The president of Catalonia, Carles Puigdemont, announced yesterday that a referendum on independence from Spain will be held on the 1st October 2017.
The referendum will ask Catalonia's residents:
"Do you want Catalonia to be an independent state in the form of a republic?
The move will likely stoke things up between the Generalitat de Catalunya—the autonomous region's ruling government—and the Spanish government in Madrid, who are opposed to secession and who have used the Spanish constitutional court to retroactively punish those involved in launching previous referendums.
This game of cat and mouse stretches back for years—a brief overview can be found here.
One if the most frequent questions I get asked by friends and relatives is: "What is the argument for independence?"
I've found ten of them here, and translated them into English below.
1. The alternative has failed
Independence is the most sensible solution to the problem of fitting Catalonia into the Spanish state. Autonomy is a failure—more evident now than ever—and a return to centralism is neither valid nor viable. The Spanish state broke the transition agreement when it judged against the statute, and now there's no turning back to the type of autonomy we had in the 80's and 90's. The alternatives are either independence, or a shaky form of autonomy that would have even less freedom than the principality had ten years ago.
2. Reforming Spain is almost impossible
Reforming Spain today is extremely difficult, and almost impossible. We could continue banging our heads against a wall, trying to reform a state that doesn't want to be reformed, but it would be much easier and more effective to create a new republic with decent laws, an independent court system, solid protection against the excesses of power, and social justice for all. After all, as Catalans we cannot impose on the Spanish people an institutional and political model different to the one they have today—a model they clearly don't want. The vast majority of Spanish people don't want a federal state, nor do they feel impeded by existing institutions.
3. A break from the past
Independence is an chance to create a new state without any debts owed to the past. Independence allows us to break free from Franco's regime—something that couldn't be achieved in the 80's. Independence is a fresh start, through which we can decide exactly what independence should look like; what institutions we'll have, what our priorities will be and what relationship we want between our citizens and our government. All of this without coercion, without imposed limits and without the burdens of the past.
4. Protection from globalisation
In the modern world, belonging to a state provides security—it's an advantage any way you look at it. Not having one is a serious drawback. The only way to curb and alter the excesses of globalisation is by having a state capable of defending citizens through setting out and imposing legal boundaries.
5. Global participation
We want to participate on a global level. We want to have a say in the arenas that define what we are and how we live. Many of these decisions are already made beyond the state framework; spaces in which you're effectively nothing—you have no voice and no vote if you aren't recognised as a state. It's particularly crucial that Catalonia has a say in European institutions.
6. No monarchy = equality
We're ready to create a republic that works much better than the Spanish monarchy; with a more participatory democracy, equality and accountability, and more plurality. In today's world, small and cohesive countries like ours are much more effective.
7. Decision-making and accountability
Independence will allow us to take responsibility for our own decisions and actions. Assuming such responsibility is a healthy mentality and enriching for any society. We'll stop blaming Spain for failing to build the Mediterranean trainline. We'll stop blaming Madrid for the hellish suburban train service. We'll stop complaining about poor services.
8. An end to language discrimination
Independence will allow us to eliminate discrimination against Catalan and Occitan languages, and to live together in a respectful environment with other languages spoken in the country. We'll embrace Catalan in a deliberately multilingual society that values diversity.
9. Setting an example
Independence would be a boost for the rest of the country, the Spanish state and people around the world. Independence will help us to naturally become a role model for other Catalan Countries, and will show the communities of the Spanish state that it's possible to rid oneself of this nightmare regime that was born out of the transition from dictatorship to democracy.
10. Economic and social autonomy
With independence, we'll be able to manage our resources in a much more rational way, preventing any corner of society from being suffocated economically and socially. Independence will allow us to remove the barriers that impede support and help any person, no matter which part of Catalonia they live in.
Do you agree with the 10 reasons set out above? Are you a Catalan resident planning to vote in the referendum on the 1st October? Leave a comment below, or: