A couple of weeks ago, the Catalan town of Lleida became the first municipality in Spain to introduce a ban on the full Islamic veil, or burqa and niqab. The veils are now prohibited in municipal buildings.
Lleida's Socialist party mayor, Àngel Ros, claims that the ban is a strike in favour of equality. The ban was backed by the Catholic Catalan conservatives, CiU. And now they and the PSC are planning introduce a similar ban in Tarragona. The truth is that Lleida's city hall has been involved in a protracted battle with a Muslim community it does not want. Indeed, the PSC is just applying policies called for by none other than arch racist, Josep Anglada, leader of the utterly mental Plataforma Per Catalunya fascist party.
Times of financial hardship always breed racist reactions. I'm not in the least bit surprised that the PSC, a party of hopeless twats to a man (or woman), would stoop this low to try and shore up their position in Catalonia. If the party was serious about gender equality, it would ban the huge brothels that line the carreteras here, packed with thousands of young African and eastern European women. It won't, because for the PSC, 'equality' is just a useful excuse for pandering to nasty provincial racism.
In just over a week, many Catalan towns will hold 'consultaions' about Catalan independence. These consultations (consultes) take the form of a mock referendum. They're not legally binding in any way, and voting in them is so open that even I can join in! The thing about these consultations is that they do make it feel (however superficially) like Catalonia is starting to seriously consider its status as part of Spain. The organisers and political groups involved are certainly keen to make it look like that, at any rate.
On this blog, I've been careful to avoid a categorical endorsement of Catalan independence for many reasons. So I decided to ask some open questions to anyone interested in answering them. And you don't have to be in favour of Catalan independence to take part: if you think you've got a point to make, make it. I plan to do something similar directed at opponents of independence over the next few days. Feel free to answer whichever of the questions you like.
- Why should Catalonia be independent?
- What exactly do you think will be gained if Catalonia becomes independent?
- What model do you see an independent Catalonia adopting? Some sort of republic? How would it be organised?
- Do you think that the current crisis is a good time to decide something like this? Why?
- What damage do you think this would do to Spain? Do you worry about that?
- Is an independent Catalonia an economically viable state?
- What should the process be in the result of a vote in favour of independence?
- What should be the status of Spanish citizens in Catalonia? Would dual citizenship be allowed?
- What about immigrants? Would they become citizens? What would the immigration policy be?
- Would you expect all the political parties in Catalonia to break ties with their Spanish equivalents?
- What would happen if the EU had trouble accepting Catalonia as a member?
- What would happen to Catalan government agencies aimed at trade and business? Would they be absorbed by embassies?
- Who would be the head of state? Would you deny Juan Carlos's claim to sovereignty?
- Would the Catalan constitution guarantee the right to receive state services in Castilian Spanish?
- How would you deal with people potentially wanting to leave for Spain proper?
- What flag would you have? Senyera or Estelada?
- What would happen to utilities like the phone/data system?
- What sort of rights would be included in the constitution anyway?
- How would you deal with other parts of the 'Catalan Countries'? Would you seek their absorption?
- How important would the status of FC Barcelona be? Do you think the Spanish league would still have them?
- Would you bother with armed forces? If so, how?
- What would happen if there was a Spanish boycott of independent Catalonia?
- What would happen if there was a Spanish military response?
- Can a constituent part of an EU and NATO member even declare independence?
- Would you demand that companies trading in Catalonia establish separate entities in Catalonia? How?
And that's enough for now. I know that I've asked a lot of questions. But these are just some of the questions that will be asked should Catalonia approach a genuine referendum.
So, what do you say?
This is about the 6th update I've written in the last few weeks, and I haven't published any of them. I'm determined to post this one.
I've been very busy over the last few months. That's always a terrible excuse for a blogger. Almost as bad as admitting that he's been busy on Twitter.
Among the many topics that I've written bad and unpublished posts about include Catalan corruption, PP corruption, Catalan racism (yeah, the veil in Lleida), the Spanish economy… and the Gaza siege. This last item is something I've not written about on this blog, though I've talked about some of the language connected with it. So, forgive the non-Spain-related post, but:
Israel has no right, either legal or moral to blockade the Palestinian territory in the Gaza Strip. Israel was in breach of UN resolutions referring to the status of Gaza long before it acted against the 'Freedom Flotilla' earlier this week. This seems to be a country dangerously close to believing not just its own propaganda but the extremist, fatalist, racist and blind ideology of its far right wing. Israel is sometimes held up as a model democracy in the middle east (and it's obviously not Saudi Arabia), but the influence held by a radical minority over the entire Palestine issue (borders, settlements, constant IDF incursions) seems to prove that it is drifting towards a even more terrible form of state ethnic-religious absolutism maintained by apparent parliamentary democracy.
This is not a breed of fascism as experienced in Europe in the first half of the 20th century. But it is of the same genus.
Therefore, I believe that we ought to boycott anti-Palestine Israel and its economy in any way possible, until Israel withdraws the blockade against Palestine.