Catalonia's Paradox

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A Socialist Project e-bulletin .... No. 1495 .... October 11, 2017

Catalonia’s Paradox

Josep Maria Antentas

October 1 has passed, closing a period of the shared history between Catalonia and the Spanish state and beginning an uncertain future. It was a day when all the tension building over the five-year independence process came to a head.

The numbers speak volumes. 2,262,424 votes cast. With an electoral roll of approximately 5.3 million people, that represents 42.5 per cent turnout. We would have to include the votes seized by the police and from citizens who could not vote to calculate a final number. Of those votes counted, 2,020,144 (90 per cent) were in favor of independence, 176,566 (7.8 per cent) against, and 45,586 (2 per cent) left their ballots blank.

Next to these tallies, we must... list another figure: the 890 officially registered injuries. The images say even more than the numbers -- unprecedented police violence met historic popular mobilization.

The independence movement has emerged victorious, and, while the vote doesn’t mean that pro-independence forces will reach their goals immediately, they did gain momentum by demonstrating their determination and capacity for mobilization despite state repression and their opponent’s decision to boycott. The post-Franco Spanish state is more discredited than ever in Catalonia.

The immediate consequences are clear. The Law of Transiency, which Catalonia’s parliament passed on September 8, stipulates that, if the referendum results in a "yes" victory, the Catalan government would move to proclaim an independent republic.

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