August 29, 2015

A PEOPLE WHO THINK THEMSELVES A NATION ARE ONE:

Independence from whom? Catalonia's existential elections (KATE SHEA BAIRD 27 August 2015, Open Democracy)

For many in Catalonia, the 'double crisis', national and economic, is really one and the same: a crisis of popular sovereignty, whether it be in the face of "authoritarian" state institutions or the global financial markets. A similar argument was made passionately by many campaigning for a Yes vote in Scotland in 2014.

In the Barcelona mayoral race, Ada Colau (a former grassroots activist) swept to victory calling for "real sovereignty" and "the right to decide on every issue", including independence, and Together for Yes candidate, RaĆ¼l Romeva, a former European MP coming from the green-left, has said "the elections of 27 September are about the policy tools at the government's disposal. In order to guarantee increased opportunities and social justice we need the tools of a state." The prevalence of this view is reflected by the growing strength of pro-independence radicals, particularly the Popular Unity Candidates (CUP). The CUP's slogan 'independence to change everything' neatly sums up the hopes of many in the movement beyond the party.

However, the increasingly sophisticated debate on the nature of sovereignty in Catalonia has also led the usefulness of independence per se to be called into question. Concerns about the practical effects of independence in a context of the Eurozone crisis were thrown into stark relief by the Greek bailout referendum. After all, here was the government of an independent state, capable of holding a referendum, but ultimately unable to carry out its democratic mandate.

Many have pointed to Greece as a sign that independence may be a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for real sovereignty. The manifesto of 'Catalonia Yes We Can', the coalition backed by Podemos, Iniciativa and Equo, and which could come second in the elections, picked up on this idea, saying: "We want a candidature that defends the full social, national and economic sovereignty of Catalonia. We want real sovereignty; not formal sovereignty subjugated to the impositions of the Troika or the TTIP." 

Posted by at August 29, 2015 8:09 AM
  

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