Tuesday, October 03, 2017 ... Deutsch/Español/Related posts from blogosphere

EU has lost Catalan hearts

Catalonia goes through the general strike today, in the wake of the Spanish police terror on Sunday. The public transportation doesn't work, the Barcelona University doesn't teach, a museum in the Sagrada Familia temple is closed, soccer players in FC Barcelona don't play, and 70% of public workers enjoy a free day.

Gerard Pique, a top player of the Spanish national soccer team, had to be escorted from Madrid after a crowd of fanatical fascists began to verbally attack him and threw objects at him during a training session for this "proud Catalan's" previous support of the referendum. He politely mentioned that if his political opinions about Catalonia wouldn't be respected, he would leave the national team.

I am sorry but in practice, Spain is simply not a free country of the Western type anymore when even a top soccer player becomes unable to safely and politely express his opinions about important questions surrounding his nation – whichever we mean – opinions that are shared by a majority of the wealthiest Spain's province according to the total GDP.

Lots of right-wing Spaniards, TomVonk, and a few others have tried to frame this Catalan-vs-Spanish disputes as a left-vs-right dispute where the Catalans are the left-wing and the Spaniards are the right-wing side. I am sorry but this is complete and utter hogwash. Certain aspects of the neo-Left are stronger in Catalonia for the same reason why these things are stronger in wealthier countries or regions – and Catalonia is one.

But the supporters of the Catalan independence just can't be identified with a left-wing movement – after all, the Catalan president is center right. The socialists have a neutral position on the issue. This is an issue about the co-existence of two or more nations or nationalities. With its population of 7.5 million, the Catalan nation is obviously a large enough group of people so that it includes the folks of all the basic ideological flavors, in proportions that don't differ so dramatically from other nations.

This tension is obviously another conflict about the right of self-determination vs the rule of law in a larger country. We've seen many of those – which were treated very differently. Slovenia. Croatia. Bosnia and Herzegovina. Chechnya. Slovakia. Crimea. Kosovo... And much more speculatively in the future: Scotland. Catalonia. The Basque Country. Flanders. Padania. Bavaria...

There are always reasons to think that the bigger country should be preserved and that this preservation, often required by the highest official institutions and laws of that country, is needed for the preservation of pillars of order and the human society, if I use the big words that are often used. But there are also reasons to think that the would-be new nation that wants to secede has some rights for the self-determination and the ultimate reason why the folks want to secede is that they're not treated well as a group by another, more numerous group in the large country. Perhaps their basic human rights aren't being respected and this may be a more serious problem than a verdict about a referendum by a Spanish judge.

We may undergo epochs in which countries tend to split and epochs in which they tend to merge or consolidate.

I think that among the examples of secession above, it was the case of Kosovo that has created the most brutal precedent that has strengthened the separatists in the whole continent if not the world. A bunch of organized criminals, organ and drug traffickers, and terrorists who recently invaded – and overreproduced in – a historical Serbian province was given a complete control over that stolen territory. They didn't even need a referendum. A new state was created. It immediately became a failed state. Everyone knows that. No one wants to accept the state into any group. But it was done by folks who obsessively hated Russia and their main ally in the Balkans, Serbia. So everything that hurts Russia or Serbia was good for them. So Serbia underwent the "humanitarian bombardment" as well, if I use the words of Czech-born Madeleine Albright.

But such profoundly unethical, evil decisions have consequences. If the "Kosovars" had the right for a new country, surely the same is true in all the cases where the case for secession is much more justified. I have enumerated them at the top. The number of politicians and institutions that have supported the totally misguided "Kosovar" independence was huge. All of them may be labeled staggering hypocrites if they fail to support the Catalan independence etc.

I don't know whether I would want secession before last Sunday if I were Catalan. Such questions always depend on lots of things. But the brutality itself has shown that something is insanely pathological about the political status of the Catalans within Spain. It is obvious that they're pretty much forbidden from having any political opinions. 2-3 millions of participants of the Sunday referendum were treated as criminals. They were treated as criminals just because they wanted to express and quantify their opinions about the desirable future of their autonomous region.

I find it absolutely unacceptable in Europe. The European Union has often described itself to be a guarantor of the European values, human rights, and similar things. We have known it was a bunch of lies for a very long time. Among other things, the European Union prefers to flood Europe with millions of illegal, Islamic immigrants whose views and behavior are absolutely incompatible with everything European, while suppressing the basic rights and dignity of those who even dare to say that it's wrong to open Europe's door in this way.

However, the European Union's silence – and, in some cases, outright support for the Spanish police terror (e.g. the proportionate prick Frans Timmermans; and the already notorious Margaritis Schinas, yes, I mean the staggering jerk who almost killed a Czech journalist just because the journalist didn't like Schinas' lionization of Castro) – has shown very clearly what the European Union actually tries to build. They are trying to build a new, totally undemocratic empire where absolute non-free citizens are constantly harassed, intimidated, and beaten by police that gets its orders from maximally centralized headquarters of a police state – a police state that should be as big as possible.

It is spectacularly clear to every person who understands what the "European system" means what could have happened and what couldn't have happened. A Spanish court could have ruled that according to the basic Spanish laws, Catalonia can't decide about its departure from Spain by a Catalonia-wide referendum. But what does this statement mean? How should it be imposed? Within the European civilization, it means that when the Catalan people perform any exercise that they call referendum or anything else, it's simply not a referendum according to the Spanish law. So its results won't justify any action by the politicians or local authorities that would have been impossible before that invalid referendum.

In other words, the enforcement of the court's decision may only begin when some institutions start to take the illegal referendum into account as if it were a valid one – because it's not valid according to the Spanish laws. (When I say that the outcome of the referendum should have been treated as legally inconsequential by the Spanish authorities, I don't mean that the information conveyed by the referendum should be ignored by the Spanish politicians. A wise politician simply cannot ignore this situation on the ground and some negotiation simply must take place – also according to the valid Spanish laws. The result of such negotiations should be a change of the law that cures the problems on the Catalan ground.)

However, what happened was something totally different. People were beaten for going to the local, Catalan schools and throwing pieces of papers to boxes that the Catalan officials legitimately bought. People were beaten in the streets for expressing the opinion that Catalans are a different nation that should be separated from Spain. This is simply not acceptable according to the basic rules of the European civilization. A civilized country of the European type can't – and its judges can't – prevent the regular people from speaking on the street or from throwing their papers to their friends' boxes.

And it should be unacceptable from the viewpoint of all officials in the European Union. The Article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty says:

The Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. These values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.
It's unquestionable that Spain has violated this article – an article numbered as the second most important sentence underlying the whole European Union. It's another can of worms to decide whether the European Union may and should actually intervene – and whether, when, and how it should start a process according to the Article 7, recently threatened against Poland and Hungary although they did nothing that would be even remotely comparable to what the Spanish government did.

But long before we actually think about the enforcement or the absence of it, the European Union officials should immediately acknowledge that Spain has violated absolutely basic principles of the European Union. A technical decision of a Spanish judge about a would-be referendum simply cannot be considered a sufficient excuse for the police terror. The judge hasn't ordered and couldn't have ordered police terror against peaceful citizens because such terror violates the EU treaty – an international treaty that stands above the Spanish laws. Some folks, including the "EU President" Donald Tusk, have said that the violence is wrong, things shouldn't escalate, and so on. But a majority of the EU officials have remained silent and/or supported PM Rajoy's heavy-handed actions.

The European Union simply doesn't defend the European values on the European continent. It is the most potent tool to promote the fascist habits and policies all over the Old Continent.

I have also read that Catalonia has nothing to do with Brexit. I realize that the typical Catalan people's opinions about ideological issues differ from the typical British ones. But this is not a conflict in which one flavor of ideology fights against another flavor of ideology. The expansion of the central EU power is about the very question whether freedom and democracy will survive on the European continent. The Spanish government has clearly shown that it wants the answer to be No – and that is the actual reason why PM Rajoy has basically gotten the needed support in Brussels. In a speech, Rajoy bragged that "everyone in the EU fully supports his crackdown". It's not quite as bad but what he said is appromately true, indeed.

The European Union is full of fascist scum that is enthusiastic about these methods to deal with the different opinions held by millions of citizens of European countries – with whole nations living in territories whose radius is measured in hundreds of miles. They just love it and they would love to use the same attitude against the Britons who dared to support Brexit in their referendum or against the Visegrád Group that dares to oppose the intentional Islamization of Europe. Wouldn't it be great to solve the problems with these nations by batons and rubber projectiles?

I think that wise people understand that this is the actual big game that is being played here and in which the Catalan conflict is a proxy war.

To support this statement, let me mention that my title is a poetic variation of the titles at the EU Observer and The Catalan News,
EU Commission's credibility eroding, says Catalonia
EU fails to condemn Spanish police violence
In that article, you will learn about the – understandable – disillusionment of the Catalan leaders with the reactions or non-reactions that they can hear from the European Union. Weeks ago, I was trying to optimistically compare the Catalan issue with the Czecho-Slovak divorce. By now, it's obvious that the Spaniards just don't want their approach to resemble the Czech one at all. So it's becoming increasingly accurate to pick completely different chapters from the Czech history. The Nazi occupation. And indeed, the 1968 occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Warsaw Pact, the invasion that people had to be called "the fraternal help" for two decades afterwards.

A week ago, I didn't expect that this would be the analogy I would find accurate on October 3rd. But it's simply the case. The Soviet soldiers and their colleagues from other "socialist" countries came to Czechoslovakia in August 1968 in order to suppress the inconvenient political opinions of the bulk of the Czechoslovak citizens – in almost all cases, totally peaceful opinions. There was no threat of a domestically created civil war or a violent counterrevolution. And of course, the Soviet troops witnessed that fact.

But the 1968 occupation was the "expansion" of the obedient culture to a nation that didn't seem sufficiently obedient. Over 200 million Soviet citizens and others in other countries were basically perfectly obedient according to the dreams of the Soviet communist party – a huge crowd of brainwashed morons in an underdeveloped country. Czechoslovaks were using their brains and they were more advanced in the sense of the Western principles so they had to be defeated. The will of the "majority" – the stupid sheep in the rest of the communist bloc – was imposed upon Czechoslovakia, too. And be sure that it worked.

Note that just like Catalonia, Czechoslovakia probably also had a higher representation of some "fashionable Western trends" that we could call "modern left". It's normal for such trends to appear in wealthier countries and we were one, relatively to those who "helped us". Those trends were being suppressed by the tanks in 1968, too. Nominally, we were invaded because we were too right-wing or capitalist. But that's an oversimplification. Lots of things about our identity bothered Brezhnev and his comrades.

In the same way, the desire of the obedient regions of Spain – regions that are less advanced and less wealthy than Catalonia (with two exceptions) – was imposed upon Catalonia by the fraternal "Civil Guards" to make the Catalan citizens more well-behaved. The Civil Guard has "fraternally helped" the Catalans to restore their correct opinions about Spain and get rid of the delusions that the evil separatists have brainwashed them with. Speculations whether you're a different nation etc. are just not what the central government and its faithful Spanish citizens want. So you must be bullied, you must be beaten, your fingers have to be broken – and there are three deaths that are being investigated in the wake of the Sunday crackdown.

This treatment of millions of people who just express their opinions is unacceptable for me. It's a totally fundamental question – that's also why even the European Union wrote it as the Article 2 of a basic treaty defining the EU – although most of the EU politicians don't actually behave according to that article.

In 1968, no one would dare to "tangibly support" Czechoslovakia in the wake of the occupation. The Third World War would have become a real possibility, of course. But the global public was of course morally on the Czechoslovak side. I think that it's much less clear today. Lots of people in continental Europe apparently find it fine to live in a police state where the citizens' expression may be suppressed by similar heavy tools.

Much more support came from the U.K. – which is hopefully leaving the EU (although this very fact looks increasingly doubtful again, which is frustrating enough to watch). One reason is that the British understand the arrogance of the remote "central" governments. Another reason is that the Englishmen are much more reasonable than Spaniards – so "almost" like Czechia in the relationship towards Slovaks, the British government allowed Scotland to vote about the independence. And it was rejected. A problem was solved, at least for some years before the referndum's results are agreed to be obsolete.

So I have followed the British right-wing press – the articles as well as hundreds of readers' comments. I think that the support for Catalonia is basically unquestionable over there. Scotland starting from the Scottish socialist leader Nicola Sturgeon turned out to be the strongest soulmates of the Catalans – they're similar in many respects. But the right-wing English pundits typically agree. Read e.g. this essay by Katie Hopkins, a right-wing thinker, who finds it "strange" to be on the same boat as Sturgeon but she obviously is, and so am I. Or Nigel Farage who is clearly against the police brutality, too.

And then we have Russia whose official representatives also expressed the desire "not to affect Spanish internal affairs", like the EU folks usually did, but where the police violence and the staggering hypocrisy of the EU were clearly denounced by many other people.

I do find it obvious that the Catalans can't rely on anyone who is powerful in the continental Europe. Their basic human rights have been sacrificed to the altar of the further centralization of the EU. The EU used to like the "regions" in Europe because they weaken the nation states – and therefore strengthen the power of Brussels. But it is very clear now that the EU only likes "European regions that don't really know what they want". These are the entities that the EU loves – and it's happy to fill the vacuum. But right now, Catalonia is a region that knows what it wants. It thinks independently – and the independent thinking is the European Union's public enemy #1.

Also, I've read some European Union-sponsored articles translated to Czech that claim e.g. that Catalonia, even if it declared independence, couldn't financially afford the transformation to a country i.e. the secession. What? Do they have the chutzpah to serve this absolute rubbish to the Czech readers as well? We dissolved a country just 25 years ago and we know that the expenses were basically zero. It didn't cost a penny. Politicians just agree how things are cut and separated, write and sign some treaties – the expenses for that belong to their job – and that's it. Brainwashing people – especially people who must obviously know that it's complete hogwash – by this anti-independence propaganda is outrageous by itself.

There are lots of perspectives from which we may look at the disputes over the status of Catalonia. But I think it's obvious that the big continental conflict – where these Catalan events are a proxy war – is the conflict about the right of millions of honest, ordinary enough people to freely express their opinions and organize things in their communities according to these opinions. This is the basic principle of the European civilization that the Spanish government decided to neutralize on Sunday – and that is the actual reason why PM Rajoy got so much support for his outrageous behavior from the apparatchiks in Brussels.

If I am right that the EU has lost Catalan hearts, we may also see the Catalan representatives (and citizens) to ignore the threats from the EU that by leaving Spain, they will be automatically expelled from the EU as well. If they choose to work on their independence despite this threat, it shows how similar their basic efforts are to those of the Brexit proponents. It would also prove that this conflict has nothing to do with some slight differences between the left-wing and right-wing ideological flavors. The Catalans could perhaps agree with the EU about ideological issues more than average Spaniards do – I think that they indeed do – but if the EU politicians basically endorse or at least whitewash the usage of brutal violence against your and lots of people you know, your compatriots, I think that this lack of support immediately turns you against the EU despite some hypothetical proximity about finer ideological questions. Such an EU support for someone who beats you naturally becomes a very personal thing.

This "superiority of personal, existential feelings" over some "vague similarities in ideology" is something that Czechs know very well, from the Soviet behavior in the Second World War. We were obviously spiritually closer to lots of the nations in Western Europe. But they just didn't give a damn about us. It was Stalin who did most of the job to save our nation. And that's also why his influence was guaranteed to increase after 1945. When existential or almost existential questions start to be solved, those who simply stand on your side become more important allies than those who are just more similar to you.

Catalans should better think quickly – and I think that when they do, they will figure out that the mediators of their negotiations with Madrid should better be folks in London or Moscow rather than Berlin, Paris, and Brussels. It's not just about some ad hoc support for an emerging nation in a random situation. It seems that the U.K. and Russia are more likely to defend the European values in coming years than the European Union and its core countries – despite the European name.

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