly assimilated into french culture in the past 200 years.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Mambrino » Thu Oct 02, 2014 2:40 am UTC

jano wrote:On another point: as far as I know, according to the Spanish Constitution (1978], it is illegal for a region (like Catalonia or any other) to call an independence referendum. I think that the government could call one in which all the Spaniards (not just the people in Catalonia) could vote the secession of a part of the state.


I wonder what the response would have been if the Soviets had tried to pull that off in ~1991. "50.8% of people of Soviet Union vote for Baltic SSRs remaining in the union, sorry no independence."

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Grop » Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:23 am UTC

Vahir wrote:
bigglesworth wrote:I wonder how much appetite there is in Rousillon to join an independent Catalonia.


To my understanding, they've been thoroughly assimilated into french culture in the past 200 years.


Also that would probably be unconstitutional :lol:.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Mutex » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:02 am UTC

Mambrino wrote:
jano wrote:On another point: as far as I know, according to the Spanish Constitution (1978], it is illegal for a region (like Catalonia or any other) to call an independence referendum. I think that the government could call one in which all the Spaniards (not just the people in Catalonia) could vote the secession of a part of the state.


I wonder what the response would have been if the Soviets had tried to pull that off in ~1991. "50.8% of people of Soviet Union vote for Baltic SSRs remaining in the union, sorry no independence."


Or if the English, Welsh and Northern Irish could have voted in the Scottish independence referendum.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby leady » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:23 am UTC

But we absolutely should have, with the "yes" votes from either Scotland or rUK being counted separately, but either triggering a separation :)

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby bigglesworth » Thu Oct 02, 2014 10:29 am UTC

Could've done that with Northern Ireland a long time ago.
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Volcano99 » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:10 pm UTC

920 of the 947 mayors of Catalonia support the referendum. Here are many of them chanting for independence:
http://www.324.cat/video/5266371/altres ... eneralitat

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Vahir » Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:32 am UTC

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29982960

A non-official referendum was held in Catalonia. According to the organizers, as many as 80% of people voted to secede from Spain.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Tirian » Mon Nov 10, 2014 2:42 am UTC

Vahir wrote:http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-29982960

A non-official referendum was held in Catalonia. According to the organizers, as many as 80% of people voted to secede from Spain.


And according to the critics, under 30% of people eligible to get off their couches and symbolically promote the secession movement actually did so. It's hard to say which is the more relevant statistic.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Volcano99 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 1:18 pm UTC

Tirian wrote:And according to the critics, under 30% of people eligible to get off their couches and symbolically promote the secession movement actually did so. It's hard to say which is the more relevant statistic.

Participation was over 35%, and would be higher if the anti-independentists actually campaigned for a "no" vote, instead of boycotting the act.
Of course they are going to say that the participation is low!

IMO getting 2.3 million people off their couches and symbolically promote the self-determination movement in a non-binding, informal vote that was run by 40.000 volunteers is a really important number.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Diadem » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:11 pm UTC

I'd say a 35% turnout for a symbolic, legally meaningless, referendum is pretty damn impressive. I've seen real elections with a lower turnout. 80% yes on 35% turnout means 28% of the population voted to secede. That's only slightly less than voted for Obama (30.2% and 30.3%). Significantly more than voted for Bush' first term (24.1%).
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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby sardia » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:21 pm UTC

The other keyfCtor is the trend. This is the highest level of support yet so people should watch if it continues to grow.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby Volcano99 » Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:43 pm UTC

This is one of the most commented videos around here: Artur Mas and David Fernández hug after a long day.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s52j4iWscus

Now, parties on both sides of the debate are asking for elections.

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Re: Referendum: Episode two: Catalonia strikes back

Postby jestingrabbit » Tue Nov 11, 2014 1:10 pm UTC

sardia wrote:The other keyfCtor is the trend. This is the highest level of support yet so people should watch if it continues to grow.


One hopes that ETA hear that message too. No violence has led to more support.
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