What more is there to say, that hasn’t already been said about the events of last Sunday in Catalonia?
In the 17th century, Voltaire wrote: “Catalonia can do without the whole universe, but her neighbors cannot.” It is therefore difficult to find new arguments or interpretative readings on the events of November 9, 2014 in Catalonia, because all the international experts have focussed on this question. Although on the contrary, I must say that the level of analysis of the Spanish experts has been rather mediocre, starting with the “great newspaper” El País.
Certain Spanish intellectuals, however, have a critical view of this particular Spanish problem, and have resisted the temptation for “political correctness”, as does, for example, political scientist Ramon Cotarelo, 4in his blog Palinuro (http://cotarelo.blogspot.pt/), who is a supporter of the democratic participatory exercise.
Despite threats from the Spanish conservative government, which makes Spain once again less and less democratic, the people of Catalonia have shown a masterful lesson in democracy to the Spanish State (known for its lack of experience in the field ). Yes, this “mock referendum” was deemed “useless” by the newspaper El País, which did not have a legal status. However, it definitely has had a highly political meaning, and is a symbol of rebellion against Spanish oppression that has lasted for centuries. It is precisely this oppression that would explain what has occurred in Catalonia: the reaction of the people who want freedom and independence. The Spanish intellectual concluded with an historical truth, when he says “What can be expected of a government and a country that has not yet condemned Franco’s regime?”
As far as I’m concerned, I think that the Catalans have shown they are one people, and one nation, who dream of freedom, and emancipation from Spain, and that this is possible. A year ago I said on Twitter, ‘it is a process of emancipation that could not be stopped’. Indeed, if we look at the history of self-determination it is demonstrated that it is difficult to stop. When people want to be free, nothing can stop it. Therefore, in a brief conversation with Professor Cotarelo, I made a reference to Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary, because although the comparison is in a very different sense, we are talking about a ‘sort of’ “Triumph of the Will” (Triumph des Willens), note that in German “ein Volk” means both “people” and “nation.” But we should add that (contrary to the meaning of the illustrious German filmmaker) as regards to Catalonia, it is a “triumph of the democratic will,” or a “Triumph des (Demokratischen) Willens”.
Some people could say that it is not a general will, but that means that they have not understood the meaning of the title of Riefenstahl’s documentary which is nationalism, nor the meaning of Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s concept of ‘general will’ in the book The Social Contract “what is in the best interests should be for the good of all”, in this case: for now, to be able to have the freedom to vote, which is the definition of democracy. Although the father of democracy, Rousseau thought democracy reserved for ‘god’s people’, but there is no doubt that it is the best political regime for humanity.
At the end, the people of Catalonia have given a lesson to the Spanish state and the world by voting, this is the lesson of democracy.