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Catalonia: Independence from whom?


On September the 27th, the separatists in Catalonia won a majority of the seats in its regional parliamentary elections, however by a very close margin and only thanks to the 10 seats of the anti-capitalist party, the Candidatura d’Unitat Popular (here on CUP), whose support hangs barely by a thread.

The campaign is now over and we may take a step back or two, to analyse the political situation in Catalonia, the main differences between the main parties that make up Junts pel Sí, but perhaps more importantly, what seems to unite them beyond their stand on the secession of Catalonia from Spain and their relationship towards the European Union and the USA.

 

Together for Yes

The main victor in these elections, the Catalan independence Coalition called Junts pel Sí (here on Junts), which meansTogether for Yes in Catalan,presented a common political program during the summer of 2015. After close examination of the program,  it seems difficult to locate it in the traditional Left/Right political spectrum, as one could expect from a formation made up of the Democratic Convergence of Catalonia (neoliberal), the Republican Left of Catalonia (socialist), Democrats of Catalonia (center-right, christian democrats) and the Leftist Movement (a coalition within the coalition, of much smaller leftist parties).

Indeed, despite the heftiness of its printed version (125 pages), what seemed to prevail over the Junts’ campaign and program was their call for independence, an issue that each political formation has attempted to champion before joining the coalition. They are now leading that battle away from traditional ideological discrepancies on economic and political issues. It is therefore common to find all sorts of ideologically diverse proposals, in the Junts program: from references to progressive policies, each of them with a socialist sounding rhetoric, such as “the empowerment of neighborhoods” (p. 72), all the way to other, perhaps more business-friendly proposals, as shown for instance by the acceptance of the free-trade dogma (p. 24) or the omnipresence of the term “business” (exactly 125 times, once per page), to name a few…

 

Junts and the European Union: Independence or in dependence?

It seems as though one point in their program has been made clearer than others, by both repetition and the clarity of its statements: “we will apply to stay within the EU, the Eurozone and Eurosystem of central banks” (p. 51).

Here lies the main logical contradiction between Junts’ claims of independence from Madrid and from the interference of non-catalans in Catalonia’s affairs on behalf of sovereignty and self-determination on the hand, and the unequivocal desire to remain within the EU and have every norm of the EU from every Treaty still effective and unquestioned.

Given how most, if not all, of the policies bitterly criticized by Junts as an illegitimate imposition from outsiders (in Madrid that is) are actual implementations of EU policies and recommendations (which often amount to orders given the institutional realities), why does Junts want to remain within the EU so vehemently? And if self-determination and democracy are so paramount for them why not leave that question to a future referendum?

 

Towards European federalism

Considering the numerous ties between each of the candidates on the Junts list and European think tanks and organizations that advocate for a federalist European Union (meaning a model in which Nation-States would disappear in order to promote what is commonly called euro-regionsthat would defend their interests directly in Brussels), it would be easy to illustrate the point that the movement of independence in Catalonia is in fact part of a much larger force that acts at the European level and has been for several decades already. However, if we are to name just one example of this relationship between Junts and European federalism, perhaps then the case of its leader Raul Romeva might suffice.

The number one candidate for Junts, Raul Romeva, is a member of the Green Party in Catalonia (he is considered “independent” within the Junts coalition) and has been a member of the European Parliament between 2004 and 2014. During his years in the European Parliament, Romeva has promoted the idea of not just an independent Catalonia, but also that of a federalist European Union, among other things by signing the Spinelli Group manifesto, one the first major federalist movements in Europe.

What federalists advocate for is a european union in which Nation-States such as France, Spain or Italy to name a few would surrender most of their sovereignty (beyond what is already happening with the EU Treaties) to regions on the one hand — such as Catalonia or Brittany in France — and the EU institutions in Brussels. The federalists promote the idea that these regions — also called euro-regions — would extend beyond what is known today as French, Spanish or Italian national borders. The fact is that present-day EU is slowly moving towards this model through various policies and reforms such as the reform of regions in France or the promotion of regional languages (see Regional Charter for Regional or Minority Languages), or more importantly, through each new Treaty that transfers more sovereignty from Nation-States to Brussels on one hand and regional entities on the other.

 

The CIA and the Federalist Movement

The Federalist movement (founded in 1943) is one of the earliest and most important promoters in Europe of the idea of an integrated Europe. Its founding text, the Ventotene manifesto was written mainly by Altiero Spinelli and Ernesto Rossi in 1941. Altiero Spinelli later became a strong advocate of federalism within the European institution as he became a euro-MEP and a prominent EU commissioner for 6 years. The Spinelli group created in 2010 is manifesto inspired by Spinelli and that represents modern federalism.

The funding of the Federalist movement came exclusively from the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), a CIA front little to no effort to appear like anything other: its board of directors was made up of prominent members of the US secret services, including former heads of OSS/CIA: Gen. W.J. Donovan, Allen Dulles and W. B. Smith…

 

Conclusion

Evidently this complicated matter would require further inquiry and one could easily dismiss the ties between federalists and the US as outdated and irrelevant. However, it would be interesting to look into the more influential think tanks in Europe that are at the epicenter of Brussels politics and ask ourselves why in most cases funding comes mainly   from US corporations or Foundations (Lockheed Martin, JP Morgan or George Soro’s Open Society Foundation just to name a few). Also, if we assume that the US acted and act today in their own interest, why should they want anything other that a federalist Europe? Do wolves not chew their food carefully before swallowing?

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