A note on the Declaration of Independence adopted October 27 by the Catalan parliament
Monday October 30, 2017 15:47 by Richard Fidler
The Declaration begins by reciting the full text of a resolution adopted October 10 by the parliamentary representatives of the pro-independence parties. The resolution recalls the repeated and frustrated attempts by Catalonia since the adoption of the post-Franco Spanish constitution of 1978 to expand the very limited administrative autonomy it grants into political recognition as a nation within the Spanish state.
aced with hostile rulings by the Constitutional Court and the rejection of negotiations by the central government in Madrid, the Catalan government had called the referendum on self-determination held October 1 of this year. Pursuant to its result, the parliamentary deputies had determined to constitute the Catalan republic as an independent and sovereign state subject to the rule of law and to initiate a “democratic, citizen-based, transversal, participative and binding constituent process.”
The resolution ends by affirming the desire to open negotiations with the Spanish state, without pre-conditions, aimed at establishing “a regime of collaboration to the benefit of both parties.” It asks “the international community and the authorities of the European Union to intervene to stop the violation of the civil and political rights that is under way, and to witness the negotiating process with the Spanish state.”
It expresses the “unequivocal desire to join the international committee as quickly as possible,” the new state undertaking to comply with the international obligations currently applicable in its territory and continuing to “adhere to the international treaties to which the Kingdom of Spain is subject.”
And it calls on international governments and organizations “to recognize the Catalan Republic as an independent and sovereign state.”
The Declaration then expresses the Catalan parliament's rejection of the decision of the Spanish cabinet and Senate to apply article 155 of the Spanish constitution, which “amounts to the elimination of Catalan self-government.” This, it says, is “an attack on democracy without precedent in the last 40 years.”
The Declaration then sets out a series of measures proposed to implement independence. These include establishing a procedure for acquiring Catalan nationality, a proposal for dual nationality with the Kingdom of Spain, and the adoption of laws governing the transition to independence. The existing institutions and many of the existing laws and structures of the Catalonian autonomy will be retained. A public development bank will be established, as well as a new central bank, the Bank of Catalonia, to regulate the financial system.
An inventory of Spanish state property will be compiled and will be included in the negotiations with the Spanish state, as will a proposal for division of assets and liabilities between the two states.
Finally, the Parliament will open an investigation to determine the responsibilities of the government of the Spanish state and its institutions in offenses against fundamental individual and collective rights committed in the effort to frustrate the people's right to vote on October 1.
The second part of the Declaration, on “the constituent process,” calls on the Catalan government to establish a Constituent Assembly that will collect the proposals systematized in a Constituent Social Forum and submit them to a citizens’ consultation that will establish a binding mandate on the Parliament constituted as a Constituent Assembly resulting from constituent elections.
Readers will note that the declaration of the Republic by the Catalan parliament, together with the commitment to set in motion a process to define the constitution of the new Republic, is very similar to what Catalan socialist Esther Vivas was proposing in the concluding paragraphs of Dick Nichols’ second article.
A new stage in the struggle has begun in which the mobilized masses of Catalonia will be engaging in confrontations with the Spanish state and its repressive forces ranging from street demonstrations to mass civil disobedience. These developments, and the intense public debates they will promote, can help to arm the independence forces with a social agenda aimed not only against state repression and capitalist austerity but for a participatory and democratic movement that can point the way toward “another Catalonia” of social justice and equality. Their example can help educate and inspire working people and democratically inclined people in Spain and internationally with the progressive content and potential of the independentist process.